Category: Potpourri

Please Support Booman Tribune

You’d probably never know it, but in a recent Bloomberg poll of public attitudes on candidates and issues, the single most unpopular idea for fixing the budget deficit was to cut Medicaid. People oppose doing that by a 76%-21% margin. People don’t hate the poor. And they don’t want to coddle the rich either. The most popular ideas were to reduce Social Security benefits for high-income earners (64%-32%), repeal the Bush tax cuts for households earning more then $250,000 annually (54%-40%), and to raise the amount of salary subject to Social Security tax (52%-35%). Returning income taxes to the Clinton levels (48%-42%) has the support of the people, too. When it comes to the Supercommittee, people prefer that they focus more on raising taxes on rich people (51%) than on slashing benefits for poor people (35%). So, why don’t these ideas win out?

It’s simple, really. Rich people are powerful people. Rich people have their own cable news channel (Fox News) and they have almost total control of the radio airwaves. They contribute more money to politicians. They band together and hire lobbyists. They own almost all of our newspapers. They fund think tanks and actually pay people to spread their message on the internet. Through conservative organizations and the Republican Party, the rich are pretty much able to get their way, even though many rich people are more than willing to pay their fair share. As a result, income disparity hasn’t been so stark since the Roaring 20’s.

That’s why we need to support the progressive blogosphere. It’s the one place where we can actually compete, and often beat the Republicans at their own game. Yet, as you all have seen since the election of Barack Obama, the progressive blogosphere is not united. Many progressive voices spend as much, or even more time attacking the president and the Democratic Party as they do fighting back against the corporate media and the rightward onslaught of America’s right-wing. The balance is all out of whack.

That’s why I think Booman Tribune serves a valuable niche. We’re willing to criticize the president and the Democrats, often harshly so. But always in the spirit of constructive criticism, and without ever losing sight of who the opponents are and what the alternative is. I know a lot of you value this approach because I read your comments and emails. But, if you’re honest, you’ll admit that there is a shortage of blogs that take this balanced approach to covering American politics from a progressive point of view. Some blogs are more concerned with issues than outcomes. Others are grotesquely unfair, while still others lack any detailed understanding of how our government actually works. You can’t do anything about the fact that progressives are pulling in different directions and diluting their strength, but you can make sure that the voices at this blog remain part of the conversation.

I’ll be honest. We’re hanging on by a thread here, and we’re at real risk of shutting down. So, please consider making a contribution to the Frog Pond. We’d like to keep going.

As always, I am tremendously grateful for your support.

Wanker of the Day: Walter Russell Mead

The funniest thing I’ve seen today? This:

The Tea Party WMD stockpile is currently stored in book form: Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. By Gretchen Morgenson, one of America’s best business journalists who is currently at The New York Times, and noted financial analyst Joshua Rosner, Reckless Endangerment gives the best available account of how the growing chaos in the mortgage and personal finance markets and the rampant bundling of dubious loans into exotically toxic securities plunged the world, and millions of American families, into the gravest financial crisis since World War Two. It is gripping reading as well, and its explanations are clear enough that readers without any background in finance will have no trouble following the plot. The villains? An unholy alliance between Wall Street, the Democratic establishment, community organizing groups like ACORN and La Raza, and politicians like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Cisneros. (Frank got a cushy job for a lover, Pelosi got a job and layoff protection for a son, Cisneros apparently got a license to mint money bilking Mexican-Americans of their life savings in cheesy housing developments.)

If the GOP can make this narrative mainstream, and put this picture into the heads of voters nationwide, the Democrats are toast.

Good luck making that narrative mainstream. I think it’s fair to say that the housing bubble and all the fancy financial instruments that fueled it took many years to develop and relied on a variety of weaknesses in the system, some of which were created by Bill Clinton. But, let’s remember that the bubble burst in late 2008, after nearly eight years of Republican ownership of the White House. And, during those eight years, the Republicans controlled the House for the first six and the Senate for part of 2001 and all of 2003-2006. They alone had the power to make the kinds of laws or utilize existing regulatory authority to prevent the giant fraud that was being perpetrated on the public. They didn’t do anything. They looked the other way. They let Wall Street run free.

Before we can get to any Democratic complicity in this, we first have to assign blame to the people who actually had the power to do something. Of course, Gretchen Morgenson served as Steve Forbes’s press secretary and is known for writing hyped and slanted opinion pieces posing as analysis. She also likes to steal bloggers’ work without giving attribution. We know how her bread is buttered. As for Rosner, he was prescient about the housing crisis, but he didn’t blame Barney Frank and ACORN for the impending doom. He blamed the rating agencies and the SEC for failing to do due diligence on the collateralized mortgage bonds. If he now has found new villains, it just means he has a book to sell. But, in truth, I don’t think Mr. Mead is giving a fair and balanced portrait of the book, which has won the praise of people like Bill Moyers. It sounds to me like it has a lot of villains that were conveniently left out of this review.

But, yeah, if the Republicans could convince people that they’re underwater on their mortgage and out of work because the Democrats gave free houses to blacks and Latinos, the Democratic Party would be toast.

Please Support Booman Tribune

The blogosphere must be doing something right. It must be providing something important that is lacking in the news you get on your teevee and in the newspapers that are delivered to your door. If it wasn’t, the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America would not be hiring consulting firms to smear, intimidate, and buy-off bloggers as the New York Times reported last month. In a classic demonstration of what I’m talking about, Glenn Greenwald highlights the degree to which the traditional media can be pushed around and co-opted.

One section of the leaked report focused on attacking WikiLeaks’ supporters and it featured a discussion of me. A graph purporting to be an “organizational chart” identified several other targets, including former New York Times reporter Jennifer Lee, Guardian reporter James Ball, and Manning supporter David House. The report claimed I was “critical” to WikiLeaks’ public support after its website was removed by Amazon and that “it is this level of support that needs to be disrupted”; absurdly speculated that “without the support of people like Glenn, WikiLeaks would fold”; and darkly suggested that “these are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause.”

Needless to say, it’s expensive for the Establishment to maintain their iron-control of the messages people see, what with all these pesky bloggers out there offering alternative narratives. But we need your support to exist. Artists of all types, whether writers or musicians, have a terrible time getting paid in the digital age where everything digital is free. In a deep economic downturn, with advertising drying up, even the paltry sums we used to sustain ourselves with have dried up or significantly diminished.

We need a lot of different voices, and I believe I provide a unique point of view within the progressive blogosphere. If you value what we do here at Booman Tribune please consider making a donation to the site. Without your support, I can’t continue doing what I do.

And thank you all for your generous support. We have a great bunch around here. Great comments and a generally happy community of people. To tell you the truth, I get more compliments about the quality of this community than I get about anything else.

Booman Is Missing It. Again. The Big, BIG Picture. And So Is The Left.

The BIG Picture? The real one? I got it. Right here.

Photobucket Photobucket

Booman’s latest post?

The Insanity Continues

The Republicans of Louisiana just nominated David Vitter to be their U.S. Senator for another six years. He got 88% of the vote. How’s that for family values? Cheat on your wife and have a prostitute dress you up in a diaper, and the social conservatives give you 88% of their votes.


 Also, in Louisiana’s Third District, it appears that another teabagger beat the GOP Establishment’s chosen candidate. Teabagger


So, the insanity continues with no break in sight.

I am going to say it again.

The Teabagger reaction to the ongoing failure of this government to put America on a good, solid societal and financial footing…for going on half a century, really…is not “insanity”, and using words like that to describe it is counterproductive and dangerous. Demonizing the Tea Partiers is as stupid as their own demonizing of the center and left.

Let us take General Motors as an example of the failure of the entire system.

Fact is, the last decade in which GM made the best cars in the world was the 1960s.

From then on it has been straight downhill. Now you might make the argument that the company has recovered its balance to some degree in the last several years and is once again making competitive automobiles…I wouldn’t argue too much with that idea, myself…but it has been a long time since 1970.

A long time.

Been down so long it looks like up to me, as Richard Manuel so presciently wrote.

As above, so below.

In both directions.

Read on.

Booman Sees The Woods. But He’s Not Seeing The Trees.


Booman writes in his complaint piece about the primary results Loonies Win the Night:

The Republicans continue to nominate lunatics and scoundrels, many of whom will probably become members of Congress next year because people just don’t care enough to prevent it.

The important question to ask here is this: Why does the majority of the American populace quite demonstrably “not care?”


Because they have been hypnomediaed into varying forms of trance state, Booman.

That’s why.

CNN/NBC/CBS/ABC/NY Times/Washington Post/Time Magazine/Newsweek/USA Today trance state:

Everything is going to hell in a handbasket. You are helpless to stop it. Buy more stuff instead. Watch mindless reality shows and big-time, drug-fueled sports in your spare time. “Wouldya look at the size of that home run!!!??? Wow! He’s strong!!!”

Cable entertainment trance state:

Yes, everything is going to hell in a handbasket. Relax and pitch right in. Enjoy. Nothing is real…why fret? Vampires and gangsters and transvestites and amateur rock musicians and untalented rappers and soft core sex movies and bad comics and fake spies and the Military Channel and steroid freaks bashing each others’ brains out. hell, take yer pick, folks. Enjoy. Jerk yourselves off into any number of sweet dreams. Have fun. It’s all over but the moral decay. Buh-bye!!!

And then there’s the Fox News trance state:

Knee-jerk hatred of “the other.” Kill `em all and let God (Our God, goddammit!!!) sort them out.

Read on.

40 Days Until Sestak-Specter and Halter-Lincoln

{First, a cheap plug for my blog Senate Guru.}

40 days from today – on May 18 – we will see two HUGE primaries for U.S. Senate.  Even if you’re not from either of these two states, these races impact Democrats across the country and, well, the entire country as a whole.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak will try to upset Republican-for-decades Arlen Specter.

In Arkansas, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter will try to upset corporate lackey Blanche Lincoln.

These two races are tremendously important to defining who and what the Democratic Party is and what we will be fighting for.

If you can volunteer for these candidates (or encourage friends and family in Pennsylvania and Arkansas to do so), that would be amazing.
Joe Sestak
Facebook, Twitter
Volunteer Page
Bill Halter
Facebook, Twitter
Volunteer Page

Of course, if you can help with a contribution to either or both via the Expand the Map! ActBlue page as soon as possible, it will make a big impact.

Polling shows that both Specter and Lincoln are at risk of – if not likely to – hand these Senate seats over to far-right-wing Republicans. (And, even if these two retain the seats, that’s not much better on many key issues.)

Congressman Sestak and Lieutenant Governor Halter winning these primaries are critical to keeping these seats in truly Democratic hands. Your support can help make that happen!  Please hop over to the Expand the Map! ActBlue page right away to make a contribution – an investment in the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party to pull out an old expression – and show your support.

Thanks SO much for any support you can provide. 40 Days.

U.S.-Iran United in Praise for Saddam’s Execution – World Express Fear


U.S., Iran Praise Execution of Saddam

LONDON (AP) Dec 30, 2006 — Saddam Hussein’s execution found the United States and Iran sharing rare common ground, with both countries saying the hanging of the former dictator was in the best interest of Iraq, its people and the region.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he hoped Saddam’s hanging would bring stability to Iraq, though he told Iraqi President Jalal Talabani by telephone the execution prevented the exposure of atrocities the former dictator committed during his rule, state-run television reported.

In Washington, President Bush said Saddam received “the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.”

  • Worldwide reaction to Saddam’s execution
  • Executioner taunts Saddam: “Moqtada, Moqtada …”