Saturday, September 19, 2009

Just sayin...

Crowds of well-organized zealots, actively recruited and trained in the quasi-messianic virtue of their cause and the evil of their hate-object, descend on scheduled meetings being held in towns, counties and states around the country, distorting the outcomes of the discussion, intimidating the far-less-organized regular citizens who have attended, and creating an impression of a grass-roots “movement” that seems to be turning into a majority phenomenon.

Handy-dandy, and who are the 2009 tea-baggers, who the 2008 caucusers?

Friday, September 18, 2009

I am woman...

... watch me fend for myself. (h/t Tennessee Guerilla Women) So nice to know that our Democratic president is protecting the delicate consciences of misogynists everywhere.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What it says about us

Put the president’s lack of leadership aside. What does the inability to change our healthcare system – indeed, the mass insanity on the subject – say about America? How can the dispositive facts about this issue not prevail? How can we know that our healthcare costs twice as much as the rest of the modern world's, but delivers among its worst results – the fact that we’re mortgaging our and our children’s and grandchildren’s future in order to ensure that we and they will suffer agonies and die prematurely – and still refuse to change? How can we do so when (a) the way to fix this has already been figured out (indeed, there are multiple models to choose from) and (b) we ourselves have already crossed this Rubicon (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid)?

I think it can only be properly accounted for as the death rattle of our run at the top. This is how empires die – per Jared Diamond, and our own common experience. Only it’s not just calcified elites that aren’t changing here. It’s the whole place.

The astonishing and dramatic fact that Bob Somerby has made into his “Cartago delinda est” – that we are getting fleeced and killed, compared to our next-door neighbors (indeed, everybody else in town... that we're the prize chumps) – ought to end the debate, decide the trial, clear the deck. But it isn’t even being heard.

Contra Bob, it’s not, imho, because we Dems/liberals can’t “message.” He's holding onto an archaic view of media control and impact. Perhaps one might have argued this pov persuasively in an era of limited communications channels, when memes were controlled by a media oligarchy. But that’s simply not the case today. This idea is out there, is often reported, and is being ignored (rejected) by the people. Despite the fact that it’s literally a matter of life and death.

No, the fact is that, on balance, America is a guy who won’t stop to ask for directions, because he doesn’t want to self-experience as needing them. We would literally rather die than admit we’re not No.1.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Have we been had? - Updated

David Brooks thinks so. (And, of course, he's glad.)

Update: One that Brooks left out, courtesy of TGW.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How will the political landscape look tomorrow morning?

To paraphrase Barney Frank channelling his talmudic ancestors, let me answer my own question with a question:

How long is it going to be before someone uses Bob Somerby’s signature trope – “The supposedly liberal media trashed and lied about Clinton and Gore, indulged themselves in their own high-school stylistic preferences, told us that there wasn’t any important policy or leadership difference between Gore and Bush, and are thus complicit in the catastrophe that followed. The dead of Iraq look up at them from their graves” – and applies it to the 2008 elections, and to today?

It may come tomorrow morning -- but I'll provide a preview:

The supposedly liberal media trashed and lied about Hillary Clinton, and told us that there wasn’t any important policy or leadership difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, indulged themselves in their own high-school stylistic preferences, and thus are complicit in the (take your pick: (a) Third Bush Term, (b) massively missed opportunity, (c) vacuum) that has followed. The millions of foreclosed and jobless and sick-without-healthcare look up at them from the bottom of the American pyramid.

In fact, I wonder how long it is before Bob himself acknowledges this unavoidable parallel.

In the meantime, consider this a missive to Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, Keith Olbermann, Josh Marshall, Jon Avarosis, Markos, David Sirota, Chris Matthews, Chris Bowers and many others it's too dispiriting to list.

And as to the crocodile huff that Dowd and her ilk (Joe Klein and Ceci Connolly, for chrissakes) are clowning now -- that their poster child turns out not to be a tough guy, or even any guy in particular -- I can't say it better than BDBlue at Correntewire: "Dude, You Totally Voted for Neville Chamberlain."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

As a friend of mine used to say...

"If we had ham, we could have ham and eggs... if we had eggs."

The speech that Paul Krugman fantasizes as coming tomorrow from the Emperor's Clothesrack is correct, and out of the question. He doesn't have it in him -- and everyone knows that now. The ideological bait-and-switch since Inauguration isn't even the worst of it for Kool-Aid Nation. It's the realization that their passion was misplaced, and will be unrequited. Their hope was projected onto a passionless tabula rasa, someone who simply doesn't have it in him to love the things they love -- or, indeed, anything, very much. In saying that it is now time for President Obama to show real passion on this issue, Krugman is, er, hoping for a different person inside those clothes.

Paul, you might as well write a pre-performance review of my Lear. It doesn't matter how much I rehearse, or whether I've memorized my lines, or even how much I love the play. I am not Laurence Olivier, and was not meant to be. Unfortunately, the producers decided to cast me in the role anyway.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Begging the Question

This op-ed in today's Times is obviously correct about FDR and what actual leadership and action involve. But to argue that "it is time for the Obama administration to step up to the plate and make some hard choices" is like insisting that it's long past due for Harry the Hippopotamus to flap his wings and fly to the moon. Barack Obama is profoundly incapable of welcoming the hatred of others -- any others. Indeed, he is terrified of even knowing what might be looking back at him in the mirror, much less turning that face toward a battle.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009