Archive for the 'Disappointing Dems' Category

Unprincipled liberals join the rest of the unprincipled people.

Feb 13, 2012 in Disappointing Dems, Foreign Policy, Glenn Greenwald, Politics

Glenn Greenwald, whom I don’t wager I’d be able to handle a direct debate with, is still someone whom I deeply respect despite my overall dismay at his constant daily diatribes about Obama while Republicans actively plot to screw up the country.

Glenn’s never been really wrong about the actual liberal case against Obama’s waging of the war on Al Queda (which the press routinely ignored in order to report whatever crazy shit Sarah Palin dreamt up in her fog), and while I support President Obama’s re-election without a doubt, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything Obama has done.

So it saddened me to see this poll of those on the left, where most aren’t just plugging their nose, but actively supporting some of the things that we openly and loudly condemned President Bush for.

This is a very important difference, folks. While plenty of liberals are holding their ground, it looks like some are indeed turning around and cheering on the same policies simply because they’re being carried out by a guy with a D next to his name.

Now Glenn takes it too far, for example, in slagging Obama with Guantanamo when not a single politician would let an accused terrorist inside our borders regardless of their actual danger. Resignation is the proper response, not support, but that ambiguity does call into question the poll results. Do people support what’s going on in Guantanamo, or do they support letting the issue go in the face of overwhelming resistance?

Glenn also makes a bit of a leap in not providing poll numbers on drone strikes before Obama. He’s talking about a shift in public opinion with no documentation of previous public opinion? What he does have is the approval of the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen by birth who was nonetheless in Yemen, purportedly conspiring against the US. Evidence to that fact has just been released, btw. Nevertheless, the precedent of a US citizen being assassinated on presidential orders is extremely troubling for any constitutionalist, and without the presence of an active battlefied, it seems impossible to justify. “Muslim dude in a Middle East country” seems to be what defuses the resistance, which doesn’t give the poll recipients much more credit.

Glenn’s most brutal takedown is, unsurprisingly, reserved for President Obama, who, in deciding not to prosecute the war crimes of the Bush administration, ended up indirectly codifying their behavior as exoneration for future presidents. A President Romney or Santorum could take us straight back to the Bush years with even less fear of repercussion, arguably because Obama let Bush and Cheney get away with it.

To that, though, I believe an addendum belongs. President Obama did not, all by himself, let Bush and Cheney get away with it. The country did, with the mainstream “liberal” media front and center, having largely ignored their crimes, ready to give Republicans as much air time as they wanted to shriek about the horror of the freshly elected Obama leading a “political witch hunt” and actually daring to prosecute the previous president. After all, it is regarded as sacrosanct that Gerald Ford “healed” the nation by pardoning Richard Nixon. While peacetime, prosperity and ratings through the roof had our press ready to watch the Republicans impeach Bill Clinton over lying about a blowjob, the interference of rebellious liberals in the unchecked exercise of power under the banner of “defense” absolutely would not be tolerated. It’s somewhat disingenuous of Greenwald to ignore the fact that Obama would have lit a keg of gunpowder underneath his own ass and been, just like with Guantanamo, completely stifled by Congress.

Glenn seems to consider it obvious that Obama’s actions are at least partially responsible for shifting public attitudes, enshrining Guantanamo and other deviations from American values in the bulletproof shield of “bipartisanship.” I’m sure party identity does play a part in people’s attitudes (look at how much rage Republicans have tried to generate over a health care policy Obama borrowed from them), but when it comes to constitutional principles of human rights, I’m becoming quite convinced that the country as a whole is simply forgetting the values that it was founded upon, and that the erosion is primarily being carried out actively by the Republican Party. Yes, Obama didn’t prosecute, but one of our two parties has declared itself in all but name to be pro-torture (you just stop calling torture torture, see). Yes, Obama didn’t close Guantanamo, but Republicans turned it into what it was. Yes, Obama signed indefinite detention into law, but again, he merely concedes what one party and the Very Serious People absolutely demand. And so on issue after issue, important American values become common political preferences, and our amnesiac press dutifully dribbles on its loafers as it follows along.

Obama didn’t lead, he followed. While a noble, principled fellow like Greenwald is committed to doing the right thing every day regardless of the impact on his life, Obama is a strategic, pragmatic actor who, in alignment with his community organizer roots, doesn’t get ahead of the crowd very far. This works better when he makes some effort to get the crowd mobilized, and all of us can think of a few times Obama could have gotten farther if he’d led a little more and followed a little less. But ultimately that’s a pretty mild sin. If the public isn’t there, we can’t always sit around berating Obama for not getting them there. We’re responsible too.

-hw

Our post-Constitutional era.

Nov 30, 2011 in Abortion, Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Politics, Religion, Sophistry, Straight-up madness, teh gay, Torture, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

This is becoming inevitable, as the Republican Party, while ever ready to say the word, “Constitution,” is a complete and udder fraud on the subject, and has categorically dismissed most of the Amendments and the underlying philosophy behind the Constitution’s writing.

Now, I know it is required that I disclose the presence of a certain contingent of chickenshit Democrats who regularly cave whenever Republicans get hot and bothered, but they’re never the driving force, and they’re a minority within the Democrat Party, so there. It’s the wholly unbridled unified army of the Republican Order that drives an agenda that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, except as their protections pertain to white Christian heterosexual males.

1. They’re actively pro-torture, even though they square that by declaring any form of torture they like to not be torture. Simple, right? Not only is the Constitution unambiguously against cruel or unusual punishment, i.e. torture, but the entire history of the country at war has hewn to the same principles. Ronald Reagan was explicit in his condemnation of torture. The Republican Party today is best represented by Rick Santorum telling John McCain that he doesn’t understand torture.

2. They’re consistently against or dismissive of the religious freedom of gays, gay-supporting straights, Wiccans, atheists, Muslims. That the First Amendment ever be read in context with a world of varying beliefs is verboten. It’s about the Christian right to inject Christianity into anything they do, even and especially as a public employee. But when it comes to gays, the Christian right directly posits its beliefs as important enough to cancel out those of gays and to directly affect how gays live their lives by forbidding them marriage. The thought that Jesus might look kindly upon a loving gay couple cannot be entertained.

3. Search and seizure, forget it! Everything is open, up for grabs, ready to be peeped upon by Uncle Sam whenever he wants. The Drug War paved the way, the War on Terror planted the settlement and opened shop. Merely being suspected of having drugs can result in asset forfeiture, meaning your property rights are violated without due process, the police department acting as judge and jury. The burden of proof is often reversed onto suspects in such cases, and property is rarely returned regardless of charges.

Every phone and internet conversation has been opened up, and siphons through the NSA’s data miners.

Binney, for his part, believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America, in case the government wants to retrieve the details later. In the past few years, the N.S.A. has built enormous electronic-storage facilities in Texas and Utah. Binney says that an N.S.A. e-mail database can be searched with “dictionary selection,” in the manner of Google. After 9/11, he says, “General Hayden reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”
Binney considers himself a conservative, and, as an opponent of big government, he worries that the N.S.A.’s data-mining program is so extensive that it could help “create an Orwellian state.” Whereas wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, data mining is automated, meaning that the entire country can be watched. Conceivably, U.S. officials could “monitor the Tea Party, or reporters, whatever group or organization you want to target,” he says. “It’s exactly what the Founding Fathers never wanted.”

Power creeps, as the Founders realized, and always, always had to be balanced.

4. While ever ready to claim that rights not spelled out in the Constitution aren’t really rights, directly contradicting the Ninth Amendment, the Republican Party has declared that money equals speech. Why then should I be punished for bribing a police officer or judge? I’m merely talking to the them.

No, anybody knows exactly what money in politics means, it means buying politicians, period. Money buys politicians, it buys media outlets, it pays people to spout theories that testify to the greatness of the wealthy, and it’s all done for the sake of ever more money. As Danny DeVito said in The Heist, “That’s why they call it money.” It’s not the same as speaking your mind, it’s engaging in a transaction. There’s a reason “money talks” is a cliche. With money, speech isn’t so important anymore. It becomes the pretty envelope on a fat wad of cash.

5. Nor does it say anywhere in the Constitution that corporations constitute distinct immortal citizens with full rights. The very construction of a corporation is a legal designation, a product of government legislation. Who ever talks about it in those terms? Certainly not Republicans. Apparently God made corporations?

Ruling in Citizens United that not only could these corporations donate unlimited funds to candidates, but do so anonymously? Does anybody on this planet think the politicians don’t know exactly who donated? It merely creates a gigantic firewall against the public, keeping them out of the process, refusing to tell them who’s bought their supposed representative.

Jesus declared that the rich would not easily find their way into Heaven. He said no such thing about those with lots of opinions. Yet a party built on Judeo-Christian superiority delivers the sentiment, “money equals speech,” to us with deeply sincere faces, even strident faces. Add to that, “a corporation is a person,” whereas one soulless legal entity is equated to a human being, and the conundrum deepens. How do these people maintain such cognitive dissonance? With great strain.

6. Indefinite detention. Like torture, it is the complete and utter opposite of each and every plank, nail, and window in the Constitution’s house. It is the Gulag. It is the dungeon. It is the concentration camp. And now one of the two major parties has not merely let it fly under their radar, but made it their agenda. Take a few Dem politican scalps if you will, but only lefties and a few libertarians (where are you guys when we need you?) are going to bring this fight at all. Lesson from 2010: Letting more Republicans get into office is not a solution.

7. General Welfare: Abolishing the EPA? YHGTBFKM (You have got to be fucking kidding me). The Koch brothers need to dump more poison in our groundwater, Michele, won’t you help them?

The entire concept of the general welfare of the country has completely evacuated the Republican Party. In their eyes, fuck the general welfare. People get what they deserve, and if your life sucks, blame yourself. Of course, if everybody did a lot more looking in the mirror at themselves, we wouldn’t have many Republicans left. Instead, they survey only the oily shell of the individual, and perceive nothing of the complex lattice-work of society that supports their existence.

If you don’t fund schools, you end up living in a world of noisy uneducated people giving you rotten service, and you can only keep moving to new suburbs so long. If you don’t fund police departments, you end up with high crime rates and decreased property values. If you fund prisons while not funding rehab clinics, your Drug War will result in financial incentives that outweigh regular crime prevention. A Drug War waged primarily on minorities will turn jail into a martyrdom ritual, and your children will revere felons as heroes.

President Obama turned the health care system into a universal program, for which he is reviled by the right (not to ignore the political convenience…had there perhaps been a President Romney in 2008, his Massachusetts plan would be considered to be a rightful and just conservative blueprint to accomplish the goals of liberals through free-market means). The rather explicit permission of the Commerce Clause gives the government more than fair leeway to point out that uninsured people merely transfer the cost of their care to others. A mandate is really little more than a distribution of that cost among all citizens. You might not like it, but who’s going to be there for you if you have a stroke in twenty minutes and spend your remaining decades fully paralyzed?

8. Abortion. The government should enter the womb and put up a sign telling the mother to keep providing the nutrients but she’s not in charge anymore? That assertion of domain over the entirety of her body and its natural processes isn’t listed in the Constitution as a specific right, thus it does not exist?

As I mentioned, this is in direct violation of the Ninth Amendment, which explicitly states that the enumeration of certain rights is not meant to disparage the others. The Constitution is not a finite list of rights, and it says so clearly! And it certainly grants the government no power over a woman’s reproductive process. Anti-abortion sentiments were rare at the time of the writing of the Constitution, unfit for a special extension of government powers. And yet as the subject has become a crusade for religious fundamentalists, attempts to justify its Constitutionality have naturally occurred. Their crowing is as predictable as a rooster.

______

Republicans have in many cases not merely gone passive about certain rights, they’ve turned outright aggressive against them. Such a republic facing this prospect would rightly be deemed to be in or near its death throes, about to face a civil war. No matter how casually Republicans treat the Constitution, they’re emphatic about it, often moreso than Democrats. And that should just never be the case, because the only people I see left standing up for the Constitution anymore are left. And if libertarians were to be believed for half the things they say about liberty, there wouldn’t be Republican majorities anywhere.

-hw

Killing America to save America.

Nov 30, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, National Security, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Fortunately, the White House is issuing a pretty stiff veto threat to a law invalidating the US Constitution and pretty much Western Civilization for those accused of terrorism (or supporting terrorists, of course, or possibly knowing something about terrorists…) and locking people up indefinitely, US citizen or otherwise.

Yet, as usual, we have a Republican Party that long ago stopped caring about due process for non-Republicans and enough chickenshit Democrats peeling off at the slightest whiff of being “weak” to get it passed in the Senate. Where’s Newt Gingrich with a history lesson when you need him?

-hw

This is why there must be no backing down.

Sep 19, 2011 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Disappointing Dems, Economy

When you have the right ideas and the public has your back, the last thing you need to be afraid of is the crazy Teapublicans throwing a tantrum and yipping CLASS WARFARE CLASS WARFARE over and over again.

…Obama’s new jobs plan, and the provisions within it, have clear public support:

* A slim plurality is very or somewhat confident that the American Jobs Act will improve the economy and create jobs, 48-47.

* A solid majority, 56-30, favors significantly cutting payroll taxes for working Americans.

* A majority, 52-40, favors Federal aid to state governments to avert public employee layoffs.

* A huge majority, 80-16, favors spending money on the nation’s infrastructure in order to try to create jobs.

* A big majority, 71, favors reducing the deficit through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts; a meager 21 percent favors only spending cuts.

* A solid majority, 56-37, favors reducing the deficit with tax hikes on households earning $250,000 a year or more.

* A solid majority, 56-29, thinks creating jobs should be prioritized over cutting spending.

Now, we’re talking about Democrats here, so naturally we have the horrible idiot who bungled Hillary’s campaign, Mark Penn, actually lecturing Obama for choosing class warfare and not going for the “center.” Well, besides the fact that Obama’s policies are actually aimed at benefiting the real center of America, the middle class, they have majority support, but one would be a fool to think this is what guides the chickenshits in the Democrat Party who most love to claim the “centrist” label.

No, “centrist” Democrats are just chickenshits who jump whenever Republicans throw a tantrum. Their overriding commandments are 1. Accept all Republican premises in any argument and 2. Run from any fight with Republicans, no matter how extremist or fringe they are. And yet it’s guided entirely by electoral fear of a group that obeys neither in respect to Democrats.

This next year and the election capping it off really are all about what’s best for America. As president, Obama will take a hit if America isn’t doing better no matter how much people love his policies, no matter how much they would oppose Republican policies, no matter if those policies do actual good. Republicans have realized this calculus and embraced it, engaging in blatant sabotage of the economy to keep things bad as long as Obama is in office (not that this would guarantee things improving under a Republican, but they’ll take their chances…after eight years of defending Bush they’re used to brushing off failure). The incentives are in place…what helps America helps Obama, what hurts America helps Republicans (although Democrats putting up a real fight would alleviate that somewhat). Are Republicans going to take the high road and potentially sacrifice 2012 in order to help get America back on its feet? Don’t hold your breath.

Really, they’re left arguing that President Obama and the Democrats may have these plans to help the country, but they’re only doing so to keep their jobs. In other words, they’re doing the right thing but for the wrong reasons. Now, it’s pretty hard to overstate just how reprehensible and insulting that is to Democrats, but whatever. Republican insults are as cheap and plentiful as oil used to be. And they’re usually based on projection. What would you expect to hear from people who deliberately held the American economy hostage in order to prevent the rich paying a penny more in taxes? Again, do you smell any sense that Republicans are feeling electorally selfless lately? Projection.

But who cares? Politicians who help the country to keep their jobs are what one expects in a democracy. Democrats have only fear of Republicans saying mean things on FOX news as their inhibition, and if that rules their judgment, then they deserve to lose (note: That still doesn’t make voting for a Republican a smart thing to do, they also don’t deserve to win!). If Obama decided he’s going to fight for everyone in America who isn’t uber-wealthy because it’s the right thing to do, great. If he decided that because he knew he’d be a one-termer if he didn’t, great! Any Democrat supports most of these policy prescriptions, and it used to be that Republicans supported them too. Whatever it takes to kick them in the ass is good, and the public being on their side needs to matter this time. If you see a chickenshit Blue Dog kvetching and moaning about the “center,” kick that dog in the ass extra hard.

-hw

I need one techie and one savvy businessperson to make me a billionaire by fighting this.

Aug 01, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, The Internets

Free market, here’s your chance to do something good:

It represents “a data bank of every digital act by every American” that would “let us find out where every single American visited Web sites,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who led Democratic opposition to the bill.
Lofgren said the data retention requirements are easily avoided because they only apply to “commercial” providers. Criminals would simply go to libraries or Starbucks coffeehouses and use the Web anonymously, she said, while law-abiding Americans would have their activities recorded.
To make it politically difficult to oppose, proponents of the data retention requirements dubbed the bill the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, even though the mandatory logs would be accessible to police investigating any crime and perhaps attorneys litigating civil disputes in divorce, insurance fraud, and other cases as well.
“The bill is mislabeled,” said Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the panel. “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes.”

Not just crimes but civil lawsuits? Do you want a divorce lawyer rifling through your web surfing? Subpoenas for web chats?

Supporters of the measure characterized it as something that would aid law enforcement in investigating Internet crimes. Not enacting it “would keep our law enforcement officials in the dark ages,” said its primary sponsor, House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

Just think how much escapes them because we don’t have listening devices in our homes. It’s interesting how every technological advance in invading the privacy of citizens must be enacted, lest we be accused of passively letting people do bad things.

Here’s how the free market has been working: Unlimited bribery of public officials is free speech. But your actual private speech on the Internet must be regulated, recorded, and reprimanded.

-hw

Ghostwriting my own thoughts

Jul 13, 2011 in Anti-War, Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems, Foreign Policy, Middle East, Pakistan, Politics

I usually get on here, to post some perspectives on my homeland Pakistan and what’s going on in that region and Afghanistan. I have been away for a while, so many readers probably don’t remember me or know who I am.

There has been too much going on for me to catch up with what I wanted to write about. Then I stumbled upon this post in Salon.com

Not only does this writer hit on every topic I was going to write about, but h/she tackles every point I was going to make.

Just some bullet points:

1) I thought I was the only one thinking, why the fuck are we invading Libya? Didn’t we just elect Obama to get us the fuck out of Iraq and Afghanistan? Aren’t we trillions of dollars in debt because of those wars, why repeat Iraq pt Deux?

2) The whole African crisis, which is in part due to our meddling and misguided interventions or lack thereof (see Rwanda and Somalia)

3) Finally someone who understands a topic close to my heart. The Afghan crisis….the Durand line, and the fact that like the Africans, people are fighting on tribal lines to protect the lands of their tribes from foreign invaders. They have done that since Alexander the Great, through to the Victorian British Empire, to the Soviet war machine. O-fucking-Bama, do you think you are greater than Alexander, or the Imperial warriors of the past? Get the fuck out.

Please read the Salon article, it hits the nail on the head, gingerly and then caresses it.
–AA

Well, fer fuck’s sake.

Jul 07, 2011 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Deficit, Disappointing Dems

White House already caving on the Fourteenth Amendment?

When there’s nothing Republicans won’t risk, and nothing Democrats will risk, where the hell do you dipshits think things will end up?

I’m done with it. We’ll see what the deal struck is, but I don’t expect to see any surprises. The Republicans have already gotten almost everything they’ve wanted, and even if they crack a bit and give in on some revenue increases (somebody better tell Mitch McConnell), it’ll still be a pittance. If Obama’s going to get a birdie out of this shit trap, then he has certainly outsmarted me at this point. While he generally tends to come out with a net positive, he has this miserable, shitty habit of giving up too much too damn soon and getting less, while sitting around wishing remorsefully that Republicans would stop being so belligerent and uncooperative.

News flash, Mr. President: They’ve hated you from the beginning, have done everything they can to stop you from having any success, and they don’t give a damn if the country goes to hell because they’re just going to point the finger at you anyway. Flashing a bit of leadership and then hiding isn’t an option right now. You’ve got to be a leader every day now, because now every day matters, more than ever.

-hw

Didn’t really care.

Jan 27, 2011 in Disappointing Dems

Would have suited me just fine if Rahm Emanuel got booted off the ticket in Chicago. Politicians should generally actually live where they’re getting elected. Some say it allows us to have more good choices for leadership. On the other hand, over time the ruling class is less and less representative. And screw Rahm anyway.

-hw

Always love this.

Dec 15, 2010 in Disappointing Dems, teh gay

Gay rights groups and leading commentators on the left will expect Reid to make this happen, and will be very reluctant to tolerate any efforts to blame Republican obstructionism if it fails.

Even though Republican obstruction is the only possible way it could fail. The beauty is that Republicans can kill whatever they want, and those who support the bill will blame Democrats. It’s a double win.

The good news is that I think DADT has pretty good chances of being repealed in the Senate. The Republican filibuster opposing the wishes of most Americans, most servicemen, the Secretary of Defense, and most of the military leadership may just be overcome. You don’t hear Mitch McConnell talking about “the people” much on this one, do you?

-hw

UPDATE: Must still be asleep and dreaming. News says we won. There must be a catch. What’s the catch? We don’t just win without a catch! WTF, is this real? I won’t be able to bear it if it isn’t, and I don’t know if I can bear it that it is…the Senate Republicans block health care for 9/11 responders, and they let this pass?

Eh, can’t be real. I’m going back to sleep. Can’t process…

I can only do so much.

Oct 27, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, Election crap, Politics

I’ve spent the last two years making a few observations which I find virtually incontestable. By that I mean I’ve found nobody who can seriously debate them, though anybody is welcome to try. Let’s make a list.

1. Obama has essentially done much of what he promised, on the surface, yet has made appalling compromises that have lessened the quality of his achievements. At the same time, he’s done more for Democrat causes than any Democratic president since Johnson. Nevertheless, the air taken out of Democrats’ sails was devastating, and most have had great difficulty getting excited about the good things the Obama administration has accomplished.

2. The “Tea Party” is the re-branding of the GOP base, trying to overcome the complete failure of the Republican politicians they all loved just a few years ago. In doing so, they have managed to avoid nearly all responsibility for the people they so desperately campaigned to elect in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

3. Perhaps it’s fair to say the base has gained complete control of the party, and while they adore most of what Bush/Cheney and the GOP did in the 00′s, they say they’re really different on spending and they really mean it this time, and that’s how they say they want to be judged.

4. They say their concern about spending is primarily reflected in our deficit problems. However, they oppose all tax increases and favor extending the tax cuts that got us into such deep deficits, so they clearly have different priorities. Their proposed spending cuts are largely cosmetic, and many of their candidates still declare military spending to be sacrosanct, so they don’t seem to be very serious about spending. Things like earmarks, the NEA, and defunding NPR get their energy up, little else. They talk about cashing in the last few dollars of the stimulus left over, and gutting the budget-friendly cost-controlling health care reform bill. So they can’t be taken very seriously on spending either.

5. By far their leaders and public faces have been folks who have capitalized on knowing next to nothing and holding extreme and unpopular views otherwise. They have mostly fled the press and anybody else threatening to practice journalism in their vicinity. People on the right who fancy themselves intellectuals rush to make excuses for them, yet we’re supposed to believe that somewhere out there there are serious Republican candidates with good ideas. One would think the GOP would try capitalizing on them, no? Alas, where such “serious” candidates aren’t pleading fealty to the crazy Fake Tea Party people, they’ve still failed to describe any real policy roadmaps that are themselves serious and reflect how to pick up the country’s ailing fortunes.

6. The congressional Republican leaders don’t seem to promise much more than to demand Obama do everything they want, do nothing he wants, start witch-hunt investigations and issue endless subpoenas, and do everything in their power to stop Obama in 2012. The contrast to Democrats who came into office in 2006 with bona fide war criminals in the White House yet backed down from impeachment investigations is palpable.

7. Republicans have claimed not that Obama’s policies didn’t go far enough, as Democrats and polls seem to disagree, but that they were actually really extreme and for all intents and purposes a Communist takeover of the nation’s industry. This description is supposed to describe a giant loan towards Wall Street that has mostly been paid back and may even profit, temporarily taking over GM’s debt obligations and returning it to healthy status, rolling back some of the deregulation of the past ten years that got us into economic trouble, and…yeah, that’s about it. Oh, and a stimulus that was 40% tax cuts along with about 20% emergency relief funds for Medicaid and other state programs. See a breakdown here. The actual direct spending was less than half of what many economists saw as necessary to breathe life back into the economy.

8. On that note, Obama entered office with the economy in freefall, and in two years has returned Wall Street to abundance. Unemployment and wages have stagnated, yet most serious analysis concludes the stimulus made this situation better, not worse. Low demand seems to be at the heart of our troubles, yet any measure aimed at helping the middle and lower class and increasing demand faces stiff opposition from the Republicans.

9. Speaking of stiff opposition, Republicans smashed all records for filibusters into splinters, turning measures into half-measures and stopping the rest. This follows their stated plans at the beginning of Obama’s term.

10. Oh, vague babbling about TEH CONSTITUTION aside, I’ve yet to hear any Constitutional complaints about the Obama administration that betray either any Constitutional misdeeds or knowledge about the Constitution from those yelling the loudest. Betraying the rightwing base’s nature, a lot of this has devolved into further horseshit about the First Amendment and the separation of church and state, from people who usually toss out the Ninth Amendment and complain about judicial activists “finding rights” that aren’t specifically enumerated in the Constitution, like privacy, marriage equality, women’s choice, etc. For those who don’t know, the Ninth Amendment literally forbids reading the Constitution as an exclusive list of rights.

11. Most attempts at taking down the Pseudo-tea-partiers formerly known as the GOP base only inflamed them further, perpetrating a view of themselves as victims. Refuting arguments was treated as counter-productive when it was easier to go back to the base and cite the attacks as further evidence of their martyrdom. The more devastatingly a candidate or somebody like Palin was punctured, the more credibility it gave them in the eyes of the base.

12. The House changing hands this fall is pretty consistent with electoral trends, with the President’s party losing seats. It’s not pretty in the House but potentially better than it could have been, and the Senate situation has improved dramatically, likely leaving Democrats in control.

13. Most populist claims of the GOP base have been followed by their continued insistence, as loyal Republicans, that Wall Street and the wealthy get everything they want. Appease the gods, and they will look kindly upon us!

Given all these things, I have a hard time believing most of the trumpet blaring going on in the rightwing media. Am I supposed to think that this is some great signal that, despite all these things I’ve seen, and despite my inability to find anybody who can seriously challenge me on my observations (Mike Thayer screaming BUT THEY SAID THE UNEMPLOYMENT WOULD BE EIGHT PERCENT and running away does not count), that I’m wrong, just because this election doesn’t go my way?

In logic, an argumentum ad populum (Latin: “appeal to the people”) is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or all people believe it; it alleges: “If many believe so, it is so.”

Furthermore, a Republican winning of the House doesn’t even translate into a clear statement of “what many believe.” To me, it looks like the Obama administration deflated the left with its compromises and occasional betrayals, taking it for granted, and the right responded to a President Barack Hussein Obama with a mandate to pass Health Care Reform as a fundamental threat to their existence, a sign of their ultimate irrelevance to where our nation was heading, and they exploded into a mass of craziness and blatant dishonesty, refusing to be daunted by anybody pointing out that they were largely full of shit and out of control.

This election stands to be a travesty of justice, ultimately. Despite the flaws of the Obama administration, it still came down to a choice of moving forward or backwards, and the electorate seems to be tainted by the right’s mania into retreating, even though there was nothing good behind them. For all the talk in the 00′s that Democrats had to do more than point out how terrible Republicans were to win elections, it seems that, once again, the rules don’t apply if you’re a Republican. They offered nothing and, regardless of everything I’ve said here, will see the upcoming results as vindication of their efforts, regardless of their likely failure to recapture the Senate.

Theories of reward and punishment certainly apply here, yet as a textbook case of what not to do. Neither Democrats nor Republicans will improve with the GOP grabbing the House. And that being the case, it is very difficult to see how the country can improve.

-hw

Jack Conway supporters bring a gun to a knife fight.

Oct 17, 2010 in Disappointing Dems, Election crap

Instead of baselessly stabbing Nancy Pelosi, whose House passed nearly every bill liberals wanted or had even dreamed of, and running away from being a Democrat, supporters of Jack Conway act like Democrats and stands up for working class Americans:

Democrats were destined to lose seats this election, but many have been too weak to go out fighting. They want to go out looking more GOP-lite. Well, guess what, fuckers? Nobody respects you. Republicans just laugh and Democrats get further demoralized. I dunno, but any election result where Blanche Lincoln, who actually threatened to filibuster the health care reform bill over the public option, loses her job can’t be all bad.

Chickenshit Democrats lose when they win, and brave Democrats win even if they lose. I wish I could say that about Republicans, but people like Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell have proven that self-confidence without merit has been accepted as credit for far too long. Democrats have good arguments to make against the Republicans and for themselves, so there’s no excuse for insufficient mettle.

-hw

p.s. Edited to reflect that Conway didn’t do the ad himself.

Obama’s actual Constitutional power grab.

Oct 03, 2010 in Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Politics, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Riddle thee this:

Would Andrew be comfortable with a future Republican President — let’s say, just to pick a random example . . . . President Sarah Palin — having the power to order American citizens killed based solely on her unchecked accusation that they are somehow involved with or helping Al Qaeda Terrorists, while the targeted citizens have no recourse to any courts and she has no obligation to offer any evidence to justify the targeting?

I’m not immune to the fact that we’re talking about a likely active jihadi in another country waging war against us, but in the end it’s never really about whether or not we go after the guy. It’s always about the secrecy and lack of accountability that we imbue the President with, and the fact that power creeps. Always. It’s just a law of human nature we’ll never get around, and that knowledge is what informed the formation of this country as it fled the overreach of British power.

-hw

UPDATE: Sullivan provides a pretty compelling case that al-Awlaki’s targeting is a pretty routine and Constitutionally backed act of war, but like I said, that’s not really the point, and Sullivan seems to respect the fact that the way the Obama administration has dealt with the public on this issue isn’t acceptable. And I think Greenwald’s energy is partially derided from his practically solitary nature in staying vigilant on executive powers, whether the president be Republican or Democrat. The fact is that Republicans damn near transcend party when it comes to executive war powers, and will gladly leave Obama alone for his incredibly dangerous and aggressive war against Al Queda in Pakistan. They’ll mostly stay quiet on it, and babble about “making apologies” for U.S. GREATNESS!!! More Democrats care about civil liberties, but when a Democrat’s in office most focus on domestic policies and forgive whatever Democrat leaders do in making war.

No, Walter, you’re not wrong.

Sep 29, 2010 in Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems, Politics

I pretty much agree with everything in this piece from Peter Daou.

Virtually all the liberal bloggers who have taken a critical stance toward the administration have one thing in common: they place principle above party. Their complaints are exactly the same complaints they lodged against the Bush administration. Contrary to the straw man posed by Obama supporters, they aren’t complaining about pie in the sky wishes but about tangible acts and omissions, from Gitmo to Afghanistan to the environment to gay rights to secrecy and executive power.

The Greenwalds of the world are right, and I personally admire their principled stands a great deal. And the truth is, Obama never truly addresses their concerns; his rebuttals often focus on domestic issues, where Obama’s ground is much, much stronger (although when he says, “We could have fought for a public option and not had a bill,” this is clearly a false choice…we kind of fought for the public option, he didn’t, it didn’t get the votes and we got the bill anyway). And, rightfully, anybody who thinks of themselves as being liberal can brag about a great number of real achievements on the home front.

But if there’s a reason to be a bit depressed about being a liberal, well, Daou delivers a couple dozen. One or more may ring true for you:

# Sarah Palin can move the public discourse with a single tweet, promoting a worldview consisting of unreflective, nationalistic soundbites.
# Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox are dominating the national conversation, feeding a steady stream of propaganda packaged as moral platitudes to tens of millions of true believers.
# In the face of overwhelming evidence, climate deniers are choking the life out of the environmental movement and willfully condemning humanity to a calamitous future.
# From ACORN to Van Jones, liberal scalps are being taken with impunity.
# Feminism is being redefined and repossessed by anti-feminists.
# Women are facing an all-out assault on choice.
# Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is being co-opted by a radio jock.
# Schoolbooks are being rewritten to reflect the radical right’s anti-science views.
# The rich-poor divide grows by the minute and teachers and nurses struggle to get by while bankers get massive bonuses.
# We mark the end of a war based on lies with congratulations to all, and we escalate another war with scarce resources that could save countless lives.
# An oil spill that should have been a historic inflection point gets excised from public awareness by our own government and disappears down the memory hole (until the next disaster).
# Guns abound and the far right’s interpretation of the second amendment (the only one that seems to matter) is now inviolate.
# Bigotry and discrimination against immigrants, against Muslims, against gays and lesbians is mainstream and rampant.
# The frightening unconstitutional excesses of the Bush administration have been enshrined and reinforced by a Democratic White House, ensuring that they will become precedent and practice.

Damn.

There’s quite a bit there to ponder when considering one’s vote this November. I’m down with all the principled muthas out there who are swinging it strong and clean, but make no mistake: November is when you dust off your pants and get out there and vote to save the country from the absurdly blind fools determined to crash in and fuck up as many things as possible. Liberalism can flourish as long as liberals don’t forget who the hell to vote for. Sorry, but you want to plant flowers in D.C. you’ve got to dig in that dirt of messy humanity. Sustainability is green.

-hw

The Democrats only failed to go far enough or go down fighting for what was right.

Sep 26, 2010 in Disappointing Dems

Of course, in CW-speak that means you have to accept people voting for any gibbering idiot who has an R next to their name. But in putting that aside and just looking at what the Democrats did and what could have changed perceptions about their efforts the past two years, it seems to me that one answer sticks out like a sore thumb: No epic public works project.

Look at the stimulus: too small, half of it a bunch of tax cuts that most people didn’t notice (because taxes are already low), and a few infrastructure jobs promised aside, stories of misdirected funds that didn’t create lots of jobs. That doesn’t mean it didn’t do a lot of good, just not enough good.

Yet tucked away in it was a billion dollar program that actually hired people. As if the Census jobs weren’t a clear enough sign, the government could, with relatively modest funds, make a dent in job numbers. People with jobs create demand. Demand is what the economy lacks most, not CEOs with unbruised egos. While Republicans are screaming, “We have to make the rich HAPPIER!” Obama and the Democrats could have kept passing smaller jobs bills the entire time, finding work that needs to be done and putting people to work doing it. Hire an extra goddamn guidance counselor, dammit. Most urban schools have 400 students per counselor. That’s not even pretending to care. Put some damn security guards around, hire more cops, fund more after-school programs…I could go on, but the basic principle is hiring people to do jobs that help Americans has a doubly reverberating effect on the economy and our national well-being.

Of course, Glenn Beck might call these programs Hitler youth clubs, so we couldn’t do more. The Democrats chose cowardice and gave us half-measures during a full-measure crisis.

Understanding that all perfectly well, the choice in November remains this: forward, or backwards? The Republicans have tried to make the case that Democratic programs actively hurt the economy, but this is patently ridiculous. Republican policies would actively contribute to our further ruin. No, a simple message needs to be sent to Washington: You’ve still got your jobs, being lucky in your enemies, but grow some goddamn balls and take the initiative or kiss it all goodbye.

-hw

P.S. Yes, I know I’m barking in the dark here. See some more chickenshit Democrats who can’t stand up for what they voted for here.

The Republicans never mean what they say on the deficit.

Sep 26, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Crazy Tea Party People, Deficit, Disappointing Dems

Bruce Bartlett describes what the cheap, “MORE tax cuts now, unspecified minor spending cuts later!” Pledge to America GOP “plan” illustrates:

Today, Republicans believe that deficits are nothing more than something to ignore when they are in power and to bludgeon Democrats with when they are out of power.

It’s important to remember that the deficit was just something the Republicans latched onto the second they were facing the prospect of being out of power. When they lost the elections of 2006 and 2008, they were at the tail end of six years of nearly uninterrupted Republican rule and the verdict was in. They had nothing. No plan for the future, no explanations for their failures, just anger. Whatever they could harness that anger to was good enough. George W. left behind a $1.3 projected deficit? Blame it on Obama, return to blathering about budget-busting tax cuts and vague spending cuts. The Republicans added the Tea Party moniker to rebrand, promised that they really meant it this time, and proceeded to bash Obama for two years without regard for the facts. Now their biggest priority is scaring the Democrats into passing along $3 trillion in tax cuts by declaring total war to win an extra $700 billion for the country’s wealthiest citizens. They were all about the deficit, until they got that tax cut candy waved in front of their nose.

If the next six years actually saw Democratic rule by a party that wasn’t constantly terrified of what people like Glenn Beck say, we’d be on the way back to fiscal recovery. As it is, even if Democrats survive this election relatively intact, they’ll only be more scared. I mean, if you can’t have a victory like 2008 and work up your courage, a close call is going to make you braver?

This country may be entering some kind of paradigm where the party out of power always has the drive, because things are constantly turning into shit. Of course, we’re still dealing with the fallout from GOP rule, but capitalism, the climate, and our resources have combined forces to launch the U.S. on a downward trajectory that we won’t soon escape. If Democrats in power can’t face that fundamental fact and fight for their solutions, then they’re going to get bounced in favor of Republican magical thinking. See, Republicans don’t have any solutions, but they don’t care. They’re just worried about winning elections, so they get their soundbite and go full steam.

The Democrats are in fact the only ones who can be trusted on the deficit, historically and presently. Every one of them can take the deficit issue and shove it right up Republican arses this Fall. We’ll see how many do.

-hw

Clarity on presidential polls.

Sep 01, 2010 in Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems, Polls

I think Obama’s poll numbers are mostly news because they’re not where we expect them to be. Obama was, literally, supposed to walk into office and everybody would calm down a little bit and work towards solving the nation’s problems. Some of us did think he could ride the sixties and seventies all the way.

Of course, it’s a rather familiar tale we’ve been telling: a good chunk of America is going clean off its rocker, denying the Bush years ever existed and deciding that Obama is literally some new Stalin/Hitler/Bin Laden master cocktail of the world’s evils, a possible Anti-Christ. Then add in the actual aggrieved people, liberals who were often shoved aside and told to be quiet while Obama endlessly compromised for diminishing gains. Indeed, Obama did divide America a bit, often behaving as if its own base were out in far-off territory asking for simple effective ideas like the public option, when we were firmly in the center. Too often they still seem to be grabbing for the mushy middle, with Obama actually saying he isn’t for gay marriage (although his actions are to help bring it about, thus all the more senseless the claim).

And so it’s 47%, during a time of immense economic crisis. Pretty amazing numbers, and honestly the last ones we should be worried about. Working Americans need more direct stimulus, the recent jobs bill being a sterling example. Obama needs to do nothing more than get a good bill put together, and then ride that sucker right through November. Republicans have consistently been the enemy of anything that would help normal Americans, so let’s be clear this election about what the choice is. Take all the money from an arcane military project and watch them try to spin it away.

For two years, the Republicans have been bleeding. Will Democrats smell it and go in for the attack? George W. Bush was extolled as the complete embodiment of the Republican President in his time, and the GOP has little more than warmed-over Bush policies. Why? Because Bush got to do almost everything he wanted during GOP control of Congress. It was Christmas every day for Republicans as regulations were shredded and Pat Robertson graduates were getting hustled into high-ranking government positions. Of course they don’t have any new ideas…those were their ideas.

And how well did those poll? The GOP is trying to take us out for a Weekend At Bernie’s, except instead of Bernie it’s Bush.

-hw

The fraudulence of the right on liberty and tyranny.

Aug 27, 2010 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Glenn Greenwald, Librulz

Bush said I could be locked up and tortured as an enemy combatant if he felt like it. Obama says I will get taxed if I don’t have health care. Which one tyranny?

I can understand the argument, for instance, that if taxes are too high then personal freedom is to some degree eroded, but that seems very metaphorical compared to government’s power to physically lock you up. For all their talk about freedom and liberty, the enthusiastic embrace of the military and security culture by many conservatives pretty makes that seem like a lot of empty rhetoric to me.

I don’t mean it as a critique so much as a question – why does the military-security culture get such a huge pass? I honestly don’t understand how you can cast yourself as a defender of liberty on one hand, while be fully in support of expanding the government’s ability to physically remove your liberty on the other.

You know, what I would love is if liberals who took liberty extremely seriously, like Glenn Greenwald, had some actual support from the right. Greenwald is a lion against the government’s assumption of powers in the past ten years to toxic levels, and he’s coolly prosecuted Obama for leaving too many Bush era policies and practices intact. This piece on our increasingly cramped surveillance state should have an army of allies among any who say they treasure liberty. It gets published at CATO, in a nice gesture from them, but the GOP is expert at deftly ignoring CATO as a gang of nerds when Republicans disagree with them. Adding Greenwald’s name to the mix only freaks out wingers more.

Even worse, they’d have to actually describe Bush/Cheney accurately, so that will leave most Republicans out of the deal. They approved of Bush and still do, and the more Obama does things like Bush, the more Republicans are willing to just take a pass on the issue, pretend it doesn’t exist, and then scream about the Socialist Blitzkrieg.

Of course, we’re talking about the same people who got really concerned about spending the second Obama was sworn in, the same people who shrugged for eight years while Bush systematically dismantled our prosperity.

This is just why it’s so hard for me to have faith in the honest intentions of the right. Most are fairly nice people in person, but they treat politics like a game, one where intellectual honesty is simply a commie liberal plot to confuse “real” Americans. Rightwingers make up these weird fantasy wars in their heads like this:

…conservatism, the right, (is) people who want government to have less power over individuals, is the natural home of people who want to live and let live, while “progressivism”, the left, is the natural home of statists — fascists, nazis, socialists, communists, and the modern Democrat party — who want endlessly more centralized power over the individual.

Gee, so hard to pick sides there. Which way do I go? Freedom or Auschwitz?

Or, third option, blog commenter “American Elephant” is an idiot and neither description is accurate. As Greenwald notes, what power the Republicans seized, the Democrats held onto. Such is human nature, I imagine, but that’s why we’re supposed to have checks and balances. One of those is a populace that speaks up when the government goes too far, but the idiots on the right are choosing to spend their time chasing liberal bogeymen while a unified coalition of the powerful march right over all of us.

With fellow citizens like that, who needs terror babies?

-hw

Main St. vs. Wall St.

Jul 16, 2010 in Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems

Or, as HuffPo puts it, “Warren vs. Geithner.”

The key weakness of Obama’s presidency so far has been that he chose Geithner and sided with his philosophy throughout. Whenever there was a chance to do something that would seriously reform Wall St., Geithner stood opposed, while Elizabeth Warren spoke out for those who had nobody to speak out for them.

And what did Obama get for it? “Anti-business!” After eight years of, “Hey, why don’t you guys write your own regulations?”-style Bush oversight, who could expect business to be satisfied? It should have been axiomatic that Wall St. would be against change, because Wall St. started out on top and finished on top.

When Volcker and Warren are louder voices in the administration than Geithner and Summers, Obama will have a more effective administration and a whole hell of a lot more trust from the people.

In other news, some stuff called “financial reform” passed today, the product of whatever it took to override yet another Republican filibuster. There are a few positives, but I’ll believe it changes something when I see it.

-hw

Just some friendly advice for my fellow liberals.

Jul 07, 2010 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems

When the chairman of the RNC slips up and admits Afghanistan is a foolish mission, don’t sound like a Republican peddling old excuses for Bush. Support him, say he’s got the right idea. Observe who he pissed off most: neocons.

Obama has set things up so that he won’t be held to a course until he makes a choice. Yes, it’s supposed to be July 2011, but if he wants to stay, he will. If he wants to roll into the election owning the Afghanistan war, that shit won’t fly. The “I’m against dumb wars” guy will be coming back to us with a dumb war on our hands.

Meanwhile, “sober” expectations of Pentagon cuts range around 30 billion in a few years. 30 billion? It’s better than nothing, but it’s hardly a dent in the spending problem. We need to scale down the war and military spending, and every voice helps, because it needs to be a bipartisan consensus to ever happen.

-hw

Gibbs tries to apologize for Rahm Emanuel, sounds like a dick too.

Jun 09, 2010 in Disappointing Dems

I say Rahm Emanuel because he is almost certainly the “anonymous WH official” who decided to insult the Democrats in Arkansas for daring to have a primary against Blanche Lincoln for killing the public option. So, Rahm, go fuck yourself, because even if you didn’t say it, you agree with it.

The public option mattered, and its exclusion will only hurt HCR in the long run. Barack Obama ran on it and won partly because of it (a public option was assumed in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, a condition of even being able to enter the debate).
Losing it was a steep price for something fundamental liberals wanted, a government plan committed to getting as many people covered as possible.

So, yeah, White House, try not to kick sand in our goddamned faces after the fact, okay? We may have to occasionally support Democratic candidates to keep godawful Republican candidates from winning, but don’t disparage our right to vote in primaries to put people who actually represent us in office.

-hw

Ah, the humanity.

May 12, 2010 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Glenn Greenwald, teh gay

And so it all comes to an end. Elena Kagan is not gay.

But what a sad hell-wrought spectacle it was getting there. Christianist rightwingers ready to denounce her for nothing other than this perceived homosexuality. Andrew Sullivan going nuclear over not being able to get a straight (no pun intended) answer when he had already received one from the WH (although it was a bit of a homophobic response itself, describing an insinuation of homosexuality as a “charge” when right-thinking people know it is no crime). In Andrew’s defense, he was merely being a pit bull for the sake of getting a satisfying answer, much like he has been with Sarah Palin and her multitude of neverending fibs, but for a man with such a supposedly “conservative” temperament he might consider displaying one once in awhile. Liberals ready to champion her as a stealth candidate for gay rights. Glenn Greenwald not giving a damn about any of it and ready to slam her as another Obama-ite who be truly Bush-lite…

Chroniclers of human folly that we are, I found the best approach to be hanging back awhile and absorbing a bit more information before spouting off with an intemperate mouth. Thus, Iowa Liberal is a blog not updated frequently, but rather when the time is right. Via this path do we claim elegance…

In all that I have seen, the best critique I’ve seen of Kagan actually belongs to David Brooks, who makes the best use of his ability to be right twice a day. In her steely resolve to never say or do anything to peeve anybody, throughout a career somehow designed to make her an ideal candidate for the Supreme Court, she has disappointed everybody.

But the time to bitch about it is over. The noise that needed to be made about her was already made, and Obama went for her anyway. The only thing left to do is cross our fingers and watch the decisions pass, and wonder why conservatives get to nominate any goddamn nutter they please while liberals have to constantly backpedal and apologize and tread water within the accepted rightwinger buoys.

For we have a court that is no longer for the people, but for the powerful, stacked by authoritarian “conservatives” who seem to be motivated by political grudges and the bleatings of Rush Limbaugh more than anything contained within the Constitution. Elena Kagan can have no higher aspiration than to stem the tide and hold ground against the attacks on our civil liberties that are certain to come from the cabal of activist judges named Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito, along with their oft-willing dupe Kennedy. If Obama could not nominate a real liberal progressive for an essentially placeholder position, when can we ever expect it?

-hw

Hand in hand.

Mar 14, 2010 in Disappointing Dems, Health Care

It really isn’t that surprising that Bart Stupak being disingenuous about HCR funding abortions is shortly followed by news of Bart Stupak getting himself in ethical hot water, being another tenant in the Biblically subsidized C-street pad where mostly Christianist types of politicians have shacked up. Who pays the rent? Stupak won’t say. Rachel Maddow drives the nail in on the substance of the issue and the scandal of the man:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It’s already settled that the Senate bill and the reconciliation package will not fund abortions. However, as usual with critiques that are ideologically rightwing, as Stupak’s is, par is that facts simply don’t matter. The right was happy to try pretending we’d be giving illegals health care too, even though the bill has explicitly stated the opposite. Even if Stupak tends to vote Democratic, on abortion he’s just over the edge of reason, so there’s little surprise he’s found some comradeship among the evangelical crowd. “If the facts are at variance with your claims, believe them harder,” is their credo, and one can only waste so much time talking to them. Your open hand won’t be returned.

Stupak’s ethical problems? More bonus, and symptomatic. Let’s move on…

-hw

Bart Stupak, you f***ed it up!

Mar 05, 2010 in Disappointing Dems

If you’re going to threaten to be the leader of the Democrats who would kill health care reform over the abortion issue, would it be too much to ask that you get your basic facts straight?

-hw

Just because I gave you money and you did what I wanted doesn’t mean anything!

Feb 27, 2010 in Disappointing Dems, ethics, Politics

Thus is summed up a 305 page report clearing five Democrats and two Republicans on ethics violations for steering federal contracts towards big donors. Yet observe:

In fiscal 2008 alone, the seven lawmakers sponsored $112 million worth of earmarks for clients of the PMA Group while accepting more than $350,000 in contributions from the firm’s lobbyists and its clients, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group.

A $350,000 investment returns $112 million dollars. How could anybody expect corruption to not occur? They could have spent $600,000, or six million, if they felt it would get better results. It’s practically printing money. And when you can move legislators with money, it’s not difficult to make the bribery legal, so these guys get off scott free.

Principle would expect Democrats to stand against this and fight corruption. Even if these seven were a mere statistical fluke, honorable men who simply held the positions that coincidentally led to piles of campaign cash, there’s work to be done here. But such a result is rather implausible. What’s plausible is that it happened, but it’s not different enough from what’s going on with every other politician who has to run without public financing.

Besides, do we really spend much time agonizing over whether mob bosses pay hit men to kill others, or whether they simply give money to men who kill the ones they hate?

-jb

Democrats, listen up:

Feb 24, 2010 in Disappointing Dems, Economy

These guys are telling you how to do something right and get re-elected for it:

Marvin Bohn, (pictured at right) a 57-year-old former executive chef in Ohio, is another American who wants to work for his money. He’s been getting unemployment checks since June 2008.

“You keep wondering what’s gone wrong. Is there something wrong with you? You apply for jobs you’re overqualified for and you don’t get ‘em, and you get chided for making too much on unemployment.”
Story continues below

By contrast, a government job sounds good to him. “Instead of receiving the unemployment checks, even if it’s a fill-in job, it’d be doing good,” he said. “I would be very happy to do that.”

Christopher Hardin of Valdese, N.C., (pictured at right) said he, too, would jump at the opportunity to work rather than put up with the indignity of a futile job search in return for unemployment benefits. “Being 55, I haven’t been able to find any work,” said Hardin, whose most recent job was loading and unloading trucks for an auction house. “I apply for jobs all the time. I don’t get any return email or phone calls.”

Of course. People like to look at the classifieds, see a good job with decent pay, apply, and get hired. Americans work. These guys are sitting around waiting for somebody to put them to use. Of course…

Blackburn, Hardin and Bohn — and however many other Americans want the government to put them back to work, too — don’t have many champions on Capitol Hill or in the White House.

Democratic leaders, increasingly worried that members of their party will get swept out of office in the November elections, are desperate to do something about job creation. But the packages they are seriously considering are a mishmash of ineffective or inefficient measures, distinguished only by their political safety.

Yeah, because they’re awesome that way. Start out compromising with Republicans before you even get into the ring, and then act helpless when they pull you further to the right than you wanted to go.

ACT: Win. SIT AROUND AND GET YOUR THROATS CUT BY PROCEDURE: Go down in infamy as the cowardly Democrats who fell down when the country needed them.

Republicans have overextended their bullshit. It’s been a year and they haven’t cleaned up their act at all. Though if this is Obama’s ground game for November, it might be a good time to start kicking it in. Reconcile, attach a jobs bill to the defense bill, issue an executive order, but above all get people working again, like we did once before. Guys, Roosevelt got elected four times.

-hw

Some clarification would be nice.

Jan 25, 2010 in Disappointing Dems, Librulz

From anybody.

“I think he’s allowed the left wing to pull him too much in that direction,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

What exactly has “the left wing” gotten from President Obama?

-mg

Somebody in D.C. gets it.

Jan 21, 2010 in Disappointing Dems

What’s it’s been like to be a Democrat for the past 17 years or so.

-jb

How’s the recession affecting you?

Nov 28, 2009 in Disappointing Dems, Economy

Don’t be afraid. My checking account balance as of today: $0.05

I’ve always been ready to stack jobs, and have usually done so. I’m always the most responsible person on a crew of nutsacks with no direction or work ethic, a by-product of my Iowa upbringing. I have a reasonable assurance of some seasonal work at the local college bookstore in January, but that’s it. Where before I used to go on craigslist.org and have a second job in a couple days, I now sit around wishing 7-11 would call me back.

I mean, my stack of screenplays is going to pay off someday as soon as all those Hollywood agents reading this blog get off their asses and bust down my door, but like any promising (not-so-young-anymore) author, I’m a broke-ass joke when it comes to the day job.

Be anon if you must, but how are you doing in the age of Geithner?

-jb

The elephant in the room.

Nov 26, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, Health Care

Gosh, somebody besides a crazy liberal hippie is noticing that Republicans have overseen the massive inflation of the filibuster, transforming the Senate into a 60 vote body rather than the foreagreed majority vote requirement.

According to research by UCLA political scientist Barbara Sinclair, there was an average of one filibuster per Congress during the 1950s. That number has grown steadily since and spiked in 2007 and 2008 (the 110th Congress), when there were 52 filibusters. More broadly, according to Sinclair, while 8 percent of major legislation in the 1960s was subject to “extended-debate-related problems” like filibusters, 70 percent of major bills were so targeted during the 110th Congress.

The Republicans don’t have a leg to stand on here. They’ve abandoned all restraint, even to the point they would lobby the charge right back at Democrats if they reinstated restraint.

The fact is, the health care reform bill would pass if it cleared the filibuster, which is why the filibuster has become so important. The country has already elected the number of Senators in favor of health care reform to make it possible. They just forgot to make sure there weren’t enough Republican Senators willing to torpedo reform and leave our system broken.

As for Lieberman, who’s been a pro-health care reform guy his entire career, who used to look favorably upon single-payer care, the voters clearly got swindled.

Surrendering to that because Democrats don’t want to be called rude for ending or curtailing the filibuster is cowardice, ignorance, and abettal.

-jb

Old Democrats.

Nov 12, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems

The Democrats swept two elections across the country, in the West and the South, because they stopped being afraid of being Democrats. As a general rule, Democrats who do their best to impersonate Republicans don’t win races. Democrats who stand up and make the case for voting for a Democrat win. After 2004, the grassroots took rein in the party because the Republican-lite approach had utterly failed.

These guys ain’t learning that lesson, and the GOP is already salivating.

Obama did try warning them: No number of concessions will please the Republicans. Even being a Republican won’t please them. Olympia Snowe is likely to get toasted in the next primary so a Democrat can win her seat in Maine, but not if we get some weak sauce plastic moron who tries running away from the party and Obama. If you’re not a tea-partier, you’re not a Republican anymore, and you’re not their friend either. The GOP base hates every one of those Democratic Representatives, and they hate every Democrat in the Senate who’s considering voting against health care.

We have 51+ votes in the Senate already. Hell, we’ll let Nelson, Conrad and the rest play whatever chickenshit game they think will keep their seat safe. All that is expected of them is that they don’t enable a radical Republican minority filibuster. And this is one of the Democratic Party’s most prized issues. Much different than the Lindsey Graham-censuring GOP base that can’t tolerate the slightest deviations from an increasingly unhinged platform.

-jb

Pillars of reason

Nov 05, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, Health Care, Politics

It is my contention that were we dealing with a genuine opponent in Republicans, instead of a gang controlled by the know-nothing musings of the Beck/Palin/Limbaugh Idiot Trinity, this piece by the Brookings Institution may carry some weight.

The proposal starts from the conclusion that the standard short-term measures to address rising costs, like reducing prices, are not sufficient to succeed. Instead, legislation must support necessary changes and improvements in health care by reforming payment systems, regulations, and institutions that currently prevent patients from consistently getting the best quality care at the lowest cost.

This strategy consists of four interrelated pillars. First, as a foundation for improving value, all stakeholders in the system need better information and tools to be more effective. Second, provider payments should be redirected toward rewarding improvements in quality and reductions in cost growth, providing support for health care delivery reforms that save money while emphasizing disease prevention and better coordination of care. Third, health insurance markets should be reformed and government subsidies restructured to create competition and improve incentives around value improvement rather than risk selection. This step requires near-universal participation in insurance markets to succeed. Finally, individual patients should be given greater support for improving their health and lowering overall health care costs, including incentives for achieving measurable health goals.

Also appreciated would be more Democrat politicians who win on grassroots power instead of big money donations they curiously vote in line with.

While we are potentially looking at a likeable bill, endorsed by the AMA and AARP and a number of other big players, it’s important to remember that there are still numerous concessions being made in the name of political expediency and big donor waahbabiness. Or waahbabitude, although I feel that imaginary word to be a little too positive for the desired effect.

While I remain personally optimistic that a series of bills in the future may be able to ferret out some of the absurdities and inch us closer to the idyll most of us realize needs to be manifest, that shouldn’t lie in the way of this current bill, which is by any analysis a huge step away from the barbarisms of past decades.

-jb

We forgot there are 41 Republican Senators.

Oct 27, 2009 in Disappointing Dems, Health Care, Politics

It’s not so much betrayal as being plain wrong on the public option. But that doesn’t stop Joe Lieberman, who acted like a Republican until Obama came into office, minded himself, and waited for the perfect moment to declare himself the most powerful person in the country.

Lieberman doesn’t have a response to the facts, in that the public option will save money according to the CBO. He’s got his “gut,” on this, so there’s little arguing. The press is already lying down, with a few exceptions:

Lieberman has said he opposes a public option because of the potential burden it could place on taxpayers. However, Democrats have crafted a public option that would be financed by premiums rather than federal funds.

I suspect that he has his committees and seniority threatened, and Obama promises him he’ll say nice things about him. Going down in history as the Democrat who became the party of himself and killed real health care reform (and voting for the bankruptcy bill still isn’t forgotten) is just a recipe for losing his seat for real next time. Time and time again, the voters of Connecticut have been shown the folly of trusting Lieberman’s centrist cooings and assurances when he ran against the winner of the Democratic primary, Ned Lamont.

Make no mistake: Everybody supporting health care needs to be ready to make sure no filibuster gets pulled off by mere threats. This is a pivotal moment in our country’s history, and if the Republicans and Joe are going to demand the debate keep going, by all means they should be forced to debate.

-jb

Now for some criticism of President Obama that actually makes sense.

Oct 26, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, National Security, Politics, Torture, War Crimes, War on Terra

NYT editorial:

In the United States, the Obama administration is in the process of appealing a sound federal appellate court ruling last April in a civil lawsuit by Mr. Mohamed and four others. All were victims of the government’s extraordinary rendition program, under which foreigners were kidnapped and flown to other countries for interrogation and torture.

In that case, the Obama administration has repeated a disreputable Bush-era argument that the executive branch is entitled to have lawsuits shut down whenever it makes a blanket claim of national security. The ruling rejected that argument and noted that the government’s theory would “effectively cordon off all secret actions from judicial scrutiny, immunizing the C.I.A. and its partners from the demands and limits of the law.”

This is a huge topic on the internet, one liberals and centrists are having with each other over the disappointment with Obama for picking up too many Bush-era habits of mind and practice. Even if it’s more rope-a-dope with some eventual plan to make the courts hem Obama in with rulings that become political armor. “We no longer violate human rights simply by uttering the words ‘national security.’” (because the courts told me I couldn’t anymore…) It’s still playing with innocent people’s lives. Much less worthy things have been given 24/7 coverage.

Yet it’s just not sexy enough for reporters, who would also have to look back at how they stood by while Bush re-wrote the rules or threw them out altogether. Wingers make a hot stink over getting an ACORN scoop and get bowed down to, while everybody ignores Obama playing it Beltway centrist on human rights.

Is this what teabaggers are talking about when they scream about feeling like Jews in 1939? Of course not. They think tyranny is social health care. As long as rightwing terrorists get due process, they’re happy.

-jb

SNL Fact Check

Oct 05, 2009 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems

Fred Armisen may have done his funniest Obama skit Saturday night, in the way one might say, “I just had my best root canal.” It was good medicine, but a little ouchy-ouch. Obviously the mouth-breathing goons out there have taken some delight in the skit, but they forget the opening passage:

There are those on the right who are angry. They think that I’m turning this great country into something that resembles the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, but that’s just not the case,” said actor Fred Armisen, who plays Obama. “When you look at my record it’s very clear what I’ve done so far and that is — nothing. Nada. Almost one year and nothing to show for it.

Here’s another friendly tip, teabaggers: You can’t take glee in a skit that points out Obama hasn’t gotten much done, while you’re simultaneously screeching I AM A JEW IN 1939 LIBRULFASCISTSOCIALISMISM HE IS STALIN AND HITLER COMBINED!!!

The point of the skit is that liberals are the ones who have cause to be disappointed by Obama’s first nine months in office. The promises he made, the ones that got him elected, aren’t yet materializing in great number. Criticisms from the left make sense. Criticisms from the right sound like fruitbatty nutcake gibberish.

Politifact fact checks the skit and notes that a few of the promises are actually kept/in the works. It’s relatively easy to understand that health care reform isn’t going to happen overnight, especially when Obama got handed the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression with about two months warning before being elected. Obviously a lot of promises made before Fall ’08 presumed a somewhat better picture. It was still a wreckage of Bush policies and their results, but before the fiscal crisis loaded the wreckage with dynamite and turned it into shrapnel. And, for those with sharper memories, promises on Gitmo and Iraq came with dates that we haven’t reached yet.

Still, I understand a left-of-center person feeling a bit of diminished hope as Obama keeps stalling things like ending DADT and continuing Bush detention policies. But what the hell are those loonbag rightwingers jabbering about?

-jb

Ben Nelson follows the money again.

Sep 16, 2009 in Disappointing Dems, Health Care

Hey, Nebraska, thanks for this guy:

Many Senate Democrats, noticeably lacking in anything approaching party unity, have proudly stepped up with promises to scuttle several elements of President Obama’s budget, including some that would cut federal spending by billions of dollars.

“The most emblematic objection has come from Nelson, who is balking at Obama’s plan to save money on college loans. You might suppose that a fiscal conservative like Nelson would agree with Obama’s plan to save $4 billion on a social program,” Chait wrote. “But he does not, for reasons that provide a useful window into the rot afflicting the congressional Democratic Party.”

He referred to Nelson’s opposition to a plan that would eliminate billions of dollars in federal support for private companies, such as NelNet in Lincoln, which make student loans. Several studies have shown the government’s program of direct loans and grants is more efficient, could provide more dollars for students and would save billions of taxpayer dollars.

NelNet has consistently been among the largest contributors to Nelson’s political campaigns. The depth of that support was reported by the New America Foundation in July of 2007.

Politico.com noted Tuesday that Nelson has objected to the plan because NelNet employs 1,000 people and could go out of business if the Obama plan were enacted.

“I think it would be the wrong direction for people to outsource jobs from Lincoln, Nebraska to Washington, D.C.,” Nelson said. “It’d be pretty hard for me to vote for it he way it is.”

Chait was merciless in his assessment.

“Obama thus proposes to save the taxpayers more than $4 billion per year by ending the guaranteed loans. This is as straightforward a case as you can find of a fight between special interests and the public good. Nelson opposes it because one of the lenders that benefit from federal overpayments is based in Lincoln …”

We can’t save $4 billion dollars because of 1000 people employed in Nebraska. That’s $4 million per person.

Quite a lot of bang for the 48,000 bucks they donated to his campaign, eh?

Ah, but this guy waffles on health care reform because he’s concerned about “costs.” Not the insurance, pharma and other health care industries that put a million bucks in his coffers.

Nebraskans, please send a simple message to Ben Nelson: You’re an incumbent, virtually guaranteed re-election anyway. Get off the fatcat gravy train, let the grassroots raise your money for you, vote on principle, and you’ll be safely re-elected.

The old ways cannot sustain us.

-jb

You Know How Some Of Us Are Always Droning On About How There’s Not Really Much Difference Between Democrats and Republicans?

Sep 04, 2009 in Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems

This is what we mean.
-TT

Congrats, Republicans.

Aug 20, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, Health Care

You’ve done a good job at getting people to believe things that are demonstrably untrue.

That being what you guys have spent all your energy on, this is a great success for you.

Now let’s see if further examples of journalism persist, wherein journalists continue to describe lies as untrue, or whether you guys can keep playing the “He said/She said” model of corporate non-journalism to your advantage.

Whenever Republicans merely need plant a seed of doubt, they do well because they are terribly expert and proficient at being incredibly frightened.

For the rest of us, who learned that the dark isn’t full of monsters and that stepping on a crack will indeed not break your mother’s back, or that fibbing is bad, the struggle to have a debate that at least centers on facts shall continue.

For the GOP, the persistent effort to tackle all of America’s serious issues like bawling children shall likewise continue.

Who shall win?

-jb

UPDATE: Good news here…when asked if people support the choice of a public option, 77% said yes. Eliminate the word “choice” and the numbers go much lower, but there will be a choice. What surprised me is that the numbers when “choice” is included haven’t changed much. The support has always been there.

Follow the money.

Jul 21, 2009 in Disappointing Dems, Health Care

Some Democrat Senators still do things the old way:

At the table on May 26 were about 20 donors willing to fork over $10,000 or more to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, including executives of major insurance companies, hospitals and other health-care firms.

“Most people there had an agenda; they wanted the ear of a senator, and they got it,” said Aaron Roland, a San Francisco health-care activist who paid half price to attend the gathering. “Money gets you in the door. The only thing the other side can do is march around and protest outside.”

As his committee has taken center stage in the battle over health-care reform, Chairman Baucus (D-Mont.) has emerged as a leading recipient of Senate campaign contributions from the hospitals, insurers and other medical interest groups hoping to shape the legislation to their advantage. Health-related companies and their employees gave Baucus’s political committees nearly $1.5 million in 2007 and 2008, when he began holding hearings and making preparations for this year’s reform debate.

Top health executives and lobbyists have continued to flock to the senator’s often extravagant fundraising events in recent months. During a Senate break in late June, for example, Baucus held his 10th annual fly-fishing and golfing weekend in Big Sky, Mont., for a minimum donation of $2,500. Later this month comes “Camp Baucus,” a “trip for the whole family” that adds horseback riding and hiking to the list of activities.

To avoid any appearance of favoritism, his aides say, Baucus quietly began refusing contributions from health-care political action committees after June 1. But the policy does not apply to lobbyists or corporate executives, who continued to make donations, disclosure records show.

Dear Max Baucus: You don’t have to do business this way anymore, taking corporate checks and offering polished turd answers while pretending you can still serve the interests of the public.

Max Baucus is not presenting us with worthy counter-arguments, or public outrage, or better ideas. He’s playing the old politician’s game. You can’t get too mad at him…that’s how he was raised.

For Democrats to expect their Senators to hold remotely Democratic sensibilities, among which “health care for all” cannot be discarded, they have to help them get money in new ways.

Harry Reid can bark at Max, but what would be smartest is for grassroots organizations to promise him fundraising support if he agrees to listen to all the people, not just the ones who can pony up $10K.

-jb

You liked the centrists but now you hate them!

Jul 18, 2009 in Disappointing Dems, Health Care

No, but I don’t have to accept poor arguments from anybody on this planet.

What’s especially galling is the hypocrisy of their claimed reason for delaying progress — concern about the fiscal burden. After all, in the past most of them have shown no concern at all for the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook.

Case in point: the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which denied Medicare the right to bargain for lower drug prices, locked in overpayments to private insurance companies, and did nothing, nothing at all, to pay for its proposed outlays. How many of these six self-proclaimed defenders of solvency voted no on the crucial procedural vote? One. (Joe Lieberman, to my surprise.)

And let’s not forget that Ben Nelson, who appears to be the ringleader, has fought tooth and nail against competition from a public option — which would almost certainly save a significant amount of money, as well as providing much-needed competition.

The MSM is fully prepared to treat these six as martyrs of reason, independence, and non-partisan thinking. This holds a certain allure for all parties involved, but when you put the test of reason to their claims, all you have is the typical Democrat cowardice, hinged on the fear that Republicans will say mean things about them. Ever is there the absolute fear of employing reason, facts, and techniques of persuasion to stand up, wield a pair, and trust in the power of a principled stand.

This world will confound you with competing claims. Reason separates the wheat from the chaff. Knowing that it will not follow that truth earns surrender, you are left trusting the multiplicative force of persistence. If those who persist in the pursuit of junk claims can sway, all the more powerful is the implacable will of those emboldened with truth.

The reality is that Democrats are on the right side of this issue at the right time, and if some are going to revolt, they better-

a) have rock solid arguments on their side and
b) not entertain for a second allowing a Republican filibuster. Vote how you will, but let us have the vote!

-jb

News flash: Harry Reid shows early signs of growing a pair.

Jul 07, 2009 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, Health Care

Tells Democrats to “stop chasing Republican votes,” says no public option will lose 15 Dem Senators.

Perhaps the magic 60 number is enough to get some Democrats to stop quaking in their boots that Karl Rove will eat their lunch. Max Baucus, who was trying to butter up Charles Grassley, got the hint quickly.

On the executive front, there is still some flak going on over mixed signals (blame Rahm Emanuel, congratulate Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders for fighting back) from the White House on the public option…which is a failure of message control. But, behind the scenes, Obama is using the grassroots machine he built during the election to whip voters towards the finish line.

JB –

As we speak, key committees in Congress are weighing options and making final decisions about how to tackle health care reform. This could be one of the last opportunities to shape the legislation before it’s written.

The behind-the-scenes committee negotiations aren’t front-page news, but the lobbyists trying to block reform are following every detail, and they won’t miss a day. If the final plan is to uphold President Obama’s principles of reduced costs, guaranteed choice — including the choice of a robust public insurance option — and quality care for all, your voice must be heard.

Please write a short letter to the editor of your local paper expressing your support for President Obama’s three principles for real health care reform, and asking your Congressional representatives to do the same. You can write and submit your letter in just a few minutes using our simple online tool.

Write a letter to help pass health care

These letters are an easy but powerful way to make a difference. The letters section is one of the most-read parts of the newspaper, and decision-makers in Congress and the media watch it closely to gauge where the public stands.

Good letters are usually just two or three short paragraphs. You can just explain that you’re a local resident who knows we need real health care reform following the President’s three principles, and we need it now. If you have a personal experience with the health care system that motivates you, that will make the letter even more powerful.

The opponents of real reform have deep pockets and insider access, and they’re holding nothing back in their drive to derail progress before the plans go public.

Your letter, submitted at this time, can help remind your representatives that the American people are counting on them to stand up to special interests and deliver the comprehensive reform we so desperately need.

http://my.barackobama.com/healthcareletter

Thanks for all that you do,

Mitch Stewart
Director
Organizing for America

Meanwhile, Moveon.org is flanking, getting their base riled up for public health care and smacking Emanuel around some more. Let’s hope President Obama reinforces the message to Emanuel personally.

As soon as people realize that the public option is already a compromise, the fear and the furor will die down. Republicans obviously won’t back down because that’s how cults behave. Every Democrat and an overwhelming majority of the middle, however, will be able to move the country forward and finally get something real done about health care. It won’t be single-payer, which would be the ideal solution. It’s a compromise. Those who believe in the free market as the solution to all ills cannot subsist on the case that it won’t be “fair” for the government to handle health care more affordably. They have already surrendered, they’re just stalling while we sit around trying to figure out that we won already.

-jb

Fail Fail Fail!

Jun 24, 2009 in Disappointing Dems, Health Care

Obama signaling he’s open to dropping the public option?

WRONG GODDAMN MOVE, Mr. Chess Player!

I have been patient with Obama’s sense of strategy, which at its best sees him rope-a-doping his opponents and then decimating them. But this goes beyond confidence games. Right now what we need to do is get those “centrist” Democrats who act like fucking Republicans to actually act like Democrats and support an idea that is already popular with the public. THERE IS NO REAL OPPOSITION. You have lobbyists, and you have the defunct Republican Party which is lost, depraved, and at its weakest state in modern history.

This is the time for the push, for the charge, for the knockout blow. What, are we waiting for Al Franken to extricate himself from Norm Coleman’s string of senseless lawsuits (remember when that was a Republican issue)? Are we waiting for 2010 when we have 60+ Senators? Is Obama so sure he can still achieve a bill that will actually be describable as reform? Is he so sure he can recover his blessed reputation after fucking up one of the pillars of his campaign?

I have been very hesitant to join the ranks of those who started bitching the first month that Obama hadn’t saved the world yet. But this time is ripe. He has momentum. He has popularity. He has useless opponents with no ideas. He has some chickenshit Democrats who can be corralled and cowed like any gang of cowards can.

By Jove, Obama, you better be the craftiest bastard on the planet, because now you’ve even got me wondering. You say your style is to organize the public and get them ahead of you on the issues, but we’re seeing repeatedly that the public is ahead of you on certain issues, and you’re still lagging. The Republicans do not matter. All they will sense is weakness and attack. When you clobber them, they sputter and spurt and say stupid things continuously, driving up your popularity. When you concede territory to them, they do not care! They will keep hating you no matter what you do, so listen to America for once, dad-blame-it!

That said, let me give Obama a chance here:

“We have not drawn lines in the sand other than that reform has to control costs and that it has to provide relief to people who don’t have health insurance or are underinsured,” Mr. Obama said. “Those are the broad parameters that we’ve discussed.”

FACT: Private insurers will never be able to do this. Public plans can. Obama may be setting a standard by which he can eventually reject any private plan. MAY be. Sounds like chickenshit. MAY be otherwise, but President Obama is messing with my emotions too much today.

-jb

Who Says Democrats Aren’t Friendly to Business?

Jun 23, 2009 in Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems

Astonishing. Or not, I guess. But the question still nags: how long are we going to put up with this garbage?

“Filling the doughnut hole should help seniors stay on their branded therapies and lessen the tendency for seniors to switch from brands to generics once they hit the donut hole,” Anderson said. “This is critical because once patients convert to generics, they seldom revert back to the brand and are essentially lost to cheaper generics forever.”

How exactly is it anybody’s concern if patients are “lost to cheaper generics”? I know what Big Pharma’s answer to this is: if they can’t make unimaginable and permanently renewable sums of money, they “might stop innovating,” so therefore U.S. law must protect their profits in order to insure that they continue developing new & needed medications.

That’s the argument, ridiculous as it is. In point of fact, if the pie decreased in size and Merck or Bristol-Myers Squibb no longer felt inspired to develop new medications, smaller companies would spring up to say: “If you don’t want this money, I do.” That’s how capitalism works. Big Pharma has hated capitalism forever, because capitalism doesn’t protect its profits. Republicans, who secretly aren’t that fond of capitalism either, have long sided with the biggest of the big in their bid to have profits secured & guaranteed by U.S. law. Democrats, too. And now our President. Good show, everybody.

The price for 90 tablets of a 10-milligram dose of Merck & Co.’s cholesterol-lowering pill Zocor is $240.98 at the online pharmacy drugstore.com, while the same pills in a generic, called simvastatin, cost $49.97

Geez, we can’t have that, can we? That’d be awful, all those sick people saving money. Maybe the music business should have asked for some profit-protecting bill back in ’99. Hindsight’s 20/20 I guess!
-TT

Tom Daschle can go to hell.

Jun 18, 2009 in Disappointing Dems

Gee, people thought he might be in the pocket of the health care industry! And now he opposes the public plan.

Us grassroots liberals (i.e. dirty fucking hippies) just don’t know anything, do we?

-jb

Another nail in the DLC coffin.

Jun 09, 2009 in Disappointing Dems, Politics

Terry McAuliffe, who has for years represented everything wrong about the Democratic party and greedily hastened its path towards Republicanism while actual Republicans were cleaning up at election time, gets ousted in the Virginia primary for governor.

Case in point why soulless, tuneless bastards like him fundamentally don’t get it and should be kept far away from power:

I don’t give a rat’s ass about the candidate who ran the ad. McAuliffe shot himself in the foot with this idiotic waste of money. The ad enjoys the luxury of requiring nothing more than a video camera to survey the carnage.

-jb

President Seems to Think ‘Rights of the Accused’ Too Quaint for 2009

Jun 01, 2009 in Barack Obama, Constitution, Disappointing Dems

Constitution? What constitution? Turley especially on fire here:

What is fascinating is the muted response to this case or the position of the Obama Administration. Once again, President Obama has followed the Bush Administration in an assault on constitutional protections for accused individuals. This case does not involve terrorism, it is simply a rollback on constitutional criminal rights. Yet, the left has been largely silent in any critique. What is worrisome is that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is viewed with great suspicion by civil libertarians, particularly in cases involving police misconduct. For a past review of cases, click here. Sotomayor would not be a reliable vote in the area of constitutional criminal procedure — raising the possibility that she will actually make the Court more conservative in such areas. For some civil libertarians, that is a risk not worth taking, particularly given the fact that Obama could have successfully nominated individuals with a proven allegiance to such constitutional principles and prior writings showing a deep philosophical commitment to them.

Just as supporters of President Bush showed blind loyalty, many liberals appear to be responding the same way to President Obama, ignoring legal policies that are identical to Bush and showing little interest in the actual views of his nominee. Ironically, the left despises Scalia. Yet, once again, he is espousing the very argument advanced by the Obama Administration. Putting aside the merits of this case, the rhetoric from Obama supporters often seems detached from the realities of the positions of the Obama Administration.

Wait wait, let me guess: Obama “can’t do everything,” right? One thing I know he can do, though: a remarkably accurate impression of George W. Bush.
-TT

Behaving like cowards will show people Republicans are wrong about us!

May 19, 2009 in Disappointing Dems

Harry Reid et al. cave into the hysteria surrounding Gitmo detainees being held in the United States. So Gitmo closing will have to wait.

What? A Republican might say, “ZOMG teh Dimmocrats want terrorists hanging out on the streets of AMERICA yoursonsanddaughtersandalwayscuttaxes-” so we have to! Really, what else are we going to do? Point out that they have these things called high-security prisons? Do we have to get the WTC bomber out of the country immediately before he does, um…something?

Republicans playing that stupid, stupid fear card deserve to be laughed at. It’s such an old game, and most Democrats have already managed to outwit it…yet there’s Harry Reid still acting like it’s 2004 and there’s no hope for Democrats against Republicans saying mean things.

Tom Tomorrow says it all.

-jb

You don’t even need to pick up the phone.

May 04, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, Politics

Republicans will leap to the defense of tax havens.

Don’t you understand, we need more tax havens! 19,000 business with one address in the Cayman Islands is so…American.

I know, I know…nobody cares what Republicans think anymore. Truth be told, it’s more important to note how Democrats are kneecapping America lately. Ben Nelson sticking himself out in front of health care reform, Senate Democrats only being able to muster 45 of their ranks to help people stay in their homes, and the sheer joy of anticipating all the ways new DINO Arlen Specter will hurt progress are some highlights.

-jb

Jane Harman can go to hell.

Apr 22, 2009 in Disappointing Dems

Don’t Congressmen always have a way of finding disfavor with laws that get them caught? Harman, AIPAC-stooge and NSA cheerleader, is suddenly against wiretapping. And they even had a warrant on her!

-jb

Geithner: Fundamentally wrong.

Mar 22, 2009 in Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems, Economy

John Cole breaks down the skinny on Geithner’s plan:

The Illness- reckless and irresponsible betting led to huge losses
The Diagnosis- Insufficient gambling.
The Cure- a Trillion dollar stack of chips provided by the house.
The Prognosis- We are so screwed.

If Obama doesn’t see a problem with Geithner yet, well…

Look, Barack, let me fill you in on some insider liberal shit: We understand that firing Geithner so soon isn’t an inviting prospect politically. However, the effects will be short term, and your problem is long term.

Every single thing I’ve read about Geithner says: “I am Wall Street.” He’s a stock-a-holic. He gets wacky on the junk, the corrupt junk peddling that Wall Street thought was fun until it broke the country. He is unrepentant. So he must be balanced, and neutered.

President Obama only has a chance at curing what ails us if he can get somebody who understands why we are sick. He needs to get somebody who saw it coming in at #2 with everybody in the administration understanding that Geithner can be vetoed by that particular “subordinate.”

Krugman has been tap-dancing all over Geithner, so it’s very difficult to believe Geithner’s arguments are receiving critical treatment inside the WH.

Obama does seem to be aware of what’s being said by the grassroots on most particular issues, but let’s make sure he hears this message loud and clear: If Geithner stays in and remains the guiding force at the Treasury, and things play out as Krugman and others say they’re going to play out (DOOM), then Obama will own his share of the recession.

(PSA: Hi, rightwingers. No, that doesn’t mean Bush and the GOP’s policies of the last three decades aren’t to blame for getting us into this hole. Obama jumped into a burning building…I’d just appreciate him actually getting the people out of it before it collapses on them.)

We’ve still got some chances, and we are laying the groundwork for them, but Obama is ultimately wasting this moment experimenting with the same old/same old broken philosophies of Wall Street.

-jb

Assemble yer forces.

Feb 05, 2009 in Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems

What John Cole says:

Looking around the blogosphere, the growing consensus among liberal blogs (too lazy to link, just go to memeorandum and hunt for angsty titles) is that Obama is losing control of the debate. I am not so sure if I would say that, yet, although we are seeing the polling numbers for the stimulus bill plummeting. This makes perfect sense, because even I am not sure the stimulus bill is a good bill or worth it.

There is a reason for this, and that is something Tim has touched on several times, and I have mentioned over and over. No one is selling it. The Democrats are simply AWOL. All I see on my tv are Republicans talking about wasteful spending, as if they have any credibility on that topic. I would pay to see Barney Frank matched up against a Republican opposed to the stimulus bill, because every Democrat has an easy retort- “If you have so many good economic ideas, how come you never passed any of them along to the last President?”

It isn’t so much that Obama is losing control in the debate. The Democrats just aren’t participating, and this isn’t so much a debate as a Republican monologue. We all know, given our “liberal” media, how that is going to play out in the long run.

*** Update ***

BTW- The next time anyone in Congress opposes any infrastructure stimulus spending, whether it be on roads, bridges, whatever, the very first thing I would do is go through every single Iraq appropriations bill, target line by line the spending appropriations for rebuilding Iraq, and then look at the roll call vote. I bet all sorts of fun could be had pointing out “fiscal conservatives” who repeatedly voted to build infrastructure in Iraq, without so much as blinking, who are now getting the vapors about a couple billion being spent domestically on similar projects. America First, the saying was, right? The Democrats do have interns, don’t they?

Other bloggers like Josh Marshall are seeing it, which tends to mean Obama gets it too, and will likely counter-maneuver. I think the odds are good that he’s playing a bit of rope-a-dope, but that he wishes he’d have spent a little more time mobilizing Democrats beforehand. It ain’t too late though.

There’s a simple lesson that just has to be learned: The MSM has Republicans on speed dial for appearances, and vice versa. Republicans cannot govern, but they can talk, endlessly, while only saying one or two things. They can focus like that. The MSM loves them for it. If Democrats aren’t determined to fight for airtime, then get ready for four years of defeat at the hands of 40 Republican senators. Obama is willing to do a media offensive all by himself, it seems, but the Democrats are muttering, “Singlehanded mutinies don’t work, stranger!”

Really, can any human being be as cowardly as an elected Democrat? I’m going to start suspecting the fucking Illuminati, Skull and Bones, or the bleedin’ Freemasons if Democrats don’t change the game soon. It’s just not scientifically possible to have so much power, against such an easily dismantled opponent, and still be afraid.

-jb