February 24, 2010 archive

Glenn Greenwald: ‘This is what the Democratic Party does; it’s who they are’

In a post on Salon today, Glenn Greenwald reveals to readers the essential tactic of the Democratic Party leadership.  It’s not trying to get Republican support, it’s not filibuster reform, it’s not registering people to vote.  It’s much more manipulative than that.

It is an explanation for the “lack of spine” that Democrats are often said to have – which, we can now see, is merely a convenient illusion for prominent Democrats.  It is a scapegoat that they can use so that progressives will continue voting for them even though we get nothing that we ask for, and instead have to take whatever crumbs are given to us.

So what is it?

This is what the Democratic Party does; it’s who they are.  They’re willing to feign support for anything their voters want just as long as there’s no chance that they can pass it.  

FORK IT! Fine me, tax me, whatever, but I ain’t gonna pay

Crossposted at Daily Kos

   No public option, no deal.

   I will NOT be forced to buy private insurance from the crooked cartels.

   I will NOT allow my wages to be forced into padding some millionaire CEO’s salary.

   I will NOT be robbed and told how much my robber is helping me.

This is what I think of your freaking mandates, mister Congresscritter.

   Fine me, Tax me, whatever, I don’t give a flying fork, but I ain’t gonna pay, no way, no how.

   If you want my money, you can frigging pry it from my cold, dead, uninsured hands.

More below the fold

Overnight Caption Contest

CBO: Stimulus DID create Millions of Jobs

There was some good news from the CBO today:

CBO: Stimulus bill created up to 2.1 million jobs

By ANDREW TAYLOR, The Associated Press – Feb 23, 2010

WASHINGTON — The economic stimulus law added between 1 million to 2.1 million workers to employment rolls by the end of last year, a new report released Tuesday by congressional economists said.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office study also said the $862 billion stimulus added between 1.5 to 3.5 percentage points to the growth of the economy in 2009.

[…]

CBO projects that the stimulus measure to have a greater impact this year, boosting gross domestic product [GDP] by 1.4 to 4 percentage points and lowering the unemployment rate by 0.7 to 1.8 percentage points.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

And CBO is projecting even more good news this year, due to the Stimulus Jobs Bill …

Understanding Comes With Initial Discomfort and Eventual Unity

In deciding what I could write about today, I acknowledge I could go in any number of directions.  I could strongly express support of President Obama’s health care reform guidelines while being sure to note my extreme displeasure with the lack of a public option.  Or, I might chart a different course altogether and add some new wrinkle about the blame game currently raging inside the Obama Administration and the Democratic caucus as to how a supposedly sure thing all began to slip away.  I could take a populist angle about how the scourge of big business and monied interests that have a concerted interest in making a profit at all cost leaves the rest of us in the poorhouse.  Each of these would likely be received well and be in good company to what others have already written.

But what I’ve chosen to write instead about are the times that working together towards a common purpose succeeds.  My decision to enter a woman-centric space gave me an understanding of what minorities often feel like when they set foot inside spaces reserved for usually white men.  I would not describe what I experienced in negative terms, but I would classify the experience as uncomfortable and uncertain in the beginning.  I would not seek to blame anyone, including myself for what I felt up front.  Adjustment to any challenging situation requires dexterity and an open mind and I tried as best I could do keep those two life skills close at hand as I stumbled through deeply unfamiliar subjects while keeping in mind the responses of some, not all, who may have been just as uncomfortable with my being there as I was.  Challenges need not be negative or unfortunate, after all.  

Over the past nine months or so, I’ve begun to take an active role in contributing to the group discussions and controversial issues which are always in debate within young Feminist circles.  Finding my footing at first, as I’ve noted, was difficult, since I was instantly aware upon arrival of the fact that I was in unfamiliar territory.  This was predicated purely upon the fact that I am male and most of the contributors and regular readers are not.  Still, my desire to learn and then to make my thoughts known superseded any reservations I might have held at the beginning.  Male allies within the movement as a whole have never been plentiful and I recognized going in that I was going to have to be a bit of a trailblazer, whether I wanted to or not.  A part of me, whether motivated by romance or noble purpose has always wanted to be a leader, especially in circumstances where role models or models of any kind at all are often minimal or altogether nonexistent.

Months of absorbing content and the opinions of others has led to a greater understanding on my part not of how we are different, but how we are very similar.  Moreover, I recognize that all of these supposed truisms regarding gender identity and strict delineation between that which is “male” and that which is “female” has given me the ability to recognize that aside from a few undeniably biological differences, men and women are really not all that dissimilar.  Even so, I can understand the skepticism many women feel about any male who claims the label “feminist” for himself.  The implication is “How can you really understand?”  My answer is, and will always be, “I listen and I try to draw parallels to my own very human experience”.

Whether wrongly or rightly, anyone who is different within any movement or group ends up drawing some fire.  I recognize that within Feminist spaces my ideas and commentary are more heavily scrutinized then they would be if I were a woman.  I am also aware that anything I say in a public forum is going to seen by many as the Official Male Response™.  This could make me angry, resentful, or both, but I have made a concerted effort to remove those sorts of instant responses from my canon of emotions.  Anger has done nothing but make me miserable and keep me there.  Indeed, if the situation was reversed, I’d probably make the same assumption myself.

That few of us are willing to brave this sort of often uncomfortable transition period of acclimation and discovery is what often keeps us separate.  In an ideal world, we would have no massive barriers in place that stifle communication and dissemination of information, but this is the world in which we live.  For better or for worse, we are are need of more trailblazers, more allies, more brave souls willing to clear the path for those who would follow after them.  I have discovered in my own admittedly limited experience that once the hard part subsides, true growth and true unity follows, and with it comes friends, allies, and supporters beyond one’s wildest dreams.  Once we begin to trust and not fear each other, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.  Until we do so, however, we should expect little beyond what we have now.

Life of Illusion

An experienced economist and a novice economist are walking down the road. They come across some dog shit lying on the pavement.

The experienced economist says, “If you eat that dog shit, I’ll give you $20,000!”

The novice economist runs his optimization program and figures out he’s better off eating it, so he does and collects the money.

Continuing along the same road they almost step into another pile of dog shit.

The novice economist says, “Now, if you eat this shit I’ll give you $20,000.”

After evaluating the proposal, the experienced economist eats the shit and collects the money.

They go on. The novice economist wonders, “Listen, we both have the same amount of money we had before, but we both ate shit. I don’t see us being better off.”

The experienced economist retorts, “Not so! We’ve created $40,000 of trade!”

Carpe Diem!



The Obama Administration seems to be pulling back, on front after front, in the face of economic challenges, sobering poll numbers, and steadfast Republican obstinacy.

Whether on health care, jobs promoting legislation, EPA regulation of pollutants, and/or energy/climate policy, the political powers that be within the Obama White House have determined that ‘tactical retreats’ toward even more incremental policy concepts is the path forward in an illusive search for bipartisanship policy making with an elusive (and recalcitrant) Republican minority.  Watering down already weakened (and inadequate) policy constructs and approaches is path toward increased problems, rather than solutions, on political, economic, and climate terms.  

Rather than retreat toward ever weaker policy concepts, President Obama would well serve the nation through a step back to consider the totality of the environment with then a strong and aggressive step forward with stronger proposals to seize the huge opportunities that lie before use with real solutions to our jobs, economic, health care, energy, and climate challenges.

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