Barbarians at the gate

I thought this New York magazine article was pretty interesting, go read it all:

It’s strange to imagine someone like Greene, who counts Mike Tyson as a close friend, and who has a streak that caused the L.A. party girls to refer to him as “Mean Jeff Greene,” feeling vulnerable. It’s hard to think of any superrich person as vulnerable, just as it’s hard to think that a bear with outstretched claws and giant teeth is more afraid than you are. But over the past few months, it’s become clear that rich people are very, very afraid. Sometimes it feels like this was the main accomplishment of Occupy Wall Street: a whole lot of tightened sphincters. It’s not a stretch to say many residents of Park Avenue harbor vivid fears of a populist revolt like the one seen in The Dark Knight Rises, in which they cower miserably under their sideboards while ragged hordes plunder the silver.

“This is my fear, and it’s a real, legitimate fear,” Greene says, revving up the engine. “You have this huge, huge class of people who are impoverished. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we will build a class of poor people that will take over this country, and the country will not look like what it does today. It will be a different economy, rights, all that stuff will be different.”

More often than not, fears like these manifest as loathing for the current administration, as evidenced by the recent wave of Romney fund-raisers in the Hamptons. “Obama wants to take my money and give it to do-nothing animals,” one matron blurted at a recent party at the Pierre for Dick Morris’s Screwed!, the latest entry into a growing pile of socioeconomic snuff porn geared toward this audience.

Greene, a registered Democrat, isn’t buying this school of thought. “It is kind of a problem in America that so many Americans believe if they elect a different president, everything is going to be fine. This whole idea of American exceptionalism, that we’re the greatest, when people don’t have health insurance, don’t have housing,” he says, swinging past the guesthouse, which has 360-degree views of the bay, and the staff house, which does not. “There are all these people in this country who are just not participating in the American Dream at all,” he says. This makes him uncomfortable, not least because they might try to take a piece of his. “Right now, for some bizarre reason, a lot of these people are supporting Republicans who want to cut taxes on the wealthy,” he says. “At some point, if we keep doing this, their numbers are going to keep swelling, it won’t be an Obama or a Romney. It will be a ­Hollande. A Chávez.”

Same-sex marriage part of DNC platform

This ought to inspire the progressive base. It’ll also make the Republican fundie base extremely motivated, but so what? The Democratic party ought to do the right thing more often – preferably without checking to see which way the wind is blowing:

A plank supporting same-sex marriage will be included as part of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) platform, according to an exclusive report at the Washington Blade, which notes it was a unanimous decision.

Also included is language supporting ENDA and rejecting DOMA. Retiring Congressman Barney Frank “who sits on the committee, told the Washington Blade on Monday that the 15-member panel unanimously backed the inclusion of a marriage equality plank after a national hearing over the weekend in Minneapolis, in which several witnesses testified in favor of such language,” Chris Johnson, writing at the Blade, reported today:

“I was part of a unanimous decision to include it,” Frank said. “There was a unanimous decision in the drafting committee to include it in the platform, which I supported, but everybody was for it.”

Frank emphasized that support for marriage equality is a position that has been established for the Democratic Party, from the president, who endorsed marriage equality in May, to House Democratic lawmakers who voted to reject an amendment reaffirming the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this month.

A DNC staffer, who is familiar with the process and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the language in the platform approved on Sunday not only backs marriage equality, but also rejects DOMA and has positive language with regard to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The exact wording of the language wasn’t immediately available.

Your librul media!

Here’s Bill Keller with Judith Miller, his favorite war-mongering protege. Jeeves, where is my car?

Bill Keller is such a punk-ass, social-climbing member of the elite that he has NO IDEA AT ALL what he’s really talking about. None. He just knows that Very Important People told him it’s important to cut Social Security and Medicare, and he took the ball and ran with it.

He just trusts his own kind of people. After all, his father George was chairman of the board and CEO of the Chevron Corporation. Water seeks its own level!

I guess he forgot that baby boomers actually overpaid into Social Security as a result of Reagan’s plan to fund his tax breaks for the rich? (Whatever happened to institutional knowledge in journalism?) Fortunately for the rest of us, Charlie Pierce remembers these things and reminds us why we’re so lucky he’s not the Times editor anymore:

Those of us — like me and Newt Gingrich — who thought the SuperCommittee was a stupid idea, and who also recall that the now-fetishized Simpson-Bowles “plan” couldn’t even muster enough support within the S-B commission to be presented to the Congress, still live in dread that a Grand Bargain is out there, growing big and strong in the mist-shrouded terrarium in which our political elites do their business.

On Monday, Bill Keller, who never will have to worry for a moment how much that MRI will cost that his doctor says he really needs, wrote a truly loathsome column in which he advised “greedy” baby-boomers like me to abandon our mooching ways and cast off the freedom-stifling shackles of our minimal social safety net, for the good of the country, y’unnerstan’? Quoth the old boss:

The Republican plan espoused by Mitt Romney and his fiscal lodestar Paul Ryan would cut the cost of entitlements largely by moving toward privatization: personal investment accounts for Social Security, vouchers for Medicare. And it’s not at all clear the Republicans would assign any of the savings to investing in our future. At least the Republicans have a plan. The Democrats generally recoil from the subject of entitlements. Centrists like those at Third Way and the bipartisan authors of the Simpson-Bowles report endorse a menu of incremental cuts and reforms that would bring down costs without hitting the needy or snatching away the security blanket from those nearing retirement.

This is a man speaking fluent terrarium right there. I defy Bill Keller to last a week living only on those benefits available to the greedy boomers, especially after the Simpson-Bowles cargo cult — to say nothing of the zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan himself — are through with them. I defy him to make it for a day. The “we” sprinkled throughout this bag of pus is probably the most noxious thing about it. Look around, Bill. You and Mitt Romney have far more in common than do you and the overwhelming majority of your “fellow” boomers. One catastrophic illness, and many of our families die on the vine. This is not hyperbole. This is how it works in the world. And, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, Keller signs on with the clowns at Third Way, who assure us that the real problem is that the elderly moochers are the ones keeping us from building new bridges, or flying to the moons of Neptune. Jesus H. Christ on a Lipizzaner, we’ve had forty years of demonized government, and 40 years of quack economics, and tax-cuts until hell won’t have them, and the reason our infrastructure is falling apart is because some retired ironworker gets $1200 a month? How much of a courtier do you have to be before the taste of caviar makes you nauseous?

And Nice Polite Republicans, too. Ladies and gentlemen, your librul media!

Support your local blogs, because these people certainly aren’t looking out for your interests.

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