This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Soundless and the Fury by Donkeytale

Are we due another Huey Long?

The Soundless and the Fury
by donkeytale

Much is being made post-midterms of the timidity with which Obama has governed. I agree wholeheartedly. He has shown no balls in governance and has gotten his just reward. There is an art to leading a recalcitrant Democratic congressional coalition and a solidified Republican opposition and Obama must now learn how to manipulate with carrots and sticks. For too long, he has been all carrots all the time.

There is no appeasing the radical right wingers who oppose him. And there are no longer many moderate right wingers, for those few remaining were pushed to the ledge by the tea parties and forced to jump or join in the fascist crazy making in order to retain power.

Obama might as well have allowed the KKK to string him up and handed them a carving knife pointed at his midsection since he has not been inclined to stand up on principle, not once, not even as a nakedly political tactic, to force a showdown with clearly drawn contrast. No, everything has been made as expediently grey as his ashen face on election night.

Obama might as well face facts. He can fight back politically like Clinton or he can go quietly into that darkie night like Jimmy Crater.

There is no longer even a third option, and anyway it will require him to put his huevos on the line, repeatedly, perhaps like only LBJ did before him in recent memory. Don't hold your breath. LBJ was a skilled knife fighter. He knew that winning sometimes required the willingness to die, that the other side must be cut up first, must see their own mortality staining the carpet bright red, before you can begin to reason with them.

Obama's timidity is a mirror of progressive timidity. Let me say it again. Bloggers demanding Obama to do more, to reach farther than we are willing ourselves to risk our own comfortably seated positions are wasting our time and our keystrokes.

This is a representative democracy, whether you endorse the results or not. The elected politicians don't "own" anything that we haven't bought and paid for ourselves. Even if you vote third party every single year you still own the election result just as much as anyone who votes a party line ticket or one who doesn't vote at all.

Pwoggies are not bold. Therefore, our leaders are not bold. You may say, well, I am not a pwoggie, I'm a "leftist" "populist". Ha! You are a "poppycockist". You are not a leftist nor are you a populist, except anonymously on a blog read only by people who already agree with you. A tightening, shrinking circle of agreement, I might add.

Call yourself whatever makes you feel better about that which you "own" no matter how you twist and squirm in denial, no matter how much outraged contortion you achieve in front of your monitor against that corporation and against that banker down the street who own your soul.

As long as that corporation and that bank still stand their ground, we are owned.


the_last_name_left said...

DT: Are we due another Huey Long?

What does that mean? Huey Long is a parochial reference, surely?

DT: I agree wholeheartedly. He has shown no balls in governance and has gotten his just reward.

Well, I don't know about 'just'.

DT: he has not been inclined to stand up on principle, not once, not even as a nakedly political tactic, to force a showdown with clearly drawn contrast.

That's my view albeit from a considerable distance.*

I think it's explained by his wanting a more conciliatory and bipartisan approach than the Bush years - which was certainly a popular and reasonable position. Hell, it's a very commendable position! Some people were suggesting he deploy presidential decrees for health-reform, for example. Diktats are fine for Democrats and healthcare but not for Republicans and....911! Seriously?

In that sense I think the search for coalition and co-operation was an understandable one. The Bush years were bad for democratic oversight, suggesting an out-of-control executive and the political bending of the judiciary and legislature to its will. Much of the opposition to Bushco came from this sort of source yet it was hardly likely to start supporting any real tilt left. Hell, even the limited reforms Obama attempted have led him to being cast as a communist! And a Nazi!

So to argue he should have been more left and more principled is.....more left and principled.....but would it really have led Obama and the Democrats into a more promising electoral landscape? I find it hard to believe.

So, I think in consequence I agree with what I take your wider point to be - that 'the left' needs to get behind Obama. And that Obama needs to give them (us?) something more to support.

I suspect he might be more inclined to do it, though I can easily imagine him not. Regardless, the left/progressives need to better support limited reform from Obama over regression under Palin and the RonPaul dynasty (FFS!) : this is a results business - not a philosophical inquiry of ethics.

I didn't like this line, neat as it is -

Obama might as well face facts. He can fight back politically like Clinton or he can go quietly into that darkie night like Jimmy Crater.

Dylan Thomas, a local hero btw. His boathouse is just a few miles from here. But, I find that line offensive - dark/darkie. Clever, but.....hmmm.

Anyway - what's your idea about how Obama will lead? Or will he not?

What should lefties & progressives do? What's the correct position?

socrates said...

The Huey Long reference was mine. There are some fake lefties over at a place called pffugee camp who think the world of Huey Long, who was actually a fascist. It's not a parochial reference at all. The guy was a historical figure and very well-known. I'll edit in donkeytale's name and the title after the photo. Sorry for any confusion. For posts written by donkeytale and Bob, I've been adding in images to spruce them up.

I'm not going to answer for donkeytale. He's not my sock puppet and neither are you. Obama has not done a good job.

He messed up with Afghanistan. He's increased the spy factory crap. There are no jobs to be found. You may be used to garbage economies in Europe, but we're not.

Your defense of Obama is admirable. But I think it's like a fish out of water. Politics for too long has been seen like a horserace or other sporting events. People are justifiably fed up. Most people aren't too bright. They are now voting for "whoever else is not the establishment."

That happened in Massachusetts when Teddy Kennedy's seat came up for special election. It wasn't Brown getting elected. It was a get that stinking, establishment Coakley broad the hell out of here.

I'll try to let donleytale know you're looking for him. I don't know what you mean by the Dylan Thomas reference. I too wasn't impressed with his using the phrase darkie.

I did like his twisting Carter into Crater. Part of the donkeytale schtick is centered around something he calls misspellicism. I hope I just spelled that correctly.

I think what we needed when the Democrats returned to the Oval Office was a truth and reconcilliation committee. Where I disagree with you TLNL is at how admirable Obama has been reaching out to the right, corporations, and the Military Industrial Complex.

Jimmy Carter was a good man. But if things go wrong, too wrong, while one is the president, they will probably not be reelected.

We Americans don't like the, "I don't make the rules, I only work here" bullshite that prevents corrupt high officials from ever being brought to justice. That's how Obama looks to real progressives. He shit on his base. The right was never going to like him no matter what.

War crimes were never punished. The war industry was promoted. Jobs continued to disappear.

Bill Clinton got it done, for how a liberal can maintain power. Make sure there is relative peace and low unemployment, and that person will get the extra term.

Obama's got a lot of work to do, or there could be another Huey Long. Unfortunately the next one could have his finger on the nuclear button. Just remember, Ronald Reagan was president. GW Bush, one of the most stupid creeps ever won two terms. America stinks. We finally got the big cheese seat, and now because of Obama's milquetoast ways, the Republicans are back in business. This has been like losing a 5-0 lead in soccer. You call it football.

the_last_name_left said...

All the things you mention are arguments worth having.

Meanwhile..... really-existing-America is talking about repealing Obama's healthcare legislation. And the Tea-Party are getting elected.

George Bush as President is less than 2 years ago.

Sure, be unhappy and criticise - but recognise the real picture? If Obama isn't left-enough it nevertheless remains that without an alternative the left will have failed to provide an alternative! The idea that America would really support a more leftwing Obama is misplaced imo. The left might support him more but I don't think the left is big enough. That's the problem?

I would rather Obama had veered leftwards but I am unconvinced he'd have acquired more support. And who could ever get the support to even get elected if they were going to veer left? I don't think it's realistic to expect it.

Any move leftwards is going to have to come from below, from the masses. And where is it? I don't see it. It's there, of course, but it isn't of substance to drive a whole national politic. No way! The teaparty are getting elected for chrissakes! That's worse than back to square one. You know to get elected you have to get more votes than anyone else? And the teaparty get elected because Obama isn't leftwing enough? Yes, it's an argument and I can see the rationale to it - but seriously? This (that) is America. And the Teaparty didn't appear out of nowhere? Larry and Alex Jones have been out there a good while, and so have the Birchers, the McCarthyites and the fascists and the small-town redneck working class whom need to be won over and given a real alternative. Sure.

Who is going to give it to them? How will they ever get elected? How will they ever get anything done? America is 'checks and balances'? Obama's failure is proof of America's success.

Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his sonorous voice with a subtle Welsh lilt became almost as famous as his works. His best-known works include the "play for voices" Under Milk Wood and the celebrated villanelle for his dying father, "Do not go gentle into that good night". Appreciative critics have also noted the superb craftsmanship and compression of poems such as "In my Craft or Sullen Art"[3] and the rhapsodic lyricism of "Fern Hill'".

---he also penned "starless and bible black" about Welsh night.


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Here's it read - with Richard Burton doing some good Welsh accents. My accent is much like this.

socrates said...

So that's what you sound like? I thought it'd be more like this. Just kidding.

You definitely make good points. Franklin Roosevelt swung America left for four terms. Maybe it takes hitting rock bottom for that to happen.

Yeah, a lot of us sound like broken records. First the royal we were upset Bush didn't get impeached. Then we were upset with Obama not initiating an investigation into war crimes.

Politically, it all boils down to jobs. When they are this hard to find, masses of people get very nervous.

Now here's where Obama and the remaining Democrats can make lemonade out of lemons.

They need to push for legislation which will tax the rich while giving cuts to the middle class and poor. Bills focused on job creation should be formed. Then if the Republicans create a gridlock, the Democrats will have a great chance to not only win back their losses the next election cycle but significantly add new numbers beyond that.

But like donkeytale says, the Democrats need to toughen up and start playing hardball. Triangulation has not worked. The only chance the Democratic Party and more specifically Obama have to stop the bleeding is to veer left. Maybe you're correct they didn't have the political capital to do so the last couple years. Now they no longer have the option to be wishy-washy. They need to be proactive and set the pace. It needs to be progressive and generate positive results. If the Republicans block those attempts, there will be a backlash against them the next elections.

If the Democrats continue with their Republican-lite strategy, they are bound to fail. You are correct the real left has next to no power. That's the real problem. If people see little difference between the two major parties, they will simply vote against the incumbents. We saw that happen with the last elections.

narciso said...

Well you elected a time serving Cook County hack, what did you expect was going to happen, funded by the big banks, Goldman on, BP, because they shared the commonality of the carbon trading scam. Most of those positions you want him to adopt are unpopular at this time, he is still trying to 'fundamentally transform' this country, don't worry about that

socrates said...

Time serving? Doesn't that mean someone went to prison? I never heard of Obama being an ex-felon.

Then you bring in global warming with an apparent attitude, as if anyone could care less about debating it that way.

From what I've heard of, trading carbons is a cop out. It's just pushing the pollution around, like just another loophole.

I really don't see Obama as trying to transform the country. He's still been into promoting war and spying factories.

I admit I'm not so up-to-date on political issues as current events. Donkeytale was mentioning Obama and tax cuts.

Now there's a good move he can do. Go for taxing the rich and giving regular people tax cuts. Normal folk will spend their money and grow the economy. Rich tend to hoard. That trickle down theory is a lot of rubbish.

Historically, this is the bottom line. Clinton got the finances under control. Because of him, interest rates dropped.

The only reason they dropped under GW Bush was because he ruined the economy. He went with that Republican deficit spending strategy which balloons the national debt. High unemployment means lower interest rates. Lower interest rates under Clinton equals good. Lower interest rates under GW equals bad. GW Bush will go down as one of the worst Presidents in US History, right up there with Herbert Hoover.

socrates said...

Could care less, couldn't care less, sometimes it's tough to say what one means. Nothing personal, but I couldn't care less about debating man-made global warming. The Carbon trade shite and geoengineering, that's another matter. Obama hired a science advisor who actually thinks geoengineering should be talked about. I'm not saying the guy is all for it, but I know of plenty of real scientists who don't want us going anywhere near that.

narciso said...

No, he didn't he cooked the books under Franklin Raines who went on to do the same at Fannie Mae, The Fed under Greenspan, hiked rates twice in 1999-2000, and 2004-2006, the first popped the tech bubble, the last popped the subprime bubble

the_last_name_left said...

Carbon trading does have things going for it. We live in market economies and (accepting that) carbon trading seems a pretty good way of addressing the problem (accepting a problem too, of course).

It's a way of forcing industry and commerce to stop externalising the costs of pollution.

I like the idea of having a quota per person - strikes me as very egalitarian. The trading thing seems to rely on this, though it doesn't go so far as to provide for individual quotas - yet.

If cost of carbon use is forced upon the economically active then they will work to reduce those costs - rather than as now, be able to completely ignore them.

One could more simply raise corporation taxes, but that just leads to higher prices for consumers. Corps can always pass costs on to their customers, if customers can stand it (more likely if all competitors are subject to similar tax regime)

But costing carbon specifically targets the issue - and as it will appear as a distinct item in company accounts as a cost, efforts will be made to reduce it so as to maximise profit.

It's a very progressive liberal idea. [liberal in economic terms ie capitalist]

OK - it offends socialist sensibilities - but largely because it's a basically (economically) liberal idea and suffers from all the problems liberalism does.

However, accepting the world is liberal/capitalist and not socialist, it strikes me as a pretty good idea.

It implies an international response too - those without a regime of carbon-taxing and trading will be at a competitive advantage - lower costs.

IT does however imply a likely advantage for developed nations who can more easily address reductions in carbon use through investment. But....those matters can be addressed in some international forum : the rules are man-made and can be made as we decide. The usual?

On the main point about Obama and the Midterms - Chomsky has a good article on it at ZNet.

He again raises the spectre of fascism - apparently, as I do, he seems to see warnings of this in the TeaParty thing. He mentions the 30s and the retreat from reason - the failing of the left to provide an alternative - but he warns against dismissing TeaParty concerns which, again rightly in my view, he sees as legitimate if misplaced and malformed. In his latests book he apparently suggests the teaparty and its concerns shows reason for optimism amongst the left. I am not sure I agree with that. Maybe. There were good reasons for left optimism in Germany before murder of Luxemburg etc, and we all know how that ended. Are Americans (and teaparty peeps especially) really so much more lefty than Germany in the 20s? There's much evidence against it, such as long German culture of leftism which USA even now lacks.

I mean, is it that the left has no alternative to offer such people, and has thus failed. OR is it that these people really aren't interested in anything the left has to offer? Sure, they won't get much of it through their TVs I guess, and they're used to seeing the left characterised as The Dems versus the Repbs characterised as 'the right'. People are correct to see that as little choice at it's basically the left and right of liberalism (capitalism).

But if they so strongly seem to reject the leftwing of the capitalist party, are they really ready for a more leftwing alternative? It isn't as if it doesn't already exist. It does exist - it just isn't especially popular. Karl Marx and co aren't secrets. Sure, they're's not a secret it exists.

I'll get the link if you can't find it.

narciso said...

Chomsky, who ignored accounts of year zero in Cambodia, who analogized Reagan to Hitler in one
of his books

socrates said...

Please provide links when making such claims.

socrates said...

I was asking Narciso for links. Thanks everyone for your posts.

donkeytale said...


The use of "darkie" was meant to be ironic, but surely came off wrong.

My feeling about Obama is that I was expecting an African American President. To date, he has been weak, conciliatory and submissive even. A House Negro as opposed to a Field Negro. He has not done the African American tradition of politics proud.

I'm not saying he needs to go Superfly on us, but I would like him to at least to "say it loud" once in a while....

It is a fine line he walks down the center...still, after two years of pretty much being abused by both right and left, I'd like for him to exhibit SOME attitude and play SOME country hardball, even if his stance remains unpopular. Taxes are the perfect opportunity.

DONT COMPROMISE ON TAX INCREASES. In fact, let the tax cuts expire if you can't force through the plan to increase them on everybody making more than $250K. And whats so magical about $250K?

Raise them on everybody making more than $150K. In your face suckas!


I believe the congress being purged of the Blue Dogs (even as it moves farther to the right) is an opportunity for Obama to stand up and show some backbone.

Its past time.

Its not so much about accomplishments as it is changing the zeitgeist in a different direction. True, he is doing the best he can under the circumstances and getting zero credit from either side, both of whom are as cynical and corrupt as they claim him and each other to be, of course.

But Obama at this stage needs to lead. One-sided compromising and playing to a draw all the time is not leading.

Alls I'm saying.

donkeytale said...

Dylan Thomas book of short stories had a big impact on me as a yute:

"Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog."


RIP, Mr. Thomas

donkeytale said...

Reagan certainly turned this country irrevocably over to the war making upper middle classes, just as Hitler did in more tumultuous times. And he used deceit, scapegoating and false economc principles which have since been expanded by hie heirs into the financial and fiscal mess we are dying under today.

While the comparison of course is not strictly 1 for 1 btwn Ronnie and Adolf, there is ample evidence of Reagan's fascism, albeit of a much friendlier persuasion.

A new and improved model for the milder postwar age.

And I am not a huge Chomskyite by any stretch. Find him to be rather dull and conventionally ordinary in his leftist social commentary.

socrates said...

We have a bad past with racism, but I truly believe the vast majority of folks love African-Americans.

Precisely, Donk. If Obama is going to be abused by everyone but his inner circle, he might as well shore up the progressive base and work for results that will make all the other dumbasses believe in him, like they did for but, but, but Clinton.

The memory of GW Bush is still fresh in everyone's mind. I agree Obama needs to go on the offensive.

$!50,000 sounds like a good line in the sand for keeping tax cuts. I have another idea. Don't tax anything from the first let's say forty grand. So you have the best of both worlds. You have capitalism to strive to make forty thousand, not a bad sum. Then you bring in socialism for the rest, a redistribution of wealth. Only the most selfish, greedy pigs will live by the motto enough is never enough. They need to be stifled.

Perhaps a fund could be created and then grants could be given to moral business people who are into creating good jobs at good wages for the greater good. Maybe give them deductions in relation to how well they create jobs for regular guys and gals.

America has always had an economy based on volume, volume, volume. When human labour is treated as the key ingredient to be nourished, there's your peace.

Obama reminds me of coaches who have lousy time management. They are down a good amount of points, but there is no sense of urgency.

He has a full year to get results. If he doesn't, maybe a different Democrat should get the nomination.

Ted Kennedy would have gotten it in 1980 if not for Chappaquidick.

How Al Gore blew 2000 and then Kerry in 2004 is mind blowing. It still doesn't make any sense.

Obama and the Democrats have to seize history, go FDR on us. It's very scary how few jobs there are. Unfortunately, people will forget that it was the Republicans who screwed us over. I think 2012 hinges on jobs. It won't be about gasoline prices, the Dow Jones, war and spy factories, et al. The 2012 election will hinge on whether Americans in general have hope for the future. Job growth is Obama's homework.

socrates said...

Donkeytale, in the posting box, you can check off on "Email follow-up comments to" That will let you know if new comments come in on old threads.

socrates said...

I think you understand that needs to be done for each thread you want to keep track of any new posts.

donkeytale said...

TLNL---Your comment top of the thread very, very well stated. There needs to be symbiosis between the left and Obama. Rejecting him en toto in favour of yet another meaningless protest candidate is more of the same self defeating.

I would like to see the left coalesce around just a few issues.

---"taking back the country" for the formerly middle class by increasing taxes on the wealthy, including social security and Medicare taxes.

---reforming the US criminal justice system and greatly reducing the prison population.

---ending the professional army by reinstating the military draft.

---ending all US overseas military engagements, including NATO, SEATO, and the occupation of Japan and Korea. As an alternative, make the Europeans and the Asians pay us for providing their defense.

---remonstrating the US Govt to address the trade imbalance with China.

This list is open for debate and modification but thats how I see it.

The cat food commission has issued some recommendations that leftists will like and others that rightists will like. Good place alsoo to begin the debate.

socrates said...

At ESPN in the comment section for this story, posters took Jackie MacMullan to task for describing Dwyane Wade as "hyped up on grape koolaid."

Maybe I'm losing my eyesight, but I can't find the referenced quote, as if it's been removed.

I never knew about grape koolaid being similar to fried chicken and watermelon in this respect, until I heard a schtick put on by Dave Chapelle.

Back in the day I remember Rick Barry was doing a telecast with Bill Russell. They were looking at a picture of Bill from his college days or when he was on the Olympic team. Barry made a crack about a watermelon smile. A definite no-no.

I doubt MacMullan is racist. I mean we all are to a degree. I don't think she realised what grape koolaid means as a stereotype.

I don't think donkeytale's use of the term darkie was anything like her situation or Barry's. It was more like a Lenny Bruce or Chris Rock moment. Plus, donkeytale has explained what he meant, like with how blogger Field Negro speaks of field negro versus house negro.

I don't think ESPN should have deleted the comment, or they should have had Jackie write in an apology with retracting the statement.

It's cool that the comments remain. Maybe this is the best result. No cover up but not turning a diarrhea of the mouth sentence into a big brouhaha like with what happened with Rick Barry or more recently Don Imus.

socrates said...

I made a mtspellicism. It's Chappelle. Here's a clip from the bit he does on grape drink.

donkeytale said...

The purple koolaid I believe is a reference to codeine cough syrup which is currently the drug of choice in certain 'hoods.

socrates said...

The other day I went searching for where the heck the phrase "nothing to see here, move along" originated.

I didn't find anything.

Purple kool-aid is showing up for Jim Jones. That has to be what MacMullan was thinking.

The codeine reference is a new one to me, but I see you're correct.

[/that is all] [/fricken sassafrassa]

socrates said...

I figured out what got scrubbed through google.

The Original Wording: Remember that Miami Heat debacle in Boston, when Dwyane Wade zipped around like a nervous rookie hyped up on grape Kool-Aid...

The Revised: Remember that Miami Heat debacle in Boston, when Dwyane Wade zipped around like a nervous, overzealous rookie...

socrates said...

Obama on taxes

Obama reiterated that his top priority is ensuring that "we make the middle-class tax cuts permanent -- that we give certainty to the 98 percent of Americans who are affected by those tax breaks. I don't want to see their income taxes spike up, not only because they need relief after having gone through a horrendous recession, but also because it would be bad for the economy."

Obama also wants the wealthiest to pay more. That's exceptional politics. If the Restinklicans hold their ground for maintaining tax cuts for the rich, culpability for a continued recession will be theirs.

Phantom said...

Grape juice=Puple drank, sizzurp, lean, syrup, drank, purple jelly, or Texas tea.


socrates said...

It looks dangerous from the wiki link provided in Phantom's username. Ironically, it appears the dude who popularised its use, DJ Screw, died of an overdose.