Monday, February 25, 2008

Behind the Frankenstein Obama phenomenon

New York City where all the really bad ideas that hurt the country are born from all points on the political spectrum as the out of power plot a rise to power. Reality is that the rise, even when it comes, never includes the rejects as anything other than bit players and, more likely, though they audition hard to be cast in roles for the administration they brought to power, there's never a call back for the bulk of them -- most of whom, if they ever got near power, were kicked out for a reason and have such high negatives that the public would never accept them.

I traveled there earlier this morning via the journal of a friend. We'd bumped into each other at the Academy Awards last night and then at an after party. At the party, he'd raised several issues that weren't being noted and the conversation continued at his place. He passed on a journal from his days in NYC filled with the usual true left groups (that he belonged to) being watered down by the usual pointless freaks. Anyone familiar with the writing of Martin Duberman over the years, wouldn't be surprised by the journal. On the long trip back home last night, I was reading sections of the journal and grasping why he thought the issue really needed to be addressed in light of the current political election and, since he's a friend of many, many years, I told him we'd address it. It's also true that the Socialist Party in this country portrays the Iraqi Kurds as saint and have been attempting to push "Turkey evil, Kurds angels" for some time. It's never that simple though I understand Kani Xulam's been booked for today's Democracy Now! and you can be sure he'll be pushing that lie and Amy Goodman, always one to toe a line, will act as if that is reality. There will be no open discussion because Goody's just another piece of trash from NYC who pushes simplistic limitations as truth and pretends she's offering "scope" and "broad vistas."

She's just another hooker left out on the street, desperate to turn a few tricks and push her own agenda which she disguises as "truth" and "unfiltered truth" at that.

The Kurdish population, worldwide, has been without a homeland. They have the right, as do all people, to rise up against that. People may not like that fact but it's reality. Acknowledging realities does not require turning non-Kurds in the region, especially Kirkuk, into the "devil" but the hookers on the fringes do so and have to do so. They romanticize the Kurds as revolutionaries who do no wrong when there's never been a revolution that was "pure." Realities are always more complex than any in the press portray them but MSM gets the bad rap while the likes of Goody like to pretend that they're in it for the people and for the truth.

That's an aside in a way, but you can consider it a set up and something that will hopefully clarify what we're about to discuss. Arabs living in Kirkuk before the US began the illegal war with Iraq aren't any more guilty than the Kurds. These are people just like the average Kurd. But the Goody Patrol needs to reduce them to dogs and worse because they can't handle complexities and grasp that the victims are both the Arabs and the Kurds and the guilty are the governmental heads that created the problem. They do the left a real disservice because there simplistic views are exactly what is ridiculed by the right-wing. It's why the left is too often seen as out of touch, hopeless and anti-whatever.

There's no need to "choose sides" between two people who have both been victimized. And the same crowd which today advocates for the Palestinians (a wronged people to be sure) can have their roots traced to the crowd advocating for the creation of Israel following WWII. It's never about reality with that crowd, it's always about declaring some group a saint, a suffering saint, and then pushing 'solutions' that do nothing but create new problems. Whatever happens in Kirkuk and surrounding areas will have longterm effects and future Goodys will most likely be scrubbing up after the mess that she and others are creating today by advocating on behalf the Kurds while demonizing the Arabs.

The Goody crowd is the purity crowd. Every political argument they make must be distilled to the most simplistic view, there must be "good" and "bad" and there is no shading. Had Bully Boy been a leftist, Goody would be conducting Oval Office interviews near daily.

So let's get to the creation of the Frankenstein candidate Barack Obama who promises nothing to the left but is pimped so heavily by the alleged left. Out of power (as they always were), the s**t stirrers on the left have been agitating for some time. There are at least two extremes noted in this entry: The Goody crowd (already dealt with) and the Tomasky crowd (which we're getting to).

Generally there is a wall between those two camps but it comes down from time to time when both are so sick of being out of power and see a chance back in. Historically, they grab it every time and, historically, the results are disgusting.

The roots of Obama-mania go far back, but we're only going back twelve years. That's when the craven began indicting what sort of candidate they wanted: the Frankenstine monster Obama that could push their own interests. Even at their worst, the Goodys are motivated by compassion for what they see as the victimized. The Tomasky crowd has no compassion, has no patience. The Goody crowd usually follows any action by issuing decades and decades of apologizes. (Having simplified the issues in real time to "good" and "evil" extremes, when an action they want does take place, there are usually many victims.) The Tomasky crowd never apologizes, never feels the need to. (Tomasky doesn't live in NYC, he just dumps his garbage there.)

If you drop back to 1996, you'll see their longing for "post" politics. You'll see their arguments against affirmative-action. That may shock some. But they were made. It was time to 'move on.' Toad Gitlin, Ralph Nader, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., it was all the rage from the 'left.' Left for Dead, Tomasky's bad, bad book, was nothing but a plea for power. All listed were pushing the notion that "identity politics" were destroying the left -- reality, the likes of Toad, et al. have been destroying the left for years all by themselves.

"Identity politics" is there catch all for Civil Rights, women's rights, gay rights.

[I'm putting this up right now and will continue it for several more paragraphs but this entry is going to require a lot of getting up from the computer and walking away for a bit. Resuming but leaving this in at Lewis' request until the entry is completed.]

Bascially any group that's not an Anglo White Male. Not a WASP, mind you, that's not the issue between the two crowds. We'll get back to that.

But while the Goodys trumpet the "rights of all," if you pay attention, you'll notice how "all" doesn't include "all." All is just males. Goody's never, for instance, explored the very real extermination (there's no other word for it) going on in Iraq of the LGBT community. The transgendered now cut their hair short if they're male and are still under attack. They're still targeted. As much violence is aimed at transgendered females (born females) when they are discovered, but they can blend more easily in public due to the official 'female public uniform' the rise of sexism in Iraq has brought about. Gay or transgendered males are more easily targeted in the general public in Iraq. Both are targeted by the betrayers who knew them and out them. (And a number who are not LGBT but are suspected of it are also harmed and killed.) Baghdad had a very strong LGBT community prior to the start of the illegal war. They are now underground, dead or out of the country. And Amy Goodman's never bothered to tell you about them, not even in a headline.

When you consider the femicide going on in Iraq, which has gotten a bit more press attention (not a lot, but more than the attacks on LGBT), you're again left with the fact that Goody's given that story hardly any attention. Today she's schilling for the Kurds (it's now aired and that's what it was, schilling) and not talking about the issue of Kurdish women. For those who've forgotten, Newsweek tried to play it as a 'trend story,' the 'hot' thing to do, young women attempting sucicide (and some of it was not attempted suicide, but attempted murder). As offensive as that article was, it's more than Democracy Now! has ever offered on the topic. Young women found dead from burns, admitted to the hospital with burns and some dying there and some living. It is a crisis and it's not one that's going to be discussed when you're pimping the Sainthood of the Kurds. The Kurdish prisons are not being discussed because Goody can't pimp Sainthood and stir up outrage by allowing for complexities. The "re-settlement" by the region's government can't be addressed.

If people think the American people are ignorant (they're not) it's equally true that all points on the political spectrum are inhabited by huge amounts of 'truth tellers' willing to lie to advance their cause. While calling it "journalism."

Amy Goodman, like many hard-liners of her political set (I don't mean generic left), doesn't give a damn about women, gays, you name it. If there's one minority population she gives any time too it's African-American males. That's why we got the nonsense of Jena 6. Remember that?

Remember Laura Flanders minimizing an attack that, had it been an attack on a gay youth, would have outraged the country? She made her jokes about "deadly shoe" but the reality was that was no school yard fight. A school yard fight is one on one. Remember how Amy Goodman first offered the people involved, mothers who spoke honestly, and then they were shut out and we got the experts including Big Bang Films (or whatever it was called) which completely distorted reality and, in fact, was contrary to what mothers of the Jena 6 had told Goodman, what Democracy Now! had broadcast?

The Jena 6 press from the left demonstrated the worst of the left. "Six" were reduced to one. They can't handle complexities. They had to have their saint. Where is their coverage today? Well the "saint" entered a guilty plea. And it was already uncomfortable for them as more and more had picked up on ESPN's report of the multiple probations the "saint" was on which included assault on a young female. They ignored telling you that detail but, as that detail got out, they stopped pimping long before their saint entered his guilty plea.

If they could handle complexities, they would haven't elevated the "saint" who later agreed to turn on the others in court. They would have covered the five equally. But, true to form, they lost interest and that happened before one of the five got arrested again for beating up another classmate, this time in a suburb of Dallas. The one arrested claims he was told that the student he beat up "keyed" his car. He didn't know it, as was admitted in real time coverage of that recent event, and, of course, the answer to someone keying your car is to use the legal system, but, hey, last time, when multiple students jumped one, it was cause for a national outcry -- on behalf of the attackers -- it was cause for marches and cries of "Civil Rights!"

Maybe he thought a frenzy would again be whipped up and it would be, "Do not forget his car was keyed! By someone!"

Now African-Americans have been wronged historically and currently. Racism has not gone away. But the reason Betty's father was so outraged by the bulk of the coverage of the Jena 6 (which was nonsense) was because he knew where it was headed. He knew Whites were creating one "saint" and he knew the children were not "saints." (No child is.) He also knew that when the whole thing exploded (as it obviously would based on the record of Bell), it wouldn't be Panhandle Media that got blamed for it, it would be turned into an attack on all African-Americans. And he was correct. He was 100% correct. He's a smart man and he's lived through this before many times, where Whites rush in saying they're going to "help" but their "help" is an oversimplification that quickly turns into sainthood and, when the sainthood doesn't take and the cracks begin to show, the media rushes off and suddenly you've got a nation leery to discuss racism, actual racism which does exist, because someone's going to holler "Tawana Brawley!" That's why he was outraged, that's why he wanted the point made that the White "helpers" were not helping the African-American community.

Early on in the last century, the Communist Party rightly called out racism. They couldn't call out homophobia or sexism (other political parties were avoiding homophobia as well, sexism was ignored but less so than homophobia), but they got it right on racism. And since they couldn't call out homophobia or sexism, it basically translated as straight African-American males get support. The left is not Communist but it does include Communists and the Communist Party took a strong stand and a brave one. By setting down a marker, they carved out a space where racism had to be recognized by all the left.

But only racism against African-Americans and only against African-American males. That's why there's so very little concern among the Goody set about other minority populations in this country whether it's Pacific-Islanders, Asian-Americans, Latinos or any other racial or ethnic grouping. (The Jewish community in this country benefits somewhat, in terms of attention, for the historical genocide during WWII but that's mitagated by the actions of the Israeli government. A physical attack on an American Jew will get a tiny bit of coverage from the left outlets. Any other form of attack will result in no concern. And let's be clear that Jews are still victims of discrimination in this country.)

In the 80s, you saw the attacks on Alice Walker for The Color Purple and how she was accused, for writing in her novel about very real abuse of women, of inviting criticism of the Black community or, worse, betraying it. In the 90s, you saw the push to get behind the hideous Clarence Thomas and the ripping apart of Anita Hill. In both instances, the African-American male was taken to be "wronged." In both instances, women (ficitional or otherwise) were of less importance. That wasn't just from the right or just from some parts of the Black community, it was from the 'left' as well.

It's something that those attacking Gloria Steinem recently demonstrated. How many times, at websites, did you read people blogging or commenting on blogs where they were supposedly writing about African-Americans but their statements were "Black men didn't have the right to vote in the 1960s before the Civil Rights movement"? They made it clear, even at alleged 'feminist' sites, where their concern was.

Again, the Communist Party deserves huge credit for taking a stand for Civil Rights. They were not the only ones taking such a stand but they were a strong political party in this country and they took a stand. Possibly, had the witch hunts not dominated so much of the last century, the Communist Party could have fought for other advances and had similar effects. But by taking a stand (on the left), they forced others on the left to take a stand as well. The NAACP deserves huge credit for their work and should not be minimized for their actions (and their membership was not exclusively African-American) but in terms of political parties making stands, the Communist Party took one and it forced others among the left to do so as well.

If they hadn't done so, and no one else had stepped up to the plate, the little recognition that exists today of racism wouldn't exist at all. It would be simply "identity politics" but even the likes of Tomasky and Toad can't get away with that so in their attacks on affirmative-action, they have to argue that "progress" has been not only made but "realized."

[Second stopping point. I am getting to the point, slowly.]

In 1993, Naomi Wolf's Fire With Fire was published. It's still an incredible book. It has flaws as any classic does, but it's some of Wolf's most passionate writing and some of her strongest observations. It didn't exist in vacuum. While Wolf was charting reality, others were sulking and would offer their backlash tracts in the coming years. While Wolf was arguing complexities and sharing the struggle over them with readers, others were nursing their wounds.

They would emerge with their attacks on "identity politics." "Identity politics" was a term they bandied around which really translated as, "Shut up."

Tomasky's Left For Dead is one long "shut up" to everyone who isn't a straight, White male with a tiny bit of a concession made for African-American males. Tomasky, Nader, Toad and many others argued that the crisis America faced and that the left must take up was a "class" issue and it was simple economics. It was time to dump concerns of the LGBT, all women, people of color (again, there is a tiny nod to African-American males but that has to be made due to the left's historical roots in this country) and we needed to focus on the "real" "issue." That could be reduced to economics.

You can see that same stupid thinking in Sharon Smith's "The politics of identity" in the current issue of International Socialist. Smith is a strong writer but when anyone writes the following, they're begging to be called stupid:

Indeed, no white person can ever understand what it is like to experience racism. No straight person can understand what it is like to experience homophobia. And even among people who are oppressed by racism, every type of experience is different.

That's stupid. It goes against the entire academic pursuit of knowledge. If no one can ever understand, what is the point of inquiry?

(I don't know if the article is available online or not. When this is in final form, I'll check and link to Smith if it is. I disagree strongly with much of the article and think the passage noted above is stupid and intellectually false but she's a strong writer and she's not trash so if it's available online, we'll link to it when this is in final form.]

What is the point of anthropology, to name but one field? To learn about other cultures. If we can never understand, as Smith claims, then there's really no point to most academic fields. Of course economis isn't a real science and any time you leave basic accounting you're asking for trouble but it's doubtful Smith would write a piece that could be seen as discrediting that field.

And that point's made for a reason, simple economics, simple groupings of "class" are what the groups can get behind. It's what can draw a Goody to a Tomasky. And it's how they can all get on board the Obama train.

Hillary Clinton is a woman, she can't hide. Barack Obama is bi-racial and feeds into the needs and wants of Tomasky, Toad, et al that they paraded circa 1996.

For one group, they're taking part in the historical struggle that the Communist Party carved out early on, they're engaged in left-ism. (That would be the Goody crowd.) For the other crowd, the same candidate represents the "post-race" status they've long argued for. The two groups are strange bedfellows but they are probably just strange period.

When Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberly (Black Agenda Report) write about the damage that lies around the corner of a Barack Obama presidency, they're writing about the "post-race" crowd. That's what they've been addressing as they noted the Whites glomming to Obama and the absurd comments by the Frankenstein that the racial struggle has completed 90 or so percent of the fight. Obama as president telegraphs that all is right in the country, that equality has been achieved. That's the point the "post-race" crowd has been advocating (the false point) for well over a decade.

He is all that they have written in arguing against affirmative-action, in arguing that the United States has achieved parity and has moved to "post-race" status. Even more so, because he is the blending and product of two races. He is a security blanket for them (and for the right-wing as well) that says "Vote for me and race is no longer an issue. Vote for me and no more concessions need be made."

Though it might seem questionable for the Goody crowd to hop on board with those denying that racism exists today, the historical roots of the last century allow them to do so. Take a moment to note that when Carol Mosely Braun ran for president (2004), she didn't get it (Panhandle Media offering her non-stop promotion). Because she's a "she." In fact, Goody ripped her apart on air while she was running. (Goody did, as Mosely Braun pointed out, distort Braun's record.) Braun rightly critiqued, on air, the limitations of Goody's vision, of reducing a very complex situation to the murder of one activist, of reducing her long record on human rights to one incident.

If you listened today (why bother, I know), you didn't hear the same thing. You heard Samantha Power advocate for US military action in Darfur. Amy Goodman didn't question it. She didn't press or get confrontational with the presumed nominee for Secretary of State in an Obama White House. She acted confused about Obama's calls for a larger military and didn't really press on that either. (Power offered ridiculous claims that the military needed to be increased and anyone could have shot that crap down but Goody didn't really attempt to and certainly didn't go after her the way she did Mosely Braun. Juan Gonzales was a little more persistant in the segment but not much.) As someone inside the inner circle of Obama-mania, there was Our Modern Day Carrie Nations advocating for military action in Darfur and, despite the fact that real human rights organizations and NGOs have stated that military action will only inflame the killing, Goody didn't push, she didn't press, she just smiled and joked and it was all so disgustingly pleasant. She didn't show Moseley Braun that kindess.

She let Sammy Power declare that Obama wanted to end nukes and never shot back, "What about his support for the nuclear industry in this country?" The United States is very lucky that the worst known accident is Three Mile Island but it is equally true that damage is being done by nuclear power plants even when there isn't an accident. And someone who is "No Nukes" isn't pressing for the nuclear industry to expand in this country. The damage of nuclear bombs isn't just from the immediate effects of the explosion. It's from the radiation that lingers long after the bomb goes off.

What it boils down to is the blank slate that is Obama allows the Goodys to write their own agendas on him and pretend to be part of a historical struggle (for the rights of African-American males) and it allows the Tomaskys and the Toads to back him because his remarks promise the end of redress to racial discrimination.

The Goody set likes to self-delude that they are about all but the reality is people of color are rarely found on Democracy Now! day after damn day. The reality is Amy's more apt to be speaking to a male on any given day and that her show has consistently and repeatedly ignored LGBT issues. Someone like Sharon Smith will acknowledge they exist but argue that the issues are subordinate to the "masses."

On that, both sides can line up in agreement. The reality is that the "masses" are seen as uniformly male and White. The reality is that those two aspects of the left (the left has many aspects) are using a system invented by White males long, long ago. Though some may claim a belief in a living Constitution (as opposed to strict constructionist), they read Marx and, by golly, they will preserve every word and add nothing to expand it.

It's not about everyone getting a slice of the pie. Were it about that for Goody, she'd welcome everyone to the table across from her on air but she doesn't. The Tomaksys and the Toads are very upfront about not wanting to hand out slices (in their books) and it is "hand out" because they want to control it. Goody claims to be against that but in practice she operates from the same standards as evidenced by her guest bookings.

Her crowd argues they are doing it for the "masses" because it helps all, the other crowd argues for the "masses" because it shuts out groups they don't care for. (Again, Toad and Tomsky's writing is one long "SHUT UP!")

"Identity politics" is an insulting term and one that argues that the only changes needed are the ones noted long ago. It argues that our comprehension is fixed and encourages it to remain so. It ignores the caste system in this country (it's a caste system, not a class system, "class" is far too simplistic to describe it) that has created a hiearchy and only concerns itself with two: the "elites" and the "masses." The problems run much deeper than that and you can see their refusal to admit that in their attacks on Hillary for serving on the board of Wal-Mart.

"It was anti-union!" cries the Goody crowd. (Less a concern to the Tomaskys.) It was many things. Hillary is one person. Equally true is that Wal-Mart wasn't criticized then the way it is today. A lot of people today are suddenly experts on Wal-Mart but in real time they weren't overly concerned with it. (Media in this country largely comes out of NYC and Wal-Mart was a southern franchise for many years.) Hillary did fight as a member of the Wal-Mart board. Did she fight on every issue? No, she didn't but some of the issues being raised now were not issues raised over a decade ago. Her fights for women aren't worthy of exploration to the Tomaskys because that's not an issue to them (women). Her fights for women aren't worthy of exploration to Goody because there's no central (male) figure she can romanticize. (A term Moseley Braun rightly used when Goody attacked her on air.) One group doesn't value women at all and the other group thinks it's something to be set to the side for the "larger struggle."

But issues raised by the LGBT community, by other races and ethnicities, by all women are part of the larger struggle and it really requires a limited vision (and a devotion to Marx that can only be described as "fundamentalist") to deny that fact.

Criticism rooted in the 18th and 19th centuries doesn't have to be out-moded. But it does have to be expanded and that's what the struggles of the last century were about. Those would be the struggles that Obama publicly finds "icky" and wants to leave behind. Those struggles are ongoing and will continue and the reason for that is because they need to continue.

The Obama train is a huge indictment of the corruption of ideas on the left. Instead of embracing feminism, gay rights, et al., many 'voices' see these very real issues that have led to movements (which have had actual accomplishments) as having been a "distraction." You'll note that argument is mainly made by White men as well as women working as tokens. Goody's a token. So is Katha Pollitt and it's a real indictment of Pollitt -- the house 'feminist' for The Nation -- that the magazine printed 149 women in 2007 to 491 men and she never said a word publicly.

You can draw comparisons on the "ease" with which some are sure Obama is "electable" and with those falling back to mainlining pure Marx. Both are really easy outlooks that don't require thought or examination, just retreating to the past.

Obama betrays the Democratic Party but you get left 'voices' endorsing him because they don't believe the left can win. They don't believe in an actual big tent but think they can trick, lie and con people into believing in Obama. They don't want to fight, they don't want to advance. They want to take the easy road and if it sets everyone back, if it throws large chunks of the population under the bus, oh, well. They made it clear in the last decade that they just didn't care about those chunks of the population because people in those chunks of the population were practicing "identity politics."

[A few points to add from a friend on the phone. He was a Black Panther for many years and has been insisting one point needs to go in for some time and he's got two more now. First, this isn't an endorsement, of Hillary. I'm not endorsing anyone. Calling out Obama -- a really bad candidate -- is not endorsing Hillary anymore than it's endorsing John McCain or Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader or anyone else. Obama's campaign has already caused real harm -- with so many thrown under the bus. Second, lip service is given to concerns for racism by the Goody set but NYC issues of racism are never raised unless someone's killed. Otherwise, they always go beyond NYC for their coverage of discrimination against African-American males. Third, quoting him, "There's a lot of worshipping of the Black cock and a lot of fear of the Black vagina going on whenever the White media covers race."]

The left's spent too many years looking for the easy way out and that's all the Obama mania is today. An easy way to move to "post-racism," an easy way to run a campaign (it's always easy to offer nothing but generic platitudes and didn't it work for Reagan and Bully Boy!), an easy way to avoid confronting realities of today (hence the demonization of very real problems with the tag "identity politics"), no movement's being built here.

B-b-but maybe we can ride the movement behind Obama!

The 'movement' is uneducated and uninformed, built around personality and headed for a fall whether or not he gets the nomination. There is no more movement behind Obama then there was behind Bully Boy. Had the latter a movement, Social Security would have been privatized. Personalities are not movements. Cults are not movements. Either the cult members grow disenchanted or they kill themselves. A cult is not a movement.

The left suffered a huge set back last century (in this country) with the witch hunts. (And it needs to be noted that when McCarthyism was building up, gays and lesbians were already being targeted with investigations into those holding government positions thought to be gay or lesbian. It's why one serving under Truman and Ike resigned before a Senate confirmation and headed off to the entertainment industry in California where he became a censor.) Communists and Socialist (not the same thing, but there's always been confusion on that) were targeted and as guilty as those doing the targeting were those on the left who either stayed silent or rushed to prove they weren't members of the targeted group or like the targeted group. (You can include both the ACLU and The Nation on the list -- they both behaved shamefully when it mattered.) Movements and alternative parties lost steam and have still not recovered (though that's changing a bit). So we're left with the two factions we're speaking of with one group (Tomaskys) offering up The Dummy's Guide to Marxism and the other group (Goodys) offering up a strict constructionist view of the same dogma.

What the decades Bambi runs from, and insults, were about was expansion. Expansions of understanding, expansions of rights. Those battles, though not fully realized, weren't lost. Nor is it time to "move on" from them just because it requires action and work. Bambi is the pacifier that tells too many on the left all will be well. One group hears that and thinks, "At last! 'Post-racism!'" The other hears that and tells themselves, "Now we can get down to work!" Both groups are deluding themselves. We are not in a post-racism society and we are not going to "get down" to anything except, by Sammy Power's statements to Goody, war in Africa. Remember there is a reason Bully Boy made his trip there, to attempt to secure a location for US bases. Africa is the wanted locale for the wars of this century by many (left and right). And when his close advisor is openly advocating that the US military be sent into Darfur (she's long advocated that but she was speaking as a Bambi insider on Democracy Now! -- full of cracks about Hillary as well as being able to peer into Hillary's heart and mind and tell you why she voted on something), it's really past time that left 'voices' stop advocating on Bambi's behalf.

But, if you missed it, "The Sad Rot of the Left" includes a 'voice' (one we've highlighted here many, many times) telling you to support Bambi because he is "a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs." When Dave Lindorff is making that stupid statement, you damn well better believe that there are huge problems with the left. That assertion is a ridiculous, if you bother to think about it, as claiming (as Laura Flanders and many more have) that Obama should be supported because of the people supporting him.

The reality is that real ideas exist today and they could and should be popularized but the bulk of the 'voices' the left today are too interested in shutting those ideas out and shooting them down. Imagine if only half of The Nation's non-stop Obama coverage this year had been spent on something worthy, something that could have long lasting impact and actually build a movement? They could have done that with any number of issues or ideas. Instead of making their goal change or information, they made their goal about building a centrist, right-leaning candidate into a god. To make him so god-like, noble and pure, they had to distort his stand on everything and they also had to ignore his stance on Iraq as well as Iraq period.

But to both camps (who mainly control Panhandle Media), there was something in it for them. The Goody crowd could pretend they were reaching back to historical roots while the Tomasky crowd hopes and prays that Bambi means every word he says and will bring about the "post-racism" they so long for. Equally true is that for all the shout outs and lip service to systems, they are rooted to personality and the individual. A smarter person might label that "identity politics" but there doesn't appear to be many smart people in Panhandle Media.

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[C.I. note: The entry is now over. A friend's kindly grabbed dictation for the last half and isn't sure which breaks to take out and which to leave in. Unless it's a problem with community members, we'll just leave it all in. If it is a problem, I will try to log on tonight and pull the breaks. I've also largely avoided going to Ralph Nader on the above topic. Nader did take part in the "identity politics" cry. If needed, we can explore it further here. I know he'll be demonized for declaring his run for president, so if it's not needed, we'll just note that he took part and leave it at that.]