You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

July 31, 2011

Thanks a Lot, Asshole

Two things have been obvious since at least the summer of 2008: (1) Obama's dearest wish was to be a centrist corporate president and rerun the Clinton administration exactly; and (2) circumstances would prevent that and force him significantly to either the left or right of Clinton. It's been clear since soon after he was elected that when he had to choose he was going to go far to Clinton's right, and tonight he made that choice irrevocably.

The worst part about Obama's behavior isn't the agreement to slash government spending, though that's bad enough. The worst part isn't even his wholesale adoption of right-wing rhetoric and fairly tales. The worst part is that—because he wanted to use the debt ceiling as leverage against the 17 remaining liberal Democrats in Congress—he eagerly created the precedent that this will happen whenever the debt ceiling is raised and a Democrat is president.

So get ready for this every couple of years for the rest of your life. Won't let us zero out Medicare? WE'LL CRASH THE ECONOMY. Won't let us make it illegal to say the words "global warming"? OUR FINGER'S ON THE DETONATOR! Won't let us pass a law tying the serfs to the land? WE'LL BLOW UP THE WORLD!!! And then the Democratic president will agree to it and send out the press release celebrating the "kind of compromise that makes America great."

Thanks a lot, asshole.

P.S. Yes we can!

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at July 31, 2011 10:52 PM

The worst part is that—because he wanted to use the debt ceiling as leverage ... he eagerly created the precedent that this will happen whenever the debt ceiling is raised and a Democrat is president.

Your irrational Obama hatred has made you ridiculous Jon. Everyone can see that there will never be another Democratic president, and leftists everywhere should thank Obama for that.

You need to see the good in people Jon.

Posted by: Carl at July 31, 2011 11:35 PM

Wouldn't a nice hot slice of rhubarb pie be good right about now. Nothing takes the taste of shame and humiliation out of YOUR mouth like a hot slice of Bebop-a-rebop Rhubarb Pie.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 1, 2011 12:02 AM

First it was "Yes We Can" on a blue flag. Now it's "One Term" on a white flag.

Posted by: bobs at August 1, 2011 12:23 AM

Obama is the President of Wall Street.

Posted by: rob payne at August 1, 2011 01:00 AM

Or maybe the worst thing about Obama is that he is president.

Posted by: rob payne at August 1, 2011 01:26 AM

if you were looking,

(1) misses the mark - he planned to do what he's doing, be Bush-Cheney's 3d term with blackface

(2) is bullshit, he's not "forced" to do anything

you ivies are so clueless

Posted by: Karl at August 1, 2011 02:04 AM

Earlier tonight, at an anti-Sarah Palin blog, I wrote an honest politician is one who stays bought - obama was ALWAYS in the pocket of the banksters and the war party - as are the clintons, also too.

I was immediately and angrily denounced as a firebagger - a combination of "firedoglake" and "teabagger", it means someone who criticizes Obama ostensibly from the left, and it is a very serious thoughtcrime.

"If the cap fit,
let him wear it" ---- Bob Marley

with firebagging best wishes,
m.c., ph.d.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at August 1, 2011 03:58 AM

I'm a bad person. Yes, a bad, bad person. Oh, how I wish the Republicans will nominated someone reasonably sane-looking enough, so the majority of Americans will casts their votes for him.

Anything to get that sickening, Smilin' Jack, used-car dealer, out of the White House!

Posted by: Paul Avery at August 1, 2011 09:45 AM

You NEED a FB like or share button on these posts, homey.

Posted by: Ben at August 1, 2011 09:45 AM

"Many people are calling Obama too far to the right (except, of course, Republicans). I only halfheartedly agree. In many cases, he sees comprimise better than outright rejection. Also, I think it will be very hard for him to act in any way against liberal values without appearing a hippocrite. (sic)"

Man, that PR industry sure had a way of making me feel like an insider. But when one strategist started calling capitalism "the competition frame" I knew the party had hit a wall.

Posted by: LT at August 1, 2011 09:49 AM

My letter to Amy, who loves dogs, and her president too

Amy1 wrote to me recently at the blog Palingates, after I wrote that "Obama has always been in the pocket of the banksters and the war party", Is it an illusion that Obama is an honest man? That's a huge part of his value, to me. I believe he is. I've never heard anything substantial to the contrary. Do you think he is bought? Any specifics?

My reply:

"Do you think he is bought?" Maybe you've read Catch-22, by Joseph Heller. Ostensibly a World War II novel of the black comedy genre, it is more accurate history than they teach schoolchildren (according to what I've heard - I wasn't there - before my time). Yossarian tells the shrink, "Doc, they're trying to kill me." The shrink says, "No, no, my friend. They aren't trying to kill you. They're trying to kill EVERYBODY." Somehow, Yossarian is not reassured.

Similarly, I doubt you will be encouraged to learn that I don't think Obama in particular is bought - I think they're ALL bought.

But you ask for specifics. First of all, "you can observe a lot just by watching." In other words, behavior counts more than promises, expressed intentions, sympathies, common values, etc. etc. etc. So let's look at the behavior. How is he doing on the civil liberties front, and the openness/transparency of government front? Read Glenn Greenwald at Salon. How is he doing on the killing of foreigners front? Read How is he doing on prosecuting all the con men at the finest banks and investment firms, who enriched themselves during the great fraudulent mortgage boom? Read Yves Smith at How is handling our current economic situation? Here I can recommend going to very establishment figures - Paul Krugman, Robert Reich - as well as less mainstream figures such as Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson. In general, for a firebagger perspective, in addition to firedoglake itself, see and

How can such a handsome, friendly, well-educated, articulate man be a war criminal and a central cog in the machinery of the military industrial congressional financial corporate media complex, a conspiracy to use, abuse, and confuse the people, to "milk, shear, and slaughter the sheeple", metaphorically speaking? [Except that the metaphorical sheeple are, in fact, literally slaughtered.]

'Tis a puzzlement.

Posted by: mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at August 1, 2011 11:19 AM

By the way - to all you cynical firebaggers out there - I did NOT write Amy1's post. I agree it's wonderful, but I can't take credit for it.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at August 1, 2011 11:25 AM

I found an article which presents legal arguments that Mr. Obama could have used the 14th amendment to unilaterally raise the ceiling. The article is here:

Posted by: Edward at August 1, 2011 12:09 PM

...circumstances would prevent that and force him significantly to either the left or right of Clinton. It's been clear since soon after he was elected that when he had to choose he was going to go far to Clinton's right...

Disagreed: a) Obama's arguably to the right of Clinton, but not "significantly far", and I'm sure Clinton would have acted similarly in the same circumstances; b) those circumstances didn't force Obama anywhere--they just revealed particular facets of his politics, and I don't see any reason to believe that what he's doing is anything other than what he wants to do; and c) there was zero chance he'd end up significantly to the left (regardless of what his hyperventilating fans chose to believe), and that was clear long before November 2008. Obama's post-election trajectory follows his post-nomination trajectory and the general rightward trajectory of the Democratic Party as a whole. It was both predictable and predicted, including right here on this blog.

The differences between Clinton and Obama are mainly circumstantial, not ideological.

Posted by: John Caruso at August 1, 2011 12:15 PM

Clearly Obama lives in a cave in Bullshitistan, but that seems to be the thing to do anymore in the cosmopolitan D.C. world.

That is but one of the things to be expected on this side of the peak of sanity it would seem.

Posted by: Dredd at August 1, 2011 12:21 PM

Get ready for this:

Obamabot: "He's our first African-American president, he has to get a second term otherwise the racists will win".

firebagger: "His color is green man, wallstreet green".

Obamabot: "you're a racist."

Posted by: Ironbutterfly at August 1, 2011 01:05 PM

In the Republican spirit of adopting descriptive names for things generally known as something else, like the Republican 'Death Tax' for the longer known 'Estate Tax,' let it herewith be done that we call members of that most conservative of Republicans the Tea Party Terrorists.

Posted by: Joe Gould at August 1, 2011 01:28 PM

Wait, charley, now firedoglake is "too left?"

This is so fucking hilarious.

I wish I were 12 and "I told you so" gave me the emotional satisfaction that it did then. Growing up is such bullshit.

And, btw, for fun on the web, when you're called a racist for criticizing Obama, imply or flat-out point out that you're not white, and watch hilarity ensue. Until Obama's servile rightwingers adopt the blatantly racist language of their unambiguously rightwing peers, they have literally no response but stuttering and forgetting to make a follow-up post. I swear, it's actually less aggravating to post at stormfront: at least the bigots there don't want a thank you for "protecting your interests."

Oh, that reminds me: charley, you missed one:

if you're dealing with a well-off white person who, in a perfect storm of patronization and racism, claims or implies that a vote for Obama is a vote for Black People Everywhere, head on down to and set 'em right.

Careful now, though. Those people down thar care about disenfranchisement and prisoner rights and whatnot; they aren't Serious.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at August 1, 2011 02:28 PM

I wish I were 12 and "I told you so" gave me the emotional satisfaction that it did then. Growing up is such bullshit.


I'm too grown-up, as it were, to believe that this is going to effect anything resembling real change, but what the hell:

Posted by: Cloud at August 1, 2011 04:02 PM

He didn't really say that, did he? The bit about the "kind of compromise that makes America great"? Right?

Posted by: DRK at August 1, 2011 04:42 PM

The Republicans didn't get their way with Obama -- he's some way to their right. There was no actual compromise here. No actual precedent set. C'mon -- you know all this.

Posted by: DavidByron at August 1, 2011 06:14 PM

"I was immediately and angrily denounced as a firebagger "

It's nice to see that Americans of all stripes would rather use a reasoned, fact-based argument than resort to childishly angry name-calling.

Posted by: TK421 at August 1, 2011 06:17 PM

"Wait, charley, now firedoglake is "too left?""

Yeah, at some blog comment sections (Balloon Juice, which I've been reading for no good reason lately) there are a number of Obama fans who think FDL is a racist bunch of white people because they criticize Obama. They also find reasons daily to hate Glenn Greenwald.

Then you go to other blogs and FDL is criticized for not being nearly progressive enough. It's sort of entertaining. I don't read FDL myself.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at August 1, 2011 06:25 PM

your take is correct HOWEVER..we are STILL here.. whether or not president CEO=WANNABE dooshbag believes that or not or cares...that idiotic law was written, idiotically enough by the very portrait of a mediocre washington boob, dick gephardt. back when debt posturing was replacing "tough on crime " as all the rage for lashing out at hated minorities and poor people. Its a crappy law, it can be repealed. its not our biggest problem. our biggest problem is enforcing dicipline on these scum from the left. we have to get hard. no more limousine lefty light. join the communist party. get together with other "peoples patriots" and come up with a "contract for the people" that demmands garunteed health care , income and edcation for every man woman and child within 100 miles of an american border. then throw your congress creep out if they wont sign it.this has been the effective strategy. no more pussys.

Posted by: solerso at August 1, 2011 06:40 PM

well, TK, what do you want from an "anti sarah plain blog".... i mean right from the get go, its all about, NOT being for sarah, you know, ""sarahs a dog, and shes stupid, arrrrgh i so hate sarah. hey bammaman guess who is NOT goanna be president ={o....?"" you know the type... and of course, because they have all of the depth of personality and finely tuned intellect of the average NFL super sunday club gold member, thats what those people are all would be a good thing for american politics if obama quit tommorow... their would be a period of rage and deep mourning from those people, then they would get back to a more normal routine of watching survivor and americas got talent and blogging about that.

Posted by: solerso at August 1, 2011 06:56 PM

Third Party, Folks.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 1, 2011 07:51 PM

Another great American compromise in the mould of "Gee, you provide a bulwark against our morbid fear of international communism and boy howdy we'll let ya drop people out of helicopters, rape nuns and disappear street urchins."

Posted by: Draylon Hogg at August 1, 2011 08:29 PM

Draylon: the loss of Communism was a serious problem for the Republican party just for the reasons you describe (and a surprisingly serious problem for the Dems, due to their symbiosis with their Repug peers). David Brock's Blinded by the Right is dated now (damn, I'm old, wtf) but Republicans really were looking for the next group to justify their hate.

Thank goodness for brown people!

Btw, I'd be leery of an anti-palin blog in the first place, though morbid curiosity might cause me to take a look. The misogyny there could be galling. Worse, the entire problem with Palin is that people keep talking about her. She has no significance in and of herself, so an "anti-palin blog" is the best thing for her. Palin is basically Bloody Mary, but really fucking boring. Please stop inventing her.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at August 1, 2011 10:26 PM

NOoC: sometimes we agree. This is not one of those times.

Re anti-Palin blogs: actually, your first impressions of misogyny are incorrect. Most of the anti-Palin blogs are run by women or male-female couples: Laura Novak - Blog; Malita Litman; Palingates; Politicalgates; the most important exception with a male proprietor is The Immoral Minority. At these blogs, BabyGate is a core issue, and it is male discomfort with the biology of pregnancy which is seen as one of the reasons why BabyGate has not yet brought Palin down.

Sarah Palin is important for a number of reasons: she is a spearhead of the astroturfed and yet demogogically appealing Tea Party; she represents right-wing theocratic Christianism in its threatening Dominionist and New Apostolic Reformation guises; MICFiC moneybags backed her, thinking that she would be a pliable president (they've now reconsidered, apparently) and put her on the Republican ticket in 2008, even though she is mentally ill and committed a hoax pregnancy that supposedly resulted in her Down Syndrome "son" Trig. Not a bit boring.

A guy named Fred - said to be a journalist and lawyer, full name not specified, apparently because he's too busy getting the book together to talk about it now - is working on a book about BabyGate, which is intended to be available in a month or two - and it will go into some detail on the evidence. Next month Joe McGinniss, author of The Selling of the President, and true crime book Fatal Vision, among other books, will publish The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin - he says he has more info about the Christianist angle, not so much on BabyGate.

Now if you wanted to say that Bristol Palin, Dancing with the Stars competitor and author of an autobiography at the age of 20, is boring - then I'd agree with you.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at August 2, 2011 01:57 AM

I didn't say they were misogynistic charley. I don't go to them at all because I might find some. Again, to be clear, I didn't accuse the blogs of any moral wrong. It's simply not worth the review. The issue is a nullity at best.

Here's the problem: Palin is holding an OFFICE. You said it yourself: she is a "spearhead." The problem is she's imminently replaceable -- and I was saying that well before Bachman showed up. Anyone who has a) lived in a red state and b) gone to a PTA meeting knows that the U.S. churns out these wretched human beings, and finding a mildly attractive one that has had kids is as easy as breathing.

If you strip away any tabloid bullshit, the only thing left of "Palin" is the ideological bullshit that the Tea Party brings, and those things are the only issues of interest about her. Compare to, say, Bill Clinton, whose skills and personal philosophy makes him an interesting enemy in his own right. If I'm talking about the democrats and talking about Clinton, I make a distinction. If I'm talking about the Tea Party and Palin, I don't bother. I don't have to. There's no daylight between them.

I heard, back when she first came on the scene, that the Trig story was problematic. Again, this is tabloidish. Not incorrect -- she's almost inevitably lying from what I know, and I'm sure if I investigated I'd be convinced -- it just doesn't have much political relevance given the other stuff Palin has done. I'd be willing to agree-to-disagree on boring: I find all of that shit boring, but that could be a matter of taste and asthetics. But it sure as hell isn't all that important. There's enough noncontroversial, non-debatable stuff that would get her investigated and possibly put in prison due to behavior in Alaska, iirc, if we were a nation of laws. Once I've seen that, I don't need to hear much else.

Her children, real or imagined, are minor celebrities, and are as important as one thinks celebrities are (imo: not at all, but again, that's a hobby). They are political resources, not political actors.

In any event, what seems to me to be NOT in doubt is that people who don't think of themselves as rightwingers -- especially people who lie and say they're liberal -- are obsessed with her. I'm not talking about you or the blogs you visit necessarily -- again, I haven't gone -- but punditry wallows in her debris like a dog. And considering the artificial nature of the Tea Party, the degree and the nature of the coverage is incredibly distortive. I strongly discourage adding to that compost heap. This is the reason for my bias against even mentioning her. Your perspecitve has merit, to be sure, but I think you'd agree that there are a lot of Serious People who have made Palin into a boogeyman to scare us into a nastier monster.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at August 2, 2011 11:17 AM

The main point I'd make to you, NOoC, if I could, is that Babygate is NOT PRIMARILY ABOUT PALIN. It is about the people behind the curtain, and their control of the people running the curtain. The metaphor may not communicate clearly enough. To be more flat-footed: I mean the Daddy Warbucks Club*, which funds the Christianists as well as the Tea Party; and their collaborators, willing and reluctant, in the corporate media.

*"Daddy Warbucks Club" - there I go with the metaphor again - I mean certain sinister, powerful, and secretive elements of the MICFiC. One finds out, as one ages, that the outrageous exaggerations one thought comic are merely sober depictions of the way things are.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at August 2, 2011 11:29 AM

I am not completely convinced of the net positive value of an act that increases the presence of Palin in human discourse, but I definitely see discussion of the tactics of our aristocracy* as something important. Talking about the tactic of an enemy is generally a good thing. I would suffer great pains to avoid playing into another opposition tactic -- that is, increasing or maintaining Palin's celebrity -- while doing so.

*My own name for the MICFiC, mostly because, unlike most, I don't see any tremendous jumps in human social development when comparing the modern day to antiquity and I believe a sense of history is important. Academics have failed us vis-a-vis shared terminology. Both terms are useful, though they convey somewhat different.

"One finds out, as one ages, that the outrageous exaggerations one thought comic are merely sober depictions of the way things are."

Yah. Even worse: it's possible to go backwards.

I once met a guy who believed that the Bavarian Illuminati ("It didn't really start in Bavaria, that's misdirection, man!") controlled the UN and much of world politics, but, when the conversation shifted, I couldn't convince him that the Tulsa Race Riots actually happened because it was "too random."

Posted by: No One of Consequence at August 2, 2011 04:21 PM

Is “Barack Obama” the African translation for “Herbert Hoover”?

Posted by: Joe Gould at August 4, 2011 06:58 AM

Joe Gould - see post and comments at

Posted by: mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at August 4, 2011 04:59 PM