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So Many Messages Sent In November 2010, So Many Interpreters!

I’m so sick and tired of hearing about all the damn messages that voters sent on election day in 2010. Not because I don’t like the “messages” as I’m sure some will assume. No, I’m sick of hearing about it because when people vote for a particular candidate or proposition or bond issue, they are voting for just that, nothing else. I’ve been voting since 1980 and not once have I walked into the voting booth intent on sending a message, not once. I go into the voting booth with the clear intention of voting for the best candidate…always a Democrat in my case…but voting is a clear choice, one party or the other, one candidate or the other. I’ve never seen any “messages” to vote on, never saw any higher purpose to my vote other than to choose who the hell I want to represent me. And it seems like only in recent years has the media tried to decipher messages from these votes, interpret them as smoke signals or ascribing some deeper meaning to them than there actually is, a choice between two local people, usually a pretty stark contrast and easy to pick the one that represents you. I did a little googling to get a sampling of all these messages that were sent in November of 2010. The emphasis is mine…

It would be unwise to assume they [the voters] prefer one way of thinking over another. That wasn’t the lesson that I took when I entered into office and that’s not the lesson today. So, while our ideas may be different, our goals must be the same,” President Obama said on Monday. Link

Ah, a sane person who realizes that people are not monolithic, we are all different, think differently, believe differently and vote for many different reasons.

“It’s very clear that nationwide we have a movement … a mandate to make sure the federal government gets reversed in its growth. Not just slowed down, but completely changed out in a way that we have increased power to the [states],” according to Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller. Link

I see, it’s all about State’s rights.

Tuesday’s election results sent a mixed message on alternative energy, with Republican victories in Congress likely to curb national alternative-energy policy while California results look set to help the sector. Link

No, not conflicting messages, that can’t be. Who didn’t get the memo?

Recession-weary Washington voters delivered a strong anti-tax message Tuesday, rejecting a state income tax on the richest 1 percent while also rolling back increased snack taxes and making it harder for the Legislature to raise taxes in the future. Link

It’s the “snack taxes” people, don’t you get it?

“This president has over promised and underdelivered. People expected more change than they got,” said Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “Americans are trying to issue a midterm correction to Obama, to nudge him back to the middle, where they thought he was when they elected him. They’re surprised he’s as liberal as he’s been.Link

Speaking as a liberal….ROFLMAO, it’s all relative now, isn’t it.

Americans said they want President Barack Obama to move to the center, fix the economy and cut spending. Link

Wow, that was a pretty safe interpretation of what the American people said on election day.

The mid-term elections, according to the conventional wisdom, were a referendum on the Obama presidency. But in the race for the 10th Congressional District, it was a referendum on Jeff Perry. Even before the primaries were over, the race was all about Perry, irrespective of party affiliation. Link

Now here is where I get really angry. How in the hell can anyone claim that when millions of different voters vote for many different candidates with varying positions and policies on a whole range of issues…that somehow you can add it all up and declare that it was a referendum on the Obama presidency. His name wasn’t on the fucking ballot, there is no coat-tails effect and anyone who tries to claim a referendum based on the votes for other people are just fucking making shit up. The midterms are all about turnout and history has shown that the pendulum always swings back for the party in the White House. And of course, coming off a very contentious battle in the Democratic primary in 2008 and a very bloody battle over health care within the Democratic party, is anyone really surprised that the Republicans swung the pendulum back. Not me, for sure. I was hoping it wouldn’t swing so far back, but that’s politics, baby.

In the Campaign for America’s Future-Democracy Corps poll, voters sent another message, one that Boehner, Cantor and Pence might note. Ranking a close second to the “Make it in America” sentiment was this: “The country needs leaders who will work together across party lines on the economy and jobs, deficits, health care and energy and do the right thing.” Eighty-seven percent of voters endorsed that message.Link

Go read the above link, AFL-CIO site that cares about real people.

Taiwanese Voters Send Message to Taipei — and Washington Link

Damn, even the Taiwanese voters are sending messages all the way to Washington. I can’t even speak Taiwanese, how am I supposed to interpret that.

Voters sent a clear message on Tuesday: They don’t like the way Washington works. But they sent a mixed message on what would make it work better, which adds up to a virtual guarantee that it might be a long time before Washington actually does work better. Link

Ah, mixed messages. There we go, the heart of the matter.

That’s one way to send a message…

…but maybe not the only or the best way. Was it really necessary to “send a message to Washington” by doing the electoral equivalent of tossing a brick through a window? Link

Well that rhetoric would sure fit in well with Beck and Limbaugh’s way of putting things.

For Jordan, there’s no confusion. Voters, he said, sent a clear mandate to Republicans on Election Day: lower taxes, reduce spending, and repeal health care reform. It was a mantra he repeated ad nauseam during a 30-minute interview, and one that likely forms the crux of his pitch to become the next RSC chairman.

“In my mind, it could not be more plain,” said Jordan. “That’s what we’re sent to do; that’s what we should do.” Link

So I guess the voters in his district are all employed and doing just fine, huh? It’s all about the rich people!

Compromise should occur only if Democrats recognize the message voters sent them on November 2, he said, and change course to help Republicans oppose new taxes, reduce spending and repeal the health care law.Link

You see, the voters were saying that Democrats have to become Republicans now, do a complete 180 on what they believe, stop representing your constituents who thought you were Democrat and say “fuck you, I just got a message from 2010″.

“Voters sent a message that change has not happened fast enough,” said Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Link

I love Tim Kaine, he does an excellent job beating back the Republican bullshit. But he is just one person, we need more people like him to fight for our liberal ideas.

I’ll wrap up this post with a post by Eric Zorn from the Chicago Tribune which highlights why any messages that are sent by voters should be filtered first.

What good is a message sent by ignorant voters?

A Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 24-26 finds that by a two-to-one margin, likely voters …think taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program won’t be recovered.

“The public view of the economy is at odds with the facts, and the blame has to go to the Democrats,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based firm that conducted the nationwide survey. “It does not matter much if you make change, if you do not communicate change.”….

The view that taxes have gone up is shared by a majority of almost all demographic groups, including 50 percent of independent voters, among the linchpins of Obama’s victory in the 2008 election.

Even a plurality of Democrats, 43 percent, holds this misperception.

So why, exactly, aside from political expediency, should politicians “listen” to voters when voters aren’t evidently listening to or reading the news? When they don’t know what’s going on?

Or am I just being an elitist?

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Midterm Elections, Politics | 7 Comments

The Ralph Nader/Ron Paul Alliance – Let The Crazies Unite!

First we had the Jane Hamsher/Grover Norquist alliance and now we have the Nader/Paul alliance. It does seem that crazies are attracted to each other, doesn’t it. From The Raw Story…

However, on Wednesday’s broadcast of Freedom Watch on the Fox Business channel, Judge Napolitano sat down for an amiable interview with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Ralph Nader to discuss a progressive-libertarian alliance in the 112th session of respective chambers in Congress.

Nader, who has recently called this coalition “the most exciting new political dynamic” in the US today, explained that it works well because both groups stand against corporatists who believe government should be run in the interests of corporations.

“I believe in coalitions,” Rep. Paul echoed. “They talk about we need more bipartisanship, and I say we have too much bipartisanship because the bipartisanship we have here in Washington endorses corporatism.”

Here is the video of the two on Fox News, so much crazy in one segment…

And go here for Angry Black Lady’s take on it.

January 28, 2011 Posted by | Politics | , | 4 Comments

How Some In The Progressive Blogosphere Are Destroying The Movement From Within!

There are so many great things about having blogs as a part of the political dialog in our time, but there are many things about them that are counterproductive and actually destructive to moving the progressive agenda forward. I am going to start making an effort to expose some of these and hopefully shed some light on the situation. My newest target is Crooks and Liars, mainly because I was recently banned from there, but also because they provide me with such good examples of what is occurring.

So many in the progressive blogosphere operate on assumptions about their audience and the agenda in general that in my opinion just aren’t true and feed into the misperceptions that then get magnified by the right. A perfect example of this is the idea that progressives don’t care about the deficit and are the “tax and spend” party. Check out this excerpt from John Amato at Crooks and Liars, his response to the president’s SOTU address. (emphasis mine)

He also spent much of his time on right wing issues like the debt, fixing the tax code, tort reform and government spending. He said his Cat Food commission was a good thing but that he wasn’t going to use all their recommendations. I was happy that he didn’t give the impression that Social Security was going to be destroyed by the deficit and needed to be fixed now. I’m sure the Villagers won’t be happy with that.

So am I wrong to read that paragraph as a concession that “the debt, fixing the tax code, tort reform and government spending” are the right’s issues? I think it is pretty straightforward in that paragraph. So let me break it down.

The Debt

So, even though we liberals have been pointing out to the right that President Clinton balanced the budget and left office with a surplus as a sign that democrats are more responsible with spending…Amato is calling it “a right-wing issue.” I’m not willing to concede that and you have to wonder why a supposed progressive like Amato would.

Fixing the tax code

Now the tax code is currently set up to favor the wealthy, lots of ways to play the system if you have money, lots of loopholes designed specifically for those who can afford to exploit them and of course many, many ways for corporations to avoid paying taxes. So is fixing the tax code a right-wing issue? Really? I don’t concede that one either and unless you are so blinded by your irrational hatred that you project nefarious motives on the president, I don’t see how that issues is a right-wing one either.

Tort Reform

Out of the bunch that Amato lists as right-wing issues, tort reform is an issue that does belongs to the right. It is, of course, the issue of limiting law suits against corporations and attempts to put caps on damages from lawsuits. So it is clearly an issue that tends to favor big business and takes away protections of consumers. Having a step dad and brother who were lawyers and having worked in a law office in high school, I have some knowledge about this. I worked for an ambulance chaser in high school who was a negligence lawyer for the most part. I remember one of his clients winning 2 million dollars because he was in the back of a pickup truck when a tow strap broke and it took out one of his eyes. The tow strap was worn and had a clear warning on it about proper ways to use it. Whether the guy deserved 2 million or not, I really didn’t sit in the jury box so I can’t say. I have mixed feelings about tort reform, myself. I certainly wouldn’t want to put caps on damages or help business avoid responsibility for their negligence, but I also know there is a lot of strangeness within our laws that certainly could be cleaned up. I think back to an old girlfriend from my teen years whose family like to sue everyone. I remember when I broke up with her, she said she was going to sue me. Seriously. It was great having a mom who was a legal secretary and a step dad who was a lawyer. We all got a good laugh out of it.

Government Spending

So cutting government spending or wasteful spending is a right-wing issue? Doesn’t that feed right into the Republican talking points that democrats are big spenders? Why would Amato want to perpetuate that liberal stereotype? It doesn’t make sense.

The next sentence in John Amato’s snarky review of the President’s speech was also kind of strange.

The speech seemed to be targeted at the mythical independent voters more than usual. It didn’t have the impact that a typical Obama speech has in my opinion, but CBS did a quick poll and 91% of Americans liked it.

So that swatch in the middle of the country who calls themselves ‘independent” are mythical now? They don’t really exist? This sentence shows once again how his bias or dislike or hatred towards the president has warped his view of things and caused him to type shit that just doesn’t make sense. And if it didn’t have the impact that a typical Obama speech has, then why did 91 % in CBS’s poll like it. The SOTU has never been a pep rally speech anyway. It is usually wonky and directed at the audience in the room for the most part. I can just imagine what Amato would have typed had the president gone out and given a campaign-like speech.

I plan to keep exposing the haters in the progressive blogosphere and how they are undermining the movement by letting their irrational hatred for our president cloud their judgement, stay tuned.

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Politics, President Barack Obama | 12 Comments

The State Of The Liberal Blogosphere Is Bad!

I’ve been a blog addict for a long time, I admit I have a problem, which is the first step towards recovery. It has led me to start this blog after years of reading and at some points, commenting on them. When the enemy was George W. Bush, it seemed like everyone was on the same page, cheering each other on as we all bashed in unison. It was very much a “pig pile”, to use a term from my childhood. Many cottage industries popped up that played on the anger towards Bush. The biggest of these was The Huffington Post, started of course by Arianna Huffington who seems to have gone from the far right spectrum (worked for Newt Gingrich) to being considered a liberal blogger for some odd reason. I think she gained her street cred as a liberal by merely attacking a massive target, George W. Bush, and cashing in on it with liberals. She spawned many offshoots which copied her model like Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars, Taylor Marsh and many others. There was money to made on that hatred for ole’ Bushie boy.

Since Bush has disappeared from the scene, thankfully, it seems like they lost focus for a while, their clicks started to diminish and I think they all decided, either collectively at some bloggers conference or independently, that they were at their best when they had an enemy. Now you would think the logical choice would be to go after the Republicans who have really made a right hand turn over the last 4 years and presented them with all sorts of targets to shoot down. Some certainly have taken them on and done a wonderful job of it, but others like Crooks and Liars, Huffington Post, Young Turks and others seem to have decided that President Obama is the real enemy. There is so much irrational hatred for this man who is working his ass off in untenable circumstances (60 vote threshold) and in a media environment that has completely dropped any pretense of fairness or accuracy, it’s a goddamn free-for-all these days on cable news and radio. This irrational hatred sure does reek of racism, although I don’t think it is the major force driving these folks.

My theory on the reason for the hatred is that after 8 years of being so pissed as they watched the GOP run roughshod over our rights, values and principles, they naturally want some payback. And in this lust for payback, they seem to have lost all sense of perspective, reasonableness, political savvy, and common sense. The health care debate was the perfect example of how their anger and revenge mentality made them completely oblivious to the reality of the 60 vote threshold, the conservadems and the compliant media. Instead of helping the administration push for progressive movement on health care, they sat on the sidelines throwing pot shots at him, whining, spilling pages and pages of digital ink on what “might” happen or what was currently being leaked by one of those 535, independent, wanna-be presidents. Do you remember all the ups and downs along the way base on those leaks, based on speculation, based on anger and cynicism?

We have a current example of how some in the left blogosphere have been fighting a phantom enemy, what might happen . It has to do with the Deficit Commission, which some haters on the left call “the cat-food commission.” Go here for a previous post I did on this. For the last year, several websites have done it with this topic, and I’m going to pick on Crooks and Liars, coming off my recent banning from that site for calling John Amato out on his hatred. You probably heard that the president has decided not to raise the retirement age for Social Security and not to touch any of the benefits. My first thought was, I TOLD YOU SO, YOU ASSHOLES, so I thought I’d wander over to Crooks and Liars to maybe remind them that I told them they were getting all worked up over something that WAS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! That is when I discovered that I could no longer comment over there, in fact, when logged in I can’t even read their posts anymore. They showed me, didn’t they? I did a little searching on their site and came up with a whole pile of crap attacking our president for going after Social Security, in their fantasies. Here is a sample from Crooks and Liars….

The idiotic Cat Food Commission is going to advise that entitlements gets cut. That will only lead to another disaster for the working class that families cannot withstand.

Giant leap there from the commission advising and it actually happening. Funny how reality sometimes happens despite the faux reality created in the haters minds. Another example.

William Greider has been writing about economic issues since the 1960s, and is best known for his book Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country. He’s been warning us that the Obama administration intends to cut Social Security (this video is a year old):

NOT! If you go and read his rant, it all is true and makes complete sense, no doubt. But the rub is that it ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN! I wonder how many hours he spent writing that piece that was based on pure conjecture. What pissed me off so much when I read this crap over the last year is that simply appointing a commission does not make everything that commission does and recommends the law of the land. Especially this weak commission that is merely offering suggestions. And of course, when you try to be bi-partisan, you unfortunately have to appoint people from the other party and there really is no reasonable person left in “the other party”, so we get people like Alan Simpson. Some more hyperventilating from Crooks and Liars

Polls show President Obama’s talk on Social Security is turning voters off to the Democratic Party’s handling of the program

[...]

These results are depressing. To think that American believe Republicans, who clearly have been trying to destroy everything associated with FDR’s New Deal, are more trustworthy in dealing with Social Security is absurd. I think a lot of the blame can be laid at the feet of the ridiculous creation of the Cat Food Commission. Kowtowing to the Beltway media and the GOP on the issue of our national debt not only strengthened their position with Americans, but also weakened the outlook Americans have on the entire Democratic Party.

Oh sure, Amato, it was the creation of the commission that did it, not the over 1 dozen posts you did about it scaring your readers into thinking that the Obama administration was surely going to raise the retirement age. Or the dozens of posts that Firedoglake has done which are even worse. That wouldn’t have anything to do with it, now would it? Next thing you know, they will be taking credit for making the President bend to their will. It is very similar to them taking credit for President Obama repealing DADT, even though that is what he said he was going to do since he began running for president. In their narcissistic minds, I’m sure they fully believe that they deserve the credit. So they beat the hell out of the president for two years over DADT, the same type of “what might happen” conjecture and hyperbole, contrary to everything the president said…and then when he does exactly what he promised, no credit…none, no appreciation…nata. Go look at the archives of the harshest of the presidents critics, Americablog, Firedoglake etc. and try to find the thank you to the president. Rachel Maddow, being classy and able to admit a mistake, came right out and said it on her show. These other asshats, not a peep. Thank goodness the president just keeps moving the ball down the field and for the most part ignores these assholes. For the most part, that is.

Here is an exchange in a live chat with Amato on Crooks and Liars, very revealing…

Commenter -

“The question now is why Social Security is even on the table and why the commission is being considered the be-all, end-all of fiscal policy, which is actually the role of Congress.”

So that CONgress can point the finger at the commission and say “We had nothing to do with it”. Because they’re ALL lying sacks of corporate owned shit, save about a handful.

Amato’s Response -

Has always been the prize for conservatives. When Dems move rightward this is what we get. That’s why Blue America is here and why we’re supporting Rep. Grijalva.

So the commenter is a good example of the people who have been lingering in the comment sections of these blogs. The ones that pounce on anyone who tries to argue their points. “The question now is why Social Security is even on the table…”, well maybe it is because almost every damn commission ever created seems to go into the process with “everything is on the table”. Merely having something on the table really shouldn’t get these people all worked up, to me it shows political immaturity. The commenter continues with “the commission is being considered the be-all, end-all of fiscal policy, which is actually the role of Congress.” Now I don’t know where the commenter got that impression, the commission has no actual power and was formed to offer suggestions…but somehow in the hyperbolic world of comments at these hateful blogs, it somehow becomes “be-all, end-all”. The commenter brings it home with this whopper “Because they’re ALL lying sacks of corporate owned shit.” Sure, all of those folks who went into public service, decided to try to make a difference in their communities…they are ALL lying sacks of corporate owned shit. Got it. So how does John Amato respond to this comment? He blows right by it and goes right for the PAC plug, get money from that angry commenter now before they cool off.

So the state of the liberal blogosphere is bad. But you are always welcome to come and visit this blog and I promise you I won’t ban you for calling me out. If you type racist comments or attack another commenter personally, I will certainly delete that post. But I have never banned anyone, ever, and I don’t plan to. I hope the trolls don’t take that as a challenge. Thankfully I can moderate the blog on my iPhone.

I have a feeling the president is going to “kick some tall ass” tonight in his State of the Union. Let’s see how the haters respond.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Politics | , | 29 Comments

I Could Have Been A Contender – The 2012 GOP Horse Race!

Wow, it’s getting pretty fun to watch the jockeying in the Republican Party for the 2012 Presidential race. I’m loving it. It was pretty easy for all the different competing factions within the party to run in the midterms, but when you throw them all into a big pot that has to produce one viable, electable candidate…well then, that’s when the fun begins. Let’s start a discussion about who will probably get the nomination and who would be the best to get the nomination. The list of names begins below, please add any other that I missed.

Mitt Romney

Sarah Palin

Ron Paul

Mike Huckabee

Mitch Daniels

Mike Pence

John Thune

Michelle Bachmann

Joe Scarborough

Rick Santorum

Rick Perry

Haley Barbour

Tim Pawlenty

Newt Gingrich

John Bolton

Jeb Bush

Jim DeMint

Donald Trump

Who did I miss? If I had to pick someone on a hunch, I think I would pick Mitt Romney at this point. But just like everyone else says, he has the whole Mormon thing to worry about. My second pick would probably be Mike Huckabee. But really, there is a long time before the dust settles on this bunch. Fun, fun, fun.

January 24, 2011 Posted by | 2012 Election, Politics | 22 Comments

Call Their Bluff – Let’s Have A Vote On Repealing The Health Care Law In The Senate!

The conventional wisdom of late has been that Harry Reid won’t let the repeal of health care to come to the floor of the Senate but as with most conventional wisdom, it isn’t usually very wise, just group-think really. Well now it looks like ole’ Harry is going to call their bluff and might say, “bring it on.” I hope this is true and that it signals a new strategy for the new dynamics in Washington. Back in the day, when I used to spend time watching C-Span, it seemed like both parties would use every rule and loophole to their advantage. In recent years, the Democrats have been getting rolled and taking the high road too much for my tastes. Politics is a dirty business, get dirty people. Steve Benen clues us into what may be in the works in the Senate, let’s hope…

Kevin Drum had a creative take yesterday, arguing that Senate Dems’ instincts may be backwards — don’t ignore the House bill, embrace it and make the most of it.

They should bring the House bill up for a vote quickly, let Republicans speechify about it for a bit, and then vote it down, 53-47. End of story, time to move on.

But wait! With Republicans in control of the House, it’s not like the Senate can really get much done anyway. So what’s the harm in wasting a bit of time and making this a knock-down-drag-out fight? After all, the House leadership got a nice, clean repeal vote by bringing up the bill under a closed rule and allowing no potentially embarrassing amendments and virtually no debate. In the Senate, by contrast, Democrats control things, and they can bring up all the amendments they want. So maybe they should play along, hold hearings, and force Republicans to vote on, say, an amendment to the repeal bill that would keep the preexisting condition ban in place. And another one that would keep the donut hole fix in place. Etc. etc.

Jonathan Bernstein, who had a generally positive take on this, noted some of the risks of the amendment strategy, and Senate Dems would be wise to consider them.

That said, as of this morning, it appears there’s some fluidity to the Democratic strategy in the Senate. Whereas the plan earlier in the week was to simply ignore the House Republicans’ repeal bill, there’s apparently a fair amount of interest in pursuing a plan very similar to what Kevin wrote about yesterday.

Please, oh please make those Republicans get on the Senate floor and tell us why pre-existing conditions should be repealed and why all those senior citizens should pay back that $250 they got. Republicans are losing their minds and we ought to help them do it. Give them a nudge…or maybe a body block. :)

January 21, 2011 Posted by | Health Care Reform, Politics, Republican Party | 14 Comments

Did I Mention That Firedoglake Sucks – Like the Suckiest of Sucks!

I was over at FDL earlier today, wondering what kind of anti-Obama horseshit they’ve been peddling lately and a couple of things occurred to me. Janey Hamsher has been quiet for about a week, it took a lot of “previous post” clicking to get to her last one. And the other thing I noticed is that  its “Bradley Manning” all-the-time…your “Bradley Manning unfairly incarcerated headquarters.” I’ve been meaning to write a post about the Manning thing….Wikileaks leaker, military guy who knows how to use a computer. I won’t go too far into my thinking on him because this post is an FDL sucks post and I wouldn’t want to distract from that. My thoughts on Manning are that when you go into the military, you are entering a different world…you sign papers saying you will obey, be loyal to your country, do whatever the hell you are told and if you get out of line, they have their own code of conduct and they take care of things internally. It’s one thing to be a civilian, but it is quite another to be in the military. If you think you can do shit like leak a bunch of military and diplomatic papers and walk away from it without a little punishment, then you are much more stupid than your entry test for the military showed. Now I don’t necessarily like the fact that our military is like that, but it is the reality of how it does work.

So I click over to my favorite blog, Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog! Go! and he has a post up with a link to Balloon Juice where my second favorite blogger, Angry Black Lady, (and not just because she’s a reader, although that helps :) ) had a post up about none other than Firedoglake. Here is Angry Black Lady’s blog and here is Balloon Juice, go read them. I’m pasting from ABL’s post at Balloon Juice below…

A month ago, I wrote a post about the racism which is festering and beginning to ooze out of the open sore known as Firedoglake. Essentially, my point was that if FDL continues to ban opposing viewpoints in its comment section, it owns the racism contained therein. Soon after that post, I stopped reading FDL because it was doing nothing but raising my blood pressure.Well, last night I took a break from not reading FDL and, like a dumbass, I read FDL. Here’s what I found in a post about restoring the unions and strengthening the labor movement [I’m not linking to that sewer, but you can Google “The Liberal Blogosphere Is A Neoliberal Blogosphere, Unfortunately” and find it your ownself]:

The basic problem is that the Rich ate all the pie. What do you intend to do about it? Snuggle up to their Democratic Party incarnation some more in the hope of getting some crumbs? There used to be a term for that, on the plantations. House N****r.

My jaw dropped when I read that line. My jaw dropped further when I realized it was more than 50 comments later before a commenter decried the use of the term as offensive. My jaw eventually fell right off my face when other commenters began to defend the diarist’s use of the language as “appropriate” and a matter about which the parties could “agree to disagree.”…

I too have noticed the subtle and not-so-subtle racism at FDL, especially in the comments section and I hate to say it, but the commenters at Crooks and Liars are nearly as bad. I sent a complaint to John Amato (C&L) and his reply was less than satisfying to me…he basically said we have all sorts of viewpoints on our site, deal with it. I think he likes clicks about as much as Janey and Arianna do and they all seem to be tapping into the hatred for our President. Please don’t give them clicks, it’s like heroin to them. It’s a shame too, because C&L has some good posters on the site, but the comments have been taken over by trolls and what I like to call the new “litmus-test liberals”. I also think a lot of the commenters on liberal blogs these days are really Republican trolls trying to stir up the pot, they tend to copy and paste Fox News cliché’s and use the same vocabulary as the GOP….it’s pretty easy to spot.

So just to recap, Firedoglake really sucks, if you didn’t already know that.

January 20, 2011 Posted by | Jane Hamsher, Media, Racism | 7 Comments

Republican House – You Want Symbolism, They Got it!

As a veteran political observer…damn near 40 years now…I’ve seen all sorts of strategies and tactics used by all political parties. Republicans certainly know how to gather support however they can and they understand and perpetuate the cynicism in politics. They don’t see any downside to being hypocritical and as Rachel Maddow says, they are shameless. They divide and conquer, they pit one group against another….but they understand completely that when it comes down to election time, they can get all their people in line. Usually it entails sending out racist dog whistles, abortion, immigration, and they throw in a little socialism, fascism, communism and all those salivating dogs coming running home.

The latest manuever that everyone sees through and is just a symbolic gesture, red meat to the base…is the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” that they are playing with in the House of Representatives. Steve Benen has been all over this over at the Washington Monthly, this is from one of his posts…

After a week-long break, House Republicans will get back to work today, renewing their admittedly-pointless effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The vote, which will likely come tomorrow, isn’t hard to predict — the House will easily approve the repeal measure — but even supporters know the bill will promptly fade into oblivion soon after.What’s more interesting is how little Republicans’ ostensible allies are doing to give them a hand. (thanks to reader V.S. for the tip)

The health care industry’s biggest trade groups have remained uncharacteristically neutral on the Republican effort to repeal the health care reform law, choosing instead to save their political capital for smaller, more targeted changes that have a chance at becoming law.

America’s Health Insurance Plans lobbied against much of the health care overhaul when it was passed in Congress, but it is not supporting the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. The heads of Aetna and Cigna, members of AHIP, have publicly said they do not support efforts to repeal the law. [...]

The pharmaceutical industry, which spent months cutting deals with Democrats to protect its interests, has remained mum on Republican repeal efforts.

Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a leading opponent of the Democratic reform law, is on record formally supporting the Republican repeal bill, but isn’t at all interested in investing any time or energy into the GOP push.

When your allies turn their backs on you and ignore your symbolic bullshit, you know you are wasting everyone’s time. But I suspect that it will be plenty of red meat for the base to keep them satisfied until the next batch is thrown out to them. Democrats will of course use it to their advantage too. The big difference is that Democrats will be using it to appeal to moderates, some of whom are in the 129 million people with pre-existing conditions. So it is kind of a win-win for both parties, right?

January 18, 2011 Posted by | Health Care Reform, Politics | 17 Comments

Martin’s Last Speech – We Miss You Martin

You have to go over to Youtube to watch it, but it is well worth it.

Check out this music video from Common. I’m not a huge rap or hip-hop fan but I like this.

January 17, 2011 Posted by | Music | | Leave a comment

Buying America – How The Koch Brothers Bought The Land Of The Free!

Rachel Maddow has been one of the few journalists who has been telling us about the Koch brothers and their buying of our political system and the brainwashing of America on all sorts of issues. Raw Story has more on an event designed to help expose these two as the propagandists that they are. From Raw Story…

Progressive and liberal activists are planning at the end of the month to confront the secretive billionaire family that finances the so-called Tea party movement and a host of other right-wing causes and institutions.”Our government is supposed to be of, by and for the people. So are you ready to take it back?” an invitation for the “Uncloaking the Kochs” event asked.

The Sunday, Jan. 30 event thrown by Common Cause, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization, aims to educate attendees in California on the Koch brothers who will be strategizing nearby with their mega-wealthy allies to win the 2012 elections. Afterwards, activists will rally in Rancho Mirage.

It’s a very tough battle taking on billionaires who didn’t even earn their money, had it handed to them by Ma and Pa. because they obviously have no idea the value of money and clearly have undermined our political system over the years by subverting our process and using their propaganda machine to brainwash the masses. Perhaps the most successful campaign they have waged is the one where they have turned the morons in the country against those scientists…

Recently, David and Charles Koch through their network of foundations and nonprofits outspent ExxonMobile on astroturf campaigns to misinform the American public about climate change legislation.

“From 2005 to 2008, ExxonMobil spent $8.9 million while the Koch Industries-controlled foundations contributed $24.9 million in funding to organizations of the ‘climate denial machine,’” Greenpeace International reported.

Help get the word out about the Koch brothers, if they are exposed as the propagandists that they are, maybe it will change their influence just a little bit.

Here is one of Rachel Maddow’s pieces on the Koch brothers. There are many more.

January 17, 2011 Posted by | Politics | | Leave a comment

Martin Luther King Jr. – I Have A Dream!

January 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

President Barack Obama – Thank You For Your Leadership

He really needs to write his own speeches more often. Bravo, bravo Mr. President.

Sometimes I seriously think he reads this blog or even more, my mind. I guess that is why I support him like I do. I read his two books and he is a very good writer and thinker. I really wish everyone would read his books before judging him as a person or the caricature that the right has painted him as. He is a true leader, whether some fight like hell not to be led by him or try to throw roadblocks in the way of his leadership, he perseveres and rises above it. Anyone who underestimates him, does so at their peril.

I wonder what sort of depths Rush, Glenn and Sarah will sink to now…..you know it has to drive them absolutely nuts that he is so good at his job. In Rush’s case, of course, it’s because he is black. But Sarah and Glenn I think are just opportunistic and too fucking stupid to really know what they think. There doesn’t seem to be a bottom to how low they will go.

More on the vitriol later, lots of good stuff out there on the internets.

January 13, 2011 Posted by | President Barack Obama | | 12 Comments

The Real Issue In Tucson!

I know that many don’t agree with me about not wanting to play the blame game when it comes to the tragedy in Tucson, but I’m sorry, I don’t see a direct correlation between Loughner’s shooting rampage and the violent rhetoric on the right. I abhor the violent rhetoric on the right, but I think many on the left look foolish trying to make a direct connection between the two. Jon Stewart said much of what I’ve been thinking, hat tip to Politico…

“We live in a complex ecosystem of influences and motivations and I wouldn’t blame our political rhetoric any more than I would blame heavy metal music for Columbine,” Stewart said on “The Daily Show” Monday night. “Boy, would it be nice to draw a straight line from this horror to something tangible, because then we could convince ourselves that if we just stopped this, then the horrors will end.”

“You cannot outsmart crazy,” Stewart said. “You don’t know what a troubled mind will get caught on.”

Stewart said he doesn’t know “if there is a way to make sense” of the shootings.

Nevertheless, he did stress a need to tone down political “ramblings.”

“It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn’t resemble how we talk to each other on TV,” he said. “Let’s at least make troubled individuals easier to spot.”

The real issue that I think we should be focusing on is getting people who need help with mental problems the care that they need. There were many signs from Jared Loughner that he was unstable and suffering from paranoia, but without any system in place for dealing with these people, he just fell through the cracks. The Virginia Tech shooter had similar problems and also showed signs of problems well ahead of his killing spree. As a country, we should be focusing on solving this issue instead of turning a disaster like happened on Saturday into a circus act, which the media does all too well.

The issue of the violent rhetoric that has become the norm on the right (and there is no “both sides” to it…..that’s complete horseshit), is a separate issue. Maybe now is the time to have that debate, but it needs to be separated from the Tucson tragedy. Both sides are using the emotions of the horrible tragedy to bolster their arguments and it sickens me, to be honest. I heard one friend of Jared’s say that he wasn’t a political person at all. Even though he had an issue with Gabrielle Giffords, it didn’t seem to be about her politics as far as I can tell. His paranoia had taken him to a whole different reality. Let’s have the debate about our political discourse, but let’s not play on the emotions of the moment.

January 12, 2011 Posted by | Politics | , | 14 Comments

Shame On Everyone – Stop The Finger Pointing!

I haven’t weighed in on the tragedy in Tucson very much, as you can see. The main reason is that in a way, I’ve been in shock. But I also wanted to let the dust settle and the facts to come out. My first instinct in any of these types of tragedies is to blame the person responsible, the mentally deranged person who actually did the shooting. Even if he was influenced by someone saying something hateful or putting crosshairs on congressional districts, he still chose to make that leap into violence. I heard someone say that 309 million people chose not to shoot anyone on Saturday. We can’t lose sight of the person responsible for this, a sick person who went over the edge.

When politicians and commentators immediately take to the microphone and start in with their hyperbole, whether on the left or the right, it cheapens the real tragedy. People say things that prompt defensive reactions and it escalates and becomes just another circus act that the media perpetuates. Personally, I think we should be talking about mental health issues, how to help people who have paranoia, anger problems, depression and hopelessness. We should be comforting the families affected by the tragedy. And we should be investigating how it got to that point.

The last thing I’ll say for now, because what else can really be said, is I want to hear what Gabby Giffords has to say about it. She will bring clarity to the situation, I’m sure.

Update/Clarification

Don’t get me wrong, I think we need to have a discussion about the vitriol that pervades our political discourse and the demonization of opponents that certainly doesn’t help when a deranged person hears it, but there will be plenty of time for that in the future. My problem is with people going off “half-cocked” to use a very bad metaphor and saying things based on speculation which often results in people trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

And I’m not making the false equivalency thing or the both sides argument about this vitriol, there is no one on the left, other than commenters on blogs, who spew the rhetoric that the right does. There is no equivalency between the two. My point above is that both sides jumped on this tragedy and in the process, cheapened it.

January 11, 2011 Posted by | Politics | , | 15 Comments

How About This!

I propose that Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh observe a moment of silence for oh, how about a year?

January 10, 2011 Posted by | Politics | 13 Comments

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