Friday, July 29, 2011
One of the reasons, if not the single biggest reason for the stalemate on the debt ceiling and deficit reduction is that the two forces at the center of the negotiations, Republicans and Barrack Obama, are the two most dishonest, duplicitous politically underhanded, deceitful and inept forces in the history of American politics.
The history of their dishonesty is long, well documented and there for all to see. And with the full faith and credit of the United States in the balance, it is these two thoroughly decietful and incompetent forces who are squaring off and are in the center the debt ceiling negotiations.
With Obama, he has been nothing short of a snake oil salesman his whole political life, selling empty promises he knew he'd never keep and bamboozling people into believing the water with the food coloring was good for what ailed them. Whether it was his bald faced lying to the people of Ohio on NAFTA during the primaries and then lying to the media about it for days after getting caught, ( lies the media chose to turn a blind eye to) lying to Jim Leher on PBS that he never campaigned for a public option, not to mention selling it out to health industry lobbyists behind everyone's back, or twice reneging on ending the Bush tax cuts, Obama's dishonesty and deceit as well as his lack of ability or convictions has been for him a political way of life.
The Republicans for their role, have demonstrated irrefutably for the last 20 years that they are not only unfit and unqualified to deal with any economic issues at all, they will lie, distort, even commit fraud as they did during the 2008 presidential election in New Hampshire resulting in a prison sentence for the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican committee in order to force their agenda which has consistently failed miserably every time they get the chance to implement it, down the throats of everyone else.
And their supporters in congress and the Tea Party, consisting of the biggest collection of incompetents and partisan hypocrites on both policy and politics have become the Republicans biggest obstacle while moderate Republicans look on in horror. To these Tea Baggers, the U.S. defaulting is what they want, if they dont get their way.
This is why there is a crisis on the debt ceiling, why its close to going over a cliff, why both Obama and the Republicans have already caused immesurable damage to the stability of the American economy, and why nothing has budged in weeks.
So here are some facts: Republicans quite simply are solely totally and completely responsible for the economic disaster we are now in though you'd never know it by listening to journalistic sycophants like Wolf Blitzer or Andrea Mitchell who set world records every day for using the words " both parties".Both parties are not to blame. Republicans are solely responsible for the mess. They inherited a balanced budget, they inherited a $0 deficit, they inherited a $5 1/2 trillion budget surplus and they blew it all. A Republican president and a Republican controlled congress, on their own, implementing their own policies and their own economic ideology and their own beliefs about what was good for the country, with no Democratic input, destroyed the balanced budget, destroyed the $0 deficit, sent the country back to the worst deficits in our history and in less than 3 years dissipated a $5 trillion surplus, enough money to have paid off our debt, all our bills and still have $ 1 trillion left over. And just for good measure they enacted policies that led to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The fact that Obama is so inept and spineless that he doesn't have the political backbone or wherewithal or even grasp of the issues to make that case to the country and use it to solve the crisis, instead capitulating constantly to Republicans, is another chapter in the legacy of the most unfit, dishonest, duplicitous and useless president in the history of the Democratic party.
That the Republicans with their track record of unmitigated failure and economic disaster are the ones who dont want to "give in" and are insisting its their way or default, and that Obama cant beat them back is a pathetic thing to watch.
For their part, Repulicans dont want to budge because they have seen Obama fold on every issue of contention since taking office from the public option to the Bush tax cuts and they are counting on Obama caving in again.
What is even more amusing is seeing the Tea Party, those ignorant crazies who dress up in colonial America Halloween costumes, pretend to be "patriots" and insist that the Republicans hold out and advocate default. Had these "patriots" been alive in 1776 and held the same positions and views on the things they do now George Washington would have had them all hung.
The Democrats have big problems of their own. Obama is a political narcissist who cares only about himself and his own political standing and not much else and so can never be trusted. Pelosi, the one who laughably said Obama had the judgement to be president from day one is in no position to lead having led the Democrats in the House off a cliff in the last election.
As for Republicans, like Obama, they cant be trusted either. Like Obama they are politically and intellectually dishonest and like Obama will lie about anything at any time to get whatever political advantage they can. And as far as policy results, they both have been miserable failures.
The systematic deceit of Republicans was most recently on display with John Boehner's decision to go back and revamp his deficit reduction plan, delaying the scheduled House vote because the CBO said his plan would only cut $850 billion not the $950 billion Boehner said it would.
Boehner's decision to revamp his plan based on the CBO scoring, exposed Republican deceit for what it is since during the healthcare debate, when the CBO scored the public option as something that would reduce the deficit by $160 billion, Boehner and the Republicans trashed the CBO and their scoring, calling their number bogus, denigrated the CBO in general, and denigrated their accounting methods calling it smoke and mirrors and said that it couldn't be trusted.
Now, with the debt ceiling and deficit crisis growing more acute every day, Republicans are not willing to play games with the CBO so their scoring was taken seriously but it exposed their tactics and how dishonest they are willing to get.
It's important to bring this up because the only way out of this mess and to know where to go is to know how we got here. And it was through incompetence, dishonesty, deceit, and political and policy ineptitude by Obama and Republicans and their supporters that got us here. With a competent president, and Democratic leadership these issues would have been taken care of a year ago when Democrats had large majorities in congress. Instead Obama folded. And in knowing how we got here and what to do about it, its simply a matter of physics. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. A Republican congress and a Republican president took the country to war and cut taxes at the same time for the first time in American history. The result was that the $ 1 trillion the Iraq war cost the U.S. treasury was not paid for because the Republicans reduced the revenue the government brought in with their tax cuts. The $1 trillion for the Iraq war is $1 trillion of the $1.7 trillion deficit. All you do is end Bush's war AND Bush;s tax cuts and the American economy starts to make its way back to where it was before the war and before the Bush tax cuts. Obama is incapable of making that case. He doesnt have what it takes.
So now its time for the grown ups, if there are any, to take over. Obama has already given away the store on cuts and the Republicans are holding up the deal over their indefensible tax cuts for upper income earners and corporations that caused much of the problem in the first place.
Since Obama cant make a case for anything, he either has to do what Bill Clinton said he'd do, which is invoke the 14th amendment and by executive order raise the debt ceiling without congress, ( something Obama has been too spineless to do and could have done months ago), or Republicans are going to have to fumigate the room of the Tea Party and agree to the tax increases which by the way, is what Bill Clinton used to bring the deficit down to $0.
Either that or pass the Reid McConnell compromise which at least takes the issue out of the hands of Obama and Boehner and settles the issue through 2013. Then each caucus can deal with their own problems, the Republicans the intransigent Tea Party who border on treason, and Democrats having to take the agenda out of Obama's hands and then find a credible Democratic challenger to Obama in the 2012 primaries since he has no hope ( justifiably) of getting re-elected.
Either way, this should be a teachable moment, a time when both sides realize its long past time to cut the crap and balance, and agree that from now on, dishonesty and partisan politics will be taken out of the process especially when a crisis faces the country and that the only thing that will matter is what is best for United States and the majority of its people.
Friday, July 22, 2011
If the Democrats or Barrack Obama had any backbone they would counter the Republican deficit plan of "Cut Cap and Balance" with a plan that would actually work -- Cut the Crap and Balance.
The Crap of course comes from conservative Republicans and those ignorant partisan charlatans called the Tea Party, those wonderful patriotic folks who stood by and said nothing while Bush and the Republicans blew a $5 1/2 trillion budget surplus left by Clinton, blew the balanced budget left by Clinton, destroyed a $0 deficit left by Clinton, and sent the country back into the worst deficits in its history. Miraculously they did all of that in Bush's first term. The Tea Party was so upset they re-elected Bush along with a Republican congress who then continued with economic policies that drove the country into the worst economic crisis since the Depression.
That is the crap the Republicans and the Tea Party brings to the table, that and a willingness on the part of many conservative Republicans and those in the Tea Party to commit treason against the United States by letting the country default on its debt violating the 14th amendment which states " the debt of the United States shall not be questioned". Only a rank idiot would say that America defaulting on its debt would not cause the debt of the United States to be questioned. Its already being questioned by Moody's and Standard and Poors. So along with the worst economic policies in American history, the Republicans and the Tea Party have also put treason on the table. That is a lot of crap that needs to be cut.
Obama, who has the negotiating skills of a drunken sailor on a Saturday night in Bali and the integrity of a snake oil salesman, refuses to hold Republicans accountable for their devastating and wrong headed past economic policies. Policies that produced results that prove their ideology doesn't work. It's long past time that Democrats held them accountable and turned public opinion against them and the Tea Party. The fact that they have shown they haven't had the backbone to do just that is Democratic crap that needs to be cut..
This is how an article on the CNN web site has described the negotiations:
"Republicans are staunchly opposed to any tax cuts, Democrats are desperately trying to protect...."
There is the core of the problem. Republicans are staunch, Democrats desperate. That describes the approach and position of the two parties and how Democrats have let the Republicans get away with their crap the last 11 years.
If Democrats want to Cut the Crap and Balance, they can start with the Bush tax cuts for the upper 5% income earners and make it NON NEGOTIABLE. Ending those tax cuts is something Obama has reneged on twice and is one of the reasons his lack of leadership has put the country in this position. And just as a reminder, when some Democrats complained about Obama's capitulation to Republicans on the Bush tax cuts he called them " sanctimonious purists":. Now we see what happens when you have a sanctimonious capitulator and appeaser as president. Ending the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year would reduce the deficit by almost $1 trillion over ten years. Of the $4 trillion they are looking for in deficit reductions that now brings the figure down to $3 trillion. Bring back the public option which the CBO said would reduce the deficit by almost $200 billion and we are down to $2.8 trillion needed in deficit reduction ( not to mention the huge positive economic impact that public option would have)
A reduction in pentagon waste, and withdrawing our forces from Iraq and Afghanistan would result in at least another $1 trillion over ten years bringing down the need for cuts to $1.8 trillion. Since the Biden Commission identified $3 trillion in cuts that means there are $1.2 trillion in cuts that can be returned, probably in Medicare and Social Security and still reach the $4 trillion deficit reduction package.
As for a balanced budget amendment, its fine as long as it only targets those who have been guilty of destroying the balanced budget to begin with -- Republicans. So an amendment that prohibits Republicans from initiating any economic policy that would unbalance the budget, like taking the country to war ( in Iraq) and cutting taxes at the same time for the first time in American history is fine with me. That is more Republican crap the country doesn't need.
Cut the Crap and Balance works. Clinton made the Republicans cut the crap in 1993 after they said his budget would explode the deficit, drive up unemployment and deepen the recession. That is the crap Republicans and the Tea Party bring to the table and the sooner Democrats cut the Republican crap the sooner a deal will be reached and the country can get back on its fiscal feet and have the kind of balanced budget that Bill Clinton left the country in 2000 and George W Bush and the Republicans promptly destroyed.
UPDATE: In the wake of John Boehner walking out of the debt ceiling talks with Obama and refusing to return Obama's phone call ( something Howard Dean should have done in 2008) Obama's admitted response to Boehner, in his own words at his 6 pm press conference was " what can the GOP say 'yes' to"?
Aside from Obama's humiliating bowing and scraping to Republicans, proving once again he has no convictions, beliefs or principles to begin with, much less to stand up for, he might as well have asked Boehner , "can I show you something in a sling back"? because Obama has now gone from snake oil salesman to shoe salesman.
NOTE: I couldnt help but mention an article I was sent, written by Time magazine political reporter Joe Klein written July 28, six days after this blog peice appeared. In it Klein writes:
"And so I have a proposal: the Cut the Crap Act.....The Cut the Crap Act isn’t actually my invention".
No it isnt your invention Joe. Klein goes in to say, "It is the White House’s best case scenario for the next five days."
At least I can say you heard it here first.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I received an email not too long ago from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee asking me to sign a petition that threatened Obama by telling him that if he sold out on social security and Medicare, they would, in no uncertain terms vote for him anyway.
I'm not kidding. That's what it said. If there has ever been a weaker more pathetic more useless political threat ever made I haven't seen it.
This, it seems, is what it is to be a "progressive". And they really wonder why they didn't get a public option, a decent financial reform law and an end to the Bush tax cuts and why Obama is ready to sell out anything to get a deal on the debt ceiling.
The Progressive Campaign Change Committee which calls themselves "Bold Progressives" ( can you imagine what the weak ones are like?) did manage to get 200,000 lost souls to sign that dog of a petition and it was sent to the White House. This is how CNN reported it:
"A liberal group upset over potential cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security delivered pledges Friday to President Barrack Obama's national campaign headquarters threatening to pull its support.
About a dozen people representing the Progressive Change Campaign Committee delivered what they said were 200,000 pledges from people who will refuse to donate or volunteer for Obama's re-election campaign if he cuts the entitlement programs. ( Italics mine).
"It's not a question of who they're going to support for president, they're going to vote for Barrack Obama. It's a question of where their time and money is going to go," spokesman T. Neil Sroka said."
That's telling 'em isn't it? Do what we say or we vote for you anyway. If that isn't the most pathetic, ineffective even comedic attempt at influencing a politician in the history of politics I haven't heard it. It's not a question of who they will vote for its a question of where their time and money will go? Here is a flash for Mr. Sroka. Obama doesnt care about or need your time or your money. What he needs is the only thing you have of value and that you refuse to withhold and you are pledging to give him no matter what he does -- your vote.
Contrast that statement with Tea Party statements to Republicans that " we will make examples of you" if they vote to raise the debt ceiling without getting the dollar for dollar cuts they want with NO raise in revenue.
The lunatic conservatives of the Tea Party have the Republicans on the run because they promise not to vote for them and to throw their support to Republican challengers who support their point of view. And Republicans care more about getting re-elected than what's best for the country so they are holding firm in supporting the Tea Party line.
Progressives on the hand have seen Obama sell them out on the public option even though he had the votes to pass it, then lie about his making a sleazy back room deal with healthcare insurance lobbyists, ( something he did before with the telecoms on the FISA bill when he was in the senate), and sell them out again on the Bush tax cuts twice and he is ready to sell out again on social security and medicare.
They are still so flummoxed about race that they refuse to acknowledge that Obama is the most underhanded unscrupulous, unfit, unqualified politically dishonest flim flam man to ever sit in the Oval office. As unscrupulous as Nixon without any of Nixon's political ability, convictions, or grasp of issues or government. Remember that Obama spent 11 years in the Illinois state senate and 2 years in the US senate and in all that time, all 13 years, accomplished nothing. Zero. NO bills, no laws, no legislation that he championed, no changes to anything. His utter lack of accomplishment was a joke among many during his primary run, something his supporters chose to ignore, like Nancy Pelosi, who famously said in defense of his unblemished record of non-accomplishment, " Obama has the judgement to be president from day one".
Also remember that Obama got his start in politics by politically stabbing his mentor in the back, a woman by the name of Alice Palmer who is the person who helped get Obama started in politics. When that's how you start that's how you finish so Obama's betrayals to people who supported him should be of no suprise. And if you think the "stabbing in the back" metaphor is too harsh, recall how Obama used the "stab in the back" gesture against Hillary Clinton in a speech during the primaries and for good measure, made a gesture of twisting the knife then laughing about it. Accompanied by much Obama supporter applause. I don't think any of those supporters feel there is much to applaud now.
And how truly pathetic is Obama as a negotiator on the debt ceiling ( not to mention everything else)? As pathetic as you might expect from someone with no real convictions or principles who just wants to get out of the kitchen because he can't stand the heat. According to David Frum writing on his CNN blog on July 19, Obama had offered Republicans 85% in spending cuts in return for a 15% increase in tax revenue and the Republicans still say no. They are holding out for 100% in spending cuts and 0% in tax increases because they know they are dealing with someone they have steam rolled before even when they were in the minority. The truth, that its been solely Republican economic policy and solely Republican and conservative ideas and ideology that has put the country in this mess in the first place, plus the facts to back it up, is a case that seems to be beyond Obama's capability to make.
Progressives are never going to get what they want with Obama as president. Obama knows he can wipe his feet on these groups like PCCC and MoveOn and they wont dare oppose him. or do anything meaningful. You can't even call these groups doormats. Doormats have a useful function. They not only help get rid of the dirt under one's feet so it won't get tracked into the house they are often decorative and welcoming. These groups have done nothing to keep the dirt from being tracked into the White House or into legislation and policy that have undermined the positive things Democrats could have done. That there is even a question that the country has to raise taxes, especially the upper 5% income earners, to pay for the war ( in Iraq) that Republicans refused to pay for ( which adds up to $1 trillion of the $1.7 trillion deficit) is a testament to how weak Obama really is. Not to mention the fact that Bill Clinton got a balanced budget and a zero deficit over Republican objections and opposition by raising taxes.
While these groups are filled with well meaning people with good intentions, they are obviously still bamboozled over race, afraid to criticize, afraid to get tough, afraid to dump Obama as so many others finally have and are still suffering from Battered Obama Syndrome, refusing to leave, refusing to say enough is enough, and coming back for more. The proof of their ineffective politicking is they have gotten zero results in two years even though Democrats had the biggest majority in 60 years. And what did they expect with threats like " we will vote for you anyway even if you lie again and betray again everything we believe in".
What's needed in the Democratic party finally is a real revolt among liberals to remake the Democratic party and get as tough with Democratic politicians and Obama as the Tea Party gets with Republicans. And that means letting the Democrats know they will not under any circumstances vote for Obama in the next presidential election or any Democrat who supports his policies, and start demanding that a credible Democrat challenge Obama in the primaries for the nomination.
That is the only way real progress can be made and unless liberals and even the groups that call themselves progressive, like the PCCC and MoveOn make it clear they've had it with Obama's sell outs, his brazen lies and his total lack of principle and conviction, Democrats and Obama are going to continue to get steam rolled by Republicans who show they are just tougher than they are even when all of the facts are against them and all of the facts AND proven results are on the Democrats' side.
If these groups and other liberal Democrats are going to fight now is the time. And if they are not going to fight and call threats like " we wont give you money or go door to door if you sell out social security and Medicare" effective politicking, they should all take their little red wagons and go home and just concede everything to the Republicans because they, Obama and congressional Democrats under Pelosi and Reid have not been willing to fight as hard for what they want as Republicans do, especially against their biggest obstacle, which has been, not Republicans, but Barrack Obama.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Obama's latest gambit in the stalled negotiations on the debt ceiling ( why he doesn't invoke the 14th amendment's clause on the country's debt is hard to understand) is a scare tactic that on its surface seems to be an attempt at pressuring congressional Democrats to go along with a cave in to Republicans on cuts in social security, Medicare and Medicaid something that already has most liberal groups and congressional Democrats up in arms. What he told CBS News was " Without a deal on the debt ceiling, I can't guarantee that social security payments will go out on August 2".
This is quite simply a brazen lie because as has been pointed out before by others, there is no cash flow problem now with the U.S. and social security is completely funded. The U.S. could default on its payments on interest on the outstanding debt and the money to send out social security checks would still be there and by law would be sent.
The Daily Financial Times reported Lance Roberts, CEO of Streettalk Advisors as saying, "There is enough revenue coming in to cover all entitlement payments -- just nothing left to cover other discretionary and non-discretionary spending. The administration is using Social Security payments as a fear tactic."
The underlying strategy seems to be to scare enough people on social security into believing they are in real danger of not getting their checks to pressure Democratic members of congress into accepting Obama's deal.
What has the talks stalled is that Obama has been asking Republicans to give up the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 and close some corporate tax loopholes. The Republican response has been to tell Obama to go screw himself which if he did would be a big improvement over his screwing Democrats which is what he's been doing for two years. But that doesn't stop Republicans from being willing to screw the country also which is what they have shown they do best.
Obama had his chance to get rid of the Bush tax cuts as he pledged, months ago, even more than a year ago when Democrats had large majorities. Instead he folded as usual and the Democratic non- leadership in Pelosi and Reid folded also when it could have been passed and now everyone is paying the price. And let's not forget that when Obama sold out on his pledge to eliminate the Bush tax cuts the first time he called congressional Democrats who objected " sanctimonious purists".
So what does Obama do now about the impasse? Having demonstrated so far that he doesnt have the skill, political wherewithal, powers of persuasion, resolve, or the oratorical skills so many deluded themselves into believing he had to make the easiest case in the world -- that Republican economic policy the last 20 years is the cause of every economic problem and disaster the country has -- instead of that, Obama resorts into scaring people on social security in the hopes that they will pressure congress.
Social security has its own fund and its illegal for the government to raid that fund and use the money for other purposes. The money is there to send out the checks next month, next year and five years from now and if the U.S. defaulted on anything they couldn't legally touch one cent of the social security fund to cover anything.
If in the end Obama does make a deal that includes cuts in social security, Medicare and Medicaid and doesnt include a large tax increase on corporations and the upper 5% income earners, his next decision should be the only time in his presidency he will ever be compared to LBJ -- he should make a speech saying "I will not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party to be your president". Because he wouldnt have a chance in hell of winning anyway.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
With two overriding issues currently on the table, the dismal recent jobs report showing that unemployment is getting worse, and with negotiations over the deficit and debt ceiling indicating Obama is in the process of folding once again, the focus is shifting to Democrats in congress and Democratic organizations like MoveOn who are once again proving that when it comes to dealing with Obama they are as impotent and gutless in dealing with Obama as Obama is in dealing with Republicans.
Organizations like MoveOn have been displaying the same kind of head in the sand politics and lack of spine in dealing with Obama's very predicable betrayal of Democratic and liberal ideas as Obama himself displays when dealing with Republicans -- or anything for that matter.
Both congressional Democrats and their leadership and the political action committees supporting Democratic ideas still refuse to face the truth about Obama who was and still is the most underhanded, politically dishonest, duplicitous and unscrupulous president since Richard Nixon only without any of Nixon's experience, knowledge of government, convictions, or grasp of politics or policy. And he showed he was all of those things not only throughout his run for the nomination but in his previous political career as well, so Obama's selling out should really come as no surprise.
As Geraldine Ferraro pointed out during the primaries, had Obama been white he'd be considered a joke as a presidential candidate. Only Democrats arent laughing now since he is no joke to Democratic initiatives and the kind of change and forward thinking those who voted for him in the Democratic primaries so gullibly believed.
Because the idea of electing Obama's father's genes to the White House became a cause celebre more important than people actually thinking for themselves and seeing who and what was in front of them, a cause celebre championed by an equally knee jerk news media who turned a blind eye to episodes of lying and duplicity that would have ended the political career of anyone else ( see Ohio and NAFTA), race became what mattered.
They closed their eyes to one of the most blatant cases of serial lying and reneging by a presidential candidate in history and in a year when any Democratic candidate for president was going to be elected, they instead chose to ignore Martin Luther King and judged Obama on the color of his skin not his character. In so doing they felt justified aiding and abetting gaming the system, rigging the roll call vote at the Democratic convention, and shoved Obama down the throats of more than half the Democratic primary voters who voted against him.
Now the same people who were instrumental in getting Obama elected are still refusing to own up to their mistake. And they, and the rest of rank and file Democrats, Democratic members of congress, and the country are paying a terrible price. And will continue to unless they do something. And they can.
Since being elected Obama has betrayed every promise, every pledge and every position he took to win the votes of the gullible who voted for him in the first place, successfully playing their desire to make a statement on race more important than the content of his character.
But now that all of Obama's well documented duplicity have come home to roost in failures of both principle and policy "progressive" organizations are still refusing to acknowledge that Obama has been their problem, not the Republicans, and so have ignored the problem and become as ineffective as the president they supported.
There are still Democrats, what's left of Obama's supporters, and Democratic organizations refusing to acknowledge just how catastrophic Obama has been as president solely because of his lack of principle or conviction not to mention his lack of ability to accomplish, persuade or negotiate anything, and not only sold out everything the Democrats stood for, but did it at a time when the Democrats had the biggest congressional majority in 60 years. And without any kind of leadership in the House, Senate or the White House, the Democrats wasted the opportunity to make the kind of changes and innovations to improve life in this country that comes along once or maybe twice in a century.
Instead, the Democrats had Nancy Pelosi who, by selling out her own integrity after saying the public option was the centerpiece of healthcare reform and caving in when Obama sold it out to healthcare industry lobbyists, led the Democratic House off a cliff in the last election where they suffered the worst political defeat of any political party in 80 years, only 2 years after gaining the biggest majority in 60 years. And they lost, not at the hands of the people who voted against them in the first place, but at the hands of the people who voted for them and who expected the public option other reforms and solutions that the Democrats and Obama essentially welched on, and stayed home on election day disgusted with Obama and the lack of Democratic leadership and all that they didn't deliver.
But it got worse. After that colossal political defeat the Democrats in congress embraced Einstein's definition of insanity -- doing the same things over and over and expecting different results -- by re-electing Pelosi minority leader after her constant capitulation to Obama led them into the minority.
This same definition of insanity can be applied to MoveOn and other Democratic political groups. I get emails from most of them and the two most recent show the ineffectiveness and head in the sand politics of "progressive" groups who still refuse to admit their problem was and is Obama.
In one email describing "outrage" over the fact that Obama is once again on the verge of capitulating to Republicans this time on cuts in Medicare, SS and Medicaid, and folding on tax cuts for the wealthy, there was a link to sign a petition to Obama telling him not to do it. A petition. Very effective. "Tell Obama not to give in on Medicare and Social Security". That;s telling him. And just to show that the current collection of progressive groups share the same weakness, another group also sent out an email saying. "tell president Obama not to cave in to Republicans on the deficit". The question is what planet are these people living on? Do they think Obama gives a second thought about their petition? Did it stop him from selling out the public option and with it any real healthcare reform? Or giving in on the Bush tax cuts? Or watering down financial reform?
These petitions, and much of what MoveOn and other groups are doing now is evidence of what I call "Battered Obama Syndrome". After selling out Democrats on healthcare reform ( and most still do not grasp the enormity of the catastrophe that was), selling out on the Bush tax cuts, selling out on real financial reform, selling out on a stimulus that every economist said at the time was too small. these groups are saying with their petitions, "you've been beating from the beginning and if you do it again this time we're going to get mad". Then they set the table and say dinner's ready.
Nothing these groups are doing, none of their half baked petitions are going to have any affect on Obama. They haven't before, they wont now. But there is one solution, a real one that will work.
Like anyone in an abusive relationship the solution is you walk. You leave. And you mean it. No more sweet talk, no more warnings, no more second chances. You end the relationship and you leave. Not next month but now. And if he shows up at the door later with flowers and candy and excuses you slam the door in his face.
MoveOn and other groups need to recognize, first and foremost that Obama is as dishonest a politician without principle as they come and he always was if you check his political history. Its time to recognize that in the name of thinking they were doing something good for race they did something catastrophically bad by making race an issue at all. Its time to wise up and abandon Obama and make it stick. And do it by putting out the word to congressional Democrats who support their ideas, the ideas that could have become a reality but didn't because of Obama, that they will not support Obama in the next election or any Democrat n congress that supports Obama's duplicity, but will support, with money, donations, grass roots organizing, time, effort, advertising and with votes any credible Democrat willing to challenge Obama in the primaries for the Democratic nomination for president. They need to make it clear they will not support Obama, period but will support a credible primary challenge to the Democratic nomination. And if they don't have the guts to do that, they deserve everything they don't get.
They also need to make it clear to congressional Democrats that they will support with the full force of their organizations any Democrat in congress who opposes Obama and who refuses to sell out and will oppose and seek the defeat of any Democrat who does.
Supporting a credible Democratic candidate to run against Obama is a win win situation. First its the right thing to do. Throw your support behind a candidate who believes in what you believe in and will stand up for it. Second, there is, not the possibility but the probability that a politically credible Democratic challenger to Obama would win and be the Democratic nominee.
Obama has little support among rank and file Democrats, moderates and liberals, and no support among moderates. And a credible Democratic challenger as a presidential candidate running against both Obama's handing of his first term, AND Republican failures of the last 10 years has a much greater chance of winning the White House than Obama who, if he is the candidate is almost certain to lose.
As David Frum pointed out in his CNN blog piece on Obama's failures in debt ceiling talks, when Obama had the leverage he didn't use it. Instead he rolled and offered Republicans $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases on the wealthy. The Republicans refused and what did Obama do? He got tough and offered them $6 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. The Republicans knowing what they are dealing with have held firm knowing Obama will cave in. They are daring Obama and the Democrats to blink something they've been doing like people lost in a dust storm since 2008.
Frum,in pointing out Obama's political weakness and incompetence asks the question, "why don't the Democrats rebel"?
Democratic "progressive" groups like MoveOn and others, instead of rebelling, continue to be rolled by Obama the way Obama is rolled by the Republicans and they don't rebel because their leadership is too weak. They still don't want to acknowledge that Obama is their problem and at bottom line, is a garden variety political hack and " but his father was black" isn't going to matter anymore.
I've always defined a progressive as a liberal who didn't have the guts to stand up to Republicans who were demonizing liberalism and instead of standing up and defending liberalism as the engine that both created this country, saved it every time it needed saving, and drove it forward, they ran and changed their name. Its time to stop runnng and remember that Thomas Jefferson defined the United States at its inception as a "liberal democracy." Instead "progressives" seem to be a collection of people rolled by a president who has taken them for granted, rolled them on the issue of race, and like a snake oil salesman with a bottle of carbonated food coloring, sold them a bottle of nothing while telling them it was the stuff that was good for what ailed them.
Frum isn't the only one to point out Obama's failures. This is what the respected David Gergen had to say about Obama and the Democrats as it pertains to the debt ceiling talks and deficit reduction:
"What Republicans actually hope is that the Democrats will once again give in, led there by the president. That is what happened last when Obama persuaded his party to give up on the tax increases for the affluent and instead continue the Bush tax cuts for everyone... Boehner's estimate appears to rest on the chance that a similar scenario will unfold now -- that Obama will cajole his party into big time compromises".
This is what happened on the Bush tax cuts, its what happened in scuttling the public option and every other sell out of Democratic ideas orchestrated by Obama, and you can thank Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for being accomplices and going along.
The Democrats need to clean house and if they don't do it rank and file Democratic voters and the American people will do it for them on election day. What happened to the Democrats last election day will be a tremor compared to what will happen in 2012 if they don't change and change fast.
And the best way for that to happen is for Democratic political groups to show, once and for all, that they mean business by prodding some principled Democratic member of congress or a governor to announce that they will challenge him in the Democratic primaries.
Its time for those who call themselves progressives to stop complaining about Republicans. Its time for them to accept they made a mistake, that enough is enough and do something concrete. Which is to let Obama and the Democrats know the party is over. Literally and figuratively. Then start pushing for a candidate to oppose Obama for the Democratic nomination for president in 2012 and they will oppose any Democrat that supports any Obama capitulation on anything. That will certainly get Obama's attention and the attention of congressional Democrats and be a lot more effective than one more petition that Obama will ignore like he always does. And if these groups don't do it, people who call themselves progressives can be sure of one thing -- things will get progressively worse.
I recieved a new email today from the Progressive Change Campagin Committee. This is what it said:
Today, in a press conference, President Obama came right out and said it: He's pushing for benefit cuts in important programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Then it asked to sign the following petition:
"President Obama: If you cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits for me, my family, or families like mine, don't ask for a penny of my money or an hour of my time in 2012. I'm going to focus on electing bold progressive candidates who will fight to protect our Democratic legacy."
Wow. That's telling 'em. That's getting tough. No money and I wont work for you.These "progressives" want Obama to get tough with Republicans something that is just not in his DNA to do but they themselves wont get tough with Obama. It still does not ocurr to these people to say to Obama he can kiss their votes goodbye. Obama doesnt need their money and he doesnt need their time but they want to avoid the only thing that matters: dumping Obama, refusing to vote for him and trying to flush out a Democratic Party challenger to Obama in the primaries. Instead they want to grovel with another useless worthless petition.
Friday, July 1, 2011
A month ago I wrote a piece about the outrageous double standard the media applies to sexual assault cases when a media circus erupted over an accusation by a hotel maid that she was sexually assualted by Dominque Strauss -Kahn, head of the IMF and leading candidate to be the next president of France.
At the time any fair reading of the "facts" as told by the maid and as presented in the media showed that the accusations were preposterous and most likely a fabrication and while I said so, my main point was that the media should show the same restraint with those accused of sexual assault until there is hard proof otherwise, as they do to accusers in giving anonymity.
Now its being reported by news outlets including a right hand column front page story in the New York Times, that the case has collapsed because prosecutors now say the hotel maid was lying. A law enforcement official has told The Associated Press that the accuser in the sex assault case against Strauss Kahn lied about circumstances surrounding the alleged attack and prosecutors are going into court today to ask for a greatly reduced bail in advance of dropping all felony charges.
This comes as no surprise to anyone with a shred of common sense, logic or even a minimum sense of real justice, something that, as we saw recently with Anthony Weiner, is totally absent in the news media.
When Strauss Kahn was first arrested and paraded in front of the media, I wrote about the insane double standard in the media when it comes to sex crimes, allowing an accuser to remain anonymous while plastering the name and picture of the accused all over the news media.
I made the point that based on the "facts" alleged by the maid and released by prosecutors, it was virtually impossible to believe anything could have taken place as the maid described. Not just based on logic and common sense but physically what she described could not have happened.
Now that the case again Strauss -Kahn has collapsed because prosecutors have concluded the maid lied about her alleged rape, ( which is not to say they wont try and charge Strauss-Kahn with something to save face) I thought it might be telling to reprint the comments received here at the time, if for no other reason than to prove the original point of why the media should show the same restraint and safeguards they do with an accuser (it doesnt take Einstein to figure out that "accuser" does not = "victim") and give anonymity to an accused at least until there is some kind of evidence of guilt.
The comments reprinted below shows the wisdom of the Founders of this country in creating a justice system based on two principles -- that it is better for ten guilty men to go free than one innocent man to go to jail and that a defendant is to be presumed innocent. Unfortunately as the sampling below shows, there are many people, both liberal and conservsative who dont really believe in either.
."...Gender equality? ( referring to my point that the accused deserve the same treatment as an accuser --defining an accuser as something different from a "victim" until there is proof that a crime took place). What rock are you living under?
I would rather you address the thousands of women who are raped every year than get bent out of shape over the minuscule number of males who have been falsely accused."
James Ala wrote:
"...Rape is a crime Sir. Police booking of a reported crime are a matter of public record. Matters of public record are fodder for news organizations. The man was remanded to Riker's Island, don't you think the general public has a right to know why the head of the IMF traded a $3k a night five star hotel suite for the accommodations provided by "The Tombs?
Yes this is scandal, and scandal is Mana from heaven for the Corporate Media. Welcome to the twenty-four hour news cycle, welcome to one of less attractive features of the post-modern world. Buck up Mr Rubin, the man is swimming in cash and will be well defended if this goes to trial. I'm certainly not going to loose much sleep over his present predicament. He is rich, powerful, male and Caucasian. His accuser is working class, female and African. He really does not need either your help or sympathy Mr. Rubin."
Obviously Ala did what many others do -- he refused to think or look at facts or even worse, he, like too many, let the media do their thinking for them. He even jumped to the erroneous conclusion that a crime had even been committed when there was no evidence that it had.And the class and race prejudice displayed is also shared by others -- mostly white by the way trying to show how "unprejudiced" they are -- black working mother has to be telling the truth -- prominent white guy must be guilty)
"Oh Boo F**KING Hoo. If the media hadn't been complicit in keeping this scumbag's secrets for all these years, he wouldn't be at Rikers now. This POS has been assaulting women for years - and getting away with it because of the delicate sensibilities of enablers like you. Your contention that men are the victims in cases like this is ridiculous. EDUCATE YOURSELF."
My guess is that even the prosecutors saying the maid was lying and that Strauss-Kahn is innocent wont change this person's mind. My contention that Strauss Kahn, because he was innocent was a victim, both of this woman's lies and the media's treatment of him, was right. But there will always be people like this who when it comes to being educated believe its always others that need the education.
"It seems that he's guilty. He knew that he was a powerful figure and thought he's untouchable".
"If you are going to seriously propose that this is a false accusation, you need to identify some motive...There are a lot of practical questions that don't make much sense if you assume this is a false accusation."
At the time I actually provided rock solid motivations for a false accusation and the opposite of what this reader said was true -- there were a lot of practical questions that made no sense if you believed the accusation was true. In fact all the logic and practical questions pointed to a false accusation.
James Ala had more to say in another comment:
"...Moving right along, I find it beyond disturbing that at no time do you consider the power dynamics of the situation. Strauss-Kahn is a man who possess wealth and power. His accuser has neither. His accuser is already being smeared, by the likes of you and others."
More class prejudice as opposed to facts. And again, not a shred of logic and not a shred of proof. That everything the accuser had to say defied logic and common sense meant nothing to this commentor. Just if you're rich and successful you're wrong and guilty and if your not your word comes from on high.
It is precisely the kind of thinking of people like this, so self righteous in their belief that they know whats true and know whats best even when the facts prove them wrong, that is why we have and need the safeguards in our justice system created by the Founders.
Hopefully the news media will finally learn something and institute some voluntary safeguards of their own. They don't have to wait until a jury finds someone guilty but they could wait until actual facts have been developed that point to a likelihood of guilt in a sexual assault before irrevocably smearing someone and turning their life upside down without a shred of proof.