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Obama’s Enforcer: Not Really Tough Enough

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Posted on Aug 20, 2009
White House / Pete Souza

By Joe Conason

If the Democrats fail to pass real changes in the health care system this year—rather than a sham that mimics and mocks reform—they will have nobody to blame but themselves. Or at least nobody to blame but other Democrats, notably those in the White House who have never been committed to this most venerable and fundamental aspect of party policy.

Of course, the right-wing rumor mongers have done their share of damage, spreading lies about “death panels” and stirring up the boob cohort with warnings about socialism. Republican elected officials have decided to damage the president rather than address an issue they know is critical to the nation’s future. Health insurance lobbyists and corporate leaders have spent millions of dollars to kill reform, buying legislative obedience the same way they buy advertising time or legal advice.

Yet in the months that followed the momentous election of November 2008, the Democrats have possessed the power to fulfill the moral imperative—good, affordable health care for all Americans—that they have pursued since the Harry Truman era. Both the new president and the new majorities in both houses of Congress declared their determination to create the kind of health care system that other developed nations have enjoyed for the past 50 years or so.

Now competing measures that might or might not accomplish that worthy goal are stalemated in Congress while the White House dithers over how best to placate Republicans and conservative Democrats who have opposed serious reform from the beginning.

The ultimate responsibility for this sorry state of affairs belongs with the president, who vacillates between speaking out boldly for a “public option,” and permitting his aides and appointees to undermine his message by confiding their plans to sell out.

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His worst tendency, to exalt bipartisan compromise above progressive policy, has left him at the mercy of senatorial frauds like Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who pretended to negotiate over details while denouncing the president for seeking to terminate America’s grandmothers. Obama assigned far too much responsibility for health care reform to aides who exacerbate that weakness—and in particular to Rahm Emanuel, the current chief of staff and former congressman from Chicago.

Every mistake made by the Obama White House in the pursuit of health care reform can be traced to the political style and ideological prejudices of Emanuel, who has sought to intimidate progressives and empower conservatives, always in the name of winning elections and “getting things done.”

A self-styled tough guy who famously likes to prove his point with abusive language and threats, he led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the years when the party regained its majority—when he spent millions to elect the “Blue Dogs,” who have done so much to thwart the president’s agenda on health, energy and economic recovery.

He repeatedly intervened in primary elections around the country to promote GOP-lite candidates against challengers who actually represented the party’s bedrock beliefs. Around that same time, he co-authored a lightweight volume on national policy, titled “The Plan,” that explained why he believed that universal health coverage could not be passed, so Democrats should settle for covering the nation’s children, which had largely been achieved by then.

All this dubious history was no secret when Obama appointed the combative Chicagoan to run his shop. Although few Democrats trusted Emanuel to hold true to principle, many hoped that he would get things done—and that those things would reflect the progressive outlook of his boss rather than the attitude of accommodation he picked up on Capitol Hill.

Instead and perhaps inevitably, his narrow pragmatism is shaping the Obama administration’s approach to reform. As long as some kind of bill passes, Emanuel won’t worry when the corporate powers override the public interest once again. He will congratulate himself on a job well done. His Blue Dogs will boast of frustrating that liberal Obama. Everyone will get a nice check from the insurance lobbyists.

But the president’s promise will be soiled, and the nation’s future will be dimmed.

Joe Conason writes for The New York Observer.

© 2009 Creators.com


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By Sepharad, September 2, 2009 at 12:40 am Link to this comment

ardee & martha, am not ducking your posts but will be gone for awhile. Our daughter died unexpectedly Sunday night. Am not thinking right. See you much later.

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By MarthaA, August 31, 2009 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

Rhaum Emmanuel is a DLC, Democratic Leadership Council member, a Nearly Noble New Democrat, that doesn’t care one iota about the common population having health care, and undoubtedly thinks the health care agenda of President Obama is a waste of his time.

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By ardee, August 31, 2009 at 3:41 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, August 31 at 2:27 am

A freeze is not enough, Israel should abandon all settlements within Gaza. This is appeasement and nothing more.

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By Sepharad, August 30, 2009 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment

dsmith, if Rahm Emmanuel is such an Israel-Firster, why is he pushing so hard—and encouraging Obama to push hard—on a genuine settlement freeze?
My guess would be because he knows what a hardcore Likudist Netanyahu is, and because he knows how important a settlement freeze is.

My only complaint is that he is not pushing Blue Dogs hard enough on a public health option—read that he’s chasing recalcitrants down the hall snapping at them, but maybe he needs to actually bite them.

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By MarthaA, August 30, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

ardee.

Again, I say—- Worldling.

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By ardee, August 30, 2009 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

errr yeah, I am an inhabitant of earth, though I suspect you are only visiting here.

Or did you mean one consumed by the pursuit of earthly pleasures? A conjecture you would have absolutely no way of knowing true or false. Just as your entire belief system stands on a similar infirm foundation…

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By MarthaA, August 29, 2009 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

Worldling.

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By ardee, August 29, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA, August 29 at 2:44 pm

Nope, its you.

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By MarthaA, August 29, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

ardee,

Is it possible that the misery that you project upon MarthaA could be within YOU and that YOU are expecting MarthaA to do something to eliminate YOUR misery, rather than YOU yourself in all earnestness striving to eliminate the misery that is within YOU that YOU are projecting upon MarthaA?

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By ardee, August 29, 2009 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, August 28 at 6:48 pm

Be as dismissive as you choose, sarcastic as you care to be. The truth of Martha’s efforts here are clear.

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By Folktruther, August 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

I don’t scorn dingbats, Ardee, I think they’re fun.  Some of your comments for example…  You say that Martha has admitted using capitaliation as a propaganda tool?  Well, that must account for your fear and loathing.  Indulging in henious offenses like that… but I don’t know, Ardee, I fear that sometimes your semi of logic does not arrive promptly at the truck dock of sense.

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By MarthaA, August 28, 2009 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Looks like a cover to me.  Here is a poem that describes sophism fairly well:

Masked by the brilliant weeds deceitful green,

No glint of the dark waters can be seen,

Which festering slumbers with this scum for screen,

It is as though a face as false as fair,

Dares not by smiling show evil there.

Don’t you think this is a pretty good definition of sophism, ardee?

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By ardee, August 28, 2009 at 3:40 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, August 28 at 2:11 am #

There are no good or evil inanimate objects, and your rather treacly efforts might be abandoned for a clearer and more rational discourse.

Martha has a clear history of abusing those who disagree with her nonsensical political belief system. Further she posts as two folks and has admitted that her use of capitalization is a propaganda tool.

That I am the most frequent object of her silliness is obviously because I continue to oppose her efforts to pass bullshit off as roses. That I am abusive is because I am sick unto death of being called a republican liar, as stupidly off the mark as that remark may be, and anyone reading even a couple of my efforts understands that it is exactly that, bullshit from the usual source of such on this forum. I give what I get, always have and always will.

I think that I played a small part in the way Night Gaunt, for one, has begun to post responses to Martha’s unbelievable and unbelievably annoying bullshit, perhaps, perhaps not. I think it long past time for more folks to stand against her imaginary politics and her methods. I am not like that poster, though I applauded when Martha fled the scene , embarrassingly defeated by his logic and wit.

As to your superior attitude that most Americans are “dingbats”, well then why come here at all? I reject that description vehemently. Most Americans are apolitical in a time when that position is no longer tenable. Most Americans are perhaps a bit too gullible, but undeserving of your far reaching scorn.

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By Folktruther, August 27, 2009 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment

Ardee, you cannot ride the forklift of Good against the pallets of Evil talking to fellow truthers that way.  It doesn’t matter if they are dingbats; most Americans are.  If they want to give you a version of truth hanging upsidedown in their conceptual caves, the only decent thing to do is to take another little snort and pass by.

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By ardee, August 25, 2009 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA, August 25 at 1:23 pm #

ardee,

Do you even know what civil is?

............

Since you ask, asshole, civil is not calling those who disagree with your unique ( to say the least) political opinions liars and agents of the right…...You are one loony tune you betcha.

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By MarthaA, August 25, 2009 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

ardee,

Do you even know what civil is?

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By ardee, August 25, 2009 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

MarthaA, August 24 at 9:22 pm #

ardee,

ardee’s irascibility:  “Time you got a fucking clue.”

What happened to civil?
........................

How dare you talk about civil you dingbat witch?

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By MarthaA, August 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

ardee’s irascibility:  “Time you got a fucking clue.”

What happened to civil?

YOU used vulgar, crude, rude and socially unacceptable language that lacks any civil gentlemanly manner deserving of respect. I consider that calling names, whether a straw shoe sophist like you does or not.

Do you talk that way in front of your 30 grandchildren?  SHAME ON YOU.

Anger management for you is needed, REALLY.  HURRY.  You probably didn’t have a tricycle when you were a child.

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By nikto, August 24, 2009 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rahm Emanuel is a fake—He is a chickensh-t little hypocrite who fights The Good and sucks up to Evil.

Rahm never met a GOPer he wouldn’t bend over for.

Unless Obama replaces him with Howard Dean,
I’m leavin’.

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By ardee, August 24, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

MarthaA, August 23 at 8:11 pm

Perhaps, oh delusional and worthless person you might point out what name I called FT?

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By Folktruther, August 23, 2009 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, Ardee, an anger management course.  a man driving a forklift should be a responsible anger manager.  And tell me what you learn there, I’ve always been curious about them.  How exactly do you manage anger?

I explicitly distinguished power members of ethnic groups from the majority.  I hope that doesn’t set you off into a wild rage.

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By MarthaA, August 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

And, YOU don’t think YOU need to get a clue? Here you go again, getting mad and calling people names.  I think you need to see a shrink for an anger management course.

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By ardee, August 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

Time you got a fucking clue.

Shheeeshhh ,sorry FT that was supposed to ,“time you got a fooshing clue”

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By ardee, August 23, 2009 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, August 23 at 12:23 pm #

Oh, foosh, Ardee.  You are like Inherit, you’ve got Jews on the brain.
********************************************
Go foosh yourself FT wink

you raised the goddamned point not I. You mentioned, as you always do, the Jews that wield such undue influence over our govt, not I. I actually worked hard on that post you so blithely ignore, as you do every damned mention of the inherent danger of lumping any minority together.

Time you got a fucking clue.

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By Folktruther, August 23, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Oh, foosh, Ardee.  You are like Inherit, you’ve got Jews on the brain.  As every knowledgable person knows, American is ruled by the rich, traditionally Ango-Saxon Protesents, but currently anyone who has a lot of money.  They use ethnic and cultural groups to support their rule, religious loonies on the right, and Zionists in both parties. AND ZIONISM IS LED BY JEWS.

And I say this as a Jew whose grandparents were killed by the Nazies.  Truth is truth, and is necessary to fight the US decline into barbarism.  And I say it as well about African-Americans who are Uncle Toms supporting the US power system, like Thomas, Rice, Powell and Obama.  They have to be distingushed from the vast majority of the African-american and Jewish population, and any other population.  We cannot let cultural or ethnic sensitivity obscure the simple truth.

The CHristian tradition of the West has been anti-Semetic historically, as detailed couragiously by Carroll, a devout Catholic and former priest, in CONSTINTINE’S SWORD.  Christianity had to separate itself from Judiasm to validate its basic myth, which is intellectually absurd, and it did so, beginning with the Christian Bible. With intellectual and physicaql ghettos.  The same kind of ghetto that Israel now maintains in Gaza.

It is intellecually easy to separate anti-zionism from anti-semitism, but since they have been emotionally mixed from childhood, it is emotionally difficult.  But it has to be done, and done by people like you Ardee, who respect historical truth.  So the heavy emotional lifting must be done by the towmotor of your soul to…ah well, I guess I’ll stop here.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 23, 2009 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

As someone who is an advocate for world peace, I find the religious stuff of all stripes, to be stumbling blocks upon the path. Religion after all is ultimately a personal matter. Some consider it a sign of strength to talk to the invisible, in whatever language or protocol that is deemed to be necessary. Others claim to have better methods, then the arguments begin…
So in this Internet peasant’s opinion, it is useless to start arguing over which religious group is responsible for this worldly mess. There is a constant buzz about faith, when it appears to me that those who align themselves to whatever religious bent they adhere to, reveal time and again, that their organized faith has very little to offer their fellow human beings, who just happen to perceive reality in a different way.
For myself, I have no ax grind against any person just because they happen to emerge from some racial or ethnic culture different from my own. There use to be saying: “prepare your mind for world culture”, a good place to start, it seems to me, is to stopping automatically making enemies of other people you simply do not know.
Peace on earth begins with me.
The Beer Doctor

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By ardee, August 23, 2009 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, August 22 at 10:55 pm #

Ardee, you object to the inference that Jews influence the American government’s action?  On what grounds, its the simple and obvious truth.  They do so as part of the neoliberal power structure.  Jews do not control this power structure, money does, but Jews are part of it, mostly a reactionary part.

On what grounds you ask? On the firm conviction that there are individuals whose power and money bring an influence that far exceed that which they should have under the Constitution.

Further I believe that anyone who lumps together a few people who share a heritage, a color or a religion together and then makes charges that villify all who share one or more of those characteristics is guilty of prejudicial conduct and should really, truly re-examine their belief systems.

I doubt seriously that you would use a broad brush when criticizing the actions of Barack Obama or the various African Americans he has appointed to his govt. Yet you do not grant the same courtesy to five percent of the population of this nation because there are those influential people who happen to share two things; am accumulation of wealth and power, and a conviction that the State of Israel is the greatest thing to happen to the Jewish People since those two stone tablets.

My antipathy for your position has been made as clear as I can make it on numerous occasions. It stems, as you should know from my knowledge of the thousands of years of persecution our people have suffered because well intentioned folks like you hold odd views, views which become accepted and lead, yet again, to said persecution.

Money unduly influences politics in this and most other nations. That some of that money comes from those of the Hebrew faith, that said influence is used to sway our actions regarding the State of Israel is certainly a fact. Israel is an almost sacred place, a Mecca if you will, among the older generation of Jews in America.

The greatest influence upon our government’s decisions, and by far, comes from White Anglo Saxon Protestants, the make up of the boardrooms of the largest corporations in America are far and away such folks, as are the most exclusive clubs and even neighborhoods. But I see no scathing critique of the undue influence of those folks, who profit greatly in fact from endless war and the sliding of this country towards third world status, from you, only of “The Jew”.

Tell me FT, is it the horns?


The Jews who oppose this power structure have no power, or much less power.  Jews om forklifts do not play a large part in the American power consensus, more’s the pity.

SHHH, do you want to awaken that child?

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By Folktruther, August 22, 2009 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment

Ardee, you object to the inference that Jews influence the American government’s action?  On what grounds, its the simple and obvious truth.  They do so as part of the neoliberal power structure.  Jews do not control this power structure, money does, but Jews are part of it, mostly a reactionary part.

The Jews who oppose this power structure have no power, or much less power.  Jews om forklifts do not play a large part in the American power consensus, more’s the pity.

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By ardee, August 22, 2009 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

dsmith, August 22 at 3:47 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

I remember reading, before the last election, of a lady candidate complaining about Emmanuel not supporting her candidacy because she supported pulling out of Iraq, which runs counter to the Project for a New American Century crowd (Mostly neocon Jews) who are now trying to persuade Obama to bomb Iran. As a sidenote, it was reported last week that American and Israeli Jews told Bush, late in his presidency,how “Smart” he would be seen by the rest of the world if he went ahead and bombed Iran. Of course Iran, like Iraq, is not a threat to this nation, but Israel sees it as a threat, real or imagined, to them. Why should Israel bomb Iran and put their sons at risk, when they can get the US to do their dirty work.

No fan of Emmanuel am I, but links to such charges as you level seem only appropriate.

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By Sonja Mitchell, August 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Corporaticians

Please add this word to the dictionaries of the world.

I’m tired of pretending the people have representatives in
Washington, DC.

Suddenly I understand the marriage of Hollywood and DC.

They are all actors.

I’d rather die, than comply.  I won’t be forced to pay a private
health insurer a dime!

Conservatives would like the poor to just die off.  More conservative votes.  Is it all that hard to figure out?

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By dsmith, August 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Make no mistake about it, Emmanuel is an Israeli-First soldier, who actually served in the Israeli military and even now holds a dual citizenship in Israel and the US.

I remember reading, before the last election, of a lady candidate complaining about Emmanuel not supporting her candidacy because she supported pulling out of Iraq, which runs counter to the Project for a New American Century crowd (Mostly neocon Jews) who are now trying to persuade Obama to bomb Iran. As a sidenote, it was reported last week that American and Israeli Jews told Bush, late in his presidency,how “Smart” he would be seen by the rest of the world if he went ahead and bombed Iran. Of course Iran, like Iraq, is not a threat to this nation, but Israel sees it as a threat, real or imagined, to them. Why should Israel bomb Iran and put their sons at risk, when they can get the US to do their dirty work.

Emmanuel is a neocon foulmouth bully who will always support Israeli policy, even while the president supports a two state solution.

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By Virginia777, August 22, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

Ardee “Now pardon me while the rest of us discuss politics” in the forklift,

as it backs off of a cliff.

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By ardee, August 22, 2009 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

Virginia

Look out! There is a fork lift behind you…...

How absurd you paint yourself to be, how irrelevant you make you posts precisely because of these off the wall personal attacks from left field. I teart people the way I am treated, you havent a clue,sadly.

In all sincerity I think you and Martha and shenonymous should look into a group therapy rate. Now pardon me while the rest of us discuss politics.

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By Virginia777, August 22, 2009 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

Folktruther “So its a bad thing to be politically sophisticated?”

Ardee “What a moron you paint yourself to be”

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By ardee, August 22, 2009 at 5:29 am Link to this comment

Oh Virginia, that time of the month already?

Is it really impossible to confine your remarks to the political? What a moron you paint yourself to be.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 22, 2009 at 3:50 am Link to this comment

re: ardee

Your comments concerning George Soros reveal that certain conspiracy props collapse when someone with money speaks their own individual opinion and causes consternation for the status quo. A major contributor to Moveon.org, Soros has invoked the wrath of both the far left and right, which translates into he must be doing something correct, or why do his critics denounce him so vehemently?
For the ownership class, there in nothing more dangerous than a billionaire left off the leash. How much energy was spent denouncing H. Ross Perot when he complained about NAFTA?

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By banjo boy, August 21, 2009 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Obama made one abysmal nomination after the other, filling his cabinet with those who contributed to the economic debacle, Summers”

Summers pushed for and got the repeal of The Glass-Steagall Act along with Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, and Sandy Weill of Citi who wanted to buy Traveler’s Insurance
.
That started the whole financial risk taking mess and led to the credit default swap meltdown, years later.

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By Virginia777, August 21, 2009 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

ardee “So its a bad thing to be politically sophisticated?”

No, of course not! (especially while simultaneously driving a folk lift over a cliff)

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By Virginia777, August 21, 2009 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

oh gawd Folktruther,

“You, Ardee, are unfortunately much more politically sophisticated”

stop flattering your favorite troll.

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By ardee, August 21, 2009 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

You, Ardee, are unfortunately much more politically sophisticated, so do not reflect American, or Zionist, drivel so faithfully.  But you are still wrong to oppose the people opposing the Ziofascism of current zionism, since it does affect both US foriengn and domestic policy, and the Jewish population, adversely.  And Obama.  Ziofascism is the tool of the US ruling class, but that doensn’t maean it doesn’t do an enormous amount of harm, not least to Israel.


So its a bad thing to be politically sophisticated? What I object to is the almost creepy inference that ‘the Jews’ influence the American Govts actions. Nope sorry its always been those durn Protestants.

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By ardee, August 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Hey folktruther Some stuff about Soros…..

http://judaism.about.com/library/2_americanjewry/bl_soros.htm

1.

Do we have to listen when the billionaire speaks?
George Soros Addresses a Jewish Audience

George Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew who escaped the Holocaust by fleeing to London as a child, is ranked the 28th richest person in the United States (with a fortune valued at $7 billion) by Forbes magazine.

In November 2003, for the first time ever, the billionaire spoke to a Jewish audience at the conference of the Jewish Funders Network. Many people were dismayed by his call for “regime change” in the United States, his talk of funding projects in “Palestine” and the Geneva Accord, and his ideas about the cause of anti-Semitism.

Soros said European anti-Semitism is the result of the policies of Israel and the United States. “There is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that,” Soros said. “If we change that direction, then anti-Semitism also will diminish,” he said. “I can’t see how one could confront it directly.”

Soros also said that he has personally contributed to anti-Semitism. Soros believes that Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad, was referring to people like Soros when he said, “Jews rule the world by proxy.” Soros’ projects and funding have influenced governments and promoted various political causes around the world.

Soros’ comments were called “absolutely obscene” by Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

“Let’s understand things clearly: Anti-Semitism is not caused by Jews; it’s caused by anti-Semites,” said Elan Steinberg, senior advisor at the World Jewish Congress. “One can certainly be critical of Bush policy or Sharon policy, but any deviation from the understanding of the real cause of anti-Semitism is not merely a disservice, but a historic lie.”

In addition to his unhelpful ideas, Soros has given scant money to Jewish causes. Soros said he has not given much to Jewish or Israel-related causes because Jews take care of their own, so that his financial clout is better directed elsewhere.

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By Sepharad, August 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

I’d be interested in seeing some facts re Rahm Emanuel’s opposition to a public health plan. Last I read—some time ago, maybe in the NYTimes—someone was commenting facetiously on Emanuel running down the hall trying to bite the ankles of Congressmen trying to duck the public option.

He’s no Rasputin, but too much Obama’s man. And, if Hillary had won, who was campaigning for universal mandated health care, he would have been HER man as well. After the primary, Emanuel said he’d been hiding under his desk most of the time because he was close to both Obama and Clinton.

Folktruther, don’t make too much of the Zionist connection re Emanuel. Israeli rightwingers are complaining Rahm is pushing Obama to be tougher on demanding the settlement construction freeze (which, as I write this anyway, has yet to begin, and must begin if any progress is to be made).

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By Folktruther, August 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

Tropicgirl- the only change on the horizon is collapse of the US power system.  And the noted collapse specialist, Dmitry Orlov, has maintained, credibly, that the US suffers for a Collapse Gap compared with the Soviet Union, where Orlov was born. An eyewitness to the Soviet collapse, Orlov maintains that the Soviets were much better prepared for collapse then America.  Orlov is therefore contributing his colapse expertise to the better collapse prepartion for the US.  A highly Patriotic endeavor.  And a semi-serious one, Orlov apparently being influenced by Gogol.

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By tropicgirl, August 21, 2009 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Obama IS THE BIGGEST BLUE DOG HIMSELF.

Got it now? He doesn’t want real reform. Never did. You liberals “heard what
you wanted to hear”. It would have been so easy to reform the banks and
health care if he simply did the right thing.

Its over. LIttle tiny men like Emmanuel and Geithner are just doing what they
know.

This “change” reminds me of the Reagan days. It is about as progressive.

(Come to think of it, Howard Dean is the only change agent that actually has a
role. It is because of him that Democrats retook. But they would rather reverse
that and keep Howard away from anything that he can actually fix. You could
say they are probably not real Democrats. Perhaps none are except for the
Progressive Caucus and sometimes I wonder about them).

I predict real change will come, if it ever does, with a conservative-oriented
(not neocon) third party effort.

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By Folktruther, August 21, 2009 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

It is true, Ardee, that Obama is under the control of the ruling class who own or control the banks and corporations.  But they use Zionists and the Israeli lobby for their own purposes, hijacking Jewish nationalism in the same way they have hijacked religous fundamentialism on the right. 

A quarter of US billionaires are Jewish, although, like Soros, they aren’t all Zionist.  But enough are, like Sabin, Addleson, Perez, Friedman, etc to make Ziofacsism a political force in the US, and that force encompassies Obama’s chief advisors.  And in important ways they ARE neoliberal nutjobs.

Like Inherit, whom I miss dreadfully since he decided to waste all his time working.  You, Ardee, are unfortunately much more politically sophisticated, so do not reflect American, or Zionist, drivel so faithfully.  But you are still wrong to oppose the people opposing the Ziofascism of current zionism, since it does affect both US foriengn and domestic policy, and the Jewish population, adversely.  And Obama.  Ziofascism is the tool of the US ruling class, but that doensn’t maean it doesn’t do an enormous amount of harm, not least to Israel.

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By ardee, August 21, 2009 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

Got it, thanks….

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By thebeerdoctor, August 21, 2009 at 4:30 am Link to this comment

re: ardee

Sorry about the link. Perhaps you can find it this way:
http://www.joebageant.com/

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By ardee, August 21, 2009 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

“Your on your own.”

A terrible concept and
bad syntax as well…...

thebeerdoctor, August 21 at 6:01 am

Link isnt working for me?

“It was a sad moment when I finally realized that our young President was under the control of the nutjob Zionists.”

It is always a sad moment when I realise there are left wing equivalents to those Town Hall jackasses….

Obama is under the control of our largest corporations. The CEO’s and Board members might display a rather notable lack of Jews among them…...This nation has always been ruled by White Anglo Saxon Protestants, and still is today.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 21, 2009 at 3:01 am Link to this comment

Here is a link from the inimitable Joe Bageant:

http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2009/08/the-entertainment-vslue-of-snuffing-grandma.html

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By Shift, August 20, 2009 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

Obama is attempting to be a stealth corporatist and that is why he says one thing and does the opposite in favor of the corporations. The President is a sham, cannot identify or engender change, acts weak and cowardly, refuses to lead, speaks in circles, identifies with Lincoln but channels Hoover, and lacks any discernible vision other than that of the Zionists. Obama blows with the winds and will end up as a shipwreck.  Food shortages, depression, revolution, and war are on the horizon.  Your on your own.

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By jmr, August 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

Because people like you who are supposedly liberal and progressive allow yourselves to be divided and distracted by the politics of personality instead of concentrating on the politics of policy.

You nail it, Diamond.  Personality politics is what it’s all about for them.  Last year’s Obamaphiles are starting to sound like jilted lovers.

I’d add that self-styled progressives can be just as dogmatic, just as knee-jerk, just as obtuse as conservative wingnuts, hence just as illiberal, just as reactionary.  And they have more than their share of that ripe Jacobin sanctimony and charming way of confusing the intellectual with the intelligent.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, August 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since coming into office Obama and Emanuel have been
inseparable and this isn’t the first photo I’ve seen of
them holding hands.  There was all that talk of gays in
the Bush white house… so I’m just wondering if maybe
it’s a brokeback mountain sort of thing.  Just kidding. 
Can you imagine either of them going fishing?  Riding
horses?  Sleeping in a tent?  They’re not gay, they’re
metrosexuals.

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By Folktruther, August 20, 2009 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

I don’t understand you, Diamand.  You can see through the mainstream bullshit about the assassinations and 9/11 homicide, but accept the good cop-bad cop naneuver of the US power structure with the political parties.  And your arguments are just bullshit.  You assume with no evidence that we sit on our asses whining and are not active in the power process.  No doubt because what you consider ‘active’ is supporting the Dems over the Gops ub ekections.

You assume with no evidence that critiquers of the Dems must be Gops in disguise.  You assume, wrongly, that I am a liberal.  Your fellow Dem lemming calls us all cynics.  the difference between these cheap accusations and your other analysis is so great, I can’t account for the disparity. 

Obama is continuing Bush poicies and leading progressives to the right, and simply don’t want to acknowledge it.

The Dems are clogging up the political space where a true progressive movment must be formed.  As Ardee argued before, you can’t reform a top down party,  although it may be possible to split it.  But you simply want to argue against truthers who oppose a sell out political leader who is abandoning his progressive base.  I don’t understand it.

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By Finn, August 20, 2009 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is it just me, or are other people beginning to worry that our president is just not tough enough for the job? He was elected for change, to lead this country into a new era of politics, one where the undue influence of powerful Washington lobbyists would hit a brick wall. Come on Mr. President. You can do this. Millions of Americans who feel they have no voice are relying on you. Don´t betray their trust.

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By Thomas Dooley, August 20, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

Cynics on the left…

“Cynics on the left,” eh? I think Bill O’Reilly calls them far left loons. Truth be told O’Reilly would likely include you with the far left loons. I guess it doesn’t matter. Attaching a disparaging name to those who disagree with you seems to be all that remains of what was once political discussion. Screw ideas themselves.

So, your idea is those who do not agree with your take on things must suffer from a particular personality defect. They are just cynics without reason. Otherwise, you know, they would be agreeing with you. What could be simpler?

You could learn a lot from O’Reilly. As long as you are going the slander route you might as well do it right. You should use something like “far left loons.” There is a certain art to name calling and if you are going to do it you should do it well.

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By BobZ, August 20, 2009 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

Whyzol1 and Dr. Wu

The cynics on the left will alway’s find it easy to blame one of their own who
may not be a pure as them. The Democrats are not snow white but the’re not
the Republican’s either. And I doubt the cynics even got involved in any type of
campaigning for anyone since they can’t find anyone as pure as them. I never
campaigned for anyone in my life before last year, but I did it out of what I saw
the Republican Party doing to our country. It was becoming a neo-fascist state
in reality and not just in our imagination. We really might have to move to
Canada after all. I actually looked into the application process for immigrating.
So now seven months later and with a competent president in office, some on
the left are still not happy. Well you will never be happy. So long as our country
is filled with a lot of very right wing people, a true liberal will not be able to
win. Dennis Kucinich would have made a great president but I never deluded
myself that he could actually win, especially when he made reference to alien
sightings.

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By ardee, August 20, 2009 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

So much of what you blame Obama for is what he’s inherited historically. Ask yourself: how did the healthcare system in America get so completely dysfunctional? Did Obama do it? No, he didn’t. Political corruption and lobbyists did it, but where were all of you? Sitting on your backsides whining, certainly not out doing anything effective to change it. Tha’s why the Democrats have such a mountain to climb: because public apathy let all of this happen in the first place

So, Diamond, the fault lies , not in our stars but in ourselves,heh?

The criticism of President Obama does not at all say that he created the mess, only that he is not handling the mess with any degree of competency or truthfulness. While I did not vote for him, was, in fact, highly critical of his campaign oratory and his political history, short as it is, those who did so expected something they are not getting. In fact they (and we) are receiving the proverbial shaft.

You may seek to blame the people, and ultimately, in our form of govt. you have a point, but you are simply using a debating ploy to shift the argument from what Obama is doing and what he should be doing.

It isnt going to work.

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By rbrooks, August 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rahm Emanuel is doing his job: to screw up any legislative initiative that might offend or inconvenience his corporate owners.

Rahm’s DLC-controlled Democratic party lost Congress, lost two Presidential elections - why else would Obama bring him in to overrule the team that swept him into the White House? He’s there to see that progressives don’t get out of hand. Enforcer, for sure. And progressives are the ones in the crosshairs.

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By diamond, August 20, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther what you say about Obama wanting to get re-elected is true as far as it goes but what do you imagine is going to happen if he doesn’t? The neo cons back in the white house preparing to bomb Iran and to re-start the cold war, and picking yet another third world country to invade (with a pin and a map) is my guess. Not to mention what they would do to the economy -again.

So much of what you blame Obama for is what he’s inherited historically. Ask yourself: how did the healthcare system in America get so completely dysfunctional? Did Obama do it? No, he didn’t. Political corruption and lobbyists did it, but where were all of you? Sitting on your backsides whining, certainly not out doing anything effective to change it. Tha’s why the Democrats have such a mountain to climb: because public apathy let all of this happen in the first place. I know none of you alleged Democrat Obama bashers want to hear reason: you just want to run off at the mouth like children on a sugar high and the others are Republicans pretending to be disappointed in someone they never even voted for and the rest voted for the Greens or the socialists or Ralph Nader and will never be satisfied with anything Obama does or does not do. Why do you think the Republicans get away with their crimes and still manage to be the government most of the time? Because people like you who are supposedly liberal and progressive allow yourselves to be divided and distracted by the politics of personality instead of concentrating on the politics of policy. You’re now in a situation where you have to hang together or hang separately but you seem blissfully unaware of that fact.

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By dr wu, August 20, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

Truthdigers—repeat 50x till you get it:

“There is one party of the rich in America—it has two branches: Dems and Republicans”

or, try “Wall Street and the Pentagon run the show…”

(“military -industrial complex” now dated and not used anymore)

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By whyzowl1, August 20, 2009 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

whyzowl1, August 20 at 12:48 pm #


+You gotta love “progressives.” Where else could you find a bleating herd of such painfully clueless dupes?

Atta way to win converts…...errrrrr.
*************************

Converts to what? The Clinton-Blair-Obama “Third Way” politics of nothing?

Gimme a break.

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By Spiritgirl, August 20, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rahm may not be “tough enough” for the public option, but then again he’s a corporatist.  While I do believe that President Obama has gone too far in the spirit of “bi-partisanship” even he has too concede that the corporate owned wing-nuts of both sides really don’t have the interests of “we the people” at heart.  It is time that as citizens of this nation we stop sticking our collective heads in the sand, believing that the people that we continue putting in office even have “our interests” in mind, they are working for their Corporate Masters!  It is time that “we the people” start demanding that Congress, and yes our state and local leaders put our interests ahead of Corporate America!

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By Folktruther, August 20, 2009 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

“Barack Obama is the greatest politician in U.S. history. Never has anyone combined such eloquence and oratorical gifts with such a complete absence of couraqe or principles.”

You have a way with words, Big Jess.  But like all presidents, indeed, political leaders, Obama’s main priciple is to get elected next time.  So he has abandoned his Progressive base and headed for the center of the ruling class power consensus that controls the media, money and rules.  And what they want is to increase class inequality by giving them more of the public’s money.

To get reelected, Obama is continuing Bushite policies leading us down the historical path of barbarism. The next election will provide a choice btween an obvious Dem sellout like Obama and a Gop candidate likely to declare martial law.  This is American Democracy in action, at a time when its economic and political system is increasingly obsolete.

So US political leaders maintain the US power system by military violence, bribery, and deceit.  Which will probably work for a decade or two before it collapses.  What we should be doning now is an effort at ‘collapse preparedness’ advocated by Dmitri Orlov, who witnessed the Soviet collapse.  this will involve a change of economic and political institutions, as it did after the collapse of the Roman empire.

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By Thomas Dooley, August 20, 2009 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

I love this article! It’s kinda like a really good magician’s trick. Very skillful!

It’s all the fault of Rahm Emanuel. That’s the ticket! Gotta be. Can’t be Obama’s fault. He’s the world’s nicest guy. I think it even says so on his name tag.

Now, I don’t remember electing Rahm Emanuel president. I don’t remember electing him anything at all. The way I remember it Obama was elected president.

Anyway, this article assures us that it’s all Emanuel’s fault. Obama would never sell us out like that. Are you certain of that? Could it be that Emanuel is not going against his boss’s wishes? That he is doing what his boss told him to do? There is always that possibility, isn’t there?

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By Mary Ann McNeely, August 20, 2009 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Rahm Emanuel is the enlarged prostate of the Democratic party.

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By ardee, August 20, 2009 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

whyzowl1, August 20 at 12:48 pm #


+You gotta love “progressives.” Where else could you find a bleating herd of such painfully clueless dupes?

Atta way to win converts…...errrrrr.
*********************************************
ChaoticGood, August 20 at 1:13 pm #


Obama has played this whole thing well, if only by accident.  By giving the Republicans “room” to play, he has let them show themselves to everyone as what they really are.


Unfortunately a President must be seen as a leader, Obama has chosen not to lead but to stand on the sidelines. Not what I call playing well…...


Obama can now say that he tried to compromise and get bi-partisan support, but the Republicans just want him and the country to fail.  This sets him free to move forward without them.

He can say whatever it is he chooses to, but the newspapers will continue to make a mishmash of any coherency about health care reform. You and I might understand that the trolls and psychos disrupting Town Hall meetings are dupes or agents of the far right and the insurance and pharma industries, but to Mr. and Mrs. Average Americans those are the only voices they are hearing.

 
The 50 state Democratic play book mandates that Democrats can say truthfully that they tried to include Republicans, but they would have nothing to do with healthcare reform.  This will help Democrats get elected in 2010.

You fail to note that there are many so-called blue-dog democrats within that party whose opinion on health care matches those across the aisle.

Emanuel was one of the architects of the 50 state strategy and this is still part of the political equation.  If you factor this in, then the bi-partisan game makes sense.

Flat out wrong here, sorry. Both Emanuel and Chuck Schumer were quick to denigrate and downplay that strategy directly after the democratic victories in the ‘06 election. Please recheck your research.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/17/howard-dean-rahm-emanuel_n_188162.html

and

http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=9854

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By Thomas Dooley, August 20, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

“intimidate progressives and empower conservatives”

I see, when the Bush administration seeks to “intimidate progressives and empower conservatives” it is seen as purposeful act. The very same observed behavior from the Obama administration is labeled a “mistake.” They did it by mistake. They really meant to do something else.

How’s about this for a theory—- It is the same behavior. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are intimidating progressives and empowering conservatives. In both cases it is a purposeful act done by smart people who know the politic-biz better than we do.

Now, isn’t that easier? The reason why it looks for all the world like the same damn thing is because it’s the same damn thing.

Whew, that’s a load off my mind. Now I don’t need to bend my brain to invent excuses for these guys. Now when they screw me over I don’t need to twist my myself into a pretzel trying to dream up an excuse for them. You know, like they’re just powerless wimps and someone else made them do it. Or, they certainly screwed me, but they must have done it by mistake. Now I can just say that I’m getting screwed just like those other guys do it, I guess for the same reasons. Maybe because their careers and ambitions are furthered by it? Probably.

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By BobZ, August 20, 2009 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

Joe,

Good insights. Rob Emanuel does seem to be the point person who who is
messing up. He was not involved in the campaign and that team was never off
message. I never felt comfortable with Emanuel’ selection as Chief of Staff. He
just didn’t seem like a very good fit with Obama. And Emanuel must be the one
who failed to see what the Republican’s were up to with these town hall
disruptions - during the campaign the Republicans were outfoxed at every
turn. Obama had them totally bambozzled. Admittedly running the White
House is immensely more complex than an election campaign but still, the
Republican playbook to defeat health care reform should not have surprised
anyone. They used it in 1993. And why is Emanuel pissing off the very
progressives who got Obama elected and worked their butts off for him. I hope
Emanuel doesn’t scuttle the Obama presidency.

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By Mark, August 20, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t kid yourself. Everything that has happened under Obama has happened for a reason. And it ain’t because Obama suffers from Stockholm Syndrome.

You don’t get to the top of the heap in U.S. politics being some doe-eyed, babe in the woods, easily manipulated by the people around you. To the contrary, you have to have a huge ego, equally large ambition and the kind of cunning Machiavelli spoke of approvingly.

This guy was U.S. Senator (“most exclusive club in the world”) from the the 5th largest State in the Union. A State which, I might add, has a long history of political in-fighting, deal-making, power-brokering and influence peddling.

You don’t get elected U.S. Senator from Illinois, much less POTUS, not knowing how the game is played.

Money = Power.

Wealthy benefactors expect something in return for their “contributions”.

The POTUS is delivering for his benefactors. As other posters have mentioned the current “dog and pony show” gives Obama cover while doing so.

BTW, LBJ delivered on civil rights because he had no choice.

The news coverage of black marchers being supressed with fire hoses, tear gas and snarling dogs in this the land of the free was more than most voters of both parties could stand, especially while the U.S. prosecuted a war in S.E. Asia to preserve “freedom” in South Vietnam.

The healthcare debate just doesn’t generate those kind of visuals.

Moreover, policies which helped lift blacks out the economic underclass benefitted the corporations which exist to sell crap to the American consumer. It helped the bottom line. Need more proof? See the recent subprime mortgage fiasco. Corporate America loves squeezing $ out of all Americans regardless of race, creed or color

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By RdV, August 20, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Actually, the 50 state strategy was promoted by Howard Dean despite the protests of the clintonistas, especially the little prick, Rahm Emanuel.

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By M.B.S.S., August 20, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

tiny dancer is tough and dems have spines of steel.  no snark. 

just try to hit the democrats from the left, and derail their corporate agenda.  they will use everything in their arsenal to crush you.

the problem is that people believe that the democrats have their best interests in mind.  this makes it appear that they are spineless.  and they engage in the kabuki dance with the right for political theater.  sometimes it is even entertaining.  but behind closed doors there is no real fight going on for the people, the fighting only relates to egocentric political posturing. 

democrats are like a car salesman who is “gonna go talk to my manager, and get you a real good deal.”

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By ChaoticGood, August 20, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Obama has played this whole thing well, if only by accident.  By giving the Republicans “room” to play, he has let them show themselves to everyone as what they really are. 
Obama can now say that he tried to compromise and get bi-partisan support, but the Republicans just want him and the country to fail.  This sets him free to move forward without them. 
The 50 state Democratic play book mandates that Democrats can say truthfully that they tried to include Republicans, but they would have nothing to do with healthcare reform.  This will help Democrats get elected in 2010.
Emanuel was one of the architects of the 50 state strategy and this is still part of the political equation.  If you factor this in, then the bi-partisan game makes sense.

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By Jean Gerard, August 20, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Problem:  Who is this amorphous “Americn public”?  The more or less educated, the generous and responsible public, or the nuts who dance to the drum-beat of talk radio?  That’s one I myself find difficulty in answering.  If the latter, then God help us.  If the former, where are they?  Probably all writing comments to Truthdig and the like, hoping that words will do the trick.  Letters to local papers and radio stations?  Letters to Congress?  Protest marches?  Neighborhood meetings?  Phone calls to the White House?  Donations to Move-on.org?  Probably not in large enough numbers to pull us through the knothole.

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By whyzowl1, August 20, 2009 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

You gotta love “progressives.” Where else could you find a bleating herd of such painfully clueless dupes?

Look, you guys let the corporate Masters pick your candidates for you, and then you’re—sniff—disappointed (when and if you ever wake up) when he, or she, proceeds to stick it up you ass, again and again and again.

You won’t rally behind any “real progressives” in the quadrennial electoral horse race, b-b-be-cause they “can’t win,” and then cross-your-fingers-and-hope-to-die (an audacious hope that has a very real chance of being fulfilled) that the conservative you just elected will somehow turn out to be a stealth flaming lib who will wave his magic wand and grant all of your most fervent wishes.

Well, Obama’s waving his magic wand at you, all right. Unfortunately it’s still attatched to his crotch.

All of the billions of words that are and have been written by “progressives” complaining that, “Hey, this isn’t what we worked and paid and voted for,” are a total waste, because only one in a hundred of you truly have the courage of your convictions. You won’t fight—really fight—for what you say you believe in.

You sit at the Master’s heel and lick his hand, and when he slaps you in the face, you bounce right up and come back for some more. America’s so-called “rogressives” have a permanent “kick me” sign taped to their backs, and they put it and keep it there themselves.

And I’m with you! I’m one of you! But I can’t help but notice that the collective “we” are beneath contempt. And what are we gonna do about it?

Get to work to reelect Obama and the rest of the Democratic Judas Goats? When we know for a certainty that there is NO salvation within the confines of the two-parties-that-are-one duopoly?

Like I said: beneath contempt.

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By Jon, August 20, 2009 at 9:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I no longer believe that Obama is serious about real health care reform.  The evidence is his aloofness, the fact that his staff—Emanuel included—have been off message, then on message, then off message again. There is a quality of ‘it depends on what the word is means’ to the White House’s sloppy message control.

Compare this to how fast Obama allowed Geithner to hand over 22 trillion dollars to the banks and Wall Street, and how fast Congress let this happen.  22 trillion dollars.  But health care?  Confusion, reversals, divided Democrats within Congress, a total mess.  But they all signed off on that 22 trillion, didn’t they?

When the president wanted to be elected, he sure had the ability to speak clearly from that teleprompter.  But today, it’s humma humma humma with the GOP in charge of the narrative, with apparently, Obama’s blessing.  What does this tell you about Obama’s resolve?  And why are the supporters of a solid public option being called ‘the left of the left,’  vilified as kooks for wanting the public option?  Obama’s not playing straight and is being intellectually dishonest—-except for his back room deals with Big Pharma, Big Health Care, and the GOP.

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By bogi666, August 20, 2009 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

robgo2, he didn’t mention Jews, you did. He said Zionists. You’re just up to the AIPAC trick of morphing , Jews, Israeli’s, and Zionists as all being anti Semites when they can be distinct. I can oppose the Israeli governments policies and that doesn’t mean I’m anti Semitic. Not all Jews are Zionists in fact the christian Zionists are the most extreme because they want Armageddon so that the religious Jews will convert to Christ. I can disagree with a Jew without being anti Semitic. I know you’ll accuse me of being anti Semitic now because that’s what you do, cry wolf.

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By Big Jess, August 20, 2009 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Barack Obama is the greatest politician in U.S. history. Never has anyone combined such eloquence and oratorical gifts with such a complete absence of couraqe or principles. (Remember, pragmatism is the diametric opposite of principle.) Deep down this man is a completely disassociated sociopath, which is what makes him such a great liar.

The tragedy of it all is that if he had just followed through on his campaign pledges he could have been one of the half-dozen greatest presidents of all time.

Such a waste of talent for him.
Such a loss of democracy and opportunity for us.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, August 20, 2009 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a year old but still relevant:
http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/617/healthscare/

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By P. T., August 20, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

Rahm Emanuel is Barack Obama’s Dick Morris—duplicitous.

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By herewegogain, August 20, 2009 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh, he’s tough all right…haven’t you heard how often he drops the f-bomb?! And that he sent a dead fish to someone once?!

—rolls eyes—

Glad this article was written. Who knows, maybe the little turncoat will actually read it and realize how much damage he’s done to the Democrats. Yes, I do hold him responsible for the presence of all these useless obstructionist Blue Dogs!

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, August 20, 2009 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What Emanuel is afraid of is that if the democrats go
for a real public option all the campaign money which
the insurance companies have been doling out to both
parties will go to republicans only.  He’s still chair
of the democratic campaign committee in his mind.

It’s much worse with the insurance companies and how
far they will go to maintain their power and profits
than most people realize.
http://www.guernicamag.com/spotlight/1207/the_last_temp
tation_of_wendell/

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By FreeWill, August 20, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

The operable thing here is that the Republicans can appease their Corporate masters with out any apologies.  Their pretense is preserving “FREEDOMS and RIGHTS”.  Since their constituency for the most part is irrational, emotional, non critical thinking and predominately uninformed individuals, it easy to pull off the deception.  The Dems on the other hand (who pretend to be the Labor and peoples party) need to create this charade which justifies their failure to protect “we the people” from Big Brother.  Since their constituency represents a greater number of critical thinking more informed people their “act” is more difficult to pull off.  Thus we have had the elaborate dog and pony show to make us think there is actually an effort being made, to fulfill the commitments made on the campaign trail.  But it is all for show and there was never any intention of “changing” anything.  If you don’t know this you don’t know how the two party ” Corprotrocracy” system works.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 20, 2009 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

True leadership sometimes requires abandoning the so-called ‘base’ of support in order to do what is required. Lyndon Johnson had to say goodbye to all the southern Dxiecrats when he announced that “we shall overcome”. Richard Nixon had to wave bye bye to the John Birch Society when he decided to go to China and shake Mao’s hand. True leadership requires creating initiative whether somebody likes it or not.

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By LostHills, August 20, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

I think that Obama’s presidency is already a dismal failure, and cannot be resurected at this point. Leaving the war in the “trusted hands” of Gates and Petrayus was the first sign he was going down in flames and appointing Rom Emanuel was another one All the bold moves we were promised, like appointing Robert Kennedy to head the EPA drifted away like smoke from the coal burning power plants that funded his campaign. Following congress on health care reform instead of leading them, and appeasing the republicans instead of opposing them shows that he is just sadly incompetent or else a trojan horse. Either way, the American people have been duped. I don’t where he expects to get the votes to get re-elected, or how long the democratic party can hope to hang on to their majority in congress, but reality is a bitch.

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By Fat Freddy, August 20, 2009 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Hulk2008

You sooooooo missed the point of that movie (Rollerball). It was about Individualism vs Collectivism. The “Corporations” didn’t want the masses to realize that one man could make a difference. So, they tried to force him out of the game. They wanted the people to believe that only a “team” effort could win the game.

From Wiki:

Rollerball was conceived not merely to slake bloodlust, but to demonstrate the futility of individualism. Jonathan’s singular talent and longevity in the sport defeats the intended purpose of Rollerball.

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By Old Geezer Pilot, August 20, 2009 at 7:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let blame fall on the right person - Obama. He is a
master orator, a master salesman.

But he has no product. He is selling out of an empty
wagon.

It’s not about Rahm - it’s about Obama.

We gotta get a single-payer plan out this year or the
Repubs will do to Obama what Newt did to Clinton.

Tick tock, tick tock,

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By Hulk2008, August 20, 2009 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

I’m a sci-fi fan; it often offers ideas about our alternative futures.  Years ago James Caan starred in “Rollerball”, a glimpse of a futuristic society where all true nations have long since been taken over by corporations - no more real governments, just corporate boards and their accompanying motives.  Caan plays a star athlete working for one of the corporations’ teams.  The fate of business success or failure hangs in the balance of the “games” - lurid sado-masochistic ultra-violent contests involving roller derby, motorcycles,  weapons, and a steel ball used for scoring.  Of course, Caan’s corporate sponsor tries to manipulate him to their greedy benefit, ignoring his humanity .... even taunting him with having or losing his wife.  But his athleticism gets out of control - he becomes too influential, too adept, too popular with world-wide viewers of the games.  The corporations contrive various evil methods to make the games more violent and dangerous, especially for him. 
  Let’s face it.  Health care has been in the hands of corporate greed for many years.  Physicians and even hospitals are at the mercy of the so-called “networks” devised by private insurers.  Citizens decry having physicians and hospitals “run by government”.  I submit that the government might be less sinister than corporate entities. 
  If the righties are correct that government is inept, why do they also believe such an inept bunch could actually rule individual lives ?
  I have worked for many private health insurers =  I’ll take our government any day.

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By RdV, August 20, 2009 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

robgo2

  It isn’t a secret and these stormfront town meetings serve as a potential warning. If Israel keeps manipulating and suppressing the truth and our foreign policy and congress bowing to AIPAC, real antisemitism could well rear up again with people insecure, fearful of the future, struggling financially.
Think about it.

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By Fat Freddy, August 20, 2009 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

ardee,

Though President Obama spoke to the importance of health care reform he removed himself from any leadership role in the process

This is an extremely important point. President Obama has shown very little leadership, if any, in the construct of any Congressional health care reform Bill. He basically turned it over to Congress and said, “give me something I can sign”. At least GWB said, “this is what I want, and this is what you’re going to give me, and if you don’t like it, tough shit”. One extreme to the other.

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By grumpynyker, August 20, 2009 at 6:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Barack Hussein Obama needs to jettison the brothers Emanuel, Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers and all acolytes of the Milton Friedman free-market ideaology from his inner circle.  He needs to issue an executive order implementing HR 676 Medicare for all and order Congress to work out the kinks.  Next, declare victory in Iraq and start withdrawing troops, consultants, and advisors; do the same for Afghanistan/Pakistan.  Close most of the military bases strewn across the globe.  Slash the Pentagon’s budget by 80%.  Then I might start to like him.

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By Bob Mitchum, August 20, 2009 at 6:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow, damn interesting essay—especially from an old-time Clintonista like Conason.

The appointment of Rahm “Sammy Glick” Emanuel—the greasiest dude who ever lived—the week after Obama’s election smelled like death for all things progressive and all things promised.

And now we have the stinking corpse: of the party, health care reform, criminal charges against torturers, criminal charges against the Goldman Sachs crime family, etc.

Mister O-jangles sure dances well though, don’t he?

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By robgo2, August 20, 2009 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

“And a Zionist punk to boot. That is truly what drives him at the expense of all out
But emanuel is just the tip of the iceberg. Nearly all of Obama’s appointees are disasterous.
You made your bed, Obama…you sold out to the corporation and the Zionists and now, being so compromised, you can’t do anything other than a gesture ...and that supposed BS about killing Grandma? My mother’s medicare just doubled.”

I’m always interested in how long it takes for Jew-bashers to enter these online discussions.  In this case, it took 3 hours and 35 minutes.  A little slow, but today’s standards.

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By RdV, August 20, 2009 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

the beerdoctor writes:

“I find this article to be quite bizarre. Joe Conason writes that Emanuel “repeatedly intervened in primary elections around the country to promote GOP-lite candidates against challengers who actually represented the party’s bedrock beliefs.”

  My county is a classic case. We actually had a progressive congressman for years, but during the anti-Bush climate when any Democrat could’ve won, we got a blue Dog—who is not well-liked. Don’t buy into that lie about how the Blue Dogs are obligated to represent consevative districts.

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By RdV, August 20, 2009 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

And a Zionist punk to boot. That is truly what drives him at the expense of all out
But emanuel is just the tip of the iceberg. Nearly all of Obama’s appointees are disasterous.
You made your bed, Obama…you sold out to the corporation and the Zionists and now, being so compromised, you can’t do anything other than a gesture ...and that supposed BS about killing Grandma? My mother’s medicare just doubled.

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By Southern Gal, August 20, 2009 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

If we weren’t so close to the brink on so many important issues, this type of political manuvering might work to move policies forward slowly. The problem is that we don’t have the time for this. We need economic recovery with real jobs, we need health insurance reform so that everyone is covered and the nation is not held hostage to the greed of insurance companies and interest groups, we need environmental policies that will make a difference for the better and put us in partnership with other countries, we need to rebuild our infrastructure and to tax the corporations and the monied people in this country to pay for these things. We need real leadership from the Democrats who are the party in power. We need for them to come together and work together to pass real policies, not corporate welfare. As a progressive I am angry and I am watching what our president and the Congress do to help we the people.

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By Samson, August 20, 2009 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

This is standard Dem party propaganda\spin.  You see it every time the Dems are going to pass what is essentially right-wing, pro-corporate legislation.

Its a typical misdirection to start to blame this on one or more individuals.  We always hear how this leader or that leader didn’t handle things correctly, and that’s how once again corporate America and the Republicans beat the wonderful and well-meaning Democrats and got what they wanted ... again.

The problem is, this pattern, and this particular form of spin, have been around 20 years now.  Somehow, no matter who the leader is, the Democrats always act exactly the same.  And somehow or another, corporate America always gets what they want from the Democrats.

Its all spin to deflect people from realizing that the Democrats are funded by corporate America.  The big health companies that are getting rich from this bad bill have pumped millions of bribes, uh contributions, into the Democrats. And the Democrats have willingly taken the money and promised to do their bidding. 

It was a given from day one that the ‘health reform’ bill from the Dems would be a bonanza for the big health companies that get personal meetings with the President and who own the key Dem members of Congress.  Anyone who watched ‘single-payer’ being declared off-the-table from day one knew this was coming.

The sad thing is, the American people are far to the left of both the Democrats and Republicans on this issue.  If the Democrats had wanted to serve the American people and be politically popular at the same time, they could have easily pushed for a single-payer type plan.  But, the Democrats have clearly declared that their loyalty lies only with the big corporations that have pumped millions of dollars of bribes into Dem party coffers.

We are not leaderless, nor rudderless.  The problem is that a small elite with money and power are running things for their own benefit.

And, as long as we continue to elected crooked politicians with millions of corporate dollars in their bank accounts, we will continue to get exactly the same result.  Never ever vote for the candidates with money. If you see them running lots of TV ads, stay away and don’t support them.  The candidate you want is the person who has to beg a ride from a supporter to get to the next event.

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By robgo2, August 20, 2009 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

What none of us knows is whether Emanuel is really calling the shots or he is merely carrying out the wishes of his boss, the President.  What we do know is that Obama chose to surround himself with members of the political establishment, people who have spent their careers defending and promoting the interests of corporations and wealthy individuals.  In so doing, the President reneged on his promise to bring fundamental change to the political system:  the people who ran it before are still running it now.

Did Obama structure his administration thusly, because he is fundamentally in agreement with establishment values and goals or because he was persuaded by others that without establishment types, the government and the economy could not function?  I clearly remember how, in the period after the election, when the administration team was being assembled, Obama pointedly reassured progressives that *he* would be calling the shots and that we should not be worried about the moderates and conservatives that he was putting into positions of great power and influence.

So who is the real Barack Obama, and what are his true motives?  I have a theory that Obama may be a victim of the Stockholm Syndrome.  This is the syndrome in which persons who have been kidnapped come to identify with their captors and behave sympathetically towards them.  Could it be that Obama surrounded himself with moderate and conservative technocrats who he thought could “get things done” and that now he has become one of them, just as Patty Hearst became one of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the group that had kidnapped her for ransom?  In a way, this may be the kindest interpretation of Obama’s failure to lead the nation in the direction most people want it to go.  He has, in effect, been kidnapped.

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By Ivan hentschel, August 20, 2009 at 5:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rahm and Rove are both four letter words that begin with R and end with dark and brooding implications. Why do Presidential right-hand men always have to be evil henchmen? Or “men” for that matter?

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By Rosemary Molloy, August 20, 2009 at 4:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Long before O. got in, his choice of the warmonger Biden as VP candidate should have made clear his direction to “progressives” and everybody else with an I.Q. over 10.
NOW RE-READ ARDEE’S LAST SENTENCE.

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By M Currey, August 20, 2009 at 4:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I really hope it is not too late to stop the foolish lies, someone stood up at Barney Frank’s townhouse style meeting and said the Obama plan was akin to Hitler (I suppose that relates to death squad of doctors).  Barney Frank being Jewish told the woman she was foolish and that talking to her was like talking to a dinning room table.  With someone like Barney and a few others reform can take place Obama has to get the Democrats to stand together like the Rethugs did when Bush was President.

A lot of people who are 65 allready have theirs but I for one think that my grandchildren will need health care reform.  How can you think that corporations will provide health care coveragee. 

Most Americans are now working part time jobs that have no coverage.  And the wolves (insurance companies) like to charge more and give less because the bottom line is profit.  They are the real deciders of who lives and who is denied treatment and dies.

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