Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Moo, Slurp, Snooze, Repeat

The usual faux-liberal suspects have all been herded into the White House Veal Pen for their periodic branding. The sounds of suckling are echoing through the blogosphere.

I wrote before the election that so-called progressive and labor groups working hard for the president's re-election were going to give him a brief honeymoon before launching a concerted effort to hold his feet to the fire on taxing the rich and protecting Social Security and other traditional New Deal stuff.

Oh, dear. I expected them to be cowed -- but to turn a negotiating session into a pep rally for Dear Leader? Say it isn't so!
Obama and the participants largely focused on areas on which they agree: in particular, the need to extend low tax rates for the middle class while letting them expire for wealthier households, according to people who attended the 45-minute meeting.
There was much less talk about possible areas of disagreement between Obama and his progressive partners, such as on cuts to entitlement spending.


“It was a great meeting. The president was really standing firm on taxes. Everyone talked about how much they have the president’s back in this fight,” Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, said afterward.
The Center for American Progress, truth be told, is only a quasi-independent group. It has direct ties to the Democratic Party. Liberal, it is not. Tanden herself came to her think tank job directly from the Obama Administration. Founded by Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, CAP is the primary conduit for controlled White House leaks and major source of the hot air used to float White House trial balloons. Podesta now runs a big lobby shop in Washington. No surprises there. What is shocking, though, is the blatant transparency with which the veal pen occupants are jumping onto the austerity bandwagon.  They are directly skipping the part where they pretend to hold Barry's feet to the fire, then sigh in defeat down the road, when they whine that we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of good. Better to starve slowly under Obama than to have your guts ripped out by Romney.

And today is the day the president will be closing the deal with the billionaires -- all of whom, of course, want to cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid in order to boost the confidence of the markets. (translation: inject a giant bolus of publicly-funded financial testosterone directly into their own over-clogged arteries.)

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, fresh from being not prosecuted for fraud by the Department of Justice, now has the freedom to dictate his own terms. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, he announced that he needs more assurance that he can keep hoarding his billions. He is willing to pay a bit more in revenue, but only if he is first allowed to steal money from the poor, the old and the sick. "We are all ready to roll up our sleeves and work with the Obama administration and Congress to help fulfill America's enduring promise," he wrote.

I hope he chokes on his diamond-encrusted cufflinks as he rips them off with his teeth in preparation for rolling up his sleeves.

So, now what do we do? Occupy is back in the limelight with its humanitarian successes in the wake of Sandy. It even garnered front-page headlines in the New York Times for its novel Occupy the Debt campaign. What Barry and the Banksters refused to do -- wipe out household debt the same way they rescued Wall Street -- the new group aims to do by buying it up at a discount and then forgiving it.

Barry, safe for a final four years as temporary emperor, is a lost cause. Now is the perfect time to start harassing your down-ticket reps. Either they promise to protect the New Deal now, or they are out in two, four or six years. Now is also the perfect time for the rising of third, fourth and fifth parties.

It's a perfect storm. As long as the physical climate is changing, we might as well change the political climate, too. So much pollution on so many levels.


James F Traynor said...

Yeah, all this started with Chuck Robb and the DLC, accelerated with the Clintons and reached it's present state with Obama. The Democratic Party had a chance to reshape itself after the Southern Strategy of Nixon rid the party of the South, electorally speaking. Instead LBJ's son-in-law mapped out (or became the spokesman for) the basic strategy of a 'business friendly', 'new' Democratic Party. They exchanged southern reactionary votes for capitalist reactionary money. Peaches and cream, until the shit hit the fan in 2007-8 and got all over the dessert. Now they're trying to talking us into eating the dessert.

Anonymous said...

What you published made a bunch of sense. However, think about
this, what if you added a little content? I am not saying your information is not
solid., however what if you added something that grabbed folk's attention? I mean "Moo, Slurp, Snooze, Repeat" is a little boring. You should peek at Yahoo's front page and note how they create post titles to grab viewers interested.

Ed note: above comment ended with a link to a Miami caterer. It is just one of many, many spam comments I receive on a daily basis. They are getting more sophisticated and customized, in that at first glance they seem to be on topic; then you get to the telltale link. Oy.


James F Traynor said...


Interesting. How in hell do you find the time to do it all?

Valerie said...

I must say that I am baffled by the rah-rah reception Obama is getting from the Democrats who reluctantly gave their support - those who know what his "leadership" history is like. It is one thing to have had hope and trust in Obama in 2008. He hadn't proved he was a traitor to those who put him in office and his base at that point. And I can even understand - although I don't agree - how people could have reluctantly, out of fear of Romney, voted for Obama. But to treat him as if he has been a good leader who has been re-elected is just stupid.

Are we going to have another lame duck session followed by a year of Obama dragging his heels and "reluctantly" giving away programs and recinding laws that benefit the 99% while "reluctantly" giving the plutocracy even more corporate welfare and turning a blind eye to pollution and the exploitation of their workforces? Where is the holding him accountable - the "holding his feet to the fire" that we were promised by all those voters and groups who "reluctantly" gave Obama their support?

Let's hope these same voters and groups don't wait too long to start making demands. You can bet all those corporations that gave so generously to Obama's campaign aren't sitting around making nice. No, I expect they have already made their lists of what they want from Obama - starting with his support of the XL Pipeling.

Zee said...


"Let's hope these same voters and groups don't wait too long to start making demands." --@Valerie

What "demands" can Obama's supporters possibly make of him now ? He's a total "lame duck."

His place in history is thrice secure: First, as America's first "Black President;" second, as a winner of the coveted Nobel Peace Prize; and third, as a second-term-President-elect whose first-term policies were entirely "validated" by his re-election.

What more could the man ask for, insofar as his "place in history" goes?

You can expect nothing further of Obama except for him to try most strenuously "not to f*** up" his first-term legacy.

Status quo, status quo, status quo...

James F Traynor said...

Obama won't get away with it so easily this time. Personally I don't give a damn about his legacy and he is a lame duck. But he's a lame duck within his party too. And that's where progressives have a chance. The only hope now, as I see it, is to actively support progressive politicians within the Democratic Party and to enable them to seize control of the DNC. If that is not achieved by 2016 then the only hope left, and it is a very dim one, is a third party. The election is over, now the real fight has begun.

Kat said...

You left off the biggee-- Ad Age Marketer of the Year 2008. He joins such illustrious company such as the Ford Motor Co., Hyundai, and Coca Cola.
Maybe he'll repeat although my bet is on Chrysler for their ad campaign featuring a creepy blend of menace and Morning in America (sounds something like the selling of the GWOT come to think of it).
But, since there are now awards for everything and every endeavor perhaps we shall see his dream team of behavioral scientists
all receive the loving cup for shamelessness.

Jay - Ottawa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denis Neville said...

FYI Sardonickiers:

Economists for Peace and Security Bernard Schwartz Symposium: Who's Afraid of the Fiscal Cliff? available here:

“The Republican Party is nuts and the media refuses to say they are bat-shit crazy or liars. The media elite still take them seriously. And Obama does not take them over his lap and spank them as they deserve. All Obama has to do is have the courage to wait." - Bruce Bartlett, former senior policy Reagan and George H.W. Bush advisor


How will Barry’s Grand Bargain (i.e., austerity bomb) improve the average American’s life?

New poverty stats illustrate the need for larger, not smaller, Social Security benefits.

“Will the Democratic Party, and specifically the progressive and liberal component of the Democratic Party, change its behavior from cheerleader, from blindly supportive, partisan apparatchiks ... into some kind of a force where they actually fulfill their duties as citizens, which is to hold political leaders accountable?" ask Glenn Greenwald.

How is everyone ’s optimism?

Honeywell International CEO David Cote says he's optimistic, after the Obama meeting with CEOs yesterday about the fiscal cliff, that Washington can find a solution to the nation's debt crisis.

“Was that you or the duck?” - Groucho Marx

Jay - Ottawa said...


You’ve hit upon the most wonderful word to explain it all: RELUCTANTLY. Obama is no longer TLOTE; he is Mr RELUCTANTLY. As you say, he will betray what’s left of the New Deal … reluctantly. The Fair Deal ... reluctantly. The Great Society ... reluctantly. The Bill of Rights ... reluctantly. So, give him a break, purists.

Ah, the audacity of … reluctantly … after he promised so much. Yes, there will be no surprises. He doesn’t dig drama. So, everybody, just take it down a notch, please. In the second term we shall have more promises to be undone with a smile … reluctantly.

Ever consider how what looks cool is often a bad case of reluctantly?

If only “reluctantly” would catch on and serve as the new meme going viral. We wouldn’t have to explain so much about why something that should have happened, and that most citizens wanted to happen, and which could have happened didn’t happen. Just have to remind ourselves that our pointman for the past four years, and now the next four years is … well ... Mr Reluctantly.

Lame Ducks by definition always move … reluctantly. Trouble is, the leader we are afflicted with for another four years, as we found out as early as 2009 (when he was flush with a real mandate and a Democratic Congress), chose to be a reluctant Lame Duck out of the starting gate. And he’s never broken a sweat since, because our champion never fights. Maybe that’s what the Nobel Committee saw in him, hence the prize.

In Mr Reluctantly’s playbook, the best offense is a good defense – ropa-dopa, the move of great champions. To confuse everybody. Always back-peddling … reluctantly. But look out! He's got a wicked left cross – or is that a double cross?

"My fellow, folksy Americans. The legacy of my first term was Obamacare, right? wherein I … reluctantly … doubled down in favor of the private health insurance industry scam that was the problem in the first place. Folks – and by ‘folks’ I include you purists who can’t seem to forgive and forget, let us move forward by inching backwards … r e l u c t a n t l y … into the Grand Bargain, which will go down in history as the icing on the cake of my second term."

Kat said...

Gee, I wonder whose optimism is more grounded in reality-- David Cote's or Richard Trumka's?

Outsida said...

David Bromwich wrote a good piece in Huffington Post titled 'Now the Democrats Must Lead'. Here are a couple of his statements:

"Obama, in the victory speech, went on to declare that we are not red states and blue states. He has been saying that since 2004, but the declaration is false; it is a forlorn prayer disguised as a statement of fact; and though the discretion of a moderate leader doesn't require him to admit the truth, his need to repeat the formula suggests that more magical thinking may be in store."

"The other kind of magical thinking is planetary. On June 3, 2008, when he had clinched that year's Democratic nomination, Obama said that some day people would look back and say 'this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.' Take the words of humble fellowship on walking the picket line, and the words of shouldering the burden as the shepherd of the universe, and compare Obama's actual contribution to care for the environment and his conduct during the Wisconsin protests against union-busting legislation put in by Governor Scott Walker. He did not even pause to say hello on a visit to a neighboring state."

James F Traynor said...

Has anyone listened to Romney's farewell address to his donors, his constituents? That's why I voted for Obama. That and an earlier interview (video and audio) that elicited a more primitive response (straight from my amygdala). The guy is a first rate, global prick and probably a discrete, but homicidal, sociopath (my apologies to Kate Madison). Obama doesn't come anywhere near this. He's more in the league of Tony Blair - which is more than bad enough.

Zee said...


I will, of course, get myself into trouble for pointing this out, but I respectfully submit that Obama has the greater claim to being a "homicidal... sociopath" than does Mitt Romney.

It is Obama who has a "kill list," remotely-operated hunter-killer drones, and assassination teams, and uses all of them semi-liberally.

Apart from an allegation that Romney killed a terminally ill woman by causing her husband to lose her job and her health insurance, whom has Romney killed lately?

Zee said...


I forgot to mention that I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DISPUTE your assertion that Mitt Romney is "a first rate, global prick."

He is.

Denis Neville said...

Global Pricks and Discrete Sociopaths

Ever notice how little Obama’s 'lesser evils' mean to his most zealous supporters? There is never the time to criticize Obama.

Freddie de Boer notes, “This is the most elementary, most important point of all: there is no internal pressure for Democrats to reform ..."

“They defend our brutal and murderous system for the same reason that everyone does, because it is their system, and they have grown up into an ecology of propaganda that conditions them to justify it. But they also espouse a political doctrine that insists that human beings deserve equal dignity and an equal right to life. So those that highlight the contradiction in their support for the establishment and their liberal convictions are more dangerous than those who simply oppose those convictions.

“It looks like Obama is going to win, and this will occasion another orgy of liberal self-congratulation and overconfidence. And then they will find that on issue after issue, they lose. They will lose on what the wonks consider "the serious issues," the policy issues, the votes in Congress. But they will also lose in their broader goals of making the world a more just, equitable, and peaceful place, for the simple fact that they will mercilessly attack anyone who demands justice, equality, or peace. They will never ask themselves if their own behavior is in part to blame, the way that they make the logical extension of their own ideas into a matter of shame far worse than the revanchist conservatism they say they hate. This is the privilege of the people who anoint themselves the arbiters of responsible liberalism.”

Outsida said...

Obama and the Democrats should be very cautious about interpreting the election results. There is such a thing as winning the battle and losing the war. Consider:

(1) Obama launched a national PsyOps campaign under the radar (NYT) with the help of head shrinkers and managed to mobilize masses of the most clueless and impressionable starstruck who barely follow politics, but do worship cool, powerful celebrities. They chose our President for us. Wasn't there someone infamous who worked crowds like that, only in a more crude fashion. Obama is nothing if not debonaire.

(2) Obama had his own personal unemployment benefits program. With his billion dollars he hired huge armies of young people, like his own version of the CCC, spread throughout the nation to mobilize voters like themselves - gullible. Whereas volunteers were true believers and unpaid in 2008, this group was paid and propagandized to feel like he was savior to the Nation. Mitt used the wrong word about Obama buying votes with 'gifts' - Obama bought those votes with campaign paychecks which the kids 'earned' by voting and getting their friends to do the same.

(3) Obama is a cynical manipulator extraordinaire, surrounding himself with Hollywood celebrities, cooing love songs, joking like a star, flashing his winning smile, and having sexy and romantic photos of him and Michelle exhibited in the media to appeal to women. He cynically worked the young women particularly - the best potential voting group in terms of 'passion'. Older women are too jaded to fall for that again.

(4) He also worked the system expertly. His campaign operations were focused solely on winning electoral votes, not amassing popular support, ala hearts and minds, throughout the nation. If you didn't live in a swing state, you might not even know there was a Presidential election going on at all, except perhaps if you lived in a college town.

Image and illusion feature largely in Obama's grand masquerade. The media, specializing in both, are more than willing to do their part. That means they aren't likely to portray the sentiment of Americans accurately if it doesn't serve their purposes.

So how do we know if that is a mirage we see on the horizon or a looming civil war?

James F Traynor said...

To liken Obama to Tony Blair (a politician I despise) is hardly being a zealous supporter. And the bit about kill lists. etc. is quite true. It is difficult to compare deplorable people (Romney, Cheney) who commit deplorable acts with pathetic people (Obama, Blair) who commit deplorable acts without seeming to support the pathetic people or their deplorable acts. I do not.

I also disagree with the claim that there is "... no internal pressure to reform the Democratic Party." It is obviously wrong. The degree or significance of internal pressure may be rationally argued but not its existence:
I am a Democrat.
I want the reform of the Party.