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Rant 4: The Awesome Power Of The Bully Pulpit

7:14 pm in Uncategorized by rosalind

The Moral Rot Of Our Ruling Class: A Rant In Five Parts

(Part 1)   (Part 2)   (Part 3)

 

RANT 4: The Awesome Power Of The Bully Pulpit

Pulpit

Pulpit

In May 2012 President Barack Obama announced to the world that his position on gay marriage had evolved into one of support. While I don’t give much weight to opinion polls due to the ability to skew results through the phrasing of questions, or the rigging of sample respondents, the fact that a range of polls throughout the next year showed support for gay marriage growing steadily up and down the demographic dial shows in my completely biased view the awesome power of the bully pulpit in action.

In explaining how he came to support gay marriage Obama cited personal interactions, with staff members, with the parents of his daughters’ classmates, interactions where a concept he may have considered only in the abstract now became undeniably real. While youth support for gay marriage was driving up support naturally, to have the President make this public declaration gave cover for those who may have held back their support for any number of reasons.

Energy begets energy. The President of the United States has the largest bully pulpit in the world at his command. When Obama releases his words into the news-stream it has a ripple effect far beyond the initial launch. With gay marriage he jump-started a conversation already in progress, the full effects of which continue to ripple through our social fabric.

Seeing Obama use his power of the bully pulpit for good makes the number of times he uses it for ill so fucking rage inducing.

Every time he gets before a microphone to discuss the mortgage melt-down and speaks first – always first – of “deserving homeowners”, he grants permission to his Banker Buds and the Pols who do their bidding to reassign their blame onto the 297,000,000 who to this day to this very second continue to be fraudulently criminally foreclosed upon.

Every time he sits for an interview and compares the Federal Budget to a Family Budget he spawns a hundred articles citing this contemptible bullshit as fact, paving the way for his favorite Mcfavority b.s. buzzword:

Austerity. The Zombie lie of Government as Incompetent that feeds the furor to cut & slash & tighten & burn with the inevitable result a Government less able to respond to the normal much less the fucking unforseen which circles back in the feedback loop to Government as Incompetent.

AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!

Jesus, man, can you for once just take Thumper’s Mom’s sage advice: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, SHUT. THE FUCK. UP.”

Nope, the man rode into office atop his chosen narrative and – facts be damned – he will not be denied. His Republican adversaries good men who mean well when the entire goddamn universe is getting showered with the spittle spewed by those treasonous, traitorous fucks.

Obama with his smug-ass smile taking to his pulpit to deliver the same sermon for the 869th time that this time, baby, it’ll be different, just wait and see. And the nation braces itself for whatever punch is coming next.

Energy begets energy. The President of the United States has the largest bully pulpit in the world at his command. When Obama releases his words into the news-stream it has a ripple effect far beyond the initial launch.

The course of the gay marriage debate since Obama’s words one year ago show the good that this Country is capable of. We are capable of so much more, but starved for simple, declarative sentences delivered from a position of strength to lead our way, rooted in a real understanding of the real conditions we the 297,000,000 are surviving in.

My incivil invective on where the fuck from here tomorrow, in:

Rant 5: From Here, Where?

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I Believe Barack Obama

6:05 am in Uncategorized by rosalind

As the adage goes: when someone shows you who they are, believe them.

Obama gives a thumbs up.

Image: Bernard Pollack / Flickr

For four years Barack Obama has told us who he is through words and deeds and I for one believe him.

I believe when he executes his power over life and death he considers his lack of uncertainty a thing to be admired, not a callousness bordering on pathological to be reviled.

I believe when in his every speech about the Mortgage Crisis he mentions before all else “deserving” homeowners he considers the American people the root cause of our own misery and his job to protect the Bankers from our sins.

I believe when he boasts of his negotiating skills, revealing his cards upfront with a flashing neon sign highlighting his final position, he thinks his play is anything but ritual pre-surrender a Kabuki artist would find beyond the pale.

I believe when he gave the Pedophile Protectorate veto-power over women’s bodies during his back-door political ACA maneuverings he gave the greenlight to divide women up by our ladyparts endangering our health for his own personal political gain.

I believe when he substitutes feelings for facts he gives no thought that others will follow his lead and chart their own course, dragging the Country down into science-denying, both sides do it, facts don’t matter hell.

I believe when he raises bipartisanship on high but lifts no finger to elect more Dems he is defining “bi” as him on one side, Republicans on the other, and a Democratic Majority something that’d only screw his chosen narrative.

I believe when he vows to continue his same austere course in his second term despite the mountain of evidence this path is driving the Country seriously off-track, he reveals who he truly is: a man intent on taking his place in the pages of History he has written for himself and nothing and no one will get in his blinkered, set-in-stone way.

The next four years a continuation of the last four…

  • Rule of Law replaced by Corporate Coronation
  • Our Constitution replaced by Town Square Militarization
  • Public Works replaced by Infrastructure Deterioration
  • Middle Class American Dreams replaced by Hand-To-Mouth Stagnation

Believe it.

Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Oppose Deficit Deal: Amended

3:09 pm in Uncategorized by rosalind

Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Oppose Deficit Deal – AMENDED

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva and Rep. Keith Ellison, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), released the following statement in advance of today’s vote in the House of Representatives:

“While voting to increase the debt ceiling is a necessary step, the deficit-reduction measures included in this deal will further harm our economy and hurt working Americans.  With unemployment still above 9% and stagnating economic growth, taking money out of the economy will only place a heavier burden on working families.

This is the wrong approach for our economy at the wrong time, and it goes against our basic values. For that reason, we and many of our members will be voting no because we’re the lucky ducks allowed to publically vote “no” on orders of Pelosi & Boehner who’ve already secured the votes necessary for passage.

Progressives are committed to prosperity for the middle class, and we believe that reasonable deficit reduction can be achieved while advancing our values (just ignore what we said two paragraphs above about taking money out of the economy…look, over there, shiny object!). But today’s deficit-reduction deal falls short.  Republicans have sought to dismantle basic services for average Americans while spending more to support millionaires and corporations in accordance with the wishes of President Obama, who in an interview with the WAPO five days before his inauguration looked forward to tackling programs like Social Security and Medicare – “We’ve kicked this can down the road and now we are at the end of the road.”

Tea Party Republicans have held our economy hostage to those demands, but deficit reduction should not be enacted in a hostage situation unless it is the President holding our economy hostage, rejecting a Clean Debt Ceiling bill in favor of ramming through a Grand Bargain™, cause “if not now, when?” We have long said default on the full faith and credit of the United States is unacceptable. If this bill is defeated, we urge the President to use his 14th amendment powers to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default, a discussion we wouldn’t even be having if he had insisted on a Clean Debt Ceiling bill in the first place.

We will continue to fight for programs that help working families by ensuring these families are gonna need a lot more help when further spending cuts drive our current economic downturn to depths that will make today’s catastrophic unemployment look like the good ol’ days. During recent weeks the Congressional Progressive Caucus stood with millions of people across the country to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from being cut in the deal being voted on today, instead they will actually be cut in a few more months with the creation of the Super Congress, whereby we (and 521 of our fellow Reps) hand over our vote & voice to 12 party-picked members who will speak for 300,000,000 American citizens.  We will of course be reducing our salary and benefits to reflect our reduced workload, in the spirit of “shared sacrifice”.  (ha! we kid!)

But preventing the worst from happening is not enough, President Obama has decreed we must ensure that the worst actually happens. Americans will not stand by while their livelihood comes under attack, they don’t have the strength, as they struggle to simply survive the Financial Sector’s bad actions (richly rewarded) which have destroyed the tax base resulting in Cities & States strip-mining critical services.  Meanwhile 9%+ of Americans no longer have a livelihood to attack. We can structure our economy in a way that benefits everybody—not just special interests, and not just the extremely wealthy - but our Corporate Overlords won’t allow that. We can articulate a vision for the country not based on what America can’t achieve—but what it can – but our talk will never result in real action. That is the type of leadership Americans have come to expect, while trying to understand how down is now up, left is now right, and anyone holding a seat of power in D.C. doesn’t just explode in a ball of shame.”

Once More, With Feelings

1:48 pm in Uncategorized by rosalind

I’ve long lost the ability to watch Presidential press conferences, but it didn’t take the powers of Carnac to accurately predict President Obama would root his remarks at today’s presser in the notion of “feelings”.  It’s become a requirement for him and any member of his administration, when discussing our Country’s current precarious straits, to speak of feelings at the expense of facts.

Treasury Secretary Geithner proclaims “for a lot of people, it’s going to feel very hard…for some time to come.”

White House Political Advisor Plouffe exclaims the first criteria voters will use next year is “how do I feel about things right now”.

And President Obama declaims he’s obsessed with families who “just feel like they’re falling behind” and if Washington does its part then “that will help with businesses feeling more confident” and Obama himself feels confident that he can get the Country on his side.

With apologies to Morris Albert, “Feelings, oh oh oh, god no not more feelings.”

My objection to Obama and his Administration reducing our lives to feelings is that it works to obscure the facts, and the discussion becomes one step removed from our reality.

The American people do not feel things are hard, we know they’re hard.

We will not be voting on feelings, but facts.

And the facts are ugly. Catastrophic unemployment, unregulated greed, a stalled economy that can’t begin to get back into first gear until the true cause of the housing melt-down is addressed and unwound and stem the states revenue free-falls.

The salt in the wound, the Masters of our Universe picking our pockets to bail out their bad deals then sitting fat-assed atop record pots of cash while shipping our jobs off-shore amid bleated cries of “shared sacrifice”.

“Shared sacrifice”.  The moral rot of our ruling class laid bare in two words. The American people have done nothing else but sacrifice since our Political Elites lost their collective shit in the wake of 9/11 and set the country on a course few could have imagined except in a fever dream.

We will survive, but in what shape is the question of the hour.  My feelings – for propriety’s sake – best left unsaid.

 

 

 

Dear President Obama: About Last Night…

11:07 pm in Uncategorized by rosalind

Dear President Obama,

OK, I get it. I do. John Wells’ job was to put on a fabulous spread for 200 wealthy donors at his Hancock Park home. Your job was to put in some quality face time to fill up the DCCC coffers to the tune of One Million big ones. And it was the Secret Service’s job to whisk you to and fro quickly, safely and most importantly – secretly.

It’s just that, as one of the many thousand Angelenos caught in your gridlocked traffic from hell, I’m left wondering at the decision process. Secret Service has to get you from Point A (Beverly Hilton) to Point B (Hancock Park). A quick look at the map shows you will be traveling several miles East, then North a couple. If standard Secret Service protocol is indeed to keep the route you will be traveling shut down for the entire evening until you’re back at your hotel, then whichever East/West street you close down would be cutting off one of the busiest transportation corridors in Los Angeles – at rush hour – leaving cars nowhere to go, literally, with the resultant gridlock spreading out for miles.

This the plan OK’d by the DCCC and the White House.

The Secret Service, taking the "secret" part of their job title dead serious, prohibited the police or media from giving out any information as to what streets were shut down or the anticipated length of the shut-down. A total information black-out.

I had a ticket to see Rosanne Cash at a theatre on Wilshire. Once I heard you were in town I searched for information, but details were scarce (see: Service, Secret). I left extra early, traveling West on Sunset as far as I could, then turned South. And there I sat. For hours. Olympic Blvd. closed, the City bisected, there was nowhere for the traffic ahead to go. But we couldn’t know that as we weren’t allowed to know (Ssh! It’s a secret!). The only thing we knew was there was no way out. Every street clogged. Stopped cars and buses and bikes and pedestrians as far as the eye could see (nobody got across Olympic, no matter the mode of transportation). To quote a resident quoted in the L.A. Times: "Young, old, black, white – everyone was pissed off." The areas affected stretched from "Hollywood to the Miracle Mile and from Beverly Hills down to Culver City and west into Venice, Santa Monica and the Palisades." Get out your map again, draw a circle. A fuckin’ big circle, no?

The comment sections have featured a refrain that the thousands held hostage in service to a cocktail party need to get over it, that this happens in every City a President descends upon. Yet in the examples cited, none have detailed a road closure of four hours straight of a major artery at rush hour. And definitely not a lock-down of this size to ensure the President made a "zippy" "brisk" "ten minute" trip to and from DCCC party central.

My question is one of proportion. Los Angeles, like the rest of the Country, is in the midst of an epic economic downturn with no signs of abatement. Your private party caused public tax payers to miss work, miss doctor appointments, and strained an already strained civic infrastructure. Me, I missed the book signing and am out $35 bucks. To the people inside the ambulances stuck in the gridlock with sirens blaring, well, we don’t know what price they paid.

All in service of raising funds for the DCCC so they can continue to meddle in primaries and support Blue Dog curs who’ll vote against you with glee and race each other to the Sunday shows to take their bow.

Priceless.