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Zizek on the Failures of Liberal Capitalism

If you have fifteen minutes, watch this interview.  The guy makes my brain dance and spin, in a good way.  Then if you really have time and want to get away from the same thinking that we are stuck in, read his book, Living in the End of Times, Slavoj Zizek.

Some of the points that I find interesting:

  • We personalize capitalism, oh, it’s just those greedy guys, when in truth, it’s inherent in the system. Don’t blame morality and look for a fix in the laws, blame the real culprit, capitalism.
  • Tolerance, “a notion of disorientation”, “don’t harass me remain at the proper distance from me… the liberal tolerant is ready to tolerate only the decaffeinated other” ” products deprived of their poisonous substance”” I don’t want tolerance, I want militarist spirit for a good cause”
  • He calls this the non political era.  We deal with issues as moral and legalistic, that there are culprits, when it’s the system, he brings up BP and the Oil spill.  BP became the criminal,
  • Then he talks about how the middle  of the political spectrum with the only real opposition is from the extreme right.  He uses Europe as an example, but I think it applies in the US as well.  What we have done with making politics mainly a cultural ethical issue, is that we have silenced, actually repressed the socio-economic dimension of politics.  In some ways, as long as laws are obeyed and people are not discriminated against, class inequality seems to be acceptable in this new realm of politics.

By the way, notice that the interview is on Al Jazeera, would our free press expose his thoughts to the people? 


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Creating Jobs, The Real Housewives Way

I do realize that we the Democrats, have fallen into a collective malaise.  Time to pick up and get out of the malaise.  Stop resisting the tax cut to the rich and super rich, embrace it.  You see, they will create jobs.  So, get ready for the jobs.  As I watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I learned a thing or two, I saw the jobs that they create.

The GOP and their populist front, the Tea Party, will be in charge.   Poised  to eliminate the Affordable Healthcare Act, extend the tax cuts to those making over $250,000 per year, erase the banking regulations, castrate the EPA, privatize public education and Social Security and create jobs I thought it was time we look at the jobs that will be created.  They say, the American people have spoken.  This imaginary monolith that changes from election to election, the American People’s Voice.  By the way, the most populous state in the union, was not speaking the same words, but what the heck, the sparsely populated hinterlands spoke.

What did they say:  extend the tax cuts to the rich and super rich.   If we extend the tax cuts to the rich, they will have certitude (this is the new catch word, bear with me) , when the rich have certitude, (something that the rest of the country does not get cause we basically pulled the safety net away) they will create jobs.

You see, the new economic model is that government must provide a certainty to business, cover their losses and clean out all the obstacles along the path.  DO YOU GET IT?  Certitude, you get when you have gobs of money, if you are one pay check away from Armageddon , you get the school of zero tolerance and tough love.  WTF, you with your Nanny state notions, wanting to be cared for by the society.  Stop it, bear it and give the rich certitude, then they will give you serfdom.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, my current favorite,  are the rich who will get the tax cuts.  Let’s see how they spend the money:

  • Jobs:  Nannies (Camille has 4) , surrogate mothers ( you think they carry their babies), trainers, house managers, party organizers ( $50,000 for 4-year-old party) , animal handlers, assistants, fancy cake makers, Barbie Jewelery makers, body guards, giggolos, friends, boyfriends, chefs, caterers, cabana boys, plastic surgeons, spa workers, bartenders, stylists, decorators.
  • Consumables:  opportunities for Gucci, Hermes, Dolce Cabana,  clothing with glitter, Mercedes, BMW  (German cars), Italian shoes, vacations.  Renting venues for events.  Champagne, pinot grigio, tequila.  Italian decorating fabrics.  See, they buy stuff, not American stuff, but stuff.  You get to work in the shops, you can be shop girls and boys.

What are you complaining about, the rich and super rich will create jobs for your college educated kids and those with twenty plus years of experience. They will buy stuff–not American stuff– but they will buy stuff.  They will not hire an engineer, but a surrogate, or a lactation consultant they will hire.

What is the government gonna do with the money?  Invest in infrastructure and create high paying jobs, but what kind of reality tv can you make with bridge building?

President Obama, please, give it up for the rich, give them the tax cuts.  You see, they had the tax cuts all these years and they created so many jobs.  We need the jobs the rich will create, this is part of our public policy:  ” We have always relied on the kindness of strangers”.  Who needs the nanny state?


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What California Voters Learned

After the  trouncing the Democrats got from the new BFFs, the Independents— a 15% swing away from Democrats–everyone is urging a move to the right for Obama.  Blaming progressives and real Democratic party issues seems to be the mood of the day.  Well, it seems the real lessons to be learned, were learned by California voters. What happened in California?  As always, it was different.

California voters, around 2003,got mad and went ballistic on their Democratic governor,   Gray Davis. They recalled the governor and elected a citizen billionaire celebrity politician, Arnold the Terminator.  Arnold made all the promises that tea baggers are making.  He  promised to blast his way through the political gridlock, cut taxes, bring jobs, wealth, defend the borders and make everyone wealthy.   Arnold’s first act was to send everyone about  $500 check,  that worked for a few months.  Yep, that money from increased auto fees, sure made the immediate gratification, don’t tax me citizen happy.  But, it did not solve anything in the state.

His inexperience and outsideriness, the exact things that made him desirable, led to six years of gridlock with no end in sight.  Having a split government with a constantly changing term limited legislature, ( all the anti- politician and government gimmicks in one pot) does not work.  This time the GOP ran two other outsiders,  Meg Whitman and Fiorina, billionaire, women outsiders, somehow thinking that women would be fooled.

California women were not fooled, they broke 56-40 Democratic compared to 48 -51% nationally.  Neither were the young people Neither were the Latinos, Blacks or Asians.  Californians chose experience:(CS Monitor).

Analysts credit an intense burst of support by longtime Democratic allies – plus the party’s edge among the many racial and ethnic subgroups here – for turning out the Democratic vote.

I realize that the Mainstream Media does not care to pay attention, but the old Democratic Machine kicked some serious ass in California.  John Burton, unions and the – Democratic alliances, did their work against the new money.

After Whitman spent $168 million trying to destroy Brown, her own words buried her.  After Fiorina, with the help of Palin and the outside Chamber and Rove secret funds blasted Boxer with television advertisements, Fiorina lost by 10% points.  The Democrats had about a 900,000 vote advantage. These were not squeakers.  Fiorina, would not conceded last night at midnight, she gave a speech and said that she was going to crunch the numbers some more.  Dear Carly, these are not corporate earning numbers, you can crunch all you want, you lost.

So, do not despair.  Do not lose sight.  Do not listen to the punditocracy telling us that the Democratic alliances fell apart.  In time, the citizen politicians, who will be starry-eyed newbies for the lobbyists, will disappoint.  They will lash-out, investigate, gridlock and pontificate and will come up with zero.

Politics is a business for politicians.  Crusty ones like Jerry and feisty ones like Boxer.  Inexperienced ideologues are of no use and ultimately just are the tools of the real powers that be, the Corporatists, who control the lobbying industry.

Crusty, as we lovingly call Jerry, is still around and still willing to do the service needed for California.  eMeg, with her managed focus group consultant driven campaign, could have bought an island for that money and made her self queen.

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The real news is miserable, who wants to constantly hear about the suffering of the Palestinians, the Congolese, the Mexicans, the Americans, the Russians, the collapsing economies.  The news outlets had to make it fun, mixed the wacky, or made the hard news wacky to keep our attention.  That is how “Infotainment” was born.  I see a need for a new word, Politainment.  Politics as or through entertainment.  The participant gets the good feeling of being political, without any of the nasty tawdry bits.

Who wants to think about the intricacies of tax policies when O’Donnell”s talk about masturbation is available.  Who wants to consider the implications of high  unemployment rates, when a silly man is busy making up stories about conspiracies and making up bad guys that are way more fun than the real bad guys.  Who wants to understand the mortgage crisis when you can go to a rally in DC and get some laughs and get your sign on a blog.  Who wants to really commit to change when all one needs is to be “inspired” to want change.

I am a spoil sport, I know it.  I was always a spoil sport.  I remember in high school at the peak of the Vietnam war, blowing my lid in Social Studies.  We had a great teacher, who made us think.  Made us ask questions, but one day, the class ganged up on him and accused him of not being fun.  Honestly, I went off on the word “fun”.  I had a meltdown.  Never liked the idea of serious things having to be fun.  For fun, I go to the Real Housewives, Top Chef, Project Runway, Curb Your Enthusiasm. I love fun and yes, I laugh all the time.  But like the Germans say, work is work and schnapps is schnapps.

The idea of making things fun, spawned the notion of Politenmaint:  Politics as fun, sport, or entertainment.  A constant clash for clash sakes, with periodic matches (the days we vote) where one side declares victory and then starts to prepare for the next match.  Meanwhile, the citizenry, blogs, talks, tweets, friends, likes, youtubes and watches as the sides talk about the past match and the next match.  The actual act of politics, getting your team to have some say at the table, is completely avoided. The polls the prognosticators, calling for tsunamis, waves, storms and the jokers of the news industry, adding more and more color commentary to the upcoming match.  To the joy of the plutocratic oligarchs, we sit in a miasma of thinking we are political.

It’s all perceptions of the issues that matter, I heard one pundit say.  The real issues do not matter, is how you manage to get the issues perceived.

As the matches come up from time to time, you would think we have two teams, two teams that have their given players.   But, now we are in an era of free agents.  The free agents, have to be lured, seduced and beguiled by fun.  So, this is where the Politenmaint comes in.  The political parties, have to be willing to create a story, a narrative and to get the free agents on their side.  The ward boss who delivered the voter, is now anathema, Facebook is tasked with that now, ” Commit to vote”.  Honestly, you are telling me to commit to vote?  Shows how much you know me, read anything I wrote or even friggin care:  “Unfriend”.

The citizen, the free agent, has only one ace, one card to play.  To be the spoiler and change teams.  No need to commit when there are better offers and better promises of entertainment.  Politics, in the age of Politentainment, is who can give, or promise, more fun.  Back to Roman times, how bloody will the gladiator fights be and how much bread are you giving out.  Damn, at least the Roman oligarchs gave out bread, now the promise of bread as a possibility is enough.  The Greeks used to have theater competitions with meat as the offering.  And you thought Aristophanes was culture, it was American Idol.

My alleged side on the left, got a big crowd out  yesterday, yay us.  It  was fun seeing Cat Stevens/Yusef, heh, compared to Ozzie, maybe the clean Muslim life has something to say for it.  But, the kicker for me was the Kidd Rock song, the lyrics went something like this:  ” I cannot stop homelessness, or the war, but at least I care”.  Really, this is politics?  This is the sentiment?  I care therefore I am.  I will not act, I will not work towards, I will just click on the “like” button on Facebook, then I am done.  Back to the fun.  That was not us, that was some group of people.  Who are they out there for?  What is their unified voice?

I cared and got entertained, Politenmaint.  I went to a rally, I got inspired, but what did I do after that?  What was the political action that I took?  Did I learn anything about people who are hurting in America?  Yes, the 40 Million plus in poverty and the working class Americans that are on the way to join the ones in poverty.  No, but I promise to be nice and care.

“Nice is a babies butt” an old politico used to tell me, politics is not nice.   It’s dull, it takes hard work, it takes loads of commitment and unity.  You have to join a real group that will serve somebody.  Serve somebody beyond your desire for “nice” and fun.  To be surprised at the Chamber of Commerce now, is really silly, back in 2008, Donahue the head of the chamber said:

“We plan to build a grass-roots business organization so strong that when it bites you in the butt, you bleed,” chamber President Tom Donohue said.

Don’t know about you, I will continue being nice to the other side while my butt is bleeding, this is why I wonder, where all the smarts of the Obama people went when they knew, this was the plan?  There is a vast right wing conspiracy and it’s not secret.

Now for some fun: 

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Memo to the Sane and Moderate

Heh, I love Jon Stewart as a satirist and comedian, but, frankly, comedians and corporate lackeys should not be telling me, or anyone else, how to think and act about politics. This will be fun for his fans, but this is just the same as the Glen Beck stunt.  Our politics is not Entertainment.  It’s hard work and commitment.

The last time anyone talked about the sane and moderate class, it was Richard Nixon, with his Silent Majority.  Did not like that then, don’t like it now.   There is nothing insane about me complaining that the President and his team dropped the message.  We had the goods, we had the story and somehow, the right wing switched the protagonists, the conflict and the message of the story.

Do not equate my lefty politics with the fringe on the right, that was legitimized by the mass media.  Do not equate my holding to a real Democratic agenda, yes the actual platform of the party, as being extreme.  When was the last time that lefty rallies got any air time?  Are any real lefties on the air?  The only real lefty show we have is Democracy Now and it’s not on any major network.  The MSNBC crowd is not lefty, it’s another corporate construct.  Blathering in the same way their right-wing counterparts act, following the 24 hour news cycle of outrage and never really dealing with the issues.

Equating the left to the mangy, nutty and obstinate right wing is another one of those false equivelances.  It’s like comparing creationism to evolution, giving equal time to nutty scientists who deny climate change, continuing to give air time to dead economic theories like trickle down and free markets being sane.  The moderate voices have let that boob head Guggenheim, demonize the teachers unions and teachers so that they can privatize and obliterate the public school system in America.

So, Jon, you just have some fun, make some clever signs, and when your crowd does not feel entertained, or “getting their enthusiasm gap closed”  and we need people to do the real work, call me for the march on Washington.  Call me when we need to save Social Security from the hands of the greedy bastards.  Call me when we need to fix the Republican Healthcare bill that was an act in moderation.  Tell me when we really gonna do a stimulus, instead of a stimulus that is 60% tax breaks then complain cause some people got some jobs.

When the clowns and entertainers take over politics, while the Chamber of Commerce and the other corporate interests dig their boot into America’s crotch, don’t tell me to be sane and moderate.  If you have no conception of the true power of each side, how can you ask for moderation?




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Right Wing Critical Thinking: A Delusion

If you have one hour, watch as Jonathan Alter, conducts a one hour interview with Dinesh D’Souza, author of a novel, oops, a so called non fiction book called The Roots of Obama’s Rage.  Alter does a great job of chopping up D’Nesh and the fantasy book he created.

The C-Span interview is here :

D’Souza’s  story telling and so called intellectual thinking in his book :

Mr. D’Souza asserts that President Obama poses an existential threat the United States, because he is heavily influenced by his father’s anti-colonialist ideology. Using several biographies of the 44th president, Mr. D’Souza claims to have evidence of a presidential agenda that includes economic policies designed to make America poorer and attempting to make the country’s status as a superpower a thing of the past. He discussed his theory about the commander-in-chief’s policy motivations with Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, author of The Promise, which provided an inside look at President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

It is a lesson in the twisted ideas and alleged critical thinking of the right wing. Already they have started pimping this theory, a theory based on invented story.

I cannot embed, but you must devote the one hour and watch how Alter takes down point by point, D’Nesh’s scholarship.

What I find amazing is the notion that somehow, being anti colonial is bad.

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Bitter Knitters Always Vote

President Barack Obama shares a laugh with, fr...

Image via Wikipedia, (while the Pelosi was fighting for healthcare)

Rahm Emannuel, during the 2008 Presidential campaign, called the women who supported Hillary “bitter knitters” .  Somehow, cause we lost, us women of a certain age, would take our knitting, sit around and be bitter.  Dearest, Rahm, take that back.

Rahm , Axelrod and Obama, lost the new flock they brought to the Democratic Party.  It seems that the inspired are not feeling the Mathews’ thrill up their legs, Tom Hayden’s  girlfriend treadmill epiphany nor Arianna’s moment of transcendence.  The thrill is gone and they don’t know where to find it.

But here I am, a lefty, real lefty, verging on socialist, who will still vote for the Democrats, give them money and continue to participate.  A few things to understand about boomer women, aka, women of a certain age:

  • We commit to things and follow through.
  • We found inspiration in our youth, on our own ,and managed to keep the flame going through many obstacles.
  • We don’t need to be reminded to vote, we always vote.
  • We will not shut up.
  • We will not be marginalized.
  • We never think the job is done and that others will take care of our interests.
  • We changed our roles as women, mothers and wives and we will change our roles as “women of a certain age“.

Another election, another night of get out the vote efforts that will be filled  with women of a certain age churning out the calls, wo-manning the stations.

I wonder were the newly inspired are, the ones that saved the Democratic party?

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