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May 12, 2008

Comments

Anarcissie

I thought Faludi's comments were rather odd. I don't follow mainstream big-ticket politics very closely, but it was my impression that Clinton played very deliberately to the Soccer Mom constituency on her journey from dabbling in leftish activism to right-wing warmongering, imperialism, and race-baiting. In a world where we had already observed Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher and many other tough female politicians, I don't think a new example was needed, but I believe Clinton thought she needed to distance herself from _herself_ to meet the requirements of a politics whose heroes were overt thugs like Bush, Cheney and Giuliani. Reminds me of Nixon reinventing himself every few years.

Rif

Instead of exposing Obama for being a crook, oportunist, and a marxist, you attack a more accomplished woman than yourself. Are you jealous? Obama did nothing for his constituency in Chicago. He opeated with a crook and an anti-white american, and a terrorist to gain politically. GE controls nbc and it's affiliates. Exelron is a subsidiary of GE....do your reasearch on Obama and his legislation regarding nuclear waste inot his district. He is all talk. He is dangerous and you knock a woman who has more in her little toe than Obama has in his whole body. Then check out the city of Chicago...what has he done for the poor. He lined the pocket of Rezko and did nothing but give lip service to those who relied on him. In the 8 years Pres. Clinton placed his offices in Harlem it has become a safe and thriving community. He may have done it for political reasons but he got positive results. Obama got negative results. He is all Axelrod words and slogans and does not represent the mainstream. Who is the real Obama? Is he a combination of Michelle, Rev. Wright,and Bill Ayers? Is he more like his six stepbrothers and cousin Odinga? Instead of knocking Hillary why don't you do research about how Obama used the black community and did not help them. How he used all the people in power around him to get what he wanted. You are either being payed off by the Obama team or you are stupid.

dana b

I don't believe Senator Clinton did anything wrong in pointing out that working class, white voters are now, more strongly than earlier in the election season, favoring her. What she should have pointed out, however, was that this is more likely a phenomenon of class than race.

Paul Krugman stated this best in a recent column of his: the transformational message of Obama and his supposedly "new" politics leave many working class voters cold. Clinton appeals to working class voters of all races (and to many others to the tune of 49%!).

If Cllinton's opponent were not black, working class black voters would be voting for her over the more aspirational, process-oriented candidate that Obama is. I don't begrudge black voters of any social class or gender their decision to vote for Obama as a matter of pride and as taking part in an historic moment. White, Hispanic, and Asian working class voters, however should not be branded as racist for choosing the more experienced, policy-wonkish, and traditional candidate. They envision her doing more for them and for the country in concrete ways that matter to them.

Clinton, herself, should not be pilloried for simply pointing out the statistical, demographic facts of this election as reported in the AP poll. Race is hard to talk about deftly, and Clinton wasn't elegant about it in that USA Today interview in which she cited the AP report. But that inelegance does not make her racist, nor does it make her campaign "dirty". I continue to respect her.

Anarcissie

Rif: 'Instead of exposing Obama for being a crook, oportunist, and a marxist, you attack a more accomplished woman than yourself. Are you jealous? ...'

I'm happy to say that my accomplishments don't including voting for the war in Iraq. I'm certainly not jealous of that one.

lc2

Pssst. The would-be Emperor Obama has no clothes! Sure he hasn't ruffled any feathers ... he hasn't said anything the slightest bit controversial. Think about it. It's the Bush-y cult of personality all over again. Will we ever hire people for this job based on their intelligence and work ethic?

Anarcissie

"Bitter."

tata

"Biology conditions us in all kinds of ways we might not even be aware of yet."

According to Dr. E. O. Wilson's work all
social behavior is based on genes and Evolution. Racism is because human have most of their evolution organized in terms of tribal identity.

Just look at White people, they have been runing the world for 500 years so their racisim is even more potent because they have the power. Compounding all this all automatic responses. Things like Freud's work have totally been refuted by current work on genetics and function of brain.
But that does not stop you from throwing the old canard of Choice.
and Psychologist beating the drums of Id, Ego and Super Ego.

So No amount of Intellectual rationalization will change this but at least you can describe the situation in terms of current science.

Anarcissie

A lot of people seem to be down on racism these days. It's just possible that that attitude will have some effect, and people will find some other ways of mistreating their neighbors and doing evil in general. There's always hope, right?

Ted Atkinson

You say "the woman to get closest to the Oval Office has promised to “obliterate” the toddlers of Tehran." Senator Clinton said that, in response to a nuclear attack by Iran on Israel, she would obliterate Iran. Do you think that any future American President should give Iran the impression that we would NOT massively respond if they attacked Israel with nuclear weapons? To do so would place millions in the region in peril. You might want to read a book or two about past foreign policy errors which have led to enormous bloodshed. I would certainly hope that Senator Obama makes it very clear that any nation attacking another nation with nuclear weapons would face massive retaliation from the United States. This policy, called deterrence, has helped save the world from destruction since the end of World War II.

Walter Dufresne

I'll surely vote for (and campaign for) either Obama or Clinton after the convention. Nevertheless, it is astonishing that some of Hillary Clinton's recent campaign behavior is reminiscent of another, often-disliked politician, another politician with "high negatives," Richard Nixon.

Anarcissie

I am not going to vote for anyone who voted to start or support the war in Iraq. I don't want to come away from the voting booth with blood on my hands.

As for this fantasy of "obliterating Iran" -- genocide -- I think it's as immoral as the idea of throwing a hand grenade in a schoolyard full of children. That this sort of talk is condoned and even praised shows the moral deterioration caused by the lust for power.

At some point, if we want to survive at all, we're going to have to stop supporting this kind of mental garbage. Let me suggest to anyone that today is as good a day for that as any. If not now, when? If not you, who?

Steve

Although I appreciated the analysis in your "Hillary's Gift to Women," I wish you had devoted at least a sentence to gender, a category broader than just women.

As a gay man, one of the most offensive aspects of Hillary Clinton's campaign was the ugly (and ridiculous) turn toward masculinity bullying, including surrogates belittling Obama's testicles, attacking his supporters as effete, and resorting to such gendered epithets as "sissy" and "pansy" - clevely stopping just short of "queer" and "faggot," but exploiting the same prejudices.

I will NOT support a candidate, male or female, who behaves like an insecure, queer-bashing teenage boy who bullies younger boys or drives a souped-up car in a pathetic attempt to show off what a big, bad-ass man he is. And that is exactly what Hillary has become.

Sadly, however, I've long since given up expecting middle-aged white feminists to give a damn about subordination of gender-noncomforming men and boys. Living through the 1970s apparently has rendered the entire class hopelessly self-absorbed. So we witness the disgusting spectacle of NOW cheering on Hillary as her surrogates spew masculinity epithets like "sissy." And I'm supposed to take NOW seriously? Whatever.

Walter Dufresne

This old "yellow dog" Democrat would gladly vote for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama over John McCain. Just because the Democratic Party might not nominate my preference, that's never been a reason to stay away from the polls. Electoral politics really is often a case of campaigning for the candidates most closely allied with one's beliefs, and then pulling a lever for the lesser of two evils.

I have zero problems with distinguishing between the kinds and amounts of evil that politicians perpetrate. Heck, I do it all the time. As bloody as we suspect Hillary might be, old John's got more than a little first-hand experience with both dropping the bombs and voting for more bomb dropping. Consistently so. There really are differences between what Bush did and what Kerry might have done, between what Bush did and what Gore might have done, between what Clinton did and what Dole might have done ... and on and on.

Staying away from the polls and deliberately refusing to choose between greater and lesser evils because a favorite lost a primary is, I suspect, its own kind of narcissistic immorality. But there's good news: the guy who opposed Iraq from the start looks like he's going to get the Democratic nomination.

Buena

Steve, how can you label all "middle-aged white feminists" as card-carrying NOW members and Hillary supporters who are hopelessly self-absorbed?


Not all of us MAWF's like Hillary or her tactics -- most of my women friends(who lived through the 70s but manage to avoid hopeless self-absorbtion) can't stand her and are avid Obama supporters.


Don't stereotype us and we won't stereotype you.

dana b

Steve,

On the whole I found your comments illuminating and much needed -- about the use of terms like "pansy" and other sexist language & imagery by Clinton surrogates.

I must take issue with this however:
"Sadly, however, I've long since given up expecting middle-aged white feminists to give a damn about subordination of gender-noncomforming men and boys. Living through the 1970s apparently has rendered the entire class hopelessly self-absorbed."

My impression of gay male culture in San Francisco where I now live again is that many of its participants are just what you criticize here -- self-absorbed and interested only in their own sexuality and men like themselves. The Castro neighborhood is nearly wiped clean of children. Women are outnumbered 50 to 1 on the street. Is that the reflection of gay men's commitment to equality and justice only for themselves? Their world seems to be an all-male affair with drag-queen events, S&M parties, and drinking. Not a world this middle-age, lesbian and feminist feels she can engage with seriously.

So what have gender non-conforming men and boys within their movement done for anyone else's rights or struggles? What have they done for women anywhere except exaggerate gender stereotypes by appearing in drag shows? Maybe when women see some reciprocity of interest in what should be shared struggles for gender freedom they will pour more effort into what concerns you here.

Anarcissie

Choosing the lesser evil is fine, but you have to draw the line somewhere, and cynical, calculated participation in mass murder is on the other side of the line I choose to draw. It has nothing to do with any primary -- Obama is a charming fellow, but regardless of his earlier opinions, he did vote to support the war more than once.

I really think we have to get serious about this stuff. It's not just a horse race between competing interests with tolerable old blowhards in straw hats making deals in back rooms. There's blood on the ground.

Buena

If you don't vote for the lesser of two evils, will you feel better when the greater of the two evils wins?

Anarcissie

It's not a matter of feeling good. It's a matter of who I am. I can't be the person I am and voluntarily participate in mass murder.

Brian

I think even a discussion of gender and race is so old school it makes me pause and then shudder. Its not that it is wrong or innaccurate or not interesting, but the discussion really occurs on another mezzanine for me. Its the traditional real outtake of our team against theirs and is so elementary school it brings back memorys full of horror of being forced to be a member of that pack of dogs. Tata said freud has been replaced by the MRI scanner and thats that. Nature has us in such a competing frenzy "WE BUY IT". We need a serious radical re-think here and I would posit try and step out of your mammal. Step outside of it and see the quarks interacting inside, and take a dualistic look at what is happening. Mammals an embodiement of quarks which are little pigeons of quantized energy joining at the most basic level to form a species of jealous beings who compete, compete, compete, because their primary nature is to compete. Its not about right or wrong, integrity or sociopathy. Its about competition and a fullfillment of a sense of the useful all powerful mammal on steroids out-competing all its breathern. Its silly to think either Freud or the MRI is the right answer, as we are composites of psychological overlays on biologic substrates. Our brain can process in and outside the competitve mode. Our competitive mammal has been cleverly harnessed to be the bestest consumer in the world. That isn't freedom. That is being in a yoke. We are told to even consume more in the name of obtaining our freedom from the very same yoke that has blinded us into doing its bidding. This entire competitive election process is a big money maker for the media and a whole host of companys while channeling all and any political aspirations of so many high energy people into a harmless hobby as far as "the system" is concerned. Hillary is scary at how little thought she gives to the potential repercussions to her decisions. She is bright, middle class bright, but not a deep thinker. She says what it takes to win, but beyond that has little to say. She can pose for the camera like a good star trooper, but she has no driving theme. If the theme is she is a women, thats truely sexist and pathetic. If the theme she is a being with sincere deep ideas, that would be a nice change. In this day and age no politician can afford to talk about "obliterating" anyone anymore than that president of Iran has. If that is the level of her intelligence that is too dangerous for us, we the people. For the press to play childish "got-you" games is equally disgusting. Why don't we just have Hillary and Obama mud wrestle? The very same media that bashes bush is salivating at the chance to bite and chew on whomever wins, and surely will probably succeed in trashing them as they did Truman, Nixon, Johnson, Carter, and Bush. The fact that you are expected to side with one of these "leaders" is the biggest falsity of all. It reminds me of "The Prisoner" tv series with Patrick McGoohan in which he is kidnapped off to a government village for quitting his secret civil service job and then interviewed and challenged in each show by a new "number 2" village administrator. Interestingly as each fails to break the prisoner, he is replaced by a new number two each episode till the very end when we learn who number 1 is. It turns out to be the chimp in all of us, the raw animal with an aggressive guile and manic will. The series was so controversal it ended his career in England as he its actor, producer and chief writer. Malthus, John Locke, Emerson, Thoreau, all wrote of a similar angst of their times, and so did Chaucer in 1400AD. HillBam is nothing new really, just television and now the net is. A good social critique will have to transend the mammal, though the humorous observations of Mark Twain and now Stephen Cobert might do aptly as well. Didn't Goldwater say about the USSR what Hillary said about Iran? Yes, yes, the clerical fascist regieme is terrible there and they are trying to make nuclear weapons. But what I am talking about is HillBam is just another American iteration along such familiar bombastic lines. Some can say, well much more goes on behind the scenes than the media toppings we are shown and haranged by. Her refusal to quit despite the math has a certain air of psychosis as it passes the bad smell test. She cannot believe this is happening to her after all her long choreographed work to become president which I think crystalized for her during bill's rockier days as president. It was always subconiously there from her first job after Law School but she followed a path with bill that took some zags when it should have been taking zigs. Freud was a projective psychologist caught in the clutch of his own demons, brilliant all the same, while Jung was an analytic psychologist(one self-aware of projections and their undercurrent in methaphor and culture and art(Joeseph Campbell). Marshall McLuhan(the media is the message). Our political culture is not self aware at all, it is numb yet stoically determined to circumvail over anything sensible. It keeps us in the mammal mode. For those of you who want to step off that drilling rig and look at it another way, you won't find the media helpful. There is an absolute dearth of drilling below the carpet as to what drives our culture beyond "Car-Talk" and the brothers who do that show. Our election process paraded embarrassingly before us everynight reveals something no body wants to talk about. I suspect we haven't even entered the real silly season coming.

Walter Dufresne

"I can't be the person I am ..."

I respect that, a lot, and won't argue with such principles. And if I so much as sounded like I was ridiculing them, well, I'm wrong to do so.

It's easier for an old guy like me to go to the polls with hope: we Americans have, I believe, mismanaged the deposition of Saddam Hussein, failed to capture Osama Bin Laden, and created the current on-going murderous conditions in Iraq. I don't see our military there as now engaged in anything more than imperial policing, policing in the midst of bloody tribal warfare, with the focus of the violence alternating between our policemen and other tribes.

A Democrat's Iraq policies will begin winding down the current US presence there. That repellent GOP talk of crusades and hundred-year wars, impractical all, will end. My biggest November fear is a GOP attack machine that will manage, somehow, to pull off three classic campaign tactics: motivate the base, FUD the un-decideds, and suppress the opposition. Which is why I'm always willing to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Buena

I agree, Walter. It's the only alternative we have. Look what happened when people voted for Nader in 2000. The "lesser of two evils" vote brought us George Bush.

When the Supremes gave him the office of president, I thought, "Oh well, how much harm can he do?"

Now we know.

Jaliya

Thank you, Barbara, for a courageous post. Where violence is concerned, I think there are so many factors that ball up into a terrible snag...I can't see how one gender is morally superior to another. I have experienced violent attacks by both male and female people during my life, and one incident (back in 1985) shocked me to my bones: at a gathering in which survivors of child sexual abuse were lobbying Canada's federal government to change the "statute of limitations" law so that survivors could have their abusers charged long after the event, a chilling silence slathered the room when one woman, a therapist of long experience, arose to say that "men are not the only abusers."

Hillary Clinton's vow to "obliterate Iran" is, to me, no different than the screeds of anyone else who churns up rage and hatred for another person or people. Obliteration will do only that: obliterate.

Anarcissie

In 2000, Bush was supposed to be the non-interventionist guy not interested in foreign adventures and "nation-building", and Gore, following Clinton (and the Democratic tradition for the previous half-century) was supposed to be the big interventionist (imperialist). Clinton's policies in Iraq were supposed to have caused the death of half a million innocent people, mostly children. When Madeleine Albright was asked about it on television, she didn't deny it; she said "We think it is worth it." As far as I know, Gore never separated himself explicitly from the policy or the actions. So if you went by what the politicians and the media said, and your primary concern was to select the president least likely to start a war and commit war crimes, you would have to vote for Bush or Nader.

So not only does your vote have an infinitesimally small chance of affecting the outcome of a large election (that is, zero), if your concern is the practical outcome, you can't tell who to vote for. All you know is what they say, and as we see over and and over, it has little connection with what they do.

One thing you can tell, though, is who actually went along with the current criminal war, and either attach yourself to it and them, or separate yourself. Certainly as long as people who know better refuse to get serious about this stuff, it's going to go on -- imperialism, war, murder, mayhem, terror, theft, lies, astronomical waste, all in the service of political ambition and greed.

Carol

Barbara:
What a silly article, I am surprised. Why is Clinton supposed to be a surrogate for all women? Why is she demonstrating female moral inferiority? Maybe her own, but not mine nor anyone else's.

Honestly, I don't care if you have a hate on for her, which it is obvious you do, but you should at least be able to discuss all of this intelligently.

I am so TIRED of people trying to use one person as an exemplar for a whole group, which of course is never done for WHITE MEN. Can you imagine writing an article like this about McCain? Bush? Cheney? No, they are individuals with failings etc. But Clinton is a WOMAN, hence she may be appropriated by the punditocracy as some sort of symbol.

Arch!

Katie

YES! Thank you.

Walter Dufresne

"Bush was supposed to be the non-interventionist guy ... and Gore ... was supposed to be the big interventionist"

Yes, it's true, it's hard to guess the future, and George W. Bush always ran under the guise of moderation before 9/11. But it's human to try to guess the future (actuaries get paid for it) and that's not enough reason to keep me from supporting the Democrats' candidate this fall, even if it turned out to be Hillary Clinton. It's an issue of judgment.

David

Thought this was one of your best blogs in a while. Keep up the good work!

Anarcissie

Carol: 'What a silly article, I am surprised. Why is Clinton supposed to be a surrogate for all women? ...'

I believe the gist of Faludi's article was that Clinton had proved that women could be as down and dirty about big-time electoral politics as men, and this was a positive addition to our culture, or at least to women's prospects in mainstream politics. She did not say anything about Clinton proving anything about all women, merely that she had changed the public perception of women's ability to enact a certain social role.

I think it is inevitable that any public personage who appears to break out of a stereotype will be treated as a sort of examplar, for better or worse, and "proofs" will be claimed. But Faludi didn't do this; she mostly commented on it.

Anarcissie

Walter Dufresne: ' ... Yes, it's true, it's hard to guess the future, and George W. Bush always ran under the guise of moderation before 9/11. ...'

This is why I would go from the record (although that too can be deceptive) if my vote made any practical difference. Even though it does not, actions still speak louder than words, especially those involving war crimes.

Individual votes do not directly change history, but they do give private individuals a chance to make their opinions and judgements publicly known, and that can have a longer-term effect. If two or three million voters categorically rejected the present political philosophy, which is that the sort of foreign and military policies condemned at the Nuremberg Trials are really all right as long as they are "ours", it might make a difference. But only no change, or worse change, will occur as long as almost the entire electorate continues to condone the crimes and dutifully vote for the people the political machinery presents to them.

Brian

Now that hillary has been marginalized, the media is baiting McCain and Obama to trade words. And if they can throw Bush in it all the better. Bush has to get Mcain and Obama to commit themselves to carrying on his wars despite their earlier rhetoric. By starting this debate now, Obama will be forced to commit continuing resources to the wars to stay competitive with McCain and get those cruical extra east coast and midwest "bitter" working class type voters. Like it or not, Bush can and will greatly influence both of these potential presidencies and being media savvy he will use it well. So at least for the first two years of the next president's term, it will still be much a Bush presidency to continue the wars. Clever and crafty despite what some say, he is one competitive fellow.

BJ

omg what a disgusting article and person you are. I cannot believe the endless jealousy and hate of women against Hillary, and it is jealousy.

You should be ashamed of yourself. If you've ever in your life experienced sexism and treated unfairly simply because you're a woman, you should be standing behind Hillary.

You must be very busy with your nose up in the air but for those of us following these races EXTREMELY CLOSELY AND CAREFULLY, it was NEVER Hillary that brought race into it but Barack Obama himself and his campaign early on played the race card and brought his sexist attitude into it.

We used to make fun of bush sheep, now we have obama bots. Just as foolish and ignorant. Refusing to see what's in front of their nose and twisting facts to suit their egotistical and jealous rage.

Obama is unqualified and dangerous for this country. It is very sad that the media refuses to investigate and expose all the dirt that is in Obama's closet, and there is plenty.

We are liberals, we are women, and we will NOT vote for Barack Obama, your new messiah, EVER.

Shame on you. It's bad enough young women are ignorant enough to not have a clue what we went through in the 60's and 70's to gain any respect as women, but to have someone your age playing this disgusting bullshit just flabbergasts me.

You consider yourself a journalist and intelligent? then fine, prove it, investigate FULLY everything there is to know about Barack Obama.


Hillary's worked since she was out of high school for families and the welfare of children. What did you do out of high school? what did most people do out of high school? She's faced the disgraceful media mud slinging like no human being in this country male or female and she's held her head high and gone on to work every day for the people, for what she believes in. YOU nor anyone else could ever endure what this woman's been put through and continue on with your career much alone get out of bed and walk out your front door.

SHAME ON YOU.

This article is filthe of yet another jealous professional and when women should be sticking together on such a hugely important issue.

LS

Barbara,

I'm also disappointed with this article. To state, or even suggest (although you flat out wrongly accuse and label) Hillary Clinton as racist is beyond me. Was it that she spoke highly of Johnson's act in signing the Civil Rights Act in 1964 that upsets you, or did you fall for Obama's spin that Hillary was instead in some way attacking Martin Luther King Jr. in making the comment about the importance of such acts by presidents? Was it something else? Really, was there something she said that causes you to label her racist? With such a horrible attack, you need to back up your statements please. And, by the way, Obama calling women "sweetie" is quite offensive to me.

LS

Barbara,

I'm also disappointed with this article. To state, or even suggest (although you flat out wrongly accuse and label) Hillary Clinton as racist is beyond me. Was it that she spoke highly of Johnson's act in signing the Civil Rights Act in 1964 that upsets you, or did you fall for Obama's spin that Hillary was instead in some way attacking Martin Luther King Jr. in making the comment about the importance of such acts by presidents? Was it something else? Really, was there something she said that causes you to label her racist? With such a horrible attack, you need to back up your statements please. And, by the way, Obama calling women "sweetie" is quite offensive to me.

Brian

I think Hillary was starting to play the race card strategically, though that doesn't tell you if she thinks as a racist. She was a southern governours wife and from working middle class illinois as a child so she probably has a few knee jerk reactions. I find everyone is racist to some degree anyways. If you prefer collies over snarling dobermans or vice versa you are a racist too. I think Barbara's article took some energy to write and its designed to provoke some discussion as that is what opinion pieces do. But remember Obama is half white and half black and his black part is pure African, not embittered by generations of being in America so he is different. I think that is in part why he was trying to connect with the black church once he settled in Illinois. For beter or worse, his reverand filled him with a quick course in African-American resentment as well as getting him visibility in the local black community. Obama basically went to a restaurant with its own home brand of cooking, and was probably Harvard naive at that. Personally I still don't see why a women's gender alone would make a better president no matter how bad Bush botched things. He was an elite too, a hybrid yale-harvard product of a family dynasty split between wealthy connecticut and wealthy texas. But I agree Hillary was grasping at the race card. But so does Obama when he uses code to ask whether mcCain or Bush "have a problem" with him. This election is going to be brutal and the Clintons are the second round of casualties with the American people next. I don't think slumming to work minimally with the disadvantaged really helps either candidate as its the productive population that will decide the election. Note how cynical I am being, for if they really enjoyed it they probably would not be Harvard and Yale grads. Michelle too has the fortune of a Princeton education and a law degree from another school so for her to say she has always been ashamed of America makes me feel she is spoiled. That is a particularly odd statement to make, when she could have said it a dozen other ways about how she wants to improve things. Shame is so judgemental. Obama used the Shame word during Katrina and well they feel they should just shame others which is a style I don't like. If Obama spent a year of his life living in rural Pennsylvania he would see the natural angst people feel and how most are simply trapped there. I think he has stronger racial feelings than he's admited too. I still don't see why its the rest of us, our job to assauage his frustrations at how things are. We have many things we need to do just from a practical standpoint that is of high priority and by enlisting the help of all races equally we can naturally grow up faster than we think if we just have faith. Shame has no place in this, but an engineers protractor and compass do. People should put all their judgemental energy into rebuilding our infrastructure and fixing our environment and reregulating our financial system and downsizing our prisons. I think you can aptly describe the working class as people with a coherent set of values if you can get beyond their rainbow of colors. Same with the young or elderly. We have to stop letting ourselves be divided by race if we want to have any real political will against a highly resistent system. If I were Obama I would stop all this race responding at once and pick up a tool box at my next speech and hold up socket wrenches and pliers and make metaphors about how we are going to fix the nation and to grab a tool box and come along, much labor needed. This would totally defang the media pundits and baiters and possibly force them to focus on real issues. We are beyond the need for anymore talk, talk, talk, accuse, blame, judge, and shame. We just need a handyman with a great toolbox who puts on his hardhat and leads us to start the work. That's all we need as a nation.

lara crete

Dear Barbara, thank you.
Your brilliant anatomy of H.Clinton restores such female image like Joan D'Ark, for one .
Or, even the image of the Russian Empress Catharine The Great, who might also write to you the thank you, if she is still there.
(Just between her correspondence with French Francois Maria Aronet (Voltaire).
God have a mercy: we have the latest historical version of a female and it is ... AMERICAN.
We all, modern males and females, come from the nouveaux riches' generations.
We made of money, produced by the profit's driven banking system.
All our modern females are product of the old European image of nouveaux riches female Three "K"'s: Kitchen, Kirche, Kinder, combined with the Christian faith that placed Eve into the male's carcasses ( the rib).
And H. Clinton is the glorification of all those old "values" PLUS new ones, which is strictly modern AMERICAN:the "youth ( energetic?) culture".
So, Clinton started her come back to the Lincoln's bedroom with her FACE LIFT!
"I looked at my old pictures", said H.Clinton," and thought that I was cute".
It went UNNOTICED. And this this very sad. For it was accepted as "normal".
Is there ANY philosophical idea in her one-cell organism , the idea which might "save the world" from ourselves?
Is there any true human pain in her two--glass -buttons eyes?
Is there ANYTHING in her words what could provoke ANY serious debates with her?
No, there is none. If there would not be bankers males, pushing this "rib's creation" into the leadership of the nation, her image would be erased with the unpleasant feeling for the painter who used paints, brushes and canvas in vain.

I see you, dear Barbara, on some television channels , but VERY RARE. But the reading of your thoughts, expressed by the talented thinker, has always return to me the image of A Female which I cherish.

Thank you,
Lara Crete ( composer/journalist)

Anarcissie

LS: '... To state, or even suggest (although you flat out wrongly accuse and label) Hillary Clinton as racist is beyond me. ...'

If you look at Barbara's article carefully, you will observe that she does not say or imply that Clinton is a racist.

I don't know how others feel, but I personally find discussions of a text much more enlightening and entertaining if the participants take the time to actually read the text for meaning. I know this is unusual; perhaps it's elitist of me.

Brian

I want to question the concept of elitest as somehow being full of evility. Obama is a Harvard Law grad, Clinton Yale, Bush Harvard Business School, (his chief of staff and tresury secratary both Goldman sach's alums, McCain the naval academy I think, Gore and Tommy Lee were roomates at Harvard, Condi and Gates earned their phD's in russian studies, and even Oprah is an elite with her top earning talk show empire. America loves its elites and it puts them in most of its top positons of government and industry. So is this an us versus them working class versus upper class debate? Didn't Obama and the like have to study many hard hours to earn their degrees and tow the line at their first jobs to get recognized? Is that behavior elitist? Should Obama want to live in iron ore pennsylvania and dine on fried scrapple on sunday morning firehouse pancake breakfasts to be "one of the guys". Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar and President of the United States and look how he ended up. If an artist has a fascination with a certain medium and spends all his hours exploring it is he an elitest> What about the advertisement be all you can be, be Army "strong". Aren't Navy seal's elite units and green berret elitests over their artillary colleagues? So are all the other people schlumps? Elitest is just a motivator to get people to work harder for low rewards other than being told they are "special". Well being called "bitter" kind of makes you special too. You hold a specialist position in the human feeling department, but not one respected, compared to a marathon biker on a mountain competition in France. Its just more American narcissism to want to see one's self as special. So is that wrong? Isn't that the biblical sin of "pride" and a satanic trick to pull one from God? If not for pride most people wouldn't even try to be special, they would settle for just being schlumps eating donuts and coffee in some diner somewhere. So what do you want as a leader? An elitest or a schlump?

Cara

A politician acting like a politician doesn't make a woman politician *worse*. It makes her a person, which is pretty much the definition of feminism IMO. Automatically SEEING it as worse is a function of systematic misogyny, especially the internalized version.

One question, just for the hell of it: Could a woman running on *traditionally feminine* values get anywhere, in this country at this time? A man could. He'd be "enlightened". A woman with those same values is just another "dumb girl".

Sexism isn't dead. Not even close. I encourage everyone to look at your own language and attitudes, and really think about it. We've ALL got it. It's in the water. It hurts everyone (however they define their gender), just like racism does.

Brian

well I don't see gender like some do. It doesn't predetermine much in my book. For example I defrosted the sandwich refrigerator at work myself and wiped it down and cleaned it up. None of the women at work, or men, thought to do it, so I am throwing out their tattered old bits of food and wrappings. Now do you think anyone will even thank me>? This is a perfect example of what woman's liberation of the 1960's has done to us all. A laziness has set in to do community deeds. Who do you think makes the coffee around here? Or pays for it? not them I am woefully sad to say. Its like watching little kids consume with no knowledge of where things come from. I guess its a holdover from childhood entitlement days. Now if someone, anyone, did part of this work I would be impressed. True women's liberation would be for one to take it upon herself to say clean up the coffee pot once in a while they drink from. But do they? No. I think liberation as a word means liberation from responsibility and work in this little microcosm. Its easy to bash men, but most everyone I know can now cook better than their wives and definitely their girlfriends. What happened to taking pride in basic skills like preparing food and keeping clean refirgerators? Just maybe the system has co-opted this new fresh labor pool for its own uses while family life, domestic life, has gone to hell. Don't people see how they are being played? Learn a few dishes, a few good casseroles, clean your refrigerators and sinks, wash your carpet. To simply give it all to the corporate beast and government isn't liberation at all. Its co-optation.

Anarcissie

Brian -- before condemning Women's Liberation for dirty coffee pots, I think it might be appropriate to make a more scientific, broadly-based study of the situation than one anecdotal office where you happen to work.

lc2

I don't know, I think there is a germ of truth in Brian's post.

I do think that many liberation movements breed elitism, selfishness, and laziness. An unfortunate by-product of feminism is the belief that manual labor, including childcare, is beneath both genders. In other words, too many women now believe that feminism is a license to be just as self-centered and oblivious to housework, as men have been traditionally (and let's be clear, Brian: most still are). I spent four years living only with other women so I have seen some of this firsthand. The proverbial pendulum has swung too far. I for one don't think it's progress for either gender to pretend that little fairies clean up unnecessary office and school messes and change diapers. Actually, low-paid, often darker-pigmented women do -- sort of like Barbara revealed in "Nickled and Dimed."

Having said that, other elements of this thread are basically laughable. I leave with this thought to ponder: when you look at all the shitty presidents we've had, isn't it amazing that even though women constitute 50.7% of the US population, we haven't had one women who is mediocre enough to make a viable run? I mean I think it's kind of funny that even if we all agree Hillary isn't good enough for our consideration, most of us could name a half-dozen men (not currently running) who are. Any women, anyone? No? Now why is that?

Anarcissie

lc2 -- what you are observing with the liberation movements can be called bourgeoisification. In a liberal capitalist society such as that of the United States, the bourgeoisie -- the people who are at the top of business, institutions, and government -- are the ruling class. They determine what the major organs of the State will do, and their values and tastes permeate the culture of the society downwards.

In liberalism, there is a fundamental conflict between a nominal egalitarianism and the facts of power. The United States, where "all men are created equal" was founded on racially-based slavery and genocide, for instance, and among the privileged Europeans only men of property had full political and legal agency.

Periodically, people from the lower orders of this system have challenged the system in the name of the egalitarianism it proclaims. Hence we have abolitionism, the labor movement, the Civil Rights movement, and several waves of feminism.

The results of these are similar. Once the movement makes enough trouble, the ruling class concedes nominally equal rights to a minority of those in whose name the trouble is being made. In fact, they concede privileges similar to their own; they accept members of the formerly disenfranchised into the power structure. Thus, for example, 1960s radical feminism -- generally anarchistic or communistic with regard not only to economic and political facts but to culture and family life as well -- winds up, thirty years later, with a concern that not enough bank presidents are women (the glass ceiling). The appearance of the personnel have changed; the system hasn't.

And assistant executive vice presidents don't wash coffee pots -- not if they want to keep going up the ladder.

A social order in which everyone washed the coffee pots -- and the toilets -- would be so radically different from the one we have now, if we visited it we'd think we were on Mars.

chris

Anarcissie, is there anything terribly wrong with a system that is flexible enough to absorb and extend its benefits to groups that had once been excluded?

I think it's a remarkable system that can adapt, as ours has, and acknowledge its shortcomings, and then move ahead.

Is there any political/economic system elsewhere in the world today or in history that has shown the same capacity for improvement?

Anarcissie

chris -- There is something wrong with any and every system. The adaptability of liberal capitalism is indeed a remarkable thing, with both desirable and undesirable aspects. In this case, I was not condemning the system but merely pointing out why I think coffee pots may not be getting washed to everyone's taste in the one we have: basically, not because of feminism but because feminism and other egalitarian movements took place within and subordinate to a class-based social order.

Brian

good question ic2. Collins of Maine and Harman of Calfornia are two good women candidates and would make a good team ticket. Why you ask? They have extraordinary common sense and integrity and don't just parrot the pac's or party line. Intelligent too and are ethical enough to be school teachers. Time and time again either or proves to have a solid grasp of the real nature of the beast with useful solutions. They care too about more than their personal ego's and selves. Both are national jewells in hiding and sane over vested interests.

Brian

why we are at it, boxer would make a fine secratary of the environment or labor.

Brian

ic2, yesterday I said I defrosted the refrigerator to two of women who use it and they totally ignored me and made no response or acknowledgement. In fact they tried to not hear me and acted like they didn't comprehend me. Same with the coffee pot. so it is kind of laughable. And seriously whenever I go to a meal over a friends house the men always cook, never ever the women. They don't even boil the potatoes or pour a glass of juice. They just do their own stuff till its time to eat and then eat and dump their finished plates in the sink. Once one did toast some tortilla with a slice of cheese in it in a toaster over and shared some with us. Her husband even makes the tuna fish for sandwhiches. This is true for five different couples I know. The last two women I went out with didn't know how to cook anything at all. Nothing. The best one could do was offer half a brown advocado for dinner to me once. Another women had a chistimas party but for food she just had slices of cold cuts still wrapped in their paper and handed them out to us to pull some out and eat them. You can't make this stuff up. I can cook a full stuffed turkey and creamed onions and mashed sweet potatoes and make peach pie and I am just another male buffoon. One couple had a dinner where the men made an assortment of italian cannaloni, ravioli, sicilian pizzas and wine, and the women just threw some lettuces and sliced a few tomatoes and carrots for a salad. She didn't know how to make a dressing so I did. I have not yet seen any of these women make a cake. Once at work some other new hired gal did bring in some gooey misshapped uneven brownies that looked like an elementary school kid made it. She brought in fudge once that had little chunks wrapped up in dirty aluminum foil with old food bits on it, and each chunk was a different shape and thickness to where it looked like it came out of a sheltered workshop. I suppose its better in the south. but here, forget it.

chris

Brian, why should it matter that some women have no skills when it comes to home economics?

It's far more important for people to pursue what's important to them, don't you think? If you like cooking, then cook. A good friend of mine is a Wall Street analyst. He is also a superb cook, which means he hustles home every day to prepare dinner for his wife and kids, because he gets a bang out of it. He grew up in Vermont and was an officer in the Army before starting his career on Wall Street.

Meanwhile, most offices with kitchens are found in buildings with cleaning staffs. Hence, who cares if professional employees ignore a refrigerator in need of defrosting or leave dishes for the people paid to clean up?

You seem quick to complain about the quality of parties to which you are invited. Based on the way you described the invitations to the homes of some friends, it seemed the male half of the couple was your friend. Perhaps in those households the wives have told their husbands to handle ALL party responsibilities when it is the husbands' friends who are the guests.

As for your complaint about the soggy brownies looking as though they were made by a child, well, perhaps they were. Or maybe she doesn't care what others think about her lack of dessert-making skill.

Meanwhile, you said the last two women you dated had no cooking skills, but you also said you can whip up a great turkey dinner. Perhaps that's were they were expecting from you and you disappointed them. Perhaps each of them realized you wanted a relationship with a woman who would cook for you and both wanted you to get the idea of looking elsewhere for such a person.

Then there is the standard dating alternative of going out for dinner. But frankly, it's no surprise that plenty of women refuse to acknowledge they can throw a meal together without much trouble. One thing most women have learned is about the downside to revealing certain skills. For a long time women who wanted to advance their careers would not admit they could type.

Today, it's often a good idea to conceal cooking skills.

Meanwhile, you expressed some dismay over some women you've met who have have never made a cake, as far as you know. Good for them. The amount of sugar and flour eaten by Americans each year is staggering -- and fattening.

Obesity is a problem. Maybe they care. Obesity is such a problem that people have surgery to fight it. But most people simply continue to chow down on the worst forms of food even though it's just as easy to eat in ways that leave you trim.

A lot of women are spending some quality time in gyms these days. Many have gotten good results, and undoubtedly they eat sensibly after they get home. Why dissipate the gains by eating poorly?

You wrote:

"One couple had a dinner where the men made an assortment of italian cannaloni, ravioli, sicilian pizzas and wine, and the women just threw some lettuces and sliced a few tomatoes and carrots for a salad. She didn't know how to make a dressing so I did."

Make dressing? Hmmm. Maybe the solution is to buy some. Anyway, as tasty as all that food must have been, that's the kind of eating that's dangerous to your health, as a friend of mine discovered a couple of weeks ago.

After years of eating rich food too often, he keeled over in pain and thought he was having a heart attack. Not quite. But about two days later he had a quadruple bypass, and how he's doing fine. He's also got a new attitude about food.

Women have a complete and undisputed claim to one aspect of life, however. Bearing children. Nothing will change in that department. That's the only difference that really matters.

jg

excellent.

lc2

Hmmm. Agree completely w/your last statement chris. And isn't it funny then that said capability has been co-opted by our patriarchal medical system to the pt. that 40% of American women in many urban areas, are now cut open and told they're incapable of delivering babies? I mean maybe pretty soon we can inject men full of hormones and put a prosthetic sac in their bellies w/a fertilized embryo and let them have at it.

But I'm guessing this is a topic of which you're blissfully unaware.

lc2

We currently have an awful Secy. of Labor, who happens to be female, in contrast to the first female cabinet secretary, Frances Perkins, who along with FDR saved capitalism.

I wonder if there will be a perfect enough woman, with perfect enough timing, with a perfect enough laugh, and a perfect enough husband, and a perfect enough child, and a perfect enough history, and a perfect enough education, and perfect enough sound-bytes, and a perfect enough campaign, and better than a better than perfect voting record, and better than perfect consistency on the issues, and better than perfect teeth and skin, to win the presidency in my lifetime.

Just how perfect enough will she have to be?

Oh by the way Barbara, does Obama have any flaws, or is he just perfect, in your estimation?

Chickensh*tEagle

BJ: "You should be ashamed of yourself. If you've ever in your life experienced sexism and treated unfairly simply because you're a woman, you should be standing behind Hillary."

Then if you've ever experienced discrimination because you're black, you should be standing behind Obama, shouldn't you?

Screw all that. No candidate has a right to anyone's support because of this, this, this, this, or this.

chris

lc2, you wrote:

"I mean maybe pretty soon we can inject men full of hormones and put a prosthetic sac in their bellies w/a fertilized embryo and let them have at it."

The biggest supporters of this sea-horse form of pregnancy will be -- surprise, surprise -- WOMEN.

Hence, other than a few clowns seeking a Guinness Book of World's Records entry, there will be few men offering abdominal space for rent. The idea carries too much of a reminder of the movie "Alien".

The desire to see pregnant men is another female fantasy that will go unfulfilled. However, the British like the idea of cloning to provide spare human parts. Thus, some form of Brave New World is near.

Howard

Obama is the least qualified, least experienced candidate ... not to mention the continuing pattern of unsavory Obama associations ... some lasting over 20 years. Of course these facts don't matter to the Obama supporters, who like cult members, follow him with blind faith, as if they all were sharing one brain. The blogs of Obama supporters have been extremely arrogant, sarcastic and condescending towards Mrs.Clinton and her supporters (even though Mrs. Clinton has received 17 million votes) however they will need us Clinton supporters in November, if they want to get their messiah elected ... and, after the way they have disrespected Mrs. Clinton, as well as her supporters, I suggest they look elsewhere to get their cult leader elected.

Chickensh*tEagle

Right. Cult cult cult, brainwash brainwash brainwash, messiah messiah messiah, inexperienced inexperienced inexperienced...

Why don't you learn some new words, Howard?

Anarcissie

It's rather odd to complain of one candidate's supporters as disrespecting the other, and at the same time use such sarcasms as "unsavory", "cult", "blind faith", and "messiah" about them. Odd, and yet tedious in its endless, mindless repetition. And it's only going to get worse. The awfulness of the election season is truly upon us.

chris

Howard, you wrote:

"...after the way they have disrespected Mrs. Clinton, as well as her supporters, I suggest they look elsewhere to get their cult leader elected."

In other words, you intend to vote for McCain as a show of your contempt for fellow Democrats? Or maybe you intend to spend Election Day at home and vote for no one?

Do that. Either one. You show 'em!

Brian

To pick up on an earlier thread Barrons this week in Abelson's article talks about ongoing congressional testimony regarding the huge impact speculators are having on both the price or oil and food. CNBC had a guest on who estimated a third of the present price of oil is driven by speculation. Now not all of these speculators are rogue traders and malevolent hedge funds. Some are pension funds and University endowment funds which have allocated much more into the commodity sector away from traditional stocks and bonds. Some big Universitys are earmarking as much as 40 percent of future investments into the sector. Add to that the banks and brokerages, big leverage, hedge funds, producers and distributors, soverign wealth funds, big global traders, and even retail investors in smaller commodity funds and you have trillions of dollars pushing up the spec markets. Its almost too much momementum for the trade to collapse even though its risen to the media conciousness finally which when they usually talk about something its an inflexion point for reversion to the mean. Certainly a global recession would collapse demand and destroy the longs, or for strategic or tax reasons they could pull out. Earlier some of you pooh poohed my speculator argument and fell back on your "wall street" experience and its made me realize when it really comes donw to it, as cramer would say wall steet really "knows nothing" and sad to say its more like an elementary school game of musical chairs than anything else. Except the big boys get to play with trillions of dollars in leverage and have elaborate risk management strategies that usually protect them from their excesses. Otherwise the retail investor who travels and reads a lot probably knows as much as he needs to do the best he can given all the built in retail investing handicaps. Those in the real time connected world who work full time at it usually do well and endlessly climb out of their failures as they are never asked to repay the money they lost. Whereas the retail investor, retail bank and brokerage customer, even the no-load mutual fund holder, or pools of people in retirement and pension funds, simply provide massive liquidity to the big boys who then get to trade on this pile of heaped up leveraged assets and collect huge bonuses for simply sitting in that seat. Meanwhile the bottom tier retail investor barely keeps up or if lucky exceeds inflation once you really dissect the hyped performance returns by the companies that manage their money for 1-2 percent. So that gets siphoned off along with most of the profits made by the speculators and big investors/institutional and otherwise/ and hedgers who have first action and are the first to bail. The very same kind of people who brought us the tech/net boom-bust, subprime and other banking and rating agency shenanigans, untold ceo bonuses, are now bringing us a serious speculation bubble in the cost of our food and oil for transportation, agriculture, and petrochemical uses. These same people get in early on every scheme of this sort, make huge profits, and then bail as it collapses in on all of them and ultimately all of us. They walk away with bonuses and we walk away with a higher cost of living, a devalued dollar, and crushed hopes. And the current administration does very little but sit and do photo op's. In fact by the fed lowering interest rates it helps the speculators who brought us all of this while doing nothing to help the retail investor. It just amazes me how quickly these same people were able to get in on the next bubble as they are totally shameless and so much more aggressive than the rest of us.

chris

Brian, as usual your comments induce too much eye strain. The lack of paragraphs is murder. Therefore, after reading a few sentences, here's something to consider.

For several decades the US natural gas market was plagued with an industry condition which was termed The Gas Bubble. There was simply more natural gas available than consumers demanded.

For that reason producers limited their production to match demand as closely as possible. Prices, at best, we equivalent to oil on an energy basis -- a BTU of gas cost as much as a BTU of oil -- but at other times, gas prices fell, especially after the end of the winter heating season.

That Gas Bubble is gone now. But it owed its existence to an imbalance between Supply and Demand.

That's the same problem we have with oil today. Demand is rising a little faster than supply AND refining capacity is barely growing.

Thus, the US has an obligation to do everything possible to increase the global rate of oil production -- because there is not a chance in hell that oil consumption is going to decline -- unless the supplies are simply not available.

The latest figures show that at least 130 billion barrels of oil and oil equivalent lie in US territory that is off-limits to drillers.

What are we waiting for? Two Hundred Dollars a barrel? It can happen. Of course the economic weakness induced by excessive energy costs may cap oil prices somewhere below $200 a barrel. But who wants an economic downturn caused by high oil prices when its possible to increase supplies and reduce the price while strengthening economies around the world?

Brian

Chris---Neal Cavuto's(since he manages it) Fox business Channel raises the same arguement complete with a spokeswomen from the (gasp) Petroleum Insitute a public relations mouthpiece pac for the industry. They say just how easy it is for us to drill a whole bunch of more oil and how minimal the environmental impacts will be. Thats oil we best leave for 50 years down the road when we will really need it and our technology will be better able to do a clean job. What we need now is simply start regulating all the rampant speculation on national security grounds, conserve, and really make the necessary changes that will double our efficency use of what we have available now. The current pressures can provide the political will to do so and already car manufacturers are lining up with new vehicles to start this process including better hybrids, new light weight electric cars, and a push foward with hydrogen fuel cell technology. I find it highly disturbing that the Petroleum Institute uses this situation to once again push for more domestic drilling. These "Institutes" are quite clever in opportunistically pouncing on, well, any opportunity. And it was with the sage leadership of Jimmy Carter in going public with his conservation plan that in large part broke the back of the Arab Oil embargo as demand collapsed along with its revenue streams back to Arabia. The Bush administration has proposed nothing I can think of to deal with this crises. Once again they have no plan, no desire, and put out no effort to really help the regular American people. I have never seen a white house so devoid of solutions for domestic problems that frankly effect everybody. They are doing the same thing domestically they are doing in foreign policy but have even less experience in doing so. But outside of Katrina, no one has asked them for a real accounting of just why they are not doing anything real, for the public welfare other than parading cabinet secrataries to smooze with the electronic press and boldly spin the facts beyond the pale.

Anarcissie

The term "bubble" usually refers to a significant rise in prices due to speculation. Current oil prices are not being driven up by specualtion. Here's Krugman on the subject:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/12/opinion/12krugman.html
Here's someone else going into some more detail on Krugman's theory:
http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewarticle+articleid_1907280~zoneid_Home.html

However, Krugman mostly overlooks another very important factor, as Steven Forbes correctly points out:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/17/opinion/l17krugman.html

I concede that neither of these guys is God, in fact they appear to me to be somewhat simple-minded at times, but I think they've figured this one out, as follows:

1. Demand is rising faster than supply. Therefore the price is going up.

2. U.S. money has gone far down in value, due to monetary policies since the 1980s -- in effect, debasement of the currency. Therefore, the price of oil is going up faster in terms of U.S. dollars than it is in terms of euros or yen or gold.

The politicians, the media, and the experts don't like these facts because the facts make them look bad. But the facts are still the facts. Decades of funny money have come home to roost.

As the U.S. economy falters, it will slow down those of Europe, China, India and so on, and their use of oil will not increase as fast as it has been, so the present ascent might level off for a while. On the other hand, it looks like the Fed is going to try to print its way out of the looming depression, so it's hard to say.

As far as I know, none of the presidential candidates has made any mention of a serious plan to deal with this crisis. In fact, there is no evidence that any of them understand it. Isn't that interesting?

Brian

Anarcissie--Speculation is responsible for at least 1/3 the price of oil with the declining dollar adding to another 1/3 the price. So at 136 a barrel, the real price in USD for a barrel of oil is about $45 or roughly a doubling in the base price during the current Bush administration. Add to that the speculators and devaluing of the dollar. (euro from .95-1.57 USD). I am not just talking out of my hat as I switched a large portion of my own assets into international bonds three years ago as I saw this coming. Two and a half years ago I estimated the rate of US inflation at 5.5 percent in current dollars excluding oil and food, correct that with dollar devaluation and you will arrive at the near 11 percent inflation some of the more radical "experts" have estimated, and I have been "proven" to be both presient and correct. Therefore I will stick with my current oil price inputs. Krugman knows less than I do and is over-employed by vested interests. Once again an economist for hire. Economists are notoriously bad cost accountants and the arcane inputs they select harken back to mercantile days reminescent of the draconian corn laws. Even Buffett is quoted today saying that now that the speculation genie is out of the bottle and in the board rooms of staid college endowments and pension funds(Calpers) it has done severe damage to the markets. He felt that stock prices will suffer while commodities bubble away blunting long term equity returns for everybody. Admitedly, no-one has developed a methodology to measure its whole scope, or project its longer term impact. But anyone saying there is no speculation in the energy and food commodity markets is like saying when eating buttered toast "there is no butter on this toast." (chomp, chomp!) I offer no advice other than carefully consider your price inputs as they drive the equations. Equations estabilish relationships and can be as simple as tiny algebra or as complex as differential calculus. But regardless, your inputs are everything. Your a priori's start your field of examination. Unfortunately this is not only not taught in school, its ignored by our governmental agencies counting things. Yet our analysts public and private use these horrible inputs to drive their poorly put together action formulae. Why do you think the computer models of Long Term Capital Management failed? These people were schooled in the contemporary fallacies and lacked what good experimental designists have, common sense. Imagine a tensor field that changed radically as its inputs changed marginally. Well that is globalization and the same formulae that model the quantum world work well in the macro-economic world if you pick both the right relationships and the right inputs. Inputs, inputs, inputs!!!! Or look at epidemiological research designs or experimental psychology where attributes are selected rather than factorials. Human bias introduces a whole new level of experimental error that the application of simple standard deviation and regression corrections too often fail. The dismal science trys to mash the quantitative methodologies with qualitative mythologies. Its more a paganistic ritual than any kind of scientific accounting. Therefore, you need to select broad attributes that inflect upon each other to get a nodal point in any tensor lattice. In fact you have to constuct these models from the bottom up cell by cell to a global resolution mathematically. Yet it also parallels human behavior in many universes of study.(not space, but defined fields of study). YOu cannot design human behavioral studies from top down, but from bottom up. Citing Krugman is a nonsequitar from this and fails the real world test. Now what is truly interesting is that to understand speculation you would have to start with one cell as one human behaving in a certain way, and connect that cell to another cell behaving a certain way, but at their connecting points their aggregate interaction dramatically changes the net relationship(you can use vectors for this and build a differential manifold that multiplicatively moves the entire net lattice moment into grouped behavior from freely associative intelligence) or inversion of chaos into coherent species behavior. That is economics in a nutshell. A mix of behavoir on an individual and grouped scale, mathematically fit into arbitrary trait boxes, and sifted along certain preassumptions into again arbitrary end point measures. This model is the only way you can accurately portray and predict with any actionable accuradcy what is occuring in our economic sphere. Lets at least consider agreeing that globalization brings speculation together like never before on the whole panopoly of commodities with an arrogant convienence. Meanwhile the Bush administration sits on its hands, and sits, and sits, lazy fair and all, when lazy fair no longer serves the developed nation state, at all.

paperpusher666

The question that no one is asking is when smart business practices stop and speculation begins. Suppose that I own a trucking company that is large enough that it would be worthwhile for me to buy futures contracts to hedge the price of diesel or gasoline. I don't have to take delivery of the product to make (or lose)money. I can sell the contract if the price of fuel has increased enough, or cover my position at a loss if the price declines.

It's interesting that relatively few airlines and other major users of fuel, like the military, choose to hedge their exposure to increases in fuel prices. I'd expect Chrysler to have hedged gasoline prices so that they don't have to pay much more than the $2.99 per gallon price for gas that they have guaranteed for a period of time to buyers of new cars. It cost them something to buy that hedge.

I thought that McCain's proposal to have a gas tax holiday was really dumb because it would just benefit the oil companies and/or station operators. We've all noticed that gas prices are quick to rise but slow to decline. Part of the reason is that the station operators can't raise prices as fast as their cost of goods increases, so they have to recoup the costs over a longer period of time, leading to a slower decline than expected when prices do decline.

Anarcissie

The fundamental difference between hedgers and speculators is that the hedgers are trying to limit their exposure to price changes (up or down) in the commodities they deal with, while speculators are just trying to make money. In effect, the hedgers pay the speculators to take risk off their hands. The speculators also provide liquidity.

I am surprised at what you say about the airlines. I would guess most of them have big positions in crude oil futures. The military doesn't care -- they can get all the money they want from the taxpayers, and if the taxpayers run dry, they can just have their friends in Treasury print it.

Brian

In Barron's today they said a little over 2 trillion dollars is managed by hedge funds now without referencing how much that leverages or controls in credit default swaps, and other risk instruments. The core 2 plus trillion is roughly equivalent to the 2.5 trillion estimated lost when the tech/net bubble collapsed and we have all felt the impact of that. They inferred that one impact of these hedge funds hedging money with long/short portfolios, long a stock, short a sector, is that it mutes volatility of the indexes and in fact has stagnated the long indexes for 9 years now when you ignore the bried spike of 99-2000. So they concluded index returns will be anemic from here on out as more institutional, endowment, and private capital funds both domestic and soveriegn wealth adopt more hedging strategies. Muting volatility like this will destroy momentum investing unless a strong secular trend is involved(current commodity inflation due to increased global demand, limited product, and rampanent speculation.) I don't really see this as evil in that it all falls in the rubric of behavioral finance, though it parses perfectly the tension between greed and fear. From time to time certain sectors will outperform the market as a whole and if you get in before the inflection point you can do well, but unlike Bush, you will need an exit strategy that gets you out with gains even after paying taxes which will be harder as tax rates probably go up at some point. It will be difficult on the retail long investor outside of tax deferred IRA.s and 401K's to make much real money in this. Risk adjusted simply buying state municipal bonds for those in the higher tax brackets(a middle class income nowdays) might prove more compelling if growing and preserving capital is the only goal. But they aren't riskless either as in a recession or depression tax reciepts will fall off right at a time operating liabilities are going up(just look at the cost of paying retirement and health benifits to gov. employees, fire and police over a 20-40 year period as we all live longer(up to 2-5 million dollars a piece)).. So municipal bonds can default too, though risk strategies are available buying insured ones for lower yield, or higher quality ones top AA's plus. High yield muni's though attractive, have added risks as they are so hard to value and rate and are certainly below A grade. One mutual fund company used a less known rating agency to value the bonds and had to suddenly revalue them costing almost half of the NAV price truly shocking their investors. Buying AA's outright is another option to hopefully guarentee your principle on maturity, but I doubt it will. There is a dilutitive effect on stocks of our new investing paradigm as companies and banks try and raise capital by issuing bevy's of new bond offerings that will also put downward price on price appreciation. I have been puzzling over the dilemma facing retirees and there really is no solution outside of having a huge amount of well diversified assets and a clear budget for the kind of income you will need and how to be most tax efficient at tapping it. There was one study that calculated half of the return of a 401k was simply putting in a steady amount of savings each payperiod your entire working career and not to count on more than a doubling of that for capital appreciation. The studies saying a 20 year old who stashes 10,000$ over five years and lets it ride 40 years to many hundreds of thousands is probably total fantasy for most people. Even a few years ago charts picked by one mutual fund company claimed a doubling of its Cali muni fund over ten years, but now all the engines show a rise of about 60 percent about double a money market at best. All these figures are extremely vulnerable to where you pinpoint the standard deviation and that is dependent on what average(mean) you arbitrarily pick. The 90's were an exceptionally robust time for stocks to go up ending in a big bubble. Nobody expects that to happen for the time being and returns of 7-8 percent may well be it, not after inflation, so a real growth rate of 3-4 percent may be all we can hope for on average. Money markets won't even keep up with inflation, and bonds if they don't default would roughly equal inflation. I just don't see the retail retiree shorting stocks successfully and that is where the hedge fund managers traditionally make the bulk of their money. And the expert pundits and strategists are predominantly saying people should put more and more money into foriegn stocks and funds, emerging markets, small capitalization stocks, etc etc right at the peak of a huge secular foriegn stock rise. I remember when the same "type" and even same people started rolling out net and new millenium technology funds within two years of the tech/net bust. The experts really haven't put out anything to address this for the bulk of us, and their newest products, target date diversification funds are sluggish, unproven, and totally boring. Just like tax efficient funds were supposed to address paying taxes they proved sluggish. Ultimately you need the right combination of gains and tax efficieny but without the gains what is the point? The whole mutual fund retail industry has provided mostly stagnate answers that are just not working. Solutions??

Anarcissie

At this point, I don't think much can be figured out because so much of the financial information we get is obfuscated by the government and its enablers. See Kevin Phillips's recent work:

Harper's Magazine v.316, n.1896 1may2008

http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2008/Pollyanna-Creep-Economy1may08.htm

chris

paperpusher666, you said:

"It's interesting that relatively few airlines and other major users of fuel, like the military, choose to hedge their exposure to increases in fuel prices."

Airlines absolutely hedge their fuel costs. However, one recent startup airline -- EOS -- foolishly did not. The result? It ceased operations about a month ago.

As for the government getting into the business of buying and selling securities? Please. Don't even think about it. Sharp Wall Street traders make some big mistakes from time to time. Imagine the results when government dopes make a few mistakes! Horrifying. Unimaginable magnitude.

Some stooge clerk hedging military gasoline purchases would find himself on the other side of the market from people who would skin him a hundred different ways. Forget it. Just forget it. Bad, bad idea.

If you want lower gas prices, then support the expansion of drilling to all US territory that's now off-limits to exploitation.

Brian

Do you include governmental mistakes of choosing the wrong wars of opportunity such as "our" very own "corporate" government? I think it would be interesting to do a survey of the various industrial sectors as kept by the BLS as to their group think opinion on the Iraq war say. Interesting how the media is now helping the Bush administration beat up on Scott McClellan in the most vigorous manner this week over his book. Never seen such a blatant public PR effort and that attests to his administrations mastery of the public space discussion place(the media). Finally Tim Russert helped me parse through Karl Rove speak and see how he is still an important Bush spin machine now working full time as a commentator and interviewee for the Fox News Channel. Witness this weeks O'Reilly interview of Karl in which they let him get away with spinning a whole defense. I can see why Bush knick named him "turd-blossum" making flowers of the ugliest crap going on. You can see he still works very much for the Bush admin. In fact I think his current Fox assignment is at direction of the white house. I wonder what Cheney's nickname is within the admin? Russert even went after McCelland to make a committment to submit some of the profits of his book to soldjiers families. Who does Russert work for, us or them?

paperpusher666

Read the annual report of the airline of your choice. They will state the impact that the rise in oil prices has had on them. I should have said that few airlines FULLY hedge their exposure to oil prices. Seeing a 10-40% hedge is fairly common.

I don't think that it would be unreasonable for the government to contract for however many millions of gallons of petroleum products at a price not to exceed X. The Defense Logistics Agency does run a fuels program.

Drilling in ANWR isn't the panacea that you think that it is. I'd love to see it, for purely selfish reasons, but it would take several years to build the pipeline system to bring the oil to a port for shipping. One of the basic decisions in economics is to buy or make something. For a long time, it was cheaper to buy oil than to develop new sources.

I think that we are beginning to see a weakening in the price of oil that will be sustained. It will take a while for the gas stations to make up what they have been losing, so prices will remain high for a while. Let's hope that no refining capacity is knocked offline by the hurricane season.

Judge Rufus Peckham

It's been only four years since you've been disabused of the notion that women have an innate moral superiority?

Oh, my! Too bad you did not discuss the issue with men. We could have shown you the light years ago.

Anarcissie

I thought men invented the fantasy of the innately morally superior woman back in the 19th century, more or less at the beginning of the Victorian era. I guess it could have been a project common to both sexes, but men were certainly in on it, since it allowed them to go out and do evil and dirty things while their wives and female relatives kept the fires of purity burning at home on their behalf.

chris

paperpusher666, you said:

"I don't think that it would be unreasonable for the government to contract for however many millions of gallons of petroleum products at a price not to exceed X."

Bad idea. Such a buying program -- due to its size -- would affect the market negatively. It would ensure the presence of a big and ready buyer at a fixed price. Everyone in the world of oil would know the price.

The government -- as Big Buyer -- would put a floor under the price of oil, but there would be no cap. Hence, trading strategies built on government buying patterns would emerge.

Of course, if there were a "national emergency", all limits would disappear and the government would go long and strong and without regard for the price, which would go skyward.

You wrote:

"Drilling in ANWR isn't the panacea that you think that it is."

I never said drilling in the ANWR was a "panacea."

ANWR is a region containing approximately 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Would anyone question the good sense of exploiting a region containing 16 billion barrels of oil IF that region were located in non-controversial territory?

It is a big domestic field that represents domestic employment, replacing imported resources with domestic resources and using this oil is a step toward energy independence.

You said:

"I'd love to see it, for purely selfish reasons, but it would take several years to build the pipeline system to bring the oil to a port for shipping."

It took three years to build the Alaska Pipeline. But contruction must start before the clock begins counting down to the time the oil starts to flow.

Meanwhile, there are billions of barrels of oil off both US coasts that would begin flowing to consumers very quickly -- if drilling were permitted.

Every oil deposit is limited. Every pool of oil will run dry. Thus, the hydrocarbon industry is always hunting for more supplies. Like sharks and food.

Meanwhile, no matter what the eco-nuts say, solar energy is painfully inadequate. At this point it takes a couple of solar panels to power a 100-watt light bulb. But dreamers have to accept that solar panels are not semiconductors. There is no Moore's Law of solar panels. In other words, Solar will not see a series of advances taking it from vacuum tubes to transistors to semiconductors and the subsequent massive improvements of semiconductors.

Solar will improve. But not like computers. Worse, it will cost a lot.

First, the price of oil sets the price for solar. Hence, if oil is $130 a barrel, an equal amount of solar energy will cost about the same -- if solar technology permits.

Otherwise, solar will require massive taxpayer subsidies, which it gets now.

You said:

"One of the basic decisions in economics is to buy or make something. For a long time, it was cheaper to buy oil than to develop new sources."

Oil WAS cheaper to buy than to develop. That was THEN. This is NOW.

Interestingly, current high prices should represent dreams come true for most liberals. It has long been a desire of liberals to see higher gas prices. They believed higher prices would convince people to buy cars that are more efficient.

Guess what? It's happening. But liberals apparently didn't believe THEY would also have to pay high gas prices. What a bunch.

Hattie

What I want is one specific example of Hillary Clinton making a racist remark.

Brian

if you like collies over dobermens you are racist. if you like penquins over geese you are racist. if you like chicago pizza over new york pizza you are racist. does that mean if you have a preference or a dislike of one thing over another you are racist? this is the inanity calling someone racist has but i feel bad for the poor guy who played that hollwyood nightclub and was treated disrespectfully by a noisy group of drinkers who just happened to be mostly one other noisy LA race. I think that was the same club one Charles Manson jumped on stage in the late 60's and did one of his improvisation dances to the stoned out crowd and they thought it was pretty cool. So go figure. The place just brings out a weird energy in people. It happens. Must be an energy vortex there that runs from linear analytic thinkspeak. Now there is a topic.

Anarcissie

The complaints about Clinton, generally speaking, were not that she made racist remarks. Someone may well have said that, because there's usually at least one of everything, but I can't recall anything zippier than observations that some of the Clinton camp's rhetoric was racially tinged.

lc2

Oh, yay. A historic moment in which a dark-skinned man earns the Dem. nomination. The ultimate result of decades of safe 'n cozy political correctness/identity politics, since class is too un-American to discuss (how many million$ did he and Michelle make last year?). He might have dark skin, but frankly the source of that pigmentation is hardly a beacon of virtue. Obama's father abandoned him -- he was raised and his opportunities nurtured by whites. Let's be clear. For him to say "I can no sooner disown ..." is pure bullshit. Disowning someone who gives a few raucous rants is easy, as Obama has shown in the past few days. Disowning the person who feeds and clothes you and your mother because your selfish father knocked up and abandoned her, is something else. I would expect a presidential candidate to know the difference. This Obama guy needs therapy, pronto. He doesn't know who he is, and I'm not particularly interested in helping him figure that out.

So while Voice of the People Obama was doing blow and globe-trotting on his summers off from the Ivy League, Hillary Clinton had HER nose buried in policy and was scrapping her way to partner in backwater Arkansas (hardly a bastion of equal opportunity) ... all without reminding everyone who would listen that she has a vagina. While Obama breezed through Committee meetings and got rock star treatment from the press, Hillary Clinton did her homework and earned nearly universally rave reviews from her constituents. Remember them? The People?

The less-qualified candidate wins, because he claims a skin color to which he has little more than fleeting contact. Only in America. Meanwhile I guess that the 51% of us who comprise the majority population -- that would be women -- have missed our moment.

Remember, the first time Obama falls off that pedestal, at least with Hillary Clinton you would've known exactly what you were getting.

barbsright

Ic2, your racist rant is interesting, but illogical. Obama did not win this nomination as much as Hillary Clinton lost it. I have read a number of accounts of her campaigns' mistakes, and it is amazing how badly run it was. Her biggest mistake was ignoring the math concerning delegates---just amazing!

Anarcissie

With Clinton, I'd be getting someone I regard as a war criminal. That's just not acceptable.

I don't agree that her campaign was all that badly run. She almost won, and she is nowhere near as charismatic as Obama.

Brian

That Terry guy of Hillary's campaign, though a booster, didn't seem to deal with facts in real time though compared to Obama's campaign manager. Obama's interviewed sane and honest and shrewd. Hillary's seemed out of touch and just mindlessly partisan. Personally I am puzzled at how the Clinton campaign machine is supposed to be so good as it seem amateurish and discombobulated at times. Since Hillary may have won the popular vote, barely, over Obama then to lose by the delegate vote does "prove" her campaign was run poorly as it lost what it should have won given the popular vote. Once again delegates overrule the populace. But maybe this goes to the fact that Hillary would have run a discombobulated presidency. The basic question still remains, just who is this Barak Obama? What will he do? What are his plans for us? I think its a mistake to so turn over the reins of governing to whomever occupies the White House on so many monumental and trivial matters that so affect our lives and our directions. Maybe the terms should be staggered by two years so that no one president can so consume our lives as sooner or later we will get a really bad apple. Its interesting how easily the term "racist" gets thrown around willy nilly, yet the term "misogynist" is used exceedingly sparingly. I do think Obama has something to prove to himself looming in the background that may not be in our best interests. At the same time McCain wants to yet further pack the Supreme Court with more "strict constructionalist" judges(code for right wing republicans with an agenda). If nothing too exciting or cataclysmic happens in the next five years, perhaps the biggest footprint the next president will have is who they appoint to the Supreme Court(up to 4 judges). Can you imagine having a 7-8 judge conservative majority? Then again I worry about Michelle's world view on the rest of us and whether she will rise to the occasion to be a champion of all the people.

Anarcissie

Well, "we" could abolish the presidency. The American people seem to like to go through these monarchical exercises, though.

No one knows much of anything about the candidates. As you may recall, in 2000 Bush was supposed to be the non-interventionist guy, not interested in nation-building and other adventures abroad, and Gore, following Clinton and the habits of the Democratic Party, the interventionist (imperialist).

Brian

I think bush will be seen as an outlier as far as presidents go. And a very messy foreign policy president, while inactive, even obstructionist, on domestic affairs. Though Congress isn't any better. Its another wasted opportunity in so many ways. Sorrily, as a nation, we have been reduced to hunting madmen in caves, deserts and on the tops of cold mountains in the world's most forbidding habitats as our chief foriegn policy objective. So many of our young people have served in an endless military operation while we have not increased the size of our forces to adjust to a new paradigm of low intensity, highly vicious, chronic wars. And domestically outside of policing us, federal government agencies are simply abnegating their responsibilities in favor of whatever corportate and special interests want, while he packs our courts, including the supreme court with exceptionally conservative judges that really aren't people positive(they approved the death penalty for our citizens). I just read we have 2.3 million people in prison as of 2006, so soon we should get to 2.5 miilion, the highest incarceration rate of a developed nation in the world. Maybe we are just chock full of bad people, or maybe too many laws, too many prosecutions. But when it comes to financial regulation, the environment, health and human services, education, the federal governement has paid its employees to sit on their hands and rewrite legislation administration in corporate interets. I think its so unfair that the young sacrifice on the field of endless battle while those older than them take in huge wallstreet,banking, corporate bonuses. Now we have 25,000 wounded, untold numbers of post traumatic stress disorder(between 25-40% of those serving in Iraq. So going foward we have huge medical and disability expenses which I am sure bush didn't budget into the cost of this war of opportunity. Just like they didn't factor in the political scene and sectarian rifts in Iraq. Also it may be al queda that may have pushed the sects together through their vicious campaign against the Iraqi's themselves as wll as us. If the administration can't even manage to regulate the banking system how can we expect them to manage an occupation? Now they replace the commanders of first the Middle Eastern command and the airforce which allows them to put their own people in place should "they" chose to bomb Iran. No need to debate Iran's intentions as it all appears to be atom bomb making because they are insane for national power with an apolyptic bent. All of this when the most inexperienced presidential candidate looks likely to win because people are so utterly disgusted with the way things are being run now. WE are clearly an empire on the march with so much reserve we don't even need the massive social re-engineering that other republics have needed to conquer so much. The new Russian President says we are economically "aggressive". Tp which the commerce secratary immediately replied "no we're not". And we are aggressive on the world stage, but the sad thing its all paid for by us, we the people, but its in the hands of a select elite that is capable of using woefully bad judgement. All of this at a time we have an outlier president whose vice president who is running these wars says "so?" as a cryptic answer to anyone who would disagree. It all gives me a woeful headache, and as I see the income taxes they extort from me each week without seeking my input on how they should be spent, I feel like I am financing people I don't even know who use the money to carry out their own wreaking ball agenda. Simply giving us a presidential vote every 4 years to get us to consent and buy into the whole mess seems like a scam to me as the basic system just keeps going on doing what it wants without advice and consent from the people. These senators and congressmen who claim to be our representatives are really representing high paying special interests, and oh, there's another angry preacher on the tv pointing his finger in the air and at us.

Essay Writing Help

"Hillary’s Gift to Women". Nice thanks to share with us

Anarcissie

Is Bush an outlier? The great majority of U.S. presidents since World War 2 have had one or more wars or military interventions going somewhere. In 2004, people had a chance to vote for or against Bush on the basis of a record of imperialism, warmongering, lying, propaganda and repression and they chose to re-elect him. In 2008 both major parties had anti-war candidates for the nomination and none of them got out of the single digits. The people have chosen war (and national bankruptcy) and it looks like they're going to get them.

More fundamental issues such as the way in which our government has been turned into a quasi-monarchy and the belief of Americans that they can, should and must run the world may then get asked. It will be a bit late in the day, however.

chris

Brian, Terry McCauliffe is one of the vile people with whom Hillary is associated.

He was GIVEN stock in Global Crossing -- a major fiber-optic Internet company that went bankrupt -- that went bankrupt SHORTLY after he sold about $20 worth of shares. The head of Global Crossing might have done some jail time as a result of insider trading in the stock.

McCauliffe flew away, free as a bird with a gift of $20 million in his pocket.

As usual, due to lack of paragraphing, your post was too annoying to read -- conveyed by tl;dr -- too long; didn't read.

chris

anarcissie, you wrote:

"As you may recall, in 2000 Bush was supposed to be the non-interventionist guy, not interested in nation-building and other adventures abroad..."

He would have been the non-interventionist guy, not interested in nation-building IF we had not been attacked by islamic terrorists on 9/11.

In other words, once elected, a president is swept up in world events and mostly tries to hold on.

Since Obama is such a simpleton that he believes he can talk tough and do nothing, an Obama presidency promises even higher oil prices, higher taxes and economic calamity as a result. Things will get worse if a surprising and unexpected catastrophe occurs during an Obama presidency.

Frankly, if islamic terrorists are plotting, then it is likely they would plot to create more mayhem if Obama is elected since he has promised to talk first and back down later.

chris

Brian, Terry McCauliffe is one of the vile people with whom Hillary is associated.

He was GIVEN stock in Global Crossing -- a major fiber-optic Internet company that went bankrupt -- that went bankrupt SHORTLY after he sold about $20 MILLION worth of shares. The head of Global Crossing might have done some jail time as a result of insider trading in the stock. But McCauliffe traded on that inside information.

McCauliffe then flew away, free as a bird with a gift of $20 million in his pocket.

As usual, due to lack of paragraphing, your post was too annoying to read -- conveyed by tl;dr -- too long; didn't read.

S. DiazGarcia

Dear Dr. Ehrenreich:
I just came across your piece of writing titled "Hilary's Gift to Women" (12 May 2008). I have read through some of the readers's comments, and I feel compelled to respond to your ill-advised critique of Senator Hilary Clinton and of your half-baked concepts of gender and ethnicity.

I must admit that you and your colleague Carolyn Merchant were never very enlightened in discussions of gender and ethnicity, other than to emphasize the supremacy of Ehrenreich & Merchant modes of thought. Pity.

Factual correction #1 from my son's biological anthropology and primatological research (This would be Anthro 101 at UMCP). Chimpanzees, both male and female, can become aggressive and warlike. It has been documented that chimpanzees (particularly males) do engage in acts of rape, murder and even cannibalism. F. Fukuyama probably became confused with bonobo society, a totally different species with female dominance and distinctly peaceful behavioral characteristics. Not much was known a decade ago about the bobobos. How about that?

Factual correction #2 from common anthropological knowledge. (This would be anthro 103 at UCB.) We are no longer using color-coded racial classifications, which were en vogue in the forties and fifties. Therefore, we are no longer talking about black, white, red and yellow 'races'. Color classifications were the work of an man by the name of Coon. Just like the use of a term like 'the primitive mind' was the result of the work by a man named Boas.

Also, the use of the term 'race' is misleading and awkward, especially for a UC Santa Cruz academician. Homo sapiens sapiens does not have 'races', as Ashley Montague (US Physical anthropologist) demonstrated in the 1950s and 1960s in "The Myth of Race". The last documented example of a 'race' or subspecies was Neandertalensis. That was a while ago. Genus Homo, species sapiens, subspecies neandertalensis.
Therefore, Senator H. Clinton is not a 'white woman' but a woman of European-American ethnicity; and Senator B. Obama is not a 'black man' but a man of Afro-European ancestry. Both have the identical genetic code and neither one exhibits any variable phenotypical adaptations that I am aware of (e.g., increased lung capacity because of high altitude, sickle-cell trait to prevent malaria, etc.).

Concerning the Clinton and Obama Campaigns: H. Clinton was the object of gender-biased media ridicule and punditry. Folks such as Chris Mathews (with his impeccable Pennsylvania drawl and slurred speech patterns) did go out of his way to target H. Clinton in vicious verbal attacks. Mathews and people in his gentleman's club could not bear the thought of a woman in power and of the return of a female dominated society. They probably hate their mothers, wives, and daughters.

B. Obama, meanwhile, was spared character scrutiny and a critical look of his background and accomplishments or lack thereof. Personally, I don't think that a Homo sapiens sapiens with mediocre service in a state legislature and barely one term in the US Senate is qualified to operate as President of the United States of America. I am sorry, Barbara, but Obama does not "walk on water" in spite of the fact that his ethnic ancestry goes back to Europe and Africa.

In addition, after eight years of Buch mismanagement and crimes against humanity, we can ill afford to have a 'President-in-Training' in the White House. We just had 8 years of that under Bush and, before that, 8 years under Reagan.

Dr. Ehrenreich, next time, please remember to check your scientific facts, and also remember to express a degree of solidarity in support of your fellow gender allies of any ethnicity. Avoid a rush to value judgments, needless triangulations, supercilious remarks from hell, degenerative forms of argumentative speech, self-parodies, and a betrayal of all of us women on the front lines of Planet Earth.

Brian

WELL, in the family we still are a female dominated society, ergo the single parent household, or in the married household, see is the boss. On extra-family affairs men dominate still, though there are a few Carly Fiorina's around talking scarily like men you would never want to know. Gender facism is a scary prospect as we all know the bad residue it leaves in its wake. Obama has no particular experience before, but now he has shown he can run a strong winning campaign with a very loyal workforce so that is experience. He may be a fast study and this may be his dual genetic wiring where he subconciously picks the winning solution the wiring offers. I have seen this in people of mixed geneology and its true, not always, but in some and its not talked about. They seem to have an unusal intelligence, where both their left and right brains are optimally functioning rather than one being weaker. They often study the arts and the sciences and are accomplished musicians and politicians also. Clinton was damaged by his childhood family experiences, especially with his reportedly abusive dad, and yet he also inherited his genes. Obama's father was gifted to be picked to be the one Kenyen sent to America vis a vie the UN program. Harvard Law is a respectable education. Look at Jim Cramer entrepreneur extradinore. Some complain about my monolithic tablet blogs, but you have to work for the information, otherwise its just giving it away and it won't be appreciated.

Brian

BY the way, there are no "scientific facts" just simply scientific averages, arbitrary but coherently selected data endpoints, where clusters average around a mathematical center checked by assigned standard deviations. In the quantum world there is no reality, just a sum of the averages of measures which alter the field of study so greatly they create the standard deviation. The SD is a great conceptual being, an living numeric entity. Look it up, or relearn it for real. Science is just a collection of accepted techniques to study natural phenommena. Its a mammals way of measuring and communicating something useful. Its not an absolute. Its a mammalian observation set, with each observation an discrete element of the set that follows a series of rules or functional parameters. Its clipped, and hodge podged. Its amazing that the shuttles computers can even calculate the relativistic effects of their orbital speed on how their boosters thrust and it works. So our measurements concieve a possible reality, and then act on it with reproducible and repeatable effects time after time till we get too far off the mean. I would encourage anyone curious about our world to keep studying math beyond elemetary calculus and analytic geometry, into multivariate calculus, differential geometry, and inferential statistics and then you will begin to see how it all fits together once you start field topology, vector tensor calculus, and real algebra. The key to understanding how this all fits together is advanced statistical theory and the only way to get into that is learn quantum mechanics as much as you can and then you will see its physical applications in the real world. They teach you only half the alphabet in grade school, with another tenth in college intro courses. You have to go beyond, and learning modern physics with this math will get you there. Read Feynmen carefully. There is a soft cover series of his cal tech lectures available. Ultimately he leads you into the topology of reality through his math of particle physics in the standard theory, and of course that is where all the string theorists are hung up currently. Learn thinking math, not rote math. Learn it now and you will see things as they really are. And it suddenly gets easier, and it all links together like common sense, but you will never see the world the same again.

Anarcissie

chris: '... [Bush] would have been the non-interventionist guy, not interested in nation-building IF we had not been attacked by islamic terrorists on 9/11. ...'

That's not what I read. Apparently people in his administration were already focused on some sort of military operation in Iraq before 9/11. 9/11 simply made things a lot easier.

The response to 9/11 would have been handled differently by a non-interventionist. Probably, some kind of military show would have been thought necessary to placate and reassure the low-information end of the citizenry, but the real deal would be to find and extract the perpetrators with the least effort and conflict possible, leaving Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and so on to otherwise solve their problems on their own -- in other words, the US would have engaged in a police operation, not a military operation, and maybe a hundred thousand people would now be alive that are now dead including 4000 American soldiers, to say nothing of those who have lost their limbs or minds. The U.S. could still have its kangaroo court and might even punish some real perpetrators, assuming they could catch some, at far lower cost.

But this is contrary to the spirit of the general operating theory of the American ruling class, which is that it can, must, and should dominate the world. That domination has been sometimes subtle and clever, and sometimes crude and stupid. Bush's regime seems to have been down at the crude and stupid end. But it's not different in theory and spirit from prior regimes since World War 2. When I say that Bush was supposed to be the non-interventionist it's within that rather narrow spectrum -- the idea being that Bush was not _as_ eager to threaten, bomb and invade Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Serbia, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, etc., as Clinton had been and Gore presumably would be.

In any case it turned out to be a fiction, as is, I suspect, Obama's version of it.


C Montes de Oca

W 11 June 2008
Barbara Ehrenreich's comments on Senator Hilary Clinton are ill-advised, obscurantist, and misleading. There are several factual misunderstandings and anthropological errors that should be pointed out:
#1: F. Fukuyama's description of chimpanzee society does not hold up to recent research and would seem to refer to bonobo society. Recent field research among chimpanzees in the wild shows a propensity toward violence (among both males and females), and toward rape, murder and even cannibalism (among males in gangs).
#2: Color-coded ethnolinguistic classifications (red, yellow, black, white) are the product of European supremacist policies as professed by Coon (a physical anthropologist of the forties and fifties). We, all of us, are genus Homo, species sapiens, and subspecies sapiens. The last time we had a subspecies was Homo sapiens neandertalensis.

H. Clinton is not a white woman but a European American woman, and B. Obama is not a black man but a man of African and European ancestry. And, B. Obama's assertions notwithstanding, America is a 'nation-state', a State, and an empire encapsulating many societies, nations, cultures, and ethnolinguistic groups. We, particularly those of us in the academic world, should avoid obsolete unscientific classifications and myths. We, as women elders, owe it to our children.

B. Ehrenreich, in my view, chose to express an archaic mode of thought that the tide (male or female) as long it is considered 'politically correct' (by the beholder) will lift all boats and all rights (mother's right and father's right), and so in judging H. Clinton according to superficialities, B. Ehrenreich misses the female boat, an opportunity for the beginning of female dominance in the United States, and instead selects to support "the man who walks on water" and the Messianic movement bandwagon. A missed opportunity. Pity.

So, we will have to be content with a woman president in Argentina, a woman president in Chile, and so on. For the time being. Until we learn to prioritize our objectives, operationalize women solidarity, revise our concepts of 'gender', 'race' and 'ethnicity', and carefully study recent primatological field research.

Whether or not the presumptive Democratic nominee walks on water and delivers lofty speeches, B. Obama, if elected, will be a 'President-in-Training' just like GW Bush and R. Reagan. It is difficult to imagine how serving in a state legislature with an undistinguished voting record of 'Present' and less than a full term in the US Senate qualifies anyone to become CEO of a large 'failed empire'. And this is not a 'racist statement' but a statement of fact.

chris

C Montes de Oca, the US is NOT entering an era or an age of female dominance.

Moreover, until male models receive compensation equal to female models, there can be no peace between genders. It is also true that no matter how accomplished women may be, men will never feel attraction to women with moustaches.

Wolfgang P. May

My alternate blog:
thewararoundus.com/ I like Hillary because of her husband: He left his office with a huge budget surplus, and his foreign policy seemed benign. Obama is an unknown quantity, and he seems to have voted for war more than once.
Since I served as advisory team leader (captain, armor) in Vietnam, I am against war.

lc2

My rant is racist, barbsright? That's a laugh. If you didn't notice, political correctness ran its course in the 90's. Besides, if Obama or Barbara can't take it, they shouldn't dish it.

Obama is a spoiled brat who takes way too many days off. Every small business owner and most hourly wage-earners I know work harder than he does. His wife is an elitist fashion plate. According to the NYT, I'm supposed to be impressed by the fact that she "dresses herself"? She alone represents the triumph of feminism over social justice. Now all the little girls of the world know that they too can go to work for corporations and make lots and lots of money and hire maids with their very own paychecks, not their husbands'!! Yay, progress.

Only in America would Barbara Ehrenreich be trumpeting the rise of a politician whose spouse is a corporate hack as "transformative." Unbelievable.

Barack Obama is a masterful politician. He'll also be revealed shortly as being inexorably tied up with this mortgage mess. I saw video of him double-talking and testily stumbling his way through an excuse about it the other day ... just like .... Bill Clinton! Yay, progress.

So the U.S. will once again get what it wants ... a politician, not a public servant. Don't get too upset when Obama takes too much vacay days, America! Rock stars need down-time, too.

C Montes de Oca

F 13 June 2008
What is wrong with the software of this website? Just to mwention one thing that is wrong.

Anarcissie

If you must vote, you don't have to vote for Obama and his ambiguities. Cynthia McKinney is running as the Green Party candidate. She's female, Black, and anti-war without compromise.

leo manzetti
Brian

Having observed the media for some years now I have to admit someone is pushing Obama on us nonstop and its curious to me as to whom. About two years ago they had near daily blurbs with his picture on the news pages on the cnn, abc, cbs, etc news sites. I noticed they kept showing his picture and it was like a daily reminder he was out there running for president. The historical background was shallow and boilerplate and the best I could figure was he was an artificial senator using the office to positon himself exclusively for a run to the White House. He was another one of those checkered people having lived all over yet an Ivy league grad and another in the hundreds of thousands of minted lawyers. He never seemed to be married to any issue but rather amorphous and a floater on the liberal fringe I suppose yet not really over the line. A lot of powerful people have lined up behind him now, but gee so did they for Bush and Cheyney so what are we to make of this? I just feel that once again we are being manipulated by a finely oiled "machine" but have no idea to what ends. I think its a mistake to so completely turn over the ruling of this country to a new face every four years and then give them all the power that we the people have earned and banked over nearly five centuries. Because that is exactly what we are being manipulated to do.

lc2

The only prob w/McKinney is that she shoved a Capitol police officer in the chest not too long ago.

I'm voting for Nader!

Brian

McKinney would do well in Los Angeles local politics of anger, judgementalism, and intimidation, but she just so fits the angry stereotype its a definite turn-off on the national stage given there are other talented people out there who would bring a lot to that chair and have more to offer. I guess if you are for the little people you would know that capital police officers don't make much money and a lot is expected of them, so its the ultimate diss to just push one off like a crumb sticking to your shoe. Chris Matthews said he use be one himself.

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