November 4, 2010 archive

Wild Wild Left Radio #86(‘d)~AND~Interview with Ernest Stewart!!!

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This weeks Topics:

Interview Edition:

I am honored to be interviewing Ernest Stewart for the show!

Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 9 years publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. He is an actor, writer and a producer for W the Movie.

His weekly Magazine, Issues and Alibis was kind enough to reprint my essay, I Want to be a Real Boy this week. Our own Phil Rockstroh is also a regular in his issues, along with Amy Goodman, Uri Avery, Jim Hightower, Chris Hedges and Glenn Greenwald. I am thrilled to be included in such company.

This should be a great evening.


86(‘d) Edition:

The Urban Dictionary misses the Urban Legend of the term “86’d” – When a man too drunk to be served demanded another drink, the barmaid would claim to be out of his favorite, then call back to the owner to “Get the good stuff, the 86 proof” for the customer. The owner would then come out with a bottle, and determine the man cut-off, leaving the customers with good will toward the barmaid, and letting the owner do the dirty work of having to throw someone out. 86’d went from being “cut off” to “out of it” to just plain “over” in our common day use.

An oddly appropriate show-number for the end of Gottlieb’s contribution to the show. He really wants to focus solely on directing his several plays a year, as well as his position of managing the small Teatro Santa Ana located inside the library at San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where he lives. He has been far too busy lately to give his full attention to the WWL Project. I am far too invested as producer, invested as someone who lives and breathes the very air that is effected by the Political Atmosphere to let WWL Radio fail from neglect or indifference.  WWL is one of the ONLY truly Left voices left in America. It is the only voice left (LEFT) for those of us who live here. It matters the world to me.

Did I mention I am impatient by nature? Despite my total enjoyment of speaking to and admiration for the man, it just wasn’t a good fit anymore. Demanding boss? Perhaps. Absentee employee? Mostly. But ultimately, the decision to part ways was mine. He is very pleased to be done with blogging and politics, he says. I am sure you all will miss his voice, but you are now stuck with me solo.  Sorry about that. Either I expect too much from friends/partners, imagine friendship in what are really actually casual business relationships. Or maybe, ultimately, I don’t play well with others.

Bloggers have a fairly short half-life anyway, most give up and move back to focus only on their personal lives within a few years. The sacrifice to the all and to others is just too great. They needn’t shut down the internet to kill connections on the Left, we tend to do it ourselves, if those connections were only “blogging” in the first place.

I will do my best, and get by with a little help from my friends. I hope not to disappoint you.

Here’s wishing gottlieb the best in his personal endeavors!

Please join us for the onlyout there where the buses don’t run” LEFT perspective with interviews, op/eds and straight talk without the hand-wringing PC that has crippled our movement!

Controversy? We face it. Cutting Edge? We step over it. Revolutions start with information, and The Wild Wild Left Radio brings you the best in information and op/eds from a position that others on the Left fear to tread…. all with a grain shaker of irreverent humor.

Potch That Tookes

This isn’t much of an essay.  I mean that.  It’s more of a question.  I hope it’s not a rhetorical one.

Pres Obama said yesterday (paraphrasing here), “The Dems got their tookese potched in the election.  So, I’m gonna have the Tpartiers and war criminals republicans over for dinner and we’re gonna make nice, so we can continue to do what we’ve been doing before.  Only nicer.  Maybe we’ll finally get us some bipartisanship.  Or at the leat maybe they’ll stop calling me names from the floor of the House of Reps.  Or something.”

I listened to this.  And I was troubled.  I wondered, “Hmmm.  Suppose impeachment and trials hadn’t been off the table.  Suppose ending the war (for real) wasn’t off the table.  Suppose Universal Health Care wasn’t DOA.  In fact, suppose you had fought for those things, all those far out far left socialistic government control and big spending things and, of course, ending torture, and repeal of the Patriot Act and repeal of DADT and of DOMA, and on and on and on.  Suppose you had fought for the far left agenda.  Suppose that you did that rather than try to make nice with people who don’t want to play with you anyway (probably because you are not white).  Do you think for a second that your tuches would have been more potched in the just past election?”  I mean: “If you have to get beat up, doesn’t it make sense at least to make sure you deserve it?”

I know I’m missing something here.  I just need some help in finding out what I’m missing   If you know, and tell me in the comments, I will take immediately this “essay” down.  Really I will.  And I will celebrate my new understanding.

cross posted at daily Kos with a glossary

Gibbs: Prez could do Bush Tax Cut for Rich. Orszag: “Save” SocSec by Cutting It

More post election incompetence.

They forgot.  In the good cop, bad cop routine, one of them is supposed to be the “good cop.”  

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs starts off the Lame Duck post election session:…

“He would be open to having that discussion and open to listening to what the debate is on both sides of that,” said Gibbs, during an off-camera gaggle with reporters. “Obviously… making those tax cuts for the upper end permanent is something the president does not believe is a good idea.”

The issue, Gibbs said, will be a topic of discussion when the president convenes a bipartisan meeting of lawmakers at the White House in two weeks. Included in that meeting (and working dinner) will be Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.), incoming Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), and Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

At his press conference on Wednesday, the president expressed his first openness to date with the process of negotiating on the Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Peter Orszag, right wing neocon, concern troll “deficit spending hawk,” Wall Street mouthpiece, and former Obama Administration head of Office of Budget and Management (OMB)  writes in the New York Times the day after the election, November 3, that the harvest of the last of the middle and working class entitlement programs can’t begin fast enough for his new right wing think tank benefactors at the Council on Foreign Relations.  

Bi f’in partisanship

Open O’Day


Forget Elections — Framing Should Be the Focus

(updated for coherencea and now available at DKOS)

Framing is not everything but it contains all the problems we speak of. I see several aspects of this problem:

  1. History: the left and center-left in America have not created a historical narrative that makes sense to most Americans as an alternative to both the MSM corporate narrative that is radically ahistorical, i.e., they pick and choose historical facts to present a pro-corporate narrative simply because it is there. I include the MSNBC and Comedy Central pundits in this–the accept at face values unproven and clearly false historical facts as being accepted truths. Don’t ask me to list them right now–I’m not trying to prove anything here just to spur discussion and thought.
  2. Class struggle: any framing of issues has to be done within the context of class-struggle which is very real in this country. The Democratic Party is very afraid of this because they are worried about cultural backlash–yes, there will be a severe cultural backlash from people who are obsessed with American Exceptionalism (the new buzzword on the right) but it’s time that progressives and liberals desacralize that concept–the data doesn’t lie, we are a deeply class-divided society with an entrenched oligarchy with relatively static social movement. What movement there is comes form immigrants who start out relatively poor and within a generation or half a generation return to whatever social class they populated in their native country, e.g., a doctor comes to the U.S and drives a cab until he/she can get their credentials here.
  3. Pragmatism: the left/progressive movement should emphasize pragmatism as a deep American value and use it to frame issues as much as the class-struggle frame. The right in America has descended into a moment where it traffics strictly in fantasies. I’ve heard various discourses on the right in this country and they bear no relationship to reality. These notions can be dismissed easily. For example, their views on health-care are easily repudiated–why didn’t the left do its job? The “debate” that occurred had no basis in fact because the left, did not insist on using facts, studies and the scientific method but were suckered into the MSM narrative that the rest of the world does not exist and “nobody” really knows how to “fix” health care. There is no and was no ambiguity! The only way you fix health-care is through making it a public utility like the rest of the world does. The right-wing and centrist counter-arguments are basically the equivalent of saying the world is flat–disproving that contention is incredibly easy. There is no reasonable argument on their side! Now, as a counter-example there is a reasonable argument for Empire, there is a reasonable argument for authoritarian rule and social Darwinism thought the right doesn’t even bother to make those arguments except in private. People need to be forced to choose between reality and fantasy–the HCR debate was a debate that was entirely conducted in fanstasyland and for this the left bears a lot of responsibility.

Austerity & The Coming Lost Decade

Rob Johnson is the Director of the Economic Policy Initiative at the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and is a regular contributor to the Institute’s blog NewDeal2.0. He serves on the UN Commission of Experts on Finance and International Monetary Reform. Previously, Dr. Johnson was a Managing Director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. He was also a Managing Director at the Bankers Trust Company. Dr. Johnson has served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire and was Senior Economist of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman Pete Domenici. Dr. Johnson was an Executive Producer of Taxi to the Dark Side, an Oscar Winning documentary produced and directed by Alex Gibney.

Here, Johnson talks with Paul Jay of The Real News Network about the economic fallout from the past couple of years and the 2010 mid term elections, and concludes that…

…the baseline scenario now is one of prolonged stagnation, gridlock in the government, unless Obama essentially capitulates to the agenda of the right. But will we go into a deep downturn similar to 2007, ’08, early 2009? Not necessarily. We may just remain stagnant. Perhaps the best model is the so-called lost decade in Japan, where you have negligible growth, negligible inflation, or even modest deflation, and you just kind of bump along the bottom. The danger of that, as I alluded to previously, is the long-term, persistent unemployment allows the skills of many people in society to atrophy. And the United States, unlike Europe and Japan, does not have a strong safety net, so it probably foments more social unrest, kind of like what we saw in the formation of the protest movements and Tea Party as we approach this election.

Real News Network – November 04, 2010

Austerity Could Lead to Lost Decade

Rob Johnson: They could accelerate foreign policy conflict to direct attention outwards

..transcript follows..

Meeting Candidate Obama, Three Years Later

I met Barack Obama in September of 2007.  Before I go any further, I need to qualify that I wasn’t granted much more than a handshake.  Still, at the time I remember being quite excited at the prospect.  The venue was the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta and as one of several volunteers I was assigned specifically to crowd control.  A large gathering of people being correctly corralled and directed into the room where the event would be held, I settled in like everyone else to enjoy the presentation.  After a lengthy number of speakers that came before Obama, most notably the R&B singer Usher, the candidate himself finally appeared.  Unsurprisingly, he was as good as advertised and I found myself nodding along with every point he made.  Oprah had but recently endorsed him, though he was still very much in a distant second place to Hillary Clinton.

Rashomon: Was Obama the Gate or the Gateway?


Rashomon:(the south entrance gate to Kyoto) no longer exists.  It fell into decay and suffered and crumbled under the ebb and flow of many civil wars centuries ago.  But I’ve been to where it was:  now just a stone marker in a small playground, about a 5-10 minute walk from Toji Temple.  

“Rashomon” was also a film by Director Akira Kurosawa.  

I discuss the “Rashomon Effect” below.


 I used to litigate.  No more.  I still keep a hand in “traditional” law with Will drafting, contract matters, employment policy drafting and consultation, etc., but I focus more and more on international business matching and related work.

 I say all that (in the preceding paragraph) to say, well, I used to litigate (I’m thinking this comment may just get turned into an essay).  And in litigation one quickly learns the practical side of what everybody instinctively knows about the Rashomon Effect:  people can see and experience virtually the same thing and, yet, see and experience very different things!

 This is why we have trials:  two witnesses to a car accident standing next to one another and both looking at the light at the same time.  One swears it was yellow and the other swears it was read.  The outcome of the thing depends on who the jury thinks is more credible.  Neither is lying; they both believe they’re telling the utter truth. So we have to (for example, through cross examination) test their respective perceptions.

 While there were and are as many varied viewpoints of Barack Obama, among those who viewed him favorably, who supported his candidacy in the fall of 2008, I see two general views that emerged (I actually saw this back then and diaried to some degree or another several times on this over at orange; I feel that my conclusions then have been confirmed countless times since then, right up to today):

  1. The Gateway.  He is a vehicle through which desired changes will come.  A conduit by and through which reforms will be made.  He is bright and capable and should be given (it was right, perhaps, to have given him) a shot at effectuating real, substantive progressive changes in government, economic priorities, and even to the American zeitgeist.  He has the brains, the background, the skills needed and the motivation to bring about the desired (by progressives, Democrats) systemic changes.

  2.  The Gate.  He himself is a person to be followed and implicitly trusted and believed in.  Whatever setbacks or (perceived) failings that may occur along the way would be (are, have been) owing either (a) to other people failing him and/or failing to have faith in him; or, (b) a misperception among critics and cynics that he has failed, when, in fact, nothing he does falls short of the mark and that his wisdom and vision should not be questioned; that he “gets” the Big Picture in a way and to a depth that his detractors cannot begin to understand (how can an ant in Alabama understand how the Taj Mahal was constructed?).


 Well, need I go further?  

 I was there in Mile High Stadium in Denver when he gave his acceptance speech.  I got choked up many times over, not so much in listening to Barack Obama, but in seeing the tens of thousands of people who believed that he would usher in a new and better day for the United States.  Little did I really, really “get” that I was not seeing a unified body (except unified in the desire and determination to get him elected).  I was seeing people who, individual variations notwithstanding, who either believed he was an agent for change, or that he was The One.

 The light was Yellow, no, the light was Red!


With my camera pointed at the People, not the Podium.



Were they looking at a Gateway, or a Gate?



Letter to Sen. Durbin. Dear Dick,

Dear Dick,

As you may remember, when last I wrote – I told you I would keep you informed of my sacrifices.  This is, of course, in the spirit of your exhortation to me to make such sacrifices as an American.  As a teaching moment, on Halloween, I gave the working class kids in this area one (I repeat one) piece of candy, and not the 2 or 3 I sometimes bountifully passed out in past years.  After all, these are mostly working class kids and in the future they will be the ones called to the sacrificial altar again and again.  You will agree that Halloween is a good time to begin the lessons of austerity. I couldn’t bring myself to buy the cheapest candy but as you know, some of us must ease ourselves into the spirit of austerity.  Next year I will do better.

To that end, duly noted that most of the candy is made in America.  Surely we can do something about that.  Frankly, I am surprised.  Why have these jobs not been outsourced?  And I don’t mean Belgian chocolate for instance.  LOL.  What is this  –Kenilworth?  (I presume the children of Kenilworth, Illinois are exempt from the call for sacrifices as their parents’ median income is $237,7l7.  It was $200,000 in 2000 – so they are doing something right unlike my own suburb.)

Yes, they were disappointed.  Their little faces lit up when I opened the door soon darkened.  They will learn, of course.  

Also, accept my condolences for your recent loss.  As the leading Democrat here, you must feel quite down.  I did not vote for a Democratic Senator because look here, I take your call to sacrifice seriously.  How could I not vote for the Green candidate who spent $5,000 in campaigning.  His name is Lealan Jones.  It is shorter than the Democratic candidate which is appropos.  And he knows how to scale down.  Unfortunately, the 3 or 4% he garnered seemed to be a factor in the Democrat’s loss.  Ah well, austerity has consequences!  LOL.

As a Chicago winter is approaching, there will be many occasions for sacrifices.  The heat will be turned as low as possible without harming my critters.  I can wear several layers of clothing and go to bed early.  Better for me actually – I won’t watch TV – I’ll read – am currently reading Thorstein Veblen’s The Theory of the Leisure Class. You don’t want too many of your constitutents to read this book btw (LOL).  However, you must consider that long, cold winters are just the right setting for this kind of reading.  I love that he is Norwegian – I am Norwegian and have been to Norway.  They know how to live thru cold weather there for sure.  Though I think the state coddles them.  (LOL)

You may also remember that I asked you to list your and your family’s sacrifices on your webpage.  Where is it?  I haven’t seen it.  I saw the many requests for donations and your sterling list of accomplishments but not the sacrificial list.  Please consider informing your constituents of your own efforts here.

Docudharma Times Thursday November 4

Thursday’s Headlines:

Clara Barton’s D.C. home and office may be converted into museum


Richard Wolffe: Democrat doom may turn to delight as Tea Party politics kick in

Republicans Face a Fundamental Choice in How to Oppose


BBC apologises to Bob Geldof over Band Aid claims

Sarkozy had ‘surveillance unit spy on journalists’

Middle East

After Baghdad bombings, Iraqis have harsh words for security forces


Six years later, army to pull out of Timor

The war to come in Myanmar


The ‘Gap kids’ you won’t see in the adverts

Is the Case Against Charles Taylor Falling Apart?

Spending blitz by outside groups helped secure big GOP wins

Hedge fund moguls helped bankroll groups’ attack ads, sources tell NBC News

By Michael Isikoff and Rich Gardella

NBC News

A tightly coordinated effort by outside Republican groups, spearheaded by Karl Rove and fueled by tens of millions of dollars in contributions from Wall Street hedge fund moguls and other wealthy donors, helped secure big GOP midterm victories Tuesday, according to campaign spending figures and Republican fundraising insiders.

Leading the GOP spending pack was a pair of groups – American Crossroads and its affiliate, Crossroads GPS – both of which were co-founded by two former aides in the George W. Bush White House: Rove, and Ed Gillespie.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

And who can doubt that it will lead to the worst disorders when minds created free by God are compelled to submit slavishly to an outside will?   When we are told to deny our senses and subject them to the will of others?

–Galileo Galilei

Colorful 2

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