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Marion On April - 22 - 2011

Earlier this week, at a private fundraiser for the President in California, an event for which each person attending paid $5000 for the privalege of eating in the same room with the Chief Executive and listening to him address the gathering, free of the toxic news media which follows at his heels, a young woman stood up in the middle of the President’s speech peeled off her top to reveal a teeshirt bearing the smiling image of cri de coeur martyr of the moment, Bradley Manning, and began to sing an ode to Private Manning.

Within seconds, she was joined by the rest of her party at their table, until the lot of them were politely ushered from the room by attending plain-clothes security officers.

The President thanked them for their offering and carried on with his speech.

As protests go, this was tepid. The song was trite, the rhyme awful. It wasn’t even a full-fledged or full-throated protest, in that part of the lyrics stated that the singer and her company would vote for the President in 2012. What was amazing was that these young(ish) people were able to afford a fee which only well-heeled donors were likely to make in order to attend a rally for the President and to contribute to his campaign fund. (That was another oxymoron: They were protesting something for which they clearly blamed the President, yet their song admitted support and, collectively, they’d just contributed a grand total of $76,000 to his campaign kitty). Go figure.

Later on, the young woman in question described herself as a “trust fund brat and sometime artist.” Well. That says everything.

The radical chic have returned to live amongst us. Are you old enough to remember them?

The first time they appeared, forty-two years ago as chronicled by Tom Wolfe in his essay, they’d decided to espouse the cause of Civil Rights – six years after the Act had been signed and almost a decade after the highly publicized demonstrations. This particular clique, led by Leonard Bernstein, Baba Wawa and the mother of  Katrina vanden Heuvel, decided to throw a dinner party, not for the leading lights of the NAACP or the Urban League, but for the Black Panthers. The original real Black Panthers.

On the afternoon of the day of the festivities, Leonard Bernstein, hosting the event, suddenly realized that his butler and two maidservants were black, so he sent them home and frantically called an employment agency, requesting that they dispatch three Latino servants to work for the evening. And when the soiree was under way, the radical chic suddenly found that they were actually sharing the same airspace as real black people, people from the street and from parts of the city they studiously avoided.

Bradley Manning is the pin-up of this generation’s radical chic. It’s highly unlikely that Miss Trust Fund Brat was even remotely interested in what the President had to say about his budget plan in relation to the obscenity Paul Ryan’s trying to hawk, or the state of the declining middle class – a euphemism, I’m loathe to use, because if you work to live, you’re working class, so own the term and live with it. She obviously isn’t thinking of the masses of unemployed or underemployed, of people who’ve flattened their 401K’s simply to get by or people, heretofore, made bankrupt by medical expenses. She probably is unaware of the situation in which her state of California found itself a few years back when state employees were furloughed and paid with IOU’s. She finds the decaying infrastructure of California a nuisance and an inconvenience, but she and her mates have $76,000 to donate to a candidate they heckle in order to be able to get their point across about someone who’s accused of committing an act of high treason.

Whether Manning’s guilty or not is for the courts martial to decide, but the fact that he’s attracting such a high level of extremely wealthy people who part with their money so readily and in such a discombobulated way, says far more about these doyens of the extreme Left than it does of either Manning or any of the things these people “protest.” It would have been far better and benefited Bradley Manning far more if this woman and her cronies had contributed the $76,000 paid for the Presidential evening to Manning’s defense fund, which must be accumulating.

Last week, the day before the President’s speech on the budget, I received an e-mail from Adam Green of  Bold Progressives, having  subscribed to his newsletter ages ago. The e-mail was frantically advising everyone on the mailing list that the next day, President Obama was about to give a major speech in which he would announce that he was cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Hurry! Hurry! We had all of 24 hours to stop the President from committing such a heinous act. All we had to do, Green’s letter explained, was send a donation of $5 to his organization. If that didn’t “stop Obama,” the next step would be for all Progressives to boycott President Obama. The next morning, in the hours leading up to the speech, Green smugly announced that 60,000 people had made donations and pledged to stop the President from cutting these entitlements.

Sixty thousand people paying five dollars apiece … In a space of less than 24 hours, Green had accumulated $300,000. As the Brits would say, that’s a nice little earner. And – oh yes – President Obama, after all, didn’t “cut” Social Security or Medicare or even Medicaid. He made a seminal speech, with Paul Ryan sitting in the front row, where he politely but firmly, trashed Ryan’s handiwork as irrelevant.

But the politics of fear had garnered Adam Green a tidy $300k. Adam’s a graduate of my alma mater, the University of Virginia, known for having a stringent, student-patrolled honour code. Had Adam tried that scam as a student, he’d have been given 24 hours to pack his bags and leave the University. Do not pass “Go.” Do not collect $300,000.

Instead, Green continued fear-mongering. Just because Obama (he never actually calls him “President Obama”) didn’t do that there and then, we’ve got to ensure he doesn’t cut entitlements in the future, so … a request was made for further donations of $5 from e-mailed recipients.

Until that moment, I’d largely ignored Green’s panic-driven screeds as spam, in much the same way I’ve ignored his amateurish political punditry as some remnant of a drunken evening spent in the company of the Jefferson Debating Society for lack of anything better to do; but in reading those two e-mails and thinking about his grifting accumulation of more money than most people see in a year in the space of one day, I had an Oral Roberts epiphany.

If Bradley Manning is the 21st Century radical chic’s Black Panther, then Adam Green is the Left’s Oral Roberts. Growing up in the South of the 1950s, as a small child, I remembered Roberts’s frightening radio rants, which promised salvation, if only you put one hand on the radio and the other in your pocket to reach out the princely sum of $5 to send ol’Oral. Now I’ve come full circle, with Adam Green promising all our social and political wet dreams would come to fruition if only we keep one hand on the keyboard and the other clicking the credit card payment details in order to send dosh to Adam who’ll personally ensure that the Obama horde is stopped at the gate.

My father was a lifelong Democrat, who stuck with the party from Roosevelt, for whom he cast his first vote, to Clinton, for whom he cast his last. Wherever he is, seeing these grifters and shifters from his side of the political equation, parting with money which could be better aimed at other causes, he’d be hard put not to utter one of his many stock phrases: that a fool and his money soon part. It’s just a shame the fools in question all seem to be from the Left, and that these same people are proving to be as unyielding, unthinking and close-minded as their brethren from the Right.

16 Responses so far.

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  1. choicelady says:

    Marion -- sorry to be late with comment. I went totally wireless all weekend, and I have to say it was nice. Coming back to your post confirms my desire to get in touch with my inner hermit, but I do want to thank you for nailing this.

    Foxisms- we EXPECT this stupidity from the Right. They embrace all manner of stupid people, issues, causes. We expect MORE from those who profess to be with “the people”. As someone who occasionally is asked to be part of progressive movements, I have to say this is all too common an occurrence.

    Over the weekend I saw several plays including a very powerful version of Julius Ceasar with Ceasar played convincingly and wonderfully by a woman. The people around her were deliberately ambiguous in their politics -- could be religious right, could be progressives. What finally came home to me, after YEARS of reading and seeing this play and not paying attention, is the horrifying lying justification Brutus and the others use to off Caesar. NONE of the allegations of “ambition” was true. None of the justifications held up even had any been true.

    Outside the theater were pictures of real dead leaders of nations and people, some labeled “tyrant” some “martyr”. One was somone I once knew personally -- martyr to be sure -- and it made the play that much harder to watch. It actually frightened me to be there.

    Does it matter any longer whether we kill leaders as their mortal enemies -- or their moral friends? Marion, I got the same Bold Progressive screech -- and sent it back with one word: balderdash. Funny, I never got a reply, not even AFTER the President’s speech. I know how much organizations need money, but I totally agree with you that this “screed as money raiser” is dangerous. WTS nailed it a couple of posts ago -- hyping danger, especially among your own, has added substantially to our sense of crisis, even where crisis does not exist.

    When Obama was elected, I wondered if we, the liberals and progressives, could let go of our frantic “god-ain’t-it-awful” mantra. We have not. Beginning in the latter Clinton days with MoveOn’s good stance against GOP actions on impeachment, we progressives created a new industry of agitation against what then were very real Constitutional threats. Turns out there’s big money in it. Hard to let that go. I was on the Board of a national organization that, having lost its need to exist after the election, had to decide if it would go out of business or trump up new issues. Guess what they did. I’m no longer on the Board because justifying organizational existence and fund raising through hype is NOT a moral position.

    I find, as with Julius Caesar, that I no longer can tell some of my “friends” from my enemies. Naked ambition dominantes too much of both sides of issues. When you are surrounded by people whose politics matter less than their personal power, I ask -- what bloody hell difference does it make?

  2. kesmarn says:

    If this were a matter of principle (questionable) for these ladies, they might have been better advised to contribute their $75,000 to the Manning defense fund and spared us all the performance.

    Nevertheless I’m happy the dollars went into the Dem coffers.

  3. foxisms says:

    I find it hard to see any difference between the ‘chic’ of one party over the other, although you failed to single out any $1000 to $25,000 dollar dinner extravaganzas put on, on behalf of anyone with a right leaning disposition in an effort to help them and that party winan election.
    The Black Panthers of the era of which you mentioned had yet to be characterized entirely by the establishment media as a militant group and they were in fact providing food and other services in the neighborhoods they were associated with.
    Manning, while contributing to the dissemination of information that could have been harmful to someone, still has yet to be proven to have done so, and when balanced on a scale with the “Shock and Awe” of the Iraq invasion, the continued droning of Pakistan and the Judge that contributed so much to the “selection” of a US President in 2004….pales by comparison.
    Money is and always has been collected and spent by people advancing their cause whether it as been on the left or the right.
    Chic is chic.
    And even a laundry list of expenditures laid out by one ideological extreme can be easily matched by the same affluence from the opposite polarity.
    While I like to think I don’t graft well to either of the two party system alternatives, if I had to point out which was most likely to provide the largest war chest(s) for either candidates or causes, I would put my money on the ideology that finds the most corporations and “old money” donated in support of these leanings.
    And we all know which party falls under that category.
    Sure it’s fine to air out the laundry of the party that best raises your bile if that’s what you need do to take a stand and make a statement. But I think those that do are only telling one half of the story behind the money. And while I think that is at times necessary, I don’t necessarily think that contributes to anyone’s use of common sense.
    But if it makes any difference, Marion…I like your articles and always look for them and read them.
    So I hope I haven’t alienated you with this small criticism.

  4. KQuark says:

    Look Manning is a traitor not an avenger that just divulged secrets because of his conscience. He did a bulk data dump and if he was principled he would have divulged only information he thought was unlawful. The vast majority of his date dump was just meant to embarrass the state department and he gloated about as much. Not only did his data dump get embassy officials and even an ambassador kicked out of the country they were in for calling a dictator a dictator no less. He got civilians killed by divulging the names of Afghanis who were working with the US. So again the absurd left makes him a hero.

    I don’t care if a service person likes the war they are in or not as service person you are held up to a certain code of conduct civilians are not. This incident again shows how liberals don’t get the part of the equation when it comes to what middle America thinks and why only about 20% of the country will call themselves liberals. But like I’ve said repeatedly now the left has gone much further left than it had been especially on national security issues compared to past decades. JFK and FDR would be seen as war criminals due to the continued drift leftward from the center of the country.

    • foxisms says:

      KQ, I think I see your point on this and damned if I’m going to be the one to try and convince you otherwise, but you started your comment with, “Look Manning is a traitor not an avenger that just divulged secrets because of his conscience.”
      Is there a better reason or cause for anyone to do anything, other than as an act of conscience?
      I was always told to follow mine.
      You, my friend are going to put Jiminey Cricket out of a job.

    • Kalima says:

      KQ I agree completely and feel the same about Assange too. I’ve had so many petitions for both of them come to my inbox, and in all good faith I just can’t sign them and I can’t understand why people consider that either of them have been treated unfairly, that’s just nonsense. I’d like to ask these protesting people to tell us exactly what good has come out of this dumping of emails and other information about ongoing conflicts. Has it stopped any fighting, any wars, has it saved lives or improved conditions for the citizens of any country or did it stop the killing somewhere that we didn’t hear about?

      No, it just caused great embarrassment to diplomats (and I’ve known a few) having their private communications made public and causing harm to relations between countries. To me it was vindictive and only damaging to the people whose emails and communications were stolen and hijacked, it was Assange’s ultimate masturbatory fantasy, but to me seemed more like someone snatching a private note in grade school and having this person read it out loud in front of the class, except for the fact that those notes only embarrassed us personally and caused no harm to others. I wonder how these protesters would react if their own private communications were displayed on the internet for the world to see and read, I should imagine they would be busy filing law suits against the offending parties, in between the screaming and shouting of course.

      The man was in the military, he had rules to follow like everyone else in the military. He broke the law, he betrayed not only his own country, but many other countries too. He was caught, arrested, and now he is in prison awaiting trial, I’m sorry I can’t understand all the fuss, and believe that there are more worthy and urgent causes and people unfairly accused and imprisoned around the world to protest about.

      What he and Assange did has not changed our world or made it in any way a better place. It has lost people their lives, their careers and their dignity, and the only thing it HAS done, is to make Assange a wealthier man, with Manning held up as a lamb for slaughter, and people forgetting all about Wikileaks after the feeding frenzy while they moved on to other shiny things. How Manning ever came to be in the military considering his fragile mental state should be something that needs to be examined more closely, and not the fact that he broke the law, and like everyone else else who is caught, now awaits his day in court. My sympathy for him begins with the fact that he was accepted into the military in the first place, and ends there as well.

      • Marion says:

        “How Manning ever came to be in the military considering his fragile mental state should be something that needs to be examined more closely …”

        Absolutely. Amen.

    • ADONAI says:

      If he’s a traitor he has to be killed.

      Death to traitors.

      • KQuark says:

        He’ll get his day in court with high priced defense attorneys because he’s the cause celeb on the left which is far more than his victims ever received.

        • ADONAI says:

          And if he is found in court to be a traitor, we MUST kill him.

          I’m serious here. I don’t think he’s a traitor but I have a very low tolerance for them. As anyone should.

          Death to traitors. There is a reason the lowest level of Hell is reserved for traitors.

          • Marion says:

            The army prosecutors say they are not asking for the death sentence in his treason charge, but the maximum serving sentence is 52 years. I suspect that he will suffer the same fate as William Calley -- he’ll be sentenced to life at hard labour at Ft Leavenworth (my guess is that they’ve moved him there because the trial is imminent and they want to acclimate him to the surroundings). He will serve about 5 years before being released and entailed NOT to write about his experience or profit from what has happened -- as Calley was.

  5. bito says:

    There still seems to be some questions floating around about this group. Why now did they suddenly organize and become so concerned about Bradly Manning? He has been in the news for more than the 5 days since they started their website.
    http://www.whois.net/whois/freshjuiceparty.com
    http://freshjuiceparty.com/

    Paying people to make a video?

    * Sing “Where’s Our Change?” in a public forum
    * Make a video of yourself
    * Upload your public, shareable video to youtube
    * You get $
    * Most creative entry will also win a grand prize!*

    And as mentioned, the costs to go to the fund-raisers.

    I don’t know, but I am curious. A little “ratfucking”?

    • escribacat says:

      Maybe they’re just Assange groupies? (Although I doubt it. I don’t think Assange gives a rat’s ass about Manning.)

      • bito says:

        e’cat, that could be true “Assange groupies”, I just find it short sighted if they are and do wonder about their funding. Sounds a little Rovian to me.

  6. Caru says:

    Quote:
    “A young woman stood up in the middle of the President’s speech peeled off her top to reveal a teeshirt bearing the smiling image of cri de coeur martyr of the moment, Bradley Manning, and began to sing an ode to Private Manning.

    Within seconds, she was joined by the rest of her party at their table, until the lot of them were politely ushered from the room by attending plain-clothes security officers.

    The President thanked them for their offering and carried on with his speech.”

    O_O


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