Monday, December 13, 2010

In Honor of Seventeen Inches of Snow, and the First Blizzard of the Season...

    Winter is icumen in,
    Lhude sing Goddamm,
    Raineth drop and staineth slop,
    And how the wind doth ramm!
    Sing: Goddamm.
    Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
    An ague hath my ham.
    Freezeth river, turneth liver,
    Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
    Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
    So 'gainst the winter's balm.
    Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
    Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

--"Ancient Music," Ezra Pound

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Neville Chamberlain 2.0?

Yes, I've been gone for a while. I'm back now.

The President has betrayed us. Barack Obama has gone against an explicit campaign promise, his pledge to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. He capitulated in the face of Republican opposition, gave them exactly what they wanted, i.e., putting off the decision to end the cuts until 2012 - in the middle of the presidential election - and believes that I should thank him? What's more, Pres. Obama used today's press conference as an opportunity to take the progressive base - the people who got him elected into office in the first place - to task!

As my father would have said, he's lucky I don't break my foot off in his ass.

The president said yesterday that he's a pragmatist, not an idealist:

So this notion that somehow we are willing to compromise too much reminds me of the debate that we had during health care. This is the public option debate all over again.

[...]People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position, and no victories for the American people. And we will be able to feel good about ourselves, and sanctimonious about how pure our intensions(sp) are and how tough we are. And in the meantime the American people are still seeing themselves not able to get health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, or not being able to pay their bills because their unemployment insurance ran out. That can't be the measure of how we think about our public service. That can't be the measure of what it means to be a Democrat.

This country was founded on compromise.

That may have been true in the past, but this country isn't running on compromise anymore! You can't "compromise" with people who only want to see you fail, whose only response to every proposal is "NO!" And the only thing that you should do in that case is to do what you think is right, and to hell with the consequences, and to hell with the naysayers, too. Giving up without a fight isn't doing that. "Compromising" by agreeing to exactly what your enemies want isn't a negotiation, it's a capitulation.

Hell, maybe President Obama thinks that what he did is right. Maybe he really believes that the Republicans "took hostages," and he's only trying to keep people from being hurt. And somehow, that's supposed to make his capitulation acceptable?  Bullshit! You know what you do when hostages are taken? You don't "negotiate," you send the SEALs in to take out the terrorists holding them, dammit!--not bend over and grab your ankles. Obama should have told the Repugs to take their "compromises" and stick 'em where the sun don't shine.

Fortunately some Democrats do have conjones:

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch's letter opposing Obama-GOP deal to extend Bush-era tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires has now attracted support from almost three dozen House Democrats, including committee chairs, leaders of major caucuses and key players on economic issues.

[...]The Welch letter remains the key vehicle for quantifying opposition, however.

It lays out a clear argument to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say "no deal," with members declaring:

"We oppose acceding to Republican demands to extend the Bush tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires for two reasons.
"First, it is fiscally irresponsible. Adding $700 billion to our national debt, as this proposal would do, handcuffs our ability to offer a balanced plan to achieve fiscal stability without a punishing effect on our current commitments, including Social Security and Medicare.
"Second, it is grossly unfair. This proposal will hurt, not help, the majority of Americans in the middle class and those working hard to get there. Even as Republicans seek to add $700 billion to our national debt, they oppose extending unemployment benefits to workers and resist COLA increases to seniors.
"Without a doubt, the very same people who support this addition to our debt will oppose raising the debt ceiling to pay for it.
"We support extending tax cuts in full to 98 percent of American taxpayers, as the President initially proposed. He should not back down. Nor should we."

So far, the signers include House Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers, House Committee on Veterans Affairs chair Bob Filner, Congressional Black Caucus chair Barbara Lee, Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott, a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee who has been the Democratic point-man on extension of unemployment benefits.

And some commentators have even more pointed suggestions:

The Rude Pundit:
[...]congressional Democrats should rebel. They should tell Joe Biden today that it ain't gonna happen, that Mitch McConnell can shove it up his ass, that the minority leader needs to explain to America why it's more important to give the wealthy several hundred billion dollars in tax relief rather than extend unemployment, which would cost less then five months of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In fact, Nancy Pelosi should donate some of her spine to the President and tell him to join with them.

This is an utter disaster. I don't know about this president anymore. I've supported him since one January night when I ventured out into the cold and the dark to give him my vote in the primary. I don't recognize this guy in the White House. If Obama is willing to not only turn his back on the people who elected him, but on his own promises, then maybe he should get a primary challenge in 2012.