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Marion On January - 19 - 2011

Last week, I watched the return of Real Time with Bill Maher. I always approach each episode of that show with trepidation, because I never know whether Bill’s actually going to show up and give us a provocative hour of good common sense observations or whether he’s going to phone in his apt impersonation of a Class A cockhead in desperate need of a condom to cover his face.

I was neither pleased nor disappointed with this week’s show, apart from the fact that one of his panel guests was the ludicrous Chrystia Freeland, who sounds like Megan Mullally, trying to be serious after admitting to having smoked two packs a day. Bill sat her between the Democrat James Carville and the Republican Mike Murphy, and I’ve yet to ascertain anything either of the two men disclosed, because they were constantly being interrupted by this woman. Later in the show, Martin Short appeared, and the latter third of the panel discussion section disintegrated into a frenetically childike dialogue between Freeland and Short, which amounted to Freeland jumping gleefully up and down in her seat as she and Short discussed how much better Canada was than the States – ne’mind the fact that both probably earn much more money here than in their own home country, but there you go.

What disappointed me the most occurred during Bill’s initial interview with Elizabeth Warren, when he asked her if he thought anything was achieved by the President “caving” to the Republicans’ demand to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country. I thought it was a pretty stupid question, especially to ask a woman who is a special advisor to the President and, therefore, part of the Administration, itself. It’s almost as if Bill thought Warren a pretty smart cookie, but a cookie who was book-smart and lacking in common sense, taking advantage of the fact that Warren apparently likes Bill and feels comfortable on his show, thinking she’d offer an opinion that would garner him a gotcha moment on which he’d feast for the rest of the season.

Of course, Warren gave a safe answer. Whatever she thought of the extension of the tax cuts, she’s the sort of person who would see the benefits the President got from this situation that would favour the demographic Warren champions: the fabled Middle Class.

It just stuck in my craw that Maher and many like him are still pushing the myth that Obama “caved” on the tax cuts. He “caved” to the Republicans’ demands. He’s weak. He has no backbone. He is, as Maher rather self-righteously proclaimed on national television at the end of last year, a “pussy.”

As if the only thing that mattered, the be-all and the end-all to people supposedly “in the know”, the pundit crowd, were those damned tax cuts. Nothing else mattered, not the unemployed, not the working classes or even the working poor, to whom Maher later tipped the wink as being the bulk and majority of that demographic collectively known as “the Middle Class,” the politicos, the pundits, the dittoes following their leads in the blogosphere all wanted that one almighty point scored against the Republicans – right, dead and square in their big, fat, white belly.

A woman in California, a union official and activist for the ILWU, who happens to be an amateur political wonk to the extent that she’s constantly tweeting her thoughts, opinions and attitudes to the likes of Lawrence O’Donnell, Bob Cesca and Keith Olbermann and who screams at the television to such an extent that she scares her young son, went into abject meltdown over these tax cuts for the rich, without a thought for any of her fellow proletariat who just might be long-term unemployed or the chances her children gained for financial help in their quest for post-secondary education.

It’s the fashion to follow the tax cut craze, which means, more and more, that the Democratic Party is abandoning its championing of the working classes.

Bill Maher is an intelligent man, and he should know better. He’s followed government and government procedure enough to know how things work. He knows a compromise when he sees one. This is all just the language of the moment, the game of “Piss on the President,” better known amongst older Democrats as “Shooting Yourself in the Foot.” The Democrats do that a lot and never learn from it.

Obama caved to the Democrats, so now we have to find someone to mount a primary challenge, never ever remembering the events which occurred after the primary challenges of 1968 and 1980. The first brought us Watergate and introduced us to the Three R’s of the Republican brand: Ratfucking, Roger Ailes and Karl Rove. The second brought us 12 years of Republican rule, credit and financial deregulation, trickledown, phony wealth which felt good at the time but came back to kick us all in the ass, and the first Gulf War.

And after all is said and done, with all the legislation passed during the lame duck session of Congress and after the horrific events in Tucson, after the President held it together for us on all those occasions, Bill and his ilk are scurrying about, furiously searching for the next stick with which to beat the President. Social Security? Tackling the tax code? The State of the Union speech? What he should say? What he shouldn’t say?

In the year that’s the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War – yes, the one which was fought in order to end slavery – I have a hard time taking the Democratic Party seriously, when its most liberal proponents insist on treating the President of the United States like Miss Scarlett treated Prissy, and that’s said as someone who was weaned on the Democratic Party.

And if that’s not enough, I have to sit, watch and listen to Sean Hannity facilitate the very public unraveling of Sarah Palin for all to see on Monday evening, in a typically incoherent, Biblically-inspired rant, filled with the obvious lies, which just happened to shift the blame for all the violent rhetoric she started and subsequently inspired, back to the Democratic party and liberals in general. Somewhere, somehow in Governor Palin’s parallel universe, the Democrats put up crosshair maps, identifying innocent Republican candidates as targets to be taken out, Democrats were the moral, emotional and political scourge of this great, free country, Democrats have been issuing death threats against Madame and her spawn and CNN has been bullying poor Willow Palin, who does a fair job of bullying, herself, if her recent antics on her Facebook page are anything by which she can be measured. In that respect, I fear for CNN’s safety, because I would imagine that Willow has pretty much had to bring herself up, what with Mommy prancing about the Lower Forty-Eight, being adored.

Thing is, and not being one to push the envelope of false equivalency, people believe these talking heads. Some poor bastard conned into voting against his own interests and living in a modular home someplace is going to believe Palin when she paints the Democrats and anyone liberal as a danger to the lifeblood of a nation; just as there are adoring scores of people on the Left, slurping up the lattes from the superior sections of the Left Coast, who follow every word Bill Maher says, even when he contradicts himself from one week to the next, whilst ignoring the fact that he looks increasingly more comfortable in the company of Darrell Issa and Bill Frist than he does with anyone of the Democratic persuasion.

And so it will go on and on, with civility as much of an illusion and a pretense as anything else about our sick and sordid political system. Palin’s pets will buy into the myth of deranged and unAmerican coastal elites trying to change Brand America to their own socialistic and godless liking, and Maher’s minions will continue to believe that the only America that matters is found along the West Coast or in the Northeast, and everything else is Flyover Country or the unreconstructed neo-Confederacy inhabited by a race of racist, illiterate, inbreds who pronounce the word “shit” as having two syllables.

Speaking of the Confederacy, do you know the story of how California tried to secede in 1861 to form the Republic of the Pacific? Their state flag today is almost an exact replica of their intended “republic’s” flag, which is more than a bit like those Deep Southerners who want to incorporate the Confederate battle flag as part of their state’s emblem.

Maybe the two extremes have more in common than they think. At least they can always share their Obama hate.

Categories: News & Politics

48 Responses so far.

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  1. AdLib says:

    And may I suggest this image as the capitalist mold of all American families?

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    • kesmarn says:

      😆 Too wonderful, AdLib! And to c’lady, Cher, b’ito and Khirad:
      I wish I had stayed up later last night to see all the rest of the fun that was had with the regional stereotyping game started by BDM. (But, of course, I live in an un-cool time zone.) I love the California and Great Northwest profiles…especially Roscoe’s Oriental Rug Emporium.

      So much that is hilarious and real, at the same time…

  2. choicelady says:

    I’ve read much of what everyone here said (sorry -- I’m late to the game), but I do want to cite the Center for Budget & Policy Priorities on the final tally of the Tax Compromise:


    The finaly tally is that the cut for earnings ABOVE $250,000 plus the benefits of extending estate levels to $5 million totals 16% of the package President Obama negotiated. The remaining 84% goes to, yes, working families especially those living at or below poverty level who will still be getting Earned Income Tax Credits (slated for “demolition”. That plus unemployment extension (voted down before), and numerous education and investment credits for SMALL businesses to generate jobs among many other benefits. So the tax cut for the rich is 16%. The tax benefits to middle and lower income families is 84%. That is NOT “caving”. That is NOT “pussy”. That is leadership.

    I know well that there is a cadre of people who retain a kind of SDS DSoc “bring the system down in chaos so we can rebuild it” mentality.

    First question -- what do you mean by “we”???? Who is “we”???? When you have this nation hanging perilously close to control by the TP, this just might not be a good time for helter skelter, you know what I’m saying? It’s like the doctor I met who opposed health care reform as a dedicated physician wanting single payer. “Let’s just throw this bill out and we will pass single payer!” he clamored. Again -- whom do you mean by “we”??? At best count “we” had 50 votes. I’m not seeing a grand sweep here, are you?

    The Right lives by magical thinking. The Left is doing the same.

    I’m finding living in a world of fact and reality to be a fairly lonely existence. Glad I have the Planet.

    BTW -- was the CA separatist movement the first effort to create the State of Jefferson? If not, that movement appears to be alive and well up near the Siskyous. Kind of interesting, but I’m not yet up on the details. Overall, I’m less interested in CA once trying to be independent since we continue to talk about breaking in two, north and south or, more practically, west the whole length vs. east the whole length. I’m just not sure where Sacramento would land, and I kinda don’t want to live in a Red State, thanks anyway. But I don’t want to move either.

    Decisions, decisions…

    • Khirad says:

      I’m not up on their whole philosophy or if they take ‘inspiration’ from the Bear Republic, but yes, I posted the flag down below.

      The actual incentive behind the original Jefferson State idea is familiar to us by now. I can’t find the original story beyond the lore, but it was far less romantic and had something to do with roads and mining rights.

      You’re safe in Sacramento, it’s to your north and extends into Oregon. If you’ve ever driven through the area it makes sense. I can’t quite figure out much if it is for statehood or its own nation, the libertarian/paleoconservative rhetoric isn’t always clear.

      In any case, you are invited to Cascadia should things go amiss.

      The brew will be an added incentive?


      • choicelady says:

        YOU are the incentive, Khirad! The brew -- well, to a wheat-intolerant person (that’s not politics but physiology) beer is a forbidden treasure. There is a gluten free beer, but -- why bother, I ask.

        I don’t fear the State of Jefferson. I fear the Red State folks to the south and east. San Joaquin county, just south of us, is the site of one of the most horrific anti-government hate crimes I’ve known, directed against a very nice woman who was the county clerk. She refused to file phony liens (a “sovereign state”, militia tactic of harassment of officials) and she was grabbed in the dark in her own garage by a milita guy who, to show her who’s boss, absolutely savaged her. He was caught and imprisoned, but his buds still call her. She can’t get a phone they can’t trace. To this day, any officer in the county who stops one of the militia guys is likely to have them smile and say, “Oh -- your wife’s name is so and so, you have kids named such and such, you live at this street and number. See ya.” There is no law willing to go up against them. None. This is an unwritten story -- no paper will publish it out of fear of relatiation. It is absolute outlaw time in SJ County.

        This is known to very few in CA save those of us who do hate crimes opposition work. WE are afraid to be open about it either! But it’s an aspect of CA that is present and growing. On the whole, the State of Jefferson is not lookin’ too bad.

        • Khirad says:

          Wow, you just made armed escorts for census takers in the State of Jefferson look tame.

          Actually, what I worry about are all the Punjabis in the central valley with those sorts.

          Or are they just more focused on anti-government activities than hating on Mexicans and Sikhs?

          And by the way, ‘militia’ sounds too cutesy from what you describe (these aren’t grown men playing soldier in the woods). This is more like hezbollahi thug tactics in Iran, mafias in Russia, Italy, Japan, or well organized gangs in California. In other words, they seem like little else than a political version of the Bloods/Crips/Norteños, etc.

  3. Chernynkaya says:

    Kes, that was fabulous! As I wrote earlier, I really don’t get this part of the discussion-- Why should I be either proud or guilty for being born anywhere?

    Now, in that spirit, I want to join in too! MY state is populated by Leftist New Agers, shallow plastic surgery junkies, yuppie gays, surfers, pot farmers, Birkenstock-wearing naturalists, rioting blacks, illegal immigrants, tree huggers, swimmin’ pools and movie stars and geeky gamers.

    Actually, those may not be that untrue! Just as it is not entirely false to make some accurate generalizations about many states. We can tell a lot about the resident of states by their voting patterns: Red States have more conservatives.(SHOCK!)

    But kes has made the much larger and more critical point:

    [W]ho’s really out to do some serious damage to America’s working class and middle class: namely major corporations and their Republican enablers.

    Everything else, all this labeling and outright name-calling is a deliberate diversion, and as soon as I can tear myself away from the game, fun and comforting and TOO EASY, as it is, the sooner I can look up at the guys pulling my strings.

    • Khirad says:

      Actually it is quite fun if we do it in jest.

      I would take a stab at adding a more regional Cascadia variety to it, but I’ve already been pegged by Portlandia.

      In other words, a lattè sipping, flannel wearing, ecoterrorist co-op shopping, bike riding, rain soaked, pretentiously hip music loving, pea soup eating, micro brew drinking, laid back to the point of ironic insouciance, pine scented socialist Northwesterner.

  4. Chernynkaya says:

    Marion, about California. I understand that you’ve recently learned about something I’d venture 99.9% of Californians have never heard of: The stance it took during the Civil War. (Which is nothing to brag about-- either our ignorance OR the secessionist desires.) But I am not sure what it is you’re extrapolating from that. Surely you are not saying that because no one bothered to change the state flag that we Californians are as proud of our role during the Civil War as any Southern state? If so, I cannot begin to tell you how off-base that is.

    Virtually no one in California even knows that history-- I assure you, it is not taught in the schools except in college history classes, as a footnote. The South, on the other hand, glorifies their Confederate history. I wager every grade-schooler in the South knows the role of their state during the Civil War, knows the generals who fought, knows all the battle sites. They are even taught to call it “The War for States’ Rights.” The comparison is, frankly, completely unfounded.

    As you know, California is as big as most countries, and although I am not sure it is still the third largest economy in the world, it’s up there. If it WERE a country right now, its “president” would be Jerry Brown, and his “cabinet” would consist of politicians like Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. It is a reliably Blue State. Sure, we have pockets of the Right-- whatta ya gonna do?

    Perhaps I totally misunderstand the point you were making about the flag; if so, please excuse me! But If you are saying that California is anything like the South in a sense of victimization, or past days of glory, or hubris about secession, or distrust of the federal government, I have to say, you are entirely mistaken.

    • AdLib says:

      I stongly second your comment, Cher.

      I’m a relatively well informed Californian and I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t know the history of the state flag. I’d agree that 99% probably don’t…if not more 😉 .

      As opposed to states like VA which have “Confederate Flag Day” and “Confederate History Month”. What is considered a best forgotten and humiliating chapter in CA’s history is considered a point of pride in many parts of The South.

      It is a fruitless and futile task to try and portray states in the North as being “as guilty” of slavery and racism as The South. The facts and history are undeniable and can’t be rationalized, whitewashed or equalized away.

      Was there rampant slavery in The North at the time of The Civil War? No (even though a minority of racists did want it at the time).

      Was there rampant Slavery in The South at the time of The Civil War? Yes (even though a minority of conscientious Southerners opposed it at the time).

      Did most of the Northern states leave the Democratic Party after the Civil Rights Act was passed? No.

      Did most of the Southern states leave the Democratic Party after the Civil Rights Act was passed? Yes.

      Did Pres. Johnson find it necessary to send the military into Northern states to ensure the safe integration of black students into schools, as he did in the South? No.

      Did a governor of a Northern state include in his inaugural speech, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”?

      This is such basic, proliferate and indisputable American history. The South’s past on racism and slavery is unique and shameful. However, though there are too many still carrying such prejudices in The South, those living in The South today are not guilty of beliefs and actions taken by people other than them.

      The whole principle of Civil Rights is to respect people as individuals, not reduce them to members of groups that can be hated or disdained as a whole. So, there is no need for anyone with roots in the South to defend the actions of anyone or their state in the past. There is however a responsibility to recognize the truth of what happened in the past and stand up today against racism one witnesses in one’s society and/or state.

      • Marion says:

        We don’t have a Confederate flag day. We don’t celebrate Confederate Memorial Day, and Confederate History Month was decreed by our Republican Governor, who didn’t set foot in the Commonwealth until he was a grown man. The same goes for Ken Cuccinelli. I’ll be the first to admit that they have a problem with race, but the attitudes they display, they got from their Irish Philly and Italian Jersey Shore daddies. McDonnell grew up in the same part of Philly as Chris “I forgot Obama was black” Matthews.

        When you talk about Flag Day, Confederate Memorial Day etc, you need to look South Carolina southwards.

        And we elected the first African American governor too, back when Derval Patrick was still in diapers.

        • AdLib says:

          No one should ever be put in a position to defend the actions of any other person or people other than themselves. You are among many conscientious Virginians past and present, there is no reflection upon you from what others have done and continue to do in VA…anymore than javaz, bito and Khirad are responsible for what’s been going on in AZ.

          We are individuals, we can’t fairly be defined by groupings other people choose to make. Recognizing the history of an area, country, state, city, etc., isn’t doing that though.

          So, here’s some Virginian history that no living Virginian is responsible for:

          “Black slavery took root in the American colonies slowly. Historians now know that small numbers of Africans lived in Virginia before 1619, the year a Dutch ship sold some twenty blacks (probably from the West Indies) to the colonists. But it was not until the 1680s that black slavery became the dominant labor system on plantations there. As late as 1640, there were probably only 150 blacks in Virginia and in 1650, 300. But by 1680, the number had risen to 3,000 and by 1704, to 10,000.

          During the 1660s and 1670s, Maryland and Virginia adopted laws specifically designed to denigrate blacks. These laws banned interracial marriages and sexual relations and deprived blacks of property. Other laws prohibited blacks from bearing arms or traveling without written permission. In 1669, Virginia became the first colony to declare that it was not a crime to kill an unruly slave in the ordinary course of punishment. That same year, Virginia also prohibited masters from freeing slaves unless the freedmen were deported from the colony. Virginia also voted to banish any white man or woman who married a black, mulatto, or Indian.


          As for today, coincidentally, this story came out yesterday in WaPo:

          Referring to what they called the nation’s second war for independence — “so often mislabeled the Civil War,” said Michael Rose, commander of the organization’s Virginia division — the group accused Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and former U.S. Sen. George Allen (R) of failing to properly honor the state’s Civil War past.

          “What we’re asking people to do is just allow people to celebrate their heritage,” said the organization’s national commander, R. Michael Givens, of Beaufort, S.C. “After they’re finished coming after the Confederate flag, they’re going to come after the American flag.”

          The group also accused McDonnell of removing Confederate flags from the Confederate Memorial Chapel behind the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. That ongoing dispute has led to a lawsuit.

          “It is an outrageous thing … that governor McDonnell would order Confederate flags to be taken down at a Confederate chapel,” said Richard T. Hines, commander of the organization’s Jefferson Davis camp in Alexandria. “We think it’s time to call a halt to that. History is history. To go back and rewrite is reminiscent of what was done in the Soviet Union.”

          Allen had been a darling of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans for years, but in recent years he drew their ire by co-sponsoring bills condemning the lynching of blacks and promised to work on similar legislation apologizing for slavery. He also said of the Confederate flag that “the symbols you use matter because of how others may take them.”


          Virginia’s history on slavery and its effect on some current Virginians is unique. However, there can be no justification for acting with moral superiority over people simply because they’re from Virginia and Virginia has this history and some holdovers.

          There are racists in CA. And all nature of horrible people. I think it’s more important that we identify ourselves as individuals instead of symbols or representatives of any state or group we can be categorized by.

          I think it’s best to view people based upon their own actions, not any attribute that they are born into through no choice of their own, be it religion, race, birthplace, ancestors, etc.

      • Khirad says:

        On the last note, I don’t ever watch Oprah, but she had this segment where a slave owner’s descendant apologized to descendants of the slaves.

        They accepted it, and thought it was wonderful, but that it still didn’t make up for it. Of course it doesn’t. But, rather than taken as a nice gesture it bothered me that the apology was taken so solemnly and seriously.

        The whole time I was thinking, yes this is really neat, yes emotional, but by god, what responsibility does he bear for his ancestors?

        I mean, I feel the shame too of being descended from slave owners, and it actually has made me think of a genealogy side project, but am I to blame for someone’s human bondage?

        It was like after his apology he was left up on stage as a white effigy to hurl all the hurt caused by slavery and racial subjugation at. Something that should have been really moving left a bad taste in my mouth.

        In a TV talk show ritual to get ‘beyond’ it, we clearly weren’t. I still think we have a long way to go to ever heal as a nation from the great sin of slavery. But that being said, the focus should be on what can be done about it now.

        This guy was apologizing and talking about how he could help out now. The latter I thought was the more important part of the discussion and it got squandered.

        I do realize, of course, that I may have viewed that whole interaction quizzically through the glasses of white privilege, though…

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Interesting observation, Khirad. Honestly, I’m baffled by parts of this whole discussion-- the identification and defense of one’s state. I feel the need to correct any historical inaccuracies, or misconceptions about the general political leanings of my state for their own sake, but not out of any chauvinism for California. I was born and raised here and I like it-- I think it’s great-- but I really don’t say to myself, “I am a proud Californian!”

          Maybe that is because compared to the East, we are a newer state, with little historical architecture and fewer generations of Old California families. Maybe because I am only a second generation American. But seriously, WTF?

          And about that cringe-worthy Oprah show: How shallow and pathetic.

          • Khirad says:

            When I say I’m a proud native Washingtonian, it is deliberately a little tongue-in-cheek. The Northwest is so UNprovincial it could actually use a little more self-esteem and unified identity. 😆

            Otherwise, besides being California’s Canada, it really does seem to come down to the same things you mentioned. We have an identity as West, or Left Coasters, still new, taking more history in the likes of Junípero Serra and John Sutter, or Chief Seattle and Lewis & Clark (often not mentioned as Virginians in our state history books, heh). In other words, no really distinct mythology or chauvinism to build off of.

            Whereas other places have a little too much, -ahem- Texas -ahem-.

            Yeah, I really don’t get it either. And, I now do something I didn’t do the first couple years. I say I’m an Arizonan, ’cause I am now. And by god if there’s crap goin’ down in Washington, fine. And by god Arizona was quite accurately characterized by Dupnik and I have no problem with jabs taken at it. There’s many of us in Arizona that agree. I know you’re not dissing the Grand Canyon or all of us, but the reactionary and racist forces in the state -- which deserve it.

            And yes, I was being kind, it was just cringeworthy.

          • choicelady says:

            Khirad and Cher -- I didn’t see that show, but there was a pathbreakaing book, “Slaves in the Family” by a white man, Edward Ball, who went through family records -- they had been slave owners -- and found incontrovertible proof that he was related to bi-racial people fathered by his great-great grandfather when their great-greats were still property.

            It was probably one of the most honest looks at the extended family histories of slave owners and their slaves I’ve read. It made HIS still upper class family enraged, but what he did was honorable. It is my recollection he found some of his cousins and ALSO apologized. What happened after that, though, I don’t know. It simply was an important breakthrough in truth. That’s a lot.

    • Khirad says:

      Cher, see my comment below. As a point it was a little interesting, but there’s no equivalency. Nor do I think it was intended to be. It was more like, a huh, well that’s an interesting way to look at it.

      Nor do I have a problem with the Stars and Bars being snuck into flags -- I doubt many could even identify it. I actually think that’s kind of cute in a pathetic sort of way. As long as it’s not the battle flag. My problem is with flags that are associated with Segregationists even more than ambiguous homages to CSA heritage.

      As far as I know, the California Republic flag does not have such pronounced ties or modern symbolism attached to it.

      It’s not the Biderman flag, after all.


      • Marion says:

        The Republic flag replaced the American flag when they declared their secessionist tendencies, until the army slapped their wrists and replaced it again. The Republic flag was deemed treasonous, yet they incorporated its elements into their state flag, which was entirely different BEFORE the “secession.”

        If the Stars and Bars and the battle flag are deemed treasonous enough not to fly, much less be incorporated in varous states emblems, perhaps California should rethink their flag? How about the cannibis weed?

        • bito says:

          Perhaps the “Stars and Bars” remind many citizens of slavery? Does the bear on the California remind people of slavery? No it was more a rebellion against manifest destiny. Oh, that’s right it was states rights- the right to have slaves in your state.
          Perhaps you choose to go back to the Articles of Confederation or the the insistence of the southern states to have to return ‘dem runaways’ because it was a right of the state to allow to treat people less than human.
          What, Virginia was like the kid who jumped off the bridge because the other kids did?

        • Khirad says:

          You do know that it’s perfectly okay to bend a little and concede a point here and there and meet halfway once in a while, right?

          Although, a pot leaf where the star is would be a nice start. Then again, that was the Alvarado star.

  5. Marion says:

    I just put up another blog, with a very revealing picture taken on the night of January 8th. It’s the real deal and can be found on Huffington’s FB page. It will do a lot to explain why Huffington’s dissing the President’s actions at the moment.

  6. AdLib says:

    I agree with much of your post though I would disagree with some of your proposals, beginning with your proposition that the Democratic Party is abandoning the middle class.

    In the last two years, The Democratic Party has done more for the middle class than in any time since FDR’s presidency. Here are just some items under Obama’s “Campaign Promises Kept” from Politifact that all benefit the Middle Class:

    a. Extend child tax credits and marriage-penalty fixes
    b. Increase minority access to capital
    c. Implement “Women Owned Business” contracting program
    d. Establish a credit card bill of rights
    e. Expand loan programs for small businesses
    f. Extend the Bush tax cuts for lower incomes
    g. Close the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug plan
    h. Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions
    i. Give tax credits to those who need help to pay health premiums
    j. Require children to have health insurance coverage
    k. Expand eligibility for Medicaid
    l. Expand eligibility for State Children’s Health Insurance Fund (SCHIP)
    m. In non-competitive markets, force insurers to pay out a reasonable share of their premiums for patient care
    n. Fully fund the Violence Against Women Act
    o. Provide affordable, high-quality child care
    p. Reduce subsidies to private student lenders and protect student borrowers
    q. Create a Social Investment Fund Network
    r. Work to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
    s. Create new financial regulations
    t. Sign a “universal” health care bill
    u. Invest in public transportation
    v. Help states and localities address sprawl
    w. Increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency
    x. Raise the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009
    y. Extend unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspend taxes on these benefits
    z. Create job training programs for clean technologies


    Virtually all of these items were accomplished due to the actions and support of the Democratic Party in Congress (which of course includes those you criticize on the “Left Coast”).

    Also, with regards to anecdotal evidence of Democrats opposing Obama, a poll as recent as last week reflects just the opposite:

    Democratic voters continued to give Obama high marks, with an 85 percent approval rating in the Quinnipiac poll.


    We definitely can find a number of people on web sites and in the media who are Democratic purists (or Repubs posing as such) who get self-righteous over the tax cuts for the wealthy and rail against Obama, even urging a primary challenge.

    Those that are actually Dems are contained, along with others, in that 15% fringe minority of Dems (who are distributed nationally, not solely in one region). They do not represent many legit Dems.

    So, the negative connotations you assign to people on the “Left Coast” are not supported by polls or what has transpired under Democratic Party control of Congress and The Presidency.

    Lastly, it would be inaccurate to assume that Bill Maher’s show is solely supported by a majority of people on the “Left Coast” and that a majority in the region agrees with his criticism of Obama.

    First, no series could justify its expense on a national network by only appealing to a limited geographical fraction of the available national audience. In fact, you are part of Bill Maher’s audience and you neither live on the “Left Coast” nor subscribe to all of his views.

    I think that most broad generalizations are typically flawed and inaccurate (I of course qualified this so it wouldn’t be a self-disqualifying proposition!).

    Actually living on the “Left Coast”, I would have to say that your remote characterization of people out here does not jibe with the reality of the actual and wide variety of people I personally know.

    And as you might have guessed, I travel at times in some very “lefty” circles (if one does travel left continuously, one does travel in a circle).

    • Marion says:

      AdLib, I said nothing about the Democratic Party abandoning the Middle Class. They aren’t abandoning the middle class, in its purest sense.

      I said they are abandoning the working class and the working poor. And there’s a difference. Bill Maher actually gets the difference. Not many people do these days. The working class and the working poor are pretty naff subjects to court for anyone; but the GOP manipulate them, being undereducated (which suits the GOP), and only cultivates them for the votes they provide. The Democrats don’t even show up.

    • bito says:

      Hat Tip!! Well said, AdLib.

  7. Khirad says:

    You had me until the last part. The California Republic flag is at best like the Lone Star flag of Texas. The only semblance it has to a purely Confederate flag is with the Blood Stained Banner’s red stripe. Not that I didn’t see the point, but it was as you admitted, a bit of an exercise in false equivalency.

    A piece of caution though indeed. Equivalent they may not be, but the orthodox left can be nearly as damaging as the right. I hate to be an anti-purist purist and say there’s no room for them -- there is. But by god when will they realize they’re ‘the’ cliché of the Democrats shooting themselves in the foot?

    • Marion says:

      Take a gander at the NYT site. They’re doing a brilliant Civil War series, charting day-by-day or thereabouts occurrences over the period. The latest one is ALL about California’s attempt at secession -- not to join the South, but to form a country of its own. And take a look at the flags in the article. The “Republic” flag, which was unceremoniously torn down by the authority sent to slap California’s wrists, the treasonous flag, bears an uncanny resemblance to their state flag, which is almost, if not the same thing, that some deep South states to in surreptitiously including the old Confederate battle flag or the Confederate Stars and Bars into their own state emblems. Bit of Northern treason much?

      And just as an added piece of information, there are chapters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in every state in the Union -- including New York, California and Alaska.

      • bito says:

        Link, please.

          • bito says:

            Tanks, still missing the point.

            • Khirad says:

              No passports yet, just stamps.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Yes, bito, all you mid- westerners are fat. And all us Californians look just like Barbie and Ken--plastic. 😉

            • bito says:

              Cool, I’m moving to the ‘left coast.’ Do I need a passport?

            • bito says:

              Well said Ms. k’es, I just looked back in time at all the posts on The Planet and so very many highlight your thoughts on corporate power and corruption. Isn’t that that our biggest concern and worry? We do seem to get distracted from ‘their’ everyday control on our lives and in politics.
              “Oh, look, a squirrel” and we look away to see what someone has tweeted while the moneyed people pick our pockets, steal our savings and pensions, and refuse us of health care after we have built their dream and cared for their sick?
              ” I built your railroads-made them run on time-Hey, buddy, can you spare me a dime?”

              (Hey, Do we mid-westerners look that bad? 😉 )

            • kesmarn says:

              Kalima, 😉

              You’re welcome!

            • Kalima says:

              😆 kes. Thanks!

            • kesmarn says:

              BDM and friends, can I play the regional stereotype game, too? I’m from midwestern flyover country which is populated by pious, gullible simpletons,kinda like the people who populate Lake Wobegon.

              Nobody here has ever traveled outside the the midwest, read widely or even graduated from college. Our pedigrees never go further back than two generations.

              We take pride in our ignorance, at the same time that we think that everyone from the south, without exception, is an ignorant, racist, secessionist, fundamentalist,
              Republican Tea Partier.

              We are intimidated by people from either coast, and always wince at the dismaying contrast of their innate coolness with our cornfed downhome folksy frumpiness.

              There. Have I left anything out? Is there any falsehood I haven’t included? 😀

              Maybe after the Civil War has been totally re-fought, and the far-left is sufficiently alienated from the mid-left, and the pundits are sorted into their various categories of acceptability, we can get around to addressing the question of who’s really out to do some serious damage to America’s working class and middle class: namely major corporations and their Republican enablers.

              We have met the enemy, and he ain’t us!

            • BigDogMom says:

              Khirad…Being Northeastern Elite myself, yes, we are snobs, yes, we think our shit doesn’t stinks….all because we have been here from the begining, we’ve been there, done it! :roll:

              We live on top of each other, our city streets are narrow, if you want to get anywhere, it’s always off the “Boston Post Road”, Rte. 1. We don’t have the luxury of great expanses of land and what land there is that is open goes for top dollar…heck we just got our first Walmart only 3yrs ago! 😕

              We are old, set in our ways, “you can’t get thar from har” mentality, overly educated, obnoxious and just down right tired! 👿

              Just thought I let you know what we’re like… 😆

            • Khirad says:

              Mentioned but glossed over its original incarnation, and didn’t mention the greater context.


              I will admit that the article isn’t entirely off. I can’t speak for us all but born and raised on the West Coast, and not even California at that, with our capital well over a thousand miles away, I confess to have felt that way too at times of frustration growing up. Like, the East doesn’t even see us as anything but an afterthought, as an extension to them and their glorious history, so screw them and let them feel provincial and superior without us (sorry Easterners, don’t think like that anymore, I’ve widened my horizons and know that’s not what you think, just how I defensively felt).

      • Khirad says:

        Yes, I’m fully aware of the history of the flag, I’m a vexillolophile -- which you should know. I mean that it’s more like Texas in that regard than the CSA, which was all about slavery -- not to say the California Republic would have been perfect or desirable, or that Texas wasn’t about slavery either. More that they broke away from Mexico first and were absorbed (or occupied) by the United States is my point. So secession it may be, but it was secession from Mexico (the Texan involvement in the CSA is another matter right now, as is the use of the Bonnie Blue and their Governor’s insistence that they reserve the right to break off as they came in to the union by treaty). And sure Southern sympathizers used it, but they were generally big on state identity no matter what the flag. South Carolina’s dates back to the Stamp Act. I have no issue with it, either.

        And unlike the Confederate flags being snuck into the state flags, the California Republic existed less than three weeks, the flag preexisted the Confederacy (like Texas’, or even Virginia’s), and was also not added conspicuously around the time of the Civil Rights Movement like Georgia changing the more inconspicuous pattern to include the Battle Flag of Virginia.

        I stand by my original comment. I saw what you were driving at and it is true to a point, especially if it was meant somewhat humorously, but it shares more in common with Texas’ flag and history. Sorry if I was being nit-picky, but I’m like that with flags. And quite frankly, this is the Californian flag that would worry me more were I to see it:


        And yes, there are also SCV Camps in those elite West Coast cities of Portland and Seattle. Not to mention a Confederate flag flying on the I-5 Highway in SW Washington north of Portland.

        • bito says:

          Which flag am I missing that associates California to the Southern states?


          • Khirad says:

            Bito, see above, there was indeed one, but that’s not the point that was being made, I don’t believe. It was rather about secession, which, historically I try to point out is troublesome as the California Republic flag predates the South and any use of it in sympathy for the South. Indeed, it was used by others as well on an unofficial basis.

            • bito says:

              Khirad, I think I understood stood the point, my point is what was the reasoning behind secession of California v. Virginia. Was it because of slavery in California? The secessionist movement in California was before the transcontinental railroad and the telegraph.

  8. Chernynkaya says:

    I really like this post, Marion!

    We get angry and ridicule the Right when their politicians cater to their ignorant and demanding base—we expect them to LEAD, to educate, to reason, to tamp down the vitriol and to tell them something akin to the truth. And we are rightfully disgusted when they let their base-est yank the Party around by the nose. We shake our heads at the spectacle of the GOP cowering and kowtowing to the Baggers. Sure, there is an element of schadenfreude, but more, there is a real disdain.

    Well, that’s exactly the path the Left seems to want Obama to take too. There is a deep (and somewhat justified) envy of the Tea Baggers, and of their ability to shape the conversation and to a small degree, their policy. The Left wants Obama to fear their wrath, to slash and burn. They want him to become the Bush they hated, the Jim De Mint partisan, even the enraged and perpetually furious Rush Limbaugh. I can even understand the desire—we all have it to a degree. But it doesn’t work, except in maybe one election cycle.

    What both the Left and the Right ignore (or choose not to see) is that voters are now beginning to turn their backs to the excesses of the Right, as they are taking a clearer view of the maturity of this Administration. They forget that the voters will do the same to the Left the more shrill it becomes.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. As a Leftie, I like what the Left wishes for and if you scratched my surface, you’d see a socialist-- someone who is frustrated by this President about 1/3 of the time. But the difference between me and many of my ideological compatriots is that I hate the Right more than I am frustrated by the middle. I am willing (albeit with unhappiness and incomprehension)) to accept the fact that America is a center-Right country for now, and that means I have to play the cards dealt. It doesn’t mean shutting up or making nice or accepting defeat. But it also does not mean trying to defeat this President by allowing my purity to play into the hands of Karl Rove.

    I see that President Obama is being smart by building on his popularity as the adult in the room, and by reminding the populace that they are better than the Right’s haters. But I am worried too. The fact is, the middle are not passionate; they will not make those calls come 2012, nor knock on doors. Every Party must walk the tightrope of keeping their base enthused while appealing to the huge middle, but each Party NEEDS their base. Pundits say, “Whatever. Where’s the Dem base gonna go? They won’t vote Repub.” How stupid! What they WILL do is sit in their asses and stay home. Obama has recently risen in the polls—good! But he still needs the Dem base, and I fear their alienation is reaching the point of no return.

    Finally, last night Keith Olbermann (whom I watch less and less) made my blood boil. He is opportunistically becoming a Firebagger, and he had one of our “favorites” on, condemning Obama for (GASP!) writing a mild Op-Ed in the WSJ. Watch it and vomit:


    • AdLib says:

      Cher, as I posted above, Dem approval for Obama is 85% which is amazing at this point in time.

      Personally, I give little weight to the loudest voices on the Left and Right. At the other place, there are a number of alleged Dems claiming purity, assailing Obama, spreading doom and gloom about Dems not supporting Obama or being turned off and not turning out.

      I will take any and all bets that turnout in 2012 by Dems will rival or surpass 2008.

      What we didn’t have in 2010 was a choice between Obama and a Repub candidate taking over the presidency.

      After 2 years of Repub witch hunts in the House, the ongoing campaigns to repeal everything Obama accomplished, the probability that a Repub President in 2012 would sign all those repeals into law and take so much away from Dems and Americans and lastly, the Repub candidate himself/herself. Imagine all of the horrible threats that will be delivered as campaign promises in the GOP primary, if they win the presidency.

      Will Dems be motivated to turn out in 2012 to avert a President Romney? President Palin? President Huckabee? I am confident that they will and that they will also be turning out to assure 4 more years of a presidency they can and do believe in.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        AdLib, yes, the president has unprecedented approval ratings across a wide swath considering real unemployment is about 19%. Unheard of! And I do not consider the far Left—the Hamshers, Greenwalds and the Kos-ites to actually comprise the base of the Democratic Party—people like you and I do, as well as many more folks to the slight Right of us.

        I am not disagreeing with you, but neither am I as confident. I am a worrier by nature, I guess. If Obama moves too far Right—for example puts SS modifications on the table, or escalates in Afghanistan, or who-knows-what, I think we could see some calving on the iceberg that is the base. Also, Palin will not win the nomination—it’ll be someone like Romney or Huckabee, both of whom will moderate their positions. (Or worse, my dark horse candidate Marco Rubio—I’ve get my eye on him!) I can see a scenario where those two guys look moderate and if unemployment continues, who knows? It’s during a tight race (which seems unlikely NOW) that you really need a big and enthusiastic base.

        What you have said that DOES assuage my worries is that I may be wrong in thinking the base—the REAL base—is feeling abandoned. And I am also comforted to be reminded how tin-eared the Repubs will be during the next two years. I always appreciate your take on things!!

    • bito says:

      Cher, I didn’t watch this last night and stopped listening to it today when AH started. I know you read the Op-Ed and the White House statement, I also ‘read’ the executive order. KO and AH are fucking wrong and crazy and I’m not sure if they read any of them. What a load of hooey! I just glanced (I have read, previously) the CAP study and it mentions doing this or something similar more than once in the study, but somehow they think this is Right Wing trap that Mr. Obama has stepped into “once again.” They have about as much respect for his intelligence as do many on the right.
      Thanks for reminding me to take my meds for my hypertension, I may have to take a couple extra!

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