Tag: Digby

“Face it, the system is rigged, and it’s rigged against us”

Must Read Eric Alterman article about our kabuki democracy — and what to do about it.


     Face it, the system is rigged, and it’s rigged against us. Sure, presidents can pretty easily pass tax cuts for the wealthy and powerful corporations. They can start whatever wars they wish and wiretap whomever they want without warrants. They can order the torture of terrorist suspects, lie about it and see that their intelligence services destroy the evidence. But what they cannot do, even with supermajorities in both houses of Congress behind them, is pass the kind of transformative progressive legislation that Barack Obama promised in his 2008 presidential campaign. Here’s why.


    As for the “Here’s why” and how to fix things part, one should go read the whole article at The Nation, and go below the fold for more.

Bite Me Bayh!

What digby says-

Bayh is complaining about the nastiness of the liberal blogs as his reason for taking his ball and going home, and I think that’s probably a real issue for him. These Democratic Senate egomaniacs are a huge problem and they are being called on it. They see their role in America’s patrician institution as protecting the rightful owners of America from the Democratic rabble that elected them. And so does the elite political and media establishment at large, which in turn protects them. When they are actually held up to scrutiny for playing such a role, they get very angry. How dare anyone, much less the dirty liberal rabble, question their judgment and their integrity. Their response is to leave the field and turn their seats over to a similarly compromised Democrat or a Republican to teach the Democrats a lesson — a lesson which the Dems have so internalized that they reflexively run in fear of offending conservative Democrats without even questioning it.

This isn’t a bipartisan problem, by the way. The owners allow Snowe and Collins off the leash from time to time to provide cover for something that needs to be done to calm the markets. But other than that this band of aristocratic centrists of both parties have but one role to play and that is to thwart the liberal economic agenda and advance conservative initiatives whenever they are needed. The problem is that this game is being publicly discussed and there is now a (small) price to pay — the village media isn’t the only game in town anymore and there are voices that embarrass the poor sensitive darlings when they “follow their conscience” and obstruct progress for ordinary people. This is very upsetting to them.

So, yes, there is a problem with this bipartisan fetish inside the beltway. The parties and the country are ideologically polarized and this means that politics aren’t a genteel pursuit best decided over scotch and cigars among like-minded nobility. But people must also be aware that these “centrists” are false flag conservatives and any discussion of the partisan make-up of the Senate needs to account for their position as de facto Republicans. It’s much better to wage this ideological war with a proper troop count, knowing which side everyone is really on.

To anyone who claims that we have no effect, I say Wrong!

These Beltway Bubblehead Buttkissing Bastards are such preening narcissists, their egos so fragile, that mere words leave them quivering puddles of petulant quitter goo.

It takes sticks and stones to break my bones baby.

Your Head Will Explode

To corporate media hacks, there are no objective facts. Because they are incapable of either researching or comprehending what can be demonstrably proved, they dumb down all issues to mere partisan controversies. There is no scientific method. There are no historical contexts. There are two sides to every story, even when there really aren’t. Everything can be a legitimate source of bickering.

It’s not just juvenile, and it’s not just unprofessional; it is, in fact, dangerous. If a prominent Republican went flat-earther, Wolf Blitzer, David Broder and their ilk would reliably report on the new controversy over the shape of the earth. Andrea Mitchell just proved her credentials as an upstanding member of this upsidedown cult of unreality. On the eve of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, she interviewed Al Gore. Did she ask him about the science of climate change? Did she ask him about the politics? Did she ask him if the politics was dangerous, given the science? Of course not. As reported by Steve Benen:

This morning, Gore appeared on MSNBC, where Andrea Mitchell read from Sarah Palin’s Facebook page to ask the former vice president questions about climate change.

Let’s think about that, for a moment. Al Gore may be an imperfect messenger, but his understanding of climate change is steeped in science. He’s written books about it. Books that he not only read, but actually wrote. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work explaining climate change and trying to get the world to deal with it. In contrast, Sarah Palin has no understanding of climate change, whatsoever. Not only does she not understand the science of climate change, she doesn’t appear to understand science. Nothing in her resume credibly qualifies her to discuss climate change. To be kind, one could say that her best and most consistent professional qualification is that of a quitter. She’s not very good at it, but she does have plenty of experience.

But even more surreal is the context of Mitchell’s question. A supposedly serious supposed journalist asks a Nobel Prize winning expert what he thinks of the nitwit ramblings of an ignorant anti-intellectual that were posted to a Facebook page? Has the corporate media really dumbed itself that far down?

Apparently without laughing in her face or being stupefied into horrified silence, Gore gave Mitchell a succinct response:

“Well, you know, the global warming deniers persist in this air of unreality,” Gore explained. “After all, the entire north polar icecap, which has been there for most of the last 3 million years, is disappearing before our eyes. Forty percent is already gone. The rest is expected to go completely within the next decade. What do they think is causing this?”

A Request to Management re: Digby

As a member of the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees, known as IATSE, I am formally requesting that the site de-link Digby (listed on our links under “The Usual Suspects”), due to her failure to repudiate the smear, largely spread by her in the blog community, that Oprah Winfrey is anti-union and runs a non-union shop.  Even after absolute confirmation of her use of the members of several locals of my union, she has maintained that her post was legitimate.

While I am also a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, as a member of IATSE, I know who the real working class union workers in my industry are.  It is the camerapeople, the grips, electricians, hair and makeup and wardrobe artists, the carpenters and scenics and props.  These are the people who work 12-16 hour days, without fame or great financial rewards.  More than anyone else, it is they who are being hurt by the WGA strike and other more glamorous union agitation, and who are doing so generally silently and without complaint.  They did not have the opportunity to sell as many scripts as they could to stock up for the strike.  They did not have minimum payment of over $30,000 for each half-hour of television.  They do not earn residual payments when their work is reused by networks.

This is not about Barack Obama.  The IATSE earlier this month endorsed Sen. Clinton for President.  But pretending that our employment, and the running of union shops for television technicians is not as important, and indeed far more important, than whether or not the “writing” staff of Oprah is unionized spits in the face of the claims that we are the allies of the unionized working men and women of America.

Digby will not be hurt by, or even notice our delinking.  But while the lions of the blogging left have been silent over her being bamboozled by an obscure rag, we who are trying to do something different with a group blog can make a statement.  A statement about who we are, and what we believe, and the value of truth.

The Village

In a piece yesterday digby outlines the genesis of ‘The Village’ label (you can call it a frame if you like) as a catch-all for the petulant whiny inbred incestuous elitist idiots who populate the festering swamp (there is a reason the blog is called Swampland) that is the Beltway.

It is rapidly becoming my favorite phrase next to ‘blogtopia’ (thank you skippy) and ‘pre-Whoring’.

Now I didn’t know that we had Sally Quinn to thank for it-

In Washington, That Letdown Feeling

By Sally Quinn, Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, November 2, 1998; Page E01

When Establishment Washingtonians of all persuasions gather to support their own, they are not unlike any other small community in the country.

But this particular community happens to be in the nation’s capital. And the people in it are the so-called Beltway Insiders — the high-level members of Congress, policymakers, lawyers, military brass, diplomats and journalists who have a proprietary interest in Washington and identify with it.

“This is our town,” says Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the first Democrat to forcefully condemn the president’s behavior. “We spend our lives involved in talking about, dealing with, working in government. It has reminded everybody what matters to them. You are embarrassed about what Bill Clinton’s behavior says about the White House, the presidency, the government in general.”

NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell adds a touch of neighborly concern. “We all know people who have been terribly damaged personally by this,” she says. “Young White House aides who have been saddled by legal bills, longtime Clinton friends. . . . There is a small-town quality to the grief that is being felt, an overwhelming sadness at the waste of the nation’s time and attention, at the opportunities lost.”

“We have our own set of village rules,” says David Gergen, editor at large at U.S. News & World Report, who worked for both the Reagan and Clinton White House. “Sex did not violate those rules. The deep and searing violation took place when he not only lied to the country, but co-opted his friends and lied to them. That is one on which people choke.

“We all live together, we have a sense of community, there’s a small-town quality here. We all understand we do certain things, we make certain compromises. But when you have gone over the line, you won’t bring others into it. That is a cardinal rule of the village. You don’t foul the nest.”


Just a pack of filthy hippie barbarians storming the village we are, ready to pillage and burn.  Their lamentations music to our ears.  I’ve carried my shield a long time and the axe is sharp enough.

Now I happen to think it’s going to take a long time, but revolutionary change is all around you- the world will be a very different place in 5 years.  What I do know is this- without our effort to change things for the better, they won’t.

Maybe what we do won’t be enough to change things as much as we hope in the direction that we want but the one thing I don’t want to live with is regret.  I regret nothing.  The good.  The bad.  It’s all the same.