Message to the Democratic Party


Revelation 3:15-17:
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Liberal bloggers as a gated community


I think our Liberal bloggers are getting a bit ahead of themselves, for instance, Chris Bowers of MyDD (one of the best):

The Democratic Party is in the midst of a severe electoral crisis. Right now, we only control the US House, the US Senate, the majority of Governorships, the majority of state legislatures, and we lead in only seven out of the eight top-tier matchups in the 2008 general election.

This was in the criticism of a southern white Democrat consultant, “Mudcat” Saunders who was criticising fellow Dems for ignoring the rest of country:

I have bitched and moaned for years about the lack of tolerance in the elitist wing of the Democratic Party, or what I refer to as the “Metropolitan Opera Wing”. These are the people who talk of tolerance but the only true tolerance they ever exhibit is for their own pseudo-intellectual arrogance.

So he was being a bit, um, harsh, and he caught hell for it. But I think he had a hell of a good point. The “elite” Liberal bloggers (and there are a small handful who get most of the traffic) are being awfully arrogant if they try to take credit for Democratic gains in the last election. The Dems (assisted as they were by the bloggers) did not win. The Republicans lost it as they lost their base, disgusted by the obvious corruption and incompetence of the Republican leaders. And if Dems make further gains in the next election it will again be due largely to the continuing corruption and incompetence of the Republicans, not the skills (however great) of the bloggers, and certainly not due to any abundance of courageous actions of the Democrats in the Senate and House…

As we celebrate our President having approval ratings descending through the twenties, we might want to note that the Senate and House, now under Democratic control, have approval ratings far, far lower, now down to 14%.

The Democrats have shown fear and cowardice, failing to follow the wishes of the electorate by ending the war and reining in the Presidency. And the Democratic bloggers, once Liberal and Progressive, now merely Democratic, have (as I noted before) started to lose their edge, and are now trying to take the route they feel is safe (support any corporate Democrat instead of holding them to account) instead of showing the courage to push them by supporting those who support Progressive policies.

Taking the safe route instead of pushing is what got the Democrats in Congress approval ratings of 14%, and doing the same will not help the reputations or power of the bloggerati either.

Screw DailyKos


I used to think that DailyKos was one of the best things that happened to the Net, a force that would allow the netroots to push the Progressive movement to become once again a means to make a difference for the good in America.

That was before Kos became popular and got a taste of power and decided he could decide who is worthy to appear in the debates:

So is there really a point to having Gravel, in between advocating English as an “official” language and promoting his right-wing flat tax, sit on the debates doing nothing but attack other Democrats?

Sorry, Kos, but Mike Gravel, in his few years in the Senate, accomplished more to stop a war than you or all your Neo(ie: fake)-Liberal presidential candidates combined. When Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, showing government deceiving the public about our involvement in Vietnam, and was about to be “put to the torch“, Grevel published the papers in the Congressional Record, guaranteeing public access. And Gravel single-handedly filibustered against the draft for five months until Nixon conceded and the draft ended, without which there could soon be no more Vietnam War.

Any of our current presidential candidates in the Senate could have done the same. If they had the courage. But they don’t. And Kos is trying to protect his favored candidates–the spineless–from criticism from someone who had more backbone than any or all of them put together.

So, Kos,you and your Kossacks can dismiss him as a flake, and mischaracterise his positions, but after reading what you and yours have to say about him, and reading his positions, I trust and respect him now more than you. Trying to denigrate critics as insane and trying to silence them is the sort of tactic that Karl Rove would use, not someone who wants to give the people a voice against the powerful.

All organizations, once they gain some power, lose their ideals and allow themselves to become co-opted by that power, and themselves become the establishment that needs to be confronted. I just hoped that Kos could have resisted temptation a while longer.

The Friedman Unit (the F.U.)


The Friedman Unit is always the latest in the endless endless series of six month periods after which we supposedly will finally see visible progress in Iraq. It got its name after Thomas Friedman who has continually been asking us to wait yet another six months ever since we got there.

Now that the Democrats are giving Da Prez all the money he wants but for shorter and shorter intervals, the Republicans will have to invoke the endless Friedman Unit even more frequently.

Unfortunately, the Dems will NOT cut off funds, and will NOT put an end to the death of our kids. Because it is not in their best political interest to end the war. The more of our kids who die, the more Democrats will get elected, as noted by William S. Lind:

All the Democratic majorities in Congress have to do is condition the funding for the Iraq war with the words, “No funds may be obligated or expended except for the withdrawal of all American forces from Iraq, and for such force protection actions as may be necessary during that withdrawal.” If Bush vetoes the bill, he vetoes continued funding for the war. If he signs the bill, ignores the legislative language and keeps fighting the war in the same old way, he sets himself up for impeachment.
What’s not to like?

For the Democrats, what’s not to like is anything that might actually end the war before the 2008 elections. The Republicans have 21 Senate seats up in 2008, and if the Iraq war is still going on, they can count on losing most of them, along with the Presidency and maybe 100 more seats in the House. 2008 could be the new 1932, leaving the Republican Party a permanent minority for twenty years. From the standpoint of the Democratic Party’s leadership, a few thousand more dead American troops is a small price to pay for so glowing a political victory.

I’ve said before that the cynical greed of both political parties could lead to a political realignment where The Rich may find themselves confronted by The Rest of Us, and Lind seems to agree:

The likely result of all this Washington dodging is that events on the ground in Iraq and elsewhere will outrun the political process. That in turn means a systemic crisis, the abandonment of both parties by their bases and a possible left-right grass roots alliance against the corrupt and incompetent center. In that possibility may lie the nation’s best hope.

Back to the Middle?!?


I’m listening to Cokie Roberts on NPR this morning. She, Neo-Liberal that she is, is parrotting the DLC DEM party line that Bill and Hillary Clinton are serving the necessary purpose of “bringing the Democratic Party back to the middle” after the “liberal excesses” of the 1970s (such as the Civil Rights Act and similar, I presume).

Let’s be a bit more clear what she means. Liberalism has two aspects at this point in time. First it means social values such as gay rights, abortion rights, minority rights. But it also means economic values, protecting the poor and middle class from being treated as prey by the rich.

When Cokie Roberts and Hillary and all the Neos talk about the Middle, they mean The Rich. They mean ignoring social values as best they can, and concentrating on helping the rich and powerful become even more rich and powerful at our expense.

Just as when Bush uses the words “supporting our troops” he really means “supporting Halliburton and the other Bush financial backers”, so too when the Neo-Liberals use the words “the Middle” they mean “The Rich and their suckups” (such as Cokie Roberts).

Which Side Are You On?


As the Democratic Party tries to find its way and which values it promotes, one symbolically important controversy is whether Barack Obama is one of us or will he betray us and sell out to The Man? As noted by Jo Etta, David Sirota and Archpundit have been sparring over the issue. Mostly they are just throwing up paragraphs from his books and his speeches. Words don’t do it for me. Politicians are paid to be masters of words and quickly learn how to speak much and say nothing that will reveal their true values.

But actions are harder to conceal. Which is why I became very disenchanted with Obama when I kept getting emails from my dear Senator Jim Talent telling me about how he and Obama were cosponsoring another E85 ethanol bill whose main purpose (real, not stated) was to funnel our tax dollars into the coffers of Archer, Daniels, Midland (“We don’t make the food you eat. We make the food you eat more expensive!”), Cargill, and the factory farmers who are putting the small farmers out of business. I’m not impressed.

You’re gonna need to know how to sort out who is who. Don’t just listen to their words, watch their actions. Then, realize that everything they do will show whether they are pushing for the People…or for the Power. Mammon is a jealous god, and you can’t worship power and wealth and have any devotion left over for any other values. Obama and any number of supposed supporters of our values will have to show us where they stand. By their fruits we shall know them.

Which Side Are You On?
by Florence Reese

Come all of you good workers
Good news to you I'll tell
Of how that good old union
Has come in here to dwell

      Which side are you on?
      Which side are you on?
      Which side are you on?
      Which side are you on?

My daddy was a miner
And I'm a miner's son
And I'll stick with the union
Till every battle's won

They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there
You'll either be a union man
Or a thug for J.H. Blair

Oh, workers can you stand it?
Oh, tell me how you can
Will you be a lousy scab
Or will you be a man?

Don't scab for the bosses
Don't listen to their lies
Us poor folks haven't got a chance
Unless we organize.

The Neos and the Naughts


For most of human history we practiced equality. Then we became “civilized” and developed the split between those few who leveraged minor advantages into total control, and the rest who are left with little but their labor and the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables (or whatever else trinkles down on them from above)…

Since “civilization” happened, human conflict has centered on the question whether the many would fight for equality or whether they would turn on each other to curry favor with their masters. Many of us wonder why people would surrender their own self interests and give what little power they have to those who already possess more power and wealth than they could ever deserve by any measure. In my own cynicism, I think that maybe most folks really and truly want to be slaves as long as they can avoid the official job title, and only the tiniest few actually fight against it. Maybe we are like dogs with a top dog and all the rest content to be a part of the pack.

But occasionally the pack starts growling at the leader. This last election the Republicans, the official party of the wealth and power elite, found that their followers finally got fed up enough to stay home on election day. Not much of a revolt, but at least a start.

The inherent class conflict in the Republican Party could not be more clear than the sight of the Republican middle and working classes giving not only their jobs and savings but even sacrificing the lives of their children for the greater profits of Halliburton. And ever so slowly it is beginning to dawn on them how badly they are being had. The Neo-Conservatives, working directly for the interests of the elite may finally start finding opposition from their loyal followers.

Democrats will be much slower in realizing how badly they are being screwed by their leaders. Democrats were supposedly the party of the people, so when they too act as the party of the power elite, it takes a long time for their followers to feel the pain sufficiently to see the light.

The Democrats have had a very hard time seeing the difference between a Liberal and a Neo-Liberal. It’s just not that hard. The Neo-Liberals, just like their Republican Neo-Conservative counterparts, are the toadies, sycophants, and suckups to those with money and power. And, just like the Republicans, they are given their power by the gullible. The gullible Republican voters vote themselves into poverty and vote for the Neos because the Neos promise to protect them from the horrible possibility that a couple gay guys might want to get married and have an abortion. And likewise the gullible Democrats vote themselves into poverty as long as their Neos promise they WILL allow gay guys to get married and have abortions. Clear?

Simply look at any controversy among Democrats and you will see the same issue: How can the elite persuade the people to willingly give up their inherent equality and give everything they possess to the elite in exchange for empty promises to take up sides in an eternal war over religious and social values.

So just how stupid and gullibe are you? And it just doesn’t matter which side of the political fence you are on on this one. Is winning a war over whether some gay guys should be able to have abortions a sufficiently good reason for you to give up your jobs, your healthcare, your retirement, and your children’s future? Isn’t it just possible that maybe we should put certain issues aside for a little while and ask each other whether it isn’t about time to start realizing who our real enemies are? No matter which party label they pretend to wear?