Obama's Royal Scam and The Iron Fist Of Rahm


Audacity To Hope

Change We Can Believe In

Rule of Law

Accountability

Freedom From Lobbyists and Special Interests

Privacy

Harm From Illegal Surveillance

Constitutional Scholar

Transparency

Predatory Business Practices

Closing Guantanamo

Withdrawing From Iraq and Afghanistan

These are but some of the major buzzwords, issues and concepts Barack Obama based his candidacy and campaign on to convince the American electorate to sweep him in to office. Mr. Obama, however, has gone significantly in the opposite direction on each and every one since taking office. As Frank Rich noted, there is a growing “suspicion that Obama’s brilliant presidential campaign was as hollow as Tiger’s public image — a marketing scam…”.

Is there support for this allegation other than anecdotal evidence? Yes, and Micah Sifry has an excellent piece out detailing the basis:

After all, the image of Barack Obama as the candidate of “change”, community organizer, and “hope-monger” (his word), was sold intensively during the campaign. Even after the fact, we were told that his victory represented the empowerment of a bottom-up movement, powered by millions of small donors, grassroots volunteers, local field organizers and the internet.

….

The truth is that Obama was never nearly as free of dependence on big money donors as the reporting suggested, nor was his movement as bottom-up or people-centric as his marketing implied. And this is the big story of 2009, if you ask me, the meta-story of what did, and didn’t happen, in the first year of Obama’s administration. The people who voted for him weren’t organized in any kind of new or powerful way, and the special interests–banks, energy companies, health interests, car-makers, the military-industrial complex–sat first at the table and wrote the menu. Myth met reality, and came up wanting.

….

Should we really surprised that someone with so much early support from Wall Street and wealthy elites overall might not be inclined to throw the money-changers out of the temple?

….

When it came to planning for being in government, it turns out that Plouffe, along with David Axelrod, was a chief advocate for bringing in then Rep. Rahm Emanuel as Obama’s chief of staff. He writes, using a baseball analogy: “Rahm was a five-tool political player: a strategist with deep policy expertise, considerable experience in both the legislative and executive branches, and a demeanor best described as relentless.” (p. 372) Note that nowhere in that vital skill-set is any sense of how to work with the largest volunteer base any presidential campaign has developed in history. Rahm Emanuel came up in politics the old-fashioned way; organizing and empowering ordinary people are the least of his skills.

It is an extremely interesting piece by Sifry, and I recommend a read of the entirety. For those that have not read David Plouffe’s book on the campaign, The Audacity To Win, or one of the other long form reports of the Obama 2008 campaign, Sifry lays open the hollowness of Obama’s “grass roots”. Use em and lose em appears to have been the Obama modus operandi. The American people were desperate for something to latch onto, and Obama and Plouffe gave them a slickly tailored package.

As Digby notes, this line by Sifry really sums it up:

Now, there is a new enthusiasm gap, but it’s no longer in Obama’s favor. That’s because you can’t order volunteers to do anything–you have to motivate them, and Obama’s compromises to almost every powers-that-be are tremendously demotivating.

I think that is exactly right, and the needle in much of the activist base is moving from “demotivated” to downright demoralized and antagonistic. Yet Obama and his administration, notably Rahm Emanuel, indignantly continue to poke sticks in the eyes of the activist base and boast about it; and it is not from necessity, it is from design and pleasure.

Quite frankly, the seeds of this should have been seen coming. I have never forgotten the shudders I felt when I read two interrelated articles by Matt Stoller and David Dayen discussing how, heading into the 2008 general election, Obama was not just benefitting from, but devouring and commandeering broad swaths of Democratic base activist groups and their power, and actively working to marginalize and cripple those that didn’t assimilate into his Borg.

From Stoller:

This isn’t a criticism; again, Obama made his bet that the country isn’t into ideological combat and wants a politics of unity and hope, and he has won at internally. In terms of the ‘Iron Law of Institutions’, the Obama campaign is masterful. From top to bottom, they have destroyed their opponents within the party, stolen out from under them their base, and persuaded a whole set of individuals from blog readers to people in the pews to ignore intermediaries and believe in Barack as a pure vessel of change.

All I’ll add is that it’s time to think through the consequences of a party where there is a new chief with massive amounts of power. I’ve been in the wilderness all my political life, as have most of us. The Clintonistas haven’t, and they know what it’s like to be part of the inside crew. We have a leader, and he’s not a partisan and he can now end fractious intraparty fights with a word and/or a nod. His opinion really matters in a way that even Nancy Pelosi’s just did not. He has control of the party apparatus, the grassroots, the money, and the messaging environment. He is also, and this is fundamental, someone that millions of people believe in as a moral force. When you disagree with Obama, you are saying to these people ‘your favorite band sucks’.

And DDay:

There’s nothing shadowy about this – it’s an extension of what the Obama campaign has been doing since he entered the race. He’s building a new Democratic infrastructure, regimenting it under his brand, and enlisting new technologies and more sophisticated voter contacting techniques to turn it from a normal GOTV effort into a lasting movement. The short-term goal is to increase voter turnout by such a degree that Republicans will wither in November, not just from a swamp of cash but a flood of numbers. The long-term goal is to subvert the traditional structures of the Democratic Party since the early 1990s, subvert the nascent structures that the progressive movement has been building since the late 1990s, and build a parallel structure, under his brand, that will become the new power center in American politics. This is tremendous news.

However, despite his calls that change always occurs from the bottom up, these structures are very much being created and controlled from the top down.

Stoller and DDay, although both seemed to have a nagging question or two, both thought that the gathering “Obama Nation” was a good thing and that once he took office the immense consolidated power and organization would, in fact, as Obama was jawing, be used to end the age old grip of corporate money and influence and propel good new and different policies into action. This pie in the sky was directly defied by passages in their own articles though. Not only was Obama consolidating Democratic power to serve only him from the top down, he was taking out people and groups that didn’t step in to his line.

Stoller:

I have heard from several sources that the Obama campaign is sending out signals to donors, specifically at last weekend’s Democracy Alliance convention, to stop giving to outside groups, including America Votes. The campaign also circulated negative press reports about Women’s Voices Women’s Vote, implying voter suppression.

He has bypassed Actblue, and will probably end up building in a Congressional slate feature to further party build while keeping control of the data.

The campaign has also, despite thousands of interviews with a huge number of outlets, refused to have Obama interact on progressive blogs.

I’m also told, though I can’t confirm, that Obama campaign has also subtly encouraged donors to not fund groups like VoteVets and Progressive Media. These groups fall under the ‘same old Washington politics’ which he wants to avoid, a partisan gunslinging contest he explicitly advocates against.

DDay:

But wresting away ALL the power and consolidating it is I think a misunderstanding of how inside and outside groups can be mutually reinforcing and part of a more vibrant cultural and political movement, and how the culture is moving toward more decentralized, more viral, looser networks to organize. Obama’s movement, based on unity and hope, is working because politics is of the moment, a fad, Paris Hilton. To sustain that, you must institutionalize engagement, civic participation, awareness and action, even in a non-horse race year, as a necessary facet of citizenship. And there’s no reason to shut down reinforcing progressive structures that can keep it fun and interesting and vital.

Shutting down Democratic and progressive structures that do not toe his line is exactly what Obama and his right hand man, Rahm Emanuel, have done since the election. As Stoller and DDay noted, they actually started even before the election and accelerated after it. The deal was sealed when, immediately after the election, Obama chose the iron fist of DLC strongman Rahm Emanuel to lead his administration, immediately dumped Howard Dean and began shuttering Dean’s wildly successful fifty state apparatus.

There was only one reason to do that, and it was not to germinate a new grass roots policy force; it was to consolidate power and kill off any other voices and/or authority within the party. As Micah Sifry demonstrated, consolidation and exclusion were always a part of the Obama plan. Almost more disconcerting than Obama’s singular cornering of all the power and movement is his refusal to use it to propel new policies. Not even on healthcare did Obama even attempt to truly energize and mobilize the vaunted Obama network, preferring instead to leave it up to the lobbyists, in the bag Congressmen like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman and corporate interests.

This is exactly what has made the progressive campaign and voice of Jane Hamsher, Cenk Uygur, Firedoglake and other awakening progressive movements so critical. It is crystal clear the Obama Presidency is less than it was advertised to be; the only route to correction is through power and action; assertion of independent power is the only thing they will respect and acknowledge. The change will not come through old school Washington politicians beholden to corrupt financial institutions, the insurance lobby and corporate interests. Politicians like Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
  1. eagleye says:

    I expected that Obama would disappoint us in some respects. But in every instance, on every issue, he has veered to the right of what he promised in the campaign. I can’t think of one single thing he has done that is surprisingly progressive. He has pissed away a huge opportunity for serious political transformation. The stars were aligned perfectly, in so many respects. The nation was crying out for bold leadership, and what we got instead was a helping of warmed-over Clinton style triangulation. I fell for the Obama act hook, line, and sinker, and it’s going to take quite a lot to get my hope & change juices flowing again.

    • johnSwifty22 says:

      The nation was crying out for bold leadership, and what we got instead was a helping of warmed-over Clinton style triangulation. I fell for the Obama act hook, line, and sinker, and it’s going to take quite a lot to get my hope & change juices flowing again.

      Me too, I’m afraid. All I’m left with is, “At least he’s black.” But, as a corollary, I’ll add that his wife will probably not allow him to be assailed from the sanctimonious right by having BJ’s in the oval office. So I’m attempting to compound a list of the positives:

      1. He’s black
      2. He probably won’t have sex with interns.

      Do we have anything else on the plus side?

      Ordinarily you’d think being given the Nobel Prize for Peace would fall in the positive category, but when the recipient uses the opportunity to address that august body and make a case for war–well, I’m done puking now, at least.

    • buckinnm says:

      I agree completely. Not only the US but the rest of the world has been begging for progressive leadership. When he was elected the entire world (excluding Dick Chaney) cheered. The Nobel Prize for Peace? He murders everyday! Had lunch yesterday with some ultra conservate friends and found that for a change we were on the same page. This life that we are living becomes more Orwellian every day.

  2. qweryous says:

    As the candidate speaks you must always wonder: ” Is this what they are about,or are they all about getting elected through their words.”

    One year later and now it is:
    Surprise Surprise .. or not.

    There were lots of well meaning eager beavers participating in the glorious “Change” campaign.

    How do you beat the ‘establishment candidate’ ( H. Clinton)?

    Choice A: Beat the ‘establishment candidate’ by playing and winning at the ‘establishment candidate game’.

    Choice B: Be the ‘not establishment candidate’ by announcing that you are against ‘the establishment’; vote for me to ‘beat back the establishment’.

    Choice C: Do both A and B.

    It was always obvious that this was the strategy.

    Now the next goal is more of the same.

    The financial industry did not contribute in order to prevent the election of a Republican in 2008. The goal was to elect a president that they could ‘work with’.. which seems to have happened.

    • fatster says:

      “The goal was to elect a president that they could ‘work with”

      Good point, but ‘work over’ seems more appropriate somehow. And we’ve been ‘run over’ as a result.

      • qweryous says:

        Work with: implies a consensual arrangement.
        Work over: implies a non consensual arrangement.

        I see plenty of anecdotal and circumstantial evidence for ‘work with’, and
        very little of either for work over. Look at who he picked for cabinet and other important appointments.

        “And we’ve been ‘run over’ as a result.” We are in agreement on this point.

        • fatster says:

          Not trying to argue with you, and I hope that you are correct. I just went with the more sinister interpretation. (Hanging out on the planet for a long time tends to do that to a person.) Peace.

  3. koshembos says:

    For all those who saw Obama as the Big Hope, this post and what it links to is sour grapes. For those of us that were appalled by Obama and by the unreserved support he received from those who for god knows what reason call themselves progressives, we don’t need Sifry to remove the silence. You got what you didn’t want to see.

    Blue collar folks didn’t fall for the this scam; they don’t have the luxury of deceiving themselves. You would expect the white collar, educated and well off to do the right thing; they fucked up royally.

    Now the rich are even richer, big Pharma is huge Pharma and the health insurance companies are looking for additional island in the Pacific they can buy. Don’t cry for me America.

    • KDelphi says:

      As a blue collar person NOT decieved by either party, I think that the peopel who pushed this guy down our throats should be held accountable..it has caused untold misery and death and will set progressive politics in the US back 50 yrs.

  4. cbl2 says:

    one could almost sense a piece like Sifry’s comin’ – so many pieces beginning to lock in – interesting to think Plouffe’s big splash may have been the final tumbler for folks looking in to this. looking forward to reading the whole piece

    jesus, yeay, Stoller, yeah Dayen ! let’s not forget Jane Hamsher getting pretty close on the “use em and lose ’em” and consolidation/neutralization when writing of just what they were to do with OFA

    and bmaz, you wrote this and you’re sick ? dayum

  5. bobschacht says:

    Thanks for this penetrating and disturbing analysis. It is so different from the sense of Obama that I received from reading the first two thirds of Obama’s “Dreams of My Father.” Perhaps I have not read far enough.

    Thanks to Jane, Cenk, DDay and Stoller, among others, for not letting Obama get away with this crap.

    Bob in AZ

    • bmaz says:

      Matt and DDay are interesting, and emblematic of the attraction and grip that was the Obama movement. They both documented what was occurring, and both raised possible negative implications; but, overall, both seemed to see it as a fundamental force for the good at the time if you fully read their pieces. I do not say that to be critical in the least, but more as kind of an example of the grip the Obama phenomenon had on the party at the time; and let’s be honest, Obama was a magnetic candidate perfectly positioned in a perfect storm.

    • webfooteddem says:

      Before you finish reading that book, do yourself a favor and google all the elements that have been proven to be embellished, or downright untrue.

      His mother lived on a small island in Washington State when she was in high school. She would go to Seattle and sit at coffee shops to read. NOTE: that small island is Mercer Island, which has always been home for the wealthy. This was in the mid ’50s. There were no “coffee shops”.

    • jdmckay0 says:

      Thanks to Jane, Cenk, DDay and Stoller, among others, for not letting Obama get away with this crap.

      Huh? With all due respect, what “crap” has he not gotten away with?

      I don’t understand how, nearly a year now after the BO express left the station, how anything he’s done (& not done) is stopped/corrected etc. by shouting down the tracks w/the train no longer in sight.

  6. alabama says:

    Has there ever been a politician who didn’t practice the arts of ambiguity? Certainly not. And do you have any taste for ambiguity, bmaz? Perhaps you do, but if so, I haven’t seen any sign of it in your posts on this particular blog.

    What you have instead is a craving, really a passion, for certainty, where you know “exactly” what’s going on. But politics is the practice of ambiguity, and the more artful the practice, the more ambiguous the politician who practices it. And when you see this, you become enraged, and drives you to mobilize all your mighty forensic and prosecutorial skill and knowledge to the conjuring away of the ambiguity. And what you get for your zealous pains is an indictment of the devil himself. You become the prosecutor, the judge and the jury all at once, and I don’t think there’s a devil’s advocate on the face of the earth that could defend Obama in such a situation.

    But Obama remains ambiguous (were he otherwise otherwise, you wouldn’t be writing these posts). It wouldn’t be hard, for example, to draw up a list his strong and creative moves–moves that advance the liberal cause–but it would be very surprising to me if you were to allow that those good deeds were Obama’s, or that they had any lasting value, or that they were, in the end, really and truly good deeds.

    This makes, shall we say, for a difficult conversation–a fruitless conversation. In fact it makes for no conversation at all.

    • bmaz says:

      You have the floor; what are all those strong and creative moves?

      Personally, I give him some credit for trying to tamp down over-armament, particularly nuclear; but we have yet to see if this really takes affect. Decent start though. I also give credit for releasing the OLC memos, but he has made quite clear that he deeply regrets having done so; and has taken a severe away from similar transparency.

      I liked his Cairo speech, but it was just a speech. He made some initially promising moves on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, but has backed far off from there.

      What else?

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        I liked his Cairo speech, but it was just a speech.

        Please tell me that you are joking.

        The man went to a Muslim nation.
        He spoke respectfully about their culture.

        That was not ‘just a speech’.
        bmaz, c’mon…!!!
        You’re smarter than that (!).

        That speech was a soul massage.
        That speech was an olive branch.
        That speech was a sign to 20-somethings and 30-somethings that their lives don’t have to be condemned to live out the old vendettas.

        That was not just a ‘speech.’
        That was a testament to the human spirit.

        And no, I am NOT joking.

        • bmaz says:

          It was a speech. Actions speak louder than words, and his actions have not backed up his rhetoric. He noted the plight of Muslims but has done little if anything new or different to change that. He talked about not wanting to occupy Muslim land, yet has escalated the state of doing so. He talked about terror from Muslim lands on poor little America, all the while he has geometrically enlarged the number and scope of mass killings of Muslims with freaking drones. Yeah, it was nice, and I saluted it at the time; but has amounted to diddly squat so far in pragmatic terms.

      • alabama says:

        What “floor” might you have in mind, bmaz?

        I wrote a post describing what I take to be your views, your thoughts, and your representations of Obama. I addressed the matter of “ambiguity”–the problems it poses for all of us, the way you in particular handle those problems, and the way your handling of them makes for a difficult conversation. You don’t take notice of this topic; instead, you invite me to draw up an inventory of Obama’s good deeds. Most politely, you offer a few points of your own on that topic–arguments by concession, shall we say. But you don’t “take the floor” to contest the point I raise.

        You don’t address my comment about your own thinking, which I find to be categorical and absolute, showing a furious drive for certitude (I accept this as a fact, if only because you express your thoughts so well). This being the case, what would be the pertinence of anyone’s “list of Obama’s good deeds”? By your thinking, his good deeds are in the service of bad deeds. As such, they are adjudged guilty before they’ve even been thought of, let alone committed.

        As for me, I don’t much worry about the good or the bad of Obama’s deeds, because I find them remarkably hard to fathom. I don’t get the scale, the stakes, or the time-scheme for the given detail, and not for lack of effort on my part.

        With Bush it was always the reverse: his deeds were the very model of transparency. He gave us eight long years that were free of ambiguity, free of promise, free of irony, free of intellectual labor. And I can certainly understand why some folks would miss the man.

        • bmaz says:

          Perhaps I misunderstood your comment; if so, I am sorry. I write about that which I know and/or feel; I am often wrong, but I call em as I see em.

    • qweryous says:

      After one year in office is it fair to analyze whether the candidate has
      proceeded down the promised path?

      If not after one year, then when if ever should such analysis take place?

      With respect to this statement:
      “It wouldn’t be hard, for example, to draw up a list his strong and creative moves–moves that advance the liberal cause–but it would be very surprising to me if you were to allow that those good deeds were Obama’s, or that they had any lasting value, or that they were, in the end, really and truly good deeds.”

      I must have missed something, or credited the wrong person, but what are the ” moves that advance the liberal cause?”

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I strongly concur with alabama’s analysis of politics and politicians: ambiguity lies at the core of good ones. (Not for nothing were Augustus’s final words, as if to an audience at the end of a play, “Clap, clap”, a nodding admission that much of his work involved dissembling.)

      The thing that bothers me with too much politics in the US, period, is that we overfocus on ‘celebrity electeds’. Now, there’s only so much information the human brain can process, and so it’s a very human thing to latch on to specific public figures and imbue them with our desires, hopes, despairs, and fears.

      Like any truly great politician, Obama is probably about 80% Rorsach. But I also believe that he has principles, he appears to be frustrated with DC’s inability to do much of anything in a timely fashion, and I loved it when this week he spoke of the Loony with the Toasted Testicles as representing structural failure in our system of oversight. Bu$hCheney would have told someone they’d done a ‘heckuva job’. Instead, I hope Obama is pissed, if only because he’s the one in the public eye taking the heat for someone else’s screwups.

      Also, you have not noted in your analysis the absolutist, infantile, almost reptilian behavior of the GOP since Obama’s election. When a GOP Senator views health care as “Obama’s Waterloo”, and when Spectre reveals what any of us had already figured out: the GOP had a deliberate, premeditated strategery of obstructing, demeaning, insulting, and stalling any and all Obama-Dem initiatives.

      Yes, it disgusts me that Howard Dean is treated like a pariah, and that Rahm is straight out of Wall Street and the ‘transactional, deal-cutting’ wing of the DLC. I figure that Dean is tough enough to roll with that punch, and that Rahm’s job is to be an asshole.
      What else is new?

      Too many of us respect Howard Dean, and view Rahm with wary tolerance (or worse) for me to lose any sleep over it.

      I held out judgment on his economic team for a long time, and for all of Geithner and Bernanke’s being skewered around these parts, I’m most interested at this point in whether those men got any sleep in Sept 2008; my concern is that they are afflicted with insiderism, but that’s a different thing from being a corrupt tool like Dan Quayle or Hank Paulson.

      I don’t think they’re going to pull us out of problems with a structural economic disaster. You can’t have a nation employed by quants on Wall Street writing derivative code.
      The fact that no one other than Robert Johnson, Elizabeth Warren, Matt Taibbi, and Nomi Prins (and some other creative economic thinkers) can’t seem to articulate this fact alarms me.

      But in terms of foreign policy, I deeply admire what Obama has done, mainly:
      — going to Cairo and giving that speech. I still get goosebumps.
      — going to the Omaha Beaches on June 6th, which at least in my own family is a deeply personal, very emotional topic
      — hosting the PM of India, who appears to be an absolutely brilliant man and is certainly representing a dynamic nation
      — participating in the G-20, which is a new and emerging international structure that probably gives the neocons hissy-fits because it’s a frank admission that the US no longer runs the planet
      — taking time to think on Afghanistan, whether I agree with the outcome or not
      — treating the US military with respect, rather than as one big photo op
      — meeting respectfully with the Russian leaders, which is what any smart, sane leader would do
      — treating the Chinese and Japanese with respect and civility unseen in the Bush era
      — constraining himself from giving the PM of Germany any backrubs (!)
      — conveying a gracious holiday message to Iran last New Year (even if it created panic among the authoritarians who have that place in an iron grip)
      — appointing as his NSA a man who actually believes that climate change is real and needs to be part of policy
      — appointing Hillary Clinton, who appears to be working her ass off on behalf of the nation and spreading goodwill

      So is Obama perfect?
      Of course not.
      Is he up against even more than we foresaw?
      Yes.

      His foreign policy efforts are so spectacularly above the neocons and Cheney that it’s incredible to see so much sanity in such a short time — in a dangerous world.

      Is he taking control of the old DLC? Probably.
      I never thought it was worth a damn, so if he wants to take it over so much the better.

      Basically, when I went to my caucus nearly 2 years ago, I met people who live in my precinct who were so articulate, so engaged, so pissed at corruption and Bush and thieving that it was inspiring.

      But the thing that blew my mind was how well all those people ‘connected the dots’ between campaign finance, and the quality of their lives. Between the quality of leadership, and the quality of their lives.

      Shitty leadership? Your dollar sinks and your life sucks.

      So I think that people (quite a few of them clearly former Bush voters) have had extremely high expectations.

      I don’t think this thing has even close to played out yet.

      2009 was the year that the GOP revealed itself as utterly debased, and absolutely bereft of political talent and the arts of governance.

      Obama needs a new economics vision, and a new team.
      This may be forced on him by circumstances.

      I think you are too pessimistic, and IMVHO things are far more amorphous than you describe.

      And as for Lloyd Blankfein claiming that he couldn’t make it to DC because of fog…?! Holy shit, Batman!
      You think Obama’s going to forget that he had to build an entire organization and run for office across a nation of 308,000,000 and then Blankfein doesn’t think he has to make it to a requested appointment in DC?
      I think that may prove to be the dumbest f*cking thing that Blankfein’s ever done.
      And oh, I’d pay money to see that show if I’m correct.

      It’s early days yet, bmaz.

      And yes, this comment was waaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy too long.
      …sigh…

      • orsonrollsover says:

        yeah, well, I’m convinced!!! Wait…nope! I meant to say I read that line about Hillary Clinton “working her ass off…and spreading good will…” and thought,

        “WTF?!”

        Ummm…not sure sizable segments of the Palestinian population would agree with that glowing endorsement of H.C.; or global south peeps at COP-15′ or the vast majority of the citizenry of Honduras, but then again, who gives a fuck what those people think, right?

        And I have to say, as others have, that Obama Admin behavior up to this point was easy to see coming long before election day, and has lived up to exactly what the peeps in my political “cranny” have expected…wasn’t f-ing hard to see!

        I read these posts sometimes and they make me sick…I don’t understand why people are still hopeful of any change from democrats…to me this is nonsense and we had better understand that.

        I don’t know “tealeaves”…don’t mean to be harsh, but bull sheeeee-ite needs to be pointed out (this being the job of the politically naive)-

        • openhope says:

          Yeah, what you said.
          Murder is murder. Doesn’t matter how your PR folks label it. Civilians.Chidren. Mothers Fathers Insurgents. Taliban Leaders. AlQueds Leaders. It just Murder for empire, same as it ever was. Drones. Pharma deals to make important drugs unaffordable in the USA and totally affordable in another country. With our tax dollars funding a bulk of the research.
          Okay, fuck me once, shame on you.Fuck me twice….Won’t get fucked again. Well, …not so “hopefully” next time.
          Thanks Barry. Thanks,Rahm. You boys are just like the boys that date raped me at 13. Good on you!!!
          But now you’ve ensnared my children into your tax-rape-mandate fun.
          Good luck with that.

      • KDelphi says:

        better n bush..is that his campaign slogan for 2012? Cause, like there was a US before Bush, you know…

        • quake says:

          better n bush..is that his campaign slogan for 2012? Cause, like there was a US before Bush, you know…

          Yeah. and in case you don’t remember, let me remind you that it was a lot better than the one after Bush.

    • donnadiva says:

      Wow, alabama, that was deep. Of course, it presumes that the liberal moves Obama has made outweigh the more rightward and corporatist ones.

        • johnSwifty22 says:

          I would like to see that too. The list I’m compounding on the positive side (nothing of the magnitude Hugh has invested in terms of time, energy or brain power) amounts to this:

          1. At least he’s black.
          2. Probably won’t have a sex scandal.
          3. (asterisk) might have averted an international economic disaster.

          This is mostly tongue in cheek, but outside of some truly exceptional speeches, what else have we been given in recompense for our support?

          • qweryous says:

            Had Mccain/Palin been elected the world might have been deprived of a most excellent book ‘Going Rouge’.
            But use an asterisk as she might have just taken a long Hawaiian vacation and written it in that foreign place. Too Also.

            So perhaps some credit for helping that book get ritten.

            • johnSwifty22 says:

              Noted:

              Positive aspects of the Obama Presidency to date.

              1. At least he’s Black
              2. Probably won’t be implicated in a sex scandal.
              3. (asterisk) might have averted an international economic disaster.
              4. (asterisk, also, too, as well) the world would have been denied, “Going Rogue”
              5. Some credit card lending institutions have has some usury practices curtailed under some conditions.
              6. He’s got really, really cute kids.

              (I’d like to get to a baker’s dozen)

              • PJEvans says:

                Um, his wife would look gorgeous in one of those Badgley Mischka designs in the Vogue pattern catalog. (Srsly.)

          • OldFatGuy says:

            At least he did sign the Ledbetter???? (sorry, can’t recall the exact name of the lady the bill was named after now) Bill. I do give him credit for that.

                • Gitcheegumee says:

                  You gotta have both a left and right wing to be able to fly.

                  Your comments don’t fly.

                  Looks like your wings were already clipped when you hobbled in here.

    • RoyalOak says:

      I would delight in seeing a list of Obama’s “strong and creative” moves, heck I’d delight in seeing a list of his ambiguous moves, because I have not seen any. I’ve only seen triangulation, strangulation, and bad baloney.

  7. qweryous says:

    In reply to koshembos @3

    “Blue collar folks didn’t fall for the this scam; they don’t have the luxury of deceiving themselves. You would expect the white collar, educated and well off to do the right thing; they fucked up royally.”

    Do you mean:

    1. Blue collar folks did not participate in the scam, they voted McCain/Palin? or

    2. Blue collar folks did not participate in the scam, they did not vote? or

    3. Blue collar folks did not participate in the scam, they voted for Obama/Biden knowing it would turn out to be a scam? or

    4. Blue collar folks picked a different Democratic nominee that except for the white collar fools would have been nominated, and won the election? But since the different nominee wasn’t nominated they did …what? or

    5. Luckily these blue collar voters never deceived themselves, voting against their interests by voting for any of: Reagan1,Reagan2,Bush1.1,
    Bush 1.2,Bush2.1, Bush 2.2?

    • koshembos says:

      The outrageous hysteria of what is called “The Whole Food Nation” flame up by Obama supporters was ridiculous when it happened. There were many blogs that talked about it daily. “The One,” “the chosen” and the “anointed” that the Whole Foodees used to refer to Obama were made fun of, mainly, by women’s blogs.

      Blue collar people is states such Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan voted in the Democratic primaries for Hillary; they didn’t go for the false messiah. Your ridicule seems misplaced for somebody who was taken to the cleaners by the candidate of Wall Street. My suggestion to you is to ask yourself how were you conned so badly with all your education, great job, etc.

      Ask yourself my did you stick to the values of the left and instead bought Hook, line, and sinker garbage such as hope and change?

  8. quake says:

    When Obama voted against FISA accountability in June(?) 2008 it should have been obvious that this was coming. But at that point it was either Obama or Bush, and the former was obviously (marginally) preferable.

    It seems unlikely that Obama will still have the army of volunteers by 2012 the way he’s operating now. Buyer’s remorse will inevitably set in. The question is whether he can be primaried from the left. Seems possible, the way he’s going now. Feingold 2012 anyone?

    • qweryous says:

      Here is how the math works.
      Leave the rightmost 20% to the Teabag/Talibangelical nominee.
      Leave the leftmost 20% to do whatever they want.
      Collect the votes of the ‘Bipartisan middle’ 60% to reelect Obama/the successortoObama. (Biden will not run in 2012)

      The same applies to both Senate and House.

      That is the plan.

      That is why poking progressives is the plan, and why it is thought to be necessary for this plan to succeed.

      • PJEvans says:

        I see the problem here being that the progressives and more-or-less liberals are more than 20 percent of the voters, and they’re the ones who were going out and doing the GOTV work last year. Without them, the campaigns will be back to the old not-working-well methods. (I don’t know about you, but I toss mailers automatically.)

        • qweryous says:

          Bush/Cheney got elected by people voting for them, and by people staying home and not voting for their opponents.

          When you look at the 20,60,20 split that I describe, think about what it takes to get the necessary electoral majority. Every vote that is not cast due to disillusionment/disgust/contentment hurts the challenger.

          Obama is not vulnerable from the left, only the right.
          If he is positioned far enough to the right, the candidate to his right is unable to assemble an electoral majority.
          The voters to the far left will either vote for Obama, a third party candidate, or stay home. All acceptable in the interest of an Electoral College majority for the Obama reelection campaign.

          All the left can do in this scenario is to make it difficult for Obama to collect the necessary votes on the right.

          • openhope says:

            Cheney/Bush got elected because our groovy electronic voting system is a Tool. Our Departments of Justice are Tools. Our Department of Defense are Tools. That was no more an election than Iraq’s Purple Finger was an election.
            Wow, THAT’S my wish for 2010. Paper Ballets!!!

              • fatster says:

                But not so much a bourree as an entre chat, perhaps? What would a choreographer do? I know, let’s ask Rahm; he studied ballet.

            • openhope says:

              Uh, paper ballots. That’s kinda-do-able.Kind of,with law suits…probably. Right?
              We’ve kind of had enough of the Ballet for one decade. We need to track our vote.
              Peace

          • qweryous says:

            I phrased the last sentence in @33 poorly:

            “All the left can do in this scenario is to make it difficult for Obama to collect the necessary votes on the right.”

            It should have been: If this 20,60,20 split is the operating principle for the Obama reelection effort, all the support of the left ( if it has been earned by decisions and actions that are subject to criticism by the rightmost 20%) can do is make it difficult to get the necessary support of the rightmost portion of the 60%.

  9. eagleye says:

    Obama and Plouffe built a fantastic campaign, probably the best that this country has ever seen. But he has failed miserably at the care, feeding, and maintenance of his voter base. The 2010 mid-term elections are just ten months away, and unless Obama does something amazing between now and then, that base isn’t going to show up at the polls. And then the Obama presidency will be dead in the water. The GOP is already in full obstructionist mode– if they gain seats in both house of Congress, the game is over. That is why Obama needed to move forward with clear purpose in the early going. I fear that he is not going to get another chance.

    • Mauimom says:

      The 2010 mid-term elections are just ten months away, and unless Obama does something amazing between now and then, that base isn’t going to show up at the polls.

      Actually, I’m hoping that some plan is formulated between now & November re how to “show up at the polls” in an effective way — to show Obama & Dems that we’re still out here, we vote, but we just don’t vote for THEM [Obamabots; folks who vote for crap].

      Perhaps there will be some concerted effort to write in [“Lizard people” anyone?]. I’d just like there to be some way to demonstrate “you could have had these votes, but you screwed up.”

      • Fenestrate says:

        Totally agree with you. I intend to vote third party or write-in someone if there’s none on the ballot. I’ve been somewhat surprised to have seen others saying the same.

        Sometimes I think that it’d be nice if someone came up with a site/list of possible names to write in for each district. Sort of a master list for protest voters.

        I don’t know how, but I’m sure such a thing would be wide open to abuse though.

    • karnak12 says:

      Well said and to the point. That is exactly what’s going to happen. You’d think with all these triangulating masters of politics that they would come up for air long enough to figure this out. It sure doesn’t seem like that’s in their plans though. Either that, or they really are stoopid.

      I think they are in for a rude wake-up call.

      On the other hand, maybe that’s what it’s been about all along. they get about two years to set up the bankers, wallstreet, pharma and the insurance industry, and then it’s duck and cover.

  10. emal says:

    I like how you connected it all together here. You went into the history of his political strategy during the run up to the election (which gave off early signs and hints of what he was attempting to do). Plus you brought up his campaign sloganeering which many thought might be the course he might take on policy if elected. They might think they’re being too cute by half here, but many people will look at their reality and what they hoped would change and say hey wait a minute wtf, I’ve been screwed again. I’ll use one of those famous Bushisms here “…fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can’t get fooled again.” Well being Not Bush and not having an R alongside your name might not be enough to get you elected next time around. And if people aren’t discouraged (including all those new young voters who won’t trust the party again). This lesser of two evils voting is getting tiresome too. I’m hoping the anti-incumbent throw all the bums out, feeling might be all the rage.

  11. Gitcheegumee says:

    @16

    One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been so credulous: Carl Sagan

    • milly says:

      Don’t do that. You are giving in to the propananda. There is something on the horizon that is going to make change happen. The economic tsunami. The federal reserve is broke.

      Do the actions of the large banks seem like long term planning? Or stealing the last of the money before you get out of town?

      Gather up some dried beans and toilet tissue. We are in for a difficult time. Even Huff Po is advocating taking your money out of large banks. Maybe not for my own personal reason. Would be a good idea anyway.

      I am not kidding about the dried beans. A very large trucking company just shut it’s doors so quickly their pay checks bounced and they could not get home.Be kinda’ hard to run down to the friendly farmer’s house for eggs. Thanks bill and NAFTA.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Americans may not have been “into ideological combat”. They damn well knew they didn’t like, want or benefit from Republican “centrist” rule and wanted something completely different. They didn’t get it.

    It is Obama that didn’t want “ideological conflict” because he was so much more comfortable with the ideas, policies and priorities he would have to attack if he were to engage in it as a Democrat. That’s beginning to look a lot like, not Christmas, but bait ‘n switch. That’s a bad aftertaste that will hang around for both 2010 and 2012.

    I wonder what we’ll be asked to focus on during those elections instead. The color of the threat level? The number of body bags coming home? The stimulus jobs that will be just around the electoral corner?

  13. PJEvans says:

    There sure are a lot of people here now, telling how obvious this should have been before the election.

    Where were y’all then, when we could have used your mighty abilities?

    • qweryous says:

      What should you have been told?

      Nominate H. Clinton?
      How would that have turned out? (both the general election, and if by some miracle she had won the election,her administration would have been substantially different..How?)

      Nominate John Edwards? That marital infidelity issue might have come up before the election and then…

      Nominate which of the other Democratic candidates that participated in the
      process with little money, and little support?
      Policy promises don’t necessarily get the candidate elected, even if they are superior and have some likelihood of being delivered upon.

      News Flash: McCain/Palin would have been worse!

      How many countries might have been attacked( some by mistake/misspelling/
      wrong continent/I thought they were Muslim type decision making).

      I personally gave the man a chance to fulfill his promises, use his mandate. That he has not is disappointing, not surprising.

      • PJEvans says:

        No it’s the ones who are showing up now, having not been here in the last couple of years, and telling us that we’re doing it wrong.
        Anyway, I voted for him as a lesser-of-evils vote, hoping that he’d actually do some of the things he was promising. McCain/Palin? He’d have been out of power by now. She’s a power-shark: nothing gets in the way of what she wants, and she drops it as soon as it gets hard or boring.

        (Thanks ever so much, guys, but your input is more valuable before the decisions are made, not a year and a bit later. Especially when you’re doing it with hindsight.)

        • qweryous says:

          You said:

          “Anyway, I voted for him as a lesser-of-evils vote, hoping that he’d actually do some of the things he was promising. McCain/Palin? He’d have been out of power by now. She’s a power-shark: nothing gets in the way of what she wants, and she drops it as soon as it gets hard or boring.”

          I am in agreement 100% with this entire statement.

          You said:

          “(Thanks ever so much, guys, but your input is more valuable before the decisions are made, not a year and a bit later. Especially when you’re doing it with hindsight.)”

          My point is that short of a candidate that did not run for the nomination, there was not a candidate that could have won and significantly delivered more than has been delivered. (If your opinion differs here, then I’m willing to hear it).

          Short of the camouflage coming off the economy a few weeks too early, and the inept campaign of McCain, it is not clear to me that Obama would have won. Taking into account the voting and vote counting processes of the prior two elections, a close one could have been a McCain win.

          Hind sight has nothing to do with this discussion as far as who the candidates were, and who won the nomination.

          The most important decisions were who the presidential candidates were; they decide to run, or not, I don’t pretend to have significant input on that issue.

          In view of the fact that Obama had the nomination, he had my vote instead of McCain.

          The opening was:
          ” No it’s the ones who are showing up now, having not been here in the last couple of years,”

          Length of time commenting…if it is a seniority issue, I lose.

          “telling us that we’re doing it wrong.” With respect to what?

          I have not intended to do this, I apologize if I have offended by doing this unintentionally.

          Opinions vary, everyone is entitled to theirs.

          I state my view, present facts, take it or leave it. I don’t care if everyone agrees with what I post or not. I wouldn’t waste the time if it was all agreement, the debate is interesting here.
          If someone thinks I’ve overlooked important facts, or misrepresented them point it out.

          • bmaz says:

            For what it is worth, I don’t think it does much good to hash out who should have seen this more clearly when. A lot of people should have , and people who did probably should have had the courage to say so more; and I fall into that category easily. But it was what it was, and is what it is. Perhaps, I did not artfully express it, but my point of the post was not to point fingers or whine about what occurred, but to show how there really is and issue, and not just from what we are seeing now, but that it is also consistent with before, and that progressive activists – if they are to wield any substantive voice in the policy discussion – are going to have to do it by force and being a threat. Simply supporting Obama and doing what he wants will not earn anything but the disdain he and Emanuel have shown a proclivity for to date. Our support will be assumed and taken for granted because we will “vote the lesser of two evils”. Until we find a way to leverage our support analogous to what the right has done on the other side, there is no reason to believe there will be any different result in the future. That was kind of my point, but it may have gotten lost.

            • qweryous says:

              I comment on this issue because I feel it is important. I don’t intend to finger point or claim credit for foresight.

              It is important to understand what has happened, and how and why it has happened.

              There will be disillusioned voters expecting answers; if progressives have answers, and concrete ways to move forward, there is opportunity.

              The past presidential campaign engaged younger and infrequent voters unlike recent campaigns. This is always important, and in my opinion was partially due to circumstances (economic, national security, human rights) that will still be present in 2010 and 2012.

              In order to leverage our support, we must know what the plan of the candidate is, and where progressives fit into it.

              Only then can the decision be made on how to best take advantage of the situation.

              • bmaz says:

                Yeah, sorry, that was not really pointed at you, but in general; I was actually kind of picking up that sentiment from what you said in your comment.

                • qweryous says:

                  It turned out to be present when I read my post.

                  My comment was unnecessarily argumentative.
                  The major point intended was that better candidates are necessary for better elected officials. The lesser of two evils seldom leads to satisfaction.

                  BTW thanks for stirring the pot with what you put up at the start, all in one place with links for the curious to discover that it might not just be a bad feeling that they are imagining, might be some actual dissatisfaction going on.

                  Earlier in the day I suggested MC5 The American Ruse for EW’s New Year Music Jam. It seems to me that it belongs here too.
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QgzYGFVPi4

    • quake says:

      There sure are a lot of people here now, telling how obvious this should have been before the election.

      Where were y’all then, when we could have used your mighty abilities?

      It was obvious before the election (although maybe not to the extent that actually has occurred), but at that point the choices were Obama or Bush, so warts and all, the former was a no-brainer.

      • bmaz says:

        I expressed many reservations about the stunning alacrity with which Obama was elevated and not questioned and got tarred and flamed every time as a Clintonite, which was not the case in the least. People may have forgotten how brutal the whole primary situation was and how cult like the aura around Obama was. And as others have pointed out, once the primary was over, it was Obama or McCain. Well I know John McCain, and I would literally have voted for Bush again before I would McCain; the man is a fucking menace. So there were not a lot of good options.

        Here is the pertinent part of an email I sent to Marcy on May 9, 2008 with my concerns I felt from the Stoller and DDay posts the previous day:

        I’ll say this much, it is almost like Stoller and dday wrote those with the design of sending me personally into a tizzy (don’t know either one of them, so I know thats obviously not the case). I like Obama. A lot. But the two misgivings I have always had are the kind of messianic complex of his campaign movement and that his policies are all pretty good, but not necessarily very deep. As you know, I am also very big on addressing the wrongdoing that has gone on, and not just knock them down, but step on their throat this time. That stuff I read last night suddenly rendered this nightmare scenario in my mind of Obama rolling through the election all shock and awe like and leaving all this behind him figuring he doesn’t even need to bother; they are discredited and he is king. He has never been particularly strong on the demand for accountability quite frankly, so it kind of fits in a way. I know he wants to move past this shit, but I think it has to be cleaned up before you do.

        It isn’t all armchair quarterbacking after the fact; the implications spooked me even back then. Granted, it is a lot easier to voice those concerns now.

        • openhope says:

          Well said. I was a confused engaged citizen at that time. The options were dwindling down, I didn’t like Obama’s vote record. But Kucinich would have had to grow 18 inches and 40 more buff pounds to be a contender.
          And Chris Dodd chicken-shitted out.
          I was still under the illusion that D vs R was real. It wasn’t about Obama for me. It was about the groundswell of citizen energy his campaign created. And then systematically dismantled. I like to think that groundswell is still percolating. I know it is.
          We don’t have to win the next election. We need to frame the next debates. Pull your money from corporate banks and put it into Credit Unions. Which are only trustworthy now because of the Savings and Loan Scam Neil Bush pulled on the American West. We got FUCKED!!!! Early 1980’s. Total collapse of local economies. It turned out to be the trial run for the National Scam.
          America got better regulations on Credit Unions thanks to GWB’s little brother.

        • Sara says:

          “Here is the pertinent part of an email I sent to Marcy on May 9, 2008 with my concerns I felt from the Stoller and DDay posts the previous day:

          I’ll say this much, it is almost like Stoller and dday wrote those with the design of sending me personally into a tizzy (don’t know either one of them, so I know thats obviously not the case). I like Obama. A lot. But the two misgivings I have always had are the kind of messianic complex of his campaign movement and that his policies are all pretty good, but not necessarily very deep.”

          Bmaz, your problem is you have not read enough FDR era history. Simple as that.

          What do you think the combination of the old flattened out hat with the long cigarette holder was all about???? Yes, you have to know something about 20’s and early 30’s film culture to comprehend it, but it is pure Charlie Chaplin. That was a mash of class icons. Once you recognize this, then you have to ask why it worked for four campaigns? That is where it gets complicated.

          Remember, the only real clear promise FDR made in the 32 campaign was to balance the budget. Otherwise what he intended to do was just a lot of hot air. Of course what he did was extract from Congress everything he could get, given the lay of the land.

        • quake says:

          In retrospect you were (and are) basically correct, although I so have some sympathy with the view that you’re being a bit too absolutist. But after I wrote my above posts I went for a walk, and thought things over more.

          One reason we’re in the pickle we’re in now is the complete breakdown of the two party system in the U.S. The Rethugs have completely jumped the shark and are just batshit insane. The Obama-Rahm Dems are basically Eisenhower or Rockefeller Republicans, i.e. sensible conservatives that we can live with if not like.

          What’s needed is a new part of the left, with the present Rethugs disappearing. I have no idea if the above scenario is at all possible in the “Foxified” U.S. of the present, but I profoundly doubt it. But unless there is a party to the left of the present DLC-Dems they have nothing to fear from Progs. After all, at the end of the day we’re neither going to stay home nor vote for the batshit Rethugs, but will hold our nose and vote Dem. And Rahm & friends know this very well.

          • orsonrollsover says:

            glad to see you would submit to what Rahm and Co. already know you will…I am gonna refrain from any jokes related to your “hold our noses” phrase…

            • quake says:

              That’s the way the U.S. electoral system is set up. We don’t have to like it, but that’s reality. The only way to fix it within the context of the present system is by primarying DLC-Dems or creating a third party on the left that could vie with the Dems for power (the latter doesn’t seem very likely). Staying home or voting for McCain-Palin seems even worse.

              Got any better ideas?

              • orsonrollsover says:

                yeah, the later doesn’t seem very likely at all! Re-read your response to my response and think about it for a second, and maybe you might see that the attitude you have is one thing which contributes to this problem…

                other possibilities…wow. very difficult to think of other strategies for real change outside of electoral politics….

                Think, Pooh, Think! Nope! can’t think of any…guess we’re all fucked!

                Actually, you changed my mind. Screw grassroots organizing…screw protests…really, really screw strikes by workers…for these are all things you do outside of electoral politics (unless those democrats you keep holding your nose for co-opt them).

                Fuck it! Obama 2012!!! hey, you hear of any good deals on telescreens?

              • openhope says:

                Yes, see if the Green Party is capable of becoming Socialist Democrat. Winning the election as a majority Democratic Party was a horrible joke on us. Barrel of eels.
                Fuck them.
                Time to regroup.

                • orsonrollsover says:

                  yeah, well, remember that the greens did run todd Cretian in Cali, and he was a socialist…a real socialist:) unlike Bernie Sanders, who says the right things but seems to feel compelled to vote for shitty things like the senate health bill…

                  if we vote for the people we actually want in gov’t, perhaps we can steadily build up another party…however, as I said before, I don’t really wanna work the electoral route…i mean, I would love to vote for someone like Cretian on the green party ticket, but I ain’t organizing for it, because I feel the people need to do this shit at our level

                • quake says:

                  If you look at history the Whig party disintegrated in the 1840s-50s and mainstream electoral politicians (e.g., Lincoln) joined with the abolitionists (sort of like the Greens of today in terms of being non-mainstream) to form the Republican Party. Something like that is needed today.

                  • orsonrollsover says:

                    Jeez, I don’t know…i don’t think we need a party, but if one arises I hope it doesn’t just constitute mainstream electoral pols…it would at least need new people…fuck all the names we know!

                    • quake says:

                      I understand where you’re coming from, but as a practical matter it seems like you need a nucleus of established pols to give the new party traction. At least that’s been true in all previous American political realignments. Doesn’t have to be true the next time…..

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            One reason we’re in the pickle we’re in now is the complete breakdown of the two party system in the U.S. The Rethugs have completely jumped the shark and are just batshit insane. The Obama-Rahm Dems are basically Eisenhower or Rockefeller Republicans, i.e. sensible conservatives that we can live with if not like.

            What’s needed is a new part of the left, with the present Rethugs disappearing. I have no idea if the above scenario is at all possible in the “Foxified” U.S. of the present, but I profoundly doubt it. But unless there is a party to the left of the present DLC-Dems they have nothing to fear from Progs. After all, at the end of the day we’re neither going to stay home nor vote for the batshit Rethugs, but will hold our nose and vote Dem. And Rahm & friends know this very well.

            I agree completely that the GOP has jumped the shark. And how!

            As for those of us ‘holding our noses and voting Dem’, I actually don’t see that as very likely.

            I think people are angry like I’ve never seen.
            I just happen to think that violence is a simple, expedient pseudo-solution that becomes appealing to people who are incredibly frustrated and that alarms me. Over time, violence is incredibly counter-productive, short-sighted, tragic, and wasteful.

            I’ve sat out elections (feeling guilty, but I’ve done it) because I simply could not stand to perpetuate the continued rape of the nation of my childhood by idiots, wingnuts, free marketeers, nor assorted limp-wristed, wussy Dems who are all talk and no action.

            I’m more of the ‘we’re American’s‘ in the sense of Woodstock, garage bands, children’s choirs, Rotary Clubs, Hollywood musicals, high school marching bands, and get-it-done even if you’re only using strapping tape mentality.

            That’s a good source of energy for a new, post-punk, post-nihilist, post-debt economy kind of Progressivish wing of the old Democratic party.

            What it’ll be, and who it will attract, I don’t know.
            But I do believe that it is preferable to nose-holding, and also to sitting out elections.

            There need to be, as magnetic stated, far better candidates running for office. But for that to happen, the cesspool of money-driven, ad-driven, corporately-underwritten elections has to be cleaned up.

        • bobschacht says:

          bmaz,
          Unfortunately, its not just Obama. It is becoming standard campaign tactics to absorb the parts of your opponent’s campaigns that get the most traction. Obama is not the first to have done this. He absorbed the best features of the Edwards platform, so that he represented Edwardism without Edwards. And he absorbed the Third Way DLC Clinton methodology. Remember the big thing when HRC was being considered for SOS about retiring her campaign debt? I’ll bet that one part of the deal that was made was that HRC’s campaign debt would be paid, but that the Clintons would give Obama a controlling interest in the DLC, which otherwise would have continued to serve as an independent political base.

          But this tactic works only for so long. Most of worry to me is that the DLC method is less visible to the public eye, and puts the robber barons in control. Obama may think that he can control this tiger, but he may be in over his head.

          Even if we threw Obama out, the process to select his replacement would be vulnerable to the same problems.

          Bob in AZ

          • bmaz says:

            Bob, I fear you are exactly right. In a sense, it is no longer about the person at the top, it is only about your voice and ability/power to influence that person irrespective of who it is.

      • orsonrollsover says:

        WRONG! Please explain why Obama was a no-brainer. Please. And if the explanation involves lesser-evilism…don’t bother.

        Obviously McCain is out of the question (no back-up required). But why does that leave only Obama? Maybe the problem is I just don’t see big differences between the two parties in terms of how they set the trajectory for this country.

        When I watched Obama give his Nobel speech, an occasion he used to explain why “OUR” wars are just, and also to talk about his belief in “American Exceptionalism…,” I kinda almost shat my pants. the reason: We have the head of the empire taking peace awards while escalating wars which cannot be honestly described as anything other than FUCKING GODDAMN WAR FUCKING CRIMES!!!, and yet some honest people on this blog talk about this guy in positive terms. Why have we all not given up on the entire democratic party? There are your progressive ideals, and then there are Obama admin policy…careful that the growing (hopefully) cognitive dissonance doesn’t explode your head:)

        And this was easy to see before election day. So, I can’t take anybody serious on thsi blog when they talk about Obama having been a no-brainer.

        I know I am new, and an outlier here in that I am a bit rude, but give me a fucking break! I came to this site after seeing great stuff from Jane Hamsher at FDL, and linking over here, but the discussion here is often disappointing…

        Did I f-ing miss something here? Is the US not an evil frigging Empire? Did I just get that completely wrong?

        • openhope says:

          I understand,grasshopper. You are finding your voice regarding political/intellectual passion. This is a blessing and a curse. Well done!
          If I hear your undertone, are you ready to consider moving beyond the blogs and back into the streets?..?
          I don’t know a real alternative during a media blackout.

    • figaro says:

      We were shut out of the discussion for being naive, irrational, or extremist. The left of the left if you will.

      • eCAHNomics says:

        Well, the message about O’s cravenness, completely obvious in his economics apppointments, certainly fell on unfriendly ears. But several of us prersisted and are still sometimes castigated for always being so negative.

  14. cbsunglass says:

    How ironic it is that if Dems come through fairly unscathed in 2010 and Obama wins re-election in 2012, even if by a slim margin, it will signal to the establishment just how effective their triangulation strategy is. Anti-corporatists will be further marginalized, if possible, and we will be banished to the desert once again. Here’s hoping for a big Democratic defeat in 2010. At least then we will have Republicans as well as Democrats to kick around again. It is surprising to me that the Administration seems so unconcerned about their precipitous drop in approval. However, I do know that beltway Dems and Democratic Party progressive radio personalities and bloggers are beginning to notice and to blame all us rabble rousers for a large part of the problem. Some even suggest that the anti-corp movement is simply the spawn of a couple of bad apples. We will know just how effective we are in getting their attention when their decible levels increase, probably around September, 2010.

    • quake says:

      How ironic it is that if Dems come through fairly unscathed in 2010

      The Rethugs have drunk the Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin KoolAid, so the only choice in the general election is the Dems. So the key is the Dem primary. Let’s see how many (if any) DLC-types can be defeated.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Stiffing activist groups, who got out the donations and the vote for candidate Obama, by quietly telling big money not to give to them, while publicly praising them, is as cynical as George Bush taking picture after publicity picture with community groups whose funding he was about to cut.

    That looks like the change Rahma & Bahma wanted was for a Democratic control to mimic Karl Rove. He seems to have achieved that.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Bush wanted to return America to its Robber Baron days. Mr. Obama seems pretty happy with the days of Mark Hanna, too. Average Americans didn’t do so well then. Their workplaces and workplace management were often horrific, they died young, were paid little, witnessed their country acquire the old Spanish empire in the Pacific and Caribbean, and soldiered through the Spanish American and First World Wars.

    Mr. Obama is supremely confident, always has been. Like the Six Million Dollar Fund Raiser, he’s better, smarter, faster, smoother. But in the end, he’s just a Chicago pol. Which means he can be beaten at the polls and beaten in policies. But we have to expect not to have the garbage collected for weeks on end and maybe even have the water shut off and city hall jobs lost in a heartbeat. But hey, it’s politics to him. For us, it’s work, families and our daily bread.

  17. openhope says:

    I think Sibel Edmonds has a lot to say about this exact problem over at boilingfrogspost.com.
    And the book salon schedule-thinkers were talking about Chicago Style Politics.
    Personally, I’m so not interested in polls and tallies. They don’t mean shit except to the people who think they do.
    Kind of reminds me of the George Bush blooper Air America played. Talking about the dangers and complexities of Barriers and Tariffs in the trade agreements.”There are many Terriers and Bailiffs out there…”
    Yeah,..we the people call that Congress, those Terriers and Bailiffs. /s/

  18. Sara says:

    I for one am not all that surprised that post election, Obama and his Campaign Managers were not all that interested in keeping much of the campaign organization together. They are intended to be disposable, and unless the participants themselves generate their own internal means of staying “fired up” they generally do die rather quickly. Campaigning is not the same thing as governing — and it is a good idea for political activists to comprehend this.

    Now Obama has done some important things for his volunteer base, and these need to be recognized. I’d put in top position his near elimination of the subsidies to the Banksters for Student Loans, and the conversion of the program to the Direct Loan program. For those who must borrow for College and Grad School, this probably will save them several thousand dollars each, with much more latitude for selecting a lower paying profession (such as teaching), and forebearance for unemployment in this economy. I am told the subsidies (Out of the Stimulius) for community college students in needed vocational programs are significant. But one would not know about that if you were just watching the news, or reading progressive blogs. Obama got a good headstart on reform of “no child left behind” testing rules and all with his “Race for the top” billions in grants in the stimulus package (ooh are Republicans mad about that one), and the Senate HELP Committee put off actually re-writing the rules on this till this year because of the need to focus on Health Care — but in 2010 they will take this up, and expect big changes. I think Progressives need to pay attention to this — and how it coordinates with state and local efforts to fund and improve K-12 education. Lots more people are concerned about kiddie education than FISA rules, me thinks.

    I expect Obama to be harder on the Banksters and Finance types this year than last. Last year he had them on IV’s in intensive care wards, but this year the debate will be about re-regulation. Since I don’t think his objective was to destroy the US and World Finance and Banking system, he had to spend last year on first aid, but he has earned some chops now, and can afford to demand performance under regulation. Yes, Anarchists might think destroying the whole system appropriate, and yes, it almost destroyed itself — but Obama used political capital to salvage, so now he can make demands. I don’t really think it makes all that much difference how much Obama got from these guys in campaign funds, what dictated the policy was the state of play in the world financial markers in the fall of 2008, and the need to avoid collapse. The fact of no collapse now opens the way to demands for reforms. Where in the hell is the progressive voice for this?

    Bmaz — what kind of dog is that Polar Bear? Looks exactly like one of my former Siberian Huskies, Froken Alexandria fra Udsigt, who died at the age of 18 on my bedroom floor after an extra long lovely life, including mothering 12 puppies. Froken had a marvelous talent — she could cure headaches. For some reason her system electricity was such that if you had one, and she allowed you to put your head on her curled up doggieness, the headache would disappear. No pills needed. Froken’s ashes were used to make a small bed of lemon day lillies, but I wish I had her again as the 6 week old pup I started with.

  19. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    He noted the plight of Muslims but has done little if anything new or different to change that. He talked about not wanting to occupy Muslim land, yet has escalated the state of doing so. He talked about terror from Muslim lands on poor little America, all the while he has geometrically enlarged the number and scope of mass killings of Muslims with freaking drones.

    Okay, first to say “Muslims” is kinda like saying “Christians”… it’s the barest, simplest form of simplification.

    My Dutch Reformed pentacostalist kin are about as distantly ‘Christian’ from my local post-Vatican II Catholic activist parishoners as a bee is to a hawk.

    So you’re saying that Egyptians are identical to Pakistanis? Who are also identical to Saudis? Who are also identical to Iranians? Who are also identical to Indonesians?

    I know, it’s wrong of me: you have a cold.
    I should not be so cranky.
    But sheesh (!).

    He’s supposed to turn around 60 years of American activities all by his lonesome in the space of 11 months?! Oh, and with Michael Oren and the neocons bellicosely shrieking that we must bomb, bomb, bomb… A Certain Nation.

    That same nation where, evidently, former revolutionary Moussavi — who appears to exhibit what’s best in the human spirit apparently is coming to terms with his likely death at the hands of some thuggish predator who lusts after controlling oil and black nukes? Gimme strength!

    Action has to be preceded by words.
    Those are sometimes called ‘a speech’.

    And FWIW, I don’t think that alabama is harrassing you in the least.
    I think s/he is prodding you to consider a more nuanced view; true, blogs offer a fairly polemical medium in some cases. But it is also true that some of the events we watch contain levels of ambiguity that are inherent in their nature.

    I’m with alabama in this assessment:

    As for me, I don’t much worry about the good or the bad of Obama’s deeds, because I find them remarkably hard to fathom. I don’t get the scale, the stakes, or the time-scheme for the given detail, and not for lack of effort on my part.

    With Bush it was always the reverse: his deeds were the very model of transparency. He gave us eight long years that were free of ambiguity, free of promise, free of irony, free of intellectual labor. And I can certainly understand why some folks would miss the man.

    But I’m also with bobschacht in the sense that if you listen to (or read) Obama’s autobiography, it’s extraordinary. The man has an ear for language and an eye for gesture.

    Blankfein should have listened to “Audacity of Hope” before he got stuck in the fog in New York. Stupid, stupid man. I can’t wait to see how that little bit of insolent obtuseness plays out.

    • bmaz says:

      Go read the speech. That is the exact amorphous term and style you complain of that Obama used throughout. That was his focus, I was simply responding to you within the parameters Obama focused on and the word he ritually used.

      Yes, Obama has a wonderful biography, that is all well and good; it is the dichotomy between what he sold himself as and what he is that troubles me, along with the casual disdain he shows for the activist base that put him where he is. Constitutionally, he has been abhorrent to date while in office; simply pitiful in the direction he has had his Administration and DOJ take.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        I agree that the Messiafication of Obama is worrying; always has been, always will be. I think anyone who’s not actually been involved in a government or legal process is most susceptible; those of us who’ve wanted to fall asleep at meetings, received wrong (or evasive, or downright deceitful) information are probably more realistic about the fact that any complex process is likely to be flawed and messiah adulation is dangerous.

        As for his being amorphous, I wasn’t complaining about it.
        I think he has to be.
        That’s key to his success on many topics.

        Yes, he ‘sold’ himself.
        But also, people imagined him as whatever they want him to be, or whatever they need him to be.
        The man is just a man.

        The thing that I do believe is critical is for people to remain optimistic, outraged at being stolen from, and have a sense that wrongs can be righted.

        It’s been a year when more unexpected sources of opposition have tried to stop anything that Obama represents; we’re in a riptide of social and demographic and economic changes.

        I think we should all read TBogg more often, and laugh more heartily.

        Other than that, I got nuttin’.

        • bmaz says:

          I don’t disagree with that necessarily; but keep in mind that the biggest mandate and momentum from the electoral public he was ever going to have is now squandered and, as to opposition from the GOP, I don’t think one lick of that was unexpected. I would have been shocked beyond belief if it had not been so. The Democrats have had a huge majority in the House, and a 60 seat caucus in the Senate since early July when Franken was sworn in. Yes many of them are lame, but they are subject to pressure and Obama has refused to use it; he has either let them run him around, or that was his goal to start with. Neither is positive. So, yes, it was just his first year; but it was the best window he is likely to have. And all the Constitutional and legal stuff that is what most drives me insane; you sure can’t blame that on the Republican Congressional opposition, they were purely the calls of the Administration. And, short of the OLC release, the decisions and directions have been pretty poor across the board.

          • Sara says:

            “And all the Constitutional and legal stuff that is what most drives me insane; you sure can’t blame that on the Republican Congressional opposition, they were purely the calls of the Administration. And, short of the OLC release, the decisions and directions have been pretty poor across the board.”

            Bmaz, look — how many voters actually calculate constitutional and detailed legal issues in how they vote? I can’t frankly think of an election ever decided on these matters. Yes, it is important to you and it is also important, but it is simply not a voting issue unless it can be ripped as a “soft on …..” type thing.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              In fact, to bmaz’s point:

              …but keep in mind that the biggest mandate and momentum from the electoral public he was ever going to have is now squandered and, as to opposition from the GOP, I don’t think one lick of that was unexpected.

              I’d respond that your earlier point above — about Obama delivering on removing the third party paybooth from student loans — is one big step for many Obama voters.

              I was surprised at what an intense issue the cost of education was at my precinct caucus — much larger than I’d expected! You bet that group of voters is following that issue.

              Are they disgusted about Abu Gharib?
              Of course.
              But their ability to get through college (or make sure their kids get through college, or that research fellowships exist) is a bigger issue for them.

              As for the old saw that the first year is the end-all-be-all, we’re living in times when historical analogies seem less and less likely to predict things in the future.

              In the past, the first year was critical.
              I think the underlying economic issues are so profound and go so deep that Obama’s going to have plenty of opportunities to move on financial reform and rebuild momentum.

              I thought Sara’s analysis made a ton of sense.
              This year was fraught with plugging a lot of dikes.
              Next year, he’ll have to start moving.

              The GOP was still shocking; it’s one thing to know intellectually they are idiots. It’s quite another to see the 70-year-old Grassley hollering about ‘death panels’ and see that oily Ensign unable to answer why mommy and daddy had to pay off his mistress’s family.
              What a clown show.

              • bmaz says:

                A modicum of relief on the student loan issue, when he still left a whole lot of ground for skimming by the private companies, is piss little to be proud of. For a miniscule fraction of what we fork over to banksters, the entire student loan system could have been federalized at an enormous public savings and benefit. That this is considered one of his big achievements is fucking pitiful.

                • posaune says:

                  And now private lending for student loans (not Stafford or Perkins) has dried up.
                  There’s going to be a bunch, a whole bunch of small private colleges going under this year.
                  And those will be local jobs & health care that anchored little communities since the 1970’s.

                  The thing that bit me the most on student loans (my $80K loans) was the 10% origination fee that comes off the top of the loan right to the bank! So, a $7,500 generates a $750 payment up front for the bankers and the student gets $6,750. Whoever heard of a 10% return at the front of the loan?

                  And Obama didn’t change that at all!!

      • klynn says:

        Too funny.

        But seriously, can we “pin point” the defined power Rahm is consolidating and “who” or “what” he is consolidating it for? Power is a broad term and defining the specific powers behind the power Rahm is consolidating will reveal the depth of the end game.

        Power grabs and consolidation have significant end games. The outcome is the driving motivation for the power grab.

        This is beyond power for power’s sake.

  20. JTMinIA says:

    Slightly OT, but Frank Rich seems to be a bit color-focused. What the heck did Tiger Woods’ image have to do with not having affairs? Nada. So the parallel doesn’t exist. The only things they have in common are that people are disappointed in them and that only one of each of their parents wasn’t black.

      • Loo Hoo. says:

        Yes.

        SAN FRANCISCO—The federal judge presiding over an upcoming trial on California’s same-sex marriage ban says he is considering seeking permission to broadcast the proceedings.

        The governing body for federal courts in western states last week approved a pilot program that would for the first time allow the use of cameras in civil trials being decided by judges instead of juries.

        In an order issued Wednesday, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said he wants to record of Webcast a Jan. 6 pretrial hearing as a test run for the trial where he will consider a constitutional challenge to California’s voter-approved gay marriage ban, known as Proposition 8.

        The lawyers representing Proposition 8’s sponsors have said they oppose having the trial broadcast outside the courtroom.

  21. Fenestrate says:

    I feel the need to chime in on the ambiguity of politicians issue. All politicians are ambiguous, in their words, their goals, and their deeds. They don’t like to be pinned down. It’s in their nature.

    When they’re not being ambiguous, as some claim Bush wasn’t, then they are being downright secretive.

    Earlier alabama said this about bmaz:

    What you have instead is a craving, really a passion, for certainty, where you know “exactly” what’s going on. But politics is the practice of ambiguity, and the more artful the practice, the more ambiguous the politician who practices it. And when you see this, you become enraged, and drives you to mobilize all your mighty forensic and prosecutorial skill and knowledge to the conjuring away of the ambiguity.

    This seems intended as a criticism. What it really is, is a job description. This is the mindset we want from journalists, whether tradmed or newmed.

    Maybe I was raised funny, but I’ve always felt that it is a peculiarly American trait to not trust politicians. We know they distract, misdirect and down right lie. We expect it. We also expect our journalists to keep them honest. To pin them down. And yes, to give praise when due. The shame is that lately so few journalists have been doing their job.

    Let’s face it, if we trusted our politicians, once we elected them, we’d just forget them and let them get on with it. No doubt the politicians would love that. But we know, if we don’t keep at least half an eye on them, they will wander. They’ll forget just why we elected them.

    Rather than making conversation difficult, or fruitless, as alabama claims, bmaz, ew, Jane, etc. make conversation possible.

    Dog bless the gadflys.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      This seems intended as a criticism. What it really is, is a job description. This is the mindset we want from journalists, whether tradmed or newmed.

      Amiably, I simply want to point out that I read it differently; more as an observation.

      ‘Conjuring away ambiguity’ is also a useful intellectual exercise; it helps one get clear about cause, effect, etc.

      But it has its limitations.
      Not being judgemental; simply trying to think through the nature of this particular topic.

      • Fenestrate says:

        Yeah, I could have read that wrong, it just struck me funny. I am one of the many fighting off the flue (I didn’t even allow myself one drink last night). Maybe that’s it.

        The only limitation of ‘conjuring away ambiguity’ that I see is that it doesn’t always make obvious what to do once you’re clear on cause, effect and what not.

  22. Loo Hoo. says:

    OT again.

    North Korea called for an end of hostile relations with the United States in a New Year’s message and said it was committed to making the Korean peninsula nuclear-free through negotiations.

    Sorry, I love this discussion, and am still hopeful about Obama. I appreciate Sara and rOTL’s opinions, then get whiplash with you, bmaz. We shall see.

  23. openhope says:

    Sibel Edmonds has an excellent piece up about Rahm and Chicago Politics. Seems all great minds are thinking alike these days.
    Serious stuff.

  24. FromCt says:

    So it comes down to what to do about it. bmaz has barred me from posting about the only real “remedy” or signal of our absolute objection and opposition to this president and his deeds and agenda, available under the Constitution.

    The way GINI has widened since the 70’s, the ever increasing consolidation of wealth and power effected by the top one percent, logically results in the tactics we are witnessing. The folks at the top know that they have to avoid antagonizing us to the point of a violent, populist pushback, or at best, the emergence of a Cesar Chavez like “leader”.

    Engineering the Obama, “candidate for change” victory only postpones the inevitable. I want to send a strong political signal to Obama, and I don’t see the methods described in bmaz’s last paragraph to be all that intimidating to Orhama and their controllers, effective, or symbolic.
    Further, more severe economic shocks, job losses, and chronic underemployment are all coming. It’s probably already too late, but I am certain we need a more forceful reaction to Obama and his string pullers than bmaz is willing to serve up. We need a reaction commensurate with what is at stake if we don’t start taking concentrated power and wealth away from these thugs, instead of being duped into giving them more, if you believe that politics is the mechanism, in place of violence of stemming further concentration of wealth and power, vs. the siezing and redistribution of both, from the few to the many.

  25. openhope says:

    In terms of moving into our communities, well, streets. Did you know it’s actually illegal to feed homeless people in many public settings.?. It was a crack down on Food Not Bombs and other community action groups. Little things like this in our communities we can gain control of. It doesn’t have to start off huge.

      • openhope says:

        Another bonus to breaking bread together in the parks is the grandmothers who love to do these things. Never underestimate good times together as a community.. Food,music. Doesn’t have to be big, just “open” to the neighborhood public. For that stuff, you might need the church ladies and the grandmothers to break the ice!!!

  26. orsonrollsover says:

    back into the streets? Indeed. But I started out in the streets…if I hadn’t already understood certain facts about our government, I must have begun to when 8 cops beat my ass for marching for the rights of undocumented workers at the border…and never once did I see a democratic politician out there marching with us…I saw Bob Filner try to co-opt some anti-war stuff we organized, but I understand this one thing: change NEVER comes top down…I remember grade school history telling me Lincoln freed slaves, but that specific tid-bit of history turned out to be lacking a bit of context…But I remember with stunning ferocity the day I realized wage labor was a form of slavery…indeed, a form of slavery supported by both our political parties. I can’t support a party that upholds these and many other travesties of justice.

    I believe we have no other choice but to organize outside of traditional institutions…Coalitions of independent organizations working together at the grassroots level is a powerful thing, but we continue to see these coalitions being co-opted…I saw it with the anti-war movement, and I saw it with the anti prop 8 initiative in California, and the answer is always to elect their next great candidate to fix the problem, but that is an insult to our intelligence.

    I would rather fight cops in the street for my rights than go to a voting booth and decide which of two candidates can protect my rights and move the country towards sanity–especially after they were already narrowed down for me by political party machines and the corporate media (suckers of satan’s cock, as the great Bill Hicks might say)…

    So yeah, I say take it to the streets…

  27. magnetics says:

    I am not disappointed, because I was never for him. I was a Hillary partisan who had planned to sit out the 2008 election (having voted Dem in every presidential contest since McGovern) — I only voted for him in the end because I became so frightened of Palin.

    Frankly I always thought the guy was a four flusher, but he has turned out worse than even I feared.

    They said of Nixon that only Republican could open China; beware lest it someday be said of Obama that only a Democrat could roll back the New Deal and Great Society. Look to the shock doctrine. If the economy dips again into recession in 2010, there will be deficit fever like you’ve never seen it, and more stimulus will paid for (so to speak) by uprooting Social Security and Medicare.

    You read it here first.

  28. orsonrollsover says:

    ok…maybe I wasn’t explicit enough…the system needs to be changed…that is, thrown out and replaced by whatever the hell we can agree on that is better…sure, we need politically adept leaders for any movement, but we do not need establichment peeps..

    So, i agree with you, it doesn’t have to be the way it always has been…in fact, if real change is to come, first perhaps a real change in the way we try to accomplish these ends is required…

    • Rayne says:

      And the female candidate we had would have ensured a divergence away from corporatism?

      The real problem we’ve had for a very long time is a lack of real progressives in the pipeline who could make the journey all the way to the White House.

      The progressive movement is still nascent, still at least another couple of terms away from producing a solidly stacked farm team.

      • PJEvans says:

        I don’t think gender makes that much difference.

        Right now, and for the foreseeable future, the candidates have to be screened by the corp-rats, so what we get will be a corp-rat, regardless of biology.
        How do we get around that part of the unwritten system?

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        I agree the progressives have never ruled the day.

        Perhaps the seeds are being sown.

        I voted for McGovern and would support Kucinch in a heart beat

        I supported Hilary before Obama, and got wack-a-doodled.

        She is a better manager than Obama, and I liked her style.

        But, it ain’t goin happen.

        As I firmly believe a bad Dem is better than the best Repub, so yes

        I would go for a third party, but it ain’t goin happen yet unless

        I’m misreading the tea leaves…

        • orsonrollsover says:

          firm belief that a bad dem is better than the best repub?…..lesser-evilism works for some things,,example: if I already decided to debase my self through fast food consumption, I might pick Wendy’s over McDonald’s (rediculous example, I know)…however, the lesser evilism concept can’t go further

          Look what it has got us today: Obama (democrats) less evil than McCain (republicans)…yeah, and the much preferred Obama still escalated the war in Afghanistan, still basically said a big FUCK YOU to the millions of uninsured, still continues to let the corporations write legislation, still fully supports the revolving door that exists in Washington….look, corrupt and bankrupt mean 2 things: 1) corrupt; and 2) bankrupt; these two qualities represent both the dems and the repubs, and never will you find (unless history is a poor predictor) a decent president coming out of either party…

          perhaps the conversion process that needs to take place is akin to how hard it was for me to fully let go of religion: I was raised hardline pentacostal until I was nine, and it took me three years to stop saying grace for all my meals, even after I had already decided against religion…

          some things are just dug inand it may be hard to make the transition, but you need to in my opinion..FUCK democrats (not their supporters, but the party, its philosophy-whatever the fuck that is, and especially FUCK the pols-and that includes Obama)…

          Come on! You have to be able to reject the lesser evilism argument

      • ManwithaParachute says:

        “And the female candidate we had would have ensured a divergence away from corporatism?

        Who really knows what HRC would have done? Sometimes conservative means pragmatic resistance to anything.

        Obama is not necessarily doing a bad job in the “war”. I think he is doing a wasteful job. Al Quaeda is the enemy. Using an Army is less than smart. Spec Ops would be the way to go if one really was interested in success. The recent data on what we are doing outside of Iraq and Afghanistan gives me some hope that Obama is serious about winning/ending this generational mistake. Unfortunately,even if he is serious, he is weak to the point of cow towing to the neo cons and furthering our financial ruin. The big difference I believe we would have seen if HRC were to have been President is she would have stood up to the mental midgets on the right. For all of Obama’s supposed intelligence, he cannot seem to stand up to all the old Southern white gentlemen with barely a grade school education. I am sure most folks have had to deal with a previous generation with archaic knowledge and/or useful wisdom. Respect and appreciation is not the same as what Obama has done. All these Republicans have his number. He is like the turdy nerd in the classroom who can’t even understand that the guys picking on him are not doing it because they like him. They keep him around for group sport. I can’t help but think HRC would have managed these clowns better.

        • Raven says:

          so you think if, indeed, we were using more special ops that we would advertise it?

          manwithoutaparachute (leg)

          • ManwithaParachute says:

            “so you think if, indeed, we were using more special ops that we would advertise it?”

            What is your point? We have been in this regional conflict for longer than WWII. Only recently is there any significant evidence that we have been using Spec Ops. Part of the utilization of Spec Ops is the advertising of the success. Not directly. But, definitely to the targets. Shake the hornets nest and then they get busy. While they get active, they also become better targets.

            Yes, we do advertise it when we are successful. Spec Ops are by definition our terrorists.

            “manwithoutaparachute (leg)”

            Cute. Very cute.

            • Raven says:

              “Not directly. But, definitely to the targets.”

              that’s my point

              you don’t like it that I identified myself as non-airborne. . . sorry, I was just a low-life remf.

    • nomolos says:

      It’s pretty obvious: We need a Woman President…

      Well there was one running the last time but she was, sensibly, rejected. The non-woman winner turns out to be just as bad and cut from the same DLC cloth. What we need is a person who has not been bought and paid for and therefor we need to have a different system than the one now in place.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Let me explain…

        Men have fucked up for years, time for a change…

        Not necessarily Hilary, definitely not Palin.

        We don’t need any macho shit..

        • eCAHNomics says:

          Macho shit is the definition of a leader. Women leaders would have exactly the same characteristics as male leaders. It’s the alpha male thing. Humans are different from chimps with only a thin veneer. King of the Mountain has the full study.

          • ManwithaParachute says:

            “Macho shit is the definition of a leader.”

            Whatever MACHO means? I get the simplistic understanding – it is common.

            The sign of a leader is a person who can say NO and mean it. For all the bluff and bluster NO is more powerful than YES. One of the ways a middle manager gets shit done is to avoid the decision point of superiors. Ask forgiveness rather than permission. Usurp the authority and move on. If you are successful then the boss learns to trust you.

            Obama backs down on everything so you can be sure that Janet Napolitano is looking for work this very minute. Obama will not stand up to the cries for her head on a platter.

            • eCAHNomics says:

              Alpha male, or the macho shit, defines the overwhelming majority of all leaders of all countries in the 20th century, in the study in the book I linked. It’s bioevolution. Political greatness can be an entirely different matter from being an alpha male. On Ludwig’s PGS, the leaders vary all over the lot. PGS includes 10 items, such as something from nothing; more than before; staying power; military prowess during reign; social engineering; economic prosperity; statesmanship; ideology; moral examplar; political legacy. FYI, the highest score on the PGS was Ataturk, with a 31. FDR got a 30. The lowest was Marthinus Theunis Steyn of Orange Free State, with a 2.

                • eCAHNomics says:

                  He got a 15, which barely kept him in the top third. If you look at the list of characteristics, his assassination obviously cut his career short and downgraded him on at least one of the items. But indeed, it’s hard to make a mark if you have very little time to do it.

                  • BayStateLibrul says:

                    Great. So for this argument, you could say that the jury is still out

                    on Obama… (I like to give our leaders a little breathing room before

                    lowering the boom-boom).

                    • ratfood says:

                      U.S. presidents are at a slight disadvantage when this formula is applied because they cannot spend more than eight years at the top of the power structure. FDR ranks higher than any other president in part because he served three full terms and was elected to a fourth.

                      Probably the key thing in regard to Obama is that regardless of whether he serves one or two terms he isn’t really changing anything. Washington was and will remain a money pipeline to corporate interests.

                    • OldFatGuy says:

                      Ever wonder if FDR had been a Republican whether we’d have the 22nd amendment to the Constitution? I’d bet money on NOT.

                      And thought of an extension to your t-shirt idea last night. Probably stupid, but, here goes.

                      “I Voted For CHANGE, and after the Lying Asshole was done, this t-shirt and a little CHANGE in my pocket is all I got”

                      …definitely needs some more serious work.

                    • OldFatGuy says:

                      Yeah, I think I do too.

                      Are they for sale yet?

                      Listening to Noam Chomsky in another window on DemocracyNow wrt Gaza, One Year Later.

                      Dood knows his shit

                    • ratfood says:

                      Not for sale but feel free to have one or many printed with my blessing. As I told Kelly, if you get rich you have to buy me a soda.

                    • ManwithaParachute says:

                      ““I Voted For CHANGE, and after the Lying Asshole was done, this t-shirt and a little CHANGE in my pocket is all I got””

                      I voted for Change but, I got was this T-shirt and the banks took my change. Obama is going to send me a bill.

                    • eCAHNomics says:

                      It is also important to note that the Political GREATness Scale is not the same as a Political GOODness Scale would be. Many of the high ranked leaders, especially the “visionaries” who changed the entire society during their reign, changed it for the worse, like Stalin, Mao.

                  • ratfood says:

                    Longevity appears to be a huge factor. The top three, Mao, Stalin, FDR all spent unusually long periods at the top of their respective power pyramids.

              • nomolos says:

                Damn, the information that pops out of the Lake is truly amazing. When can we expect a PGS rating for the last few presidents?

                • eCAHNomics says:

                  I’m trying to convince Bev to have Ludwig in for a book salon. And then you could ask him. Email Bev and encourage her to do that.

              • ManwithaParachute says:

                “PGS includes 10 items,…..”

                My intent is not to negate any of this but I find it can ALL be boiled down to saying NO and meaning it. If you can stick to your “no” answers then, people will follow you. People will depend on you. People will trust you.

                Part of the art of leadership is not saying no when you cannot back it up. All great breaks in history come from “NO”. “Truth to power” is a NO.

                MLK,Jr. was a NO.
                Ghandi was a NO.
                The American Revelution was a “NO”.

                • eCAHNomics says:

                  I go for more depth in my analysis. Cherry picking you can certainly find examples to fit your hypothesis. But Ludwig studied all leaders of all countries in the 20th century.

            • nomolos says:

              On the subject of women who would be “qualified”, what ever the hell that is, how about Annise Danette Parker in Houston? She seems to be a woman of principle and not one to back down in the face of “superior beings” telling her to shut up and sit down.

                    • nomolos says:

                      I well remember going to the Fenway bleachers for 50¢ and seeing a double header and have sat for many an excruciatingly long Patriots game in Sheafer Stadium, before that at Harvard and Fenway Park, but now in The Razor. I have also been at the Garden many times when Russ, the Jones boys and the rest were winning at will. Yep I lived in Boston for years after coming from Ireland back in the days of Louise Day Hicks et al. I burned my draft card on the Common. I still think she is a political whore.

        • orsonrollsover says:

          we, the thinking people of the united states of our fucking imagination hold this truth to be self evident: Hillary Clinton is evil…

      • orsonrollsover says:

        I’m just wondering…can we just state that we need to throw capitalism out the fucking window? Enough about “we need to change the system,” without clarifying what is meant!

        Do people have some other system in mind? For my part, I think we should move toward socialism…at a minimum, we need to move toward a system where something like health insurance isn’t based on profit…I know, i know, pie in the sky, right. well, let’s see what possibilities open up in the coming year, and how we can open those possibilities up…we have Michael moore declaring capitalism evil, and we have some solidarity with our sisters and brothers several countries south of us…

        we need to start making connections with our counterparts in other countries…that is a MUST…after all, the powerful who run our country sure are great at finding solidarity with their counterparts everywhere…(rambling over now:)

  29. anga19 says:

    bmaz thanks.

    Your words are so direct, clear and reading correctly where people’s awareness is moving towards. And this is so reassuring.

    The time of being subdued to our own desire of a big figure, a spell that keeps emotional attachment going seems to have done its course for many of us. In psychology the necessary phase of attachment is followed by a sort of separation phase. It may be understanbly accompanied by a sense of uncertainty, a loss of hope and purpose and a wavering.

    So we are moving towards the political maturity phase and I think this is the case for all of us North American people.

    Back to reading the comments.

  30. jenmarie says:

    Too many people seem to forget the great split in the Dem Party during the primaries. Many were screaming as loud as they could “you’re being hoodwinked!!” but were marginalized, called names, and run off blogs.

    None of this is a surprise to a great many who saw Obama for what he was. A slick marketing tool who would likely ensure an end to a Democratic majority for generations. And perhaps that’s what needed to happen to a Party that has been infiltrated to the point of being non-recognizable as an opposition party.

  31. nomolos says:

    Be careful wishing for something that may well come to haunt. We could well end up with Kay Bailey, Michelle Bachman, Mary Landrieu or any one of a number of crazies. Remember England had MAggie THatcher for a number of years and how did that wok out for them. A bought and paid for woman is no better or worse than a bought and paid for man. They are both whores, only the sex is different.

  32. Adie says:

    Whoosh! Here’s to the New Year, and THANKS to bmaz and everyone else who comments here.

    There’s no time for me to read through all the screed and comments carefully today, but a quick scan tells me the “old” FDL is back, and thoughtful and pithy as ever.

    For joy! Over the last many weeks, I thought for sure it was lost, just a vague dream that tickled my senses and made me think over the last few years, and spurred me to action. But a dream that was threatening to devolve into separate bitter pools of rancor with no place for meet-up of ideas.

    Thank you all! I’ve bookmarked and will return to savor this discussion , after I’ve satisfied my newest and most annoying New Years’ resolution: to accomplish something concrete each day before I begin lurking. [yeah, that dimwitted resolution is not destined to have a very long half-life. nope. no way. heh]

  33. Adam503 says:

    I knew Obama would be another Bill Clinton. I’m stunned at the sell out on torture and health care, though.

    Torture doesn’t work, and the whole rest of the world understands the only way to get health care costs down to within a reasonably low percentage of GNP is through a single payer system.

  34. jpik says:

    If Obama governed further to the left as some of you wish apparently, his approval rating would be around 30% rather than the not so good mid-high 40s. This country simply is not as left as the vast majority of you, not anywhere close.

    If he governed as the centrist he ran as much of the time, he’d be at 60% approval right now, and the losses in the upcoming election would be low. But he’s facing serious losses now because he has governed as a liberal. I understand that isn’t left enough for you folks, but most of us aren’t hard lefties.

    I am for the record mostly libertarian…..vote Republican but acknowledge they screw things up as well when running the show. I think a mixed government is best — gridlock minimizes the damage that stupid pols can do1

    • Adam503 says:

      That’s false, jpik.

      On issues, the American people poll test far more progressive than they vote.

      If Americans could vote according issues, there would be no Republicans left in the Senate, and maybe on 20-30 left in the House.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Accurate retort. Mr. Obama has governed neither as a liberal – that’s laughable – or a centrist – defined by anyone other than Joe Lieberputz. He’s a pretty solid ConservaDem.

        His legal positions are the best indicator. With his background, those are where he ought to be most informed, most connected to others, most inside his comfort zone, where he could most strongly support mainstream, pre-Bush understandings of the Constitution and civil rights. He has not done so. He resolutely supports the extremist Bush status quo. He just calls himself “centrist”, as does Joe Lieberputz. I can call myself the wealth-equivalent of Warren Buffett, but it won’t make it so.

        As you say, most Americans are left of this Congress and this president, and that would be a better indicator of where the center of the American political spectrum lies. Obama’s positions on health care are not only much more corporatist and conservative, his preferred legislation would actively harm Americans, while benefiting enough (“30” or so, this time, millions more “insured” rather than innocent dead on a battlefield) to make it look like he’s working hard to help them. His reforms would so ensconce current power players as to make it much harder to pursue real reforms – of any kind – for the rest of his one or two-term administration.

        Ditto his banking and consumer financial reforms. His choice of Rahm Emanuel as COS, second only to the president in authority inside the White House, closes the case.

        Mr. Obama’s is not the behavior of a true centrist or closet liberal, who would like to act more progressively, but who is held back by Realpolitik. He is a plain vanilla, run of the mill, corporatist. As Churchill said of Attlee (a true liberal reformer) after the Second World War, Mr. Obama is a sheep in sheep’s clothing.

        • RoyalOak says:

          I guess Obama chose the only path an African American Republican could chose – present yourself as a liberal because, racist citizenry or not, the people will believe you are liberal because you are African American.

          I had such high hopes for our country electing a man of mixed race. Now I feel like we just elected a cookie (chocolate wafers with a white cream filling).

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I think Obama is easily capable of segregating strategies to counter threats to his candidacy owing to his race from the opportunity to make the left and anti-Bushites coalesce long enough to get him elected.

            I think they are very different themes. The former may well be one of many issues cast as explanations for why the ConservaDem Obama can’t enact more liberal policies, why he can’t choose more liberal nominees, and why can’t express in his actions that he shares more priorities with the middle America that elected him.

    • solerso says:

      You fucking wish. If the health care bill isnt “fixed” by nixing the individual mandate, the next presidential election will become a mandate on that widely, universally hated PEICE OF CRAP. But hell we’re just getting started and the administrations tone deafness to what the electorate wants dosent bode well. Personally I dont buy your “im a right libertarian but i voted for the crypto – muslim – communist – for – the – sake – of – diversity crap. I think your an Obama fanboy/girl all the way from go. But no matter even if you are what you say you are, Obamas “favorability ratings” with self described “Libertarians” is in the toliet, and you are the very odd exception.

    • webfooteddem says:

      If he governed like a true Democrat and did some wonderful things for the people of this country, he wouldn’t have to be concerned about those ridiculous approval numbers….his legacy would be headed for “great.”

  35. solerso says:

    Audacity To Hope

    Change We Can Believe In

    Rule of Law

    Accountability

    Freedom From Lobbyists and Special Interests

    Privacy

    Harm From Illegal Surveillance

    Constitutional Scholar

    Transparency

    Predatory Business Practices

    Closing Guantanamo

    Withdrawing From Iraq and Afghanistan

    Thanks for the list because for me, one of the most infuriating parts of this whole sucker move has been the MSM and mainstream medias insistence that Obama never stood for, or sold us those things. they can claim we didnt read the fine frint, (some did) but that wont stiffle the outrage that people feel over it. Ive lived long enough to have been ripped off before, and a certainly feel like a sucker but its younger people im worried about. Or was that part of the story a sham too?

  36. wavpeac says:

    So…per my usual vague and therapist self…I am going to say this. I hope this year he focuses on regulating the banks. I don’t think he will though. Here is why. We don’t have the full story. I have said this repeatedly. Even today, when we read about the failure of Obama’s foreclosure prevention program http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/02/business/economy/02modify.html?hp=&pagewanted=all it’s not until 3/4 of the way through the article that it gets mentioned about the fees to the loan companies.

    I have said it over and over. The sub prime market is fraught with illegal fees and the foreclosure prevention program just caused these banks to roll the fees into the loans and people’s payments were reduced only slightly while the banks will be making big bucks. The fees and the illegal behaviors (made to force people into foreclosure so that MORE fees can accrue) are the problem. Deregulation is the problem. Lack of enforcement is the problem.

    My loan now bought by GMAC from Homecomings financial continues to do all the things they did before Obama…fearlessly. My pay off has increased because of these fees. All I want is a “legal” accounting of the fees which they have not responded to, twice, by my lawyer. (respa violation #4 but who’s counting…oh yeah, nobody cares). I would guess in the end I might come out okay. I can pay the current payment and have met it consistently. I have equity as I have been paying on this loan now for 9 years. But lots of other folks don’t know what is happening to them and it’s not in the media. The only people who have written and talked about this are Moyers and Bill Black from as far as I am aware. Obama speaks not one word of it.

    I don’t think he’s going to help us. I really think that perhaps Nader was right and trust me, I was totally pissed at Nader in 2001. I think he was right that both sides are too corrupt to represent our best interests.

    Until I see Obama speak truth to power about the illegality occurring in these loans…I do not have faith that he will confront the real problem.

    • ManwithaParachute says:

      “I have equity as I have been paying on this loan now for 9 years. But lots of other folks don’t know what is happening to them and it’s not in the media. The only people who have written and talked about this are Moyers and Bill Black from as far as I am aware. Obama speaks not one word of it.”

      I am in my home now for 8 years. I was fortunate enough to acquire the house at a price point which the previous owner had paid. I had a significant down payment and my interest rate was not too bad. Initially we went with a 15 year mortgage and we made extra payments. When the writing was on the wall in 2006, we refinanced into a 30 year loan. The market here has been slightly insulated by comparison to the rest of the state and certainly other parts of the country. We never missed a payment and we have always been early, and we had good equity still. Nevertheless, I was happy about Obama’s attempt to do something about foreclosures until I paid attention to the details and the subtleties of his words. Even though we could have used the “assistance” if we were to have received help, I decided to go with my gut and did not bother. I feared the plan with no restrictions would have given the banks more opportunity for a land grab.

      We took on a border. The rent money more than eases the burden.

      Right now the only thing I am interested in doing is refinancing with a local credit union

      • wavpeac says:

        My point is…and it’s doubtful you were exposed to these horrendous fees and to the basic loan sharking of your loan, if your credit was what you said. What has happened to any person with bad loan is that as soon as you are 30 days late the increasing of fees, and costs begins. It goes up at an incredible rate…so much so that even people who “could” have straightened out a problem over time, cannot do so. In my case it was a sudden stopping of 1000 a month in child support that caused me to become 30 days late on my loan. My point is that there is no discussion of these tactics, unless you google “Homecomings financial and fraud” or google “GMAC and fraud” and you will get countless posts out lining the exact same stuff that happened to me. Charges to cash my checks electronically at 10$ a month. Property inspection fees as soon as you are 30 days late. Lawyers fees (one month late and the only option is to refinance the late payment…you can’t just pay it when you get it…nope, they send those payments right back at you). Then the escrow accounts screw ups. Shortages, penalties. All of this eventually puts you 60 days behind as the fees and costs accrue.

        This is the nightmare under which costless millions have lost their homes. This is what we aren’t talking out or regulating. And this stuff is still in the loans that Obama’s plan supports. I know people who were seeing trouble ahead…and went to Obama’s plan. The loan company told them they HAD to be in foreclosure BEFORE they could participate in the plan. (this is not true by the way). The loan company counseled her not to pay her payment and then refinance. So she did just that. Then they rolled all these fees, lawyers fees, all the crap I just outlined in to her loan and guess what…??? It saved her 50 bucks a month and increased her loan amount. They decreased the interest rate but increased the mortgage amount.

        No one is telling this story. And Obama should be wiser than this!! But he is either unaware or really doesn’t care. Neither option makes me feel better. I don’t expect any change until I start hearing this truth about what the banks have been doing to sub prime home owners. Instead they just keep blaming the people with the loans and every body buys it because of course “these are folks who shouldn’t have been given loans to begin with”. But see…maybe both things are true. Maybe a large percentage of folks could have saved there loans if the loan sharking weren’t going on. Same with the credit card industry.

        In America…if you are poor…you pay more.

        • ManwithaParachute says:

          “This is the nightmare under which costless millions have lost their homes. This is what we aren’t talking out or regulating.”

          I feel for you and everyone who has, is, or will deal with this crap. I picked up the phone several times with intent to call for help. I have medical bills which are taking a hit on a regular basis and real help would have made life easier. Every time I picked up the phone, I had this voice in my head YELLING “hang up.”

          My gut has been telling me Obama has been bought and sold ever since Geithner was chosen. Obama’s approach, letting those who created, stood by and watched or were too stupid to see the problem be in charge of the solution is THE MOST incompetent choice IFF he has/had any desire to provide solutions. My belief is that he is intelligent and ALL of this shit is intentional as he is just a salesman for Wall Street. When I look at the totality of what is resulting in the housing crisis, I am doing with a systems analysis BENT. So, What is Wall Street’s system? Make money via transaction or destruction. The banks have made their money in stage one on the attempted acquisition of property the populace. Next, make money on the foreclosure of the property. Make money on the bailout. Make money on the “solution”. Make money on the solution to the solution. Make money as landlord. Make money on the growth in value of the property upon sale. Not to mention the money made on all the resulting small business bankruptcies. Remember the personal bankruptcy “reform”? People are still on the hook for that debt and every facility of credit and finance transaction will have fees attached. Mandated health insurance is just a way for the finance industry to close the loop on collecting fees for every breath you take. Given that there was a push for jail time associated with failure to buy insurance, I think the final step will involve “debtor’s prison” work camps.

          Yeah, yeah. I know. I am nuts – paranoid. Dark and scary.

          Well, not really. I am just familiar with mafia business tactics. Financial terrorism. Fascism. Sicilian Business ethics.

  37. Leen says:

    After watching Obama closely during his time in the Senate and his voting record it was evident he was always maneuvering towards the Presidency. Too safe, too non committal. I could not understand what all of the excitement was about. But got on the bus big time when he became the candidate.

    The packaging was genius. Although somehow I actually believe that at his core he is a single payer advocate, against unnecessary wars, etc. What people face when they actually make it into those positions has to be overwhelming. Still reserving judgment but keep pushing

  38. yellowsnapdragon says:

    [email protected]

    Indeed.

    And Obama’s numbers tanked as the Public Option disappeared. The fleeing peeps are O’s base, the progressives who worked to get the guy elected to begin with.

  39. Gitcheegumee says:

    Speaking of special ops and accountability, here is a NYT excerpt regarding the case of Blackwater :

    Sat Jan-02-10 03:19 AM

    January 2, 2010

    U.S. Lawyers Knew About Legal Pitfalls in Blackwater Case

    By MATTHEW L. WALD

    WASHINGTON — The sudden blow to the case against the former Blackwater security guards over a shooting that killed 17 Iraqis and wounded at least 20 may have come as a surprise to the public in Iraq and the United States, but the legal problem that the judge cited Thursday when he threw out the indictments was obvious to American government lawyers within days of the shooting.

    The issue was that the guards, as government contractors, were obligated to give an immediate report of what they had done, but the Constitution prevents the government from requiring a defendant to testify against himself, so those statements could not be used in a prosecution.

    Less than two weeks after the shootings in Nisour Square in Baghdad in September 2007, lawyers at the State Department, which employed the guards, expressed concern that prosecutors might be improperly using the compulsory reports in preparing a criminal case against them, according to the decision.

    The prosecutors were also concerned, even using what they called a “taint team” to try to prevent information in the guards’ compulsory statements from influencing the investigation, according to the 90-page ruling by Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District Court in Washington. The judge said the prosecutors had failed to take “common sense precautions” to avoid the problem.

    Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/02/us/02legal.html

    • nomolos says:

      The DOJ fucked up with Ted Stephens and now this bull. Man, Bush did a number on that branch of government that is going to take years to repair.

  40. OldFatGuy says:

    Outstanding post BMAZ!!!!

    And you know you did it right when the apologists come out and defend.

    And I STILL, after WEEKS, am waiting for just ONE of those apologists to apologize for Obama arguing before the SCOTUS and, in essence winning, the right for he, and he alone, with NO OVERSIGHT, NO CHECKS AND BALANCES, can declare a human being a non-person, and therefore not subject to Costitutional protections.

    King Obama. Defend THAT!

    Oh, and PLEASE with the “well FDR did this and Lincoln did that” stuff OK? Progressive means moving forward, not repeating our mistakes of the past. Our greatest President?? (Washington) allowed slavery. So, if we go back to repeat that, that would be ok too?

    Come on defenders of Obama. Defend that stance before SCOTUS. And defend that stance PERIOD. Because the best health care in the world, the best public education in the world, and the best and fairest economy in the world all mean ZIP if anyone at anytime can be disappeared. In essence he took away ALL OF EVERYONE’s rights, all at once. Would make W proud.

    I won’t hold my breath for any of the above defenders to respond to this.

    • s98101 says:

      Sadly, little of its thread is left. DU has pretty much become OU now, what with their bushist-like intolerance of anything criticizing obama.

  41. ezdidit says:

    While Republicans may think their path to electoral success resides in rousing populist anger through violent rhetoric, they are fomenting a progressive backlash that will play right into progressive hands. (The DeDe Scozzafava incident was hugely underrated; what happened to her was merely the tip of the iceberg.) It plays out strongly against Republican incumbents and Blue Dogs…because there is only one game in town for progressives.

    But Obama plays a dangerous one-term game if he thinks we are going to back him again without evidence of a strong fight for his campaign promises. (Keeping Rahm aboard would be “f**king stupid.”)

  42. aoyama says:

    If we were to introduce a full on public option, robust in every way, bridge to single payer, what would the scenario be for job transitions in the first 2 years. There are 5-6 million workers today in med admin and health insurance. Would we be able to transition say 20% of those jobs right away into other industries in the midst of a recession. Not asking rhetorically or with a pov, hoping for reference to a relevant post. Thx.

    • selise says:

      If we were to introduce a full on public option, robust in every way, bridge to single payer,…

      i’m pretty sure the public option is not a bridge to single payer — the organization and financing are all wrong. in fact, i now think that was part of the con (directed at progressives).

      • temptingfate says:

        Agreed.

        Had there even been some sort of public option that was reasonably effective the legislature and Obama could have simply pragmatically killed it as all of the military spending and financial bailouts produce the massive deficits that we currently are only on the leading edge of acknowledging. Kill the tree to save the dense forest.

        So long as the mandate gets passed with a minimum of fuss, we have a new line in the sand for the bought and paid for politicians to use as a starting point. Unlike the people that believe that the mandate and the excise tax are simply unimportant details, I see them as a cornerstone for policies going forward. I fully expect these two ideas to be applied to Medicare in the next year or so and there an outside chance that some variation finds its way into Social Security this year as well. They don’t have money without increased borrowing but they do have middle-class pockets we can rummage through.

        Like using the IRS as a collection agency for private insurers, setting the precedent of the government forcing people to purchase products, insurance or otherwise, from private vendors opens the door to significant change. The Rs had a lo of trouble passing Social Security privatization. There is now nothing that will stand in the way of the same push from the already compromised pseudo-liberals.

        The power of cognitive dissonance at work.

      • aoyama says:

        Thx. Still wondering if the health insurance bill might actually be a near term jobs savings bill for insurers and providers. Enonomy is not in shape to absorb 2 million new lost jobs. Regardless, this is the first of many difficult health care and cost debates to come – inevitable as the first boomers begin to retire this year. The cost trajectory is impossibly steep. Regulatory reforms on their own may not bend this curve sufficiently for the next generation and half. A much bigger overhaul is required, like single payer (or something else) that we can migrate to over a 5-10 year period. PO could have been an important first step, to provide universal and pricing pressure while unwinding and evolving in phases the existing infrastructure for healthcare coverage. But such a path became no go in this economy, so we have actually turned a health insurance cost reform bill into a health insurance jobs savings bill.

        To tie back to the post topic, it is possible the admin is not this powerful ruthlessly efficient machine with an all knowing game plan. It is possible they are, like everyone else, reeling from this economic crisis, on its heels, bailing water, being reactive more than proactive, trying to survive politically against the weight of the economic pressures which will only get worse. That there is no long term economic game plan, and they are hoping wall street can help because the govt and the fed can only do so much. So far we have just been throwing money at the crisis left and right, but the bailout costs and national debt are now well into uncharted territory. The admin as less machiavelli, more battlefield general.

        • bmaz says:

          Regardless, this is the first of many difficult health care and cost debates to come – inevitable as the first boomers begin to retire this year. The cost trajectory is impossibly steep. Regulatory reforms on their own may not bend this curve sufficiently for the next generation and half. A much bigger overhaul is required, like single payer (or something else) that we can migrate to over a 5-10 year period. PO could have been an important first step, to provide universal and pricing pressure while unwinding and evolving in phases the existing infrastructure for healthcare coverage. But such a path became no go in this economy, so we have actually turned a health insurance cost reform bill into a health insurance jobs savings bill.

          Well said, and I think exactly right. The only possible quibble I could have would be the thought, and it is just that, that this lousy economy could have, if the gameplan had been schemed out differently, been argued as the basis for single payer or alternative you describe. Probably would not have worked I guess, but I can envision the pitch.

          As to the second paragraph, is that possible? Sure. But the times called, and continue to call, for leadership to be far more proactive, bold, intelligent and visionary than that going along to get along you describe. Many Americans voted thinking they were getting such a new kind of leader, and that is, for better or worse, the point of my post. If this is battlefield generaling (okay that is not a word), it will not be soon replacing the lessons of Robert E. Lee at West Point.

          Not seen you here before. Welcome, wonderful comment and please join us often at Emptywheel.

        • fatster says:

          If, as they claim, uninsured millions will be able to access health care under “health care reform”, then a very large number of new jobs will become available to perform all the work necessary to enroll those millions in the “health care reform system”, make sure the care they receive results in a the necessary detailed claims for that care, and that reimbursement for the care is made. There will have to be a much larger workforce to meet those challenges. And that additional workforce will be required whatever the approach, whether perpetuating the wasteful health care insurance industry, providing care through some Public Option, Medicare for All, or whatever.

    • fatster says:

      Paperwork will continue, always. Each time a person is enrolled, considerable information will be collected, processed and permanently filed for them. Each time a person contacts the service systems, detailed information will be collected, processed and permanently filed for each encounter. On and on. And all this info will form the basis for claims for payment. As claims are received by the program administration, reviews will be made to ensure that services rendered were appropriate for the patient’s condition, were properly rendered, with what outcomes, etc. Once approved, then, of course, the claim for the encounter must be further processed by the fiscal people until reimbursement is finally issued to the provider.

      Just a few examples, here is a copy of a bulletin issued regularly to Medicare providers, here is a copy of the current universal billing form under Medicare, here are some of the instructions provided for filling-in the current universal billing form, and if you’ll just roam around the CMS site you’ll see all kinds of wonderment.

      And while all that activity is on-going, small armies will also be needed to: stay abreast of new procedures, medications, and other interventions, assess their usefulness, determine what standard reimbursement should be, and so on; continuously update software to ensure smooth billing and reimbursement; . . . The list is almost endless. In summary, there will certainly be demand for people to process all the paperwork required by this huge system.

      • bmaz says:

        Hey, you know, that is a VERY interesting point. The government mandate will not only force people to buy insurance from private corporations even if they do not desire to do so, it concurrently forces them to fully disclose all kinds of personal information including, obviously, full medical history to the private corporations as well. I am fairly convinced the mandate will minimally survive a Constitutional challenge on the commonly bandied about meme that it is unconstitutional because it is a tax etc. However, as a separate issue, forced disclosure of personal information by unwilling individuals to a private corporation creates some very interesting privacy issues Constitutionally. I gotta think about this more, but excellent comment and thanks!

        • isupportobama says:

          All you people who hate mandates. Grow up. Health Care reform is not over with this one passage. You all act like it is. What gives YOU the right to expose me to illness because you won’t buy health insurance.

          Obama actually looked at countries like Germany and the Netherlands for health care reform ideas. I just listened~

          • ManwithaParachute says:

            “What gives YOU the right to expose me to illness because you won’t buy health insurance.”

            Try using a question mark.

            The same right you have to get sick just because we may or may not have health insurance.

            “Obama actually looked at countries like Germany and the Netherlands for health care reform ideas. I just listened~”

            Obama’s incompetence is demonstrated by looking at Germany or the Netherlands when he could look North of the border. We get the idea of you “just listened” and obeyed. Such an independent thinker you have become.

            Please inform us of the benefits Germany and the Netherlands have as compared to Canada or France. Seriously. Take the opportunity to win us back over to Obama.

          • temptingfate says:

            You really need to read all of the arguments on this page as well as many of the other times we have covered this in the last few weeks. The current plan in no way resembles anything in Europe.

            Repeating previously discredited positions over and over does not win the argument. Being mad at people and doing the CAPS as shouting to prove you are unhappy does not generally sway the conversation. Insulting others (everyone?) because you are satisfied is not a reason for others to capitulate. You appear to underestimate those of us who have spent quite a lot of time thinking about these issues.

            Blind obedience is not always a siren call.

            • isupportobama says:

              Blind obedience. You all always go there where you lose an argument. I hardly follow Obama blindly. I can also call out leftwinger STUPIDITY.

              But hey…I predicted this months ago.

          • selise says:

            Obama actually looked at countries like Germany and the Netherlands for health care reform ideas.

            i don’t think that’s actually true. do you have any evidence in support of that claim? the same group (of dem party insiders) claims to have sold their reform proposal to edwards, clinton and obama. they said kucinich wasn’t buying because he supported hr 676.

            if you like i’ll get the link for you. i’d read some of the background from single payer advocates before. but the claim was made publicly at tba 2008 by some of the people who actually did it so i don’t have to rely on a pnhp source.

          • RoyalOak says:

            When all Obama had to do was watch Michael Moore’s Sicko…………If you have not seen it, I would urge you to. It will open your eyes to the current condition of the United States.

        • fatster says:

          bmaz, thanks for taking note, but don’t get too worked-up about it. Currently, all insurance companies require all that information anyway. Medicare has always set the example, and all others follow suit. The UB80, UB90, and now UB04 were designed by Medicare and for Medicare, but all insurance companies require their usage. All this info is and has been collected on patients for forever.

          I wish people knew the history of these things. Just from the claims review point of view alone, Medicare has led the way–and done a damned good job of it, too.

          As a larger issue, regardless of when it began, you’re darned tootin’ it is sobering to know that they have and have had for many decades some very intimate data about people. Hoovering didn’t begin with BushCo. It is frightening what they have on each of us, data from all kinds of industries and other sources. Just sitting there waiting to be compiled into the mother of all data-bases. And then used.

          • ManwithaParachute says:

            Having lived in corporate IT world, the financial industry, which includes banking, investment, insurance,has the best collection of data on people. One of the important aspects of keeping all of these function separate was keeping the data separate. big brother really started to come together at the end of Clinton’s second term. The communications infrastructure monopolization is jump starting still. When that is completed there will be virtual encampments like what exists in China.

            • fatster says:

              Glad to meet ya. Wish more people understood these issues. In the health care sector, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is our overall most important weapon against such abuses. The problem, as you so well know, is the skill that the totally unscrupulous can bring to bear on getting data and using it in ways it was never intended. Shudder. And just a few decades ago, this would have seemed science fiction.

              • temptingfate says:

                I’ve often thought that HIPAA was more a way to keep information proprietary to the system than actual protection. Once the information enters the system it can be freely exchanged with other contractually protected information providers. It may stop secretaries from sharing information with other secretaries but the data system becomes transparent to anyone with appropriate access. Part of the agreement signs that information over to the system, which many people may not have wanted to do but could not avoid.

                • fatster says:

                  You’re correct. It is, though, what we’ve got to try and protect patient data. Much more needs to be done on guaranteeing data are always protected, particularly data in the patient record (which most of us consider next to sacred), but it seems emphasis is on achieving the opposite these days, doesn’t it?

              • ManwithaParachute says:

                “Glad to meet ya. Wish more people understood these issues.”

                Thanks. Same here.

                When the Bush Admin “lost e-mails”, I knew there was NO-WAY accidentally this could have happened. At most under a very lacks and incompetent IT management structure could this have happened and it would have only been a 24-hour period.

                1) The most important credibility destroyer is the fact that the person who is responsible for back ups knows he is really in charge of data recovery and whenever there is difficulty with the back up system your job is on the line. In such a high profile employment situation, failure equates to permanent career change OR suicide. That is not an exaggeration. AND, when the problems crop up, people need data restored. Murphy’s IT Law.

                2) Critical systems can be and are typical multi-dimensionally redundant and stress tested repetitively by outside sources as well as internal sources. There are multiple warning systems which one would use to instantly tell you something was wrong.

                Based on the method which the email was discovered/recovered, I suspect it was accidental and not intended by the administration. The description I read indicated that the data was exported into ascii format and stored on another systems storage. No mention of tape or mirrored storage. No mention of a back up software manufacturer’s involvement. Any number of vendors involved would have been jumping all over this shit to help just for the bragging rights.

                SOME of the best technology forensic people are owned by the executive branch. These e-mails were not intended to be found. I suspect there was no accident or act of god failure and the ascii data was ported over to another storage container for CYA purposes.

                Does anyone remember an IT guy from the White House dying in a plane crash somewhere in the Ohio valley? I may have my memories jumbled.

                • Gitcheegumee says:

                  Mike Connell. The Brad Blog did a huge amount of coverage on this.

                  He was also affiliated with a robo call company used by the Repubes,DCI I think it was called.

                  • ManwithaParachute says:

                    “He was also affiliated with a robo call company used by the Repubes,DCI I think it was called.”

                    Thanks. At the time I was knee deep in several projects here and abroad, so I only caught it on an initial report on the Airport version of CNN or HLN.

                    I know where to go now to read more on it.

                • fatster says:

                  I always had the incredible fortune of having some amazing IT people working with me. Brilliant people, integrity to the max, who could perform what to us non-IT folks appeared to be amazing feats. When I first read about the “missing e-mails,” I doubled over in laughter. Don’t know the technical details of it at all, but I do know that it either didn’t happen or happened in a very deliberate, meticulous way (including destroying all the storage stuff).

                  And you did get the info you wanted about the plane crashed IT from Gitcheegumee, didn’t you? If not, I’ll try.

                  • ManwithaParachute says:

                    “And you did get the info you wanted about the plane crashed IT from Gitcheegumee, didn’t you? If not, I’ll try.”

                    I receive an access denied message. Weird.

                  • ManwithaParachute says:

                    Access Denied
                    The page you requested cannot be displayed because you do not have access to this forum or this forum is currently offline. If you wish to access this forum, please contact the administrator of this site.

                    If you have any questions, please contact the site administrator

                  • ManwithaParachute says:

                    “I always had the incredible fortune of having some amazing IT people working with me. Brilliant people, integrity to the max, who could perform what to us non-IT folks appeared to be amazing feats.”

                    This really is for everyone – “IT Guru” is an insult to the vast majority of folks in IT with technical talent. Management love the term because it diminishes the personnel importance in the eyes of upper management and allows management to take credit for crap they could never understand.

                    The degree to which IT is integrated in to the business function has increased dramatically. We touch all. We see all. Occasionally we know all and have to pretend we do not. I knew my last employer was going back into bankruptcy 18 months in advance. We knew which division we going to be shuttered or sold two years in advance. IT is very much involved in every aspect of the business so generally we know what decisions are made far in advance. We have to keep quiet about everything to a degree that we rarely discuss these things internally for fear of the job.

          • bmaz says:

            Oh, I understand that all the carriers require the info, and it is valid for them to want it in t=return for insuring you. But individuals agree to that at arm’s length when they make the choice to seek coverage. There are people out there who just have an aversion to giving people their personal information and they have the right to so so – they just won’t be getting health insurance. But it is their choice. The government will now be mandating by law the transfer of that private personal information – not by choice. That is a far different thing.

            • fatster says:

              Oh, good. Afraid I might have misled you. I know, I know, misleading you is way beyond my abilities, skills and talents. As MadDog sez *g*.

            • fatster says:

              A P.S. This issue can be even more troublesome with respect to mental health and substance abuse data (in addition to abortion to which other reporting systems apply). Some people, needing mental health or substance abuse treatment, will arrange for it directly (rather than going through their HMO, for example) and pay for it directly out of pocket (thus avoiding their insurance companies). They do so because they have become aware of the data collection routinely undertaken by the service delivery system.

              • bmaz says:

                Right. Problem is, when they do so, they become in violation of their policy terms for not being honest in a duty of full disclosure of pertinent medical history and condition. The powers that be keep clucking about “there won’t be recission anymore”, but as far as I can tell, that is a crock because the bill excepts cases of “fraud” which, of course, is what they all base recission on now. Ergo, why I see this as a cognizable issue. Not saying it is determinative of anything, just pretty interesting.

              • ManwithaParachute says:

                “Some people, needing mental health or substance abuse treatment, will arrange for it directly (rather than going through their HMO, for example) and pay for it directly out of pocket (thus avoiding their insurance companies).”

                The Mental Illness and Substance Abuse treatment data are very legitimate concerns. I am one of the folks with pre-existing conditions and am painfully aware that any medical data has an impact. I have a pre-existing hereditary condition so my children cannot escape this BS. The last time I was a new hire, I filled out my tax form with myself only as a dependent and it was not until I surpassed my 90 day mark and was informed they wanted to keep that I made mention of being married and having kids. Employment Background check data can be massaged to include medical data which HR department are beginning to quietly use to screen people out. Unless the person has a disability, they can use medical info to decide.

                • Mauimom says:

                  not until I surpassed my 90 day mark and was informed they wanted to keep that I made mention of being married and having kids.

                  Did you mean to say “was informed they wanted to keep me“?

                  Makes more sense that way.

                  • ManwithaParachute says:

                    “Did you mean to say “was informed they wanted to keep me“?

                    Makes more sense that way.”

                    Yes. Thank you.

                    My typing sucks as I have nerve damage in my extremities. My arms and legs are not reliable. I may not always give the thumbs up But I will never stop flipping the bird.

                    I apologize for my typos…..

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        And, of course, it will be maintained with all due respect for patients’ privacy, even by outsourced service providers whose contracts no one sees, monitors or corrects.

        • fatster says:

          earlofhuntingdon, I just responded to bmaz on the same issue. Please read it. Oh, it’s @ 264 now. This is nothing new. It is very concerning, however.

  43. Hugh says:

    I came late to this thread. bmaz asks, “Is there support for this allegation other than anecdotal evidence?”

    I would put my list of Obama scandals, currently with 131 entries, in evidence that the Obama Presidency is very much a sham and that it is much more a continuation of the Bush Administration and the worst of the Clinton Administration than anything else.

    http://obamascandalslist.blogspot.com/

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Many thanks. Much of this angst comes from the sense that we’ve been brutalized. After eight years of the sham, the failed policies, the extortionate enrichment of the wealthy at the expense of 95% of Americans, after the incompetence and relentless politicizing of every aspect of government to promote Karl Rove’s clients, we needed something completely different.

      Enter Mr. Obama, who promised exactly that. He made a pedestrian political calculation into a brilliant campaign by virtue of his fresh young face and lucid voice, his high academic achievements, his awareness of the “internets” and his ruthless use of other people’s creativity.

      People wouldn’t feel so brutalized if the product inside actually worked like its packaging. The last thing we needed was a smooth, smart George Bush, with the odd liberal flourish thrown in. It depresses the soul to think of eight more years so much like the last eight. More than that, if you stop to notice how much Obama has institutionalized Bush’s ad hoc inventions.

      The good news is that there is no longer a robust “center” Mr. Obama can use to re-elect himself. What there is Mr. Obama is abandoning, just like liberals. The right will continue to call him “magic” and resent his very being. The left, demoralized by his too-smart packaging and brutal, back-room enforcement of conservative policies, will work hard to oppose his policies (interpreted as opposition to him) and those who back them in Congress.

      Whatever else it will be – for those few not sick or bankrupt and not scared to death of getting sick or falling into bankruptcy – this is gonna be one hell of a political ride. Some young, independently wealthy progressive politician might look at that scenario and say, hmmm, there’s room there to do what the American people want and to get the votes to do it. Expect Rahm to have his divining rod out to look for them, though not to help them.

      • Hugh says:

        You’re welcome and my thanks to everyone else who uses and appreciates it. I agree what is so jarring with Obama is the size of the disconnect between how he presents himself and what he does. It is like the captain of the Titanic assuring the regular passengers that yes, the ship has hit an iceberg but not to worry, everything is OK, the list is perfectly normal, things are getting better. Meanwhile he is loading the lifeboats with the first class passengers and everything of value on the ship they can carry. His winning smile I guess is supposed to make up for the lies, deceptions, and outright thefts.

  44. Oilfieldguy says:

    Obama clearly has no control over the right who summarily despise him. He chooses only to see the left as a “special interest” he chooses to stiff arm. The fight goes on.

  45. slammon says:

    in response to koshembos @3

    You say the blue-collar folks weren’t fooled by Obama. Okay. Then who did they end up supporting? Edwards? Clinton? Those who think things would be much different with any of the other candidates are misguided. I voted for Obama, because I knew for sure Hillary and Edwards wouldn’t change anything. I wasn’t sure about Obama. It turned out to be a scam, I confess. He ran a brilliant campaign; he had little track record; I did not want a resumption of the Clinton Democratic Party regime.

    People who supported Obama during his campaign should not be blamed for choosing the wrong candidate. They should be blamed for investing so much faith in party politics and official power. By this measure, however, avid Clinton and Edwards supporters should be held to equal account. I agree with many of the writers on this blog-collective: we need to rethink our relationship to political parties. Loyalty is out; realpolitik is in.

  46. doggid says:

    I was for Hillary because she was an insider. We knew what we’d get with her and now with Obama we have what we fear most a cold corporate insider. Who knew that an attorney would load the scales solely in their favor? The Political Calculus is what choice do we have now. The Republicans are going Rogue and will be so far right and will bring out every right voter they have while all we have is regret. Nobody can win on that and the New Year Resolution should be putting sight on potential candidates this November and who could possibly beat Obama? What I look for with curiosity is what Obama’s Supreme Court nomination does. While the Republicans were so worried about her being a liberal, nobody paid any attention to her Corporate leanings. If she favors stronger Corporate Rights then Obama pulled off one of the greatest coups(and sellouts) of our generation. If she turns out to be anti corporate and wants to limit their powers then maybe Obama had the foresight and is for the “Change we Can Believe In”

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Great assessment. We will learn soon enough. If Sonia comes out and

      says that a Corporation is a person, then I’m moving to Canada.

  47. Gitcheegumee says:

    @162

    Hugh, that is a grand slam-no pun intended.

    Simply superb .

    Thank you, thank you,thank you.

  48. AlanSF says:

    140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq & Afghanistan in November 2006, when American voters demanded an end to the war.

    230,000 troops there now, war expanded to at least two additional countries.

  49. Oilfieldguy says:

    Most politicians try to capture the warm fuzzies of the populace during a campaign and Obama did a masterful job of it. Now, many of those who supported him and offered time and treasure feel like a tramp used by a cad and rake. It’s a feeling of infidelity, dumped after he has had his jollies in favor of one more wealthy, attractive and connected.

    He didn’t respect us in the morning. They whine that they didn’t have the votes for the public option yet they should know people learn nothing the second time a jackass (or donkey) kicks them. They won’t have the votes next time they ask us.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think that’s exactly right. Voters expect some reasonable distance between campaign promises and administration policies. Mr. Obama’s are extremely different in key ways. Not in the personality he presents or the characterizations he puts out about his actions, but in the actions themselves. He really must think he’s so far above us all that we won’t notice, and that Rahm will bash the figurative heads of those who do.

  50. Kassandra says:

    Revolution followed by Constitutional convention. NOW. Before it gets any worse and they start taking us away.

    We got Obama to give them just a little more time while we were int eh fabled afterglow and patting ourselves on the backs for “electing” a black man to prove we aren’t racist, you know. Now the police state s nearly complete. All thats left is to implement the Health insurance bill ( talk about “in your face”!)and they’ll open the KBR detention facilities…for US. And the inability to pay the insurance scam will be the reason they’ll give.

    I found this early on. I hoped it wasn’t true but maybe you all would like to watch it now…well, maybe “like” is the wrong word….
    The Obama Deception HQ Full length version

  51. browngregbrown says:

    An excellent summary and solid analysis of what is/was the worst election fraud in my 60+ years.

    I hope people will stop listening to the propagandists for the Republicans and Democrats who say that Ralph Nader is unelectable and get behind him as the most viable non-corporate party candidate. We have shown Republicans that they are growing unelectable, we must show the Democrats that as they continue to become visibly, clearly more corrupt that they, too, are becoming unelectable. I think it foolish if you do not support criminal, corporate fascism that you vote for someone who is a member of either of those gangs.

    • RoyalOak says:

      If not Nader (who has so much baggage from all the years of bad propaganda/bad press), how about Howard Dean as an Independent for President?

  52. MadHemingway says:

    The people have spoken, the bastards!

    The lazy American public voted for Mr Obama.

    The problem isn’t Obama and McCain and the rest of the pols.

    It’s the American citizens. Gullible and stupid. It’s high school and voting for the prom king / most popular. A far cry from democracy.

    It’s Orwell’s petri dish.

    • RoyalOak says:

      I watched a show for the first time – just happened upon the last of it really – Jesse Ventura’s show about conspiracy theories. He was interviewing a woman who had knowledge of the Blideberg society. The interesting part of what she said was that those that run the world are truly afraid of us (which makes total sense – a revolution could wipe out all their assets). She said when we stand up and make our voices heard, they back down. I can think of a couple instances in the US of this happening, like privatizing Social Security. What we need to do is join together and stand up and shout loudly enough that everyone hears us (including the MSM) – and we need to do it immediately about health care. If we are loud enough and angry enough, they will listen. We need to motivate all the population, not just progressives.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        I have been saying this for a while now.

        There are a whole lot more of us than there are of them.

        We NEED to find a collective voice.

        That is one of the underlying pushbacks against unionizing by elites-and it goes beyond financial implications,imho.

        Its about the POWER of people coalescing together, and finally demanding their constitutional rights,that is so frightening to those who would disempower us for their own gains.

        Anybody remember when Obama camapigned on pushing EFCA ,so workers would have a fairer chance at organizing?

        Put that one in the trash bin with the other empty and broken campaign promises.

      • orsonrollsover says:

        well, I don’t think the MSM is gonna care how loud our voices are though…have you ever seen the documentary “the Miami Model?” I mean, wow! the way the media shaped the story in ’03 at the fight against FTAA was eye opening, not to mention the actions of the cops…

        for my part, I just donated for the first time to DemocracyNow!, where I was first introduced to the awesomeness that are people like Jane Hamsher and the attackerman…hopefully we can continue to support THAT media

        • RoyalOak says:

          Thank you! I have not seen the documentary, though I do remember this situation, but I will look for it. We can shape the media – if enough people gather, local news covers it. If enough local news covers enough gatherings, the big guys will pick it up, even if it’s just in passing. The Miami situation was just in Florida so it was pretty easy to manipulate in many ways. If the meetings are in many places at the same time, this manipulation becomes more difficult.

          • orsonrollsover says:

            indeed…in that case the local media actually propagandized…my point (which i think is yours also) is this independent media is key…that doc is by indymedia (so lucky to have a local video store that carries great stuff)

  53. userpepper says:

    Rich is wrong ….. we have a way out, but we will need to unite and destroy the two Political Parties and stop the pillaging of our country by mandating tax increase to private firms. I’m game vote all incumbents out and keep voting them out until talent is brought back into the process, don’t fund any R or D candidates or Party groups, advocate only for the our people and the issues. The lesser of two evils for me, if that’s my only choice for now, is divided government no one Party rule.

  54. Spencer Ackerman says:

    When did he ever promise to withdraw from Afghanistan? Never happened. Always campaigned on escalating that war.

    • ManwithaParachute says:

      “When did he ever promise to withdraw from Afghanistan? Never happened. Always campaigned on escalating that war.”

      What is your point? I believe most of us understand that. It is not so much the escalation as it is recognizing the futility and the waste of escalating troops, escalate success necessarily. I could send in a stadium load of Chicago Bulls fans but, they won’t win a war. Sending in the wrong personnel or the wrong leadership or the wrong strategy is more reflective of folks concern. Even if we have difficulty expressing it.

    • bmaz says:

      That may be a fair point; from my perspective, I guess I never contemplated his escalation would be anywhere near as big and deep as it has been; and I find his rhetoric about “winning” there asinine. So that was my thinking, but I grant you are correct.

      • RoyalOak says:

        You wrote – “and I find his rhetoric about “winning” there asinine” –

        I thank you for stating my feelings about the Obama war rhetoric. Yes, he always said he’d go after “them” in Afghanistan but winning in Afghanistan? Win what? Win how? Winning is pure Bush rhetoric.

        And how about that Iraq pull-out? That is going well, isn’t it? /s

    • Leen says:

      Kept repeating that Afghanistan was the war of “necessity” between “hope” and “change” Kept wondering what everyone was excited about besides what appeared to be some feelings behind the words.

  55. benlomand says:

    Royal Scam, how appropriate. I’ve been suckered into voting “D” since McGovern. Never again.

    I support Jane’s appeal to the right on healthcare, and have thought for a good long time that we the people need to know our enemy, we bash each other while the fleecing of all we hold dear continues, at this point in time, at mach speed.

  56. Jane Hamsher says:

    I’m not sure Stoller (can’t speak for DDay) thought this was a good thing. I remember at the time he was very concerned when Ned Lamont endorsed Obama — as many of us were — not because Clinton was any better, but because it sent a signal to the “base” that Obama didn’t need to keep working for their support. It came on the heels of Obama’s capitulation on FISA, and there was concern that it would be interpreted to mean that there wouldn’t be much limit to his ability to tack to the right and still retain the support of the base in the future.

    This became the prototype for Obama’s “veal pen”: neutralize liberal opposition by conscripting the validators while actively undermining their issues. I discussed it with Stoller at the time and I know he was very worried.

    • ManwithaParachute says:

      “It came on the heels of Obama’s capitulation on FISA…”

      Initially, I tried to rationalize Obama’s choices on everything coming out of the Bushian approach. I am trying to resist overreacting to all the disappointment from this man and his decisions. I am quickly setting that concern aside. I am going back to trusting my gut. What my gut is telling me now is very frightening.

      Much of the reaction to Obama from the RIGHT is that he is too soft on terror. So, that crowd is pushing for more authoritarianism. Well, terror is really the strategy of the small fry against the big guy. The American Revolution was a war won with strong elements of terrorism.

      If you combine the ability to spy on anyone along with the ability to label anyone an enemy combatant and the ability to permanently and pre-emptively imprison and torture without representation and then the threats the administration had with regards to marshal law during the heady days of the financial crisis, we really do have the makings for a dictatorship.

      The tea bagger crowd has done plenty to discredit themselves by the use of racist symbolism and out and out lies. Shit. These folks did not even try to have the crap they spewed based on 1/4 truths. This segment of the population is radioactive in terms of credibility no matter how motivated they are.

      Norquist has his problems but he has not slipped in to that category “tea bagger crazy”. Anti-Tax seems like the best angle to combine forces on with those on the right.

  57. isupportobama says:

    Dear leftwingers…Please stop acting so low class towards Obama. You make the Democratic Party look weak. Please come out of your dreamworld and expect Obama to fix everything in one year before you burn the house down by making him out to be weak and feed into Republican’s hands. You all make me sick. I know the Democratic Party is flawed and needs fixing…But you all act low class and make me sick.

    • RoyalOak says:

      Would you define your meaning of low class, in the context of your post please?

      We have the right to criticize when a president goes against what he campaigned on, when he lies, don’t you agree? It would be a sad Bush/Cheney-like world when we were not supposed to complain about being misled, don’t you think?

      • isupportobama says:

        The leftwingers are just as irrational and insane as the rightwingers. God forbid Obama cannot fix everything in ONE YEAR. I actually LISTENED to Obama. He’s pretty much stayed on course and he said MANY TIMES IT WOULD TAKE LONGER THAN ONE YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Jane runs to Fox News….SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • isupportobama says:

            I hope all you people are gifted a Republican majority in the House and Senate next year for your immamture fipping out. God FORBID you all stand behind Obama, stop making him look like a weak, black Jimmy Carter and work for a fillibuster proof Majority that is stronger next year.

            No…………….that would be LOGICAL and make POLITICAL SENSE!

            • orsonrollsover says:

              logical/ so, we keep electing these people like before, and yet expect a change in direction….um, could anybody provide me with a definition of insanity?

              did a little throw up hit the back of your tongue as your typed that last diddy?

            • temptingfate says:

              You imagine that the goals of the Democrats are exactly my goals as well. I don’t care if the Democrats win elections and massive amounts of lobbyist cash. Those are not my goals.

              I want an ethical government that strives to liberal goals and is not simply a rubber stamp for previous Bush and to a less extent Clinton policies. I want the Constitution to matter and the massive fraud in the financial economy eliminated and the fraudsters to serve jail time. I want us to stop waging strategic war which we call peace. I want the middle-class saved. Put simply I want things that Obama could have either already fixed or at the very least not made significantly worse.

              It appears you want Democrats to win so that your team gets the spoils of lobbyist cash and the choice political seats. I care only about issues that bring what I want to fruition. Obama has spent a year proving that he has no interest in doing what I want. The silly argument that he has only had a year is misleading. The majority of the major policy accomplishments in any administration happen in the first six months. Times up.

        • orsonrollsover says:

          hey everybody! STOP! We all have to admit that ISUPPORTObama’s argument’s are so powerful that we must accept them…come on…we must stop being such crazy leftwingers! His evidence and rationale are just overwhelming!

          In fact, does anybody want to join ISupportObama’s and my Re-elect Lieberman movement. We are looking to support “rational” democrats like Lieberman and Baucus and Ben Nelson and, oh yeah Obama…because face it, they are looking out for the little guys, and all you freaks on here, with your critical thinking skills and such…you should be ashamed of yourselves

    • temptingfate says:

      Hopefully you can avoid getting sick in the future because it might start to get expensive a few years from now.

      My suggestion is that by not wanting the corruption in Washington cleaned up, not worrying about the people who will be harmed by this change of events and not asking that he keep his promises everything will turn out for better. If we all concentrate on imagining that Obama will do what we want, it will happen.

      Visualize ethical Obama. Anybody got a crystal I can borrow?

    • orsonrollsover says:

      I guess low-class is synonomous with telling the truth in your world…who is expecting obama to fix anything, much less in a year…I had been expecting him to fuck shit up worse, and he has been really pulling through on that…the democratic party has problems? yeah, like the democratic party IS a problem…in fact, I would say the democratic party is a major obstacle to those who consistently work to organize for real change…always has been as far as I can tell…

      go read a history book and then copme back…

    • ManwithaParachute says:

      “You all make me sick.”

      Let’s not hope too sick. Your insurance company will drop you to save a buck.

  58. selise says:

    Had there even been some sort of public option that was reasonably effective the legislature and Obama could have simply pragmatically killed it

    it wouldn’t have even taken that much effort. for a po to work even a little bit (costs savings were imo grossly overblown — and without cost control, i doubt any plan will work for long), and not just be a dumping ground for the “customers” private insurance companies don’t want (ie the ones needing lots of healthcare), very strong regulation and enforcement (for example, in risk adjustment) is needed. has the obama administration shown any sign of being interested in hard core regulation of the fire industries? no. but even more importantly, if there is that level of regulation, then a public option is not required. none of it made any sense as policy.

    so, it was an amazingly stupid policy from the start. and considering that there are many alternative intermediate steps that actually could have moved us towards a single payer system (such as in hr 676) and comprehensive universal healthcare, one has to ask why did they instead choose to push a policy that has, to my knowledge, NEVER worked when anything like it has been tried here?

    now that i’ve listened to the presentations at tba 2008 (take back america), i’m a little clearer on how the con was done. but, for me, the first clue was last summer. from the start hcan ran a deceptive campaign (and even worse, later intentionally engaged in outright lying) aimed at progressives.

    …..

    in the end i guess you are right. mandates were the goal. just another corporate bailout of the constituency that counts.

    • Hugh says:

      in the end i guess you are right. mandates were the goal. just another corporate bailout of the constituency that counts

      That and cutting Medicare.

      • selise says:

        That and cutting Medicare.

        yup. but that’s only just started. haven’t checked the senate bill, but there are cuts to medicare in the house bill (and i’m not talking about the medicare advantage subsidies).

  59. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Glad to see that Jane and Marcy’s prominence is bringing out the bridge trolls with creative nommes de guerres. The phrase, “stayed the course”, combined with the rightist smear that Jane’s advocacy on Fox Noise makes her a part of rather than counterpoint to it, says it all.

  60. isupportobama says:

    “The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.”November 4, 2008

    You either listen and help make him stronger or you freak out and make him look weak.

    • ManwithaParachute says:

      ” I promise you – we as a people will get there.”November 4, 2008

      You either listen and help make him stronger or you freak out and make him look weak.”

      I do not want to go THERE. And, if this putz needs me to make him strong and I can make him look weak then, he must not have any power to speak of.

    • RoyalOak says:

      First, I have to ask – where will we get? It’s pretty apparent he is aiming toward a neoliberal (read ‘fascist’) empire.

      Sorry, not sure if it’s my bad knees or my open mind but I cannot possibly walk lockstep with you.

  61. ManwithaParachute says:

    “ISUPPORTObama”

    Are you his athletic supporter?

    You did say we were low class but at least we do not smell like ball sweat.

  62. ronbon says:

    Now I know what the people of Hiroshima felt like on that disastrous morning. The great question now is “where do we go from here?”

    Since John Edwards is now neutered and Hillary would certainly lead us deeper into the wilderness, the only exit route I see leads directly past, and quite possibly through the heart of, the graveyard. America, as we have known it, is probably screwed….BUT…and it is indeed a huge but…the best alternative may be to turn the country over to those we trust least….the Repug-nican thugs (even those are sometimes better than the “Chicago thugs”).

    Even before this info came out I had soured on Obama’s duplicity and was considering voting Republican in 2010, and maybe beyond. Our ONLY HOPE is to make the Democratic party realize that, without us liberals (by whatever name), they have no base and therefore cannot consolidate power. From both viewpoints (theirs and ours) it’s “my way or the highway”, and I may very well even WORK for the GOP….that is, barring a faint, faint HOPE that I will be wearing continuously in the near future….MY HOWARD DEAN CAP!!!!

    The other good thing, from my point of view, is that I will turn 85 shortly and will be departing this sad, sorry (and treachorous) land for better climes….hopefully now overseen by my old Commander In Chief….FDR !!!

  63. xargaw says:

    You can analyze this all you want, but in the end all that matters is that he has alientated his most valuable boots on the ground in any election campaign and that spells stupidity.

    • isupportobama says:

      Obama’s base is NOT the leftwingers…LOL!

      Obama’s base is Latinos! Women! African Americans!

      Its far different than the Republican Party.

      • Kassandra says:

        Not so much wimmin anymore….after his whipping the House to pass Stupak….or, did you know about that? Only time he visited was with the Catholic Bishops.

  64. researcher says:

    follow the money always follow the money

    a nation cannot have politicans that need massive amounts of money to get elected and not have them controlled by corp america

    corp america has the money.

    the system is flawed

    obama is beholden to corp america like the rest

    great way to get elected he read the mood of the country

    third party time in america.

  65. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As Hugh says, if the Dems lose big in 2010 or 2012, it will be Obama and Rahm’s fault, first, the Senate’s next, and the House third. It will be a set back for them politically, but a catastrophe for the Americans desperate for good government, not mirages of change that cloak the status corporatus quo.

    • isupportobama says:

      Oh give me a break it will not be Obama’s and Rahms fault. It will be because Democrats live up to their LAZY reputation and don’t vote.

      There were health care townhalls all summer to meet with your Congresspeople. The millions of people who voted for Obama were ABSENT, LAZY, EXPECT KING OBAMA TO FIX IT ALL IN 6 MONTHS!

      • temptingfate says:

        Townhalls had no effect. The lobbyist who wrote the legislation neither attended nor read the minutes.

      • Hugh says:

        It will be because Democrats live up to their LAZY reputation and don’t vote

        Blaming voters and not the failure to fulfill campaign promises. Maybe you should go to work as a political consultant.

  66. isupportobama says:

    Leftwingers are just as crazy as the Rightwingers…..

    CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  67. isupportobama says:

    I’ve watched over and over the leftwingers raise money, lose issues, and SPAZ because they have the political smarts of a floor.

    • temptingfate says:

      You appear bound and determined to show that you couldn’t win a discussion with a broom.

      (Note the witty reference to the smarts of a floor.)

    • ManwithaParachute says:

      “I’ve watched over and over the leftwingers raise money, lose issues, and SPAZ because they have the political smarts of a floor.”

      “He’s petulant and he’s having a frenzy.
      He’s having a petulant frenzy!” or “He’s Republican and he’s having a frenzy. He’s have a Republican frenzy!”

      Either way, I think Frank Zappa’s lyrics summise your performance.

        • OldFatGuy says:

          Or what about Obama’s decision to make a deal with PHARMA and the health insurance indurstry prior to debate beginning on Capitol Hill to protect their interests??? No Congresscritter made him do that.

          Come on now, can you defend his decisions or are you just good at calling us stupid.

          • temptingfate says:

            It probably is a good idea, though certainly not my own, to stop playing with the troll. What with the danger of warts and such.

            • isupportobama says:

              Is it ok if I copy the low class way leftwingers act here with their posts.

              Good, thanks, I did.

              • ManwithaParachute says:

                “Is it ok if I copy the low class way leftwingers act here with their posts.

                Good, thanks, I did.”

                ROTFLMAO.

                Obama’s Youth Core in action. Let me borrow your jack boots so I can shake in them.

            • ManwithaParachute says:

              “It probably is a good idea, though certainly not my own, to stop playing with the troll. What with the danger of warts and such.”

              Good advice. But, now, I feel cheap like it was a one night stand.

              Not an excuse – I am not used to this from the “left” so I found it mildly interesting to play along.

    • orsonrollsover says:

      ok…what is with all the “wingers” talk? Did you log in on your daddy’s account or something…you don’t actually seem to know what you are talking about.

      define: 1) crazy

      2) right winger

      3) left winger

      then please follow with how the posts here fit in…maybe I am paranoid, but you sound like an imposter…hard to believe you can be here for honest discussion, and yet still be so willfully ignorant.

      “isupportobama”??? is that cover? because if you are really here honestly I am worried for you. Concentrated power is scary, but concentrated stupid is just sad…

    • Hugh says:

      Why are leftwingers so politically stupid?

      You really know how to win people over to your point of view, don’t you? You’re just an Obamabot. We know it. You know it. But you will blather on. We know that too.

  68. OldFatGuy says:

    Don’t suppose you’ll dare answer the issue at comment number 141?

    I’ve been waiting more than a week for just one Obama supporter to support that.

    It’s totally opposite of what he campaigned on, and no big, bad, mean ‘ole Congresscritter had anything whatsoever to do with that decision. His alone.

    He’s a lying asshole, and the one that doesn’t understand politics. Because in 2012, he’s gonna get an up front and personal training session on what it means to kick your own base squarely in the balls.

    And I can’t wait to see it happen.

  69. isupportobama says:

    Rahm Emanuel was the second shooter on the grassy knoll.

    The current Health Care Bill is more PROGRESSIVE than Howard Dean’s health care plan in 2004. That is a FACT and its only a beginning.

    Leftwingers spazzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • OldFatGuy says:

      Still no reply to Obama arguing before the SCOTUS that he can sign a piece of paper at any time and declare any person to be a “non-person” and thus no Constitutional protections???

      Don’t want to touch THAT Obama decision?

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        I am SO with you on this,OFG. In fact, I posted yesterday an excerpt from Chris Floyd’s Empire Burlesque,entitled “Our Brave New Slavery”.

        Deals with EXACTLY this issue.

        Another point-what was up with Obama and Interpol recently?

        • isupportobama says:

          Someone needs to start a web site on what a fraud Jane is. She needs to leave the Democratic Party and stay away. Love how she wants MONEY!

          All of you…just LEAVE. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. The Democrats and Obama don’t need you. We had enough low class BS with Bush.

          LEAVE~

        • OldFatGuy says:

          It seems the Obama supporter doesn’t want to or know how to defend that position though. I have been seriously (not joking) wanting to hear a defense of that.

          I guess I’ll keep waiting.

          Oh, that and Obama’s decision to make those deals with Pharma and the Insurance industry that directly resulted in the Drug Reimportation amendment being defeated. No Congresscritter made him do that. In fact, they supposedly had MORE than 60 votes for that, until the administration got involved. Would love to hear the defense of that too. I mean, you know, the real defense, other than the typical bullshit about “drugs aren’t safe that are imported from other countries.” Fuck, the drugs made in this country aren’t safe either. Talk about a bullshit argument.

  70. temptingfate says:

    Come on now, can you defend his decisions or are you just good at calling us stupid.

    I’d hardly say good. Every time an issue has been raised isupportobama moves on to the next lightweight insult. If all Obama has left to defend him is people who avoid issues and settle for name calling to attract support he’s in real trouble. Insults as persuasion are fun to watch until somebody gets an eye poked out.

    • temptingfate says:

      You may have noticed by now a dearth of people that care about your loves, likes or dislikes. The fine art of persuasion. At the very least you could offer up some Don Rickles hockey puck style humor to warm up the crowd.

  71. bmaz says:

    Alright folks; give it a rest with isupportobama. Every one of you is a regular here and know better than to waste your and our time with this nonsense.

    AND

    Hey there isupportobama. How ya doin? Listen, if you want to contribute substance and engage on the merits, that is a good thing and welcome even if you don’t agree with me or anybody else here. We are very open in that regard. But if you are here for the sole purpose of blowing up the thread and simpleton confrontation, that does not cut it. So, if you want to join the spirit and merits of the discussion, fantastic; but if not then I suppose we will need to reevaluate your situation.

    • OldFatGuy says:

      Sorry bmaz, I’ll STFU now.

      FWIW, It’s not to pick on Isupportobama or anyone else. I just want to hear a defense of some of the choices he’s made. It’s easy to blame Congress for the bills that get passed or not passed, but it’s impossible to blame Congress for choices the administration itself has made.

      Anyway, sorry, and once again, I thought it was a great post. Not because I hate Obama, but because I love my country, and I hate where it’s heading.

      Peace

  72. tikkun44 says:

    When Sec. Clinton hears or reads such allegations made against the president, I’m sure she thinks about a comment she made as Candidate Clinton during one of her debates w/ Obama. A comment – at that time – she was severely chastised for making: “This is NOT change you can believe in, but change you could Xerox!”

  73. ocean1 says:

    Obama and Rahm are not smarter than any of the strategists and thinkers on the left, so they can and will be defeated in the next round. They are accomplished liars and they succeeded in fooling a gullible crowd against a VERY weak and hated Republican party. Do you think they can do the same against organized opposition from the left…glad the frauds showed their hands early on so we can organize and win a real majority next time. I am not a Dem and not sure we need to stay as Democrats…they don’t need the left anymore, isn’t that we Rahm said? Finally, a disclosure: I voted Nader with a conscience here in CA. Next time, I hope it will be Kucinich on the national ticket.

    • isupportobama says:

      LMAO…If people had not voted for Nader 8 years ago, we NEVER would have had Bush for President.

      You are a political DOLT.

      • figaro says:

        If Gore would have been a better candidate then nobody would have wanted to vote for Nader. Our problem is not caused by Naderites, it is caused by people who continually vote for the least objectionable candidate instead of staying home and withholding their vote.

        Withholding your vote can be every much the civic duty that voting is.

        The problem is that withholding your vote gives you no immediate gratification. But just imagine if the Dems lost because of low turnout. Do you think that would make them more corporate friendly or less? Remember, corporations can’t vote so their money is meaningless unless we keep supporting their candidates out of fear of letting the “other guy” win. Fear is killing us. The whole Dem party needs to grow a pair. And we need to let the “other guy” win if we are ever going to take back our party.

      • ocean1 says:

        I started to answer logically, but then I realize it’s the real DOLT here name calling…so I’ll keep it simple for you, son. did Gore lose because of the Nader vote in CA or even in FL? Or because of the Supreme Court judgment against him and a very feeble fight from the still hollow Dems…I don’t think I saw you or anyone with such feeble faculties go out and demonstrate in the streets to stop this and defend your party from having an election stolen. You can keep your party. We were never in!

      • ocean1 says:

        …you can also take Obama and Rahm with you…I hope your insurance premium goes up to 25K a year (with the usual 6K deductible).

  74. Gitcheegumee says:

    @331

    Mark Crispin Miller on Spoonamore Testimony and Mike Connell who …17 posts – 10 authors – Last post: Dec 9, 2009

    Interesting to go back and see the Background on Mike Connell. Sad to see he died in that plane crash and I feel sorry for his kids and …

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all...

    BREAKING: Judge Compels Deposition from GOP ‘IT Guru’ Mike Connell …7 posts – 6 authors – Last post: Dec 20, 2009

    The BRAD BLOG has learned that Mike Connell, the Republican IT guru whose company, SmarTech Inc. created Ohio’s 2004 election results …

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all

  75. boyblue says:

    I fucking HOPE that Nancy Pelosi is aware that Rahm and Obama’s master plan for his triangulating re-election for 2012 IS for the Democrats to lose the House in this year’s midterms. Fuck, Nancy, don’t you know this???

    • Blutodog says:

      I agree, I don’t think it would really upset Obama to have to be a Goper lite President like Clinton was. The difference is the economy isn’t going to come roaring back this time.

      • temptingfate says:

        The roaring back, as we see in retrospect, was Greenspan and Congress pumping deregulation and financial hucksterism to float Wall Street. The second attempt starting in 2008 by Bush et all has failed to do anything but keep the financial royalty living a life which they have become accustom to. No more business investment no more loans to average folks that are not immediately sold to the government. The problem with a good scam is that it only works once. After you’ve cleaned out all of the suckers you need to find new ones. They’ve pretty much run out of people they can con because their old victims are up to their eyeballs in debt. Short of scamming the UFOs the choices are getting fairly slim.

      • KDelphi says:

        An economy based on whether Tiger Woods fucks around cannot “roar” and never has..bubblebust, bubble bust.

  76. Gitcheegumee says:

    re:DCI

    Thomas J. Synhorst – SourceWatchThomas J. Synhorst, a partner in Feather Larson & Synhorst DCI and chairman of DCI Group, is a “well-known Republican strategist. …

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Thomas_J._Synhorst – Cached

    Feather Larson & Synhorst DCI – SourceWatchJan 13, 2005 … Feather, Larson & Synhorst DCI (FLS-DCI) are “Specialists in Telephone Contact Business.” The telemarketing company used to be known as …

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Feather_Larson…Synhorst... – Cached

  77. Gitcheegumee says:

    fatster: Here’s some interesting info.

    Oh, and btw, vaccinations provide a platform for cross indexing info ,too.

    MMR Information Systems, Inc. (MMRF): MMRF formerly FVRL: Good …Apr 23, 2009 … Goldman Sachs buying shares of FVRL right after merger with MMR was … Obama’s stated goal to invest in “electronic medical records and …

    investorshub.advfn.com/boards/read_msg.aspx?message_id… – Cached

    • ocean1 says:

      Thanks for the Daily Kos link…good post. Pols and organizers have to understand that the silent majority that does not vote because they’re turned off by the candidates could be mobilized (obama’s campaign is a good example) to vote for strong candidates that will fight for them. This new candidate will not be a poster boy this time around…he will be a real fighter who does not compromise his principles and who will be held accountable by the people who elected him. I want to remind my fellow travelers here that Dennis K only has about 157 donors and the target is 200. Let’s put our resources where our passions are (if you are able to). Thanks!

      • qweryous says:

        Don’t be surprised, the circulation of this will be fairly wide.

        It does deserve to be circulated.

        Good work.

        The debate here was quite restrained to what it will be in some other places.

        See my #365.

        Lots of people haven’t given these issues much thought, but if you are a conscientious voter, you should.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As you know, it is more professional to check/verify and cite to the original source, with a footnote or h/t to the intermediate source. That’s especially so where the intervening source is an aggregator that, unlike, say, Digby, is usefully disseminating rather than commenting on the original.

  78. Gitcheegumee says:

    MWAP: Here’s a few other sites:

    Ohio Attorneys Seek Protection for Mike Connell and his Family …We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal witness we have …

    discuss.epluribusmedia.net › Blogs › cho’s blog – Cached – Similar

    Legal Schnauzer: A “Deep Throat” Emerges in the Mike Connell Plane …Dec 3, 2009 … An anonymous informant has provided information indicating that an airplane piloted by Republican computer expert Mike Connell was sabotaged …

    legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/…/deep-throat-emerges-in-mike-connell.html – Cached

    The BRAD BLOG : So Who Is Mike Connell? A Clip from ‘Free For All …So we learned last week that new information concerning Republican high-tech guru Mike Connell’s alleged participation in computer-aided fraud from Florida …

    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6220 – Cached – Similar

  79. qweryous says:

    Took a quick look at the kos comments, at about comment 104 ( of 110) a link to the Micah Sifrey article linked above by bmaz is now posted, to help explain what OFA is…lol.

    Some back and forth on the issues, and a significant effort to delete the diary as:

    1. Howard Dean was not forced out as chair of the DNC.

    2. The 50 state strategy is still in effect; (through OFA now they figured out what that is?).

    3. OFA organizers are everywhere, doing what they always did under 50 state strategy.

    If a few commenters at Kos actually read the Sifrey article…could get interesting.

    • qweryous says:

      It happened sooner than I thought.

      When reading this it never occurred that perhaps this was a G**n Be*k (sic)
      inspired operation!

      Hmm.. have to think this over for a while.

      Straight outta Kos comments:

      “Glen Beck doppleganger? (0+ / 0-)

      The prose, cadence and content of this diary are suspiciously similar to that of The GB. I might listen to what you have to say if there was a lot less fear mongering and a lot more idea sharing.”

  80. ManwithaParachute says:

    Since Obama is owned by Wall Street and I think his team is more like turds in a toilet than members of a team, I was wondering what Wall Street really is up to. Assuming it is somewhere between your worst conspiracy theories and Obama is going senile prematurely, I came up with something simple like we are on the verge of going cashless. With the Fed printing enough money to stack all the bills together to reach the sun, I figure they really are out to turn everything electronic.

    The only thing Wall Street really does is profit off transactions. Whatever it is they get a piece. Processing checks and cash is a cost looking to be reduced or past on. Or better yet, eliminated while creating a new revenue source.

  81. georgezap says:

    Do I sense disillusion and abandonment here?

    I felt the same bottom after I voted for McGovern. Since he never entered office I was spared the “What the hell did I vote for?” hand-wringing evident here.

    The conservatives and the right are greatly energized, motivated, and have the numbers to extinguish any hope during the 2010 elections that liberals and progressives had in advancing Obama’s mantra of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America”.

    Are you buying into this “transformation?” Are you beginning to understand what Obama’s “transformation” entails?

    I vividly remember being in 5th grade and hearing our principal tell us over the school p.a. that President Kennedy was assassinated. 12 year-old boys do cry.

    Kids, stop crying. This is America, the home of the free, the land of the brave. America is still the best country on the planet.

    The right way to transform and improve America is to not buy into the Utopian idealism, Unicorns, flying monkeys, and oratorical bombast that propelled a jr. Senator Obama to the heights of the Presidency.

    My hometown is Chicago, where ‘Hizzoner Mayor Daley got votes from dead people, as did Obama.

    You want more of this? I think not.

    • ManwithaParachute says:

      “My hometown is Chicago, where ‘Hizzoner Mayor Daley got votes from dead people, as did Obama.”

      What neighborhood? Certainly you know every dead person votes in Chicago every election. Same with New York. Los Angles. Dallas. Houston.

      Try harder.

      For my money, you like Obama more than many here.

      • georgezap says:

        Yo little man, I am a 59 year-old veteran and businessman.

        All four of our kids are more than likely older than you.

        I trolled onto this liberal website to spread my message of joy in denouncing the fool Obama you elected.

        Are you awake, alert, and enjoying the fruits Obama has given you?

        I’ll spare you recitation of The Declaration Of Independence, The Bill Of Rights, or the Constitution of the United States.

        The right-leaning conservative in me says that Obama has trampled and disregarded the Founding Documents that make America what it is.

        America, as a country, as a society, has flaws, no doubt.

        Obama is not the solution.

        We conservatives and business owners that provide the wealth that propels your campaign do not believe that Obama is the solution to America’s problems

        At best President Obama is the best orator we have ever had.

        At best President Obama is the least known and least documented president in my life.

        When and if you wizards on the left can provide proof of where Obama was born, what his grades were at the college level, I will buy into the Obama illusion.

        Don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain!

        So much devotion, so much delusion, so much work.

        Why?

        • OldFatGuy says:

          “The right-leaning conservative in me says that Obama has trampled and disregarded the Founding Documents that make America what it is.”

          I trust you can link to your posts with these same criticisms as Bush/Cheney were busy shitting all over the Constitution, yes?

          And oh, btw, if you think you’ve just posted this drivel (the crap about Obama’s birth certificate is a dead giveaway it’s drivel) on an Obama fan club site, BOY ARE YOU AT THE WRONG PLACE.

          In fact, I take it you didn’t even bother reading this thread.

          I might recommend DKos, you’ll find lots of Obama support there, I hear.

        • bmaz says:

          Many people here are likely at the opposite end of the spectrum from you and still agree with much of what you said in those two comments.

          • OldFatGuy says:

            You may be right, but I’m not interested in any of the birther crap, and I’m having a hard time reconciling these two quotes in my mind. Making my head hurt.

            Do I sense disillusion and abandonment here?

            I felt the same bottom after I voted for McGovern.

            The right-leaning conservative in me says

        • ManwithaParachute says:

          “When and if you wizards on the left can provide proof of where Obama was born, what his grades were at the college level, I will buy into the Obama illusion.”

          As the nuns in habits once said to me, anybody can read but very few comprehend. Spend sometime reading and identify where you find my words to be glowing in praise of Obama.

          You will not make a dent around here with birther tripe, especially when there is so much more an intelligent could deposit on the board. With a little effort, I am sure you could contribute something.

          • temptingfate says:

            Stopped in one last time tonight to agree with you. I really want disappointment (or approval) with Obama policies to be thought out and interesting. Otherwise real concerns are discredited or buried under useless tripe.

            Shouting doesn’t work. Whining doesn’t matter. Explain why the current road is wrong or right or watch until you have something interesting to contribute. Hatred of Obama because of his race or where you imagine he was born are not a valid contributions. Policy and it’s effects matter.

            • ManwithaParachute says:

              “Stopped in one last time tonight to agree with you. ”

              Thanks. I wish Obama could put forth that much effort….relatively typing, it would be a turn around in his administration.

        • orsonrollsover says:

          “conservatives and business owners provide the wealth…”

          question: who provided you the wealth? So you go into business and pay your employees less than the value of their work…that doesn’t make you a “provider” from where I stand.

          That makes you an exploiter. 59 years old and you haven’t come to terms with that?—fuck conservatism and fuck business owners like you-morally bankrupt…

          we may not ever have a revolution in my lifetime (though I hold out hope, since I am half your age) but if that dream comes true, just like pie falling out of the fucking sky, conservatives and corporate executives will finally understand why we have the second amendment (and you might be surprised to find out it is meant to protect against you and yours–NOT to protect you)

          If I sound a bit extreme it is because I am…conservatives and business people: I hope one day you tremble with pure terror, so much so that you feel the need to spoon that fucking gun while you sleep—and tremble you will…

          :) just kidding (probably)

        • orsonrollsover says:

          and by the way; fuck the veteran in you! I am a veteran too: five years in the marines (vmgr-352/Mirimar)…I actually had to go to fight the war crime that is our campaign in Afghanistan…stop using that veteran line…

          veteran…so. you are more and more irrelevent. like Bob Dylan said: if you can’t lend a hand, get the fuck out of the way, because young people are coming, and we aren’t all so easy to con into swallowing the empire’s bull shit…Obama is not the solution…we agree. but, you on the right are? Yeah, just what the world needs, a steroid injection of fascism…

          • georgezap says:

            and by the way; fuck the veteran in you! I am a veteran too: five years in the marines (vmgr-352/Mirimar)…I actually had to go to fight the war crime that is our campaign in Afghanistan…stop using that veteran line…

            Point noted.

            veteran…so. you are more and more irrelevent.

            Really?

            like Bob Dylan said: if you can’t lend a hand, get the fuck out of the way, because young people are coming, and we aren’t all so easy to con into swallowing the empire’s bull shit…Obama is not the solution…we agree. but, you on the right are? Yeah, just what the world needs, a steroid injection of fascism…

            Empire? Fascism on steroids? Take a breath bro, such aspersions you cast.

            Semper fi my friend, remember the oath we took — and still uphold.

            ‘We won’t be fooled again’

              • georgezap says:

                bmaz, a fellow ditch-dwelling G.I. who I p***ed off permanently relocated my nose about 1/8″, compliments of his unseen left hook. It involved something I said about my disagreement with his view on life and politics in general. Keep in mind this was 1970.

                We were fueled by a few Colt 45’s (the alcoholic kind, not the pistol)and I swung back and fattened his lip.

                This was between Curt H. from Milwaukee and George C. from Nebraska.

                We have since run a few pool tables in celebration of our differences, yet I have lost touch with Curt.

                If I were to meet this big, dumb, motherfucker from the land of cheese, would I hold it against him that he voted for obama?

                Of course not.

                Curt and I, like any strung-out Jihadist, are more than ready to jump out of our ditch and inflict as much damage as we can to the enemy.

                That mindset applies today, and has not changed.

                bmaz, do you have any military service?

                We veterans will always provide cover to our brothers in combat.

                http://www.georgeturbox2.com

                • bmaz says:

                  No I do not. Never thought about it at the time – I was lucky, there was thankfully no compelling need – now I kind of regret not having had the experience.

    • temptingfate says:

      I felt the same bottom after I voted for McGovern

      Speaking for myself McGovern was my first chance to vote for a President. The fact that my guy lost and I spent some time arguing with my Republican uncle that Nixon was a a clueless warmonger still brings a sense of satisfaction.

      This is not about capitulating or whining about the fact that Obama isn’t perfect. This is about a guy who has decided that taking lobbyist cash is better that keeping promises. More critically than keep promises, this is about willfully failing to do what is best for the country. Excuses like he lacks 60 votes in the Senate are simply embarrassing. Even worse are the arguments that he did or did not run on an issue. Doing the right thing is not about what your advisers triangulated on two years ago. Even Carter got more of the agenda he ran on put through in the first year. But then again Carter was a truly honest and mostly decent man. Obama not so much.

  82. IceNine says:

    I’m surprised that many commentators here seem to think that the only options are to (1) hold your nose and vote for Obama, (2) vote for Republicans in spite, or (3) sit out the election.

    The vote is too precious not be used. It is the only way we have to express out political will. The central trap is the illusion of choice: Vote for the Democratic wing OR the Republican wing of the Corporate Party. I refuse to endorse either wing with my vote. It is far too precious to waste.

    There is a fourth option: Vote for another party. Or–my own solution–write in people that you admire. (I wrote-in Bernie Sanders in 2008.) I take this even farther: I have not voted for a Democratic or Republican candidate for ANY office in the last 15 years. [To be sure, it takes some time to research eligibility for local and state offices: Does this person live in the coucilmanic district? Is this person a member of the State Bar (for the office of attorney general)?]

    Vote however you wish. Express your political will however seems best to you. But do not ‘sit out’ elections.

  83. blueindigo says:

    Someone way far back in this blog thread asks the question to the effect of: where were all of you who supposedly saw through Obama’s flim-flam, and why didn’t you tell us? We DID!!!!!! No one wanted to hear us. We were treated with disdain, scorn, hatred, accused of being Republican trolls, and all kinds of nasty motives on the liberal blogs. Some blogs blacklisted us and booted us off. No serious discussion about the dishonesty and unethical way Obama’s campaign itself was being run, much less his supposed experience and real lack of a sign of values was allowed. His whole campaign was vague, without form. And we were NOT Republicans or Libertarians, or other party. We were DEMOCRATS who could see through the hoax and the sales job, obviously a small minority. The media was totally sold on his “story”. They would not listen either. It pains me so greatly to see this great opportunity to move the country forward into a successful future for our citizens probably a wasted effort. I wish that my analysis of Barack Obama was wrong; I keep secretly hoping that he has a grand scheme; as time goes by, I fear my original ideas were correct; it is not solace to hear so many of you come around so lately with questions and criticisms of this presidency. Saying “I told you so” is not something that soothes my sorrow for our country.

  84. PJEvans says:

    All four of our kids are more than likely older than you.

    You’d be surprised how many of us are at least as old as you, and have better sense.

    I trolled onto this liberal website to spread my message of joy in denouncing the fool Obama you elected.

    Thanks ever so, and we have people around here who eat trolls.

    We conservatives and business owners that provide the wealth that propels your campaign do not believe that Obama is the solution to America’s problems

    Do you actually do anything, other than pushing pieces of paper across your desk? Paper-pushing, no matter how well-paid, does not create anything. And if it creates ‘wealth’ – i.e., money – it’s probably wealth that only exists on paper.

    At best President Obama is the least known and least documented president in my life.

    That’s certainly crap. They never found all the documents for Shrub’s incomplete stint in the Texas ANG: that’s piss-poor documentation. Obama’s documentation is much more complete.

    When and if you wizards on the left can provide proof of where Obama was born, what his grades were at the college level, I will buy into the Obama illusion.

    More crap, and a diversion. If grades were that important to success, Shrub would still be stuck in a mail room in Houston.

    • georgezap says:

      All four of our kids are more than likely older than you.

      You’d be surprised how many of us are at least as old as you, and have better sense.

      I trolled onto this liberal website to spread my message of joy in denouncing the fool Obama you elected.

      Thanks ever so, and we have people around here who eat trolls.

      We conservatives and business owners that provide the wealth that propels your campaign do not believe that Obama is the solution to America’s problems

      Do you actually do anything, other than pushing pieces of paper across your desk? Paper-pushing, no matter how well-paid, does not create anything. And if it creates ‘wealth’ – i.e., money – it’s probably wealth that only exists on paper.

      At best President Obama is the least known and least documented president in my life.

      That’s certainly crap. They never found all the documents for Shrub’s incomplete stint in the Texas ANG: that’s piss-poor documentation. Obama’s documentation is much more complete.

      When and if you wizards on the left can provide proof of where Obama was born, what his grades were at the college level, I will buy into the Obama illusion.

      More crap, and a diversion. If grades were that important to success, Shrub would still be stuck in a mail room in Houston.

      Actually PJ, I do quite a bit for an American manufacturer that has earned world-wide recognition for being the best in the business.

      By the way, I’m still waiting for you to offer me proof of Obama’s birth license. Want mine? Not a problem. What have you got for me?

      Misguided liberals and “progressives” have been blaming Bush for 8 years. What is your solution?

  85. wizardleft1962 says:

    The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory by David Plouffe

    • List Price: $27.95

    • Hardcover: 400 pages

    • Publisher: Viking Adult (November 3, 2009)

    • ISBN-13: 978-0670021338

    Favorable Reviews From the Usual Suspects—-Markos and Arianna:

    Reviews

    “…a gripping blockbuster of a book, manna for political aficianados and newcomers to elections alike, full of scrappy details, minute explanations of strategy, tales from the trail and candid assessments of mistakes made and lessons learned.”

    -Daily Kos

    “Plouffe has written the most important political book of the year. It reads like a thriller…I flipped it open, read a few lines and was hooked…But it’s not the insider look at the past that makes the book so important. It’s what it shows us about the present–and the effect it could have on the future.”

    -Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post

    My Take:

    This book is now on sale at Barnes & Noble for the cheap price of $13.96 at 50% off….I guess this book is not doing too well in terms of sales…..lmao….

  86. wizardleft1962 says:

    Democratic Primary, Illinois’s 1st Congressional District Election, 2000

    Democratic Candidate – Bobby Rush – 59,599 Votes – 61.03 %

    Democratic Candidate – Barack Obama – 29,649 Votes – 30.36%

    Democratic Candidate – Donne E. Trotter – 6,915 Votes – 7.08%

    Democratic Candidate – George Roby – 1,501 Votes – 1.54%

    WINNER —- BOBBY RUSH OVER BARACK OBAMA & his Hyde Park Mafia!

  87. Larue says:

    BTW BMAZ, great read, great comments and I love the song you chose in the vid . . *G*

    Nothing like some good old Steely Dan to paint vivid pictures with their musics . . . *G*

  88. independentgent says:

    Voting to re-elect Obama sends the message that progressives can be treated as doormats. Sitting the election out may result in another Republican idiot, but it will send the strong message that progressives cannot be treated as doormats. Down the road it will result in more progressive candidates who will actually support a progressive agenda.

    If Bush/Cheney had done with their base what Obama/Rahm is doing with theirs they would NOT have gotten re-elected–their base would’ve stayed home. Give credit to the Republican base–they trained their party to take their concerns seriously.

    Real progressives need to teach this lesson to the Democratic party. In 2010, 2012, and beyond, we shouldn’t vote for someone just because they’re a Democrat, we should only vote for folks that support a progressive agenda.

    • PJEvans says:

      Better to vote for more progressive candidates, and actually win something, than get stuck with more crappy Ds and worse Rs.

      Giving up isn’t going to help anyone.

    • quake says:

      Real progressives need to teach this lesson to the Democratic party. In 2010, 2012, and beyond, we shouldn’t vote for someone just because they’re a Democrat, we should only vote for folks that support a progressive agenda.

      Real progessives need to use the Dem primary to get real progressives nominated on the Dem ticket. Come the general election the Dem will be the least bad choice (absent some unimaginable transformation in the Rethugs) and will be by far the least bad alternative. Not voting for the Dem in the general election just asks for candidates like Bush (rather than Gore) to get elected. ‘Nuff said.

      • ManwithaParachute says:

        “Real progessives need to use the Dem primary to get real progressives nominated on the Dem ticket. ”

        I have no idea if I am a real progressive.

        Look. Some will vote. Some will vote for candidates in either of the two majors. Some will vote for candidates in the minor parties. I grew up in Chicago where there is really only one party but the membership consists of every persuasion so, Democrat or Republican means little to me. I have always voted based on issues and who I believed addressed things the best for the world I wanted. The more history I learn the more this approach is confirmed. I find people in both all parties can piss me off and or make me feel like there is hope for us all.

        Obama fooled me or maybe the system fooled me. McStain was possessed by some old senile bastard in this last election cycle. His behavior and that of the throngs of white people who were looking for someone to set fire to mobs desire helped me NOT see what Obama is. Even with all the bitching I will do about Obama, I have tried to knock down and push back on the idiocy of the tea bagged GED holders. If these folks could simply leave the lies behind and speak to facts, I could easily sit down with them, have a beer and see if there is any common ground.

        There are progressive Republicans…but they really do find themselves embarrassed by the hanging party folks. Conservative and progressive are not mutually exclusive. Nearly all of the Republicans I know personally are conservative progressives or visa versa. Speak to the issues and possible solutions if you can. If someone disagrees and can explain it on the merits and offer solutions, you owe it to yourself to look at it honestly.

        One of my nuns from yesteryear told me that Satan, the great deceiver is the father of lies. Anyone who has to lie is using the tools of the devil which means you are doing the devils work….or something like that. Now, she said this in between a couple of beers and a few cigarettes in the second balcony of the old Chicago Stadium during a Bulls game. It was an alter boy field trip.

        • bmaz says:

          Trust me, McCain has ALWAYS been that same old stupid, crazy, senile old bastard you saw. I have had the pleasure of McCain ever since he decided to grace my state with his assholiness in the early 80s. His reputation has, from the outset, been maybe a bigger scam that the one we have been discussing.

          • ManwithaParachute says:

            “pleasure of McCain ever since he decided to grace my state with his assholiness in the early 80s. His reputation has, from the outset, been maybe a bigger scam that the one we have been discussing.”

            EVERY TIME I see Mc Stain or hear his name, I am reminded of the legend of how a cousin dealt with some old jerk who hassled her in the bar where she worked one too many times.

            As Legend goes, my cousin grew tired of the abuse received at the hands of old crusty crotch. In an effort to free herself from this geriatric model of Oscar the Grouch, she enticed the dirty green shag puppet to a fine hotel where she tied Mr. Crotch-rot to the four corners of the bed.

            Oscar had a fave saying regarding bears in the woods. She assumed the position of said bear, hovering just above where Oscar’s glasses rest….

            She left a large tip on the night stand for the maid and an old wretch wretching in the bed with a message to leave her alone. She then left Oscar to wait for the post noon check-out knock on the door by an unsuspecting maid.

            Now the moral of this story is as you get older and think you are being cute and that young waitress likes your attention, there is a scat chance she may make your dreams come true….

            Sometimes dreams turn out to be nightmares. And, with that, I have come full circle back to Obama.

      • bobschacht says:

        Come the general election the Dem will be the least bad choice (absent some unimaginable transformation in the Rethugs) and will be by far the least bad alternative.

        The Republicans WILL be back. In fact, if Obama really has sold out to the robber barons, the path back for Republicans may be to become populists (the tea baggers may be the start of it), and turn to old Conservative themes of protecting the people from Big Government by advocating a return to Constitutional government. Republican Constitutionalism at present is founded mainly on the “right to bear arms” crowd, but the old Republican meme of “a man’s home is his castle” could also be revived against the Constitutional shredding of Bush-Cheney, which will be pinned on Obama because Obama-Holder are continuing the same policies. Heck, depending on how they do it, I might even convert.

        Bob in AZ

        • bmaz says:

          And it will be to the Democrats ever lasting shame if the Republicans, and not the Democrats and Obama, are the ones to adopt and win with that winning argument.

        • orionATL says:

          Georgezap @431

          You are an ass and a fool.

          Your military service entitles you to free, sort
          Of, medical care.

          It does not entitle you to respect for your ideological beliefs.

          In fact it does not entitle
          You to any “vets10 points” which is your hidden argument.

          Ignorant, blowhard, right-wing vets like you are a dime a dozen in
          This country today.

          You can lIsten to them embellish truth,
          And history, including their own militarfy history any day on
          Flush limbaugh.

          As for whether any commented here has or has not “served”,

          “serving” is no criterion for intellectua Competence.

  89. masswaster says:

    Millions of ordinary people giving Obama many millions of dollars was supposed to be the cure for misused power in the cause of corporate servitude.

    Now it’s back to square one.

  90. KDelphi says:

    If you vote for Dems again, you are part of the proces..what does it take to get you guys to give a shit about the poor, a Palin??

    • PJEvans says:

      You start by trying to elect better people.
      Not voting is saying you don’t give a shit about anyone or anything.

      Go out and vote, every election, because it’s one way to make them listen.

      • bmaz says:

        Exactly right. Always vote and use your vote as a power tool. I don’t get all the folks who have said something to the effect of “we should show those Democrats by staying home or not voting against some Dems and letting them get beat by their Republican opponent”. This just boggles my mind. If there are Democrats, individually or as a group, you are willing to punish by letting the Republican get elected, use your power and go vote for the damn Republican. Democrats actually voting for the opponent double their leverage because they are not just taking a vote from the Dem, as would occur by sitting out, they take a vote away from the Dem AND give an extra one to the Republican. Now I am not particularly advocating what others should do one way or another, but if you feel that strongly, MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT.

        • ManwithaParachute says:

          What you say is true ( you do not need me to tell you that) but, if you had a choice between Palin and LIEberman I could not vote for either. Obviously my example is impossible and extreme. I still would want to send a clear message to both.

          I believe progressives in general are looking for a way they can send the message, feel good about it, and ensuring the media cannot spin to say America moves to the RIGHT.

        • robspierre says:

          Sorry, but my experience indicates that boycotting the vote is the only way left to us that may effect some sort of change. Primary and caucus challenges are no doubt worthwhile but are too easily subject to manipulation by Party leadership.

          In our district, we worked hard to put up a Democratic challenger to a multi-term Republican in an overwhelmingly Republican district that was gerrymandered to divide the liberal minority. We had difficulty getting any Democratic establishment candidate to even take an interest. But, as dissatisfaction with Bushco and the Rethugs in general grew, an amateur candidate–an actual, old-school moderate liberal–ran and came close to an upset. She looked like a winner in 2008. But, once the seat was competitive, our state party organization swept in, pushed the candidate out, and saddled us with one of Ken “Nightcrawler” Salazar’s former staffers, Betsy Markey. We did as we were told and voted for her basedd on Party affiliation. She won on the back of the 2008 rejection of all things Republican. Now, on the issues, she has turned out to be as far-right as her Republican predecessor (the only “Democrat” to vote against the House healthcare bill).

          Our Democratic Senators, one long a reliable liberal, have tacked so far to the right that I cannot in good conscience support either. Bennet may or may not have a primary challenger, but, if so, I have to wonder whether the challenge would represent a real choice or just another name.

          Our Democratic governor started his term by screwing labor and is now in the process of dismantling education and public services in the name of “fiscal responsibility”.

          This is the pattern: campaign on one thing, then do another. I am now bombarded with campaign solicitations that trumpet the success of these people in championing the very causes that they worked so hard to defeat thus far.

          Voting for the lesser of two evils only makes sense when one candidate is, in fact, a lesser evil. When both are part of the same evil, voting for anyone is a betrayal.
          Voting for a Democrat that is a Republican under another name would turn the polls into a larger veal pen.

          If we are to show the Party and its individual candidates that control of the Big-Donor purse strings cannot guarantee victory, we have to deny them votes. Boycotting the ballot box is, after all, the normal way that much of the world expresses its opposition to a corrupt electoral process.

  91. FromCt says:

    bmaz,
    In a great thread you intiated in the latter part of December, you wrote,

    ….Barack Obama will never magically make the turn and do what progressives, liberals, and the citizens of this country want and need on resetting the Federal judiciary and courts from the long term relentless march to the conservative Federalist Society right wing ideal unless we – you, me and those of a similar view – force him to….

    But then, in a comment just below it, you posted:
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/12/22/obamas-infirm-lump-of-coal-judicial-policy/#comment-207334
    bmaz December 22nd, 2009 at 4:19 pm
    3
    In response to Jeff Kaye @ 1 (show text)

    There are certain things I can do and assist in a couple of groups I am in; beyond that, keep writing belligerent blog posts I guess.

    In the late 1960’s, I began to raise my political awareness by reading the NY Times daily via a student subscription. By the time I came to the age when selective service registration by male residents was required, I made the decision to refuse to cooperate with that “service” in any way. This non-action was my decision to not provide at least one potential set of US military feet on the ground in Vietnam.
    If an appreciable number of my contemporaries were to have done what I did, we could have had a direct effect on the course of that war.
    I had crossed a line but I then had to choose how I would live with my decision. For the next half dozen years, I lived underground, worked at menial jobs where an applicant was not asked about selective service status or required to present proof of it. Ford was appointed president and demanded the signing of a loyalty oath and submission to a period of community service as conditions to “rehabilitate” folks like me who refused to cooperate but were invisible to authorities.
    My point is that I refused to cooperate with a government requirement in an effort to thwart what it was doing that seemed morally and legally (the crime of aggressive war) wrong, and it cost me. To some extent, I’m still set back by it today because I was sidetracked from the momentum of education and career my contemporaries who chose the routes taken by Bush and Cheney….gaming the system instead of by refusing to recognize it’s legitimacy.
    Comments like the one of yours I quoted above, continue to remind me that you set an example I should have followed 40 years ago, and that I will definitely follow today. That is, don’t stick my neck out, work on accepting that nothing will change because I am not willing to risk or to expend much to effect meaningful political change.
    Besides, in the past, I took greater risks, going up against corrupt authority, and suffered greater fallout from it, than anyone I personally know.
    Even so, I’m having trouble dealing with the guilt resulting from my current unwillingness to stick my neck out. How do you deal with it?

  92. swede says:

    As for me, I don’t much worry about the good or the bad of Obama’s deeds, because I find them remarkably hard to fathom. I don’t get the scale, the stakes, or the time-scheme for the given detail, and not for lack of effort on my part.

    Whats so hard to fathom? With politicians there is always a golden rule; dont listen so much to what they say, observe what they do. Obamas track record so far is pretty damning. Trying to obfuscate that by claiming ambiguity and extradimensional designs that us mortals really cant fathom is just preaching self-mutilation of intellect.

  93. orionATL says:

    bobschact

    No response intended and certainly no offense intended.

    I was trying to
    Edit my comment while driving an itouch.

    Don’t know what I did wrong but suddenly I was in the ditch.

    Respectfully

  94. timbo says:

    The big question is…will he call in the Army to run the encampment of unemployed vets that will demand that they’re benefits not be slashed when the money runs out? And it’s running out. It’s running out in California, that’s for sure…and probably two dozen states? So, what happens then, Mr. President?