On Naomi Wolf and Firebaggers in General

Naomi Wolf wrote a staggering bit of nonsense for the Guardian that is being pumped all over Facebook and Twitter in which she claims the DHS is coordinating the police response to Occupy Wall Street – that a dark and sinister cabal originating in the White House is behind a violent crackdown against protest.
The sources are all anonymous, except where they converge on singular claims made by people with motives that don’t even remotely orbit anything in the distant vicinity of clean hands. The whole whinging ball of excrement is washed away here.

But this raises another issue – one which has been gnawing on my skull for some time. Firebaggers. Hamsher, Greenwald, and the rest of the whining left for whom nothing accomplished by the current administration will either dent or scratch their raging frustration that President Obama has not solved each and every liberal issue according to their pure prescription.

“Progressives” (and I count myself one) are never going to be happy with any Democratic president (leaving aside how much less happy we’d be with any Republican).
The difference between what we would wish to see done and what can actually be accomplished, crossed with the fact that liberals are a fractious demographic that do not march in lockstep but rather break immediately into pet-issue factions all demanding immediate solutions to particular issues (Gitmo, Wall St., single-payer universal healthcare, abortion, jobs, taxes, LGBT…) creates a perennial set of circumstances.
The focus on the left devolves into constant whinging about the gap between reality and some idealized end point instead of recognition – and CREDIT – for what has been accomplished in the face of unprecedented and borderline treasonous obstructionism, and in an environment flooded not only with outright lies from the right but with Firebaggers like Hamsher, Wolf, Greenwald et al on the left.

The repeal of DADT; a deficit cutting HCRA that extends care to millions of previously uninsured Americans; pulled the economy back from the brink of global collapse; killed Osama bin Laden; ended the war in Iraq; appointed two pro-choice women to the USSC…

There’s plenty of room to criticize this president: Gitmo is still open, the Patriot Act is still on the books, none of the war criminals in the previous administration has been frog-marched before congress, and no one responsible for selling AAA-rated junk CDOs while betting against them with other people’s money has been pimp-walked off to a 50-year prison sentence…but none of that diminshes the ocean of difference between THIS president and where we’d be today with President McCain, or where we’ll be in five years with President Gingrich.

It’s one thing to steadfastly push in the direction we need to go. It’s another to holler, “Traitor!” at the best chance we have of moving in that direction. It’s still another to do so while relying on the sort of willfully blind, fact-free bullshit employed by the right as your justification.
What’s wrong cannot be fixed in one term. It cannot be FIXED in two terms, and may not ever be fixed to any progressive’s satisfaction, and certainly not every progressive’s satisfaction. But go right on ahead assisting the GOP in splitting and demoralizing the left.
A Republican house with a Republican president – do you prefer the Evangelical or the Mormon, the serial adulterer or the serial harasser, the pathetically stupid or the pathological liar? – is sure to be a step in the right direction.

Yes, it’s true: Obama failed to provide rainbows and unicorns for everyone immediately.
This is war…and you take the ground a few inches at a time. If you’re not in it for the long haul, at least stop tossing petulant grenades loaded with bullshit at our own trenches.

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28 Responses

  1. I have no problem with criticizing Obama. Being better than the alternative is not a very high bar. Well trained simians would be better than McCain.

    There was a conference call of mayors on dealing with this problem. Or at least no one has denied the Oakland mayor’s claim of such. And I see nothing controversial about the third rail she describes. Indeed, both parties profit greatly after serving on Capitol Hill.

    Progressive frustration stems mostly from the fact that band-aids are being used in situations where tourniquets are needed. The Health care bill is a joke and a windfall for private insurers. The Iraq pull-out still leaves just enough troops for us to be able to go back and start again where we left off. And NOTHING has been done to correct the problems with banking and finance laws. There is a growing belief (myself included) that behind closed doors, these guys are all on the same team. Offering only just enough differences to keep up appearances. Guys like Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Sanders are in far too short supply.

    Yes, Obama and Democrats are better than the alternative. Now, we need something better than the alternative to the alternative.

    • Nothing more than an uninformed and arrogant claim to hold yourself above the fray. YOU are the mythical “Centrist” except that rather than stand between the two poles yammering ala David Brooks about how Obama ought to compromise more, you leap to the left and scoff not at how far apart the two sides are, but how they’re exactly the same: “Obama is just like Bush!”
      The health care reform act was no fucking joke. It ain’t perfect by a long stretch, and that’s my point – rather than rejoice at change that could not be accomplished under ANY president since the New Deal, you scream, whine and bitch about how you didn’t get your fucking unicorn in complete willful blindness of the fact that there were never enough votes to pass a public option in the first place; a total refusal to acknowledge the kind and degree of pure obstruction the administration faces.
      The President doesn’t write laws, Sam – Congress does. That would be the Republican congress, not least infected with the presence of various Blue Dogs. But you reflexively blame the POTUS for failure to reform banking regs? Give your head a shake, you whiny bitch.
      And get out there for your vaunted third party. Just remember what happened when Nader pulled that vacuous crap: a 2nd term for W.
      Your growing belief in nefarious shit going on behind closed doors in the absence of any evidence for it AND in complete refusal to acknowledge plain FACTS, PLUS this bullshit reliance on anonymous sources jacked up by the likes of Wolf and Hamsher, and the similarity to Birthers, Truthers and Teabaggers starts firming up.

      • Vote for the vaunted 3rd party? You mean like the NDP? 😉

        But Nader gave us Bush in 2004? What the motherfucking fuck!!! You’re pulling out that utterly worthless and minuscule percentage point “what if” argument? Jesus fucking Christ! ….Gee, and “if only” I had been in Toronto when Scarlett Johansson was at the Toronto Film Festival, we’d have met, fallen in love and we’d be together forever. Getting laid has made you soft in the head, Cousinavi. The Blame Nader theory makes Wolf’s theory look almost as plausible as the Theory of Gravity.

        A simple look at the 2004 stats renders that theory, not just wildly speculative, but mathematically impossible. Nader held the balance in exactly ZERO states and, other than Iowa and New Mexico, (a combined 12 Electoral College votes) Nader didn’t even come remotely close to holding the balance in any state. In fact, you could make a decent argument that Libertarian candidate Micheal Badnarik “cost” Bush as much as Nader “cost” Kerry. In fact, John Edwards actually did more damage. One of Kerry’s Electoral College voters voted for him instead.

        But the very concept is weak. I was under the impression that, in a democracy, you didn’t own people’s votes, you earned them. And the Democrats failed to do that in 2004. Painful as it is, they couldn’t beat the worst White House occupant ever, a guy who left office barely polling in the double digits. But somehow that’s to blame on Nader, a guy who didn’t even get 0.4% of the votes, most of which were in “safe” or “no-hoper” states. Quite simply, the election was lost in Florida and Ohio and Nader wasn’t even on the ballot in Ohio. Besides, I expect at least half of Nader’s voters wouldn’t have voted Democrat anyway, if they even bothered to vote at all. How about blaming the 39.3% who didn’t vote at all? None Of The Above was down substantially, but still finished a very respectable 3rd place with more than 30 times the votes that Nader got.

        This is the kind of theory Democrat apparatchiks who need somebody to blame other than themselves come up with. “It wasn’t us, it was that guy who got less than 0.5% of the vote. He did us in. Now pay me my money, bitches!”

        Sorry to be such a prick about this small point. But of all the reasons Kerry lost and you pin it on Nader? Especially in a discussion about bullshit, fact-free theories that, even if true, don’t matter much in the macro. Vote rigging in Ohio, or even the weather, was more blame-worthy than Nader was in 2004. (Swift Boats anyone?)

  2. Mahalo, cousinavi. What I’ve been trying to say for a while – but you said it much better.

  3. A-fuckin’-men! I’m sick to death of these people who believe in fairy tales, politics-wise. From the very forming of the United States, it’s been a game of compromise, and yet they think that — because they want it to be so, I guess — now all of a sudden change can be rapid and complete. Bullshit. And these are the same people, the ones clamouring for Obama to basically rule by fiat, who cried holy hell when it was Bush trying to do the same. I thought then they were defender’s of democracy, but now I see that they were simply small minded people who only want power for ‘their’ side, and have absolutely no grasp of reality.

    And if the US ends up with a Preznit Romney or Gingrich or Paul, for dog’s sake, after these blithering fools stay home or vote for some no-chance-in-hell-of-winning 3rd party candidate, they’ll STILL blame it on Obama.

    Clueless morons.

    • Hey, it worked for Bush & Co! Things went swimmingly well for them despite their incompetence, secrecy, utter lies, criminality and all around “Now bend over and take it, bitches!” attitude.

      Even after they were caught red handed, they’re all free men and selling books about it. Nobody has come after them yet, not even for turning America into a torture state.

      The reality is that it IS all about power. The powerful ass-fuck the weak and turn them into their prison bitches. Anything else is a fairy tale.

  4. Truth: We don’t know (if her allegations are true). It isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility for mayors to consult with DHS. After all, that’s what they’re there for. To help local and state governments deal with threats. At best, one can conclude that maybe they did, and maybe they didn’t coordinate.”

    – the blog you claimed washed away “the whole whinging ball of excrement”

    I find it ironically funny that you chose to (somewhat) selectively use somebody’s opinion of the validity of somebody else’s opinion as a blanket condemnation of that opinion for being a blanket statement because it bolstered your opinion of the opinion of…uh…where the fuck was I?

    That’s exactly what’s wrong with the media, (especially in this hi-tech age where every fucking asshole can say whatever they feel like and any asshole can link to it as proof.) Too much opinion and too little evidence. Opinion is being picked up and spread, not just as if an opinion counts for something, but as if it’s a fact just because somebody said it was. But that’s just my opinion and God knows nobody on this motherfucking shit-hole of a planet will report it as fact. (Because everyone is out to drive me insaner than I already am.)

    But to quote your source, the fact is that the allegations just might be true in whole or in part. Only in the “No, not in civilized Germany” sense can you actually assume the best. Remember, America doesn’t torture!

    Homeland Security, The Patriot Act etc, etc provides all the cover needed to make this kind of shit possible. In this day and age, nothing is truly off the table. (America even elected a black man, for Christ’s sake!) We’ve stepped through the looking glass and there’s probably no going back. I need hardcore evidence before I accept anything other than my “Worst Case Scenario”.

    Which reminds me, what the fuck is a “firebagger”. That sure sounds like a very painful “worst case scenario” to me.

    • The point is that it doesn’t matter. The chain of command doesn’t work that way, the chronology of events doesn’t stack up that way, and a fucking phone call on tactics doesn’t amount to a conspiracy even if it did happen. Much like arguing with theists: A bunch of wild conjecture linked together with “You can’t prove it DIDN’T happen that way!” is no reason to conclusively assert “God Dunnit!” (or Obama dunnit!)
      Wolf’s paranoid speculative bullshit has been dismantled and dismembered by more sources that just the linked article which provoked me. See Joshua Holland writing at Alternet, as well as Angry Black Lady.

      • So the truth means nothing -eh? Come to think of it, that would make a pretty good slogan.

        So if it means nothing, then I prefer to think the whole thing was just Obama’s (and several mayors’) way of getting some free camping gear for their families just in time for Christmas.

  5. Thanks for the post.

    I fucking almost choked on my coffee yesterday as one of my dear friends started whining about the public option and Gitmo . . . .again. I swear I almost poured the dregs on her.

    All I said to answer her was— blue dogs and raging baggers, then—don’t you know how the fucking constitution works? I’m with the blogger who said she’s sick of the puppet fairy whining of affluent liberals who in their glitter world expect to get every fucking thing they want.

    Its like they don’t see the deranged GOP literally trying to starve the American people just to get rid of one man. They can kiss my ass.

    C’mon—they wanted Barack the magic Negro. They thought if they lowered themselves to vote for him their whole idea of life would magically appear and their persistant high pitched whining would only be needed when they had to pick their next pair of shoes.

    Fuck ’em.

    • Hmm, with that kind of love, I wonder how they can’t be more enthusiastic about getting behind their Democratic friends in 2012?

      Given the sorry state of the 2008 Republican party, my grandmother could have done a better job of running the table on them than the Democrats did.

      Just look at the sorry fucking Gluebiscuits in the Republican race! Yet I give the “winner” almost even odds of being the next President next year. Then what does Black Jesus have to point to?

      This is the kind of infighting those already pre-destined to lose have. Drinks all around!

      • Happily, I don’t think anyone is really counting on my non-love of the fbagger’s to effect any change. I would love to have coffee with one though . . . . .

        • I’m not a coffee drinker. (Good British colonial tea drinker here.) But despite not having a definition of the term “firebagger” to work with, I’m getting the feeling I’ll soon be accused of such “disloyalty”, especially if a certain Magicial Negro somehow manages to lose to one of those Republican Gluebiscuits and Democrats realize they blew their big chance. (Democrats are a bunch of finger pointing chokers with barely a testicle between them. They can’t even win after having won.)

          Assuming there’s any stores still open by then that a non-1% can afford, are you buying?

  6. To Sedate Me (my reply buttons have disappeared).

    My treat. . . .

  7. Sedate Me.
    Ahh yes— a firebagger. I shall use the Urban Dictionary’s definition as it tells the story and I’m a bit intellectually lazy today.

    A person nominally of the political left viewed as excessively critical of President Barack Obama, especially if the tendency is to reflexively or obsessively criticize him and seemingly not other political figures. Etymology: Jane Hamsher’s popular, left-leaning FireDogLake blog was regarded by Democratic moderates as having gone around the bend in being hypercritical, such as when Hamsher appeared on Fox News to denounce Obama’s Health Care Bill, got involved with Neocon zealot Grover Norquist and even reportedly Tea Party activists.

    • Great. I’m sure people will accuse me of it any day now. Thanks for the definition anyway and the offer of a much needed drink.

      No idea who this Hamsher is, but there’s always the chance she’s just laying the groundwork for a future “career move” when she is finally told she’s unwelcome in Democratic circles. A Reverse Huffington is what I think they call it in the industry. Fox is jammed packed full of shameless careerists and is always on the lookout for a “convert”.

  8. What did I say about you & your two sawn off shotguns blasts of truth in the face all John Woo styled? Beautiful and thank you

  9. Cousin Avi correctly identifies the Left’s tendency to speak with many voices. This tendency is free speech in action. Apparently, however, there is a line out there that must not be crossed in expressing a surfeit of opinions and positions. It is okay to be a dissatisfied lefty, but only up to a point. That point seems to be whenever a lefty starts saying anything hurtful to the president. I say, learn love the cacophony.

    One thing I seriously contest is that we have been pulled back from the economic brink. I guess the last three years with the American middle class in quick sand has been better than being kicked out of a helicopter is some kind of accomplishment, but it hardly merits any bragging. Millions upon millions of people are living through degraded lives, and there is no policy to pick them back up. In fact, our president is rather obsessed with balanced budgets and meeting demands for austerity, so social justice will have to wait.

    What this leftist sees is that too much ground has been lost, too quickly, and there is so little time to gain it back. Expressing satisfaction with incremental changes or a mere arresting of a precipitous fall is far too weak. The rightwing has made incredible progress toward its goal of ending the Enlightenment and returning us to the Dark Ages. I think the stakes are that high. So, when Obama gets us a deficit commission, I’m just not that jazzed about it. We need the restoration of the Enlightenment, not some compromise with the lords of the Dark Age. Obama is a weakling, and I get that, but I am not jazzed about it.

    • Once again, in the face of not getting all your unicorns and rainbows just as you imagine and demand them, Obama is a weakling.
      A shallow and willfully blind perspective completely disconnected from reality.

      • I didn’t want to do this, but I may be retrieving a comment on this topic from my recycling bin.

      • Yeah. He is not a weakling. He is foolish enough to practice the old paradigm of compromise as an effective tool of governing. He is attempting to practice reason in the inmates quarters. The results have been the appearance of weakness, yes to say the least. It’s past time to turn that plowshare into a sword.

    • One thing I seriously contest is that we have been pulled back from the economic brink.

      I think the best way is to think of it like the Coyote (of Roadrunner fame) having run of the edge of the cliff and hanging in midair. That temporary state of defying gravity is what Obama has achieved. Impressive, but ultimately just delaying the inevitable.

      • Yeah, and now the US middle class is being treated to austerity policies straight out of the 1970’s IMF bailout playbook.

        • Someone read Shock Doctrine. Yeah, it’s Uruguay and Chile all over again. And who’s responsible for creating the circumstances in which this sort of bullshit economic policy can be sold to a brainless half of the electorate? And who’s pushing it? Of course…Obama.
          Idiot.

        • C’mon, Obama buys into this austerity stuff, hook-line-and-sinker. He is a balanced budget man. He smokes Pete Peterson’s pipe.

          I’m just seeing too much devastation in people’s lives to believe things have improved that much. I may be an idiot about how things work when you’re out on the golf course with John Boehner, or when you’re trying to buy Ben Nelson’s vote, but I believe what I see all around me. I’ll never forget the governor of our state announcing devastating budget cuts that would “kill” people. Deathly budget cuts are reality. I may be an idiot for focusing on the ground level impacts of policy. Personally, I don’t give a shit if it makes me an idiot. I don’t want to delude myself about how hip I am to the inner-circle workings of beltway bigwids.

        • I don’t think Obama “buys into it hook, line, & sinker”. I think he just passively nods his head when his advisers tell him he should play along/keep quiet, so as not to appear “too liberal”, especially regarding things that he has no control over like state budgets. (Or, at this point, much of anything.)

          But he sure ain’t going to risk getting a bloody nose over it (or anything else really). At this point, he’s mostly just along for the ride.

  10. Yeah, I probably went overboard there. I’ve often thought that Obama pays zero attention to economic policy and figures that Tim has him covered.

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