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I can’t believe this. It should have been unanimously defeated. Three Democrats even voted for it. Here are the details.

Fifty votes needed to defeat it, and it got 51. Olmypia Snowe was the only Republican who voted against it. Her Maine colleague, Susan Collins, went along with the rest of the Republicans. Group think is important among Republicans. There are always a few Democrats who stray, in this case three.

Olympia voted against it because, having chosen to retire, she is free, free at last to vote her conscience.

And then there’s that fascistic pig, Rush Limbaugh. He calls a law student a “slut” for wanting contraception available. How 19th century can you get? And have any Republicans repudiated Rush? No. I guess he and Grover Norquist are the voices of the Republican party.

Here’s an excellent NYT editorial on the narrow defeat of the Blunt amendment.

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Most popular reader’s comment on the NYT article, Soaring Poverty Casts Spotlight on Lost Decade:


We are entering an era of class warfare.

The rich and the moneyed corporate interests and the Republicans in their pockets have been quite bold about this: no healthcare for the poor. No education for the poor. And the middle class is weakening and falling away while the ultrarich control more and more.

The truth is, such a society is, overall, a poorer society. What I don’t understand is why some middle class and some poor actually support Republican initiatives that make them poorer and hurt their own health and the education of their children. It is a stunning triumph of propaganda, where some people support policies that hurt them, because of false contrived bogeymen like freeloading illegals and welfare queens. And the entire country is suffering for this propaganda bought and paid for by the rich and the corporations who don’t want to pay for your health and your education. And some of you agree with it! Insanity.

I thought it was “We the people,” not “We the rich people and corporations.” You who are poor and Republican or middle class and Republican: please take note of the war that is being waged against you, and reevaluate your support for policies which only impoverish you, bought and paid for by propaganda mouth pieces that appeal to your irrational fears rather than your sense of reason.

Recommended by 1116 Readers

Thanks BR from Times Square.

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I watched it last night and was impressed with his strong delivery and the high resonant pitch of his voice. Quite an oration. He seemed to be saying something too, not enough to fill the economic hole we’re in, but sufficient to create 1.9 million jobs according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. His hair might not be on fire, but it’s definitely smoking according to Paul Krugman. Oh I know, he’s done a lot of bad things like not closing Gitmo, not approving the new EPA standards, and many more: see Drew Westen’s NYT article What Happened to Obama?. Of course the Republicans won’t pass his Jobs bill, but at least he seems to be going down fighting. Let’s be optimistic and hope that his efforts might at least keep the senate from going Republican in 2012. Fat chance?

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The NYT this morning has a scathing editorial on the pettiness of John Boehner’s refusal to allow Obama to make his jobs speech on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and they accuse Obama of caving once again by agreeing to give his speech on the following day. I think I agree that Obama caved yet again, but then I find the following reader’s comment:

Really? This delay, even seen as a concession to a request, however churlish, from another elected representative of considerable stature (i.e., the Speaker of the House) is seen as “caving” or some sort of sign of weakness? Was Lincoln’s willingness to wait patiently to meet with General George B. McClellan, the general-in-chief of the Union Army at the early stages of the Civil War (and, later, his Democratic rival for re-election as President) also “caving” or weakness?

What has happened to the notion that it is the stronger, more mature, and more self-possessed individual and leader who can overlook – much less ignore – such pettiness and posturing, keeping his (or her) eye on the more important issues and goals of good governance and the communication of one’s vision and plans for the same?

Or are virtues such as patience, restraint, and forbearance (yes, even towards the small, the petty, and, dare I say it, “those who hate you”) of no value and are no longer desired in our leaders, much less our President and Commander-in-Chief?

OK, this is all well and good. Clearly, Lincoln showed forbearance and maturity and became one of our very greatest presidents. But look what Obama is up against:

I don’t know how true this is, but on The Ed Show (granted hardly an unbiased source) it was said that the Obama people sent the request early in the morning, and that Boehner hesitated in replying to the President, until after Rush Limbaugh went on the air and on the warpath and publicly berated Boehner for not turning down the President’s request immediately. It seems the Republicans in office are so beholden (again, if this is true) to such non-elected personalities as Limbaugh, Beck and Grover Norquist that they cannot act independently on their own. In fact, if you include the astroturf groups such as The Club for Growth and Freedomworks, it seems elected Republicans are no better than lemmings marching to the drumbeat of corporate-funded advocacy groups and media individuals.Not to let Obama off the hook, because he backed down again, but the Republican have no intention of showing respect for the office of the President as long as their leadership-in-fact is a bunch of astroturf groups and rich individuals, especially Rush Limbaugh. I can’t believe so many poor and middle-class individuals are taken in by a rich man who flaunts a golden microphone, and how many politicians, including the one who is second in the line to the presidency, are beholden to him.

Is this equivalent to what Lincoln was up against? It may have been worse in Lincoln’s time but at least then there was no instant media to excite the masses.

The first quote was by William Gabriel of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the second was by r5169 of Midwestern U.S.A.

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Especially these House Republicans, or should I say Repuglicans? Eric Cantor is the number one worst person of the Repuglican world. This outburst of mine here was prompted by reading this DialyKos article: Obama to call for transportation reauthorization without cuts.

The article points out that Obama will be joined by representatives of two organizations that are very rarely on the same side, namely, the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This still probably won’t be enough to satisfy that creep Cantor because his only objective is to defeat Obama.

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This is from the comment section of the NYT article today by David Brooks titled “It’s Not About You”. It’s a comment by a William Taylor of Nampa, ID, and it rang a bell with me.

As Robert Cole pointed out in his “Habits of the Heart” America entered its individualist era during the early to mid eighteen-hundreds, as documented by de Alexis de Tocqueville in his famous book chronicaling his journey among the American people. The visitor from France wondered what would happen. I think he is the one who first coined the word “individualism,” describing a pattern in which the horizon is finally reduced to “me.”

The main thing lost due to the triumph of individualism has been a sense of the common good. Democrats still have some allegiance to the idea, as illustrated by their continued concern for social welfare and the supportive role of government. The Republicans (David Brooks is a good example) have always been suspicious of this idea, but their almost religious individualism really took over with Reagan and now reigns supreme thanks to the libertarians and the Tea Party. The Ryan budget is a good example of individualism’s rotten fruit.

In philosophy, they talk about a “reductio ad absurdum,” the condition that exists when the fallacy of an idea finally reaches its ultimate point of absurdity. With the ongoing financial debacle…the loss of cheap oil…and climate change, we face huge problems that can only be solved when “I” becomes a “we.” The prognosis is not good.

That’s right. The prognosis is not good.

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and no time to say it. I’m off at 8:45am to the Eyecare Medical Group in Portland for my left cataract removal. I sit here with no breakfast rather grumpily. And I read about Obama’s three year freeze in discretionary spending (I guess John McCain agrees — how nice) and note his lack of leadership on health care. I’ve about given up on Obama. His plans for solving the job problems in America are piddling, in addition to the budget freeze not helping jobs at all. The Republicans will take over. But I’m looking forward to getting this cataract removed and doing without glasses, although they say I’ll need them for reading. OK, now I gotta go and start taking eye drops. Kate will be over soon and the three of us, Kate, me, Cynthia will head out for Portland at 8:45am.

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More Juan Cole stuff this morning. He’s making a good argument that these new Obama administration airline passenger screening measures are casting too wide a net and will end up alienating people. Also, they tell al-Qaida which countries not to send bombers from. For example, Indonesia and India aren’t on the list. And why is Cuba on the list?

It’s hard to find a discussion of these issues on the American media which is so scared it might be called ‘liberal’ that it constantly bends over backwards to appease the republicans, who are mostly right wing now, with vanishing numbers of ‘moderates’. So, it was refreshing to hear, thanks to Juan Cole, a different analysis of these new screening measures brought to us by, yes, you guessed it, AlJazeeraEnglish.

Here’s a 24 minute video from AlJazeeraEnglish with the title, “Inside Story – New airline security measures: Safe or discriminatory? – 5 Jan 2009″

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So, if Obama’s rhetoric is high minded and progressive, are his actions more like a continuation of George W. Bush’s policies? In other words, is Obama becoming W-ized?

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I’ve been getting pissed at what’s going on. Here we have Obama trying to make nice with the Republicans, and you know? They could care less*. Some of them are masters at speaking out of both sides of their mouths simultaneously, while others don’t even bother to hide their sanctimonious nastiness. Mitch McConnell would be in the former camp, John Boehner in the latter.

Oh, but Obama’s just as bad as the rest of them! Look at all these tax swindlers he’s appointed to high office. Sure, squeaky clean you’ve got to be to get into high office these days, especially if you’re a Democrat. Tom Daschle’s tax problems seem large to the “ordinary person”, and they are. However, he is not a crook! He would have been the best choice to beat back the Republican machine which will pull out all the stops, along with the insurance industry, to beat back any attempts to establish what they’ll call “socialized medicine”.

The best guy for Daschle’s job would be Arnold S. Relman, M.D., but nobody’s ever heard of him and he’d have zero political clout amongst the hyenas. That’s why we needed Tom Daschle, tax warts and all.

I’m so sick of the news media, especially the sanctimonious news anchors, you know, Katie, Brian, Chris and Charlie, not to mention that slime journalist Maureen Dowd of the NYT. Oh, I’m pissed alright!

I try to read people who really know what the hell’s going on like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, plus a lot of financial blogs all over the place. Hey, Robert Reich’s latest blog entries are really great!

Many economists feel the stimulus plan isn’t large enough! Even the conservative well-known economist, Martin Feldstein, Ronald Reagan’s chief economist, told Congress that the stimulus should be $800 billion.

I could rattle on but why don’t you just read Barney Frank’s latest comment? Frank to bankers: People hate you! OK, I’ll stop now!

* Well, according to this article he is making some progress.

UPDATE:
Here’s Josh Marshall on Denial As Political Strategy:

Behind all the back and forth over the Stimulus Bill is a simple fact: the debate in Washington is rapidly moving away from any recognition that the US economy — and the global economy, for that matter — is in free-fall. The range of outcomes stretches from severe recession to something closer to a replay of the Great Depression, though that label is perhaps better seen as a placeholder for ‘catastrophic economic collapse’ since the underlying place of the US economy in the world economy is very different from what it was in 1929. This reality was palpable in the political debate until as recently as a few weeks ago. But Republicans are using a strategy of conscious denial to push it off the stage.

Take stock of the last few weeks and you can almost visualize the two conversations — path toward economic calamity and debate over Stimulus Bill — diverging.

The other key into the current debate is that the Republican position is ominously similar to their position on global warming or, for that matter, evolution. The discussion of what to do on the Democratic side tracks more or less with textbook macroeconomics, while Republican argument track either with tax cut monomania or rhetorical claptrap intended to confuse. It’s true that macro-economics doesn’t make controlled experiments possible. And economists can’t speak to these issues with certainty. But in most areas of our lives, when faced with dire potential consequences, we put our stock with scientific or professional consensus where it exists, as it does here. Only in cases where it goes against Republican political interests or economic interests of money-backers do we prefer the schemes of yahoos and cranks to people who study the stuff for a living.

Of course, at some level, why would Republicans be trying to drive the country off a cliff? Well, not pretty to say, but they see it in their political interests. Yes, the DeMints and Coburns just don’t believe in government at all or have genuinely held if crankish economic views. But a successful Stimulus Bill would be devastating politically for the Republican party. And they know it. If the GOP successfully bottles this up or kills it with a death of a thousand cuts, Democrats will have a good argument amongst themselves that Republicans were responsible for creating the carnage that followed. But the satisfaction will have to be amongst themselves since as a political matter it will be irrelevant. The public will be entirely within its rights to blame Democrats for any failure of government action that happened while Democrats held the White House and sizable majorities in both houses of Congress.

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OK, there’s a great article in the latest New Yorker magazine with the title, The State of Sarah Palin, which happens to be online. I finished reading it yesterday and it gives a fine insight into not only her but Alaska as well: Alaska, that far-out state where Mastodon teeth are no big deal. Well, over 50% of the population are Independents, 25% Republicans, 15% Democrats, and they do have running water most places.

The article is by Philip Gourevitch who spent a few weeks up in Alaska interviewing her and discovering the lay of the land. The article has the sub-title, The peculiar political landscape of the Vice-Presidential hopeful. I came away from the reading with a better grasp of her personality and also that of Alaska.

OK, now that her popularity is in decline (see the chart below), I can say this will be my last word on this distraction. From now on it should be all about Obama! I agree with Anne Lamott in her post A Call to Arms.

Thanks to Matthew Yglesias for this chart from Research 200 Tracking and Poll Data.

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