The Main Attraction himself
Still buzzing from Bernie Sanders' kickoff rally yesterday in Burlington. It was the first truly warm day of the year, in the upper 80s, and there was certainly a festival atmosphere at the Burlington Waterfront, itself a testament to the tenacity and vision of the newest official presidential candidate.
The big draw, according to pre-event scuttlebutt, was free Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and there was a pretty good-sized line of folks looking for some quintessential Vermont beat-the-heat elixir. Notably, the line for buying Bernie campaign paraphernalia was every bit as long.
Another tale making the rounds today, as noted by Rob in Vermont earlier
, is this was a bunch of hippies having a pointless little moment.
Um, no. No, it wasn't.
Local tv station WCAX estimated the crowd at 5000 people, and in this little burg in this little state, that is massive turnout. Especially since this wasn't a Phish reunion concert. I saw signs from as far away as St Croix in the Virgin islands, and everyone knows hippies can't swim ;)
Come on below for my take and some pictures from this historic event
This is an expansion of a few comments I've made in some of the current posts about the sheer scale of the dishonesty coming out of the Republican Clown Convention in Tampa.
In virtually every one, several commenters are asking wtf is with the escalation of blatant falsehoods, to such an extent that Fox News of all places is calling Ryan a world record holder for lying. Some are encouraged that such reactions from the legacy media are occurring, but I am not among them.
Truth does not matter in American politics. I think most of us have accepted that much over the last decade or more.
What matters is controlling the narrative, and that is what the lies are doing. They are reframing the campaign into a referendum on president Obama, and that has been the Romney campaign's stated goal all along.
kamarvt explains why this is working below the rising orange sea surface.
This is a diary about empathy, not about cats. Like Watership Down was not about rabbits.
Empathy is an essential component of humanity, and it is never more important than when it is exhibited by the strong for the weak and defenseless. The stronger one's position, the more incumbent it is to not only possess this quality, but also to actively engage it. There is a proportional relationship between power and the ability to do good, when good is defined as being alert to the circumstances of those less powerful, and acting in their interests.
And yeah, it's been brought on by my cat getting sick again.
Like so many of you, I had a personal email from Markos Moulitsas this morning asking me to vote for Rick Santorum. Like so many of you, I had heard of this idea since at least Operation Hilarity, and had made my decision; no.
Not because of the Great Questions about subversion of democracy, but because Vermont is a small prize, Romney will take the scant (R) vote by 2:1, etc, etc, etc. I mean, what's the point?
But voting here is so easy. There's never a line. And they have cake.
So I changed my mind after getting that personal entreaty from the guy who built the blog where I hang out way too much, again, like so many of you, and decided to go vote for Sir Rick Of Camelot.
So here's what happened.
Senate minority leader Mitch "Yertle" McConnell (R-The Swamp) just said the following on the Senate floor;
After years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is probably unattainable.
So that establishes that McConnell is ready to give up on negotiations regarding a budget deal, and signaling this retreat with a repetition of his monotonous threat that harkens back to his stated goal of this congress; to make Obama a one-term president. He then goes on to bash the president with all the usual projection and upside down pronouncements about the will of the people.
So is this just Eric Cantor 2.0? Take the Ball And Go Home, Again?
I don't think so.
Jump the squiggle if you want the money (er, 13 trillion dollar) quote;
Those of us cursed with functional memories can recall pretty accurately the debate surrounding the various rounds of tax cuts enacted during the bush Dark Ages. Being one of those people, I have had a hard time following the script this time out as our Most Serious Leaders pretend to carefully weigh the pros and cons of giving yet more trillions to the most affluent among us.
As I remember it, these massive cuts, heavily weighted toward the rich, were designed to happen only if they didn't blow a huge hole in the (then surplus) budget, and were specifically targeted at the wealthy because they would function as an economic stimulus to spur the sputtering economy and bring us all golden ponies. (Ok, i made up the ponies part - it wasn't even an internet meme back then).
A little bit of googling confirmed that my memory, and not the drivel we are hearing today, is accurate.
Some fond memories from the Two Party Tango over merely the first round of wealth redistribution, and curtain calls from the likes of Larry Craig below the fold.
Bear with me as I wander through some disparate threads to try and make sense of the alarming disconnect between who we are as a nation, and who we think we are. It is a difficult path, fraught with obstacles, endless forks and false trail markers, and it exposes some truly ludicrous but deeply cherished assumptions we have made about ourselves.
I've been thinking about the BP spill and the relative power of government and industry. I've been thinking about the fact that a sitting senator can say on tv, unremarkedly, that we no longer have a democracy but an oligarchy. I've been thinking about the finding that AIG apparently did nothing wrong in helping to collapse the global economy, and neither did anyone else (except maybe ACORN). I've been thinking about the ignorant outbursts of our respected politicians and pundits, and the useful myth of the liberal media. I've been thinking quite a bit about American mythology. But mostly I've been thinking about what has gone wrong with our sense of balance.
Amidst the growing chants of "It's Over", "It's V R Day" and all the rest of the self-affirming conventional wisdom that All Will Soon Be Clover comes this personal reality check;
Yesterday, a beggar showed up at my door.
Lately, some people have decided to start bringing guns to presidential appearances. It can't be for hunting, so there must be another reason to arm oneself before a public gathering. Apparently the teabaggers have begun to tire of being laughed at, and are demanding more respect in the only way they know; intimidation through the threat of violence. This alarms many people who fear the worst including among the president's own security detail. Given budget cuts to the Secret Service, and a huge increase in death threats against the current president, clearly, this is a pressing national security concern.
I humbly suggest that there exists a simple and highly effective solution to this serious and growing security challenge.
Mr. Obama, perhaps you should ask yourself: WWBD?
What would Bush do?
Well, whaddaya know. Old John McCain (remember him? Caribou Barbie's sidekick from last season's show) is on a tour of Afghanistan, and he's offering his one-sided, warmongering advice on how to proceed in the most intractable of our two current intractable occupations.
It will surprise no one that he advocates sending more troops into harm's way. After all, McCain never met a problem more soldiers couldn't solve. What might surprise is that until July of 2008, in the heat of the campaign, McCain had not advocated such a move.
Detail of the cravenness of this flipflop, and why nobody should care what Grandpa Screams At Clouds has to say below the fold...
I came across a particularly galling piece by free marketeer Geoff Colvin on the CNN Money website this morning, and thought I'd share this astounding rehash of Republican campaign season lies, misdirection and doublethink with the community.
The basic premise is rich people aren't rich if they don't feel rich, and that Obama is a socialist, which is bad for the economy.
Oh, and he has coined a very sympathetic term for the poor, poor, pitiful rich in America:
"The Working Rich"
Oh, the humanity!
Check this out;
It started with Mrs kamarvt bringing home the Sunday local paper. The Easter Sunday local paper, smeared with a full page paid screed from a group calling itself "America Forever".
The ad was appalling enough, full of all kinds of hate speech - exactly what the first thing on their website claims they aren't. Loaded with disinformation and the type of fearmongering that hunter (among others) so expertly quantified here yesterday, the ad seeks to alarm Vermonters into irrational actions.
When I started digging through my local paper's website, I uncovered a seething, ignorant hatred that turned my initial assessment of the local Order of the Wingnuts, (namely, funny and harmless) on its head.
There is danger here.