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A Team of Zombies

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Posted on Feb 6, 2009

By David Sirota

Only weeks ago, the political world was buzzing about a “team of rivals.” America was told that finally, after years of yes-men running the government, we were getting a president who would follow Abraham Lincoln’s lead, fill his administration with varying viewpoints, and glean empirically sound policy from the clash of ideas. Little did we know that “team of rivals” was what George Orwell calls “newspeak”: an empty slogan “claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts.”

Obama’s national security team, for instance, includes not a single Iraq war opponent. The president has not only retained George W. Bush’s defense secretary, Robert Gates, but also 150 other Bush Pentagon appointees. The only “rivalry” is between those who back increasing the already bloated defense budget by an absurd amount and those who aim to boost it by a ludicrous amount.

Of course, that lock-step uniformity pales in comparison to the White House’s economic team—a squad of corporate lackeys disguised as public servants.

At the top is Lawrence Summers, the director of Obama’s National Economic Council. As Bill Clinton’s Treasury secretary in the late 1990s, Summers worked with his deputy, Tim Geithner (now Obama’s Treasury secretary), and Clinton aide Rahm Emanuel (now Obama’s chief of staff) to champion job-killing trade deals and deregulation that Obama Commerce Secretary-designate Judd Gregg helped shepherd through Congress as a Republican senator. Now, this pinstriped band of brothers is proposing a “cash for trash” scheme that would force the public to guarantee the financial industry’s bad loans. It’s another ploy “to hand taxpayer dollars to the banks through a variety of complex mechanisms,” says economist Dean Baker—and noticeably absent is anything even resembling a “rival” voice inside the White House.

That’s not an oversight. From former federal officials like Robert Reich and Brooksley Born, to Nobel Prize-winning economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, to business leaders like Leo Hindery, there’s no shortage of qualified experts who have challenged market fundamentalism. But they have been barred from an administration focused on ideological purity.

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In Hindery’s case, the blacklisting was explicit. Despite this venture capitalist establishing a well-respected think tank and serving as a top economic adviser to Obama’s campaign, the Politico reports that “Obama’s aides appear never to have taken his bid [for an administration post] seriously.” Why? Because he “set himself up in opposition” to Wall Street’s agenda.

The anecdote highlights how, regardless of election hoopla, Washington is the same one-party town it always has been—controlled not by Democrats or Republicans, but by kleptocrats (i.e., thieves). Their ties to money make them the undead zombies in the slash-and-burn horror flick that is American politics: No matter how many times their discredited theologies are stabbed, torched and shot down by verifiable failure, their careers cannot be killed. Somehow, these political immortals are allowed to mindlessly lunge forward, never answering to rivals—even if that rival is the president himself.

Remember, while Obama said he wants to slash “billions of dollars in wasteful spending” at the Pentagon, his national security team is demanding a $40 billion increase in defense spending (evidently, the “ludicrous” faction got its way). Obama also said he wants to crack down on the financial industry, strengthen laws encouraging the government to purchase American goods, and transform trade policy. Yet, his economic team is not just promising to support more bank bailouts, but also to weaken “Buy America” statutes and make sure new legislation “doesn’t signal a change in our overall stance on trade,” according to the president’s spokesman.

Indeed, if an authentic “rivalry” was going to erupt, it would have been between Obama’s promises and his team of zombies. Unfortunately, the latter seems to have won before the competition even started.

David Sirota is the best-selling author of “Hostile Takeover” (2006) and “The Uprising” (2008). He is a fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future. Find his blog at OpenLeft.com or e-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com.

© 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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By oreos3315, May 25, 2010 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Yes and if you read Team of rivals you’ll see the brilliance in having a panel of people that don’t necessarily get along. This was a big charade, and a lot of people feel for it. In fact this is the most one-sided administration I think I’ve ever witnessed. Anyways, there is a smart move in assembling people who agree to disagree.potbelly pig

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By oregoncharles, February 11, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Hey, David -

Didn’t you SUPPORT this guy?

Maybe it’s time to try something new:

http://www.gp.org

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By Ron Ranft, February 11, 2009 at 12:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is most interesting to watch what is going on in this New Era of Change, and Hope, and Reconciliation, Moving Forward, and ad nauseum. I attended a fund raising luncheon for Ralph Nader and because it was a small group we had a chance to pump Nader for lots of answers. Ralph predicted that there would be very little change in the course of the country with Obama’s election. He did so on the basis of looking at the people Obama choose to surround himself with as advisors. He noted that most of them were lobbyists, appointees under Clinton, etc. And now they are his cabinet and the country is headed in the same direction. It isn’t just Obama’s doing, but the doing of the Demowon’ts too. Ralph, because he knows these people so well and because he works for real change must be experiencing that feeling of being right and hating it for being so. Whatever Scirota’s leanings or background, one should look at the message, not the messenger. Is their message accurate? Is it factual and true? From what I’ve seen so far of Geithners plan so far it looks a lot like more of the Paulson scheme. And given that the list of what was cut from the stimulus bill as pork to please the Republican’ts it looks to me like more of the same too. The politicians who ran on Change and the People who voted for that Change have just gotten the political equivalent of the Winter Palace Massacre. What was cut was not pork but things that the People really need and the Dems allowed it. What stayed, like $80 billion to clean coal and nuclear power is what feeds both parties so they can get re-elected which is their real goal, not as People suppose, to look out for the People’s interest.

I wonder how long it will take for the People to realize that what goes on in Washington now is as far removed from them as Czar Nicolas was from the peasents of Russia. Except the peasents finally realized that they had to take what was rightfully theirs from people who took everything. Their revolt got hijacked and one might say the same thing about our own Revolution except it has taken longer.

Ralph said something that I will never forget. He said, “it is better to vote your conscience and vote for someone you know cannot win than it is to vote for someone you know will win and who will betray you.” I hear the screams of betrayal getting louder by the day.

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By cyrena, February 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

attention all Zombies:

Here is something actually happening in real time, that you might actually DO something about.

~~

Save the Solis Nomination

Tell your senators to confirm Solis, NOW!

http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/issues/alert/?alertid=12624551&PROCESS=Take+Action

Action Alert


Confirm Hilda Solis NOW!
Republican Senators Diddle While “Rome” Burns

Why have Republican senators been stalling the confirmation of Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis for nearly a month?  Could it be because the last thing they want is a Labor secretary who actually supports American workers?

For too long, inside-the-beltway corporatists have demonized the American worker—we need a strong voice for Labor, and we have one in Hilda Solis.

Solis is eminently qualified for the position. She rose up as a community organizer—championing workers’ rights—and served in the California Assembly before being elected to Congress.  Solis knows how government works, and she works for the benefit of the average working American.

With thousands of people being forced into unemployment daily, now is not the time for Republican senators to be diddling over ideological differences.

Please contact your senators NOW and urge them to confirm Secretary-designate Hilda Solis! Click here, or copy and paste…

http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/issues/alert/?alertid=12624551&PROCESS=Take+Action

Now I don’t know if it’s too late or not. There’s another message in my box from the ACLU with the subject title, “A Stunning Blow”. I don’t even wanna know right now.

I DO know that the repiglicans are doing everything they can to sabotage the new Agenda, one that is…among other things, LABOR FRIENDLY. The repigs are having none of it.

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By screamingpalm, February 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Maybe Sirota is Steven Colbert’s alter ego. Perhaps he is what Colbert advised Bill O’Reilly to be on the Colbert Report show, and is a conservative posing as a progressive. :D

I missed my chance, but my previous post should have read: “holds onto [hope] that he will [change].” wink

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By Alan MacDonald, February 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Delphi, here’s another great column on the damages caused by Mr. V:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/nov2008/volc-n29.shtml

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By Alan MacDonald, February 10, 2009 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Writer, you say, “Funny how the specter of Nader always haunts these discussions about Obama. Seems to me that the 3-5% of the vote that Nader got is just about exactly the percentage of the population that isn’t either terminally stupid or tragically gullible.”

Funny, true, and simply delicious.

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By M.B.S.S., February 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Sirota

worked for aipac then bernie sanders.

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By screamingpalm, February 10, 2009 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

lol this is too much… I could understand if he was a moderate liberal but…

Sirota reminds me of the abused wife whose husband cheats on her, but she holds onto the belief that he will change.

Maybe he thought his articles would bring him around, but then when Obama showed his true “blue” colors, he started to piss and moan. Can he really be that naive?

He’s right about one thing, Nader didn’t have a chance… thanks to being dismissed by writers like him.

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By Amon Drool, February 10, 2009 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

mbss…to give sirota some due, he did say he’d like to live in a country where ralph could become president.  didn’t like the usual characterization of nader supporters being whiners.  and he was disingenuous about ralph not working hard enuf to create a 3rd party.  nader has pushed consistently to open up the political process to MULTI parties…his emphasis is on opening up the democratic process, not a specific ideology.

btw, i read somewhere that sirota had once worked as a staffer at aipac!!  at least he’s now moving in the right direction.

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By KDelphi, February 10, 2009 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

I get Sirota’s blog or whatever in my email box (just for about a week now—I read something of his i liked). Then, when I saw this, I checked the sender about 3-4 times. It was bullshit…

He’s not alone, but, I dont get it , myself…

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By screamingpalm, February 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

M.B.S.S.-

Thanks for that link! I’m absolutely gutted! I can’t take Sirota seriously anymore after reading that. He wants to whine about Obama, then turn around and whine about Nader and Nader supporters that have been fighting for and running a campaign full of everything Sirota writes about?

No wonder the Left is so fragmented! How the hell can Progressives split off and organize when we have celebrity worshipping band-wagoners like Sirota?

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By KDelphi, February 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

M.B.S.S.—I read that..it’s odd, isnt it? I never have understood the hatin’ on Nader stuff. I guess I did in 2000, until I realized that the Demdefeat had nothing to do with him. People can disagree, but, I dont see it. It was just an illegal coup d’tat!

I havent been reading Sirota long—but I was rather surprised…I didnt vote for Nader, but the so-called Left is dumb about this stuff!! No one will admit that he was right about many things. They just say, “nader could never win” and “i hate nader”—I dont know what that has to do with what is right.

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By M.B.S.S., February 10, 2009 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

check out sirota whining about naderites.

http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=11498
 
he would like to blame the “zombies” for any of obamas failures. maybe the problem is that obama believes in friedman and hayek.  he said it himself he wanted tax cuts to be part of the package.

i think a lot of these guys are addicted to being close to the power source just like a lot of right wingers.  look at kos.  that fool voted for george bush 1 and then he just realized he could make more hay with the democrats.  that also what rush limbaugh said about his broadcasting career.

chris bowers is crowing about something a poster said to him making it into obamas mouth.  as soon as these guys get a taste of political power what will they become or what are they already becoming?  is obama going to symbolically offer the left a seat at the table just to defang them?

clue number one to sniffing out a bullshit democrat:  they cry about nader because they know deep in their hearts that he is right about the corrupt democrat party.

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By KDelphi, February 10, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

Jim C—Honestly, I have wanted to move for a long time.I have RA, and, the cold winters cause me pain, my friends have left, for the most part, and, my family is no longer here. My partner wants to move also.

If I were in a warmer climate, I would probably be in less pain, and, be able to get back to work (MSW) before I get too old!

I am moving out of ohio—-I would say where, but, everytime I reveal anything even sightly personal…well, you know how that goes.

I can say that, well, you probably wouldnt believe me…lol. Yes, Piqua is the pits, but, not much more so than any other midwestern cities—-well, maybe…lol. I hear that parts of the West Coast are looking a little “pitty”, but, perhaps that means that I can afford it now…moving from Dayton to Piqua would be odd…lol

Actually, I will be going with my family to look next month. I need to try to do some things to this old place, in order to sell it. It may not sell anyway, as my neighborhood has been all but gutted…

But, nice to have someone ask me to keep them updated, even when we disagree on some things. That is how discussion should be.

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By Jim C, February 10, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

Amon Drool , silly me , I guess I missed the trees for the forest . Rude , hardly , you simply called it like you saw it .

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By Jim C, February 10, 2009 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

KDelphi , I’m sorry that your situation has gotten to the point that you feel you have to move . Are you relocating somewhere else in Ohio or another state , I’m not aware of anywhere that is doing much better . Since I’m sure you’ll pack your trusty computer you can keep us posted , literally . You might want to scratch Piqua off your list of potential destinations however , I hear it’s the pits .

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By Shift, February 10, 2009 at 2:33 am Link to this comment

Attempting to revive THIS economy is akin to reviving a vampire.  Once revived it will suck your blood again. While this economy is down drive a stake through it’s heart, and begin again.

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By KDelphi, February 10, 2009 at 1:51 am Link to this comment

Amon Drool—S’ok. I’ll never really figure it out.

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By Amon Drool, February 9, 2009 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

jim c….when i’m on a thread, i refer to stuff that is on that particular thread.  commenter allan gurfinkle had remarked on the difficulty he was having in getting a handle on why our economy is in the shape it’s in.  my reference to him was one of saying that i’m pretty much at his stage when it comes to the economic/financial mess.  my comment about civil dialogue was in reference to M.M.B.B.‘s request for civility.  i just thought that cyrena’s attack on kdelphi was SO outa line that it warranted my rude response to her.

about volker:  i lived thru that time too and i was glad that he halted the inflationary trend.  and i’m certainly more impressed with him than i am with summers or geithner.

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By Jim C, February 9, 2009 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

Amon Drool , Volcker did what was necessary under the circumstances to curb runaway inflation , over 21% at the time . The combination of his monetary policy and Carters energy policies kept us from coming apart at the seams .  I would disagree that his tight money and interest rate policies were over done . I well remember the period , it was ugly and out of control . The proof is in the pudding , he brought the countries finances back under control and gave us a soft landing . I remember that at the time he was under enormous presure to ease up but stuck to his guns . The results show he was correct . Who is Allan Gurfinkle , never heard of him ? ” i’m all for civil dialogue, but when bluster and bravado turn into sheer mean, i’m willing to get into a pissin’ match “. You lost me on that one bub , what are you refering to ? I am a garden variety Keynesian by the way .

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By Amon Drool, February 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

kdelph…i wasn’t touting griffin.  i’ve only started reading his book and i find he brings the story of the creation of the fed to life.  i’ve tried to get a handle on money creation and the power of the private banking system through other books…“the web of debt” and “the lost science of money.”  for whatever reason, griffin just brings it more alive to me.

i mentioned austrian economists only to indicate that a wide spectrum of people felt that he had something to say.  and i’m glad you’re in basic agreement that the fed needs to be democratized.

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By KDelphi, February 9, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

Griffin is a member of the JOhn Birch Society and a speechwriter for George Wallace’s VP,Curtis Lemay…The Fed needs to be democratised, but, not by the likes of Griffin or Paul…sorry.

You cant get that darn book for less than $24 used!! (thats a non-interventionists capitalist for you—lol)I have a tiny book budget…if we want to change the fed., it will not do much good to tout this guy…laissez-faire would give Forbes, et al free reign/rein

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By KDelphi, February 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

Jim C—I didnt say that Dayton didnt have good things about it, nor good people—it does (what is left of them). But, you cannot tell me that Dayton is near what it was in its heyday (nor any of the midwestern cities), with the Wrights, NCR, Generous Motors (lol), and, downtown actually being a place to shop and play.

Sure, Oregon is great—-but the residents who bought into that old bar district are trying to turn it into “family ville”. It is not, and,never has been—-never should be. They turned to huge Hallowwen bash (which was invented by a bunch of students and used to be fun) into a money making venture.

CityFolk is great, Dayton Contemporary Dance Co., all the festivals. But, the people are hurintg. Gov Taft ripped us off big time. He should be in prison, but he’s teaching at uD!!

If Dems had some balls he’d be in prison. I’m having a bad life , here,not a bad day. That is why I am moving. Most of my friends already have.I want to be around them again, and, the social programs in Ohio are being cut everyday.

I have no idea how someone could support Pres. Obama AND the Austrian Scjool—-they believe that Unions and higher wages cause unemployment, and, that all regulation is harmful…how does that jibe with what Dems are trying to do now?? The Austrian School seems to be to economics what B. F. Skinnerism is to psychology—human factors just do not apply. 

It is laissez-faire, and, basically, except for the Bialout, what we just did—-been there, done that. Based on complete individualism, is it exactly what we do NOT need now. Freedom to die with your rights on.

I am certainly not an economist, but, there are very few economists , save those of the Freidman School or Chicago School who feel that no intervention in the markets is what we need now!

“Nobel laureate and neo-Keynesian economist Paul Krugman argued that Austrian business cycle theory implies that consumption would increase during downturns, and cannot explain the empirical observation that spending in all sectors of the economy fall during a recession.[55] Austrian theorists argue a recession can result from a monetary contraction or a “credit crunch” that causes the investment boom not to shift but simply to disappear.

Economist Jeffrey Sachs asserts that when comparing developed free-market economies, those that have high rates of taxation and high social welfare spending perform better on most measures of economic performance compared to countries with low rates of taxation and low social outlays. He asserts that poverty rates are lower, median income is higher, the budget has larger surpluses, and the trade balance is stronger (although unemployment tends to be higher). He concludes that von Hayek was wrong when he said that high taxation would be a threat to freedom; but rather, a generous social-welfare state leads to fairness, economic equality, international competitiveness, and strong vibrant democracies”

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By Amon Drool, February 9, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

jim c…i do have some respect for paul volker.  i prefer to keep money being a sound medium of exchange.  and volker’s policies, from what i can understand, did just that.  personally, i’m at the allan gurfinkle stage of economic understanding… i’m just trying to get some kind of handle on it all.  some think volker’s policies of tight money/high interest rates were overdone and caused undue problems for the poorer portions of the populace world-wide.  like i said, my understanding of this stuff is ain’t too evolved…i could be wrong.

an interesting idea that’s gained some traction on other lefty-leaning sites (information clearing house, oped news) is that our method of creating money is fundamentally flawed.  it’s left in the hands of private bankers who were able to form a cartel with the passage of the federal reserve act of 1913.  people of the populist persuasion have consistently felt that this power (money creation)should be in the hands of a democratically elected assembly, who would hopefully have to act more in the common good.  i’m currently reading a book—the creature from jekyll island—which tells the story of how all this came to be.  this book is lauded by willie nelson, alexander cockburn and even by some economists of the austrian school!

on another note, we’re living in perilous times.  economic and ecological crises are looming.  nerves are strained.  i’m all for civil dialogue, but when bluster and bravado turn into sheer mean, i’m willing to get into a pissin’ match.

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By Jim C, February 9, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

KDelphi , not you too , what’s wrong with Dayton ? Yes , unemployments up , but thats the case all over the country . Any automotive town is getting slammed along with everywhere else . Look around , we have lots of nice parks , museums , theaters , good restaurants , entertainment , music , arts , the Oregan district . Theres plenty to do and see if one wants to , come on home girl , lighten up , every place have it’s good points and bad points , I think we score pretty well all and all . I think you’re just having a bad day .

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By KDelphi, February 9, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

Jim C—(on Paul Volcker)Yes, but he was re-appointed by Reagan. (btw—Dayton has become a shi*-hole, but it is not the fault of the residents. I am moving next month. I guess that Piqua should just put away childish things and awaken to the era of responsibiity no?)If you believe that people in OHio just ‘got too greedy”, rather than believe that most were preyed upon, especially in poorer and minority neighborhoods, you will like Obama’s Economic Team. What do you say of Summers, Goolsbee, Furman, etc?

Here is from the “democratic underground” (which is neo-liberal)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=103x400309#400311

This is from Op-Ed News:

http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/linkframe.php?linkid=75062

“Paul Volker was chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in the l980s during the Reagan era. He played a central role in implementing the first stage of financial deregulation, which was conducive to mass bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions, leading up to the 1987 financial crisis….

Summers, Geithner, Corzine, Volker, Fischer, Phil Gramm, Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Rubin, not to mention Alan Greenspan, al al. are buddies; they play golf together; they have links to the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg; they act concurrently in accordance with the interests of Wall Street; they meet behind closed doors; they are on the same wave length; they are Democrats and Republicans.

While they may disagree on some issues, they are firmly committed to the Washington-Wall Street Consensus. They are utterly ruthless in their management of economic and financial processes. Their actions are profit driven. Outside of their narrow interest in the “efficiency” of “markets”, they have little concern for “living human beings”. How are people’s lives affected by the deadly gamut of macro-economic and financial reforms, which is spearheading entire sectors of economic activity into bankruptcy.”

And, most important to me, this is what Naom mi Klein says:This is from Op-Ed News:

http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/linkframe.php?linkid=75062

Klein: Well, we tell Obama that we agree with what he’s saying, but that we understand the game he’s playing. Okay? When he says this is the end of the ethos of trickle-down economics and deregulation and then he has his picture taken next to Bob Rubin and Larry Summers and Paul Voelker. You know what he’s doing? He’s winking at Wall Street. And he’s saying, “Don’t’ listen to what I’m saying to get elected, there’s going to be economic continuity, as the economists call it. And, you know, this is the game. Right?

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By Tony Wicher, February 9, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

By KDelphi, February 9 at 8:24 am #


Tony—“I would say that Robert Gates was not Dubya’s secretary of defense; Rumsfeld was.” Dubya nominated and, the Dem Congress approved him.
—————————————————————————-
Like I didn’t know that? Please read the rest of my post.

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By Jim C, February 9, 2009 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

KDelphi , Volcker was made Fed chairman by Carter , not reagan . It was Greenspan that was installed by that idiot reagan . It was Volckers monitary policy that finally pulled us out of the horrific mess left by Vietnam , Nixon and Ford . His Fed policy plus ( ironically ) Carters energy policys set the table to get us out of that ression which that incompetent fool reagan was then given credit for . That in turn allowed reagan to crow that his stupid , ill concieved tax policy was responsible for the turn around , making him a disasterous two term president rather than simply a miserable one term one . Volcker , in my opinion , was one of , if not the best Fed chairs we’ve ever had . I wish that Obama would get rid of Summers or Geithner ( preferably both ) and make Volcker either his treasury secretary or chief economic adviser , then place Krugman or Riech in the other position . I know you don’t like him , but I think if you researched what he has done and his economic opinions you might change your mind .

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By Jim C, February 9, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

KDelphi , Volcker was made Fed chairman by Carter , not reagan . It was Volckers monitary policy that finally pulled us out of the horrific mess left by Vietnam , Nixon and Ford . His Fed policy plus ( ironically ) Carters energy policys set the table to get us out of that ression which that incompetent fool reagan was then given credit for . That in turn allowed reagan to crow that his stupid , ill concieved tax policy was responsible for the turn around , making him a disasterous two term president rather than simply a miserable one term one . Volcker , in my opinion , was one of , if not the best Fed chairs we’ve ever had . I wish that Obama would get rid of Summers or Geithner ( preferably both ) and make Volcker either his treasury secretary or chief economic adviser , then place Krugman or Riech in the other position . I know you don’t like him , but I think if you researched what he has done and his economic opinions you might change your mind .

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By Amon Drool, February 9, 2009 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

dad…u were right; she can take care of herself

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By KDelphi, February 9, 2009 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

Tony—“I would say that Robert Gates was not Dubya’s secretary of defense; Rumsfeld was.” Dubya nominated and, the Dem Congress approved him.

diamond—What does Kucinich never being president have to do with supporting Obama? I have “hope” , ok? for “change”. Support Pres. OPbamam all you like—you’ll be in a happy majority,(for awhile , anyway) so what bothers you about a few people on the internet not fully supporting him? I support the “stimulus” plan—I just want him to stop caving to more conservative ideas. So do alot of more liberal and centrist economists.

Before you criticize the Chicago School, you may want to check out Pres. Obama’s views on it: (I share Klein’s views )http://sec.online.wsj.com/article/SB122610604643110229.html

“One reason for the alliance among economists at Chicago and elsewhere with Mr. Obama is that they feel he is a fellow traveler, sharing their empirical, data-driven bent. James Heckman, a University of Chicago Nobel laureate, looked over the Obama campaign’s education plan at the request of Austan Goolsbee, a Chicago business-school economist who is expected to head the White House Council of Economic Advisers.”

Although this article by Naomi Klein is older, (July 2007) Common Dreams re-printed it just the other day:

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/06/14/9623

Paul Volcker was a Reagan appointtee, as Chair of the Fed Reserve. Austen Goolsbee (check out his facebook profile)was a cheerleader of the subprime loan mess.Furman is a disciple of Rubin (brookings) and Wal Mart and Griffin worked for Citadel hedge fund.

The head of the “new” Economic Advisory Board , Donaldson, was SEC Chair from 2003-05—-mustve missed heh loan criss and Madoff, who was one among 100s. Hmmm…

Its true , Folk. I’m sure people have heard “...if (he) was not (stronger) the tail would wag the dog”....

whyzol1 wants Obama to FAIL?? I dont think so! I have seen alot of whyzol1’s posts. Thats bullshit.


CYRENA STAY THE F*CK OFF MY DAD WHO WAS A FINE,GOOD HEARTED PROFESSOR!!! I usually scroll past your huge posts—its hopeless—but if you mention my dad again, I will not see it. Youre not quoting me, and, youre heartless. That is why I dont read most of your posts.I made the mistake of doing it once more. I wont again, so give it up.

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By Jim C, February 9, 2009 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Cyrena , take a deep breath , to say someones ” blaming ” Summers and Geithner is tantamount to being indignant about one blaming the arsonist for the fire . You do realize that those two , along with Phil Grahm were the genious’s who pushed through the legistration to repeal Glass- Steagal which along with other hairbrained decisions to deregulate led dirctly to the current mess ? I agree , the chinese have some great proverbs “CRISIS” – A blessing in disguise” , that does appear to be how the thieves in the banking industry view the current crisis of their own making . They are being well rewarded for their malfeasance , taxpayer money is being dumped on them by the truck load , they are truly being ” blessed ” . Now , back to Summers and Geithner . So you want to give them a chance ? I’m sorry , but I would much prefer showing them the door and giving a chance to some of those who had correctly predicted what would happen when those two yahoo’s were in their deregulating frenzy . Seriously , it doesn’t give you the slightest pause that Obama hasen’t appointed one single liberal thinker to his economic team , they range from conservative to very conservative . Paul Volcker , the only one of the bunch who correctly rejected and advised against the moves that allowed this to happen has now been pushed to the curb by Summers . How far are you going to take this give him a chance thing and just what would it take to set off your alarm bells ? Now , for a couple of your other statements . Give your mother best regards from down south here in Dayton . To critique Dayton from Piqua is kind of like someone who lives in the garage proclaiming they hate the house . You seem to bounce from reasonble to petulant like a teenager thats had a few too many energy drinks . Now , as I said in the prior post , I usually find your posts interesting and generally agree with most of your points and views . But in this current thread I just don’t understand how you can ignore the right wing appointments Obama has made . Questioning them does not make one an irrational Obama basher , it simply shows we’re paying attention and don’t like what we see . Instead of charging for the keyboard , take the time to research the appointments in question , then you might , just might understand our concerns . Now , pardon me while I take cover , I sense a blizzard of words brewing .

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By Bertil, February 9, 2009 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

I know a way to get this ERRP bill through congress in record time.  Bring back George W. Bush and have him do his clumsy speechifying, call it the Strength of America bill and put all $8 or $900 billion in tax cuts for the rich, more money to the Telecoms to spy on Americans and influx to PHRMA to introduce new pills so that for those in their 60s approaching Social Security and Medicare, your doctor will become your executioner.
Republicans and Democrats will be pushing each other out of the way to get to vote first for it.  Then they can appear on all the news shows and C-SPAN to pontificate and assure the Supply side economics really does work.  It just wasn’t given a chance.
Obama’s mis-matched appointees to his cabinet can slink into the background and continue to go along to get along.

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By cyrena, February 9, 2009 at 3:08 am Link to this comment

This is worth cross posting. I’d missed this particular episode myself, but overall, Rachel always calls the reality what it is.
Posted by Steve Benen, Washington Monthly at 9:50 AM on February 8, 2009.
•  “You’ve probably seen/heard similar assessments of the stimulus debate this week, but I found Rachel Maddow’s take especially compelling. (Yes, this is from Friday, but I got a little behind on my Tivo watching.)”

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/video/125909/rachel_maddow_slams_republicans_for_unpatriotic_actions/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/29062335#29062335

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By Tony Wicher, February 9, 2009 at 1:48 am Link to this comment

“Obama’s national security team, for instance, includes not a single Iraq war opponent. The president has not only retained George W. Bush’s defense secretary, Robert Gates, but also 150 other Bush Pentagon appointees. The only “rivalry” is between those who back increasing the already bloated defense budget by an absurd amount and those who aim to boost it by a ludicrous amount.”

This is funny, I have to admit. Say it ain’t so, Barack! Still, it’s a bit of an exaggeration. I would say that Robert Gates was not Dubya’s secretary of defense; Rumsfeld was. Gates is more of a centrist type, not a neocon, put in there by the Brent Scowcroft/Zbigniew Brzezinski school of the national security establishment, with the blessings of Poppy Bush. Even the old spook realized his neer-do-well son had gone too far and really fucked up. It should be remembered that when Rumsfeld resigned and Gates took office, he calmed down the jingoistic atmosphere, announced that war with Iran was not imminent, and shortly thereafter the CIA announced that Iran had terminated their nuclear weapons program a few years back.

As to other “conservatives” there is the new Secretary of Commerce, Republican Judd Gregg. The most interesting thing about this office to me is that one of its departments is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which issued the major technical report on 9/11. That report is politicized and scientifically fraudulent, as any unbiased person with a decent high-school level grasp of elementary scientific principles can understand. All three towers at the World Trade Center were brought down by controlled demolition. Please, visit the website of the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and view the presentation by architect Richard Gage and see for yourself (ae911truth.org). There are hundreds of architects and engineers demanding a reopening of the 9/11 investigation. They are being joined by hundreds of prominent experts in every related field. Find out about the NIST report. Find out about the project manager on the report, Dr. Shayam Sunder. Link to the interview of Sunder on TruthNoLies Radio. Obama has said he means to restore science to its proper place. Here is the place to begin. Honest science is not Democrat or Republican. So what if Judd is a Republican? So is Richard Gage. So are many other Republicans who have already spoken out on this issue.

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By whyzowl1, February 8, 2009 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Diamond, I’m all for giving Obama a chance—it’s the only chance we’ve got right at the moment. I wish him well. He’s being sorely tested right now by the sick and twisted R’s who desperately want him to fail. I think we’ll find out a lot about what he’s made of this week, and again when—if my intuition is correct—his stimulus plan is seen to have failed and he has to reinvent himself.

Speaking of Zombies, I’ve long held the opinion that our society is stark, raving mad. It’s very much like living in a Zombie movie that never ends. Oops, here comes a couple of semi-decomposed Republicans grunting and staggering down the street, even at this late hour. I think they want to eat my liver. So I’m afraid I’ll have to close for now. See you soon—I hope.

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By diamond, February 8, 2009 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

whyzowl1 I’m the eldest of eleven children so being snooty and elitist was never an option from day one. If I ever showed any signs of it my siblings would soon have cut me down to size. The law I think you’re referring to was mentioned by an economist I heard on the radio. He was far more learned on economics than I am and he said Bush changed the law in 2006 that made it illegal for a bank to both lend and to operate as an investment bank. According to him this was when the economy went feral because the debt levels just spiralled out of control. But what the hell? With the Bush administation it’s impossible to know precisely where it all started because they were a rogue unit from the start, economically and every other way, but one thing I know for certain. Clinton left a huge surplus when Bush took over the reins and as far as I can see Bush and his government pissed it up against a wall and then just borrowed more and more from the Chinese and the Japanese so that now, if the Chinese asked for their money back in US dollars (not that America could give it to them) the American economy would simply collapse from one day to the next. I don’t see this as a time for gratuitous,misleading attacks on the man who has the job of trying to save the economy from utter ruin and getting you out of two failed wars. That just seems suicidal to me.

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By cyrena, February 8, 2009 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

Jim C,

I’m very, very familiar with Dayton, Oh. My mother (now 78 and the only one left of 13 siblings) is from nearby Piqua. I still have many, many, extended family members in the area, and the rest of that state as well.  So, I KNOW it pretty well. In fact, my 30 career as a corporate slave in the commercial airline industry did have some advantages. I got to KNOW a lot of places very well, if only because I’m more interested in ‘stuff’ than a lot of people are, so I pay attention to my surroundings, and even look below the surface (superficial) of what is fed to the masses.  So yes, Dayton IS ‘that bad.’ It’s been economically/intellectually/socially depressed and repressed for decades. Dayton hasn’t seen any resemblance of social prosperity or progressive ANYTHING in nearly a Century. If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone. I don’t find it consoling, because I don’t do the ‘misery loves company’ scene.

Contrary to your accusations, I’m hardly a ‘cheerleader’ for Barack Obama and I resent the rhetoric. I am a SUPPORTER of the continued existence of American Society and the American Republic, if for no other than selfish reasons…I choose to survive like most of the rest of us, and that means NOW – in the midst of a very real crash that I guess you folks in Dayton don’t realize is going on, and it’s obvious that you don’t know WHY, as evidenced by your blame of Summers and Geitner as being the architects of the de-regulation that became our downfall. That began with Regan, and the REAL architects were Phil Graham and his cronies at the time. Needless to say, there’ve been others, and the presence of Summers at least, is duly noted. So what? Why have you not been ‘duly noting’ the destruction as it’s occurred, instead of cherry picking your criticism of the new contractor and his own methods of fixing something that you don’t even know is broken, and won’t take any responsibility for having allowed to become broken?

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By cyrena, February 8, 2009 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

2 of 2
Why should I (or any other logical person) TRUST your mandate to hold somebody’s feet to the fire, when you wouldn’t hold the feet of those who broke it to begin with -  to the fire? I just see the KDelphi crowd of whiners as the very reason we’re in this fix to begin with. No ‘cheerleading’ Barack Obama is NOT the same as SUPPORTING the efforts of the elected administration, to do what they have promised to do. I don’t see the need for a whip and chain on Obama’s back, and it seems like it would be a disadvantage. People like you claim to want us to hire somebody that will do the work we need done, or at least lead the efforts and provide the resources that we need to get the job accomplished, and efficiently.

But when we choose somebody you don’t like, then you decide you’ll just load him down with all kinds of shit, (including petty small-minded ideology) so that he CAN’T do the job, and then say…See, I told you so. I don’t like his friends. Limbaugh speaks for you well, and he said it: I want him to fail.
I don’t. Too much depends on a safe/soft crash landing here. In my analogy, you’re a helpless passenger on a nasty flight in nasty weather, and you don’t know how to fly the plane or safely land it. So, in your panic, you decide to beat the pilots up about the head, and/or HOLD THEIR FEET TO THE FIRE, when they need to be holding their feet/hands/minds to the controls of that aircraft. And in this same analogy, I too am on that aircraft, and while I might know more than you about flying and landing in a horrible weather event, I’m not as accomplished as the pilots at the controls, and it wouldn’t matter anyway, because I’m not AT those controls. And the WORST thing I could do, would be to join you in beating them up. In fact, I’d have no choice but to restrain and hold YOUR feet to the fire, to keep you from interfering with the operation and disabling the pilots.

That was an hypothetical analogy of course, but in the reality, I figure you all can either help support the effort, (and if you have some workable ideas, that’s great) or just go sit somewhere out of the way while the rest of us do something. I’m damned sure not gonna stand around while you all attempt to disable the crew, in whole or part, just because you don’t like Larry or some other person that you’ve cherry picked from the past. This is exactly the destructive ideology and neurotic behavior that Obama addressed in his Inauguration speech, and has basically been saying all along. Too many of you are stuck on stupid ideological petty stuff. And while your grievances may all be perfectly legitimate, you’re still playing the blame game, and blaming the wrong target. Blame only has it’s uses in identifying the source of the problems, so that they can be addressed appropriately.

Attempting to make Obama the reason for the problems, or even the pathetic attempt to isolate individual culprits within the system as the SOLE cause of the disaster is just that – pathetic and self-destructive.

Since you DO have legitimate grievances, (btw – we ALL do) it would do you well to reformat that angry and resentful bitterness into a more efficient form of action. Pissing and moaning has even more limited value than the blame exercise.


By the way, just exactly WHO are the so-called ‘conservatives’ that Obama has filled his cabinet with? You didn’t mention any, and I don’t know of any.

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By whyzowl1, February 8, 2009 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

Oops! My initial comments are a response to Folktruther. Sorry about that.

Diamond,
I don’t think i see the link to the article that refers to the law you referenced. Could you point that out to me? Thanks.

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By whyzowl1, February 8, 2009 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

I don’t see where anything you said refutes anything I said in any essential way. I’ve had my head turned at different times, probably by some of the same writers whose opinions have influenced you. But what ideological axes are they grinding away on in the background?

My take on it is that some of them are just nativists, some are unreconstructed “America Firsters,” some clearly are closeted (to various degrees) anti-Semites, others are ultra-nationalists, almost all are xenophobic, provincial, white supremacist true believers in American exceptionalism. I’m attracted to them because they tend to be anti-imperialist (because they see imperialism as ultimately harmful to the American Holy Land), and anti-war (ditto).

But how are we supposed to make ourselves believe (as they seem to be suggesting) that the American ruling class are some kind of innocent babes in the woods being led astray by the nefarious Zionists or Neocons or some other demon du jour? Virtually the entire American ruling class and their lapdog media and their Congressional servants offer, and have always offered, unstinting support for the American imperial project in the Middle East oilfields and around the globe, for the ongoing wars of imperialist adventurism triggered by the attacks of 9/11, and yes, for Israeli apartheid policies. But “our” unquestioning support for Israel becomes just another excuse for endless meddling in the Middle East. Here’s a link to a recent KPFA radio program that features History Professor Beshara Doumani in conversation with Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi about his new book entitled “Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Hegemony in the Middle East.” Professor Khalidi is Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University.
http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/48177

Diamond,
I’m quite sure you do indeed hold a master’s degree, since one of the few things all graduate students learn is how to dismiss their inferiors (everyone else?) with withering scorn and gratuitous ad hominem attacks. But as we all know, college students are subjected to the most intensive indoctrination of all, since they will become the “opinion leaders” of the lower orders. I guess in your case the brainwashing was most effective, and now you’re here to put the rest of us through the spin cycle. Save it. Snooty elitists such as you and Cyrena are about as divorced from your humanity as it’s possible to be, but who will tell you that? Who can tell you anything, with your snarling egos barring anyone who might venture to turn the latch and attempt to open your doors of perception?

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By cyrena, February 8, 2009 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

1 of 3

By thebeerdoctor, February 6 at 9:34 am

•  “Make no mistake, the entire world is weighing on his shoulders, but unfortunately for him and the rest of us, most of the people he has to help him, really are not worth a damn.”

Beerdoc,

I definitely respect and appreciate what you’re saying here, since these realities really cannot be ignored. (or, I would be as foolish as those I criticize for failing to do so.)

STILL, it’s all ‘relative’ and we’re trying to weigh and judge from a position that none of us has ever really experienced, INCLUDING Obama - as well as WHOMEVER he has helping him, INCLUDING the ones we don’t even know about.

We also don’t know ‘how’ (ideologically OR PRACTICALLY speaking) they are ‘helping’ him, and it’s difficult to know that without a deeper view of the inside of the Administration and the operations, and how they interact. We haven’t had enough time to really know that yet. What we DO know, (just by observation of this current money wrangling at a time that is unprecedented for our economy…at least since the Great Depression) is that the committed enemies of ‘we the people’ as represented by the likes of a party that now call themselves Republicans, (despite any ideological connection to the concept of a “Republic”) will do everything within their power, (and they DO still have it) to undermine ANY attempts that Obama may have for restoring some measure of a Republic. (which is what we were originally set up as, though few seem to be willing to do any reviews of that, or recognize how far we’ve come from being that.)

All of that said, we can’t know (from a practical or logistical view) whether his helpers are worth a damn or not, nor is it really important, EXCEPT in his battle against these still very well entrenched ENEMIES OF THE STATE. RX said it well in an earlier post:

•  “My larger concern goes back to Chris Hedges’ piece the other day, quoting his conversation with Sheldon Wolin, wherein Wolin essentially said that Obama may not have the stomach for a full-on battle against America’s entrenched values of its military-industrial complex and faith in a virulent hyper-capitalistic god.”

I missed this part of the piece from Chris, (the Wolin quote) but it’s certainly worth considering this reality.  My own feeling is that Obama most certainly DOES have the stomach for it, but that isn’t enough of a guarantee, because in this kind of a battle, he’s the underdog going in. It’s a David and Goliath type battle. Just being willing to fight the thing isn’t a guarantee of a win.

RX continues:
•  “If all that happens is that this economy is restored to previous settings- credit markets are freed, banks no longer feed at the government nipple, and consumers revert back to zombie-like waves of shoppers- what will have been accomplished? This is the best chance most of us will ever see for a total restructuring of the American Imperium, but if Obama chooses not to wage the fight it will be the same as it ever was.”

It IS our best chance to change things up. Remember the Chinese definition of “CRISIS” – A blessing in disguise.  (I’ve actually experienced a few of these very personally). And, based on my own observations of what I hear from President Obama, and the ACTIONS I’ve seen him take since gaining official capacity to take them, he’s ready and even quite capable of using this crisis as an opportunity to turn things around.

To THAT extent, (based on his own plan and his OWN intelligence) the people that WE ‘see’  -helping-  are probably minor players in the OVERALL picture. We see his ‘selections’ based on what is mostly superficial information…only as much as we’re really allowed to see, and then it becomes a matter of our own individual interpretations of the ‘worth’ of these people. How can we really even know?

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By WriterOnTheStorm, February 8, 2009 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

Funny how the specter of Nader always haunts these discussions about Obama. Seems to me that the 3-5% of the vote that Nader got is just about exactly the percentage of the population that isn’t either terminally stupid or tragically gullible. I like Obama. It’s fun to have a prez who actually puts on a show of talking ‘to’ rather than ‘at’ his constituents. But his defenders strike me as falling largely into the latter category of the non-Nader voters.

Here’s what Chomsky says about it:

“So, let’s go back to the evidence that we have, rhetoric and actions. Rhetoric, we know. Now, what are the actions? Well, so far, the major actions are a selection of—in fact, the only actions are a selection of personnel to implement Brand Obama. The first choice was the Vice President, Joe Biden, one of the strongest supporters of the war in Iraq in the Senate, a longtime Washington insider, you know, rarely deviates from the party vote. And the cases where he does deviate are not very uplifting. So he did break from the party in voting for a Senate resolution that prevented people from getting rid of their debts by—individuals, that is—from getting rid of their debts by going into bankruptcy. That’s a blow against poor people who are caught in this immense debt that’s a large part of the basis for the economy these days. But usually, he’s a kind of straight party-liner, votes with the Democrats on the sort of ultra-nationalist side. The choice of Biden was a—must have been a conscious attempt to show contempt for the base of people who were voting for Obama and were organizing for him as an antiwar candidate.?

Well, the first post-election appointment was for Chief of Staff, which is a crucial appointment, determines a large part of the President’s agenda. That was Rahm Emanuel, one of the strongest supporters of the war in Iraq in the House. In fact, he was the only member of the Illinois delegation who voted for Bush’s effective declaration of war, and again, a longtime Washington insider, also one of the leading recipients in Congress of funding from the financial institutions and hedge funds and so on. He himself was an investment banker. That’s his background. So, that’s the Chief of Staff.

The next group of appointments were the maiden problem that the—the issue, the primary issue that the government’s going to have to face is what to do about the financial crisis. Obama’s choices to more or less run this were Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, from the Clinton—secretaries of Treasury under Clinton. They are among the people who are substantially responsible for the crisis. Actually, one leading economist, one of the few economists who has been right all along in predicting what’s happening, Dean Baker, pointed out that selecting them is like selecting Osama bin Laden to run the war on terror.”

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By cyrena, February 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

2 of 3
Let’s take for comparative example some of his selections to Cabinet and advisory posts. (I had some really serious issues with some of his selections myself, but I also accept that I’m not fully informed of all the reasons for these selections.) Take Daschle for instance. Now I was never particularly crazy about him as a selection for that job anyway. Kucinich would have been better, (at least based on what we KNOW, not what we might NOT know) and Howard Dean would be even better than Kucinich, again based on what we KNOW.

So Obama DID screw up on that selection, but NOT because of a failure to vet for something like tax issues. THAT is laughable considering all of the money the repigs have ripped off for the past decade or better. I’ve lost track of the number of corrupt legislators to be exposed over the past 8 or 10 years, and the worst of them are still running the show from the shadows. No, he screwed up because he thought he was being ‘safe’ (Daschle didn’t seem the obvious target for the snakes) and so he didn’t choose the better person for the job to begin with. It was a mistake on his part, and hopefully, he’ll use it as another blessing in disguise, to select a better person.

The same can be said of Hilary Clinton. There were and are better people for the job of SoS as well, based on what we know to be her own ideology. (Unless we are to assume that she was lying about everything she said when she was campaigning – anything is possible.) But in the world of dirty politics, his selection of her could very well be a brilliant political move, dependent on how Hillary’s skills are utilized. (I’ll leave any assessment of her skills to you and the forum.) That may just be another component of the tools that Obama needs to fight the battle that his stomach is perfectly ready to deal with. We just don’t necessarily know all of the game plan or the strategy.

Like him or not, (I don’t) keeping Gates on was probably another very pragmatic move.  In fact, if I was faced with that decision, I probably would have done the same thing, since practically and logistically speaking that’s what makes the most sense in terms of achieving the objectives of his campaign platform (out of Iraq) and the overall agenda that Obama has stated very clearly all along. In the reality of the day, common sense dictates that one must be careful about changing horses in the middle of certain streams. The wars that Obama has inherited would represent those streams in my opinion. In most of the other “streams” that dictate our basic structure, like the rule of law, and the practical issues of the economy, the environment, and the overall well- being of ‘we the people’ or “The Republic”, we obviously need a change of horses no matter where we are in the stream, or how dangerous the current may be. (and it’s as deadly as it’s been in nearly a Century)

If Obama has had a weakness, it is one that has also been a strength; and that’s the paradox. A constructive and impartial criticism can be referenced in respect to his “hyper-caution. “ On the one hand, it can be viewed in many cases as some sort of an equivocation, which is of course how his chronic critics have spun it. In another view, (like mine) it could be interpreted as visionary enough to consider a longer view, and to anticipate unintended consequences, and to view nearly ANY circumstance, event, or situation from multiple sides.

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By cyrena, February 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

3 of 3
This appears to be as ‘ingrained’ in Obama’s ideological make up as it is in mine, with the phrase “On the OTHER hand…” being some sort of a genetic mantra. I knew when I first started listening carefully to this guy with the funny name about 4 years ago, that the ADD among us weren’t gonna be able to hang with the ideology of a nerd who says, “On the other hand” as often as he does. That requires some thinking that we just don’t like to indulge in. It’s too hard for many, and others of us are simply unprepared to absorb any of it. I’m used to that reaction myself, though on a much smaller scale or ‘audience’. ITW has described this as an inability to conceive certain things, and it affects most people in some respects, including the geniuses of history, like Albert Einstein, who actually suffered from a learning disorder.

There IS however, a strength embedded in this hyper-caution, as long as it is accompanied by the good judgment to know when and how to use it. Being cautious doesn’t mean being afraid to act in a bold manner when it is required. It means KNOWING what and WHEN such action is required. It means having enough sense to map the course before you begin, and to make constant adjustments along the way, based on the weather or whatever other forces play into the successful completion of the journey/project/whatever. (One of my own analogies is a flight plan, but that’s just because it’s me. It’s a ‘learning tool – visual thinking aid - at least for me. wink)


From that view, I think we’re under excellent stewardship, and I’m sure that Obama will adjust the course appropriately, based on the REALITY of the changing environment. That doesn’t make him invincible, or even guarantee success. But this really IS our best chance to change things around, and he’s been the only person in a while, capable of actually RECOGNIZING and ACKNOWLEDGING that we have to change things around, and has begun to actually DO that. Now if anybody has any ideas to help that along, he’s been overly ‘approachable’ in terms of hearing and listening to them.

(We use that term ‘approachable’ in the academic world to describe good professors. It’s probably some new-age term for “open door types” which is what ALL professors and public servants are supposed to be.)

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By M.B.S.S., February 8, 2009 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

lets keep the Ad Hom to a minimum ladies and gentlemen.

i actually do respect the specialized knowledge that many in the “talking head pundit class” have.  it just that i dont trust their intent.

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William W. Wexler's avatar

By William W. Wexler, February 8, 2009 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

Not trying to take sides here, but I don’t think criticizing Obama for things he’s already done counts as prejudging, by definition.

There’s plenty he’s already done and has been doing since June 2008 to piss off a liberal.  I started to document it on my website after I retracted my support for him.  But I had to give up, because it was pissing me off even more and I realized that the mantras he was getting people to chant actually meant the exact opposite of what they were saying.  There is no hope.  There will be no change. No, we can’t.

Nader has correctly identified the reason why there isn’t any significant difference between the Dems and GOP.  It’s because they are both filthy with corporate money and both run revolving doors between their ranks and the ranks of lobbyists.  Look at Daschle, for a case in point.  This was Obama’s pick for HHS, his point man on “health care reform”.  Reform, my ass, Daschle worked as a $5 million salary lobbyist for health insurance companies and Big Pharma.  What kind of “reform” is that going to get you?  I don’t have to guess at the answer, because Obama already told us last summer.  It’s going to get “incentives for small businesses who provide health insurance for their employees”.  Yeah, who does THAT sound like?  Single payer health care?  FORGET ABOUT IT.

On issue after issue Obama has telegraphed what he’s going to do and I’m not prejudiced against it, I’m just OPPOSED to it.  I oppose his plan to continue spying on Americans by circumventing the FISA courts.  I oppose the “faith-based initiative” in any form whatsoever because it’s unconstitutional.  I oppose his position on guns, because I think a community should have the right to outlaw guns within their city limits.  I oppose his position on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which is the same as Bush’s position… we’ll “listen to the commanders on the ground”.  He SAYS he’s closing Gitmo, but it’s still open, and will be for a LONG time.  We got ANOTHER $trillion TARP bill coming just this week, passed with the same garbage special interest money pouring our money into the pockets of the rich… while telling us it’s for our own good AND if we don’t do it we’re all gonna die.

Naw, I’m not PREJUDICED against Obama, I just think he’s another sellout politician, but this one talks the talk better than the rest.  I think it’s GREAT that we have a black president, but I would have probably been happier with Reverend Wright because at least he has the balls to stand up and tell it like it is.  Maybe he could have chosen Matt Gonzales as his VP and we could have had a double-minority ticket.

-Wexler

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By Jim C, February 8, 2009 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment

Uh , Cyrena , I also live in Dayton Ohio , it’s really not all that bad a place , pretty average really and one of the most hi tech cities in the country , hardly an ” armpit ” . I am also somewhat disheatened with Obama up to this point . Do you really believe that Larry Summers and his butt boy Guithner are the right people to have in charge of our financial system ? You don’t smell the odor of rat ? They were two of the main architechs of this deregulation fiasco that helped lead to this mess . You may pardon these two Daytonians who are quite skeptical of the direction we seem to be tacking . If you look closely you will see a cabinet forming that would have been quite comfortable in any of the last three republican administrations . While you may not find this a problem , some of us do . To keep mindlessly cheering on Obama when he is making one horrible appointment after another while shamelessly pandering to the republicans makes one wonder if you are really paying attention . I usually find your posts both interesting and mostly sentient ( if somewhat wordy ) , I believe you might want to rethink that last one . It borders on petulant while displaying ignorance of the places disparaged and dismissal of others valid concerns about the direction the new admistration is moving . If this present course continues you and others who are uncritically cheerleading as Obama fills his cabinet with conservatives may rue the day you stopped holding his feet to the fire , it is our civic duty to do just that .

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By Alan MacDonald, February 8, 2009 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

David, great article.  I don’t call them zombies but the ‘Cigarette boat team of power maniacs’:

The banking ‘bailout’ and the economic ‘stimulus’ are the broken twin engines of this floundering Cigarette-boat economy caught in a gale. Paulson has already been washed off the foredeck with his ‘bazooka’, Gaithner and Summers are fighting over the wheel and throttles, while Volcker sucks on the clogged fuel filter.

But what Obama needs is a sensitive sailing crew attuned to fine adjustment of sail trim and the tack of our ketch working to windward with the wind and seas, rather than dead-in-the-water power-boat idiots just trying to pour on the power (money).

In a word, Obama needs to listen to David Korten (“Agenda for a New Economy”), Ralph Nader, William Greider, Ron Paul, Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, and many others who understand that not only are the supposed ‘bailout’ and economic ‘stimulus’ in crisis on these maelstrom seas, but more importantly that our democracy is in crisis (having been captured by Empire) and is at the heart of all our sorrows of empire—- both abroad and at home.

As Hannah Arendt presciently warned in the era of the Nazi Empire, “Empire abroad (always) entails tyranny at home”—- along with domestic economic oppression.

We have met the enemy, and it is not us——it is this corporatist financial empire posing behind its ‘Vichy’ façade of democracy.

We need to re-establish America’s founding true Northstar: a democratic Republic of equal and universal representation in voluntary self-government—- which maintains free choice of the governed over all the spheres of our commonwealth, such as political, economic, and social, which have previously been controlled by the ruling-elite hand (visible or hidden) of Empire——except the separate and non-interfering sphere of religion.

We need to simply walk away from this fascist Empire and its ‘Vichy’ front.  “This could be the start of a great relationship” for all average working class Americans who honestly believe in the promise of America’s gift to the world, and the rest of our fellow citizens of a promising democratic world——finally united against empire, as we were 233 years ago..

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By diamond, February 8, 2009 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

whyzowl1 is 2006 on Clinton’s watch? That’s when Bush overturned the law and made a dire situation catastrophic as the piggies elbowed each other out of the way to get to the trough. Of course I knew you’d be on the fact that I’ve got a masters degree like a fly on shit. So predictable and still so wrong in so many countless ways. How did I get the story? Allan Gurfinkel referred to it and was kind enough to provide a link. I simply READ THE STORY. Your conspiracy theory just deflated and fell to earth with a thud. I have no investment in the democrats, move on or anyone else. I just have a strange, old fashioned respect for facts and none for ill-informed ranting. And I include David Sirota in that. I think all you Naderites are just Republicans in sheep’s clothing. Why else would you want Obama to fail? Why else would you be so obsessed with the Clintons? And you know Nader can never win, so it’s safe to support him.

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By Amon Drool, February 8, 2009 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

daddy, daddy….this mean girl is chasing my sister kdelphi.  don’t worry, son.  kdelphi can take care of herself.  and maybe the mean girl will go away.  ok, dad….

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By Amon Drool, February 8, 2009 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

the QUEEN OF MEAN strikes again.  what’s happened in the lives of the two academics, cyrena and shenonymous, that’s made them so inhuman?  who knows?  who cares?  they’re monsters…but only cyber-monsters.

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By cyrena, February 8, 2009 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

By diamond, February 8 at 1:19 pm
•  “kdelphi: taxing the rich is a great idea. Once the crisis has passed try to do it. But remember that America as it’s presently set up, operates for a small group of rich fascists and Ralph Nader is not the man to take them on. Obama just might be if you stop pre-judging everything he does or says.”

Diamond,

Kdelphi, like so many others, is going to ‘prejudge’ Barack Obama and everything he does, NO MATTER WHAT. We’ve had about a year now, of her and her group of hopelessly neurotic cynics. These people have been totally obsessed with Obama since the beginning. They NEVER offer any possible reality-based alternatives to government operations, -EVER- because of the total ignorance of course, and there’s a huge difference between WILLFUL ignornace and just plain ‘don’t know because nobody ever told them’ ignorance.” Kdelphi has BOTH. She doesn’t know, because nobody ever told her, and she’s stuck in one of the many armpits of the US (Dayton, Ohio being a scourge on the earth similar to Bakersfield, or Fresno CA, and living off the public dime (Because daddy is dead and the money he left is running out…her words, not mine) so she just doesn’t KNOW. BUT, if you try to share knowledge with her, she will avoid it at all costs. She doesn’t want any logical or fact based reality to interfere with the high that she gets from bashing Obama, and hanging on his every word. I wish he would just screw her and get it the hell over with. It’s like watching a constant rerun of “Fatal Attraction”.

So, this pre-judging of Obama and his administration is part of her nature. She might even be paid for posting all of the drivel that she does, and I wouldn’t be so surprised at that. This is why she’s been run off of other blog sites, with all of the other rattletrap Nadar supporters. It’s a mentality that I’ve noted among a small portion of the population who HAVE NO CLUE to how we came to be in this situation to begin with, (Kdelphi NEVER acknowledges the crimes of the repugs or specifically the last 8 years of them, though she has admitted to being from a hardcore republican family background, and during one of her many neurotic meltdowns on this forum, she even threatened to vote for McCain. The next day she was pissed at the treatment Hillary was getting. In short, she’s one sick puppie.

Same with Folktruther. He sounds reasonable enough (on some stuff) until you get to the punchline on every single one of his posts…and that is his prediction that Obama is simply following in the same path as the Cheney Regime of Fascist Thugs,  despite ALL OBVIOUS documentary evidence to the contrary, and he’s been sprouting the shit for at least as long as Kdelphi.

Another of the huge ironies come from the Nader worshipers. It should be clear to the Nader hero-worshippers, that he’s not the man for the job, because he has ZERO practical experience in the PUBLIC Sector! Yeah, yeah, give him credit for his contribution to seat belt and any other consumer safety legislation that he’s provided, but that is the EXTENT of Nadar’s contribution, because he has ALWAYS been part of the PRIVATE sector! He came up the the PRIVATE, NOT the public sector of the educational system, and he has pointedly refused to ever ‘lower’ himself to run for any public office (that would provide the functional and practical experience) other than President.

His ‘career’ has also been restricted to the PRIVATE sector, and this ‘umbrella’ organization of all of his so-called ‘non-profit’ projects is entirely funded by PRIVATE (read CORPORATE) entities.
People like Kdelphi don’t get that, and they never will, because they dismiss any facts that don’t support the root system of their own ideological neuroses.

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By Folktruther, February 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

Whyzowl- that is the traditional anti-mperialist view, that Israel is an outpost of Western imperialism and serves its interests in the Middle East.  It was my view until recently, when a number of scholars and analysist have argued that the Israeli lobby has distorted US policy, and the US is promoting the interests of Israel rather than Israel promoting ithe interest of the US.  With the election of Obama it has become much more obvious that they are right.

About a third of the US ruling class are Jewish, billionaires who are united around Israeli imperialism.  They do not want a two state solution, whatever they say, the US having opposed it, along with all major Israeli parties, for decades.

  Israel is a major reason that the US is in disrepute in the world, especially among the billion and a half Muslims.  the puppets of the US client-states would be much more secure if the Palestinians were not so obviously, publically and bruttally oppressed.

But US Zionists do not want a two state solution, and they are strong in a US power system that controls the finanical system, the media, the electorial system, and through them the violence organs.  They are making huge amounts of money by this control, and are the chief advocates of neoliberalism.  Like all ruling classes, they serve their own interests under the guise of serving those of the general population.

And they are united, both Christians and Jews, by Zionism.  This is the source of the War on Terrorism, which is actually a war on Muslims, which was initiated at a high level Jerusulem conference of Israelis and Americans in 1979.  It is to the interests of the Isareli power structure who can then ethnic cleanse the Palestinians and increase their settlements in the West Bank, 67% in the past year.  Funded largely by the US.

I know it sounds crazy but the flea is controlling the dog, or rather, the American zionists, both Christian and Jewish, are controlling US power.  And not only the US.  When the Soviet Union was dismantled and the public corportions sold off for a fraction of their value, six of the eight ‘oligarchs’ as they are called in Russia, were Jewish.

Because Jews were not allowed to own or work the land, they became urban historically and went into the money and truth industries.  Money and truth became the major power resources in capitalist power systems, and controlled the violence organs. 
so a small number of Jews, a fraction of the Jewish population, became very powerful, concealed often behind non-Jewish fronts.

In the Western countries they are united by their support of Israeli imperialism.  Obama has appointed Zionists in every key position.  Rumsfield and Cheney had Wolfowitz and Libby as key assistensts and advisors.  Al Gore had Peretz as his key campaign advisor, the editor now of the Zionist New Republic.  Obama raised about twice as much money from Wall Street as McCain.  Guess who contributed it?

So as Walt and Mearshiemer, and others have argued, the US is strongly influenced by the Zionist lobby.  This was indicated by Jane Harman, a Dem,  in the house sponsoring the Thought Control bill formulated by the Zionists, which passed 404 to 6. This would effectively control the Internet and I have no doubt it will pass during Obama’s term.

Obama is pro-war, pro-neoliberalism, and pro- police state: because he is controlled by the Zionists.  The first Jewish president as Aipac,etc says.  And this will lead to disaster, becauase not only do they not serve the interests of the American people, they do not even serve the interests of the traditional American power system.  The American ruling class is joining the world ruling class and the simply don’t much care what happesn to the America power system.  Or the American people.  The basis of their ideological glue is an identification with Israel.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, February 8, 2009 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By diamond, February 8 at 1:19 pm #

>> ‘Uh oh. Hot off the wires. Obama puts brake on Afghan surge’.

> Good. Which part of ‘lost’ don’t you comprehend?

The ‘uh oh’ was supposed to be funny, in anticipation of seeing rigid anti-Obamaism, mine included, crack.


>Allan Gurfinkel: speak for yourself. It’s not an arcane science. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld ran up a trillion dollar debt. With me so far? They started two wars and since they had privatized everything, including war, and since they put an imbecile like Jerry Bremmer with a suitcase full of money in charge of things in Iraq with no auditing and no accounting system and also installed a corrupt puppet government in Afghanistan it all cost much more than it should have. Bush also overturned a law put in place by Roosevelt after the crash of 1929 which makes it illegal for banks to operate as both lenders and investment banks. He did this to stop them speculating on debt which is what caused the crash of 1929. Once that law went out the window banks could lend money, then sell the debt all over the world, then used the proceeds of the sale to create more debt. And so on. This is why they’re trying to set up a special bank to quarantine all the debt created by overturning this law. America also got out of the business of actually creating real products which create real wealth and started selling ‘finance products’ which is just another fancy name for debt.

Er, I know all this pretty much, but it is just the faint outline of Wall St. reality, a very superficial analysis.  And certainly blaming only the Republicans is misguided.

Let me throw you a little curve .... the US has been running a huge trade deficit for years, the govt. has been way in the red for years, and yet, the dollar is solid.  Half the geniuses were predicting it would crash. I’m currently trying to wade through M. Hudson’s Superimperialism to see the connection between the world wide net of military bases and the strong dollar.

I confess that because of my background (engineering) I have to COMPLETELY understand something down to the last detail to feel comfortable, it has to be that way for engineers, otherwise the thing you’re working on will not work, and I’m not sure that’s even possible with econ.

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By whyzowl1, February 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

What say you, folks? Do you think Diamond is a tool from the DNC or maybe Move-On to try to keep the increasingly restive sheeple on the Democrat’s bus?

That breaking news story isn’t on the American MSM yet. It’s on the Timesonline in the UK and the Democratic Underground, for two possibilities. Where did you find it, Diamond?

Diamond homed right in on this Dave Sirota story that questions Obama’s credibility and is mounting a spirited defense of… The latest Democratic Party Judas Goat?

Bush didn’t repeal Glass-Stiegel, Diamond, that happened on Clinton’s watch. Pretty glaring factual error for somebody with a Master’s degree?

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By Jim C, February 8, 2009 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

Outraged , well I’ll be darned , it appears we’re on the same page . Usually when someone states they’re a real conservative , not like those guys , they really mean ” I haven’t a have a clue nor do I have the vaguest idea what they really stand for . You do seem to grasp their reality . I can only assume that you were using the term as frugel or budget minded and not in the ideological sense . If so , then I suppose I am too ( writing this almost makes me want to take a shower ) , using that context , I am also very liberal but fiscally conservative .

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By diamond, February 8, 2009 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

‘Uh oh. Hot off the wires. Obama puts brake on Afghan surge’.
Good. Which part of ‘lost’ don’t you comprehend? Spending billions more that you don’t have to get some kind of military solution in Afghanistan is like pouring money down a hole. No sensible person would do it. America will leave Afghanistan eventually and the desert wind will blow your footprints away, just like it did to the Russians and the British before them. No one ‘wins’ in Afghanistan because they have an unbeatable general called General Geography. It was Donald Rumsfeld who said there were no ‘good targets’ in Afghanistan. In his own psychotic way he was right. All that money would be much better spent on building roads, hospitals and schools - in Afghanistan, or even in America. Radical notion.

kdelphi: taxing the rich is a great idea. Once the crisis has passed try to do it. But remember that America as it’s presently set up, operates for a small group of rich fascists and Ralph Nader is not the man to take them on. Obama just might be if you stop pre-judging everything he does or says.

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By diamond, February 8, 2009 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Bertil - ‘They’re going to continue the extraordinary rendition’.
They are not.Glen Greenwald a constititional lawyer and writer for Salon.com explained that this is what the msm is putting around to discredit Obama and to legitimize what Bush and Cheney did by saying ‘Look he’s doing it too’. They are retaining the right to bring genuine criminals to America, not to send send innocent people to Syria and Egpyt to be tortured.
Kdelphi:
Kucinich will never be president, get over it and move on.
Allan Gurfinkel: speak for yourself. It’s not an arcane science. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld ran up a trillion dollar debt. With me so far? They started two wars and since they had privatized everything, including war, and since they put an imbecile like Jerry Bremmer with a suitcase full of money in charge of things in Iraq with no auditing and no accounting system and also installed a corrupt puppet government in Afghanistan it all cost much more than it should have. Bush also overturned a law put in place by Roosevelt after the crash of 1929 which makes it illegal for banks to operate as both lenders and investment banks. He did this to stop them speculating on debt which is what caused the crash of 1929. Once that law went out the window banks could lend money, then sell the debt all over the world, then used the proceeds of the sale to create more debt. And so on. This is why they’re trying to set up a special bank to quarantine all the debt created by overturning this law. America also got out of the business of actually creating real products which create real wealth and started selling ‘finance products’ which is just another fancy name for debt. All done in cyberspace and all the 21st century version of building castles in the air. Of course it couldn’t go on forever. The same as in 1929 once one card was removed from the house of cards it all started to come down.
MBSS: those ‘talking head pundits’ lie like pigs in mud so what does it matter what they know? The University of Chicago taught them what to say and they are all slaves and acolytes of Milton Friedman’s freemarket cult. The one that got rid of the law that banned speculating on debt. It’s nothing more than Darwinian economics meets ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.

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By MrWebster, February 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks David for your article.  I suspected that with Obama we would only get reform around what I call the edges. 

When Obama met with high powered economic experts, I noticed that not one person did any work or was involved with organized labor, or wasn’t attached somehow to the financial services industry. When he picked Biden I thought hey wasn’t he one of the leaders of the vile bill bankrupcy bill that ensured lower and middle class people would be forever enslaved to bill collectors with interest rates that would make loan sharks and mafia thugs look like boy scouts?

I did vote for Obama with the hope that at least we had a chance.  But the chances seem less than I hoped for especially when I saw the money proposed for state stablization taken out of the Senate version of the stimulus package.  I know in my state even with the money from the feds, major cuts will be needed to balance the budget (required by law), leading even further to the dyspotia hoped for by right wingers.

My only hope now is that we go no futher than a state of permanent recession rather then a disaterous economic depression.

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By altlic, February 8, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

E-N-O-U-G-H already! It’s time to hit the streets!

Obama is not ahead of the curve and he is not going to be the Pied Piper. We, the hypnotized masses, need to recognize that this is a great turning point in history. What is happening in the West now is irreversible. If we don’t take matters into our own hands (popular uprising: the fifth branch of government - let’s face it, the other three plus the MSM are all drinking from the same trough) then the shell of capitalist democracy will stumble on for a few years until it ruptures into something far worse: naked military-industrial plutocracy.

It’s time to end the widening gap between rich and working poor. It’s time to end the economic philosophy of consumption. It’s time to expose the Fed. It’s time to reframe society to bring people together instead of everyone living in materialistic isolation. It’s time for a new civic revival.

Obama knows this, but he can’t lead it. Don’t be disappointed in him, be disappointed in yourself! Make history or be overrun by it.

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By KDelphi, February 8, 2009 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

whyzol1—Speaking of working class suckers, I think that it is appalling for “liberals” to allow the MSM to classify this crisis as one of “people spending beyond their means”. Did people take out loans for McMansions that they shouldve known they couldnt afford? Sure. It is not difficult to pick them out. (tip: look for wine cellars and indoor tennis courts)But, to pretend that the people living in urbban centers, which are now neighborhood after neighborhood of boarded up houses, had to same motivation , is lucicrous.

In my opinion, the ‘greedy” working classes did NOTHING wrong! They had to audacity to expect a living wage, to want to educate their kids, to want to own a house.

France fired the head of the only bank they bailed out within 48 hours. What Pres. Obama is doing about the CEO salary caps is not near enough! $500,000 is way too much for a person who bankrupted their own bank, and,  the bonus limit should be retroactive—seize assets. They would do it to you for taxes.NOw that we have bailed them out, the banks are raising credit card rates, and, the new bill that stops them from raising rates of past bills,(retroactively!) doesnt go into effect until July of next year—-it shoudl go into effect Tuesday! (today!)They will just take advanatge of the time lapse!~ Considering taht the Dems helped sponsor the bil to allow them to do it, it is unconscionable. (overturn the bankruptcy bill, too—Biden)

I know, in the fine print, it says, that they can pretty much raise rates at any time, for any raeason, on any amount. That might be ok, if people were just using these to buy designer clothes—-but with the cuts from reagan on out, to social programs, many people put health care expenses and food on these cards. I think that it could technically be a breach of contract. If not, “legislators”—legislate for the poor for a change. It will feel really strange at first…

diamond—

“The only way to avert the downward spiral is to do what Obama and his team want to do.”

Right…You dont really believe that. There are plenty of other ideas out there. If you meant that that is the only thing that can PASS (which , the GOP and Blue Dogs just added more cuts to unemployemnt and education), well, therein lies the problem.

What is wrong with Nader’s idea of taxing the rich to help bail THEMSELVES out??You know, their designer bootstraps!

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By Fathoms, February 8, 2009 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

The Economic Stimulus Package as it’s Presently Constituted Won’t Work

817 Billion Dollars, split 58% spending, 42% tax cuts is a Blown Show. We don’t have unlimited do-overs. Our creditors aren’t going to put up with our stupidity forever. We have this golden opportunity to rescue the Middle-Class and end the National Debt. Either we get this turned around: 1 Trillion Dollars, 80% spending, 20% tax cuts, 50% of the 80% ($400 Billion) spent on converting America to an entirely Green Economy -or- we descend to being a Second Rate Nation. Wake-up! We’re running out of options. ‘Politics as Usual’ are destroying our Nation. The Oil Economy has to be put down, or it will put America down. Garner the political will to save us now, or go down in history as the constituency that drove the final nail (I do mean crucifixion) into a once free and proud Nation.

P.S. I have an excellent addition to the stimulus package. It will create jobs, improve communications and transparency in government and magnitudinally improve cyber-security within our infrastructure. Convert every computer in the Federal system (including the misbegottenly crash-prone Congressional web-servers) over to Linux, Open BSD, or another, most appropriate for the application, form of Unix. The only systems that should be immune to the first wave of this conversion should be systems we are strategically or tactically dependent upon for National security. As the bulk of these are already Linux computers or clusters, this shouldn’t impact the process in any significant manner.

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By whyzowl1, February 8, 2009 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

Y’know, Folktruther, you may be in danger of looking at the Middle East through anti-Zionist spectacles exclusively. I think that’s a mistake.

The continuity in Middle East affairs is Western, now American, imperialism. Israel is simply a military outpost of Western imperialism in the region. The “interests” of American imperialists and Israeli Zionists at the elite level do coincide, even though you and I agree that they don’t serve the real interests of the majority of the American and Israeli people.

But do US policymakers dance on the ends of Zionist strings? As opposed to what? Serving the interests of commoners in the US and Israel? That’s a laugh. Serving some abstraction such as “justice” or “the cause of freedom in the Middle East?” I’m laughing harder. Bowing to the concerns and needs of the Arab peoples of the region? My ribs hurt.

Did the Zionists make the US build dozens of military bases throughout the Middle East, and man them with thousands of troops and tens of thousands of pieces of military hardware—at daunting expense—for their sake alone? Do you really think we’ve built up this immense military infrastructure just so we can be available at the Zionist’s beck and call—or is the power relationship actually the opposite?

When the US snaps its fingers, the Zionists sit up and beg. They have to. Their shiny little nation would be a fly-blown dump without the billions of dollars of US “aid” it receives every year.

The United States doesn’t ever do anything it doesn’t want to do just because “the Zionists demanded it.” American and Israeli elites just want the same things: absolute Western dominance of the Middle East, its peoples, and its precious oil resources. If US elites thought Israel had become a real liability, it would cut it off in a second and American Jews wouldn’t have a thing to say about it, or they would unleash the virulent anti-Semitism that lurks just beneath the surface of American society. The flea does not command the dog.

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By vico, February 8, 2009 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

I think that he(Obama)was a little nieve about’post-partanship’ Washington. Of course you can’t bargain with a person who believes that he/she is always right.
Its a waste of time. The republican will only bargain from bad faith, unless they get nearly eveything they want.
BAD FAITH Dishonesty or fraud in a transaction, such as entering into an agreement with no intention of ever living up to its terms, or knowingly misrepresenting the quality of something that is being bought or sold.Intent to deceive. A person who intentionally tries to deceive or mislead another in order to gain some advantage.

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By knowbuddhau, February 8, 2009 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Sirota!  You know it, brother: it’s a patriarchal cult of kinetic power, as measured in tons of ordnance and US dollars.  US$100 dollar bills are weapons, too, like the whole pallets of them we sent to Iraq.  180,000,000 hundred dollar bills ($18 billion) just “disappeared” there. Just like bombs that “disappear” after they explode.

By the dollar or the bullet
By the bailout or the gun
Any which way
Mass destruction still comes!

(With apologies to Mutabaruka)

By M.B.S.S., February 7 at 6:25 pm #

Well said.  After WWII, we continued warfare by economic means.  John Perkins and his fellow “economic hit men” (EHMs) created much of our American empire exactly in the manner you describe.

I’m glad to see you cite Naomi Klein.  Her Shock Doctrine, in the opinion of this (non-matriculating) grad student of research psychology, is the most important advance in socio-psychology in decades.

The one thing missing from it is the role of the mythology of the target population.  Check out this gem I found on the Foreign Service Institute’s Web site with the search term “mythology.”  It’s a State Dept report on Iran, given to Pres. Kennedy in 1961.

Good and Evil

There are certain key concepts of the world which are born and bred into Iranians which unfortunately tend to sharpen the terrible psychological dilemma outlined above. They are rooted in Iranian history, and can be traced back to Zoroastrianism and picked up again in the Iranian interpretation of Shi’a Islam.

Persians tend to believe in the all-pervasive presence of a powerful force of evil in the world. All actions, all motives, are divisible into good and evil. It is probable at any time in history that the forces of evil control the world, while the good man, like the hidden Imam, is forced to hide and remain inconspicuous, to lie and pretend if need be, until the moment arrives for battle. Thus, most Persians cannot ascribe political actions with which they disagree to error, or to grant good intentions to the author of such actions. The term “political compromise” cannot be translated into colloquial Persian without a connotation of “sell-out”.

Two results follow from this—first, since the forces of evil are strong and organized, actions by others which one disapproves are not isolated, they are linked together in a mesh of intertwining conspiracies with an overall evil motive behind them. Second, public and private morality are inextricably confused—no politician with a reprehensible private life can be other than evil in his public actions, and no saintly man can be really wrong in his public life.

As a corollary of the above, Persians tend to follow blindly a man who has convinced them that he is on the side of right, without examining political issues critically.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/kennedyjf/xvii/17704.htm

Now ask yourself: what does the 1961 report on US look like?  And what does it look like today?

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By whyzowl1, February 8, 2009 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

By M.B.S.S., February 7 at 6:25 pm #


allan gurfinkle i concede your point.  its doubtful that anyone here is as educated an economist as those among the talking head pundit class, who we see on t.v. or read their articles in print or online.  but the notion that this lack of expertise disqualifies us from forming opinions or expressing those opinions is the exact sort of train of thought that i feel it would benefit us to turn 180 degrees away from.  ive had enough of “experts” telling me that the rest of the population and myself just arent up to the task of understanding the specialized concepts and jargon that accompany economics or banking or international affairs.
*******************************************

I’d just like to gently point out, M.B.S.S., that it is a mistake to think that the pundits and talking heads of the MSM know a lot about economics. The truth is, most of them don’t know diddly.

Of course the economists like Krugman, Baker and Stiglitz know plenty, but most of the rest of the pure opinionators are ideological axe grinders, not experts on economic matters. Their area of expertise is propaganda.

They’re skillful at making usually one-dimensional arguments that sound plausible, that seem to be “common sense,” but that are instantly recognized to be patent lies by anyone who knows a little bit about economics. Frankly, it makes my teeth hurt to listen to the right-wing pundits gull the working class suckers who are their target audience.

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By Folktruther, February 8, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Diamoud, I apologise for calling you stupid.  I should have used a euphemism of some kind.  The childish drivel that the Dems use to induce their truthers to support Republican policies requires an Educated cretinism, like that of people with advanced degrees.  I can understand your feeling that you are not politically naive; after all you are FOR the Dems and AGAINST the Gops.  What more could progressives want?

Some of us want policies that serve the interests of the American people, not the interests of the assholes who are part of the power structure.  We want someone who will CHANGE the Bushite policies, not promote them with a new public relations glaze.  But I shouldn’t have lost my temper; it was not the usual Dem pap that did it but your sweet suggestion that I close my eyes.

Obama cannot implement his policies himself; he needs a team of adiministrators around him to carry them out, and they must agree with what they are to administer.  Obama picked militarist and neoliberal Zionists to carry out what he intended to be Zionist militarist and neoliberal policies.

While he was doning so, befure he was formally sworn in, and the right wing was chortling on how Responsible and Statesmanlike he was being, Dems, like you, were arguing that it was too early to judge him, he wasn’t even sworn in.  The function of Dem pseudo-progressives is to neutralize progressive opposition to right wing policies.

Which Obama is now pursuing, triangulating the whole political process.  Now Dem lackies, while still saying it is too early to judge, are following the Dem leadership line that Obama needs massive progressive support to promote progressive poliices.

No, Diamond, a thousand times no.  What he needs is PROGRESSIVIVE OPPOSITION for selling out the people who voted for him. But effective oppoistion is now very difficult because he is a prisoner of Zionist militarists and neoliberals that he appointed.  While you were applauding. 

In actual, astonishing fact, Zionism has largely captured the US power system, in both parties, and they are servign the interests of Israel rather than the US.  The War on Terrroism is a Zionist fraud, a war against Muslims that serves the interests of Israel.  I don’t expect you to understand this,Diamond,  even as Educated as you are with a master’s degree.  I didn’t realize it fully myself despite a number of honest and courageous scholars arguing it.

What the American people must understand is that they are being ruled by Zionist imperialism which is not only not serving their interests, it is
not serving the long term interests of the American power system.  The Bushites have led a political counter revolution that is disastrous for the American people and people of the world. 

Obiden is now consolidating this counter revolution, most dangerously by threatening to install a first strike capacity agianst Russia, and threatening war against Iran.  Obama is now a prisoner of Zionist forces.  The two presidents who tried to rein in Zionism, Carter and Bush 1, both were defeated for a second term.  So will Obama if he bucks them.

The American people must make a distinction between anti-Semetism and anti-Zionism, which has been systmatically muddied by Zionists, and oppose the latter.  IN BOTH THE DEM AND GOP PARTIES.  But the political situation is very serious now, and I don’t know whether this can be done successfully before truly horrible events occur. 

Natanyahu will probably be elected in Israel and all the American yahus will continue to support Israeli imperialism.

The American outlook is not bright.  But it would be better if Educated people like yourself try to think independently and excrete the crap that the Dems feed you that you feed the American people.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, February 8, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Uh oh.  Hot off the wires ....

Obama puts brake on Afghan surge

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5683681.ece

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By Fadel Abdallah, February 8, 2009 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

Yes indeed, all appearances indicate that Obama’s administration consist of a team of zombies. So, Americans should not have big hopes in the current administration, for it seems that the more things change the more they stay the same, if they don’t get worse. I believe that main street America has only one of two options:

1. Resign itself to fate and keep praying for a miracle from an omniscient merciful God or Goddess!
2. Rise up, en mass, in a revolution, preferably a peaceful one, but a bloody one should not be ruled out as an option!

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By Allan Gurfinkle, February 8, 2009 at 6:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By M.B.S.S., February 7 at 6:25 pm #

..........is it really that difficult to understand that we should be so intimidated?  maybe we should just leave it all to the experts?

Yes, it really is that difficult.  The point is not that we should be intimidated, but that we should realize how completely out of our league we are, and try to do something about it .... i.e. ... dare I say ..... learn.  It ain’t easy I’m pretty sure.  But I see little effort in that direction.  The financial market has become absolutely wild, the thing that pops to mind is currency speculation, trillions are traded every day, practically all speculation, countries are bankrupted, fortunes made, who is paying for this?  We have no conception.  This is just one booth of the gambling arcade that Wall St. has created.

In the media, it’s all boiled down to how big a stimulus do we need.  So, we have raging debates, countless articles, accusations, proposals, alternatives, votes, all revolving around a single number.  This is reductionism to the absurd degree. It ain’t about the stimulus.  It’s about the structure of finance, and that is something we don’t know much about and are disinclined to learn.

It’s also, unfortunately, about a lot more than finance, as we’ve watched the de-industrialization of the US right before our eyes, the planned transformation from an industrial economy to a ‘service’ economy.  Everyone has known this was a scam even as it was happening, and now, we’re in some deep yogurt.  And yet, the political establishment was 99.9% for it, the only exception coming to mind is Pat Buchanan.  He was right !

So, we need to educate ourselves.  That’s the point.

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By diamond, February 8, 2009 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

Folktruther I have a master’s degree. It may not indicate intelligence but it certainly doesn’t indicate stupidity. I’m not stupid enough to fall for Ron Paul’s 19th century reactionary nonsense in any case. I suspect you don’t really understand how this economic crisis was created. You and others on this site seem to think that the government of the day can just say to the financial system ‘It’s your mess, you clean it up’. The end result of allowing that catastrophe to unfold would be an economy in freefall. In 1929 there was 30% unemployment and at first the government took your attitude and just stopped spending and let the market dictate events. The crisis deepened and grew ever worse until public spending in the form of large infrastructure projects were started. If people don’t have jobs they can’t spend and they don’t pay taxes and businesses large and small start to fall over like dominoes and government revenue falls to crisis levels. The economy then goes into a sharp downward spiral. The taxpayers’ money in the stimulus package is being used in the final analysis for the benefit of the taxpayers.The only way to avert the downward spiral is to do what Obama and his team want to do. The realists will win out because this has all happened before in 1929 and everyone knows what has to be done, even if they have to hold their noses to do it. It’s understandable that you want to punish the bankers but the catch 22 is that if you do you’ll end up punishing everyone else as well. If you must hate Obama at least wait until he actually does all the terrible things you’ve convinced yourself he might do. It’s a mistake to believe that all politicians are evil -except the ones who will never get elected. I don’t know where you go from such political despair as that. Actually the real problem for the world is that America owes enormous amounts of money to China and Japan and America’s not good for the money. This is why Asia is now sliding into recession too. I await your interpretation of how Obama caused this.

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By Verne Arnold, February 8, 2009 at 2:27 am Link to this comment

Oops! that should have been;

http://whatintheworld-icarus.blogspot.com/

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By Outraged, February 8, 2009 at 12:35 am Link to this comment

Re: Jim C

Your comment: “Outraged , well , that may or may not be true . But for as long as I can remember republicans , conservatives , those who represent the welfare and interests of corporations , business and the well born have been peddling the same fetid snake oil . Those who say ” I’m a real conservative ” not like those guys , then refer to the likes of Goldwater or ( gag ) reagan in my humble opinion are being at best , shall we say , disingenuous . The republican ( conservative ) movement since the 1800’s has pushed essentually the same policies , lais-sez faire capitalism , which in reality is nothing but Calvinism or the blathering of Thomas Hobbs dressed up as economic theory . This nonsense has been tried over an over always with the same result , the movement of wealth and power to a privilaged few at the expense of everyone else , you know , like the good ole middle ages . The idea of course is to get back to what the conservative , privilaged class sees as the natural order of things , a small elite who control the wealth and land with everybody else serving them .

I agree.  But to alienate the portion of society that’ve been trained, taught, and just short of beaten into the BELIEF that these are their “saviors”, is another thing.  “Joe schmoe” republicans are not cognizant of the facts and have been trained and taught from infancy and for generations that the Republicans are their protectorates, is another matter.  They have also been INSTRUCTED that liberals (which is a dirty word) AND OTHERS seek to destroy that which is their value system, their way of life and children’s futures.

If someone BELIEVES these things they will without hesitation stand up and fight.  I would too. 

ACCURATE INFORMATION tempered with TRUE CONCERN for their situation is what will move these masses.  They are not stupid, they are mislead and often frightfully so.  Shoving YOUR or MY view down their throats will do nothing but qualify the misperceptions they have been fed.

BTW, “disingenous”, would be a mild term for the realistically heinous truth…. I agree.

Also, Jim C. understand that I am not speaking of PROFESSIONAL law makers, I am speaking of “Joe Schmoe” republicans, not all of which identify themselves as conservatives.

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By Verne Arnold, February 7, 2009 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment

> jackpine savage, February 6 at 5:59 pm;

Interesting comment; however “Russia” did threaten to respond with tactical nukes if we used any of our precision guided ordinance during the Georgia kerfuffle. Obama via Biden (today), has indicated a continuation of the previous 8 years of policies toward Russia (including the missile shield). That, combined with Predator strikes (Pakistan) and continuing a policy of rendition is very worrying.

http://whatintheworld-icarus.com/

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By Leefeller, February 7, 2009 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

M.B.S.S.

Great synopsis and review of what is and should not have been.  If the experts cut back on any more eduction, most of the people in this country will not be able find their own butt cheeks in a lighted room, just one more important part of the new world order. Quite the scheme.

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By M.B.S.S., February 7, 2009 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

allan gurfinkle i concede your point.  its doubtful that anyone here is as educated an economist as those among the talking head pundit class, who we see on t.v. or read their articles in print or online.  but the notion that this lack of expertise disqualifies us from forming opinions or expressing those opinions is the exact sort of train of thought that i feel it would benefit us to turn 180 degrees away from.  ive had enough of “experts” telling me that the rest of the population and myself just arent up to the task of understanding the specialized concepts and jargon that accompany economics or banking or international affairs. 

we dont need to know the mathematical formulas that are used to create complex mortgage backed securities to know that banks that are leveraged 30-1 or 50-1 shouldnt be in the business of taking on the risk/reward gamble of these MBS in the interest of hopefully scoring staggering sums of money.  i thought banks were in the risk management business, not some coked up junkie throwing the dice in vegas.

let me see if i do understand the IMF or the world bank.  after world war II these entities were created in the interest of never letting a state get into the desperate economic straits that set the stage for nazi germany.  john maynard keynes headed the U.K. delegation, and lent his considerable voice to the development of these institutions.  although the beginnings were somewhat auspiscious, the IMF and world bank morphed into fronts for the most powerful states in the world by the 1980’s.  thatcher and reagan drove the policies of this era and the IMF and world bank became commited to establishing milton friedman’s vision of a world where huge corporations were regulated only by the invisble hand of the markets, and would be free to rape the environment, gorge on natural resources, and of course accumulate profits.

the modus operandi of the IMF and world bank, which work in concert, goes something like what naomi klein explains in “shock doctrine.”

“Officials with the World Bank and the IMF had always made policy recommendations when they handed out loans, but in the early eighties, emboldened by the desperation of developing countries, those recommendations morphed into radical free-market demands.  When crisis-struck countries came to the IMF seeking debt relief and emergency loans, the fund responded with sweeping shock therapy programs, equivalent in scope to “The Brick” drafted by the Chicago Boys for Pinochet….Davison Budhoo, and IMF senior economist who designed structural adjustment programs in Latin America and Africa throughout the eighties, admitted that “everything we did from 1983 onward was based on our new sense of mission to have the south ‘privatised’ or die….”

is it really that difficult to understand that we should be so intimidated?  maybe we should just leave it all to the experts?

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By screamingpalm, February 7, 2009 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

By Verne Arnold, February 7 at 5:03 pm #


> Allan Gurfinkle, February 7 at 2:20 pm;

With the exception of TAO Walker; you are right on, IMO.

****************************************************

But does it matter? you don’t need to be a classically trained musician to know what type of music you like to listen to. Just like you don’t need to be an economic expert to see that we’re getting robbed by huge pyramid schemes and extravagant salaries for CEO’s and hedge fund managers on Wall Street. Or to realize that trickle down “Reaganomics” won’t work, especially in our current economic state where just like the bailout funds were hoarded and sat on, tax breaks for the rich will most probably have the same outcome. I’m sure most peoples’ opinions are based off of weighing evidence and arguments from experts.

I’m not an economic expert, but Nader’s support of a speculation tax- or transaction tax sounds reasonable to me. If anyone can argue why this would be a bad idea, I’m willing to hear why.

http://www.nader.org/index.php?/archives/2101-Tax-The-Speculators.html

Quote:

“Why should you pay a 5 to 6 percent sales tax for buying the necessities of life, when tomorrow, some speculator on Wall Street can buy $100 million worth of Exxon derivatives and not pay one penny in sales tax?”

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By Verne Arnold, February 7, 2009 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

> Allan Gurfinkle, February 7 at 2:20 pm;

With the exception of TAO Walker; you are right on, IMO.

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By Paul Theis, February 7, 2009 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would like to see Robert Reich join the Obama administration.

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By KDelphi, February 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

diamond—On Ron Paul, whom I detest, whaa?????

I’ll TELL you what Kucinich wouldve done (althugh he is not my first choice, he is my choice out of the House): NOT voted for the damn Wall St Bailout unless it had provision s (which he, Sanders, Kaptur and others TRIED to get a vote on!)which would make the uber rich pay for their own gd mess! He wouldnt promote policies that keep the working classes poor into their graves. He wouldve gotten us out of Iraq, without reservations.He would also negotiate with Iran, Russia and Afghanistan. He would close GITMO ASAP. He would not have allowed the Stimulus bill to be watered down with business tax cuts. He would have implememted single payer health care (HR 676). Would correct teh FISA mes, which he didnt vote for!

HE WOULD OPEN AN OFFICE OF PEACE!

He might have ended up being a one term president, but, he couldve become a legend, compared to what we end up with everytime, because people onf the so-called Left, to not have the balls to stand up for what they really believe! The Dem have been “compromising” for 30 years! It is time to STOP capitulating!

How is it ‘easy” to NOT support the option that 80% of the country takes right now? It must be “fun” to be able to support whoever is in the WH 50% of the time. I cant do it anymore. I would rather never win than to support another Clinton.

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By Jim C, February 7, 2009 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

Outraged , well , that may or may not be true . But for as long as I can remember republicans , conservatives , those who represent the welfare and interests of corporations , business and the well born have been peddling the same fetid snake oil . Those who say ” I’m a real conservative ” not like those guys , then refer to the likes of Goldwater or ( gag ) reagan in my humble opinion are being at best , shall we say , disingenuous . The republican ( conservative ) movement since the 1800’s has pushed essentually the same policies , lais-sez faire capitalism , which in reality is nothing but Calvinism or the blathering of Thomas Hobbs dressed up as economic theory . This nonsense has been tried over an over always with the same result , the movement of wealth and power to a privilaged few at the expense of everyone else , you know , like the good ole middle ages . The idea of course is to get back to what the conservative , privilaged class sees as the natural order of things , a small elite who control the wealth and land with everybody else serving them . Those who are not part of the would be aristrocrats have to be brought along with phony but high minded economic smoke and mirrors , ” the trickle down theory ” , a ” flat tax ” ” supply side economics ” , ” the invisable hand of the market ” ” free enterprise ” , etc etc . Our would be rulers understand their would be serfs might not go for it if they really understood what they are signing up for . The ” Joe Schmoe ” republicans you refer to are simply people who have swallowed the bait . I realize you probably believe in the bottom of your heart that ” those guys ” aren’t real conservatives and that if we only followed some other conservative thing’s would be just fine . History argues differently . Which real conservative would you follow for a different outcome , Mckinly , Harding , Hoover , maybe Goldwater or Ron Paul . Every one espoused the same basic path that got us into this current mess if followed to it’s natural outcome . History is littered with failed conservative experiments and it always turns out the same , the well off have a party at the expense of everyone else . If the wealth isn’t spread around a democracy can’t flourish , it’s really that simple . The so called conservative movement simply has an agenda that can’t be sold to but a few if stated clearly . To say we ” real ” conservatives endorse accountability rings a bit hollow after the last eight years . After all , You can be sure the greedy bastards that pillaged the country feel that under their ideology they have nothing to be held accountable for .

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By Folktruther, February 7, 2009 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Diamond, I have read your long post, which is political anaylsis of the worst possible kind, and I thank you for it.  It illustrates with brilliant precison the naive, childish position of Loyal Democrats who have been trained to think poitics is restricted to what happens in elections between the two parties.  I understand that you want me to close my eyse along with them and yourself to view the horrible policies of Obama as really being a blessing.

On the grounds that the Gops would be worse.  That is quite true, that the Gops would probably be worse, and from that perspective Obama is better, in so far as they differ at all in central elemnents.  But, Diamand, I ask you to OPEN YOUR EYES and see political reality from the perspective of the American population, instead of a closed-eyes Loyal Democrat.  To see reality from a world historical perspective instead of simply regurgitating the mainstream pseodo-progressive truth in your initiable way.  Open your eyes and think, Diamond.  I know its hard for you; ry to follow the reasoning of your intellectual betters.

Like KDelphi, although she doesn’t put herself forward in this way, and mamy, many other truthdiggers.  As I’ve said before, Bush has left Obiden three wars, enormous debt, a bankrupt economy, and an enormous, if insufficient, distrust in American power.  And Obama is continuing the whole mess, with a few publis relations wrinkles that can deceive people like yourself. 

And, unfortunately, the American people include tens of millions like yourself, and another tens of milliions even worse.  And no, it is not alreight to engage in political delusions because those other people are even worse.  It is necessary to enlighten the American population to change the power relations between the people and the Dem-Gop bloc.

Obamaa’s policies will change, to the extent they do, not by supporting BUT BY OPPOSING HIM.  You are precisely wrong, Diamand, in supporting the public relations gestures he is making while continuing Bushite polices.  And a large fraction of the American people ae as deluded as you are, deceived by the public relations of suggesting he is ending torture while continuing it, ending war while continuing them, endorsing a bailout swindle by pretending serve the interests of the population, and continuing spying onthe population and to erect a police state against the Amreican people when they realize how they have been conned.

By people like you, Diamond.  Who purvey a Pollianaish Hope n Change while everything goes to hell in a handbasket.  But I say this more in sorry than in anger, becuase I don’t think you are evil.  I think you are stupid.  But be consoled, Diamand; there are people even more stupid than you! 

And that comparitive excellence that you identify with, should it give you comfort in the coming wars, depressions, and militarized police state.  It won’t the rest of us.

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By diamond, February 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

Kdelphi all I’m saying is, it’s easy to play a good game from the sidelines or in the stands but being on the field and actually playing is a whole different story. The Spanish have a saying: ‘To talk of bulls is not the same as being in the bullring’. The Republicans don’t talk of bulls, they talk bullshit but that’s another story. You don’t give Obama credit for anything he’s done or is trying to do but I’m pretty sure his carping critics wouldn’t want his job and wouldn’t do it better if they had it. None of these other ‘saviours’ like Kucinich or Paul could stride into the oval office, wave a magic wand and make it better. That’s fantasy. He has to work with real people to solve real problems and a lot of those people hate his guts. From what I read of Paul’s ideas on health care, ‘I remember when people used to pay the doctor with a chicken’ and all his other libertarian claptrap I say count your blessings that he isn’t in the white house. If he was president you’d all be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, even if you’re not a woman.

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By TAO Walker, February 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

The ubiquitous official “theatrics” noted below by tropicgirl certainly reveal what the professional pols and pundits (corporatist flacks all) really mean by their constant calls for “dramatic action” to address the ideological/institutional/electro-mechanical calamity already swamping the paddle-less paper canoes of the “lower orders” all over the world.  The privileged-few are ALL JUST PLAY-ACTING!  And anyhow, here in these latter days there’s no business BUT show-business.

These “leading” characters, at-least, are under no illusions about the entirely make-believe nature of their “global” pyramid scam.  Here at the “end-game,” moreover, their main aim (as exposed by several commenters here) is to keep the “huddled masses” from catching-on to the true size, shape, and CONtent of the already-crashing “catastrophe,” long enough for them to loot what little is left of the “commonwealth” and get safely holed-up in their “undisclosed locations,” before the shitstorm finally overwhelms the air-CONditioning.

That our un-dead tormentors would employ legions of captive Humans, de-formed in their own pitiful image, to carry-out their rape and pillage and meant-to-be murder of us and our Mother Earth, is only to be expected.  Their “CONstructive-person” soul-less “corporate entity” is the very make-shift “....model of the modern major general,” and the CONtrived zombification of as many domesticated Humans as they can “manage” is their “game.”

Someone else here declared that nobody has any comprehensive sense of either the magnitude or the actual CONtent of the congeries of “problems” CONfronting the domesticated peoples….or any clear presciption for remedying them.  They did add the qualifier that at least no one close to the Obama administration met that test.

This old Indian, along with a few others here, has been for over two years now offering a pretty detailed pre-post-mortem analysis of the dead-certain-to-be-fatal condition our tame Sisters’ and Brothers’ CONdition is in.  The specific remedy for it has also been regularly described and recommended.

Some register objections, to what some of us surviving free wild Human Beings call the Tiyoshpaye Way, because it is completely unconcerned with artifcatual gadgetry of any kind, and has no use for ideology or its everpresent institutional enforcement mechanisms.  Others, with no actual knowledge or experience of Human Nature except as it is expressed in-captivity to the CONtraption called “civilization,” are CONvinced we’re simply too flawed ever to behave in ways that are naturally and mutually beneficial, without having first in-place the means and methods of coercion.

Maybe it’d be the better part of Wisdom on the part of such doubters not to knock what they haven’t yet tried.  Of course it’s possible some of ‘em are really only shills for the corporo/kleptocracy, intending to keep people discouraged and depressed and cynical….until DEATH do them part.

We’re ALL going to see soon what’s really WHAT here, and what’s only illusion.

HokaHey!

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By Allan Gurfinkle, February 7, 2009 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think that, succinctly put, none of us know what we are talking about.  That is, none of us have any understanding of the economic history of the last 60 years say.  None of us understand even the basics of Wall St. finance.  None of us understand the IMF and the world bank.  None of us understand the multi-trillion dollar currency markets.  None of us understand the multi-trillion dollar derivatives markets.  We just don’t have a clue as to what is really going on. 

And yet, we don’t acknowledge our ignorance.  We pontificate.  I’ve been studying the subject for a while and still only know about as much econ as a frog.

We go with our prejudices.  I think we’re being screwed by an international bankers cabal who are looting the US.  But, I really don’t have a clue. Sirota doesn’t have clue.  And, the people who have studied econ all their lives and do ‘know’, have wildly different analyses and prescriptions.

On one hand its a fascinating problem, on the other, the economy really is going down the tubes, that much seems pretty certain, and I don’t think anyone really has the answer.

re: Folktruther ...

Don’t burst my bubble .... I read Biden’s speech and it doesn’t negate the missile deal ...

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By KDelphi, February 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

diamond—I dont know about Folktruther, but, why do P. obama supporters always seem to think that people who criticize Dem must think that GOP are better? I sure as hell dont. Sirota was an Obama supporter. I am not willing to say that I know how he VOTED.Just because GOP are horrible, doesnt make the only alternative in the dupopoly GOOD. I see the cold glare in McConnell’s eyes (I’m not the one trying to “reach out” to him), but in Reid’s eyes, I see a sell-out ,milquetoast, who is much more concerned with getting re-elected than ding anything to help the peopel of this country..President Obama has the potential to help effecrt real change. It is just that, so far, as to the team he is picking it doesnt look like change to a progresive.P. Clinton sold progeressives down the river. Better than Bush (both) ..so? The things you mention are initiatives (he signed the GITMO Bill, he is considering a longer time in Iraq, etc.) If the majority Dems dont cave to GOP completely, maybe things will be looking better.If I was going to support someone , with any zest, it would have to be more than “better than…”. I am glad P. Obama defeated McCain.

To be honest, it wont do much good if Blue Dogs are going to side with neo-cons every time!

I have a real problem with people lumping Kucinich and Ron Paul also. Does anyone happen to know how Kucinich feels about it? I know Ron Paul told his supporters to support Nader, which I thought was wierd, but, never Kucinich. They seem to be opposites , to me.

Paul wants a yoyo society—youre on your own. Kucinich thinks that that wouold be barbaric (or is..)

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By William W. Wexler, February 7, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Wow, Paolo… it’s a wonderful and amazing thing when people with the same set of facts get to different conclusions.

You’re right about everything, the Donkephant Uniparty (unregistered trademark) is one with business.  They’re “pro-war, pro-empire, and pro-big-business; that is, both are fascist.”  Can’t argue with it, no “market fundamentalism” to be had here,  at least not a whole lot except in the most relativistic terms with 1938 Italy as the midrange.  And, they’re goddam toadies, too.

OK, so here’s where we start to see some divergence.  In your view failing businesses should fail and the chips will fall to those who understand and are in the position to profit by picking up the pieces.  Those businesses should be allowed, you say, to operate without government interference, and if they fail, so be it.

Well, as a socialist I find that interesting and part of me wants to love it but unfortunately there are some functions that must continue to operate for the public interest and they should not even BE businesses.  For example, the police department.  It should not be made private and run like a business to make profit.  Nor should the fire department.  Now take a deep, deep breath… nor should the health care delivery system.  It is a public function (i.e., the welfare and safety of the entire populace) that should not be a for-profit, business.  It shouldn’t be a business at all.  If you’re dying and somebody’s standing in front of you with a magic bottle of something and they won’t give it to you because you can’t afford it, then the FUNCTION of health care is not working in the general interest of the nation, which relies on a healthy populace to work in its factories, police departments, armies, and raise our families.  What are they going to do… give the magic bottle to somebody with more money?  How does that make THEM more worthy of being saved than YOU are?  In the Preamble, one of the stated purposes for even bothering to FOUND the US of A was given as “to promote the general welfare”.  For reasons already stated, I say that it is definitely duty of government, in the interest of its citizens and its own perpetuation, to provide health care as it can afford to do.

Now some Libs I’ve had this discussion with have gone as far as to say there shouldn’t be a state highway system.  (That was in the context of him complaining about getting a speeding ticket, which in his mind, should never happen because there should be no speed limits).  But I think even if you agree with my other friend about the ownership and maintenance of highways, you might be able to agree that some FUNCTIONS are better done by a central government.  Various reasons, such as economies of scale, consistent service parameters and levels, and probably a lot more I can’t think of.

Well, I’m getting very tired so I’m even worse than usual in the cognitive department.  However, I loved your post so I thought I’d comment to it.  Thanks for posting it.

-Wexler

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By Bertil, February 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

24 hours after his testimony, Leon Panetta retracted his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee and said he doesn’t know about the Bush administration’s involvement in torture, and he said kidnapping (extraordinary rendition) is okay, after all.

I got the above information from an interview News with Bill Christison and ex-CIA official on an Iranian News Channel

They are going to continue the extraordinary rendition, which means there will be torture.  Why else kidnap someone and take them to third world shit hole like Egypt or Uzbechistan?
Even the ones that the news promoted as decent turn out to be nothing more than spineless, self-seeking yes-men who don’t belong free on the streets, let alone in public office.
Zombies!  That’s suitable description.

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By Paolo, February 7, 2009 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

A libertarian view—

David Sirota is correct in noting that Obama has peopled his administration with both Clinton and Bush era retreads. But he is wrong when he says these toadies represent “market fundamentalism.”

They represent fascism, pure and simple: the melding of state and big business. This is not the “market”—it is a rigged game where those who have pull and influence in Washington see their businesses prosper through government influence

In a true “market” economy, the Goldman-Sachs and Bank Americas and Citibanks would go under, their assets taken over by smaller, more efficient competitors with better business ideas. Under fascism, these bloated, dinosaur corporations continue to prosper, in the latest instance being the direct beneficiaries of essentially free money, courtesy of the government (that is, courtesy of YOU).

Libertarians have been saying for decades that the Democratic and Republican parties are just two sides of the same coin. Both are pro-war, pro-empire, and pro-big-business; that is, both are fascist.

I think Sirota is starting to understand this, yes?

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By ocjim, February 7, 2009 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

“Indeed, if an authentic “rivalry” was going to erupt, it would have been between Obama’s promises and his team of zombies. Unfortunately, the latter seems to have won before the competition even started.”

Brilliant metaphor and the criticism is well-noted. Certainly many of us tried to kill the Bush plague but even though it was like a voodoo apparition that was totally ineffective the Bush witch doctors kept it moving and functioning, irregardless of choruses of criticism.

I do believe that Obama has compromised and postured for the neocons too much. A ruthless, inflexible being like the neocon plague doesn’t reason.

I am hoping that Obama can keep a reasonable focus on these past Bush forces. I am hoping that he just wants to give the appearance of unity for the dumbed-down voters.

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By diamond, February 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther a lot of what you say about the military is absolutely true but I want you to close your eyes for a minute and imagine that John McCain and Sarah Palin are in the White House. Do you imagine they would be pulling troops out of Iraq, closing Guantanamo Bay or even dealing with the economic fiasco their own ideology has caused in a realistic, humane way? Can you imagine Palin saying as Biden said today that the US will ‘talk to Iran’? (And Iran has already said it is ready to talk). Can you imagine Palin backing a policy of allowing the same reproductive rights in the third world that are the norm all over the first world? I could go on: but all the way along the line Obama’s policies are the polar opposite of what McCain (a hundred years in Iraq) and Palin (I can see Russia from my house) would have done. You should be supporting Obama because he needs all the support he can get to fix the mess the Republicans have left him and to rein the military in. As Obama said himself, Clinton left Bush a huge surplus but Bush left Obama a trillion dollar deficit-he didn’t mention that Bush also left him a collapsing global financial system, two lost wars and a re-frozen cold war, galloping climate change and chaos in the Middle East. It seems that the Dick is planning 9/11 II as well so all in all I would say, there’s a time for nitpicking and negativity and it’s not now. Of course people like bubba don’t nitpick, they say ‘glack’ and regurgitate and a disgusting sight it is too.

If Obama is an economic ignoramus what does that make the Republicans? I think a new word would have to be coined to describe their economic abilities. Reagan was a Hollywood actor, why anyone thought he was an economic genius is beyond me, but all this ‘god runs the market’ theology started with him in the eighties. As the saying goes, ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’: Ronnie had very little, and like Bush he was a stooge for faceless players who never had to run in an election. Clinton won two of them and he won them fair and square without the intervention of hanging chads and the supreme court. He also didn’t have a brother who was the governor of Florida. Obama won an election too, and was handed a poisoned chalice. The way things are, those of a progressive tendency have to hang together or hang separately. Look into Mitch Mitchell’s icy eyes, consider the fact that the stimulus package got not one Republican vote in the House of Representatives and tell me I’m wrong. You do realise,don’t you, that without the stimulus package the job market and the banking system will both completely collapse? Only a ‘God runs the market’ zealot could find that acceptable. More evidence of the Republican’s economic wisdom. The thought that Obama might actually do a Roosevelt makes them break out in a cold sweat.

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By Folktruther, February 7, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Well, so much for Obama changing Bushite policy on Russia and Iran.  Biden, the Zionist militarist, gave a major speech stating and suggesting that the Obiden administration is going to cintonue to pursue the first strike missle plans of the Bushites, and continue to threaten Iran with military strikes. 

The one area where Obama could actually reduce the threat of nuclear war in the world, increased by the Bushites, has passed. Obama has decided to go with Zionist militarism.  At enourmous financial cost, and with strong resistence by Western Europe.

The power reason is quite simple.  Since finacially the US has led the world neoliberally over the cliff, and it continues to pursue barbaric policies of murder, abduction and torture as part of its foreign policy, the US is bereft of ‘soft’ power. The only edge the US has is military. The US can bomb real good.  So Obama is sticking with Bushite threats to bomb Russia and the world, and eventually the American people if we get out of hand.  This has already occurred in the 9/11 homicide.

This strategy allows Israel to continue its war against the Palestinian people, the Israeli tail wagging the American dog. A danagerous, barbaric, absurd and morally disgusting policy. The US power struture, which is strongly influenced by Zionism, is a enormous danger to the whole world.  And it can only contine this policy by continuing to create a disguised military police state.

The American people must realize that their main enemy has become the America power structure, no matter whose face is serving its public relations function.  The American power struture has been captured by what Petras calls the ‘Zionist power configuration.’ and no longer promotes its own intersts, let alone that of the American people.
It is a desaster wainting to happen: the military disaster that joins the economic disaster that has aleady occurred.

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By lodipete, February 7, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Nobody’s lumping Ron Paul & Kucinich “together”. But if progressives can break away from the demopublicans with Dennis, why shouldn’t real conservatives find their voice outside the republicrats with Paul or whomever else represents their interests and not those of Goldman-Sachs?

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By TheRealFish, February 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

Lodipete: Interesting that you lump Denis Kucinich and Ron Paul together. Granted, they are both more “pure” in their positions (read that: people of more extreme positions). However, Kucinich is most definitely liberal and Ron Paul? He’s the type of libertarian who would do absolutely nothing about the current crisis. He believes the only good government service is an extinct government service and would be quite satisfied if the federal government just dies a violent death under the crushing weight of a dying economy. No stimulus from him. Also, no healthcare/medicare/medicaid, social security, DHS, DoJ, or any other government service from him. No way. He’s on the side of Grover Norquist, whose philosophy is to shrink the size of the federal government to the point you can drown it in the bathtub.

Jaded Prole: When you suggest Obama “seems unable to stand up to the Repug minority”, I think you have him confused with Harry Reid (who should be dumped from his leadership position in favor of somebody with enough spine to force the obstructionist Republif**ks to filibuster this attempt to save our country. That needs to happen and it needs to be televised). But Obama stood up to the Repug minority last fall. He won.

Still, while a supporter of Obama, I am also troubled that he has wrapped himself with a blanket of thinkers who are schooled in all the wrong type of economics, and those that led to our current crisis. I don’t expect we will suddenly become an overwhelmingly liberal country once again, no matter who is in that office, no matter how much I would like a return to those founding roots. But I agree I would be much happier if we can actually struggle back to the center (instead of the nearly neo-fascist country we have become over the past 28 years because of the neo-fascist neo-cons).

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By yours truly, February 7, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nationalized Banking & Finance Is A Must

“Why?”

“Privatized public services is an oxymoron.”

“Based on?”

“Greed.”

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By swisskitsch, February 7, 2009 at 11:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By cyrena, February 7 at 12:55 am
“You think this guy hasn’t ‘risked anything’. How about his LIFE”
Cyrena
Has the bar been set so low that running for president is enough to justify ones argument?  I hope when the dew is off the rose you will realize how little your or my opinion count. The U.S.A has been invaded. Not by terrorists, but by corporate lobbyists.  The voices of real progressives; like Nader and Kuncinich are scoffed at by the corporate media. Yet the polls showed that they won every debate they were allowed to participate in.

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By lodipete, February 7, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

This crowd will finish the job started by Hoover & the republicans of that era. The really different politicians like Dennis Kucinich & Ron Paul will never be heard from unless & until there’s a real revolution in this country or 2 new political parties for Liberals & Conservatives to go along with the 2 fat cat parties now running the show. In the meantime, we’ll have the spectacle of fat rich people talking about sacrifice & belt tightening while sucking down filet mignon,usually at taxpayer expense, draft dodgers talking about duty & service to the new generation, millionaires complaining about taxes while buying new yachts and saying that teachers are overpaid while avoiding their own taxes anyway they can and a whole lot of other hypocrisies that I’ve noticed in my 65 years. To hell with them.

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By Leefeller, February 7, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

In the worst of things to come I foresee the possibilities as follows:

Reading between the lines, one must realize sifting through what is true and what is not is a never ending job, with no pay.  Accordingly, we have many newly built prisons sprinkled throughout the country just waiting for the revolution?  The military has units dedicated to address civil disobedience. Destruction of our alleged rights, (really privileges) systematically done over many years, with the new world order in mind.  One could say citizenship means little compared to the grand scheme of things, I have always felt corporations having the same rights as citizens is unfair, we know they are not going into those alleged prisons and rounded up by the civil disobedience military units. 

So if Bertil’s dissertation and my grapevine is correct, we are so fucked.

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