Friday, May 30, 2008

It Ain't Over Until The Zombie's Head Is Blown Off

* Nanci Pelosi vows to end the primary battle.
* The Votemaster outlines Sen. Clinton's overall choice and consequence options outside the DNC RBC meeting today and the Convention.

Frightening shit.

Executive summary: The Clinton Campaign will use the Saturday meeting as fuel to get to Denver and contest the convention. She'll take whatever ruling they give her and appeal to the credentials committee immediately before the convention. Once before the credentials committee, The Clinton campaign can then argue to strip certain delegations credentials (see all those caucus states that didn't vote for her, for instance), or just to award her campaign loyalists the credentials of the disputed states. There's a host of fluid arguments that the campaign can make at that time, and they don't need to be related to Michigan and Florida.

It's an antagonistic article, no doubt, but worth reading for the strategies the author lays out. And I think we're all going to be subjected to this douchebaggery until August 28th.

I keep bringing the 1972 nomination battle, right? Well, guess what Muskie, Humphrey, and the party machinery did against McGovern in Miami of July, '72.

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Smearing the DFH

Iowa's 3rd District has a primary contest between 6 term incumbent Blue Dog Leonard Boswell and progressive Ed Fallon next week, June 3rd.

I call the incumbent Our Boswell for good reason - if you need an enabler, he's your man. Boswell voted for the Iraq War, and is solid pro-defense vote for just about anything brought up by the predominantly center-right political apparatus. He's a free-trade supporter while at the same time sucking up to the unions. He sucks up sop much that his union record is an amazing 85%, despite his trade positions. Boswell also voted for the draconian bankruptcy reform bill that passed last year, where the Blue Dogs aligned themselves the Republicans to pass that miserable piece of low-income indenturement. In short, Bos is always there with a vote if you need a deal made.

Predictably, the state party is unofficially supporting Bos. For a time in the late 90's and through the 2000's, Boswell was the only Democrat in the Congressional delegation and the state party was scared as hell of losing his seat. In the infamous post-2000 redistricting, which was manipulated by Republicans nationwide, Bos was moved from his conservative populist south-west district to Des Moines in an attempt to make him more vulnerable. In 2004, Boswell was out for almost half of the Congressional session with a life-threatening case of gastro-intestinal problems. Amazingly, he held on both times.

The state party also has no love lost for Fallon. He supported Nader in 2000, which is still dragged out by his critics. The party is scared to death of a liberal populist that is vocal, unafraid of the press, and sticks to his principles. And it is scared of Boswell, period. Despite an early partnering with Act Blue last year, Fallon has only raised $1600 and 14 supporters from the organization. Democracy for America endorsed Fallon in February.

MyDD has a good summary of Boswell's flaws and the campaign so far - much better than mine.

The local McPaper, The Register, has issued a mixed bag of opinion the last few days. They've sublimated or completely ignored the primary race up to this point, but they couldn't ignore it forever. The Editorial board endorsed Fallon this last week, which was amazing considering the DMR's propensity to back incumbents. Apparently between Boswell blowing the board's interview, a debate Boswell refused to participate in, and the political winds changing, Fallon surprisingly came out with the endorsement. Political moderate columnist David Yepsen then spent his next column sliming Fallon in reaction to the endorsement. The better political commentator, Marc Hansen, covered the empty-seat debate and acknowledged the realities of the situation.

Give if you have a few pennies.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Support the Troops, Indeed.

"You raised your right hand."

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard this phrase, I wouldn't need a regular job. In today's environment, servicemembers who speak out against the war are roundly shouted down with a similar response. Since we volunteered during a time of war, conservatives say, we have no right to complain about the abuses we endure: lengthening deployments, foreshortened dwell times, increased strains on family, substandard medical care. Personally, I think that the demand should be higher simply BECAUSE we volunteered, but many on the American Right don't seem to agree with me. Apparently placing patriotism over principle isn't enough to qualify as a "Real American."

And now, it seems that the statement even applies to our educations.

Here's a phrase: "Support the Troops." Anybody remember this? Look, I'm the last person one will ever hear demanding deferential treatment. If anything, the effusive shows of gratitude often creep me out. But it is galling to me, hearing the warmongers in our midst shriek about full backing for our Armed Services, only to then turn about and say that we don't deserve adequate benefits because, well, "we volunteered." These, by the way, are the same people who threatened me for speaking out.

This is your movement conservatism, America: a cabal of corporate-media shills and the well-funded interests who control them. There is no "conservative intelligentsia," only a group of tanned pundits, drowning in a sea of Aqua-Net, who say whatever they're paid to. They'll beat the drum of war as long as they can, and then abandon those who answer the call.

These are your gods, Joe Six-Pack. These are your priests, your patriots. These are your emperors, and they have no clothes.

More to the point, they have no souls.

Read more!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

DFH, Explained.

I think we all understand what a DFH is, yah?

I want to point you to a great post-book blogged afterward for Rick Perlstein at the Talking Points Memo Cafe about Nixonland. What's interesting is Rick's assertion that political spectral movements (not the parties) succeed or fail in part on how they view their opposition. The disdain conservatives have, especially in the rhetorical archetypes they wheel about - like the DFH - shows how weak their understanding of the opposition is.

In 1960, when college students began flocking to buy Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative, the American left's image of a conservative was of a plutocrat in monocles and spats (and what kind of working-class voter could ever be attracted to that? Conservatism: nothing to worry about!).

That was stupid. No one would do that any more.

In 1966, when Ronald Reagan began surging toward the GOP gubernatorial nomination in California, Esquire, the leading edge of a certain smug center of liberal opinion, graciously allowed that the "Republican Party isn't bankrupt, or isn't that bankrupt that it has to turn to Liberace for leadership."

That was stupid. No one would do that any more.

In 1969, when Richard Nixon gave perhaps the most politically successful speech in the history of the presidency, an Ivy League anti-war leader responded, "What Nixon has tried to show is that there is a silent majority behind him. We know better."

That was stupid. No one would do that any more--for, without bothering to consult the Harvard New Left, the American people had just bounced the president's approval rating from 52 to 68 percent practically overnight.

Once I was reading old New Republics from early 1980, and, though I can't just now pin down the citations, recall some of the liberals there taking Ronald Reagan's presidential prospects about as seriously as, well, Liberace's.

That was stupid. No one would do that any more.

I could multiply the examples endlessly. Liberals used to be really, really, really condescending. They're not anything like that degree of condescending any more. That so many conservatives find us precisely that condescending now is, to borrow, like conservatives these days are habitually doing, the antiquated argot of another age: it's a stone trip, man.

Dig it: they still think we're all August Hecksher and Abbie Hoffman. Just like in 1960 we still thought they were all wearing monocles and spats.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

So Who's the Ass?

I risked my blood pressure this afternoon and read this comment thread at the home base.

About the only thing that saved me from an aneurysm was commenter shah8. What I noted was that Turkana's reply was openly hostile and demeaning from the beginning, despite the commenter's initial civility.

Unfortunately shah8 finally got equally hostile, but there's a lesson here in what passes for conversation at The Left Coaster these days. Don't bother unless you can manage the slings, arrows, insults, and later pedophilia allegations thrown at you by what used to be the leading posters.

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"Remain Apolitical" - You've Got to be Kidding Me!

The latest outrageous attempt at playing politics with the U.S. Military, on Memorial Day no less:

Seems chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen,
...has written an unusual open letter to all those in uniform, warning them to stay out of politics as the nation approaches a presidential election... The U.S. military must remain apolitical at all times and in all ways...
It was OK for the Pentagon to use Retired General's to spread their Propaganda through the MSM. Thanks for the objectivity.

When John Kerry's joke about troops and education came off badly, the bu$h administration encouraged the troops to respond. Even McCain jumped all over Kerry's ass for insulting the troops intelligence. Remember the cute banners our soldiers were holding up with misspelled words trying to embarrass Kerry.

Of course there is the shameless case of how the Pentagon used the death of Pat Tillman as a political recruiting tool. Only to find out later he was killed by fratricide. Then the botched cover up, where General's got reprimanded and as always the bu$h/cheney administration looked like fools.

Now is not the time to "remain apolitical"!

This election cycle is a matter of life and death for many troops and their families. It's for getting the fuck out of Iraq, a change in foreign policy worldwide, proper health care (and mental health care), education benefits, and to preserve a military that is stretched thin.

Not much at stake is there?

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Belief Must Die

The news makes me laugh these days.

Tanned, bleach-blonde cable news anchors, clutching their pearls, asking "Are we in a recession?" Laughing about the troubles that face modern American families. Feigning looks of concern any time someone brings up dead soldiers. It isn't their fault, you know. We enable them. We, the American public, don't want serious analysis, or hard looks at the consequences of our passivity. We don't want change. We want to carry on the belief that we are God's Chosen, that we are the Blessed, and that if we just look the other way, Everything Will Be Just Fine.

Take the war, for example. People think, "If we can just get the Troops home!" But no. It won't be that simple. Because you'll still have an entire region laid waste by your folly. You'll still have that section of our population who believes that All Muslims Are Evil. You'll still have that group of people who didn't learn. You know who they are: the ones who quantify all matters of military engagement as either "victory" or "surrender;" the ones who mourn our past fallen while the bodies of the most recent dead cool in the dust. Who make shows of "remembering our vets," while their leaders conspire to send even more off to die tomorrow.

So how can you be surprised that this same group of people has wrought such great evil elsewhere: in our markets, in our hospitals, in our churches and schools and bedrooms and uteri?
Who would trust corporations to act responsibly in the face of deregulation? Who would think that guns have more of a place in women's purses than birth control? It isn't just a war. It's a way of life. It's a way of thinking--one that has done nothing for us. It is a worldview that cannot imagine or create, only fear and destroy.



Social Security.


The environment.




It is not just a war, or even culture war. It is a belief system. It is a worldview, sick and misguided, which has rendered us nothing. Do you understand that? NOTHING. It is Conservatism, and until its philosophies are condemned to the dustbin of History, there can be no hope for us. We must poison Its wells; we must lace Its fields with salt. We must dismantle Its buildings, brick by brick, and throw them into the sea.

The Belief, in all its forms, must die.

Conservatio delenda est.

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