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April 2008 Archives

April 1, 2008

"Kick Me" sign progressivism

I thought I might get into a political debate here, but I can't find much in the way of politics--you know, like Lenin defined it, concrete analysis of concrete conditions, then 'Who-Whom', who can do what to whom. I know you're against the Dems, any Dem, but are you for McCain, the Greens, or staying home studying POMO stuff? Can't tell from these posts.

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.

Don't let the "Kick Me" signs fool you. They're there to lull people into misunderestimating the hard-boiled progressive resolve. Carl and the Pwogs for Obama have a cunning plan. They're going to put Obama in their debt, by offering him everything he wants from them with no preconditions and no plan for coping with defection. Through the magic of social contract theory, he will then be obliged to fulfill the progressive dreams. If he doesn't... let's just say there will a be a number of scathing articles in The Nation.


Carl commented, on an earlier post:
I thought I might get into a political debate here, but I can't find much in the way of politics--you know, like Lenin defined it, concrete analysis of concrete conditions, then 'Who-Whom', who can do what to whom. I know you're against the Dems, any Dem, but are you for McCain, the Greens, or staying home studying POMO stuff? Can't tell from these posts.
Who-whom is always a good question.

Here at SMBIVA our dramatis personae are:

  • Who: the Democratic Party.
  • Whom: well-meaning folks like Carl.
The storyline runs like this:

In Act I, Dems make vague pwoggie noises during primary season, thus luring people like Carl into the tent to invest time and effort and cathexis in the process.

In Act II, the general election campaign, the Dems drop the pwoggie noises and do their best to look like the Republicans, only better (and smarter, naturally). Executions are a popular bit of stage business during this phase. People like Carl are disappointed, of course, but having made such an investment, they are naturally reluctant to write it off. And they can always console themselves with the insiderish reflection that their candidate is "only doing what s/he has to do" to get elected.

In Act III, the story can take either a comic or a tragic turn. The Democrat can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, which is the most usual outcome, or, if the Republicans have screwed the pooch worse than usual, the Democrat gets into the White House, signs free trade treaties, puts the insurance companies in charge of the public health, expands the secret police, and finds a small country to bomb.

Either way, in the epilogue (spoken by Carl) unquenchable hope is expressed that it will be different next time.

Sisterhood is... is... over?

Mike Flugennock passed along a pointer to a weigh-in by literary Bigfoot Alice Walker:


I am a supporter of Obama because I believe he is the right person to lead the country at this time....

He is, in fact, a remarkable human being, not perfect but humanly stunning, like King was and like Mandela is.

True to my inner Goddess of the Three Directions however, this does not mean I agree with everything Obama stands for.... I want a grown-up attitude toward Cuba, for instance, a country and a people I love.... I want an end to the on-going war immediately and I want the soldiers to be encouraged to destroy their weapons and to drive themselves out of Iraq.

I want the Israeli government to be made accountable for its behavior towards the Palestinians....

These are the things Alice Walker "wants". But she acknowledges she won't be getting 'em from Obie. So why, Alice...?
Imagine, if he wins the presidency we will have not one but three black women in the White House; one tall, two somewhat shorter; none of them carrying the washing in and out of the back door..... as the Hopi elders would say: Who do we want in the boat with us as we head for the rapids? Who is likely to know how best to share the meager garden produce and water? We are advised by the Hopi elders to celebrate this time, whatever its adversities.
Three black women in the White House -- well, that sounds pretty good, even to pale old me, and of course it sounds a lot better to Walker, understandably and rightly. It's actually the only reason I find intelligible why anybody might care whether Obama wins.

If your skin has a high melanin quotient -- with everything that has entailed, and still entails, in America -- the idea that a brother might inherit the nuclear launch codes must be pretty exciting. Seriously. Solidarity with people like oneself is deeply human and, in the case of people who aren't running the show, entirely praiseworthy.

I've got no use for Obama myself. But -- though nobody needs any permission from me, nor should they -- black folks would be above or below humanity if they didn't feel an awfully strong interest in Obie's prospects.

But jeez, Alice, you coulda spared us the pagan deities and the Hopi elders. This sort of dribble is one the reasons why most ordinary Americans think intellectuals are idiots.


Stats box:

Words in Walker's essay: 2214
Various forms of the first-person singular pronoun:

-- 'I': 54
--'my': 28
-- 'me': 13
-- 'mine': 1

Total: 96 (4.3%)

April 2, 2008

This time we're goin' for the whole ball of wax

Not everything you read at Counterpunch is as good as Father Smiff's recent low-Mametic blow. Take this offering:


... titled New Deal Nostalgia by one of those new radical rainbow hypenates, Dunbar-Ortiz.

Off the top -- here's a passage striking a bogus brass bell:

"By 1880, a little over fifty percent of the U.S. population was farming, but the proportion declined to seventeen percent in 1940 and then to about two percent today. The decline to 17 percent in 1940 was largely due to New Deal policies to industrialize agriculture. What happened to those who would have become farmers? Were they no longer needed? Growing food remained and will remain a necessity, but large corporations took over the land and displaced individual farmers. Patriotism -- in the form of allegiance to a distant government, with its flag and other symbols, with its wars in distant lands -- has filled the black hole left by the loss of land and a way of life they loved."
The New Deal -- a death star to yeomanry? Read on.
"New Deal policies were themselves designed to end subsistence farming. Farmers could have survived with government assistance, but the New Deal allowed banks to foreclose and destroyed surplus food production to maintain high prices, while people were starving. The government could have bought and distributed the food they destroyed ("dumped in the ocean," my father used to say)."
To what devil's end?
"the Dust Bowl refugees were put to work picking cotton and fruit for agribusiness in California, the Northwest, and Arizona, driving out the Mexican farm workers, until the United States entered World War II, and the Dust Bowl refugees went to work in the war industry. All those angry ex-farmers and wannabe farmers making bombs and fighter planes, whole new generations following in that nasty work, a good many other of them serving in the military, now a business, not a civic duty. They get to drop the bombs and man the guns on the tanks that the others manufacture. Subsistence farmers, small farmers, like peace -- not war that takes away their young sons, and now daughters. Getting rid of them, reducing them to a tiny minority, has made military recruitment and passive acceptance of war much easier than during World War I, when farmers rose up in rebellion, as did workers, against a "war for big business," which all modern wars are."
"Subsistence farmers, small farmers, like peace -- not war." Could ya expect to find a more flat-footed raw-bar nugget of kandy korn retro guff -- even in a month of secular Sundays?

There's a lesson drawn: "As we search for historical models, it is important that we be fearless in what we draw from them." In this case, according to our radical hyphenate, Howie Zinn sums up the New Deal just right:

"capitalism remained intact. The rich still controlled the nation's wealth, as well as its laws, courts, police, newspapers, churches, colleges. Enough help had been given to enough people to make Roosevelt a hero to millions, but the same system that had brought depression and crisis -- the system of waste, of inequality, of concern for profit over human need -- remained."
The message?
"When we envisage the New Deal as our model for social change, we are accepting the permanence of capitalism and assuming it can be reformed, and we are separating the state from capitalism, rather than acknowledging that the US state is a plutocracy"
Now why does such a black and white checker pattern portrait of the New Deal and arsenal of democracy render me -- fatigued?

Because its center of gravity, the point this thought field condenses to, exists somewhere between hapless bald earth nonsense, and all or zero noodledom. Premise: we need to suggest refoms that burst the bonds of "the system... be realistic and imagine the impossible."

I suggest we find the boundaries of the real and push them for a burst through. Want a for-instance? The arsenal of democracy is a fine figurative blueprint for a clean green automated production machine for Norte America.

This time we don't build a better death star.

Flee Tibet

Last night Hunter T appeared in my bedroom mirror again -- it's been awhile.

"Are you awake, Owen -- you piece of farm filth, you?"

As usual, not waiting for a response, he rattled on about my shakey grasp of "white sixpack America":.

"It's our only true calling, them and their conflicted doublecrossified 'who fuckin' stole my identity' politics!"

That and much else I quickly forgot, except this -- he ended, twisting a long stained index finger at me,

"I'll tell you one thing, I'm not moiged with that creepy Deli Lllllamer. You oughta know by now -- Fortunately, we can't co-hab with the living, you pinprick."

"Then it's George Meany you're brain-bubbling with these days, I take it?" -- since he sounded like the great plumber from New York while word-sculpting his group mug shot of male blue-collar America. He looked a little sheepish -- outed, y'know.

"True enough. Me and mouth are..." he trailed off. "But since you kinda brought it up anyhow -- free Tibet! Lama or no lama!"

-- and then, poof, he was gone.

I suspect he'd figured that last bit would rankle me, seeing as I'm soft on the PRC and all. But what the hell? Let 'em rebel their way to liberation -- period, end of subject. You gotta earn your national liberty. Clio's a hardass that way. All else is just using contradictions between your enemies, which brings in us softhearted pwogs.

Much as we might want all peoples to be equally free and self determining, we oughta keep our noses out of the Tibetans' heroic bidniss. All else is pure holier-than-thou self-indulgence. If you bother to put all the moving parts together, it's obvious all you can do is aid our dear Uncle Hegemon with his dirty great game play.

April 3, 2008

Fasolt and Fafner

Coming attraction: two Dembot Merlins that fucked us all real good. First the chief architect of the Yankee deathstar, the Mike Angelo of the cold war:

Second, the man that gave us post-industrial America:

I bet more people can identify #1 than #2.

Cain & Abel, LLC

Mike Flugennock passed this along, from the Washington Times of all places:


Blog bickering called poison to Democrats

Some say acrimony is rampant among liberal and progressive bloggers who debate the merits of the Democratic presidential candidates.... the divisiveness potentially exacting a toll on the party itself.

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly yesterday cited both "venom" and "liberals brutalizing liberals" on Web sites partial to either Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama.

Vitriol is brewing among Democrats, Mr. O'Reilly said, singling out the Daily Kos in particular...

Markos Moulitsas, who founded the site, [says],

"While I'm touched by Bill O'Reilly's concern for our party, tell him not to worry. Unlike his show, where critics have their mics cut off and escorted out by Fox security, us progressive bloggers have no problem debating and disagreeing with each other."

Rampant acrimony? As opposed to couchant acrimony, or passant acrimony? But I'm being pedantic. Still, you'd think the deep-pocketed Right could find a slightly more literate scribbler. But you've gotta admire a paper willing to publish a story whose lede begins, "Some say..."

Much more fun is Moulitsas' po-faced comment that "us [sic] progressive bloggers have no problem... disagreeing with each other." Having been purged from the Kos web site under half a dozen different aliases, I can testify that this is a whopping lie. The relentless tyranny of groupthink on Kos and the other "progressive" blogs makes the Gulag look like Liberty Hall. Debate, such as it is, occurs out at the fifth or sixth decimal place.

Moulitsas did O'Reilly an injustice, too, in implying that the latter's concern for the Democratic Party isn't genuine. In fact, Kos and O'Reilly have a similar interest in the Democratic Party: for both of them, it provides a career, though O'Reilly's has paid off a good deal better.

Advice to aspiring vaudevillians: Don't be the straight man if you can make your living any other way.

April 5, 2008

The permanent government speaks

From the New York Sun (of all places):
Obama Adviser Calls for 60,000-80,000 U.S. Troops To Stay in Iraq Through 2010

WASHINGTON — A key adviser to Senator Obama's campaign is recommending in a confidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office.

The paper, obtained by The New York Sun, was written by Colin Kahl for the center-left Center for a New American Security..... Kahl writes that through negotiations with the Iraqi government "the U.S. should aim to transition to a sustainable over-watch posture (of perhaps 60,000–80,000 forces) by the end of 2010 (although the specific timelines should be the byproduct of negotiations and conditions on the ground)."

Mr. Kahl is the day-to-day coordinator of the Obama campaign's working group on Iraq.

I love the way these weebles like to sling around military jargon. "Over-watch posture," forsooth! Brother Kahl (shown left) is a 1993 BA (UMich) and 2000 Phd (Clodumbia U) whose closest brush with combat was probably his dissertation defense. But man, is he intellectually muscular! Here's a sample:

Too many critics of the war favor a policy of unconditional disengagement from Iraq. Some who take this position believe that nothing America does in Iraq can be of positive and lasting consequence.... This strategy ignores the very real contribution American forces are making to preventing a resurgence of civil war in Iraq.

The "Center for a New American Security" (was there ever an old one?) is a recent arrival in the bewildering swarm of Washington think tanks -- a wonderful phrase, by the way: places where people think as if they were in a tank. Still, why do we need so many? They all say the same stuff. Their logos all have a flag. Their mission statements are almost word-for-word identical. Who pays for this stuff, and why?

CNAS (pronounced "con-us", I think) seems highly respectable though new. Its board of directors includes Dick Armitage; serene, unconflicted mass murderer Madeleine Albright; John Podesta; several revolving-door types, formerly in government, now executives (or hood ornaments) at defense contractors like Raytheon and Lockheed; and the obligatory handful of generals. Democrats love generals.

If this is the sort of place where Obama is looking for "change", it's likely to be pretty small change.

The permanent government speaks, Part Deux

From Ha-Aretz:
Obama, Clinton, McCain to vice-chair Israel 60th anniversary panel

U.S. Democratic senators and presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are scheduled to join Arizona senator and Republican presidential hopeful John McCain as vice-chairmen of the National Committee for Israel 60th....

The committee will also be co-chaired by former American presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and every living former U.S. secretary of state, including Henry Kissinger, have signed on to serve on the committee as well.

Change... we can... believe in.

April 7, 2008


Researchers at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem..
(Where else?)
... found a link between a gene called AVPR1a and ruthless behaviour in an economic exercise called the 'Dictator Game'.
Great, now they can start breeding for it.

He's back, and just as bad as ever...

... in a good way, I mean.

Ralph's raiders update:


The lead:

"It is just shameful that prominent American liberals continue to support the corrupt Democratic Party"

The list:

"Eric Alterman, Medea Benjamin, David Corn, Ariana Huffington, Robert Kuttner, Victor Navasky, Harold Meyerson, Morton Mintz, Wes Boyd, John Nichols, Katha Pollitt, Jesse Jackson, Matthew Rothschild, Bernie Sanders, Micah Sifry, Robert McChesney, James Fallows, Markos Moulitsas and Katrina vanden Heuvel (pictured here)."

The Katwoman would be my choice to picture out of this group 'hanging of loft bats' too.

The money graph analysis:

"These prominent American liberals apparently have learned nothing from the political leverage generated by the small third parties in the 19th century who pioneered the social justice movements that delivered the goods that we take for granted today "

National poll results -- the Nader effect:

  • McCain 45 percent
  • Clinton 39 percent
  • Nader 6 percent
  • McCain 44 percent
  • Obama 39 percent
  • Nader 5 percent
Yes! Ralph can spoil the party! What joy.

Who makes the sign of the N?


Dems to NYC: Drop dead

Democratic elected officials are a squalid bunch, generally, but there are depths within depths. The ultimate abyss, the sewer of all sewers, has got to be the New York State Assembly, a body of 150 squirming maggots and fly-blown fungi, of whom 106 are Democrats, 63 of them from districts in my adopted hometown, New York City. The leader of these stercoraceous Assembly Democrats is one Sheldon Silver, shown above, who "represents" a district in lower Manhattan and has made a career out of betraying the city that sent him up the river (not, alas, in the slang sense of the term).

Our Mayor, Republican Mike Bloomberg, is a rather nasty Napoleonic little man. But like Napoleon, he occasionally has a good idea. His most recent good idea was a "congestion pricing" charge to drive a car into the most crowded parts of Manhattan, along the lines of similar (and highly successful) measures in London, Stockholm, and a number of other cities.

I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that this would the best thing in urban transit since the invention of the subway. And if you're any kind of an environmentalist, you've got to applaud anything that strikes a blow at driver entitlement and the hegemony of the car.

Miracle of miracles, our City Council endorsed the plan -- though it's probably the runner-up to the Assembly in the political squalor sweepstakes.

But since like most American cities, New York is a mighty Gulliver hogtied by statehouse Lilliputians, the plan had to be approved by the legislature in Albany. Home rule? Self-government? Local control? If you live in a large American city, these are empty phrases.

And when the plan got to Albany -- you guessed it -- Sheldon Silver and the Assembly Democrats killed it. Killed it without even a vote. They met behind closed doors and decided privately not even to bring the thing to the floor of the Assembly.

The truly delightful thing in this story is this: The Republican minority leader in the Assembly had offered the votes of all 42 Republican members in support of the measure. So Shelly Silver would only have had to come up with 33 Democrats besides himself in order to pass it.

This much he could have done in his sleep; Silver is a mighty dispenser of patronage and committee appointments and the consequent opportunities for what George Washington Plunkitt, another New York politician, called "honest graft". And he controls the legislative agenda. If you ever want to get a measure passed, or even voted on, in Albany, stay on Shelly's good side.

Why did Shelly plant yet another dagger in his hometown's back? Who knows? Why did he help Upstate legislators repeal the city's "commuter tax" a few years back? No doubt somebody will tell all these stories some day, but by that time, who will care?

Maybe it's some little game he's playing with the Mayor. Or the Wall Street crowd who feel that they own the streets in his district -- though few of them live there -- got to him. Sure, these are people to whom an $8 "congestion charge" means absolutely nothing -- except on a gut level. You don't go to work on Wall Street unless you're very emotionally involved with money, and if you work there for any length of time, you develop a sense of entitlement that makes the average New Jersey driver look like St Francis.

But though the question of Shelly's motives is interesting, in a way, it's irrelevant to the larger point. The behavior of the New York State Assembly is a laboratory demonstration of what Democrats do when they're securely in office. Any slight lesser-evil coloration they might have had, or painted on, while in opposition, washes away as quickly as Tammy Faye Bakker's mascara.

April 9, 2008

Fafner vs. the dwarf

We all know, by now, that we live in a nation that has a fast-disappearing industrial platform. Once the home of a mighty factory system, the envy of all the world, we now must now live off Asian-sourced industrial imports, and buy them with what amounts to trade credits no less, while more and more good domestic jobs and high wages simply roll off a cliff into the Pacific ocean, to wash up on the other shore.

My fellow Americans, welcome to the world that James Earl Carter, the Wotan of the peanut belt, brought us.

Yes, 'twas during the watch of a Democrat the fatal blow was struck -- a member of the party that rescued America's production system from its own financial toxins 'way back when Johnny "air pirate" McCain was still shitting his short pants.

Recall the one piece we collectively retain from back then, at least in our mainstream media's living memory -- the age of wild, raging, highball express, wage-push inflation. By the midterm fraggulation election of '78 it was very very clear to all us prudent Dembots that something had to be done.

Conventional answer: apply the credit brakes, and the credit brakes wrre duly applied.

But did we really need to? Could we instead have engineered a systemic morph -- a breakthrough? Instead of the heavy dose of good old cod liver oil we got, could we have actually instead morphed the system, sublated the bidness world as we knew it, and headed off toward a far far better place and time?

In any case, we didn't. We got the Volckerdaemmerung and the rest is but a gathering plebian misery.

At left, our boy, tall Paul, the master of the pythonic credit hold, right there in a group shot of hi-fi regulators taken not too long ago. He's the big one in the middle, next to Alan of Green Bubbles.

Take a moment to savor his oafish countenance. This bastard put our credit system into the most vicious figure 4 submission hold in post-New Deal American history.

Deepsighted as usual, Father Smiff dubbed him Fafner, the giant co-builder of Valhalla, and eventual dragonic keeper of the golden Ring. Indeed Volcker's tale has a Wagnerian similitude to it -- not like that long-measure, open-measure, Rhine-flows-on theme at the beginning of Das Rheingold. More like the the ring of ten thousand sledges or whatever it is in this case(*), blamming away at industrial America, hammering it into a million shivers -- but I digress. My real point is quite anti-Wagnerian.

We at the time had a shrewd dwarf, Abba Lerner, shown left, with a very big and complete answer to our inflation rampage. If Jimmy had only listened to him, instead of allowing that jumbo Princetonian dolt to crush the dynamo out the then spiraling wage/profit race up the price pole, and slam it the age-old way -- with a hard-money credit constriction so tight it knocked the pips out of tumbling dice in Las Vegas and brought on, with the inevitablity of a Teutonic curse, by the intricate concatenation of its own internal workings, the doom of American manufacturing.

But the very different and renewing alternative was there for the taking. Instead of destroying industrial America in order to save its ultimately parasitic corporate extraction system form, we could have listened to the shrewd dwarf and rigged up a new-model industrial economy, and in short,fairly cheap order, too -- one able to chug along as before but without what we've had up until now, ever since the Volckerdaemmerung -- a dispensation full of technical moth-holes and periodic policy-driven brownouts and, most of all, just what the shrewd dwarf most wanted to end, our chronic underutilization of our productive capacity -- a state of affairs so costly in lost output, it puts off our planet's return to Eden for a millennium perhaps.

The hero of this opera is one lord NIARU -- the "non-inflation-accelerating rate of unemployment," which sometimes calls itself the "natural" rate of unemployment, though there's nothing natural about it.

We can notice it. It's spectral, apart from the Fed's fearful fingerpointing into the void ahead and doomstruck cry of "Watch out! Unemployment is getting too low! Wages are about to take off unless we --" Crunch!

Year in and year out this unemployed reserve -- this pit of shit under the job tree -- produces a drag on output -- on broadly based prosperity. Dare I say it -- for the majority of us, it's a drag on the pursuit of happiness itself.

The system supposedly demands this of us all, in order to curb its own inherent tendency toward a wage/profit spiral, a sudden cobra out of the basket act, waiting just beyond X% of unemployment. For the avoidance of this, we accept serious "secular production slack" -- millions of idle hands and thousands of idle machines -- as if it were a technical limitation of any flexible innovative production system.

But if Jimmy'd listened to dwarf Abba back then -- a dwarf much nicer and more benign than any in Wagner -- we coulda ended all that, and even more wonderfully, ended all the episodic doses of RJD (rapid job destruction) required to curb the wage and profit slingers' appetite for a raise ever since.

"Natural rate of unemployment!" This phrase gets me very steamed. One time in the late 90's, skipper Greenglue actually took us down below the taboo limit. Why didn't we see it as the moment a weird corporate-imposed self-serving superstition burst apart right before our eyes? No, it was treated as a flukey miracle, later explained by the vagaries of this spectre's shifting taboo zone. It wasn't a parting of the Red Sea, but almost as kewl for those of us looking in at it.

It's quite amazing to me how most of the time we don't even notice the waste of all this non-production, this missed output sacrificed to the integrity of "the corporate system". And it's even more astounding to me how on the few occasions when we do stop to notice, we act like a 60-year-old man suddenly noticing the effects of his chronic fatigue syndrome and calling it "just my age".


*That would be the Nibelungs' leitmotif on the descent to Nibelheim, Owen. See below. -- Ed.

April 10, 2008

With friends like these....

From the LA Times:
Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama
They consider him receptive despite his clear support of Israel.

CHICAGO — It was a celebration of Palestinian culture -- a night of music, dancing and a dash of politics. Local Arab Americans were bidding farewell to Rashid Khalidi, an internationally known scholar, critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights, who was leaving town for a job in New York.

A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama....

Today, five years later, Obama is a U.S. senator from Illinois who expresses a firmly pro-Israel view of Middle East politics, pleasing many of the Jewish leaders and advocates for Israel whom he is courting in his presidential campaign. The dinner conversations he had envisioned with his Palestinian American friend have ended....

And yet the warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor's going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say.

Their belief is not drawn from Obama's speeches or campaign literature, but from....

Two words: Wishful thinking. The thing that drives the whole Obama phenomenon, actually.

Hmmm. LA Times. Who planted this story, I wonder? Ma Scorpion is on the ropes.

April 11, 2008

I AM the Reform Party

Passed along by a reader:
Check this out from O-bomb-ya:
"Mrs. Clinton's opponent in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Barack Obama, said in an interview that the welfare overhaul had been greatly beneficial in eliminating a divisive force in American politics."


What a tool! Yeah, welfare was the "divisive force" and not the corporate assholes using racist smears about "welfare queens" (never mind that corporations and CEO's are now and have always been the biggest welfare queens around).

The link contains some choice stuff. For example:
"Before welfare reform, you had, in the minds of most Americans, a stark separation between the deserving working poor and the undeserving welfare poor," Mr. Obama said in an interview. "What welfare reform did was desegregate those two groups. Now, everybody was poor, and everybody had to work."
"Everybody was poor" is so on-target that it's got to be a Freudian slip.

April 14, 2008

Bitter?! Well, maybe just a little

At issue are comments he made privately at a fundraiser in San Francisco last Sunday. He was trying to explain his troubles winning over some working-class voters, saying they have become frustrated with economic conditions:

"It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Vacuous, condescending, junk sociology comments from a Democratic candidate are not usually interesting. But the Code Orange hysteria generated by the young millionaire with a law degree from Harvard has some interesting content. He and his elite critics genuinely believe in wholesome effects of privileged, neoliberal license. Subsidized capital mobility and militarized protection for it are unalloyed goods in their world. "Bitterness" over the actual, real world effects of it are attributable to cretinous social values, bigotry, ignorance and personal inadequacies that can be compensated by owning weapons.

His crime was not saying anything that might allude to that elite point of view, however. His crime was the implicit recognition that things are not all rosy for the white working class. He broke the magic, and now he needs to be punished.

This is not his first flirtation with a public understanding that all is not well for people in the harvestable class and I think the hints he gives towards that understanding are attractive to the gentler-souled progressives. It's audaciously adorable to vouchsafe a qualm or two, with imploring eyes cast upwards towards a heaven where a kindly God (who looks remarkably like FDR) looks down in genteel dismay, and pleads with the recalcitrant inhabitants of His creation to be just a little bit nicer to each other. But not too nice, of course -- welfare was divisive.

Dems to Iraqis: Pony up, you ingrates

WASHINGTON (AP) — Iraq's financial free ride may be over. After five years, Republicans and Democrats seem to have found common ground on at least one aspect of the war. From the fiercest war foes to the most steadfast Bush supporters, they are looking at Iraq's surging oil income and saying Baghdad should start picking up the tab, particularly for rebuilding hospitals, roads, power lines and the rest of the shattered country.

"I think the American people are growing weary not only of the war, but they are looking at why Baghdad can't pay more of these costs. And the answer is they can," says Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Nelson, a Democrat, is drafting legislation with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Evan Bayh of Indiana that would restrict future reconstruction dollars to loans instead of grants.

Their bill also would require that Baghdad pay for the fuel used by American troops and take over U.S. payments to predominantly Sunni fighters in the Awakening movement. Plans are to propose the legislation as part of a war bill to cover spending through September.

Likewise, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he wants to add a provision to a defense policy bill that would force the Iraqi government to spend its own surplus in oil revenues to rebuild the country before U.S. dollars are spent.


You invade and occupy a country, you drive millions out of their homes, kill hundreds of thousands more, foment civil war, and destroy all the infrastructure. You kill and maim thousands of your own soldiers in the process. Clearly best way to cap that is with a buffoonish, psychotically pecksniffian attention to the accounting.

A joint resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.

House vote

Senate vote

April 15, 2008

The paranoid style in Pwog politics

The Kosniks are really chewing the carpet over Mayhill Fowler, who reported Obama's remarks, to a group of San Francisco billionaires, about "bitter" small-town white folks.

One poll on Kos showed more than 70% of respondents thought Fowler was either a Republican or a Clinton "operative" (the Kosnik poller's own oddly Larouchian word). Five percent believed Fowler's own account of why she published Obama's observation -- she said she was inclined to support Obama but upset by the apparent condescension. The remaining thirty-odd percent thought she was a "self aggrandizing pseudo journalist."

This last category interests me. What distinguishes a "pseudo" journalist from the real thing? Aren't these Kosniks the very folks who have spent so much time excoriating the "mainstream media" (or MSM, as they familiarly call it)? Now, however, it would appear they're all hot for professional standards and chummy casuistries about what you can report and what you can't.

Some mediaeval theologian -- Aquinas? I hope not -- argued that the shrieks of the damned in Hell are music in the ears of the saints in Heaven. I make no claim to sainthood, but I've been relishing the ululations of the maddened Kosniks:

  • I've never heard of her before. How the hell did she get on TV ?
  • She is a thief if she is the one that captured private remarks from a private home. Was there video cams or cell phones allowed to capture pictures or sound? I know I read a dairy here by someone that was there in SF...is what this Mayhill Fowler did legal?
  • Why isn't any of the outrage focused at the Huffington Post for allowing her to publish her BS?
  • i second what Psifighter37 up thread about the blogosphere grilling her. let's hold her feet to the fire. she deserves it.
  • if we don't like irresponsible journalism we will attack the journalist.
  • What do we really know about this Mayhill Fowler? Is she really a Clinton or Obama supporter? We need to do some research on her because she sounds like a troll. If she went on national news to say that she was an Obama supporter but felt uncomfortable about his remarks but is actually a Clinton supporter, this needs to be verified.... Let's be CLEAR. There was absolutely nothing wrong, false or elitist about what Obama said. Just so that we are not diverting from what the issue really is. There is nothing wrong with what he said. He speaking the absolute truth.... But I think when this is being reported, it also need to be reported about this Mayhill Fowler character. What was her FUCKING motive!!!!!!!!
  • I'm from Oakland and just spoke with one of my friends there. Her husband has donated over $25K to the Clintons. She is an awful person who is damn elitist. My parents were at that very same fundraiser and people are FURIOUS that this happened. This was a private fundraiser and that means private. It was not supposed to be tape recorded or videotaped and they specifically said that you would be asked to leave if you were caught doing so.
  • Mayhill Fowler's not a journalist. One of the characteristics of journalists is in this time that the do professional "Full Disclosure" of matters that might affect how people interpret what they write. Ms. Fowler did not disclose, for example, that MF in her bio on HuffPost says she graduated from Vassar in 1968, the school at which HRC was a prominent student politician until HRC graduated in 1969. If she knew HRC at that time or was influenced by that, she should have disclosed that circumstance. A google search also fails to show that save for her HuffPost posts, she has been published by anyone, ever. While it is not a sin to be a freelance journalist, you gotta be a journalist first.

April 17, 2008

The Decent Liberal

Somebody else who influenced me, I actually had a professor at Occidental -- now, this is embarrassing because I might screw up his last name -- Lawrence Goldyn, I think it was. He was a wonderful guy. He was the first openly gay professor that I had ever come in contact with, or openly gay person of authority that I had come in contact with. And he was just a terrific guy. He wasn’t proselytizing all the time, but just his comfort in his own skin and the friendship we developed helped to educate me on a number of these issues.

Obama interview, in which he praises a man for eschewing a practice that exists only in the minds of panicked bigots.

What is it with this guy? He can't address anything without feeding into a misanthropic canard. It's reflexive with him, as is the dithering and vacillation with which he tries to clean it up. He must surely know the score, but he simply can't let go of the idea that there are right wing scapegoating votes for him to pick up. His pandering is morally grotesque and potentially quite harmful. In true Democratic tradition it's also useless to him in the election. He's not getting the right wing homophobe vote no matter what he does. Even if he's personally incapable of acceptance or tolerance, he has nothing to lose from evincing a relatively adult and sober point of view.

Worth a thousand words

From today's NY Times:
Palestinians Fight Israelis in Gaza; Toll Exceeds 21

Palestinian child on bike after Israeli rocket attack
Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Wounded Palestinians lay near the car of Fadel Shana, a cameraman for Reuters who died in a missile attack on Wednesday in Gaza.

At least 18 Palestinians, many of them civilians including children, and three Israeli soldiers were reported killed in heavy fighting.

I'm not the only one who has observed that that photo editors are the best thing about the New York Times. In this case they have splendidly chosen an image that gives the lie to the paper's party-line headline.

I happened to see this when I was trying unsuccessfully to think of something to say about the Obama-Clinton dustup last night in Philadelphia. (The flag pin question, I'm told, was extensively explored.)

The kid in the foreground brought me back to reality. He's what Obama and Clinton agree on.

April 19, 2008

Dollar, schmollar

Picture of Paul Krugman Question for the fair-minded, the nuanced and the shrewdly prudently, inclusive -- is the bright beaverish imp at left (now somewhat grayer, alas) nothing but a "corporate liberal" bag man?

So say my friends the Ralph raiders:

"The corporate liberal media continues to give the cold shoulder to Nader/Gonzalez.

Case in point-New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Last month, Krugman was looking for a presidential candidacy to take on Wall Street.

He ran down the list and found Senators McCain, Obama and Clinton lacking.

But he ignored Nader/Gonzalez."

Paul K is a dembot, for sure, and, one guesses, an anti-spoilercrat as much as the next politics-of-the-possible type. But does that make him a corporate liberal stooge?

It does blinker him. Note this blog post from the great man:

"One thing that doesnt seem to have gotten much scrutiny in the bitter controversy is the suggestion that the past 25 years have been an era of continuous economic hardship for the American heartland. If were talking about the decline of industrial cities, there's some truth to that picture. But if were talking about incomes and employment, the Clinton years were pretty good for middle-income Americans and especially good for middle-income Midwesterners....

Did people feel that the Midwest was booming during the 1990s? Yes. Here's a link to a 1997 paper from Economic Perspectives titled Reversal Of Fortune: Understanding the Midwest Recovery.

Read the paper and you find out that the mid-90's rust belt recovery was the product of a low-dollar policy implemented by the GOP's James Baker, who built the Plaza accords, which dropped the the wildly overpriced Reagan dollar against the Euro block and... and... and... the yen!

In fact, it was the malign neglect of the dollar's forex value, even as it subsequently rerose to toxic heights in the late 90's, that did the dirtiest deed -- and of course that was by the Dembot Rubinomicals.

Just as both the rupee and rmb -- after the '97 Asian currency crackup -- started a serious commitment to a long-run lowball dollar-peg policy -- and at a then insanely out of whack exchange rate -- the dollar itself began to rise too far and too fast against the Euro and Yen and other northern currencies. It was a double whammy.

Hell herself could contrive no worse fate for our industrial heartland than the global strong exportable dollar ambitions of Wall Street's premier jackasses Bob Rubin and Larry Summers.

But this is not the lesson dutiful Paul draws:

"I'm not trying to boost Hillary here. Even from his own point of view, it's just crazy for the likely Democratic nominee [i.e. Obama --ed.] to denigrate the economic record of... the only Democratic president most Americans remember."

Wolf/lamb win/win

Obama as Great Leader Here's the junior senator from Illinois speaking in Pittsburgh a few days back:

"You can't spend the better part of two decades campaigning for NAFTA and PNTR for China, and then come here to Pennsylvania, and tell the steelworkers you've been with them all along." Fair enough. But he goes on:

"Not every job that has left is coming back. And not every job lost is due to trade automation has made plants more efficient so they can make the same amount of steel with few workers. These are the realities.... The truth is, trade is here to stay. We live in a global economy. For America's future to be as bright as our past, we have to compete. We have to win."

Win? Yes, but who wins, Obs, who? The transnat big boys and their rentier ragtags, or the broad flow of domestic wagery? Obbsie is ready for that one:

"If CEO pay keeps rising, while the standard of living for their workers continues to decline, that's not a win for America.... For America to win, American workers have to win, too."
That "too" carries a lot of weight for a monosyllable. It implies that wagery and the CEO class can both "win" -- if we just manage things cleverly enough. Through that one needles'-eye word, tacked onto 'win', can pass the whole limited-liability cross-border camel. It's the great man-in-the-middle hope: the mutually conflicting class paths can be harmonized, made into a win-win.

More, Obs, more more more. Some clarification. Some detail. Some goddamn 'hows'. But this is the best we get:

"Any trade agreement I would support [must] contain real, enforceable standards for workers.... I believe the Permanent Normalized Trade agreement with China didn't do enough to ensure fairness and compliance. It's not just that China is following the path taken by so many other countries before it, and dumping goods into our market while not opening their own markets. It's not just that they're violating intellectual property rights. They're also grossly undervaluing their currency.... That's unacceptable. That's why I co-sponsored the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act. And that's why as President, I'll use all the diplomatic avenues open to me to insist that China stop manipulating its currency."
Right on, brother Obama (though you probably lost Father Smiff with that bit about "intellectual property"). But "enforceable standards"? The words sound good, but the nit and the grit of it remains a hopeful nullity when the word 'too' is the best you got.

Me, I prefer "instead".

April 24, 2008

Et in Arcadia ego

I've gotten as far from Pennsylvania as I could afford to go this week, so the site will be receiving somewhat intermittent attention at best.

If only it had been a cinder block

Thomas Friedman, the newly-pied piper of globalism:

UPDATE: YouTube has apparently been supine and compliant enough to remove the video from their site, but you can still watch it at 23/6.

Godwin redivivus

In comments somewhere I recklessly promised a post on this very oddly spongiform-looking chap, Gar Alperovitz. Here it is, without references, as they take time better spent hunting for snacks my domestic partner has hidden from me.

The man mostly writes and thinks about what's best for us, not what's actually in store for us. He's a nearly perfect practitioner of the over-the-rainbow confectioner's art. His particular vision of the sweet heart at the center of candy cane country is a fast emerging "commonwealth sector". His favorite supporting fact: about as many folks jobble these days at a coop or Aesop or corner do-wop than hold down a unionized pri-sec job -- both being in the 8 million range by Gar's last count.

As the corporate pri-sec union job herd takes a further trans-nat culling, who's to say the co-opers won't soon outnumber what we humorously call "organized labor"?

Beyond this observation, the Applewitz top-ten to-do list looks like about every one else's top ten list -- at least those list builders comfortably to the left of, say, the Miami Cuban community.

So what's this commonwealth sector? You might call it Godwin 2000, with all that that implies and doesn't deliver.

You know Bill Godwin, the Pecksniffian ultra-libertarian parasite of a prig that Parson Malthus trashed on his way to the largest spree of plagiarism in Regency English letters.

Gar's commonwealth sector is the grass roots of a new society, built on and out of small, local, communal, very very green, totally for no-profit-only productive assemblages -- like a gathering of angels.

April 25, 2008

The heart has its reasons

What's with those fair skinned phoney fivers -- the five percent of dembo voters claiming to vote black, who don't, didn't, and won't. The Bradley effect, as its called after LA's famed wooden-headed mayor and catfood-colored top cop.

Election after election der Bradman consistently outpolled his real vote. I wonder if it was by the same 5% plaguing Obamanation? Maybe it's a universal social constant. At any rate it's very interesting. What a weird crowd these folks must be -- if they really exist at all, that is, and aren't just some structural aberration of the sample polling system itself.

But hey -- what about the N% of folks who will have claimed they voted for Hillinova, and didn't? I can imagine some guys, close personal friends of mine, in fact, doing just that. Such people must exist.

Maybe the anti-black but ashamed of it thang is even larger than 5%. Or maybe there's a lot of older white women that voted for Obama but were ashamed to admit it for fear of real or imaginary sexual desire implications.

Questions, questions, questions.

"My, my, Sherman, but aren't the exit samplings and the ballot boxes getting, ahem, polls apart."

April 28, 2008

Give 'em hell Larry

I've grown exceedingly fond of this fiend:

Larry Summers His latest gem:

"growth in the global economy encourages the development of stateless elites whose allegiance is to global economic success and their own prosperity rather than the interests of the nation where they are headquartered."

The swine has an unblinking insight into boardroom evil, and a shrewdness and delight in viciousness that blinks at no corporate horror. He's like Doc Benway, hurling a scalpel into his patient's chest just to make the operation more interesting.

Hell, he's the Arnold Ziffle of Wall Street--

Arnold Ziffle

-- the closest thing they got to an on-retainer genius.

April 29, 2008

Ball and chain

Obama's scrappy Better Half doesn't seem to be much beloved by anybody -- it's her strange cocktail of merit-class arrogance and chip-on-the-shoulder resentfulness. But the epicenter of Michellophobia appears to be Catholic women of low career attainment.

Wonder whether Pappy McCain can exploit this as well as Hillanova has? How?

Wright: So right

Poor Barack has finally had to pony up his Sister Souljah moment and repudiate Jeremiah Wright. What delights me in this story is how much more sensible Wright seems than Obama. Here's Wright:
Preachers say what they say because they're pastors. They have a different person to whom they're accountable. As I said, whether he gets elected or not, I'm still going to have to be answerable to God.

[On whether he should apologize for shouting in a sermon "God damn America" for its treatment of minorities]:

"God doesn't bless everything. God condemns some things.... God damns some practices and there's no excuse for the things that the government, not the American people, have done.

[On his previous suggestion that the U.S. government invented the HIV virus as a means of genocide against minorities]:

"Based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything."

[On what he meant by his sermon in which he said "God damn America"]:

"When you start confusing God and government, your allegiances to government, a particular government and not to God, that you're in serious trouble because governments fail people. And governments change. And governments lie.

[On the sermon he gave after Sept. 11 saying "America's chickens are coming home to roost" after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan and "supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans"]:

"The persons who have heard the entire sermon understand the communication perfectly.... When something is taken like a sound bite for a political purpose and put constantly over and over again, looped in the face of the public.... Those who are doing that are communicating exactly what they want to do, which is to paint me as some sort of fanatic or as the learned journalist from The New York Times called me, a 'wack-a-doodle.'"

Now here's poor Barack, worn down into mere flag-waving platitude -- O what a noble mind is here o'erturned!
But when [Pastor Wright] states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS, when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st centuries, when he equates the United States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses.

They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans....

I have spoken and written about the need for us to all recognize each other as Americans, regardless of race or religion or region of the country....

Of particular interest, I think, is the righteous horror about Wright's AIDS theory. It reminds me of that scene in Dumbo -- the movie -- when the mouse walks into a mean-spirited gossip-fest among a group of elephants, and the pachyderms go crazy. The rearing! The trumpeting! The flaring ears, the writhing trunks, the glaring, horror-struck eyes!

Personally, I think Wright is mistaken about the facts on this one. But so? Lots of people believe things that other people think are mistaken, or even a bit nutty. Those Christians, with their God on a stick! Those Jews, with their God preoccupied by foreskins and diet! Those Muslims, with their forty-seven virgins! We're supposed to plotz every time we hear something we don't agree with?

But it's not enough for Barack to register his disagreement. No, he has to be "offended," and has to say that everybody else should be offended too -- or maybe they're not really "Americans".

Wright rather plainly lays out the core of the problem in admirably clear words:

"Based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything."
He might have added: based on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, based on Kissinger's green light for Suharto's massacres, based on the Phoenix Program, based on Madeleine Albright's "well worth it" infanticide in Iraq, based on Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay -- based on all these well-established, historical facts, what reasonable person could possibly deny that our government, or any government if it comes to that, is capable of any enormity in the right circumstances?

The funny thing is that the public understands this quite well. There are plenty of people out there who think the moonwalk was staged, or that Bush and the Israelis contrived the September 11 attacks, or that Mattress Jack Kennedy was disposed of by the CIA. Factually, I think they're mistaken about each of these assertions. But you gotta applaud their skepticism about the Official Version.

It's not Joe Sixpack who's shocked to hear that the Gummint might be up to no good. Joe already believes it. He may not like to hear it from a black guy, but he could get used to that.

No, the people who are shocked, or pretend to be shocked, are respectively the Pwog bien-pensanterie and the manufacturers of consent, AKA the media.

This is unsurprising as regards the media. After all, ideological conformity is their mission. But the Pwogs? What's the matter with them?

I'll tell you: their problem, in a nutshell, is that they don't want Joe Sixpack or his black cousin Jamal F'Shizzle to form any ideas of their own. They'll probably be wrong ideas, you see -- silly notions about AIDS and the World Trade Center.

But the worst of it is, these silly ideas will be their own ideas -- not something they were taught in school, not something peer-reviewed and thoroughly sifted.

And they might even be dangerous.

April 30, 2008

Castor dicitur a castrando

I love the old mediaeval bestiaries, with their thoughtfully moralized natural history. The fanciful tales they tell convey a kind of truth that you won't find in a peer-reviewed journal. Here's the mediaeval take on the beaver, AKA "Castor":

Castores a castrando dicti sunt. Nam testiculi eorum apti sunt medicaminibus, propter quos cum praesenserint venatorem, ipsi se castrant et morsibus vires suas amputant.

[Castor is so called from castration. Because their testicles are useful for medicine, and so when they realize that the hunter is after them on that account, they castrate themselves and bite off their powers.]

-- Isidore of Seville

This is pretty much what Barack "Leave it to Beaver" Obama has done in repudiating Jeremiah Wright: sacrificed his testicles to the hunters.

* * *

I spent a very delightful hour today watching, on YouTube, Wright's tour de force before the National Press Club. It reminded me uncannily of the chap from Nazareth turning the tables on the scribes and Pharisees of his day -- though those old scribes and Pharisees threw much subtler and trickier questions at the Galilean Hassid than the "working press" could devise for Wright. In fact it was startling to hear the shallow and puerile schoolyard taunts that were, apparently, the best shot America's journalistic elite could take. Wright, of course, shrugged them off as Leviathan might deal with a jellyfish.

The best moment was a question attacking Christianity as such. Somebody had scribbled on a card a debased modern translation of John fourteen-six: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." The questioner added, "Do you believe that?"

Now Jeremiah Wright has been a minister of the Gospel for what, forty years? Did the smart-aleck who shot this feeble bolt really imagine that Wright hadn't fielded this question before?

Actually, I'm sure that's exactly what he or she imagined -- thinking of him- or herself as Clarence Darrow, pinning William Jennings Bryan to the wall with a contradiction in scripture. (There's a movie scene that needs a revisionist treatment, by the way. Over to you, Owen.) The questioner, undoubtedly a merit-class secularist whose Greatest Conceivable Being is the Scholastic Aptitude Test, felt quite sure that any poor fool who reads the Bible, and prays, actually prays -- like Dante and Milton and other such pitiable imbeciles -- couldn't possibly be any match for the smart-alec's superior research skills.

It was wonderful to watch. As the question was read, a slow small smile appeared on Wright's face. When the pinch-faced, brazen-voiced, squinty-eyed, sheep-haired hag who read the questions relinquished the microphone, Wright leaned in and, without missing a beat, cited an earlier chapter of the same gospel, John ten-sixteen: "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold."

The crowd went wild -- not the deeply illiterate "working press", of course, but the "guests", mostly black, who had actually read the book.

* * *

Jeremiah Wright is Obama's real daddy -- a guy who perhaps filled in for the AWOL Kenyan, and gave Obama much of what is real, and appealing, and thoughtful, and humane about him. Because he has, or had, all these qualities.

I'm not quite cynical enough to think it was mere opportunism that got Barack's butt in Wright's pew for all those years. I think he got something in that pew that nourished him and helped make him the rather impressive human being he became.

Until the hunters wanted his balls -- and he bit them off.

More on the Wright stuff

The Times' Bob Herbert is deeply upset and embarrassed by one of his landsmen: >
The Pastor Casts a Shadow

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright went to Washington on Monday not to praise Barack Obama, but to bury him.

Smiling, cracking corny jokes, mugging it up for the big-time news media — this reverend is never going away.

I hope to God that poor fretful Bob Herbert is finally right about one thing -- namely, that the pastor is not going away.

If there's to be any lasting positive legacy of the Obama candidacy, it's the emergence of people like Jeremiah Wright from their enforced invisibility.

In the neighborhoods and communities where Wright and his colleagues and predecessors have worked for decades -- we might even say, for a couple of centuries -- they've been anything but invisible. In fact, they've been indispensable. But in the social representation sold by the "corporate media" -- as Wright quite correctly calls them -- the Wrights are merely a curiosity when they're noticed at all.

That has all changed. Obama may or may not be toast after this brouhaha, and I for one couldn't care less, one way or the other. But the lasting legacy, let's hope, is that Jeremiah Wright and what he has to say are once again on the agenda.

Dr King and Malcolm put some of these topics on the table, back in the day. Then they got killed, and Malcolm was shoved into the footnotes of official history, while King suffered the equally dire fate of plaster sainthood.

Let's hear it for the return of the repressed, the latent becoming patent, the insistent ineluctability of the plain truth.

And if the truth makes Bob Herbert's head blow up -- along with the heads of every other dreary platitudinous wretch on that arid Sahara of an Op-Ed page -- then so much the better.

About April 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in April 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2008 is the previous archive.

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