If You Thought the Frying Pan Was Bad…

November 4, 2010

— by ducksoup

The Republicans and other rightwingers vigorously and effectively portrayed Obama as a “socialist” or a “Marxist” or “too liberal.” The media people, being very stupid and afraid to say anything different, continued and repeated the rightwingers’ chant that Obama’s problem was that he was “too left-leaning.”

I even heard that turd David Gergen talking about Obama’s need to destroy Social Security (my verb, not his).

Obama’s problem is not that he has been too inclined to act in ways that pleased his base but that he acted in ways that infuriated his base, the very people who had voted for him: Democrats, liberals, women, gays, working class people, and independents.

He kow-towed to the corporate interests and big banks in his financial “reform” scam by not reining in the too-big-to-fail banks and cow-towed to the health insurance companies when be surrendered on universal healthcare and/or the public option without even making a pretense of a fight for those issues. He ducked and weaved on DADT and DOMA, further alienating the folks on the left to whom those were and remain important issues.

So, if Obama and the media whores now see this Republican sweep as a call for Obama to “move to the right” or further right, we are doomed.

The crazies on the Right are in the ascendancy, the Left is battered and subdued, the Right has all the passion, the Left has none. And the media goons will continue to press Obama to move further and further to the Right by cutting taxes on the rich, de-regulating whatever is still regulated (such as the safety of our food and the solvency of our pensions) and joining with the Republicans to end all pollution controls; end all wildlife preservation; end all efforts to keep our water supply safe and adequate; end all efforts to keep our air clean, safe and breathable; end all efforts to keep our roadways, tunnels and bridges repaired and safe; and in general end all efforts to protect the American middle class, the elderly, the poor, the children.

Next time anyone decides to vote for the Republicans to punish the Democrats for their wimpishness, remember what it is the Republicans plan to do to us and ponder if you like their plans and actions any better.

Just because it’s uncomfortable in the frying pan doesn’t mean that jumping into the fire will improve your body temperature or your life.

(c) 2010 by ‘ducksoup’.  All rights reserved.


Cry Babies

October 14, 2010

That nebulous cloud of disaffected Democrat & liberal independent voters, commonly labeled “pumas,” deserves a new monicker: “cry babies.”

After a relentless, two-year campaign of whining to each other on blogs, accompanied by not a single act of political activism, our eternal outrage now compels pumas to protest, punish, or dispense penance in the 2010 midterm elections.

Protest:  At a seminal crossroads for the continued viability of our Nation, the likes of which has not been witnessed since 1860, many pumas feel that a protest vote — voting for a green candidate, say, or simply abstaining — will somehow compel the Dem leadership to prick up its ears and heed our puma roar.  Or at least it will assuage our aversion to voting for any but the ideal candidate;

Punish:  Other pumas, for dark reasons known only to them, liken their prior affiliation to the Dem party to a romantic relationship.  When their partner/party betrayed their fidelity by shacking up with obama, these furies vowed revenge.  This November, they intend on taking a Louisville Slugger to both headlights, so the Democratic Party will think next time before he cheats.  Not a few of these punishing pumas have undergone a total inversion, abandoning principles and ideals to become fanatic Republicans.  Which makes one wonder what this was all about for them.

Penance:  There’s a lot of pop psychology going about saying the Democratic Party needs to “hit rock bottom” before it can recover — to “learn its lesson” so to speak — so let’s expedite the process by helping them lose the midterms.

This thought process is flawed on at least two counts.  First, it accepts the meme that ‘hitting rock bottom’ is the sole and certain path to ‘recovery.’   In reality, many people with addictions, antisocial behavior, etc. straighten themselves out before hitting bottom, while many others hit bottom and just stay there, never ‘learning their lesson.’   Second, this theory envisions the entire Democratic party as a single person.  Which it is not.  The Democratic Party is an (especially loose) agglomerate of individuals.  Those capable of learning their lesson have already learned it; facilitating a GOP landslide will not scare straight any others.

A flawed anthropomorphizing of party dynamics, this tenuous strategy also ignores the reality that the TP juggernaut cares not one iota for the aims of liberals.  A minority that includes Blanche Lincoln but lacks Russ Feingold fixes what, exactly?  In short, there is no path to ‘recovery’, however you define that, which leads through a right-wing landslide in this election.

Puma Piss

On the whole, pumas are a pissy lot.  We whine, we foment, we take umbrage at every slight.  On each of our shoulders sits a chip wearing an orange pant suit.  This November, pumas seem eager to stage a massive pissing-into-the-wind protest.  That’ll show ’em!

Yet, in this year of the Tea Party, where were all the Puma rallies?  Who were the Puma candidates in the primaries?  Given, unlike the TP, no billionaire benefactor jump-started our movement, but it didn’t help that there was no real movement to jump-start in the first place.

Every two years, all on her lonesome, Cindy Sheehan gets herself on the ballot to run against Nancy Pelosi.  Not a single “big name” puma could be aroused from their torpor and pathetic self-pity to do likewise.

There’s no avoiding that we pumas pissed away the past two years.  Oh, some of us did try to do something constructive way back.  Known by the ill-chosen name “Just Say No Deal,” and despite assembling an impressive array of experience and talent, for various reasons — an incompetent narcissist as its organizer, for one — this nascent “Puma Party” never got off the ground.  Thereafter followed The Denver Group, a savvy, well-crafted, but ultimately quixotic, protest of the DNC convention, and then … nothing.

Could a Puma Party have arisen then, as did the Tea party a year later?  Sure, but it didn’t.  It still could, and should, happen, in future.  And, in an upcoming post I will be announcing the formation of a new party/movement/PAC.  But back to today.

“First, Do No Harm”

Is the Democratic Party a total write-off?  Absolutely not.  To those who never got as close to politics as did I, it may come as a shock to discover that all politicians have an oily sheen about them.  But let’s not ignore that on 5/31/08, 12 of 27 RBC powerlords voted in favor of Hillary Clinton; that most democratic primary voters chose Clinton over obama; that the obamalonians were so worried by a straw poll of delegates, which indicated Clinton might win a floor vote, that they rigged the formal nomination.  Roughly, then, at least half of the Democratic rank & file membership is salvageable, as is nearly all of the Party platform.

Leave yesterday be; we’ll deal with that tomorrow.  Today, we must be pragmatic about what we can and cannot accomplish at this juncture.  Yes, ideally things would be better with true liberals in the Senate rather than the likes of Reid and Boxer.  But we blew our chance to improve those particular seats during this Spring’s primaries.  Our next opportunity to improve on Reid & Boxer, et al., comes around in 2016.  In 2010, we can only prevent those seats from getting FAR WORSE.  As political surgeons, we must all abide by the Hippocratic Oath.

It’s A Dirty Job

It’s 2010, and there’s no Puma Party around to throw our weight behind.  As disaffected dems and liberal independents, we’re stuck with making the best of a bad situation with what’s on hand.  What’s on hand are the existing Democrats and the TP-laden GOP.  The situation is too dire, the threats to our institutions, liberties and democracy too grave, for protests or statements.   For all intents and purposes, we have a Republican president in obama — handing him a GOP Congress would be disastrous.  This will be no small nudge to the right:  there will be an all-out assault on the institutions, principles, the very foundation of our American Liberty.

Our task today is simple, and it is narrow:  pick the lesser of two evils.  And the greater is very evil, indeed.  In 2008, this true liberal was prepared to vote for McCain, had the race in California proved close, simply to avert the pending obamalonian disaster.  I do not like John McCain, and share but few of his ideals.  So when a fellow puma tells me they cannot, in principle, vote for Barbara Boxer, who despite her many flaws, closely matches their political views, I have no sympathy.  It’s a dirty job, but we’ve got to hold our noses and cast a vote that matters.  No more crying: do your duty.  The welfare of our Nation demands it.


(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.



Barack the Toxic

September 28, 2010

One key job of a sitting president, especially in an election year, is to conduct oneself in a way that helps your Party win races.  If you’re a popular president, you must tirelessly stump for candidates.  If you’re unpopular, you can still act forceful and in-charge. Even if people disagree with you, their primal instincts will push them toward complying with a confident troop leader.

As president, your legislative calendar should be carefully crafted and timed to boost your comrades fighting for office.  Bills should be introduced that make your guys look good, while forcing the other guys to either dodge or take unpopular stands.  A steady stream of feel-good executive orders & speeches should emanate from the Oval Office throughout the Fall.  “Third-rail” issues should be scrupulously avoided.

Needless to say, obama, neither savvy politician nor experienced legislator, much less a leader, has failed on all these counts.  Ultimately, obama doesn’t care: the common complaint among Democratic candidates this year has been that the White House has told them, in no uncertain terms, that they are on their own.

Even worse than these sins of omission, the obama administration has committed several missteps toxic to an already struggling Democratic party:

Health Care Reform

Way back in 2009, 3/4 of Americans favored health care reform, with at least 2/3 supporting universal single payer.  Possessing momentum, a mandate, and a 60-vote majority, enacting HCR should’ve been a slam-dunk.  Yet the entire Democratic machine stood flat-footed as the nascent TP staged protests against HCR, before belatedly dispatching Nancy Pelosi to engage in a puerile pissing match.  The bill went over like a lead zeppelin in congress, ambushed by blue dogs who’d slipped their leashes.  It was in any case an academic exercise, as the HCR bill exited the White House stillborn; a perverted creation of BO’s secret sessions with industry lobbyists, a Health Care Reform with no “care” and scant “reform” in it.

And thus was an eminently popular idea, whose time had clearly arrived, become an albatross draped about the neck of every Democrat running for office, with Martha Coakley the honorary first recipient.

The Oil Spill

As terrible as this disaster was, it nevertheless offered the obama administration a rare opportunity to gain respect, by presenting a striking contrast of executive vigor to Bush’ callousness & ineptitude during Katrina.

Instead, obama ended up looking even more callous and impotent.  Consequently, in the political chess game, Katrina as a dig against the GOP is permanently off the board.    (Maneuverability on this issue was not helped by the self-coronated “Green Economy President’s” advocation a month earlier for expanded offshore drilling.)

Trying to act like he actually cared, BO blurted out some tough guy nonsense about ‘a boot on BP’s throat’.  Which was as convincing as the muttered oaths of the wimp who’s had his lunch money stolen yet again.

A potential fatal blow to the drill-baby-drillers, the oil spill became instead a Democratic failure.  To add injury to insult, a chance to push for accelerating the transition to renewable energy was lost.

TARP

A Bush program that everyone beyond Wall Street utterly abhorred, BO eagerly gobbled up the sloppy seconds.  And, Presto!  The GOP’s plague with the middle class voter, their eternal coddling of the rich & greedy, infected the Democrats as well.

Immigration

A full 70% of Americans favor increased controls on illegal immigration.  Only proglydites, whose vote you presumably already have, and libertarians & capitalists, whose vote you’ll never get, favor illegal immigration. Yet the obama administration went out of its way to combat Arizona’s SB1070 via legal action and public condemnation.  Now, there were many paths to tread on this subject —  decrying racial profiling while simultaneously announcing a cosmetic boost to border patrol, for example, or simply ignoring it — that skirted a controversial, compromising stand.  Instead, obama firmly linked all Democrats with illegal immigration.  Every news story now includes an obligatory reference to ‘conservatives seek stronger border controls, while liberals (!) favor easing restrictions on immigration.’

The Mosque

The political equivalent of a high voltage power line lying in a puddle, sparking and buzzing,  the Ground Zero mosque was unhesitatingly taken up by obama.

Nearly 80% of Americans oppose the construction of that mosque as insensitive and in bad taste.  Yet the administration spent a good two weeks devoting its efforts to defense of the mosque, raising the canards of racism and 1st Amendment rights.  As a result, the Democrats came across as jihadiphile desecrators of hallowed ground.

Legislative Calendar

On Capitol Hill, the White House has chosen to: half-heartedly launch a repeal of DADT without first lining up enough votes; punt on the Bush tax cuts expiration after a three-and-out botching of the accompanying PR spin; threatened to force on its own congressmen a pre-election vote on a GOP-friendly, White House proposal for a $200 billion tax cut to businesses.

The list could go on.

What kind of Party leader repeatedly takes positions that 2/3 to 3/4 of Americans oppose?  One answer is that obama is simply a bungling idiot, & his “handlers” by extension.

Or, realizing BO’s low approvals were irreparable, the White House may have instead consciously chosen to rally its extremist base.   From the Paris Communards to the Moral Majority, this has been a standard, and not altogether unwise, tactic.

Another explanation for obama’s string of toxic stances exists: that he is a manchurian candidate, a trojan horse snuck into the Democratic Party and designed to destroy it from within.  If so, then BO’s intentionally took these toxic missteps (or at least his creators knew he’d take them).

What will it take for the Democratic Party to realize its leader is poison?   Apparently, nothing short of a midterm clobbering.

(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.


He Who Lies First, Lies Best

February 9, 2010

– by ‘tamerlane’

The Lie We Remember

Studies have shown that people tend to remember the first piece of information told them, even if it’s later proven to be false.  Even when corrected in as little as 30 seconds, the false information is still given at least partial, permanent credence by the recipient.

So, when Sean Hannity tells you that 2008 was one of the coolest years on record, and I later prove that it was actually one of the warmest,  Hannity’s lie is still stuck in your head.

When Shrub spoke in ominous tones of proof that Iraq was purchasing uranium in Africa, your fear lingered even after learning the “proof” was a crude forgery.

When Chris Mathews waves a piece of paper he insists is an original birth certificate, then you later learn it was only a recent computer printout … well, you get the picture.

For fun, let’s play this trick right here.  First I’ll tell you a lie:

Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts proves that Americans

have had enough of Obama’s crusade to force a multi-trillion-dollar health-care “reform” on America, replacing private healthcare with a government-run system that will empower federal bureaucrats to make life-and-death decisions about your medical care.

Now, count to thirty before reading the following:

82% of Obama supporters who voted for Brown support the public option, as do 86% of Obama voters who stayed home.

57% of Obama voters who stayed home support the Senate health care bill or think it doesn’t go far enough.

Of Obama voters who cast a ballot for Brown, nearly half (49%) support the Senate bill or think it does not go far enough.  Just 11% think it goes too far.

The first statement (lie, to-the-point, emotional) came from an Human Events email.  The second (truth, long-winded, dry) came from MoveOn.  Which version have you heard most?

Propaganda War

Many liberals think the GOP is in for a shock because they’re misinterpreting the message behind the Brown victory.  Guess what  —  the GOP doesn’t care what the real message was.  They created their own false message — ‘the voters rejected socialized healthcare’ — and broadcast it loud and long until it is now the generally accepted “truth.”

Not only have the Democrats said nothing to refute this lie, they’ve helped reinforce it.  Throughout Coakley’s campaign, the Dems joined the GOP in proclaiming the special election a referendum on health care reform.  Then, lending credence to the GOP lie that Brown’s victory signaled the voters’ rejection of real health care reform, Obama gleefully lopped off the few remaining useful components of his bill.

The Brown victory spin capped a masterful GOP propaganda campaign that began months ago with the astroturfed protests of the Dems’ town meetings on health care reform.   Faced with a substantial majority of Americans favoring universal health care with a public option, the GOP didn’t even bother with changing actual opinion.  It’s enough to simply give the impression that most Americans just adore their current private health care, counting on people go along with the “majority” (sic).  This is known as the “bandwagon” technique :

“Bandwagon is an appeal to the subject to follow the crowd, to join in because others are doing so as well. Bandwagon propaganda is, essentially, trying to convince the subject that one side is the winning side, because more people have joined it. The subject is meant to believe that since so many people have joined, that victory is inevitable and defeat impossible. Since the average person always wants to be on the winning side, he or she is compelled to join in.”

The bandwagon is just one of several propaganda techniques identified and given names in the late 1930’s by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis.  The term propaganda originally meant any form of persuading of large numbers of people as to the veracity of a statement, but modern propaganda techniques are considered devious. Their messages are brief, simple, and target basic human emotions, and therefore powerful enough to override logic and reason.

To counter deceitful propaganda, simply telling the truth is not enough.  Your message needs to be brief and touch people’s emotions ….OK, also propaganda, but true.  In marketing terms, you need to talk benefits and not features.

How to Make Friends and Influence Voters

Even though their ideals aren’t shared by most Americans, Republicans consistently defeat Democrats because, while the Democrats give dry, albeit veracious, minutiae, Republicans use propaganda.  In 2000, 60% of voters agreed with Al Gore’s positions, yet only 51% gave him their vote.  That means over 9 million people were tricked into voting for the wrong person.  Why? Because most Americans felt Bush would be more fun to have a beer with.

Democrats used to be quite good at “messaging.”  JFK’s innovative use of an advertising “jingle”, with a chorus of voices chanting “Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy!”, was classic bandwagon.  The 1964 “daisy” attack ad, aired only once, was devastatingly effective in tapping into a primal fear that Goldwater’s bellicose stands, coupled with his notorious explosive temper, would lead to nuclear armageddon.

But when Nixon returned to the game, he’d learned his lesson on propaganda — the False Assertion that he had a “secret plan to end the war” was a key component (along with some criminal and treasonous acts) of his ’68 campaign.

The nadir of Democratic propaganda effectiveness came in 1984, when Mondale was so desperate for a marketing message he had to bum a line off a Wendy’s ad.

It was Bill Clinton’s personal charisma that won over the common folk, but his mojo could not be bottled for the rest of the party.  And, so, the Dems were powerless to resist the Glittering Generalities of The Contract on America.

In 2000, when, despite Donna Brazile’s hardest efforts, Al Gore still won the election, Republicans astroturfed a protest of the Florida recount to plant the meme that most Americans wanted to ‘move on’ and ‘seek closure’, lest a count of every vote cast precipitate a frightening ‘constitutional crisis’.  In a bold counterattack to recapture public opinion, the Democrats droned on about wonky legalisms.

The Circus Left Town

There’s no need to describe here the massive propaganda circus staged for obama’s nomination, or to enumerate the many, egregious lies it propagated.  For the first time in decades, the Democratic Party ran an effective presidential campaign employing all the tools, including terse, emotion-stirring propaganda, but it was against a fellow Democrat.  Once that victory had been secured, the whole show pulled up stakes up in the middle of the night, leaving only some flattened grass to indicate it ever existed.

And now the Democrats are back to their impotent ways, standing mutely by while the GOP convinces Americans that they don’t really want the healthcare reform they say they want.  Most peculiar.

(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.  All rights reserved.