I made a donation to the Democratic party once. Little did I know that it would lead to a deluge of spam. I am now getting a dozen emails a day from dccc.org, and their latest tactic is fear. They all have subject lines like “All Hope is Lost”, “Painful Defeat”, “DEVASTATING Defeat”, “EVISCERATED”, “throw in the towel”, etc., etc., etc. And then when I open it up (which I rarely do anymore), it’s got some simple message in a giant font telling me there’s an important deadline right now for me to give them money. It seems to be a new imminent deadline every day.
I also get daily phone calls asking for money. At least I think that’s what they’re doing; I now look at the incoming source, and if it’s the Democrats, I don’t bother to pick up. And here I am, entirely sympathetic to that party (if dissatisfied with their conservatism), and I have a conditioned aversion now.
I’ve had enough. I can learn. And the moral I have learned is to never donate to the Democratic party.
Who’s the idiot behind this campaign? Is it actually working for them?
“I have an idea for fundraising! Now hear me out. You know how Republicans get what they want through stoking fear? Well let’s try that on people who are quite decidedly NOT Republicans. And let’s make sure that we do so in a way that perfectly emulates spam bots and telemarketers. We will be irresistible!”
It’s part of the new Democrat branding strategy: Republican Lite.
I didn’t even donate, only responded to petitions, and I get over a dozen of these e-mails a day.
That hasn’t been my experience.
I donate to the Democrats every once in a while using online avenues. I also use an email address that I don’t care about or even look at very often.
I do get some spam but not a lot. It just piles up and every once in a while, it all gets deleted.
Planned Parenthood OTOH, keeps sending me snail mail even after I told them I didn’t want it. By now, they’ve spent more on recurrent pleas for money then I sent them in the first place!
I get those emails as well. I once gave $50 to a local Dem that I admired.
Now I see at least ten emails a day from candidates across the country, pushing every Dem idea, reviling every Rethuglican push, and on and on and on. The thing that is most disturbing is that every one of them is demanding MONEY. “YAY! We WON! So send money!” or “OMG! We LOST! So send money!” or “Joe Btrsplrg is running for city council in Smallville, so send moneyj!”
I get the emails from the Democrats and the phone calls from the local Republicans. The best of both worlds.
anachronistes, I had the same experience. Replied to some petitions and now I get tons of spam from them. Luckily my gmail account has flagged it as such and puts it directly into my junk mail folder.
I have volunteered to help with various causes that would fall into the Democratic camp and get ten to fifteen e-mails daily. They get deleted. Interestingly, I also volunteer and donate money to the Multiple Sclerosis society and American Diabetes Association and while I get solicitations (e- and snail mail) it is not at the volume (at the very most, four a month) nor contains the alarmist rhetoric of the political spam.
Jafafa Hots says
People on a freebie forum are complaining that when the signed up for a free “I Love Obamacare” bumper sticker from the dccc, they never got the bumper sticker but they did instantly start getting deluged with spam.
Some said that the site required you to enter a credit card number to get the freebie also. (I haven’t confirmed this.)
Right alongside that post is one for a free “Stop Obamacare” bumpersticker.
No such complaints there. Some say they signed up for both and the DCCC is the only one spamming them.
Since money is speech, I guess they’re trying to afford you plenty of chances to speak, is all…
Steven Wolf says
Democrats do suck. I had to yell at the Warren campaign people for the same thing. I want to support good candidates… but I will not be their spam target.
Plus… explain to me how that pouring more money into this corrupt as hell system makes it better?
My “favorite” was the one with the subject line “final notice “. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who got this. Since I doubt anyone at dccc.org ever read my reply, I just dug it up from email to finally get it off my chest:
Sorry, but this subject line is not cool. “final notice”?! What are you gonna do, put me in collection?
Look I vote Democratic, have donated money in the past, and may donate in the future.
I can accept an occasional motivational spam mail, but seriously, “final notice”? Who’s idea of messaging is this?
It’s not limited to the US. In my 20s I donated *once* to a Canadian political party and repeatedly received junk mail for over a decade before I left the country. Even calling their party headquarters and saying “I will NEVER donate again because of this” didn’t have any effect. I moved once during that that decade, and somehow they managed to get my new address. Who are they employing, debt collectors?
It keeps things from getting worse!!! It can get almost unimaginably worse if people just give up.
We have to live in that “corrupt as hell” system whether we like it or not.
Emigration is the only other way out. And where would we go? Most of the world is worse. Even Canada has their problems (Steven Harper), the UK (David Cameron), or Australia (Tony Abbot).
Online petitions, polls, and especially surveys are mostly just vacuum cleaners for email addresses. I never give them mine.
I once played on online game that gave minor prizes and asked for an email address. And of course, was subsequently inundated with spam. Never again.
Rob Bos says
Many email servers support “tagged” email addresses for this purpose; for instance, sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org will send that email to the user “blahblah”. If you use this strategy over periods of time, you can selectively block particular addresses. I use the Qmail MTA, which supports similar syntax, so it’s email@example.com. This lets you give out custom addresses.
By default, I filter all tagged emails into my inbox; if they displease me, they get either permanently bitbucketed or put into a lower-priority inbox, “technicallynotspam”.
So if I were, say, writing an email to the Liberal Party of BC, I give out firstname.lastname@example.org. It shockingly turns out that the BC Liberal Party sells their email list. I know, can you believe it, conservatives being assholes. So that address is now permanently plonked.
Over time, this strategy leads to a much nicer email box with relatively little maintenance.
Sunny Raines says
“I can learn. And the moral I have learned is to never donate to the Democratic party.”
apparently you’re not too bright. The lesson is, don’t read junk email or put the DCCC in your spam list. But not funding Democrats is a GREAT WAY of supporting republicans!!!!!
Reginald Selkirk says
A similar thing happened to me when I joined the ACLU back in 1988. Fortunately that was before the era of widespread e-mail. I don’t do that any more.
Years ago I created an email address as my spam pit: email@example.com
Works like a charm.
I do get a surprising amount of spam from the Democratic party, considering how much I’ve ever contributed, and a lot of it is for out of state candidates. The hard sell doesn’t really bother me. You can ask all you want. You can warn me of impending disaster if I don’t help out. If you think it works, give it a try.
But what got me going about “final notice” was the suggestion that I owed them something. I can put up with a lot, but I draw the line at threats. Maybe “final notice” wasn’t supposed to sound like “or else” but honestly I can’t think of any other way to read it.
The Democrats together with the Republicans are also responsible for political parties being exempt from the Do Not Call list, and together with the Republicans serve as the Direct Marketing Association’s bitches, which is why no one can stop the junk calls, faxes or spam.
It is exactly that simple. Congress could banish all these annoyances with a simple law but chooses not to because we collectively don’t give them anywhere near as much money, er, free speech as the lobbyists.
The Unindicted Co-Conspirator made a donation to Your Esteemed Senator Franken back when he was first running. She liked his stand on issues, even though we’re not from Minnesota.
You would not believe how many more requests for donations she received, despite repeatedly telling callers that this was a one-time-only deal.
The Democrats aren’t alone in this. I get regular appeals from American Atheists, the ACLU, the AARP, and that’s only the organizations beginning with “A”. (Oh, and if you ever need to track someone down, contact their Alumni Association. The Pinkertons have nothing on them.)
YOB - Ye Olde Blacksmith says
Yeah, im in the two email addresses camp. One for stuff I want to recieve emails for and one for most websites that require one but i dont want their crap. The yessendmeyourspam@ goes into a blackhole.
Ditto. The emails turned me off and I unsubbed. Very bad campaign.
F [i'm not here, i'm gone] says
Even the lovely Al Franken will deluge you with email. A good portion of it is frequently alerting you to stuff, which is cool, I let other entities do that too. And I know politicians operate on donations, but yeah, during some periods the requests are endless. Honestly, if I had any money to give anyone, I’d consider it, even though I think the whole business of having to constantly raise funds to counter-campaign whatever the Republicans are doing is nuts. The only people making out here are the people who live off political printing and advertising. But honestly, I don’t really care if it is Al’s birthday or he has a ham (whatever that is about).
Sherrod brown is just a tad closer to home, and I don’t get half the email from him as I do from Al (or Franni, or Matt Burgess) or Tammy Baldwin. I only get slammed with Democratic Victory or DSCC mail around elections. But it all beats getting one phone call from the Republicans or the NRA. That just makes me want to reach through the phone and lay about with a stick.
If they really annoy me, they just go into the filter. Buh-bye.
I hate the ones that come just before the “All Important Critical FCC filing deadline!” I have never understood why this is important to me, let alone urgent.
Then the day after, I get this “We did it! Thank you!” e-mail,, with a notice that it would be a great time to give them a headstart on the next deadline. And I didn’t give them a thing, but you’re welcome. I guess. Just happy to ignore you, I hope that helps.
Here’s some advice that no one is asking for. I have a Google voice number I use for just these types of things. Granted, I do not have a land line, so it integrates with my cell pretty well.
The key is that anytime I have to give out my number to someone I don’t know/trust, they get my GV number. That adds a whole host of options – call blocking, forwarding (including text) as well as routing the calls directly to my phone.
One time I was getting harassed by some either right-wing political or religious group. Based off of the incoming caller ID, I routed all their incoming calls to the local strip club. Good fun.
^As others have mentioned, I do the same with email – have a dummy spam account that I check every month or so
Yeah, I get ’em too—and guess what? You don’t even have to donate to a Repugnican organization, just give them your email address and your mailbox will be overrun with them asking for money too! I think it’s just the name of the game: politics.
David Wilford says
Goodness P.Z., I hope you don’t listen to public radio during pledge week, it might put you off ever giving them money again too… ;^)
Chengis Khan, The Cryofly says
Since I woke up till noon I have received 5 emails. This is what happens if in the past you split you donations between two sub-organization within the democratic party. Now I get emails from dccc, democrats.org, the bright white shack, and so on. The overall theme seems to be how much more can we stink, now that we know how much the Kochs stink. :(
Naked Bunny with a Whip says
Only if he’s listening to pledge week over his phone.
David Wilford says
He is if he’s streaming the audio on his phone.
Anyway, when it comes to fund raising, repetition happens. Big deal.
Alphonse Beliavsky says
Who’s the idiot behind this campaign? Is it actually working for them?
Probably one of these idiots…http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/07/inside-the-secret-world-of-quants-and-data-crunchers-who-helped-obama-win/
“A large portion of the cash raised online came through an intricate, metric-driven e-mail campaign in which dozens of fundraising appeals went out each day. Here again, data collection and analysis were paramount. Many of the e-mails sent to supporters were just tests, with different subject lines, senders and messages. Inside the campaign, there were office pools on which combination would raise the most money, and often the pools got it wrong. Michelle Obama’s e-mails performed best in the spring, and at times, campaign boss Messina performed better than Vice President Joe Biden. In many cases, the top performers raised 10 times as much money for the campaign as the under performers.”
I’ve always been amused by the ones that claim to be from Obama or Biden personally. I’m always tempted to answer them with something like, “Barry, you have to quit calling me! I told you, it’s over. Besides, I think Michelle suspects something: she keeps sending me these emails…” But I don’t because I’m sure the poor person who is stuck reading these emails has heard it too many times before already.
Juliana Ewing says
Once when my sister was having trouble finding an apartment, she joked that she should contact the college we both went to, because surely they would already know where she was going to be living.
I used the unsubscribe feature a long time ago. Keeps me from getting mad at them. Unfortunately, some associated entity has my cell phone number and no matter how many times I tell them to remove it from the list, I still get calls. But only about weekly and only during really hot election periods.
So, you made a donation and are surprised to be getting asked again (and again)? It’s really easy to use the delete mail function without throwing a tantrum. I personally like to keep getting these pitches because it will remind to give to specific candidates (like Wendy Davis) between now and election day.
Rich Woods says
If you get spammed by firstname.lastname@example.org you could always forward that address to Spamhaus…
I get loads too. I bet it is an inverse relationship the more you give the less spam you get. The beatings will continue till we do what they want $$$.
I’m Canadian. In Canada. But someone, somehow, added my name to a Tea Party list, and now I get a dozen or more e-mails daily from them, all along the lines of, “Urgent Crisis! Send money! Send money NOW!”
At least they don’t – usually – tell me to vote.
Half of them go directly to my spam folder, but no matter how many new filters I add, they find their way around them, so there are always a few in the trash, and occasionally one or two in my inbox.
No kidding. I get two physical letters from them every couple of weeks. And I didn’t give them that much!
Having a separate email account for spam isn’t the problem – anybody can do that. The problem is the way the Dem. and other groups treat the people who donate to them, and how they don’t understand how to properly cultivate and keep good donors.
Doesn’t look like the phone calls are working. The largest democratic fundraising call center just went out of business last month.
David Wilford says
My wife gets snail mail from Planned Parenthood regularly too and rarely contributes herself, but you have to look at it not individually but collectively in terms of how successful it is in raising money for PP. They can’t read minds or spend resources trying to, they just do the best they can based on the odds.
The Onion’s take: http://www.theonion.com/video/police-kidnapped-moveonorg-staffers-please-help-em,27561/
David Marjanović says
Not being a citizen or resident of the US of A, I’ve never donated to a political cause there. But I’ve signed a few petitions. I get at least as much of this spam as you do, PZ; not just from the DCCC, but from several related organizations and the campaigns of several Democratic candidates.
Some of these petitions are too stupid to accept “D-” in front of a zip code, which would mark it as German. They tell me “enter a valid zip code”. So I enter the zip code without the country symbol. It happens to have five digits like a US one; indeed, it happens to exist in the lovely state of New York. Consequently, I keep getting e-mails telling me to donate to various causes because I live in New York…
I have written to some of these organizations, telling them I sign their petitions and therefore don’t want to unsubscribe, but I cannot donate, so there’s no use in spamming me with calls for donations. None of these organizations has ever reacted.
And yes, I also get the “thank you”, “you are AMAZING” e-mails after having donated fuck-all.
I don’t get phone calls. They’ve never asked for a phone number, and telephone spam is probably illegal over here; political campaigns never call. What I do get are e-mails asking me if I’m ready to call a number of total strangers they choose so I can convince them to vote for the latest Democratic cause.
It’s a deadline to buy TV ads for the next… week maybe. Since there’s always a campaign going on somewhere in the US, there’s always a shiny fresh deadline.
…Oh, thanks for making me aware of this!
David Marjanović says
Most of them actually.
David Marjanović says
Perfect as usual.
I donated back in 2008, but I suspect these are from petitions I’ve signed, since I unsubscribe when the two word ‘doomlib’ subject lines start showing up, and I’ve had to do that about six times now. Generally I explain that those idiotic subject lines and the hysterical ‘Give $5 now or Space Hitler will win the race for dog catcher in Podunk, North Dumbfuckistan!!!” content were the sole reason and that I’d be happy to donate given a (non hyperbole) reason.
I get spam from a Republican state representative in a state I don’t live in. How this guy got my eddress I have no idea. I certainly never donated anything to his campaign, or any Repub campaign. And I have never lived in his state, so it couldn’t have come through any sensible connection to residency. I can’t vote for him even if I wanted to.
You know, if I were part of a Republican Department of Dirty Tricks, I would scoop all the addresses of Democrats that I could, and then spam the hell out of them pretending to be a Dem organization.
I was getting endless phonecalls (not robocalls) on election day in ’08 asking me to support Obama. I mentioned the “Republican plot” theory to the third or fourth person, and the woman on the other end said she would get my number off the list so I didn’t get called again that day. And I didn’t. They should put her in charge of their email campaigns.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
@16, Sunny Raines:
Since that’s the Democratic response to anyone who tries to break away from the party in any way, no matter how minor, I honestly can’t tell if you’re serious, or if that’s a Poe. If you’re actually serious, let me give you a word of advice: every time people like you tell me that “if you aren’t working for the [right-wing, increasingly warlike, pro-corporate, unaccountable, pro-big-bank, anti-environment] Democrats, then you’re helping the Republicans!!!!”, I become even more determined to vote Green, because I don’t want to be associated with idiots.
Ultimately, all of this generally works and that’s why they do it. They track and know exactly how many repeat donations and responses to mailings they get and they run the numbers and basically get their money’s worth. They also know that most people, like me, as annoyed as we get about the repeated mailings from Planned Parenthood, are going to keep giving and that at some point we’ll respond to one of those mailings with a check. The one that bugs me the most is my local food bank, who send out a glossy full color booklet about how everything they’re doing. I know they’ve got to spend money on this stuff to keep donations rolling in and that they’ve done the math on it, but I still wish I could just check a box: send me one request near the end of the year to remind me and stop sending me the expensive stuff and use that money to feed people!
The idiots behind this campaign are the republicans who are so absolutely and unrepentantly corrupt that we have no other choice. At least we might, one day, be able to bully the democrats into paying more than lip service into reforming the election system to the point where third parties become viable options. There are at least a few democrats (Rush Holt, Alan Grayson, Elizabeth Warren and Wendy Davis to name a few) who understand what we’re really fighting against here.
The thing that pisses me off most about the constant barrage of emails and calls is that I can’t afford to give money to most of them, even if I support their position 100%
You can’t necessarily blame the democrats for the fact that the general population isn’t willing enough to get out and vote in their own best interests. That’s why we have money equated with free speech and political gerrymandering making it impossible to get rid of the bad actors.
Bernie Sanders is willing to caucus with them.
Help a man in trouble and he’ll never forget you.
Especially when he’s in trouble again.
The Evil Twin says
Similar situation here, although since I always used a disposable email address (spamgourmet.com, it’s very easy to use) the emails are less of a problem, but lots of political phone calls from liberal groups that I donated money to or that sold mailing lists.
Not as bad as Discover magazine, however. I got a phone call asking me to renew my subscription. I did. Then another call. Told them I’d already done so, they thanked me. Then a third call, same thing.
For the next year: two to three calls a day from Discover magazine asking me to renew. I even sent them snailmail letters begging them to stop.
@16, Sunny Raines – I’m with the above commenter giving you a bit of advice about the lesser of two evils BS you are peddling. That doesn’t fly with me any more. When the Dems learn that moving to the left (ie. actually voting for policies that the majority of people want, as documented by countless polls) will get them more wins than being Republican lite, I MAY think about voting for them again. Not until then. They are a part of the continuing bankruptsy of the American political system, they are not interested in solving it. They are just as war-mongering and bankstering as the other party. They just have more squishy rhetoric. That does not impress. The possibility of an FDR II administration has been turned into Bush III. It’s sad and tragic….
That’s your mistake right there. Nothing good will come out of that wretched party, ever. Of course their stated principles sound good. But they will never live up to them.
Do not give them your money. Vote for them if you feel you must but don’t expect them to ever really change anything. American politics is hopeless.
Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says
You have the most idiotically low threshold for “throwing a tantrum” I’ve seen in at least three days. In fact, your own comment probably meets it.
Some days I wish the goddamn cult of No One Should Ever Complain About Anything Ever would just drink the damn Flavor-ade already.
Yeah – welcome to the club. I have given a lot to various Dem orgs over the last 15 years – it was the advent of the Bushies that pushed me to give politically for the first time in the early 2000’s. I get on average 30 to 40 (or more) political begging emails a day. I no longer give to the DCCC or the DLC (since they canned Howard Dean) or the DSCC. I give to individual campaigns as I become aware of them. The DCCC is a bunch of annoying assholes, as far as I can make out.
In 2008 I donated $200 to the Obama campaign and I think about $25 to Elizabeth Warren campaign and around $50 to various moveOn and online democratic backed petitions….
The email spam I get, I don’t care about since I used my junk email account. But oh boy, as PZ says, I get all sorts of alarmist scare tactics snail mail crap from various Democratic national committees just about on a weekly basis (and an occasional phone call).. I’m sure several trees worth of paper have been sent to me over the last 6 years. Shame about wasting of those trees, but on the upside, it may be helping in a small way, the propping up of our fiscally strapped USPO.
I actually think the Republicans have it worse. A friend of mine is a disabled Vietnam vet, Fox News addict who has contributed to the GOP.
And now he’s on every mailspam list imaginable. His snailmail box is crowded with charity appeals, get-rich-quick schemes, investment opportunities and health scams galore.
I refuse to set up a computer and e-mail account for him. It would be a hundred times worse. He already falls for way too many of them–up to and including phone calls from folks who need $300 for the processing fee to send him the million-dollar first prize. (I successfully derailed that one, and alas the local police weren’t interested in the guy who offered to show up in person to pick up the cash.)
Izzy Leonard says
You learned the wrong lesson. The moral of the story is, never give your phone number to someone you don’t want to call you, your email address to someone you don’t want to revive emails from, or your address to people you don’t want mail from. I guarantee you they will take your money even if you don’t fill out the donor card.
Every year I renew my annual membership with the ACLU, with the cute lil check box that says “Renew your membership for the upcoming year”. Without fail, within two months I get an URGENT request to renew my annual membership. Then another URGENT – YOUR MEMBERSHIP IS EXPIRING snail mail a month or two later.
I do not think the word annual means what they think it means.
Not that CNN is relevant at all but the poll at the very bottom right needs more votes for gun control. Lets see if we can get the numbers in the right direction and get all your friends to vote.
@46 David Marjanović
uberROFL. I love me some minimalist humor.
The Oatmeal has a more baroque/rococo/visible approach:
My local provincial party is a little like this. And I actually like them and think they are doing good work, so it’s a shame their fundraising efforts are so pushy. The typical conversation goes like this:
Fundraiser: So, can we count on your $200 donation? 75% of it is tax deductible, so you are only out of pocket $50.
Me: I’m a student on an extremely tight budget. I can’t spare any money. And I would be out $200 until next April when I get my tax refund.
Fundraiser: Well, how about $100? You would only be out of pocket $25.
Me: I told you, I am a student with no income. I can’t spare any money. And I’m still out all of that money until tax season.
Fundraiser: $50 then. You’re telling me you can’t spare $50?
Me: Yes, that is what I’m telling you.
Fundraiser: $25. You would only be out of pocket $6.25.
Me: Goodbye. *click*
For a while, like every six months or so, I was receiving junk US mail from the National Rifle Association. After a couple of years of my non-response, I got a mailing with no NRA markings on it, but I recognized the city in the return address on the back of the envelope as the same as the city that headquarters the NRA. On the front of the envelope, near my address it said “Statement Enclosed.” I wondered why the NRA would think that I owed them any money. Had I somehow gotten subscribed to a periodical of theirs by mistake or trickery, or were they now billing me for a membership that I never signed up for? Instead of pitching it in the waste can, I opened it, expecting a billing statement. But the enclosed statement was their mission statement, their manifesto. I felt totally deceived and violated, and actually rather hateful of the NRA for going to such lengths just to get me to open their letter. Overall, an epic fail on their part. I still feel dirty whenever I think about it.
Because I’ve made some rather modest contributions to Demo causes, I get lots of Demo email and snail mail – but it doesn’t bother me much. Why? Because I can pretty well recognize them without opening them, and it’s easy to send the emails (10+ per day) to the junk folder, and stack up the snail mails for dumping into the recycle receptacle. So what’s there to complain about?
Evidently some folks have a foolish compulsion to open and actually read all their emails and snail mails.
Get over it – just dump them! Why then do the Demos, like the Republicans, send such stuff? Presumably because it works well enough – brings in enough money and signed petitions – to be worth the effort; because enough of the hoi polloi of both parties are, unfortunately, influenced by such sophistry.
Yes they’re annoying, but they’re also necessary. In today’s political age parties and candidates need money to run campaigns, and the candidate or party that raises more money usually wins. (Usually, not always) So if you want a democratic congress that can actually work with the president, and get meaningful legislation passed, we can move this country out of the doldrums that we’ve been in ever since the GOP took control of the house in 2010. So it’s prudent and wise to donate money to your preferred party, or you contribute to the risk of having the GOP take over the senate and claim congress, insuring that nothing gets done over the next two years and Obama becomes even more of a lame duck. It’s a matter of practicality. If you don’t like the emails just ignore them. But if you want democrats to have a better chance at retaking the house and retaining the senate, you should consider at least donating 5 dollars here and there. It helps. Let’s keep our perspectives here people.
“The possibility of an FDR II administration has been turned into Bush III. It’s sad and tragic….”
-The reason why we don’t have an FDR II administration is because the circumstances aren’t right. FDR had supermajorities in both chambers of congress because of the great depression, which allowed him to pass a bunch of the New Deal legislation. So don’t blame democrats or the obama administration as not being liberal enough. It’s simply that they lack the resources and political support in order to pass the kind of progressive legislation you want. ( They’re a minority in the house and barely have a majority in the senate) The solution to this problem is to support your party and convince people to go out and vote. You can’t accuse the administration and Democratic party of being “republican-lite” because the House GOP obstructs everything the senate and white house attempts to do. You’re not doing yourself or the country any good by not voting and not supporting your party, just a bit of advice. Whining never gets you anywhere, it’s action. Go vote.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
This is just a piece of disingenuous lying, which picks you out as a shill of the most infuriating kind.
In 2008, Obama had majorities in both houses of Congress. And there was bipartisan popular support for punishing the “too big to fail” banks. If he had begun by working on that problem, he not only would have managed to actually gain support from ordinary voters but it would have ended the career of any Republicans who engaged in obstruction for the sake of obstruction, because the banks were absolutely persona non grata with nearly everyone. If he had managed to smack down the banks, he probably could have had anything else he asked for — gay marriage? Sure!
He didn’t do that. Instead, he packed his financial team with banksters like Geithner, and picked an issue which the Democrats had already failed on — health insurance reform — to be his sole focus, and started his “attack” by pre-compromising his stance, so that the position most of the base actually wanted (single payer) was never even seriously mentioned. At his request, other proposals to please the base (such as the public option) were weeded out (yes, it was Obama specifically; his aides admitted that he was the one who went around asking Democrats who were pushing for a public option to stop talking about it) in the name of trying to attract Republican support — thus handing all the power in the debate over to the Republicans. Predictably, this meant that we ended up with a non-reform “reform” and still ended up with no Republicans helping out.
At the same time, anyone asking about other issues — whether those issues were “the banks”, or “the war in Iraq”, or “closing Gitmo”, or whatever — was told that “that has to wait until we’re done with healthcare reform”. Amazingly to anyone whose intelligence compares unfavorably with root vegetables, the health care “reform” “defate” (which Obama had promised would all be public, but ended up being behind closed doors) lasted until the midterm elections, and Obama then lost his majority in Congress. Ever since then, Obama has given up on every single issue before even starting — he was supposed to be a “great communicator” but he hardly ever gives a speech or seeks popular support for his positions. He just sits and whines, via press releases by aides, about how those Nasty Republicans won’t let him do anyting. (Oh, except for when he’s drone bombing other countries with populations which are majority brown-skinned. Not only does he love to do that, but both houses of Congress are absolutely f*cking delighted to approve of the budgeting and logistics for it. The Democrats don’t even make a pretense of having a moral stance; it’s bombing all the way.)
Now: either you can claim that Obama (and the Democratic Party) are absolute utter morons, who couldn’t strategize their way out of a paper bag, or you can claim that they knew what was going to happen and deliberately sabotaged the momentum which the disastrous Bush years produced. Either way, the solution cannot possibly involve continuing to support these people — they need to be removed from office.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
(A notification about this comment just showed up in my mailbox, so…)
Well, it is and it isn’t.
The minute VoIP (Voice over IP) was permitted to exist as part of the phone service as a whole, it ceased to be possible to require that a business be located in the U.S. to make phone calls within the U.S.; all those call centers in India/China/wherever where the employees pretend (often comically badly, but sometimes quite well) to be Americans? Those were made economically feasible by VoIP. And now that they exist, it is essentially impossible to regulate them. Suppose Congress passed a law making it illegal to make sales calls, entirely, full stop, tomorrow. Well, the people making those calls aren’t actually within U.S. jurisdiction; you might be able to require carriers to enforce blocks against VoIP lines from outside the country, but it would be a case of squishing bubbles under wallpaper — one of the features of VoIP is that you can claim to be anyone you like. You basically would have to shut down all VoIP connections to the public phone system. Guess how popular that would be. (Here’s a hint: if you get a land line from the cable company via your cable box, you’re using VoIP. If you’re getting a land line from the phone company but the signal isn’t coming through an old-style RJ11 connector, you’re using VoIP. If you have a land line from the phone company and the signal is coming through an old-style RJ11 connector, but you are also using the line for DSL, then you may or may not be using VoIP because some phone companies love to do that anyway.)
And as for making political calls illegal: that would be asking for trouble as well. Given that the Republicans have already descended to pretending to be Democrats now and again to fool people into giving money to the wrong locations (it was in the news a little while ago), if it were made illegal to make political calls, I absolutely guarantee that in the first election cycle after the law came into effect, there would be lots of Republicans making calls claiming to be representatives of the opposition campaigns. (And every single Green campaign would have Democrats sabotaging it the same way, since Democrats tend to be willing to use dirty tricks against Greens without hesitation, too.) Since phone calls are ephemeral, it would be next to impossible to prove that a series of illegal calls weren’t made by the party which ostensibly claimed them.
But you’re right — it is purely a matter of money from lobbyists. When the Do Not Call list legislation passed, my father told me that the lobbyist who was retained by (among other employers) his company’s buying group — a tiny buying group in a relatively minor industry — assured them all that, thanks to lobbying, the law had been written in such a way as to exempt their activities. Dad’s comment: “if even our industry is exempt, then obviously the law must be so totally toothless that it won’t mean a thing”. And so it has largely proven.
“This is just a piece of disingenuous lying, which picks you out as a shill of the most infuriating kind.”
-I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t accuse me of being a disingenuous liar. I said what I meant. You don’t have to agree. But instead of ad hominem attacks, simply addressing the actual argument would suffice.
“In 2008, Obama had majorities in both houses of Congress. And there was bipartisan popular support for punishing the “too big to fail” banks. If he had begun by working on that problem, he not only would have managed to actually gain support from ordinary voters but it would have ended the career of any Republicans who engaged in obstruction for the sake of obstruction, because the banks were absolutely persona non grata with nearly everyone. If he had managed to smack down the banks, he probably could have had anything else he asked for — gay marriage? Sure!”
-Yes he had comfortable majorities, not supermajorities. This is where political capital comes in. Politicians can usually only address a few issues at a time. First because they take longer and are harder to accomplish than you think, even with support from congress. And secondly because if congress and the president try to do too many things at once, it can endanger them from accomplishing anything. (Bill Clinton can tell you that) It’s better sometimes to put your focus on a couple issues and make sure you can pass a meaningful bill or reform. By addressing too many issues at once, it can also backfire because your opponents will portray you as some radical dictator trying to “fundamentally change America”. This makes people paranoid and scared, and there then goes your base support.(If there was any to begin with) I know we would all like to see some president and congress come in and pass a sort of ‘second New Deal’ legislation. But political realities are quite different. Most respected economists and financial experts will tell you that while bailing out big banks wasn’t popular, it was necessary to keep our financial system intact and keep our country from slipping into a second great depression. Sometimes doing what the majority of the base wants…..isn’t always the right thing to do. Most people aren’t economists. I deplore what certain big banks did back in the early 2000’s that led to this mess, but it’s important to keep our heads here. I think it’s quite disingenuous of you to think that allowing these banks to fail, which would have lead to an even worse economy, maybe even a depression, would have garnered Obama more support from the base. It’s not that simple.
“He didn’t do that. Instead, he packed his financial team with banksters like Geithner, and picked an issue which the Democrats had already failed on — health insurance reform — to be his sole focus, and started his “attack” by pre-compromising his stance, so that the position most of the base actually wanted (single payer) was never even seriously mentioned. At his request, other proposals to please the base (such as the public option) were weeded out (yes, it was Obama specifically; his aides admitted that he was the one who went around asking Democrats who were pushing for a public option to stop talking about it) in the name of trying to attract Republican support — thus handing all the power in the debate over to the Republicans. Predictably, this meant that we ended up with a non-reform “reform” and still ended up with no Republicans helping out.”
-They picked health insurance reform because our previous system wasn’t working and costs were spiraling out of control. It was important (and still is) that we did something to address it. I’m not sure how failing once before meant that we shouldn’t have tried again. That’s kind of a strange argument. I personally would have liked to see a public option included too. But once again, politicians have to compromise sometimes, or risk the whole thing. I don’t buy that most of the base wanted single payer. That’s why it was never seriously mentioned because it never had a chance of passing. Most democrats from conservative states or districts were already risking their seats by trying to reform our private system. Trying to pass single payer would have meant absolute suicide and Obama not getting re-elected. That’s republicans right back in the white house and congress, which means repeal, which almost certainly would have happened. The ACA might not be the ideal system we liberals want, but it’s a step in the right direction. Sometimes change comes slowly, and you have to shed your ideological cloak sometimes and face political realities.
“Amazingly to anyone whose intelligence compares unfavorably with root vegetables, the health care “reform” “defate” (which Obama had promised would all be public, but ended up being behind closed doors) lasted until the midterm elections, and Obama then lost his majority in Congress.”
-And this isn’t surprising. Whenever we get a major reform of something like healthcare, you can be sure that it comes with a cost. This is just how politics works. Republicans will use a major reform bill to inject fear into the base. It doesn’t matter if they had passed this in 2009, Democrats probably would have lost the house anyway. You can’t just make these overly simplistic and naive arguments of “If only Obama had done it differently or faster, then it would have worked out better for democrats in the midterms…” That’s the implication I’m getting from you anyway.
“Ever since then, Obama has given up on every single issue before even starting”
-Like what? And then elaborate.
“but he hardly ever gives a speech or seeks popular support for his positions”
-This is just false. The president gives speeches and seeks support for his positions all the time. We just don’t always hear about it. He travels the country and world and gives speeches about minimum wage increases, equal pay for equal work for women, more investment in infrastructure and education, and immigration reform, almost every week. We get multiple emails a day from democratic organizations seeking your support for these positions and the democratic party in general. (That’s what this thread was kind of about) But speeches….are just speeches. They don’t always translate into anything actually happening when congress is divided.
“He just sits and whines, via press releases by aides, about how those Nasty Republicans won’t let him do anyting.”
-…….And he’s right. The president alone can’t change everything. It’s sort of the result of having a separation of powers…..and once again, a republican house of representatives.
“Oh, except for when he’s drone bombing other countries with populations which are majority brown-skinned. Not only does he love to do that, but both houses of Congress are absolutely f*cking delighted to approve of the budgeting and logistics for it. The Democrats don’t even make a pretense of having a moral stance; it’s bombing all the way.)”
-That’s because on foreign policy matters, the president has a lot more power and authority to get things done. He doesn’t need the consent of congress as much as with domestic issues. The perks of being Commander-in-Chief. But not sure that foreign policy is relevant to this discussion.
“Now: either you can claim that Obama (and the Democratic Party) are absolute utter morons, who couldn’t strategize their way out of a paper bag, or you can claim that they knew what was going to happen and deliberately sabotaged the momentum which the disastrous Bush years produced. Either way, the solution cannot possibly involve continuing to support these people — they need to be removed from office.”
-False dichotomy. I think it’s quite, how should I say it….disingenuous of you to think that Obama and the Democratic party are utter morons. Or that they intentionally sabotaged momentum towards a second new deal because they’re secret right wingers. I know that frustration can cause our idealogical biases to blind us to political realities, but it’s important to keep our perspective here, and remain practical. It doesn’t mean that we don’t keep on fighting though.
I made the mistake of donating a small sum to the DCCC last January. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. I have since been inundated with email spam, snail-mail spam, and telephone spam — to an extent that I couldn’t have imagined. At least 5 (sometimes as many as 10!) e-mail spams DAILY since my donation — with those infuriating scare-tactic headlines that do nothing more than insult my intelligence. (Do they really think of me as THAT idiotic? Is that how they view just me, or do they think all Democratic voters are so gullible?) At least twice a week I can depend on an unsolicited telephone interruption asking for more, more, always more. I have a large pile of U.S. Mail dead-tree donation requests (often masquerading as “surveys” from the Democratic Party) that I can use to help start the wood stove in the winter, so I guess that’s something.
I compounded my stupidity in late June by telling the (very sincere-sounding) person on the other end of the line that I’d be willing to make ONE MORE donation over the phone IF they promised not to call me on the telephone ever again (they have my e-mail and snail-mail addresses to contact me).
This only made the frequency of the spam increase, including telephone calls. The DCCC took my little donation over the phone and then, after promising to take my name off their call list, they put it on the DSCC and DNC call lists (and never removed it from the DCCC list after all). Makes me think these aren’t even real Democratic Party activities… I mean, they have so utterly alienated me lately that it was either a monumentally bone-headed campaign decision, or mischief by the opposition. I am typically the most skeptical person in the room, especially about conspiracy theories. So I am not suggesting a real conspiracy here, just pointing out how far off the rails their campaign has veered if it makes me wonder…
Here’s the kicker: I am disabled and live on a fixed income that puts me just below (by about 10%) the Census Bureau’s Poverty Threshold. I would think that a serious campaign would be calling up more people from the middle class and above for these constant donation requests. How do they expect me to say yes every time they call? A good month for me is a month that I didn’t have to take out a Payday loan to keep the lights on. I live on beans and rice. I live on the brink of homelessness every month (which I was from 2006-2008). Yet the Democrats think I’m some wellspring of money to the point they have me on heavy rotation at their call centers. It boggles the mind. And their tactic of guilting me into giving them more than I already have (“if you REALLY care about the direction of our country…”) has officially backfired. Not that they would even notice or care, but I will never give any political organization a dime again.
TL;DR – Lesson learned!