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Why Barack Is Behind

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Posted on Sep 9, 2010
White House / Pete Souza

By Joe Conason

Among the very puzzling aspects of the midterm election—and the Democratic debacle that appears to be looming in November—is why voters would return the opposition to power only two years after the multiple disasters of the Bush administration. They know that the years of Republican dominance in Washington led to an extremely expensive war that was launched on false pretenses; to enormous deficits, skewed tax cuts and unrestrained waste; and, by the end, to a ruined economy.

Most Americans feel no nostalgia for that era or its politicians. A midsummer Newsweek poll showed that the Republican right’s program is still far from popular. Asked whether they care more about reducing the federal budget deficit or increasing federal spending to create jobs, 57 percent said they wanted more spending, not less, and only 37 percent were more concerned about red ink. More than half want to let the George W. Bush tax cuts benefiting the top 2 percent expire, and only 38 percent prefer to extend them. Nearly every poll indicates that even now, as President Obama’s approval ratings sink, those of his predecessor remain considerably lower.

Yet we appear to be heading toward an election that will empower an ideological minority, whose candidates endorse extremist nostrums such as privatizing Social Security and shutting down the Environmental Protection Agency. Why should this be happening now?

There are several plausible explanations, but the most persuasive overall is what political scientists and pollsters describe as the “enthusiasm gap.” The zeal that Democrats felt in 2006 when they ousted the corrupt Tom DeLay machine, and in 2008, when they bade farewell to Bush and Dick Cheney, has dissipated under Barack Obama—who has inspired the same kind of fiery determination among Republicans. In a midterm election, when voter turnout is predictably much lower than in a presidential contest, the fervor of the partisan base can make the difference between a draw and a rout.

Public Policy Polling, a firm whose accuracy was recognized by The Wall Street Journal despite its Democratic affinities, recently tried to measure the enthusiasm gap in several statewide contests. Across the country, its researchers found that that gap has shifted an average of 7 points in each of 10 Senate and gubernatorial races—and in some places, such as the president’s home state of Illinois, that number is even higher. Without the gap, critical Senate races, and presumably many House races as well, would be closer—or the Democrats would be leading.

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Although President Obama has passed important reform legislation, saved the auto industry and confirmed two Supreme Court nominees, both women, the Democratic base is obviously dispirited. They hoped he would bring more fundamental change. Instead, his White House staff seizes every opportunity to exacerbate the inevitable letdown by insulting, bullying and mocking the progressive voters who are the most vital and loyal constituents of his coalition.

At this late hour, Obama shows few signs of understanding why he is about to lose the majorities that made his achievements possible. He needs to speak up, fight back and win back the respect of the public. They know that if he won’t fight for his party and his program, he won’t fight for them, either.

Joe Conason writes for the New York Observer.

© 2010 Creators.com


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BR549's avatar

By BR549, September 16, 2010 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

Kulu,

That (9/11) was a big part of it, to be sure. I mean, so much of where we are today centers around the conspirators using their power to manipulate the minds of what is now billions of people. Think about it.

The avoidance to discuss this one event is the singlemost obstacle to our national and global healing because it leaves us in a state of denial as a whole. Thus, we are like the drunk that knows how crappy he feels when he has a hangover, but he continues to drink because its the only way he knows how to anesthetize himself enough to not have to truly understand why he feels so bad. And the cycle just perpetuates itself.

Amy also didn’t want to, I believe, put herself into the genre of Alex Jones, most likely to distance herself and maintain her journalistic integrity. Certainly, it was her call, but as I said, I just moved on. She’s done some good stuff since then, but because of time constraints, if I have a choice, I listen to Alex first.

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By kulu, September 16, 2010 at 1:43 am Link to this comment

BR549,

In the back of my mind I had an idea that it might have been the 9/11 conspiracy thing behind your disappointment with Amy Goodman. By the time I got interested in American affairs the 9/11 controversy was no longer current but yes her lack of attention to it does present a glitch in what I think is a great effort by Democracy Now on behalf of the victims and justice in general.

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By BR549, September 15, 2010 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, September 15 at 2:01 pm
“Then you should have used the right word in this case “ignore” is appropriate. Just don’t be so sensitive if I ask you questions when I want clarification.”

Keyboard convention commonly refers to using the “Delete Key”. I used the term figuratively, here, although in seeing my screnname on the TD email to you, you had the opportunity to “delete” it there. Apparently, you chose not to do so, thus, your only recourse was to then “ignore” it.

Can we move on now?

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By Night-Gaunt, September 15, 2010 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

Then you should have used the right word in this case “ignore” is appropriate. Just don’t be so sensitive if I ask you questions when I want clarification.

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By BR549, September 14, 2010 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

NG,
By “delete”, you have the power to not read what I write and if my entry is the only thing new, don’t read it. Simple enough.

I’ve enjoyed reading your posts in the past and I’d prefer not to be adversarial. I think we have more in common than not. Yes?

====================

Kulu,
I had admired Amy for years, but I had observed that she was reluctant to address issues around the 9/11 investigation and some other material I’m not recalling at the moment. Perhaps I was trying to connect more dots than she was able to provide in the time alloted her.  I’m not suggesting that anything posted of a ‘conspiratorial’ nature is all that’s relevant, but I listened to her RELIGIOUSLY for maybe three years and near the end, it just seemed like she was dragging it. Personal preference, but too much of what had been
suggested as ‘conspiracy’ is now proving to have been far more truth than not and she missed a lot of that discussion. Topics that were getting put on the public burner weren’t yet on her grocery list. I just moved on, that’s all.

It’s really a double edged sword; if she were to have tried to tackle a topic that the general public was unready to deal with, it would go in one ear and out the other. If she doesn’t cover something through journalistic prudence that later turns out to be a bombshell, well, I think you get my point.

I moved to other sources and really haven’t looked back. Amy is a good journalist, but my appetite seems to have outgrown her menu.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 14, 2010 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Why would I want to delete myself off this? I know full well my choices here and deletion isn’t one of them. Unless you will be doing the deleting, otherwise I will continue here as I will.

I’ve read some of it. Too involved for one sitting and since I don’t have an independent way of verifying that all tax payers are now employed as a “merchant marine” with in. My judgment will have to wait. However the idea that paying taxes is wrong and done wrongly fails in court every time. Even if you somehow had the proof they would never rule in your favor. Never. It is long established and only a secret radical would make a ruling but it wouldn’t stick if they did the unbelievable. The higher courts would strike it down. Then the judge would be disbarred.

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By kulu, September 14, 2010 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

BR549

I’ve been watching Democracy Now from afar for about 10 months now and basically that program and the sources it introduces on the show (academics, journalists, activists etc) have taught me all I know about American politics and society. I can’t fault Amy in anyway but I would be interested to know where she does falls short or who she won’t interview etc. There was one complaint I seem to remember that she was unwilling to have Richard Heinberg, the Peak Oil man on, the show but I haven’t checked and it, in itself means nothing.

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By BR549, September 13, 2010 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

NG,
Try reading that link before responding to it. It was posted on another TD link and I thought it was another gem to share with everyone. As always, you can hit that ole’ DELETE key anytime you want, but you might want to look at this. It’s about 20+ pages, but well worth it; hopefully, even by your standards.

About Social Security:
http://llstuler.wordpress.com/

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By Night-Gaunt, September 13, 2010 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Wow, so I ask too many questions of you, sorry. Rachel Maddow has only been on for two years so you gave up maybe the first week or even the first day. Well that’s your business what you ignore, I was just curious about your flippant remarks. My mistake. No harm, no foul.

So you buy the idea that Social Security is wrong in some way that violates how our gov’t operates? That it needs to be repealed then? Well the Republicans will agree with you on that. Sorry.

Mayday! A $60 billion deal with the Wahabi dictatorship of Saudi Arabia with a huge load of arms to them today. Our “friends” more like “frienemies” I’d say. Women get the kind of treatment you would find in our present enemies in Iran. The difference? The USA like the Saudi Sheiks.

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By BR549, September 13, 2010 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

NG,

Lighten up, you’ll live longer. I’m not going to tap dance with you about some “high standard” that you supposedly think I have. I had merely stated that I didn’t think that Amy or Rachel were getting at the deeper material needed to keep up with what’s happening. I respect Amy’s journalistic integrity, but she’s lost her position being on the cutting edge. I gave her site out to a lot of people, but when she didn’t keep up, I moved on. Rachel, I gave up on, although I had very high hopes for her a couple years ago.

Like I said. I have to take everything with a grain of salt, as should we all. High standards? WTF! We’re talking about putting the pieces to this dysfunctional puzzle together and trying to get it out to as many people as we can. You think this is all just ...... amusement, what we’re doing here?

News will come from the unlikeliest of places and not always with your proverbial anchorperson sitting behind a desk. This one about Social Security was a keeper:
http://llstuler.wordpress.com/

L.A. Atty. Phil Berg unfortunately has a somewhat checkered past, but his argument against Obama’s citizenship seems quite sound, enough where Obama has had to spend about $900,000 to keep it out of the papers. And, NO, I am not a Birther.

It’s bits and pieces, NG, bits and pieces. And somewhere in there, you too might actually find out what it is you’re looking for. I’m just a messenger, like many of the contributors here. If you don’t find value in what I say, don’t read it or hit the delete key. It’s as easy as that.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 13, 2010 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

By BR549, September 13 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

NightGaunt,

So what would YOU have us do?

I was asking you about something else. Answer that first before questioning me on something else.

Your too high standards concerning “although I gave up on Amy and Rachel a couple years ago,” which you didn’t address. What sort of high mark are they not reaching? You never explained. What could you do to help raise them up? Is there anyone, other than yourself, who matches or exceeds your ultra high standards? Answer please?

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By mdgr, September 13, 2010 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/do_not_pity_the_democrats_20100913/

“Do not pity Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. They will get what they deserve. They sold the citizens out for cash and power. They lied. They manipulated and deceived the public, from the bailouts to the abandonment of universal health care, to serve corporate interests. They refused to halt the wanton corporate destruction of the ecosystem on which all life depends. They betrayed the most basic ideals of democracy.  And they, as much as the Republicans, are the problem.”

Another Chris Hedges article, always lucid, luminous and incisive.

Note that while one should not “fear” the Tea Party, I continue to feel a impending sense of urgency (primarily around the nuclear football risk, as previously cited).

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By BR549, September 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

NightGaunt,

So what would YOU have us do?

Sharonsj has just acknowledged that she’s savvy enough not to fall into the Republican trap, but what about those pesky and persistent flag waivers that still believe any vote that doesn’t go Republican will automatically raise their taxes as the upper class and hard working middle class again fund those lazy welfare people in the projects?

And in the other corner ....... are those pesky and persistent Hopium addicts, who will argue to the death that all of Obama’s policies will turn this country around if we can only be patient enough. (It reminds me of the computer ad I saw years ago depicting the slumped over skeletal remains of an AOL user (I think) with cob webs growing between him and the monitor, waiting for a response from the internet.)

We’re doomed if we vote Republican, doomed if we vote Democrat, and doomed with these Independent splinter groups who can’t or won’t get their act together. If we sit home, we’re doomed because those hopelessly ill-informed followers of all the above will still be following the tenets of their respective parties and as long as those groups continue to breathe, right down to the last gasping soul, that’s all that the Big Two will need to say that the system is still working and then use that as justification to denounce any attempts at reforming the government and then pound your front door down in the middle of the night and accuse you of sedition if you try to change anything.

So, not until you’ve convinced every last person in the country of the need for reform will we be able to reform. Do you really want to wait that long or am I just not getting your point, here? Help me out. I you are privy to some insight that the rest of us have so far been deprived of, by all means, fill us in.

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By rico, suave, September 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

“Among the very puzzling aspects of the midterm election—and the Democratic debacle that appears to be looming in November—is why voters would return the opposition to power only two years after the multiple disasters of the Bush administration.”

Only somebody who thinks like Joe Conason would be puzzled by this.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 13, 2010 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

BR549 what more can they do? How about you helping them if they just aren’t meeting whatever impossibly high standard you have put on them. Such all or nothing absolutism isn’t healthy or a good idea. Eventually no one but yourself will be high enough to count in your narrow vision.

Tell me then who do you turn to that does rise to your standards? Personally when I see such I think either it is a fascist troll or/and egotist, either one whether on purpose or blind, both would do what they can to bring down the few who speak truth to power.

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By Anarcissie, September 13, 2010 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

I think it’s likely that campaignman is a shill.  Otherwise, he would not have made the mistake of advertising Mr. O’s imperialism in this particular venue.  He’s clearly unfamiliar with the environment.

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By sharonsj, September 13, 2010 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do not assume that disappointed Democrats are rushing out to vote for Republicans.  As much as I despise the spineless corporatist Dems, the Repubs are completely loony.  Once the fringe ideas of the tea baggers, for example, are made known, don’t expect the average American to vote for them.  If the Repubs had acted like humans with real concern for the entire country and not just for their crazy compadres, you might see some real races.  But this idea that Repubs are going to sweep the election is just corporate media swill.

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By BR549, September 13, 2010 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

mdgr,
As I understand it, you’re saying that Scheer, Amy Goodman, Rachel, Beck, and the rest of them are probably like the vultures on the carcass I had suggested earlier; not doing much constructive on their own, but doing one hell of a job feeding off the remains. If that’s what you’re implying, I can’t argue with that, although I gave up on Amy and Rachel a couple years ago, and Beck I only mention ......... I don’t know why I mentioned him; he’s a sloth. He’d fit right in at Bohemian Grove.

As far as those in the actual news camp, you’re correct, Sheer, Huffington, and Goodman could and should be doing a lot more. I happened to ditch Amy a while back because she was tiptoeing over some topics that were being tackled by others more aggressively. Perhaps it was because whoever was doing her research wasn’t aggressive enough and she wanted to maintain her journalistic integrity. That’s understandable. But meanwhile, the world is passing her by. She needs to get out of second gear if she’s going to drive on the freeway.

Several years ago, I switched busses and moved toward Alex Jones. Some of the stuff I found too incredible to believe. Then there were the Limaughesque rants that he went through, which totally turned me off and only reduced his credibility. He’s calmed down a lot and I’ve come to realize that he’s just passionate about what he does (although I still turn him off when he gets into his now only occasional rants). He may not have the journalistic etiquette that Scheer, Huffington, and Goodman have, and that may cost him some listenership, but I can’t find fault with the topics he’s focused on. I do believe he’s an honest person and although he does have a tendency to occasionally overhype his findings, the majority of his stuff is spot on. I still use a grain of salt, but it is what it is. Does that make his material any the less true? Not for a moment, although for the average person, it makes Alex’s material appear to be less authentic and irrelevant. It isn’t until several years down the road that people then say, “Oh that’s what he was getting at.”

So, while Scheer and Arianna and Amy are carefully tiptoeing over the hot issues while worrying about their credibility, Jones grabbed the bull by the horns in an area where there doesn’t seem to be too many rules. There are only a small handful of like minded news sources and the mainstream media has handled them by referring to them as “fringe”. Alex is right about one thing; he brings something up and within a couple of years the MSM will be forced to deal it, but only casually, and that topic that Alex had been yammering about all along winds up crossing party lines and further undercutting our manufacturing base; material like that.

I will never suggest that Alex is a Walter Cronkite, but I do find him to be honest and well meaning. In any event, it is THAT level, that next gear, that Scheer, Huffington, and Goodman need to shift into. Something has to light a fire under their collective butts because the rest of them are a day late and a dollar short in the critical news arena.

===========

BarbieQue pretty well nailed Campaigman. He sounds like some fresh out of the box, wet behind the ears, myopic idealistic who still believes that Hope and Change applied to the voters. When he finally realizes that Obama was bought and paid for and when this Hopium addiction finally wears off, maybe then he will see what the rest of the population has already discovered.

Campaignman, BTW, I voted for Obama, too. I had goosebumps on election night and actually believed we had a chance. You’ve been had. Pull your shorts up and get over it.

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By BarbieQue, September 13, 2010 at 1:26 am Link to this comment

campaignman: “I would normally seek to answer all your questions, even though you have addressed neither of mine, which is a sign of a weak mind.”

You ignored the correction in this very thread to your false statement that the Health Insurance Ripoff and Enslavement act did include Electronic Health records. A sign of a weak mind indeed!

Now after reading your latest, I’m going to walk out on a limb and ask just who the hell do you think you’re talking to here? A google search of this domain shows just 2 threads including your name. I’m guessing you’re new, even newer than me. Apologies if you’re not. If you’re as new as you appear, you’ve arrived with a big mouth and few facts. It’s this arrogance and belligerence that is the mark of new democrats, and it will not help you win votes.

I’d say good luck but in fact i wish you nothing of the sort.

Select quotes from the operative from just 2 threads:

“...I recommend that you seek some professional help.  Not that you’d take my advice, I’m a liberal Obama supporter…”
“... Do you have nothing better to do than continue to post your “insights” on this site?...”
“...Where did you get this brilliant info?  No doubt, someone put this on the Internet and you believed it.  How naive….”
“...If yes, then you are a loser who would leave millions of Americans stranded because of your all or nothing approach…”
“...you should get on the stick and instead of complaining like a child…”

—The Essence of campaignman…

Unbelievable

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By mdgr, September 12, 2010 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

First off, I intend to ignore campaignman. I’m glad he thinks I’m funny, but it’s been pointed out by others that his moniker speaks for itself. Trading insults is not my idea of a good time, and I would suggest that before he accuses others of engaging in ad hominem attacks, he would do well to first look in the mirror. Enough said.

BR549 and I agree more than we disagree. Whether voting or not voting scores more points, however, is mostly a tactical question.

We seem to have the same strategic goals and analysis of the overall situation, and I myself have also used the same metaphor of “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” many times in the past.

I couldn’t agree more that it’s way past time for progressives to focus of strategy and on getting things done, rather that on egos or quarrelling about minor tactical differences.

And I agree as well that it would be lovely to get a variety of people to jump on the third party bandwagon—including Grayson, Kucinich (though my respect for Dennis is mitigated by a nagging sense of distrust), Gravel (unelectable but at least, he’s honest), Ron Paul (not crazy about him either, but he makes some good points) and also Chuck Hagel from Nebraska (to bad he isn’t a progressive, but he’s a reliable independent). There are many others, of course.

I think that it would not happen by asking them. It could happen, however, if the Dems fell over the cliff this coming November. Nature is said to abhor a vacuum, and the creation of such a third party of progressives and independents—if properly envisioned—might be said to fill that void.

What still continues to amaze me is the insouciance shown by some of the very people to whom progressives look for inspiration. Here, I include Robert Scheer, Arianna Huffington, Mark Karlin, et al. As had been stated below in this thread, David Sirota was right. Many so-called progressive groups are really exponents (sometimes unwittingly) of the two party system.

It’s a codependent scene and they need the two sides (which are really only one side) to maintain their mock battle. As the Titanic sinks, they rearrange its deck chairs, but not without a lot of sound and fury.

It’s equally mysterious to me why more people haven’t challenged them to do something more. They don’t even need to come out in favor of a third party, but IMO, they do need to publish articles on it and dedicate ongoing space to a discussion involving both long-term strategic goals and how to get there from here.

It’s not like we have anyone viable to vote for these days or that progressives identify with the Democratic Party. On the contrary, many of us revile that party almost as much as we revile the R’s.

There are many progressives and independents who feel likewise. Certainly, the polls seem to confirm that.

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By Anarcissie, September 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

campaignman, September 12 at 7:49 pm:

...
Afghanistan

Obama was right and Democrats heard his message clearly before voting for him.  Iraq sidetracked us from going after Al Qaeda, he said, so we must get out of Iraq so we can focus on defeating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  It is our war in Afghanistan that allows us the access to fight in Pakistan.  It is critical to our nation’s survival that we crush Al Qaeda, even though it isn’t easy.
...

Ah, it’s nice to get the imperialism into the open all naked like that!  I could argue myself blue in the face trying to do as much.

There it is, folks.  There is no more to be said.

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By john crandell, September 12, 2010 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

Behind?

He’s toast. Check out the L.A. Times. Two new articles posted this evening:
a resurgent al Queda in Iraq and high level doubts now being expressed in regards to Afghanistan.

We elected an unknowing, blind, innocent, no-drama clown thoroughly indifferent to the lessons of our Vietnam involvement.

Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam: he must have got sick and tired of hearing about it at a very young age.

Our revulsion has begot revulsion anew. (revulsion: a sudden,  complete and violent change of feeling)

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By campaignman, September 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment

“Why has Obama continually avoided any 9/11 investigation when we now
know it was staged? Military-grade thermite has been found all over the
WTC1,2, and 7 sites and you can’t see it through those rose colored glasses.” —BR549

I would normally seek to answer all your questions, even though you have addressed neither of mine, which is a sign of a weak mind.

Yet, in this case, you are clearly delusional.  You have somehow stumbled upon significant evidence that our major news services have not found or reported.  No doubt, you feel they have covered up the biggest story of the new century.

Where did you get this brilliant info?  No doubt, someone put this on the Internet and you believed it.  How naive.

If I were you, I wouldn’t believe every nutty conspiracy theory you find on the Internet or you’ll be turning over all your money to Glen Beck and his end of the world gold scam next.

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By BR549, September 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

mdgr,
While I see what you are trying to illustrate, I just don’t happen to agree with it. That’s OK. We can agree to disagree. We certainly seem to have the same goal on our collective horizon, but we are choosing different paths to get there.

As I understand it through the grapevine, your dog happens to be some canine political savant; I’d vote for him/her.

You brought up some very good points, yet as I had mentioned, no amount of forward thinking voting is going to amount to a hill of beans if all these splinter independents can’t get their heads out their ass and realize how much they are sabotaging this country by stubbornly believing that only their individual philosophy is best for it. Paul and Kucinich are included here.

Mike Gravel is a wise old gentleman, but why are not Paul, Kucinich, and Barr biting the bullet and getting together with him? There, we have an Independent, a Republican, a Democrat, and a Libertarian all on the same page with probably the singlemost issue of the last century, opposition to NAFTA, and these guys are going to let the country go down the tubes while they freakin argue about trivial BS. That’s like arranging deck chairs on the Titannic, each steward carefully arranging his section of chairs and totally ignoring the screaming passengers.

I’m getting off track but that’s the only chance I see here. The Rep and Dem parties are not going to implode by themselves. I would welcome a further understanding about why staying home is going to solve our problem, but so far, I can only see that working if we get the whole population doing that, and I don’t see anything like that happening.

========================

Campaignman, your moniker is quite accurate.
1.  How do you explain Obama’s refusal to discuss NAFTA prior to the election,
only to continue with the Bush-Clinton-Bush sabotage of the American manufacturing base?

2.  How do you explain Obama’s impatience to get us signed up to the carbon
tax scam before it was ever ratified by our legislature?

3.  Why has Obama continually avoided any 9/11 investigation when we now
know it was staged? Military-grade thermite has been found all over the
WTC1,2, and 7 sites and you can’t see it through those rose colored glasses.

4.  Why hasn’t Obama reinstated Posse Comitatus, or do you even understand
the implications of that?

Worm did a bulletproof job of laying it all out. You can have another glass of
Kool-Aid, if you want, and put on those rose-colored glasses the party handed
out to you, but don’t be surprised when the next false flag happens and we get
put under martial law ....... “for your own protection”.

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By campaignman, September 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

mdgr,

You are very funny. 

You start by agreeing with me about the problem created by the Republican’s abuse of the filibuster but then, other than insults, you offer not a shred of proof or even an intelligent argument to defend your insults of me and our Democratic leadership.

Are you so bereft of knowledge that you and your gang of no voters are incapable of defending yourselves when challenged?

Have some guts, answer these questions:

1)  Would you rather that Obama have tried to get 100% 1)of many of us wanted and not gotten anything in the way of health care and financial reform?

If not, then you should thank him for his accomplishments and help strengthen the Democratic party so it can do even more in the future.

If yes, then you are a loser who would leave millions of Americans stranded because of your all or nothing approach.

2)  Would you vote for a return to Republican rule?

If not, then you should get on the stick and instead of complaining like a child, you should start working to get some Democrat elected in some close race near where you live.

In our system, which should be changed, a vote for someone other than a Democrat is a vote for a Republican.

If yes, then you can turn in your hall pass to the progressive movement.

FYI - I’m not a paid activist nor a DLC’er.  I’m liberal and pro-union.  The bottom line is that we can truly only move forward after we do away with the filibuster, which was once used to stop segregation from being abolished.  It was weakened after that fight but now it should be ended.  We have a way to do it but we need another term in the majority to make it possible - and worth doing.

So, if you truly want a more progressive society, vote Democratic.

One more thing, I don’t know your qualifications but Nancy Pelosi has proven herself time and again as a true progressive.  Unless you are a Republican in sheep’s clothing, hoping to depress Democratic turnout, you’d know and respect that.

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By mdgr, September 12, 2010 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

To BR549, September 12 at 6:22 pm

Again, I think your reasoning has some degree of merit. IMO, so does Mark’s. It’s all about perception, and I don’t think pollsters are that stupid. If the numbers supporting the Dems from 2006/08 were cut in half in 2010, it would serve as a pretty powerful argument whether we stayed home or voted for my dog.

The main problem with your argument, as I see it, is that most people will not vote for my dog. Progressives would vote Green, probably putting that party on the ballot. That would be fine with me if the Greens weren’t so suicidal, but as previously argued, they are suicidal and it would only split the progressive/ independent vote in 2012.

Since they are so doggedly non-strategic and, as I said, unelectable, it also seems like a very perilous course to let them stick their foot in the electoral door, only to slam the door on all of us with a very predictable defeat in 2012.

That is why, on balance, I prefer the “no vote” approach. My argument isn’t based on that given by Mark, but it seems pretty compelling to me given the history (and trajectory) of the Greens.

As for Campaignman, September 12:

Please spare me the sophistry.

Having been thoroughly defeated in 2009, the R’s successfully filibustered many of the Dem’s initiatives, true.

But when did you see the Dems filibustering the R’s?  Pelosi voted for every war funding bill Bush ever advanced. And Harry Reid is beneath contempt.

The Democratic leadership, including Obama, are all spineless, contemptible creatures. What’s more, everybody knows it at this juncture except Democratic Party operatives who may very well be paid to write posts in defense of Obama or the Dems.

You call the Worm’s litany of very real issues “superficial” and “uneducated?” Please. Have you considered that in acting as an apologist for a thoroughly pusillanimous and corrupt Dems and pretending that Obama “tried” to do better but just couldn’t, you yourself—just to keep it as personal as your remarks were against the Wormm—are not just seriously delusional but (given your ridiculous storyline) have an advanced case of the Stockholm Syndrome?

There may be a cure for the latter, of course. You can cast your vote for Hillary in 2012, but why not start calling yourself a DNC Democrat (if it seriously quacks like a duck) instead of pretending you are just another progressive?

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By campaignman, September 12, 2010 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

The Worm is Wrong!

From one progressive to another Worm, you have too superficial a view of politics.  Your uneducated view has reduced our President from what he is, one of the most successful Democratic presidents ever, to a pathetic shadow of his real self.

First and foremost, President Obama is working from the disadvantage of the fillibuster bing used against him on nearly every bill.  As such, instead of needing a majority, he needs a super-majority.  This means he needs one - three Republicans, depending upon the bill.  If we all elected more Democratic Senators, we wouldn’t have to worry about that, but it looks like the nation will reduce his majority in this cycle.

Now, let’s start with policy.

Financial Reform.

You cite the failure to pass a new Glass-Steagle Act and a ‘too big to fail’ law.  You also blame him for not appointing a consumer advocate to our new consumer protection agency. 

First, there is no evidence that the only or the best approach to preventing another collapse is a new Glass-Steagle Act or cutting our banks in size would do anything other than make them less competitive on the global level. 

Moreover, while you criticize him for not appointing a consumer advocate, he’s YET TO APPOINT ANYONE, and he’s trying to build support for Liz Warren but getting 60 votes in the Senate is not easy since Warren’s reputation is that of someone who actually does her job.  There are a few Democrats and a whole bunch of Republicans who have taken or want Wall Street money and don’t want to upset them.

If we had public financing of federal elections, we might diminish Wall Street’s influence but they would still gather their funds and run their own ads.

Health Care

President Obama wanted to have a single payer system but at a time of high unemployment, eliminating an entire industry didn’t seem prudent.  In addition, that industry has enough financial might to run ads that would undermine him with the public if he had tried that.  Given the difficulty involved in what he did achieve - getting 30 million more people covered, protecting people from being rejected due to a prior condition and being cut dut to the cost of treatment, what he did made sense.

Of course, perhaps you would have liked him to demand a single payer system and get nothing?

Bailouts

While it was Bush’s administration that pushed the bailout of Wall Street, Obama had no choice but go along.  The danger of a depression was too great and there weren’t reasonable alteratives.  It should have included strings attached to prevent bonuses and track the funds, but Bush set all that up before Obama was elected.  All of Congress is to blame for not demanding more from Bush before they agreed to a deal.

Afghanistan

Obama was right and Democrats heard his message clearly before voting for him.  Iraq sidetracked us from going after Al Qaeda, he said, so we must get out of Iraq so we can focus on defeating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  It is our war in Afghanistan that allows us the access to fight in Pakistan.  It is critical to our nation’s survival that we crush Al Qaeda, even though it isn’t easy.

Bankruptsy and Mortgages

Obama did pass legislation to try to soften the blow from the real estate collapse.  The crimes committed by the mortgage industry were large and our Justice Department is examining what can be done but in a debacle the size of this one, the government is not big enough to soften the blow to the vast majority of people who were suckered by the industry.  Reality sucks.

Jobs Bill

The stimulus was the primary jobs bill.  Granted, he should have fought harder and tried for a 2 trillion dollar stimulus but he didn’t have the votes.

Off-Shore Drilling

Obama only supported very limited off-shore drilling.  It was just enough, he thought, to win over enough votes to get a climate change bill through.  That bill was just too complicated to pass.

Vote for Dems!

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By BR549, September 12, 2010 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

Mdgr,
That “truly humiliating and crushing defeat for the Dems” that you spoke of, if nothing else changes, will be because the Republicans left the dance with the prom queen; that is unless the voting public is given some other choices. But the Big Two don’t want the public to know about any other choices.

What I was referring to, more specifically, was that any win on the part of the Reps “could” be reduced to a meager plurality at best and certainly not the sophomoric claim to a voter mandate as Bush the Idiot so proudly boasted of.

Now, if we were to stay home and sit on our thumbs, and only the hard core Kool-Aid drinking Republican and Democratic flag wavers showed up at election day, the total turn out might have been reduced to 40% of eligible American voters, but the Republicans would still be gloating about another ‘mandate’ and citizens in Grainbelt Iowa would be left bewildered, still thinking that they had a choice ONLY between the Big Two.

Now unless Mark and his brethren have been stocking up on ammo and are waiting for the revolution, NOTHING good will become of doing nothing; certainly not while there are enough Kool-Aid drinkers who still think the system is working. While people are pouting in their rooms over the voting process, the Reps would be out partying over their victory and worse, the average voter would have again learned that there was no way out. So instead of not voting as a strategy, the average voter wouldn’t vote because of apathy, which is far worse.

When we go to the voting booth and vote for anything except the Reps and Dems, the total number of voters is still recorded. Let the media then try to explain why the Reps won with only 18% of the actual eligible voters. That means that of all the people that showed up to vote, the rest of them intentionally decided not to vote Republican of Democratic. No part of that can be construed to be apathy.

Now, if even a small sample of that were to happen in 2010, what do you think could take place in 2012 if those voters in Grainbelt Iowa realized that something else COULD take place.

The duopoly will be doing its damnedest to disqualify every challenger, guaranteed, but they won’t win everywhere. And if we don’t at least try, we might as well just turn our daughters over to those pedophilic perverts and hand over our homes, cars, and firearms. If people are going to just give up, heck, why wait for later, they should just drop their shorts and bend over right now.

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By mdgr, September 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Reposted after not showing up much later:

To BR549, September 12 at 10:50 am:

There isn’t any point you made in your post with which I disagree. I also agree with your overall analysis and your strategic call, and I thank you for articulating them so clearly.

Point of clarification: You’re not suggesting pumping up the voting in order to do one’s “duty” (yuck) as an American or to vote the Dems because it’s the lesser of two evils (another yuck, since you’re not suggesting voting Democrat at all).

You’re saying—just to take an example—that if the Dems get only 20% of the total vote and the R’s get 30% and my dog gets 50%, with 100% of the population voting, that it will make a far bigger splash in favor of a third party that could be turned to long term advantage in 2012 than if people just sat on their hands and didn’t vote. The latter, you are saying, would be construed as indifference and would probably result in much less in the way of strategic advantage.

I tend to agree with your analysis, though if 50% of the Dems who voted in the past election stayed home, it would probably make a far bigger splash than if 5% voted for my dog.  Not voting, therefore, will probably also score enough points (Mark’s points too were valid). In the end, it’s up to the voters, but what I’m mostly hoping for is a truly humiliating and crushing defeat for the Dems. This will have huge strategic value (with little immediate downside), as previously explained and again described below.

I will readily concede all the other points you made, and they were very nicely argued. Look at this single thread alone. It’s a microcosm of what the progressive community looks like. Herding cats is easier, and I won’t even talk about egos.

The “godlike force” to which you alluded will not, I agree, come from Godot. It can come, however, if the Dems are crushed (not bruised) so badly that the progressive elected leaders themselves begin to think of forming a third party.

I agree that it would take a huge defeat for these Dems to defect from their DNC funding stream, but what if people like Scheer, Arianna and Karlin over at Buzzflash began floating the notion that people like Grayson or Kucinich were helping no one by trying to save the Democratic Party’s soul—and that they should defect to form this third party?

That would lead to the kind of critical mass that I believe would be necessary to make something like this happen. It lends enormous gravitas and credibility to it.

That Truthdig or the Huff have never once suggested anything like that is, I believe, quite stunning.

What it seems to suggest is that progressive websites are themselves joined at the hip to the two party system. David Sirota was right. Many of these same progressive sites/groups are willing or unwilling shills for the Democratic Party.

I agree that what you or I suggest in terms of “another movement” will not happen on its own. That’s why I’ve said that progressives are not usually strategic.

Everyone on our side stays in the same old rut— strutting and kvetching—while John Boehner scores major strategic points by endorsing tax cuts on the very wealthy (this morning’s news).

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By ocjim, September 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

The worm: well said.

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By the worm, September 12, 2010 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Let me remind the commentator of the bad decisions made by Obama and the
political ineptitude exhibited by Obama.

Obama’s bad policy decisions:
1. Gutted real financial reform (no Glass-Steagle, no ‘too big too fail) –
2. Rejected the only option that would have simultaneously extended coverage
and cut costs (single payer) -
3. Supported a stingy stimulus that was a third tax breaks -
4. Doubled-down and accelerated the Bush bailouts -
5. Escalated a meaningless and fruitless war in Afghanistan -
6. Not helped people with bankruptcy & mortgages remediation -
7. Fiddled around & not passed a jobs bill and even had to strain to extend
unemployment compensation -
8. Promoted off shore drilling, only to see it backfire in his face –
9. Ignored previous Republican profligacy, crimes, misdemeanors -
10. Used “Heck of a Job, Timmy” Geithner to promote low capital gains and
dividend taxes for the wealthy –
11. Couldn’t appoint a consumer advocate to head the consumer protection
agency -
11. Sand bagged a budget balancing commission to cut Social Security

Obama’s political ineptitude:
A.  Kept Bush advisors in the two key areas where people wanted change - the
Economy and the “War on Terror”
B.  Believed unrealistically (and kept believing) the Republicans would line up
for “bi-partisanship”
C.  Opted to not lead or even act as the “Great Explainer” in the non-Reform of
Health Care
D.  Opted to not lead or even act as the “Great Explainer” in the non-Reform of
the Financial System
E.  Fled almost all leadership roles in favor of an ‘insider game’ he did not
understand and could not win
F.  Drove the debt with a bailout of Wall Street and had nothing left for jobs
and the middle class (i.e. the voters).

The cumulative effect of these are the ‘reasons’ Obama is behind. One mistake,
Okay. But a string of in your face bad decisions, No.

He has left his former supporters with nothing to defend - NonReform of Health
Care, NonReform of the Financial Industry, Continuing Perpetual War,
Accelerated Shift of Wealth from the Middle Class to the Wealthy via
Government Policies, ... etc.

Apparently, Obama’s handlers believed Independents to Uninformed, but they
are among the most informed - he left them watching no leadership, no
information, no innovation, etc.

Apparently, the Liberals were believed to have no choice but Obama - well, the
Liberals just got Republican policies from Obama, so there was no way to
support him.

The Republicans who crossed over have been simply dumb founded at what
they’ve seen.  No leadership, etc. You know the story.

Those are the reasons why Obama is behind.

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By BR549, September 12, 2010 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

mdgr, September 12 at 4:49 am

The “triangulation” you had referred to, I assume, is the burgeoning of the independents. My point all along has been that, as in past elections, trying to get these forces together to create any form of meaningful third party has been like trying to herd cats. Each one of them thinks they are going to somehow ‘independently’ reinvent the wheel, while the whole economy is crashing down around them.

I had suggested to a number of the candidates in the last election, and I know I was not alone in this, that they needed to squash their egos, bury their hatchets, or whatever they had to do, if they were to ever mount any meaningful competition to the current dysfunctional duopoly. I guess we hadn’t sunk low enough for that to happen.

Well, here we are, again. I mean, I like Ron Paul, Kucinich, Gravel, Nader, and Barr to some extent. Despite some glaring differences, they actually have quite a lot in common, but could any of them get off their soap boxes long enough to look at the larger picture? No. And that stubbornness has cost this country a lot. Instead of even suggesting to their supporters beforehand that they’d be in a coalition and that those supporters might later be asked to shift their allegiance along coalition lines, what we typically see happening is that the voters are cast adrift as their candidates pull the plug on their individual campaigns.

We just cannot afford to have people sitting idly by while they hope the duopoly will destroy itself. That ain’t gonna happen. The parties that be will morph themselves to take even more advantage of each new descending level, like vultures and hyenas hovering over a carcass. When nothing is seemingly left, and the choice meat has all been picked off, this group of politicians will morph into the maggots we already know them as and further decimate the heap of teaming microbes until all that remains is a stain in the soil of history.

The reason behind NOT sitting on our asses at home is to force the plurality percentage. With a high voter turn out and a low percentage of a plurality that we would expect from the Republicrats, THERE would be the incontrovertible proof of what was happening. THAT, by itself could, even in 2010 alone, change the very dynamics of 2012, and yet people want to sit back and wait for some divine guidance? They’d have a better chance of winning the Powerball.

The current thugs in charge go home at night and pray to whatever excuse for a god they pretend to believe in that everyone really does go quietly home and sit back and do nothing. There will always be enough of their misguided followers that will keep fanning the party embers enough to still say that democracy is working and, as long as enough of them do it, any attempt that we make to ignore or subvert that will be seen as either apathy or sedition. Either way, we lose.

If people here are going to wait for the system to collapse by itself, by the time that happens, they won’t be able to afford the gasoline to get to the polling station; the politicians will make sure of it. Save for the handful of honest and well meaning politicians, this is a band of sociopaths that have muscled their way into control and they have no problem in further distancing themselves from the likes of us common peasants.

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By Paco, September 12, 2010 at 4:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pardon my suspicious character, but I have to wonder how much of this talk about a Republican landslide is being intentionally orchastrated by the people who now control the count of votes (voting machine companies).

To make such a count plausable it has to be promoted in advance.

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By mdgr, September 12, 2010 at 12:49 am Link to this comment

BR549, with due respect I don’t fully understand the import of your question to me, asked almost as early on the morning of 9/1 as my post was in this otherwise impossibly long thread.

I think all that one can do is talk about probabilities, not cite incontrovertible profs. In 2012, I think it is likely that the anger and level of irrationality at large will be about an order of magnitude larger than it is right now. The wheels will have come off America, and I think it is equally likely that Obama will be viewed as even more weak and in-the-corporate-pocket than he is right now. If the Dems win, the Pelosi/Reid song continues, which means that in 2012, it is likely the Dems are unelectable. Even if they should lose now, I think it is likely they will be unelectable for at least a decade, hopefully permanently. If the R’s do not control Congress after November, they will indeed have talking points with the electorate in 2012. If they do win control, they—along with the Dems—are likely to be even more an object of scorn and blame than they currently are.

It is likely, it seems, that the Tea Party will find its voice by 2012 and constitute a formidable threat, possibly gaining a plurality of votes. It makes sense to me, therefore, to wish the Dems a full plate of doom in November—hopefully they will lose both chambers.

Yes, it would be a serious short term loss for us. But with Ben Nelson and others like him on that same Democratic ticket, do I really care that much? If Congress goes R for two years, all it means is more gridlock. It doesn’t mean veto-override, and Obama would probably act more progressive under the R’s than the D’s, anyway.

Finally, I do not need to do a silly poll (test the waters) to know that the mood is ripe for third parties. Are you really serious about that? All the polls point to that already, and this really is an unprecedented mood in America.

I do not have the kind of problem with your voting that Mark does, BTW, but I do understand his point. But if you don’t vote for the R’s or the D’s, who do you vote for in 2010?

You could answer, the Greens, but I have to reject that for a very simple reason.

The Greens may be powerful in some places, but on the US of A’s national stage, they have been mostly about principle and martyrdom. They nominate candidates with little or no charisma (Nader being an exception, but Nader is also unelectable). They’re willing to fall on a myriad of swords, sure, but Sarah Palin in 2008 had a better grasp of strategy, and at least she had her eye on the prize (along with a whole lot of donated clothes). I don’t see their getting that 5% number as a good thing since it would just be a diversion. Consider: If Bernie Sanders ran on a third party progressive/independent ticket, the Greens probably wouldn’t throw their support to him, but rather use their numbers to split the progressive vote. I think that I’m not being mean spirited, just realistic.

So who does one vote for? I have a dog who’d be great. Write me in private, and I’ll gladly give you his name.

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By ocjim, September 11, 2010 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

Addendum: In spite of all this, it is stupid to vote Republican.

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By ocjim, September 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

Exactly, Joe.

Gibbs’ little outburst against “professional liberals” indicates that neither Gibbs or Obama get it.

The average American has had no voice since Clinton and during Bush years absolutely no say in anything. Bush literally gave the middle class his middle finger, as did Republicans.

With Obama we felt we would be heard. Wrong. He seemed to only listen to rich lobbyists and Republicans, witnessed by an anemic stimulus, a for-big-pharma-and-big-HMOs so-called health care reform, continuation of rendition and torture, continuation of “DADT”,etc.

He thinks we don’t notice his almost right-wing ways. He didn’t start with the public option or a one-payer system which we supported for health care reform.

So where is the mystery, Gibbs?

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By Anarcissie, September 11, 2010 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith, September 11 at 8:14 pm:

Yes, Samson, voting is important.

That’s why the big corporations donate so much money
to political parties so that they can spend millions
(lately even billions) of dollars getting out the
vote.

Because without your vote, the government cannot
claim to be a democracy….

Sure they can.  They can claim anything.

If it amuses people to vote, or if it’s a meaningful experience for them in some spiritual or psychic way, I think they should go ahead and do it.  If not, then not.  You single vote isn’t going to change your life, or anything else, and neither is your single refusal to vote.  Obviously.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 11, 2010 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

call me Roy, why is being Islamic so bad to you? It wouldn’t be used in this way unless it fits into the secret holy war between fundamentalist Christianity and fundamentalist Islam. Make your president out to be an alien, like the enemy then what? Kill him? That is the next logical step in your progression. Two minorities who want to make their own hates a majority & use them to kill millions. The USA outguns all the disparate groups & has killed many more people by orders of magnitude. Some of which have sprung up directly due to USA attacking without provocation, Islamic countries, and killing their citizens.

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By campaignman, September 11, 2010 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

“I wonder if this group of religious leaders sent this same email to Obama himself? No one would be questioning Obama’s faith if it weren’t for his own questionable behavior since taking office last January.

Maybe if Obama would stop bowing down to Muslim leaders, or maybe if Obama would stop protecting Muslim terrorists, or just maybe if Obama stopped making statements such as the U.S. is a Muslim country — Americans would have no reason to question his faith.” —call me Roy

Are you out of your mind?

You do recognize that political leaders try to show respect to one another as a means of respect to their peoples?

You do recognize that George W. Bush not only bowed, he kissed and held hands like he was on a date with some foreign leaders?

You do recognize that Obama has ordered the deaths of thousands of terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries?

You do recognize that claiming that Obama has called America a Muslim nation is nuts, right?

You do recognize that Obama has just made some remarks, widely publicized, about the fact that our nation includes many peoples, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and more and that we are all Americans?

Peoples of all faiths and backgrounds fight in our armed forces and all deserve respect and inclusion in our nation.  Who are you to question the faith of anyone?  Obama has spent his whole adult life as a Christian.  It is well documented, just as his birth in Hawaii is.  Yet, people like you seek to de-legitimize him as a human being by disregarding the truth and making up lies about him; painting all Muslims as evil; and then claim he’s a secret Muslim.

Our democratic republic rests upon an educated and fair citizenry coming together to elect representatives who will act for the common good.  You are determined to undermine our process by spreading lies and hate and, as such, are truly un-American.

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By RayLan, September 11, 2010 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

Even though Clinton added breath to the real estate bubble it was the exotic securities instruments known as derivatives that finished off the economy.
The economy, at least, was in the black like it hadn’t been since the forties. The Dems are cut from the same cloth, however, and he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing with hawkish Wall stree alliances, as the younger wolf Obama.

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By BR549, September 11, 2010 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

Samson,

There are some here who seem to think that because they might be able to convince 70 or 80 percent of the people to stay home and eat Doritos on the couch instead of voting in November, that they’ll somehow convince the Republican and Democratic leaders that the people are no longer being properly represented. The politicians couldn’t give a rat’s ass anyway; why assume that they wouldn’t see a 10% voter turnout as anything but voter apathy and then try to spin their win to look like a freaking mandate? But still, these people will feel righteous in their belief that their strategy will work ..... as they force down another handful of Doritos and their cheeks turn orange.

Where does the Constitution spell out that if less than X% of the population fails to vote, then the vote is invalid. Where does it say that? I must have missed that one. Meanwhile, all those Kool-Aid drinkers who still think there is a system, will be out campaigning and voting, and we’ll wind up right back where we started.

I happen to agree with you that this is THE time to vote; here and in 2012. We must vote for anyone except the Rs or the Ds and see where the cards fall. Now, come 2012, should we actually get a coalition of all those anti NAFTA candidates forming into a single party (one can only hope), and on top of the current level of dissatisfaction with the prostitutes in Congress, that would be our time.

What could go wrong? Well, Obama could declare martial law and suspend the elections in order to keep us safe from all those terrorists who have decided to invade the US to thwart our election process. We could have one or more false flags like the WTC that would now be blamed on the Tea Party or the Oathkeepers or anyone who actually really did care about preserving the Constitution. We could have Obama clamp down on the internet in order to keep our utility infrastructure safe from “terrorists”, ...... Wooooo! And more of the same bullshit.

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By call me roy, September 11, 2010 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

Muslims Resume Building on Christian Graveyard in Pakistan
By Compass Direct News|Walter Smith
SARGODHA, Pakistan (Compass Direct News) – Muslims led by a hard-line cleric on Friday resumed building on a Christian cemetery in Mandi Bhawaldin, desecrating more graves in spite of a local government order to halt construction, according to the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA).
Radical Muslim cleric Mirza Abdul Ghani had built a mosque on the Christian graveyard off New Rasool Road in Mandi Bhawaldin after allegedly occupying the land 16 years ago, when area Christians were too intimidated to object, said Salamat Zia of APMA.
“No one could object to the construction of the mosque, as it is in the constitution of Pakistan that no religious worship place could be demolished,” said Zia. “Therefore all the Christians remained silent then.”
The cleric’s alleged desecration of more of the graveyard land around the Masjid Ahle-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat mosque began three months ago, Zia said.
“This Christian graveyard was earmarked before the Indo-Pakistan partition on Aug. 14, 1947,” Zia added, “and their forefathers were buried there.”
Zia, a local journalist and resident of the Muhalla Ghorra area in Mandi Bhawaldin, said it initially appeared that Ghani’s workers were building an addition to the mosque, as only pillars had been erected. Now Ghani’s builders have completed a basement as well as possibly some shops, with cement plaster now being applied to the new units.
On Aug. 6 Zia led a seven-member Christian delegation intending to meet with District Coordination Officer (DCO) Muhammad Amin Chaudhary, another district officer named Syed Shahbaz Hussain Naqvi and District Police Officer Dar Ali Khatak of Mandi Bhawaldin about the encroachments on the Christian graveyard and to discuss how the graves of their loved ones were being demolished and desecrated.
As DCO Chaudhary was on leave, Acting DCO Shahid Rana took their application and forwarded it to the District Officer of Revenue and Tehsil Officer of Regulations with directives to visit the site and demolish all encroachments except the Masjid Ahle-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat mosque, Zia said.
After inspecting the site, the administrative officers issued directives to stop the illegal encroachments, and for a few days the construction was halted, he said.
“But despite the stay orders of stopping construction, the Muslim men restarted construction over the Christian graves on August 27,” Zia said.
Khalid Gill, chief organizer of APMA in Punjab Province, said that Muslim leaders threatened Christians who objected to the construction.
“They threatened that in case Christians protested against the resumption of construction they would also carry out a protest rally against Christians, and Muslim clerics said Christians would be responsible for the consequences,” Gill said.
APMA has demanded that the government allocate land for a Christian graveyard equivalent to the area allegedly occupied by the Muslims.
Local Urdu-language dailies in Mandi Bhawaldin have publicized the alleged encroachment on the Christian graveyard.

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By call me roy, September 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

Group asks media to suppress talk of Obama’s “religious identity”
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
According to online reports, there’s an email making the rounds as part of a “major liberal initiative to curtail discussion of President Obama’s religious identity.”
As ridiculous as that sounds, I’m not surprised. How many past presidents has ever had his religious faith called into question based on his own actions? You guessed it: only one.
Last month, a survey of American voters found that roughly 25% of the country believe Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Now a group of “over 70 Christian leaders and denominational heads” have banded together to ask the “major media” outlets to suppress any discussion of Obama’s religion. By ‘major media’ outlets I’m assuming they mean CNN, ABC News, MSNBC, etc. You know, the left leaning media that rarely utters a negative word about Obama anyway.
Here’s an excerpt from the email: [W]e are deeply troubled by the recent questioning of President Obama’s faith…. [T]he personal faith of our leaders should not be up for public debate…. Therefore, we urge public officials, faith leaders, and the media to offer no further support or airtime to those who misrepresent and call into question the president’s Christian faith.
I wonder if this group of religious leaders sent this same email to Obama himself? No one would be questioning Obama’s faith if it weren’t for his own questionable behavior since taking office last January.
Maybe if Obama would stop bowing down to Muslim leaders, or maybe if Obama would stop protecting Muslim terrorists, or just maybe if Obama stopped making statements such as the U.S. is a Muslim country — Americans would have no reason to question his faith.

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By BarbieQue, September 11, 2010 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

campaignman, September 11 at 6:44 pm said:

“... the attacks on the health care reform bill are largely based upon ignorance…”

and:

“...Moreover, there will be NO government repository or personal medical files.  Don’t take my word for it.  There are numerous reliable sources out there to check…”

I did. last year. This mandated loss of privacy is one of the main reasons I could not support the Health Insurance Ripoff and Enslavement act.

“One Certainty in Health Care Debate: Electronic Medical Records”

“...funds are dedicated to establishing approximately 70 Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers across the country and to support states’ efforts for information sharing within the emerging nationwide system of networks…”

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Health-Care-IT/One-Certainty-in-Health-Care-Debate-Electronic-Medical-Records-260242/

“Your Medical Records Aren’t Secure”

“...In a January 2009 speech, President Barack Obama said that his administration wants every American to have an electronic health record by 2014, and last year’s stimulus bill allocated over $36 billion to build electronic record systems…”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703580904575132111888664060.html

A common recurring problem with the supporters of this boondoggle seems to be that they have no idea what they support/supported. Read some, then some more next time. Can’t really blame them, the media was reading press releases and the “leaders” lied and obfuscated, SOP.

“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/09/nancy-pelosi-on-health-care-we

Anyone notice that most (all?) of the (R)‘s that talk about repeal or “fixing” this abortion never talk about repealing the mandate?

It’s because the mandate was a holy grail. The (R)‘s never would have been able to pass this disgusting law so they brought out the good cop. The mandate is a (R) wet dream.

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By Mark E. Smith, September 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Samson, voting is important.

That’s why the big corporations donate so much money
to political parties so that they can spend millions
(lately even billions) of dollars getting out the
vote.

Because without your vote, the government cannot
claim to be a democracy, cannot claim to have the
consent of the governed, cannot claim that We the
People delegated to it our authority to act on our
behalf, and has no claim to legitimacy whatsoever.
Governments, as the Declaration of Independence so
clearly stated, derive their just powers from the
consent of the governed, and the only way that
governments can demonstrate that consent is by
holding elections.

So get out there and vote. It doesn’t matter if you
vote for Democrats, Republicans, third party
candidates, write in your own name, vote only on
issues, or cast a blank ballot, without your vote the
government cannot claim legitimacy—your vote is THAT
important to them.

And since it doesn’t seem to be very important to
you, you might as well give them what they want.

As for those who claim that a successful election
boycott isn’t possible, right now there are twice as
many people who don’t vote as who vote for either
major party.

Those of us who aren’t apathetic, who care about
ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, and our
country, upon seeing that the system is rigged so
that third parties can’t win, and that neither of the
major parties will represent our interests, have
withdrawn our consent. The only ones still voting are
those who don’t care about anything except the
paycheck they get from the political party they’re
shilling for, and the people ignorant enough to be
taken in by their lies.

Listen to the people here who say that they don’t
like the candidates, the political parties, or the
government, but they’re going to hold their noses and
vote anyway. Anyone who has to hold their nose to
vote is too apathetic to care what kind of excrement
they’re voting for. They don’t care if their votes
are counted or not. They don’t care if the government
outsources their jobs, forecloses on their homes, and
slashes social programs while giving trillions of
dollars to the rich and spending more trillions on
wars of aggression based on lies. Why should they
care as long as they can vote?

So go ahead and vote, Samson. It really is important
because it tells us that you care more about
perpetuating the oligarchy than you care about the
American people, that you support the rich and
powerful as they decimate the middle class and push
more and more Americans into poverty, and that you
care more about “doing your civic duty” than about
standing up for your fellow citizens against a
corrupt, corporate-run plutocracy.

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By Samson, September 11, 2010 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

Everyone should vote.
If you don’t give the Dems or Repubs at least $10k, they don’t care about you and are not on your side.  Therefore, unless you’ve given $10k,
  No one should vote for Democrats
  No one should vote for Republcans.

Usually there’s other names on the ballot. If there’s not, then start a write in campaign. Its still over two months to the election. 

Voting is important.

Voting for someone who only serves their rich contributors at the harm of your own self-interest is suicidal.

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By Samson, September 11, 2010 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

This is what the people get when they let the most important issue in their party primary be whether it would be better to have the first woman president or the first African-American president.

Both should have been laughed off the stage in favor of candidates who were really talking about real help and real change for real everyday Americans.  But the Democratic voters weren’t smart enough to do that in 2008.

The Democratic party primary in 2008 was certain to choose the next president with the collapse of the Republicans.  But, since the Democrats were choosing their nominee on such silly things like gender and race, they ended up electing the guy wall street was pumping all the money into.

Hint.  Its never a good idea to vote for the candidate getting wall street money.  When you see a candidate that has hundreds of millions more dollars than his opponents, then you should be very, very afraid of that candidate.  Because he sure as heck ain’t on your side.

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By Samson, September 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Here’s probably the most important on the list below ...
“86% Say big companies have too much power.”

Has Obama been on Wall Street’s side, or on your side?
Has Obama been on BP’s side in the gulf?
Has Obama been on the side of big health insurance companies and big for-profit hospital companies, or has he been on your side?

Obama was given $500 million in the last election to be on the side of the big companies.  And that’s exactly what he’s done.  Which puts him on the same side as 14% of the American people.

And the silly Democrats wonder why his poll numbers keep dropping.

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By Samson, September 11, 2010 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

It hillarious to watch the Democrat propaganda shills like Mr. Conason go to great lengths to avoid admitting the real reason for why the Democrats are behind.

They make up bs about ‘enthusiasm gaps’ and spin bs about how their bill to make the insurance companies rich by blocking all reform for four years is a ‘reform bill’. 

But they just won’t admit the real reasons.  Obama promised change and hope from the Bush years. Instead, he’s just continued Bush’s policies on dang near every major issue.  The wars still continue, and Obama is applying Herbert Hoover’s and Ronald Reagan’s ideas to the economy by pumping all the money into wall street and hoping that some of it trickles down.

Read this list of poll numbers from Aug 2008 (Yes! Magazine), and ask yourself whether Obama has been doing what the people want.  The answer is no.  And that’s why the people aren’t behind him. And that’s what the Democrat propaganda machine is spinning hard to try to make sure that you don’t notice.

67% Favor public works projects to create jobs.
55% Favor expanding unemployment benefits.
73% Say corporations don’t pay a fair share of taxes.
76% Support tax cuts for lower- and middle-income people.
71% Say unions help their members; 53% say unions help the economy in general.
59% Favor guaranteeing two weeks or more of paid vacation.
75% Want to limit rate increases on adjustable-rate mortgages.
65% Believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry or form civil unions.
70% Support restoring habeas corpus rights for detainees at Guantanamo.
58% Believe a court warrant should be required to listen to the telephone calls of people in the U.S.
59% Would like the next president to do more to protect civil liberties.
68% Believe the president should not act alone to fight terrorism without the checks and balances of the courts or Congress.
79% Favor mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions.
76% Believe that oil is running out
and a major effort is needed to replace it.
90% Favor higher auto fuel efficiency standards.
75% Favor clean electricity, even with higher rates.
72% Support more funding for mass transit.
73%  Believe our health care system is in crisis or has “major problems.”
64%  Believe the government should provide national health insurance coverage for all Americans, even if it would raise taxes.
55% Favor one health insurance program covering all Americans, administered by the government, and paid for by taxpayers.
69% Believe the government should make it easier to buy prescription drugs from other countries.
81% Oppose torture and support following the Geneva Conventions.
76% Say the U.S. should not play the role of global police.
79% Say the U.N. should be strengthened.
73% Favor abolishing nuclear weapons, with verification. 80% favor banning weapons in space.
85% Say that the U.S. should not initiate military action without support from allies.
63% Want U.S. forces home from Iraq within a year.
47% Favor using diplomacy with Iran. 7% favor military action.
57% Say going to war in Iraq was the wrong decision.
67% Believe we should use diplomatic and economic means to fight terrorism, rather than the military.
86% Say big companies have too much power.
74% Favor voluntary public financing of campaigns.
66% Believe intentional acts are likely to cause significant voting machines errors.
80% Say ex-felons should have their voting rights restored.
65% Believe attacking social problems is a better cure for crime than more law enforcement.
87% Support rehabilitation rather than a “punishment-only” system.
81% Say job training is “very important” for reintegrating people leaving prison. 79% say drug treatment is very important.
56% Believe NAFTA should be renegotiated.
64% Believe that on the whole, immigration is good for the country.
80% Favor allowing undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. to stay and apply for citizenship if they have a job and pay back taxes.

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By BR549, September 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

john crandell, September 11 at 2:29 pm

What’s this Feingold/Springsteen in ‘12?  Feingold was the one who wanted to rewrite the 1972 Clean waters Act to exclude the term “navigable” from the phrase “navigable waters”. Three states are currently attempting exercise resultant legislation to prohibit homeowners from collecting and using rainwater that falls on their own property.

Did this bill go away or was it fully enacted? I’m not sure, but anyone who would even propose such an abomination should be up before a firing squad. Either this was intentional or they guy just isn’t reading what the lobbyists are writing. Either way, unless that wording got changed, he’s unfit for office.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Part II


he question is, “Plomo o plata?” “Lead or silver?”
“A bullet or riches beyond your wildest dreams?”

Mark E. Smith,

This and many good points that also dove tail with some of mine. We are a Republic mostly in name. Inverted totalitarianism right now but the oligarchs want an obverted one and with out the sticky complications of the Bill of Rights and other things we still retain. We don’t have much longer to wait.

Those who are against us have set things up over the years to render our votes meaningless. Unless the hightly improbable happens—all the 3rd parties get together and run a national ticked backed by millions of dollars to even have a chance of getting close to the bought and kept official parties. Even so they also use control of e-votes, creation of false votes, let the poorer and darker citizens wait hours while the ricer whiter get all the up to date machines they need + more. Its a racket and they own the casino and most of the tables and fill it with their people to prey on us as marks.

You’ve got to make sure it is all connected or it won’t all activate—work on it first. Like this with the back space key;

http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/amy_goodman_interviews_robert_scheer_about_20100907/

t would, as it were, be a win/win for everyone involved, including all the world’s Muslims, lunatics and progressives. Mdgrs

Well I can tell a listener of the Reich wing propaganda mill from that swill. The only ones that are disappointed are the extremists in the Muslim and Christian camps on this. No one else. Maybe you too secretly?

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By Night-Gaunt, September 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

Yes so he had two female Supreme Court nominees confirmed. (So irrelevant to who they are as people and as jurists.) We don’t know how conservative they really are yet.

Rendition is still in operation, DADT still being defended by his DOJ, war in three countries now (Afghanistan, Iraq* & Pakistan) with other ops in Yemen, Iran and Southern Somalia.

* Still have 4 major bases, Fortress America-the size of the city-state of the Vatican, with 50,000 troops; 7,000 guards and 100,000 corporate mercenaries. We’re in deep like an Alabama tick.

He also made sure that the worse kind of corporate health care remains but with 30 million more people at risk with coverage they they can’t afford. No protections or fall back with price hikes in the wind.

RBShea,, the crypto-fascists have taken over both official parties. Ours are now gentrified if not sclerotic in their mummification. The Democrats just aren’t as fully infected as the Republican but the key positions are held by them and their collaborators. What other reason could there be?

Big B curious how Barry‘s actions for accommodation and “pragmatism” cut off the heads of the Progressives and hands them on a silver platter to his “enemies” who make him look better than he really is. Just like Clinton who went over to the Dark Side some time ago with his wife. Whether sell out or true believer it makes no difference as to what they want done and are facilitating it being done. The destruction of the Republic and to replace it with a Holy American Empire. One without the problems and complications from playing at Democracy as we still do here. By the uber-rich who want it all, first the USA then use its power to get the world.

Whoa. Not me. But Obama just praised Little Dubya a few days ago so maybe by “we” you meant you and Zero. 3rd party voter,

Yes mister super accommodation, for the slavering enemy, while he guts and cuts off heads of those Progressives (and all the desperate others) voted for him. Now what is going on with that? Unless he was just the other face of the crypto-fascists who control so much of our political system while they take apart our Republic piece by piece.

All 3rd parties are left out of the system at a huge disadvantage. That is why the Greens and Libertarians barely get anywhere. If we had all the same funding an same access to the media, both the official parties would dry up an blow away. But their protected. So people are caught in a voting loop, get tired and disappointed with one, vote the other in a repeat the cycle. It is about to happen again if you can trust the numbers.

Everett, what dark cramped place did you slither out of? Your comments don’t fit anything you read. Not that you bothered to prove it with examples, just spouting off as all light weights do.

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By campaignman, September 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

The outright lies and misstatements, often based upon stuff found on the internet from unreliable and probably partisan sources, is amazing.

I urge everyone on this site to read a real newspaper every day, more than one if possible.

Educate yourselves so you can protect your minds from the rubbish being portrayed as fact here.

The easy rule for everyone is that if someone writes something stunning and disparaging, but don’t provide a cite to a reliable source, DON’T BELIEVE IT.

For instance, the attacks on the health care reform bill are largely based upon ignorance.  The CBO, the arm of Congress trusted by Republicans and Democrats to determine the real cost of programs, determined that the health care bill would REDUCE the deficit over time. 

Moreover, there will be NO government repository or personal medical files.  Don’t take my word for it.  There are numerous reliable sources out there to check.

Conason’s article is right on point.  Unfortunately, many progressives and liberals were convinced that Obama wanted a public option, yet he didn’t fight hard for it out in public.  The eventual let down on that issue undermined enthusiasm.  He should have employed a different approach on that issue.

Nonetheless, it is not too late.  Barack needs to do more in the way of stepping up and taking inspiring positions on issues and offering up a meaningful progressive agenda for the future.

The infrastructure program and his stand against wasting 700 billion on a tax cut for millionaires are a good start.  His comments about Muslims at the end of his press conference were excellent too.  He can’t stop there though.

Young people need jobs and they don’t see themselves doing construction and may not see the connection between those investments and their lives.  So, he needs a program idea to connect with young people in their twenties and thirties to give them hope of getting a job.

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By anaman51, September 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith:

Didn’t get it, did you? I didn’t think you would. You cited one questionable example and based your premise on it. This tactic is precisely how the Republican Machine functions. Obfuscate the issue, point out one instance in which there might be a chance to call Obama a closet Republican, and then go on and on about it until the meat of the real issue has been lost in the nonsense.

I’m not about to get into a debate about a mouse in the cupboard while there’s a bear ravaging the entire pantry. The issue was and is about the slimy ways the Republicans are carrying out the business of stealing this country. They have made you their tool, and you are performing their stooge work for them whether you know it or not.

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By thedonkeyedge2, September 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Conason writes:

“Instead, his White House staff seizes every opportunity to exacerbate the inevitable letdown by insulting, bullying and mocking the progressive voters who are the most vital and loyal constituents of his coalition.”

I couldn’t agree more. This administration’s (baffling) strategy to alienate the base will backfire in 2010. Sadly, I don’t think they see the train coming.

But, I would go further. We all understand that the Democratic Establishment hates liberals, but when it also starts to alienate its longtime base, it’s playing with fire. It angered my military veteran father - a lifelong, bedrock, middle-of-the-road Democrat who has had enough of being taken for granted and ignored by this administration. It’s so bad that he is even thinking of taking a “drug test” on election day like Mr. Gibbs so glibly suggested a few weeks back.  Read here:

http://bit.ly/d0gIws

Talk about an enthusiasm gap. Obama and his braintrust ignore and patronize their base at their peril.

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By Jean gerard, September 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why would voters return to power those they were so glad to get rid of two
years ago?

Because voters these days have forgotten all the fundamentals of democratic
rule:  local organizing, house to house canvassing, regular face-to-face contact
with their Senators and Representatives,  writing letters and making phone calls. 

All they know how to do is listen to TV and radio reports, most of them slanted
in favor of advertiser-endorsed candidates, and believe naively in results of
slanted polls. 

Many of them are “mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore” so they do
the very thing that makes the situation worse.

The combination of ignorance, laziness and reaction is fatal to self-government

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By john crandell, September 11, 2010 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Dump the Vanity Fair Obamas.

Feingold/Springsteen in ‘12.

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By Jean gerard, September 11, 2010 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PS—I’ve now glanced through and scanned some comments.
  1.  Reaction, pure reaction, to a reactionary article.
  2.  Lots of it false, from people posing as other people, for ulterior reasons.
Space taken up: lots
Value overall:  none, 

Next?

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By jean Gerard, September 11, 2010 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

wow
It will take a while to read this article and the comments, so, being in a hurry to
get a couple things off my chest, I’m going into this blind and take my chances.

1.  Joe Conason, “Barack is Behind” what?  In Polls?  Whose polls?  What
questions?  Who was asked?  When? Where? By whom?  Polls are as skittish as
birds. And 100% manipulable.
2.  The entire efforts of the Republican Party at present are to “get” Obama, no
matter how, when, where, or why.  Tons of money are being spent every day
toward this single-minded aim.  Democrats are quarreling among themselves,
stunned, wasting time and energy in defeatism. Who’s surprised if they can’t
get a word in edgewise?  “It’s the media, stupid.”
3.  Articles like this plus long strings of negative, re-chewing comments are
music to Republican ears.

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By Anarcissie, September 11, 2010 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

If you think you must vote, and you’re dissatisfied with Mr. O and the Democrats, then you should have been out organizing primary challenges and third-party campaigns months ago.

However, mere petulance may have its uses.  I don’t think we’d see the return of Campaign Obama as we sort of have if the Democrats expected to do well in November.  It won’t translate into policy, of course, but it no doubt sounds pleasant to the proggie ear after two years of contempt and neglect.

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By FRTothus, September 11, 2010 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

As those of you who regularly read comments here
know, I am as upset about the betrayal of progressive
and working-class values by Obama and the Democrats
as are most of you, but I must say that I am struck
by one very positive thing that has occurred since
the last Presidential election, namely, the flood of
progressive views and the space that has opened up
for the airing of left-leaning political opinion. 
Yes, Brand Obama cynically used the rhetoric of
progressivism to get a center-right corporatist
Administration into office, and yes, this pro-
corporatist and anti-democratic Administration has
shown itself to be not much more than Bush’s third
term, but just look at the massive support that
leftist rhetoric received!  Yes, Obama has not lived
up to that rhetoric, but I must say I agree with
FiftyGigs in his 8:56 comment on Sept 10: “Obama
isn’t radical enough, so… empower John Boehner? To
teach WHO a lesson?  If anyone deserves to be
punished for failure these past two years, it’s
Republicans..”  I take no joy in empowering the
Democrats, who have shown, despite the majorities,
despite the mandate we have given them, that they
will continue to pursue the fascist policies that
have for so long pushed and driven legislation in
this country that has marginalized working people and
has fought every social justice movement in this
country.  The Democrats may or may not listen to us,
but we know for certain that the Republicans NEVER
WILL.  And the last thing we would want is to further
empower the fascists of the extreme right that
comprise the whole of that cesspool called the
Republican Party.  As I see it, there is one thing
that must be made crystal clear to the ruling elite
in particular, and the American people in general:
The majority of us thoroughly reject the Republican
Party and will not allow the fascists anywhere near
the levers of power again. This leaves the question
of how we get the Democrats to pay attention to their
constituency instead of their corporate donors, I
realize, and as I and others have pointed out, the
two Parties are more representative of the elite than
they are of the majority, but if we, as FiftyGigs has
said, “sit on [our] rear[s] and wait for… what, a
revolution? From, who… some political Savior?” we are
going to be sitting and waiting an awfully long time. 
And if we are waiting for some Republican to bring us
social justice, we will be waiting an eternity.  WE
MUST VOTE.  We do not have proportional
representation in this country, so all we have left
is to VOTE for the most leftist candidate of the
Democratic party there is on the ballot, or the
fascist Republicans will win by default. We cannot
let the fascists win.  We cannot allow that to
happen.  Work to get our neighbors out to the polls
and oust the Republicans from our Congresses and
State Houses.  VOTE.  We do not have the resources of
the wealthy to bribe the politicians or to buy the
air time… all we have is out voices and our votes. 
Protest, resist, write those letters, make those
calls, but, above all, VOTE.  Exercise your right to
have your say or you have no standing, no right to
complain.  If you cannot stomach the notion of
empowering the Democrats further (and I must admit
that I will be holding my nose when doing so), then
maybe it would help to look at it this way: You are
not empowering Democrats, you are dis-empowering
Republicans. VOTE!  There is nothing more important. 
(Thank you, FiftyGigs, for your posts.  Much
respect.)

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By sciencehighway, September 11, 2010 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith,
“He couldn’t use it on Germany because too many
U.S. industrialists had supported Hitler, we had too
many business investments there, and the U.S. needed
help from the Nazis in order to “fight Communism.”

    ——————————————————

Speaking as one who has written books, articles and one (and counting) PBS documentary on this subject, let me just point out that America didn’t have a deployable atomic weapon until mid-summer of 1945, well after Germany surrendered. There was never more than enough HEU for a single gun-type bomb (the Hiroshima weapon), which itself wasn’t ready until the plutonium-loaded implosion design (the Nagasaki weapon) was tested on July 16th, three weeks before the attacks on Japan. Not that this really matters against the more paranoid ranting and anarchist manifestos I’ve been reading here, but I thought slipping one or two empirical facts into the mix couldn’t hurt.

And FiftyGigs, I must once again commend you for both your reasoning and your patience. It must be a lonely feeling to be the only sane poster on this thread.

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By FiftyGigs, September 11, 2010 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

I understand that the truth hurts. Others here have said it better than I—if you don’t vote, you have no power.

I understand the thing that really ticks off the frustrated among us is they feel they don’t have any option. They can’t even argue that the system is rigged effectively.

In recent history, there was Perot, who almost became a third party President. The Tea Party. They’re actually fielding candidates right now, today, and just small numbers of voters are moving them up, and because “the frustrated ones” are going to sit home, some of them might actually get elected.

And what have you got? Who have you got to vote for?

Before you say “nobody and that’s why I’m going to stay at home and pout”, let me challenge you to think strategically for one minute.

Sixty seconds.

If… if… in November… there happened to be a huge vote for Democrats… who do you think would be sweating bullets more about the consequences of that… Ben Nelson, or Al Franken?

The answer’s Ben, and you know why.

You want a party reflecting a progressive movement? I know one that’s ripe for the plucking. In fact, it’s half-plucked already.

What are you waiting for???

PUNISH REPUBLICANS. Not yourself.

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By par4, September 11, 2010 at 5:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama has turned out to be the Manchurian Candidate.
The biggest bait and switch in memory. There hasn’t
been any change,this is Bush’s third term.

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By Druthers, September 11, 2010 at 2:49 am Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith,
“He couldn’t use it on Germany because too many
U.S. industrialists had supported Hitler, we had too
many business investments there, and the U.S. needed
help from the Nazis in order to “fight Communism.”

All the German cities were already in rubble. There was nothing left to bomb.

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By BR549, September 11, 2010 at 2:43 am Link to this comment

Mdgr,
You stated, “I am in full agreement with you (Mark?) on not voting in 2010.”

What I don’t see is how the triangulation you spoke of would ever have a chance for 2012, if we sat idly by in 2010. I would still argue that 2010 would be the country’s best shot at herding the cats sufficient for any majority or even just a plurality in 2012.

The communications necessary to get enough people to NOT vote in 2010, would be more efficiently utilized in actually organizing and testing the waters for the 2012 vote in 2010. Otherwise, we’d be relying on the same pre-election political drivel to sway the voters and their habits would not have changed one bit; they’d still be voting through their wallet for the lesser of two evils and wondering about the potholes.

Instead of either of the two parties attaining a simple majority, what if the voting 2010 figures revealing only a meager plurality? At least everyone could see that 2012 was then attainable. But we can’t do it sitting at home doing nothing, certainly not chomping on Doritos while everyone else is waiting in line to vote. Convince me otherwise.

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By mdgr, September 11, 2010 at 2:41 am Link to this comment

Thanks for the clarification, Mark.

I have to say, however, that I do enjoy some well-done street theater. It saved us in the 60’s. Jon Stewart, after a fashion, uses it in his humor, and it can carry a powerful zinger. It’s not just humor, however. The roots of drama are magical. Those Greek choruses could rock.

Theoretically, I do agree with your thoughts on governance. On the other hand, I do not have much faith in humanity (7-8 billion of us, at least), nor in our ability to dig those “potholes” without polluting the entire planet in the process.

It’s way too theoretical for me at least at this particular juncture of time, though maybe if we slashed the population by an order of magnitude or more, it would be more easily achieved. Still, even then, it would mean that we operated from a radically different perspective—probably including the perceptual and phenomenological spheres. Here, I’m talking about consciousness, not politics.

But even ants have an oligarchy. We dare to call ourselves sapiens, but we’re closer to the “Missing Link,” I suspect. Anyway, I think we must resolve to play the game for little while longer. That doesn’t mean we have to vote in 2010, however. Best, in fact, that we don’t.

What I do want is for us to continue to keep on keeping on for a few more years without blowing ourselves us. I do think that if we can actually do that, we may finally get to where you want us to be, but once again, not with 7-8 billion people scrambling for space.

Then again, nature has ways of taking care of minor contingencies like that.

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By Druthers, September 11, 2010 at 2:36 am Link to this comment

“give the voters a choice between a Republican and a Republican and they will choose a Republican every time.”
Truman said it best.

Our world is going as surely as in “Gone With the Wind,” and the two parties are fighting like hungry animals over the remains.

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By Mark E. Smith, September 11, 2010 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

No, I’m not “the” Mark E. Smith, just one of many
people with that name.

I’m not at all well-connected. And I’m not really
interested in publicity stunts or in gaining mass
support for anything.

I have no desire to burn ballots. They can and should
be recycled.

This country started out fascist and has been
steadily, with occasional bumps, moving farther and
farther to the right. If the Tea Party doesn’t gain
power, the Democrats and Republicans will soon be
doing much worse things than even the most rabid Tea
Partier could dream of. If the Tea Party DOES gain
power, they’ll simply expand upon the
Democratic/Republican agenda.

The answer doesn’t reside in political party
solutions, the only way to stop this country’s
inexorable drift to the right would be to oust the
oligarchy and establish a democratic form of
government.

A couple of months back one of the local newsrags in
my area did a survey to ask people what they cared
about the most. The results showed that everyone,
from the anarchists, the Libertarians, the Greens,
the Democrats, the Republicans, the Tea Party, and
all other shades of the political spectrum weren’t
concerned about WMDs, war, torture, taxes, health
care, marriage equality, guns, legal pot,
reproductive rights, religion, or any of the other
things that political party operatives keep harping
on—what the people wanted was for the city to fix
the potholes.

The tree-huggers, the religious fundamentalists, the
racists, the immigrants, right across the board, they
all wanted the potholes fixed.

There is no political party that is going to fix
those potholes. Everyone is power is going to be too
busy trying to raise money to stay in power, trying
to make deals to gain more power, and trying to
reward their cronies with the loot they can skim off
from their positions of power. Power corrupts. Not
just some, it corrupts anyone who gets it. That’s why
the Green Party values (but not the Green Party
leaders) believe in decentralized government, so that
nobody gets enough power to be corrupted by it.

So I’m not afraid of devout Muslims, or of people who
think that Muslims are evil—I know that without a
centralized power structure, without an oligarchy,
and without a bureaucracy, they’d both be working
shoulder to shoulder to get those damned potholes
fixed.

And one of these days the political parties are going
to have to get out of the way and let them.

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By mdgr, September 10, 2010 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

>God, but I’d love for a media event to get underway that involved public ballot-burning. It’s far more luminous than burning Korans.

BTW, if you actually are THE Mark E. Smith, you may be well-connected enough to actually pull this off. Given the current flap that’s been raised, one wonders if we might actually be successful in getting Dove World Outreach Center—which is now world famous for having a lunatic for a pastor—to agree to follow-through on canceling the burning of Qurans in exchange for the public burning of an equal number of ballots from Democrats with progressive sympathies.

It would, as it were, be a win/win for everyone involved, including all the world’s Muslims, lunatics and progressives. The publicity would be pretty awesome—eclipsing even that of the DNC at its zenith—and it sure would get the meme out.

It would be played on everything from CNN to Al Jazeera. I see it being billed as a kind of public draft card burning. I’m really more than half serious here, you know. The timing is right and all the lights are green.

Unfortunately, there’s no time to prepare for it since even now, it’s September 11th, but it could be offered to the media and the pastor as a kind of post-coital expression of progressive sentiment toward Obama and the Dems (Christo-fascist pastors would like that),  along with a simultaneous show of solidarity for the principles of religious tolerance and freedom.

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By mdgr, September 10, 2010 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment

Mark,

Thanks for the Wiki briefing. Please note that when I said “push the button,” I am not imagining that Sarah Palin would awaken from a wetdream involving Levi Johnston and, in a sublimated frenzy, open the “football” and press a fatal button.

My larger point was that whoever is elected president indeed has access to these codes, and their judgment is of paramount importance.

Now, most of the wars fought in our lifetime revolved around purely pretextual issues. That’s bad enough, but when a leader’s clinical status devolves to the point where they all but urge armed insurrection in the name of preserving the Constitution (“reload”), and when their spokemen (Glenn Beck) liken themselves to Moses, it might be fair to say that we have a little problem. I’m wanting to be nuanced, not wiggy, but what if Beck actually got a big time Cabinet post?

How would he ever get approved? My concern is predicated on the distinct possibility that neither the Dems nor the R’s will control Congress in 2012. The reaction in America to its lost of status could be quite insane, you know. The Tea Party, like the National Socialists in their time, has already gained a foothold in Congress. Moreover, by 2012, it may be a relatively influential party (it just takes a plurality, not a majority, after all) and unless there is another party with the strength to push back, all our lives would be imperiled.

If the Tea Party wins the Legislative and Executive Branches—with SCOTUS already in hand under Roberts—it will have absolute power. Pretext will rule, and I don’t see good judgment being exercised. The thing that scares me most on the international scene is ill-considered use of our own WMD, and I’m not talking about drones and cluster bombs, either.

I am not trying to invoke scare tactics, merely being coldly descriptive. All I am saying, really, is that there is a sense of urgency.

Having said that, however, I am in full agreement with you on not voting in 2010, at least. God, but I’d love for a media event to get underway that involved public ballot-burning. It’s far more luminous than burning Korans.

Finally, let’s give Obama the credit he’s due. In a Hegelian sense, he’s has been very useful in fatally destroying the credibility of the Democratic Party. I doubt anyone else could have done it so well, in fact. I consider that a good thing since the Dems were pretty awful to begin with.

Nor could I ever bring myself to vote R.

If nature so abhors the power-vacuum thus created, it seems appropriate for us to take advantage of it, do you not agree? By that I mean progressives and independent, but it’s also true that the Devil’s in the detail.

Progressives typically can’t agree on much except on broad principles of social justice, etc. We need to get beyond that, and we need to get strategic. By the year 2012, I think it is likely that most people will hate both parties. We need to begin talking about taking advantage of the triangulation thus created.

So where are Mrs. Huffington, Mark Karlin and Mr. Scheer on the action steps involved in that? In their commitment to kvetching, I think that they’re still enabling the two party system. They’re joined to it at the hip.

On my side, let’s just say that I am very disappointed. . . .

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By call me roy, September 10, 2010 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment

The second reason Barry’s toast

Islam Tax Dollars for Muslims
The Obama Administration reportedly held a special workshop this week to help leaders of controversial Muslim groups acquire “direct access” to taxpayer funding for their activities.
The event’s main organizer, the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (CCMO) has long-established ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which fostered many Islamist terror groups. Some of CCMO’s member groups were unindicted co-conspirators in the successfully prosecuted terrorist funding trial against the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). Event organizers said they would dedicate themselves to “cutting through red tape” to provide “direct access” to U.S. taxpayer funding for these terrorist funding-related groups.
An email announcement was sent out August 27 by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a group long associated with Muslim Brotherhood and an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF trial. The ISNA email said: “The Workshop: So what exactly is this workshop, you may ask. Leaders from Muslim organizations around the nation, particularly social service organizations, are invited to a workshop with representatives from the DOA, Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Health and Human Services, the White House, Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security, and more. Twenty-five to thirty Muslim leaders representing 20 Muslim organizations are expected to attend the workshop. “According to a representative of CCMO, this workshop is designed to clarify how Muslim nonprofits, mosques, Islamic centers, and social service organizations can strengthen their communities through more direct access to opportunities provided to social service agencies at the federal level. ‘It will hopefully help cut through some of the red tape and shine light on the many opportunities for funding, government assistance, and resources that we just don’t know about at the local level,’ said Elsanousi.”
The Obama Administration has not disclosed which CCMO groups attended the “direct access” to taxpayer funding workshop. The Department of Agriculture (DOA) referenced in the email as a sponsoring group did not respond to requests for information on the event.
The justice presiding over the HLF trial, U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, was so concerned about the significance of the ongoing threat to America and that so many unindicted co-conspirators remained to be prosecuted, he ordered the documents submitted as evidence be put on the uscourts.gov web site.
Two of the groups, ISNA and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), unsuccessfully petitioned to have their names removed from the HLF unindicted co-conspirator list. The prosecution blocked the groups’ removal through a filing in federal court in Dallas stating: “During last year’s trial, numerous exhibits were entered into evidence establishing both ISNA’s and NAIT’s intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case,” the prosecutors wrote. “They were intimately connected with the HLF and its assigned task of providing financial support to HAMAS…. That ISNA and NAIT appeared in these documents and share a common history with these defendants is a reflection of the evidence, not any attempt to ‘disparage’ or ‘vilify.’”
Politico’s Josh Gerstein this week reported ISNA and NAIT are again attempting to have their names removed from the HLF list. In a highly controversial move, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has sealed all of the filings and moved the proceedings behind closed doors.
Gee, I guess we all no longer need to wonder whether Barry Hussein is a Christian or a Muslim?

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By call me roy, September 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment

Joe, you actually got paid money to write this article?
According to Recovery.gov, the President’s own website which accounts for the stimulus funding (ahem), of the first $787 billion stimulus bill, a full $275 billion has gone un-spent as of August 27, 2010. And of the $512 billion of stimulus already spent, only $18.5 billion (less than seven percent) has been paid out by the Department of Transportation on these “shovel ready” jobs.
Let me repeat that: less than seven percent has gone for the promised transportation infrastructure.
(h/t to Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Staff)
Yet let’s take a look at what Democrats said about the massive $787 billion in so-called stimulus funding. Wasn’t that first trillion dollars supposed to be about bridges and roads and infrastructure?

President-Elect Obama—November 28, 2008 Press Conference: “We are going to have to make sure that we are investing in roads, bridges, other infrastructure investments that lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth. A lot of that goes through our states and our local governments. And one of the things that we’re going to also want to make sure of is that as part of our economic plan, that we are fast-tracking some of these projects.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi—January 7, 2009 Forum on Economic Recovery: “While there are many components to this economic recovery and jobs package. Make no mistake: this is not your grandfather’s public works bill.
Associated Press—January 11, 2009: “Spend a lot or spend nothing at all, it didn’t matter, the AP analysis showed: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless of how much stimulus money Washington poured out for transportation, raising questions about Obama’s argument that more road money would address an “urgent need to accelerate job growth.”
President-Elect Obama—January 16, 2009 in Ohio: “We’ll put nearly 400,000 people to work by repairing our infrastructure – our crumbling roads, bridges and schools. And we’ll build the new infrastructure we need to succeed in this new century, investing in science and technology, and laying down miles of new broadband lines so that businesses across our nation can compete with their counterparts around the world.
Vice President Biden—February 17, 2009, Signing of Stimulus: “Starting today, our administration will be working day and night to provide more aid for the unemployed, create immediate jobs building our roads and our bridges, make long-term investments in a smarter energy grid, and so much more.”
President Obama—February 17, 2009, Signing of Stimulus: “Because of this investment, nearly 400,000 men and women will go to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, repairing our faulty dams and levees, bringing critical broadband connections to businesses and homes in nearly every community in America, upgrading mass transit, building high-speed rail lines that will improve travel and commerce throughout our nation.”
Of the over half-trillion dollars Democrats have already spent, only $18.5 billion has been paid out by the Department of Transportation for infrastructure. (How much of that was spent on the propaganda road signs?)
There remains $275 billion of the first “stimulus” money allotment unspent. The President has yet to explain why we need to borrow billions more to spend on infrastructure.

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By Mark E. Smith, September 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

Here’s how the nuclear codes thing works, from
Wikipedia:

If the President (who is Commander-in-Chief) decides
to order the use of nuclear weapons, he would be
taken aside by the “carrier” and the briefcase
opened. Then a command signal or “watch” alert would
be issued to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The President
would then review the attack options with the aide
and decide upon a plan which could range from a
single cruise missile to multiple ICBM launches.
These are preset war plans developed under the SIOP
(Single Integrated Operational Plan) which at one
time represented the entire joint US/UK plan for
“disassembling”[citation needed] the USSR by means of
nuclear weapons….Next, using whatever
communications technology the satchel has, the aide
would then presumably make contact with the National
Military Command Center or, in a retaliatory strike
situation, multiple airborne command posts (who
likely fly Boeing E-4B) and/or nuclear armed
submarines.

Before the order can be processed by the military,
the President must be positively identified using a
special code issued on a plastic card, nicknamed the
“biscuit”.[4] The United States has a two-man rule in
place, and while only the President can order the
release of nuclear weapons, the order must be
confirmed by the Secretary of Defense.[4] Once all
the codes had been verified, the military would issue
attack orders to the proper units. These orders are
given and then re-verified for authenticity.

————————————

The President alone cannot push the button.

The carrier is a military person and unless the Joint
chiefs of Staff sign off on it, the President isn’t
getting anywhere near the button.

But it isn’t a button. There are several options, and
none of them can be launched by the President. If the
Pentagon agrees, the President can give the order to
launch.

I think it was Nixon who wanted to use nukes, and
made fun of Henry Kissinger for not being equally
enthusiastic about the idea.

But the only President to have actually used nuclear
weapons was Harry Truman, a Democrat. He knew at the
time that Japan had been attempting to surrender, and
he had rejected such attempts in order to try out the
new toy that he and his boys had spent so much money
on. He couldn’t use it on Germany because too many
U.S. industrialists had supported Hitler, we had too
many business investments there, and the U.S. needed
help from the Nazis in order to “fight Communism.”

Both Bush and Obama have used “depleted” uranium
weapons which are radioactive.

The problem is not that some crazy might get their
fingers on the button. The problem is that a totally
“sane” American President might. Both Albert Einstein
and the woman who discovered nuclear fission, Lise
Meitner, were anti-fascist. Einstein even publicly
regretted having to give nuclear fission to a fascist
country like the United States. Think about it. Why
would anti-fascists give such power to fascists?

If it is impossible to reason with fascists and their
only weakness is their lust for power, what do you
give them?

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By mdgr, September 10, 2010 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

I want to just add a footnote to what Mark E. Smith said most recently. Sociopath or not, Rove’s form of “manipulation” is typically strategic in nature. By that I mean that although he has short term goals, he is mindful of how to bring about long term results. He does bank shots, and although he is thoroughly amoral (and no less psychopathic in that regard that the worst of the worst Republicans), he understands what the masses respond to and he is very, very patient. He and his proteges are pretty good at what they endeavor to do—which mostly has to do with splitting, manipulation, and defining their opponents.

Institutions, no matter what they are, are usually constellated around a very specific question. For financial institutions, it’s “How do we make more money?” Progressives often ask, “How can we achieve social justice or a cleaner environment?” The two party system, both sides of which are beholden to the military-industrial complex and corporations, asks, “How can we be elected to office or else remain in power?” In neither case are the interests of the people put first. Nor the long term interests of America.

No, the question I proposed we should seriously begin to think about was, “How can we prevent the transfer of our nuclear codes to right wing crazies in two years?” I am not suggesting it is inevitable, but it appears rather likely given the continuing economic problems we’ll face—no matter who is in power—along with the probability of domestic terrorism and a reactive, neo-fascist movement internally.

If the Dems retain legislative power, it is likely they will be blamed in 2012 to an unprecedented degree and that the Christo-fascists will be in a very good position to try and take the executive office (+ the nuclear codes) in 2012.

If the GOP gains power, Obama will probably veto much of the more odious legislative initiatives it tries to advance, and the “blame” will be spread equally between the two parties.

The Tea Party will still command a near-plurality of votes, I think, and the Dems will be powerless to stop them. If you want to see the face of the Dems these days, look at Pelosi (who voted for every war budget Bush advanced), Reid (pussilanimousness personified) and Ben Nelson (need I say more?). Their jig is up and even many diehard Dems despise them.

I do not sympathize with GOP goals in the slightest, but there’s a lot to be said for an ability to think strategically. If the Dems are crushed in 2010, an virtual abyss will open politically. I do think that with pressure from the progressive community, at least some of the progressive legislators (Grayson? Kucinich?) could be encouraged to resign publicly from that party and affiliate with a third party of progressives that is strategically-minded. I am in no way suggesting it’ll get the majority of the vote, but given the splits currently in play, if it gets even 34% of the vote, it may win the plurality of the votes in 2012.

That in itself doesn’t ensure a lifetime of happiness for America (like Rome, it seems doomed), but it could keep the nuclear football out of harm’s way and, additionally, it could guarantee a political base that might be able to grasp victory from the otherwise certain jaws of defeat.

The Dems have typically done the opposite. And voting for Dems no matter who they are (Ben Nelson?) is no longer an option. It’s a suggestion that almost certainly has to be promulgated by desperate Democratic operatives, probably paid as Mark suggests.

BTW, I didn’t hear Mark suggest that we “sit on our hands.” I heard him say that we shouldn’t get caught in the game. I’d take it further and say that we need to redefine the rules of the game and play it better than the two parties now in power. I do believe it can be done, and that it isn’t mere fascism or totalitarianism that awaits us if we fail, but a very high possibility that Palin or someone like her will actually press the button.

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By BR549, September 10, 2010 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

They’ll have to copy the whole link, I guess. Something is screwy with the word wrapping on this site.
http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/amy_goodman_interviews_robert_scheer_about_20100907/

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By BR549, September 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

John,
I’ll make it easier for them:
http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/amy_goodman_interviews_robert_sch
eer_about_20100907/

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By john crandell, September 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

Utterly devastating (Robinson):

“As for Rasmussen’s warning, he’s a little late; public opinion has already turned
against the war. But now that we understand how things work, we could make our
Afghanistan mission vastly more efficient: Bring the troops home and just send
duffel bags full of cash to Kabul, Kandahar and Dubai.”

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By john crandell, September 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

FINIS to the thread: to quote from Eugene Robinson’s current piece -

“At this point, it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that U.S. soldiers are fighting
and dying to prop up a government willing to tolerate—and, allegedly, eager to
profit from—corruption on an epic scale, including vast commerce in illegal
drugs. It’s also hard not to conclude that billions of dollars sent to Afghanistan by
U.S. taxpayers—intended for worthy projects such as roads and schools—have
been stolen by wealthy, well-connected power brokers who spend much of their
time luxuriating on the beaches of Dubai.”

Yep, just like ‘Nam. “Not with a bang, but a wimper.”

A wimp/frontman named Obama.

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By john crandell, September 10, 2010 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

The discussion is over, people.

Just go to the current article re. Sheer’s new book, particularly his interview with
Amy Goodman on ‘Democracy Now!’

Obama is nothing more than what Sheer declaims: a front man for Wall Street.
What Sheer says in the interview is devastating, quite obviously true of this
particular time as well as the time which the Clintons were in charge.

The case is closed and no more need for any discussion about The U. of Chicago
character now in charge at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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By BR549, September 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

FiftyGigs,

I appreciate your witty banter, but wasn’t Goldmann-Sachs enough for you? And we needed a health care bill, but not one that was going to cost us more than before.

Why, with all that is holy, would we ever want to risk further empowering the Democratic Party, when all we would be doing is giving the slightly more liberal wing of the Republican Party the keys to the candy store? I would think that you’ve suffered enough along with the rest of us during the last decade.

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By Mark E. Smith, September 10, 2010 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

Yup, I agree with mdgr. We’ve got a group of
democratic party operatives posting here and they are
very obvious about who they are and what they’re
doing.

All large websites have the same problem. The
Democratic Party has millions of dollars it can use
to pay political operatives, so it has hundreds, if
not thousands of them. Most aren’t on salary, they do
piece-work and get paid a certain amount for each
personal attack. So they don’t bother much with logic
or reason, they just post as many personal attacks as
they can.

Karl Rove has been attacking Obama and the Democratic
Party. To those ignorant of two-party politics, it
might seem that Rove is opposed to bigger bailouts,
expanded wars, torture, assassinations, and the rest
of the Obama/Bush policies. To those who understand
how things work, it is apparent that he is protecting
the Democrats as they expand upon the Bush/Cheney
agenda, by pretending to oppose them. And the Obama
administration, and the Democratic Party, in
gratitude to the Republicans for setting their
agenda, will continue to protect them from
prosecution.

They’re a team. A good cop/bad cop team. The
Democrats play the good cop, the Republicans play the
bad cop, but they are bipartisan colleagues with the
same agenda, members of the same oligarchy, and their
public shenanigans are no more real than pro
wrestling.

You’ve seen pictures of Bush hugging Rove. You’ve
seen pictures of Obama hugging Bush. You just haven’t
seen the pictures of Obama hugging Rove yet. They’ve
probably been classified “top secret” in the
interests of national security, but sooner or later
somebody is going to turn them over to Wikileaks.

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By BR549, September 10, 2010 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

Mark,

So, while your merry band of carrot cuffers is sitting home on election day, just exactly what do you think all the party supporters on each side are going to be doing? They’ll be waiting for you to sit home and cuff your carrot, smug in the belief that you’re doing the right thing, ..... while they walk away with the candy store ...... again. So, whatever floats your boat. Go for it. Me, I’ll be voting for anything Independent, Libertarian, Green, or Ferengi. And if there is no alternate, that vote will be blank.

For those states where they’ve made NOTA voting illegal, now we’re into a civil disobedience issue. It doesn’t make any difference who you vote for as long as it isn’t “them”. Maybe after they’ve forced ALL of the alternative parties off the ballot, then I would take your advice, but until that happens, we’re wasting a lot of valuable time in educating people to do something constructive. We have a ripe opportunity where so many people are flat fed up and you’re going to sit home. Amazing.

You’ve got me stumped. Just exactly how few votes will it take for your non-voting votes to vote the thugs out of office? Fill me in.

So, you recognize me as a political operative, huh? Go back to your bag of Doritos.

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By mdgr, September 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

After painstakingly citing the merits of reason/strategy, Mr. FiftyGigs suggest that I and others who are thoroughly repulsed by both parties and have said so openly are secret Rovian spies.

Righto. Mr. Gigs suggestion is to vote for any and all Democrats, even if they don’t talk of “hope” or mouth the magically empty words, “Yes, we can.” Pelosi, sure. Reid, sure. Rahm Emanuel for mayor, sure. Geithner, absolutely. Good heavens. Now, where have I heard that before?

If we don’t endorse the two party hell-game, we are spies. Reason, he says, calls on us once again playing the “greater of two evil” game offered to us every two years by the DNC.

Thanks, but no thanks. While Mr. Smith and I have distinctly different viewpoints on certain important issues, I couldn’t agree with him more on the importance of not being duped once again. It continues to empower the enemy which IS the two party system, not to mention its corporate lobbies.

Since ad hominem attacks seem to be part and parcel of so many posts in this thread, I might offer the counter-suggestion that Mr. Gigs is a Democratic Party operative, nothing more and nothing less.

Cheers.

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By sciencehighway, September 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

FiftyGigs:

Brilliant! (I especially loved your punchline.) Here’s hoping some of the numbskulls who’ve posted here today will listen. Thanks for speaking truth to the unwillingly powerful.

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By FiftyGigs, September 10, 2010 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

I hope the commentators who say “I’m a liberal and that’s why I’m going to sit at home and let Republicans win” are just Republican insurgents pretending to be liberal TruthDiggers.

Obama isn’t radical enough, so… empower John Boehner???? To teach WHO a lesson????

If anyone deserves to be punished for failure these past two years, it’s Republicans.

PUNISH REPUBLICANS.

Think, people.

Just for the sake of argument, what if liberals turned out en mass this November, in even greater numbers than in 2008, and simply voted for Democrats? Any Democrat. Every Democrat.

Do you realize what would happen?

A) Republicans wouldn’t be able to block a thing. Not legislation, not regulations, not court appointments, not agency nominations. Nothing. At all.

B) You’d complete the take-over of the Democratic Party. Even if you’re ho-hum about Obama, you can’t deny that Dems of all stripes (especially the conservative ones) are worried about their base. You. Us. What if that base were even bigger? You’d scare the crap out of every one of them.

That’s called power.

If your decision is to to sit on your rear and wait for… what, a revolution? From, who… some political Savior? Then you’re worse than conservative end-timers!

At least they’re right in believing that the end of the world is coming if they win.

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By Mark E. Smith, September 10, 2010 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

BR549 writes, “Do you think for one moment that your
argument is going to be effective enough to reach
enough of the population so that no one votes?”

We already have a larger majority than any political
party. Approximately 50% of us don’t vote.

If you think it is practical to get people to vote
for third parties that currently have very few
voters, then it shouldn’t be impractical to get
people to join a vastly larger base.

As long as we have a two-party system and no
proportional representation, there can’t be any such
thing as a truly viable independent candidate.

You should read William Blum’s book, Rogue State. Our
CIA has been rigging elections all over the world for
decades. If you think they don’t also do the same
thing here at home, you’re dreaming.

If you’d can the personal attacks, people might not
immediately recognize you as a political party
operative. No matter what else you may say, if you
accompany it with personal attacks and put-downs, you
undermine any possible credibility you might
otherwise have.

I posted a little diary about that sort of thing
yesterday:

When Political Parties Attack Citizens
http://blogs.alternet.org/folkie/2010/09/09/when-
political-parties-attack-citizens/

It’s a real turn-off and it not only drives away
voters, it also drives away donations. Although my
article didn’t draw any comments, it got pingbacks
from a couple of big political fundraising groups.

We don’t need a revolution. Our political parties,
our government, and our empire are all suicidal and
intent on self-destruction. All we have to do to
bring about change is step back and let them.
Encouraging them will only have the same effect, so
why bother?  wink

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By john crandell, September 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

Well…..

In response to all of the “You’re fired!” issues listed below by BR549, I can only
say that I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments and that I couldn’t care less
and SIMPLY know - all of these years after Vietnam, Watergate, Reagan and the
Bush Gang - that working for/towards achieving true progress at nation-scale
is a waste of time and the only situation where it wouldn’t be a waste of time
will be after the whole system collapses, the federal union disintegrates.

I’m nearly 62 years old now, can remember the moonlight shining down
through jungle canopy when Neil Armstrong and company were up there, can
remember how the banana trees stood out like stars against the red clay soil
north of Ia Drang and the horror in men’s faces lined up in front of me. I can
remember meeting people such as George McGovern and RFK and this gang
now in the White House makes me feel like I’m constantly vomiting. They’re
making the Carter presidency look superlative.

Concerning the latter, Bill McKibben and cohorts went to the White House today
to try and persuade whomever they met with to accept and reinstall the old
solar panels that had been installed back in the 1970s. Yep, they got the
finger. Just like we’ve all been getting the finger since the day they announced
exactly who would be giving the invocation at the inauguration to what is
turning out to be the foremost disaster of a Democratic administration since
that of James K. Polk.

Those Neo-Cons come in all stripes, folks.

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By BR549, September 10, 2010 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

Sorry there Marko,

First of all, I would appreciate it if you actually read my post.

Your argument doesn’t cut it. Please tell me what situation you believe would be necessary for people not voting to get what they desire. Do you think for one moment that your argument is going to be effective enough to reach enough of the population so that no one votes? I’d like to see that happen. All those ovine Kool-Aid drinkers out there who hadn’t gotten your divine message will still be out there waiting for their next dose of Hope and Change, no matter which side of the aisle it came from, and while you’re sitting at home, they’ll still be voting, hoping that all those like you will sit home so they can have their next Obama.

The logistics of reaching as many people as you need to do what you are talking about just won’t happen ...... they just won’t. And if you were able to reach that many people, why wouldn’t they then be convinced to vote for a truly “viable” independent candidate?

So now you want to discuss Lead or Silver; fine. The president says no, boom; the VP says no. boom; the Speaker says no, boom, and who’s left? By that time anarchy would be in the streets, the flimsy excuse for FEMA will try to run the show on behalf of the corporate oligarchs, but that won’t last. The whole system will come crashing down because there’d be no way to support it.

Right now, as we speak, there are forces trying to make sure that enough arms will be made overseas to be used against US citizens. They plan to use that exported technology against the very country that developed it, all so “they” can stay in power. Well, I hate to burst their bubble, but that whole process worked fine while we were the highest ranking nation on the globe and the export of military might was all headed overseas, but we have 850 military bases all over the planet with military members who have family back here at home. That whole support network that “they” are now relying on also relies on those troops believing the big lie and that is eroding as we speak.

No, not until a revolution occurs or until Obama finds some flimsy excuse to impose martial law on us will the process be suspended, and until such time you can bet your booties that the slugs in the Congress will use every means possible to keep things ..... just as they are. And they will stay that way because YOU let them, by sitting at home, slouched on your couch with a bag of stale Doritos and some Cheez-Whiz.

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By mdgr, September 10, 2010 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

TACTICALLY, I am in agreement with the “non-voting” proposal of Mr. Smith, at least in 2010. That’s a short term solution that accomplishes two things. It shows the depth of the anger and sense of betrayal on the part of progressives and Dems. It also points to the vacuum that nature herself is said to abhor. The latter, if it is dramatic enough, gives additional weight to the cal for a progressive party. Additionally, one might hope that religious people like Kucinich would stop the practice of trying to save the Democratic Party’s soul and show the courage of a Bernie Sanders, publicly resigning from the party and throwing their support to this mythical third party I keep banging away on.

I do NOT agree that at it necessarily means failure, though I’ll readily concede that it’s an uphill slog. “Lead or silver” applied to Senator Wellstone, perhaps, but how many such people were there to begin with? “Divide and conquer” is a corporate tactic that can only work under a critical threshold. If enough people—including some big names—sign onto a third party, it could indeed serve as a countervailing force for the lurch to the right.

I am, once again, not suggesting that we circumvent reason. But since a plurality is all that is needed to win the popular vote, I believe that is within reach.

BTW, as to a previous point about Bush’s not using nukes under his watch. That, I believe, is a function of clinical status. Moreover, Bush had some checks and balances, at least to some degree. Palin might not, not with someone like Beck or Limbaud in her cabinet.

No, I am not endorsing decision-making based on fear-mongering. But the truth is that we are moving ever closer to Weimer, 1932. Under Bush, there weren’t political conventions where right wing zealots openly carried assault rifles. And let us note too that the WMD in Iraq were strictly pretexual/delusional. The nuclear football is not.

What I am suggesting is for former Dems to burn their ballots (preferably publicly, like draft cards) this November. My guess is that the tsunami that follows will put the Republicans and the Dems in a most unenviable position, wherein both sides are equally blamed in 2012. If the progressive community can ever find it collective voice after November (doubtful, but possible), it could use that kind of triangulation to its own advantage and gain pluralities in 2012.

And again, I am stating that the significance of the nuclear football itself is itself of crucial, superordinate importance. If we do nothing, we have only ourselves to blame.

If we were to sit on our hands and not do anything after the coming debacle in November (all good, IMO), Camus’ stone will come rolling back on Sisyphus with the force of crushing weight.

There is a time and a place for not voting—I won’t be voting this November—but we had better be very nuanced and strategic in the framing of that option. This is not about sulking, and equally, not about idealism. It’s about making things right in 2012.

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, September 10, 2010 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

BR549, you’re not going to change the direction of
this country by voting in an election that will grant
the consent of the governed to the people you want to
fire.

If you’re willing to vote in elections where your
vote doesn’t have to be counted, where more than 80%
of results are unverifiable, where even if third
party candidates won, they’d have no seniority in the
Congress that our Constitution set up with staggered
terms to avoid any possibility of change, and where
even if third parties managed to briefly take power,
the corporations and the military-industrial complex
would spend billions, if necessary, to ensure that
they were either bribed and corrupted or replaced
with people who could be.

Didn’t you ever read John Perkins’ book, Confessions
of An Economic Hitman? Whenever somebody gains power
they get a visit from the powers that be and they are
asked “the question.”

The question is, “Plomo o plata?” “Lead or silver?”
“A bullet or riches beyond your wildest dreams?”

Those who make the wrong choice are no longer with
us—they are honored martyrs in the cause of
democracy like Paul Wellstone.

The only way to oust an oligarchy nonviolently is to
stop voting in its elections so that it loses any
claim to the consent of the governed, loses any claim
to legitimacy, and loses all credibility.

As long as you keep grinding “your carrot” in the
garbage disposal of elections, you may feel that
you’re trying to accomplish something, but the only
thing you’re doing is supporting the status quo and
sacrificing any possibility of change. I know I’ll
never convince you that you’d really be better off
pounding it than mutilating it, but fortunately not
everyone is as self-destructive as you are.

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By BR549, September 10, 2010 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Well Mark, why are you even here in this country, then? Hmmm? Are you going to just throw in the towel and sit home pounding your carrot on election day and then
curse whichever party wins?

We have to start somewhere. The Rep and Dem parties are filled with meatheads if not outright criminals and I would gladly entertain capital punishment for those found guilty. Both parties at one time espoused some admirable philosophical goals but these are long lost. Just because of the confusion involved, it might be more easy to just trash both the parties and develop new ones. Until the actual problems are dealt with, however, we will always have the same cast of dysfunctional misanthropes running for office, thinking the the world somehow owes them a living. I mean, the effective cost of living has gone through the roof and these assholes are still voting themselves raises. Are these supposed to be merit raises? Perhaps the Congress and Senate should be paid on commission. Boy, that might light a fire under their asses.

There is no party in this country, AT THIS TIME, that can both secure the numbers necessary for a win AND perform its duties as stated within the Constitution that the current band traitorous assholes had sworn an oath to.

BUT, as voters, we can change the focus of the election. For too long people have tried to vote for the lesser of two evils instead of voting their conscience. Why? Because they are too interested in the short term solution. We’re beyond short term help here. The voters know these clowns are robbing them blind, but their mindset is that the other candidate would only rob them more. I mean WTF? Vote for Alfred E. Newman, for Christ’s sake, but at least vote. If everyone voted for alternate candidates, the first election might still be lost, but not the second. Additionally, it would be interesting to see how these chameleon politicians struggle to reinvent themselves trying to convince us that we need to vote for them.

>>>  To all you politicians out there <<<

Still support the Patriot Act?      ........... you’re fired
Still supporting Guantanamo?    ............ you’re fired
Oppose Posse Comitatus?          ........... you’re fired
Oppose 9/11 Investigation?        ........... you’re fired
Don’t support the 2nd Amendment .......... you’re fired
No problem with vaccinations?  ................ you’re fired
No problem with fluoride in the water? ..... you’re fired
Support the Feds control of rainwater on a private citizen’s property? ...... you’re fired  
Still voting to force Arizona to adopt Obama’s border policy?  ....... you’re fired

And as for that cushy reservation you had in the underground bunkers, forget it. Your seat just went to a homeless person. Your inmate number will be assigned to you when you step off that bus with the bars on it; you know, the one you build for us. Meanwhile, your mansion was turned into a halfway house and your wife just divorced you because she just learned about your mistresses.

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By mdgr, September 10, 2010 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith suggested that concern about the transfer of the nuclear football to Palin is a chimera or else that it’s a diversion. Shame of me, shame on us, we shouldn’t be bullied, we shouldn’t be forced to choose between two evils.

Wonderful, but it would have been nice if he had read the post I wrote for content. I was emphatically not suggesting we choose between two evils. On the contrary.

We almost got Palin in 2009, but for a staged meltdown Lehman Bros in September 2008. And a threat of the transfer is indeed very real given the psychology of the times, regardless of supercilious dismissal that it’s only a chimera.

The need to chose between two evils is, in fact, the DNC meme of the moment, certainly not mine. I wish the DNC a quick and happy demise, so Mr. Smith’s belittling tone and heroic posturing is a bit out of place.

What I am suggesting is that, yes, politics is indeed about perception (nicely said). It’s also about manipulating perception, however, and getting out ahead of of the curve.

By 2012, regardless of who winds in 2010, Obama and the Dems will be blamed. It is, I think, necessary to call public attention to the void left by the Democrats’ defeat in 2010. I think that this will leave a real possibility (not a probability, but a possibility) that a viable progressive/independent party could coalesce that would capture the plurality of the vote in 2012.

Why is that important? Mr. Smith seems to think that the nuclear football is as delusional as WMD in Irag, but it’s far more immediately and relevant a threat, IMO, than even the long term effects of global warming. Interestingly, hardly anyone else is talking about it.

One of the problems with the progressive community is it hardly ever agrees on an ordering of issues by importance. It loses the forest through the trees, therefore, painting proverbial “urban murals” while ignoring strategic questions. It focuses on issues of principle or tactics (rendition without torture, for example) to the exclusion of questions that all but compel immediate attention—like providing a viable alternative to a discredited two party system.

Mr. Smith’s “rejoinder” is, as it were, a microcosm of all that.

The problem is that if a viable third party doesn’t arise on the progressive camp, the right wing crazies are very likely to get the nuclear access codes, a strategic outcome which Mr. Smith likens to a fear campaign. Readers ought to think about it, at the very least.

Like I say, I don’t think the stakes could be bigger.

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By Big Jess, September 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why Barack Is Behind

Wouldn’t have anything to do with selling out and fli-flopping on every single major issue he campaigned on, could it?

And nobody’s staying home this November or voting Republican just to rat-shaft the Dems in retaliation.

Nah. Of course not.

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By Mark E. Smith, September 10, 2010 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

mdgr writes, “It gets worse, however. In 2012, if
this two party shell game continues, America voters
probably give the NUCLEAR ACCESS CODES to Palin or
someone very much like her….It’s primarily about
the transfer of nuclear access codes. Nothing is more
important, and we can’t afford to lose.”

OMG! The mushroom cloud is back! We have to invade
Iraq before the mushroom cloud!

Bush had those codes in his drug-addled neo-con
fingers for eight friggin’ years, and he managed to
frighten people into worrying about Sadaam getting
nukes.

Yeah, if we don’t vote the terrorists will win and
they’ll nuke us! If we don’t vote for Democrats the
Republicans will win and they’ll nuke everyone! If we
don’t vote Sarah Palin’s gonna shoot another wolf!

Vote third party! Vote write-ins! Vote Mickey Mouse!
Just get out there and vote so that our government
can keep claiming the consent of the governed!

If there’s anything worse than the political parties
trying to bully people into voting, it’s the
political parties trying to terrorize people into
voting. I won’t vote in sham elections where my vote
doesn’t even have to be counted, for candidates I
can’t hold accountable, in a government that commits
war crimes in my name no matter which party is in
power.

I think you’ve just about exhausted the nuclear
option through mind-numbing repetition. When you cry
wolf too many times, people stop listening, so if you
get eaten by a wolf you have only yourself to blame.

This isn’t about who gets the football, this is about
who is the decider, the government or the people. How
long can you keep getting people to vote for what
they don’t want?

Be ashamed. Be very ashamed. You got your votes and
you proved that you weren’t worthy of them. So expect
less enthusiasm this time. You’ve earned it.

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By natera, September 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Politics is all about perception.

What is truly puzzling to me is the Democrat’s inability to understand, respect and respond to the extraordinary propaganda machine the New Right has deployed nationwide across our nation over the past tow decades.

Two years ago the country was so clear about the abysmal incompetence of the Republican party they were willing to vote for anyone to escape it.  In a landslide of an election they put the first African American president in office and enlarged the majority the Democrats had in congress.  And yet, today that same Republican Party that should be in a cave licking its wounds, leads the political dialogue locally and nationally and forces Democrats to be on a defensive position on most issues This is not a failure of policy or administration.  This is a failure of mass communication management. 

Democrats today can’t sell a thing.  If they were a company selling a product, they would have gone bankrupt a long time ago.  And it is’t as if they had nothing to sell; we are talking about saving our economy, the environment, bringing this country back to the leadership it once had in the world and returning it to the strong, unequaled position it once had as the greatest civilizational entity ever in history.

How cannot that be sold to the public?!

Why hasn’t the Democratic party employed the services of a competent advertising outfit to deal with this relatively simple publicity challenge?

George Lakeoff and others have offered extraordinary insight into the problem and how to deal with it.  The Goebelian techniques the Right unfolds upon us daily have been studied in depth for almost a century.  And yet, Obama, Reed, Pelosi, and every local democrat trying to ge reelected seem to be oblivious to all of it.

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By mdgr, September 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Beyond the surface anger, there is an observation to be made. The DNC and the Dems are irremediably hopeless. Trying to save its sou as Senator Kucinich has done, therefore, is an utter waste of time and a diversion of precious energy. It smacks of martyrdom and narcissism. It can’t actually be done.

It gets worse, however. In 2012, if this two party shell game continues, America voters probably give the NUCLEAR ACCESS CODES to Palin or someone very much like her. It’s entirely our call—and by that, I mean the call of progressives, like ourselves.

Well-before that time, progressives and independents must come together in a viable third party, independent of the Dems and independent of the Greens. Now, the Greens have great principles, but they tend to be consummately non-strategic. For that reason, they too must be considered a diversion. I don’t even want them to attain the magic 5% figure because the Greens will never be a viable party so long as it nominates unelectable candidates.

Let’s be blunt. 2012 will not be about truth and justice. It won’t even be about saving America, since America is not regaining its glory-days, anymore than Rome came back after it collapsed.

It’s primarily about the transfer of nuclear access codes. Nothing is more important, and we can’t afford to lose.

For that reason, I will withhold my vote for Patty Murray in Washington state, but not so much because I am pissed. It’s more of a strategic call. The Dems must be thoroughly defeated and humiliated in 2010.
I say this noting that while I abhor the R’s even more, they too will be blamed in 2012, especially if they win big in 2010.

Politics is not just about compromise, but also about the art of manipulation. This is a wedge-game, and it needs to be played strategically. I therefore hope the Dems lose not just one chamber of Congress, but both, and I hope the destruction to the Dems might move progressive elected officials who are Democrats to publicly resign from that party in the near future, providing impetus for the creation of a third party.

When I hear people ask why I believe a third party is viable, I look at the Tea Party, or even Ross Perot (19%). I have never in my lifetime witnessed such rage in this country, and I believe this is an opportunity for it to be channeled, after the collapse of the Dems, into the creation of a very viable progressive/independent coalition.

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By waikup, September 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wake up.  Obama’s just doin’ his job—he’s just an employee.  His bosses, the corporatocracy, want him to lead the Democrats down to defeat.  It’s all a charade—our democracy, the two parties, etc.  He’s merely a pied piper, designed to fool us for a while.

If he was for the American workers and taxpayers (i.e., his voters) he’d stop the illegal wars (and their vast expenses), punish offshoring (through taxes), repeal NAFTA, force the banks to loan to businesses (there was no ‘quo’ in the bailout ‘quid pro quo’), plan massive infrastruture projects, etc. 

The economy could be turned around in a few months.  But the corporatocracy is more loyal to free trade than to the American standard of living.  And Obama is a big zero.

He could reverse everything by embracing FDR type policies.  But he won’t, why?

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By mdgr, September 10, 2010 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

I agree with G. Anderson’s terse rejoinder at the beginning of the response thread of this blog. But beyond the surface anger, there is an observation to be made.

The DNC and the Dems are irremediably hopeless. Trying to save its soul, as Senator Kucinich has done, is an utter waste of time and a diversion of precious energy. It smacks of martyrdom and narcissism. It can’t be done.

It gets worse, however. In 2012, if this two party shell game continues, America voters probably give the NUCLEAR ACCESS CODES to Palin or someone very much like her. It’s entirely our call—and by that, I mean the call of progressives, like ourselves.

Well-before that time, progressives and independents must come together in a viable third party, independent of the Dems and independent of the Greens. Now, the Greens have great principles, but they tend to be consummately non-strategic. For that reason, they too must be considered a diversion. I don’t even want them to attain the magic 5% figure because the Greens will never be a viable party so long as it nominates unelectable candidates.

Let’s be blunt. 2012 will not be about truth and justice. It won’t even be about saving America, since America is not regaining its glory-days, anymore than Rome came back after it collapsed.

It’s primarily about the transfer of nuclear access codes. Nothing is more important, and we can’t afford to lose.

For that reason, I will withhold my vote for Patty Murray in Washington state, but not so much because I am pissed. It’s more of a strategic call. The Dems must be thoroughly defeated and humiliated in 2010.

I say this noting that while I abhor the R’s even more, if they regain COngress, they will ALSO be blamed in 2012, especially if they win big in 2010. It provides progressives with a perfect opportunity.

Politics is not just about compromise, but also about the art of manipulation. This is a wedge-game, and it needs to be played strategically. I therefore hope the Dems lose not just one chamber of Congress, but both, and I hope the destruction to the Dems might move progressive elected officials who are Democrats to publicly resign from that party in the near future, providing impetus for the creation of a third party.

When I hear people ask why I believe a third party is viable, I look at the Tea Party, or even Ross Perot (19%). I have never in my lifetime witnessed such rage in this country, and I believe this is an opportunity for it to be channeled, after the collapse of the Dems into the creation of a very viable progressive/independent coalition.

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By Mark E. Smith, September 10, 2010 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

Anaman51, during his campaign in ‘08, Obama promised
to expand the war in Afghanistan. He kept his
promise. The Republicans presented no obstacle at all
to Obama keeping his promise. Your premise is false.

When Obama wants to do something, he does it. He
announced his assassination hitlist without even
bothering to ask Congress. When he doesn’t want to do
something, he asks Congress so that he can pretend
that the reason he didn’t do it was the Republicans.

Unfortunately for you, everything he wants to do is
part of the Republican agenda, and everything he
doesn’t want to do is part of what those who voted
for him hoped against hope that he might do.

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