Understanding Obama

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DRC, great post. You and I seem to share the same realistic observations of life.

polycarp2, thanks for the insightful and relevant post. I understand and share your sense of urgency. Twice in my life I've been within hours of death, so I have an appreciation for what is to be lost. This could be over for me at any time. Still, how does that really differ from anyone else? And as much as we would like to make change immediate, we all know that immediate change is not possible. We still have to deal with the reality of the hear and now. There may be a way to move things along faster, but I'm pretty sure that we need to stay focused and as united as possible to make that happen. Pick the best option to move things forward, and get in and start nudging in the right direction as you are doing today at your party conference. I happen to believe that the best ally/option that progressives have right now is Obama in the White House and Democrats in Congress. That's where I'm putting my efforts right now. If nothing else, we can prepare for 2016 and set the stage for the next generation.

I don't want Utopia. I just want my kids to be able to earn a living wage for their hard work and be able to enjoy life. I want my grandkids to live in a world where they can grow up healthy.

Garrett wrote: Alter thing A with thing A just doesn't seem too sensible to me.

How, then, do we change the world?

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

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politicalview
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

its easy to understand Obama he is a marxist that hates america at least how it is now. he hates that we still have some freedoms, he said himself that we need to fundementally change america and our history.

bottom line is he hates freedom, he hates the american way of life. this is why he is always throwing america under the buss.

jones702
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Feb. 1, 2012 1:45 pm
Quote politicalview:

Garrett wrote: Alter thing A with thing A just doesn't seem too sensible to me.

How, then, do we change the world?

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

First of all recognize that the world is in your mind. What's really happening outside that may be something else entirely. But so many of us are so sure we "know" that we can't take time out to consider that possibility. It might be a very dire and frightening thing to think about. It might imply the need for some real change, not just metaphorical, abstract thought change.

What if this system you are trying to change, but keep the same at the same time by electing Plan A to change Plan A, is a vertically integrated house of cards? What happens when you pull a card out from the middle of the house of cards? Ever make one and watch?

So what if we are actually facing a point where this wonderful system that once upon a time created this ever nostalgic "middle class" -- you know, like actually for about five or ten years -- is about to collapse. What if that middle class is really just a myth created by some people as a supposed given that we can always return to? That the rows and rows of suburban claptraps sprung up around cities so very recently in the long span of time, with their neatly mowed lawns, their husbands driving to work, their wives, well, now driving to work too so they can be self actuated members of society, not just moms, their kids going to school to learn how to go to work and be professional cogs in the vertically integrated machine, what if all that is environmentally insupportable in the long run?

What if the middle class was really just a statistical middle chunk measured out of a house of cards created in a post WWII era, actually just a fluke era caused by the massive global disruption of war, a war that would not have been possible without the technology of the house of cards system, in other words a statistical chunk occurring within an interlinked set of vertically integrated transnational corporate systems fueled by cheap energy and its related and rapidly shared technologies?

What if all this notion of middle class is merely the offshoot of a set of hierarchically ordered private tyrannies? What if those tyrannies are really just replications each other with minor variations of a single basic model designed to accomplish specific purposes in the grand scheme of it all: What if these tyrannies are all linked together to provide the participants, who are now trained specialists who can go from one tyranny to another as replacement parts, who could easily be robots or monkeys, therefore much more efficient, with jobs, so they could eat the food and buy the products that the tyrannies provide? What if the participants are no longer capable of surviving socially and practically in small communities because they've lost the basic skills, because those communities and the cultural understandings that necessarily go with them and their modes of interactive, interpersonal communication are now gone, traded away for a national political myth and the spectacle of media entertainment that perpetuates illusion?

If that's true, and someone suddenly sees that, what does that person do? Vote for Obama, or "Mitten", or someone else who promises to keep this house of cards from falling down?

Well, if not that, then one might, for instance, think about learning some of those lost skills, some of which include local community building and local survival system organizing, so that when the vertically integrated house of cards system that puts food from an average of 2000 miles away on supermarket shelves collapses one can have something to eat. One might even think about learning how to build an energy efficient house, maybe with some friends who also want to learn these lost skills, a house that doesn't take much energy to heat or cool. Then maybe you won't feel so panicky, and you can sit back in front of your nice warm wood stove on a wintry day and begin to think about what to do next.

But that of course can all be in someone's deluded mind too.

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.ren
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To talk about moving forward what you believe is great but then we have

PV said-

You and I seem to share the same realistic observations of life.

I don't want Utopia. I just want my kids to be able to earn a living wage for their hard work and be able to enjoy life.

At least I have never implied a utopian vision. I have instead talked about the least change necessary to insure democracy and a semblance of a functioning society. The fact that the two are now confused with one another seems emblematic oft just how low we have gone

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To be a realist without being a pessimist or a cynic requires more than condemning the other or glorifying one's own desires. Reality is humbling, but it is not disappointing unless you are looking to improve on it, and that is not being realistic. When you actually have to think about what you think you want instead, it always goes bad. Reality, even mortality, is cool. Dracula is about immortality gone awry, so when Bella looks all dreamy and says, "to be dead, to be truly dead, ah that would be glorious," you get an idea why being "undead' is not cool.

Horror and alien terror flicks have made being human a bad joke instead of where to be. We need superheroes, saviors and magic. Real life is never good enough. The forces that threaten us are too big and powerful for mortal being "us." Escape and magic beats reality when it is reduced to economic drudgery and "life's a bitch, then you die." Brief and brutish, so don't waste time caring or sharing.

Check out the wishes of our libertarians and free marketers. If people only made rational decisions... If they would exercise "personal responsibility." If we could just let the 'job creators' do their thing and get rid of the losers, what a wonderful world it would be.

Maybe democracy is the best of the worst, but it is an affirmation of being and doing instead of an abdication of human possibility. How we design a post-age of reason nature friendly democracy may mean reinterpreting what "designing" means to make it more about discovery and improv and less about being outside the process. No problem. Reality keeps teaching us more than we knew, and we either love the process or get screwed up fighting it.

Caring and sharing, and working with what nature gives us is sensual as well as imaginative. Heart is reclaimed from the "emotional" dross and "body" from the rationality altar. There is a lot of humanity out there to connect with, as well as a lot of nature and...reality. We are in this together, and connecting helps a lot.

Functioning society is inclusive and redemptive. Democracy is about sharing the power and participation. Those who get it will have to make up for those who don't, but would you rather be involved in the healing or out there in despair or false hope? Get real, it really is good even if we only know it in part and in process. Live, love and enjoy. Peace.

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DRC
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The conversation, while appreciated, has turned a bit esoteric. I deal in the realities of the world - Newton's Laws, Fibonacci sequence, string theory, history, etc. From these realities I know that there is a process to be followed for ordered change to occur, and that ordered change takes more time than what a lot of people want to experience in our immediate gratification world. It took conservatives 30 years to get us here. It's going to take more than 4 years to get us to where we need to be. The next step in that ordered change is...

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

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politicalview
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If I say what needs to be said next about the Republican, not 30 but more than 40 year effort, going back to the Powell Memo, I'll just discourage people.

If you structure politics like a team sport, then we will only have two teams on the field. Democracy will take the biggest hit.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

I keep saying that the good news is that things are far worse than it appears. Appreciating the nature of the Powell Memo strategy and its implementation removes the dismay about democracy not working as if we had it. Appreciating the power of propaganda makes it more than people not voting for their interests. If you don't expect moderation by Democrats to persuade the cult fanatics, you don't get lulled into the reassurance that everything is basically OK and just needs a tweaking.

You don't have to go into panic about it. You just stop buying into simplistic and comfortable half-truths and appreciate that there is work to do. You don't vote Republican in protest. I don't think you run and hide either. There is a great deal of relief in not having to defend American foreign policy.

ren, you are doing things that make it fine to talk about the Powell Memo because it has not sucked the life and energy or your sense of humor and sensuality out of you. I think this is why Hedges worries about the illusion and its temptations.

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DRC
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You know, I'm not dismayed. That's why I'm not bringing any guns or knives. That's cheap excitement, doesn't last for me. I need vision.

We need to understand this system. In understanding, the work we can actually do will be much easier to see. Hedges is good at articulating what takes place, and that's why I quote him. But we all have to form a vision on our own. He can't do that for anyone. But writers like him can give us a good clear image of ourselves in the mirror if we care to look.

To want to do things, it is important to understand what it takes to do anything. The Powell Memo was addressed to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because that was one of the organizing loci for the power embedded in a nascent corporate production/financial system, which Powell, a soon to be Supreme Court Justice, called "the American economic system (that) is under broad attack." Implying of course the "unAmericanness" of the attack, which he identifies in greater detail throughout his blueprint for dealing with that attack. The blueprint simply organizes what is already there, and there's no question who the attackers are. He even names some, including Ralph Nader who managed to provide the impetus for some of the most protective regulations ever devised against these corporate producers, the creators of this "American economic system", the creation of which is kind of an Ayn Randian notion if you will, but all she really did was narrate it in a now popular novel. The roots of that image of power are ancient.

I question the very notion of thinking that one can be on the same field with that kind of organizing force, and reasonably, sensibly hope that in thirty or forty years come to do what the corporate power brokers have done since 1971. I see Anti has some sort of thread going about NPR, using the usual supermarket check-out stand lurid shock headlines. I watched as they strategically took control of NPR during the '80s under Reagan's watch. It was accomplished administratively to begin with. Managers know how to manage, I'll give them that. This was simply part of the long term plan. It's not a shock to me. They simply made it conform to the rest of the corporate-owned media in this country. Government regulations of the airways work for them and against any rogue players who want to broadcast a non conforming message to people. Then all they do is embed the notion in people who don't spend much time thinking that the media is liberal, and NPR is the most liberal of the liberal.

The degree of management control of this nation has a much longer history in its evolution than a mere forty years. We've seen little peeps of actions against it from the 99 percent who are not in the ownership class, but it must be noted that many of the 99 percent partake in a management class, and they are well paid. The "middle class" of two hundred years ago is not the middle class of today. They were mostly the small business owners throughout the nation at the time. They were a different form of American business than Powell's. They were interacting give and take parts of real organic communities.

So the question I ask: what options do we actually have? What really is this structure we are dealing with? It certainly isn't going to be an option where we are fighting and bringing BB guns against tanks and remotely quided drones armed with missiles.

That's all. I'm simply asking.

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.ren
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Good commentary and good questions .ren.

Unlike was was available in 1971 and the 20 or so following years, don't you think we have a better chance now at getting information to the masses? Back then there were three major networks and PBS. Cable was just getting started. Now, I think that the dozens of options on cable and the forums on the internet help to even out the communication lines. Of course, there's still that element that won't believe facts, or will be dedicated to ideology no matter what. There is no hope of getting to those people. But, for the person who seeks truth and real information, the internet can be a good source - or counter source. It was, for right or wrong, a great contributor to the election of Barack Obama.

I feel that the majority of the problem has been more social. When I was a kid back in the 60s, I remember my father having political discussions with others. Most of what they discussed was how decisions were going to affect things in the local communities. As the big-box stores moved in and cobbled up the local businesses, and as the individual became more isolated in their TV room, communities - and the sense of community - began to fade. Oddly enough that sense of community seems to be returning with the help of social networking sites. This is where the younger generation is becoming engaged and starting to relate to what's happening politically to their own lives.

Perhaps it is here that we start.

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

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politicalview
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Yes, I do see that we have some potentially good options for sharing information today that weren't available in 1970. I was very excited years ago when I discovered message boards/news lists, and the likes. But I am also aware that not everyone comes to them with the same set of skills. Now, of course, after some years of interactive experience I can see how those interaction points are also being constantly corrupted by some of the same forces that "sell us our presidents the same way they sell us our clothes and our cars, they sell us everything from youth to religion, the same way they sell us our wars" (Jackson Browne, Lives in the Balance).

But for any of these new technologies for communicating to be an active part of a truly interactive democracy, where democracy is an dynamic process, not a static product, people cannot be passive sponges absorbing information, which of course is the problem you refer to as "isolated tv room communities".

Yet non passive translation on the internet is not a sure route to developing a national narrative based on rationality and facts either. The Obama 2008 campaign won Advertising Age's Marketer of the Year award that year. Certainly some of that marketing took place on the internet. That means these interactions become a difficult matter to discuss when people come to a board like this one with different levels of sophistication, and that's the likely case for many reasons, some of which are imbedded in our language itself and how we've incorporated it to try to do things which it may not be capable of doing. Writing itself presents a conflict between process and product. Much writing is presented as product, when in fact language itself in contact with someone is often more of a negotiation process of trying to get something across. That something may not be in the formulation of words when they walk away at the end.

Facts, for instance -- now there's a thorny issue. In dealing with what a fact actually might be, perception and the formation of thought itself have far too much to do with what we call a fact for it to be a settled issue. I offer an oft used illustration from quantum physics that perhaps offers brief insight into much of the struggle throughout the Twentieth Century in the philosophy of science, grappling with this problem: We are asked: Is light a wave or a particle? Well, both, it turns out in our ever awkward efforts to come to a factual conclusion, depending on how you measure it; which brings us back to the individual measuring device itself (each of us) and how we form our thoughts to make such conclusions. So passive receptors, or even idealogically dogmatic ones, can be a big problem when it comes to this "sharing" of information.

And we have this very sophisticated propaganda mill in place now, with people like Freud's nephew, Eddie Bernays, discovering how to use psychological techniques, like Neuro Linguistic Programming, to influence human thought formation. With techniques like these they discovered they could get the other fifty some percent of the population to buy cigarettes back in the Thirties by calling them "torches of freedom."

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society… In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons … who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

– Edward Bernays, founder of the public relations industry.

Each individual is a unique interactive point coming to and grappling with this information. Each one has to unravel what it means to call something a fact. That makes for a problem in communication that is so much more difficult when we are trying to share what matters to us in a word and image based medium like the Internet, or even radio or television, than it is in person, where you have the very rich context of community, knowing and sharing something about the people you are talking with and all the cues we are biologically designed to read in an actual face to face interaction.

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.ren
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Communication isn't all that difficult, but it is a process that requires you to know your audience. No one thing is going to reach everyone.That's why there are people who are big fans of Ed Schultz, and another set of people who are big fans of Thom Hartmann. The message from both is essentially the same, but presented differently.

Keep messages short, clear and on topic. Move people gradually in the direction you want to go. Over time it sinks in. As people understand more, they want to know more. That's exactly the process that President Obama has been following, and it's been working.

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

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politicalview
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Quote politicalview:

The conversation, while appreciated, has turned a bit esoteric. I deal in the realities of the world - Newton's Laws, Fibonacci sequence, string theory, history, etc. From these realities I know that there is a process to be followed for ordered change to occur, and that ordered change takes more time than what a lot of people want to experience in our immediate gratification world. It took conservatives 30 years to get us here. It's going to take more than 4 years to get us to where we need to be. The next step in that ordered change is...

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

What do you mean by "ordered change?"

Who is "us" when you say it's taken 30 years to get "us" here? Our species has been struggling with many of the same issues for a lot longer than 30 years.

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am
Quote politicalview:

Communication isn't all that difficult, but it is a process that requires you to know your audience. No one thing is going to reach everyone.That's why there are people who are big fans of Ed Schultz, and another set of people who are big fans of Thom Hartmann. The message from both is essentially the same, but presented differently.

Keep messages short, clear and on topic. Move people gradually in the direction you want to go. Over time it sinks in. As people understand more, they want to know more. That's exactly the process that President Obama has been following, and it's been working.

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

I wonder if you have any idea what kind of picture I just painted in my mind.

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.ren
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Quote .ren:
Quote politicalview:

Garrett wrote: Alter thing A with thing A just doesn't seem too sensible to me.

How, then, do we change the world?

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

First of all recognize that the world is in your mind. What's really happening outside that may be something else entirely. But so many of us are so sure we "know" that we can't take time out to consider that possibility. It might be a very dire and frightening thing to think about. It might imply the need for some real change, not just metaphorical, abstract thought change.

What if this system you are trying to change, but keep the same at the same time by electing Plan A to change Plan A, is a vertically integrated house of cards? What happens when you pull a card out from the middle of the house of cards? Ever make one and watch?

So what if we are actually facing a point where this wonderful system that once upon a time created this ever nostalgic "middle class" -- you know, like actually for about five or ten years -- is about to collapse. What if that middle class is really just a myth created by some people as a supposed given that we can always return to? That the rows and rows of suburban claptraps sprung up around cities so very recently in the long span of time, with their neatly mowed lawns, their husbands driving to work, their wives, well, now driving to work too so they can be self actuated members of society, not just moms, their kids going to school to learn how to go to work and be professional cogs in the vertically integrated machine, what if all that is environmentally insupportable in the long run?

What if the middle class was really just a statistical middle chunk measured out of a house of cards created in a post WWII era, actually just a fluke era caused by the massive global disruption of war, a war that would not have been possible without the technology of the house of cards system, in other words a statistical chunk occurring within an interlinked set of vertically integrated transnational corporate systems fueled by cheap energy and its related and rapidly shared technologies?

What if all this notion of middle class is merely the offshoot of a set of hierarchically ordered private tyrannies? What if those tyrannies are really just replications each other with minor variations of a single basic model designed to accomplish specific purposes in the grand scheme of it all: What if these tyrannies are all linked together to provide the participants, who are now trained specialists who can go from one tyranny to another as replacement parts, who could easily be robots or monkeys, therefore much more efficient, with jobs, so they could eat the food and buy the products that the tyrannies provide? What if the participants are no longer capable of surviving socially and practically in small communities because they've lost the basic skills, because those communities and the cultural understandings that necessarily go with them and their modes of interactive, interpersonal communication are now gone, traded away for a national political myth and the spectacle of media entertainment that perpetuates illusion?

Indeed. What if the very institutions and habits that have eliminated countless species and threaten the survival of our species don't present a solution to humanity's ills? It may be tempting to believe mechanisms within the system can fix the system and that maintaining the system is desirable, but I don't have much trouble resisting that temptation.

My short response to PV's question is this Ghandi quote: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him...We need not wait to see what others do.”

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Garrett78
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Yup, be the change you want.

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Garrett wrote: My short response to PV's question is this Ghandi quote: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him...We need not wait to see what others do.”

poly replies: Probably,, Garrett,, the U.S. is merely a reflection of ourselves as "society". Individually, none want to take responsibility for their contribution to the image they now find so distasteful.

The idea that "change" has to take place out there somewhere but.certainly not within oneself is part of the problem. Bigger and better storage sheds for all is just a very, small part of it. Aiming for the largest storage shed of all is another.

Three cheers for the Ghandi quote..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Garrett78:

What do you mean by "ordered change?"

Who is "us" when you say it's taken 30 years to get "us" here? Our species has been struggling with many of the same issues for a lot longer than 30 years.

Since the topic of this forum isn U.S. Domestic Politics, the "us" I speak of refers to those of us in the United States. The "here" I speak of is the political climate in which we currently find ourselves. The "ordered change" I speak of is a controled, gradual and lasting approach to move the country in the proper direction.

Granted, it can be argued that the change was longer that 30 years since it appears to have had its inception with the Powell Memo, but that just furthers my point. We all know how very different this country and the polical climate was prior to Reagan taking office. The move toward no compromise, obstructionism, and "screw everyone else as long as I make a profit" was a gradual one, and the election of Reagan was just a step in the process. There have been many steps, some large, most small, that have brought us to where we are now.

Moving this country in the proper direction will have to be done in a similar fashion if we want it to last. I believe that the re-election of Barack Obama along with a Democratic supermajority in the Senate and a Democratic majority in the House are necessary steps in the process.

Get out. Get active.

N-O-R, Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

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politicalview
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Aren't you sort of saying we have to gradually put out the fire even though the house is rapidly burning to the ground?

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Obama is not your "buddy".

You guys just don't understand him like "I" do... He's really a good guy and you'd be surprised how much the two of you have in common... He pretends to like baseball. He recently played football on the beach (even though he throws like a girl). He likes the blues, and Al Green... Bill Gates and Oprah think he's a swell fella!

You sound like Joe Biden!

Remember what he said about Obama? "He's not like other black people, he's clean." Ok, here's the WHOLE quote, "I mean, you've got the first sort of African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a story-book,man."

He's a complete phony. He only went to the South Side church because it gave him "black cred" back here at home. I'm serious. It sounds funny now, because he's the president, but back home... he was viewed as not really black enough for the South Side of Chicago. What was so interesting to me about the Wright controversy was, he doesn't care about some poor, store front, just as phony preacher! But he couldn't say anything bad about him either. Because if he did, then he'd look like Mitt Romney does now. So he just squirmed for a month or two.

Here we go... He was against the patriot act, now he's for it. He was against Guantanamo, now he's for it. He was all for transparency (that's actually WHY I voted for him), now he's for censorship. He was the anti-war candidate, now he goes to war ALL THE TIME! He actually won the Nobel Peace prize... while committing to 2 wars and planning on many more future ones. He was against NAFTA, now he's expanded on it (How Asia and South America are in the North America is something only the Big 10 conference could figure out... they have 11 teams). He has a special understanding of oppression, now he's regulated kidnapping and indefinite detention. He was against lobbyist in his administration, now he's drowning in them. He was against "soft money", then he took it. He was against SuperPacs, now he's got one too. He was against torture, now we pay private companies and foreigners to do it for us... can't get those hands dirty! Remember how "clean" he is...

C'mon man! What's wrong with you!?! You sound like a moron! There is NO DIFFERENCE between Mitt Romney, Bill Clinton, Both Bush's, John Kerry, John Edwards, Bob Dole, Barack Obama, Jack Kemp, Joe Biden, Arlen Specter, Rod Blagojevich, or Arnold Schwarzenegger!

It's the illusion of choice.

Did you know that 1 out of every 2 beers that are bought in America is a Budweiser? How can that be? Because Budweiser isn't "Budweiser" it's "iBrew". Under the umbrella of "Interbrew" products are all types of beers that used to be local and independent. Now, they're all "BUD". Best of all... Budweiser is not American anymore... don't tell anyone. It's a secret. They don't talk about it in the press... because "Coors" and "Miller" aren't American either! So no one talks about it... sound familiar? Kind of like how "our" elected politicians don't "represent" our views. Sure they look different on the outside of the can, but on the inside... cheap beer packaged and sold to be different and exotic.

Hmmm... "different and exotic" I wonder if anyone ever thought of a product that was an alternative to "Bush". Wait! Am I talking about politicians or beers? (You can't tell, can you? That's the point.)

The derogatory term, "Bleeding Heart Liberal" was made for saps like you. WAKE UP! Watch the movie, "They Live" or something... Damn! We're bought and sold... and you are way asleep in the matrix, coppertop!

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Fletcher Christian
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Feb. 15, 2012 12:49 pm

I think a brief, flukish period of relative "good times" (it was still a misery for most of the planet) has fooled people into thinking the US Empire has merely hit a bump in the road.

As poly points out, there's no time for gradual. From a global standpoint at least.

But since there's an insistence to be US-centric, I'll ask the same questions I asked in another thread:

I wonder what exactly folks would expect from Santorum (or, more likely, Romney) if Obama were replaced as the face of the US Empire. Drone attacks? More "free trade" agreements like NAFTA? A revolving door between employees of Big Business/Banks and advisors to the POTUS? An FDA or EPA that is more or less defunct/toothless? Welfare reform? Expansion of NCLB or The Patriot Act? Guantanamo left open? Sanctions against Iran like those that led to the deaths of countless Iraquis? Theft of resources from other nation states, and possibly an occupation of Iran? Support of Israel and the apartheid inflicted upon Palestinians? Support of the so-called War on Drugs? No substantial response to catastrophic climate change?

Or is it all about Roe v. Wade, as if the likes of Karl Rove don't simply use Christian fundamentalists and laugh at them as soon as they leave the room?

Or is it about legalizing gay marriage, which is not likely to have anything to do with the POTUS (and isn't supported by Obama besides)?

Or is it about gun control, that non-issue made out to be a significant issue only at election time?

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am

Well, 'tis a game of follow the leader. Wall Street leads and Obama follows.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll be surprised in his next term...but somehow I don't count on Wall Street following while Obama does the leading. It isn't likely the rules of the game will change.

But....maybe. It's the same maybe I said when he was first elected.

It was a pretty small maybe. I voted Green Party.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I've said before, I don't see Obama as the perfect candidate, nor do I agree with everything he's done or not done. I simply state that, at the present time, he's our best option to move this country in the right direction. We're not slowly putting out a fire while the house burns down around us. We're turning a tanker in the middle of the ocean, and that isn't done on a dime. Perhaps we're just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, but I don't think so.I prefer to be less cynical. Tom explains it best, start the parade, let Obama get in front of us, and push him in the right direction. If you don't believe that, then fine, but remember next year that your attitude helped to elect President Romney,

The defeatist attitudes I'm reading here don't help anyone. You act like you've seen the movie Knowing, and have determined that the ending is the future of humanity. If that's true, then nothing we do matters, I, for one, refuse to accept that. For the most part the people in this country are good people, and I refuse to give up on them. There is so much we can do and so much left to be done.

Quote Fletcher Christian: (How Asia and South America are in the North America is something only the Big 10 conference could figure out... they have 11 teams).

This statemen reflect the accuracy of most of the rest of your "facts". The Big Ten has 12 teams. And your confusion on the name of the league reflects your pre-conceived notions and rigidity of thought.

Regardless, I still say...

N-O-R, Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

politicalview's picture
politicalview
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

If I may offer some constructive criticism, wouldn't your energy be better spent at some of the right wing web sites, the ones spouting off about how Obama's a radical socialist, the ones where everyone posting have avatars of Obama looking like Heath Ledger's Joker, and you can post remarks about how centrist the President is? Maybe you'll capture the eyes of some independents who likely don't visit here, and sway them to vote for your guy.

Just my opinion.

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Again, what exactly do folks expect from Romney (or whoever) if Obama is replaced as the face of the US Empire? In what way will the US Empire operate differently?

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am

I thought "The Cornhuskers" slipped off of the face of college football. Nope. There they are! Big 10 staples since 2011. Remember that year they played Iowa for the Big 10 champion... oh yeah, they just joined... they haven't played yet. My bad... thanks buddy.

I remember the Big 10 logo with the "11" embedded in it. That was some good propaganda! It overshadowed my memory of every team that switched conferences last year. I was inspired by Beano Cook.

I have realized my mistake. Have you realized how patronizing you sounded in your opening?

Anytime someone white tells me how I don't understand a black person... well, forgive me if it irks my nerves. I have only recently been living on the "right" side of the tracks. I mean that literally. Gary, IN isn't as nice as a cornfield.

Tell me WHY you like the guy and not why you SHOULD like the guy. He's the 2nd most phony politician I have ever seen in my life. #1 goes to Mitt Romney.

No one liked W. Bush, right? How is this any different than a 3rd Bush term! Sounds to me like you DO like good ole' Dubbya. Everything you hated about Bush... Obama has perfected.

I voted for that guy, too! "Probably" will again. (I just threw up in my mouth... a little.)

I have yet to experience voting "FOR" somebody instead of voting "AGAINST" someone else. Every time that I've pulled that lever, I've had to hold my nose.

Why can't someone like Bernie Sanders or Ron Paul run for elected office? Oh yeah! I forgot. Maybe that's where the 9% APPROVAL rating comes from in congress.

9 percent... 9 PERCENT!!! (2 times in 1 day... here it come... wait for it... The dreaded... )

FINGER OF SHAME!

Fletcher Christian's picture
Fletcher Christian
Joined:
Feb. 15, 2012 12:49 pm

OBAMA or ROMNEY?

That is the very definition of the "Illusion of Choice".

I disgusted myself this time. I said that I would probably vote for Obama. Here's a sample of the "small talk I had with myself" as I was driving to work.

I KNOW that I am not voting for Romney. He has done every flip flop that W. Obama has done. Since I have voted for Obama in the past, it would be easier to vote for him out of some sort of twisted civil service (meaning that I HAVE to participate in the voting process).

I'm leaning towards 'NO VOTING" for the presidential election and only voting for the elections that are local.

I don't know. As I'm typing this, maybe I should stand outside of the voting office and ask the banner/lawn chair people who I should vote for. I'm undecided... they're awful choices... 2 soulless snake oil noise merchants.

Obama is Wall Streets 1st choice.

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Fletcher Christian
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Feb. 15, 2012 12:49 pm

I'm curious... what WOULD it take for you NOT to vote for Obama?

Is there ANYTHING that this guy could do that would make him fall out of favor?

What if he put sugar in your gas tank?

While you're at work, he goes over to your house and has a 'romp' with your woman and uses one of your socks to catch his nut?

What if he super imposed a picture of your face onto the body of a naked Barney Frank and put it on the internet?

What if he kidnapped you, water boarded you, flew you down to Cuba and made you play a one on one game of monopoly with him?

What if he SLAPPED your mama?

What if he killed your son, or dad in one of his many 'Nobel Peace Prize' winning wars?

What would it take? What would it take?

(I'm actually making a pop reference act between two people... if anyone can guess where it comes from... I'll never refer to someone as an "egg head" again. That's a promise.)

PS

"The BIG 10 doesn't have 11 teams in it... it has 12."

Fletcher Christian's picture
Fletcher Christian
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Feb. 15, 2012 12:49 pm

I must vote in order to have something to back all of my gibberish. If I don't vote I don't feel I have much of a say in the discussion. That is why I must vote for Obama. If it were between Romney and Gingrich then I would vote Romney. I must vote or keep my mouth shut. Just my opinion.

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker
Joined:
Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am
Quote Bush_Wacker:

I must vote in order to have something to back all of my gibberish. If I don't vote I don't feel I have much of a say in the discussion. That is why I must vote for Obama. If it were between Romney and Gingrich then I would vote Romney. I must vote or keep my mouth shut. Just my opinion.

poly replies: Maybe that's one reason I vote in every election, though I haven't voted for a Dem or Republican as Pres. for years. After Jesse Jackson lost the nomination, the Dem Party of FDR went extinct. Another wing of the Corporate Party was born.

I'm not disappointed in the Pres. He's exactly as I thought he'd be.

However, saying, " I told you so" isn't very satsifying. Electing the lessor of two evils isn't really very satisfying either, when you get right down to it.

Since I did vote, I suppose that gives me the right to gripe about him. .Like disappointment, griping changes nothing.

Whether. one choses to plunge into the abyss with Republicans, or slide gradually into it with Dems, the outcome remains the same. When policies of Richard Nixon are defined as liberal even by Dems, we've slid a long, long way

The Repugnant Party didn't do it on their own. They had Dem help along the way,

People seem to confuse rhetoric with implimented policy. They are worlds apart.

political view wrote: We're not slowly putting out a fire while the house burns down around us.

poly replies: We haven't even called the fire truck. 5 years left to reverse global warming. After that, it's irreversible. The current twit in the White House can't even sniff the smoke.. It's a pretty big "fire". unless you consider the ultimate loss of 1/3 of Florida and most of our coastal cities a minor event

Losing California's Central Valley to global warming as an agricultural source is already under way. The disappearance of 1/3 of the nation's food supply probably isn't minor either.

Not to worry. The twit will use remaining agricultural land to grow bio-fuels. We can mix it with kool aid and drink it right along with the other kool aid flavored drinks we've been guzzling..The kool aid bar remains open for business..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

OK, Fletcher Christian was a mutineer against a tyrannical captain. It is a complicated story, and Bligh making it back to England became a hero until Napoleon made Nelson the next public figure for imperial pride. But, unless he was killed by the natives on Pitcairn, the story goes that he came back to the Lake Country and made a living as a smuggler until disappearing, presumably in the course of his dangerous work.

At best, he was forced to make a tragic decision and live out the consequences in an unjust history. At worst, he lost his cool and took some others with him. If you are posting from the perspective of a heroic rebel against injustice and tyranny, the rest of the story does not follow your moral image of the act of mutiny.

In the present moment, I disagree with Poly on tactics. I don't have to love lesser evils and I don't trash those who work for better as long as they don't make their case against their closer allies instead of the actual enemy. Obama is better than Clinton because Clinton was all talk and bad deeds. Obama has done a few good things even though he has continued some bad things. He has not introduced any new GOPimp agenda items under his stamp, and Obamacare is better than what was although not nearly good enough for us to settle.

That said, if you must vote Green to keep in the game, please don't drop out and definitely don't vote GOPimp in the crazycrap belief that we need to hit bottom harder and faster than we can avoid. For example, Obama is resisting the push to war instead of blessing it. He is getting no help at all from a disloyal opposition and the lamestream media. If you just hate the system, and there is reason to do so, you don't have to demonize those trying to steer the course of empire with a modicum of responsibility.

In other words, Obama is not Capt. Bligh. He is a lot closer to Fletcher Christian in his 'options' as a reform emperor who has unseated the PNAC dynasty. He is left with a crew with some good people and others who will fail him. He cannot go home, and he has to hide in uncharted waters where the natives he treats like natives instead of human, rebel and kill his crew.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

He is left with a crew with some good people and others who will fail him. He cannot go home, and he has to hide in uncharted waters where the natives he treats like natives instead of human, rebel and kill his crew.

It's hard for me to ignore the fact that he chose his crew, 'twas hand picked by him, or so we're told. If not, then why pretend there's even a game here?

He started with the Empire's grand chessmaster, Zbigniew Brezinski, over four years ago. You gotta figure his vision has something to do with who he thinks will have good advice when he needs it most. Brezinski, of course, doesn't currently encourage a war with Iran, he's more a neoliberal than a neoconservative, but he does encourage maintaining geopolitical control over the resources of the Middle East -- where "our interests" lie, as he wrote for Carter in the Carter Doctrine.

If Obama lets himself be wimped into allowing an attack on Iran to go forward, I'll be in favor of impeachment, if that's what it takes to wake those who are standing around just waiting for something good to happen, or even those who are apologizing for his ineptitude thinking he has good intentions behind some of those horrible actions, in a role that demands some real strength of character. Only problem is that needs to be instigated by Congress. And guess who the Republican leadership in Congress just got helped by their Republican friends in Ohio to get rid of with a neat little redistricting trick?:

Kucinich introduces articles of impeachment for Bush

Kucinich (and Nader) talk of impeachment for Obama

Kucinich says Obama Should be Impeached for attack on Libya

See, what you do is you shut down discussion by labeling the one's who want to work within the Constitution "wacky": Dennis Kucinich and "wackiness".

Obama may eventually be judged by history, but we all could well be judged by something much more immediate and devastatingly powerful, the very planet itself. The information's there. We can act on the side of safety for all, rather than greed for the one percent of this planet.

.ren's picture
.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

I will not vote for Romney. I did vote for Obama.

What disgusted me about the tone of this thread is the "Hurray! For my side" mentality that thrives in the world, even when the supposed "choice" is really an illusion of choice. In the last 50 years, we can go line by line and show how the politician for party 'X' is exactly the same as the politician for party 'Y'.

Whenever somebody romanticizes their political views to that of the current president, meaning that they are somewhat the same... I HAVE to say something about it. I did. Obama is not your buddy. He could care less about you and your tuition, job, property & retirement.

Meet the NEW boss... same as the OLD boss.

It's not just "me" that thinks this way about the "Hurray! For my side" mentality. Here is a little factoid to back me up on this.

On 2-4-12 the Washington Post/ABS News conducted a poll. What concerns me the most about the poll were questions #13 Guantanmo Bay and #14 Drone strikes. What this poll did was point out that if "your guy" is the one who is doing the kidnapping, torturing, and murdering... then you will be about 70% cool with it. Glenn Greenwald was particularly alarmed by this and it's through his commentary that I heard about the poll.

We as a society are hopeless if we don't wake from this consumer zombification haze that we're in.

As of now, I think the only hope we have is to start impeaching people with a frenzy that of the "Salem Witch Trials". All of these prisons that have been built over the last 20 years should be filled up with the politicians and bankers that forced us to build them in the first place!

Let the separation of powers turn on each other and start throwing each other out of office. You want to know "why", BECAUSE "WE" CAN'T! Was the year 2000 that long ago? Our votes don't count anymore! Ever since 12:30 Friday, November 22, 1963 our elections have been decided for us. The "bullet" vote of the military industrial complex outweighed our collective populous vote that day and we have never turned back.

I believe that when a politician commits treason by siding with a foreign country over their own that they should be immediately suspended from duty and a military trial should commence. I believe that any politician that accepts money or gifts from a lobbyist, and then it's found to be in anyway an illegal or unconstitutional activity, should then be held accountable and impeached and prosecuted under the RICO act. If they helped an illegal act along by being "bribed" to do so... then they are guilty too! Just like the mob boss (or in the case of Charles Manson) who doesn't actually commit the illegal act, but is guilty of sponsoring the act. GUILTY... throw them out.

Eventually, no one would risk the lobbying process in fear of going to jail. There is no honor among thieves. Right now, we have nothing but thieves running the show. Let's start the ball rolling and start impeaching and prosecuting.

Obama included... sorry. I wish he was a good guy. The facts are too many that says he is not. It's a shame.

Fletcher Christian's picture
Fletcher Christian
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Feb. 15, 2012 12:49 pm

DRC, you kinda stole my thunder. I'm starting another thread asking people what their moniker means and why they chose their avatar.

I also PROMISE to get a little better with my horrid computer skills. I can't pretend anymore... I have to ask my wife for directions.

Fletcher Christian's picture
Fletcher Christian
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Feb. 15, 2012 12:49 pm

Tomdispatch.com, an affiliate of the Nation Magazine, has been one of the few voices I can go to that consistently focus on unraveling the machinations of empire and it's version of imperialist aggression, especially in the Middle East, since the neocons took us to war in Iraq. This morning, Tom himself -- he usually plays the role of editor -- summarizes what I've feel like I've been trying to say in scattered points throughout my posts. What he says pertains to this thread. He does not "blame" Obama, rather, he looks at the change that's been occurring in our Presidential system, like the one about slowly boiling frogs, and notices what others in the main stream media are not noticing about it:

War as the President's Private Preserve: the 0% Doctrine

A few excerpts:

Quote Tom Engelhardt:

Although he was trying to ward off a threatened Israeli preemptive air strike against Iran, his comments should have shocked Americans -- but just about nobody noticed.

I don’t mean, of course, that nobody noticed the president’s statements. Quite the contrary: they were headlined, chewed over in the press and by pundits....

---------

But somehow, amid all the headlines, commentary, and analysis, few seemed to notice just what had really changed in our world.

The president had offered a new definition of “aggression” against this country and a new war doctrine to go with it. He would, he insisted, take the U.S. to war not to stop another nation from attacking us or even threatening to do so, but simply to stop it from building a nuclear weapon -- and he would act even if that country were incapable of targeting the United States. That should have been news.

Consider the most startling of his statements: just before the arrival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington, the president gave a 45-minute Oval Office interview to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. A prominent pro-Israeli writer, Goldberg had produced an article in the September issue of that magazine headlined “The Point of No Return.” In it, based on interviews with "roughly 40 current and past Israeli decision makers about a military strike," he had given an Israeli air attack on Iran a 50% chance of happening by this July. From the recent interview, here are Obama’s key lines:

“I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff. I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.”

Later, he added this chilling note: “I think it's fair to say that the last three years, I've shown myself pretty clearly willing, when I believe it is in the core national interest of the United States, to direct military actions, even when they entail enormous risks.”

"We"? What "we" is he referring to?

The next day in a speech in front of AIPAC Obama said of his decision to use force, sounding much like Bush before Iraq regarding the consequences of his decision, especially on the wounded coming back:

And for this reason, as part of my solemn obligation to the American people, I will only use force when the time and circumstances demand it... We all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically. Having said that, Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States -- just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power... and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.

Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.

See how this propaganda works? It's Iran's fault if the imperial forces and its allies are forced to destroy their nation and kill millions of people. We gave them every chance to behave. And this is done as an obligation to the American people.

.ren's picture
.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

In answer to some questions asked earlier...

Wouldn't my energy be better spent on right wing web sites?

It has been spent there to a limited degree, but I'm more interested at the moment to use this site to learn from others and perfect the argument.

Anytime someone white tells me how I don't understand a black person...

I don't beleive I every tried to tell anyone how they didn't understand a black person. I believe I offered some observations of how a black man in the midwest must deal with existing racisim that sits below the surface. An observation confirmed by several friends who live it every day. It may or may not apply to Obama, but it seems to me that it does.

What would it take for you to vote you not to vote for Obama?

A better, electable alternative. Sherrod Brown maybe? What will it take for you to vote FOR Obama this time around?

It's hard for me to ignore the fact that he chose his crew...

So did Captain Bligh. Handpicking your crew doesn't guarantee loyalty.

New boss same as the old boss? Perhaps. But...

- I have a 25 year old daughter who just left a full-time job to enter a doctoral program. Thanks to Obama, she is now carried on our health insurance.

- I have a friend who is a veteran of Iraq. He was unable to get any medical help for his condition from the VA until Obama put a new emphasis on helping our veterans.

- My wife had a hear attack in 2005 that was purely stress related. No other physical issues. Thanks to Obama, she was able to get medical insurance with having to deal with her "pre-existing condition".

- I have a friend who was an unemployed construction worker. He was able to keep his home after he got a job repairing roads as a result of Obama's stimulus package.

There are numerous other stories on many other issues that carry the point. None of these things happened under W. Most will be reversed under Romney if he gets in. It will be a stalemate if we don't give Obama the majorities he needs in Congress.

Are there many more things that need to be done? Absolutely. And it's our job to make sure that they happen. That will be nearly impossible if we don't ensure

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

politicalview's picture
politicalview
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Fletcher Christian:

What disgusted me about the tone of this thread is the "Hurray! For my side" mentality that thrives in the world, even when the supposed "choice" is really an illusion of choice. In the last 50 years, we can go line by line and show how the politician for party 'X' is exactly the same as the politician for party 'Y'.

Funny how we keep getting these new voices coming to this site over and over to wake us up.

Meanwhile you loudly and blissfully ignore a fair number of us here who have been long bringing the dangers of propaganda and group think to this board. Some of us were applying it to Obama before Obama got elected. A number of us in that group were not surprised to see Obama awarded Advertising Ages Marketer of the Year for selling the Obama brand to the public. Hell, he sold it to the world; the Norwegian Nobel Committee bought it, awarded him a Peace Prize. Somebody besides me needs to be laughing about that.

Sir, you are not introducing anything new. We already have this debate going and it's a bit past the wake up point. I'm getting tired of seeing it start from scratch about once a week. It's like Groundhog Day -- the movie.

I don't have a handle, by the way. That's my nickname, part of my full name. It does happen to mean something in the Chinese language I was informed, by a Chinese friend of mine in San Francisco, many years ago, and I value what it means.

.ren's picture
.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote politicalview:

It's hard for me to ignore the fact that he chose his crew...

So did Captain Bligh. Handpicking your crew doesn't guarantee loyalty.

I made that point not because I agree with DRC's narrative regarding the issue of loyalty -- I actually disagree that the narrative even begins to characterize Obama's position, but I keep thinking that should be obvious -- I made it because I see an incipient underlying process going on in this nation. Obama's hand picked crew is part of that process. Ya dig? Therefore, I see Obama catering to it, gutlessly or otherwise; and I made my point after that line you picked, which is the same as the old point I made when he was up for the nomination four years ago, because I happen to believe that the only time we the ordinary people have arrested some small degree of power from the powerful in history and managed to get something humane injected into the mix, is when we stand up and stand strong for our principles.

I would say more but it's pointless I believe.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

.ren wrote "I happen to believe that the only time we the ordinary people have arrested some small degree of power from the powerful in history and managed to get something humane injected into the mix, is when we stand up and stand strong for our principles. "

Absolutely. Is this not exactly what I've been saying all along? The question is how to do it. I think that is where we differ.

In this right of center dominated world right now, I think that the toughest things for progressives to do is determine the best course of action. There are so many things that need to be fixed, and so very little time to get them done, that the task is overwhelming. Income disparity, the environment, health care, civil rights, freedoms, the list goes on and on, and each item on the list has multiple lists underneath of it. How could this country go off the rails so badly in such a short amount of time, and is there any hope for fixing it?

That's what we need. We need to know how to fix it. If you have a plan that won't cause the President to revoke posse comitatus, I'd love to hear it. Until I have an alternative, I have to go with what my senses, my intellect and my gut tells me is the best course of action. Right now that means ensuring

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

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politicalview
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

For the others concerned, ren and I have been in substantial agreement about the American Empire and the creeping imperialism of the Presidency, and our differences of opinion on our tactical choices in the short-term are, at least in my mind, between friends on a common journey. If Obama "wimps out" on Iran, we will be joined at the hip in opposition.

We, and Poly, prefer Kucinich by a landslide for policy alternatives and genuine opposition to the Neocon cultural drift. Nonetheles, we have important, useful and respectful differences of opinion and perspective that make the conversation rich and informative to me. Not having total agreement makes me sharpen my thinking and take into account what I might have dismissed. It also encourages me to know that there are serious people working on what I will call "the Left" while the Center slides to the Right and the media ignores everything outside the "illusion" Hedges decries.

If a movement shows up with substance outside the duopoly illusion to make being a radical something more than an adolescent image of my youth, I will be glad to have them here. I have been disappointed by the many attempts to organize around a radical analysis and at the naivete of many "good" people who are in distress about their America. I keep doing elementary education and rehab for people ren describes well in the larger analysis of technological man and expertise.

At the same time, there are some genuine areas of hope and light where local organizing and thinking is going ahead without having to have the radical education. Food security is one of these because it is a basic need and the industrial system is not doing well. It is not about going vegan, unless that is your thing. It is not about anything doctrinaire. It is just about real food getting to people who want and need it. It is not about a chic foodie gourmandaise and "organic" either. It is about sustainable production and the fact that real food is healthy and tasty.

I think we are having a profound finance lesson as well. The dinosaurs are still running the banks and stomping around like crazy, but they are also stepping on their own tails and losing credibility and even the power of fear. This is also true about the empire where I see and hear more doubt on the ground about how important it is for "us" to be "over there." Even the stridency of the push for another war tells me that the empire is having a harder time selling its crap.

For Obama, I think this means that he is under greater pressure to be seen by the powers to be tough and resolute rather than the Nobel Peace guy. They have subverted and coopted most of his attempts to change the course of empire, and those who hoped for more signs of light and actual change have good reason to express their concerns and not to be complacent. Because they are singing that song, I am able to offer a counterpoint suggestion that a, our emperor is not the problem (or solution) but, b, is holding forces in check that the greater evildoers or fool-tools would unleash.

We could do a lot worse than Obama even if we can appreciate why time is not on our side. I cannot wish away the Tea Party and the 2010 return to the narcotics in Congress. I would like to see a popular upsurge of revulsion against the GOPimp culture warrior idiocy that included a demand for authenticity in the Democrats. Maybe the best we get from Obama is an education in why he is not enough while we build what is enough. Maybe the whole thing will crash and burn and we will hope to be there to pick up the pieces we can use.

I still hang onto the principle that "democracy" is about governing ourselves so we are not ruled by others. That, not economics, is where I think we can have a useful conversation with our neighbors and about freedom as inclusive participation in power. I have not found the 'solutions' offered to be much more than dreams. When I hear lamentations about the Constitution, I know too much of its history to be shocked. Protest is not nearly enough or the history of the Powell Memo and the Bush Crime Family would have been far different. I am encouraged by OWS and expect a Spring Offensive because reality requires more than the protection of the system can deliver.

To return to the heading, "understanding Obama" is about knowing where "we" are as Americans at this end of empire time. If he is the best the system can deliver, we can appreciate that in both the postive and negative sense. There is a lot to admire in him and he has real skills and intelligence rare in his peers in power. If it takes more than that to do what needs to be done, we need to be about doing it instead of hoping that he or the system can save itself or America. I won't waste time disparaging him, but I will encourage those who do not speak comforting words about his reign as emperor, particularly if they are focused on the greater evil of the imperial system.

For me, this makes the question of "will I vote for Obama" beside the point. Will you vote for, even by default, the rabid dogs of empire? Will you pin your hopes on Obama and the Democrats and hunker down in prayer? Neither makes much sense or does much good. To the extent that Presidential elections matter, I think it is time to get Progressive about 2016 and to prevent the greater evil. If we are worried about Obama 'wimping out' on Iran, we can be certain the alternative would do the most stupid and aggresively insane things possible.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Anyone waiting for Superman or Jesus, or for someone like Kucinich to become viable, is likely going to wait until death. Especially given how many folks subscribe to that circular logic that says, "I won't vote for so-and-so until he/she becomes viable."

Perhaps the answer doesn't lie in a hierarchal, dehumanizing institution. Perhaps there is no savior. Perhaps believing otherwise and relying on lesser evilism (as we see Eisenhower and NIxon in an increasingly leftist light as time passes) is what is adolescent.

Getting out and getting active doesn't have to be about presidential politics.

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am
Quote .ren:We already have this debate going and it's a bit past the wake up point. I'm getting tired of seeing it start from scratch about once a week. It's like Groundhog Day -- the movie.

But not funny.

It's a struggle to go a mile deep (such threads drop from page 1 after a dozen or two posts) when so many want to discuss every damn issue under the sun as if each one is isolated in a vacuum.

I don't see much point to this place.

Garrett78's picture
Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am
Quote Garrett78:
Quote .ren:We already have this debate going and it's a bit past the wake up point. I'm getting tired of seeing it start from scratch about once a week. It's like Groundhog Day -- the movie.

But not funny.

It's a struggle to go a mile deep (such threads drop from page 1 after a dozen or two posts) when so many want to discuss every damn issue under the sun as if each one is isolated in a vacuum.

I don't see much point to this place.

I get tired too.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

DRC wrote: In other words, Obama is not Capt. Bligh. He is a lot closer to Fletcher Christian in his 'options' as a reform emperor who has unseated the PNAC dynasty.

poly replies: Probably neither would steer the ship into an iceburg to satisify the owners of the ship.

Ren wrote: There is very little I can actually do at the macro level of what I'm able to observe taking place. Arguing about voting is not something I consider worth my time. I'll do whatever I do with regard to that in the privacy of my home when I get my absentee ballot. One of the things I can do is help people learn that they are in the grips of a machine and they are willingly participating in the control that machine has over their lives, and that they have the power to get out of it by beginning to develop practical skills, which include community level social skills -- pretty much the ones we have given up by becoming cogs in a cheap-energy fueled neofeudal industrial system. The revolution is in our consciousness where world changing paradigms shift can occur.

poly replies: I haven't seen a truer statement in a long time. I vote for third parties mainly as a matter of principle...knowing that no matter who I vote for, nothing substantially changes without a paradigm shift in the consciousness of the American people.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Sorry to jump your post, poly. I was stupidly trying to rearrage a post so it would follow Garrett's. :)

Quote politicalview:

Absolutely. Is this not exactly what I've been saying all along? The question is how to do it. I think that is where we differ.

One of the things I've learned is that doing the wrong thing to fix something, even if I've talked myself into thinking I know what I'm doing, can actually hasten the further break down of machinery. That was how I taught myself to troubleshoot machines. And what I see is that we are in the grips of a machinery of state here.

I think there's more to be done than we can actually do. So I bring out my long ago learned troubleshooting principles that I had to learn when I had to keep the machinery going on our family farm, or the hay wouldn't get in before it was ruined by a thunderstorm, or something like that. Do you understand why I posted post number 86, referring to the precedents of war that Obama is following? This is furthering the breakdown of the machinery of democracy. We have now devolved from Cheney's 1% doctrine the Bush administration managed to sell to our representatives and ignorant fools in Congress to what could very well now be a 0% doctrine of preemptive war, that the Obama administration doesn't have to sell to anyone. It's now the precedent for the Presidency's foreign policy role in the world. Building on these precedents is not progress in the direction of solving the problems that I see, and I don't know if we see the same things when you list some of them:

Quote politicalview:

There are so many things that need to be fixed, and so very little time to get them done, that the task is overwhelming. Income disparity, the environment, health care, civil rights, freedoms, the list goes on and on, and each item on the list has multiple lists underneath of it. How could this country go off the rails so badly in such a short amount of time, and is there any hope for fixing it?

Most of the billions, even trillions of dollars going into these wars the empire pursues come from the American taxpayer. That billions of dollars could be going into putting solar collectors on people's homes that would as well feed a community grid so that we could both produce for our immediate needs and share power with each other. This could be a whole new form of building a lateral, sustainable resilience instead of the current, vertically integrated house of cards we live in. New energy efficient technology could be designed and produced for that type of grid. Those billions of wasted and deadly, hate producing dollars could be going into new ways of living that are sustainable instead of ultimately destructive of the planet.

Exactly how does that come about? The only sure way I can think of is we drop the spears for empire and walk away from corporate-organized machines and their wars for geopolitical control of resources, and begin doing for ourselves. That doesn't mean giving up on a macro government, but that macro government needs to follow our lead, not the corporations'. That we can do. But well meaning, even eco friendly people who learned to fish from their grandfathers, and love it, continue to turn to jobs working for fishing gear companies that provide gear to Wal Mart, and they keep the commodification machine oiled and running smoothly. Meanwhile all that sociopathic, psychopathic corporate machinery systematically destroys the fishing grounds, like we are still doing with macro disasters like the Gulf Oil Spill and Fukushima, while Obama talks of saving the economy with bailouts, as his hand picked advisers advise, including advocating for making more nuclear power disasters a potential.

These people are not of my world.

There is very little I can actually do at the macro level of what I'm able to observe taking place. Arguing about voting is not something I consider worth my time. I'll do whatever I do with regard to that in the privacy of my home when I get my absentee ballot. One of the things I can do is help people learn that they are in the grips of a machine and they are willingly participating in the control that machine has over their lives, and that they have the power to get out of it by beginning to develop practical skills, which include community level social skills -- pretty much the ones we have given up by becoming cogs in a cheap-energy fueled neofeudal industrial system. The revolution is in our consciousness where world changing paradigm shifts can occur.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote polycarp2:Ren wrote: There is very little I can actually do at the macro level of what I'm able to observe taking place. Arguing about voting is not something I consider worth my time. I'll do whatever I do with regard to that in the privacy of my home when I get my absentee ballot. One of the things I can do is help people learn that they are in the grips of a machine and they are willingly participating in the control that machine has over their lives, and that they have the power to get out of it by beginning to develop practical skills, which include community level social skills -- pretty much the ones we have given up by becoming cogs in a cheap-energy fueled neofeudal industrial system. The revolution is in our consciousness where world changing paradigms shift can occur.

poly replies: I haven't seen a truer statement in a long time. I vote for third parties mainly as a matter of principle...knowing that no matter who I vote for, nothing substantially changes without a paradigm shift in the consciousness of the American people.

Well said, both of you. Some say that if we don't vote, particularly for someone "viable" (of course, you can't be viable without votes, but circular reasoning seems to escape folks) then we somehow lose our right to express anger with the system. Which goes to show how engrained is the belief that the hierarchal, machine-like political system presents the only avenue for change. There's this mass assumption that you're either voting for Obama or you're "doing nothing." It's one or the other. Disputing that dichotomy was so offensive to one poster that he no longer posts here at all.

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Garrett78
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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am

Well, rubber-stamping approval of the structure by voting for any of the candidates does accomplish something. You use up a bit of ink and paper if you have a paper ballot.

Currently, however, voting really doesn't alter anything in a substantial manner. I do it anyway.

As Ren noted, The revolution is in our consciousness where world changing paradigms shift can occur.

--------

The U.S. Constitution provides the means for peaceful revolutionary change ...a toppling of destructive structures....if its adhered to. I would hope that powerful structures needing to be toppled would adhere to it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I just want the anger expressed where it can do some good and little harm. The vote for President is not insignificant, but it is contextual. If you live where the outcome is not in doubt, you are free to vote for a symbolic alternative. If the small party alternatives got any mike time, their running would have an educational benefit. But, when they are just minor sideshows and diversions that are not building anything, I don't see the point in thinking that your anger is going to any worthwhile end. If it makes you feel better or purer, just be sure you are not doing something bad to others.

At the local and regional level, there is a lot of alternative work to do. There is a lot of stuff that is not even about elections that matters. My argument against the Obama bashing is that it is either beside the point or depressing in the service of the Right. Push him, criticize his Cabinet choices, remind everyone that a better run empire is not nearly enough. If you cannot get interested in electing Progressives to Congress, don't bash those who are doing it. Just do something else.

Keep the anger focused on those who are actively pushing for war, for greed, for neglect of the environment and trolling. I don't ask anyone else to counter the tiresome idiots who keep calling everyone left of center 'socialists.' Ignore them if you want. If you don't care about the rhetoric, take care of the substance.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It might be a little off the mark, at least for some of us, to assume the motive is anger, DRC.

Personally I am now one of the least angry people you can meet. That may not have been true when I returned to the U.S. from Vietnam in 1970. I'm pretty sure I had some residual PTSD when I threw a baseball bat through Nixon's lying face on my television set. But my decision not to get another television set after that one had to do with my analysis of the propaganda I saw taking place, even in the entertainment shows. It wasn't about my anger.

I feel obliged to criticize the system. I took a great deal of time and trouble in my attempts to figure it out, to see how it actually works, not just the superficial propaganda of how that is supposed to be happening. I feel I'm in a position where I either don't say anything about that, or I say what I see, which is, I see what I see about our system, and how it's in trouble. I want people to open their own eyes, and see what they can see for themselves. I can't stress that enough. I can't say what that would or should be. It's not my place, nor is it anyone else's to do so for me. I can only say what I see, and why. I don't see what more we can do here.

I'm glad you take the trouble to counter those who come here with their propagandistic categorical labelings. I don't know what I would do if I were in your shoes. My strategy when I was going up against them was to point out how what they were doing fit the strategies in various propaganda manuals. And I had the references to show it. They did not like that. I became a target. That was a not much fun for me, nor do I feel I accomplished a thing.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Garrett referred to losing the right to express anger in the system, and all I was doing was redirecting the anger to more productive targets. My feeling about anger is that it needs to be transformed from rage into energy for persistence and focus. I do not try to say anything about not being angry about the crap and cynicism, but it is a volatile and dangerous substance that needs to be handled with care.

I applaud your transcendence and calm, and I do not think you are just placated or trying "not to be angry." During the Cheney years, I made the point about outrage being balanced by humor and the tragic to be able to see the comedy in the farce without losing its edge.

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DRC
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