Sunday, August 31, 2008

What do the major party VP nominees add to the tickets?

What exactly was the point of last week's announcements for vice presidential picks? On one hand we have a shell of a candidate promoting "change" but doing everything in his power to establish himself as an establishment candidate, picking a Washington, D.C. insider with a record of corporate whoring and unquestioning support for U.S. imperial policy. Small wonder Barack Obama is either neck-and-neck with or trailing John McCain in the polls; he insists on turning off the very people he needs to put him over the top, including the Clinton supporters. On the other hand we have the Republican candidate picking a "hockey mom," with even less political experience than his Democratic counterpart (the very thing he chides his rival for), just so he can pander to the bloc of Clinton supporters inclined to vote for McCain out of spite.

In all the hype and bluster, though, one important question remains: what does either VP pick actually add to the ticket? Joe Biden, a typical DLC insider with a hawkish foreign policy record and a habit of voting for bills that hurt working Americans, is just the sort of candidate likely to further alienate progressives — the very people Obama needs to put him over the top against McCain. Assuming progressives will get behind the Democratic nominee simply because he and his followers choose to deny any other alternative exists has always been a recipe for disaster. Just ask Al Gore and John Kerry. Obama has done everything he can to blow this election by turning off all those who put their faith and hopes in him thinking he represented a departure from the DLC. Picking Biden, though it allows for a tough yet compliant attack dog in the general election who makes up for a perceived lack of experience, really does nothing for the Democratic nominee's chances.

Then there's Sarah Palin. I get that she was tapped to be McCain's veep because of her youth and sex, but those are really the only two things she has going for her as a candidate. As Michael Moore explained to Keith Olbermann the other night, McCain's cynical pander is based on the assumption that American women are stupid — that they'll vote for a woman because of her gender and not her politics. Her record and positions are typically extreme right-wing: opposed to abortion rights, opposed to gay marriage, supports tax cuts for the wealthy and police state thuggery, among other horrendous policies. None of those qualities, however, have won a presidential election — not for the past sixteen years, anyway (the last two were rigged, so they cannot be counted on as legitimate examples of right-wing extremism winning anything). Women who actually care about their reproductive rights and are offended by Stepford wife-type politicians may be galvanized to vote against McCain and his so-called "hockey mom." There's also her firing of Alaska's public safety director, Walter Monegan, for refusing to fire her former brother-in-law. This scandal is so outrageous there that the Alaskan legislature is investigating what the Washington Post is dubbing Palin's own "trooper-gate."

This may be the first time since George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton that a Republican candidate blew an election by dubious virtue of being dumber than his Democratic counterpart, but don't count McCain out yet; there are plenty of caging lists, hackable electronic voting machines, and bought state secretaries with which to steal this election, along with a Democratic rival who insists on replaying the Kerry campaign.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

An open letter to Barack Obama

Mr. Obama:

As one of the relatively few people in this country who saw through your act early on, and for the right reasons, let me first say how utterly ashamed I am to call myself a registered Democrat. You are a disgrace not only to the party at large, but to the thousands — perhaps, dare I say, even millions of Americans who were and remain so desperate for someone to come and rescue our once-great nation from the fascists that they placed their hope and faith in you. Hang your head in shame, and then look me straight in the eye and don't turn away until I'm done.

According to an article in New York Magazine, the electorate has had about enough of you. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has you running in a statistical dead heat with Republican John McCain,'s poll doesn't look good for your chances either, and Zogby has your GOP counterpart five points ahead. Are you trying to blow this election for us?!? Because it sure as hell seems as though you are.

The NY Magazine article gives several reasons for your pathetic performance thus far, but it left out the most obvious: not only your consistent refusal to fight back against the smears of the far right and its tired old champion for this election cycle, but, most importantly, your deliberate alienation of your own political party's base. Time and again, you have demonstrated that you do not represent Americans on any issue of importance, and voters realize this. Long before you secured the Democratic Party nomination to be the ringer candidate against the election sham's already-chosen victor, and every day since then, you have taken positions including (but in no way limited to):

That's just off the top of my head, nor is it the most worrisome reason for your refusal to campaign like someone who wants to win. I have a friend named Dave who has worked on numerous Democratic political campaigns, including yours. He is witness to the stupid things you've got your people in critical states such as Ohio doing, such as:

  • Failing to even install a working telephone system in your Lakewood, Ohio, campaign office,

  • Sending your people out to register voters — REPUBLICAN-leaning ones at that — whom you MUST know will NEVER vote for you, and

  • Deliberately avoiding mentioning that it was under the presidency of Bill Clinton that average American incomes were higher, while it was under the shrub that those same incomes fell.

This isn't rocket science, Obama; it's politics. You've been in the proverbial game long enough to know this. You seem hellbent on losing this election, and you need to explain why to those who placed their faith and hopes in you before you dash them just a little over two months from now. It's that, or pull your head out of your rear orifice and start trying to win this thing. This race has never been, nor shall it ever be, about you; it's about this country and the people in it, and turning back from the precipice of fascist empire your predecessors have brought us all to.

I'm not the only one who feels this way, nor am I the only one capable of reading polls and understanding why the results are the way they are. Tim Gatto, Dave Lindorff, and David Sirota, for example, all have entries today either implying or flat out stating why you are losing this election — and it's all for the same reason: your insistence on alienating your own political party's base. Get with the program and listen to the advice of those who are trying to help you. Tell the Iago-like advisers whispering in your ear to screw off, that they're costing you the election and you're done with them. It's that, or go into hiding from all the people you've let down once you've delivered your concession speech.

That's all I have to say to you, Obama. You have your choice to make, though I am certain you made it long ago. Just know this: no matter what happens in November, you'll still be comfortably employed, while the rest of us will have to continue suffering the conservative policies you support.


Michael Kwiatkowski

Saturday, August 02, 2008

How Kos' Scam Operation Works

After reading cometman's entry about Kos Kop MajorFlaw, I thought a little explanation of the system at that web site might be in order. Most if not all of what I write next is common knowledge to PFFers and members of other blog sites, but it helps to have it all on record - just so the people at the Mediocre Orange Hype remember that we've got their number.

The first crucial Thing to Remember is that the Mediocre Orange Hype is a DLC gatekeeper blog, and Moulitsas is in bed with the same band of lying, conniving back-stabbers who promised change in 2006 only to continue the status quo of rubber-stamping virtually everything the shrub and his gang of thugs do as soon as they assumed control of Congress. Because of this, no criticism of Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer, or Emanuel is allowed - nothing over the top or more than tepid, anyway. That's always been the case.

The second Thing to Remember, again, is that the site is a DLC gatekeeper blog, meaning it is blatantly anti-progressive and anti-true liberal. Mention Dennis Kucinich, for example (one of the few principled Democrats in the Legislature), and you're treated to a litany of bile from anti-progressive clique trolls and party enforcers such as DHinMI rbrianj, MBNYC, davybaby, djmiklethun, and a host of others whose assigned task is to disparage him whenever the opportunity arises.

Similarly, mention Ralph Nader in any kind of noncritical manner - that is, post anything that doesn't attack the man personally - and you'll receive similar treatment from the same group of thugs. One Kos Kop even admitted to abusing the troll-rate feature to punish "EVERY pro-Nader comment." Cindy Sheehan, once a favorite propaganda tool of the Mediocre Orange Hype during the 2006 midterm elections, fell out of favor there when she announced her break from the Democrats over the party's betrayals of the anti-war movement in 2007.

The truth so many of us have come to realize is that while we may support genuine progressives, the moneyed higher-ups at you-know-where don't - and they have no problem going to great lengths to suppress dissent from the DLC's "center-leaning electorate" narrative. They do, however, have a problem doing it openly, which is where we come now to Thing to Remember #3: Proxies.

Neither Moulitsas or his band of front-pagers have the gonads to behave reprehensibly toward true progressives on the main page of the web site; they want to maintain a perception in Left Blogsylvania that they are something they're not: members of the progressive movement. Their words and actions belie this front, but again, the key here is perception, not reality. The Kos Hounds serve one purpose, and one purpose only: to do the dirty work so the front-pagers can pretend to remain above the fray.

Notice how the troll-rate feature there is flagrantly abused by the Kos Hounds to suppress dissent and bully lower-tier members into submission. Officially, abuse of the feature gets the abusers punished, but abuse is selectively defined. Most of the lower-tier members are held to a far different standard than the Hounds, who are allowed to get away with such abuse because it helps purge the site of actual progressives whose writing might damage the illusion of a "united party."

To be sure, when such behavior is seen to be a threat to the illusion that the Mediocre Orange Hype is anything but a DLC gatekeeper blog, the occasional Hound may find himself on the receiving end of his comrades' stoning. Such was apparently the case recently with MajorFlaw, who, according to cometman, appears to have crossed a line and as a result, lost some of his power. Make no mistake, however: most of the Kos Hounds operate outside the rules of the site. They are the elite, the stooges, the ones who give the front-pagers the appearance of respectability.

That's what it's all about, friends, enemies, people I don't know, and people I couldn't care less about: respectability. Moulitsas and his goons crave it like a crackhead hungry for his next fix. So desperate are they to be included with the cesspool of D.C. insiders that they will devour the left to get in that oh-so-exclusive club of degenerates.

The problem is that, thanks to the information-spreading wonders of the Internet, Moulitsas and his Hounds can't keep the illusion up. They went too far, too fast, and too hard in purging the site of dissenting voices. They went after the likes of David Swanson, Greg Palast, Larry Johnson, and others who all have their own blogs and other web sites from which to write the truth - even, no, especially when the truth is not favorable to Democrats.

As we go into yet another election in which the Progressive Movement is used, abused, and abandoned by the DLC, it's important to know who the gatekeepers are and how they operate. It's the only way we can begin to overcome the money wall.