10/18/2011 archive

What Motivates Obamabots

This should explain a lot for you if you’re confused.

They’re Back: Obamabots Fan Out in Defense of their Hero

By Taylor Marsh

18 October 2011

What Glenn is describing in the top quote (link) is a virulent strain of what I call fan politics, which is most visibly seen today by Obamabots, as they’ve been called around here since 2007. Greenwald has been attacked on this site (Taylor Marsh) by them, as has Mr. Krugman. Fan politics is about people, like the Obamabots, who support a politician regardless of the policies he or she delivers upon, thinking anyone finding fault in their candidate of choice is committing some larger sin for not following in line. Fan politics is particularly destructive because it demands party loyalty take the place of political dialogue, party trumping principle.

Die hard party loyalists don’t seem to get there is a undulating political upheaval slowly taking place, which has been happening on the right for several years, with the left joining in, the foundation of their discontent the continued drag right of the Democratic Party, which began under William Jefferson Clinton. What saved Clinton from the wrath being felt today, besides the fact that new media hadn’t matured, was the courage he had to launch the largest tax increase in decades, though Lawrence O’Donnell claims it was the biggest ever, which, along with the tech boom, led to peacetime prosperity for everyone.

(T)he background of the left’s discontent is the belief that if Obama is reelected he will tinker with the New Deal, because he won’t have anything to lose, with his legacy of accomplishments his only priority. But as we’re seeing with health care, as the Administration scuttles Teddy Kennedy’s CLASS, not even Obama’s accomplishments are safe, because of the ramshackle way ACA was designed. Obama also seems to believe, joining conservative Democrats and Republics, that entitlement “reform” should be a priority, leaving most to rightly think that whether it’s a Democrat or Republican in the White House in 2012, the people’s safety net will be weakened.

What is at the root of Obamabot invective, however, is the palpable fear and realization that Pres. Obama could actually lose in 2012. This is a stunner for them, especially considering where Barack Obama started his presidency.

But now the President’s fans have their own egos attached to him and the thought of Obama losing is scaring the crap out of them. Their goal to get Obama reelected now tied to not being proved wrong about him, but also to protect gloating rights, never mind that the current choices from either party leave a lot to be desired. The sad truth is there isn’t very much difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney that will be felt by people. For Obamabots, it’s not just about Pres. Obama winning reelection in 2012. It’s not about their belief that Barack Obama will champion greater policies in a second term. There is no evidence he will. Obama’s reelection is now also about them. It’s personal, not political or policy driven.

Fan politics for the sake of the politician being supported is always toxic. It also usually disappoints. Just ask the bookend to the Obamabots, die hard fans of Sarah Palin.

Emphasis and some references provided.

Wall St. Fraud: Justice For The 99%

The lack of integrity in the banking industry and Wall St. is as much of a problem for the left as it is for the right. The Obama administration is as much of the problem as were both Bush presidents, Clinton And Reagan.

Political Powers Aiming to Co-opt the “Occupy Movement

Author David Degraw and Prof. William Black talk about politicians supporting the OWS movement for their own political gain as opposed to those who truly believe in the protests.

If you aren’t familiar with Professor Black, he is currently an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in the Department of Economics and the School of Law. He was a central figure in exposing Congressional corruption during the Savings and Loan Crisis. He is brought the Keating Five to national attention when he published the congressional notes he took during those hearings. Black authored the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry which explains concept of “control fraud”, in which a business or national executive uses the entity he or she controls as a “weapon” to commit fraud.

David Degraw is an independent investigative journalist and author who writes for the web site Ampedstatus. He has been participating in the Occupy Wall Street protests in Liberty Park since day one and is part of the working group that helps coordinate the activity.

Besides prosecuting the banks for fraud, Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect makes a good argument for bringing back the Glass-Stiegel Act which was repealed under Clinton. Kuttner says that it would simplify banking regulation and counter the argument that there is too much regulation:

[]. It would have been far better policy to return to the simple bright line of the Glass-Steagall Act.

If you want to be a commercial bank, with federal deposit insurance, access to Federal Reserve advances, and a Good Housekeeping seal from regulators, great. You will have to follow closely policed rules. Alternatively, if you want to trade and speculate with your own money, go to it. But don’t grow so big that you can bring down the whole system, stay out of the commercial lending business, and don’t expect the government to bail out your bad bets.

That system worked very nicely. It was almost impossible to evade, and it didn’t require 298-page regulations, with legions of regulators to police the creative evasions and gray areas.

The discussion of prosecuting fraud, making the banks responsible for it, not the victims and finding easier solutions to regulating the industry is what the Occupy Wall Street movement should be sparking for the politicians, all of them.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Robert Reich: The Meagerness of the GOP Debates, the Smallness of the President’s Solutions, and the Need for a Progressive Alternative

Republicans are debating again Tuesday night. And once again, Americans will hear the standard regressive litany: government is bad, Medicare and Medicaid should be cut, “Obamacare” is killing the economy, undocumented immigrants are taking our jobs, the military should get more money, taxes should be lowered on corporations and the rich, and regulations should be gutted. []

Americans are listening more intently this time around because they’re hurting and they want answers. But the answers they’re getting from Republican candidates — tripping over themselves trying to appeal to hard-core regressives — are the wrong ones.

The correct ones aren’t being aired.

Robert Kuttner: Simplify Banks and Bank Regulation

In January 2010, after Scott Brown’s upset victory in the special Massachusetts Senate election, a panicky President Obama managed to sound like a populist for a couple of days. He called for a tax on banking profits and drafted Paul Volcker to appear at a quickie press conference so that the administration could call for something dubbed “The Volcker Rule.”

Volcker, an impeccably conservative former Fed Chair skeptical about the abuses of financial de-regulation, was one of the few elder statesmen in 2010 with any credibility. Though Volcker was an early supporter of Obama and adviser to the campaign, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and economic adviser Larry Summers managed to marginalize Volcker because the old man turned out to be leery of their schemes to prop up the big banks without cleaning them out. Even worse, Volcker was nostalgic about the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which had staved off big trouble for more than half a century by requiring that federally insured commercial banks stay out of the inherently speculative investment banking business.

Eugene Robinson: The Occupy Windfall

“Defend Wall Street” is not likely to be a winning campaign slogan in 2012. For Republicans, this is an obvious problem. For President Obama and the Democrats, it’s a golden-if largely undeserved-opportunity.

The biggest impact of the Occupy Wall Street protests has been to provide a focal point for generalized economic and political discontent. Frustrated voters on the left and the right may disagree on, say, immigration policy or health care reform. But they can agree on a critique of the financial sector-and, potentially, on specific measures to bring about necessary change.

David Swanson: Occupied – What Now?

Thanks in large part to the New York and national corporate media a massive campaign to shift power away from giant corporations and into the hands of the people is now afoot all across this continent. It was inspired by peoples’ nonviolent uprisings in other countries and sparked by courageous nonviolence on Wall Street.

Can we keep it going and growing despite the unreliability of the corporate media? When the television networks created Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, for us — following the courageous stand taken by Cindy Sheehan — they later turned against the movement and against Cindy. Already they are working to depict our occupations as violent, misdirected, undirected, and impotent.

Dave Johnson: Jobs – Still the No. 1 National Emergency

We are in an absolute national jobs emergency and everyone outside of Washington, DC understands this. But if you read the DC-oriented press, you would think that the “issue” of jobs has come and gone. You would read that “each side” has “scored points.” You would read that each side has “offered a plan.” You would read that “Congress is deadlocked” and “neither side is willing to compromise.” This is “horse-race” coverage, where they talk about the politics of who is up and who is down, and not coverage of what is important in the lives of regular Americans.

In this kind of coverage the “side” that is the American People and our needs is not even part of this discussion.. This kind of coverage recognizes that much of what happens in Washington is little more than a propaganda game of scoring points and tricking people into thinking things that are not real… Anyway, out in the real world people still need jobs and it is an emergency, and there is a risk of people taking matters into their own hands.

Richard Eskow: The Nihilist Party: Republicans Who Believe in Nothing

Some people’s only exposure to nihilism comes from the German gang in The Big Lebowski who said things like “We are nihilists, we believe in nothing” and “Tell us where the girl is or we cut off your johnson, Lebowski.” Or the nihilist humor of comedian Brother Theodore, who liked to say things like “I looked at the void, the void looked back – and neither of us liked what we saw.”

That’s exactly how I feel when I watch the Republican Presidential debates.

The void that looks out through their eyes is the absence of any underlying principle, ideology, or ideas, especially on economic issues. It’s not that their beliefs are different than yours or mine. It’s that, as now seems clear, they don’t actually believe in anything – anything, that is, except greater power for themselves and greater wealth for their financial backers.

Jim Hightower: The GOP Loves the Federal Spending It Hates

Sen. McConnell’s tirade about the Solyndra debacle would’ve had a lot more moral punch if it were not for Zap Motors.

Whatever else you think about tea-party-infused Republican leaders in Congress, at least they’re consistent in their opposition to big government intrusion in the economy, right?

Absolutely. Unless you count intrusions of taxpayer funds into corporate projects back in their districts.

For example, President Barack Obama’s effort to accelerate federal-backed loans to job-creating, green-energy projects has been a target of howling Republican ridicule. In particular, they’re now assailing a 2009 loan guarantee to the failed solar-panel maker, Solyndra, holding it up as proof that green energy programs are a waste, driven by raw politics.

The 99% Is Too Big To Fail

A Movement Too Big to Fail

By Chris Hedges

There is no danger that the protesters who have occupied squares, parks and plazas across the nation in defiance of the corporate state will be co-opted by the Democratic Party or groups like MoveOn. The faux liberal reformers, whose abject failure to stand up for the rights of the poor and the working class, have signed on to this movement because they fear becoming irrelevant. Union leaders, who pull down salaries five times that of the rank and file as they bargain away rights and benefits, know the foundations are shaking. So do Democratic politicians from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi. So do the array of “liberal” groups and institutions, including the press, that have worked to funnel discontented voters back into the swamp of electoral politics and mocked those who called for profound structural reform.

Resistance, real resistance, to the corporate state was displayed when a couple of thousand protesters, clutching mops and brooms, early Friday morning forced the owners of Zuccotti Park and the New York City police to back down from a proposed attempt to expel them in order to “clean” the premises. These protesters in that one glorious moment did what the traditional “liberal” establishment has steadily refused to do-fight back. And it was deeply moving to watch the corporate rats scamper back to their holes on Wall Street. It lent a whole new meaning to the phrase “too big to fail.”


What took place early Friday morning in Zuccotti Park was the first salvo in a long struggle for justice. It signaled a step backward by the corporate state in the face of popular pressure. And it was carried out by ordinary men and women who sleep at night on concrete, get soaked in rainstorms, eat donated food and have nothing as weapons but their dignity, resilience and courage. It is they, and they alone, who hold out the possibility of salvation. And if we join them we might have a chance.

Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges column appears Mondays on Truthdig.

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 32

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

“I don’t know how to fix this but I know it’s wrong.” ~ Unknown Author

There Is No Honor In This

United States Marine Corps. Sgt. Shamar Thomas from Roosevelt, NY went toe to toe with the New York Police Department. An activist in the Occupy Wall Street movement, Thomas voiced his opinions of the NYPD police brutality that had and has been plaguing the #OWS movement.

Thomas is a 24-year-old Marine Veteran (2 tours in Iraq), he currently plays amateur football and is in college.

Thomas comes from a long line of people who sacrifice for their country: Mother, Army Veteran (Iraq), Step father, Army, active duty (Afghanistan), Grand father, Air Force veteran (Vietnam), Great Grand Father Navy veteran (World War II).

Thank you, SGT. Thomas, for your service in defense of this country and most of all your voice in support of the Constitutional right to peaceful assembly.

New York To Occupy Wall Street: We’ve Got Your Back

by Kyle Leighton at TPMDC

Wall Street has been occupied by protestors for a month now, and the movement is showing no signs of slowing. And New Yorkers are apparently just fine with that.

A Quinnipiac poll released on Monday found that residents of the financial capital of the world are unfazed by the presence of the protestors, who have been mostly in the financial district’s Zuccotti Park but also made their way to Times Square on Saturday night, and that two thirds of New Yorkers agree with the views of Occupy Wall Street.

Occupy Wall Street Protesters May Demand Trials, Lawyer Says

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) — Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested for demonstrating Oct. 1 on the Brooklyn Bridge may demand trials if charges against them aren’t dropped and some demonstrators are seeking the arrest of police officers, a month into the New York protest against economic inequality.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office is considering a request to drop charges, National Lawyers Guild attorney Martin Stolar said today outside the DA’s office after a meeting. Stolar said he hopes for a response in a few days.

“We are prepared to try every single case,” said Stolar, whose organization has offered to represent the protesters. ‘For any clients who want to take the option of, ‘I’m innocent — I’m not pleading guilty,’ we’re prepared to provide them with pro bono counsel to exercise their right to go to trial.”

If the cases all are tried, they will tie up resources of New York’s courts, Stolar said. He said 765 people were arrested at the bridge. The DA’s office said it was 267 and all but 17 got desk appearance tickets.

N.Y. millionaire tax gets a push from poll, Occupy Wall St.

ALBANY, N.Y. – The push for a higher tax on New Yorkers making more than $1 million a year is getting fresh life with a new poll showing overwhelming support, a high-profile rally on Monday and the strengthening Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City.

The Siena College poll found 72% of New York voters support the tax to avoid further budget cuts. Just 26% oppose the proposal by powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Also Monday, the union-backed “99 New York” rally supported extending the current so-called “millionaire’s tax” on New Yorkers with incomes over $200,000. It’s due to expire Dec. 31.

Standing in the way of renewing the current surcharge on the wealthy and Silver’s millionaire tax plan are Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his fiscal ally, the Republican majority of the Senate.

Cuomo says taxing wealthier New Yorkers at higher levels would likely send the rich to Connecticut and New Jersey, taking their income tax revenue and jobs with them.

The argument against continuing the millionaire’s tax by Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has no basis in reality. Except for the Republican Golisano and a Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about his friends, no evidence has been given that while the tax has been in effect that millionaires and jobs have left New York State.

Occupy Wall Street: second senior NYPD officers faces investigation

Deputy inspector Johnny Cardona faces inquiry over alleged assault amid questions over NYPD’s policing of protests

A second senior New York police officer is being formally investigated over allegations that he assaulted an Occupy Wall Street protester, raising fresh questions over the NYPD’s deployment of supervisors on the front line in volatile public order situations.

The officer, who has been named in news reports as deputy inspector Johnny Cardona, was filmed on Friday grabbing the protester from behind, spinning him round and appearing to punch him in the face so hard that he fell to the ground.

The New York Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent mayoral agency that deals with allegations of excessive or unnecessary force against police, is now investigating the incident, along with a number of other complaints over policing of the protests.

This is the second inquiry the board has launched in the last month into an alleged assault by a senior NYPD officer on Occupy Wall Street protesters. It is also investigating the use of pepper spray on peaceful female protesters by another deputy inspector, Anthony Bologna, who is also the subject of an internal NYPD inquiry.

On This Day In History October 18

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 18 is the 291st day of the year (292nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 74 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1767, Mason and Dixon Draw a line.

Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon complete their survey of the boundary between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland as well as areas that would eventually become the states of Delaware and West Virginia. The Penn and Calvert families had hired Mason and Dixon, English surveyors, to settle their dispute over the boundary between their two proprietary colonies, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In 1760, tired of border violence between the colonies’ settlers, the British crown demanded that the parties involved hold to an agreement reached in 1732. As part of Maryland and Pennsylvania’s adherence to this royal command, Mason and Dixon were asked to determine the exact whereabouts of the boundary between the two colonies. Though both colonies claimed the area between the 39th and 40th parallel, what is now referred to as the Mason-Dixon line finally settled the boundary at a northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes. The line was marked using stones, with Pennsylvania’s crest on one side and Maryland’s on the other.


Maryland’s charter granted the land north of the entire length of the Potomac River up to the 40th parallel. A problem arose when Charles II  granted a charter for Pennsylvania. The grant defined Pennsylvania’s southern border as identical to Maryland’s northern border, the 40th parallel. But the terms of the grant clearly indicate that Charles II and William Penn assumed the 40th parallel would intersect the Twelve-Mile Circle around New Castle, Delaware when in fact it falls north of Philadelphia, the site of which Penn had already selected for his colony’s capital city. Negotiations ensued after the problem was discovered in 1681. A compromise proposed by Charles II in 1682, which might have resolved the issue, was undermined by Penn receiving the additional grant of the ‘Three Lower Counties’ along Delaware Bay, which later became the Delaware Colony, a satellite of Pennsylvania. These lands had been part of Maryland’s original grant.

In 1732 the proprietary governor of Maryland, Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, signed a provisional agreement with William Penn’s sons which drew a line somewhere in between, and also renounced the Calvert claim to Delaware. But later Lord Baltimore claimed that the document he signed did not contain the terms he had agreed to, and refused to put the agreement into effect. Beginning in the mid-1730s, violence erupted between settlers claiming various loyalties to Maryland and Pennsylvania. The border conflict between Pennsylvania and Maryland would be known as Cresap’s War.

The issue was unresolved until the Crown intervened in 1760, ordering Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore to accept the 1732 agreement. Maryland’s border with Delaware was to be based on the Transpeninsular Line and the Twelve-Mile Circle around New Castle. The Pennsylvania-Maryland border was defined as the line of latitude 15 miles south of the southernmost house in Philadelphia.

As part of the settlement, the Penns and Calverts commissioned the English team of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to survey the newly established boundaries between the Province of Pennsylvania, the Province of Maryland, Delaware Colony, and parts of Colony and Old Dominion of Virginia.

After Pennsylvania abolished slavery in 1781, the western part of this line and the Ohio River became a border between free and slave states, although Delaware remained a slave state.

Open Thread: Occupy Antarctica

Antarctica Joins The Occupy Protest Movement