Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader eviserate the Lesser of 2 evils path...

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Once again ralph Nader nails it on the head:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/01/03-3

among other things - covering and giving space to rightwingers while not offering the same level to the left - I love Thom but he does that all the time - corporate dem's and their supporters but very few true lefties....

Thinking you can change the dem's from the inside and that obama is on our side - nader eviserates thta one as well....

I'd argue that nader change the 50 mph for the repub's and 40 mph for the dem's towards corporatism to we're drowning and the repub's throw you a 50 lb rock whiel the dem's throw you a 40 lb rock.....

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mtdon
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Comments

Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader are the preeminent voices of our time. The political disintegration of the country is obvious. The social and economic disntegration is less obvious, mostly because of a lack of candor in what passes for information in the United States, but any effort to find credible information on these issues is easy enough.

Every day the madness of "progressive" voices in support of Obama tightens the conservative noose on a nation once promising individual freedom, liberty and privacy. To what end will continued support of more conservative policies benefit 99% of the public?

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Dusty
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

From the article:

"There is no major difference between a McCain administration, a Bush and an Obama administration. Obama, in fact, is in many ways worse. McCain, like Bush, exposes the naked face of corporate power. Obama, who professes to support core liberal values while carrying out policies that mock these values, mutes and disempowers liberals, progressives and leftists. Environmental and anti-war groups, who plead with Obama to address their issues, are little more than ineffectual supplicants."

Exactly. Bush was an obvious imbecile and most likely a psychopath......what is Obama's excuse? At least if McCain had been elected, perhaps the left would have consolidated their opposition instead of being split with some apologizing for Obama's Bush/McCain like actions.

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Much as I love these guys, I protest against the cheap rhetoric Dusty uses--"Every day the madness of "progressive" voices in support of Obama tightens the conservative noose on a nation once promising individual freedom, liberty and privacy." Are the conservatives promising this, or are they putting it at risk? Are those who find parts of Obama's policies good and others more of the same wrong to note that it is not all wrong? Is this disloyalty to true Progressive values?

I don't hear Progressives supporting torture or the Wall St. giveaways even if they can account for the political limits of a reform White House. And Ralph makes a great case as a critic, but he is about the worst politician I know. We will see if Hedges can inspire organization, something that Nader did not. His public service orgs have had almost no political impact even if they have improved policies. There is no yeast in the mix, no dough being kneaded and no bread being baked. Just cookies.

I am not saying that the critics are wrong, not at all. What I am saying is that prophets are not community organizers or politicians. Making the dire and critical analysis is a lot easier than prescribing the cure and helping get the healing process going. And, it is not their job to be more than the excellent prophets that they are. Should we get lucky and find a prophet who becomes a leader in the political sense, will we be able to keep him or her from being a "superstar?" Will there be a movement, a healing community, or will there just be a fan base?

Defending Obama from criticisms that harm the whole Progressive Movement is not the same as rejecting the "Professional Left" because they do not maintain proper reverence for our 'dear leader.' If Obama thinks he can profit by triangulating against the Progressives, go harder and give him a lot more to play off of. I think it is a great way to make our case and to use Obama to our advantage. Here he is trying to compromise and bring the nation together; but he is doing it by adding lead to our balloons and taking the wheels off our luggage to satisfy the Right.

If we cannot point out the advantage of wheels on luggage and balloons without lead, we should go back to study hall instead of blaming Obama for not doing our job for us.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

"What I am saying is that prophets are not community organizers or politicians." DRC

Well, Obama is both and look where we are. The illusion of choice is no choice at all.

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

DRC - Are those who find parts of Obama's policies good and others more of the same wrong...

You're a constant Obama apologist and defender and you have every right to be so, but the least you could do, on occasion, is to bolster your Obamania with some kind of fact or policy detail.

Wasn't there some sort of research, Thom talks about every once-in-a-while, that concluded 22% of the population can be led to believe anything? I'm sure that figure includes democratic fanatics.

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Dusty
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How is Nader the worst politician?

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mattnapa
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Quote DRC:

...we should go back to study hall instead of blaming Obama for not doing our job for us.

“Our job?” This meme, where ordinary progressives imagine themselves as having the power to influence Congress and the White House, or to force the changes promised by the Obama presidency—that it is our fault Obama has betrayed his promises because we haven’t been doing our job —is lovely but scream-inducing. Please: Obama wasn’t listening. The media wasn’t listening. We did our part—Obama and the Dems dropped the ball, after we did our job.

Even local so-called progressive organizations weren’t listening and were immune from left-wing influence. For example, I joined a local “environmental citizen’s” group to help influence our local city council, which was mostly conservative. This group’s political identity, with regard to their ideological leanings —you would think, since it was a citizen group, they would be open to all— was to adopt and present “moderate” political leanings, that is, “not too far right or too far left.” This rule was not open to amendment.

Even the local Democratic Club is joined at the hip with the So. Cal. Democratic Party. It is taboo there too to even mention Ralph Nader, or Chris Hedges. Trust me, it’s hopeless there.

I think our demonstrations and protests have been way too quiet. If they aren’t listening, there must be noise. I long for at least one protest lead by a large mass of drummers, drumming as though leading an army toward revolution. Drum so loud outside the White House, Obama can’t ignore it. Drum so loud outside NBC, ABC, NPR, CNN, Fox, the bastards have to pay attention.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Were I dealing with the Democratic Party chapters, I would be telling them why they need to get up to date with Hedges, etc., and I have had these conversations. If you don't begin with an indictment of them and their party work, they might not feel so insulted and be willing to include more info.

I am also not sure how you cure the media silence if you only want to turn up the heat. I don't want to see angry and violent protests on the Left unless there are mass constituencies organized to make the general strike effective. The media picture of dangerous radicals is not going to promote any message we want promoted.

Who saw Hedges and Ellsburg being arrested? Do you think you will do better with camera face time?

Have you tried to organize the Obama volunteers? We have some of the leadership of Mad as Hell Docs here in town. There is another great way to model your message. It still won't get on the corporate media because they know poison when they see it. We have to use other means to communicate and build while we joust with the media if we can win or expose it.

The example of middle ground exclusion of the "radicals" is why I want to avoid polarizing images and theater in favor of a more robust realism. If you stick with the process for more than one meeting, cogent and realistic policies will get a hearing. You don't have to call it socialism or make the case against capitalism to get some practical solutions considered. But you do have to become part of the group doing the discussion and planning. If you don't respect them enough to listen to their bad ideas, how do you expect them to respect you enough to listen to your good but new and different ideas?

On another related comment, being a community organizer, while far different from the CEO role, is also not "the leader" role. Community organizers serve the community they organize and if they become the leaders, they are no longer the organizer. The leadership belongs with the board and the ownership community, not with the staff. What you do learn organizing is patience and the value of using resistance to build ownership and to avoid useless conflicts.

Majority votes are OK in legislatures, but in most organizations need a deeper consensus to avoid repeating the conflict over and over. Resistance to the leadership agenda can either reveal something better or by listening to those resisting, confidence can be developed that they can lose on the issue without losing more as a member of the community. The loyal opposition is assured that its point of view will get on the table if the majority approach does not work. If they bring some wisdom, it will get included.

Conflicts keep being inflamed when one party is convinced its good ideas have just not been heard or have been thwarted unfairly. They will not accept defeat on those terms. They will not go along to get along because they don't feel that they really belong. And frankly, the behavior of the GOP and the Religious Right has been extremely insulting and uncivil. It is easy to prefer fighting them to healing the rift. And they may need the bully treatment--punching the bully in the nose--or the intervention more than polite company.

Still, being seen as the one doing the punching requires the bully to be seen as a bully. Not just by us, but by the neutral observer. I think we can make the strong case on policy against tired old GOP dogmas. We need to be for democracy instead of just angry.

Dusty, I am not an apologist for Obama or I would be saying that his policies were superior to the Progressives. What I am saying is that our desire to have our Progressive "leader" and agenda kicking ass is unrealistic given the depth and nature of the problem. Unlike the middle ground apologists, my interest is to keep our focus where it belongs, and that is not on Obama as if he were the problem.

As I said earlier, he may not be the solution, but that does not make him the problem. Even if the problem is the DLC Dems, that is a lot bigger than Obama. I can agree that a friendly fascist can pass the sniff test better than the clear and brutal idiots did; but I cannot blame Obama for trying to save the system instead of breaking it. I don't think that he is the one who is giving cover to the empire and its evil. I think he is part of the process by which Americans are becoming aware of who we are and what we represent.

Where Bush and Cheney conflicted with integrity in every way possible, Obama projects the image of competence and cool adult maturity. He gives Progressives dregs and wants us to think it is half a cup, but the image serves those who are averse to conflict and slow to think about new ideas. If the goal is to scale back the empire and avoid the worst excesses of hubris, we still have a great educable moment to use. Sure, there is a lot of entropy that refuses to die, and some of it is very heavy. The frame can make that point and identify it.

Exposing the illusion does not mean that we have to withdraw from current politics and wait for the empire to die. It also does not mean that the only valid activism is about attacking the empire. Building communities of positive concern attracts a lot more people, and the experience of a contrasting culture to the culture of death works for profound change better than intellectual debate alone.

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DRC
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DRC, I will read your comment with greater focus later.

In the meantime, I just want to mention that noisy protest does not mean "angry" protest. It means passion. I am tired of passion being dismissed as angry, or angry being dismissed as invalid because it is angry. The Tea Partiers are angry, but they get all kinds of attention. Somehow the left has internalized the taboo against left-wing anger, and so they render themselves impotent, on demand and with great submission.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Going back to the strategies of the 60's is not helpful. This is a new world order and all one accomplishes with public demonstrations is to provide the minions of our plutocracy to gather even more information on us and humiliate us with false arrests, physical abuse and discredit us with media images of violence generally committed by police agitators in our ranks.

It is probably important to understand that people in power and their wannabes do not view the public as citizens freely associating, demonstrating and assembling peacefully under rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.

Remember, police are the paramilitary forces of local governments and far too many cops are little more than thugs with badges, guns and a get-out-of-jail-free card when they beat to death some law abiding citizen.

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Dusty
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Quote Zenzoe:
Quote DRC:

...we should go back to study hall instead of blaming Obama for not doing our job for us.

“Our job?” This meme, where ordinary progressives imagine themselves as having the power to influence Congress and the White House, or to force the changes promised by the Obama presidency—that it is our fault Obama has betrayed his promises because we haven’t been doing our job —is lovely but scream-inducing. Please: Obama wasn’t listening. The media wasn’t listening. We did our part—Obama and the Dems dropped the ball, after we did our job.

Even local so-called progressive organizations weren’t listening and were immune from left-wing influence. For example, I joined a local “environmental citizen’s” group to help influence our local city council, which was mostly conservative. This group’s political identity, with regard to their ideological leanings —you would think, since it was a citizen group, they would be open to all— was to adopt and present “moderate” political leanings, that is, “not too far right or too far left.” This rule was not open to amendment.

Even the local Democratic Club is joined at the hip with the So. Cal. Democratic Party. It is taboo there too to even mention Ralph Nader, or Chris Hedges. Trust me, it’s hopeless there.

I think our demonstrations and protests have been way too quiet. If they aren’t listening, there must be noise. I long for at least one protest lead by a large mass of drummers, drumming as though leading an army toward revolution. Drum so loud outside the White House, Obama can’t ignore it. Drum so loud outside NBC, ABC, NPR, CNN, Fox, the bastards have to pay attention.

Right On!

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pict
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I tend to agree with you, Dusty. Much as I respect Chris Hedges, this is one area I don't think he's thought out well enough for my tastes. A lot has happened since the Sixties, and one of those things he should see clearly after what he's written about the coup d'etat is that it includes the corporately owned media. The corporate owned media has got much smarter about what it chooses for top management personnel, and what that personnell will allow it's editors to consider news. Fox, plays the rest of the media like a fiddle. Everybody participates, and someone like Sarah Palin becomes a national figure, potentially capable of being a real President.

Public demonstrations are scripted. I've been involved, I've witnessed it. They follow a ritualistic, pro forma format. Chris knew ahead of time he was going to be arrested.

If the national stage has indeed been captured (looks pretty obvious to me), if there has been a "slow motion coup d'etat" (Chris Hedges' words), it makes complete sense that it will take some out-of-the-box thinking to figure out how to make big changes.

I think we are probably down to change at the local level. Small acts of compassion and kindness, getting out from behind the programming tube (I guess they are large flat LCD and Plasma screens now, we need a new cliché) and revising how we associate with our neighbors (go from ignoring to knowing, or something like that), developing a grass roots network of connections that has a real integrity and exercised intelligence behind it to overcome the pervasive propagandas designed to divide and conquer the population and make it feel powerless. As it stands, they have all they need to disrupt large movements of any kind in this nation. We are so screwed on that level.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

I think progressives need to band together w/ the true teabaggers and go after a few big changes......

namely nationalizing the FED would be agood start - although given the wash. dc players I'm not sure that would accomplish much at this point.....

I'm with Ravi Batra - a big crash will be necessary to wake up the people to the truth -

and the truth being common knowledge will need to occur before any true meaningful change......

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mtdon
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

You know, Thom could be one of the "organizers" Nader says we need. He has the energy and the audience. But he won't do it. I'm not sure why. I don't think he is really stupid enough not to "get it." Yet he seems insistently pro-obama, claiming that he wants to push him in a different direction but supporting him whenever he doesn't go in that direction. Thom is stuck in the "this is the best we can get" and "maybe, despite all the evidence to the contrary, he'll get better" and "OMG what if we don't support Obama" mindset. Or maybe he sees his livelihood as being dependent on the continuation of the status quo? And, as Nader suggests, the support that people like Thom offer Obama is eviscerating the possibility of a progressive america.

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pict
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I'm in complete agreement with DRC on this one.

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makuck
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Mar. 31, 2010 10:13 pm

I have been arguing that those who will be prepared when the shit hits the fan will be those working to meet the needs of people now. Hamas understood the organizing power of providing the public services the official state could or would not. We should appreciate that the power of the churches on the Right is not just their messianic magic and sublimated sexuality. They are a welfare system to their members as well. It is easy to propagandize a grateful and dependent population; but it can also work as a way to open up difficult conversations.

As our media makes the DC Theater our politics, the real story is in our communities. If we have to pay for their sins, let us do so with a redemptive and revolutionary commitment to caring and sharing and to healing a broken world. It begins where we are, which for ren means a fairly rural setting. For others it will mean engaging in a less direct form of organizing where urban reality makes informal and personal charity ineffective and inefficient. Building the forms of new urban community is far more "political" than creating the linkages for personal response in rural areas.

This is "our job," and my point about our focus v. the indictments of Obama is that being disappointed is not about being "sold out." How can we lose what we never owned? We bought our poster child, but we did not get title to him. Our disappointment is more about having to do "our job" than being failed by something that ought to have happened. It would have been nice, more of a miracle if it had; but our job is being defined by the problem revealed in the system. Obama not being able to give us what we would like helps us see the problem better.

To those who see this as defending Obama, I guess you will never understand the nuance. What I hope you will get is that I want us to put our focus where it matters and where we can get something done. I don't find the emotional reactions to Obama not being "our leader" doing much to improve our perception of the problem or what we ought to be doing about it.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Note Nader and Hedges have both appeared on Thom's program...and are frequently freely discussed on his message boards.

Note also that Hedges was forced to leave the "liberal" N.Y. Times for crossing the line as to what was acceptable to corporate media and what wasn't.

Freedom of the press works really when you own the newspaper. It doesn't mean a heck of a lot if you don't.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"..

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I forgot to address the question about Nader being the worst politician ever.

It is not about the most evil politician, obviously. My point is that Nader threw away excellent chances to organize and build a party/movement on the Left by doing a lot of crazy crap stuff. His last minute attempts to get on ballots would not be necessary had he built a political organization and used the time between elections to organize. He didn't do it.

I like Ralph and I respect him as a prophetic voice and critic very highly. I just wish he would either back a political candidate or become one instead of trying to win elections without compromising his whatever to be a politician. I do not dislike politicians and want professionals doing this job to help the amateurs avoid wasting a lot of time reinventing the wheel--or holding hearings on the rims and spokes. I would like to seem them paid by the people who elect them instead of by those they need to regulate and legislate about.

Ralph has had difficulty connecting his imagination and analysis to strategy and tactics. As a player on our team, he is a great position player. He just cannot be a politician. He cannot play quarterback, point guard or pitcher. He is a great outfielder who makes amazing catches and can throw out an occasional runner. OK?

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DRC
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Quote norske:

From the article:

"There is no major difference between a McCain administration, a Bush and an Obama administration. Obama, in fact, is in many ways worse. McCain, like Bush, exposes the naked face of corporate power. Obama, who professes to support core liberal values while carrying out policies that mock these values, mutes and disempowers liberals, progressives and leftists. Environmental and anti-war groups, who plead with Obama to address their issues, are little more than ineffectual supplicants."

Exactly. Bush was an obvious imbecile and most likely a psychopath......what is Obama's excuse? At least if McCain had been elected, perhaps the left would have consolidated their opposition instead of being split with some apologizing for Obama's Bush/McCain like actions.

I remember thinking when reagan was prez, that this would surely "consolodate the lefts opposition." Then along came bush2, much worse, and it seemed not as much of a united left as I would have liked.. So, I disagree if mcCain would have won, it would have done anything to wake up the voters.. Look how long it took to wake up the voters who kept voting for Hitler..

I believe the real problem is all the corporate money putting out misinformation to get people like reagan (alzheimers), Bush2 (dry drunk), and McCain (senile) elected.. I believe these CONS are hoisted into the whiite house by corporate money, then corporate money puts out misinformation so people do not know whats going on (by creating FAUX news, and think tanks, and by owning the supposedly public media.

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bobbler
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

If you caught Democracy Now this morning you learned yet another item that —if this person does become Obama’s next chief of staff— should remove all doubt as to where Obama’s heart lies:

President Obama is considering naming JPMorgan Chase executive William Daley to become his new chief of staff, replacing Rahm Emanuel who resigned last year. Daley is the brother of Chicago mayor Richard Daley. He served as commerce secretary under President Clinton and played a key role in pushing the North American Free Trade Agreement. Daley is now the Midwest chair of JPMorgan Chase and a board member of the pharmaceutical giant Merck.” http://www.democracynow.org/2011/1/4/headlines#4

Why pile on any more benefits of doubts for Obama once Mr. JP-Morgan-Chase-Merck-Daley becomes his chief of staff?

If I understand DRC’s position —with apologies for any lost nuance— he would have us give up our expectations for just leadership on a national level and turn toward community-building on a local level. If that is his basic position, I’m wondering why we should have to make a choice—either expect just, honorable national leadership, or do community-building. Why not both?

We are a nation, a society, a whole, national community—what Wash.D.C. does matters to each of us at the local level.

With regard to my local level, my HOA board refused to tell the landscapers to stop spraying Round-up herbicide, despite the reams of info I gave them on the subject. It may say more about me and my paltry powers of persuasion, but I can tell you that half of the homeowners in my neighborhood are Republicans (I know because I worked for the Dems for awhile, until Obama revealed his true nature to me.), and they, along with many of the Democrats in the neighborhood, use Round-up and really really don’t want to stop using it (oh those pesky weeds!). However, the HOA board did have to change its tune about “no yard signs,” when I informed them about the California law that prohibits such HOA prohibitions.

My point is that somehow, at some point, responsible legislators went to work to protect First Amendment rights at this very specific, local level. What if the law didn’t exist? Those fascists on the board could just willy-nilly violate our rights, just as they can willy-nilly spray Roundup to their heart’s content BECAUSE THERE IS NO LAW BANNING IT, BECAUSE OF CORPORATE POWER TO INFLUENCE CONGRESS.

We can’t just focus on our little communities. It’s entirely necessary to let our elected national leaders know we’re watching. They need to hear we get damn angry when they whisper sweet nothings in our ears, then turn around and make whoopie with sociopathic corporatists. The laws they pass and the policies they enact mean trickle-down disaster for We the People, if those politicians don’t have their hearts in the right place.

Ralph Nader’s heart is always in the right place, even if he isn’t a great politician (I love him for that!) But, before a voice like Nader’s can arouse a huge mass of the electorate, it first must be heard; then, the electorate must be either pissed enough, or desperate enough, to get off their butts and do something. I don’t think the U.S. of Amnesia, Celebrity-&-Roundup-Worship is there yet.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

"...Obama projects the image of competence and cool adult maturity." DRC

As the US continues with at least two illegal/immoral wars, rendition, torture, drone attacks, increasing civilian deaths, Gitmo remaining operational, continuing with the neoliberal policies of his predecessors, etc. etc. etc.

I don't know,.....but I'm thinking that it doesn't much matter to the people being tortured or bombed if the president of the US giving the orders is a blithering psychopath or a cool and calm sociopath. I think all attempts at nuance are lost once the killing begins.

If it was wrong when Bush did it, it is wrong when Obama does it.

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

DRC said-

It is not about the most evil politician, obviously. My point is that Nader threw away excellent chances to organize and build a party/movement on the Left by doing a lot of crazy crap stuff. His last minute attempts to get on ballots would not be necessary had he built a political organization and used the time between elections to organize. He didn't do it.

Matt replies

There is nothing of substance here. It is only DRC's opinion or fantasy thay some movement was simply waiting in the wings for Ralph's activation. What crazy crap reffers to also needs a little defining

DRC said-

I like Ralph and I respect him as a prophetic voice and critic very highly. I just wish he would either back a political candidate or become one instead of trying to win elections without compromising his whatever to be a politician. I do not dislike politicians and want professionals doing this job to help the amateurs avoid wasting a lot of time reinventing the wheel--or holding hearings on the rims and spokes. I would like to seem them paid by the people who elect them instead of by those they need to regulate and legislate about.Ralph has had difficulty connecting his imagination and analysis to strategy and tactics. As a player on our team, he is a great position player. He just cannot be a politician. He cannot play quarterback, point guard or pitcher. He is a great outfielder who makes amazing catches and can throw out an occasional runner. OK?

Matt replies

Not O.K. You have no specifics, and your opinions are misguided. He has never been short of ideas and proposals, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous. All you have here DRC are some metaphors that have no relation to reality, and your earlier ambiguous claim that he has somehow missed some golden opportunity. To dare to insinuate that it was his own shortcomings that caused him to struggle for ballot access is outrageous as well. If what the Dim's ( top honor Norske) did to him in 94 in blocking his ballot access was not illegal it was at least disgusting in following democratic principles. In 04 at least we learned the green party was bought off with Democratic party operatives in the leadership positions who blocked his nomination the that parties ticket.

I will say that we do agree on the focus moving towards local activity. Zenzoe cites that this has serious limitations., But in my thinking localizing does not necessarily equate to isolationism. Localization should by all means have the aim of improving the larger picture. Further,Localization is the first step in reclaiming our productive capacities, and perhaps more importantly, to remembering what community is

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mattnapa
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Funny how I find myself agreeing with both Zenzoes take and DRC's take even though they are contradictory at times. That is the nuance, how it is framed. Obama would be perfect if only. Nader would be perfect if only. Hedges would be perfect if only. Thom would be perfect if only. They all have their parts to play, I loved DRC's reference of Nader being a great outfielder, and think it's a realistic analogy.

My dad is in politics, has been for 30 years. He was appointed by elected officials and retains his position at their desire. Even on a small scale, he has to please all sides. It requires compromise. You don't survive in politics without compromise. Have any of you ever had multiple bosses at one time? You compromise for your bosses attempting to balance their various desires. For my dad it is elected officials from both sides. For congressmen it is constituents from both sides. For Obama it is all of America (and even beyond America).. yea, he's going to get pulled to the center. If you expect any more or any less, I would be so bold as to say you don't know politics. I am not saying it's good or bad, that's just how it is.

Sometimes my dad pisses me off when I know he's compromising what he actually believes in, but that's the game, he gets a lot of what he wants, but sometimes someone powerful will pull you in a direction away from your beliefs and there isn't much you can do about it... that's where Obama is.. he has the most powerful people in the world all pulling him in different directions. I do not think any of us can contemplate the harsh reality of that position, and I think even Obama has been surprised.

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makuck
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Mar. 31, 2010 10:13 pm

Sure. And a great outfielder can reach up over the fence and take your home run away.

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mattnapa
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Indeed. He's a good outfielder. Unfortunately we need about 300 more of them =)

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makuck
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Mar. 31, 2010 10:13 pm

Where does Obama fit in the analogy? At least with Nader I feel like he is on the same team.

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mattnapa
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I think Obama has to compromise because he has more entities pulling him in more different directions. Stronger entities pull him harder. Weaker entities pull weaker. The progressive movement is not as strong as the corporate movement. We need to become stronger, so we can push our leader (regardless of who our leader is) harder than they can. Even someone like Bush Jr would be powerless against people if there were enough of them. Obama has said he wants us to push him harder, but we aren't in my opinion. Certainly not like people pushed FDR during the depression, and they did push him hard. Big corporations and republicans were pushing then just like they are now, but the people pushed back harder. We weren't being brain washed to the same extent back then either though, and I think that's the wild card.

Nader, not being in any kind of position of great power, is free to stand on the sidelines yelling with impunity (which is good that we have people like that). If we had 20 million people like that, or 1 million for that matter, we'd be golden.

We could have made Obama more than he has been, and we can make him more than he has been, but not with the apathy the majority of Americans have for change or action. Not without branding and marketing our message to the rest of the uninformed people. We need to use powerful words, sights, sounds, images, and feelings to move people to action. We need to advertise what we stand for, and we need to advertise it more than corporations advertise what they stand for.

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makuck
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As I have said before I tend to think these discussions divide the progressive movement, but the constant rhetoric of Nader on the sidelines and outfield serve only to marginalize him and his supporters. You clam he can say what he wants with impunity, but the fact of the matter is that him speaking at all makes him a outcast to the mainstream democrats

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mattnapa
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Quote mattnapa:

As I have said before I tend to think these discussions divide the progressive movement, but the constant rhetoric of Nader on the sidelines and outfield serve only to marginalize him and his supporters. You clam he can say what he wants with impunity, but the fact of the matter is that him speaking at all makes him a outcast to the mainstream democrats

If it is true that mainstream dems see Nader as an outcast, then I see THAT as one of the major problems the democratic party has and I am proud (though disappointed) to have to declare that I am no democrat. If the democratic party not only can't get behind the logic of Nader's positions but actually casts out such ideas, then the sooner progressives divorce themselves from the democrats the better. And to those of you who fearfully suggest that the democrats are our only option, well, what we now have is the result of that fearful thinking. Better by far, in my opinion, to have gotten behind a more progressive option and at least moved the discussion to the left than to end up with democratic leaders that keep moving US policy to the right. I have come to believe that in life, victory is necessarily elusive. So what is more important that victory is THE STRUGGLE for what is right. If you are unwilling to fight for what is right because you are afraid you can't get it, then you are part of the problem.

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pict
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- If it is true that mainstream dems see Nader as an outcast

Well, why wouldn't they? Nader is not a democrat, he is a liberal minded advocate for policies that favor citizens before corporations.

The first thing to understanding the problem, mattnapa, is to start thinking outside the democrat/republican box. How can anybody expect positive change by supporting the agents of negative change?

With the exception of Thom's unwarranted faith in Obama, what is most disappointing it is Thom's constant berating of anybody other than a democrat or simply ignoring better candidates, with better policies and a better understanding of how to improve life for citizens. People without the notoriety do not figure in the political matrix that passes for democracy.

The frustration is that in a world of infinite possibilities we have been reduced to fric or frac and people eat it up?

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Dusty
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"The frustration is that in a world of infinite possibilities we have been reduced to fric or frac and people eat it up?"

Bingo

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norske
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If Nader made it to the presidency he would be in the exact same position Obama is in. Simply putting a progressive in office doesn't do crap if there's no one but corporations to back them. If Obama was still on the sidelines he could be in the same position Nader is in.

The progressive movement needs to grow much bigger, that is the bottom line, not Obama vs Nader (or anyone else). It wont matter if there is no sweeping movement.

We should all be doing what we can to grow the movement. Bashing those in the movement, even those on the outskirts, is simply purist. And when you purge the outliers of your movement the movement shrinks. Just like Bohner catering to the tea party by doing the kabuki theater of health care repeal will repel moderate republicans.. lambasting Obama relentlessly will do a similar thing to moderate progressives. Or is there not allowed to be such a thing anymore? To clarify I don't think there's anything wrong with holding someones feet to the fire, but when we're going on a witch hunt to cast people out of the movement, that's when the movement is weakened. People are different. There is no one policy or one person that will be 100% perfect for everybody.

I don't even think it is a matter of who is better or worse. If the movement is big enough it's a non-issue.

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makuck
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Mar. 31, 2010 10:13 pm

DRC said, "This is "our job," and my point about our focus v. the indictments of Obama is that being disappointed is not about being "sold out." How can we lose what we never owned? We bought our poster child, but we did not get title to him. Our disappointment is more about having to do "our job" than being failed by something that ought to have happened. It would have been nice, more of a miracle if it had; but our job is being defined by the problem revealed in the system. Obama not being able to give us what we would like helps us see the problem better.

To those who see this as defending Obama, I guess you will never understand the nuance. What I hope you will get is that I want us to put our focus where it matters and where we can get something done. I don't find the emotional reactions to Obama not being "our leader" doing much to improve our perception of the problem or what we ought to be doing about it."

And, he added, "Nader threw away excellent chances to organize and build a party/movement on the Left ...Ralph has had difficulty connecting his imagination and analysis to strategy and tactics. As a player on our team, he is a great position player. He just cannot be a politician. He cannot play quarterback, point guard or pitcher. He is a great outfielder who makes amazing catches and can throw out an occasional runner. OK?

I agree with much of what you say. Organizing on a local level is of course valuable. And politicians do need to be pushed. And you make a number of other valid points as well.

BUT it is arrogant and simplistic to suggest that someone who disagrees with you about what might be an appropriate reaction to how Obama has used his position (and, arguably the opportunity WE gave him) "will never understand the nuance."

Maybe you will claim that you were not being critical of Nader by saying he threw away chances and can not be a good quarterback and you wish he were different than he is. But I believe most people would term those things criticisms. Similarly, you might claim that you are not defending Obama by saying that he is what he is and we do not own title to him, or that he didn't really sell us out, or that we should just get over whatever our disappointments in him might be. But I think there IS some justification for people to perceive your words as a defense of him, especially given your criticism of Nader for having some similar shortcomings. I mean, it sure seems to me that Obama's "strategy and tactics" have not been connected to the imagination he had us all believing in, or at least hoping for. And as far as being a good quarterback goes, how many times does Obama have to give the ball up to the other team before you are willing to be as critical of him as you are of Nader. To me, because Obama actually was in a position to use the worldwide support he had 2 years ago to accomplish some great things but has refused to even try, Obama is far more deserving of that criticism. So yes, at least relatively, you sure seem to be defending him. And that does not mean that I am incapable of understanding the nuance. OK, fine, no use crying over spilled milk. But Obama is still the president of the united states and still could accomplish some good things for working people or AT LEAST start moving the debate to the left. But if people like you just forget about the potential power of the presidency to focus instead on something like sharing local trash collection or organizing a local litter pick-up, I hope you will at least be willing to forgive others who might be trying to find some way to focus national energies in more appropriate ways without insulting our intellects.

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pict
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Several comments:

I agree with the 40 pound rock analogy..

Progressives supporting Obama tightens the noose; I am leaning toward agreeing with this (because if we stopped supporting blue dog democrats (republican lite), as a block, losing the liberal base “would” create a third party that demands respect.

Is Obama worse than McCain (or Bush) because “Obama professes to support core liberal values while carrying out policies that mock these values.” For want of a better description, I would say the Obama Presidency is a disaster. This is a time when there was liberal support for a range of ideals, and a chance for the President to bypass the corporate media control, and speak directly to the people (corporate doesn’t have the power yet to drown out the Prez). And we really “needed” a liberal in the white house. And for our champion to act like a republican lite, [I believe] virtually ensures the he will lose the next election (no conservative base, and no liberal base, or a de energized liberal base, so whats left).. Whats left is an easy win for any republican.

RE: our demonstrations being too quiet. This was the plan when multi national corporations bought all major media outlets. We could beat drums and pull a million people for a demonstration, but when the major media doesnt cover it, its like it never happened to the voting public.

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bobbler
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Well, the system is broken and to a large extent it really doesn't matter who is in office.....not that a Nader nor a Kucinich would ever be allowed at the table to begin with. Obama fit perfectly in fulfilling the illusion of choice and democracy where there is none. Hiring the front office of Goldman Sachs was a dead giveaway.

I don't see a lot of Obama bashing or lambasting, at least from progressives. I see progressives holding Obama accountable for the same things that they held Bush accountable for. If it was wrong when Bush did it, it is just as wrong when Obama does it. The Obama apologists are reminiscent of the same script that that the Bush apologists followed. Telling that conservatives criticize Obama for many things: following the neoliberal policies and torture paradigms of his predecessors are not among them.

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norske
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The minute Obama selected his financial/economic advisors, it should have been obvious he's just another ideological neo-liberal twit. A carbon copy of Bush and Clinton.

Dems offer a wee bit of sugar to make the bitter medicine go down. Repugnants suggest you buy your own at an ever-increasing price.

I suggested prior to his election that Obama's Presidency would be just what it is. I took a lot of flak from that on these message boards..

If Nader was ever elected Pres., he'd probably be impeached a minute after his inauguration.

Hope for change is fine...change isn't. The Corporate Shadow Government won't allow it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I would submit that if Obama had come out acting like an FDR; pushing Single Payer, Card Check, enacting policies to benefit the middle/working class and the poor....there would have been such a following as has yet to be seen in the US. Repeating the meme that Obama "just needs to be pushed harder" gives him an easy out to continue enriching the one percent on the backs of the working class and the poor.

That being said, "if people who voted for Obama are disappointed, they just weren't paying attention."

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.ren wrote on post #12, "I think we are probably down to change at the local level. Small acts of compassion and kindness, getting out from behind the programming tube (I guess they are large flat LCD and Plasma screens now, we need a new cliché) and revising how we associate with our neighbors (go from ignoring to knowing, or something like that), developing a grass roots network of connections that has a real integrity and exercised intelligence behind it to overcome the pervasive propagandas designed to divide and conquer the population and make it feel powerless. As it stands, they have all they need to disrupt large movements of any kind in this nation. We are so screwed on that level."

I also see things this way, .ren. There may be a silver lining to the cloud, as you point out. Until the financial crash, the American culture had experienced a continued disintegration. Brave New World; the inverted totalitarian thing. A greedy, lifeless society perpetuating this huge, ruthless war machine. Being a child of the 60's I have watched as the degradation has unfolded. Human relationship has generally suffered as the electronic age has radically changed the way people interact with each other. As you said, organic community and humankindness may be the outcome for us. This would be the silver lining.

dhavid
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Jul. 16, 2010 10:41 am

What people fail to remember is that FDR was Governor of New York prior to winning the White House- and during his time as governor he implemented many of the New Deal policies on a statewide basis -

and surrounded himself w/ the top progressives in the country at the time-

namely Harry Hokins - who FDR wanted to be his successor as president -

and Francis Perkins

a GREAT book - Harry Hopkins by Henry Hitch Adams

tells how Harry Hopkins hired 3 mil workers in 6 weeks and paid them prevailing wages for 30 hours a week w/ a less than 3% overhead - and NO SCANDALS....... in a country w/ 100 mil people - that right there is more than a 3% drop in the employment rate- it's 3% of the pop -

that'd be equal to Obama hiring 11 mil people - we could sure rebuild a lot of bridges, roads, parks and libraries w/ that kind of jack - BUT it wouldn't enrich JP Morgan, Citibank or Goldman Sachs - you know Obama's "personal friends who are simply savvy business men and we shouldn't disparage their high bonuses because they deserve it" -

IF Bush had said those things like Obama did Thom would have freaked out - BUT since it's his team that said it - it's best to ignore it -

I call that Hypocrisy and it decreases the power and righteousness of the LEFT -

Where's Harry Hopkins when we need him?

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mtdon
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- A greedy, lifeless society perpetuating this huge, ruthless war machine.

Such remarks sound just like what some would call hubris.

Probably the only difference between those who see the political charade and those that don't is the degree of shock and awe looming in the not so distant future.

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Dusty
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Such remarks sound just like what some would call hubris.? It is just my observation. In what way or ways is what I stated untrue (that is, describing American society as greedy and lifeless and perpetuating a huge, ruthless war machine?)

dhavid
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Jul. 16, 2010 10:41 am

When Nader wrote Unsafe at Any Speed, maybe he was talking about predatory capitalism, not Corvairs.

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Choco
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I agree with the idea of growing a progressive movement, but that proposition does not remove the Democratic leaderships responsibility to govern in the interest of the people. Nor does it remove their responsibility to actuallly provide leadership that is consistent with the banner they claim is significantly different than the opposition party. I have no doubt that the Democratic leadership in the past actually governed according to a real set of principles that was not dependent on part of their base creating a noisy movement. Yes money buys elections, but is there no one that could be elected that would actually stay true to governing in the interest of the people. What do we think it would look like if a Dem governed in such a manner and then watched as he/she recieved no money for re-election. Are we sure that the financiers could dare boycott a popular incumbent President up for re-elction. Yes this is idealistic, but this idea that we need to be pounding down the doors of the White House in order to make someone govern according to the principles they supposedly represent occasionally bothers me

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mattnapa
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Quote polycarp2:

Hope for change is fine...change isn't. The Corporate Shadow Government won't allow it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

That's my underlying argument.

Only I've taken a more pessimistic approach, in being an apologist for Obama, I suppose is what many on this thread would call me. I apologize regretfully, only because I know how little hope there is. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe blasting Obama down would allow a fired up progressive to get elected into the presidency, but I doubt it, no one else has the name recognition, on either side.

Obama is the best thing to come into the presidency in most of our lifetimes, in terms of progressive legislation actually passed, although much of it is thanks to Pelosi and our former democratic super majority in congress, but Obama signed off on all of it. If any of you think we will magically get something better by shooting Obama down you are wrong.

Maybe in 6 years. Maybe start looking for that somebody now.

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makuck
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Mar. 31, 2010 10:13 pm

Makuck- I am not sure how long you have been around here, but I find the discussion about the Dem's viability and honor, or however you want to phrase this well known argument, to be a lot more civil than in years gone by. i attempt not to be deliberately provactive and i think some of the others here arguing against the Dem's effectiveness have been quite constrained as well. I should say that the Dem tacit supporters have also done well in this regard and maybe we all deserve some modest congratulations.

That being said, I find your criticisms and representations of the anti- Obama position if you like, off the mark. I cannot speak for the others here, but my impression of the anti-Obama message here is nuanced beyond a straightforward electoral strategy. Questions remain about what the real circumstances of his administration are. Are they really good guys under the political pressures being asserted by his supporters, or not? What are the significant differences between the presidential candidates and do such diffrernces merit a vote that legitimates a marginal policy? And finally, Is the difference between the parties enough to save us from unmitigated disaster. For me personally, it is more about simply supporting my principles first and the potentials of electoral strategies second. It may sound high minded, but it is not an attempt to be so.

So with that being said i do not really understand the following criticism.

If any of you think we will magically get something better by shooting Obama down you are wrong

I guess the problem I have is the one dimensional approach. Either we elect Obama or we don't. There is no consideration that a critical process may be necessary to influence Obama and his supporters to a more progressive position. Also there seems to be an underlying meme that we are hurting his chances with criticism alone. Why? If your claim that voting for him is truly rational, then whatever criticisms are placed upon him should be discussed openly. Then if your claim is indeed the rational decision you suggest it should win the day. I must say this is perhaps my sharpest disagreement with Thom and the other Dem supporters that we somehow need to keep quiet.

It is tough to get past this stuff, but honestly the quote from you here Makuck just leaves me scratching my head. Not so much in that I think you are wrong or derisive, but that we are somehow missing one another

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mattnapa
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Belief is fine, but it should be grounds for disqualification to vote. Religious people have a skill for self delusion so I suppose there is no good reason they shouldn't be allowed to believe in the best actor. But really, stop killing people with your faith.

Why should anybody be surprised, though, since education has been so dumbed down that pets appear more intelligent than their handlers. Maybe the dog should have a voting card. I'll bet the pooch could make better decisions than any democrat or republican. It's for sure even a hamster couldn't do worse than a semi-literate partisan wonk running on a "gut feeling" and imagination.

Speaking for myself, there is a sense of defeat every time somebody dreams up some foggy nonsense in support a politician that is not only bad for us, but one who runs an administration that even George W. Bush can't criticize.

It looks more and more like the only solution is going to be blowback by Nature.

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Dusty
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

(edit @dusty: sorry my edit bumped my post below yours dusty, since that was obviously directed at this post. Anyway, there is already a blow back by nature.. and it's going to escalate, and that probably will be the only thing that changes how the system works unfortunately. But saying I, or people with beliefs should not vote, or that we are only semi-literate because we don't share your exact political views.. I would love to criticize you for that but I will refrain. I will just say some partisan "wonks" are in the majority for a reason, and the reason people like you are in the minority is because of divisive language. The far left and the far right tend to be divisive purists who could really care less about a united, united states. There is no compromise, only insulting the other side and the middle until they are gone, only that never happens. You're much better off I think getting along with people around you if possible, have your principles, stand by them, but don't be a jerk if you can help it. Sometimes I can't help it and the result is never the intended one.)

Good reply to me mattnapa, and I agree for the most part, including the criticisms of what I wrote.

We should all have a principled stand, in day to day actions, where I stand on the core issues rarely changes. I agree that we should all have that, and the stands should be decisively progressive. As individuals disassociated from media and monied corporate funding we have the free power to do that and should. Those that are not disassociated from those things should also have a principled stand.

I was attempting to point out that sometimes it doesn't matter how principled of a stand you want to make if billions of dollars of propaganda are ramroded at you.

There is certainly lots of criticism available for those who buckle under the tsunami of corporate money. Sometimes I think the buckle is an involuntary concession to accepting the way things are because they know that they, as an individual, even an individual who is the president, is powerless against it. The president does have the bully pulpit yes, and they can speak out, and I believe Obama has done that, and I think when he does speak, his message is progressive. But when it comes time to act, there the corporate money is.. so he puts a bunch of corporate guys on his team to appease the gods of Washington.. the gods who were there long before Obama, waiting for him. He knew going into the job they were there. He knew as a senator they were there. And he probably knew before that. I think there is a lot of stuff like that we don't see standing from the outside looking in.

When Obama talks though, I really feel like he believes in what he is saying. I really believe he wants us to push him to be more progressive. I really believe he wants the people to put positive pressure on him. He wants us to criticize him.. but he wants us to do it positively and collectively perhaps?

I definitely do NOT think we should keep quiet. I also don't think Obama is an enemy though. I think it's within the realm of possibility that Obama is trying to force progressive hands, both in congress and in his constituency. Maybe that is overly optimistic or naive of me. I just hear his speeches and cant believe that emotion is a lie. He believes what he says, and for reasons we can't see looking in from the outside he can't follow through on his beliefs. That's what I think with my current info.

I try to put myself in his shoes once in awhile, and imagine what it would be like facing off with the CEO's of Koch, Walmart, Target, Texaco, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and even entire countries like China... do you really think a guy who's worth about $2mil, even as a president, can face them without solid backing pushing the heck out of him?

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makuck
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Mar. 31, 2010 10:13 pm

Makuck said,"I try to put myself in his shoes once in awhile, and imagine what it would be like facing off with the CEO's of Koch, Walmart, Target, Texaco, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and even entire countries like China... do you really think a guy who's worth about $2mil, even as a president, can face them without solid backing pushing the heck out of him?"

It just seems to me that we HAVE been pushing him. I think he is very good at making speeches - good enough to appear sincere. I still hope I am wrong, but I do not think he is going to give the left or the people any more than he already has. He wouldn't even let us sit at his health care table, for chrissakes!

Makuck also said, "I was attempting to point out that sometimes it doesn't matter how principled of a stand you want to make if billions of dollars of propaganda are ramroded at you."

Respectfully, doesn't matter to whom? In a world where the future is uncertain, victory can never be counted on. (Nor can defeat.) In this reality, the fight for good against evil is eternal. I have come to believe that what matters more than the victory is THE FIGHT. Taking a principled stand DOES MATTER. Whatever principles might be motivating whatever stands Obama might be taking are not principles I am at all inclined to fight for.

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pict
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote mattnapa:

Makuck- I am not sure how long you have been around here, but I find the discussion about the Dem's viability and honor, or however you want to phrase this well known argument, to be a lot more civil than in years gone by. i attempt not to be deliberately provactive and i think some of the others here arguing against the Dem's effectiveness have been quite constrained as well. I should say that the Dem tacit supporters have also done well in this regard and maybe we all deserve some modest congratulations.

That being said, I find your criticisms and representations of the anti- Obama position if you like, off the mark. I cannot speak for the others here, but my impression of the anti-Obama message here is nuanced beyond a straightforward electoral strategy. Questions remain about what the real circumstances of his administration are. Are they really good guys under the political pressures being asserted by his supporters, or not? What are the significant differences between the presidential candidates and do such diffrernces merit a vote that legitimates a marginal policy? And finally, Is the difference between the parties enough to save us from unmitigated disaster. For me personally, it is more about simply supporting my principles first and the potentials of electoral strategies second. It may sound high minded, but it is not an attempt to be so.

So with that being said i do not really understand the following criticism.

If any of you think we will magically get something better by shooting Obama down you are wrong

I guess the problem I have is the one dimensional approach. Either we elect Obama or we don't. There is no consideration that a critical process may be necessary to influence Obama and his supporters to a more progressive position. Also there seems to be an underlying meme that we are hurting his chances with criticism alone. Why? If your claim that voting for him is truly rational, then whatever criticisms are placed upon him should be discussed openly. Then if your claim is indeed the rational decision you suggest it should win the day. I must say this is perhaps my sharpest disagreement with Thom and the other Dem supporters that we somehow need to keep quiet.

It is tough to get past this stuff, but honestly the quote from you here Makuck just leaves me scratching my head. Not so much in that I think you are wrong or derisive, but that we are somehow missing one another

Very well said. I am, however, not COMPLETELY convinced as to how valuable restraint is when expressing ourselves. I sometimes think it is such restraint that is responsible for our acceptance of the notion that free speech should only be expressed in free speech zones. Perhaps I could substitute "respect" for "restraint". But even that is sometimes hard for me.

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pict
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Good point Pict- Perhaps restraint is not the right word. I think there is a tendency from both sides to claim the other side is betraying the progressive movement, and perhaps it is that tendency I am suggesting we stay away from. I have to admitt that I am only decent at this when things remain civil. When someone comes flinging crap I tend to fling it right back. So i am not claiming I have some virtueous attitude here , but I prefer civility

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mattnapa
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Currently Chatting

The GOP war on workers has killed again...

It’s time to stop the conservative's war on working people in America.

Since the birth of our nation, conservatives have always been wary of average working-class Americans having too much political or economic power. John Adams, the second President of the United States and a Federalist (precursor to today’s Republicans), was very wary of the working class, which he referred to as “the rabble.”

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