Friday, March 26, 2010

This Just In...

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Today is Purple Day. Help fight epilepsy.
2) Is Obama finally growing some stones or is this an empty threat?
3) Earth Hour is tomorrow at 8:30 PM (local). Give 60 for Mother Earth, please?
4) Pity David Frum: he goes from conservative darling as Bush's speech writer to moral outcast in the span of a weekend. But don't pity him too much. Remember, he was part of the effort to create the Teabaggers and set the Republican party back a hundred and fifty years.
5) Interesting quote from Frum:
"The elite isn't leading anymore. It’s trapped. Partly because of the desperate economic situation in the country, what were once the leading institutions of conservatism are constrained. I think Arthur [AEI President Arthur Brooks] took no pleasure in this. I think he was embarrassed."
Effectively, he's admitting two things: the Teabaggers have captured the Republican party's machinery and the "moderates" have been silenced by force. We take comfort in this. 
6) Russia has been encroaching on British airspace for the past two years. Here's proof. It's not so much that Russia violated anyone's air space that is worrisome: no one's expecting Russia to go all Crazy Ivan on us. It's that Russia is actually flying international patrols again that should raise some eyebrows.
7) It's about time. When I think of how many nights I should not have been driving, I'm amazed I made it to 52.
8) Considering all the bad blood between Palin and McCain, as well as Palin's nose-thumbing of the Republican party leadership, this is very interesting. I wonder what J.D. Hayworth did to piss her off?
9) Ummmmm...probably the wrong writer to assign to this story. Or at least, make him change his name.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

MEMO To Teabaggers

Moar, please?
Between the death threats, the vandalism, and the bigotry, you give me and the rest of the left wing of this nation comfort in your hour of pain.
You can spin your viciousness and terrorism anyway you want to, but the simple truth is, you're nothing but a bunch of pantywaist little girls who lost your Barbie dolls because Mommy and Daddy decided to teach you a lesson, and gave her to the nice girl down the street who has very little to begin with.
Instead of viewing this as an act of Christian kindness, you choose to view it through a lens of entitlement. Instead of accepting the consequences of running this nation into the ground by supporting a dimwit conservative who wholeheartedly embraced a conservative agenda until even that low-level moron realized how much damage he had caused this once-great and powerful nation, you choose now to have some sort of "uprising," believing your positions of entitlement in the mainstream media and in low-levels of power will protect you.
And you, my friends, are committing treason. How do we know this is treason? Osama bin Laden tells us so. If you do not stand with America, stand with this President, you stand against us.
By all means, please dehumanize people that are duly elected and legally represent citizens of this nation.
To feel superior to another group of people is to be, by definition, dehumanized. It’s a relativistic notion. To the people making the threats, the other group is dehumanized by being lesser. To an outside observer, the people making the comments believe they are somehow superior to a group of “normal” people, so they have dehumanized themselves into beings differentiated by some subjective notion of being better than normal.
Now, the psychology for why this happens goes over my head, but I believe it because it has a ring of truth for me: you can’t dehumanize someone else without dehumanizing yourself.
It takes a little piece of your soul to do this. Think of it in terms of war. Soldiers have to dehumanize the enemy, else they’ll go fucking nuts over murdering people.
Think about that for a second: in order to actually kill someone on the other side, a soldier has to go through a process where they stifle the very human emotions of regret and fear.
You HAVE to dehumanize in order to get your point across and dehumanization is a very immature action.
You guys aren't the first, by the way. There is actually a recent precedent in American politics for the Teabaggers: the George Wallace faction.
They were perhaps the most powerful independent political force in the 20th century, even more influential than Ross Perot’s gang of idiots.
They were, of course, eventually absorbed into the Republican party, but since they’re already there now (basically the same people: angry white Southerners and Westerners), where could they go? They have no power on their own, so they will quietly fold up their tents and what’s left of them will return to the GOP.
You folks haven't risen to the level of the Weather Underground or even the Black Panthers, two groups who were front and center during the violence of the 60s and 70s and which were roundly harassed by law enforcement officials until they were forced to discontinue their activities.
Yet. But you will, that much is clear from the overheated rhetoric and incremental violence.
Neither the WU nor the Panthers were ever so closely tied to the Democratic Party (LBJ was, after all, a Democrat), so when they went down, they went down by their lonesome. But when YOU folks go down, you'll take an entire political party with you, along with collateral damage to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Fox News.
This is why I take comfort in your desperation.
So, by all means, keep up the good work! We look forward to your demise and dissolution!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Time To Nut Up Or Shut Up, Progressives!

The healthcare legislation has been passed and signed and will likely be immune to any serious challenge in either the Senate or the courts.
OK, so now we have to start working to win elections in November.

Millions of white men who voted for Barack Obama are walking away from the Democratic Party, and it appears increasingly likely that they'll take the election in November with them. Their departure could well lead to a GOP landslide on a scale not seen since 1994.

For more than three decades before the 2008 election, no Democratic president had won a majority of the electorate. In part, that was because of low support -- never more than 38% -- among white male voters. Things changed with Obama, who not only won a majority of all people voting but also pulled in 41% of white male voters. Suddenly, there were millions more white men voting the Democratic ticket.

Polling suggests that the shift was not because of Obama but rather because of the financial meltdown that preceded the election. It was only after the economic collapse that Obama's white male support climbed above the 38% ceiling. It was also at that point that Obama first sustained a clear majority among all registered voters, according to the Gallup tracking poll.

It looked for a moment as though Democrats had finally reached the men of Bruce Springsteen's music, bringing them around to the progressive values Springsteen himself has long endorsed. But liberal analysts failed to understand that these new Democrats were still firmly rooted in American moderation.

So here's the nut. We have to sell a moderate Congress and a moderate President as moderates to an electorate that has been brainwashed to believe he's a socialist and a Muslim and that the Congress is some Wermacht of socialism and fascism rolled into one. It's not that these white men who voted for him believe it, flat out, but they're willing to believe the lesser charge of being a progressive as a form of "well, there must be SOMEthing to these rumours!"

Look, like it or not, and most progressives I talk to do not, we cannot hold onto Congress without the votes of moderates and independents. That means we have to carefully pick and choose our fights with the administration.

Not for unity's sake, but to paint him as a moderate. We have to have a "gimme" issue where he can stand tough, as Clinton did with his "Sistah Souljah" moment. Something that white men can immediately identify as pushing liberalism to arm's length. As it stands now, we'll lose seats in Congress anyway, because that's what midterm elections usually mean (Bush was an outlier in 2002 and 2006), and the Republicans are masters of winning elections.

They can't govern for shit, but they know what it takes to get nasty and just dirty enough to attract white male voters without turning them off. Now, granted, the Teabaggers have done a lot of the grunt work towards turning anyone off, as I mentioned earlier this week, but we have to offer Obama and the Pelosians as a legitimate alternative or the midterm elections are going to come down to a referendum on Obama based on a far smaller turnout, which gives the Teabaggers an opportunity to steal some elections by voting en bloc.

We can't let this happen. We have to articulate an alternative and we have to paint Congress and Obama as necessary, vital even, to the nation's health going forward. We'll only have ourselves to blame if we screw this up.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Big Fucking Deal

At least Biden wasn't insulting a Senator when he dropped the F bomb.

Here's A Shock

Did you know the Teabaggers are bigots?
I know! Shocked me to read this:

When the man yelled a racial slur and spit on Cleaver, he crossed a line that was drawn in blood and tears.

To chant slurs at a gay person is another aggressive act of hate.

Interestingly enough, so far there haven't been any reports of angry Tea Party protesters shouting the "c" word at female lawmakers.

Nor have there been reports about these upset folks spitting on white male legislators who supported the health-care bill.

Who knew? Who knew that a rigidly dogmatic group of people from the lilly-white heartland of America would be, you know, hostile to people with different skin color or lifestyles?

No. Not hostile: hateful, violent, rage-gasmic, outrageous.

UnAmerican, in other words. And if you aren't with us, you are with them:

It is foolish for anyone, including the congressmen, to act as though extremists (and anyone who spits on an elected official is an extremist) are not a real threat to the president's safety.

Letting these radicals off the hook is letting them go much too far.

This is terrorism, pure and simple. Nine-Eleven changed America, and if it's terroristic to threaten a planeful of people with your underwear, it is terroristic to hold a body politic hostage to threats of violence and rage. Tantrums belong to two year olds.
No one is advocating the suspension of the right to assemble, even if that possibility was passed in the Patriot Act (reaffirmed, sadly, by President Obama). No one is advocating the suspension of the First Amendment, even if that possibilty is also raised in the Patriot Act and enforced by the knownothings of rightwing politics and the conservative-leaning mainstream media who have long advocated against even peaceful dissent from American policy, particularly when we are in a time of war.
Like we are now and will be for the foreseeable future.
The Teabaggers have taken it to a new level. If the Students for a Democratic Society or the Weather Underground were domestic terrorists despite not harming anything beyond property (except their own members), then these Teabaggers should properly be listed as a terror organization and surveilled closely. That the potential for injury or death to a representative of our government  (ed. note: make sure you check the comments) or a law enforcement official protecting that official exists should be more than sufficient grounds for this classification.
It's funny, because when Bush was president, there was no organized movement that threatened his life, merely his impeachment. Liberals live within the laws and accept that elections have consequences.
Conservatives, ehhhhhhhh, not so much! What a shock. Little children with big boy toys ought to have their toys taken away and their hands slapped for 12-15 in a high security jail.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Sausage is Made

Nevermind the possibility that Senate Republicans will raise all sorts of amendments to the bill in order to derail it. That's a non-starter for their election chances in November. Nobody likes a sore loser and despite John Boehner's warped reality system, most Americans want to move on now. Barack Obama has his victory, just as George W. Bush rammed a series of lethal tax cuts down the throats of Americans who objected strongly to giveaways to the wealthy in a time of war and a time of recessions.
Obama will sign the bill today or tomorrow and any procedural challenges the Senate Republicans can offer up will not change a law that's been passed and signed. Cry all you want, GOP, but you lost the 2006 and 2008 elections and elections have consequences. In this case, America finally, hestatingly and with barely a toe in the water, has stepped into the Twentieth Century.
Forget the court challenges. They will come, but they would come anyway. Barring the Supreme Court from intervening immediately (really...not going to happen...can't), the court challenges will take years to even get up to speed. Just ask Orly Taitz about the dim view courts take of obstructionist and ridiculous court challenges.
If the Republicans continue along this vein, they will lose seats in November. Where it once looked like Democrats might be the party in trouble, and make no mistake, they still have a hard road ahead, the Republicans desperation did not pay off and the bigoted rhetoric of their supporters in the Teabaggers has suddenly rendered this *koffkoff* "grassroots movement" null and void.
Stopped dead in its tracks. Yes, the leadership came out condemning the rhetoric, but here's the thing: so many positive things have been said about the Teabaggers and their moron-in-chief, Glenn Beck, that the Republicans will be covering up on the ropes, hoping the bell rings before the ref has to step in and call the fight.
Progress. Finally. Liberalism, triumphant, albeit barely.
But it's a start, a first step. Now it's up to you and I to make sure we don't stop trampling the vineyards of the grapes of wrath.