Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Links / Open Thread

One more reason not to join a pretend faction of the monied Duopoly: the Obama Machine has an app for you. Privacy advocates (the Don Quixotes of America) are concerned that anybody, not just Obamabots going door to door, can download info on who you are and where you live if you're a registered Democrat. To be fair, the app only uses your first name and last initial along with your real physical address. And the information is already publicly available on the voter registration rolls. So what's the beef? Frankly, anybody can find out where you live if his mind is set on it. But not everybody comes to your door with a rote recital of proBama talking points. That's the part that creeps me out. As Election Day draws nearer, the Bots and the Jehovah's Witnesses will be tripping all over themselves in that sprint to your door. Lock up and hide.

If that isn't disturbing enough, we find out in today's N.Y. Times that the president is upset because he doesn't get enough positive coverage for still wanting to gut Social Security and Medicare while he's running for re-election. It turns out he is quite the news junkie, devouring his iPad journalism during his frequent visits to his second home (Air Force One.) Oh, and in case you needed another reason not to vote for him, David Brooks is his frequent private guest at the White House. I can just envision their heartfelt discussions of greedy geezers sucking up all the Social Security and eating their young.

Mitt Romney thinks Rudolph Valentino was shot at the Wisconsin Sikh temple. So tragic for so many reasons, because "sheik people, are among the most peaceable and loving individuals you can imagine." (Mitt was said to be exhausted after being forced to do his own fake grocery shopping one day this week.)

Run Wild, Run Free: The Guardian lists the 25 people responsible for the economic meltdown and where they are today. Hint: if it's surrounded by razor wire and armed guards, it's to keep you out. (h/t Valerie)

On a related note, there appears to be a dearth of white collar country club prisons in our great land. Besides, since criminal corporations are people my friend, there is no prison large enough to accomodate them all. And too, if you're the Department of Justice, you gotta know when to hold em and know when to scold em.

While the news media breathlessly cover Obamaloney and Romney Hood, they are still ignoring Libor. What if somebody gave a Scandal and nobody came? That's Libor for you. There is no interest in interest-rate rigging, because the powers that be have decreed it boring. Dean Baker adds Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to the Do-Nothing Bankers' Club, a group of impotent old white men for whom robust inflation is anathema, even as millions of people suffer. They are great believers, apparently, in Hobbes' Natural State of Man: a dog-eat-dog world where life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." 


Denis Neville said...

Following up on Karen’s previous thread about Robert Parry…

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, “On the sin of voting your conscience,” sends us to Chris Floyd’s “Bonfire of the Vanities: Robert Parry and the Red Mist of Partisanship.”

Floyd asks, “What would Parry make of that great American refusenik, Henry David Thoreau, who went to jail rather than pay taxes to support a deadly militarist adventure in Mexico and the government-sanctioned system of slavery, and whose thoughts on civil disobedience and disengagement with evil inspired Tolstoy and Gandhi? Thoreau said: “How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.”

“Where do you draw the line? How much evil is acceptable? Is there a certain number of victims that a system must reach before one is allowed to disengage from it honorably and morally?”

To refuse to cooperate with evil is pointless, perfectionist, vain?

We must take a stand and refuse to give the evil of “lesser evilism” our assent.

Jay - Ottawa said...

In my long-standing simple-minded trust in progressive reform emanating from within the ranks of the duopoly – back in the day when I dutifully wrote heart-felt letters in longhand to the White House, the House and the Senate – I began the check-off on my income taxes of a small dollar amount (now up to $3.00) for the public funding of political campaigns. I assumed that petit noble act was a backdoor way for voters, massing their dollars into one whopping fund, to counter the influence of corporate money in the election process. I continued the process right up to my most recent tax return. ¡Burro!

This morning I discovered that by law the first bite from the tax form check-off goes directly to the DNC (Democratic National Committee) and the RNC (Republican National Committee) for their political conventions this summer. How big a bite? A total of $36.4 million split ever so equitably into $18.2 for the Donkey and $18.2 for the Elephant.

Ralph Nader lays it all out in his open letter to the chiefs of the DNC and RNC. He implores them – they are beyond embarrassment, but what the hell, let’s call them out anyway – to return the money to the Treasury, or better yet, to forward those millions to the dozens of Soup Kitchens Nader also copies in on the letters. Ralph, you sly old devil you.

“Taxpayers who opt for this partial public funding of elections may not like funding political extravaganzas for the two parties, festooned by banners, musical entertainment, food, drink and other amenities. They might not want their tax dollars associated with nearby lavish corporate hospitality parties loaded with lobbyists lusting for access, subsidies and other special privileges.”
“When your two parties in Congress established this slush fund for the conventions years ago, they tried lamely to justify the use of taxpayer contributions for the conventions by declaring that televised conventions were educational presentations; live democracy in action. That didn’t pass the laugh test then or now. The nominations are all wrapped up. The conventions will be coronations of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The party platforms are done deals.”

Tell me about reform from within the system.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha…. The following gesture costs me some pain, because I have a touch of arthritis in my right hand. Anyway, the TLOTE guilt trip, the one being laid on me and other fallen-away Democrats by the Obamites, is looking right back at them from its perch on my upraised middle finger. Naughty, naughty birdie!

Jay - Ottawa said...

t/h @ Denis

If a one-volume documentary collection is ever put together on the long and now increasingly-heated debate about lesser evilism, Chris Floyd's response to Robert Parry is sure to be included.

Valerie said...

If one reads Bruce Dixon's great essay, Barack Obama VS Those Craaaazy Republicans - Is He the Lesser of Two Evils or the More Effective Evil, one can clearly see that Obama has been as effective a tool for the Corporate Plutocracy as any Republican president.(h/t to Kat for bringing it to our attention a year ago.)

My thoughts are these – First, if Romney wins, the Democrats, particularly the Black Democrats, in Congress will actually be forced to take a stand on something rather than blindly go along with anything their black, Democratic leader proposes. They might actually oppose the corporate agenda put forth by the Romney camp if for no other reason than to prove they are on the other side - that an other side even exists. Second, I suspect the oligarchy isn't in a big hurry to slash the throat of the middle class. There is still blood to suck and the Middle Class will surely completely stop buying if they think their safety net is being totally slashed, thus throwing the American economy into the Depression it has been teetering on for the past six or seven years. The last thing the Republicans want is for a Republican president and a Republican Congress to be in power when another Great Depression hits. They know they will be held responsible and all those voting against their own self-interest might actually wake up and notice which politicians are on their side and which are simply courtiers at the Corporate Royal Court.

In the end, I don't think much will change. If we re-elect Obama, he will feel emboldened to keep on stealthily attacking the Middle and Lower Classes in this country - eroding our rights, our standard of living and our safety net. If Romney wins, the attack will be more out in the open. And at least the American people will know who their enemy is. I won’t cast a vote for Romney who is indeed evil, but neither will I cast a vote for Obama the Betrayer.

Pearl said...

I want to again thank everyone, Karen and readers, for making me feel hopeful in that I am not a lone voice with the thoughts all of you have put forward about voting for the lesser evil. Valerie, your comment warms the cockles of my heart - you are a soul mate and I wonder how people navigate the untruths of our political and social environments to learn how to read between the lines. Of course reading great men and women's honest reporting helps and personal experience is a teacher.

For me, being the child of the Depression in New York, burned the pictures of the unnecessary suffering of people in my mind forever and my father, an immigrant from the pogroms of Russia, never backed down from speaking the truth. I see the same ugly side of the ignorance and selfishness and bigotry alive more than ever now in my country of birth which makes me feel that nothing has moved forward from those early childhood days which saddens me deeply. All the efforts of the people who lived before me who are gone or still hanging on must feel that their lives were ignored or wasted and now younger lives are being thrown down the drain.

I wish our attitudes about voting for the lesser evil would reach beyond Karen's amazing blog. It deserves front page news in the mainstream press.

Karen, that was a wonderful comment to Dowd's recent article about Obama not writing thank you letters. It can be found easily if you press readers choice in the comment section. I also had a strong comment which is lost among many others about the comparison of Obama to Paul Newman!!?? Unbelievable.

Karen Garcia said...

Here is my reply to the Dowd column, which bemoaned Obama's ingratitude to his rich backers, and compared him unfavorably with Paul Newman:

The tragedy is not that the president fails to send thank-you notes to his mega-donors. (he doesn't thank the little people, either.) The tragedy is that this whole campaign revolves around money -- the relentless getting of it, and the obscene spending of it. It's an election of, by and for the 1%. Regular people are admitted to meet-and-greets only occasionally, purely by the luck of the draw. Even monarchs and popes hold regular audiences for the hoi polloi without holding lotteries or charging admission.

Romney made his own fortune through his skill in getting investors to part with their money. So canoodling with fellow elites comes more naturally for him, robotic though he may seem. The fact that Obama is deemed unsociable is actually a mark in his favor. That wealthy people are willing to keep giving and giving to such an ingrate could mean several things: they're abnormally slavish panderers themselves; $35,800 is just a drop in the bucket to them; they love to see and be seen at political fund-raisers; they're in a contest to see who can be first to melt Barack's heart -- and most likely, they're banking on a sleepover and some swag during a second term.

Meanwhile, all but lost in this demeaning race for cash are any public discussions of climate change, the budget, the social safety net, the wars, health care, and the humanitarian crisis of chronic unemployment. Press conferences? Forget it. Money rules, the public drools.