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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some thoughts about Hillary, propaganda, 2012 and related matters... (UPDATED: A lying ratfucker stands exposed))

My previous two pieces on the pro-Hillary robocalls have evinced a larger-than-usual number of responses, some of them quite angry. I wrote an early version of this post in a reply comment, but perhaps it would be as well to expand upon those thoughts here.

One piece of hate mail ran thus:
"I hate to tell you, but MOST PUMAs have never even heard of your site. Today is the first day I heard of it, and I never hear anyone discussing it."
Well, throughout 2008, this site got a lot of traffic -- and a lot of hate mail, including death threats.

This is not bragging. I usually do not do the things that other bloggers do to increase visibility. To the contrary: In that same period, I asked other sites (including Raw Story) to de-list Cannonfire from their blog rolls.

Why? Because Obama-loving clowns would often write in and accuse me of being in it for the money. To which the obvious response was: What money?

At that time, everyone knew that I was not a huge Hillary fan. Quite a few anti-Obots belonged in the "Hillary supporter by default" category.

Let us, with a sigh and a roll of the eyes toward heaven, give the rap one last time...

I never thought that Hillary Clinton would be a bad president. But the idea of dynasty has an obnoxious reek, and when the wife of a two-term president runs for president herself -- well, it seems too much like a cheap attempt at a constitutionally-forbidden third term. Also, the Clinton name seemed damaged: The anti-Clinton barrage of the 1990s, unfair though it was, had inflicted some genuine wounds.

In short, Hillary's ability to win in the general election was open to question.

Thus, in 2007, I took an ABC -- Anyone But Clinton -- attitude. I even supported the little-known Obama, even though he aroused my suspicion.

Then came the "darkened video" smear on Kos. This site mounted a detailed technical rebuttal to that canard. Many people read and discussed that particular post. Nobody attempted to refute the argument (which I had run past an old friend who edits video professionally) -- at least, not on technical grounds. But the Obama supporters nevertheless reacted with a level of mindless outrage and vitriol that reminded me of the Free Republic crowd at its most bloodthirsty.

That's when I understood that a kind of madness had overtaken progressive circles. Anyone who criticized Obama was slammed as a racist.

Hero worship is always to be disdained.

So this blog switched allegiance to Edwards. A mistake, yes, but at the time, we did not know what we know now. The populist stances he took on the campaign trail still deserve admiration.

I supported Hillary only when she was the last thing standing between Obama and the nomination. As the campaign progressed, her sheer resilience commanded respect.

PUMA sprang up. It was, arguably, necessary. But...well, let's just put it this way: No joiner I.

Do not count me among those worship Saint Hillary. There's a difference between respect and worship.

Frankly, my former respect for Hillary has diminished to a considerable degree. She has done things (perhaps has had to do things) as Secretary of State that deserve heavy criticism. She would have done better had she remained a senator.

To repeat: Hero worship is always to be disdained.

There apparently is a residual PUMA underground which maintains an altar dedicated to Saint Hillary. It's a cult of sorts. The cult no doubt receives covert funding from the Republican party, just as Democrats used to toss a little money each year at the Libertarian party (which siphoned votes from the Republicans).

At any rate, most of these cultists get, and merit, little attention.

Any hint of libertarian rhetoric makes my eyes turn bloodshot. That rhetoric -- sometimes blatant, sometimes subtle -- glides in and out of the pseudo-PUMA sites.

I prefer Corrente's "too liberal for Obama" stance, although lambert's puerile fantasy of a third party also pisses me off. My preferred strategy has been consistent: Let's take over the Democratic party and transform it into an anti-libertarian powerhouse.

As the earlier post pointed out, there were always two PUMAs. One was a genuine grassroots attempt to topple Obama, while the other was a GOP ratfucking operation. These days, the ratfuckers seem to be in control.

One of the remarkable aspects of the real PUMA movement is that it attracted some remarkably gifted writers. In particular, Dakinkat and Riverdaughter are born talents -- and I say that even though I doubt that RD even likes me. (Those two ladies don't get along these days. Not sure why. Not my affair.) If one of the pseudo-PUMA sites publishes wordsmithing of that caliber, let me know.

Whenever a previously unknown commenter, usually anonymous, drives by and thoughtlessly insists that we all must vote against Obama, I smile in recognition. Just another ratfucker.

Ratfuckers are always easy to spot. They don't do nuance. They don't do subtlety. They don't mount careful arguments of the "on the one hand X, but on the other hand Y" variety. No, their business is propaganda, pure and simple.

You know why propaganda works?

Some years back, a psychologist did an experiment. The subject was given a card bearing a line two inches long. Then he was given a second card with three lines printed on it: The top one was one and 3/4 inches long, the middle one was two inches, the third one was longer. Which line (he was asked) best matched the line on the first card?

When left to his own devices, a subject will say "The middle line." Every time.

But if you put the subject in a room filled with people -- all actors, placed there as part of the experiment -- who insist that the top line is two inches long, then the subject will pick the top line. Not always, but almost always.

It's part of human nature. We simply do not want to be outcasts.

The drive-by commenters who invade various blogs to push a propaganda line are fulfilling the same role as the actors in that experiment.

We saw a lot of pro-Obama "actors" in 2008. They were pretty obvious. We later learned that there are internet services which can artificially create public opinion using blog comments. David Axelrod, Obama's campaign chieftain, runs one such "astroturf" firm. If you study the comments appended to just about any 2008 post, on any Democratic-leaning blog, you'll easily spot the "Ax" brigade at work.

But Axelrod is not the only one. There are plenty of astroturfers out there, and many of them are employed by the GOP.

Do your own thinking. Don't let a crowd talk you into an answer that does not match the evidence of your eyes.

Mistrust simple statements. (Yes, I recognize that the preceding sentence contradicts itself. Isn't that cute?) The more complex and thoughtful arguments deserve greater consideration.

Here are my thoughts on 2012.

Back in 2008, the Republican candidate was John McCain, a fundamentally decent man who holds to views I don't like. In the end, I could not vote for him. Yet I still think the country would have been, in some ways, better off had he won. Although we probably would still be in an economic downturn, at least the bad times would have redounded to the discredit of the Republican brand name.

Let's face it -- by this point, the recession belongs to Obama. He didn't create it, but it was his to fix. And he hasn't fixed it.

Had McCain won in 2008, the way would be clear now for a truly progressive Democrat to effect radical change.

But now we have the problem posed by the tea party, an obnoxious conflation of libertarianism and Christian fundamentalism, the two most dangerous trends in American pseudothought. This movement pretends to revere the founders, yet it wants an end to democracy. Many of them favor secession and Dominionism. Newt Ginginch has always favored "nonlethal" means of crowd control -- which means that he has anticipated the insurrection that must necessarily accompany the transition to outright oligarchy.

Any Republican candidate too heavily stained with tea must be opposed. The country can survive four more bad years under Obama; the country can't survive insane fools like Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry -- or Ron Paul. Libertarianism is a destroyer of nations. By intent. By definition.

Obama is a terrible president. A sell-out. But he is not insane and he is not a fool. The genuine hatred he arouses in libertarians remains a point in his favor.

Romney...? I'm simply not sure. We shall study; we shall see. Right now, he looks like a Mormon version of Obama.

As a general rule: If forced to choose between Horrible and Horribler, I'll go for Horrible. And if you try to force me into a different stance by hitting me over the head with your bag of cliches... Is that rat I smell?

UPDATE: Speaking of rat, the following comes from Hillaryis44:
This Kook [the link goes to this very Cannonfire post] who is attacking us as “Republican ratf*ckers” is a self confessed Obama fan and Hillary hater. He says “I was not a hugeHillary fan…. I didn’t like the idea of dynasty… I simply thought that the Clinton name was damaged… I took at that time an ABC — Anyone But Clinton — attitude. I even supported Obama.” And this fool is preaching to us????
Quotation can be slander if you gerrymander. Is this lying idiot seriously trying to convince people that I am a "self-confessed Obama fan" and a "Hillary hater"? Does that characterization bear any resemblance to the previous posts on this site? Does the pseudoquotation as given here bear any resemblance to what I originally wrote? (And I never wrote a post attacking Hillaryis44 -- until here and now.)

Here's how to spot a Republican ratfucker: LYING. Ratfuckers LIE.

From the same post -- and note that this bit is not gerrymandered or taken out of context:
It’s like Hillary supporters who reject Obama but still support what was once the “Democratic Party”.
That group includes the Clintons themselves, of course. Also:
Matt Damon who attacks Palin and others as stupid, we have called stupid.
Wow. What writing! Worthy of a C.B. DeMille screenplay. Maybe the text sounds less stilted in the original Akkadian.

Obviously, the people behind Hillaryis44 are hoping for a Republican senate. That is the purpose of the site.
I responded to the absurd assertion that PUMAs had never heard of Cannonfire in a post below....but meanwhile!

Have you heard the latest?? Gary Johnson, who was arguably the least insane of the GOP candidates (and thus utterly ignored by the media) has dropped out of the Rethug race to seek.....the Libertarian nomination!

Why does this thrill me so? Because I just can't WAIT to rub it in the face of the next RP zealot!!!! Gary Johnson is prochoice to RP's prolife. Fine. I know all Libertarians are evil, but some are more evil than others and I want to have some fun teasing Paulbots.
wow - you sir, are brilliant!!!
Your 2007 and on political journey mirrors mine-- except that I did vote for McCain. As I mentioned at RD's place, I call myself a PUMA because it is an easy label to apply and stakes a position without having to explain a great deal-- unless, which is often the case, someone doesn't know what a Puma is. Other times I get say I'm a well-armed Real Liberal.
I tell 'em weaponized Liberal :)
Those quotes make me think I'm seeing orange.
Well yeah, you accused HIs44 of being a Republican site, which it's not. So they responded. What do you expect?
You bet your ASS it's a Republican site. If you're too stupid to see that -- if you can be fooled by such a transparent ploy -- you're so dumb you could drown in a bowl of soup.

All further commentary from anonymous cowards will go unpublished.
If the Clinton name was "damaged" as you claim, then how come Bill Clinton is the ONLY PRESIDENT in the last 80 years more popular at the end of his term than he was at the beginning of his term?

If the Clinton name is so damaged, how come Bill Clinton was the only president in the last 80 years to actually lower the yearly budget deficit for all 8 years he was in office.

The implication that Hillary Clinton would have been a front for Bill Clinton is a somewhat patronizing comment in my opinion.

Joe, I would suggest the issue you have not grappled nor addressed because it is a woman thing and you seem less interested, is the cadre of women who may have felt threatened by Hillary Clinton suddenly have more prominence then they did.

List of well known women who probably felt threatened by a Hillary Clinton presidency include, Nancy Pelosi, Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, Maria Shriver, and Donna Brazile.

None of these women wanted to be second fiddle to Hillary Clinton as president. Rather than remain neutral in 2008 when either the first african american male president or the first female president could have been elected, these women chose to go for the male candidate well before all the democratic primary votes were counted for reasons that are probably too embarrassing for them to ever admit in public, petty jealousy.
Hillary is 44 presumed that the Occupy movement was secretly backed by Barack Obama.

Obama did appear to have his SEIU people infiltrate early on, but it appears that in most cities this infiltration was not automatically accepted.

Therefore I think it is in error to label the occupy movement as an Obama movement. When Michael Moore attempted to move in he was not that warmly embraced.

You'd think at the very least Moore would have donated a few thousand of his books so the occupiers could having something warmer to sit on besides the cold cement.
"If the Clinton name was "damaged" as you claim, then how come Bill Clinton is the ONLY PRESIDENT in the last 80 years more popular at the end of his term than he was at the beginning of his term?"

Well, you're right about that. Really, what it comes down to is I just didn't want to hear all of that "Vince Foster" conspira-crap again. I wanted to deal with NEW conspira-crap.

Yet we ended up hearing a lot of that "Vince Foster" nonsense. Only it didn't come from the Republicans!

That said, I think in 2000 a lot of people who actually like Bill Clinton -- and you know that I remain, on the whole, an admirer of his presidency -- could also understand those who complained of Clinton fatigue. If he could have run for a third term in 2000, would you have urged him to do so?

I probably would not have. I wanted to see Gore have a chance.

But compared to Bush -- well, obviously, that story is very different!
Joe, I thought this post was most helpful of everything you've written on this subject so far. It got me thinking about another possibility.

1. I'm disappointed in Obama. I would much rather Americans saw Hillary than Obama on the ballot in 2012. I also share your disappointment in positions taken by Hillary since she became Sec. of State.

2. You wrote:

Had McCain won in 2008, the way would be clear now for a truly progressive Democrat to effect radical change.

The implication is that for 2012, the door is shut for a progressive Democrat. That's the point I want to take issue with.

3. You've made a persuasive case that it's a Republican rat-fuck. Let's consider, however, the possibility that it's not a partisan maneuver, but an establishment maneuver. That it's not the Republicans but Wall Street interests that are trying to build up Hillary. The Republican slate is so bad, Obama's position so precarious, and geopolitics and the global economy is sufficiently dicey that Wall Street needs a safety candidate waiting the wings. And that person is Hillary.

Let's say the U.S. provides cover for an Israeli attack on Iran. Let's say there's a major banking collapse. We don't know that Obama could survive either. And Wall Street knows it.

Hillary is the establishment's safety valve candidate if Obama implodes (as perhaps they think he might). They're positioning her to appear the natural alternative -- someone they know they could live with.
The "Crawdad Hole" that includes myiq as a Front Pager devotes a lot of time cheerleading for Sarah Palin.

That says "ratf*ucking" in my book no matter how often he needs to "explain" himself as a dissaffected Dem.

And extreme leap in going from a diehard Hillary Clinton supporter to one where this empty headed ignoramous is considered in the same league.
You apparently don't realize that some people must remain anonymous in order to stay employed. Some employers do not permit political activity in public; some people have small businesses and don't want to mix politics with their business name. For someone who thinks he's so smart, your gratuitous name-calling of your own readers makes you look like a big bully. You come across as an ass.
Any site that calls Democrats, whether they are real ones or the neolibs like Obama "Dimocraps" is a true GOP ratfucking site.

Never liked Hillaryis44. I saw through that outfit right away.
I am actually surprised the Clinton campaign didn't order HIs44 shut down or ordered the name to be changed and all images of HRC removed. I think more than a few people actually thought the site was affiliated one way or the other with the HRC campaign.

The operators of the site never gave a crap about Clinton but was designed to create dissent among Democrats. The "praises" of Hillary and Bill were right out of the Eddie Haskell school of sincerity. Totally phony.
If a Martian had dropped in on Cannonfire during the heat of the '08 primaries, (instead of writing Palin speeches) he/it would have thought you were supporting Hillary. So the loons who r now stalking u r rewriting history for their own purposes, as per usual. Re: 2012 -- we r probably stuck w/Obama who may squeak out an electoral win against Romney or Newt (Romney will b owned by Wall Street/Big Pharma wing of the Rs, Newt by Oil/Christian right/military). But at least as important is for the Ds to take back the House, particulary in the swing districts lost in '10, may of which r in NY, PA, OH.
It doesn't take a political genius to read the "Crawdad Hole" and not appreciate that this is nothing more than a GOP ratfucking site.

Watching myiq try to waltz away with disclaimers is an exercise in "spin". Taking offense that he would be classifed as one when all he does is send "letters of love" to Sarah Palin every other day speaks for itself.

Even his long association with Riverdaughter who tolerated his nonsense for far too long with his Right Wing leanings has ended since she called a halt to the daily homage to Palin.

Ratfucker? You bet. No different than Hillbuzz with their tributes of record.
Listen up, you gutless "anonymous" weasel, there are a lot of us liberals who were lifelong Democrats until the RBC took the nomination away from Hillary and awarded it to their Wall Street buttboy, and I'm one of 'em. I voted for the McCain/Palin ticket in 2008 because it was the more liberal ticket* and I'd do it again in a hot minute.

As for Sarah's IQ, I'll bet you $100 it's at least 20 points higher than that preening narcissist you doods are so enamored with. Fuck you.

* IIRC McCain wanted to re-establish the Depression era HOLC. Look it up and then get back to us, 'kay?
Thanks for clearing the air about your chronology vis a vis Clinton, Obama etc.

Since you reccommmend him, you won't object if I say Ian Welsh is closer to the correct perspective than either you or your major opponents. Perhaps if you haven't already, you will elaborate your views on Welsh, who insists Obama should be primaried from the Left and that the US and globalism is doomed in any regard, not least because of progressive's lack of vision and will.

It should be clear also when a sharp guy like Greenwald promotes working with anti-Elitists like Ron Paul in areas of agreement in the short term, you should take heed.

Short of Welsh's bleak vision, the America you fear cannot "survive" should an awkward (and impossible) conflation of libertarians and Dominionsts take power, perhaps doesn't need to remain stable for the period involved in replacing the Elite with a new set of statesmen. We understand the masses in the regions occupied by the superfluous Empire would not regard it a negative if the troops had to be brought home to help restabilize the Nation.
Joe, thanks for acknowledging that Bill Clinton was the only president over the past 80 years that left office with a higher approval rating than when he started.

However, the second point I think is more important, Bill Clinton is also the only president in over the past 80 years that lowered yearly budget deficit each and every year he was in office.

I think Hillary would have been able to do the same regarding the budget without drastically cutting back on social programs.
There's no residual connection between seminal Robert Rubin deregulation of finance, the bailout and the current deficit?
It's just an excuse Ken.

Simply change one banking law, Debt Restructuring DOES NOT require a credit default, and the playing field between the 99% and the one percent would have been leveled.

Please vote my Hillary Clinton comments up at The Most Powerful Hillary Clinton speech is one you probably never saw.
The prose on the site has the cadence and logic of another language and a vaguely possessed mindset--say, an Israeli Scientologist.
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