Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Democrats' Little Problem

Somewhere beyond that mysterious void which separates we mere mortals from eternity, Adam Clayton Powell (photo on the left) is laughing his head off. It was forty years ago in June when the legendary Harlem congressman and bon vivant, whose political career was tainted by absenteeism and hints of corruption, was defeated in the Democratic primaries by a little-known upstart named Charles Rangel. The forty-year-old newcomer to the political spotlight campaigned on the issue that the good folks of Harlem could ill-afford a representative with the questionable ethics of Congressman Powell. What goes around, comes around.

In a parallel universe the Democratic party would be in an enviable position at this m
oment in time. They are about to come face-to-face in the campaign of 2010 with a party that has been hijacked by a cabal of bat shit reactionaries. But as has been noted on this site too many times to count in recent years, the "party of FDR" has developed a positive genius for taking a bottle of finely aged, twelve-year-old scotch and turning it into donkey piss. Every time I forget why I left the Dems in 1998, they always cheerfully remind me - and I appreciate that; I really do.

As Harry Truman might have said, the American people are in a "helluva fix". What with having to choose between one political party that has turned itself into an organized criminal enterprise (Guess which one I'm referring to) and another that is the picture of befuddlement and incompetence (as comically personified by their majority leader Harry Reid), it is no small miracle that our government is able to function at all. All of this on top of a president who came into office promising a new era of progressive enlightenment, but who (thus far - I haven't given up hope) has revealed himself to be a boring moderate. A recent survey has shown that Americans are consuming more alcohol than at any time in the last thirty years. I can relate. 2010 is not a good year to give up drinking, I'll tell you that. Choosing between the Republicans and the Democrats is like being given the choice of getting on a plane with a pilot who is brain-dead, or one who is sound asleep; not much of a choice - but a choice nonetheless. It is still possible to jolt one of those pilots back to consciousness.

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few....we can't have both."

-Justice Louis D. Brandeis

I won't blame you in the least if you think what I am about to say is beyond idiotic, but I still have faith in the Democratic party. That faith is disintegrating by the month but it's there - or what's left of it. They remain - on paper at least - the party of all the people, not just the moneyed plutocracy. Maybe Ralph Nader is right. Maybe it's all a scam. Maybe one day they will be revealed, for all time, as nothing more than the tweedle-dee half of tweedle-dum. But until that day arrives I refuse to consign them to history's morgue. A party that will still find room for people like Russ Feingold, Claire McCasskill, Sherrod Brown, Jim Cliburn and Al Franken is a party with hope - however faltering.

Here is a good example of that mass amnesia for which we Americans are justifiably famous: A recent poll cited this morning on MSNBC shows that forty-eight percent of the electorate plan on voting for the party of Glenn Beck this Election Day - as opposed to forty-three percent who say they are voting Democratic. Personally I don't think that that is going to happen. The right wing's grip on their own, carefully constructed reality has loosened quite noticeably in the last couple of months. In the end, the so-called "Tea Party" will prove to be nothing more than an embarrassment - and a reminder of the GOP's innate extremism. Although it has been proven time and again that Stupid sells in this silly country, happily for us all it does not have a very long shelf life.

WARNING: Do not use this product after November 2, 2010.

The last thing the Democrats need in the autumn is a trial in the House of Representatives that might distract the voters from their message - whatever the hell that message might be. Charlie Rangel might very well be remembered as the man who brought that party down in 2012. At the very least the poor old bugger will be blamed for bringing it down. He has many accomplishments for which he can be justly proud. He ought to allow the New York State Democratic party to nominate someone to run for his seat this year. In 1970 one of the arguments he made against Adam Clayton Powell was that he had been there for too long - twenty-five years. Charles Rangel is eighty years old now. He has represented the people of New York for forty years. He has been a pretty good congressman. It's time he step aside with dignity.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Let's all say a silent and gentle prayer for the tormented soul of Lenny Bruce, the greatest American humorist of the twentieth century, who died on August 3, 1966, forty-four years ago today.


A poll released yesterday revealed that a full FORTY-TWO PERCENT of us believe that President Obama was not born in this country or are not certain about it. Chalk another one up for the jaw-dropping stupidity of the American people.


At 2:10 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Timing is everything and now they are going after Maxine Waters. Could the color of her skin or the fact that she is a Democrat have anything to do with the charges? Nah! It's just a coincidence, isn't it?

At 2:27 AM, Anonymous Ron Baldwin said...

When it comes to ethically challenged Democrats, don’t forget former Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) who thought $90,000 in payoffs was really made by Birds Eye and belonged in his freezer.

If you want to poke fun at the political process you should look at Florida. We have an open US Senate seat in 2010 because Republican Mel Martinez thought a six year term was just too long to wait to cash in. So he quit early. The Republican Governor (Charlie Crist) appointed his political advisor and Chief of Staff (now and forever “Senator” Lemieux) to fill out the Martinez term based on Lemieux’ promise not to run for election in 2010.

Florida has a resign-to-run law that the Republican Governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature decided did not apply to Federal elections. Shortly after appointing Lemieux as US Senator, Charlie Crist announced (surprise) that he was a candidate for US Senate only two short years after being elected Governor.

Off Crist went on a very successful orgy of fundraising all around the country while still supposedly doing all that a Governor should do. But a funny thing happened on the way to the US Senate. A little known darling of the Tea Partiers, Marco Rubio, a former leader of the state House of Representatives, decided to oppose Crist and soon left Crist in the dust. This despite a very odious stench from Rubio’s time in the state Legislature

Now we come to the Democrats. An early candidate for the nomination was Congressman Kendrick Meek, who inherited his Congressional seat from his mother, Carrie Meek. Kendrick Meek thought he was in the catbird’s seat. Rubio and Crist would split the Republican vote and Meek would cruise to an easy victory.

Poor Kendrick couldn’t catch a break. A billionaire former Republican (Jeff Greene) became a Democrat and started spending millions to wrest the nomination from Meek. Then Crist was so far down in the polls that he left the Republican Party to run as an “NPA.” Again, this is Florida. Someone had registered the name “Independent” as a separate political party so they invented “NPA” (no party affiliation). Finally it came out that Meek had pushed earmarks for a very shady developer and, surprise, that developer gave Meek’s mother a Cadillac Escalade and a $90,000 stipend for “advice.”

Now the winner of the Democratic nomination barely breaks 20% in the polls and Rubio and Crist are about even at 35%. The buzz among Democrats is that the only way to defeat the radical right wingnut Rubio is to vote for Crist. The smart money has Crist close to or topping 50% in this three-way race.

And the Democratic Congressman, Kendrick Meek will be out of a job.

You just cannot make this stuff up.

At 4:28 AM, Blogger Lydia said...

I wish you had a "Share" button at the end of your posts. How I'd love to put this ...and others on my Facebook page.

Thanks for the history lesson.

I'm getting very depressed about November...

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darlene, while you are at it with you race garbage. Why don't you use race as an excuse for the thug who killed 9 innocent people. I'm already hearing the poisonous left start the race game in that tragedy.

Here is one for you from Rush about the Thug in Chief "I dislike Obama's white half just as much as much as I dislike his black half".

Harry from Mass

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Great post and completely true. I am a Republican but feel I was inched out by right-wing extremists that the GOP embraced and the Democrats seem so unorganized... I label myself a moderate and feel that I do not fit neatly in the two party system but because Florida is a closed primary state, I retain my party affiliation to vote...

@Ron Baldwin - The funny thing about Florida's open senate seat is that the GOP pretty much turned on Crist because they caught tea party fever. They thought the fringe was more important to court then the centrists and moderates, which Crist is proving to be wrong! Had the GOP backed Crist, they would have sealed the deal, but most likely, once Crist wins the GOP will crawl back to him and ask him to caucus with them - I'm hoping that Crist refrains from doing so and remains NPA...

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous boltok said...

Darlene: The Democrats are in charge. Is your point that the Democrats like to punish their own.

Retire with dignity? How about go to jail.

If any average citizen was found guilty of these charges, they would do time. Maxine to jail as well if she is found guilty. Add to that Geithner and Daschle and all of the West Wingers who are delinquent on their taxes. Any republicans guilty can go as well.

I pay mine, so should they.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

Boltok, is it really too much to ask you to know what you're talking about when you post? The charge against Waters has to do with whether or not it was against House ethics rules for her to arrange a meeting between the Treasury Secretary and an officer of a bank her husband has a financial interest in. It has nothing to to with taxes.

At 7:10 AM, Anonymous boltok said...


"Boltok, is it really too much to ask you to know what you're talking about when you post? The charge against Waters has to do with whether or not it was against House ethics rules for her to arrange a meeting between the Treasury Secretary and an officer of a bank her husband has a financial interest in."


I did not say Water's was guilty of tax evasion, although the remainder of the people mentioned are tax cheats.

The Waters issue, as you mentioned, relates to the fact that her husband was a board member and a stock holder in a bank that received a federal bailout. The bank bailout process was originally intended for only "too big to fail" institutions. OneUnited does not fit this definition. None other that Barney Frank seems to agree. If she used her power to "encourage" a federal bail out of this bank to her family's direct financial and her husband's professional benefit, the act is certainly an abuse of power AT TAX PAYER EXPENSE and may be criminal.

Members of Congress and their ilk enjoy an alternative justice system. First, most of the criminals in these circles are never charged with the crimes they commit. Second, if charged and found guilty, they get a slap on the hand.

If Maxine's acts are criminal and she is found guilty, Maxine should go to jail. A lot of people will spend much of their lives in jail for stealing much less.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

Way to backpedal, but of course, you're still misinformed. Maxine Waters is NOT in any danger of facing jail time, or even criminal proceedings, no matter how badly you might wish she was. The ethics charges she faces, at worst, would result in censure. Violations of House ethics rules are not crimes, they are violations of procedural guidelines.

"Maxine to jail as well if she is found guilty. "

Get a clue.

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous boltok said...

Bill in DE

   /ɛmˈbɛzəl/ Show Spelled[em-bez-uhl] Show IPA
–verb (used with object), -zled, -zling.
to appropriate fraudulently to one's own use, as money or property entrusted to one's care.

Outside of congress, embezzlement is a crime. Inside congress, a violation.

Your logic is garbled.

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

Uhh, no. There is no charge against Maxine Waters for embezzlement. At worst, the charges are that she improperly used her influence to arrange a meeting. Not that she used her influence to affect the outcome of that meeting, or in any way financially profited from it.
Way to do a Glenn Beck on the story.

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous boltok said...

Bill in DEnial

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

I'm sorry, you'll have to explain how understanding the actual facts of the case, as presented, qualifies as 'denial'.
It strikes me as more a case of reading comprehension vs wishful thinking on your part.

At 6:46 PM, Anonymous boltok said...

Let's see what happens. The Democrats wouldn't be taking her to the woodshed over a networking phone call, especially heading into what will be a brutal election season. Neither of us have the benefit of discovery facts. Optically the case is as I have stated it. Financial and professional benefit to her and her husband as a product of federal assistance to OneUnited. I have some experience with legal and corporate matters. My instincts tell me that in cases such as this, where there is smoke there is fire.

At 8:12 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

"Optically the case is as I have stated it."

Wrong yet again. First you say she should go to jail for what is a violation of procedure, then accuse her of embezzlement, when there isn't even a hint that anything she has done even comes close to that, and now you claim that you know what's going on, absent of any supporting fact. Give it a rest.

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous boltok said...

Bill in DE
My last response to you. I try not to be personal, but you are thick. You have been banging your head against the roof of that low rider a bit too much.

"Neither of us have the benefit of discovery facts."

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

Your problem seems to be you make up the facts you want as you go along. The only way you could have out done Glenn Beck in exaggerating the KNOWN circumstances was if you would have drawn them on a chalkboard and blubbered like a little girl.
As far as rides go, I prefer a lowrider to the short bus you ride.

Don't forget your hockey helmet, Corky.

At 11:30 AM, Anonymous boltok said...


An additional curiosity: Why is Maxine actively concerned about a bank in Barney Frank's back yard?

At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite the little colloquy youve got going here Tom...

I love the Brandeis quote, are he and George Carlin signaling us from beyond these days or what ?

I liked your observation : Although it has been proven time and again that Stupid sells in this silly country, happily for us all it does not have a very long shelf life.

here's a little supporting evidence for that -- I posted a fake of Palin with absurdly large bulging cleavage a few weeks back to accompany a post about her twittering. When my site traffic soared into numbers I hadn't seen more than a few times I naturally patted myself on the back and assumed America and the world had finally come to its senses and seeing things my way... when it continued for another straight week I began to wonder and checked the sitemeter counter on my blog to see where all these enlightened souls were coming from : Saudi Arabia, Chile, Bahrain, Warsaw, Dublin, damn what a wonderful world...until it occurred to me to see what it was they were all reading and you guessed it they were reading Palin's photoshopped knobs ! Keep fighting the fight i appreciate your depth and breadth of the subjects and your fine Amero- Hibernian way with the words. Saoirse

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nader was right. Next issue...

At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Will Shirley said...

When two criminal gangs start fighting over territory it has nothing to do with the quality of the insurance they force down people's throats. "It would be a shame if your front window were to get broken, Mr. Smith..." Now we have the two wings of the Republicrat Party arguing over who gets to fleece us. In point of fact they take turns sucking our blood. There's no evidence of any form of democracy left in American politics. What flavor fascism do you prefer? The Italian Original form got the trains to run on time, but the German version had those great uniforms.

This is a great deal like watching those old silent films where the words don't matter, their lips move and move and the sign pops up: "What?" No correlation between lips moving and content of speech. I have read and re-read the Constitution as well as the letters and articles by the writers of that document and I fail to see where there's any great "genius" in the product of that debate. Compromise works on occasion to mitigate harm, but the compromises in the Constitution set us up for a final showdown between the people and their rulers. Who gets those freedoms? Who is a citizen? What form of government shall we use? Their fancy talk legalese is so interesting as artifacts of the 18th century, but it's 2010 now and perhaps we might want to re-write any of those passages which seem vague now, like that damn 2nd amendment! Doesn't it seem to you that they wrote in a prohibition against a standing army? I mean, weren't they smart enough to know that if you give a guy a title like "Commander in Chief" and a full tilt army that guy is going to start a war! Can you doubt it? Check the record. Hell, even Reagan invaded a country. Would it be so bad to establish that the majority of Americans want no religious observations within any government offices? No ten commandments, no pictures of Yeshua exposing his glow in the dark heart. How about if we declare that those guns everybody says we have a right to own should, in the spirit of the times, be no more advanced that your typical 18th century black powder musket. In other words no automatic weapons, no cop killer bullets.

The one thing I wish I could take care of is that strange division we speak of when we say "the government" as opposed to "the people". What the hell? Even in a republic the government IS the people! We hate the government with a virulent rage which is, after all, directed at ourselves. Maybe there's a reason why, maybe our genocide against the native Americans, our early support of Hitler, our clinging to our slaves, our burning of crosses, our wildly arrogant joy at our collective ignorance of the world and it's processes have built up an undeniable record which even the lifelong Republicans must see is not worthy of our love. A mother would love her psychotic child, but a people must not love their psychotic government.

It's the holy month of Ramadan so our God-fearing conservative neighbors are meeting at the Ramada Inn to burn the Koran in the parking lot. How much further down the ladder must we fall? If we cannot create a society which respects the rights of others to believe in whichever deity they so desire, how can expect our deity to hear us? If it harms none, do what you will.


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