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What Romney has taught the American left

9:59 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

“The president was elected on the basis that he was not Romney and that Romney was a poopy-head.” – Grover Norquist (ht:Doonesbury)

Just for argument’s sake let us accept that Romney was right and that 47% of Americans will always vote against the Republicans because, as “dependent” parasites, they cannot take responsibility for their “own lives”… In other words, they need old age pensions, medical care, good public schools and universities etc. This means that, probably totally unbeknownst to themselves, they are what is known in most other developed countries as “Social Democrats”.

What we have learned then in 2012, following the Romney analysis, is how easy it is to turn 47% into 50.6%.

What progressives need to learn is how they can turn 47% into a 60%, that is to say, an absolute majority.

Perhaps the economy and the interrelated complexity of the modern world will do the job by itself.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Campaign note: Obama or the deluge (no kidding)

3:07 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Readers of mine should not be under the impression that I am a big fan of Obama’s or of the Democrats… I wrote this back in 2008:

I find myself against almost everything that the Republicans stand for, but at least they seem to truly stand for what they say they stand for (although many evangelicals doubt this). I respect that quality, even in a jerk like Bush… He defends his people (the very, very rich) to the bone. But the Democratic Party to use highly technical language, really, really, sucks: with few exceptions, a herd of Judas Goats leading the poor to slaughter, bells a tingling.

Having said that I still say Obama is a better pick than Romney.

Here is what Roger Cohen writes today in the Washington Post:

On the movie screen, Robert F. Kennedy’s appeal is obvious: authenticity. He cared. He showed it. People saw that and cared about him in return. With Obama, the process is reversed. It’s hard to care about someone who seems not to care in return. I will vote for him for his good things, and I will vote for him to keep Republican vandals from sacking the government. But after watching Bobby Kennedy, I will vote for Obama with regret. I wish he was the man I once mistook him for.

I realize that voting for Obama is not an attractive proposition; it’s a little like having your leg cut off to save you from dying of gangrene… but that is the only thing on the menu. The Republican party is now in the hands of rogue billionaires who are stimulating fascism in order to evade taxes and regulation… They want to even go back and repeal the reforms of Teddy Roosevelt. This is really that simple: avoiding a ultra-right coup d´etat.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Why it is essential that Barack Obama be reelected

10:41 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

No matter what you may feel or think about Barack Obama, no matter how disappointed you may be by his failure to live up to the promises he made in 2008 or the hope he inspired four years ago; it is essential for every progressively minded American to do what they can to keep Mitt Romney out of the White House. The only instrument the American people possess in this case is their vote and the only realistic alternative to Romney is to reelect Barack Obama.

The following clipping from TPM by Sahil Kapur, explains the situation perfectly.

A potential Mitt Romney presidency carries huge implications for the Supreme Court that have conservatives excited and progressives fearful about the future. Liberal-leaning Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 79, and Steven Breyer, 74, are likely candidates for retirement during a Romney administration. The GOP nominee has vowed to appoint staunch conservatives, and the influential conservative legal community will make sure he follows through. Replacing even one of the liberal justices with a conservative, legal scholars and advocates across the ideological spectrum agree, would position conservatives to scale back the social safety net and abortion rights in the near term. Over time, if a robust five-vote conservative bloc prevails on the court for years, the right would have the potential opportunity to reverse nearly a century of progressive jurisprudence. For all those reasons, conservative legal activists anticipate that a Romney win would be the culmination of their decades-long project to remake the country’s legal architecture.(…) a Romney presidency — even a one-term presidency — would pose a slow-release threat to key progressive accomplishments, and why small-government conservatives view his candidacy as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. (emphasis mine) Sahil Kapur – TPM

The idea of wiping out all the progress made in over a lifetime of legislation and rulings… a veritable coup d’etat by the most reactionary elements in America, is truly too horrible to contemplate.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Barack Fights back

10:24 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Obama second debate
He was having a ball

I had my doubts for a while, but now I think I might have been right to imagine in a previous post that President Obama threw the first debate, that he deliberately underperformed.

The question would have to be, why take such a huge, deliberate risk?

This is why I think he took that risk.

All the analysts are in agreement (and always have been) that this election is going to be very close… the economy is what it is and getting reelected with unemployment hovering around 8%, if not mission impossible, is mission pretty difficult. Playing it safe could turn out to be a bigger mistake than boldness when everything is playing out within the statistical error of the polls.

Analysts also agree that the Obama campaign was very smart to spend a lot of money early on in defining Mitt Romney as a hard hearted, tin eared, out of touch, clumsy, flip-flopping phoney. This early attack was successful in selling its narrative of Romney to voters before people were as over saturated with attack ads as they are at this stage.

Then why put up such a weak defense in the first debate? Why encourage his opponent’s aggression?

My reading is that Obama believed that if he had attacked Romney personally with the same brio in the first debate as he did in the second debate people might have found him overly aggressive.

Why would he think that?

Because there is probably no politician in America, black or white, with a deeper understanding of American race psychology. One of the reasons being that perhaps the most important person in his whole life was a nice, little old white lady from Kansas, the woman who raised him, his own grandmother, Madelyn Dunham.

Here, taken from Wikipedia are some quotes of the president talking about her.

He describes his grandmother as:

“a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. (…) not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity – she doesn’t. But she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know…there’s a reaction that’s been bred into our experiences that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that’s just the nature of race in our society.(…) some of the fears of street crime and some of the stereotypes that go along with that were responses that I think many people feel. She’s not extraordinary in that regard. She is somebody that I love as much as anybody. I mean, she has literally helped to raise me. But those are fears that are embedded in our culture, and embedded in our society, and even within our own families, even within a family like mine that is diverse.”

And if you don’t believe racism is alive and well in America, all you have to do is follow the Drudge Report, where a chorus of every imaginable racist dog-whistle is blown daily. I don’t think a white person can get assaulted or mugged by a black person anywhere in America without Matt Drudge covering it, echoing it and trumpeting it. By his numbers, readers appear to lap it up

So I believe that Obama thought that if in the final weeks of the campaign he was going to be able to attack Mitt Romney cruelly, brutally, that he could not be seen to “throw the first punch”, to be the aggressor, to be someone with a chip on his shoulder, looking for a fight. His goal is not to be seen as someone who starts fights, but to be the sort of person that the American psyche loves, the hero of every classic western, the person who “finishes fights”.

In this case Obama didn’t start the fight, he got up off the floor with a bloody nose and fought back.

Mission accomplished.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Maybe Obama is actually up to something

10:42 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Barack Obama v Mitt Romney Denver Debate

(photo: DonkeyHotey/flickr)

If you study the effect of Obama’s stunningly bad debate performance, all the sound and the fury is coming from Obama’s supporters. They are electrified, galvanized… to use Samuel L. Jackson catchy phrase they finally seem to have awakened “the f**K up”.

Take a look at this video from Jon Stewart and you’ll see how electrified and awakened they may have become.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-october-4-2012/democalypse-2012—o-bama–where-art-thou–pt–2

Thinking this all over and being a firm believer in the Occam’s razor, I am left with only two possible conclusions:

One. Either Obama doesn’t care whether he loses the election or not and didn’t prepare for the debate at all, or…

Two, that he gave exactly the performance he wanted to give in order to generate exactly the response from his heretofore apathetic base that he desired them to have.

The third possibility, that the President tried his best and that was all he could  come up with is really too troubling to contemplate at this stage.

Since Obama is known to be obsessively competitive at even the most petty levels, I find it impossible to believe that he just let Romney walk over him. My opinion is that he threw the first debate in order to fire up his dormant base. They are now begging for him to draw blood in the next debate. If he comes out aggressively, nobody, but perhaps  Fox News and Matt Drudge, will ever accuse him of being an “angry negro”.

Certainly if Obama gives a sharp and aggressive performance next time, nobody is going to feel sorry for Romney and Obama’s campaign will catch on fire.

The only votes that count in elections are those that are actually cast, apathy is the greatest enemy of the 2012 Obama campaign. Now the possibility of a Romney victory becomes a reality and perhaps that will  finally “wake” those 2008 voters up.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Spain could indicate the direction America is taking

10:40 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

The Economy - Eleonore Weil

The Economy - Eleonore Weil

Suddenly, Spain and Greece are being racked by strikes and huge demonstrations. The public in these countries is, in effect, saying that it has reached its limit: With unemployment at Great Depression levels and with erstwhile middle-class workers reduced to picking through garbage in search of food, austerity has already gone too far.  Paul Krugman – New York Times

What began as an economic storm has blown into a full-scale political crisis. Amid popular discontent and separatist protests, Spain has stumbled towards a crossroads: without decisive action by the government, the post-Franco democratic settlement is at risk. Financial Times

It is said that every historical phase carries within it the embryo of the next phase to be born in the future. If this is so, then someday we may come to consider the mountain of debt that threatens to crush our present system as an explanatory, broken condom.

One of the paradoxes here is that the enormous robustness of the United States, its size, population, its natural resources, military power and perhaps most of all, its ability to create money out of thin air to pay its debts, probably means that it would not see the total systemic crisis arriving until it was too late to really do anything about it.

If Americans wonder where the world economic crisis is taking them, a look at what Spain is going through right now might give them some serviceable hints.

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Clint Eastwood and his contempt for America

9:37 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

“This is a perfect representation of the campaign: an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama.” @jabouie tweet re Eastwood’s speech (ht Doonesbury)

Clint Eastwood’s performance was the most decadent, self indulgent thing I have ever seen. Watching him wank for 12 minutes to wild applause makes me think that the Republicans are washed up, an empty shell. What was on display was pure Hollywood, someone who thinks his feces is crushed pineapple and that making schoolboy jokes about the POTUS, before the acceptance speech of someone who in January of next year could be POTUS himself is appropriate behavior.

I think our celebrity culture may have dissolved American’s brains.

Eastwood drained all the solemnity out of the moment. Phoney as he is, Romney is the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States of America, which makes him the direct “apostolic” successor of Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower. If he wins the election he will become the world’s most powerful political figure, with the atomic button that could destroy humanity in his hands… his “coronation” is a solemn moment… or should be. I think having Clint Eastwood as closing speaker of the RNC shows clearly how shallow and superficial Mitt Romney is.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

 

Meditations on Republican craziness

7:23 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

At the center of all the nuttiness of today’s Republicans is their bankrollers’ fear of regulation… The ceaseless culture warfare is merely a tactic to simultaneously attract and confuse a sufficient number of the ignorant to enable the “one-percenters” to paralyze the political process.

Examined under this light their behavior is anything but irrational: they have much to fear, because the globalized world is crying out for regulation.

An illustrative example:

Much of today’s instability, even terrorism and the drug trade, is caused by the growing number of “failed states”, many of them rich in valuable commodities, whose elites, instead of reinvesting their profits in developing their countries, literally loot them, taking the money to opaque, offshore tax havens. What governance remains in these wretched lands consists of totally corrupt political jobbers and armed thugs. These areas often become safe havens for terrorist organizations and state cover for international drug cartels.

This dynamic, so blatantly evident in the third world is also at work in the most developed and sophisticated economies, starving the governments of the money necessary to provide essential goods and services to their populations. This may sound extreme, but if George W. Bush had been a serious man, he could have done a lot more for the wellbeing of the American people, as well as world peace, harmony and the defeat of terrorism, if, in lieu of invading Afghanistan and Iraq, he had invaded Switzerland and the Cayman Islands instead.

Solving all the problems that the future has in store will require money and the money is right there under our noses. In short, bringing the oceans of the world’s black money under state control is an essential first step to achieving the general welfare of humanity.

Although with a less picturesque cast of characters, climate change is also an obvious area where the leading states are going to have to cooperate closely to fashion very strict regulations and enforce them with extreme vigilance and severity.

I am convinced that rather than any sincere questioning of the science involved, it is the simple fear of the mere existence of international and state organizations endowed with the power and technical resources necessary to bring world climate change under some sort of rational control that motivate the massive quantities of money spent on questioning the reality of climate change. It is that “rational control” that the one-percent fear and have reason to fear: that and no other is the coming “revolution”. Theirs is a “counter-revolution” before the fact.

An example of the tactics that the “counter-revolution” uses to avoid approaching the issue of common sense regulation: regulating the sale of assault rifles, weapons whose only purpose is enabling a lone individual to kill a large number of human beings in a short space of time.

Now, an active and focused one-percenter can take decisions with his money, and the influence that money brings, that can affect the lives of thousands, even millions of his fellow human beings; all his life he lives with the sensation of empowerment just as a fish lives with the sensation of water, he breathes it and swims in it, it is his element, often since birth… just like the fish.

For the average poor slob, probably the only feeling of comparable empowerment available to him in the midst of his general powerlessness is having an AK-47 in his closet with a few banana clips and a couple of thousand rounds of soft-nose bullets… just in case. Threatening that “empowerment” with regulation is a very efficient way of getting him on the same wavelength of the Kochs, Trumps and Romneys of this world.

This is just one example; there are dozens and dozens of others. In the future we might discuss the mental Kama Sutra that allows the supposedly devout Catholic, Paul Ryan, to bed Ayn Rand with Jesus of Nazareth, a blasphemous and perfectly surreal union, which is the proof, if any were needed, of how shameless this counter-revolution is. The “revolution” it counters is, of course, nothing more and nothing less than applied common sense.

Bottom line: America’s ultra-right and the moneyed individuals that empower them are at war with simple common sense… and from their point of view that makes all kinds of sense.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com