Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Confederation of Muppets

The dueling duopolists of the presidential pageant are creating and fund-raising off yet another phony wedge issue. They are so desperate to take our minds off the fact that participatory democracy is a mere illusion that they're not even bothering to be original this time. It's the Second Coming of Big Bird in only one campaign season! Republicans have been threatening to de-fund PBS since time immemorial, and it's always been an empty threat by posturing phony deficit hawks. But starting today, the latest skirmish in The Wars of Sesame Street has been officially been declared. So pick a side, and let the bloody battle begin.

Suddenly jolted into action by a cacophony of Tweets after his lackluster debate performance, President Obama voiced his indignation about the loathsome Mitt before a crowd in Colorado today. Mitt, he trilled, is the anti-Muppet. Mitt wants to privatize Bert and Ernie's Medicare! (Barry will chain their Social Security cost of living increases and make them work till they drop, but that's another story.)

Now that the well has run dry on their Rush Limbaugh-enabled War Against Women defense fund, Democrats are wasting no time with the email appeals to feather their nests with the lucrative golden plumage of Big Bird. (Did you ever notice how they always have to coyly hide asking for money behind a phony petition? Just Say No to Republican vaginal wands and gimme gimme gimme.)

Sen. Jeff Merkley wrote me today, not noticing or caring that my New York locale is 3000 miles, as the bird flies, away from his Oregonian flock.

Not on our watch! Sign my petition, and tell Mitt Romney: No Ads on Sesame Street!.... My kids watched Sesame Street growing up. Like many Americans – including Mitt Romney - I’m a huge Big Bird fan. But America's children need quality, educational, advertising-free television. For 43 years, Sesame Street has led the way for our kids. Putting commercial advertising on Sesame Street won't make any difference in our national debt, and just hurts our kids. For Big Bird, Jeff.

Yeah, right. Maybe if the Democrats go all pro-Sesame Street, we'll forget that they're totally run by Wall Street. We'll forget that they screwed Main Street. It's no coincidence, after all, that the crooks at Goldman Sachs refer to their prey as Muppets. In banking circles, it's a pejorative term for easily cheated stupid people.

Next time you get a fund-raising appeal from a needy politician professing a smarmy attachment to Snuffleupagus, write back. Disabuse them of the notion that we are a Confederation of Dunces, and just tell them to stuff it upagus.

Tell Politicians: No Money from Wall Street


Denis Neville said...

The breakdown of democracy…the Confederation of Dunces

I have just returned from surfing the internet. The Obamabots are out in full force today, circling their wagons around their glorious leader, with lots of newspeak chatter.

And now the Second Coming of Big Bird by Barry and his fellow-travelers with Mittens as the anti-Muppet.

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” – George Orwell

“On Social Security, I suspect we have a similar position.” – Barack Obama

This is fine with the ‘Bots,’ “Please, pretty please, just screw me!”

"It is certain that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." - James Baldwin

Amed Hamila said...

You rock Karen. You are the finest, unbiased, unfooled, most independent, and spot on of anyone I read.

I campaigned for Mr Sell-out last time and I will never vote neither Dem nor Rep in any election.

I'm sick of 2 faces of the same cow dung.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Amed!

Jay - Ottawa said...

Reasonable people might suppose, given the absurdity of the Greater Evil called Romney, that the Lesser Evil called Obama will win the election by a landslide. Trouble is, the Lesser Evil has had more time in office to annoy and disappoint, and he's used the time well to annoy and disappoint.

We hear lots of talk about the swing vote, which in recent times grows bigger with each election. Statisticians say that the majority of the swing vote generally goes to the challenger, not the incumbent.

According to a number of poles not beholden to one party or another, if the election were held today, Romney would win. BIG.

Granted, this could be a temporary bump in Romney’s numbers because of another instance of Obama's merely reporting “Present!” last Wednesday. (Don't we realize he's entitled to the laurel whenever he opens his mouth?)

Take a look at this map of the likely electoral college shake out if the election were held today: Romney 301; Obama 221; Toss-Up 16.

Could it be this year that a sizeable cohort inside that swing vote is composed of chastened muppets who may never forgive the Benedict Arnold they supported in 2008?

Denis Neville said...

Whether Obama wins or looses, his election in 2008 was “Mission Accomplished.”

Obama’s mission was to prevent a second New Deal.

“Hope and change” were a con job.

d12345 said...

Denis, I always enjoy your stuff....but is there any evidence that there was any prospect of a second New Deal to prevent?

If he hadn't gotten the nomination it would have been Hillary, no prospects there....and what percentage of the Congress is animated for such a program 10% in the House...
4 % in the Senate? (Probably less). IMO the central issue is that there is no viable progressive movement.
Consider the 30's....large leftist movement, growing militant labor movement, fear of communism....all creating great pressure for major reform to keep the lid from blowing off.

None of that obtains here.

No Bonus massive movement of uninsured or unemployed....

It is absolutely true that Obama and his cohorts were dedicated to defusing the energy and organization of the popular movement that brought him in. But there wasn't much blowback either.

I think my estimation of Obama is as low as just about anyone here....but he is not the problem.

If millions of people started marching, organizing etc....change would will never come from the top.

Occupy was amazing....let's hope something more sturdy arises to keep the flame burning brightly.

Jay - Ottawa said...

My hopes for US recovery, financial, political or diplomatic, have been dashed repeatedly since Obama took over.

Tell me about hope. Campaign promises? A new team in Washington? A reversal of Bush policies? The Affordable Care Act? Mortgage relief? Jobs? Repeated spasms of Quantitative Easing by Bernanke? Insurgents within the Democratic Party? Supreme Court appointments? Bernie Sanders crying in the wilderness? Third Party pressure on the Duopoly? The most articulate among the blog rolls as agents of mass enlightenment? OWS sparking change from the bottom? Give me a break.

The best we can hope for from the millions who might vote in this election is (1) a record number of people who don't vote for (a) nothing or (b) nothing, (2) an impressive vote for Third Parties, and (3) a falling away from Obama so great it sends him back to Illinois as a one-term president. Realistically, even this may be wildly optimistic.

Whatever remains among Centrists and the Left after 2012 might coalesce into an opposition too weak to do anything positive but, dare we hope, strong enough to stall Romney at every turn.

Pearl said...

Great comments on Karen's latest column. Common Dreams has published an article by Bob Herbert where he chastises Obama for his failures, but keeps hoping he will become more aggressive. The comments following, including mine, criticized him strongly for still hanging on to Obama and urging him to seek other avenues for addressing the problems. Most seemed disappointed in his column including me.

I am afraid it will be awhile until there are marches, protests and the
like. It doesn't happen until large numbers of citizens become hungry
enough to risk it and change does start at the bottom. I keep hoping that the spirit of the civil rights movement will be reborn but unfortunately, Obama has and will put a damper on that kind of action if he returns to office. Maybe a President Romney will inadvertently inspire that kind of fire.

Karen Garcia said...

Here's my response to MoDo's latest column, a mockup of a West Wing episode in which Martin Sheen mentors Barry on histrionics:

So, the toads and snakes erupting from Mitt’s mouth were not satisfactorily balanced by Obamian diamonds and flowers. The pundits were cheated out of the rapid-fire repartee they thought they were entitled to. All they got were two technocrats schmoozing about entitlements and how to cut and tweak them. There was no talk of climate change, gun control, wealth disparity, unemployment, the Citizens United decision.

Just look at who’s in charge of the “non-partisan” Commission on Presidential Debates. There's Frank Fahrenkopf, former RNC chairman, now a lobbyist for the casino industry. Former Clinton Press Sec. Mike McCurry heads a lobbying shop representing net neutrality opponent AT&T, as well as the regulation-averse, pro-free trade National Association of Manufacturers.

Other puppet-masters in the audience were CPD member Richard Parsons, former head of Citibank and Time Warner, advisor to the Obama transition team and member of the White House Jobs Council. And who could miss Alan “Social Security is a Milk Cow with 300 Million Teats” Simpson of Obama’s own deficit reduction commission? Simpson had predicted that the debate would be “the biggest tap dance since Fred Astaire” and warned that if the candidates refused to talk about imposing austerity on us, “you’d better get yourself a cave in the Adirondacks.”

These are among the people running the debates, the candidates and the country. Barack Obama didn’t lose. We did.

Denis Neville said...

@ d12345

Yes, the result would have been the same if Hillary Clinton, or whatever neo-liberal Democrat, had been elected. The mission was the same – preservation of the ruling elites.

A Second New Deal under Obama was the illusion of many, including myself to my embarrassment, progressives. In fact, there was, as you said, no viable progressive movement.

Henry Giroux has written about the American public’s political and moral coma.

“While there is much being written about how unfair the left is to the Obama administration, what is often forgotten by these liberal critics is that Obama has virtually aligned himself with educational practices and policies that are as instrumentalist and anti-intellectual as they are politically reactionary and therein lies one viable reason for not supporting his candidacy. What liberals refuse to entertain is that the left is correct in attacking Obama for his cowardly retreat from a number of progressive issues and his dastardly undermining of civil liberties. In fact, they do not go far enough in their criticisms. Often even progressives miss that Obama's views on what type of formative educational culture is necessary to create critically engaged and socially responsible citizens is utterly reactionary and provides no space for the nurturance of a radically democratic imagination. Hence, while liberals point to some of Obama's progressive policies - often in a new age discourse that betrays their own supine moralism - in making a case for his re-election, they fail to acknowledge that Obama's educational policies do nothing to contest, and are aligned with, his weak-willed compromises and authoritarian policies. In other words, Obama's educational commitments undermine the creation of a formative culture capable of questioning authoritarian ideas, modes of governance and reactionary policies. The question is not whether he is slightly less repugnant than Romney. On the contrary, it is about how the left should engage politics in a more robust and democratic way by imagining what it would mean to work collectively and with "slow impatience" for a new political order outside of the current moderate and extreme right-wing politics and the debased, uncritical educational apparatus that supports it.”

Yes, change will only come if millions of people started marching, organizing etc. But, do Americans care about democracy? As Hannah Arendt warned "it was not stupidity but a curious, quite authentic inability to think" that was at the heart of authoritarian regimes. This is now the fundamental tenet of both political parties.

d12345 said...

Karen....I read a lot about the "debate." (couldn't stomach watching more than a little bit.)

The last sentence of the comment to M. was the lapped the field!!!!

One option....arrange for an abduction of Ms. D. send an email to her whole address book that she is taking a little retreat to rethink her priorities...but will be writing as usual.

KG takes over....starts with something a little snarky and pop culture for a couple of columns and gradually morphs into herself.

This stuff is too good to be one of 200 "comments."

Denis—I also find Giroux very insightful and worth reading. Elements of Paul Goodman!

d12345 said...

Oh and also, Denis....Great Baldwin quote.

This guy is pretty much forgotten today!!!

Pearl said...

Denis: It's a small strange world of coincidences. I was so impressed with
your quotation from Henry Giroux, that I used your referral to find out more about this writer and what else he has written and most of all what his profession was involving such brilliant analyses of the present U.S.A.

Lo and behold, up came information about him that floored me. He had moved to Canada in 20O4 after a distinguished academic career and writer of books and is now heading
an important Department at McMaster University, Global Television Network Chair English and Cultural Studies in Hamilton, Ontario, where my husband taught physics for 24 years and I am an alumnus of said university. I have written down his e-mail at the
university and will contact him and tell him about our gang and efforts I
and others have been making along the lines of truth and honesty via U.S.
politics. I hope to find out if there others at the university who might comprise a group to have discussions with or communicate via computer as it is hard for me to get around in the winter. If nothing else to tell him my about my strong support for his writings which I had planned to do before I realized we had a connection.

There are not too many people that I can get to know locally who share our
U.S. background and the local Canadians Abroad organization is gung ho for getting out the vote for Obama. Will let you know what transpires. Thank you so much Denis for all your quotes and referrals which I don't always follow up. Something or someone was guiding my hand here (and not god). I have had strange coincidences happen to me since my husband's death and don't believe in the supernatural but often wonder about it all. And Karen, you always open up a Pandora's box of goodies, not evil for us all. I have a friend who always tells me there are no coincidences.

Anonymous said...

The Oregon Senator is wrong in many ways. PBS is hardly commercial free anymore--they've already been defunded--more like gutted--over the years by republicans and compliant democrats as well. Sesame Street has more than one corporate sponsor. Last I checked they counted among them Kellogg's, and McDonald's. The program may not be interrupted, but the messages for crap food are there only because the sponsors are sure the kids will see them.

I have four kids and amazingly they learned to read without benefit of SS--or any tv at all until they were at least eight and then only nature shows and Dr Who! I'm not opposed to PBS or SS, especially for poor kids, but I cannot agree with the idea that children learn better because of it. There are much better interventions if we are willing to pay for them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (and other groups) are opposed to tv for very young children on the basis of evidence for risk of neurological damage.

There are about a hundred things that are better for children to do than watch tv. Reading, being read to, even looking at books, interacting with others, playing with toys (activity as opposed to passive viewing), are all better options. I don't suppose a tv show now and then is the end of the world, but it would then be nice if there really were adequate public support and no commercial sponsorship.

Disclaimer: I do not own a tv--but I do watch movies sometimes on the computer.

Still, I find it despicable that Romney would want to totally commercialize our last vestige of offering a popular cultural medium to all children without regard for their parents' ability to pay--assuming they have a tv, which seems ubiquitous for even the poorest of the poor.

By the way, pardon me for nearly thinking I had stumbled onto a right wing blog written by some other Karen Garcia--referring to the whinging anti-Obama comments posted here. So sorry you didn't get a pony from the Prez. I have no problem with voting for the better of the two in spite of my not getting a pony either, because Mittens is evil and O is not.

Karen Garcia said...


My usual policy is not to accept anonymous comments, but I made an exception in your case because a) you made some great points on PBS; and b) your last paragraph contains one factual error that demands correction. A true believer would have accused us of demanding unicorns, not ponies. But you correctly followed the usual practice of accusing critics from the left of being closet right wingers. Happens to me all the time on the NYT comment threads. Also, if you gave the comments a closer read, you might find out that we inform, we espouse, we write the occasional broadside, we back our opinions up with facts... but only rarely do we "whinge". Please see "Vast Left" on my blogroll to the left of this page for further info, and a virtual catalogue of talking points. They are hilarious.

For future potential commenters who wish to post anonymously: please use initials or any other moniker to differentiate yourself from the whingers and anti-whingers. Thanks!

Karen Garcia said...

Correction... the blogroll is to your right. I wrote the above before having had my first jolt of caffeine, plus I have an aversion to right for some strange reason.

Maryanne Morgan said...

The last Anon comment was a bit ill-informed on one point. Paediatricians don't say all T.V. is bad, just the fast moving cartoons. Shows like Sesame Street are fine as was Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo. I, too, have raised my daughter totally without television and agree that reading and activities both physical and artistic are better options. But the shows on PBS are fine - sans commercials, of course – in terms of ”risk of neurological damage.”

My concern about the loss of PBS is the loss of Bill Moyers and the few shows that actually reveal what is going on politically - the real reason PBS has been under fire for so long. And if Anon had seen some of these shows and expanded his/her reading beyond being spoon-fed by the corporate owned mainstream media, (s)he might have a better argument than the old worn out, Lesser of Two Evils which has totally been debunked by both Karen and others who comment here.

Feel free to take us on, Anon, but do so with the integrity of using your own name – in other words stand by what you say – don’t just shoot off a comment and then hide behind anonymity. And cite some sources. A comment like “The American Academy of Pediatrics (and other groups) are opposed to tv for very young children on the basis of evidence for risk of neurological damage.” might be readily believed by others in your circle of faux intellectuals but it just doesn’t cut it with us unless you are able to cite your sources IN CONTEXT.

And quite frankly, I wouldn’t be bragging about having four children - as if this is a great accomplishment - if I were you. We have an overpopulated world and humans born into the First World eat up far more of the world’s resources than poor people in the Third World. Having a large family at this time in history is like driving a huge SUV and hogging more than your fair share of the gas available when there is a fossil fuel shortage.

Maryanne Morgan

Zee said...

@Maryanne Morgan--

I am grateful that Karen allows us to comment under pseudonyms.

The internet can be a strange place, sometimes, and populated byequally strange people who can be mightily offended by the most innocent of remarks.

And those of us with unusual surnames can be tracked down in an instant with the use of the internet, right down to our home addresses and telephone numbers.

Why invite trouble by using one's real name?

If I could not post here under a pseudonym, I would not comment at all, and I suspect that the same is true for others in this forum.

When I read the remarks, I don't differentiate between those made under real names--if they are indeed real--and those made under pseudonyms.

Does anyone else here do so?