Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Pundits Crown Big Bird Killer the Winner

Created By John Mavroudis

I am trying to understand why the debate about the debate is starting to bother my core.    Between the hysterics of the likes of Chris Mathews and Ed Schultz, what we have here is a crisis among the pundit class.  They loved how Romney was an in charge powerful white guy.  They loved it.  Did it matter that he was brash and a liar?  Only on a secondary level.   They wanted the guy who is America’s idea of a winner: Paternalistic Authoritarian Oaf.    They want the President become a bully, or at least to fight like a bully.

They wanted  from Obama the appearance, the veneer of domination and power.  Well guys, you will not get that from Obama.   Since pundits live in the world of theatrics, brashness, zingers, platitudes and pseudo sports environment of winning, they want to impose this culture on all of us.   Obama, has an inner core that you still don’t get.   It is not the pushy white guy core.  The pushy white guy, the Romneys, of this world got us to this mess.   Mr. Mathews, I am glad the President does not watch cable news, someone has to step away from the culture of brash and crass.

As someone who worked as a community organizer and in the public sector, I remember countless encounters with men from the public finance sector, investment bankers and such, who would railroad local governments with slick presentations promising everything and offering little substance.  When I would break down their faux complexity, they would always appear frazzled and angry.  Obama was not professorial, he spoke in a simple and clear language.  Romney threw a word salad at us that made no sense.  Obama had more time, but apparently Romney used over 700 more words than Obama.

Everything about Romney’s swift talking, glib gibberish means  to overpower and not inform the listener .   Because, if the listener understood what they were saying, of course they would not buy their gizmo, idea or gadget.    Talking fast of furious, shock and awe, with little desire to inform of the complexity and the risks.   It seems that we are still impressed with such men and we want to give these lazy peddlers the reigns to lead us.  God help us.

So, the pundits declared Obama a loser, based on one debates performance with a verified liar and shape shifter.  They crowned the liar and shape shifter as the winner.  It seems that these are the values that we want to honor and reward.

Obama I think failed in two ways.  Americans do not understand when someone does not look at them.  They think it’s fear, cowardice and shame.  They want a stare down.  Give it to them.  Second, no Mr. President, your position in anything is not like the Romney positions, they are in any way similar and they should not be particularly on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the environment, women’s rights, healthcare, gay rights, immigrant rights, foreign policy, education and the environment.  Do not give them an opening for discussion, they see it as capitulation.  This is the politics as a horse race class, winners and losers.

The responsibility of the commentators after the debate was to judge the performance, but also the content.  In the end, Romney changed every single position.  Bullied the elder and respected journalist, Lehrer.  Violated the terms and conditions of the debate structure and it seems that was a good thing.   This is what we want, people who want to win at any cost.

Romney displayed everything that I find repulsive about white male behavior in business, government and many other domains.  It starts with a lazy core, it does not matter if you have the skills, credentials, you just have to appear that you have the makings of whatever you are trying to do.   Charles Pierce calls it Political Eloquence, I call it the white guy swagger.

In the end, pundit class  declared the bullying liar the winner.    They even make fun of Obama’s attempt to be polite to the elder Lehrer.  Yes, the President was right, he made a human gesture to Lehrer.  Lehrer’s ability to control the domineering bully was lacking, but it was not Lehrer who should be faulted, it was the rude liar, Romney.   This after all the hype against bullying, we have crowned the supreme bully a winner.  They had a chance to call out Romney for his core failings, they missed it.  How did they miss it?  Obama did not buy into their culture of  bullying passing for a virtue.

( Meme created by Zenpop)


Comments Off on Pundits Crown Big Bird Killer the Winner

Filed under American Politics, Uncategorized

The Loneliness of An American Lefty

As an American citizen with left leaning politics I am trapped in a small box.  I have no real political choices.  I have no chance.  Between the American Taliban and the pragmatists, we have shut down the voice of a legitimate American left. Yes, we still have Bernie Sanders, but where are the other voices?  Buried down in the layers of the noise machine.  The 200 Tea Partyers get first page New York Times coverage and the thousands who fight to protect the safety net, get little notice.

  • I can vote for a Neo-Liberal free market centrist, Barack Obama;
  • Not vote; or
  • Vote for a marginal third party, or an independent candidate who emerges.

In truth, these are not choices.   In a Parliamentary system, I would be a member of a party that mirrored my political leanings.  I would vote along my party line and the winner, would have to probably enter a coalition with my party, the lefty party of my choice.  In the American political system, I am held captive.  I could choose a Green Party, or a Socialist Party  in German,  Greece, Italy, or France.  Cripes, Egypt will have more political parties in this election round.  In the end, yes the muddy middle wins and Neo-libearal (corporatist) economics prevail.

Vote for the Democratic candidate, or the American Taliban will be elected.  Your rights, actually your daughter’s rights at this time in life, the social safety net, the environmental policies, the human rights, in sum all your core values will be abolished by the fanatics.  So, unless I capitulate to the corporatist Neo Liberal economic policies and centrist social policies, of the incumbent, I will have to shoulder the responsibility  for the catastrophe. People still blame the Nader voters in 2000 for the Gore loss.  How democratic of you.

The political blackmail barrage will start:

  • It’s about the supreme court.
  • Save Social Security.
  • The last drips and drabs of environmental policy.

In truth, I will get a mediocre Supreme Court, Obama will most likely overhaul Social Security to satisfy the big donors that will help him raise the 1 Billion, all the money will be spent to woo the “Independent” voters, the great bipolar middle, the right will get a chunk of Congress, and the left, will still be on the sidelines diddling with lofty notions of “reason”, “pragmatism”,  “the excellent is the enemy of the good”, drone, drone and drone.

The left, by throwing its early support behind Obama, gave him a tremendous win.  In the process, it failed to create a left base, or voice.  In that respect, the right-wing, from the margins, was somehow better at patching together a voice via the Tea Party.  We can laugh all we want, but they got their distorted populist message out and ours, the real populist message, languished on the inter webs in meek voices.

Representative Democracies need multiple viable political parties.  This two-party system is killing our democracy.  It is merging all the voices into the status quo.  Without parties that offer real political agendas, we get this mish-mash of delirium and confusion.  Meanwhile, the guys who fund all the candidates, the corporatist, get all the access.

Workers have power via unions.  Voters have power via parties, voter blocks.  We, of the American left, were put in the dunce corner and told to be good citizens.  Our pragmatism and reason limits us to the role of saps.

Let me introduce myself:  I am Stella, an American lefty.  I could never be a card carrying lefty.  I always have to apologize and compromise.  Just once, let me vote my politics.


Filed under American Politics

America 2011: How To Bludgeon Teachers and Unions

OECD members Accession candidate countries Enh...

Image via Wikipedia

“America has the worst educational system and it’s the fault of the union ” they keep repeating and we nod.  Is this true?  Or is  this another one of the lies? Like  Social Security is bankrupt lie,   tax cuts create jobs,  and many other lies, that our politicians and pundits engage in to confuse us?  All the anecdotal mythology about American education, how does it stand? Who is seriously looking at how we are educating our children, and who is seriously engaged in an agenda to eliminate Free Universal Public Education with a free bonus of bashing a few unions?

Right wing America is on a full frontal attack and has been to dismantle free universal education.  Unfortunately, many on the left, Democrats and Progressives join in the attack against public education without thinking:  The praise of Charter Schools, with little or no evidence, the privatization of the public schools movement are just some of the fads.  The fads to destroy what made America achieve a highly educated middle class, our Universal Free Public Education.   (Keep repeating those words, cause they made you who you are today).

The story is that it’s failing and we have to cut it off because it’s expensive and we cannot afford the expensive teachers.  No one ever really tells us how it’s failing, we just all join in on the “public schools bad” and “private schools good”,  “tenure is bad”, “unions are bad”, “teachers are lazy”.  Never mind that the only way we can have a true democracy and a balanced society is by preserving the most egalitarian institution we have:  Universal and Free Public Education.

Take the mythology around how badly American students do in comparison of other nations.  I am not an educator nor do I have any credentials in looking at standardized testing.  This is only one test that is conducted on an International level.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):  Basically, this is a fifty year old international organization that  promotes policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.  The basic idea is that if you compare and study economic and social indicators you can see where you public policies fall short and how you are doing in the world, or at least among the member nations.  OECD created PISA, The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an internationally standardised assessment that was jointly developed by participating economies and administered to15-year-olds in schools.  The test is taken every three years, from 2000, we have had four tests for comparison.

So, from all we hear in the media, America is on a steady decline.  An abysmal decline in standards seems to be the mythology that is spread to justify the bashing of teachers and teacher unions.  But, Bob Somerby has been following this issue in his columns and how this information is twisted .  It is twisted to create what he calls the bogus claims about education, that feed the march to obliterating Universal Free Public Education.

I finally went and read the PISA results for America, expecting some train wreck.  But, in fact the numbers are not on this purported steady decline here are just a couple of numbers:

  • U.S. 15-year-olds had an average score of 500 on the combined reading literacy scale, not measurably different from the OECD average score of 493. Among the 33 other OECD countries, 6 countries had higher average scores than the United States, 13 had lower average scores, and 14 had average scores not measurably different from the U.S. average. Among the 64 other OECD countries, non-OECD countries, and other education systems, 9 had higher average scores than the United States, 39 had lower average scores, and 16 had average scores not measurably different from the U.S. average.
  • On the reflect and evaluate reading literacy subscale, U.S. 15-year-olds had a higher average score than the OECD average. The U.S. average was lower than that of 5 OECD countries and higher than that of 23 OECD countries; it was lower than that of 8 countries and other education systems and higher than that of 51 countries and other education systems overall. On the other two subscales—access and retrieve and integrate and interpret—the U.S. average was not measurably different from the OECD average.
  • Students in public schools in which half or more of students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (50 to 74.9 percent and 75 percent or more) scored, on average, below the overall OECD and U.S. average scores (table6). Students in schools in which less than 25 percent of students were FRPL-eligible (10 to 24.9 percent and less than 10 percent) scored, on average, above the overall OECD and U.S. average scores. The average scores of students in schools in which 25 to 49.9 percent were FRPL-eligible were above the overall OECD average but not measurably different from the U.S. average.

What this cluster of data tells us, that if you really see America as being two Americas, the rich mostly white nation and the “other America” poor America, the real problem is that we are not educating our poor children.  Somehow, our teachers and the unions are doing a fine job for the higher income kids, but in poorer areas not so good.  Maybe, economic inequality is the issue for driving the educational standards down?  A Harvard educational study, concluded that schools districts with Union Teachers, perform significantly better:

“… a statistically significant and positive relationship between State teacher unionization rates and State standardized test scores after controlling for potential confounding factors.” In explaining the results, the authors state that unionized schools are more likely to have a lower student-teacher ratio, higher per -capita expenditures, higher teacher salaries, better working conditions, better teacher training, and greater worker autonomy.

I am neither a journalist, nor educational researcher.  But, when I hear a drumbeat, a constant thumping and bludgeoning of teachers and teacher unions, I get suspicious.  Our Public Education system has many problems, it has stagnated and it is pulled by every political whim and fancy.  So, are we serious about educational reform?  Or are we on a path of dismantling Universal Free Public Education?  Maybe our numbers would be higher if we just compared rich America with Finland of the same socio-economic standard, wait, they are higher.


Filed under American Politics

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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?

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized