System System System

by matttbastard

Before being given an up-close and personal introduction to the undercarriage of the Obama campaign bus, the ScaryAngry(Insubordinate)Pariah preached some serious gospel this past Thursday:

[Obama's] a politician, I’m a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. But they’re two different worlds. I do what I do. He does what politicians do.

And what do politicians do? They shake hands with the devil:

The same Beltway lobbyists, corporate donors and public relations firms, the same weapons manufacturers, defense contractors, nuclear power companies and Wall Street interests that give Clinton and John McCain money, give Obama money. They happen, in fact, to give Obama more. And the corporate state, which is carrying out a coup d’état in slow motion, believes it will prosper in Obama’s hands. If not, he would not be a viable candidate. We have come full circle, back to the age of the robber barons and railroad magnates of the late 19th century who selected members of corrupt state assemblies to be their pliable senators and congressmen and sent them off to Washington to do their bidding.

There have been some important investigations into Obama’s links with major corporations, including Ken Silverstein’s November 2006 article “Barack Obama Inc: The Birth of a Washington Machine” in Harper’s magazine. Newsweek has also detailed many of Obama’s major corporate contributors. Obama’s Leadership PAC includes John Gorman of Texas-based Tejas Securities, a major supporter of Senate Democrats as well as the Bush presidential campaigns. It includes Winston & Strawn, the Chicago-based law and lobbying firm. It also includes the corporate law firms Kirkland & Ellis, and Skadden, Arps, where four attorneys are fundraisers for Obama as well as donors. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Henry Crown and Co., an investment firm that has stakes in industries ranging from telecommunications to defense, are all funding the Illinois senator.

Individual contributors to Obama come from major lobbyist groups such as those of Jeffrey Peck (whose clients include MasterCard, the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and Rich Tarplin (Chevron, the American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers). Exelon, a leading nuclear plant operator, based in Illinois, is a long-time donor to the Obama campaign. Exelon executives and employees have contributed at least $227,000 to Obama’s campaigns for the United States Senate and for president. Two top Exelon officials, Frank M. Clark, executive vice president, and John W. Rogers Jr., a director, are among his largest fundraisers. Obama has also accepted more than $213,000 from individuals (and their spouses) who work for companies in the oil and gas industry, and two of Obama’s bundlers are senior oil company executives who have raised between $50,000 and $100,000. I could go on, but you get the point.

Obama, as you will see if you examine his voting record, has repeatedly rewarded those who reward him. As a senator he has promoted nuclear energy as “green.” He has been lauded by the nuclear power industry, which is determined to resume building nuclear power plants across the country. He has voted to continue to fund the Iraq war. He opposed Rep. John Murtha’s call for immediate withdrawal. He refused to join the 13 senators who voted against confirming Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. He voted in July 2005 to reauthorize the Patriot Act. He did not support an amendment that was part of a bankruptcy bill that would have capped credit card interest rates at 30 percent. He opposed a bill that would have reformed the notorious Mining Law of 1872. He did not support the single-payer health care bill HR676, sponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers. He supports the death penalty. He worked tirelessly in the Senate in 2005 to pass a class-action “reform” bill that was part of a large lobbying effort by financial firms, which make up Obama’s second-biggest single bloc of donors. The law, with the Orwellian title the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), would effectively shut down state courts as a venue to hear most class-action lawsuits. This has long been a cherished goal of large corporations as well as the Bush administration. It effectively denies redress in many of the courts where these cases have a chance of defying powerful corporate challenges. It moves these cases into corporate-friendly federal courts dominated by Republican judges. Even Hillary Clinton voted against this naked effort to allow corporations to carry out flagrant discrimination, consumer fraud and wage-and-hour violations.

Even I’m finding it hard to be comforted by the (far from baseless) assertion that an Obama (or a Clinton) administration would be “better” than one helmed by John Sidney McSame.  This is not to say that I’m coming out for Nader (gah!), nor am I encouraging people to sit out the general or waste their vote on a third party vanity candidate.  But I can’t help but lament the sad-yet-undeniable fact that the only viable options American voters have to choose from are all feeding from–and eagerly refilling–the same corporate trough.

Sweet Jesus, I hate this goddamn election.

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The Rules: Coda

by matttbastard

Well, we all knew this was coming the moment Rev. Wright dropped the state terrorism bomb and dared to say something positive about Farrakhan [insert sputtering, self-righteous indignation here].

Ben Smith:

In Winston-Salem, Obama sharply attacks Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the substance of his remarks yesterday, a far sharper disavowal than he gave in Philadelphia last month.

The core of his message: That Wright was not only offensive, but the polar opposite of Obama’s own views and politics.

“I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That’s in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That’s who I am, that’s what I believe, and that’s what this campaign has been about,” Obama said.

“I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday,” he said.

Yep, that muted rumble you heard several hours ago was the sound of 50 million anxious (white) Obama supporters collectively exhaling. (Am I the only one who is sick to fucking death of how wankerrific Bell Curve-cheerleader Andrew Sullivan constantly offers unsolicited advice on race relations to the junior Senator from Illinois? Hey, get back to us when you’ve finally decided to denounce and reject Eugenics, Sully.)

John Cole nails it:

So Jeremiah Wright has acted like a jackass the past few days, and he may have acted supremely selfishly by hurting Obama’s electoral chances. Regardless, he may be a flawed man, but that does not undo all the good he has done over the years. I don’t know of any bloggers with thirty years of service to the poor and the indigent. Get back to me when Chris Matthews feeds hungry people for three decades. And even with all his flaws, Jeremiah Wright did give us this quality bit of entertainment, and I have to admit to enjoying someone treat the media with the respect they deserve (which is to be mocked, have eyes rolled at them, and taunted as Wright did yesterday at the Press Club).

Maybe it is because I am totally and unrepentantly in the tank for Obama, but I just can’t get worked up over what his pastor said. Maybe it is because I am not religious, and I am used to religious people saying things that sound crazy. Or maybe I just refuse to spend any more time and energy getting worked up over and denouncing, distancing, and rejecting the wrong people- people who really don’t matter in the big scheme of things. If you have a memo from Jeremiah Wright to John Yoo showing how we should become a rogue nation, let me know. If you have pictures of Jeremiah Wright voting against the GI Bill, send it to me. If you have evidence of Jeremiah Wright training junior soldiers on the finer aspects of stacking and torturing naked Iraqi captives, pass them on.

Until then, I just can’t seem to get all worked up about the crazy scary black preacher that Obama has to “throw under the bus.”

Once again, say it loud and proud, brethren: it’s only worthy of great weeping and gnashing of teeth if a Scary Black Man™ says it. At this point, one has to wonder if John Sidney McCain couldn’t brazenly pull a Zirkle and still walk away with his straight-talking Maverick credentials fully intact.

Sweet Jesus, I hate this election (and all God’s children said “a-fucking-men”).

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Question time

by  boomgate

I’ve been wondering, for those that write on this blog type thingy, when you write do you write for an audience or write for yourself? Does the fact that other people might read what you are writing effect how or what you post? Does it matter if no one reads it?

For me, I have to say it’s a little from column a, a little from column b. I have posted long ranting things for my sake, thinking no one else would interested in yet end up with a number of replies. The reverse isalso  true, where I have posted things where I was sure would receive comments and nada. Sometimes I do find it really helpful getting someone else’s opinion and perspective of on things, especially if a certain issue in my life is causing stress. At the same, because I know other people are reading this I am guilty of self censorship, which I’m not sure is a good thing or not.

Anyhoo, any thoughts would be good :)

All I Really Needed to Know I Learned From Conservative Private Members Bills

by matttbastard

crime scene!

Via Fern Hill, JJ points out the following little educational tidbit contained in Bill C-537, the latest piece of stealth anti-choice legislation to be privately introduced by yet another one of those fetus-fetishizing MPs lurking in the Conservative backbench (hidden agenda wha?):

This enactment protects the right of health care practitioners and other persons to refuse, without fear of reprisal or other discriminatory coercion, to participate in medical procedures that offend a tenet of their religion, or their belief that human life is inviolable. …‘human life’ means the human organism at any stage of development, beginning at fertilization or creation.

Huh. And to think that all these years I was under the mistaken impression that life didn’t begin until 40. Well, that’s the last time I’ll ever internalize a pithy (if catchy) life lesson given by a lying so-and-so like Sophie Tucker (who quite obviously felt that the lives of anyone 39 and under held little-to-no value [insert hyperbolic Godwin violation here]).

Go read Alison, Fern, pale [edit: and Prole], the regina mom, Laura @ we move to canada, 900 ft Jesus, and my fellow genteel purveyor of bipartisan comity, Canadian Cynic, for more details on this latest incremental assault on reproductive freedom–and then commence to agitatin’.

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Popcorn Sunday: No End In Sight

by matttbastard

Chronological look at the fiasco in Iraq, especially decisions made in the spring of 2003 – and the backgrounds of those making decisions – immediately following the overthrow of Saddam: no occupation plan, an inadequate team to run the country, insufficient troops to keep order, and three edicts from the White House announced by [Bremner] when he took over: no provisional Iraqi government, de-Ba’athification, and disbanding the Iraqi armed services. The film has chapters (from History to Consequences), and the talking heads are reporters, academics, soldiers, military brass, and former Bush-administration officials, including several who were in Baghdad in 2003.

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Now That’s a Good Idea (She Said, She Said)

by matttbastard

The magnificent Littlem, bumped from comments:

For those who have proven themselves allies by support of their convictions by their actions and words, please permit me to offer my respect and gratitude.

Some suggestions:

If you have friends that work as
– university administrators
– tenured professors
– lecturers

you can let them know that the attitudes that are espoused in [It's a Jungle Out There] as perpetuated by the illustrations are NOT attitudes that should be supported and disseminated in institutions of higher learning.

If you have friends that work at
– Borders
– Amazon
– Barnes and Noble
– Powells

you can let them know that this is not a voice that should be supported — and that you have let prospective large-scale purchasers KNOW that it should not be supported — until such time as the offensive images are pulled and a new edition of the book is issued without them.

If you have friends that work in
– the mainstream press
– the offline alternative press

you can let them know that the attitudes that are espoused in the book as perpetuated by the illustrations are NOT attitudes that should be supported and disseminated in public institutions or public lectures.

There are things (when and if one is not falling down tired) that can be done in addition to bloggers who write in support of justice and equity, and powerful withdrawal — like BFP’s — to demonstrate that there are voices that should not be marginalized, dismissed or ignored, and some things that should NEVER appear, in a culture that says it supports equity and justice for all people.

PREACH!

Related: WOC PhD with a lengthy but absolutely necessary post detailing why the girlcott of Seal Press needs to continue (h/t Ravenmn); Daisy and Sudy on how we got to wherever the fuck we are now.

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