Saturday, September 08, 2012

Friday, September 07, 2012


FOR ME, AS A STUDENT OF HISTORY, THE MOST POIGNANT MOMENT of President Obama's thoughtful, reflective speech last night was when he invoked his hero and role model, Abraham Lincoln: "And while I'm proud of what we've achieved together, I'm far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, 'I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.'"

When Abraham Lincoln said these words, the war was not going well for the Union following Lee's victory at the Second Battle of Bull Run, briefly deferring Lincoln's intention to issue a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It was a low point for the President, still mourning the death of his eleven year old son, Will.

President Obama prefaced this quote with a powerful, Lincolnesque statement: "I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President. I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs. If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them."

 If there's a hint of frustration and self-pity here, we, the people, should forgive and embrace our President. For he was merely vocalizing what every great leader, from Lincoln to FDR to Churchill, has experienced in perilous times — the burdens of leadership and the loneliness at the top, where life and death decisions are made, alone, every day.

Mitt Romney, you have no earthly idea.

It was a brief but revealing opening, a crack in the armor of our President, who has endured so much abuse from haters and naysayers, much as Lincoln did in his time, only to let us know that he, too, is a human being tasked with making wrenching, momentous decisions. As Bobby Kennedy once said, quoting the Greek poet Aeschylus, as Bobby delivered the news of Martin Luther King's assassination to a stunned campaign crowd, “He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

Joe Biden witnessed this President first-hand: "I'm here to tell you what I think you already know. But I watch it up close. Bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama, and time and time again I witnessed him summon it. This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart and a spine of steel." Earlier, President Clinton amplified this quality of leadership, known only to those who have, frankly, been there and done that: "I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside, but who burns for America on the inside."

Wise words from those who know. The British would say, approvingly, that this President has "a stiff upper lip." For those who cravenly question this President's birthright because of the color of his skin, he summoned, as Lincoln did, the better angels of our nature: "But we also believe in something called citizenship — citizenship, a word at the very heart of our founding, a word at the very essence of our democracy, the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations."

President Lincoln, in a custom that is unheard-of today would greet common citizens at the White House, as well as others seeking patronage or jobs, with a simple, "What can I do for you?" His door was almost always open. For him, it was a way to stay connected with the people. In a touching, revelatory moment, Michelle Obama described a very similar ritual, upgraded to the times we live in, her husband insisted upon from the start, that his staff set aside ten constituent letters for his reading, at night.
"That's the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him. The letter from the father struggling to pay his bills... from the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company won't cover her care ... from the young person with so much promise but so few opportunities. I see the concern in his eyes...and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, "You won't believe what these folks are going through, Michelle; it's not right. We've got to keep working to fix this. We've got so much more to do." I see how those stories — our collection of struggles and hopes and dreams — I see how that's what drives Barack Obama every single day."
Significantly — tellingly — a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation hangs in the Oval Office. President Obama is a good, decent, and caring man with extraordinary leadership qualities, who has done his very best for us and for our nation, every single day. And his very best is the very essence of American exceptionalism. How much does Barack Obama deserve re-election? It's not even a close call, no matter what happens at the polls in November.

Tea Party Remedial Ed: How Much Do You Love And Support Our Troops?

SO MUCH THAT MITT ROMNEY BECAME THE FIRST REPUBLICAN to accept his party's nomination since 1952 without mentioning war, specifically our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — the latter, started by Bush and ended by President Obama — as nearly 80,000 U.S. troops remain in harm's way defending our country in Afghanistan.

Vice President Biden: "And tonight I want to acknowledge — I want to acknowledge, as we should every night, the incredible debt we owe to the families of those 6,473 fallen angels and those 49,746 wounded, thousands critically, thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives.

Folks, we never — we must never, ever forget their sacrifice and always keep them in our care and in our prayers."

President Obama: "And tonight we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm's way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you, and so long as I'm commander in chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.

When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you've served us, because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their head or the care that they need when they come home."

You see, Teabaggers, the President, the Vice President, their wives and the Democratic Party have a proud record of supporting our troops, of passing into law a "second" GI bill, extending benefits and college tuition credits to this new generation of post-9/11 veterans, and of supporting our military families. Jill Biden is a military mom. President Obama's grandfather served in Patton's Army during WWII. Not a single member of the Romney clan has ever served this nation's military. (I don't know about Ryan; nothing he says is true, anyway.)

In fact, the Romney clan is better known for running away from military conflict — whether it was to escape revolution in Mexico, or more recently Romney's father George sinking his presidential aspirations by claiming to have been "brainwashed" by the military brass in Vietnam. Meanwhile, 'Fortunate Son' Mitt participated in pro-war college demonstrations but then ran off to Paris, France as a Mormon "missionary," courtesy of DADDY, who used his influence to pull religious "exception" strings ensuring Romney's number wouldn't come up. But somebody else took his place; among thousands of unknown, unprivileged American boys who weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouths, only to have their names carved into the Vietnam Memorial wall.

For once at least, Mitt Romney, the dishonorable candidate, wasn't being a LIAR and a HYPOCRITE. As Romney's secretive convention remained silent, the Democrats paid tribute to our veterans gathered onstage with a heartfelt "THANK YOU" as they soaked in the love in the hall:

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Quotable, John Kerry: Are You Better Off Now ...?

"ASK OSAMA BIN LADEN IF HE IS BETTER OFF NOW THAN HE WAS FOUR YEARS AGO." ~ Senator John Kerry skewering Mitt Romney on foreign policy: "Before you debate President Obama, you'd better finish the debate with yourself ... Mitt Romney talks like he's only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV!" (Nicely done, Senator.)


BUT BETWEEN EZRA KLEIN AND JENNIFER GRANHOLM ... It's no contest: MUTE! Chris Hayes' bounciness is like a good silent flick, anyways.

OH, JENNIFER! (And the replay just don't match EN VIVO!)


FROM ONE POTUS TO ANOTHER AND ANOTHER, THROUGH THE AGES: President John Adams famously said, “Facts are stubborn things.” And last night President Bill Clinton, addressing US GROWNUPS in the American electoral majority, reiterated this ETERNAL VERITY by invoking Reagan to call out the GOP LIARS: “As another president once said: ‘THERE THEY GO AGAIN.”

President Obama, Clinton reminded us, “inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.”

“President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No president— not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it.”

“Are we where we want to be? No. Is the president satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month. The answer is yes.” And, to put a FINE POINT ON IT, FOR THE GROWNUPS, CLINTON EMPHASIZED:

“President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No president— not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years.

“LISTEN TO ME, NOW,” said BUBBA, or as we say around here, ‘TEA PARTY REMEDIAL ED’. Memo To The LYIN’ ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: You’ll have to come up with a better EXCUSE than Romney pollster Neil Newhouse to ABC News — “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers” — BECAUSE THE FACT CHECKER-IN-CHIEF is on the job!

Let us SCORE President Obama’s record, shall we, KIDDIES:


“We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think we're all in this together is a better philosophy than you're on your own.”
  • “Who's right? Well, since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What's the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million.”

“In 2010, as the president's recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around.
  • The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. But last year, the Republicans blocked the president's jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here's another jobs score: PRESIDENT OBAMA PLUS 4.5 MILLION, CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS ZERO.
  • Over that same period, more than MORE THAN 500,000 MANUFACTURING JOBS HAVE BEEN CREATED UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA— the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.
  • The auto industry restructuring worked. IT SAVED MORE THAN A MILLION JOBS, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country. That's why even auto-makers that weren't part of the deal supported it. They needed to save the suppliers too. Like I said, we're all in this together.
  • Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured. GOV. ROMNEY OPPOSED THE PLAN TO SAVE GM AND CHRYSLER. SO HERE'S ANOTHER JOBS SCORE: OBAMA 250,000, ROMNEY, ZERO.
  • The agreement the administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is another good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and ADD ANOTHER 500,000 GOOD JOBS.”
 “We do need more new jobs, lots of them, but there are already more than three million jobs open and unfilled in America today, mostly because the applicants don't have the required skills. We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology. That's why investments in our people are more important than ever.

“Student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and even more important, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years. That means no one will have to drop-out of college for fear they can't repay their debt, and no one will have to turn down a job, as a teacher, a police officer or a small town doctor because it doesn't pay enough to make the debt payments. This will change the future for young Americans.

I know we're better off because President Obama made these decisions.”



“The Republicans call it Obamacare and say it's a government takeover of health care that they'll repeal. Are they right?

Let's look at what's happened so far:
  • Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80 percent to 85 pecent of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion. Other insurance companies have lowered their rates to meet the requirement.
  • More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies.
  • Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems.
  • Soon the insurance companies, not the government, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions.
  • And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4 pecent, for the first time in 50 years.
So are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are.”


“Here's what really happened:
  • There were no cuts to benefits. None.
  • What the president did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren't making people any healthier.
  • He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund.
It's now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn't weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.


When he starts complaining about the STRIKE ZONE, ELVIS THE UMP SETS HIM STRAIGHT:

“When congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama's "biggest coldest power play" in raiding Medicare, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. You see, THAT $716 BILLION IS EXACTLY THE SAME AMOUNT OF MEDICARE SAVINGS CONGRESSMAN RYAN HAD IN HIS OWN BUDGET. IT TAKES A LOT OF BRASS ...


[Mitt Romney] will re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he's elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016. If that happens, you won't have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.



“But it gets worse. They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade. Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that's not all. Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Down syndrome or autism. I don't know how those families are going to deal with it. We can't let it happen.”



“Now let's look at the Republican charge that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.

Here's what happened. When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20 percent.

You hear that? More work. So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform's work requirement is just not true.

But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said "we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." Now that is true. I couldn't have said it better myself— I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.


“Let's talk about the debt. We have to deal with it or it will deal with us.
  • President Obama has offered a plan with $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade, with $2 of spending reductions for every $1 of revenue increases, and tight controls on future spending. It's the kind of balanced approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.
  • The President's plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don't add up.
  • It's supposed to be a debt reduction plan but it begins with $5 trillion in tax cuts over a 10-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out. They say they'll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code. When you ask "which loopholes and how much?" they say, "See me after the election on that."
People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic. If they stay with a $5 trillion tax cut in a debt reduction plan— the— arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen:

1) they'll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up $2,000 year while people making over $3 million a year get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or

2) they'll have to cut so much spending that they'll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they'll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or

3) they'll do what they've been doing for thirty plus years now— cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy. Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down.

President Obama's plan cuts the debt, honors our values, and brightens the future for our children, our families and our nation.”



“My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in. If you want a you're on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities— a "we're all in it together" society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote and you think it's wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama. If you think the president was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama. If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama.
I love our country— and I know we're coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we've always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor— to form a more perfect union.”

And so, Teabagger kiddies: To mix my sports metaphors: GAME; SET; AND MATCH — DEMOCRATS! But wait — the best is yet to come: TONIGHT, TONIGHT ...

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


MODERN POLITICAL CONVENTIONS HAVE OFTEN BEEN DERIDED by supercilious elements of the Idiot Punditocracy as collossal boring spectacles, now that their original purpose — the actual nomination of a president — is gone the way of the Dodo bird. Dubious political "reforms" extended the GOP primary season beyond any reasonable time frame by the RNC's political mastermind,  Michael Steele, with unintended consequences.

Rather than expanding democracy, Steele's dabbling paved the way for trial runs of the new weapons of mass political destruction, super PACs and unlimited dirty money restricting "democracy" to the richest man standing, anointed by the new billionaire party bosses and the PRC in smokeless (?) secret transnational boardrooms. They'd make Boss Tweed look like the political reform equivalent of Mother Theresa. Interestingly, the clueless creator of relegating the GOP's Tea Party majority to the witness protection program saw his efforts roundly rewarded when "Tea Party" was not mentioned a single time in GOP convention speeches.

Meanwhile, our incomprehensible Ron Paul groupie Rachel Maddow was shoving us down one rabbit hole after another with byzantine tales of the Paulistas grabbing ad hoc delegates and changing caucus results, conjuring up images of a Paul convention insurgency which never materialized. Barely a hiccup. Whatever happened to the 'Night of the Austrian Economists'? But Rachel's relentless critique of money in politics, prompting Michael Moore to speak up on her behalf that the election is already lost no matter what we do, contradicts her rose-colored promo that our one vote actually counts in a corrupt system awash with dirty money and Diebold voting machines.

C'mon Rachel, say it ain't so. You couldn't be perpetuating the farce just for the sake of ratings and that little election day jingle, could you? If you believe as Michael does, and I think you do, come clean, else run another promo like: "Are you feeling lucky? If so, get out there and vote ... you never know ... Whatever you do, don't be dissuaded."

On the bright, hopeful, and transparent side, what we saw last night was the very best of our political culture, a rich pageant representing the Democratic Party in all its storied glory. The forward-looking tribute to Ted Kennedy, gave us an unbroken historical link to every progressive, liberal American president dating back to Lincoln and beyond (American history's 'six degrees of separation') and a reminder of the last Democrat to have defeated, and eviscerated, Mitt Romney with Teddy's hilarious rhetorical shortcuts —'I also favor the "Roe v. Wade"' and 'I don't need to see "your paper," show the American people "your paper"' (yeah, Mitt, we want to see your fucking tax "paper"); then on Romney taking every position Teddy took, 'at the rate he's going he'll end up "voting for me!"' Ted won his Senate re-election in a landslide.

The video prompted GOP whiner-in-chief Reince Priebus to bitch the Democrats had been "classless" in highlighting his secretive presidential candidate Mitt Romney's utter humiliation to the grand old Lion of the Senate. A ridiculous charge, and a suggestion for baby Reince: Touch base with Ann Romney, pipsqueak; she's your self-appointed authority on being a "grownup" and she's sitting inside a mighty big glass mansion.

It was a vision of two political parties contrasted, back-to-back, each forging its appeal to the single constituency which will decide this election: America's fickle "undecided" Middle Class. On the Republican side, they put on a grotesque smoke-and-mirrors sideshow designed to deceive and appeal to people's greed, pitching get-rich-quick every-man-a-king snake oil to gullible, desperate consumers. The Republicans were short on specifics but long on false identity. After endless testimonials to dubious humble beginnings, these phony middle classers pulled almost every trick in the book short of claiming they grew up in the proverbial log cabin with an outhouse in back.

While Marco Rubio represents the narrowest, most entitled and most privileged slice of Latino-Americans, Cuban-Americans, his tale of a father tending bar and a mother working as a Wal-Mart clerk, implying their sacrifice and hard work is exceptional rather than the norm for Latino immigrants, seems anecdotal and meaningless given his failure to absorb the life-lessons most Latino-Americans have taken from their parents' sacrifice. Rubio's identification with the anti-immigrant, anti-Dream Act Republican Party is akin to being a Nazi collaborator in Vichy France or the Warsaw Ghetto. As Pierre Berastaín, a Harvard Divinity School student and Media Relations Director of the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition, wrote:
"[My father] worked (and still works) until his knees could no longer hold him so that one day I could attend Harvard and do the work I love. Never—not even as a child—did the sacrifices of my parents escape me. America is special, indeed, because this is a land where we are free to dream. However, dreams not always come true. Where is my DREAM, sir?"
In sharp contrast, the DNC's keynote speaker, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, spoke to his rich, multicultural experience with all the pride of a newly-minted American who gets it, who knows where he came from and where he's going: (Emphasis mine.)
"My family's story isn't special. What's special is the America that makes our story possible. Ours is a nation like no other, a place where great journeys can be made in a single generation. No matter who you are or where you come from, the path is always forward. 

America didn't become the land of opportunity by accident. My grandmother's generation and generations before always saw beyond the horizons of their own lives and their own circumstances. They believed that opportunity created today would lead to prosperity tomorrow. That's the country they envisioned, and that's the country they helped build. The roads and bridges they built, the schools and universities they created, the rights they fought for and won—these opened the doors to a decent job, a secure retirement, the chance for your children to do better than you did."
Expanding on the theme, Mayor Castro spoke of the importance of investing in education:
"We know that you can't be pro-business unless you're pro-education. We know that pre-K and student loans aren't charity. They're a smart investment in a workforce that can fill and create the jobs of tomorrow. We're investing in our young minds today to be competitive in the global economy tomorrow. [...]

We know that in our free market economy some will prosper more than others. What we don't accept is the idea that some folks won't even get a chance. And the thing is, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are perfectly comfortable with that America. In fact, that's exactly what they're promising us.

The Romney-Ryan budget doesn't just cut public education, cut Medicare, cut transportation and cut job training. It doesn't just pummel the middle class—it dismantles it. It dismantles what generations before have built to ensure that everybody can enter and stay in the middle class. When it comes to getting the middle class back to work, Mitt Romney says, "No." When it comes to respecting women's rights, Mitt Romney says, "No." When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says, "No." When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney says, "No." 

Actually, Mitt Romney said, "Yes," and now he says, "No." Governor Romney has undergone an extreme makeover, and it ain't pretty. So here's what we're going to say to Mitt Romney. We're going to say, "No."
It was a great speech, defining for Americans who take their roots for granted what it means to be a nation of immigrants; and reminding us that it was immigrant labor, willing and shackled in slave labor, which built this great country with its sweat and toil so that today's "entrepreneurs" might advantage themselves of it, as Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett did, or exploit it as Mitt Romney has. All's fair in making money, as long as it's legal, even if it doesn't improve people's quality of life. But don't tell us you built that without the benefit of the American Dream, as described by Mayor Castro: "In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don't always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor."

Mayor Castro's speech, along with other notable moments (too many to mention), including war hero Tammy Duckworth's  spellbinding account of her ordeal, and Massachusetts Governor DeVal Patrick's fierce challenge (much welcomed in these parts) to Democrats — "If we want to win elections in November and keep our country moving forward, if we want to earn the privilege to lead, it's time for Democrats to stiffen our backbone and stand up for what we believe!" — set the table for First Lady Michelle Obama's sublime speech, the best ever delivered by a first lady on such a stage.

In sharp contrast, again, to the Romneys' dispassionate homilies and 'remember-when-hahaha-we were so poor' anecdotes, Michelle passionately connected with US, the vast but tattered American Middle Class, because she and Barack and their girls came from us. When she spoke of our President, the man she fell in love with all these years ago, she said what she feared most, that the presidency would change him, didn't happen: "Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are— it reveals who you are."

Without once mentioning Mitt Romney's name, Michelle Obama launched into what has rightly been described as a "devastating" attack on Romney on the single, most fundamental quality a president must possess: character.

This part of her speech, for me and judging by the audience reaction, was the most powerful, when she had us in the palm of her hand: (Emphasis mine.)
"We learned about dignity and decency — that how hard you work matters more than how much you make. that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.

We learned about honesty and integrity — that the truth matters. that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules. and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.

We learned about gratitude and humility — that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean. And we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect."
We all knew to whom the First Lady was referring. One of the night's biggest applause lines was, "the truth matters." We were reminded that the President has a record of accomplishments in the face of fierce, un-American, traitorous Republican obstructionism, that rivals the most historic first-term presidencies. And we were reminded of why we voted for Barack Obama in the first place; not, unless you're very young and star-crossed, on some diffuse "hope and change" pie-in-the-sky promise, but because of the vision and intelligence and, yes, character we discerned in the candidate during one of the darkest moments in our nation's history. It wasn't a fickle vote.

And for those who, for reasons better known to themselves, are "undecided," Michelle Obama gave us an insight into the man who is placing his trust in the American voter, as we placed our trust in him almost four years ago:
"Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it. And he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.

And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.

So when people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago."
Modern political conventions are more than simply showcase infomercials for political parties seeking electoral office. They are rich allegories of who we are as a people, as a culture, and as dreamers with an aspirational national identity. They are also a re-affirmation that government of, for, and by the people isn't simply a threatened slogan, but a teachable moment for each party to offer its governing philosophy. Republicans have offered a bleak, mysoginistic, anti-Middle Class, bellicose platform which has little to do with small, non-intrusive government, given an unlimited Pentagon budget for the next round of endless wars, deficit-busting tax cuts for Mitt Romney and his cohorts, shredding our social safety net to partially fund welfare for the rich, and a sick obsession with ruling women's bodies and healthcare choices.

Why any sane voter, even Republicans and so-called "independents," would find such an agenda appealing is a great and complex mystery attendant to one of the most ignorant and misinformed electorates in world history. In a perfectly sane world, however, what the Democrats have offered on a dazzling DNC opening night is a hands-down winner. The pro-government, forward-looking, progressive party just delivered a clinic to the hapless GOP alchemists on how to run a successful convention, and hence for discerning voters, how positive, results-oriented Democratic government will look like.

To embrace and celebrate our diversity, united in purpose but never in lockstep, was a beautiful, awesome thing to behold. Well done, Democrats. Keep your Mojo rolling!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Quotable, Martin Bashir: Poor S.E., She Can't Catch A Break

"Sarah Elizabeth describing Republicans as desperate for approval." ~ To S.E. Cupp, chafing at belonging to a party of LIARS, RACISTS and THUGS.

Aww, Sarah Elizabeth took umbrage at being called a "traitor" by the PEANUT GALLERY (that's respect, S.E., stop whining, how would YOU feel if they started pelting you with peanuts and calling you a zoo animal, hmm?...), then walked right into Martin's rapier wit, as liberal girlfriend Crystal Ball patted her hand, "there, there, you ARE somebody, that's why you're here with us," and Touré the cynic hung back with a bemused expression that said, "CHICKS, man ..."

To S.E.'s credit, her SIN was to criticize Clint Eastwood's "mystery" appearance BEFORE he deep-sixed her party's message. Which begs the question: Why do YOU "care" about such a thuggish, racist, lying, and STUPID party, Sarah?!

WHERE'S LADY ALEX? (With Theme Music!)

DURING THE RNC FREAK SHOW, WE CAUGHT tantalizing glimpses of her, but she was circumscribed by the suits — SEE-RIOUS — not her fun self. Though lately a tad more reserved, OK, Alex is still at her best when she mixes it up. Lady Alex is as gorgeous and brilliant as ever, and totally adorable when she gets occasionally tongue-tied on her BIG WORDS ... "Hu-he-MEH — herculean!" ... Or, flattering Andrea Mitchell by signing off as Andrea is teasing her hair (Alex: "Hello! Earth to Andrea!") ... That's what keeps Us Lady Alex fans watching, and here's hoping the DUMBASS MSNBC suits give her a bigger role at the DNC equal to her inimitable talents!

Monday, September 03, 2012


LOOKS LIKE THE GENERAL RACISM AND THUGGERY OF THE RNC, briefly described here, was much more extensive than related (no surprises). Too bad Big Eddie wasn't ON LOCATION in Tampa; hey progressives, wouldn't it be fun to join up with Big Eddie and Chris, in a good old-fashioned barroom rumble? Just a thought — not really serious; not worth the consequences. Sadly. But everyone has a right to self-defense. So beating the shit out of scumsucking racists and wingnuts would be like a not-so-secret guilty pleasure, if you catch my drift. I mean, these right wing bottom feeders are no intellectual challenge at all. (See the Duchess trying hard to stave off boredom.) Big Eddie put it best: "It's like shooting fish in a barrel." Chris is right: What a "douchebag convention."
The close of the forum that officially nominated Mitt Romney for president brought with it twin stories of scuffles and shouting matches between Matthews, or members of his producing team, and delegates at the convention.

First, there was the shoving match that reportedly ensued between some hecklers and an MSNBC producer on Thursday. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the hecklers started shouting, "Hey Chris, how's that tingle up your leg?" This is a reference to Matthews' infamous comment that he felt a "thrill" going up his leg after hearing one of President Obama's speeches. He often gets snark thrown his way when he's in Republican settings; a 2010 interview with Michele Bachmann featured both a large sign mocking him for it and a jibe from Bachmann herself.

An MSNBC spokesperson dismissed the allegations in a statement.

"This story has been grossly exaggerated," the spokesperson said. "A few disruptive men in the audience were asked to be respectful during a live broadcast. No one was hurt. There is no investigation and police were never involved."

Matthews' popularity with the Republican crowd probably wasn't helped by his scorched-earth confrontation with RNC chair Reince Priebus on Monday.

Matthews himself had a run-in with some delegates at a restaurant early Friday morning. The Hill reported that, as Matthews was leaving the restaurant, he started getting booed and jeered, and went back in to confront his hecklers. Matthews said he told the group, "What is this, a douchebag convention?" 

Sunday, September 02, 2012


MEMO TO RACHEL: Before I forget, Rachel, here are a few suggested questions for your best buddy Michael Moore:
  • "Have you gone over to the Dark Side, ya millionaire tub of lard?!" ... And,
  •  "Oh, Michael, I don't know about these script edits to our new "Forward" promo you're shooting ... Um, "what's good for millionaires is good for America" ... and, "Hey, don't knock the Caymans, it's a lovely vacation spot for us sheltered peeps" ... and, "So what's a casino in Macau, when the PRC is investing millions in supporting our political system and buying our public assets; like, they're funding my new film: "Sheldon and ME, A Love Story" ... and, "your vote is a sacred trust guaranteed by Diebold/PRC and our new NBC partnership ..." Uh, Michael, don't you think this might DISSUADE people from voting?!"
Chris Matthews' massive blind spot continued with slimy Repug propagandist Mark Halperin answering Chris's question about Joe Biden in the Veep debate that he might be leading the argument on Medicare: "I don't know about that; Paul Ryan's a pretty smart guy." Here's a Newsflash for you, Chris: NO HE'S NOT! THAT IS A TOTALLY MANUFACTURED BELTWAY MYTH PUSHED BY SLIMY SNAKES LIKE HALPERIN TO BOLSTER THE REPUG BELTWAY MYTHOLOGY. PAUL RYAN IS A FUCKING POLITICAL HACK WITH A NONEXISTENT LEGISLATIVE RECORD, THE FRONT MAN FOR THE KOCH BROTHERS' AGENDA.

Secondly, the fact that NOTHING Halperin has to say is of any interest to the viewers, since he's wrong about everything, is only topped by his arrogant dismissal of Vice President Biden, a leader whose resumé cosmically DWARFS anything Ryan has ever done in life, except perhaps run a marathon as a youth that he barely finished, then LIED about.

Not only that, but Halperin has once again floated the FALSE EQUIVALENCY MYTH, saying both parties are equally guilty of distortions. THEY KEEP REPEATING IT, as standard practice, because people like Chris and Halperin's hypnotized subject, Lady Alex, are easy marks.

One of the best roundtable moments: Chris and Big Eddie almost coming to blows (prevented by Chris's remote location) over education policy. Chris would be well advised to wipe that Cheshire cat grin off his face if he were sitting within swinging range of Big Eddie.

How come no one spoke out against these RACIST RATBASTARD REPUBLICANS, on the ugly incident involving a CNN camera woman. Not so strangely, Marbles Mouth's cable network has followed the corporate party line pretense that the GOP isn't a predominantly RACIST party. In fact, their silence is DEAFENING:
The facts are scarce. On Tuesday, August 28, Patricia Carroll, a camera-operator for CNN, was on the Convention floor. She noticed debris falling around her. Carroll looked up and saw the two White males tossing peanuts toward her. Peanuts, a GOP snack follows their symbolic Republican elephant. "What are you doing? Carroll said. “Are you out of your damned mind?” The men responded, "Here's some more peanuts."
They then approached the guardrail and hovering above her in the stands said, “this is what we feed animals at the zoo" and began hitting her with peanuts. The men were described as adult - “older-than-middle-aged white men." In Carroll’s interview with friend and reporter Jamila Bey, the incident was viewed as surreal but not out of the realm for Florida. Carroll said, “While his partner laughed, the thrower leaned over the railing as if he WAS at the zoo and snorted, 'Here’s some more peanuts.'"
The WIMP-BOT's speech was not only offensive, but included unintended irony re: who really doesn't understand America, with obligatory RACIST code language for the PIGS (see above) in the PEANUT gallery. The paean to our Moon Landing, was all well and good, "... when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American" ... except, the WIMP-BOT neglected to mention it was the AMERICAN TAXPAYER who BUILT THAT government project, which is exactly what President Obama has been saying all along about the shared American success story.

Then came the most despicable "dog whistle" reference, that you "need an American" to do "the really big stuff." In case anyone missed the odious RACISM insinuating President Obama's presumed "otherness" and "foreignness," the WIMP-BOT hit the road, yelping leading racist platitudes such as, "let's take our country back!" (from WHOM, I ask again?!)... and, "I love PEACE!" (after signing on to a perpetual state of war, opening a third-, fourth-, fifth-front, ad infinitum "1984"-style) ... and "I love America!" (insinuating again, that the President doesn't).

I've never seen a candidate quite as creepy and odious as this WIMP-BOT, with his wimpy walk and scary Goldwater bellicosity. During the 1964 campaign, one of the Goldwater buttons proclaimed, "In Your Heart, You Know He's Right." The Democrats' rejoinder was, "In Your Gut, You Know He's Nuts." Same thing here, but much, much worse. Barry Goldwater was a man of integrity. He said scary stuff, but he didn't lie, and you knew where he stood. This WIMP-BOT says scary stuff, but it means nothing to him except as a means to get elected. He's reciting lines written for him by the same scary neocon chickenhawks who took us to war in Iraq on false pretenses, and now stand back in the shadows writing this candidate's script, poised to do the same thing in Iran and Syria with their WEIRD; CREEPY mannequin, Romney the WIMP-BOT.

Then he basically did a lot of trash talking about President Obama. Funny, how the WIMP-BOT manipulated history. He claimed, falsely, that "every president since the Great Depression who came before the American people asking for a second term could look back at the last four years and say with satisfaction: 'you are better off today than you were four years ago.'" Oh really. Well, considering that four years ago, when President Obama walked into the Oval Office, our economy was in freefall, hemorrhaging more than 700,000 jobs monthly, the banks and the auto industry had collapsed, the stock market was below 7,000, and we were teetering on the edge of a global depression — that pretty much FOREVER tagged the Bush presidency as a CATASTROPHIC FAILURE.

All President Obama did was bring us back from the edge of collapse, save the banking system (an unpopular but necessary measure), rescue our auto manufacturing base, pass the largest stimulus bill in history to help states keep teachers, police officers and firefighters on the job, fund badly-needed job-creating infrastructure projects, and preside over uninterrupted private sector job growth, from February of 2010 onward, during which time "the economy added 4.3 million jobs, a 4 percent increase."

Not only is Romney a supremely DISHONEST RAT, AND HE KNOWS IT, but his specious claim collapses of its own weight when taken in proper historical context: that the Great Depression happened in Republican President Hoover's watch, a successful businessman whose presidency was a CATASTROPHE. (Unlike, I might add, the iconic Democratic President, Harry Truman, who was a failed haberdasher.) Further, no mention was made, naturally (this wasn't history; it was propaganda), that Republican President Richard Nixon shredded the Constitution and became the only president in history to resign in disgrace. Or that his unelected successor, Jerry Ford's answer to inflation was to distribute "WIN" (Whip Inflation Now") buttons. And who can forget Ronnie Reagan, who barely escaped becoming embroiled in the Iran-Contra scandal by truthfully claiming forgetfulness, as his aides dropped like flies around him, or fell on their swords like good little nazis.

Speaking of Ronnie, one of the most amusing moments of MSNBC's coverage was Steve Schmidt saying, "you all aren't going to like this, but Ronald Reagan will go down in history as one of the two greatest presidents of the 20th century, along with FDR." Yeah, right. Cue the shock muzak! First of all, Stevie-boy, who appointed YOU a historian, like, you know, guys who graduate from top universities to write and teach history? Time for a reality check, Mr. GOP political operative. This may come as a shock to you, pal, but your colleague Chris Matthews probably made a better case for JFK joining FDR's company as one of two greatest presidents of the 20th century with his book about John Kennedy's role during the Cuban Missile Crisis. All Kennedy did was SAVE THE WORLD from nuclear annihilation!

I would add to that list Teddy Roosevelt, who was the last great LINCOLN REPUBLICAN, and who is the father of progressivism, a political movement too magnificent for a Grade-B movie actor to understand. Bottom line, Stevie, Ronald Reagan presided over, and participated in, the decline of America. Find an unbiased history book, and check your facts, pal. It's all there; the destruction of the Middle Class and our manufacturing base; the attack on our unions, paralleling the precipitous decline in our standard of living (except for the top 5%). The coming of Reagan gave birth to a new 1900s Gilded Age in America, the disastrous effects of which are just now coming to a head after 30 plundering years of Reaganomics.

You've gotta get out more, Stevie-boy.