Archive for September, 2011

Close But Not Quite, Part 2

Gawker commenter Olaf:

This whole mess is like a really bad 80′s teen movie.

Pakistan and India hate each other — they’re like two high school cheerleader frenemy types.
Pakistan is messing around with Afghanistan because it wants a buffer against India — so Afghanistan is kind of like the hapless geek-boy who gets manipulated by all of the girls. The USA is the popular but dumb-as-rocks jock who need geek-boy Afghanistan’s help to get passing grades. In order to do so, the USA is courting Pakistan like she’s the only pretty girl in town. Which is dumb, because Pakistan is all, like, “whatevs.” What the USA *should* be doing is playing Pakistan against India. Like, the USA should be all “What’s that Pakistan? You won’t put out? And you won’t stop messing with Afghanistan? OK then, I’m not taking you out to Prom [i.e. spending millions on your military], and you know what, maybe I’ll ask India out to the Prom instead! And maybe India and I will totally make out under the bleachers — what do you think about that?”

We do that, and I guarantee you Pakistan will come around real quick. That stupid manipulative cheerleader bitch.

The US is popular??? No, the US is more like the sneering sadistic asshole dumb-as-rocks jock who beats up on nerds just because he can.  And possibly to compensate for feelings of personal inadequacy and/or trouble at home.

6 comments September 29th, 2011 at 11:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Foreign Policy

Close But Not Quite, Part 1

Sean Paul Kelley:

So, elites our are on record calling for less democracy. Not days after they do the New York Times writes an article that in many ways delegitimizes public, peacefull assembly and protest:

Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries. Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness, common grievances the world over. But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.

They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box.

Excuse me, but I was brought up to believe, even here in America that the right to assemble was an essential adjunct of democracy. Read the rest of the article. It’s very interesting in its use of innuendo, in the sly way it identifies protest as anti-democratic and they way it asserts that “that liberal economics combined with democratic institutions represented the only path forward.”

It’s the essence of neo-liberalism at work and the Davos-type elites are getting concerned.

While it may be true that the NYT is subtly dissing the protestors, I don’t see how their loss of faith in corrupt government systems where virtually every single politician is in the pockets of big corporations is inherently “anti-democratic”.  To me it sounds more like the protestors are starved for democracy, not opposed to it.  Additional quotes from the story:

“Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,” said Marta Solanas, 27, referring to older Spaniards’ decades spent under the Franco dictatorship. “We’re the first generation to say that voting is worthless.”

(…)

“We elect the people’s representatives so they can solve our problems,” said Sarita Singh, 25, among the thousands who gathered each day at Ramlila Maidan, where monsoon rains turned the grounds to mud but protesters waved Indian flags and sang patriotic songs.

“But that is not actually happening. Corruption is ruling our country.”

They really don’t sound anti-democratic to me, just anti-corruption.

September 29th, 2011 at 08:09am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Politics

Fierce Advocate 2.0

Good news, workers!  Obama’s finally got your back!

Obama said he has been accused by Republicans of fomenting class warfare.

“You know what, if asking a millionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber makes me a class warrior, a warrior for the working class, I will accept that. I will wear that charge as a badge of honor,” the president said.

Awesome!  I guess that means that Obama will grudgingly implement minor reforms and stop opposing major ones if the working class rises up as one and embarrasses the shit out of him.

(Note: Does not apply to government workers, but they have his “gratitude”)

September 28th, 2011 at 11:37am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Word Choice Of The Day

Chicago Business makes it sound like Obama’s supporters just got bored and wandered off:

President Barack Obama’s Chicago-based re-election campaign has a hometown problem: the donors and volunteers who have lost interest after launching his run for the White House four years ago.

Obama’s problem isn’t that his supporters have “lost interest,” it’s that they’ve been paying attention.

September 28th, 2011 at 07:36am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Media,Obama,Politics

Monday Media Blogging

And for those of you who like trains, there’ll be trains.

YouTube Preview Image

Ooo.

September 26th, 2011 at 11:20am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Wanker Of The Day

Barack Obama in 2007:

And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.

As you will recall, when American workers were denied their right to collectively bargain in Wisconsin, Obama did precisely nothing.  And now…

Barack Obama in 2011:

“Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes,” he said, his voice rising as applause and cheers mounted. “Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”

You have some nerve, Mr. President.  Don’t ask anyone on the left to march with you if you’re not willing to march with them.

September 26th, 2011 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Labor,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Obatross

It’s looking more and more like Obama’s going to take congressional Democrats down with him again next year.  But some Democratic consultants still cling to hope (and change):

“I’m glad the election’s not today,” said Democratic pollster Keith Frederick, a veteran of House races. “Every poll shows independents losing their patience for the president. These House elections tend to get nationalized, and there’s no doubt right now that as a referendum on Barack Obama, House Democrats lose.”

I would love to know what makes Frederick think that Obama is going to be more popular in 2012.  If Democrats think the jobs bill is going to be enough to save them, they are sadly mistaken.  Especially after Obama strips it of everything but corporate tax breaks and forces Democrats to vote for it.

September 23rd, 2011 at 11:51am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Obama,Politics,Polls

“Jobs”

I should probably refine my translation of “jobs” as used by corporations and Republicans (and almost everyone else) from “profits” to “profits for industries which have powerful lobbyists and throw lots of money at corrupt politicians”.

September 23rd, 2011 at 07:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Unemployment,Wankers

Missed PAnniversary

I completely forgot, sometime early last week (Tuesday, I believe) marked my 20th year in Pittsburgh.  At some point this year I will have been a Pittsburgher longer than I’ve been a New Yorker (there were a couple of years in between when I was a Californian, kind of like a demilitarized buffer zone).  Crazy.

4 comments September 22nd, 2011 at 05:44pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Why?

Has Russ Feingold been watching the same Obama I have?

Last week a group of liberal activists and academics, led by consumer advocate Ralph Nader and scholar Cornel West, announced that they were looking for six “recognizable, articulate” candidates to launch a primary bid — not to rip the nomination from Obama’s grasp but to keep him honest on issues like civil rights, consumer protections, labor and foreign policy.

(…)

“I strongly disagree with Ralph Nader. As I’ve said many times before, I believe that re-electing President Obama is an absolute imperative for our economy, our judicial system, for progressives and for our country,” said former Sen. Russ Feingold, who announced recently that he was not running for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat.

Really?  Because Obama has been incompetent on the economy (and frighteningly pro-austerity), downright destructive to progressives, and has all but ignored the judiciary.  More from Feingold:

Now, facing Republican candidates that are bought-and-sold by corporate money, and who want to give more tax breaks to the wealthiest and attack the rights of working Americans, the President is fighting to create jobs and provide economic security for middle class families.

Again, who is Russ talking about?  Obama is almost as much a corporate creature as the Republicans, strong-armed congressional Democrats into extending Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, and has twiddled his thumbs on jobs until just recently.

I’m still not quite at the point where I would say I would prefer a Republican president, but I can’t think of a single persuasive reason why Obama deserves to keep his job.  If we could get a Democratic nominee who might actually be a good president, I’d be all for it.

3 comments September 22nd, 2011 at 08:00am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Obama,Politics

Approval And Unemployment

David Axelrod whistles past the graveyard:

Despite what you hear in elite commentary, the President’s support among base voters and in key demographic groups has stayed strong. According to the latest NBC-WSJ poll, Democrats approve of his performance by an 81%-14% margin. That’s stronger than President Clinton’s support among Democrats at this point in his term and, according to Gallup, stronger than any Democratic President dating back to Harry Truman through this point in their presidency.

Well, there’s a couple of problems with that.  One is that the 81% are not exactly enthusiastic in their approval:

Only 48% of Democrats on our most recent national survey said they were ‘very excited’ about voting in 2012. On the survey before that the figure was 49%. Those last two polls are the only times all year the ‘very excited’ number has dipped below 50%.

In 13 polls before August the average level of Democrats ‘very excited’ about voting next year had averaged 57%. It had been as high as 65% and only twice had the number even dipped below 55%.

The other is that since Election Day 2008, the breakdown of party affiliation has gone from 28/37/33 Republican/Independent/Democrat to 28/44/26.  Which kinda suggests to me that Obama just managed to drive 7% of the electorate out of the Democratic Party entirely.  If you add those people back in, then Obama’s approval rating is more like 64% among people who were Democrats when Obama was elected.

Granted, that’s probably an oversimplification, but the shrinkage in Democratic affiliation is almost certainly inflating Obama’s approval rating there, in much the same way that ignoring people who have given up looking for work understates the true scope of unemployment.

1 comment September 17th, 2011 at 04:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Obama,Politics,Polls,Unemployment,Wankers

Who You Gonna Believe, Your Gullible Peers Or Your Lying Eyes?

Apparently California Democrats all ignored huge red flags that there was something dodgy about the embezzler they had hired as their treasurer because all the other Democrats were doing the same thing.  It’s a pretty spectacular example of collective stupidity, and it also explains why so many incompetent Democratic political consultants keep getting work despite their long resumes of failure.

I guess “But everyone else is doing it!” is a more important consideration than evidence or outcomes.  It’s a wonder they didn’t all invest their money with Bernie Madoff.

1 comment September 17th, 2011 at 02:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Politics

The Source Of All Obama’s Problems Is Revealed!

It was Bill Daley all along!

Never mind that Obama was a lousy president who collaborated with (or at the very least capitulated to) the GOP and frittered away huge congressional majorities long before Bill Daley showed up, or any other little minor details like that…

I think the main reason for the focus on Bill Daley is that he’s not Obama, or Geithner, or Holder, or any of Obama’s other corrupt and/or craven agency heads and cabinet members.  Obama sucked before Bill Daley, and he continues to suck now.  Bill Daley is not the problem, although he is equally clearly not the solution.

September 17th, 2011 at 12:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Obama,Politics

What I’ve Been Saying

Apparently it took an unpleasant healthcare experience for columnist Allan Sloan to realize that private insurance is also a bureaucracy.  Which is what I said over two years ago:

If there must be a bureaucrat between me and my doctor, I would much prefer that said bureaucrat does not have a vested interest in denying me care.

See also: My post from yesterday.

September 15th, 2011 at 07:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Healthcare,Media

Oh No, Anything But That

Yeah, that sure would be a shame if the DOJ division in charge of upholding civil rights was staffed by people who actually believe in them.

As opposed to, y’know, the exact opposite.

September 14th, 2011 at 11:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Politics,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

No One Could Have Anticipated…

Services provided to the government by for-profit corporations cost more than those the government performs in-house!  Who knew?

But hey, at least those profits are trickling down and creating jobs and stuff, right?

September 14th, 2011 at 06:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy

Monday Media Blogging

Michele Bachmann’s campaign struggles, insane Taiwanese CGI style.

YouTube Preview Image

September 12th, 2011 at 07:26am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

In Which I Have Drawn A Feeble Cartoon

2 comments September 10th, 2011 at 04:38pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics

Eleventy-Dimensional Chess Strategy Revealed!

I think I have finally figured it out: By co-opting Republican positions on issues like extraction, tax cuts, regulations, and austerity, Obama is forcing the GOP to become more and more insane in order to stay to the right of him as an opposition party, thus making itself less and less appealing to non-crazy voters.

Obama isn’t following the Republicans to the right, he’s pushing them.

1 comment September 8th, 2011 at 11:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Strawman Of The Day

Thomas Sowell courageously attacks those who oppose the creation of wealth.

The thing is, no one that I know of is actually opposed to wealth creation.  But I and most other progressives are opposed to creating wealth solely for the enrichment of the wealthy.  If everyone else had a little more wealth, that just might create a virtuous cycle of consumer demand, increased employment, and yes, more wealth.

1 comment September 8th, 2011 at 07:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Media,Politics,Republicans,Taxes,Unemployment,Wankers

Wankers Of The Day

Rush Limbaugh (on pensions): “I never once in my life have expected to be paid by a place when I no longer worked there.”

Admirable self-reliance coming from a man who is set for life and has never actually needed a pension.

Shorter Mitch McConnell: Why isn’t Obama sending jobs overseas faster?

I guess Mitch still has some doubts about whether he’ll be able to achieve his single most important goal next year.

September 7th, 2011 at 07:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

My New Favorite Sport

At last, a sport tailored to my level of athletic ability!

(Comic by Married To The Sea)

2 comments September 3rd, 2011 at 02:12pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics,Sports

Stay Classy, Republicans!

Oh. My. God.

The decision by Republicans in Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ district to raffle off a gun – similar to the one used in an assassination attempt on the congresswoman – has left both GOPers and Democrats up in arms.

“That’s right, for just $10 this gun could be yours,” the Pima County Republicans wrote in an August newsletter, according to the Arizona Republic.

It adds that 125 tickets will be sold for $10 a pop for the Glock 23, .40-caliber handgun, which retails for more than $400 and comes with three 12-round magazines.

In January, a shooter opened fire on Giffords with a Glock 19 outside an event in Tucson.

The massive bloodbath left six dead and 13 injured, including the Democratic lawmaker, who is still recovering.

But no, it’s okay because, well:

“I’m actually surprised by the reaction,” [the interim Pima County GOP director] told KVOA-TV in Tucson, adding “the group had the gun before the shooting happened.”

“Gabrielle Giffords has been on record as being a gun owner,” he added.

Well, I guess that makes it all right, instead of a stunningly tasteless lack of judgment at best, and a ghoulish, violence-against-Democrats-encouraging stunt at worst.

1 comment September 3rd, 2011 at 12:08pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Wankers


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