What does it say about how Barack Obama has run the country that Michelle Bachmann, a Minnesota congressman who was fighting for her seat in 2008 after implying we should institute McCarthyism, is now a serious candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination? Only under his weak-willed governance, half-measures, and consistence ignorance about how to beat Republicans in national politics, could a horrific figure like Michelle Bachmann find a base like the Tea Party and start making a play at the White House.
If you think Michelle Bachmann is just a figure of fun because her belief are so beyond the pale that no one could possibly take her seriously, take a step back and apprise the country of the last four years. People took to town halls and angrily wrote their representative that the gov’ment wuz gonna take away their terrible fucking health care scam. There’s no national anger at the banks anymore but morons keep thinking that if only taxes went down then everything would be okay because who wants to pay for roads and schools and sanitation.
I encourage you to read Matt Taibbi’s recent Rolling Stone article where he voices the same warning about Bachmann. Since he’s done such a terrific job of cataloging just some of her many hypocrisies and hatreds, I’ll add one more that went public today. Michelle Bachmann signed “The Marriage Vow” which is yet another piece of conservative Christian bullshit designed to demonize gay people and pretend like they want to go into your house, split up your marriage, and tell you that you’re going to fuck people of the same sex from now on.
But here’s where it gets really fucked up:
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.
This atrocious statement is on page one. You can click over to Mediaite for their breakdown of the hatefulness and ignorance of this statement. We can laugh at stupidity all we like, but this is where it gets scary. Not only would anyone who paid attention in 6th grade American history know this statement is false, but let’s just break down the statement to what it is: “Hey black people, you know that black guy you elected President? Guess what! He’s made your life worse than when you were slaves. IRONY.”
A person who the mainstream media loves because she’s going to say something batshit insane every time she opens her crazy fucking mouth is considered someone who could sit in the Oval Office and make decisions. It’s tempting to laugh off Bachmann because then we won’t have to face the fact that such a grotesque figure actually has more power than us.
Congressman Anthony Weiner did a gross thing. He did a stupid thing. He should be publicly chastised on both counts. However, in the range of gross, stupid sexual things that members of higher office have done when it comes to their members, his crime is at the low end. To the best of our knowledge, he never engaged in personal sexual relations outside his marriage. That’s not to say that he didn’t hurt and embarrass his wife with his actions, but it’s the line between thinking about doing something and actually doing it. If Weiner actually wanted to cheat on his wife, he could have gone ahead with it.
But there is no reason he should resign. You can argue that he’ll be less effective now that he has a scandal hanging over his head, but people forget scandals unless you run for higher office. He’ll probably be stuck as a congressman for the rest of his political career, but people will forget and move on to the next scandal. And when the next inevitible scandal comes along, if it’s more salacious, Weiner’s sexual improperity will seem small by comparison. And liberals should not forget that he’s been a loud voice for their causes and that matters in a congress that keeps moving to the right because the extreme right is pulling all of congress to radical conservative values to the point where Obama thinks he’s a centrist when actually his values coincide with 1980s Republicans.
So naturally, Democrats, in their infinite stupidity, are throwing Weiner under the bus. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee has joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the call for Weiner to resign. Keep in mind, Democrats aren’t the party that tries to legislate morality. There is no “moral majority” for Democrats, they don’t align with the religious right, and they don’t argue that the founders made intended America as Christian nation.
Republicans do that, and when they have a sexual scandal, they aren’t in a rush to kick out the adulterers (except for Larry Craig, whose adultery wasn’t a problem but his homosexuality was). Louisiana senator David Vitter fucked prostitutes, and he not only kept his job, but was re-elected last year. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford disappeared to Argentina so he could fuck his mistress, and all he got was censure, the equivalent to a slap on the wrist.
But Democrats, a party without values beyond what the latest focus group thinks, is willing to throw out a liberal voice because he sexted. They want to throw him out because it tells voters “Hey! Look! We’re moral! We share your values!” It’s a short-term gain at the expense of an accomplished legislator who fights for worthwhile policy matters. The same thing happened with Eliot Spitzer. Yes, his sexual deviance was more extreme, but personal actions should have personal consequences, not professional retribution. Spitzer was one of the toughest regulators modern Wall Street has ever seen and our country once again showed that it was happier to engage in moral superiority and schadenfreude than to defend someone who was trying to protect their interests.
Democrats aren’t saying “Let’s focus on more important matters.” They’re saying, “Yes, let’s engage in this distraction. Let’s acknowledge it as a real thing that’s worthy of the American people’s attention instead of why the price of gas is so damn high.” But none of it surprises me anymore. The media goes for the sensational instead of the substantive, Democrats suck at politics, and Republicans laugh all the way to the hotel where they cheat on their spouses.
I don’t feel bad for Anthony Weiner, but I feel bad for the political and cultural system he and I have to inhabit.
As I was flipping through some midday news, I saw a report that the average gas price is expected to reach $4.50/gal before finally coming down in October. Sadly, this price has nothing to do with supply and demand. Environmentalists will use it as a call-to-arms that everyone should buy fuel efficient cars with money they don’t have while conservatives will say that it’s time to drill off shore as quickly as possible. However, both these calls assume that the price of gas is so high because we’re running out or because of the current turmoil in the Middle East.
But that’s simply not the case. It’s oil speculation now and it was oil speculation in 2008. As Matt Taibbi explains in his must-read (albeit wholly depressing) book Griftopia, the price of oil is being driven up by greedy speculators (e.g. Goldman Sachs, Barack Obama’s single largest campaign contributor in 2008). How does this work? By screwing with the commodities market. Here’s a helpful analogy of how it’s gone horribly wrong:
To use an example frequently offered by [Mike Masters of Masters Capital Management], imagine if someone continually showed up at car dealerships and asked to buy $500,000 worth of cars. This mystery person doesn’t care how many cars, mind you, he just wants a half million bucks’ worth. Eventually, someone is going to sell that guy one car for $500,000. Put enough of those people out there visiting car dealerships, your car market is going to get very weird very quickly. Soon enough, the people who are coming into the dealership looking to buy cars they actually plan on driving are going to find they’ve been priced out of the market. [p. 143]
Also keep in mind that the price of oil drives up the price of food. If companies have to pay more to put fuel in their trucks, they’re going to pass the loss onto the consumer.
So what does our fearful leader do in the face of obvious and well-documented fraud? He pulls a classic Obama and hedges with the appearance of doing something without actually doing anything. The website Transport Topics reports:
The U.S. Justice Department is “putting together a team whose job it is to root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, and that includes the role of traders and speculators,” President Barack Obama said Thursday in Reno, Nevada.
Oh good. Another commission to look into something that we already know. Obama’s defenders will argue that this is the same “prudence” he’s always exercised, but it’s really a stalling tactic. Obama didn’t say “We’re going to prosecute speculators” or anything that would give the hint that he’s an active rather than a re-active president. Instead, they’ll “root out any cases of fraud or manipulation”, whatever the hell that means. And while the Justice Department continues its stellar record of not prosecuting serious corporate criminals in any meaningful way, the administration will hope that the price of oil will decline and our collective amnesia will take over.
I write all this so that every time you go to fill up your car, you’ll look at the price and know that it’s not real. That it has nothing to do with our lack of energy alternatives or worldwide demand or that we’re not drilling enough in our own backyard. It’s a scam and it’s a scam we may as well get to used to because Obama has shown he has no real interest in holding anyone responsible for anything.
On a related note, we just passed the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill that destroyed the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s a visual reminder of that enduring catastrophe. We have passed ZERO new laws to handle such a spill in the future (although deepwater drilling permits have been issued despite “not fabulous” safety standards). Sad fact: Reuters reports that “During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.”
Would you like to combine your dismay with our national news media with our nation’s outdated and alarmist approach to gender roles? Then you’ll love the misery provided by last night’s opening segment of The Daily Show:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Toemageddon 2011 – This Little Piggy Went to Hell|
While I usually find Bill Maher too obnoxious, his “New Rule” on shows like Secret Millionaire and Undercover Boss is worth watching:
I had the foolish hope that when Rahm Emmanuel and Larry Summers announced they were exiting the Obama administration, that the tenor might change and Obama might hire some outsiders who would be willing to say “Wow. This is really fucked up. Banks are running this place and you’re losing the goodwill of the American people by being their butt-boy.”
Of course, Obama is a weak man who lacks confidence in actually changing the system. So who is his new chief of staff? William Daley, whose current job is a bank executive at JP Morgan Chase. So why does Daley get the job? Because he’s seen as a guy who can get Obama a second term. Good luck with that.
And who is Obama’s new head of the White House Economic Council? Gene Sperling, who previously worked as a consultant for Goldman Sachs. But hey, he held this post during the Clinton years, and as we all know, it’s 1996.
It’s clear that Obama’s real agenda isn’t changing the way Washington works. He’s hiring Clinton guys (also in the mix is Jacob Lew, who was the old director of the OMB and now is the new director of the OMB) who jerk off to the same idiotic philosophy that the free market is always right except when it’s wrong and then government has a responsibility to save it. Did Clinton preside over an era of economic growth? Kind of. It was a bubble economy spurred by equity scams followed by the dot-com scams. It was artificial growth and Clinton let Glass-Steagal, a law that prevented too-big-to-fail banks from existing, be repealed. And all of these “new” councilors Obama has are the same kind of morally-corrupt nitwits who will ask the banks to pretty-please let the nation kind of survive.
Last night was the final episode of The Daily Show for 2010 and host Jon Stewart made one more effort to call attention to the 9/11 First Responders bill that had stalled in the Senate. The bill would provide $7 billion to cover the health care costs incurred by the first responders who rushed to Ground Zero on 9/11 and were rewarded for their heroism with diseases and the crippling financial burden that comes when you make the unforgivable mistake of getting sick in America. It was a moving, heartbreaking piece and if I have one complaint, it would be that the Daily Show didn’t offer any way viewers could donate money directly to these 9/11 first responders.
Of course, direct donations wouldn’t be necessary if Congress, and namely Republican senators, acted responsibly. I could shoot an e-mail to my senators, but the thing about the GOP is that they’re very good at not thinking for themselves. They are a lockstep voting group and the Senators from Georgia, Mr. Chambliss and Mr. Isakson, have never made headlines because they don’t make waves. They don’t introduce important legislation and they don’t question the party leadership. And e-mails or letters or phone calls from me won’t make a difference because I’m not part of their calculus. I’m one liberal voter. I didn’t vote for either of them and most likely never will. I don’t have huge sums of money to donate to their campaigns so a letter from me asking them to do right by 9/11 first responders isn’t going to change their minds. A mind has to exist in order for it to be changed.
I know I go after President Obama a lot on this blog, but that’s because I have expectations of him. I thought there was greatness in him but with each passing day, I suspect that greatness only extended to winning the 2008 election. I don’t begrudge him his pragmatism, but I do begrudge him that pragmatism when it’s used in pursuit of upholding a broken status quo. Being successful at keeping things rotten isn’t much reason to celebrate, and a President who thinks that one year of unemployment benefits in exchange for two years of tax cuts isn’t good at math and is even worse at politics.
But I don’t say much about Republicans on this blog because at this point it’s a given that they’re evil. You can’t vote against a 9/11 First Responders bill in good conscience. There are many issues where I’m willing to concede that an opposing viewpoint isn’t evil, but simply misguided or just really stupid. This is not one of those issues. Voting against 9/11 first responders is evil. This is saying money, money that the GOP has no problem giving away to millionaires and billionaires, isn’t worth giving to people who risked their lives on 9/11 and are now dying slow and painful deaths as a result. The fact that this bill hasn’t passed already doesn’t offend the GOP. The thought of working on Christmas offends them, but letting heroes die when you have the power to help them? Not keeping any Republicans up at night. And if it sounds like I’m demonizing Republicans, it’s only because I find their actions demonic.
What’s disheartening is that if a bill such as this can’t pass the U.S. Senate, then what can? Bills that help the wealthy and leave the rest of us with the scraps, apparently. Republicans have chosen to do evil and media organizations that treat actions such as these as worthwhile positions allow evil to exist as a perfectly valid viewpoint. News organizations are so scared of being labeled partisan, that they won’t say, “9/11 first responders are dying in agony because Republicans are blocking the bill on the basis of not wanting Democrats to win.” And as long as people don’t know about it, then that’s wonderful because if they did, they would be fucking outraged. If people can get upset about a non-mosque that’s not located next door to Ground Zero, imagine what they would do if they found out 9/11 first responders were being left to die in poverty?
I applaude Jon Stewart for calling attention to this bill. I think this, far more than the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, is the best thing he’s done with his influence this year. The Rally was a nice evolution of his satire and media critique, but this is a fight with a clear right and a clear wrong and I thank Mr. Stewart and everyone at The Daily Show for willing to set aside some laughs to pick up an important cause.
If you live in a state represented by a heartless Republican, but still want to help, you can donate to the FealGood Foundation. You may not have corporate backers and a warchest filled with millions of dollars, but you’ll have actually made a positive difference in the world, which is more than I can say for anyone who voted against the 9/11 First Responders bill.
Raising taxes for only the wealthy and repealing Don’t Ask , Don’t Tell are both highly popular among the American people. Both propositions passed the House of Representative. They both received a majority of votes in the Senate. Both were defeated because of parliamentary nonsense that have allowed the minority party to wield a disproportionate level of power. This has been the way of the Senate for the last two years. It will continue to be this way unless Obama makes it his cause to change the rules of this dysfunctional chamber.
Obama blathers on and on about needing to change the way Washington works. Well, this is the way it currently works. Change it. He can’t succeed if the Senate stays the way it is. And while lashing out at his progressive base might be a nice way to vent, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re not the ones setting up roadblocks in his agenda. We’re not the ones who have sworn to defeat him and make him a one-term president.
Unfortunately, I’m sure he’ll fail this task just as he’s failed so many others. John Boehner and the House of Representative will set the agenda for the next two years and Obama will make sure that their agenda passes with minor (if any) Democratic adjustments, because to this President it’s more important to do things rather than do good things.
So Obama was already 0 for 1 in this lame duck session by capitulating on the tax cuts (and according to Paul Krugman, he’s most likely created his own political defeat in 2012 because he doesn’t know how calendars work), and now it looks like he’s failed on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Obama hemmed and hawed about how he couldn’t let the courts make this decision. It had to be done through Congress. Well, this is what happens when you put it in the hands of your Congress–nothing. Harry Reid’s leadership in the Senate has been about as effective as a wet fart and Obama has shown once again that he’s not willing to lead on tough issues. What could have been a victory on a social issue and the closing of a sorry chapter from the Clinton administration has now become yet another of Obama’s many defeats.
So now that DADT repeal has failed to pass in Congress, what is Obama going to do about it? I’m sure he’ll have plenty of lip service. It’s a shame he doesn’t have a fraction of the dedication of the proud gay and lesbian Americans who want to openly go into military service.
Of course, I can’t lay all the blame at Obama’s feet. Republicans are evil. They just are. It’s institutional bigotry and there’s no good reason why gays can’t openly serve. We’ve done studies. The leaders of the military say they can make it happen. And yet we still can’t repeal an evil law that hurts our defensive capabilities. Disgusting.
Once again, we see that it doesn’t matter if you vote Democrat because the Republicans always win.