I can’t get past the suckiness

I’m trying to ‘get’ the Obama thing. Why are so many people ready to vote for a guy who seems pretty conservative to me. More like an 80s Republican than any Democrat I’ve ever known. So why do so many of my old Democratic buddies love this guy so much?  I won’t kid you — I can’t see myself voting for a Robot Drone Bomber.  But, many people do. So, I spent part of today trying to figure it out.

Frankly, I’m not getting very far.

There’s this post over at FireDogLake, Obama, The Not-So-Great Debate, Austerity and the Election. David Dayen is talking about this story over at Time —  What He Knows Now: Obama on Popularity, Partisanship and Getting Things Done in Washington (which is also discussed by Digby here)

After this, he improbably says that the election is “going to give voters a very clear choice.” There’s a discontinuity there, part of which can be absorbed by the realities of what the Romney campaign has proposed on paper – massive tax cuts, spending slashes on Medicaid and the poor that would cut to the bone. But Obama explains that his goal would be merely to cut those programs, just not all the way back that nobody could benefit from them.

My message to Democrats is the same message I’ve got to Republicans and independents, and that is, I want a balanced approach to deficit reduction that combines additional revenue, particularly from folks like me who can afford it, with prudent cuts on both the discretionary side and the mandatory side but that still allows us to make investments in the things we need to grow.

And that means I’m prepared to look at reforms in Medicaid. I’m prepared to look at smart reforms on Medicare. But there are things I won’t do, and this is part of the debate we’re having in this election. I do not think it is a good idea to set up Medicare as a voucher system in which seniors are spending up to $6,000 more out of pocket. That was the original proposal Congressman Ryan put forward. And there is still a strong impulse I think among some Republicans for that kind of approach.

I’m not going to slash Medicaid to the point where disabled kids or seniors who are in nursing homes are basically uncared for. We’re not going to violate the basic bargain that Social Security represents.

This is what passes for a great debate in American politics circa 2012. Sadder still, it IS a debate, just on a scale that leaves out the perspective of a substantial chunk, perhaps the majority, of the country.

And it’s funny because (I swear, I’m trying to figure out his appeal) then I came to this from Glenn Greenwald:

Election 2012 and the media: a vast rightwing conspiracy of stupid

Strong and rational though it may be, the temptation to ignore entirely the election year spectacle should be resisted. Despite its shallow and manipulative qualities – or, more accurately, because of them – this process has some serious repercussions for American political life.

The election process is where American politicians go to be venerated and glorified, all based on trivial personality attributes that have zero relationship to what they do with their power, but which, by design, convinces Americans that they’re blessed to be led by people with such noble and sterling character, no matter how much those political figures shaft them. (Wednesday, President Obama, during his highly-touted “Ask Me Anything” appearance on Reddit, predictably ignored the question from Mother Jones’s Nick Baumann about Obama’s killing of the American teenager Abdulrahman Awlaki, in favor of answering questions about the White House beer recipe and his favorite basketball player.)

The election process is where each political party spends hundreds of millions of dollars exploiting the same trivial personality attributes to demonize the other party’s politicians as culturally foreign, all to keep their followers in a high state of fear and thus lock-step loyalty.

So I don’t know what to think. I mean none of this is getting me any closer to voting for +8% to +20% unemployment and a Robot Drone Bomber or a Robot (HaHaHa) I mean Romney.

But, I’ll tell you this – I kind of expect crap from Republicans.  I don’t mean I accept it but, I live in Kansas and am surrounded by their logic so I expect it.  I get it. I get them.  But I never expected to live with this shit from Democrats everyday for a year or more!

Obamobedience

“So, who are you voting for?” an Obama follower asked me prior to the event.  I was holding posters with 12 friends and handing out hundreds of flyers that looked like Obama material until you read them. (PDF).

The posters objected to the tripling of weapons sales to foreign dictators last year, Obama’s willingness to cut Social Security and Medicare, the kill list, imprisonment without trial, warrantless spying, corporate trade agreements, the continued so-called “Bush” tax cuts, the war on Afghanistan, the drone wars, the increased military budget, the murder of Tariq Aziz and of Abdulrahman al Awlaki, the weak auto efficiency standards in the news that day, the refusal to prosecute torturers, Obama’s sabotaging of agreements to counter global warming, etc.

“So, who are you going to vote for?”

“Well,” I said, “you know, you can vote for someone good like Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson, or you can vote for Obama, but today is not election day.  If you vote for the lesser evil candidate on election day, that’s great.  Knock yourself out.  But that does not begin to produce an argument for being his apologist and cheerleader throughout the year.  If you push the culture and the government in a better direction, both evil candidates will get a little less evil.  One guy wants to trash Social Security, and the other guy brags about his willingness to make huge compromises with that agenda — that is, to partially trash Social Security.  So, is your job to demand that not a dime be cut (regardless of how you vote), or is your job to cheer for the partially trash it guy, thereby guaranteeing that he and the other guy both get even worse?”

“Yeah, I see, but I’m trying to understand who you think we should vote for.”

“Let me try again.  Take Obama’s kill list for . . . “

“His what?”

“President Obama keeps a list of the people he wants to kill.  It was a frontpage New York Times story three months ago that made a lot of news but was carefully avoided by Democrats even more assiduously than you would have sought it out and trumpeted your outrage were the president a Republican.  Anyway, take the kill list, which includes Americans and non-Americans, adults and children.  Is it your job to ignore it, to celebrate it, or to protest it?  I don’t mean your job as a voter, but your job as a citizen.  What are you supposed to do in such a case?”

“Well what’s the alternative?”

“The alternative to murdering people?  Well, I don’t know how to put this.  The alternative is essentially not murdering people.”

“No, what’s the alternative to Obama? Isn’t the other guy worse?”

“I’m not sure I’m being very clear here.  70% of the country wants the war in Afghanistan ended.  Neither candidate is willing to end it.  Obama pretends he’s ending it.  Romney doesn’t mention it.  Should 70% of the country keep quiet while large numbers of people are killed?  Or should we approach both branches of our government, the two parties, with our just and moral demand until we’re satisfied — regardless of who we’re going to vote for?”

All bolding by me. (also referenced by Lambert in an earlier comment)

And that’s that.  I still don’t get it.

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96 Responses

  1. The emperor has blood stained clothes, but the O-bots won’t notice.

  2. As a woman I think this election is very important! I can get past my feelings about the imperfect Obama every time some Republican opens their mouth and says something stupid about women and reproductive rights. I think about the Supreme Court and I am happy with the fact that Obama chose a couple of women! I am also happy that Hillary has been allowed to do her job as Secretary of State. The Repubs are the biggest liars in the world. While I think Obama is Republican lite, I sure as hell don’t want bat shit crazy right to be running the country. It looks to me like the Clinton’s support him as well. Perfect is not out there for me to vote for. I’ll vote for imperfect over crazy any day!

    • I agree; I do wish Stein was on my ballot, but alas it’s Robot or Obot.

      • You could very carefully leave the “president” line blank. Or there might be other third party choices on your ballot to vote for.

        If Romney gets elected and a majority DemSenate or a DemHouse or both get elected, the Dems have this one last chance to lock Romney’s grid down good and tight . . . and demonstrate what they stand FOR if anything. Or in that context, even the so called “Progressive Caucus” within the so-called “Democratic Party” could function as a parliamentarily disciplined Oregon Boot on the wheels of anything not to their taste. It would be their last chance to “go Gingrich” on their opponents and “burn the House down” to get their way or at least prevent everyone else from getting THEIR way.

        Of course, if Obama gets elected again, the so-called “Democrats” including the so-called “Progressive Caucus” will conspire with Obama and the Republicans to destroy Social Security and Medicare and Medicaide just like they tried to do up to now. (And I don’t know how else one interprets so-called “Democratic” support for Obama’s ‘payroll tax holiday’ , for example.)

    • The Republican Party is horrible in every way — I’m certainly not arguing toward supporting them or their policies.

      But, I’m not quite as happy as you with the Obama Years. I worry about his & the party’s indifference to high unemployment, the acceleration of Robot Drone Bombings (as a lifelong pacifist this is like a stab through the heart), Obama’s justification for restricting Plan B by saying he didn’t want his daughters seeing it next to the Batteries and Bubble Gum.

      Perfect is never an option — but, seriously? A Robot Drone Bomber with an +8% unemployment rate?

      The Democrat Party owes us a decent candidate – And it’s actually NOT too late.

      Why are you so willing to settle? If Liberals and Progressives were demanding a Better (not perfect) Candidate maybe we’d get one.

      • I was just responding to your original post because you seemed to want to understand why some people are voting the way they are. The Democrats aren’t changing candidates. That’s the way it is. Am I happy with everything and the way the Dems brought us to this? No! However, I can see clearly how the Repubs have been nothing but obstructionist in every way possible since Obama was elected and yes, they are racists! I can see some positive things Obama has done like the Supreme Court and while I wanted single payer I can see how the health care will have to cover people that cannot afford to buy it. Obama has tried to get more stimulus money out there for jobs and Repubs talk deficit bullshit. Repub governors are laying off police and teachers left and right and that drives the unemployment numbers even higher. I would rather give Obama a second term then let Ryan’s ideas take hold of our country. The Dems will at least help the unemployed through extensions while the Repubs will tell the unemployed to pick themselves up by their bootstraps when some of them don’t even own a pair of boots.

      • BTW, I am sick of the war shit as well…and where did Mitt go last night? To Iran, I thought he was going to sing like McCain…bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. I don’t think Obama is great but I also don’t think he is as bad as I previously thought. It may not be what you want to hear but I am being honest. I’ve been around here for a long time. I haven’t responded in a long time but I thought you wanted to understand people like me that are switching back to Dems and Obama. I have never been a supporter of Obama before if you can remember me you will know that. I am not some Obot plant being a troll. I am just me as I always have been but I am just being realistic about our future and I don’t want Romny/Ryan running things….ESP. Women’s issues.

        • If I was trying to shut you up, I wouldn’t have asked more questions. I AM interested in what you say and I’m glad you replied.

          Also, Isn’t that a link to your blog on our sidebar?

          • If I sound impatient or unfeeling, it’s not deliberate. I want to have this conversation but, it’s a struggle — I’m frustrated with the limits of my own communication skills.

            I like what you said, “I don’t think Obama is great but I also don’t think he is as bad as I previously thought. ”

            Because it clarifies something for me. He is WAY worse than I expected. In large part because I didn’t expect the Collapse of the Democratic Agenda in the House and Senate.

          • I know exactly what you’re saying. There is a void where our political philosophy used to be and instead of saying we’re going to fight for that, we’re hearing, “well, sure, we’ve lost but it’s not as bad as we thought”. I don’t think we should ever settle.

          • Yes, i think you took me wrong. I just was trying to clarify that I absolutely was not some Obot. I didn’t think at all that you were trying to shut me up. I just thought you wanted to understand why some people are changing and I figured that my thought process fit into this discussion. Being liberal myself I just can see that what I really want isn’t going to happen and the reality is most people are stuck in church/God mode which is driving me crazy. I will always be Catholic in my heart…Catholic in the word that is a place for all people but I truly find organized religion is just used to control the masses. The Repubs scare the absolute hell out of me! I hope you get where I’m coming from. I’m laughing as I’m writing this but I am truly afraid of the Mormon/Catholic comb that is Mitt and Paul! They love, love, love women but they don’t trust them to make decisions about their own bodies!

          • Um, Silent Kate, Obama seems just as willing to turn women back into chattel. There hasn’t been one time he hasn’t sold women out when he could gain even a tiny advantage for himself from it. He just talks a better line.

            The most amazing thing to me was when Mr. Constitutional Scholar dumped women’s fundamental civil rights so the state could be seen as supporting religion.

            It’s the road to the Handmaid’s Tale, either way. One side just makes it go down smoother with better lies. I’m not sure that’s better.

          • I never implied that you were an Obot. You don’t come off as one. What I am saying is that you have settled. And that suits the bad guys just fine. You struggle and struggle and they say “resistence is useless, you will be assimilated” and then the minute you give in, they can ignore you.
            If you *like* being ignored, then by all means, vote for Obama.
            And ditto to what Quixote said. Obama is a guy’s guy. There’s plenty of evidence that he doesn’t spend any time at all thinking about what is important to women but he bends over backwards to court men.
            BTW, JFK was a Catholic and most people didn’t have a problem with that because he said he wasn’t going to take orders from Rome. From what I can remember, Bill Clinton went to church all the damn time, (he had a lot to repent) but he didn’t come across as a bible thumper. I don’t actually have a problem with Mormons, to be honest. It’s not the religion that’s the problem. It’s the pandering to the religious that is the problem and if you are paying attention (I suggest you start), you will find that Obama panders as much to the religious as any Republican. And now that he has more liberals such as yourself safely in his win column and not making any noise, he can pursue them more publicly. If he does, and he will, that’s who he is, what are you going to do? You’ve already thrown your support behind him. You can’t say, “Stooooop, I don’t want you to cosy up to the evangelicals!” He’s just going to ignore you.

        • I never thought you were an Obot!!! In fact, It sounds as if you aren’t completely convinced about your vote, Silent Kate. Take your time. There isn’t any rush.

          • Katiebird, I have decided but it is a very tough decision. After speaking with my right wing brothers I was able to come to a decision. I don’t know if you have family like mine but they are like the craziest Tea Party types you could imagine. My vote is back to the old days of the lesser of two evils. I’m in education. I know both parties are screwing me, the only difference is the funding. The Dems will give more for education and social programs. The Repubs don’t seem to care about anyone but the rich. I’m not telling people how to vote. I just hope people get out and vote! I know for those of us that feel betrayed by the Democratic Party this vote is tough. I trust Bernie Sanders on this one and I certainly respect alternate opinions that are held here. Thanks for listening. You know it is some what therapeutic to express these thoughts.

    • Sorry, Kate, I absolutely will not vote for Obama under any circumstances. And I really don’t appreciate the guilt trip that the Democrats are putting on those of us with perfectly good reasons to resist him. Maybe if you’d gone to some Occupy events where the police in riot gear were all over the place and looked like an army, you’d have a greater appreciation of what we’re up against.
      I’ll vote for Democrats for Congress but never for Obama. He’s not a nice guy and I don’t think he has anyone’s best interests at heart. I am not afraid of the alternative. Putting the Dems in a four year time out would be the best thing for them. People protesting economic injustice and wars in a peaceful, cooperative manner should never be treated like criminals and that’s what Obama’s DHS did. You may be able to close your eyes to that an allowed yourself to be terrified by the constant Romney negativity but I won’t ever forget.
      I don’t like Romney either, not by a long shot. But I’m not afraid of him. What I am afraid of is evil sneaking in looking like it’s a reasonable alternative. It’s not, never will be and I won’t contribute to undermining my own interests. If the Democrats are sincere, let them put their money where their mouths are in Congress.

  3. I can’t vote for Romney/Ryan and I won’t vote for Obama, so I’m glad that Jill Stein will appear on the ballot in Ohio.
    I must say that it’s kind of relaxing-in a despondent, macabre way- not to care who wins the Presidency.

    • Ditto. The pressure is off. I don’t care what either candidate says. I don’t like Republicans because I’m not genetically predisposed and I don’t trust Obama. So, I’m Ok with voting third party. You gotta start somewhere.

  4. NYT = “Emotional Ties to Obama May be Central to the Election” – the comments prove the point – Obats are alive and well despite a horrible track record 4 years later (still mean, too, if someone disagrees)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/us/politics/romney-battles-americans-attachment-to-obama.html?_r=1&hp

    • I haven’t read the article yet, but I’m on my soapbox today, so what the hell. I’m not sure people have that much emotional attachment to Obama. I think they’re emotionally attached to their idea of themselves as openminded unbigoted voters on the right side of history.

      He’s a twofer. You get to be all pure of heart and stay sexist. Win-win!

      • Totally agree about the lack of emotional attachment to Obama.

        I do think that many, many, many millions of people are deeply emotionally attached to the Democratic Party and their personal identity as a Democrat.

        I see it in me and in my family and among my friends.

        That’s the inspiration for so much of my internal confusion. I AM a Democrat (according to the voice in my head) But I’m not (says my thinking brain)

        One of the most interesting things about the summer of PUMA is that for many of us. both voice and brain said we could still be Democrats even if we couldn’t stomach voting for Obama.

        Now many of us aren’t so certain of that.

  5. Okay, I’ll “go there” and ask what Katiebird is much too polite to bring up.
    What’s happened to our old friends over at Sky Dancing? They (for the most part) have become a kool-ade swilling, full throated Amen corner for Obama, despite all of his betryals.
    As for our old friends who have slithered to the other direction, what can I say? They’ve fallen under some evil spell that would do Maleficent proud and their blog must not be named.
    RD, you and Hillary must be very powerful women, if at one time, you gathered us all under one, happy roof!
    Me, I’m the same liberal, equality and peace-without appeasement-loving, safety net demanding, Feminist I’ve always been.

    • It would be very interesting to hear their story.

    • What can I say? Some people just want to be loved.
      dakinikat and bb have a lot in common in profession and workplace so maybe it has to do with the people they associate with. They were probably really out of step in an academic setting.
      I’ll betcha Heidi Li didn’t chicken out even if she is keeping a lower profile this year.

      • No matter how fun it looks over there, I’ve never been willing to compromise just to sit at the cool kids table.

        • I thought we were the cool kids. After all, they can call us what they like but the people with real racist tendencies gravitated to the Tea Party and the ones without spine who want to be loved gravitated to Obama. And here we are, we’re practically the only true Democrats, even if some of us are independents now. And we were completely right about Obama. I have to believe there is something incredibly cool about that.

          • We’re cool like the Drama & Art kids…. And I’m totally happy with that.

            Maybe I meant The Popular Kids? The EmptyWheel cliche & Michael Moore crowd?

          • Emptywheel is cool? Since when?
            Also, Michael Moore is just a publicity whore. I’d like him a lot more if he stayed *behind* the camera.
            Yeah, I think we’re like the smart kids who sit at the same table who go to chorus and watch the lunacy from a distance.

    • Support for Obama moved up during Santorum’s display of crazy. It’s moved up among the blogs you mention post-Ryan and the fear of that brand of crazy.

      I keep saying it: we’re seeing the abused woman syndrome on a national scale. It’s “Whatcha gonna do? You’ll get beaten up even worse out there.”

      And it works. That’s the part that drives me nuts. People are being manipulated, they even know it, but they let fear drive their feet.

      • Cheer up, the election may be incredibly close this year and one of the two parties might actually think we are worth chasing.

      • The other thing that drives me nuts, besides the matter of principle of not voting for dictators and not participating in your own destruction. Even from a practical standpoint, getting B0 in is not the way to preserve the tattered remains of the safety net.

        1) He’s re-elected. Consequence: 4 years from now there’s a Repub landslide of mega-pissed off voters. With all three branches in Repub hands, we’ll really be in trouble. Plus, while he’s in during those 4 years, Dems never object to his Repub agenda. Result: nothing left but the catfood tin.

        2) Romney’s elected. Consequence: divided Congress tries to thwart his agenda. Four years from now, pissed off voters might vote for a better candidate (if such a one magically materializes :P). Result might be a less shredded civil rights and safety net.

        Then again, it might not. It’d be nice to live in a functioning democracy.

        • Tom Jefferson said: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
          But even I am shocked by what Americans will put up with. We’re headed for favelas and a permanent underclass. At what point will Americans say they’ve had enough? It’s like they can not believe it can happen to them. But it can, and it will. Voting for Barack Obama will not change that.
          The only thing that will is making a statement that you refuse to go along with the plan. It won’t take that many of us. Look at what happened to Corzine in NJ. NJ routinely elects Republican governors. That’s not really a surprise. The surprise is that an incumbent Democrat was defeated in a year of profound economic turmoil because he turned out to be not a whole lot different than his Republican challenger. It wasn’t that Republicans turned up in droves. It was that Democrats didn’t or people such as myself voted for a pretty decent third party candidate who we liked better than the other two.
          Corzine lost by almost the same percentage as voted for Chris Daggett. Etiher Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson could take those votes away from Obama. All we need is enough people to have the guts to say enuf is enuf.

      • It’s moved up among the blogs you mention post-Ryan and the fear of that brand of crazy

        Indeed, and this fresh shit gets me because while they think( and they are very much encouraged to think so by the ONC,… er I mean the DNC ) that they are barricading the citizenry against Ryan and the GOP by voting for Obama, post election, Obama will welcome Ryan and the GOP to the table .

        Obama is not the least against what Ryan etc. is for. Come 2013, Obama will tell us to eat our peas, while he hands us over to the Repugs and give them even more than they asked for … and those voting for Obama to stop Ryan will say, ” wow I’m disappointed”, like we haven’t seen his betrayal time without number before.

        One does have to look at abusive relationships to find a parallel in the believing supporting Obama somehow stops Repugs. It doesn’t , it won’t

        • Very true. Obama and the Democrats had the option in 2009-2011 to do pretty much anything they wanted. They CHOSE to do as little as possible. See Matt Stoller’s piece over at Naked Capitalism on how political elites hedge their careers. While pols want to win, they also want to remain in the political class in case they lose. So the incentive is to support the donor class even if those policies harm the public.

          Was the GOP obstructionist? Yes. But that’s an excuse. The Obama team is very adept at excuse-making. They chose the policy path, and the reality is that Barack Obama is not on our side. In fact, Obama perhaps single-handedly was responsible for the GOP wave in 2010. He rescued a party that should have died after 2008.

          • among Obama’s actual jobs was to rescue the GOP and do nothing for the Dem base, while destroying its brand …so who says he’s not working or very successful? /snark/sob

        • Omg, they’re getting love bombed by the very manipulators they spurned in 2008. I can see why dakinikat would do that but bostonboomer should really know better.
          I’ve always said that it doesn’t matter if I’m the only person reading or writing this blog, I’m sticking to the truth that the data and observations lead me to. I can’t be a joiner just because it’s popular and I won’t be frightened into cheering for someone I don’t trust. And I don’t want anyone telling me how smart and beautiful I am for finally seeing their light.
          I know what love bombing is.
          Either that or they’re getting paid.
          (better to live frugally and be free)

    • Sue, I call the Maleficent blog “The Rabbit Hole”, since they have gone down the right-wing rabbit hole. :mrgreen:

      Of course, it’s possible some of them were GOP rat molesters to begin with *dons Cannonfire-approved Reynolds Wrap Cap*. :twisted:

  6. Obama or the Dreadful Alternative is it?

    How’s that for a campaign slogan, doesn’t my former party have any pride that they abandon FDR so quickly?

    BTW, when is the Nobel committee going to rescind their Peace Prize now that Obama is on a drone spree?

    This sucks.

  7. By the way we are under some kind of spam attack — we’ve received hundreds of spam messages in the last couple of days.

    So, if your comments don’t show up, please email me at katiebird@gmail.com and I’ll fish them out as soon as I can. There might be a delay if I’m not home but otherwise I should be able to do it right away.

  8. I’ve been asking myself the same question for years and these are my answers:

    1. He’s our historically historic first black President, and that is enough for most black voters, and white progressive voters for whom the good opinion of black Americans validates their progressiveness.

    2. He’s a Republican. A lot of people supporting Obama are actually Republicans turned off less by the extremism of the current GOP than by its vulgar populism. Obama is a “cool cool conservative.”

    3. Tribal loyalty. I’ve always voted Democratic, so I’m voting Democratic.

    4. Fear of the GOP: Romney will blow up the world!

    5. The “It’s a right-wing country” so Obama is doing as well as we can expect crowd. (Never mind that with his record the fact Obama has a chance at winning means it isn’t a Right-wing country. A lot of this has to do with wanting to feel superior to the proles.)

    6. The “I was a strong supporter of Obama in 2008 and damned if I will admit I was wrong” voters.

    7. The simply delusional: “Obama is better than FDR!”

    8. And finally, the “lesser evil” crowd. (“Obama sucks but Romney is worse.”) Many of whom are confusing this with “don’t let the best be the enemy of the good” which is a different principle entirely, and would not lead one to vote for Obama.

    • The rhythm and pace of your list is great! It reminds me of Steve Martin’s big nose jokes in Roxanne.

    • I can imagine an interesting black voter experiment if one approached it in very careful conversation. One might ask the prospective black Obama voter if he/she would vote for Herman Cain . . . or for Condoleeza Rice, for example. If the person in question were to say “not”, then one could ask them why they would vote for Obama then? Because if someone is willing to vote against Cain but for Obama, it can’t just be due to race-tribal loyalty. Perhaps the Cain-no-way Obama-okay black voter ( or black-approval-seeking white progressive voter) could be induced to think about the meaning and outcomes of Obama policies and agendas.

  9. Barack Obama is the most conservative Democratic president we’ve had in a very long time. You probably have to go back to Grover Cleveland in the 19th century to find one more conservative. It boggles the mind why he would want to reduce retirement benefits when the public needs them more than ever.

    I agree with riverdaughter, it’s the dynamic and trajectory of the party that has to be reversed. If we get trapped in the ” lesser of two evils ” mindset, the elites win the game. The Democratic Party will continue getting more conservative until it becomes indistinguishable from its Republican counterparts. For us in the general population, being an accomodationist will become dangerous. If you think it’s bad now, know that it CAN GET WORSE. A lot worse.

    In politics, you never get what you want by submitting meekly to the demands of leadership. You make your own demands and expect they will be carried out. That’s what is needed now.

    • You sound so reasonable. I’m having one of those Ursula LeGuin City of Illusions moments where it’s difficult to tell who’s zoomin’ who.
      No offense but sometimes I wonder how many people see the situation the way Katiebird, Quixote, Ian Welsh and I see it and who’s just trying to keep the Democrats’ numbers down. I’m assuming you see value in not completely abandoning them in Congress.

      • I might go off my bean in the next month or two…. In their wisdom the Kansas State Democratic party did not find anyone to run against Yoder (KS 3) …

        I can’t imagine what they were thinking. This is a district that until Yoder was elected 2 years ago had been held by a Democrat for 12 years!!

        Now it’s lost. As these things go, maybe forever.

        I guess my support for down ticket Democrats will be limited to the Kansas Legislature. Which might actually be even more critical.

        (swearing bitterly)

      • No, I would support GOOD Democrats for Congress. Like Alan Grayson or Brad Sherman. Supporting bad Democrats plays into the lesser of two evils dynamic. There are a few other good ones. I was very disappointed when Darcy Burner lost her primary in Washington. It’s pointless to support Democrats like Health Shuler because they run interference for Republicans anyway.

        I have no ulterior motive. I’m just a concerned citizen and I like this blog because I agree with much of what is written here. And I am a former Obama voter who regrets the decision to vote for him, so there’s probably a bit of catharsis.

        I’ve read Ian Welsh for many years. I never read City of Illusions, so I don’t get the reference, but I think I get your point. :)

        • Stoller worked for Grayson. Now Stoller displays severe antipathy towards Obama. But here’s the weird thing, Matt and I should be on the same page. Essentially, we are very similar kinds of Democrats. But where Alan Grayson would get praise from Stoller for working with Ron Paul to get the fed audited, Matt is (and was) more likely to come down hard on Hillary Clinton any time she stepped out of the narrow confines of liberalism that Stoller and Grayson champion. I get a funny feeling that they would have been behind that phoney John Edwards and looked past his Iraq war resolution vote where they mercilessly harangued Hillary over hers. And then there is the label stuff. nyone who isn’t strictly in Grayson’s mold of progressivism is somehow not good enough. It doesn’t matter what else they believe in or have done or whether their worldview is comprehensive and visionary.
          I hate to say it but I do think subtle sexism played a big role in the 2008 selection of Obama. And this selection process went on at the top of the party. Voters seemed to warm to Hillary as the primaries went on. Voters fom BOTH parties. But the party activists just didn’t want a woman. Maybe they don’t even realize how her gender swayed them. The party has mostly men in charge and she wasn’t like them.
          So, you know, I kinda blame Grayson et al for not being liberal and progressive enough to see past their own prejudices to elect the better candidate and now we’re confronted with the idea of having to vote for the bad guy again.

          • I can’t fully explain why elements of the Party refuse to consider Hillary as an alternative. Now, I think I understand why the Democratic elites don’t consider her, they are too tied to their Wall street connections and we know Obama was Wall Street’s choice all along. Those who get a payday or owe their careers to Obama won’t rock the boat, but that doesn’t explain why people like Matt Stoller who is very explicit about his disdain for Obama don’t agitate for Hillary. There’s a strange silence about it–almost a taboo. Maybe there is a cultural aspect at work here–misogyny or the idea that high politics is men’s work. You may be right on that.

          • Subtle sexism is only part of Stoller’s problem. I think the bigger problem is that he wants something that is unattainable. Politicians will always need to negotiate. Sometimes, that’s just distasteful to him. Oddly enuf, I know exactly how Stoller feels. I’m the same way sometimes. I want a kind of perfection that just isn’t always possible. But at least I know this about myself and also know that I can’t go around labeling everything, putting everyone in the same basket if they don’t fall within my parameters of strict construction. The only people I don’t cut a break are fundamentalists. There can’t be enuf labeling with them because we need to be able to identify them quickly.
            But it’s like Matt has stuck a fundamentalist label on people who don’t deserve it and he’s looking at them through the lenses of his own religion. I just think this is a mistake and has lead him to improperly evaluate people, spurning potential allies because he has too many deal breakers that are under the label he affixes yo them. I just watched Stoller on the young Turks saying that Paul Krugman is a champion of wall street. I’ve been reading Krugman for 10 years now and althought I don’t agree with him 100%, there is a consistency there in krugman’s posts that very clearly says to me that he is NOT a fan of wall street. He and his wife are big Occupy supporters. He’s said over and over that banking should go back to being boring. But even Krugman agreed that the crisis in sept 2008 was do severe that the banks needed immediate bailouts. It was everything that came afterwards that Krigman took issue with. Does that make krugman as bad as Tim Geithner? Its unclear to me when I listen to Stoller that he acknowledges that difference. To h, krugman is a neoliberal and all the negative shit that goes with that label will be stuck to him.
            I think it is not doing the party any favors when we encourage this kind of label making and deal breaking attitude. That’s how we got Obama who smelled of money but suspiciously didn’t have a paper trail.
            Matt did not help the cause. I know he is sincere but there it is, he’s like Hippolytus.

          • I saw that interview with Cenk too. It’s long, but well worth the watch. What Cenk didn’t ask him and I wish he would have, was what relationship should Wall Street have with the real economy. Stoller correctly describes the alliance progressives have had with Wall Street historically; from its financing of WWI and WWII as well as financing of the New Deal. I infer from his commentary that he thinks Wall Street has turned predatory, undermining the middle class social structure that was the hallmark of the New Deal, and a new relationship needs to be forged with regard to central banking, lending and money creation. But it isn’t clear because the question was not asked.

            In many econ blogs, Paul Krugman has become a magnet for critics who reject the traditional role Wall Street has had in deciding economic policy. Krugman is critical of the Street’s behavior, but he doesn’t advocate for its fundamental change, only they should be smaller and better regulated. And it runs the gamut, riverdaughter. Mish wants to abolish the fed system altogether and many other economists like Steven Keen, Richard Koo-even Nouriel Roubini- have called for a fundamental reordering of banking institutions.

            I think Stoller is moving in a more radical direction, without admitting it. Krugman happens to represent the leftmost boundary of establishment opinion, so he’s the target.

          • I don’t think that the sexism was subtle at all.

            I probably agree with most of Grayson’s policies but he, like Kucinich, always makes the story about him and not the people. Bernie Sanders is reliably liberal but he’s not a maniac or a freak. They’re the Santorum and Gingrich of the left.

          • Here’s the thing about Wall Street, not too long ago, we had this love hate relationship with it. We kept it chained up, and in return we got about 50 years of economic stability and prosperity. I don’t like wall Street’s predatory behavior either but I think it serves a useful function as long as it’s reined in. That seems to be krugman’s opinion as well. That’s not to say I am. Not open to alternatives to wall street. I’m open. But I want the next big thing to also have an element of incentive in it. Maybe not predatory but there has to be big payoffs occasionally.
            There is a place for both views right now. At the very least we should shackle them up again as Krugman would prefer while we build an alternative. Why does this have to be an either or thing? At the very least there is going to have to be a gradual deceleration because so many people have their savings in the stock market.

          • Yeah, Obama doesn’t negotiate, he folds and give the repubs what they want and more. But since he has a kickstand the blogger boyz let it pass.

          • The issue i’m struggling with, is merely using the antitrust laws to break up the banking cartel enough? Is it better than having a small group of TBTF banks who will wreak havoc with the real economy? Yes. But Jeff Madrick in Age of Greed does an excellent job documenting how the banks worked to undermine the system of laws and regulations established in the 1930s. They would do the same thing unless we devised a longer-lasting structure, like public ownership or democratizing the institutions themselves.

  10. Obama has his problems but do you reward the Republicans and enforce their use of bigotry and lying for Office by tacitly or explicitly endorsing the mechanisms for victory?

    Obama is a moderate but they’ve lied for years and have proclaimed him a Kenyan Marxist ruled by the dead ghost of his Communist father to destroy America.

    If Romney wins don’t expect the Right to ever forget how they won and don’t expect them to ever ever compromise.

    Also, it would be nice if we Americans would remember we don’t have a Despotic Monarchary or a Parlimentary system and not expect Presidents to rule by fiat.

    • 1.) I’m not rewarding the Democrats for no longer being Democrats. The burden is not on the voter to let the Democrats win. Tge burden is on the Democrats to be the party I want to vote for. Anyone who says otherwise has got it backwards.
      2.) obama is not a moderate. Since I am not a birther, I don’t really give a rat’s ass what some looney republican or tea party nutcase thinks. This conflict is between me, a Democratic leaning liberal, and the Democratic party. It has chosen not to represent me in the same way that the Republicans have chosen not to represent me.
      3.) I am unemployed and not likely to ever make as much money as I did before. I have a kid who is two years away from college and somehow, I have to find money for tuition just like I found money for her sister 10 years ago. I am looking forward to no social security that I PREPAID and sucky, high cost medical insurance. That’s under OBAMA. Frankly, I don’t think it can get any worse under Romney. I am not afraid. If YOU are afraid, I suggest you start petitioning the Democrats to replace Obama with Hillary. Lol, I saw you flinch. Ok, so you’re not really serious about Democrats winning and having a better platform than the Republicans. You’re just a gullible party loyalist.
      4.) we said over and over again that Obama wasn’t ready to be president, that the environment he was going to inherit would be too much for him (we said this *before* the financial crisis). We said he didn’t have any natural allies and coalition partners that he had earned through his legislative experiences, that his legislative record was thin and that he didn’t know what mechanisms of government he would be able to manipulate outside of the legislative process. We said that he would be beholden to his donors and to the congressional coalitions that were gifted to him by party leadership. We said that there was no data point on the Iraq war that we could use to compare him to other candidates, that he was a blank slate, that he came out of nowhere and was a lap dog to the big money men. Consequently, we were not surprised to find that he doesn’t represent the American voter and can’t get done what he says he wants to get done.at least we weren’t taken in by him. I invite you to read every post we wrote since january 2008 to see how consistent we were and how accurately we read the nature of Obama and his campaign.
      You are wasting your time here. We’re onto him and know exactly what he is. That’s why we will never vote for him.

      • You are blaming Obama for Social Security? You’re blaming Obama for medical issurance costs? You’re blaming Obama for high tuition costs? You’re blaming Obama for being unemployed?

        It’s not a problem for me that you will never vote for him but to proclaim Obama is responsible is “akin” to saying the Birthers have a legitimate complaint because he didn’t satisfy their demands.

        Vote whom you feel will best represent you and then write about your disappointment over Obama or Romney…

        • Saying that the president has some responsibility for those issues is akin to birtherism?

          Did I understand you correctly?

          • Nope. I’m saying blaming Obama for things he is not responsible for is akin to those who believe him to be a Kenyan Marxist Time-Travelling devil child.

            Blame him for what he is responsible for: For stupidly freezing pay for federal workers (except the military) for not letting Bush’s Transfer of Wealth Cuts expire and for the ignorant Drone Wars and expansion of Afghanistan.

            He didn’t create Wars. He didn’t let 52,000 millionaires funnel untold Billiions of dollars into Switzerland with the help of the Office of the Presidency. He did not set up the overarching tax structure which rewards the Rich in closing factories and off-shoring jobs.

          • Just checking. Thanks.

          • He is responsible for not addressing unemployment.
            He is responsible for a horrible record on women’s rights. Descriptions of the treatment of women in his White House are simply unacceptable.
            He is responsible for Tim Geithner.
            He is repsonsibe for toe licking the bankers while leaving homeowners hanging.
            He is responsible for the Grand Bargain idea where he proposes to cut the social security and Medicare benefits that we worked for for decades. PREPAID benefits, I might add. Don’t want to cut them? Don’t keep bringing it up.
            He’s responsible for the devastation of the scientific infrastructure in this country. He is doing absolutely nothing to stop the layoffs. Nothing.
            He is responsible for indefinite detentions of prisoners without trial and using “state secrets” to keep them indefinitely detained. He is responsible for kill lists. He is responsible for using the DHS against occupy wall street. By the way, how many birthers went to Zuccotti park? I was there for 3 significant marches and GAs and other events.

            I invited you to look over everything we wrote since 2008. It’s all there. We have nothing to be ashamed of. You won’t find one thing supporting birtherism, or r@ycism or character assassination of Obama. You know why? It’s not necessary. The man is a fucking disaster to this country and was specifically hired by the bonus class to scale back the wages and social safety net of the middle class.

            But you should stick around because the smart, knowledgeable commenters on this blog will school you very well on what you haven’t been paying attention to. It will be a cold day in hell before I ever vote for that dude. Or Romney either. Fortunately, I don’t have to.

            Let the chips fall where they may. The Democrats must know they’re in big trouble if they’re trotting this old tired crap out again,

        • This is not an argument. It’s excuse-making, combined with a verbal attack for good measure. No, I don’t blame Obama for high unemployment. I blame him for not seriously trying to solve the problem. No, I don’t blame Obama for high medical costs. I blame him for not seriously trying to solve the problem. As for Social Security, he hasn’t done anything—yet. But he has signaled his intent to reduce benefits as part of a grand deficit reduction bargain with Republicans. MAybe he won’t do this, but his history of conceding to Republican demands should make everyone skeptical.

          And he has been president for nearly four years running. There comes a point where failure to act implies consent. Blaming others won’t excuse his own failure to tackle these issues.

        • Grunge e Gene, Obama did set up the Catfood Commission and staff it with fourteen people who were known to believe that Social Security should be slashed and four who were known to oppose such cuts.

          Obama did offer to cut Social Security in order to get a temporary extension of unemployment benefts. Only the total insanity of the Tea Party tools saved us from that.

          So, yes, I blame Obama for the Social Security crisis.

        • Obama deliberately conspired with Boehner and McConnell to extend the Bush tax cuts in hopes of making them permanent. His pretense of seeking a tax-restoration on “the very richest” Americans was his cynical Apple of Discord designed to unify the Republicans around preventing tax-restoration on “the very richest” Americans so he could then sell the “obstructionist Republicans” meme to his loyal suckers.

          Obama deliberately created the Simpson-Bowles “Catfood Commission” to lay the ground for cheating me out of my Social Security that I have been prepaying for ever since 1983.

          I wonder if Obama had a hand in arranging with Reid to let Lieberman keep all his seniority in exchange for “caucusing with” the Democratic Senators. This was done in order to prevent the Senate from ever holding any hearings into “what went wrong” during Hurricaine Katrina and the studied non-respone during and after. Lieberman’s continued chairmanship of the committee which would be the committee which would have held such hearings made sure that no such hearings were held.

          Obama deliberately on purpose rehabilitated the Republican Party and brought it back to power. Obama deliberately on purpose praised
          Ryan’s budget and budgetary acumen in order to make Ryan a stronger player in hopes that Ryan could eventually help Obama destroy Social Security and Medicare and privatise the money on behalf of the Wall Streeters whose future payoff Obama is working for now.

          Obama has done much to earn my seething hatred. If Obama is the More Effective Evil (see Paul Street and the Black Agenda Report), then that would make Romney the Lesser Evil, would it not? I lose nothing by voting for Rocky Anderson that I wouldn’t lose by voting for Catfood Obama.

      • Given that Hillary Clinton will be in the Cook Islands this coming week representing the U.S. at the Pacific Island Forum (which is about as far away from NC as you can get), it looks like the DP leadership has no intention of forcing out Obama at the convention and replacing him with Hillary Clinton as their presidential nominee in 2012. The DP leadership is set on its course. Given that, Rocky Anderson and the Justice Party, or Jill Stein and the Green Party, are the obvious alternatives to voting for Obama and the DP in the general election.

        • As I pointed out above, the Democrats must know they’re in trouble I’d they’re trotting out this old tired crap again this year. And Matt Stoller is on the young Turks telling everyone what a dishonest, lying, narcissistic con man Obama is. You should watch it. It’s a thing of beauty.
          The Cook Islands are about as far away from Charlotte as it is possible to be without leaving orbit. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be panic among the party leadership at the convention. I think they’re totally screwed this November and this time, a financial catastrophe will not necessarily work in their favor. Obama looks like Jon Corzine to me. The scare tactics didn’t work in NJ either. Say hello to president Romney unless the Democrats get a grip.

          • The Pacific Island Forum in the Cook Islands ended a few hours ago with a nice closing dinner. HRC is scheduled to fly to Jakarta in a couple of hours. If the plane makes a sudden U-turn in the air and heads back to the U.S., it will mean that the DP leadership has decided to swap her for Obama as the party nominee, and she has accepted. But if we see her giving a speech in Jakarta tomorrow morning, it means the DP leadership is sticking with Obama to the bitter end, and the time for a contingency plan will have come. The fact that Romney-Ryan didn’t get any kind of bounce coming out of the RNC is an ominous sign.

          • Well, Hillary Clinton’s plane made no U-turns. She arrived in Jakarta yesterday morning and had a full day of discussions with the Indonesian president and his government, and gave a speech at the ASEAN meeting. Today (Tuesday) she flew to Beijing, where she arrived a few hours ago. It’s now Wednesday morning there.

            Well, I guess that’s it then.

            Time to switch to Plan B.

    • The fact you refer to Obama as a moderate is precisely why it’s important to draw a line beyond which a candidate will not get your support. Your average European would not see Obama as a moderate, so it depends on your perspective.

      The bigger picture here is how the parties work in TANDEM to screw the population. The GOP takes extreme rhetorical/policy positions which are used by Democrats as the reason to support Democrats. And this game will go on and on, as long as it works. Meanwhile, the public will have less and less to show for all of the support they have given to the lesser of two evils. It’s a destructive dynamic.

  11. The choice is the Taliban(R) or the Weak(D). No other group has any chance of being elected; if she’s on the ballot, I’ll vote for Stein– with the full knowledge that I’m enabling the Taliban.

  12. I misspelled betrayals.
    But, what a great conversation.
    I do think that Clint Eastwood should check himself into rehab-tout suite- pretending to be an addict.
    That might save his reputation, Goddess bless.

    • Clint Eastwood was not the most important thing that happened at the RNC convention. But he is what the Democrats want you to think is the most important thing and they want you to believe he was a raving lunatic. That’s why they’re playing his performance up, and not letting you get that it was a performance. They want him to overshadow the fact that the Mittster himself didn’t give a bad performance. It’s about minimizing the Romney boost from the convention.

      Clint Eastwood will be fine. He’s made his money. He will continue to make money. He is respected, even loved. And even if he isn’t, now? He doesn’t care. He honestly doesn’t care what the Democrats think. It’s refreshing, I think.

      • I only saw the first 3 minutes of Clint’s speech and that brief period, I swear he was taking a dig at Obama in a very effective way. Sort of like, “I could have voted for Obama but he’s a complete incompetent”. Which is true. That’s the weird thing. He IS a complete incompetent. You don’t need to make shit up this year. So the fact that Democrats are losing it over Clint’s speech indicates how much the truth hurts.
        Unemployment *is* ridiculously high. Not that the Republicans care one iota. But it doesn’t speak well for Obama.

      • I kind of liked the Clint thing. It wasn’t polished for sure, but it was interesting the way that only live unscripted things can be.

        Here’s something Lambert wrote about it at Naked Capitalism: Two Cheers for Clint Eastwood — I agree with most of this.

  13. Another place, another time, another party, I might have voted for Mitt Romney. His natural inclination is to be a Rockefeller Republican, like his parents whom I liked. But his batshitcrazy Party is forcing him into a shape that’s unnatural and uncomfortable.
    No abortions, no exceptions, really? That tells me how much the Republican party values the lives of women and makes all that sweet Mom talk insulting.
    I have no hostility toward Mr. Eastwood, I just thought he made a fool of himself. It happens.
    To all the geniuses who compare Eastwood to Bob Newhart, Newhart was on the phone and, naturally, an observor would not have heard the other end of the conversation. Newhart never looked like some homeless guy at Dunkin Donuts, hair askew, chatting away to his invisible friend.

    • …No abortions, no exceptions, really?…

      There will always be exceptions. So long as you’re rich enough to pay inflated prices for a necessary legal medical procedure OR flout the law– should that procedure become illegal. Money is the true measure of “bipartisanship” in these discussions, and money is what Romney and Obama have in common. But woe to anyone who points this out whenever a Donkey drags out Roe in order to terrify and subdue me. I bring up class and the D/R mutual manipulation of anyone without money and suddenly it’s me who’s the crazy one. Sure. [rolleyes[

      Personally, I can’t stand any Democrat, and that includes Hilary. All of them work together to enforce our wretched foreign policy and most pocket pro-choice money and manipulate pro-choice while abortion access has eroded steadily on their watch for decades. Their pretend arguments over miniscule or non-existent moral differences are every bit as fake as their pretend arguments with the Elephant. Every last one of them can just bite me. I vote for someone else or there’s no point in voting. Period.

      • Hokay.
        Bully for you.

        I’m not nearly as negative. You forget that Hillary left a very important legacy that seems to have withstood everything the Republicans have thrown at it so far- SCHIP.

        Not insignificant. Probably as important as Medicare but it receives little attention.

        People don’t have to be perfect to be good leaders. They just have to lead us in the direction we want to go.

        • I’m about thirty-five years too old to derive any assistance from SCHIP. Wake me when she and the Democrats are ready to expand Medicare to cover us all. I swore back around 2000 that I was done with any party that didn’t have enough decency to put single-payer in its platform, and for the most part I’ve stuck to that.

          I suppose if HRC was foursquare for single-payer even as she touted foreign policy that’s fatal to children and adults all over the rest of the world, I might feel conflicted. Luckily I find her terrible, not merely imperfect, on both foreign and domestic fronts. (She works for a terrible man, after all.) So no problems there.

          Kirby Mountain posted this last Spring, but it sums up my opinions of HRC fairly accurately.

          • I find your comment to be extremely offensive for two reasons:
            1.) SCHIP is important to millions of children whose parents can’t afford healthcare. If you ever had a sister who was a chronic asthmatic like I did then you would understand just how revolting your first sentence sounded to me.
            2.) Some lefties have an unnatural fixation with “single payer”. That shows a profound lack of knowledge about what makes a health care system good. It may be the case that single payer is good for most Americans. It may be the case that some other system is good. But to just plop that “single payer or nothing” shit down like it’s a fiat makes me want to ignore everything you say afterwards. This inability or unwillingness to understand what elements are needed for affordable health care is why we can’t have nice things.
            Before you go shoot off your mouth again, see this Frontline special about health care around the world. You may be surprised (or in your case, you WILL be surprised) to learn that not every country with a better health care system is doing it via single payer.
            Sick around the world
            I swear, even the left needs more education.

          • I know I’m guilty of pressing for a Medicare for Everyone solution. But, it’s really a cheap shortcut and maybe I shouldn’t say it.

            I DO like it though because Medicare already exists and it seems like it would be a relatively simple thing to expand it both by coverages and participants. So simple, I actually think that in this lawless democracy, it could be done by executive order. So many other much less reasonable things have been thus established.

            HOWEVER — all I really care about is Universal Health Care for Everyone. Accomplished through a fair tax system.

          • I love the idea of Medicare for ALL. But it’s not the only possible health care option for us. It might not even be the right one in terms of cost or effectiveness. But I don’t like the “Single payer or I’m going to hold my breath!” attitude. Lefties do that about sooooo many things. We can’t have nuclear power. We can’t have GMO crops. We can’t use our military power under ANY circumstances but they also don’t like sanctions or diplomacy. I mean, cut the crap, guys. You can’t live in Utopia. That’s what the fundamentalist evangelicals all want.
            I don’t mean you, Katiebird. I know you’re a reasonable person who is open to new ideas even when you have a firm set of principles that you will stick to no matter what. I’m talking about the dogmatists who it never even crosses their minds that single payer might not be the right option for us. Whatever it is we end up with, cost controls on providers is going to have to be a huge component of that and implementing Medicare for All, ie single payer, without even thinking about that is going to lead to disaster down the road.

          • How much of our military and intelligence apparatus is actually used to defend this country, versus how much of it used to maintain “the Empire”; that is, to make the world safe for exploitation by the Malefactors Of Great Wealth?

            How many of the attacks against us were motivated primarily by rage at that exploitation, and so never would have happened if the exploitation hadn’t happened? [For the sake of argument, I will assume here that the 9/11 attacks were purely and solely planned and carried out by Al-Qaida, without any help from our own covert-action apparatus--the latter wanting to generate an excuse to invade the Middle East, for the benefit of the oil companies and that I-country which I will not name. I am not certain either way about that.]

            How much tax money could be diverted to domestic improvements, such as true health care for all, if “the Empire” were dismantled, and so our military spending could be reduced to what is actually needed to defend a non-predatory republic, which DOESN’T generate oceans of ill will in the rest of the world?

            As for nuclear power, I think it can be done safely–in those other countries which do not have terminally corrupt political and socioeconomic cultures. (Thorium reactors seem particularly promising.) However, in our terminally corrupt culture, safety regulations will be ignored in both construction and operation, as well as in waste disposal.

            As for GMOs, maybe they are safe after all–but given the known and massive and continuing sins of the corporate rich, why should I not take a “guilty until proven innocent” attitude toward whatever those Malefactors Of Great Wealth rain down on us from on high? The actually good things the corporations do may become victims of the “boy who cried ‘Wolf!’ syndrome”–the corporate rich lie to me so often, I now disbelieve them even if they tell me the truth. [It's easier to be paranoid if you have some real enemies as well. ;)]

          • Ah, jeez, I’m not entertaining any more GMO conspiracies here.
            It’s just manipulating genes in a lab instead of taking thousands of years to achieve the same thing. You’d have to give up everything ou eat to get away from GMO stuff. We’ve been manipulating genes forever. Does it make sense to get all upset over it just because it can be done in a lab now? Is that rational?
            Btw, if I had the chance to work in a corporate lab again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Science is so much easier and cheaper and less time consuming if you aren’t spending our time negotiating contracts for who does what step of your project at what price. In fact, that kind of science kinda sucks.
            I thought we went over the shareholders versus stakeholders stuff in my Liquidated series. The corporation is not the problem. The problem is that the owners have decided their entitled to all of the profits at everyone else’s expense.
            Anyway,, no GMO stuff please unless you can find papers in peer reviewed journals that show some definitive link to a bad outcome. Just because it’s popular in the tribe to hate it doesn’t mean it’s bad.

          • Like I said, maybe they are safe. If so, then they may still become victims of the genuine crimes of the MOGW, because the MOGW have created a situation in which using distrust as a default response to anything the MOGW and their institutions do at least seems like a good idea.

            OTOH, I actually bought some aspartame today, so maybe your words aren’t falling on entirely deaf ears. :mrgreen:

          • Ewwww, aspartame?? I avoid that stuff like the plague. I can’t stand it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly harmless except to phenylketonuriacs but it tastes awful. In fact I just had a Dannon yogurt this morning. New flavor, Honeydew. Looking forward to it. But I didn’t check the label. Apparently, all Dannon yogurt MUST have sweetener in it even if you don’t really like sweet stuff. One taste and I almost spit it out. Aspartame. It was just gross.

            As for the MOGW, I distrust them purely on business and finance grounds. They are incredibly greedy and ruthless. But the distrust of their products is mainly due to class action lawyers who have a reason to make you distrustful. Remember, there was one stupid paper in the BMJ that caused millions of parents to stop vaccinating their kids. Suddenly, the couldn’t trust the manufacturers. It turns out that the doctor who wrote the paper exaggerated his claims for fraudulent purposes. He was collaborating with a law firm. The BMJ printed a retraction but it’s too late. Parents all around the world still think the vaccine makers are deliberately putting their kids at risk and voile! What do we have this summer? An outbreak of whooping cough.

            So, you know, there are reasons why you don’t trust GMO that you probably don’t even realize.

        • Thanks for your response, rd. I left you an earlier reply but it got eaten, maybe because there was a link in it. Sorry about that. :/

      • Oh, please, just head for the hills and wait for the end of the world then.

  14. Well I don’t give a shit anymore what anyone says, I’m votin’ for Rocky because he espouses my ideals and Im tired of voting for people I really cannot stand and who as far as I can tell despise me.

  15. I would have been happy with Personal Medicare Buy-In at any age. Now the two parties hope to destroy Medicare altogether over time to deny people that safe harbor to age into as a way to escape the clutches of the Forced Mandate.

    Schip shows what is possible and defensible in a specific area. Perhaps the attitude behind it can be applied to other areas.

    I stand behind everything I have written about the entirely novel
    process known as genetic engineering and its entirely novel GMO results. I am aware of no “conspiracies” in anything I have written on the subject. I will use the ones I feel comfortable with and avoid the ones I don’t. I would welcome an American Chestnut with Chinese Chestnut Blight Immunity GMO-Engineered into it if traditional and classical breeding methods can not achieve it, for example; and I’ve said that before. I certainly don’t plan to reward Monsanto’s monopoly rent seeking behavior (about which Lambert Strether has written from time to time at Naked Capitalism) by using their patented GMO products. But if I ever become diabetic, I will very likely be using Novo-Nordisk’s GMO-produced insulins with happy gratitude. And there’s the difference.

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