Sunday, June 26, 2011

Joan Walsh Says Vicious Obama Supporters Are Paid GOP Trolls

Sometime around about April Fools' Day, Joan Walsh jumped the shark. Since then, she's got caught out and called out in remarks that were just the teensy-weensiest bit racist, although Joan, being Joan and a bona fide bastion of the Progressive Left abjectly and vociferously denied that she was racist in anyway, whilst at the same time just as vociferously resenting any claim that African Americans could have to being part and parcel of the base whom Joan declares the President has abandoned so callously.

One thing led to another, and Joan got more than a bit rude with several people who disagreed with her point of view on certain things - most notably the fact that since the President declared his intent to run for re-election in 2012, Joan's been on a massive downer and appears to be suffering from DODS - Delayed Obama Derangement Syndrome.

In her last blog, usually written after an appearance on Chris Matthews's Hardball, she admitted that Obama appeared to have a "mirage" of support - which means that he might have the appearance of support amongst his base (whoever and whatever his base may be), but it really isn't support as such.

That confused me. Does that mean people will say they'll support him and then vote the Republican ticket? Or that they'll say they voted but in reality they stayed at home? Who knows? Still, that didn't confuse me as much as her next assertion, made in a Twitter exchange on June 23rd:-

@dpleasant @LaurieInQueens I'm convinced some of the most vicious pro-Obama people are paid by GOP

Mouths closed yet? Chins picked up off the floor?

Yep, you read right. Joan thinks that some of the most "vicious" Obama supporters are paid GOP trolls. She was most likely referring to me, in our last direct exchange, when she accused me of working for Breitbart, simply because I disagreed with her gratuitous criticism. More apt were my accusations that she was climbing on the Obama-bashing bandwagon to prove her own relevancy and to fit in more as an "esteemed" (but unpaid, according to Joanie - yeah, sure) political contributor for MSNBC.

(If you think all those "political contributors" just sit around the table shooting the breeze with Joe and Cenk and Chris and Larry and newly-minted lyin' liar Rachel just for a cuppa Starbucks and a camera in their face for nothing, you seriously need to get out more.)

I know Joan's recently read "Nixonland" and I know the GOP are famous for their infiltration tactics as a part of their ratfucking techniques, but gone are the days of Donald Segretti. Instead, if Joan bothered to open her eyes and ears, she'd find that there are a lot of pretty intelligent, normal, hard-working, everyday people who see exactly what the President has done, how he's done it and - above all - why he's had to do things the way he has. Such people are these that they understand how government works, they know the President doesn't legislate, and, furthermore, they know that in a democracy, one discusses, debates and compromises.

These people know that change that lasts is often incremental. Some of us might remember when FDR implemented Social Security and how it covered a fraction of the people it covers today. Others might remember Jim Crow, still more might remember when a female teacher got paid considerably less than a male counterpart.

These people are the ones who remember that the President has always said that change comes from the bottom up, which is a euphemism for the aristocratic FDR's direct command of "make me."

And these are the people who listened to Candidate Obama's speeches and realised, if not from their content than from reading his work, The Audacity of Hope, that the man presented himself as nothing more than a Left of Centre pragmatist in the mold of his hero, Abraham Lincoln.

If these people are now vociferous to the point of vicious in their support of the President, it's simply because we're effing mad at the trust fund kids from the Progressive end of the political spectrum slamming the President on everything he does and doesn't do to their specification. We're sick and tired of being called Obamabots and derided on sites like Daily Kos, which was allegedly founded as a Democratic website and has turned into a den of hatred for people specialising in pissing on the President and pushing the meme that he's done nothing, yet all the while proclaiming that this criticism is constructive and it's purely done in the name of political policy.

My blue Democratic ass.

The Right walk around with signs of the President dressed like witch doctor with a bone through his nose, and the Firebaggers at FDL get a pass when they refer to him as "boogalu Bush."

The Right accuse him of being a Kenyan mau-mau, while Progressives openly refer to him as the "Affirmative Action President."

Joan would do well to remember that it was a fellow PUMA who started the birther myth in earnest, and she would do well not to forget the PUMA woman who stridently declared she would support no other than John McCain, when Hillary dropped out of the race, because she simply couldn't understand why Democrats would set aside a well-qualified white woman in favour of a black man.

The Right assert that the President is a weak leader, and Joan obliges by pushing the same meme. The Right treat him with open disrespect, while the Left act like Miss Scarlett about to smack Prissy from sheer frustration.

His supporters are sick and tired of being referred to as sycophants for "Dear Leaders" and called "Obama-Lovers" by her newest pet blogger, Glenn Greenwald, who appears to be the tail wagging Salon's dog to such a degree that Joan has to slavishly echo his critique.

In short, our "vicious" support of the President is simply nothing more than a reaction to an irresponsible, lazy, assumptive and downright untrustworthy media who like to think that the majority of Americans are totally incapable of thinking for themselves and need political action explained to them, but always with a spin. And if you're canny enough to disagree, you're deserving of the rudness thrown in your direction.

So, sorry, Joan, "vicious" supporters of the President aren't paid GOP trolls, but whiners, whingers, moaners, and relentless fault-finders and criticizers such as you and the mean girls and guys around you are the underminers taking the corporate penny of people whose agenda is to see the President fail.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the ratfucker after all?

The Radical Chic Pay Lip Service to the Poor

In yesterday's New York Times, Charles Blow, one of my favourite opinion writers, wrote a brilliant and poignantly evocative exhortation to politicians of all stripes not to forget the poor in all their shenanigans and manouevres.

Blow called upon his own life's experience, growing up poor and black in rural Louisiana. Blow's not many years younger than I, and growing up where he did, I'm sure he remembers just as many raggedy, barefoot and hungry poor white kids in his vicinity than not.

The poor are always with us and in the South, they're juxtaposed, black and white, and never far from each other. I was in elementary school in the Sixties, in a rural four-room schoolhouse off the beaten track yet 65 miles from that civilisation known as Washington DC. I'll always remember Bascombe and Zady May Darnell, two transplanted Tennessee mountain kids whose father had meandered into the vicinity to work for slave wages on a rich man's farm nearby.

Bascombe always missed most of September and October. Big for his age, he had to help with the harvest. He was already twelve years old, looked sixteen, and sat in a classroom of third graders. Zady May had already caught up with him. From April until the end of school in June (and throughout most of the summer) the Darnells walked to school barefooted, not just because the weather was fine and the days hot, but also because they got one pair of shoes every two years - Doc Martens - and they were meticulously saved for cold or inclement weather.

Both kids just disappeared after third grade ended and were never seen again.

Yesterday, as well, Senator Bernie Sanders also wrote about the condition of the poor at present in the country. This is what Senator Sanders does best, as the conscience of the Senate. He's a real socialist, who genuinely believes to each according to his ability and for each according to his need. The government taxes the haves in order to look after the have nots. Only fair.

Two great voices echoing the same message, only to be appropriated by a third, for recognition purposes.

As soon as Blow's and Senator Sanders's words were in print, Lady Radical, herself, Katrina vanden Heuvel weighed in on Twitter, exhorting all her followers to "remember the poor."

That's it then. Katrina's done her bit. She's acknowledged something her class always know, and that's that the poor are always with us. Yes, let's remember them. I'm kind and liberal. Now, next question?

Yes, Katrina knows about the poor. She's read about them; maybe she's even glimpsed them from a distance as she lives in the upper end of Harlem in a brownstone mansion, but that's probably as far as it goes. Write about them from time to time, and she's done her bit, at least enough to justify her Progressive credentials.

Katrina probably knows all the fashionable and au fait parts of London and Paris, but she probably doesn't know anything about the sink estate high rises in New Addington, Croydon, just south of the Thames (we call them "the projects") or the fetid banlieux of Paris. She's probably never ventured into the provincial towns in Britain to view the obese poor trawling through cut price supermarkets for BOGOFS (buy-one-get-one-free) of bags of French fries and tins of baked beans to feed a family for a week.

And in the US, her trips to the South have probably only included the upper end of Atlanta or a fashionable resort in Florida. Going into the mountains of Appalachia would give her nosebleed, and she couldn't bear the thought of breathing the same air as so many shit-kicking, inbread, banjo-strumming, trailerpark trash-talking Rush listeners, banging Bibles and speaking in tongues, who were probably all neo-Confederate racists. At least, that's what she's been told. Besides, she'd probably leave with cooties, if she even understood what they were saying.

It's better to gaze from afar and opine from the safety of one's drawing room and ensure any written endeavour gets pride of place in the trust fund gift of a publication bought by Daddy to amuse her and establish her in a topflight career that really took no effort from her at all.

There now. The poor have been suitably acknowledged. Time to move on and continue freedom-fighting at Saks.

Jesus, how I miss Joe Bageant.

Never Mind the Dangerous Insipidity of Dan Choi

Dan Choi's at it again, twittering and wittering his vitriolic hatred of the President. Dan's the posteboy of the gay rights' movement, but he's rapidly turning into a Cindy Sheehan figure. Unlike Sheehan, he's still being given a visible platform by the media, and he's being guided and manipulated by the likes of Jane Hamsher, who is still foisted on the unsuspecting public as a voice for Progressives. (Remember that other high-profile Progressive voice, Arianna Huffington? How well did that work out?)

To say Choi's unadulterated hatred of the President is palpable is an understatement. Never mind that the President has enacted more legislation in favour of gay people than any previous President. Never mind he enacted the Matthew Shepherd Act, that he's given partners of gay people beneficiary rights. Never mind that he's repealed DADT or that he invited Choi the signing of that repeal and commended him publically on his activism. Never mind that Choi was filmed swinging from a lampost and waving an American flag outside the White House the night Osama bin Laden was killed, or that he was filmed in the company of Rachel Maddow and Paul Reickhoff. Never mind that the President has instructed the DOJ not to defend DOMA in court, and never mind that the President has said he's in favour of civil unions, which - as I've said - is a euphemism for marriage.

Never mind all of that, because in the one-track mind of Dan Choi, the President is a malignant homophobe, who is no friend of gay people. So convinced of that is Choi and so convincing is he that 30% of all LGBT ciitizens who voted in the midterm elections voted Republican as a protest. Choi even showed up at CPAC earlier in the year, praising the Log Cabin Republicans for their efforts in proving the unconstitutionality of DOMA. (Although rumours are abounding that Choi, himself, is a Republican, and that wouldn't surprise me in the least).

All because the President won't say the "m" word.

Never mind that the President is thinking like the constitutional lawyer that he is. He knows DOMA is an Act of Congress, signed into law by the last Democrat to occupy the Oval Office, Bill Clinton. Therefore, only another Act of Congress can repeal it; however the President is well aware that with a Republican majority in the House, a majority which includes several Tea Party Congressman, a repeal is never going to be on the horizon. So he's using the other recourse: the judicial branch. As more and more federal judges pronounce the act unconstitutional and as more and more states enact it into law (and, yes, marriage has always been a contractual agreement managed on state level), the twains will eventually meet.

It takes time, but any sort of lasting change is always incremental, but grows and builds steam and strength. Just ask anyone who's still alive from the Civil Rights movement.

But never mind all that, because now Lieutenant Dan has a new hero whom he's promoting, and in this regard he beautifully illustrates the singular inability of the spoiled brat Progressive faction to think critically.

Lieutenant Dan burst onto Twitter Friday evening extolling the greatness of Governor Andrew Cuomo in signing the gay marriage bill into law in New York, and at the same time praising the charm and warmth of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who was a proponent of this. So great, so good, so wonderfully pure was the team of Cuomo and Gillibrand, that Choi, who's now become a political strategist as well, was imploring Cuomo and Gillibrand to primary Obama and Biden for the 2012 Democratic nomination.

One signature on a bill, one senatorial endorsement, is enough to change the stripes of politicians forever.

Never mind that Andrew Cuomo is the most anti-union Democratic governor in the nation at the moment. In addition to signing the gay marriage act into state law, he's also enacted some of the most reactionary anti-union legislation in the country, enough to equate himself with the likes of Scott Walker and Cuomo's gubernatorial neighbour, Chris Christie.

Never mind that the Blue Dog Gillibrand is a Second Amendment Democrat from the most conservative section of her state.

Never mind all of that, because the strangest phenomena magically transform centrist or centre-Right Democrats into fully paid-up Damscene Progressives. With Hillary Clinton, whose foreign policy theories mirrored John McCain's and who convinced the President to sign onto the UN humanitarian effort in Libya, buyer's remorse turned her into a latent Progressive. For the unfortunate Gabrielle Giffords, another Blue Dog Second Amendment politician who sometimes voted with the opposition, the moment the bullet hit the bone of her skull, the idealogical Progressive Left turned her into a martyr for their cause.

Hindsight is not only twenty-twenty vision, it's also a means by which history and the past can be rewritten and revised to suit the needs of the present - something of which the Left, quite often and quite rightly, accuses the Fundamentalist Right (also manipulated by idealogues equally as short-sighted).

In the 21st Century, intellect has debased itself to such a point that every action needs simplification to the nth degree, with people being willfully and patently unable to see more than one way of achieving an end. Thus, when a Rand Paul casts his vote with the Democrats of the Senate against Paul Ryan's draconian budget, which would end Medicare as we know it, the Left cheer him as a convert, never realising that the only reason Paul wouldn't surport Ryan's initiative was that, rather than cutting too many entitlements, it didn't cut enough for the Senator's liking.

Yet these are the same people who would willingly support a Ron Paul candidacy, solely because of his belief in legalisation of all drugs and of prostitution, never thinking of the fact that both father and son oppose the Civil Rights Act, proclaiming Title VII unconstitutional and hiding their hankering for a return to segregation behind that old chestnut called "property rights."

Dan Choi was a military officer, who took a courageous stand in outing his own sexuality to prove a point and enhance a movement, but I question his efficacy as an officer in his inability to think critically, a trait which is essential in military leadership.

So let him and his followers support the Republicans in this round and or let them elect to stay at home during the next election cycle, and see how they fare if the homophobic Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann attain the White House. Perry might pray for their conversion, but Michele's First Dude's modus operandi is the establishment of Cure Camps for people whom he labels as "barbarians."

If the future of our country lies in the hands of a populace who depends on media people and personalities who willfully refuse to see anything but their side of an argument or are unwilling to look behind the public facade for a deeper meaning to an action, then we really are going to hell, fast, in a handcart.

Still ... never mind.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

There's Nothing Worse Than a Starfucking Ratfucker

I see Bill Maher's following this week's fashion of Obama-bashing again, in the wake of Chris Matthews's, Ed Schultz's and Rachel Maddow's expert analysis of the President's Afghanistan speech and hot on the heels of latent adolescent hissyfitting at Netroots Nation. Bill wants to be relevant, so he's revving up his old chestnut of "Obama the pussy," so it won't be long before he reaches into his repertoire to start musing about Obama not being black enough to suit Bill's stereotypical tastes, as past remarks have shown that Bill views black men like the President to be ineffectual and bumbling Fred Sanford types, instead of pistol-packing ghetto gangstas whom Bill purports to admire.

Nope, the President is a pussy who panders to people he should be opposing. In Bill's adolescently stagnated mind, Obama wants the likes of John Boehner to like him, so they agree to play golf. Ne'mind the fact that no less than LBJ had a round of golf with the Republican Senate leader, Everitt Dirksen, which resulted in Dirksen coming onside for Civil Rights' legislation.

Bill joined the Progressive chorus of "Obama Caving" when the President effected a compromise with the Republicans which saw tax cuts for the wealthy extended until 2012 in exchange for legislation which would help the unemployed, the poor and the working poor - but then, the affluent, educated and elite Progressives of the Left and Northeastern Coasts have given scant thought in the past forty years to the working classes and the working poor. To effetes like Bill, they're the hayseed inhabitants of Flyover country and inbred Deliverance shitkicking neo-Confederates of the red South. Of course, no mention was made either of the fact that the President's "caving" enabled DADT to be repealed, ensured passage of the First Responders' Bill as well as START.

Bill likes to identify himself as a Progressive, but he is anything but. As much as he calls the President out for being a fraudulent black man, Bill's pretty much a fraudulent Progressive - in fact, he's whiffingly close to being outed as a Republican.

Let's take a look:-

Bill is a strong supporter of the Death Penalty.
Bill is a vociferous supporter of Israel, as strong a supporter of Israel as either Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck.
Bill is vehemently anti-Muslim. He's truly alarmed that one of the most common names for a male child in Britain is Mohammed. He fears the West being overrun by Islamic hordes, and he's actually gone on record as saying that whilst all Muslims are not terrorists, if you're a terrorist, you're probably a Muslim.
Bill supports privatisation of Social Security and has often stated this. In fact, in an earlier program this year, he illustrated by a plate of food just how many "entitlements" should be up for trimming in any government budget - chief amongst those, being Social Security and Medicare.
Bill is anti-union. He crossed the picket lines during the writers' strike of 2007 and since then has refused to employ any writer who belongs to a professional union. In a show airing March 13, 2009, he slated the teaching unions and unions in general. Curiously, when it became fashionably de rigueur for the Professional Left to decamp to Wisconsin in light of Governor Scott Walker trampling on the collective bargaining rights of white-collar public sector unions, Bill added his voice; but it's interesting to note that neither Bill nor MSNBC's biggest proponents of unions, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow, have yet to discuss the blue-collar Boeing workers' dispute in Washington state. The only people fighting for their rights are the National Labor Relations Board and the President - but since the President, in Bill's and other peoples' views, has neither accomplished anything of note nor is capable of doing so, this isn't even worth a newsworthy mention.
In an interview aired in October 2009 with Bill Frist, Bill infamously blurted out that he didn't want government controlling his healthcare, after spending all that current season paying lip service to the sainted public option.
Bill's BFF is corporate media whore and Queen Ratfucker, Arianna Huffington - she who famously snookered the Left and the Left's media into believing her to be the champion voice for Progressives everywhere, even when she was openly undermining the President from as early as March 2009. For all Bill affects to disdain all things corporate, he literally bowed from the waist in hommage to Arianna's mega-million deal with AOL. This is the same Arianna Huffington who dismissed the legions of unpaid and unknown bloggers to whom she offered a platform more wantonly than Marie Antoinette dismissed the French peasantry as unimportant.
Bill pals around and is far too cosy with the likes of Darrell Issa, another bosom chum who sucks at the toxic tit of Arianna. In fact, Bill refers to Issa as "our Darrell Issa." This is the same Darrell Issa, auto thief, insurance fraudster, arsonist and posessor of illegal firearms, who declared Barack Obama to be the most corrupt President ever to inhabit the Oval Office. Issa is a staple on Bill's show.
Bill is against funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and NPR.
For most of 2009 and 2010, Bill referred to the President derisively as "Barry," a term used almost exclusively by the ageing, disaffected and disparaging group of white men known as Teabaggers.
Bill not only invites Andrew Breitbart onto his panel, but he appears to defend him when he's there and gives him credence as a bona fide journalist. On Breitbart's second appearance, Carl Sagan's widow confronted him about his misrepresentation of Shirely Sherrod, only to have Breitbart turn to Bill and remind him that Bill had promised him that race as a subject would not be raised on the show. Bill was forced to agree and apologise for Sagan's widow's outburst. Breitbart appeared earlier this year on Real Time along with liberal writer and broadcaster, Laura Flanders, and Bill gave Breitbart a lot of rein and appeared to treat Flanders as highly irrelevant and a nuisance.
For all he pays lip service to wanting to pay higher taxes, the truth is that Bill probably pays a lot less tax than he should. He owns two multi-million dollar properties in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles - his home and the house next door, which he treats as a guest house. These registered owner of these two properties is a charity called The Odie Trust. The Odie Trust, named for one of Bill's dogs who died, is a paper charity only, with Bill Maher listed as CEO and Secretary. As headquarters of a registered charity, these properties are not subjected to property tax laws in the state.
Sound like a state-of-the art Progressive to you? I would say that Bill sounds pretty damned Republican to me. Truth is, Bill is whatever happens to be the fashion of the moment. If he were a responsible political wonk, he'd realise that because of whatever reason, we're saddled with a Republican House of Representatives, which means that because fiscal legislation - like the budget and the debt ceiling kerfuffle - must originate with this lot of poseurs and grandstanders. This is where jobs' legislation starts also, but like everyone else and his dog, the Congress, in general, likes to heap the majority of what they should be doing onto the President.

If Bill had the audacity and prescience of mind to listen and really wanted to establish himself as someone of note in commentary, he would be making mincemeat of the fact that no less than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was brutally honest in describing the Hill Republicans' agenda: to ensure that Barack Obama is a one-term President. Nothing else mattered.

And if Bill were truly perspicacious (and, believe me, in this instance, it's not hard), he'd easily see how the House Republicans are stitching varous members of the Progressive caucus up like the proverbial kipper. McConnell, again, pointed this out this week, when he revealed that, were a Republican President in the White House, none of this showhorse, symbolic, repudiative legislation over Libya would ever have been introduced. In fact, McConnell reiterated, there were any number of Republicans in the Senate and in the House during Dubya's tenure, who were opposed to his antics in the Middle East; yet they kept their mouths shut and sat on their hands in the interest of party loyalty - something which is sadly lacking amongst the Democrats.

The House Republicans find it easy enough to stroke the narcissistic ego of Little Man Syndrome sufferer Dennis Kucinich and big up big mouth Peter Di Fazio to the extent that these two have become the biggest Democratic tools in the Republican toolbox. Kucinich shouldn't feel ashamed when his calls for impeachment and his judicial suit of the President makes its way into Republican party political messages in 2012.

And when Bill Maher whines that the President doesn't do anything, someone who knows better needs to remind Bill, who purports to be a student of history, that the President doesn't legislate. Congress does, and that for the better part of our nation's history, legislation has meant debating, discussion and compromise.

Like a lot of Bill's ilk, he voted for the black guy because it was fashionable, it elevated his street cred and made him feel better about himself as a "Progressive." But inasmuch as a lot of people found politically on the Right, who abhor the thought of a black man in the White House, Bill, like a great many of the patronising, affluent and white Progressives on the Left, are singularly uncomfortable with a black man in the White House, who is smarter than they are, and who doesn't do what they say to do.

The danger lies in people like Bill, who hide behind the comedian curtain, but who occupy a podium which garners the ear of a lot of people too lazy or unable to think critically for themselves; and therein lies the danger of the starfucking ratfucker.

Just a Word About Marriage

We are the United States of Shallow Americans. We obsess over the nuance in a phrase or a word and are distracted by the most inane things, thus allowing the sheisters and idealogues, whom we reckon good enough to govern us, free rein to rape and pillage our way of life.

The media is the real driving force of this country, and even that's not made up of responsible professionals anymore.

I watch a BBC political opinion show, and I can expect the moderator to be somone who's covered the political scene since the year dot. I can expect analysis from seasoned political strategists from both sides of the political equation, as well as reliable fact-based opinion from ex-politicians finding new life in the media. What I don't get is a one-sided echo chamber inhabited by ex-sportscasters, superannuated bloggers, hate-filled failed movie producers and lawyers who've found a lucrative side business in political scamming, society matrons, social climbers and ladies who lunch. I don't get comedians who want to be political pundits until they say something totally unacceptable, and then they hide behind the comedian identity. I don't get flip-flopping political hacks.

Everybody, his brother and his dog have been obsessing this week about wanting the President to come out and verbally give his support to gay marriage. They actually want to hear him say "marriage." It's not enough for him to say he supports civil unions.

Maybe he should just say he supports civil unions for all, because "marriage" is a euphemism for civil union.

That's right. Marriage is a civil union. That's why all clergymen, priests, rabbis, and imams are licenced by the STATE to perform marriages, as are various civil officials. In the US, as in other countries like the UK, people wanting to commit to a civil union, can do so in a place of worship or in a municipal setting. In fact, some countries, such as France and Italy, only recognise civil unions performed by licenced municipal officials. In France and Italy, you hitch up to a civil union in the local town hall, the ceremony being officiated most times by the local mayor.

In fact Nicolas Sarkozy, as mayor of Paris, officiated at the first civil union of the woman who eventually became his second wife. Go figure.

Afterwards, if you want to have your civil union blessed by a church official in a reasonable facsimile of a white wedding, there's nothing to stop you; but in and of its own, this ceremony isn't legal.

So, given that this President has enacted legislation which gives same sex couples the same beneficiary rights as heterosexual couples, and given that he says he believes in civil unions, I think it's more than fair to say he believes in same sex marriages just as much as he believes in hetero civil unions.

Another thing ... he's saying nothing new when he says that the individual states need to iron out marital laws regarding this. This has always been the way, even before the frivolous and totally unnecessary showpiece legislation, DOMA, which was, incidentally, signed by one Bill Clinton, Democrat.

Mostly marital laws dealt with the age in which one could legally marry without the consent of a parent or legal guardian. Age limitations varied from state to state, but marital statuses were recognised nationally. That's why, even though people were astounded at the time, Jerry Lee Lewis was able to legally marry his cousin, who was fourteen some fifty-odd years ago. And this was why Loving v Virginia was hauled before the Supreme Court: SCOTUS ruled against the Commonwealth, who, formerly, had legally banned interracial civil union.

When this President instructed his Department of Justice not to defend DOMA in court, he was enforcing constitutional checks and balances. He was ensuring that government works in accordance with the Constitution. With the present make-up of the House and Senate, there is no way DOMA (an Act of Congress) can be repealed.

You do realise that an Act of Congress can only be repealed by another Act of Congress and not an Executive Order, don't you? If you don't, then you seriously need to seek out some Civics 101 classes.

If enough courts, even the present corrupt one masquerading as the Supreme Court, strike down state marital laws which prohibit people of the same sex from marrying or formin a legal civil union, the DOMA, itself, becomes obsolete and unconstitutional. As more and more states enact marital legislation thus, the pressure will be on other states to follow suit.

It's a long-winded process, but in the end, most successful changes in major laws are long-winded processes and the sort which tend to last.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fine Young Cannibals

When the Democrats have to be told home truths by Pat Buchanan, you know something is not only rotten, it's shameful.

Earlier this week, in one of his many appearances on MSNBC, where he's the Grandpa Munster of political analysts, Buchanan was amazed at how the Democratic Party were sneakily and rather unobtrusively trying to move the President into a position of isolation. Looking any other way but at him. Sniping surreptitiously about his policies to a rabid and irresponsible media, but always "under condition of anonymity."

Suddenly, less than 18 months before the next election, the President has become Leper-in-Chief. Actually, this situation began in earnest during the Midterm hustings, when the Democratic party ran away from defending healthcar and distanced itself from the President in general. Two high-profiled Democratic Senators argued against bringing repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest to a vote before adjourning to campaign. If these could have been repealed successfully at any time, the best time to have tackled the issue would have been in September 2010. Then candidates could have campaigned on the fact that the Democratic Party had secured a permenent reduction in taxes for the all-important middle classes, whilst repealing tax cuts for the wealthiest.

But Harry Reid, the Majority Leader, and Russ Feingold, were in tight Senate races, and didn't want to have to campaign on raising taxes for anyone just yet. They pleaded with the President to delay the votes until after the Midterms.

And that worked out so well, didn't it? Herewith was established the infinitely erroneous myth of the President "caving" on tax cuts to a revitalised Republican Party, who refused to do any sort of lame duck business until the tax cuts had been extended. Ne'mind the President got more from the compromise than the Republicans and actually got them to effect legislation important to the economic well-being of the unemployed, the working class and the working poor - that's all by the wayside in perpetuation of the myth of Obama the "poor negotiator,", the "pussy", the wimp.

No matter what this President does, it's never good enough. The standard for him has been raised to an impossible height. Not only a willfully ignorant public, but also his own spineless, indolent and puerile political party expects him not only to eforce laws legislated, but actually do the legislation, himself. There have even been some from his side of the political fence who accuse him of the murder of Osama bin Laden.

The President doesn't chest beat, but one prominent gay rights' activist is certainly chest-beating today in The Huffington Post bragging about how he and his ilk had achieved a bit of progress in their agenda simply by "beating up" the President.

I know it's only a figure of speech, but what a violent one to use. And where were such voices "beating up" on Bill Clinton, Democrat, when he signed not only DADT, but DOMA?

But back to Buchanan.

Pat was reminiscing about Nixon and the period during which Nixon had become a veritable political pariah, when Watergate was at its height, when people were wondering what Howard Baker stated about what the President knew and when he knew it, when it was reported that Nixon harboured an enemies' list, incorporating such people as Carol Channing, when Nixon stated that there was no "whitewash at the White House."

Nixon's party visibly distanced itself from him during this period, Buchanan reminded, and only he, Pat Buchanan, publically defended the President until and after his resignation.

Now, Pat says, David Axelrod, who's left the Obama Administration, is the only Democrat who will defend what President Obama has achieved, whilst all around him in the party nitpicks and criticizes.

When a former plastics salesman who happens to be the Republican Speaker of the House plays politics and asserts that the President's action in Libya was illegal, this is the Opposition speaking; but when a member of his own party, who boasts a communications degree and a pocket Constitution and who's never been more than a political operative since his early youth, demands not onlly that a President from his own party be impeached, but actively seeks to sue him for breach of Constitutional law over Libya, then something stinks.

It's become an ass-end-out situation when the likes of Lindsey Graham speaks up for the President with integrity and prescience, whilst Dennis Kucinich unwittingly becomes the biggest tool the Republicans have in their box of tricks to ensure that Obama becomes a one-term President.

Not one serving Democratic representative is offering this President any sort of support on anything, but they are capable of whining and wanting his support to do their work.

When a serving member of Congress and a leader in the latino community threatens to withdraw support unless the President "does something" about passing the DREAM Act, I wonder how the hell these people made it to Congress. I would like to politely remind Congressman Gutierrez, AKA Congressman Gilipollas Flamante that YOU legislate and that the DREAM Act has failed to pass muster in the Senate on TWO occasions, thanks to four Democratic Senators voting with the Dark Side. How, exactly, does he expect the President to "do something" now, especially since the lower House has a Republican majority?

Compared to Nixon, a crook who was saved from investigation and imprisonment by his successor's Presidential pardon, this President is a saint. Buchanan, who's no admirer of Obama, admitted as much. Yet no Democrat will stand in support of this man. Is this real buyer's remorse or just craven fear that sometime in the future another qualified black man might seek the highest office in the land?

Or maybe they're just waiting for a great white hope of a primary challenger to step out of the woodwork, so we can really achieve another one-term Carteresque Presidency. The last time the Democrats went cannibal on one of their own, we got twelve years of Republican rule, which meant trickledown, the Gipper, the Gulf War and a lot of the things that resulted in the shitstorm we're negotiating now.

But this ain't Ronald Reagan's Republican Party who'll triumph as the Democrats munch down on their own. These are Goldwater's grandchildren, mutated Birchers who've sucked the tits of Koch whilst being read bedtime stories by Ayn Rand. These are people who want to see literacy tests reintroduced before people are allowed to register to vote. These are people who want to reduce the working class to a undereducated demographic of peasants willing to work long hours for peanuts and be thankful. These are people who are against a woman's right to choose and who would prosecute any woman as a murderer if she sought an abortion. These are people who want to rid the land of public schools and get rid of Medicare. These are people who would unflinchingly invoke "property rights" in dealing with anything concerning civil rights.

These are not nice people, and if they come to the fore and gain the White House in 2012, you will see an unbroken hegemony of Republican Presidents for a generation, because the Democrats will have eaten their own.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Professional Left and the Big Sam President

So I understand Keith Olbermann, the multimillionaire media egotist and ex-sportscaster who deems himself eminently qualified to comment on political affairs, whose resurrected show Countdown is an echo chamber of one-sided thought with no room for debate and no tolerance for any divergence of opinion, ended his first program on the Current TV network with some singularly unsolicited instructions (not advice, but instructions, mind you) of what exactly the President should do regarding Afghanistan.

I don't know what the President intends to do about Afghanistan, and I won't know until well after he's said it. By the time he speaks this evening, I'll be settling down for a night's sleep in the UK; but I do know that I'm not going to attempt to second-guess, much less, instruct him as to what he should do.

I was born during Eisenhower's first Administration. I barely remember Kennedy, and came of age during Nixon and Watergate. In all that time, I can never remember any President previously getting so much unsolicited advice from all quarters, nor can I ever remember any President receiving such hateful and spiteful gratuitous criticism and petulant behaviour from people who are supposed to be from his side of the political equation.

Before every major statement or speech, up pop various and sundry professionally Leftish talking heads, first, to tell us all what the President SHOULD say in his address; then after the speech, itself, they inhabit our screens, the very embodiment of moral and righteous consternation, to tell us why and how the President is wrong, what he should have said and, just basically, what a very bad, weak and naughty boy he has been. The boy bit is never openly stated, but it is just as much implied as if Joe Wilson, himself, had been issuing the criticism.

But then, Joe Wilson, is supposed to criticize. He's the opposition.

From Olbermann and his crony, Michael Moore, on down, we're presented with a series of armchair quarterbacks, who would always do a better job than this President, who know exactly what he should do and just how he should treat the most recalcitrant of Congresses, and who always end up by issuing a dire threat to the President that all-important votes will be witheld in the ensuing election, if he doesn't abide by their advice and orders.

For the life of me, I don't remember Bill Clinton ever receiving so much criticism masked as advice during his two terms; in fact, Olbermann, who doesn't vote, was much too much involved with the sporting sphere during many of those years.

It strikes a special chord with me which sounds suspiciously like a dog whistle.

I'm sorry if that offends anyone, but when you're born and bred in the South, you learn to recognise dog whistlin', even if the tune being whistled isn't "Dixie."

Olbermann, in "Special Comment" mode can be seriously scary, with his big head filling the screen space and his laboured and foghorned voice excoriating whomever, usually, the President. I can imagine him a frightful bully, but a bully who leads from behind the video camera as that section of the plebeian masses who harken to his call and recognize him to be the "voice" they, for some unfathomable reason, reckon they cannot use.

I can easily imagine him the snarky, cumurdgeonly bachelor uncle who'd verbally paste a kid for traipsing mud from the playground across his antique oriental carpet. Just as easily, when he's severely admonishing the President, I get a mental image of Marse Keith, elegantly dressed in jodpurs and with a riding crop in one hand and shaking the index finger of the other in the face of a suitably penitent President.

But what's so infuriating to Keith (and to Miss Jane and Marse Cenk and Miss Joan and all the rest) is the fact that, damn it, this President SHOULD be awfully sorry that he hasn't done anything they reckon he's said he'd do but carries on doing what he thinks is best and isn't sorry at all. In fact, on occasion, he's been damned uppity towards them ... and here's a man, an African American, whom they put in the White House in the first place before that nice white woman who'd been First Lady - ne'mind Marse Keith had plenty to say about her, even reckoning she should be horse-whipped when she wouldn't drop out of the primary race.

This is a minor character redux from Gone With the Wind. Seriously, it is, with Olbermann as the benevolently tyrannical Gerald O'Hara, berating his trusty foreman, Big Sam, for not following orders. In that society, Gerald O'Hara was the privileged master whose job was to tell his servant - say it, his slave - Big Sam what to do, how to do, and when to do it.

Then there was a Civil War, and Gerald O'Hara went mad and died. And Big Sam kept the business running. Maybe it's time Olbermann either put up an actual vote, which would give him a voice, go over to the Dark Side (because he's aiding and abetting them as it is), or just go mad and let the President keep the business running - perhaps with a bit less gratuitous criticism and a little more faith.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Message to Progressives: Lily Ledbetter Is What Democrats Should Be All About

The kindergarten of spoiled, affluent children pretending to dabble in politics, otherwise known as Netroots Nation, hit a new low when the White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, was subjected to one of the most immature and unprofessional snark interviews ever given to a political operative who had been invited as a guest to this event.

Kaili Joy Gray, a Daily Kos front pager, during the interview and taking it upon herself to speak for all Progressives, smugly informed Pfeiffer that Progressives were "tired of hearing about Lily Ledbetter."

As a lifelong Democrat and a liberal, that makes me feel satisfied and vindicated.

It proves beyond a shadow of a doubt what I've been saying for donkey's (pun intended) years: That for the past 40 years, the Democratic Party, particularly its resurrected Leftwing, who eschewed the term liberal in favour of Progressive because they were incapable of remembering any history prior to the 1960s, totally abandoned, not only the unions, but the working class in general, in favour of idealogies spouted by well-educated, affluent professionals with no traditional or emotional ties to either the labour movement or the working class.

Prior to 1972, the Democratic party was all about the Lily Ledbetters of this world. The Democratic party was the party of the working class and the working poor, in the rural South, the rural Midwest and the Rust Belt states. These people were dismissed as herd followers, too unimportant to cultivate, too dumb and too racist. All assumptions pushed to such a point and to such a degree that many Progressives now believe them as absolute fact.

I would imagine Kaili Joy Gray is tired of hearing about Lily Ledbetter. To Kaili Joy, Lily's just a dumb hick Southern woman who's probably inbred, speaks atrociously and probably has cooties. She probably goes to a fundamentalist church on Sundays, plays with rattlesnakes and speaks in tongues. She's poor. She's country, and she bores the hell out of latte-sipping, designer-clad, Coastal-living Kaili Joy. Red states, red people.

Somewhere in the Great Beyond, FDR is shaking his head sadly. JFK and Bobby are biting their lips in anger. LBJ looks at Harry Truman and demands how the hell these people can call themselves Democrats, and Harry replies, "Never mind how the hell they can call themselves Democrats, who the fuck are these people?"

That's exactly what I'd like to know.

Joan Walsh: Twisted Sister Punches Down

The British have a great phrase for expressing the fact that someone is undergoing a particularly angering derangement syndrome. They simply say that someone "has a cob on." Well, Joan Walsh has had a massive cob on since early April, dating, specifically from the moment the President announced he was going to seek a second term in office.

Joan, being an unreconstructed PUMA, harboured hopes that Barack Obama would gallantly step aside after four years, so Hillary Clinton could step up to the plate and save America from a fate worse than death: a Dominionist-led Republican party intent on forming a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. The President could have been forgiven for doing just that, with the amount of vitriol coming from the so-called "Progressive" end of the Democratic party, criticizing his every action and parsing his ever word.

Joan, like Bill Maher, identifies with this tranche of Democrat, but often, like Bill Maher, she betrays herself as a dedicated follower of political fashion, a Madonna wannabe who, more often than not, revealed herself to be pragmatic and with an abundance of good common sense, based on a solid working class upbringing. In fact, as if to prove her Progressive credentials to people whom her mother would probably view as dubious company at best, she's often accused the President of "punching the hippy."

That's a pretty oxymoronic description of Progressives, who like to think of themselves as the natural successors to the hippies of Haight-Ashbury, considering the fact that these self-proclaimed successors are designer-clad, drink the finest wines, holiday in exclusive resorts, fly by private jet and employ people, some even illegally, for pathetically low wages, whilst pumping up their own credentials as spokesmen for the middle class. Besides, Joan's a few years younger than I. She was a little kid in elementary school, when I was in junior high and actually knowing some bona fide hippies who tuned in, turned on and dropped out of mainstream society.

Anyway, around about the time the President declared he'd be running again, Joan penned a pretty petty screed, complaining about how much the President had let everyone down, specifically pointing to the events recent to Wisconsin and its major kerfuffle with Scott Walker, accusing the President and Organising for America, basically, of not coming up with the goods in support of the striking public service workers. All real Democrats, Joan said, should do as she intended to do, which was probably vote for the President again, but she wouldn't invest so much time, energy or money into his campaign. In fact, she intended to spend this entire year working for local and state candidates, and suggested we do also; then, maybe next year we could all think about supporting the President at the last minute. After all, he's abandoned us, his base.

I used to be one of Joan's Facebook friends. Like many high-profile media pundits, she maintains a Facebook page and twitters. However, the most surprising thing about Joan I learned from her Facebook page is how utterly intolerant she is of anyone who disagrees with an opinion she's given. Even any disagreement made in a polite form was met with snark and invective, Joan invariably telling whoever disagreed to "get help" or "get a life" or even "you're scary." In other words, "You're a pleb. You don't count. If you disagree with me, find someplace else to hang out."

Wow. Real mean girl tactics.

My problem is, someone saying something like that to me, not only insults my intelligence, it's like waving the proverbial red flag to a bull. I answer back. I demand explanations. And wait a moment, not only is that condescending, it's downright rude. I might come from the rural South, but my liberal credentials are just as good and solid as those of Ms Walsh, my education is certainly on par, and besides, my mamma raised me better.

Any public figure who maintains a foothold in the social networking cybersphere is inviting an exchange of ideas, but more and more, it's becoming obvious that this instant punditocracy is demanding reinforcement and excessive stroking of ego. Short order, peeps: They think for you so you don't have to think critically. They speak. You listen. They're on television. They're paid to write. Therefore, they are your betters and you must adhere to them.

Gee, that's almost something of which Ayn Rand would be proud. Disagree with Joan, and Joan does something of which she disparagingly accuses the President: she punches down. Moreover, unlike the President, she uses snark, invective, ad hominem and bad language. She name calls. She swears at you. Univited and unsolicited.

And when all is said and done, she takes the coward's way out of any further discussion by banning the person whom she's directly vilified. She left an African American blogger who confronted her about a racial issue on Twitter with the pronouncement, "I know it must suck to be you" before blocking the lady from her account.

Joan, I know it must suck to be so insecure as well as to have made an inadvertant slip-up and to be revealed as someone who has issues with people of other races as well as people who disagree with your opinion, but you see, I've always been of the misguided opinion that anyone who is given a platform in the media needs to call upon their supposed good breeding and meet any divergence of thought with good grace and good manners. That's civilised. But then again, maybe you aren't, or maybe you just haven't got past the thinking and debating skills of the average fourteen year-old girl.

Joan most recently wrote an op-ed piece for Salon, once again, haranguing the President for abandoning his base. I disagreed, but because I have been banished from expressing an opinion on Joan's Facebook page, because I didn't worship at the altar of St Joan, I had to express my opinion to her in a Private Message, and I include the exchange herein so people can see just how our media betters respond to us plebs.

I admit, I started off with a glib remark, but I feel justified in doing so, although I know it lowers me to Joan's level, because I've been on the receiving end of Joan's standard suggestion that I "get help." (Get it? Anyone who doesn't follow Joan's line of thought is patently mental.)

This occurred several days ago:-

Me - June 15:

Puma Girl, in your screed tonight, you failed to consider the part the media - that's YOU - played in undermining the President's message. People like your BFF Arianna Closet-Republican and Corporatist Huffington in lying and telling people that the President wasn't for the middle class; people like Jane Hamsher and her racists posters and words; people like Ed Schultz, telling people not to vote in the midterms. You fail to realise the innate critical thinking inability most people in this country have and how they listen to the celebrity talking heads for their opinions. This President has been shown less respect than any President in history, including those obvious crooks, Nixon and Bush Minor. And we all know why that is? Because he's BLACK. And that's as true with the obvious racism from the Right as it is from the white privilegists on the Left. As for the analogy to FDR: horses for courses, and even Roosevelt, who was effectively separated from his wife whilst President, wouldnt' stant up to the scrutiny of you lot today. You make yellow journalism look positively pristine. And please don't resort to ad hominem and tell ME to get help until you've addressed your racism problem. Sorry, but an Irish background is no equivalent to an African American one and what they suffered.
Cleopatra,Queen of Denial.

Joan - June 16:-

You're Obama's worst enemy. I think you might be a paid GOP troll. God bless!

Me - June 16:-

In YOUR worst dreams. I am MORE of a Democrat than you can EVER hope to be.

You know, I seem to recall the President, the month before he was inaugurated, spelling out explicitly just how bad the economic situation was and how it would take 10 years to rectify; also, that he couldn't do it alone, and that we all would have to make sacrifices. I also remember during the campaign that he said repeatedly that change comes bottom up. You state almost categorically that this President has let US down. No. The public has let HIM down. The public led by provincial hacks turned into self-important media "analysts" like yourself. You DEIGN to criticize corporate power when YOU are paid and serve one of the biggest media corporations in the world. I don't hear YOU complaining about the corporate cheque you receive for your satellite appearances on Chris Matthews's or Ed Schultz's show.

From day ONE of this Administration, people like yourself, led the chorus in nit-picking everything this President did, parsing his w.every word, second-guessing his every thought or action. The GOP didn't have to do anything but say NO - because the Democratic so-called "base", in all its immature glory, did the rest for them. Even today, we see that eminent "Progressive" voice, Dennis Kucinich, turn himself into the biggest weapon the Republicans have at their disposal, all for the benefit of his Napoleonic hubris.

You, yourself, are positively simple in your analysis that EVERY African American, EVERY Latino, EVERY young person is, by nature, of a Progressive bent. WHO was behind the implementation of Prop 8 in California? The African American churches and Latino Catholics. Herman Cain? Allen West? Alan Keyes? Hardly "Progressive", which is really a poor euphemism for people who are too scared and too trendy to use the good, solid epithet of LIBERAL.

And as for the "middle class," that's a euphemism also, just to justify social climbing. If you have to work to live, you're working class. Suck it up and be proud about it. People like you, who took over the Democratic party threw the unions and the working class and working poor, chiefly located in the rural South, Midwest and Rust Belt, under the political bus. Your great Progressive hope, Gary Hart, who was, himself, a political and moral fraud, referred to them as "little Hubert Humphreys" and deemed them unworthy herd followers. You only paid attention to the unions lately when something as blatant as Scott Walker comes along and tinkers with a basic right that's virtually taken for granted by so many, but how much attention has been paid to the NLRB and the President battling Boeing for moving works from Washington to right-to-work South Carolina as punishment for a strike action previously taken. No one in the media is covering that.

The whole truth of the matter is simply that when the US collectively found good common sense and elected someone who genuinely cared about serving and working for the people who elected him and those who didn't, privileged, WHITE America suddenly developed Negro Derangement Syndrome - the Right hating the fact that a black man was in the White House and the "Progressives" hating the fact that there was a black man in the White House, smarter than they were and who wouldn't do what THEY said. Of course, giving him a second term would tacitly tell others of his ilk that they're entitled to try for the Presidency too, wouldn't it? I have lived in Europe too long. I was one of those Americans who didn't hide behind false Canadiancy from shame at having someone like Bush represent our interests, but I'm even more ashamed at the behaviour of my countrymen in their return to petulant adolescence because the man they elected cannot right the wrongs that took 30 years to fester in less than one Presidential term. I've also lived in Europe long enough to know that the US media sucks cack in comparison to entities like the BBC, and that you are part of the problem. And, PLEASE, don't presume to question my political affiliation.
YOU and self-important, inexperienced faux journalists and the lowest common denominator who listen to you and expect you to formulate opinions for them have done far more damage to this Presidency and its legacy than you will ever know. But perhaps you'll have a long time to think about that, under the theocratic Rightwing regime of a President Palin, Bachmann or Perry. God HELP you.

Joan - June 16th (this one's the doozy!)

Go tell your friends you think the black church was behind Prop. 8! That'll get a good discussion going! God help YOU. You don't know a fucking thing about my life or my background. You run with a gang that harasses other progressives instead of fighting the good fight. You're probably paid by Breitbart. Oh, and I don't get paid for my MSNBC appearances. Again, you know nothing about me -- and you never will.

Me - June 16th:-


Oops! Forgot this ... this is how bourgeois you are ... You are Larue to the rich girls' (Arianna and KaTREEna) Gidget. Bet you even cover up on the beach too, just like Larue. You have a really cute dog - I'm a dog lover. Shame about the owner, though.

I guess life is a bitch, and so are Joan and I; but I take particular exception to anyone accusing me of being a Rightwing troll. Anyone who knows me, and certainly anyone who knows me from childhood and adolescence, knows I am anything but Rightwing; but that's the best Joan can do: When in doubt, accuse someone of being a Rightwing troll in the employ of Andrew Breitbart. I know Joan's having a small problem with Breitbart at the moment, but there's no reason to project her opinion of Breitbart on anyone who disagrees with her. I mean, that's tantamount to saying that anyone disagreeing with Joan Walsh's idea of things is invariably dishonest and journalistic scum of the earth.

Sorry, Joan, but no less than Bill Maher, amongst others acknowledged as early as March 2009 that Prop 8's success in the 2008 election was down to three factors:- massive campaign funding from the Mormon Church, the support of Catholic Latinos and the support of the Evangelical African American churches. It's not my problem if you, a Progressive, hold a disgustingly patronising view of African Americans, assuming that because of your natural descendence from the politically fashionable but shallow radical chic, all African Americans hold the same political views as the saintly and pure Progressives. If that be so, how does one explain the Blue Dog Harold Ford Jnr, or the Republican Alan Keyes, or the Tea Partiers Herman Cain, Tim Scott and Allen West?

Joan's the Queen of Twitter, who recently reviewed a new history of the Civil War and who, in her review tried valiantly to equate the hardships and suffering endured by people of her heritage, the Irish, to the sufferings endured by African Americans, both as slaves and freed men. Sorry, Joan. As they say in my part of America, "That dog don't bark." And it doesn't land you any kudos. In fact, I had an African American blogger remark to me in your domain of Twitter that in actual fact, most African American churches were originally part of the Evangelical movement which started in the South, so their religious faith is akin to that found in the South.

As for accusing me of being a troll from the Right who attacks Progressives, Joan, you really should get out more. People like you, Arianna and Katrina van den Heuvel, along with Hamsher, the grifter Adam Green, and ex-neocon Cenk Uygar and others, have been doing their damnedest since the beginning of this Administration to drive a wedge in the Left; and mostly, you've succeeded, if the GOP's retaking of the House in 2010 is anything by which to measure this.

Arianna toured the country telling people that the President wasn't "that into" the middle class. Jane Hamsher and the craven Dan Choi sat at Netroots Nation and proclaimed Obama to be the worst President for gay rights in history. (By the way, didn't the President get DADT repealed and didn't he invite Choi to the signing? And wasn't Choi photographed atop a light pole waving a flag outside the White House on the night Osama bin Laden was killed, and wasn't he in the company of Rachel Maddow?)

If I attack Progressives and if others do so, it's because we're sick and tired of Progressives or closeted Koch-infested libertarians like your homeboy Glenn Greenwald, referring to us as "Obamabots" and calling us names because we more than sorta kinda remember what the President has said and when, as well as knowing how government is supposed to work and function and maybe being a bit familiar with the Constitution. And as for history - well, revisionist history isn't something to be found exclusively in the realms of the Teaparty. Sarah Palin may think that Paul Revere warned the British not to tamper with our Second Amendment rights, but Netroots Nation tried to label "Uncle Tom's Cabin" as a pro-slavery book. Go figure.

Many of us REAL Democrats - those of us who eschew Gary Hart's label "Progressive" label in favour of the traditional LIBERALS which we're supposed to be - remember that Hart hated the unions because the unions backed LBJ on the Viet Namese War, mainly because it was the sons of working class union members who had to heed the draft call. Hart's minions were the white, affluent, privileged sons and daughters of the professional middle class, with no ties to the union movement and no contact with working class people, except for the ones who cleaned their parents' houses and cut their grass. And it was Hart, who cacked on the real traditional base of the Democratic party - the working classes and working poor of the rural South, Midwest and the industrial Rust Belt, the "ordinary Joes" your friend Chris Matthews tries to channel - calling them "little Hubert Humprheys" and "herd followers."

Hart ushered these people directly into the arms of the Republican Party, even figuratively holding the door open for their exit and pointing the way right.

Of course, Hart, the great white Progressive hope, handed us all a bill of goods, didn't he? It wasn't a coincidence that his name, more than anyone else's, surfaced in comparison to the Weinergate plight, was it?

If there's a movement at all amongst the rank-and-file Democrats, it's a movement against the extreme Left, who's allying itself ignorantly with certain elements of the extreme Right, in an effort to undermine this Administration. I hope there will also be a backlash against the irresponsible, uninformed and deliberately misinforming tranches of the faux liberal media for promoting dissension from the onset of Obama's tenure.

An informed public can be relied upon to chose responsible leadership, said Jefferson. Thus, an informed public needs a reliable media - not one who lies about the President "punching hippies" whilst they're busy punching plebs.

Sorry, Joan. You lose.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Instead of Blaming the President, Why Not Learn Some English?

OK, I wondered how long it would be before the media just couldn't resist the temptation to encourage the unthinking tranche of the Left (which I'm increasingly calling the lowest common denominator of that demographic) to find a reason to blame the President for Anthony Weiner's hubristic misdemeanor.

That finally happened yesterday when NBC's Ann Curry asked the President what, exactly, he would do, were he in Weiner's predicament. The President replied, rather ungrammatically, "If it was me, I'd resign."

Cue panic! Cue indignation! Cue foot-stomping! Cue hissyfitting! Cue gnashing of teeth and wailing and swearing and Rachel Maddow having kittens!

Breakng News on MSNBC/Fox/CNN! President Says Weiner Must Resign.

Only that's not what he said at all, and if people would just learn to appreciate and comprehend the language they purport to speak, they'd see that the President isn't interposing himself into this situation at all.

It's an innocent enough question, asked daily in normal conversations: What would YOU do in a particular situation? What would you do if you won the lottery? What would you do if Prince Harry asked you to marry him?

Since you haven't won the lottery and Prince Harry hasn't asked you to marry him, you can only surmise what you'd do, hypothetically, which means using the word "if". It's actually delving into the realms of fantasy. There's an implied situation, understood, in the hypothetical situation, which necessitates the use of the good old subjunctive mode:

If I were you (but I'm not), I wouldn't eat that fourth piece of chocolate cake (but I'm not you, so you'll do what you want.)

Breaking News on MSNBC/CNN/Fox! President Tells Weiner to Resign.

No, and that wasn't said either. Anything reiterated in the subjunctive mode is not a direct command or order; it's not even an implied suggestion. If anything, it's pure supposition conveyed from one person's perspective. In fact, let's look at what the President actually said in its full context:-

Well, obviously what he did was highly inappropriate. I think he's embarrassed himself, he's acknowledged that, he's embarrassed his wife and his family. Ultimately there's going to be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign. Because public service is exactly that, it's a service to the public. And when you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can't serve as effectively as you need to at the time when people are worrying about jobs and their mortgages and paying the bills, then you should probably step back.

First, he states the bleeding obvious: What Weiner did was highly inappropriate and embarrassing, not only to him, but to his family and his constituents. The Congressman, himself, has acknowledged as much. Then, quite rightly, the President states another obvious truth: that, ultimately, whether Weiner stays or goes is a decision to be made by the Congressman and the people whom he represents.

Now, we come to the sentence everyone's taken out of context and spun: I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign.

That's not sending out a coded message to Anthony Weiner with a nudge and a wink. That's a simple statement of supposition, reckoning what the President, himself, would do, were he caught in such a situation. And he reiterates why in remarkably clear language - not that anyone, at this point, is bothering to take note.

Public service is, or should be, the ultimate reason a person seeks election to a legislative body. In a perfect world, our private lives shouldn't matter to our public performance, as long as what we do in private isn't illegal in anyway or harmful to others in anyway; but once, for whatever reason, that private life is placed in the public domain in such a way that it distracts from someone doing his or her job, then something has to be done to achieve a workable balance. Congressman Weiner is a professional politician, charged by his constituents with representing their interests to the best of his ability.

Until this occurrence, there was probably no one who served the public better than Anthony Weiner, and Anthony Weiner, in my opinion, would probably continue to serve the public's interest just as well post all this kerfuffle. It's just that the President thinks that if he (the President, for those who don''t understand) were in that situation, he thinks the whole thing would be detrimental to his doing his job.

But this isn't what the media wants you to understand. For two weeks now, the media's focused on Weiner and his weiner problems. There's been nary a mention of the President at all; in fact, there's been nothing over which anyone on the Firebaggin' Progressive Left can froth at the mouth in perceived outrage. Until now.

The media must have been missing those performances of angst and disillusionment, and they probably reckoned the perpetrators needed their fix for their Obama Delusional Syndrome. So they cherry-picked their crack statement, courtesy of Ann Curry's question, and dangled it tantalizingly before the usual suspects.

Now, within the space of a spun sentence, the Anthony Weiner situation becomes another Obama problem. if Weiner decides to resign, it will ultimately be spun by the Obama-haters on the Left as the President's fault; if he stays, then the Right will pick up the banner of blame and run with it in the President's direction.

And in the midst of all this, Herman Cain declares, once again, that the President was raised in Kenya.

What a nation of political addicts we are - addicted to viscerally picking apart, from Right and Left, probably the only President in recent years who truly strives to work for the people who elected him, as well as those who didn't. Compared to this, Anthony Weiner's cybersex addiction is no real problem at all - certainly not as big as America's command and understanding of the English language and its nuances.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Between a Rock and a Hard Space

New Rule: If we stop treating politicians like the celebrities they’re not, maybe then they’ll act like responsible people we trust to represent us, instead of the celebrities they’re not.

May ended well for the Democratic party. For the first time in an eternity, they’d captured a Congressional seat from the Republicans, New York 26, and they were taking a great offensive against the Republicans and their wunderkind, Paul Ryan, in their quest to end Medicare as we know it. Things were looking up until something else came up for one for Anthony Weiner.

Now all that May offensive has gone for nought. Now the press and media are obsessed with Weinergate and the sex scandal that wasn’t really about consensual sex as much as it was about consensual masturbation, or rather, online masturbation.

But then, I suppose, this is the sort of thing that happens in a country where politicians are accorded shallow celebrity status. Hell, five minutes of reality television afford losers celebrity status. What does that say about the people we elect to represent us?

I’m old enough to remember when the House of Representatives was a conglomerate of faceless policy wonks, elected from smallish rural districts or urban neighbourhoods and sent to Washington to cobble together legislation for the public’s good. They went for a minimum two-year tenure and the wife, kids and the family pets went with them. In the 60s and 70s, television focused on the Speaker of the House, the Majority and Minority Leaders and, maybe, the Chairman of Ways and Means. Apart from those people, the only other member of the House you recognised was the person who represented you.

Now, thanks to 24/7 cable news, the dumbing down of the country to the point where actual news has to be presented as a cross between a spectator sport and an entertainment program, and various celebrity talking heads who’ve made themselves opinionators, we’ve entered the age of the celebrity politician, and it shows.

John McCain was right about precious few things when he ran for President, but he was spot on when he warned the public against giving candidate Obama – and by extension, all politicians – celebrity status. All too often, people take their celebrity idols and project their own ideals onto a particular tabula rasa. This is what many and most Progressives did. They practiced the politics of assumption by willfully tuning out everything Obama actually said during his campaign, instead, projecting all their political hopes onto his persona and assuming that he was the black man they’d created, the black man their Progressive forefathers from the 70s had created of the radical, angry Progressive, who would eschew Congress – or at least emasculate it even further – and rule as a dictator – a benevolent, enlightened and Progressive dictator, but a dictator nonetheless.

Now when these types are presented with a man who modeled himself after his own idol, Lincoln, who was, in reality, a Left-of-Centre pragmatist, who knew the value of political compromise, they feel insulted, and once again, they transfer these insults to the man who won the election, ofttimes in a manner far more obdurate and far nastier than the insults hurled from the Right.

But this celebritization has gone even further, aided and abetted by the cable media, in presenting us with political celebrities, the likes of which we’ve never seen before in political history. How many Vice-Presidential candidates on the losing ticket can you remember receiving as much subsequent publicity as Sarah Palin? Some might argue Al Gore, as Gore did, actually, win an Oscar for a documentary made about global warming; but I certainly don’t remember him appearing in any form of news media on a daily basis. Others might point to Joe Lieberman, but his media attention came, mostly, during the healthcare debate and always for pejorative reasons. And neither conducted a “family vacation” mingled with a coy game of cat-and-mouse fought with a cloying, attendent media circus.

In another day and time, the likes of Michele Bachmann, Paul Ryan, Alan Grayson and Anthony Weiner, would be junior members of Congress, plugging away at bills aimed at securing federal funding to add a new wing to the elementary school in their district or to plug a few potholes.

Now these people are not only significant voices in their parties – and, yes, I’m aware that Grayson is no longer a member of Congress – but they’re identified as major voices for particular demographics within their respective parties.

Grayson, a rookie, got national attention for an impassioned speech about healthcare. Chris Matthews gave Bachmann her debut, when she proved herself to be Joe McCarthy’s natural child in 2008, accusing various members of Congress of being unAmerican. Ryan’s the so-called “financial whizkid,” worshipped by Dick Cheney. And until recently, Anthony Weiner was the pit bull front man, aggressively assuming the mantle of the Progressive voice, until his own hubris brought him down.

I’m not the first one to say that I think his fall from grace was a set-up. In the immediate weeks before this revelation, Weiner had been relentless in assailing Justice Clarence Thomas and calling for his impeachment, listing Thomas’s crimes as ranging from conflict of interest to the fact that, as everyone now knows, Thomas lied under oath in order to achieve his appointment to the Supreme Court. Now we all know about how a shady, shadowy “conservative group” followed Weiner’s movements on Twitter and Facebook, and how an Internet ghost, handled “PatriotUSA76″, appeared from nowhere to intercept the infamous image Weiner accidentally tweeted, hand it over to Andrew Breitbart, and then disappear, citing a stressful family situation.

Why does my mind conjour up images of Ginny Thomas in a foam Statue of Libery hat when I think of PatriotUSA76? Why do I remember that it was Ginny who made an unusual early morning call, two decades after the fact, to Anita Hill, demanding that she remit an apology to Justice Thomas?

Be that as it may, the Democratic party are now conflicted over Anthony Weiner’s particularly adolescent caper. I can understand why, considering that more than one commentator, this past week, chose to liken Weiner to Gary Hart, whilst others stomped and screamed and cited David Vitter.

Hart was the original “Mr Progressive.” He emerged from handing George McGovern the absolute worst defeat encountered by a Democratic Presidential candidate in 1972, to win a Senate seat from Colorado, in 1974. He was the new Left’s wet dream for the White House. A rugged Westener, with Marlborough Man good looks, he fit the cowboy bill perfectly. He was trendy, fashionable, and he eschewed the word “liberal” for the edgier “Progressive.” Liberals were old hat. Liberals were tied into unions and Hubert Humphrey. Hart hated the unions, mostly because the unions backed LBJ and the VietNam War; but Hart forgot that most of the sons of union members, black and white, provided cannon fodder as draftees during that war. Most of Hart’s dynamic got student deferments or headed North to Canada in protest. In fact, part of McGovern’s campaign platform, authored by Hart, was amnesty for these men, to be able to return to the United States without prosecution.

In fact, most of Hart’s associates in reforming the Democratic party were educated, affluent young professionals, who were, themselves, the children of educated, affluent professionals, with little or no emotional association traditional to the ties of the Democratic Party to the unions. In short, these people were not working class. Speaking of which, Hart also dismissed them as well, writing off the old rural South and Midwest and the unionised workers from the Rust Belt as nothing more than “little Hubert Humphreys” who would blindly follow the Democratic herd mentality no matter who led it. Therefore, why waste time with them? What were they going to do, vote Republican? (In 1980, that’s exactly what they did, and many have been doing so ever since.)

Hart was being streamlined to the White House, until in 1987, certain rumours started to surface, which proved to be true: first, that he wasn’t Gary Hart, but Gary Hartpence; second, that he was two years older than he’d previously admitted, so he wasn’t that much of a boy wonder when he first emerged; and thirdly, that he was a serial adulterer and was involved in an extramarital affair at that moment.

When confronted with this last allegation by the Washington Post (which was still doing investigative journalism at that time), Hart invited the press to follow him.

“Go on,” he egged. ”Follow me – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a month. I promise you, you’ll be bored.”

The press did just that. They weren’t bored at all. Instead they found Hart on a yacht, appropriately named “Monkey Business”, with a woman young enough to be his daughter, Donna Rice, clad in the ubiquitous bikini and all over Hart like a bad rash; and that was the end of Mr Progressive’s path to the White House. Instead, we got Mike Dukakis, who fell victim to the dirty tricks of Lee Atwater.

Well, today we have Andrew Breitbart, who’s the mutated gene of a lovechild engendered by the mixed DNAs of Donald Segretti, Lee Atwater and Karl Rove and borne of Arianna Huffington.

Breitbart knows that the Republicans have almost 40 years’ experience in demonising anyone and anything from the Left as deviant, morally weak and, therefore, threatening to the American way of life that has only really existed in Norman Rockwell paintings. He also knows that what Anthony Weiner was doing was probably done, on the side, by many Americans – probably even Breitbart, himself.

This was a take-down of a major Leftwing voice, who provided the Republicans and their commentating operatives with the prototypical urban, East Coast, educated, elitist, high-profiled Democrat being exposed as someone depraved. Never mind Vitter. Never mind that Vitter committed a crime. Vitter invoked God and prayer, and Bill Frist forgave him.

For awhile this week it seemed as though most of the major Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, were conflicted because Weiner had lied to them about his involvement in these shenanigans. They were right in assuming that he showed poor judgement in this situation, that he was reckless, and that he left himself open to blackmail. (In fact, I am also of the opinion that the last woman with whom he communicated online and the first one to go public, Meagan Broussard, was a Rightwing plant. It was no coincidence that her “Republican friend” suggested she contact Andrew Breitbart.)

They were also conflicted as to whether or not Weiner should resign or stay on as a member of the House. Many of the more experienced politicos know how the GOP would spin this: add Weiner to the long list of Hart, Clinton, Spitzer and Edwards as evidence that the Democrats were not the party who worshipped at the altar of apple pie and family values. Already, the spin and the ads had begun. Already, Medicare and New York 26 were forgotten.

The GOP, on the other hand, couldn’t give a rat’s ass if Weiner stayed or went because this is a lose-lose situation for the Democrats. Most of the women who subsequently came forward after Broussard’s initial revelations were the slightly sleazy, bimbo-esque types who were attracted to Weiner’s Red Bull performances on YouTube – the screaming session with Peter King, the alpha male deliveries on the floor of the House, the in-your-face appearances on Fox News. These women were redolent and exemplary of so many inarticulate television junkies raised on a diet of reality television and Valleyspeak, the sort who’d describe a particularly well-delivered and impassioned speech as “hottttt.” This made politics sexy in a different way. They came onto Weiner and, to his discredit as a professional politician and an elected official, he responded in kind.

The irony of the situation was that the Democrats have, all along, argued and warned against the Republicans’ propensity to seek out political candidates who appear to be just like the plebeian element of the population they serve. (They’re not; they are as elitist as the Democrats are painted, but in a different way). Until now, those arguing for Weiner to remain a member of Congress, are echoing the same message. He’s not doing anything a lot of people aren’t doing.

The difference now and the difference which seemed to make the major Democratic leaders speak out this weekend, urging Weiner to resign, has been the revelation that one of his many online contacts was, in fact, a 17 year-old girl. Although there’s been no evidence or claim of any impropriety, once again, the politics of assumption falls into play. That happens in a trivial society where appearances count more than actual content or knowledge.

At the end of the day, the GOP have won this round without even trying: If Weiner resigns, a strident voice from the Left is silenced, a power player is gone – and, face it, there was much more substance to Anthony Weiner than there ever was in Gary Hart. If he stays, his ambition to be Mayor of New York (for which he was using Congress as a stepping-stone) is gone, and he has to keep his head down, his mouth shut and be a good constituency rep. Using Weiner as a front-man attack dog is finished for the Democrats. The attack dog has become the hot dog, the Weiner a weiner.

And anyway, the GOP has moved on now to other things and other people. This week’s model in demonisation is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Watch this space.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Macaca in Extremis

I was not at all surprised to hear last week of the Montana Republican who wants to challenge for Jon Tester’s US Senate seat in 2012, openly admitting his past ties to the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, he admitted, with Barack Obama in the White House, people seem to be coming forward more in admitting their racial concerns.

Well, there you have it, officially: Racism is the new black in fashion politics.

Actually, it has been since January 2009, when the President was inaugurated. Only, it’s progressed (or regressed) from being not-so-cleverly disguised behind accusations of socialism or communism or even fascism on the Right to incessant criticism about policy, words said or unsaid, adamant instructions of what exactly this President should be doing, to overt comparisons with Bush as the ultimate insult coming from the extreme Left, to obvious race-baiting, dog whistles and euphemistic references to “old-time days that aren’t forgotten” in the lead up to the next electoral cycle.

Indeed, one of the biggest, identifiable racists in recent years is back on the campaign trail. George Allen is attempting to win back his Virginia Senate seat, which he lost to James Webb in 2006. Allen, you’ll recall, went from hero to zero on the strength of his call-out to a Webb supporter standing in the crowd during one of his speeches.

Later, Allen tried to walk back his remarks, first saying “macaca” was a word he’d actually made up. Still later, he admitted he’d learned the word, as a child, from his mother. Thereafter, information emerged, drip by drip, like Chinese water torture, of other less salubrious titbits about Allen, relating to his macaca moment outing – how he’d regularly drive around his Southern California neighbourhood with a Confederate flag decal on the back of his car and how he displayed a noose – as a joke, you understand – in his office, along with – yes – another Confederate flag.

Allen’s family wasn’t Southern and had no known Southern connections. Indeed, Allen’s mother, he later disclosed, was a Jew of North African descent. His father worked in an industry which, even in the early and late Sixties, was far more racially integrated than any other business type of the time – professional football.

All of that doesn’t belie the fact that George Allen certainly displayed racist tendencies, to the point that, on the campaign trail, he made a pointedly racist remark about a supporter of his opponent, to that supporter’s face.

Needless to say, and quite rightly, he lost that election.

Now, six years later, he’s back and running again for the GOP nomination. It reveals a sad state of Republican affairs in the Commonwealth when Allen’s opponents for the Republican nod are a Tea Partier and a State politician who advocates Virginia minting its own currency and who manages to make Pat Buchanan look like a Progressive. In the world of the Republican blind, the one-eyed George Allen is king, at least in Virginia.

But Allen, like everyone in the Republican party, is a Christian, who believes in forgiveness and atonement. (Actually, Eric Cantor is Jewish, but I expect at any moment, he’ll attend a snake-charming Holy Roller event, speak in tongues and declare himself a Jew for Jesus, especially if it buys him the votes). Anyway, Allen is a Christian and a Republican, and mindful of the fact that he might need a few swing votes, or that some of the people who remember his macaca moment just might have been particularly horrified by its intent and its content, he chose to attend that branch of the Republican Party at Prayer, otherwise known as the Faith and Freedom Coalition, to make good his contrition. In short, six years after the fact, he apologised:-

All well and good, but not good enough. It’s craven that he could only bring himself to render an apology when it served a purpose to advance his ambitions: Allen is running for the Senate against the high-profiled Tim Kaine. It’s even more craven that he couldn’t endeavour to contact S R Sidarth, the person at whom he leveled this perfidious piece of ad hominem, directly and apologise in person. It would have been notable, had he done that sooner, rather than later, and had used his six years away from public service to connect with the growing minority population of the Commonwealth – African Americans, Latinos, Asians and Orientals.

Instead, he chooses to level his apology, not to Sidarth, the victim, or the minority population of Virginia as a whole, but to the Republican-packed Faith and Freedom Coalition, just so they could cleave him to their collective bosom and pronounce him saved and whole. And please note, as well, how Allen managed to turn this act of contrition into one wherein he emerges as the victim. His family were targeted and suffered immensely from remarks and verbal attacks brought about by the inadvertant slip of his tongue which revealed exactly what he was and is: a racist.

George Allen came to the Commonwealth as a young man to finish his education. He came, Californian-born and bred, because his father had accepted a lucrative job offer in the DC area. He transferred from UCLA to the University of Virginia, at a time when that institution was undergoing its greatest transition from what Faulkner referred to as the all-male “country club of the South” and the “last vestibule of Southern decadence” into vibrant academic community of racial and gender diversity. At the time of Allen’s sojourn as a student there, Melissa Harris-Perry’s father was Dean of African American Studies.

Allen was accepted on the strength of his having been a third-string quarterback at UCLA. He captained a football team, which lost every game with him at the helm and whose games students attended with the express intention of getting drunk. He played with white players and with African American players. People who knew him in those days said he used the n-word regularly. I remember him as someone whose presence about the Grounds oozed privilege, entitlement and arrogance.

Virginia is a state with a stained heritage of having been the capitol of the Confederacy. It lives with the ghost of Robert E Lee and houses a university and law school which bears his name. It is not something of which most Virginians are proud, but they live with this and have moved on from it. I cannot speak for the United Daughters of the Confederacy or for the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. I have never belonged to the UDC, nor have I ever wanted to belong. I think I’m right in saying that, for most Virginians, certainly those of the Democratic persuasion who remember Jim Crow and the end of segregation, for those of us who’ve remained Democratic and liberal (and there are many of us, still, in the Commonwealth), the Civil War ended in 1865. We lost, and we’re over that.

However many times he apologises, and – indeed – he can go on apologising every day on the campaign trail until Election Day, it won’t erase what was said; nor should the pithy, self-pitying and opportune apology convince anyone that a genuine epiphany has occurred in his life. George Allen, quite simply, is awfully sorry for having called S R Sidarth a “macaca.” He’s awfully sorry that the moment was caught on film and that it was actually his true colours which were revealed.

In a sane world, there would be no contest in this election. In a sane world, Virginians would queue up to vote for Tim Kaine. In a sane world, George Allen’s political career would be over, and the Virginia GOP would not even entertain such a candidate for such an office.

But this isn’t a sane world anymore. Not in Virginia, and certainly not in the United States at the moment.