Progressive Poutrage: Where’s My Pony?

I would like to offer a slogan for Chris Hedges and the rest of the “poutrage” crowd: Losers Unite!

People wonder why so many of us in the New Left Blogosphere get so angry about the incessant attacks on President Obama and the Democratic party from those who claim to represent the left. For me, it’s about a future for my granddaughter and all the young people I care about. It is one thing to criticize and try to persuade a president or party to change, but it’s quite another to be a trojan horse, intent on bringing down the party from within. And that is exactly what Chris Hedges of Truthdig admitted recently.

I’m sure you remember Chris Hedges as the author of the Cornel West story that caused so much shit to hit the fan a few months ago. Well here is Hedges telling us his real motivation and hero, from Democrats for Progress (I don’t want to give Hedges any clicks)…

If elections were that effective, as the anti-war activist Phil Berrigan used to say, they would be illegal. We must follow the path Nader forged, attempting to sway enough people with conscience to sever themselves permanently and unequivocally from the mainstream and especially the Democratic Party.

I have no idea what that first sentence is even trying to say. Can anyone help me with that?

And did you catch the “especially the Democratic Party” line? I have to wonder why he thinks the Democratic Party should be the target even more than Republicans. To me, it reveals that the motives of this gang of anarchists isn’t progress or helping people in any way, it is to exact revenge on a political party for failing to bend to their demands. The Democrats are a party that is made up of many voices that speak for all sorts of different groups, children, women, the poor, the sick, GLBT’s, the elderly, college students, teachers, unions and many more. It apparently fails to be doctrinaire and rigid enough to satisfy them. Most of these Democratic politicians go into public service wanting to make a difference in their communities and help people. So let’s attack them and make some money off it. It’s the new American way.

And Chris Hedges really wants to follow Ralph Nader’s path, because I guess that’s worked out so well for Ralph? It’s a perfect metaphor for the movement though, Nader has never really been interested in any kind of grass roots politics, he’s never run for any local offices, the House, Senate or dog catcher for that matter. He wants to jump to the head of the line and be President. Much has been written about Ralph and how he operates from former employees, but that’s the model Chris Hedges wants people to follow?

And he wants people to “sever themselves permanently and unequivocally from the mainstream”, basically, make yourself an outcast, make yourself insignificant, irrelevant and join us on the sidelines where we can lob grenades at people trying to actually do stuff. What’s with hose damn people trying to do stuff, anyway? And really, would people with a “conscience” want to marginalize themselves along the lines of Hedges, Hamsher, Greenwald, and the rest of the band of boneheads?

If Chris and this crowd really think they are going to have any success in bringing down either political party, especially with the childish approach they are taking, they really need to bang their heads against the wall for about 5 minutes and see if that knocks any sense into their brains. I’ve had exchanges with some of these folks where I told them that if they really want to break the two party system, they need to organize at the local level, run candidates, get elected, do good work and rinse and repeat. Shit, they could just use the Tea Party model, who have had way too much success at it lately (minus the good work part). I think it speaks volumes that they aren’t even as smart as the folks in the Tea Party.

I decided long ago that if I really wanted to have an impact on society and do my part to help make our country a better place, that I am much more effective trying to change it from within. Since both political parties have all the money, the platforms and control of the system, to think that any grass roots movement could have a chance against them is just fucking crazy. Even the Tea Party people were smart enough to fold into the Republican establishment and gain traction. There is no reason why we liberals shouldn’t be able to do the same within the Democratic Party. But it takes time and patience. The extreme fundamentalist Christian right has been methodically and systematically infiltrating the GOP from the local level for more than thirty years in order to achieve their current party dominance. But the Poutrage Posse lacks that kind of discipline and focus, preferring instead to fling poo at the President, which, while clearly satisfying to them on some emotional level, is probably the least effective way to attract new supporters who are willing to do any actual on-the-ground organizing for change.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles


17 thoughts on “Progressive Poutrage: Where’s My Pony?

  1. I will be more careful when I do send some of my meager resources to politicians and political groups in the future. Just got an email from asking me to sign their letter to be sent to all Democrats in Congress….”Say no to a debt deal that sacrifices Social Security or Medicare so the rich and corporations don’t have to pay their fair share.”

    Can you sign our emergency petition to Democrats in Congress and tell them to stand up and tell the President they will not vote for Social Security and Medicare benefits cuts?

    President Obama is making a huge mistake that will cost our country dearly.

    Yes, use BLACKMAIL!!! That always works! /snark Threaten to withhold our “progressive” votes in 2012, the meme now being pushed by some leftist ideologue pundits! Who cares if we become a total corpfascist theocracy? I will be dead in a few years since I am 72, so why should I even care? But growing up remembering WWII, I still have pictures of bombed out Dresden and Berlin in my mind and I don’t wish to have my many nieces and nephews to have to see such history repeated in their lifetimes. And if we become such a huge problem to the world as was Germany, Italy, and Japan, remember 6 billion people elsewhere will not put up forever with a few hundred million American overlords who won’t even honor their debts if the GOP has its way. After-all, other nations have nuclear and high-tech weapons, too.

    I don’t believe that Obama wants to “cut” NEEDED medical care, but just for our government to be smarter in how we do spend our money. There is much Medicare fraud with doctors, hospitals, therapists, drug/equipment suppliers “on the take” that I do think we could save billions just tightening the purse strings. Just read an article in our paper last week that possibly 50% of all elective angiograms and stents are NOT NEEDED (and even may cause deaths!). However, they are a big money-maker for BIG MEDICINE.

    I have learned to say NO myself to doctors and clinics in my own healthcare. I also have a Living Will. I want to live as a person with dignity, not as a guinea pig. I have a 6-months appointment at the UTMB Geriatric clinic next week where a blood panel will be taken for my diabetes. I will sit in a waiting room alongside some seniors in their high-priced “electric scooters” paid for by taxpayer money (along with specially equipped SUV’s out in the “handicapped parking spots). At least my Pakistani doctor is conservative when it comes to prescribing them, even though I too have some mobility/falling problems. He wants me to keep walking, get exercise!!!

    I have now gone against another doctor’s orders and quit using my CPAP machine even though Medicare pays for a NEW mask every 3 months (at a few hundred $$$ each) even when my mask looks brand new (but supposedly one NEEDS a new one for sanitary reasons as if soap and water isn’t good enough). The damned CPAP machine costs me more good sleep than it helps, waking me up many times a night with an air hose around my neck, leaving me with a dry nose and throat, and worse, feeling lousy the next morning. Of course I get a doctor’s warning that my apnea could cause me to die in my sleep….but at least it will be a GOOD sleep before I go!

    I broke my metatarsal on the Gibraltar-Tangier ferry in March and thinking it was only a sprain walked for two more weeks all over Morocco, Spain and Portugal. When I got home and still had some pain and swelling, finally had it X-rayed one month to the day after it was broken. But thanks to our great US healthcare, was placed on a waiting list to see an orthopedic doctor another month away. Since the X-ray showed the bone was healing in alignment, I called that doctor and cancelled. Why have my government pay out hundreds of dollars for another doctor to look at a healed bone???

  2. With today’s disappointing jobs report, it has been reported (almost as a side-note) that Congressional Democrats have introduced TEN jobs bills already this year with all voted down by Republicans, YET the Republicans have not come up with ONE jobs bill of their own. The talking heads on the left should be screaming this over-and-over instead of slamming President Obama at every turn. As dysfunctional as Republicans appear at times, they don’t “eat their own” and will circle their wagons behind their leaders as we witnessed time and again during the Bush years. Republicans enjoy WINNING!

  3. Another email petition in my inbox from another progressive group:

    “President Obama: Protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Don’t cave to Republicans and put some of the most important and successful programs in our country on the chopping block.”

    Of course Ed Schultz already calls Obama, the “Capitulator-in-Chief” even when there has been NO deal made yet.

  4. I used to be pissed off at right wingers but shit being pissed off at right wing voters is like being pissed off at a baby that just took a piss on his or her selves. It’s these damn so called progressive talk show hosts,pundits and websites, I used to listen to Thom Hartmann every chance I got now I can’t even tell ya the last time I listen to any part of his show, and since Ed Schultz has jumped back in the firebag kiddie pool and I haven’t listen to him in a few weeks as for his tv show I haven’t watch a full show since the 10 clock switch. I don’t get how folks like Cenk Uygur or Jane Hamsher can get away with their act I can tell ya if the founder of “World Net Daily” had ties or own a company that helped Democrats beat Republicans in elections the right would have booted him out of the movement. These people are willingly to sell us down the river because a pissed off liberal audience is better for them then a country that isn’t run by corporate own lunatics.

  5. Betty Ford died this eveing at age 93. She was a cancer survivor, was became addicted to pain killers and eventually founded the Betty Ford clinics for drug and alcohol addictions. She was an ardent supporter of the ERA, believed women should have “choice” over their health issues and supported the diversity of all people. Nancy Reagan turned 90 this past week, and like Ford, she too had a mastectomy (in 1987) for her breast cancer. Both former first ladies would be drummed out of today’s far-REICH GOP for being too liberal.

  6. Chris Hedges didn’t even get Phil Berrigan’s quote right. It was, “if voting made any difference, it would be illegal.” Hedges’ attempt to include this quote in his bizarre rhetoric as a reason for following Nadar is like using a polished apple to describe a Ford Edsel.

    Father Phil Berrigan made this statement to say that, if by voting, voters could potentially change the system and effect what the majority of the citizenry really wanted, those in charge would outlaw elections before the voters could effect real democratic changes. In 1968, Father Daniel Berrigan along with his brother, Father Phil Berrigan, and other activists went into the draft board at Catonsville, MD, took files of men who had been drafted and were about to be sent to Vietnam and set fire to them. The two Priests and the other activists were known at the “Catonsville 9” and this action changed the way anti-war activists approached protesting against the Vietnam War. Instead of protesting, which wasn’t doing shit toward changing the system, activists emulated the Catonsville 9 and began to perform acts of civil disobedience e.g. burning draft cards, vandalizing draft boards,etc to get notice to the anti-war cause. It also incited many within the Catholic Church to challenge the Church and its complacency in standing by while the war raged on.

    For Hedges to use quotes from either of these men who were actively protesting and trying to stop the drafting of young men into a horrific war is entirely inappropriate and unconscionable to say the very least.

    It is amazing and appalling what these clowns e.g. Hamwaldians will pull out of their asses and throw out into the blogosphere by utilizing completely unrelated historical rhetoric to support their insane/ inane positions.

  7. Scary for our democracy is the current GOP drive to SUPPRESS voting in the next election. So voting must make a difference! Witness the exit polling data published Thursday in the NY Times with a graph showing just exactly who is doing the voting anymore (conservatives turn out, liberals stay at home!….thank you “progressive” Hamwaldians!):

    Many states with Republican legislatures are passing voter ID laws which will keep untold numbers of voters without driver’s licenses away from the polls in 2012. These laws will mainly target the poor…senior citizens, minorities, the more transient community (renters) and students….many of whom don’t drive. These voters are from a demographic which tends to vote more Democratic than Republican. Some states like Texas and Wisconsin won’t be allowing even state university student photo ID cards. A recent U. of Wisconsin study in Madison found 175,000 Wisconsin residents of voting age had no state-issued photo IDs. Included were 23% of Wisconsinites over the age of 65 comprising 17% of white men and women, 55% of African American males and 49% of African American women, 46% of Hispanic men and 59% of Hispanic women. In the 18-24 age group without driver’s license, 78% were African American males and 66% were African American women.

    Many driver’s license bureaus over the nation are not geographically close to voters. Some license branches are only open certain days/hours of the week and there has been a problem in many areas with understaffed bureaus taking a long time to service applicants requiring taking time off from work, plus travel and application expenses which hit the poor the hardest.

    Florida will once again deny many ex-felons from voting. A similar law had kept tens of thousands (majority black Democratic males) from voting in 2000 but Gov. Charles Crist had restored their voting rights. However, Florida’s new Gov. Rick Scott’s administration has imposed a waiting period of at least five years for convicted felons to be able to vote after completing their sentences.

    The tactics racists had once used to keep blacks from voting in America are going to used again. Bill Clinton calls them the NEW Jim Crow laws. Sadly, the Roberts Supreme Court has ruled in favor of states’ photo ID voting laws. So having a conservative White House has its rewards…appointing REICH-wing activist judges!!!

  8. And what’s even worse is that the PL are giving this a wide berth. I have not seen or read anything about this from Greenwald, Hamsher, and the others.

    No one should be surprised by the current s**tstorm in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin….we were warned repeatedly in 2010 that letting the Republicans get back into power would be a disaster. But, because the PL did not get their ponies, then to hell with President Obama and the rest of the country. So, by sending a “message” by not voting (or by attacking the President and Democrats with verbal left/rights), and by not getting out there and saying that things would get worse….well, you know the rest.

    So now, even with the meltdowns facing these states, the PL still staggers up and says that we shouldn’t vote for Democrats next year and we need to primary Obama.

    The disturbing thing is that they are well aware about what will happen if the Republicans get back in control and where they will take the country (over the bloody cliff)…but they do not care.

  9. AARP Magazine has published the top four surgeries (often covered by Medicare/Medicaid) over performed in the USA. Often not effective and even dangerous, they are big “money-makers” for Hospitals and doctors.

    spinal fusions for stenosis
    hysterectomies for uterine fibroids
    knee arthroscopy

  10. Its not that they don’t care. They actually want this to happen because people like Greenwald and others are strong believers of anarchy or some other equally dangerous philosphy to have. These types of people are no different than the weather underground, they just haven’t gotten that extreme yet but they are sure as Hell heading in that direction. Yet what do they care, so much as they can get what they want which is the destruction of the entire system to fit their self serving goals.

  11. Just got an email from Common Dreams featuring Jane Hamsher pronouncing DEATH on Obama and Democratic Party. Jane says:

    We’ll fight this, because it’s the right thing to do. We will probably lose. But we will make it as painful as possible for any politician from any party to participate in this wholesale looting of the public sphere, this “shock doctrine” for America. And maybe along the way we’ll get a vision of what comes next. Because what we believe in as Americans, and what we stand for, is not something the Democratic party represents any more.

    With “friends” like these!!!

  12. And also in today’s Common Dreams, Glenn Greenwald also gets in his two-cents worth:

    Obama knows full well that he can slash Medicare, Medicaid and even Social Security — just like he could sign an extension of Bush tax cuts, escalate multiple wars, and embrace the Bush/Cheney Terrorism template recently known in Democratic circles as “shredding the Constitution” — and have most Democrats and progressives continue to support him anyway. Unconditional support ensures political impotence, and rightly so. He’s attending to the constituencies that matter: mostly, Wall Street tycoons who funded his 2008 campaign and whom he hopes will fund his re-election bid, and independent whose support is in question. And he’s doing that both because it’s in his perceived interest and because, to the extent he believes in anything, those are the constituencies with which he feels most comfortable.

  13. I hope something so dire and tragic happens in Greenwalds life. He catches AIDS maybe gets the worse cancer imaginable or gets shot by a gangbanger. It would be great to hear this piece of shit get the worse disease possible and die.

  14. I don’t wish anyone any ill as I lost a partner in 1992 to AIDS. I just wish these “progressive” talking heads would just reveal their TRUE COLORS, just go away and join their teabagger brethren. An ideologue, whether left or right, is an ideologue, is an ideologue…. all the same self-righteous bigots under their skin. I probably have as many college credit hours (200 undergrad/grad school) as any of these Hamwaldians and can think on my own two feet…thank you very much. I don’t need their self-important, high-minded opinions.

    Greenwald plays loose with his language, too. Like he has these great psychic powers and already knows that Obama is going to be a SLASHER before anyone else in the world knows what the President will actually do!!!. Greenwald’s choice of words is almost code to incite. It’s almost like Obama is a scary black man in an alley wielding a switchblade!!! Also note the teabag meme that Obama is “shredding” the Constitution which is rIght out of a Koch Brothers’ playbook!!! Greenwald is falling in line with the teabaggers who want to impeach Obama IF he LEGALLY uses the 14th Amendment to help solve the debt crisis. Disgusting that Glenny boy dumps Obama into the SAME Bush/Cheney dumpster, too.

    The Hamwaldians feel they are superior to the rest of us know-nothings who can’t think for ourselves, but evidently SURRENDER to the omnipotence of Obama. What next, calling Obama “Messiah” just like the right-wing talking heads???

  15. Well now, that clears up the first sentence for me, ferallike. If only I was being paid to blog, maybe I would have been able to research and find that out myself. :) Thanks. Yeah, there is quite a difference in how he used the quote, replacing voting with elections and difference with effective. And then he added the word “that” to effective to give it even more emphasis.

  16. I’ve been watching this very closely for the past several months as a Virginia Elections Registrar and Democratic Precinct Poll watcher. Maybe you should turn this into a post and see if Jim will post it as blog entry. There has not been enough attention to this and it should get much more attention than it has been getting. Surprisingly they have not tried this in Virginia but if we lose more seats in the State Legislature in 2011 elections, its is highly probable with Gov McDonald and his AG “Kookinelli” for whom the State laws and VA and US Constitution are, in their eyes, irrelevant.

    There have been many GOP efforts to suppress voters who would be voting for Dems across the country. One that was very personal was this past election when 2 of my husbands cousins, their wives and adult children had their homes foreclosed on them in Flint, Burton and Davison MI and were therefore living with their parents/ grandparents in the same voting precinct. They were still eligible to vote as they had IDs with their then current addresses on them and had changed their address with the MI State election commission. But were barred from voting because there was a list that the GOP floated around MI that had the names of people/ voters who had lost their homes/ residences so they were ILLEGALLY prevented from voting in spite of having updated their voter information.

    All in all, there were 13 members of my husband’s family who were prevented from voting in the 2010 election. And everyone of them would have voted for the Democrat, Virg Bernero, for Governor. That was 13 voters barred from just one family! Now admittedly I am related by marriage to something like a 1/4 of Flint, Mi but that was an extraordinary number of voters illegally prevented from voting in an extremely blue area because of the unions and the high unemployment.

    We have to start warning people about the many ways the GOP will prevent legal votes from being cast right now and get on it fast. We only have 17 months to stop them from stealing more elections and that is barely enough time as it is.

  17. Chris Hedges is a great guy, but he does believe that the game is over and that the country is doomed. his last book recommended moving to the country with friends and taking up farming as the american economy is going to collapse. he is a pessimist.

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