« Another one bites the dust... | Main | Dear Mr and Mrs Kettle: »

Masters of cliche

By Michael J. Smith on Tuesday January 26, 2010 11:06 PM

Mike Flugennock writes:

...Michael Moore's getting totally down on the Democrats -- again. "Disgusting," he sez here. So, will he get so pissed off that he campaigns for the Greens again, costs the Donkeycrats the White House in '12, and publicly apologizes in four years -- again -- in time to tell us all to vote for Hillary in '16, no matter what? One can only hope.

Sorry, I'm still on my first beer. Here's the "offending" link:


I guess we should be glad that Moore has rounded a bend. The last few days seem to have done that for a good many people.

But it's a long long road a-windin'. Here's Moore's incisive analysis:

... the Democrats are essentially a bunch of wimps. They don’t have the guts. They don’t have the courage of their own convictions. They’re disgusting. I’m embarrassed. I want really nothing to do with them. And if they don’t find their spine, well, they’re in for a huge surprise in November.
It can't be said too often that this is just dead wrong. The Democrats aren't cowards, they aren't stupid. They're just doing their job, and doing it quite well.

Moore is not alone; many people have this picture of the Democratic party -- they mean well, but then they lose their nerve.

Wrong. They don't mean well, and they hardly ever lose their nerve. They're the understudy to the Republicans' prima donna, the hyaena to the Republicans' tiger. Not identical, but complementary. They take up the slack, hold the position, keep the chair warm, enjoy the leavings of the tiger's kill while the tiger sleeps it off.

They are not the Gazelle Party.

It's time, I guess, for my annual reference to the ratchet effect.

Comments (21)

Sheehan laid into Moore, Hayden, and CODE PINK in this http://www.bestcyrano.org/?p=4417 interview last month. Guess she got tired of finding their knives in her back. Walter Karp's book Indispensable Enemies remains the classic text on American political theater.


Your ratchet analogy is absolutely brilliant. Very concise and witty.

I want to poke my eyes out with a bayonet every time I read some Dem fan or another bemoaning their idols' alleged lack of nerve or smarts. The Dems are quite ballsy in fact, and obviously feel very comfortable presiding over the fire sale of the country with little apparent fear they will end their careers as lamppost ornaments.

They do their appointed duties with utmost dispatch and consummate skill. Given their remarkable ability to fool their always angry but ever loyal supporters into believing liberal activism exists only within the narrow parameters set by the party--everything else is leftist extremism or teabagging--I would say they are quite intelligent as well.


Recalling the recent R.I.P. Air America post and its piss storm of comments in the light of Mr. Flugennock's link here:

Shouldn't we thank Air America for whatever role it played in building the Obama campaign and the current Congressional majority?

Today's teachable moment (don't like the phrase, but it fits), that Democrats don't promote beneficial change anymore, exists only because BOTH Obama sits in the White House AND the Congress is heavily Democratic while the looting continues. Until this state of affairs pertained there were an infinity of excuses for inaction on the public's agenda that today even Moore sees as bull.

Sure, Moore doesn't affirm the official SMBIVA position on the Democrats, and he thinks that Obama can regain the initiative with a confessional State of the Union address (this image nauseates me, but then recall the improved polling for the Afghanistan atrocity after the West Point speech), but if he is not there yet, he's getting there, or so it would appear. He is not just a standard liberal Democrat and he has a large audience, although it may be a largely ineffectual one.

This society throws up EFFECTUAL change agents in one flavor only.

Moving on, would anyone like to expand on Moore's take on the racial factor in Obama's leadership challenge. I suspect that this will be regarded as more dust in our eyes, but just imagine what the racial factor would be like if the Obama of Moore's fantasy were in the White House today.


obama that latest pawl boy
the last pawl boy
the first demo-torquer ??

home study:

apply the two party ratchet model
to the decade 1890 -1900
to 1900- 1910
now 1910-1920
to the decade 1920 - 1930
now apply it to 1930 - 1940

see if you notice
torquer man and pawl boy roles
reverse eh ??

the jack assery hasn't quite yet found
their quarter deck legs
--its been 40 years after all--
but a role reversal is underway
whether they want one or not

just a short zag after so long a zig ??
but a correction never the less
--not simply slowing the zig down --

is it really
right ahead of us ...domestically ???

well Clio's short terms translated
into human scale
look like fairly large crude and underdetermined chunks

i'd say give or take ...twelve years

ie its either now
or its 8 or 12 years from 08
ie 2016 or 2020
but i'sd guess now

the plates are tembloring folks
fast rising forms of struggle are about to emerge...err using Clio's give or take


masters of cliche

mr moore
or ...US

Michael Hureaux:

If we're talking 10 to 12 years, quite possibly,op,assuming that the internal life of the country doesn't have us collapsing into a gaggle of self-immolating sects during this same period. I'm not optimistic at all, and don't believe that the ruling elite have much sense of self-preservation on anything but a purely symbolic level, hence Mr. Obama's so-called war on the banks. The cuts to domestic spending are continuing, and at this point, they're shaving the animal to the bone. The war continues to expand. No, I don't see these people developing anything resembling a reality check in the near future. There's no reason why they should, after all, we're not doing anything to make it uncomfortable for them. The only folks out on the streets are the Beck dickheads, and they'll swallow anything so long as they're not getting tear gassed yet. "Progressives" are still too busy talking to the converted.



Is the royal WE a cliche?


i agree with u mh

"There's no reason why they should, after all, we're not doing anything to make it uncomfortable for them"

the prairie fire has yet to happen

we are in the dry gulching phase
corporate amerika is still pressing forward
vide the suppine obama strategy so far

only a fucking goo goo could
consider erecting a bigger better
more tightly woven sweden net
under our jobblingers
is an accomplishment beyond the flossy nightingale department

reform means in essence re industrialization of norte amigo
green style too
but this will require de facto
alterations to the entire international
trade and credit system

likely ??
only when the oecd countries
begin to convulse
either the stag works and they get away with it for now ..till next season
or it comes now hell or high water

prepare ??


join a ground level non sectarian
non isolated struggle outfit... now
or if yer there already
--like u mh --
stay put
till spontaneity needs organization
if its a one in three shot
we got under 5 years
now is not too soon

example if obama turns left even in form only
events could move swiftly
the donks could lose control of the process fast


join a ground level non sectarian
non isolated struggle outfit... now
or if yer there already

Such as...?


for u sean ??

how old are you ??

can you use your mitts in a scrap ??

can you play well with
regular non merit non boho class
americans ??

gregarious or nefarious ???

desk work or street work
on your feet or off

50 hours a week
or 10 ???


I grew up on the streets, poor white kid in a poor black neighborhood, so I have the hand-to-hand combat experience. Spent 3 years as a paratrooper, so can handle most military weapons. Respect everyone by default until they prove themselves unworthy of my respect, so I get along with most people. I'm partially disabled due to chronic pain, so that leaves me out of the fighting wing though I can handle myself in a pinch.

Now, where do I sign up, and with which outfit? Is this really where we're headed, or is there still a chance for a political solution? I really hope we can work for a sane solution before events spiral out of control. I don't see that working out good for anybody. I'd rather work to kill the two party system before I take aim at anything else.

This is a war of ideas; the research, education and organizing require intelligence, analysis and strategic communication. Keeping it safe can sometimes require physical security precautions, but mostly it involves getting the goods on bad guys and discrediting them before they develop a following. Moral sanction necessitates working with religious leaders even if you think religion is a hoax. Having the courage to show up, challenge troublemakers, and keep a cool head is often more valuable than combat skills, although I wouldn't mind having IVAW around when police start harassing activists at Sheehan's peace camp in March. Veteran's for Peace might find a spot for people like Sean. Heaven know we need him.


you miss my point

can you co operate take orders and accept
low value outcomes for high value imputs

if so

join a union organizing staff
but only if you'll give it 5 years

forget party politics
let the merit pwogs like ralph build
the legal reform machines
at that level you'd be a fifth wheel

or community org

i really can't believe the walk away movement hasn't self formed
maybe it has

and better still the squatter gig and the anti foreclosure gig

all could be run out of one office really
and require no network
purely local

but that's for someone with plenty of time and
independent means
unions pay


"This is a war of ideas; the research, education and organizing require intelligence, analysis and strategic communication"

you make it sound more complex then it is
activism is really about doing it and learning it along the way

mjs and i knew a great community organizers
a one man band really
and he was a very effective activist
there are many manhattan slumlords
i'm sure that remember him
quite a quasi legal
robin hood he
i agree faith leaders
and a selection of community leaders have to at least tolerate you

and you gotta know how to play inside baseball


"Veteran's for Peace might find a spot for people like Sean."
i agree if he's into anti empire

Local, national, or global organizing benefits from an accurate estimate of the situation--asking "What's the deal?" and finding the answers, then applying what you find out in a hostile environment. If you're trying to right wrongs, someone is going to be against you; discovering who, why, and how can eliminate blind spots that might sink your efforts. Just ask Jack Minnis.


I'm being a bit facetious listing my combat credentials, but when a man asks me if I can use my mitts in a scrap, I assume it's because he thinks I can't use my head, or because he thinks we've got to the point where there's no other solution but force. The latter is where I see a lot of people I know, both on the left and conservatives, so I don't ask the question casually. There are informal arrangements springing up, with people fearing the worst and organizing themselves for self-defense. That's all well and good, but I don't see anyone seriously organizing on any meaningful level to challenge the elite in this country in a way that will actually result in changes.

I see guys like Ralph and Cindy out there, but they are thoroughly marginalized, largely because we don't support them, but we do support the media and propaganda outlets that marginalize them by watching the boob tube and buying their newspapers. Maybe stop buying the paper and send a dollar a day to Ralph instead? Naah. Let's all get together in a park somewhere and light candles in protest against the war. Yeah, that'll work.

A political solution involves doing a lot more than we are doing now and finding strategies that actually work and getting people to follow them. The boycott and the general strike are better tools than the protest, because the latter two have teeth and attack the system at its base. Where is the boycott of Fox News? Is there a liberal out there who doesn't watch Fox News but then imagine the elite are impressed by protests? Shut down Fox News, and you'll get their attention.

If anything, all our little blogs, websites, protests and intellectual blather may very well do little but serve the elite by providing a safety valve for the people to blow off steam rather than turn to the nearest lamppost for relief, as well as maintain the illusion there really is a serious movement out there organizing to fight the system and change things when there isn't.

Sean is correct that there is no movement to fight the system; there are individuals like Nader and Sheehan and groups like IVAW and Veterans for Peace and organizations like American Friends Service Committee who confront the system with some success, but as Sean says, they can't do it without us.

Some of us with experience at community organizing know what works and share what we've learned on blogs and websites because that is the only means of communication available to us. Over the years, I have corresponded with researchers, analysts and activists across the country who've said that the discussions we host online have helped them be more effective in the field.

As Evo Morales, Gerry Adams and Nelson Mandela repeatedly remind us, democracy is a discursive process; without extensive and continuous discussion, no unity or progress can be made. Before they ever took to the streets to achieve a more democratic redistribution of power, they spent endless days and nights meeting, studying and talking with supporters and recruits. Short-circuiting that process is a recipe for failure.


What's with the faith-healer hornswoggle? Michael Moore, with those sandals and bare legs, is, as he confesses, praying for the people of Haiti tonight. Presumably the floor studs can take the impact of that crash.

Good job on the ratchet saga.


Don't get me wrong, Jay. I recognize the need for discourse, education and open communication. I wouldn't read blogs like this if I didn't. But I also recognize the need for strategy. I have been reading leftist blogs and websites for 13 years now, and I have certainly become better educated as to how the system works as a result. What I haven't encountered, anywhere, in 13 years is anything remotely resembling an effective strategy for organizing and changing any of this.

I have a good idea what doesn't work. Mr Soros has been kind enough to educate me in this regard by funding Moveon. Moveon serves to redirect liberal energy and anger into safe and ineffectual channels, which is why Soros funds it. I'm confident any Moveon-like strategy will lead to nowhere.

Mr Soros has also educated me as to what does work: color revolutions. Has there been any nonviolent resistance movement in history that so dramatically, quickly and successfully organized such a massive number of citizens in protest and action against their governments as the color revolutions? Of course, these "revolutions" served the interest of the elites, which is why Soros, NED and USAID funded them, but there is no doubting their success in mobilizing the people into action, albeit against their own interests.

There's a lesson in there for us. I don't think a boycott or two, particularly of the media, could in any way be disastrous, and crushing the media would be a good first step in defeating one of the primary forces that keeps us divided, ignorant and weakened. I don't think we should casually dismiss the impact of Fox News or NPR.

Defending democracy from the philanthropists was the topic of an interesting post by a friend of mine, but you obviously get the gist of it: there are those who do what needs to be done, and then there are those who do what can get funded. In the process, those seeking funding over effectiveness usually contribute to misperceptions about the problems we face, often distorting them to suit their self-interest. Which leaves us fighting both the thieves who stole our wealth and the career activists who frequently do their dirty work.

With both integrity and consciousness in such short supply, accomplishing anything worthwhile means accepting that we are likely fighting a lost cause, but taking consolation in the possibility that whatever battles we manage to win means things aren't as bad as they could have been. Not denying hope, but neither promoting undue optimism.

What I try to convey is that there is great satisfaction in torpedoing bad guys, even if you don't acquire either fame or fortune. Making a living is a separate problem. My friends and I have brought down corrupt media, governments, and domestic terrorist networks, put people in prison, and shut down criminal enterprises through investigative research and strategic communication--without a paycheck for our efforts. We've written about our work, and made it available free online.

Post a comment

Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Tuesday January 26, 2010 11:06 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Another one bites the dust....

The next post in this blog is Dear Mr and Mrs Kettle:.

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

Creative Commons License

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