Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why Nancy Pelosi Is The Leader of The Real Democrats [Anthony McCarthy]

There are many instances you could point to as examples of Barack Obama's political ineptitude. His holding onto the false prospects of Republican cooperation through two years and more of them proving, over and again, that they will not cooperate is among the most bizarre. Even as he was giving speech after speech, far, far too late to save Democratic control of the House, he was reciting the rote formula of HIM seeking bi-partisan cooperation. Just whydid he and his idiotic handlers think that the Democratic base would be motivated by the prospects of two more years of Obama selling out a real, effective Democratic agenda to the Republicans he was supposed to be warning against? And he wasn't the only one. Trying to save his seat in Nevada, Harry Reid was saying the same thing. Apparently his Republican opponent intimating that her supporters would start shooting if they didn't get what they wanted in the election wasn't enough for Reid and Obama to twig onto the fact that they weren't going to cooperate. Why both of them are continuing to mouth what both of them certainly know is a lie only has a few explanations. I won't choose one just yet.

Barack Obama has gone from being the hope of progressives here and of rational people around the world into a rather ignominious disappointment in two years. The man has no real understanding of politics, all that propaganda about his mastery turns out to be a huckster's come on. He's far more place holder than leader, by his own choice, through his own inexperience and lack of vision. This morning, his place in the long list of mediocre presidents seems certain. I might have mentioned before that when we needed a Franklin Roosevelt, we seem to have gotten a Franklin Pierce.

In choosing to retain Nancy Pelosi as their leader, House Democrats have gone against the massive Republican hate campaign against her, the enormous reservoir of sexism which characterizes even much of the talk about her on the left, the brick wall of opposition to her in the punditocracy and some opposition from blue dogs within the house. They did it because she has been excellent, doing her part in the face of obstacles put in her path from Republicans and their kept media, with little backup from the President and with full prospects that Harry Reid and the corporate Democrats in the Senate would block huge parts of what she got passed in the House. When this congress finally ends, hundreds of bills, many of them major pieces of legislation that Barack Obama was elected to put into effect, will die in the Senate without Obama and Reid pushing them to completion.

In the coming congress Nancy Pelosi will not be in a position to pass bills, the Republicans who voted as a bloc during her time leading the congress will continue to vote as a bloc, passing a series of obscene measures. Of course, if the Democrats in the Senate don't pass those they will die, or if the President doesn't sign those which come to his desk, they might die by veto. And that's where Nancy Pelosi might have some ability prevent the catastrophe that Obama and Reid will be willing to enable. They've allowed a handful of blue-dogs and a couple of Republicans rule in most cases, they'll certainly bend and bow to House Republicans how that they'll hold that body.

As we've seen for the past two years, Obama and Reid's idea of bipartisanship has consisted of selling out even the most rational and exigent parts of the Democratic agenda for the mere possibility that they can break Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins loose from the Republican brick wall. Their cowardly desire to be able to impotently claim that the results are "bipartisan" was figured out almost immediately by Republicans who have succeeded with it on those occasions when they couldn't stop legislation. Healthcare, with its business friendly mandates and its insanely gradual implementation is the clearest case of this. The crippled stimulus, much of which was traded away as non-stimulating tax breaks to ineffectively woo Susan Collins, is another of the more important ones. Apparently the Senate is going to keep on Harry Reid, who is grooming the extremely compromised Chuck Schumer as his successor.

If there is an accurate history of the past two years, Nancy Pelosi is going to emerge as the real Democratic leader, working like anything to drag Obama and Reid along as they dug in their heels against the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

Update: Thank you to the reader who pointed out my mistake of typing "Arizona" when I should have said, "Nevada".

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nina Simone: Feeling Good

Bad Holiday Poetry

I wrote this on Presidents' Holiday many years ago and hence the allusion to "holidays for men." Besides, it rhymes, which is a necessary part of my bad poetry.

Since the fundies argue that the term "men" covers all of us quite adequately, this bad pome applies to the current holiday, too.

All these holidays for men --
We eat and eat and shop
Not thinking of the days when
we work and never stop
To buy ourselves the needed rest
To eat and eat and shop.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! (by Suzie)

My Austin friend Mark describes his turkey sculptures as "cut metal with welded kinetic wings, mounted on your farm equipment wreckage."

In an unrelated matter, I'm going to take a break from blogging for health reasons.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm Gonna Pinch Your Butt, Jacques!

Two odd opinion pieces have cropped up recently on the question of what American men think of French women. Weird, I know. The first one appeared in the Chicago Tribune some time ago. It's about an American man trying to score with a French woman, pretty much:

and you're thinking to yourself how wonderful it will be to date your own auburn-haired Audrey Tautou, someone elegant, smart, sophisticated, someone you wouldn't hesitate to take home to your family if things were ever to get that far with her (which deep down you know they won't, but deeper down you still hope they will), and then, after all this, as the scoreboard is up in flames from the baseball you've hit into it and you are rounding third base, savoring each stride, with only a few short steps separating you from the glory of your destiny — after all this, you both stand up, and it turns out she's 3 inches taller than you, and both of you, surprised and saddened, look at the floor, and then back at each other (you up at her, she down at you), and then she awkwardly, pre-emptively says that it was nice meeting you, and you smile and agree, but before you're even done agreeing, she is turning away and walking out of the coffee shop on her own?
There's that game metaphor again. If I decided to do a revelation piece about me and my many mythical lovers I'd use some novel metaphors and not the ones which men use about getting a woman to bed. But whatever. So he turned out to be short and the inches were on the wrong person and in the wrong place. Big deal. Life is like that and most of us deal with it. Or even decide that height doesn't matter.

This didn't seem to be worth writing about (though I did fancy doing a reversal for a while), but then Jezebel posted something even weirder on American men and French women, and now I have to figure out if that Jezebel post is a very advanced type of satire, so advanced that I can't really get it or if it's just the lamest post ever in the whole wide world.

You can help me if you wish:

Having just returned from living in Paris, I feel more convinced than ever that America gets many things wrong about sex. Right there near the top of the list is our attachment to the idea of consent.

In Paris, it seems as if the straight male attitude toward consent is that it doesn't exist. At clubs, bars, bistros, in the street or on the Metro, Parisian men lobby very aggressively for sex. At the clubs in the 8ème, off the Champs-Élysées, and all along Rue de Rivoli, it is fairly common to watch men literally grab and touch the girls who weave through the crowd. Men often draw a finger down an unknown girl's cheek or under her chin like a doting Uncle; they can be seen pinching girls' noses, throwing arms around shoulders and even stealing kisses. It's not for nothing that the French slang word for "kiss" or "make out" is choper, which literally means "to catch."

Parisian women deny or accept these advances with a decisiveness many American women lack. Naturally, some girls in Paris walk away and reject these strong come-ons. But one can observe many of them reacting with knowing laughter; these women understand the game. They often seem legitimately flattered by the attention and stick around for an introductory conversation. The men buy the women drinks. Sometimes they trade phone numbers or make out in a corner somewhere. And sometimes, of course, the whole exchange ends in sex. Whatever the result, women maneuver around male aggression to gain the upper hand. They are the ones deciding what to do with the onslaught of male desire. And though the men are leveraging these attacks as a pretense for familiarity (later on in the night or outside the club the ice has already been broken) it's the women who call the shots.
And so on and so on. Nothing about French men wanting their butts pinched by me! But of course if consent is not a problem I can do that and it's all seeeexx!

I bolded all that violent attack business in the post. Those are the bits that make me think the post is satire. The rest of it? I'm not sure what the writer tries to say. Either consent doesn't matter, in which case anyone can rape anyone anywhere, or it does matter, in which case you cannot aggressively assault women or men in the streets or elsewhere. Even if that would be convenient for you, like imagining all the women of the world as your private sex cupboard which you can sample as you wish.

Or perhaps he means that he should have the right to force himself upon unwilling women and find them turn willing? Or that women should be the gatekeepers in an aggressive type of game where you can only have a goalkeeper but no defense? Or nostalgia for the times of Genghis Khan (with the extra assumption that this guy is the only Genghis Khan, really).

It's a big soup, that post, and not well stirred. For instance, we don't have any evidence on what the French women think about all this and whether any of the described free-mating-without-consent actually happens on the streets of Paris or only in the mind of one "Edward Pasteck."

Am I really writing about something this inane? Because all of this is probably about clicks and saying the most outrageous things possible and I fell for it.

Happy Thanksgiving! Bwahaha!

Tomorrow is the date of the American holiday called Thanksgiving, for those of you sweet readers who live elsewhere. It's a time to refer to the early European immigrants and how they arrived on this continent.

But you don't actually have to know history to do it, as shown in this video where Rep. Todd Akin (R. Mo.) makes up interesting novel arguments about the political systems of seventeenth century Europe:

A summary:

The far-right lawmaker believes the Pilgrims were "a great bunch of Americans," who "came here with the idea that, after trying socialism, that it wasn't going to work. They realized that it was unbiblical and it was a form of theft. So they pitched socialism out; they learned that in the early 1620s."
My tummy hurts from laughing so much.

And The Winner Of The Hack Race Is...

Richard Cohen, the Salon says. I'm pretty sure I could find many worse hacks but perhaps there are extra rules I don't know about it. Cohen is certainly of interest in his opinions on women. Some snippets from Pareene's piece:

That's how we get work like "leave Roman Polanski alone!" and sending me mean e-mails is "digital lynching" and affirmative action punishes all white people and you stupid snot-nosed bloggers don't get that Cheney was probably right to torture people and Barack Obama should read a newspaper instead of a BlackBerry because a BlackBerry is full of lies.


I sometimes ask myself, who is the intended audience of a Richard Cohen column? Who reads a Richard Cohen column and thinks to himself, "Yes, I agree with this"? I don't write "thinks to herself" because I cannot fathom the existence of a woman who'd respond approvingly to this defense of Clarence Thomas' vocal appreciation of large breasts. I think Ginni herself would say it does Justice Thomas no favors to have the support of this guy. And what does Cohen leave out of his defense of Thomas? That he was accused of creating a hostile work environment himself, for making inappropriate comments to a 23-year-old editorial aide in the late-1990s.
Mmm. What irks me about Cohen is the odd quasi-calm aspect of his writing. He says the most insulting things while pretending that he is simply stating widely known facts, and that he is doing this from the Throne of Impartiality.

I must admit that I rarely read his columns unless I'm forced to. Some things a goddess must get paid for, such as being continuously insulted.

Who You Gonna Call?

The council of elders in an Indian village has banned unmarried women from using cell phones. Unmarried men may still use them under parental guidance. The reason?

The village council fears that couples can arrange elopements by using cell phones:

Marriages between members of the same clan are forbidden under Hindu custom in some parts of northern India, where unions are traditionally arranged by families. In conservative rural areas, families sometimes mete out extreme punishments, including "honour killings", for those who violate marriage taboos. In some cases, village councils themselves have ordered the punishments, though police often intervene to stop them.

The Lank village council feared young men and women were secretly calling one another to arrange to elope.

Last month, 34 couples eloped in Muzaffarnagar district, where Lank is located, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, police said. Among the couples who did so, eight "honour killings" have been reported in the past month, police said.
The local women's rights group said "the ban demonstrated the councils' archaic mindset, and warned that it could put girls at a disadvantage in other areas of life."

Indeed. But the Saudi ban on women driving has a similar effect and so do most all sex-specific infringements of individual liberty, including such once-common rules in the U.S. as banning women from working at night. And of course banning unmarried men from using cell phones would have worked every bit as well. But that's not the form these types of rules take.

The Hack Race

Salon's Alex Pareese has written a series of posts on political hackery, or a list of the worst political opinion writers. I haven't read most of the posts on the list yet but did glance through the one on Maureen Dowd.

Before I comment on it, let me state that I was once called an erudite political hack and I put that in my brag file right away.

The post on Maureen Dowd includes aspects of her writing that I have criticized on this blog, such as:

Oh, MoDo. Maybe there are still people who thrill to her dated pop culture references and tiresome "wicked" nicknames for politicians. Maybe somewhere there's a reader who still finds it illuminating to examine elections as battles between effeminate girly Democrats and straight-shooting Republican cavemen. Maybe someone's glad that the most prominent female political columnist in the nation tends to consider every powerful female politician a castrating bitch.
Dowd does write like that or at least did write like that in the past. But some of her newer columns are much better on gender and I hope she pursues that line in the future. On the other hand:

Called on her sexism by the Times public editor, Dowd said, "I have always played with gender stereotypes," by which she means that she has always strongly reinforced them.
Pretty much. Still, Maureen can write. And many of the boys in that list are more sexist than she is. It's just harder to spot because we expect that of men.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't Force Me To Look At Your Junk

This video was posted at Hollaback and I got it through Jezebel*:

My comments:

1. The bystanders seem to be busy taking videos and pictures but not actually helping her (I'm assuming that the man accused of waving his penis around in fact did so).

2. Reacting strongly to sexual harassment could be a great solution. It could also get you into much deeper trouble, and it's important to understand why many women don't react, at least in an assertive manner. I wish we could keep the limelight on the culprits and not those who get harassed. It is the former who should change their behavior.

3. I've had strangers wave their penises at me six or seven times, that I know of. How about you? It is not the worst kind of sexual harassment but one does feel used and without a permission

*I've been vacillating over posting it because I'm not sure if the woman in it has given her permission for its use. On the other hand, she comes across as a hero and what she does is worth talking about and my not posting it doesn't take it off the net. Weak, I know.

Cutting Medicaid?

According to a Wall Street Journal article, some Republican governors are thinking of doing exactly that:

Huge budget shortfalls are prompting a handful of states to begin discussing a once-unthinkable scenario: dropping out of the Medicaid insurance program for the poor.

Elected and appointed officials in nearly a half-dozen states, including Washington, Texas and South Carolina, have publicly thrown out the idea. Wyoming and Nevada this year produced detailed studies of what would happen should they withdraw from the program. Wyoming found that Medicaid accounts for 63% of the state's nursing-home revenue.

The idea of abandoning Medicaid as a solution is so extreme that even proponents don't expect any state will follow through, but officials are floating the discussions because dire budgetary pressures have forced them to at least look at even the most drastic options.

Medicaid, begun in 1965 and jointly funded by federal and state dollars, is the nexus of care for the neediest Americans, and a huge payer to hospitals, nursing homes and doctors. Medicaid enrollment totaled 62 million nationwide in 2007, the most recent data available.
Medicaid is a state-level program but combines that with federal subsidies. Those subsidies wouldn't be forthcoming for the states who would abandon it.

This is not a likely solution, even in Republican states, because an open secret about Medicaid is that it doesn't just cover the people one usually regards as poor but is also a major funding source for long-term nursing care, including for people who weren't poor earlier in their lives. It's the latter which would make meddling with Medicaid a third-rail political move, I think:

In Washington state, which has a Democratic governor, Medicaid Director Doug Porter says he discussed the idea of dropping out of Medicaid with members of a citizen advisory committee the governor pulled together to tackle a $5.7 billion budget shortfall over the next two years.

"It's not a serious consideration, but it's illustrative that people are even thinking about it," Mr. Porter said. "That I'm doing it is stunning."

However, many elderly people rely on Medicaid to pay for long-term care at nursing homes, and that makes pulling out a "deal killer," Mr. Porter said. No good alternative currently exists to cover such nursing-home costs.
Could care be provided more efficiently than is currently done under Medicaid? Texas governor Rick Perry believes so:

Some states, in particular those led by Republicans, are calculating whether they'd be better off giving up the federal funding and replacing Medicaid with a narrower program of their own. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has proposed that his state get out of Medicaid in favor of a state-run system unburdened by federal mandates—including the one that prohibits states from reducing eligibility for the program if they want to qualify for the federal matching funds.

"We feel very comfortable that we could come up with a more equitable, a more efficient, and obviously a more cost-effective way to deliver health care," he said.
That's truly fascinating! I happen to know quite a lot about this particular topic and unless Perry is willing to tackle prices, wages and salaries in the Texas health care sector (not likely for a Republican) or the humongous task of finding out which treatments actually work best, the most likely outcome of his plan would be a reduction of quantity of care, quality of care or both.

Reminder To Self

Never read the comments on anything having feminist context, at least outside the blogs.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Today's Deep Thought

Isn't it odd how very quickly we got a short and succinct term against groping when it is done to powerful people, too?

Don't Touch My Junk.

Wonder what it all means? Naming is power, you know.

The Pope And Plastic Hats

You can wear them if it rains but only for that reason. And only if you are gay. Others can't have condoms because trying to stop fertilization is wrongwrongwrong. That this also means only some men and no women can use protection against sexually transmitted diseases is something one may need to stress a bit more than has been done in the media.

That's a summary of Pope Benedict's new views on condom use and sex. I read a few articles on his pronouncements and found the eternal optimism of the liberal Catholics fascinating. He's moved his left eyebrow! This must mean that he will soon smile on us!

The guy is an arch-conservative misogynist. Face up to it so you know what you have to work with.

OK. Now the careful blogger post on the same topic:

Pope Benedict XVI sought to "kick-start a debate" when he said some condom use may be justified, Vatican insiders say, raising hopes the church may be starting to back away from a complete ban and allow condoms to play a role in the battle against AIDS.

Just a year after he said condoms could be making the AIDS crisis worse, Benedict said that for some people, such as male prostitutes, using them could be a step in assuming moral responsibility because the intent is to "reduce the risk of infection."

The pope did not suggest using condoms as birth control, which is banned by the church, or mention the use of condoms by married couples where one partner is infected.
It could be that the example of a male prostitute is just an example, not to be interpreted as the definition of who it is who can use condoms. It could be that even female prostitutes may use condoms under this rule? One needs to analyze Ratzo's eyebrows to know for sure. But this is what the Catholic News says:

Parramatta Bishop Anthony Fisher have clarified that Church teaching on condoms has not changed, reports The Australian. The Catholic News Agency cites the Vatican spokesman saying the same.

Cardinal Pell said that although the issue was "difficult and delicate" for the church, Pope Benedict had not changed his teaching.

Bishop Fisher said the pontiff used the example of a male prostitute using a condom - in an interview contained in a forthcoming book - to give due credit to someone "trying to make some moral progress".

He said the Pope had made a clear distinction between homosexual acts - where contraception was not an issue - and the use of condoms for HIV prevention more widely.

"He was very clear, as in his previous statements, that he is against condoms altogether," Bishop Fisher said.

How The UN Works

It doesn't work any better than its member countries. An example:

The United Nations has removed a plea for lesbians, gays and bisexuals not to be executed in a narrow vote.

For the last 10 years sexual orientation has been included in a list of discriminatory grounds for executions – gay rights activists say the vote to remove that listing is "dangerous and disturbing."

The UN resolution urges countries to protect the right to life of all people, calling on them to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. Sexual orientation was previously listed as one of these forms of discrimination, alongside ethnicity, religious belief and linguistic minorities.

Others protected by the resolution were human rights defenders (like journalists, lawyers and demonstrators), street children and members of indigenous communities.

But now sexual orientation has been taken out of the list. The amendment was supported by Benin in Africa on behalf of the African Group in the UN General Assembly. It passed on a narrow vote of 79 for, 70 against , 17 abstentions and 26 absent.

Some of those voting to remove sexual orientation were countries where gays are known to be or thought to be executed or summarily killed including Iran, Nigeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iraq.
It's unclear what the practical meaning of this is. But I immediately thought of UN's commissions on women's rights and about the foxes which have been assigned to guard the chicken coop there, too.

The lessons in this are twofold: First, the basic work of converting hearts and minds needs to continue. Second, it is cases like this which show why separate justice movements are needed (such as GLBT and feminist movements), rather than a generalized justice movement for all people who are not on top of the hierarchy. It is not just people on the top of the world hierarchy that have the power to oppress others.

The Feminized Medal Of Honor

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (Family!!!) writes about the dreadful state of the Medal of Honor. It has been smeared by those female cooties:

We have feminized the Medal of Honor.

According to Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal, every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy. Not one.

Gen. George Patton once famously said, "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his."


I would suggest our culture has become so feminized that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of bravery. We know instinctively that we should honor courage, but shy away from honoring courage if it results in the taking of life rather than in just the saving of life. So we find it safe to honor those who throw themselves on a grenade to save their buddies.
What can one write about something like this? I mean seriously? But let's try.

First, this man works for the American Family Association which is all about the patriarchal family and keeping women subjugated.

Second, he equates masculinity with killing and destroying things and femininity with saving lives and preventing killing. That, my sweet readers, would be called misandry if a feminist did it. But when it is a wingnut it is to be taken as -- what? A compliment? A fact? Not sure.

Third, he really fears what he calls the feminization of American culture. You know, like the amendment which makes mascara and eye shadow obligatory for men.

The only thing I found interesting about the general discussion of this warped piece is that people are most outraged of the disrespect he shows towards the military. That disrespect really amounts to him saying that the military is feminized. Chew on that for a while.

Not sure if you can, because the idea of the sissy is so deeply ingrained in this culture that being called "feminized" is immediately understood as an insult. Even by women.
Link courtesy of JC

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Geri Allen Trio

Dark Prince
Betty Carter

Giant Steps

Featuring Geri Allen: Piano

Air travel, Privacy and Security

What if it's impossible to have all three? [Anthony McCarthy]

I wonder if anyone has ever thought out the possibility that something like air travel on a large scale is impossible to make completely secure without major sacrifice of privacy and dignity.

What if it's really impossible to have large numbers of people flying, an acceptable level of privacy AND complete security all at the same time? In which case giving it the position it has in our transportation system is seriously wrong headed and a danger to our way of life.

The People Barack Obama Intends To Compromise With Want To Destroy Us [Anthony McCarthy]

The discouragement of those of us who voted for Barack Obama is a direct result of his refusal to abandon his cool, calm, collected pose in order to fight the Republicans and conservative Democrats, of him handing them victory through accommodation to their obstruction of the desires of most Democrats and independents and the majority in the House and Senate who we put in office.

Electing Barack Obama was a somewhat larger than ususal gamble for us. The first black president was bound to be a rallying point for racists, it would organize them and give them focus. That was so obvious that calling it a prediction is silly, no informed person could credibly deny that it was absolutely certain to happen. Barack Obama knew that would be one of the certainties in his candidacy and, if he won despite the racism hurled against him in the campaign, that it would continue to be a defining, even if unstated, fact of his presidency. I think it's well past time for us to remind him that with full knowledge of those facts, of us to give him the job AT HIS REQUEST despite the use of it our enemies would make of it to organize their thugs and bigots, means he owes US more than cooperation with those same thugs and bigots and the oligarchs who have them harnessed to drive their wagon.

The Republican Party made no secret of their strategy of absorbing the, formerly Democratic, white racists concentrated in the South and to appeal to racists elsewhere in order to gain office. They announced it and discussed it in interviews. The Southern Strategy was completely amoral it is also an entirely rational thing for amoral, criminal people to do in order to win elections. Other people look at the devastating effects on the people who are the targets of Republican racism, of the huge problems it creates and harm it does to the country, in general, and they assume it is the result of ignorance and irrationality. But you can only allow yourself that comfort, with its associated opportunities for self-congratulations, if you willfully ignore that power and wealth accumulation are the goals of modern Republicanism. Modern Republicans are so fixated on those two things that there isn't room for any other value or morality. Their goals are not justice, not the common good, not the welfare of the United States, certainly not of the world.

I think it's high time for us to remind President Obama that with those facts, us giving him the job AT HIS REQUEST despite the use of it our enemies would make of it to organize their thugs and bigots, means he owes US more than cooperation with those same thugs and bigots and the oligarchs who have them harnessed to drive their wagon. It's our right to hold him to the responsibility he asked us to give him. A large part of that responsibility is to prevent the Republicans from regaining power in order to repeat and extend what they did during the horrible eight years of the Bush II regime. You can't do that by appeasing them and the media that is their tool. We have more than a right to hold Barack Obama to his responsibilities, we have a moral duty to do that.

There is nothing about the long, awful period of Republican ascendancy that isn't clear. Their strategies of appealing to the basest aspects of human nature, fear, greed, laziness, bigotry, envy, etc. are deniable only by the truly ignorant or those in denial. I refuse to give Barack Obama those outs. He is extremely intelligent, he is informed, he has read the Republican framing of him and his administration that the media devotedly carries without filtering it through reality. Barack Obama has no psychological excuse for his continued accommodation of Republicans or the media which is their propaganda organ. If Barack Obama is anything like his projected persona, he would reject those excuses as beneath him.

The alternatives are that he is a sell out or that he knows that he and his family might be put in even more danger if he opposes the Republicans and really fights against them. Or he's a monumental slacker. At this point, it's clear that there is no political advantage for him in continued gestures of bipartisanship and cooperation. There is no rational reason for Republicans to change their campaign of lies and racism because those have worked, as they have for the past fifty years, to get them what they want.

If Barack Obama continues to be unable or unwilling to be the FIGHTING LEADER of Democrats and progressives he plays on the campaign stump, his only honorable course of action is to announce early that he will not seek reelection. If he is at all responsible, he will be absolutely frank about his reasons for not seeking a second term. If he chooses to keep the office only to continue the sell-outs and acquiescence to obstruction, that is a far more dishonorable course of action for him. It would mark him as among the most failed of presidents.

We can't wait for him. We have to begin to plan for the post-Obama period because if he chooses to go on as he has, it's already begun. And he's not signaling that he is going to change. Watch who he replaces Summers with for an early indication if he chose to learn the real lesson of this election. We should be looking for another candidate, for strategies to win back the House and to hold on to the Senate and to strengthen the power of the authentic Democratic progressives there. I don't see Charles Schumer's elevation by Harry Reid as an auspicious sign there. The Senate is the other bad leg that this administration has depended on. We've got to work on the Senate too.