Friday, September 16, 2011

Eat with Barack and Fight the Attacks!

The title of my latest email from Barack was "Karen, Can We Meet for Dinner?"

I don't know about you, but this is the first time in my longish life that I have ever opened a dinner invitation only to find out that it's a bait and switch gimmick to win a coveted date with the man of my dreams -- that first I will have to plunk down 15 bucks and even then, I have only a slim chance of winning dinner with Barack. Wow. And they said the Clintons were tacky for renting out the Lincoln Bedroom.

That creepy email went unanswered by me, and,I suspect. by thousands of other disappointed lovesick "folks" who are aghast that Dear Leader would be renting himself out this way -- because today I got a follow-up missive from Campaign Manager Jim Messina, titled "About That Dinner".
Karen --
You got an email from the President a couple days ago, inviting you to sit down to dinner with him.

 (And I didn't even have the decency to RSVP.  How veddy rude).
I know some people might think this is just some kind of trick or something. It's not. 
( Actually, I thought it was totally legit until you brought up the tricky part yourself, you idiot.) 

The fact is that someday soon, four people reading this note right now will be on a plane to have dinner with President Obama in Washington, or Chicago, or wherever he might be that day. 

(It will definitely be in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina.... or in any battleground state that has a restaurant with a condemned shovel-ready bridge in the background.) 

Think about that for a second. The four people who win will sit down with the President of the United States of America -- not for a two-minute photo-op or a quick meet-and-greet, but for a private meal with face-to-face conversation. That's just not something too many people will ever get to do.
(Ten minutes for a bolted-down meal sounds so pleasant. What if he asks a question and my mouth is full of chili-dogs or whatever folksy food is on the menu?) 

The President obviously has very little time to spend on anything related to the campaign. And this is how he chooses to spend it -- having real, substantive conversations with people like you.

(All those frequent taxpayer-funded Air Force One trips to factories in battleground states have absolutely nothing to do with the campaign.  They are high governance in its purest form.  And speaking of purest, no purists allowed at this meal.  Only centrist pragmatic progressives, preferably from the independent heartland of the polls).
This is really something you should be a part of.
(But I won't be, because the odds of this happening are about on a par with getting on "Dancing With the Stars" or being struck by lightning.) 
Donate $15 today and you'll be automatically entered for the chance to have dinner with President and three other supporters.
Worst-case scenario: you don't get selected.
(Uh-uh. Worst case scenario is one in six Americans now lives in poverty and if selected, couldn't afford a new outfit for the dinner, let alone gas for the trip to the airport.  Let alone the 15 bucks.) 
 But if you donate, you'll have pitched in to support an organization that's funded at the grassroots level by folks across the country -- not Washington lobbyists or special-interest PACs. You'll have given this campaign a boost, however small, to hire organizers, open offices, and build our organization this fall so it's ready for the hard work ahead of us. 
(There are two campaigns: the folk-funded one using unpaid f***ed folk slaves, and the real one, funded by Wall Street and union-busting billionaire hotel chain heiresses from Chicago.)
And best-case scenario, you'll find yourself sitting across the dinner table from President Obama.
(I can think of about a million better case scenarios in my own particular life and in the lives of the American underclass in general, thank you very much).
 So give it a shot -- donate $15 or more today:

(Why do you always close your emails with just your last name?  There has to be some deep and disturbing psychological explanation for it, and frankly, I don't want to know what it is.)

Reported!  The Evil John Bolton Falsely Accuses Obama of Hating Your Guns.

Speaking of disturbing.... I have been meaning to write about another weird email I got a few days ago from "Messina". It seems he wants folks like me to troll the internets looking for trash talk about Barack and then report back to a very special website to report the trash. It's called and it's filled with scary grainy photos of Obamenemies such as John Bolton, who is spreading the outrageous false rumor that Barack wants to take away everybody's guns!  The horror!  We certainly have to nip that untrue rumor right in the bud, pragmatists!  Because Obama is very much pro-Second Amendment and reneged on his campaign promise to ban assault weapons.  He even wants to keep the clips, because the answer to the Gabby Giffords shooting is that we can all just get along in a bipartisanshippy way.

Next thing you know, some evil Teabagger will be spreading the awful rumor that the Dinner With Barack sweepstakes is a scam.


Anne Lavoie said...

Obama is turning into such a sleazebag.

Related to your aptly called 'unpaid f***ed folk slaves', I recently read that Obama has recruited tens of thousands of them for his re-election campaign and given them the title of 'Fellow'.

It sounds like an academic title, maybe even like they might be getting a stipend (they probably have to pay for a ticket to enter a lottery for that), but they're not. My guess is that the title was chosen to appeal to students or the unemployed for their resumes - certainly not senior citizen volunteers.

'Fellow' certainly look more impressive than the lowly title 'volunteer' for an unpaid job. It might help all those unemployed who desperately need something to fill in those employment gaps on their resumes, when/if any paying jobs ever open up.

Denis Neville said...

“Donate to support our campaign and help us fight back with the facts.”

Obama should report himself…The smears didn't end with the 2008 election. President Obama is now using scapegoats in an attempt to shift the blame for his poor policy choices and his record.

Yves Smith @, “Latest Lame Obama Excuse: “Geithner Blew Me Off”

Yves Smith asks, “are supposed to believe Obama wanted to be tougher with the banks and was thwarted by his Geithner. Does that mean we are also supposed to believe that Eric Holder also ignored Obama’s orders to prosecute?

“…one of Obama’s striking characteristic is his shameless lying. While politicians are a famously untrustworthy breed, the magnitude of the gap between Obama’s campaign promises and his conduct is outside the pale…

On his campaign promises, Obama’s position is “Caveat emptor, you should have been smart enough not to believe me.” Watch:

Obama is a self-made man and worships his creator and his smile is like the silver fittings on a coffin.

Eat with Barack? As Leonard Pinkney said, “The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves - and they both want to devour you.”

Valerie said...

Karen, My husband and I want to thank you for a good laugh over coffee (Australian time).

The Obama re-election campaign has been mishandled from the start. Obviously, someone advised Obama to blow off the very people who got him elected - to even give them a few kicks in the ribs - because “they have nowhere else to go”, completely underestimating that these were highly decent, intelligent people who wouldn't just "go along" with something they believed is wrong just because they were told to do so. Then he started this campaign of easily seen through lies suggesting Obama was running a” grass roots” campaign and was just one of the "folks." And now the Rat Out Your Fellow Democrat Bureau - sounds an awful lot like what went down during the Nazi time in Germany to me. What message is Obama trying to give his electorate? He certainly isn't going to sway hearts and minds with these strategies.

Valerie said...

This is in response to another reader writing (on an earlier thread) about how Obama's hands have been tied by the Blue Dogs and that the country has becoming meaner in the last couple of years - which I agree.

You know, I have been thinking a lot about why the political rhetoric on the Right has become blatantly meaner and more heartless in the last couple of years. I have come to the conclusion that it is because no one is challenging this kind of talk. By politely ignoring this trash talk and "being the only adult in the room" the bullies have been allowed to run wild and have a hey-day being as nasty as they want. I can tell you from the point of view of a teacher, being "the only adult in the room" means you take charge and call the bullies out on their bullying behaviour. You publically shame them and make it clear that this is unacceptable behaviour. Obama has always been cowardly about using his bully pulpit (forgive the unintended pun) to name names - of course that is probably because he, too, is in bed with the very same corporate interests and he doesn't want to look like a hypocrite.

As for getting the Blue Dogs in line - every president has to deal with members of his own party that want to go their own way. What presidents have done throughout history is to force them back in line: You want highway funding? You want money for your state for . . .? You go along with the Democratic agenda or I will fight you tooth and nail on anything you want for your state. It may not be nice but it is the way Washington works and if Obama wasn't up to the job, he should have stepped aside and let someone tougher have the job. Do you think FDR had the cooperation of all the Democrats in Congress when he started? Not likely! Whining about the Blue Dogs just shows how weak a leader Obama has been.

So we basically have him colluding with the same people the Corporate Republicans are colluding with( so he is in no position to criticise) and weakness.

And feel free to report me to Obama's ratfink brigade. THAT alone makes me not want to vote for him. What is this country coming to UNDER OBAMA where people are afraid to exercise Free Speech for fear of being “listed?” The sooner Obama is replaced with a REAL Democrat the better!

n1ck said...

Sometimes I wonder whether Obama is a weak President, or a master politician. Not that I want a master politician instead of a strong, progressive President, but hear me out.

I think Obama thought he could pass healthcare, a stimulus bill, and then work on the rest as he went. Whether it was naivety, hubris, or believing his own rhetoric of hope and change, I think he ended up underestimating the disdain that Republicans have for him and the country as a whole. Rather than fighting and being an angry black man, he has instead sprinted towards the center and right, attempting to out-Republican the Republicans. This puts the Republicans in a bind, as they have to oppose anything and everything he proposes, making them appear less and less capable of actual governance.

As the American public (hopefully) realizes, the Republican party doesn't govern, it simply reacts . As Obama moves to the right, he forces the Republicans into the far reaches of the right in an attempt to win the centrists. And as it is reported everywhere I look, Americans disapprove of Obama's policies, but not the man himself. The further he allows the Republicans to go, the more the alternative to a man people seem to respect will seem less desirable. Stick with the evil you know and all that.

Yes, this doesn't help everyday Americans who are suffering. But just as I don't have faith in most Americans, I especially don't have faith in the "centrists" who seem to have arbitrary ceremonies for which presidential candidate they vote for. If Obama can make the Republicans look crazy (and I think he's doing a pretty decent job with the help of the Republicans themselves) then he can be re-elected, and possibly bring enough Dems on his coattails to gain back a majority in the House (which is required to do ANYTHING, wouldn't you agree?).

I'm disappointed in a lot of Obama's decisions, but at the same time, who else am I really supposed to vote for? Who else should I support? I know this is terrible conundrum and doesn't befit a mature democracy...but what are my options? Ralph Nader? Ron Paul? Should I sit the election out? The only Republican I don't consider absolutely insane is Romney, and the Republicans seem to want anyone but.

I agree with everything you say and almost all liberal/progressive criticism of Obama. It's disgusting watching this country's government be taken over by the elite pining for a return to an aristocracy like their named ancestors had in Europe. But I have to hope that ultimately, Obama is a master politician attempting to do more than just hold onto power and win re-election. I have to hope that his goal is to allow Republicans to move so far to the right that he can create a coalition that will usher in a more-progressive government for more than 2 years at a time.

Also, while the can be seen as proto-fascist, if you think about it, the website itself has the official objective of rooting out BS and giving a supporter the "truth", whatever that means. It is a pretty clever way to give supporters direct rebuttal information. Of course it can appear scary if you think the President or government is going to swoop in and arrest people who are "reported", but as pessimistic and disheartened as I am, I don't think we're quite there yet. Free-speech zones seem a lot more nefarious to me. Any time you physically limit someone's constitutional rights I'd argue the government is clearly overstepping its bounds. But at least on its face, trying to give supporters information to use for rebutting the other side seems pretty tame and well thought-out. Especially when it is tailored to specific arguments the other side is using.

Anonymous said...

@Karen...please just delete this if I grow tiresome

@Valerie...I think your above note might be in response to me. I think you're right about no one is challenging the meaness. I, perhaps too easily, immediately blame Fox - Fair and Balanced. And their success has spread/infected all other media outlets. But that's only a part of what has been happening. Did you see the Krugman 9/15 column? God knows he says it better than I, but the following is what I was trying to say. I've picked up the lede from Reality Chex. Hope it's legal...

All Krugman All the Time. Paul Krugman in today's column: "... compassion is out of fashion — indeed, lack of compassion has become a matter of principle, at least among the G.O.P.’s base. And what this means is that modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the 'common hazards of life' through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid." ...

And he thinks this "moral vision" started back with Milton Friedman and then, of course, it's easy to go back to Ayn Rand.

Thanks for the interesting conversations.


Jay - Ottawa said...

Marie Burns, Karen Garcia and Akelius put forward three outstanding comments to follow Krugman's op-ed of Friday. Marie's comment made the cut and scored high; but censors at the NY Times blocked out Karen and Akelius. Too bad because their comments were also special. You'll have to go to RealityChex to read them on Marie's equivalent of the Salon des Refusés. Even so, score one for the censors.

The Security State can now screen the entire world's emails, phone calls, twitters and so forth the way whales sieve the ocean for krill.

Before The Wall came down in Berlin, the Stassi had one in three of the East German population informing on the other two. German against German, even within the same family household.

More and more surveillance cameras are going up in the streets and other public and private areas.

Virtually all the networks push propaganda. Types like Nader, Hedges and Chomsky, who cracked the code decades ago, find it hard to get a hearing in the MSM.

We have all rubbed shoulders, here and elsewhere, with trolls with hidden agendas to con, distract and disrupt criticism of the corruption and folly that prevails across every branch of government.

The super rich, like the Koch brothers, fund ignorant zealots to tear down institutions, like the public school system, labor unions and entitlement programs, that keep the rest of us from descending into want and serfdom.

The Obama Re-election Team has set up AttackWatch to groom more snitches. I'm not so sure it's the facts they're worried about, or whether they're promoting the habit of Americans informing on other Americans as a new normal.

In America solidarity is taking second place to a proud divisiveness. Few complain. Except for Krugman, Burns, Garcia and Akelius this morning with their concentrated attack against candidates and their supporters preaching Ayn Rand's Gospel of Indifference. Where is lack of compassion and all the self-censoring, screening, monitoring, propaganda, snitching and baloated security apparatus taking us?

JimBob said...

Karen, in today's NYT you said something that startled me, to wit: "The vast majority of people polled believe every last member of Congress should be sent packing."

Really? Then who sent them there in the first place?

Karen Garcia said...

The same people who are now having buyers' remorse. (Congressional approval rating is a whopping 12 percent... who do you think the 12 percent are?)

n1ck said...

I think the statistics are misleading, as they almost always are.

While Republicans and Democrats alike disapprove of Congress as a whole, you have to go deeper into the numbers to get a feel of what would happen if there was an actual election tomorrow.

Taken from the Denver Post:

"Democratic and independent voters were slightly more frustrated with their own representatives, with about 6 in 10 of each saying it was time for a new person. This wasn't entirely surprising, with Republicans currently in control of the House.

But nearly half of Republican voters also said their representative did not deserve re-election."

From those numbers alone, assuming people actually mean what they say to a pollster, which isn't a sure thing anyway, without primary challengers beating out incumbents for the general election, the Republicans would most likely retain their majority and gain seats. If the poll numbers have any meaning at all.

Of course, Democrats might be expressing frustration while knowing that even a blue dog Dem is marginally better than a Republican. And Republicans might just be showing solidarity, when they're really concerned that their Republican representative isn't doing what they should be. But if you put any value in the poll, then it seems that Republicans are more likely to vote for their representative than the Democrats. And that isn't clear by the general disapproval of Congress, or general approval/disapproval of each party. Each person only gets to vote for their Representative, so a broad "disapproval of Congress" stat is almost useless by itself.

As I stated previously, I think the only way Democrats retake the house is by Obama bringing Dems with him under his coattails. If Obama doesn't go into the election with strong support, I'd wager that the Republicans would pick up seats in the house - and maybe even retake the Senate.

I'm sure I sound like an apologist, but I'm not. I'd rather have Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as President. Hell, even Hillary Clinton would be a better candidate. I just think that Obama, with all his faults and centrist policies, is the only way we have any chance of remaining a first world country...if that is even an option at this point. It's unfortunate, but the electorate is extremely fickle and seems to choose its candidates based on arbitrary criteria that doesn't make sense to me. They say all sorts of things in these approval polls (when is the last time Congress was above 30% approval?) but Congressional incumbents have a huge re-election advantage every single election.

Valerie said...


We also have the little problem of poor choices. Right now my choices for President are Obama, who has been selling the Middle Class down the river since he took office, and a bunch of heartless crazies. I, for one, would like to send all the presidential candidates who have thrown their hat in the ring packing as well.

Valerie said...


Thank you for the heads up on the Naked Capitalism article.

Obama blaming Geithner for his poor decisions! Who is the president? Geithner or Obama? I would think the President of the United States could send an advisor everyone hates out the door if he wanted to. We have all been begging Obama to dump Geithner and replace him with someone like Bill Black or Elizabeth Warren from his first weeks in office. Obama is looking weaker and whinier by the day.

We need to demand that Obama not run for re-election. It is the only hope for our country at this point - that and getting as many Progressives elected to Congress as possible.

n1ck said...


I'd say there's a 0% chance of convincing Obama not to run for re-election. I'll take an Obama appointee to the Supreme Court over a Romney or Perry appointee any day of the week. In fact, in terms of lasting effects on the country, that may be as important as electing more progressives into Congress.

Even if the house turns back to the Dems, the Senate can still lock down anything and everything it wants, without a super majority. And I don't imagine the Dems will be picking up too many seats in '12.

Maybe I'm just too pragmatic. But barring an actual revolution, you pretty much have to work within the system. Handing the presidency to the Republicans is too unpalatable for me to get behind.