Tag Archives: Washington D.C.

Attacks on Elizabeth Warren demonstrate her strength

Warren listens to Yellen testify on Capitol Hill in Washington

Reuters news photo

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has the stuff of which U.S. presidents are made, which is why she has plenty of detractors. (And she really rocks purple. Just sayin’: I want eight years of a purple-wearing president.)

Reading Yahoo! political commentator Matt Bai’s recent column on why he believes Vice President Joe Biden should run for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination, I was stopped cold by Bai’s casual, cavalier remark that besides Biden, “There’s [Vermont U.S. Sen.] Bernie Sanders, who’s an avowed socialist [as though there were something wrong with that], and Elizabeth Warren, who sounds more like a Jacobin.”

I recalled that the Jacobins were associated with the French Revolution, but I couldn’t recall exactly what they were about, and so I looked them up on Wikipedia. Wikipedia notes of the Jacobins, in part: “At their height in 1793-94, the [Jacobin Club] leaders were the most radical and egalitarian group in the [French] Revolution. Led by Maximilien de Robespierre (1758–1794), they controlled the government from June 1793 to July 1794, passed a great deal of radical legislation, and hunted down and executed their opponents in the Reign of Terror.”

Wow.

For all of the right wing’s bullshit about “class warfare” — which, conveniently, according to the right wing’s playbook always is waged by the poor against the rich and never vice-versa — Elizabeth Warren actually has not called for a violent revolution.* She has called for a return to socioeconomic fairness and justice, which is more than reasonable, especially given what has happened to the American middle class since at least the 1980s, during the reign of Reagan (another reign of terror from history, not entirely metaphorically speaking). But if you can’t win an argument these days, you just accuse your opponent of being a terrorist (not entirely unlike Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recent comparison of Wisconsinites standing up for their livelihoods to the terrorists who comprise ISIS).

Matt Bai makes only one other brief reference to Warren in his screed about why, in his estimation, Biden should run for president for 2016: “Biden’s a middle-class champion who makes the case for economic fairness with more conviction than [Billary] Clinton and less vitriol than Warren .”

I agree that Billary has little to zero credibility on the issue of socioeconomic justice, but if you Google “vitriol” you will see that it means “cruel and bitter criticism.”

Wow. Warren is passionate, absolutely. She’s one of the relatively few passionate and progressive elected officials in D.C., and passion is a normal response to socioeconomic injustice that is deep and widespread. But when has Warren ever been bitter and/or cruel? WTF, Matt Bai?

I’m not the only one who has recognized this. I was pleased to see soon later that Salon.com writer Elias Isquith wrote a column on Bai’s drive-by bashing of Warren and on the establishment’s fear of Warren — fear of Warren because she actually threatens to upend the status quo in Washington, D.C., the status quo that is toxic for the majority of Americans (and much if not most of the rest of the world) but that is working out just fine for the denizens of the halls of power in D.C. (which would include Bai, whom Isquith refers to as “the star pundit-reporter and longtime communicator of whatever the conventional wisdom of the political elite happens to be at any given time”; I would add that Bai is a mansplainer par excellence as well).

Isquith, too, takes issue with calling Warren a “Jacobin,” and Isquith compares a quotation of an actual Jacobin (the philosophy of whom is that “[the] policy ought to be to lead the people by reason and the people’s enemies by terror. … Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country’s most urgent needs”) to a quotation of Warren (one of my favorites):

“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’ No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

This statement (from August 2011, when Warren was running for the U.S. Senate) is eminently fair and reasonable — I’d call it “common sense” if the wingnutty fascists hadn’t already bastardized that term for all of their harmful ideas and opinions.

Why the establishmentarian attacks on Warren, whose actual words and actual record have nothing whatsofuckingever to do with what her detractors and critics claim about her? Isquith offers a plausible explanation (links are Isquith’s):

… The first and most obvious reason is that Washington is, to put it gently, a swamp of corruption where many influential people live comfortably — thanks to Wall Street. Maybe they’re lobbyists; maybe they work in free-market think tanks; maybe they’re employed by the defense industry, which benefits greatly from Wall Street’s largesse. Or maybe they’re government bureaucrats who find Warren’s opposition to the “revolving door” to be in profound conflict with their future plans.

My second theory is less political and more prosaic. Another reason Bai and his ilk find Warren discomfiting may be her glaring lack of false modesty and her disinterest in keeping her head down and paying her dues. Because despite being the capital of what is nominally the greatest liberal democracy on Earth, Washington is in truth a deeply conformist and hierarchical milieu, one where new arrivals are expected to be neither seen nor heard until they’ve been deemed to have earned their place. And while Warren may want to be seen as a team player, what she cares most about is reining in Wall Street. If she deems it necessary to accomplish her primary goal, she’s willing to step on some toes and lose a few fair-weather friends. …

I would add that patriarchy, sexism and misogyny certainly play a role, too. It might not be conscious in all cases, but I surmise that because every single one of our 44 U.S. presidents thus far have been men, there is an ingrained cultural, even visceral, belief among many, many Americans — even women — that the U.S. president should be a man. Thus, the likes of Matt Bai is rooting for Joe Biden; Bai’s support of Biden apparently stems, in no tiny part, from the fact that Biden is yet another older white man.

The U.S. president should be, in my book, the candidate who both is the most progressive and the most electable, and right now that candidate is Elizabeth Warren. That she happens to be a woman is great, as we are woefully overdue for our first female president.

Presidential preference polls consistently show both Warren and Biden to be Democrats’ second and third choices after Billary Clinton (who, after E-mailgate, might slide in the polls of Democrats and Democratic-leaners; we’ll see).

Joe Biden probably would be an acceptable-enough president – I’d certainly take him over a President Billary – but given his age (he’s 72 years old today and would be 74 were he to be inaugurated as president in January 2017, making him the oldest president at the time of inauguration in U.S. history [even Ronald Reagan was a spry 69-going-on-70 years old when he took office in early 1981]) and given his reputation as a hothead, I don’t know how electable Biden would be.

And while in fairness the vice president doesn’t get to do very much, what has Biden done over the past six years?

Biden’s age doesn’t bother me — if you can be the job, I don’t much care how old you are — but it would become a campaign “issue.” And while perhaps it’s not fair to Biden as an individual, it’s pathetic and sad and deeply disappointing that in our so-called “representative democracy,” our 45th president would be yet another white man, for a string of 44 out of 45 U.S. presidents being white men.

Elizabeth Warren is a twofer: an actually progressive Democrat who is electable as U.S. president, and thus also potentially our first U.S. president who is a woman.

Attacks on Warren by the shameless, worthless, self-serving defenders of the status quo are to be expected; when the voters hear and read what Warren has to say, versus the bullshit that the establishmentarians spew** about her, they will, I believe, put Warren in the White House, where she belongs.

*For the record, I don’t rule out the use of violence in a revolution. Our plutocratic overlords never rule out the use of violence (state violence, usually) against us commoners. Unilateral disarmament is bullshit.

I’d much prefer a bloodless revolution, of course, but again, when the enemy doesn’t rule out violence, you shouldn’t either.

**Similarly, were most Americans actually informed about what democratic socialism actually is all about, they probably would embrace it, which is why it has been so important to the establishmentarians and the wingnuts (really, “wingnut” is too-cuddly a word for right-wing fascists) to lie about what socialism is all about.

Such a dog-whistle word has “socialist” become, indeed, that Matt Bai simply dismisses Bernie Sanders’ entire being in one fell swoop in just one phrase (“an avowed socialist” — gasp!).

Thank you, Matt Bai, for so courageously doing your part to discourage all actual thought in the United States of America!

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Shutdown, shmutdown — let it burn!

A sign reading

Associated Press photo

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., is one of the national parks that were closed down yesterday in light of the impasse between the Democratically controlled U.S. Senate and the Repugnican Tea Party-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on passing a federal budget. Blame for this one lies squarely with the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party terrorists, who have made the abolition of “Obamacare” a mandatory requirement for passing a federal budget at all. 

For those whose lives have been affected adversely by the shutdown of the federal government — such as the young man I read about in a news article who stated that he can’t get a replacement Social Security card until after the shutdown is over, and who thus believes that he won’t be able to get a job until the shutdown is over — I do feel sorry, but otherwise: Meh.

D.C. hasn’t done the bidding of the majority of us Americans for years now. Maybe — no, probably — it needs to go to total shit before it ever can get better (that is, before it actually can be representative of the actual interests of the actual majority of us Americans — and not just a big rubber stamp for the plutocrats and their corporations and the military-corporate complex).

Human nature is that people don’t change until and unless a big outside force thrusts that change upon them. Ideally, this shutdown of the federal government will be a long one, and thus will cost the Repugnican Tea Party traitors a significant number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2014 elections.

Thankfully, polls indicate that more Americans thus far blame — correctly — the Repugnican Tea Party majority in the House than blame Barack Obama for the current shutdown drama.

Could this signal the long-overdue death of the myth that both parties always are equally to blame for everything?

Not that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are blameless. Obama (mis)spent his political capital in 2009 and 2010 pointlessly trying to negotiate with the terrorists who call themselves Republicans — instead of pushing through a progressive agenda while both houses of Congress were dominated by his own party.

I surmise that because Obama squandered his political capital in 2009 and 2010 in trying to negotiate with terrorists who already amply had demonstrated long previously that they cannot be negotiated with, the Democrats lost majority control of the House in the November 2010 elections and probably won’t regain the House until 2016 at the earliest.

And if the so-called Democrats in D.C. were even half as enthusiastic about doing the most amount of good for the highest number of Americans as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. are enthusiastic about doing evil (including ensuring that the filthy rich only continue to get even richer and the dirt poor only continue to get even poorer), we’d have a much better, much more fair, must more just nation.

Pathetically and tragically, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors long have been quite bold and shameless in committing evil while the so-called Democrats have been too timid to commit much good.

This doesn’t have to remain a permanent condition, however, and I am thrilled to see that thus far in the blinking contest that is the federal government shutdown, the Democrats thus far have stood their ground against the Repugnican Tea Party terrorists. I’m so used to the so-called Democrats caving in to the treasonous, right-wing nut jobs that this comes as an at least mildly pleasant surprise.

There already has been gridlock in D.C. since January 2011 and there most likely will be gridlock until January 2017. At this point we might as well take this gridlock to the extreme, and force the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to suffer the consequences of the shutdown of the federal government that they, more than anyone else, have wanted and are responsible for.

We commoners have little else left to lose in a system that long has been set up against us and in favor of the plutocratic minority, but we have much to gain.

P.S. To be clear, I’m not a huge fan of “Obamacare.” Progressive writer David Sirota writes of “Obamacare” (the links are Sirota’s):

… [Obamacare] most definitely is the legislative manifestation of the insurance industry’s biggest wishes of all, providing massive no-strings-attached subsidies to the industry, and using government power to force citizens to become the industry’s permanent customers.

It also is not what the insurance industry most fears — it is not only not a single-payer system, it doesn’t even include a public option that would allow people to altogether avoid the rapacious private-insurance industry. It also does not prevent insurance companies from employing their typical devil-in-the-details tactics — the kind that provide the patina of health insurance while limiting access to actual health services.

Asking exactly why Obamacare was structured like this is another way to see that the law is really a gift to insurers hidden in the gaudy wrapping of altruism. That’s because the answer to that critical “why” question is simple: the law was written by the insurance industry.

Remember, the primary architect of Obamacare was Liz Fowler — the insurance industry executive who temporarily took a government post to write the new law, and then quickly moved back into health care lobbying.

She was ably assisted by an battalion of her fellow insurance industry cronies, who in 2009 deployed their army of lobbyists to shape the underlying health care legislation. She was also backed up by many other Obama administration officials who worked on the legislation and then immediately headed to the lucrative world of insurance-industry lobbying.

Of course, the fact that the health insurance companies have so much cash lying around to pay a mercenary army is probably the Obamacare cartoon’s most conspicuous smoking gun of all. Indeed, while Obama and Democrats have proudly claimed that the new law finally cracks down on insurance profiteering and attempts to reduce the health insurance industry’s out-sized economic footprint, the financials suggest exactly the opposite is happening. …

So I am not a defender of “Obamacare,” but if “liberals” (a.k.a. “Democrats”) confusedly believe that “Obamacare” does more good for than harm to the average American individual, well, apparently, so do many if not most Repugnican Tea Partiers, such as U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, who recently declared of “Obamacare” that “President Obama can’t wait to get Americans addicted to the crack cocaine of dependency on more government health care, because once they enroll millions of more individual Americans it, will be virtually impossible for us to pull these benefits back from people.”

The Repugnican Tea Party set, from what I can tell, oppose “Obamacare” not because it’s yet another giveaway to the already-filthy-rich health-care weasels, but because it is perceived as being helpful to the average American and because it has Barack Obama’s name attached to it.

But regardless of where one stands on “Obamacare,” “Obamacare” (a.k.a. the “Affordable Care Act”) was passed by Congress, and if Congress wants to abolish it, it can do so legislatively (not while the Democrats still control the U.S. Senate, though, of course…).

The way to undo legislation that you oppose, however, is not to hold up the federal budget in order to try to achieve that goal in your roundabout way (that is, stripping the funding for a piece of legislation instead of legislatively abolishing that legislation altogether).

That is not legislating; that is, indeed, hostage-taking.

And in most cases, you don’t negotiate with hostage-taking terrorists.

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You have to be brain-damaged to celebrate what they’ve just done to you

In this image from House Television, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., center, appears on the floor of the House of Representatives Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Washington. Giffords was on the floor for the first time since her shooting earlier this year, attending a vote on the debt standoff compromise. (AP Photo/House Television)

Associated Press image

Your future is being dismantled, chunk by chunk, by the partisan duopoly in D.C. — but hey, look! There’s Gabrielle Giffords!

No offense, but what does it say that a literally brain-damaged congressperson voted “yes” on your legislation?

But seriously, apparently the “feel-good” “news” story of the day is that Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was capped in the head by yet another white male psychopath/sociopath in Tucson in January, returned to the U.S. House of Representatives just in time in order to give her thumbs-up to the Capitulator in Chief’s latest selling out of yet another huge chunk of the store to the plutocratic and pro-plutocratic right wing.

Reports The Associated Press tonight:

Washington, D.C. — Crisis legislation to yank the nation past the threat of a historic financial default sped through the [U.S.] House [of Representatives tonight], breaking weeks of deadlock. The rare moment of cooperation turned celebratory when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords strode in for the first time since she was shot in the head nearly seven months ago.

The vote was 269-161, a scant day ahead of the deadline for action. But all eyes were on Giffords, who drew thunderous applause as she walked into the House chamber unannounced and cast her vote in favor of the bill.

A final Senate sign-off for the measure is virtually assured on Tuesday. Aside from raising the debt limit, the bill would slice federal spending by at least $2.1 trillion, and perhaps much more.

“If the bill were presented to the president, he would sign it,” the White House said, an understatement of enormous proportions.

After months of fierce struggle, the House’s top Republican and Democratic leaders swung behind the bill, ratifying a deal sealed Sunday night with a phone call from House Speaker John Boehner to President Barack Obama.

Many Republicans contended the bill still would cut too little from federal spending; many Democrats said much too much. Still, Republican lawmakers supported the compromise, 174-66, while Democrats split, 95-95.

“The legislation will solve this debt crisis and help get the American people back to work,” Boehner said at a news conference a few hours before the vote.

The Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, was far less effusive. “I’m not happy with it, but I’m proud of some of the accomplishments in it. That’s why I’m voting for it.”

So, too, many of the first-term Republicans whose election in 2010 handed the GOP control of the House and set the federal government on a new, more conservative course.

“It’s about time that Congress come together and figure out a way to live within our means,” said one of them, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. “This bill is going to start that process although it doesn’t go far enough.”

The measure would cut federal spending by at least $2.1 trillion over a decade — and possibly considerably moreand would not require tax increases. [Emphasis mine.] The U.S. debt limit would rise by at least $2.1 trillion, tiding the Treasury over through the 2012 elections. …

I’m happy that Giffords is doing better these days, but does that fucking erase the fact that, chunk by chunk, my future as a forty-something, as a member of the crew that has to follow with shovels the elephants in the parade that are the fucking baby boomers, is being destroyed by the overwhelmingly self-serving, legacy-ignoring baby-boomer “leaders” in Washington? And that Capitulator in Chief Barack Obama is happily helping them in the name of “bipartisanship”?

Oh, we’re seeing a lot of “change,” all right — the decimation of Social Security and Medicare, which I’ve been paying into since I was a teenager, and other public benefits sure the fuck is a change, just not the change that I’d hoped for, and certainly not the change that President Hopey-Changey Obama had promised us.

But I suppose that I’m a heartless ogre if I am not mindlessly distracted by the “feel-good” fact that Gabrielle Giffords was there to vote “yes” on the further destruction of my nation, to endorse the further widening of the gulf between the rich and the poor in the rapidly crumbling United States of America.

I haven’t blogged on the “debt ceiling crisis” until now for many reasons:

One, I’ve come to expect Barack Obama to sell us out. He consistently and predictably sells us out. He is committed to selling us out. (He always has wanted to be the next Ronald Reagan, remember. He is succeeding spectacularly.)

Two, I’ve always figured that “at the last minute” they (the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party — and if you can’t tell the difference between the two, well, don’t feel badly, because most of the rest of us can’t, either) would announce some “breakthrough” “deal,” thus “miraculously” averting “economic Armageddon!”

Three, I’ve always figured that this has been bullshit all along, that this always has been just an elephant-and-donkey show, that the Democrats and the Repugnicans are in bed together and that a “last-minute deal” always was in the script, that the fear-mongering was meant to create the illusion among the masses that there’s actually some struggle for the soul of the nation going on in D.C. — and not, say, the collusion of, for and by two duopolistic parties that don’t give a flying fuck about you or me that’s actually going on.*

Fuck, they even threw The Return of Gabrielle Giffords into the script.

If I wasn’t a conspiracy theorist before (and I wasn’t), I think that I am now.

*No, this statement is not an endorsement of “Americans Elect.” “Americans Elect” is evil. The Wall Street weasels who have caused our economic collapse are not the ones to turn to for solutions.

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On blogging fatigue and revolution

Of course, what I have is more like life fatigue, but this is a blog, so we’ll call it blogging fatigue.

I blog when I am moved to blog. I don’t believe in blogging on a schedule. I can’t see anything of worth being produced that way. Not consistently, anyway. My best blogging comes when the spirit moves me, and so if the spirit doesn’t move me, I don’t blog.

I haven’t been blogging much lately because what is there to blog about these days anyway?

Egypt looks like it’s on its way to freedom, and hell, maybe even Iran, too, but we’re a long way from freedom here at home — in no small part because once you mistakenly believe that you’re already free, you see no reason to pursue freedom.

How free are we here in the U.S.A. when the next several years are so fucking predictable?

I predict with a significant degree of confidence that the Richie Rich frat boy Mitt Romney will emerge as the 2012 Repugnican Party presidential nominee. I once thought that his being a Mormon would prove to be an insurmountable obstacle for him, but it’s pretty clear that the Repugnican Party is going with the youthful (well, in comparison to John McCainosaurus, anyway) white male now, as evidenced by the fact that last month Repugnican National Committee chair Michael Steele was dumped and replaced by some youthful white guy whose Richie-Rich frat-boy name no one can pronounce (or spell).

(Yeah, I know, Repugnican Rep. Ron Paul just won the wingnuts’ straw poll — again — but the wingnuts’ ball was packed with Paul supporters. He doesn’t have the Repugnican Party’s backing, so he’s going nowhere.)

No real Democrat will emerge to challenge Barack Obama for the 2012 Democratic presidential nomination — or if one does, it will be one who has a snowball’s chance in the rapidly melting North Pole, like Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich — and so Barack Obama will be re-elected in November 2012.

I predict that Romney will do at least a little bit better against Obama than McCainosaurus did, due to Romney being more photogenic than McCainosaurus and due to Obama having lost his luster of “hope” and “change,” but that Obama will get his second term.

There is no reason to believe that at any point in his presidency Obama will change his game significantly. He always takes the path of least political resistance. He thinks that slogans are a substitute for testicles.

I wholeheartedly agree with Andrew Sullivan, who recently wrote:

[Some U.S. senators] have to lead, because this president is too weak, too cautious, too beholden to politics over policy to lead. In [his recently released federal] budget, in his refusal to do anything concrete to tackle the looming entitlement debt, in his failure to address the generational injustice, in his blithe indifference to the increasing danger of default, he has betrayed those of us who took him to be a serious president prepared to put the good of the country before his short-term political interests.

Like his State of the Union, this budget is good short-term politics but such a massive pile of fiscal bullshit it makes it perfectly clear that Obama is kicking this vital issue down the road.

To all those under 30 who worked so hard to get this man elected, know this: He just screwed you over. He thinks you’re fools. Either the U.S. will go into default because of Obama’s cowardice, or you will be paying far, far more for far, far less because this president has no courage when it counts. He let you down. On the critical issue of America’s fiscal crisis, he represents no hope and no change. Just the same old Washington politics he once promised to end.

Yup. Not only does Obama refuse to stand up to the baby-boomer and senior citizen lobbies, which are perfectly happy to leave much less than nothing for those of us who follow them — and it’s not just those of us under the age of 30 who are getting screwed, but those of us in our 30s and 40s, too — but, as Sullivan also notes, Obama refuses to stand up to the military-industrial complex’s bloated-beyond-belief budget as well.

On one hand, the spineless, politically self-serving Obama, by refusing to push for what needs to be done, is only continuing the damage done to the nation by the unelected Bush regime, but on the other hand, Obama’s utter ineffectiveness in solving the nation’s problems demonstrates to us Americans that we’re foolish to continue to leave our nation’s fate in the hands of the ossified system in D.C. — a system that certainly doesn’t have our best interests at heart now, if it ever fucking did (any more than U.S.-backed Hosni Mubarak ever had the Egyptians’ best interests at heart).

Out of this realization that our government in D.C. is useless, real revolution, like what we’ve just seen in Egypt, just might take hold here at home.

Of course, revolution is a tricky business.

How many of us who are itching for revolution actually are going to take the advice of those who say, “OK, you throw the first Molotov cocktail!”?

Still, that first Molotov cocktail needs to be thrown.

After all, I need the inspiration to blog regularly again.

P.S. Another reason that I have blogging fatigue is that the nation is so fucking bogged down in high-schoolish diversions that few Americans are willing to have a dialogue about anything that actually fucking matters.

For instance, Salon.com, The Huffington Post and Media Matters — all of which are supposed to be robust members of some progressive media — all have reported that the Archie Bunker-like wingnutty liar Andrew Breitbart’s website has depicted Michelle Obama in a cartoon as — gasp!fat!

Media Matters notes that “this is the sort of stuff most of us left at the grade-school playground.” True, but Media Matters also not only reports on the unfunny cartoon, but reproduces it, thus elevating the level of our national discussion — not.

Meanwhile, our nation’s and our planet’s problems, such as the fact that the military-industrial complex and the baby boomers are draining the lifeblood of our nation and the fact that Homo sapiens’ continued existence is threatened by global warming, go unaddressed because we’re talking instead about the stupid fucking cartoon in which Michelle Obama is portrayed as fat.

Along these lines, you might want to read Salon.com’s Michael Lind’s little piece, which he begins:

What dumb thing did Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Glenn Beck just say? You don’t need to watch Fox News to find out. The progressive media will tell you. The economy is still in a coma, revolution is rocking the Middle East — but you can be sure that Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews will take time to snicker at something silly that Palin or Bachmann or Beck said in the last 48 hours.

Is the constant mockery of these bloviating right-wing demagogues really the best use of precious center-left media time? …

As Lind writes, attacking every stupid thing that comes from the circus freaks on the right, among other things,

[Is] a reactive strategy that gives the initiative to the right. When progressive opinion leaders wait for conservatives to say something stupid and then pounce on it, they cede the choice of topics in national debate to their enemies. No doubt this drives ratings, attracting hyper-partisan Democrats whose greatest pleasure in life is the rather low one of picking apart the statements of Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck…. But it’s no substitute for a liberalism that tells its own story, on its own timeline, and lets the right react.

and

[Is] a waste of effort and attention. We are mired down in two wars in the Muslim world and suffering from the greatest global economic crisis since the Great Depression. The last time things were this bad, in the 1930s, American liberals and leftists were debating the nature of capitalism and government and world politics and putting forth their own, often contradictory plans. Liberal politicians and journalists devoted little, if any, time to dissecting the errors of right-wing crackpots of the period, like the radio priest Father Coughlin.

If nothing else, the crackpots on the right do their corporate paymasters’ bidding by creating diversions from the national discussions that we should be having. These diversions maintain the status quo.

And I, for one, am sick and tired of the back-and-forth that doesn’t change a fucking thing. I can’t even visit the politics section of a bookstore anymore because I already know what to expect: the same old tired arguments that aren’t going to change anyone’s minds. (Or, in a word, gridlock.)

We need actual movement now, not more pointless debate that only keeps us in stasis.

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Assorted shit

Obama gets his balls back?

President Barack Obama has endorsed a plan that would allow the Democratically controlled Congress to pass health-care reform with a simple majority vote without being hamstrung by an obstructionist Repugnican filibuster.

Repugnicans are agog, of course, but the filibuster is only a Senate rule, and Senate rules can be changed. (Indeed, during the years of rule by the BushCheneyCorp, the Repugnicans threatened to do away with the filibuster with their “nuclear option.”)

Perhaps the Democrats should kill the filibuster altogether; that would suit the minority — again, the minority — Repugnicans right.

The Senate’s Repugnican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said that the Democrats’ doing away with the filibuster would be “met with outrage” by the American public — never mind that the Repugnicans themselves were poised to do so. (Do as the Repugnicans say, not as they do, please.)

McConnell is full of shit. The majority of Americans, who voted for Obama in November 2008, are fine with Obama’s agenda being enacted on simple majority votes. They prefer that progress over the gridlock that the Repugnicans want.

The tea-baggers will fume once health-care reform is passed on a simple majority vote, but fuck them — they’re going to fume anyway, as long as Obama continues to commit the crime of presiding while black.

Supremes refuse to kill same-sex marriage in D.C.

WTF?

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to kill same-sex marriages in Washington, D.C.

Notes The Associated Press:

Washington, D.C., [now] is the sixth place in the nation where gay marriages can take place. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont also issue licenses to same-sex couples.

To prepare for [same-sex marriages], the [D.C.] marriage bureau changed its license applications so they are gender-neutral, asking for the name of each “spouse” rather than the “bride” and “groom.” …

The [same-sex] marriage law was introduced in the 13-member D.C. Council in October and had near-unanimous support from the beginning. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty signed it in December, but because Washington is a federal district, the law had to undergo a congressional review period that expired March 2.

Notes AFP:

Although the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused a request to hold a referendum on gay marriage, which would have delayed the day the law took effect in Washington, it said opponents of gay marriage could seek to hold a “ballot initiative” in the capital to try to get the act repealed.

That would be similar to what happened in California, where residents voted in a referendum in November 2008 — known as Proposition 8 — to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, overturning a state supreme court decision six months earlier which legalized gay marriage.

Interesting… The U.S. Supreme Court apparently doesn’t want to decide on the matter 0f same-sex marriage, but is willing to allow the people of each state (and D.C.) to decide the matter for themselves.

While that’s not as bad as the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage (because there is), I still find it fucked up that anyone’s equal civil and human rights should be put up for a vote.

Whose equal civil and human rights should we put up for a vote next?

The response from wingnuts to the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to stop the D.C. same-sex marriages was predictable. Reports AFP:

Outside the courthouse, a handful of protesters held up banners and chanted slogans, saying the United States was doomed because it has allowed same-sex marriage.

“When this Congress acted to let fags marry in D.C., they bound this country,” anti-gay activist Shirley Phelps-Roper, who had travelled to Washington from Kansas, told AFP.

“This is the last generation. This nation’s destruction is imminent and they did it to themselves,” said Phelps-Roper, brandishing signs reading “America’s doomed,” “God hates you,” “You’re going to hell” and “Fag marriage.”

You know, if these are the “end times,” it’s only because the end-timers have brought the end times on. It wouldn’t be a “fag” who causes Armageddon; it would be a wingnut.

KKKopycats plaguing University of California campuses?

There are news reports about racist/white supremacist and anti-Semitic incidents cropping up at University of California campuses, including UC San Diego, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz.

While I believe that university students — and everyone — should not be subjected to hatred and intimidation, I have to wonder how many of these acts (which thus far have been acts of vandalism and the intentional or unintentional creation of offensive displays, and not of violence) are the acts of actual haters and how many of them are the acts of copycats who don’t hate nearly as much as they just get a thrill from stirring shit up.

I can see male students who are young, dumb and full of cum thinking that it’s great entertainment to put a swastika on something, or to put a mock Ku Klux Klan hood on display, and then watch the ensuing reaction.

Stupid, yes. Racist/white supremacist? Not necessarily, not if the perpetrators aren’t actually racist/white supremacist.

Things not intended as racist or white supremacist can be interpreted that way, too.

For instance, The Associated Press reports that at UC San Diego recently, a noose was found dangling from a library bookshelf and that

UC San Diego campus police said they had completed their investigation into the noose incident and turned their results over to the city attorney on Tuesday for possible hate crime charges.

One of the students responsible for the noose apologized to the university community in an anonymous letter published Monday in the campus newspaper. She said the noose was formed while she and friends were playing around with a piece of rope and had no meaning as a lynching symbol.

The student said she is not black, but is a minority.

The student’s story is plausible, but the noose put the campus into an uproar nontheless. So think of what a display that is meant to stir people up can do.

Everyone needs to take a deep breath and act rationally, not emotionally. WWOD? (That’s “What Would Obama Do?”) He would be as cool as a cucumber high on weed. He wouldn’t freak out.

Actual racists and white supremacists shown to have violated laws against hate speech and hate crimes should be prosecuted. Dumbfucks who thought that it sure would be funny to stir up shit by making it appear as though their handiwork were the handiwork of an actual hater should be prosecuted under the appropriate criminal law, such as vandalism or disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace.

And again, we need to calm the fuck down.

There are crazies out there who feed on our frenzy, and if we don’t feed them, they’ll just go away.

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