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Saving the Obama Revolution

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Posted on Sep 22, 2009
Obama
AP / Charles Dharapak

President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Albany International Airport after he spoke about the economy at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y., on Monday.

By Robert Scheer

The Obama revolution, and there was the hope of one, might still succeed. But only if Barack Obama follows the model of the incredibly successful Reagan revolution and heeds the political base that made his presidency possible.

Love him or not, Ronald Reagan had at least one outstanding political virtue—his respect for the concerns of those who placed their trust in him. And whenever the political vultures that feast on power tried to lead him astray, they were fired at the insistence of Reagan or his remarkably savvy wife, Nancy. Hopefully Obama and his no-less-impressive mate, Michelle, will do the same.

The first obligation of Obama as president is to be a peacemaker, since he as a candidate seized that mantle, successfully exploiting his early opposition to the Iraq war, which his closest rival, Hillary Clinton, had supported. Obama, as opposed to her flirtations with U.S. imperial arrogance, has stuck to a vision of a complex multipolar world in which the military option is to be chosen only as a last resort.

In that regard the president is making some progress, particularly with his decision to stop provoking the Russians with an unneeded and unworkable missile defense on their border. He also seems serious about getting the Israelis and Palestinians to peace negotiations, the one issue in the Mideast that must be solved if the region’s religious fanatics are to be neutralized. And he will deserve credit if he backs his attorney general’s quest to hold the enablers of a U.S. government torture policy accountable.

The deal breaker in foreign policy so far has been his escalation of the folly of U.S. nation-building in Afghanistan that feeds rather than mitigates terrorist recruitment. That is the unmistakable, if unintended, conclusion of the 66-page declassified report of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal that became public this week. It states:  “ … many indicators suggest the overall situation is deteriorating. We face not only a resilient and growing insurgency; there is also a crisis of confidence among Afghans—in both their government and the international community—that undermines our credibility and emboldens the insurgents.”

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The report makes clear that the insurgents are deeply divided into three camps (one of which previously fought against the Taliban) and are basically homegrown, and provides no evidence that defeating them has anything to do with making us safer from attack by al-Qaida terrorists. Lest we forget, the 9/11 hijackers found it easier to operate from Germany, San Diego and Florida rather than forlorn Afghanistan.

The foreign influence behind the insurgency comes primarily from one of the countries we are allied with; as the report notes, “Afghanistan’s insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan.” And the document goes on to say that the historical India-Pakistan rivalry has now been transferred to Afghanistan, where “the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian.” Great, another Kashmir battlefield in the making.

Obama was right during his appearances Sunday on the TV political talk shows to put the emphasis on going after what remains of Osama bin Laden’s forces in Pakistan and elsewhere rather than simply throwing more troops into the Afghanistan war. He raised the all-important question of what U.S. troops in Afghanistan are expected to do.

The McChrystal report agrees that the key is the question of mission rather than simply increasing troop numbers: “Success is achievable, but it will not be attained simply by trying harder or ‘doubling down’ on the previous strategy. Additional resources are required, but focusing on force or resource requirements misses the point entirely. The key take away from this assessment is the urgent need for a significant change to our strategy and the way we think and operate.”

There is a sobering honesty to McChrystal’s report that those who want to “win” in Afghanistan must take into account. The mission the general outlines is one of nation-building with a vengeance by U.S. forces that must forsake the safety of their bases, learn the local languages and enter into the administration of local life without being able to count on the support of the hopelessly corrupt and, after the rigged election, illegitimate Afghan government. “Afghans are frustrated and weary after eight years without evidence of the progress they anticipated,” the report says. 

It’s the old winning-hearts-and-minds strategy that has never worked—as Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s point man in the region, should know from his failed efforts to win hearts and minds during the war in Vietnam, where he specialized in “rural pacification.” That was a Democrat’s war, and the base of the party, which knows better than to repeat that disastrous error, should tell the president so.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 29, 2009 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Well considering that the ones who owns them are the same ones in the Republican party that have been behind so much that has been leading us to that very area you don’t want to see. Or give so much deference to then we shall disagree. If I must defend myself I will. It is only natural. Which is different than just attacking someone because I disagree, or don’t like the way they write. You sir are blind to it. You think I see one under every bed. Too bad Obama‘s on your side. The one you keep defending. The one that gave us the military tribunals, allow our telecommunications industries to spy on us for the gov’t and get off scott-free. The USA PATRIOT Act and other abominations we have now over the past 29 years. All yours Ozark Michael. All yours and Obama agrees with you, not me. [You see they are in the Democratic Party too.]

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By ardee, September 28, 2009 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt

Just so you know, most of us, I believe, understand your distinction between individual snarkiness and the fascism of institutions and their leaders. I personally admire your style and refusal to enter the sty, though I am not adverse to getting dirty with those who dish it first.

There was no way you were going to convert that one anyway.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, September 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

NightGaunt on the high road :I have no interest in verbal fisticuffs over simply disagreeing. That isn’t productive. Sniping and snarking doesn’t show intelligence, just anger and ego boosting.

I read that and I am thinking, Thats pretty cool.  I ought to do that. I can do that. Heck, i WILL do that.

So then then I read in his very next post…

Night Gaunt on the low road: E S & S may buy Diebold to have an 80% lock on all e-voting machines, processors and optical scanners. Even if they don’t they are both owned by the crypto-fascists.

Calling someone a fascist, whether ‘crypto-fascist’, ‘proto-fascist’ or whatever… means that person or group must not be allowed to influence or be allowed to participate in our sytem of government. And each person who works there needs to be under surveillance.

I take this seriously. You do it far too often to far too many people. You dont prove it, you just throw it like a hand grenade.

Calling people “fascists” is very serious. If it you cant prove that its true, then you have uttered “fighting words”. Such accusations are like a slap in the face.

You, Night Gaunt, deserve all the verbal fisticuffs that come your way.

Try to remember that, ok?

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 28, 2009 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

E S & S may buy Diebold to have an 80% lock on all e-voting machines, processors and optical scanners. Even if they don’t they are both owned by the crypto-fascists and we could lose from them and all the other means of keeping voters from voting. We are in continual danger, and never have been out of it since 1980. A constitutional crisis since 2001! Not that they would classify it as such.

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By StuartH, September 28, 2009 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt:

I’d agree totally with that last post. 

The headline in the local Albuquerque paper was about the Mayor’s race here. 
The vote will be this week.  Essentially you see the Republicans testing out a
strategy that they will use against the newly elected Congressman from this
district who really is a progressive with a solar energy engineering background. 

The incumbent has collected some disapproval because of serving three terms, and having baggage. An opponent who filed as more progressive leaning, sort of.  This led the Republicans to see a divided vote count, allowing some daylight, so a developer filed.  With the race nearly even at a third apiece, it looks like the Republican may well win.

Already the Republican Party which stung themselves the same way during the last election, is looking to take out the Democratic congressman.  The Mayor’s race is a tactical run through.

This mirrors pretty much, the situation that is shaping up for 2010 in many districts across the US.  The question is not so much whether Congress will become more progressive, but whether the extreme right wing will convince enough voters to either vote Republican - or stay home and not vote.  It is too early to predict really, but it would be surprising if the test were on the side of getting more progressive this time around. 

Taking a run at ACORN is part of this overall strategy, since the organization was prominently effective in registering new voters, primarily those in poor neighborhoods that had been disenfranchised. 

Meanwhile, this discussion is generally a redundant going around and around with the very same assertions and responses over and over through thousands of posts that stay in abstract, theoretical and emotional modes. 

I think the Daily Kos formula is more useful to mobilization, as that is the purpose for which the community came together.  There you have practical and specific discussions that lead to actual strategies.  They actually hire a polling firm to run weekly tests on different relevant questions. 

What is good about this forum is that it has become monopolized by a small number of people you can kind of get to know like a group one might encounter at a local breakfast diner.  That’s kind of nice in a way.  It is, however a shelter.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 28, 2009 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

I find that I keep my own council but I do look at what others have to say and decide accordingly. I have no interest in verbal fisticuffs over simply disagreeing. That isn’t productive. Sniping and snarking doesn’t show intelligence, just anger and ego boosting. When it goes over the line, “jumping the snark” as I call it, it escalates the R-complex part of the brain and degenerates into violence or verbal abuse on here or anywhere. We see it all the time.

We can be made of better stuff. Civility isn’t a weakness no matter how many millionaire shock-jocks there are showing otherwise.

We must hold Obama to what he says, as with what he does. He must be made accountable to his promises no matter what he really wants. No matter how right wing he secretly is. He is no incarnation of FDR nor MLKJr.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 28, 2009 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

StuartH: ’... What is disappointing about these forums is that, with the luxury of this sort of communcation capability and the time we have, we basically squander it on personal fits of pique, amateurish analysis with no aim except getting angst off
our chests, and enhancing dissention instead of potential cohesion. ...’

One person’s personal fit of pique is another’s extremely important issue.  For example, your personal fit of pique is the amount of contention on the Internet—something which others may find interesting, entertaining, beneficial, or at least unimportant.

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By StuartH, September 27, 2009 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt:

“Study Germany or Russian or Italy and you find that when the dictators took
power they didn’t change things at once. They eased their way into it. The
Cabal has been easing us at least since 1980. They have long range plans and
are quite patient in their unfolding plans as I see them from the outside
looking in.”

If your point is that the growing power of corporate money is a threat, I would
have to agree.  It indeed could swamp all of our hopes in the Republic.

If there is an argument here, it may be that it comes from the disparity that
comes from viewing the incremental progress that comes from within the
electoral system with its formalized Kabuki theater aspects, versus the
conclusions that one can reach independent of the need to persuade others to
some common action.

Our neighbors are not spending much time reading and worrying about these
things and if they are, may come to annoyingly different conclusions.  They
cannot be wished away. 

You live in Texas.  I grew up in Waco and spend a lot of time in Austin before
moving to the Seattle area and then to the Southwest.  I spend some very
intense time in the Ohio and Pennsylvania region knocking on doors.  I have
lived or traveled to just about every part of the US.

The problem is how to communicate.  With a degree in hand from a university
in the mid 1970s, having met people like Bob Woodward and been inspired by
homecoming journalists who had been there when the first space capsule
splashed down, I was eager to get into newspapers.  As I went to offices where
I might begin, the papers were dying like flies all around me. 

What was going on was that independent newspapers were being killed off on
purpose in favor of a more conservative and compliant media system.  If you
trace the history of Time Warner, you see increased vertical integration.  What
the hell does that mean? 

People like Arthur Temple and his son Buddy, east Texas timber magnates, got
control of large holding company operations that owned everything from pulp
paper to satellites. 

Until the internet came along, this was headed into a total blackout of
independent voices.  Now the battle is over Net Neutrality.  Thank God the FCC
is not chaired by a McCain appointee.  But that is a temporary stay.

What is disappointing about these forums is that, with the luxury of this sort of
communcation capability and the time we have, we basically squander it on
personal fits of pique, amateurish analysis with no aim except getting angst off
our chests, and enhancing dissention instead of potential cohesion.  We are like
the plains Indians of a century ago who could easily be played by appeals to
individual ego to betray a larger vision of survival. 

The power of the ballot box in a system where voting is the basis for power,
should be the trump card.  With fractured will and fractious emotional BS
jamming the communication networks, the prospect is that we will vote
ourselves into a dictatorship because it is more comfortable to complain than it
is to organize our minds.  We have been doing it for a thousand years.

Hope comes from the prospect that maybe we can break that tradition.  Those
who engage are not naive about the situation, just trying to actually take up the
cause and fight for it in whatever way might come to hand, as opposed to
uselessly bickering. 

Maybe your nervous system can’t take it.  Fine.  Honesty is helpful.  There is cause
for being very anxious, fearful.  I get really depressed at times.  There really is
something called political courage.  It means facing the situation despite
knowing the truth, rising up out of emotional paralysis and trying to figure out
something to try, even if it seems futile.  It does not mean being stupid.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, September 27, 2009 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

O I’m a Democrat and I’m OK    
  I sleep all night and I Hope all day
  I eat their dreck like a crazed boll weevil
  But I stand tall, I’m The Lesser Evil

change the second line to:

    I Hope all night and I Change all day


And let me say that gentle satire is far more effective then slander and abuse. It makes you laugh for a few seconds but then you end up thinking for a few minutes.

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By ardee, September 27, 2009 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

One fishing trip and I come back to a couple dozen interesting posts…

I will address only this, by StuartH:

  We elect Obama, not to be a creator of change, but to be a head of government who no longer has a reason to block the efforts of thousands of people who have been quietly working in the trenches for decades.

We elected Obama for a couple of reasons.

One was certainly the perception by the American people that Bush was possibly the worst President in our history, and Cheney the most dangerous Vice President.

We elected Obama because we rejected McCain/Palin as a viable alternative, a rather sane decision I think.

We elected Obama because American politics has always been cyclic. The voter sees little choice and 40% always vote Dem and 40% always vote GOP, thus the small percentage of those not loyalists decide the election.

We elected Obama because he speaks with great eloquence, though a perceptive listener must come to the determination that he says nothing and does even less.

I doubt that we elected Obama to ” get out of the way”, as you seem to posit.

To me, the arguments here about whether Obama is or is not a progressive are uninformed by the reality of what is really going on where the media does not provide emphasis.  And, there is a great deal of disrespect for those people who have given the substance of their lives and their best efforts to actually lay the basis for a real change.

Stuart, I respect you as a man of intellect, I know you as a Democratic loyalist, and I do not seek to discredit or abuse you for your loyalty. But, after nine months of this administration, after the breaking or, more accurately, the ignoring of many worthwhile “promises” during his campaign, promises like a line by line study of our budget to eliminate waste and the like, I think it past time for you to reassess your loyalty.

Obama appointed those wedded to the status quo to his cabinet, which resulted in the mortgaging of our children’s future, and their kids future as well, in order to save the mansion and yachts of the unscrupulous and amoral people who wrecked our economy for their own selfish benefit.

Obama appointed , to Defense, a man who is known for his politicizing of the intelligence at the CIA for republican party gain.

Obama has refused, despite the wishes of his own Atty General, to investigate serious constitutional violations by the previous administration, and ,in fact, despite his own promise to end them, has continued rendition for the purpose of torture, has continued to seek military solutions to a situation that begs for other solutions.

I will not continue to list the myriad of reasons for you to reassess, I know it to be a useless endeavor anyway. But I will say I believe that those on the left who criticize and refuse to support your choice are , in large part, thoughtful and patriotic Americans who see things realistically. It just seems to me that you, in order to remain loyal to your choice,must reject, or refuse to consider , far, far too much.

Sorry for the rant, a combination of a fourteen hour day on the ocean and only one cup of coffee….

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By Inherit The Wind, September 27, 2009 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

So I dedicate a another round of The Democrat Song to you, Stuart, you Realist you:

    O I’m a Democrat and I’m OK      
    I sleep all night and I Hope all day
    I eat their dreck like a crazed boll weevil
    But I stand tall, I’m The Lesser Evil

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

FT, sometimes you can be a $#!t, and sometimes you can be vaguely amusing but this time I have to salute you:
Not only are you being a real $#!t (that’s not new) which should annoy me, but it doesn’t because this ditty is truly too funny as hell!  I was ROFLMAO when I read it.

If only I could hear the tune that goes with it….

It’s not “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” (Phil Ochs) but it’s got a similar zing.

Stu: Despite being the butt of FT’s joke, you gotta laugh at the doggerel.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, September 26, 2009 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

what I hope to do is to help develop an ideological worldview that can unite the demonstrators at the G-20 meeting at Pittsburgh with the students demonstrating at the U of California with my daughter.

Ugh. If I were you i would try to find ways to keep them apart. the G-20 demonstrators are more unstable than the town hall demonstrators.

Probably your daughter is a good person and she is doing something positive at the U of California that doesnt involve violence.

And although you might not need the advice, say no more specifically about a daughter, and just refer to “the college kids”. You might accidently give too much info and you never know who is reading.

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By Folktruther, September 26, 2009 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

You are absolutely right, Stuart, you are a really wonderful speler.  But I was not always the worse speler among truthdig commenters.  At one time we had a resident theologian, TrithOverLies, who was, if you can believe it, even worse than I was.  But he left us, has Trith, hopefully not to stand before the White Throne of Judgement.  And now I am the worst, and its lonely at the bottom.

Not that you don’t have other virtues besides spelling as well, Stuart.  I have trouble sleeping at night and I have found that reading a few of your posts has me nodding off in no time.  I think you have found your metier as a political seditive, and consequently should be quite in demand in the Dem party.

As to what I want politically, Stuart, I may dffer a little from you.  I don’t think American people are angry ENOUGH, especially at the US plutocracy that is running them into the ground.  what I hope to do is to helop develop an ideological worldview that can unite the demonstrators at the G-20 meeting at Pittsburgh with the students demonstrating at the U of California with my daughter.  One big movement against the American plutocracy and the faces they put forward to exploit, deprive, brutalize and deceive.

As a good Dem, you of coursse want to put people to sleep before they get angry..  Have you ever thought of a career as a history teacher?  History is so boring in our high schools that the young never want to think about it again after the final examination.  That is responsible for what Gore Vidal calls the United States of Amnesia. 

But you may not be interested in history, Stuart.  You are after all a Dem. You are a Realist, concered with those choices on the ballot, not those that aren’t.  And those candidates that the plutcoracy selects, not those they don’t.  And you have Hope; Hope for the Dems, Faith for the Gops.  So I dedicate a another round of The Democrat Song to you, Stuart, you Realist you:

      O I’m a Democrat and I’m OK          
      I sleep all night and I Hope all day
      I eat their dreck like a crazed boll weevil
      But I stand tall, I’m The Lesser Evil

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 26, 2009 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

“Voting is about the choices you have, not about ones that aren’t on the ballot.”-StuarH

My point exactly and the way the system is you will never get the person you know can move things away from the crypto-facsist incrementalism we have been experiencing these past 29 years. Study Germany or Russian or Italy and you find that when the dictators took power they didn’t change things at once. They eased their way into it. The Cabal has been easing us at least since 1980. They have long range plans and are quite patient in their unfolding plans as I see them from the outside looking in.

Was the rest of what you said directed at me? You failed to include my screen name within it and referred only to the pronoun “he” so I must ask for clarification before I respond. I like a limited democracy in the framework of a small republic. We have had both stymied and crippled by them. [I have deduced that it stemmed from the near take over of our gov’t by the richest elites in 1934. FDR was totally unaware of it and didn’t punish those involved. I submit that they learned their lesson. The wrong one.]

I would ask you the same as I have asked others. What would it be like for you if all things done in the past 29 years had been done in only one year? What would you call that? I dare say you would be less critical of what I have said and perhaps more responsive to the slow but consistent decline in our republic. What we can do today we may not be able to tomorrow.

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By StuartH, September 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:

“And simple truth characterizing currrent power relations is far to superfical for
Stuart, requiring him to menader off into vacuous truths that do not even reach
the status of cliches.”

At least I can spell.  And at least I offer my own experiences as support.  You
offer insults instead. 

From what you have said before, I deduce you live in the San Francisco area
and was disappointed when Cindy Sheehan lost to Nancy Pelosi, and were too
angry to really analyze why.

The problem I see here on Truthdig is that the attempt to figure out any
alternative to the status quo is crippled by hasty analysis of the real world, as
typing insults is faster, less work and fun.

Apparently some people were sleeping during the Bush Administration.

The setbacks to progress we might have been achieving as a nation were many
and devastating.  We had an election in 2006 and 2008 in which the moderates
joined the left in a loose coalition that came together because there was
enough pain to cause it to come together.  Progressive change is a potential
that exists for the time being.  But, the ball was so far back from the line, that
working it back to starting point will not be easy. 

I put “corporate fascist” in quotes because is is possible that you will feel
nostalgia in the future for a time when you had the luxury of calling Obama
one without having to face what one would really be like.  I don’t think that
prospect is ever out of the picture, and if the Supreme Court decision turns out
to have the consequences some fear it might, that prospect comes a lot closer.

It hangs in the balance. 

What I think the larger portion of the voting population, which you apparently
have contempt for, is doing is looking pragmatically at what can be done, given
the realities of the moment.  Voting is about the choices you have, not about ones that aren’t on the ballot.

I also think that you really must have a lot of contempt for people who actually
work for change, even though they realize just exactly what they are up
against.  Suckers, every one of them.  Far wiser to just dismiss the whole effort
with keyboard cleverness and disdain. 

What constructive plan do you have, looking forward?  You said that you were
through with electoral politics.  Well, OK.  There are other things that one could
do.  As I pointed out, innovations don’t arise from politics.  At best, it doesn’t
hinder them. 

What do you want?  Will it have to come about through education?  Who are you teaching?

If you tell your student that they are ignorant and stupid they are not likely to learn anything from that.  What wisdom do you have to share?  At your age that is what you should be doing.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 26, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

“It is however, just as likely that we really will see a “corporate fascist” become President after Obama, either in 2012 or 2016.”StuartH

Why is “corporate fascist” in quotes? You don’t accept it but others say it in-so-many-words and you are repeating it without endorsing it? I would say that if they fit the criterion for it then that is what they are. Regardless of official party. As long as we have these elections rigged and routed from the beginning to winnow out any who aren’t of the shadow party but still around in it. We see some exceptions but they are the present exception, not the rule. I will answer yes of course they will be no matter their personal or party for as long as they play the democracy game on us. They will not allow any other. Call me cynical, but I just “calls them as I sees them.”

I live in Texas, a place of stark contrasts,  sometimes national embarrassment. Oil and cattle were the chief basis for its economy way back when. Now it must turn to other things.Preferably cleaner, non-carbon based technology. [Solar farms would be an excellent way along with wind generator farms fit here very well.]

I liked many of the things Obama stated in his speeches but was reticent to endorse him for the reasons I have already given. How could I trust someone who has almost no background I could see? He already showed me he was no liberal nor Progressive. His present actions in just nine months cemented to me he is a Regressive. I wasn’t surprised, just sad that I was right again. He has done much in 9 months, imagine in 4 years! I don’t have any inside knowledge, just my deductions and adductions and predictions based on that data and previous behavior.

It fits the standard model for a “conspiracy theory” however it is a hypothesis still, not a theory. I fear that by the time the truth comes out it will be too late. If they succeed in bringing down our gov’t and our economy but fail to install their own gov’t we will be descending into chaotic conditions that will in many ways be far worse than their theocratic dictatorship of the oligarchs. Far worse. It would fragment, violence, starvation, civil wars and disease spread. Most would rather choose a society that is at least marginally like what they are use—without the levels of chaos that could occur. Not good choices but the ones they want to make for us. Which is the point of their planning.

I liked Obama‘s rhetoric for change, just I didn’t think he meant it. I would rather go in wholly different direction as I would say most if not all of you on TruthDig. There will always be those who want an empire and a dictatorial state where only the ruthless and cunning survive at the top of the heap. That is not me nor do I want to be that way.

“You can’t enslave a free Man, you can only kill him.”Robert A. Heinlein

I don’t think I am brave enough at this time to follow that maxim. If everyone could the dictators wouldn’t have a chance.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

StuartH: ... We elect Obama, not to be a creator of change, but to be a head of government who no longer has a reason to block the efforts of thousands of people who have been quietly working in the trenches for decades. ...’

I think a lot of people did elect Obama to be a creator of change.  That is because a belief in monarchism is widespread among the people: elect the right king, and all will be well.  In your story, a change took place not because of a good king but because of hundreds or thousands of people working in relative obscurity for many years, and I think that is the way changes usually occur.  Most of these changes in recent years have been the work or hundreds or thousands of rightists working in relative obscurity, of course, but they were changes even if they were changes we don’t like.  In the end their worship of violence and fraud turned on them, but that’s another story.

However, I do think Obama is the focus of one significant change that was effected by the voters, and that was the symbolically significant election of a Black person to the highest office.  The Civil Rights movement continues, and as it goes its inexorable way, it goes on breaking stuff loose.  It keeps implying that all people are created equal.  It is continuing to do this even though the electee has turned out to be highly conservative.  It was not his conservatism or even his person that was elected: it was his category, his caste.  We can tell something important has happened by the circus of agitation that has taken hold of so many rightists.  We, or at least I, just don’t know what it is yet.

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By Folktruther, September 26, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Stuart is interesting because he exemplifies the typical Dem cadre, which perhaps average seventy years old.  His astonishing ignorance of historical politics is typical, the Dems teaching their cadrre that politics is really only eletoral policics and the only prog policy is electing Dems to office.

While the US polity has gone continually to the right over the past 3 decades, it has not affected Stuarts worldview.  Policy change, for Stuart,  will acutally take place is some indefinate future sometime, decades away,  and in the meantime we have to keep electing Dems to office.  And simple truth characterizing currrent power relations is far to superfical for Stuart, requiring him to menader off into vacuous truths that do not even reach the status of cliches.

The portection of the American people against Gop neofasicsm is in the heads of Dem activists like Stuart.  As the American people realize that political change will not occur by electing reps to office, it is instructuve to have Stuart providing us with the embodiment of Dem emptiness and stirility.

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By StuartH, September 26, 2009 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt:

Your question is interesting, not on the surface, but because on this forum
people seem so focused on it that the arguments are repetitive and then repeat
some more.  How to get beyond that?

Hmmmm.  Well, in the background this morning I am hearing a children’s radio
show in which a kid who sounds like a fourth grader is reading a report about
the different forms of alternative energy.  To my ears, this is a shift. 

Where I live, in oil and gas country, where those interests dominate the
landscape, a few years back these kids would have been told to report on
something else - perhaps on how great the oil and gas industry has been. 

Alternative energy is, to some, communism.

Probably this has been different in other parts of the country.  But since Obama’s election, a lot of dialogue about this has been liberated from the locked closet where it had been kept.

Some 25 years ago I guess, I was involved in a progressive local effort to elect
a majority to a city council that would go for rather radical changes in the way
energy policy was governed by a municipality that owned its own electric
utility.  Going from the all-electric model to a conservation model came with a
huge fight, about like the health care reform issue.  On a local basis we won
the fight and through about the next ten years, set up Green Building zoning
policies and city funded weatherization and home loan programs for adopting
energy conservation.  By the time our political muscle began to weaken,
there was balance sheet proof that made maintaining this an “apple pie” issue.

Because a few municipalities did this, the real impetus for national policy is really those balance sheets.  We elect Obama, not to be a creator of change, but to be a head of government who no longer has a reason to block the efforts of thousands of people who have been quietly working in the trenches for decades.

To me, the arguments here about whether Obama is or is not a progressive are uninformed by the reality of what is really going on where the media does not provide emphasis.  And, there is a great deal of disrespect for those people who have given the substance of their lives and their best efforts to actually lay
the basis for a real change.

I think there is a mistake being made in a lot of these discussions.  Politics is not where real innovation comes from. 

The real intellectual work of identifying and understanding problems and then discovering and testing out solutions is
done by people who try and fail, try and fail, and then try and succeed over and over again- some of whom may be lucky enough to live in one of those few places with a preponderance of progressive voters. 

When a tipping point is reached in terms of public education and the readiness of new thinking to become applied to policy, then politics comes into play.

Most people who vote are about what will work.  They don’t care whether it is a liberal or a conservative idea that works.  Swing voters especially, are turned off by the kinds of arguments common to discussion groups like this. 

This is why over time, Democrats or Republicans have the upper hand or are bums alternatively.  It is about who has the energy, or who has become exhausted. 

To me, going to the United Nations, chairing a disarmament panel and articulating an international policy that is about as different from Bush’s as it is possible to get, is some progress. 

We won’t really see it, however, unless Obama has eight years and then we won’t see it until he can be followed in office by the next President who then can afford to be a notch more progressive. 

It is however, just as likely that we really will see a “corporate fascist” become President after Obama, either in 2012 or 2016.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 25, 2009 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

Either side is the same side. Where has he strayed? Once people get over their elation at another face in the White House they will see it is the same stuff. Guantonamo isn’t going to be closed as are none of the secret prisons for the guiltless all over the world. Change? You tell me?

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By StuartH, September 25, 2009 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Night Guant:

“The Obama Revolution is a myth. He is perpetuating what has gone on before.
It is the Reagan Revolution that is still going on and it is nasty, brutish and
short for us.”

That would almost fit on a bumpersticker.  For those who like cleverness that
sort of thing will work.

In the real world, that is not a description of what is going on.  The Reagan
Revolution brought corporate conservatism into a kind of uneasy marriage with
evangelical Christianity, which strengthened as a movement through the Bush
years.  One can say this is not over yet, because we haven’t seen the final act.

What might easily happen is that Obama might lose in 2012 and if so, might
well be replaced by someone eager to continue the Bush/Reagan way of doing
things as if the Democratic majority in 2008 never happened. 

If Obama wins in 2012, he might have a chance by the end of his second term
to begin to change directions.  But considering the Reagan/Bush plutocracy
that has been in effect since 1980, it would take another couple of terms of
office by Democrats to have a chance of becoming something beyond the
present quagmire.

We could be arguing about which sandcastle is preferable, like kids
unconscious that the tide is still out.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 25, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Actually Osama ben-Ladin said it was because the USA and other countries were interfering with their sovereignty. The attack backfired on them because it was an excuse to go even deeper into the are. Which in turn continues to blow-back to us.

The Obama Revolution is a myth. He is perpetuating what has gone on before. It is the Reagan Revolution that is still going on and it is nasty, brutish and short for us.

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By Anarcissie, September 25, 2009 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

StuartH:
’... 911 resulted.  Remember when everyone was asking why 911 happened?  A lot of people, it turned out, didn’t like the answer. ...’

They made up different answers.  One answer was “Because the U.S. government has been interfering with the Middle East for generations, and this is blowback.”  Another was “Because Muslims and especially Arabs are intrinsically evil” and another was “Because we read books and the women wear bikinis”.  Obviously, the wide discussion of the first of these possibilities was very inconvenient for the U.S. ruling class, which prefers people to believe that world domination is cost-free or even profitable.  So the first answer had to be suppressed, and it was, more or less, by propaganda, abuse and calumny, of which we have been given a latter-day whiff by Marshall.  But the latter answers require that our great leaders and protectors Do Something to defend us from the evil others who attack us without cause, and so some sort of war, somewhere, was necessary.  This need hasn’t gone away because, although the calumny has died down, the continuing threat of violence deriving from “our” involvement in tribal and colonial wars in the Middle East hasn’t gone away, nor have the fictions that cover and obscure the reasons for it.  Mr. O, like Mr. B, is politically compelled to Do Something.  And that will continue until the U.S. is bankrupt, a condition which may not be too far off.

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By glider, September 25, 2009 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie,
“The Net, starting in the mid-eighties with mailing lists and Usenet “news” groups, gave these nasty creatures a chance to abuse each other verbally without being hurt physically in return, and many went at it with a vengeance”

Ain’t that the truth.  Our own human nastiness is usually ameliorated by close face to face interactions.  This is the way we evolved.  Take that away and you get a “road rage” effect from otherwise docile appearing individuals.  Many of us probably have personally learned to be careful of this tendency and never write an email to an associate when in a state of anger.  Wait to cool off lest you do something you will regret with a real world face to face contact later grin.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 25, 2009 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

We are still in transition as you should know Anarssissi but we are well on the way there and in fact just one economic collapse away from one. Incrementally and like I said before if all this had happened in the span of one year instead of 29 you would be crying “totalitarianism” even though we still have some wiggle room left. The signs are here. But then there are different levels of it and what we are seeing is fascism in many places with just a few more to go to make it unequivocal. Don’t dismiss it. We fit the profile for it and it isn’t pretty. It is an American brand but there is a relation to every other one out there alive or extinct. See Rome, Italy, German, Russia, Japan, Thailand, Chile, Argentina and Brazil for a few examples. They learn from each other too.

One thing you find consistent with the rise and maintainance of many such states Elisalouisa, are the “just happening, untimely deaths” of certain people that are so important to the opposition. It just happens with alarming regularity.

Glider despite how the term “fascism” has been slovenly used in the past I use it very precisely. And the increasing mixture of church/state/mega-corporation are prime examples as are the reductions in freedoms we have seen over the years. Most especially with the past 29 years starting with Reagan. The “Reagan Revolution” wasn’t just an empty slogan or pretense of change. It really was the start of what Chris Hedges has called a “slow revolution” and he is right. We are about due for another “terrorist” or terrorist act. Last time was in 2001, before that in 1993.

I identify Obama by what he does, what he says is superfluous to that. He is “Leftist” in name only and that is something he wouldn’t do to himself.

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By StuartH, September 25, 2009 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

OzarkMicheal:

“Obama is going as far Left as he can and still maintain some electoral power.
Politics involves what is possible, but many leftists dont understand that. To me
it is funny to see some of you tear into Obama, but its also sad. Especially when
Obama is trying to do at least a little of what you want.

Anyway, cant we all support Obama(God I cant believe I’m am saying that) as he
tries to step back from his “full speed ahead” commitment to the war in
Afghanistan?  We are getting the first public indications that he is not so sure
about Afghanistan. Breaking the ice as it were.”

        -      -      -        -      -      -      -      -      -

I agree with this assessment.  For many who claim real estate on the
left, realism is no necessity.  However, for anyone who has ever been at all
close to real elective office, it is apparent that realism is a strait jacket that
can’t be removed, or at least not quickly or easily.

When candidates say stuff about what they propose and then adjust once they
are in office, at any level, what is going on is the difference between the way
things appear from a distance and reality engaged up close and personal.  This
happens to often because we almost always vote for people who tell us what
we want to hear and not for those who tell us the truth.

As a conservative evangelical Christian, you know well that many people are all
for war when it is easy to win it, not so eager when there are body bags.  That
is how we get into these things.  Also, we have a collective memory that is
almost as short as that of gnats.

This Afghanistan thing goes back a long way.  Read Stephen Coll’s book on the
Mujahadin period when the US backed the local resistance movement under
George H.W. Bush (Ghost Wars.)  Then, the US was happy to think this was like
the Contras of South America and give the locals shoulder-launched anti-
aircraft rockets, CIA training in special forces tactics, and to whip up Muslim
religious extremism. 

Osama Bin Laden was involved with the Mujahadin at the time, and apparently
was on the CIA’s payroll.  What he and the others learned about military tactics
was at least partly due to the training they got from America.

Then, when the Soviets left, we ignored the entreaties of the Pakistanis that
they were going to be saddled with religious extremists who were armed.  We
left everyone high and dry.

911 resulted.  Remember when everyone was asking why 911 happened?  A lot
of people, it turned out, didn’t like the answer.

Given that, and the pressure from the right wing and the suburban swing
voters, Obama has no choice but to move ahead like a chess player trying to
avoid checkmate, so as to move ahead on a range of issues.

This took a long time to get so screwed up.  The real challenge is how to
establish an engagement with other nations through peaceful diplomacy and
economic cooperations that can really supercede the use of covert military
means to promote US interests - and prove itself sustainable past this
Administration.

If the President after Obama is more like George Bush, a return to the military
strong hand approach could wipe out whatever trends are established in the
next few years.  More wars will result as the military industrial complex and
the conservatives push a harder line. 

Ozark Michael’s poker analogy is quite appropriate.  It is high stakes.

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By Anarcissie, September 25, 2009 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

StuartH:
‘Anarcissie:

Some years ago I was appointed by a city council to serve on a commission
overseeing the municipal cable franchise, including public access television.

There was what I would call a “saloon brawl” in progress….’

Years and years ago, at a family gathering, I heard one of my cousins bragging about how he had gotten into cable, which was then expanding into small- and medium-sized towns in New Hampshire.  I knew immediately it was a crooked business because of the speaker, but I listened for the details.  The important detail was that cable was a superfluous monopoly; the monopoly was created in order to make money.  Otherwise, there was no reason not to have competing cable companies—a cable isn’t very big, and you can string several on a telephone pole.  Usually, though, you could get the town council to see that it was more profitable for the town council to have cable companies compete for a town-council-enforced monopoly than to have them compete for customers, which would have benefited only the customers—the public.

There’s one source of your conflict: the creation of artificial scarcity in order to run prices up and increase the power and profits of investors and administrators.  Naturally, the alpha males of the business would be at each others’ throats, and anyone else’s who came along and interfered with their orgy of conflict and acquisition.  I don’t envy your position, an innocent man trapped in a den of thieves.

But there’s another source of conflict, and that’s the human propensity to fight.  To my observation humans are among the most aggressive, combative and ill-tempered of species.  You can see it at an early stage: kittens are cute, puppies are cute, babies are squalling brats.  It doesn’t take much to set them off.  The Net, starting in the mid-eighties with mailing lists and Usenet “news” groups, gave these nasty creatures a chance to abuse each other verbally without being hurt physically in return, and many went at it with a vengeance.  You don’t really need agents-provocateurs to set them off, although to set them off in such a way as to produce or defend profits probably takes some planning and organization.

In sum I think provocation of trouble in the blogosphere is mostly thowing matches in a bonfire.

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By glider, September 25, 2009 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Ardee,
Yes, you got me there, I stand corrected from last nights wine induced rant grin.  We do have a refined “Corporatocracy” here that has its roots elsewhere, does not have distinct nation-state borders, and has tentacles throughout the world.  So we likely agree.  Within America it has infiltrated our government and all our mainstream sources of information.  The terms fascist and socialist are used specifically because they are deeply emotionally charged terms associated with the bygone nation-states of Nazi Germany and USSR and amplify one’s rhetoric.  They don’t help clarify the problem or help bring people together to fight the problem.  Rather these terms encourage discussions to degrade into left vs right shout-fests.

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By elisalouisa, September 25, 2009 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt:Obama wouldn’t have had a chance to be “elected” if the filtering process
thought he had a want or a chance of changing our present course. (Note what
happened to Kucinich & Wellstone.) Once that is realized so much of what he
does will make sense but as long as the delusion remains it will not add up.
==================
Delusion allows citizens to think that 9/11, the Kennedy
assassination and Senator Wellstone’s untimely death among other things just
happened. Yet, such events changed history in a manner that brought more
power to the money elite. Those who would represent the people such as
Wellstone did will think twice before running at that time and truly Wellstone
would have been a serious contender in 2008 as a candidate for President on
the Democratic ticket. After his suspicious death I am sure candidates with his
agenda might weigh the risks at such a move more seriously.Our childhood
daily reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the National Anthem
allows us to filter out any thoughts that those in power may be involved in less
than honorable action, especially toward our own people. What we must
account for is the fact that those who seek power or work to place people in
power have other goals that do not benefit everyday people. How else do you explain the gradual elimination of jobs in the U.S? Yet, they speak with such amazement at the unemployment figure reassuring us with forked tongue that next month things will be better. Yeah, right, better for them. They seek power for themselves and have other world goals with not a glimpse of conscience as to the end
result to everyday people. In fact, the elimination of the Common people as
Martha puts it does not particularly faze them and may even be a plus. The
filter must gradually slip off for us to really see what is going on.

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By Anarcissie, September 25, 2009 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

It is not so unreasonable to call Mr. O a leftist.  Mr. O is a conservative.  In the spectrum of possibility open to mainstream politicians of the current era, that may be the Left, the Right being reactionary.

I say “may” because the Right, these days, is perhaps too incoherent to be assigned any coloration so definite as “reactionary”.  Reactionaries attempt to restore (a usually fantasized version of) the past, but one can hardly say of the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, and so forth that they wish to restore or install any particular thing.  Their paymasters may wish to embark on more wars abroad or more kinds of smash’n'grab at home, but that’s hardly a policy or a philosophy, and the time for such projects is short anyway.

Sometimes some rightists look back, verbally, to the ‘50s—the blessed era before Civil Rights, hippies, Civil Rights, rock’n'roll, Civil Rights, feminism, Civil Rights, psychedelic drugs, Civil Rights, Vietnam, Civil Rights, and so on and so on.  But in fact the 1950s were the era when everything they hate was coming to power, or at least to the front of the television screen.  Brown versus Board of Education, 1954.  Allen Ginsburg recites Howl at the City Lights Bookstore, 1954.  Elvis Presley records “That’s All Right, Mama” at Sun Studios, 1954. 

In any case, if we’re going by Mussolini, neither Mr. O nor his supposed critics on the Right are fascists.  Fascism, according to Mr. M, was to be totalitarian: “Everything in the state; nothing outside the state; nothing against the state.”  Arendt otherwise described totalitarianism as the absence of private life.  We may be giving up our private lives to Facebook but that’s not the government; it’s an amateur circus of our choice.  And a combination of groups of rich people running the government is not fascism, it’s history. 

The word is overworked anyway.

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By ardee, September 25, 2009 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

glider, September 25 at 1:42 am

In your desire to keep it simple, a good thing generally, you may have forgotten that this “corporatocracy” is not limited to or an invention of, America. It is a world wide system that exploits all the nations on earth.

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By glider, September 24, 2009 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment

I despise all this fascism, socialist, extremist labeling.  These words are too loaded with innuendo to describe our situation and naturally devolve into which is left or right.  It is an American-branded, one of a kind “Corporatocracy”.  Lets keep it simple.  Simple is good grin

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By Night-Gaunt, September 24, 2009 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment

Maybe Obama is to the left of Mussolini?  In general fascism has a close tie to corporations, big business and gov’t invite the church into their conjugal bed and have a threesome! The military is their adorable child they send off to deal with the heathens in their own special and spectacular way. Afghanistan is the next place for some heavy lobbying of bombs and corporate largesse. Pakistan may not be a coherent country for much longer.

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By Folktruther, September 24, 2009 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, you may be be right and the reason is the power cost.  It would be admitting Defeat for the head of Nato, who got theim in there in the first place.  A much bigger defeat than Vienam.

But maybe they have a vegigial sense of reality and figure the war is lost anyway.  We’ll soon see.

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By OzarkMichael, September 24, 2009 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

I wrote: “Obama is going as far Left as he can and still maintain some electoral power.”

Ray Duray responded with some of this: You going off your meds?.... etc, etc. stale stuff.

But then he got as close as he could to substance: {i]Obama is a corporatist, or in the parlance of Benito Mussolini, when the corporation is married to the state, you have fascism.

eheheh.  You are predictably oblivious. I knew it was safe to give you advice. Thanks for proving me right.

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By Ray Duray, September 24, 2009 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

OzMike,

You wrote: “Obama is going as far Left as he can and still maintain some electoral power.”

You going off your meds? Obama is going Left? Have mercy on my soul. Left used to be Salvadore Allende, Hugo Chavez, the Sandinistas, the Reverend T.C. Douglas, Clement Atlee, any Scandanavian, Juan Zapatero, Patrice Lumumba and Nehru among others.

Obama is not even close to being on the Left. Obama is chasing the fools who read Tim LeHaye’s “Left Behind” series, sure. But they are not to be confused with the Left.

Obama is a corporatist, or in the parlance of Benito Mussolini, when the corporation is married to the state, you have fascism. That is what Obama is part of. He’s a fascist far more than he’s anything remotely on the Left.

Your political compass is skewed by your life experience which I understand was traumatic. But you don’t seem to be getting anywhere close to a normal state of mind regarding what’s Left, what’s Right and what’s a mere rhetorical flourish. That’s my everlasting image of Barack Obama. Til Gabriel Blows His Horn, you got the Bass Brothers blowing theirs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rbredden/470102027/

By the way, do you think Barack secretly sleeps with the Bass Brothers? They do know how to cuckold a government, after all. One of the most clever maneuvers in American history was the transfer of the assets of oilman Sid Bass to his chillen. It happened as I recall in the 1986 re-write of the IRS code. The old code was to be doused at Noon on a certain day in summer, and the new code was written to become law several hours later that day. In the meantime, and unknown and unreported, about $800 Million passed hands with there being no law in place regarding inheritance in this land. Ain’t cheating grand? The Federal Government got cheated out of $400 Million, the Bass Brothers got stinking rich, and they’ve been angling to destroy the god-damned gov’mint ever since. God Bless America, because her honest citizens are going to learn to curse her.

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By Anarcissie, September 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think Mr. O is allowed to back out of Afghanistan.  I don’t know why the r.c. is so hot for poor little old Afghanistan, but they are.

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By OzarkMichael, September 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

@StuartH. i will say that your posts are coherent and consistant. For that I am happy to read them. i do not gree with your apportionment of blame, nor your conclusions. But they are reasonable.

I feel no animosity from the posters at the moment, and cant find anything to make fun of. So i will post something serious and give the locals something to flame if they so choose:

After 9/11 I was all for the attack on Afghanistan, although I will not list the reasons why right now.

Two years ago it became apparent(to me) that the occupation of Afghanistan was pointless. It was hurting the afghans, destabilizing the pakistani government(another topic) which has nuclear weapons, and certainly held no promise of making things better for anyone. Furthermore, and yes as a conservative it is appropriate to weigh this into the equation: there is absolutely no strategic reason to be there.

If it isnt doing any good for anyone or anything in any way then surely its time to find our way home. That was and is my assessment.

More than a year ago I posted my opinion that Barack was wrong to run for President on this platform: “Afghanistan is the good war that we need to win, Iraq is the bad war we need to get out of.”

That platform oversimplified Iraq and was just plain wrong about Afghanistan. The only smart thing was it gave Obama ‘cred’ with people who thought he might be a wimp against terrorists. Politically speaking it was smart. He outflanked first Hilary and then John McCain. At the time I thought it was just a ploy, that Obama couldnt be so dumb as to really believe what he was saying. He seemed to leave himself this out: “We need to kill Osama Bin Laden” as if that is the whole point of the war and we could go home if we accomplished that. No luck so far with that exit strategy.

I percieve Obama is going to do the right thing and get us out of Afghanistan. The price he must pay? He will look like a person whose word cant be trusted(not that he he hasnt broken his word before). Yes it will hurt him politically. Perhaps some of you could opine how he can do this without political damage but I dont know.

This summer Obama put all his eggs into Healthcare, he is, in poker parliance ‘all in!’ If he does anything now that makes him look weak or unreliable, he will lose some support on the Healthcare plan, which is nowhere near what he wanted in the first place. He may end up getting nothing, which would be a disaster for him. So the timing for this is tricky, Obama is tempted to delay anything controversial, but he is at a decision point whether he like sit or not.

Surely you folks wont listen, so i take comfort that the very sound advice i am about to give you wont be taken:

Obama is going as far Left as he can and still maintain some electoral power. Politics involves what is possible, but many leftists dont understand that. To me it is funny to see some of you tear into Obama, but its also sad. Especially when Obama is trying to do at least a little of what you want.

Anyway, cant we all support Obama(God I cant believe I’m am saying that) as he tries to step back from his “full speed ahead” commitment to the war in Afghanistan?  We are getting the first public indications that he is not so sure about Afghanistan. Breaking the ice as it were.

Just to be clear… i am against Barack Obama’s policies and in some cases very much so. He is not a good President, I think he is worse than George Bush.

But Afghanistan is going nowhere. Pouring in more troops towards ill-defined victory which cannot be secured through military prowess is dumb. Now it is time to change course and Obama might as well get it over with. For Truthdiggers to expect an immediate withdrawl is impractical, but be assured that an end is soon to be in sight.

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By Ray Duray, September 24, 2009 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

Kesey Seven,

You wrote: “Right now we’re doing neither; we’re killing people and letting our own people get killed in a pointless game of Russian roulette.”

Actually, the Russians have learned their lesson and are no longer in the casino. Now it’s All-American:

“Obama Roulette” and the “Petraeus Shell Game”.

Or as we say in Lake Charles, “Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler”.

Obama reminds me of the rubes in this film:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Comfort_(film)

“And the Big Fool Says To Push On…”

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By Night-Gaunt, September 24, 2009 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

What do you want to do, “kill them all and let God sort them out” kind of actions? That is it isn’t it? They are fighting wars to cover for other things and as long as USA power is there they can affect things on the ground. But the wars are evil and need to be stopped before more people are killed in their own countries by armed foreigners, aka us.

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By Kesey Seven, September 24, 2009 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

Look:  I’m for peace. I say pull out and start serious negotiations with the Arab world, go green, produce electric cars, stop selling weapons.

But if we’re gonna fight the war, then FIGHT THE DAMN WAR!

Our soldiers cannot fight as long they have to determine who is the friendly with the gun. 

Arming regional warlords, training government fighters is all bullshit. 

Our soldiers should only have one rule of engagement: If you have a gun, you are the enemy and you will die if you don’t relinquish your gone. 

Our current strategy of arming and training foreign fighters only ensures those same fighters will be using our arms and our training to kill us in the future. 

So either make peace or make war.

Right now we’re doing neither; we’re killing people and letting our own people get killed in a pointless game of Russian roulette.

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By Carl, September 24, 2009 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great photo! It shows Obama’s thinking clearly. Talk about global warming and the need to conserve energy, then take a huge Boeing 747 to fly from DC to New York.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 24, 2009 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

But Obama is following the revolution Reagan started, with considerable help, lo those 29 years ago. The same bunch as we lose even more of our republic to be replaced with an autocracy growing like a tumor, sapping the strength of its host in order to feed itself and grow larger. To put it simply the “change” is still going on it just isn’t the one advertised. It just can’t penetrate their barrier of disbelief. They just can’t yet fathom such a turn could happen. It is in the realm of the untouchable and unthinkable “conspiracy hypothesis” that everyone has been conditioned to turn against no matter what. Once they pass that threshold it will be momentous for them but late in the game.

Obama wouldn’t have had a chance to be “elected” if the filtering process thought he had a want or a chance of changing our present course. (Note what happened to Kucinich & Wellstone.) Once that is realized so much of what he does will make sense but as long as the delusion remains it will not add up.

Sorry Oldhippie01 all Obama has done is suspended the decline, not ended it. It could happen at any time of their choosing. Don’t you think otherwise. Just look at the facts and you see we have gone no where in fixing this. The same people, laws and organizations are in place and nothing has changed except billions have gone to the criminals who perpetrated it.

Sylvia Barksdale don’t look at the time, look at what he has done to maintain what was set up before and have moved forward with it. I think the terrorists who are from our own country need to be stopped first. They have racked up quite a number of kills of “terrorists” as they would identify them. A time honored practice by our military. Also all those thousands of mercenaries who we don’t know what they are doing most of the time too is new to this country. Remember the Hessians? How about the Janissaries of the old Ottoman Empire? Germans and Goths used by the Romans?

He is Reagan 5 not Bush III. It is far more large scale than you can imagine and long term. The ones at the very top know the score and can’t be bribed with anything or threatened. We are in the lurch they put us in to make us weak an put upon from every angle to keep us dithering while they deconstruct our republic to make room to construct their Christian Empire on earth. They are ready to check mate us.

Desperation breeds the ease in which deception can flourish. We were put in to desperate times to put forward desperate measures as they saw fit. With every failure they moved with their plan. Can you imagine if all the things in the last 29 years happened in one year? People would be in the streets and everywhere else in panic and fear and anger. But it was gradual like water rising in a bath tub than in a huge wave at once.

“The Reagan Revolution was in sync with the plutocracy.  The Obama Revolution is not.”-Boomerpaw

Are you blind? What have you been ignoring? Obama admires Reagan and is carrying the torch of fascism as he did and all who followed. Incremental movements away from our republic. How about some more than a blind assertion?

StuartH where have you been? Obama put a TARP over the hole as he allows it to stay or go deeper. He is a Wall St. Chicago School economics man who got over $20 million from his constituents. [Hint, they weren’t from the local rank-and-file.] The same ones GWB bragged about. Obama is still playing at being friends to ACORN and the AFL-CIO.

Once the vision of myth is disolved then we can see what is actual then what can actually be done to rectify it. If we still have time to. What failed in 1934 is reaching fruition today. [They learned their lesson but did we?]

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By StuartH, September 24, 2009 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie:

Some years ago I was appointed by a city council to serve on a commission
overseeing the municipal cable franchise, including public access television.

There was what I would call a “saloon brawl” in progress.  Members of the
commission were looking for any means necessary to reduce the funding or
cancel public access entirely.  The city’s professional administrators were
provoking supporters, particularly the staff of public access to react publicly in
a way that discredited them.  The public access people were falling for this and
providing just such reactions.  As I worked through this mess, I realized that it
was possible that the corporate people were capable of manipulating this mess
and standing back and looking clean.

The problem is that most people are willing to believe the worst thing about
someone else and react to it.  It isn’t too hard, really. 

Another example is that in the 1700s, as the Spanish moved into Texas, there
were teenage thugs that were hired to help clear the landscape of the
incumbent Indian tribes.  They would sneak into one encampment at night,
steal some arrows with distinctive feathers, a moccasin, some other things with
markings, and then go to another tribe’s encampment to murder a few people
in their sleep and then leave these things as evidence.

As they rode across the landscape they left groups fighting with each other
instead of against the Spanish, and it was much easier to think of coming in
later and “pacifying” the landscape. 

It is ingrained in human thinking, particular when a larger tactical objective is
considered.  A lot of people don’t like thinking that way, so they don’t see it.

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By Anarcissie, September 24, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

StuartH: ’... It would be child’s play for a professional writer working on staff at a PR firm under contract to spend this money to look around the blogosphere for places to salt a little here and there. ...

It would be superfluous.  Discussions on the Net have been full of free-floating hostility as long as I’ve been on it, and that’s more than 20 years.  Beside the naturally irascible, there are volunteers who enjoy provoking the irascible (or gullible)—trolls.  And there have always been religious, political and conspiratist fanatics.  (My all-time favorite was a flat-earther.)

When you take a look at the way corporate totalitarianism deals with media, it’s not by provoking dissension, but quite the opposite, it’s by stifling dissidence and promoting the idea that everybody always pretty much agrees about everything.  I suppose that could be done with AI—you could have a lot of bots pretending to be people and posting fake articles defending the government and what’s left of the MSM—but I haven’t noticed anything like that yet.

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By StuartH, September 24, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael:

Your posts seem to indicate that you don’t believe people can be influenced by those whose organized purpose is not ideological. 

The financial industry, which brought us the Wall Street crash, is spending
millions to resist any regulatory reform which might mitigate against the kinds
of risk taking that, like Madoff, causes other people to lose their savings.  The
insurance industry is mightily spending to resist reform that might reduce
corporate profits from eliminating people who need health care from policy
obligations.  The amount of money involved in staggering.  There are many
people whose policies have been cancelled because of an illness whose
healthcare financing is going into the effort to reform the industry.  For most
people this would be an ethical problem.  Hopefully it would be for most
Christians, but not for corporations.

The nature of this sort of spending is not on debate argumentation.  It is on
sheer tactics.  If the opposition enjoys some positive advantage in the polls,
bringing that down by any means necessary through spreading negativity is
critical. 

The issues don’t matter from a tactical perspective.  In fact, if people get
elected who are only obstructionists, so much the better.  It is harder to
promote constructive alternatives anyway.

A lot of people who care about social concerns are not aware of the view from
a strictly tactical perspective and may be vulnerable to influence because of this.

Right now, the tactical powers behind the right wing are incredibly angry
simply because they lost power and want power.  The negativity that is being
generated by strategists behind the scenes is affecting everyone, especially
those who aren’t able to analyze where the sort of strategic thinking comes from.

This isn’t always a phenomenon of the far right.  Professional electioneers work
for both sides equally well, because they aren’t ideological, but tactical.  That is
the problem that most people are unschooled in.  Whoever is out of power will
tend to get this advice from the tactical experts.

This is to some extent, about levels of literacy.  I was recently discussing the fact that
high school students in writing an essay answer to a question asking them to
identify a couple of ways that political tv and radio ads affect the public,
sometimes cite “subliminal advertising.”  In that context, having worked with
such advertising, I can say that this is the result of perception by people who
are not at a high level of literacy.  They aren’t aware yet that a mastery of
English applied to marketing theory can come with more education in addition
to some talent.

If you understand something about demographic groups, you can choose to
write a message using vocabulary, syntax, colloquialism and other techniques
for seeming to be “on the right wavelength” for one group versus another.

To an out of work writer who is really good at hearing language and psychology
in colloquial terms, it is an intoxication idea to be able to.  Universities confer
lots of Enlgish Masters and PhD and creative writing degrees every year to
those who hope to do more than drive a cab.  A lot of them wind up in PR firms
writing press releases, speeches, and developing tactical communications.

This is why corporations are so powerful.  They hire the best and brightest
graduates every year and give them the ability to pay off very large student
loans and live well.  Want to live in San Francisco high on a hill and have a
million dollar boat in a boat slip with its own prestigious address?  Go to
graduate school at a prestigious school, get a big student loan, and get
recruited by a large corporation.

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By Ray Duray, September 24, 2009 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

Are any of you as tired of the bickering here as I am?

Here’s something refreshing. The Left in Germany is enjoying rising popularity, and they are fielding a very dynamic and beautiful candidate named Sahra Wagenknecht who is creating quite a stir:

http://www.sahra-wagenknecht.de/

As you can see, Die Linke is the only German political party that actually stands for anything (other than corruptly enriching the already rich):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8272306.stm

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By elisalouisa, September 24, 2009 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

Outraged re September 24 at 1:13 a.m
My post of 9/23 at 8:19 am is a column in the Guardian.co.uk written by Steven
Hill on Tuesday 22 September 2009 13:00 BST titled Obama the impotent. The
words you quoted are not mine but do reflect my views. I agree with ardee, we
were suckered and to that I say, you can fool me once and it’s you fault, fool me
twice and it’s mine. Trust me when I tell you that won’t happen come the 2012
election.

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By jason, September 24, 2009 at 6:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

save it? save what?

obama is clearly a rookie political hack that is the victim of his own tactics.

he put far to many loosers in control and backed out of numerous promises he made.

far as I am concerned, he is another lying politician and supporting him was a huge mistake!

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By OzarkMichael, September 24, 2009 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

It would be child’s play for a professional writer working on staff at a PR firm under contract to spend this money to look around the blogosphere for places to salt a little here and there.

Obama has more money at his command for this than several corporations put together, especially after big Pharma handed him a massive check.

A little investigative reporting would show which PR firms Obama has engaged(Axelrod’s for one, I think they got 30 million bucks… that would buy a lot of blogging and a good spread of ‘salt’ across the internet). It would be good to find out who the employees are and what they are doing.

But this is not a project that MSM would dare undertake.

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By ardee, September 24, 2009 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

StuartH, September 23 at 11:44 am #


I think the competition to win the contest to type out the most heated hyperbole on the failure of Obama is at least premature.

...........................

One persons “heated hyperbole” is another’s accurate assessment.
.........................

Ardee already knows that the governent could not possibly be complict the 9/11-anthrax public relations homicide.  He knows this because he knows, without being aware of it, that governement power is good, part of the liberal ideology and that things like this do not happen in the US or even the world, that governments kill their own people for public relations purposes.

What ardee knows, Folktruther, is that you are an ass, for certain. You always put words in another’s mouth, I wonder what others put in yours?
..................................................

OzarkMichael the stand up comedian…

Ohhh boy. There is always a need to create an external enemy in order to unite the Lefties. There is always the suspicion that dissent comes from some shadowy world. I suppose it takes the place of believing in the devil.

This enumerates exactly the Reagan/Rovian ploy to unite the radical right by demeaning and diminishing the actions of our govt. What a buffoon, and from a poster whose intellect is unquestioned but whose judgements and analysis is sadly below par.

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By Outraged, September 24, 2009 at 2:23 am Link to this comment

A correction:

This: “It has never been by premise”

Should read: “It has never been MY premise”....  a typo, sorry.  It happens.

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By Ouroborus, September 24, 2009 at 2:20 am Link to this comment

Correction; who is speaking.  wink

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By Ouroborus, September 24, 2009 at 2:19 am Link to this comment

Outraged, September 24 at 5:12 am #
As I’ve said, HONEST-HEARTED people will make their own
determination.  It is my premise that this is difficult
WITHOUT THE FACTS.  Kapeesh?
=================================================
Kapeesh. Agreed, which is why I don’t believe anything.
Verify, verify, no matter whose speaking. If I can’t
verify, then there can no determination. Thanks.

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By Outraged, September 24, 2009 at 2:12 am Link to this comment

Re: Ouroborus

Your comment: “I guess I’m a bit thick here. Am I missing something? I
guess so. Would you care to clarify a bit.”

It has never been by premise that I could permeate hardened or kiln fired BRICK.  I illuminate the facts.  As I’ve said, HONEST-HEARTED people will make their own determination.  It is my premise that this is difficult WITHOUT THE FACTS.  Kapeesh?

Liars and propagandists are a dime a dozen.  Additionally, as a mark of the times it appears equally prevalent that “good help is hard to find” in this regard.  I say, that says something.

“Where have all the flowers gone?”

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By ardee, September 24, 2009 at 2:10 am Link to this comment

Outraged, September 24 at 1:13 am

I doubt you are as big an ass as this particular post of yours implies.

You cite comments from a broad spectrum of political beliefs, leftists, progressives, libertarians as well and insist that, solely because they dare to disagree with your own unique political views they are some sort of plot from a cabal.

How absurd you become.

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By Ouroborus, September 24, 2009 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

outraged, September 24 at 3:54 am #
It could very well be likely that you may be lacking
logical foresight regarding the matter, but hey…. I
trust that honest hearted persons will not find
themselves in your same quandry.  Kapeesh?
=================================================
I guess I’m a bit thick here. Am I missing something? I
guess so. Would you care to clarify a bit.

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By jack, September 24, 2009 at 1:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By ardee, September 23 at 6:52 pm #
Yeah, the hijackers are all alive and well and living with HLMencken, Judge Crater and those guys who
escaped from Alcatraz….

This conspiracy stuff is a major distraction, isnt going to convince anyone not already hooked, and leads to
a dead end alley for sure.

Maybe, after the revolution, you guys can investigate to your hearts content.

yeah, well, Chomsky did himself say that the easiest way to dismiss anything is to label it “just a conspiracy theory” as he did himself the 9/11 Truth Movement - why? I won’t call him a “rich asset” as have some - I’ll call him venal for protecting his lecture schedule - ardee will probably call him “wise” for not for not throwing in with the “wackadoodles” as Randi Rhodes tends to call the so-called “conspiracy theorists” who call her show and manage to get through - she has her contract to serve as well

curious in the extreme, since all evidence points to the fact that 9/11 hijackers found it
easier to operate from Germany, San Diego and Florida rather than forlorn Afghanistan
simply because they were being run by Intelligence Agency handlers, who opened for them every door, got them every essential document, kept cash in their pockets, their rents paid and when it was time, made sure their patsies got on the right planes.

on the contrary, ardee; the real distractions are the limited hangouts that take all focus off the 9/11 lynchpin that launched The Global War Of Terror - the most devastating force of our epoch - impacting literally millions; ultimately billions - from now to eternity…DU trumps everything - DU nano-dust is blowing world wide - Global Depleted Uranium Poisoning will ultimately deform all humanity for sure -maybe some for the better - doubtless, most for the worse - no turning back - DU is Malthus’ Dream Come True!

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By Outraged, September 24, 2009 at 12:54 am Link to this comment

Re: Ouroborus

Your comment (if I may respond):  “I may lack the cunning to see how this bought technique could have any real influence, on say Truthdig, unless it was in the written article presented for comment.”

It could very well be likely that you may be lacking logical foresight regarding the matter, but hey…. I trust that honest hearted persons will not find themselves in your same quandry.  Kapeesh?

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By Ouroborus, September 24, 2009 at 12:15 am Link to this comment

StuartH, September 23 at 1:30 pm #
RE: Consider what one could do if one had a million
bucks or so every day to spend on trying to sow
discord and to undermine any attempt to move things
forward. What would each of us do with this gig, if
we took the money?

Advertising and PR firms use a lot of techniques. 
Very obviously, producing TV ads and direct mail
literature.  What of blogs?
=================================================
Interesting idea. Are you referring to the blog
itself or the posters on the blogs? Blogs generally
seem to be self revealing as to motive/pov. From my
experience posters seem to come with their
opinions/pov already decided and are rarely open to
changing said opinions/positions. I may lack the
cunning to see how this bought technique could have
any real influence, on say Truthdig, unless it was in
the written article presented for comment. Just
wondering.

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By Outraged, September 23, 2009 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

Re: StuartH

Sorry, I posted before I meant to.  Of course, me talking to you is blasphemous.  At least according to “truedigger3” who claims you are, “nothig but a partisan hack in service of the Democratic party”, which of course makes me most likely….. hmmm….hmmm… TRUTHFULLY, I’m not sure, we’ll have to let “truedigger3” enlighten us/me… or whatever.

I.... on the other hand, happen to gauge the situation very differently.  Thank you for posting.  From this here ol’ lady’s perspective, you are many times a NEEDED reasonable voice, yet even moreso a bright light.  Especially when one engages the premises of those engaged in, or LOST within the depths of despair.

Aside from that (to quote Mr. Hedges), “if you can”, go to Pittsburgh.

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By Outraged, September 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment

Re: StuartH

Your comment:  “Consider what one could do if one had a million bucks or so every day to spend on trying to sow discord and to undermine any attempt to move things forward. What would each of us do with this gig, if we took the money?

Advertising and PR firms use a lot of techniques.  Very obviously, producing TV ads and direct mail literature.  What of blogs?

It would be child’s play for a professional writer working on staff at a PR firm under contract to spend this money to look around the blogosphere for places to salt a little here and there.

Certainly an interesting and engaging premise, as so often I have “sensed” this very same conundrum….. hmmmm.  I “think” you may just have something there.  So… of course this led me to wonder what, “the latest talking point” would be.  Since we all KNOW, these talking points are dictated to employees.  For this reason, I see a “general” supposed consensus, for example:

By ardee, September 23
Duringt he campaign Obama made eloquent speeches filled with promises, and those who voted for him were simply suckered.
****

By Magginkat, September 23
Obama seems to think that his pretty speeches will solve everything.  Frankly, I think his speaking style stinks to high heavens.  He’s almost as irritating to listen to as Bush, Jr.
*****

By elisalouisa, September 23
Beyond Obama’s oratorical skills, which excited not only American voters but people all over the world, he is mostly untested as a politician.
*****

By texasdeb, September 23
Although Mr. Obama is a smooth talker, and can speak in circles without anyone really taking note, the simple fact is he has not done anything yet that has been in the best interest of the general population.
*****

By earthwirehead, September 23
I agree that it is far past time that Mr. Obama remembered who elected him and why, and started ACTING with a little audacity… as opposed to merely giving speeches about it.
*****

By Old Geezer Pilot, September 23
I love listening to his speeches. He is truly eloquent. What else is he capable of doing?
*****

By Anarcissie, September 23
I think they are somewhat inhibited by Mr. O’s color, eloquence and style, but you can bash the man’s policies (or lack of them) without bashing the man.

By truedigger3, September 23
Contrasting Obama with Reagan is faulty. Both of them are very similar and are beholden to the moneyed elites and were elected “i.e. selected” to do its biddings.
Both of them are clever bullshit artists, good orators and are skillful at the make-believe sleight of hands.
*****

By Folktruther, September 23
Scheer obfuscates his message in the apprvoed mianstream way with the garbage about revolution, etc in order to legitimate it in the irrational and indeed demented mainstream truth.
*****

By zack, September 23
We (Ron Paul supporters) warned you that Obama is a smooth-talking fraudster, but you fell for the PR campaign.
*****

By hopeychangey, September 23
He gives an awesome speech though, with a teleprompter anyway.  He looks sadly human, though, when you see him try to handle himself extemporaneously.  The magic disappears in a flash.
*****

By Commune115, September 23
Anyone who seriously thought mass change can come to America with a few nice slogans was being delusional.
*****

By glider, September 23
But Obama is a great orator and he was able to mobilize grass roots support beyond what other presidents have done.  Because of the extent of the pre-election con job buy in, the post-election betrayal is generating a lot of well deserved anger IMO.
*****

So… what is the CURRENT “talking point”.... gee…ah…ah… damn, again… I’m fluxmmoxed!  Go figure.

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By OzarkMichael, September 23, 2009 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

Ray Duray wrote: Alas, this was a foolish thing for us to hope for since the “official story” meme was already set by the agencies responsible for the propagandizing of the public…

Two quick steps to victory in a debate: Take an idea you dont like and afix it to it to a “meme”. Then pin the “meme” on the person you disagree with. It will win the argument. Well, it wins in Leftist circles anyway.

There is at least one ‘meme’ post in every Truthdig thread. In this thread there are already two ‘meme’ posts.

Bleh, i hate weak concepts that become fads.

For Ray Duray, such usage ruined an already shakey conspiracy post. Because instead of responding to his post with ‘Wow, Ray is a terrific Truther!” instead I say, “Bleh, Ray is a mere Memer.”

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By OzarkMichael, September 23, 2009 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

StuartH “We got into this mess because of government interference in the first place,”  Palin said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We’re not interested in government fixes, we’re interested in freedom”

This is a quote from Sarah Palin’s Hong Kong speech.  Also a right wing meme that seems to be in a lot of heads.

Wish the right wing meme was in a few more heads around here.

Freedom is a great thing, or has your Leftist meme blocked you from understanding that?

StuartH goes on:  It would be child’s play for a professional writer working on staff at a PR firm under contract to spend this money to look around the blogosphere for places to salt a little here and there.

Divide and conquer is such an old tactic that it is probably a kind of genetic endowment that goes along with the big business instinct to play people on the left.

Ohhh boy. There is always a need to create an external enemy in order to unite the Lefties. There is always the suspicion that dissent comes from some shadowy world. I suppose it takes the place of believing in the devil.

I have news for you, StuartH. There are real thinking people all around you. Many of them disagree with you. Each one who disagrees with you has a completely different set of reasons for doing so. The variety is almost impossible to catagorize, let alone control.

Mr Sheer is just writing what he believes to be true. I am just writing to disagree with you. Not a single person here is on anyone’s payroll.

I know you have something to say, and i encourage you to say it. True, I will probably disagree with you, as will 75% of the people here, each one for completely different reasons. Someone who would agree with you will misread what you write, and they will accidently attack you! Its chaos!

What a mess, eh? The arguments will go on for years unless Obama comes up with a ‘government fix’ for free speech. Personally i prefer freedom. I think you do, too. So dont get upset with the the infinite variety of opinions. Lets not waste time trying to ascertain shadowy motives.

In spite of the fact that most Truthdig articles and fellow bloggers are wrong headed and never seem to see the light, be inspired to say “Thank you Truthdig, for being part of the American tradition of free speech. Not once have you censored me, and I very much appreciate the opportunity to read and write here.”

Every now and then i write that. And I mean it.

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By Ray Duray, September 23, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

OzMike,

Re: “Methinks you exaggerate two things.”

And I notice that you cannot deny that there was a tremendous hue and cry among the imperialists when their connivances with Nicky Romanov were exposed to the light of day.

Your petulance reminds me of a superior human being, General George Patton who had this to say in a letter:

<QUOTE>
http://refspace.com/quotes/d:1/George_S._Patton/reincarnation

I wonder if I could have been here before as I drive up the Roman road the Theater seems familiar — perhaps I headed a legion up that same white road… I passed a chateau in ruins which I possibly helped escalade in the middle ages. There is no proof nor yet any denial. We were, We are, and we will be. In a letter to his mother from Chamlieu, France during World War I, revealing some of his speculations about reincarnation. (1917-11-20)
<END QUOTE>

Your observation that I wasn’t on the scene in 1918 is correct. It is also irrelevant.

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By Ian Kocher, September 23, 2009 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In the last six months or so, I went through the three stages of separation from Obamamania that, by now, a growing number of progressives also have gone through: Perturbation, disbelief, and finally, disenchantment.

I was mildly perturbed when he started to surround himself with close advisers who are known to be sympathetic to the neoliberal or neoconservative agenda.

As time went on, I disbelieved the evidence and instead held onto the hope that he was playing along with the powers that be, and that he had a plan to out maneuver and outsmart the Beltway and Wallstreet elites.

And now, at long last, I have come to my senses. He cannot fill the shoes bought and polished for him by us progressives. Obama is who he has always been: an elite-wannabe who never held a job remotely resembling those of most of us. For him, just being able to sit in the Oval Office to inspire minorities is accomplishment enough; all the other policy stuff is overtime, to be tackled leisurely, after Martha’s Vineyard, or golfing.

Reading his autobiographical book, ‘Dreams of my father’, I came to believe that he will never risk bucking the entrenched powers, the way his father did in Kenya, and who paid a dear price for it. A black man who was born in Hawaii, who spent his formative years in Indonesia, and who was then educated in elite schools such as Punahu, is too far removed from the life experiences of most of us to have a feel for them. He is American by birth alright, but his search for identity begins with his father in Kenya, and ends in the ghettos of south side Chicago.

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By OzarkMichael, September 23, 2009 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

Ray Duray said: I recall the tremendous hue and cry in 1918…

Methinks you exaggerate two things. First, your age. You weren’t around in 1918, so stop acting like the wise sage who has seen it all.

And second, you exaggerate your knowledge of this era, since you can’t hold up your end of an argument on the topic, as evidenced by our last discussion about Lenin. You folded up like a cheap seat.

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By glider, September 23, 2009 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

A more concise description on my part would have been to write that Obama is a corrupt politician.  I agree with your sentiment regarding this being a normal state for many politicians.  I’ll take your comment that Obama did not deliberately deceive the electorate as a rhetorical one, as was mine in regards to Obama not being a failure.  But Obama is a great orator and he was able to mobilize grass roots support beyond what other presidents have done.  Because of the extent of the pre-election con job buy in, the post-election betrayal is generating a lot of well deserved anger IMO.

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By Folktruther, September 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

Ray, you have to understand that the facts about 9/11 mean nothing to truthers like Ardee.  They already know that any alternative to the offical 19 Hijackers fable is a Conspiracy Theory, and therefore is not only untrue, but a paranoid distraction.

A study has been done and reported in the journal Sociological Inquiry which found that people entirely ignore contrary informtion when a truth is bound up with their identity and moral values.  This belief retention is hghly stable;  Ardee already knows that the governent could not possibly be complict the 9/11-anthrax public relations homicide.  He knows this because he knows, without being aware of it, that governement power is good, part of the liberal ideology and that things like this do not happen in the US or even the world, that governments kill their own people for public relations purposes.

Paul Craig Roberts says, in discussing this study “What I find puzzling is the people I know who do not believe a word the government says about anything except 9/11.”  I think the best explanation is Naomi Klein’s THE SHOCK DOCTRINE.  Emotional shocks tend to regress people and make them emotionally irrational, which allows power to install the story or narrative that serves their purposes.

A useful alternative apporach may be to detail the changes in the US power system that occurred as a consequce of the 9/11 shock, no matter who did it.  In this scenario, the Bushites merely took advantage of the shock, rather than forcing the person to accept they they were complicit in causing it.  In effect, it changed our form of government, largely destroying representative government through endless war and a neoliberal police state.

By emphasizing the effects of 9/11-anthrax, one avoids challenging directly what denialists know can not possibly be true.  They would then not be eomotionally forced to make up absurdities, as Ardee has done, and attribute them to 9/11 truthers.  Over time people will come to accept the unpalatable truth, such as a conspiracy in the Kennedy Assasination which 80% of Americans, a poll has shown, now accept.  there the American power struture merely lied; here they murdered, much harder to accept.

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By Ray Duray, September 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

Re: “Maybe, after the revolution, you guys can investigate to your hearts content.”

Yes, of course. This is a natural progression. I recall the tremendous hue and cry in 1918 among imperialists when the Bolsheviks opened up the Czar’s secret diplomacy for all the world to see and the schemes contained therein to carve up the Axis powers’ lands at the conclusion of WW I. It was quite a scandal at the time. And surely more important than the disappearance of Judge Whatchamacallit.

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By ardee, September 23, 2009 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, the hijackers are all alive and well and living with HLMencken, Judge Crater and those guys who escaped from Alcatraz….

This conspiracy stuff is a major distraction, isnt going to convince anyone not already hooked, and leads to a dead end alley for sure.

Maybe, after the revolution, you guys can investigate to your hearts content.

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By Ray Duray, September 23, 2009 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Robert Scheer wrote: Lest we forget, the 9/11 hijackers found it easier to operate from Germany, San Diego and Florida rather than forlorn Afghanistan.

There’s a slight hitch to this giddyup. In the weeks following the 9/11 attack, as many as 8 of the 19 purported 9/11 hijackers were discovered to be alive and living across the Middle East and Europe. Many of us thought that when this evidence came to light that the FBI would recant its story and correct the record. Alas, this was a foolish thing for us to hope for since the “official story” meme was already set by the agencies responsible for the propagandizing of the public, and truth be damned, the story would remain consistent so as not to confuse the weak minded.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1559151.stm

http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/hijackers.html

http://guardian.150m.com/september-eleven/hijackers-alive.htm

http://911review.org/Wget/members.fortunecity.com/911/september-eleven/hijackers-alive.htm

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By liecatcher, September 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Saving the Obama Revolution Posted on Sep 22, 2009
By Robert Scheer

A more appropriate title might be:
TRYING TO ESCAPE OBAMAGEDDON

When you said:

“The first obligation of Obama as president is to be
a peacemaker,...”

you obviously haven’t been reading the Truthdig blogs
which clearly show that he is a war monger owned &
operated by the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX,
WALL STREET (GOVERNMENT SACHS), & MIPIC
(MEDICAL INSURANCE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIAL
COMPLEX),
so please stop insulting the intelligence of your
readers.

Obama is the transition between what was once America
and THE NEW WORLD ORDER:ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.

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By bane-richter, September 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

The cruelty of the Reagan era was “popular” this must be what Sheer is refering to as “success”. Usually destruction isn’t considered successful. The Reagan era - hundreds of thousands of dead bodies in Central America, harnessing of white racism/rage, xenophobia, deregulating the hell out of everything from banking to the EPA, unprecedented Wall Street greed, explosive unemployment and misery for millions of Americans. Quite a few Americans made cash hand over fist- an absolute rape of wealth that is sentimentally revisted even though the outrageous gangsterism of the Reagan era is part of the reason the Country is more fu$ked up then ever today. Too far gone, too bought and sold, too corrupt. There’s no revolution in a Presidential election, this is not a Democracy.

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By Anarcissie, September 23, 2009 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

glider:
’... I agree with the assessment made elsewhere on this thread that Obama is not a failure, but rather that his agenda is not the one he presented to the so-called progressive “base”. ...’

As I recall a number of people noticed that Mr. O’s published position papers were often of about the same ideological coloration as Clinton’s, maybe even a bit to the right.  For instance, long before the election he promised us more war in Afghanistan, and maybe a new one (or the same one) in Pakistan.  Progs seemed to shrug this stuff off, as if he didn’t mean it.  I guess they had to believe in something.  But I don’t think Mr. O was actively deceiving people; he was letting them deceive themselves.  He is, after all, a politician, and that’s one of the things they do.  Many demand it.

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By hank_moon, September 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

Of course, no-one who is elected under the current (corrupt) system will foster anything like a “revolution”. There is no such thing as the Reagan Revolution outside political marketing theory.

Until our system of producing and electing an endless stream of intrinsically corrupt and compromised candidates (and therefore government) is reformed by external pressure, any discussion of war, health care reform, what have you, is pointless. Laws, actions,  built on corruption are…well, corrupt. Simple as that. We are all to blame far more than mere politicians for allowing this to happen. They: opportunists; we: enablers.

There are only two ways to foster political change (and only one for any lasting change): force of arms and massively organized passive resistance. History shows the former to be only short-lived (read: ineffective), while the latter to be extremely rare and difficult to create. Anything less is hot air and continues to serve the status quo.

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By hank_moon, September 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Of course, no-one who is elected under the current (corrupt) system will foster anything like a “revolution”. There is no such thing as the Reagan Revolution outside political marketing theory.

Until our system of producing and electing an endless stream of intrinsically corrupt and compromised candidates (and therefore government) is reformed by external pressure, any discussion of war, health care reform, what have you, is pointless. Laws, actions,  built on corruption are…well, corrupt. Simple as that. We are all to blame far more than mere politicians for allowing this to happen. They: opportunists; we: enablers.

There are only two ways to foster political change (and only one for any lasting change): force of arms and massively organized passive resistance. History shows the former to be only short-lived, while the latter to be extremely rare and difficult to create. Anything less is hot air and continues to serve the status quo.

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By Commune115, September 23, 2009 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

There never was an “Obama Revolution.” Obama is behaving pretty much as what was promised during the campaign. Anyone who seriously thought mass change can come to America with a few nice slogans was being delusional. Only the masses can enforce real change.

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By prole, September 23, 2009 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

“The Obama revolution, and there was the hope of one, might still succeed. But only if Barack Obama follows the model of the incredibly successful Reagan revolution” – this is the Scheer camp’s idea of a ‘progressive’ agenda. So it’s only to be expected that a stealth apologist for the status quo like Scheer should admire corporate waterboy Obama as much as he admired the Gipper, who was always a corporate team player himself. In fact, Obama too, not surprisingly, is a great admirer of Bonzo. In a Nevada newspaper interview during the campaign, revolutionary Barack gushed, “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.  He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it.  I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating.  I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.” Like Ray-gun – and Scheer – Obama and his corporate cronies are terrified of any resurgence of the so-called “excesses of 1960s and 1970s” i.e. popular upheaval from below – or, a real peoples’ revolution. “Love him [like Scheer and Obama do] or not, Ronald Reagan had at least one outstanding political virtue—his respect for the concerns of”...…the corporate class that put him, like his alter-ego Obama, in the Oval Office. “And whenever the political vultures that feast on power tried to lead him astray, they were fired at the insistence of Reagan or his remarkably savvy wife, Nancy.” Yeah, right, Ron and his remarkably progressive wife Nancy and Ollie North and the gang could never be led astray. The “vultures” that tried to stop the Contras or the military buildup or support for every tinhorn dictator from Saddam to Suharto or the slashing of social service programs, etc. were promptly fired – or never hired in the first place.  Domestically, it’s the equivalent of “the old winning-hearts-and-minds strategy that has never worked—as Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s point man in the region, should know from his failed efforts to win hearts and minds during the war in Vietnam, where he specialized in ‘rural pacification.’” ‘Rural pacification’, a polite euphemism for mass murder, for which Holbrooke and his cohorts should have been tried for war crimes.  Holbrooke was also party to Indonesia’s near genocide in East Timor, as Carter’s Undersecretary of State for Asian affairs. And then there was Bosnia during his Clinton stint. These were all “Democrat’s war[s], and the base of the party, which knows better than to repeat that disastrous error, should tell the president so” – except for the inconvenient fact that the base of the Party toe the party line like all good revolutionaries and supported these atrocities. Atrocities which were fully pre-meditated and not at all unwitting “errors”. And the next pre-meditated disaster will probably occur because Obama was wrong “during his appearances Sunday on the TV political talk shows to put the emphasis on going after what remains of Osama bin Laden’s forces in Pakistan.” Ray-gun clone Obama has already taken up Bush’s doctrine of freely bombing Pakistan; there has already been serious fighting in the province of Peshawar that tribal leaders trace back to a US bombing of a madrassa that killed 80 people - the news of which was published in the Pakistani media but was never publicly reported in western media. Once again the American electorate (or a quarter of them) have made a “disastrous error” in listening to shils like Scheer and electing another imperial reactionary like Obama as Cutthroat-in-Chief.

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By Devon Noll, MPA, September 23, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have read the comments here and on other similar sites.  In fact I see many of the same posters on these sites.  The comments are mostly that Obama has failed to deliver or that he suckered his base or some other comments to that effect.  What I find amazing is that so many people expect one man to change the world,  which he NEVER promised to do.  He said he would help US CREATE CHANGE BY FACILITATING THOSE EFFORTS!

What most of us fail to realize is that a President merely proposes legislation, he does not vote on it nor write it nor change it once it has reached Congress. All he may do is veto if it is bad legislation that fails to meet the needs of the people, and he can always have his veto overridden by congress.

Of course, we all want change, but as long as the President has surrounded himself with Clinton Cast-offs and Corporate Democrats and Cowards, he cannot create change or even make a dent in it.  Until, we the American People, make clear to him, and more importantly, to those around him and in Congress that we voted for change and repeal of Bush Policies and Clinton Policies in favor of American Policies, the return of our Constitutional rights to fair trials and privacy and freedom of speech and a free, regulated press and financial system, we are all just using the President of the United States as a scapegoat for our own lack of action.

It is time for the people in DC, corporations across this country, and in the world, to see the faces of America and to understand that we are the ones who determine our destinies, not corporations, banks, or politicians in their employ.  To that end, I will be leaving my home in mid-October and driving criss-cross across America to DC, talking with people and asking them to join me in DC to put a face on our nation.  I hope that people here at Truthdig will allow me to send them reports of my travels, my conversations, and stand there in DC supporting a free, regulated press where hate speech and lies no longer pass as news or truth.

We elected Barack Obama President of the United States last November and he swore an oath to uphold our Constitution and to protect this nation in DC in January.  At both times he asked up to hold him to his promises to us, and on the first Tuesday in November, for the first time in my life, at 57 years of age and disabled, I intend to do just that.  I hope others will join me in DC as I arrive there and will help me send this message: 

One year ago we elected this President and this Congress to create change. 

Mr. President, while you are trying, we believe that you are taking advice from the wrong people and not actively working to keep your commitment to us in an appropriate manner. 

To the Democrats in Congress, we gave you a majority control to support this president, and you have failed us, allowing the Republican Party and its minions to intimidate and stop you.  Well, we voted you in one year ago this date, and we can vote you out one year from now if you do not act to support the agenda we supported when we voted you in. 

And, Mr. President, if we give you a new Congress which is elected based on its promise to support you, and you fail us again, in 2012, we will vote you out as well.

We will be watching, every year the first week in November you will see us standing here and in front of government offices across this great nation.  You work for us, and as your employers we will be looking over your shoulders from now on.  Do your jobs to protect and serve us, and not corporate or special interests, or you will be replaced in office.

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By hopeychangey, September 23, 2009 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Revolution….that’s funny.

Those of us who didn’t drink the Kool Aid aren’t surprised.  Those who expected a revolution are like someone who leaves a job/marriage/town/country because of what they hate about it, not what lures them to the alternative because of what they know to be awaiting them on the other side after careful deliberation and analysis.  Purely a recipe for disappointment and buyer’s remorse…..

‘Is that all there is?”

FYI you were sold a bill of goods…

‘Everyone knows I’m in’
‘Over my head’
‘Over my head’
- The Fray

He gives an awesome speech though, with a teleprompter anyway.  He looks sadly human, though, when you see him try to handle himself extemporaneously.  The magic disappears in a flash.

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By glider, September 23, 2009 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Scheer may be getting a little nervous about his own “base” getting too angry and therefore is doing some back peddling with this article.

I agree with the assessment made elsewhere on this thread that Obama is not a failure, but rather that his agenda is not the one he presented to the so-called progressive “base”.  His public campaign and position platform was a fraud.  But for those whom he cut back room deals Obama is not a failure.  Progressives need to get real and stop projected their hopes onto a man that has no interest in promoting their agenda.

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By zack, September 23, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We (Ron Paul supporters) warned you that Obama is a smooth-talking fraudster, but you fell for the PR campaign. Now we all suffer the consequences.

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By Tony Wicher, September 23, 2009 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

I think a lot of posters here might be interested in this interview with Sibel Edmonds in “The American Conservative”. She details a CIA-Turkish-Israeli-ISI-Saudi criminal intelligence network, based in Chicago, with contacts deep inside our government, including Feith, Perle and Dennis Hastert that was selling top secret information about weapons including nuclear technology as well as personal information used to blackmail public officials in Congress and the military which continued to have contacts with Osama bin Laden (and other bin Ladens) right up to 9-11. She ends by expressing suspicions about the Obama administration’s possible involvement, particularly given his appointment of Rahm Emmanuel as Chief of Staff.

http://amconmag.com/article/2009/nov/01/00006/
 

http://amconmag.com/article/2009/nov/01/00006/

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By StuartH, September 23, 2009 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

“We got into this mess because of government interference in the first place,”  Palin said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We’re not interested in government fixes, we’re interested in freedom”

This is a quote from Sarah Palin’s Hong Kong speech.  Also a right wing meme that seems to be in a lot of heads. 

Consider what one could do if one had a million bucks or so every day to spend on trying to sow discord and to undermine any attempt to move things forward. What would each of us do with this gig, if we took the money?

Advertising and PR firms use a lot of techniques.  Very obviously, producing TV ads and direct mail literature.  What of blogs?

It would be child’s play for a professional writer working on staff at a PR firm under contract to spend this money to look around the blogosphere for places to salt a little here and there.

Divide and conquer is such an old tactic that it is probably a kind of genetic endowment that goes along with the big business instinct to play people on the left.

Unfortunately, in the era of social media innovation, we also have more ancient modes of tactical communication.  Forums like this cannot exist in a vacuum and the prospect that the old liberal firing squad could be set in motion by prank as well as by nature has to be taken into account.

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By Folktruther, September 23, 2009 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

The presumptions of the mainstream truth, including the prog mainstream truth,  are so dishonest, absurd and delusive that they obscure Scheer’s meesage, as intended.  Which is to get out of the Afpak war. 

Scheer is quite right that Obama changed the first strike “Missile Defense” strategy against Russia, and he is now making noises about changing the Afpak strategy.  It is conceiveable that he might.

Scheer obfuscates his message in the apprvoed mianstream way with the garbage about revolution, etc in order to legitimate it in the irrational and indeed demented mainstream truth.  But the package is not the product.

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By wageslave, September 23, 2009 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

By truedigger3, September 23 at 12:36 pm #
“Obama revolution??!! Is Mr. Scheer kidding? What revolution? May be Scheer did mean counter-revolution.
As many posters already detailed, Obama is a big fraud and a sham and he deceived the common folks.”
Good post, absolutly right.

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By StuartH, September 23, 2009 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

“These tiresome and oft-repeated lines that Obama has a deep hole to dig out of
and he needs time are pathetic considering he is digging the hole deeper with
each passing hour.”

Clever typing.  However, to fail to realize just what kind of a hole Bush dug the
country - and the world - into is to have forgotten the last eight years.  The
comparison between Obama’s initial efforts and Bush’s is absolutely silly.

Brainless analysis does no good.

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By truedigger3, September 23, 2009 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

StuartH,

I stopped reading your posts. Your are nothig but a partisan hack in service of the Democratic party.
I am not a Repubican but an independent.  I didn’t vote neither for Obama nor McCain.

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By truedigger3, September 23, 2009 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

Obama revolution??!! Is Mr. Scheer kidding? What revolution? May be Scheer did mean counter-revolution.
As many posters already detailed, Obama is a big fraud and a sham and he deceived the common folks.
Contrasting Obama with Reagan is faulty. Both of them are very similar and are beholden to the moneyed elites and were elected “i.e. selected” to do its biddings.
Both of them are clever bullshit artists, good orators and are skillful at the make-believe sleight of hands.
While Reagan convinced many of the common folks that the interests of the moneyed class is their interests too and wealth will trickle down to them and he then proceeded to do everything he said he shall do but eventually harming the common folks.
Obama on the other hand campaigned against the moneyed class and convinced the common folks that he will “set things right” and he then proceeded to do everything opposite to everything he said he will do.
But the harm and damage Obama will cause to the common folks will be much much larger than what Reagan did.
Is Mr. Scheer living in another planet?? Obama revolution!! OH YEAH.!!

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By P. T., September 23, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

For Obama to satisfy his base, he would have to confront the ruling class over its primary interests.  Reagan did not have to deal with such a problem.

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By Anarcissie, September 23, 2009 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

StuartH:
‘I think the competition to win the contest to type out the most heated hyperbole on the failure of Obama is at least premature. ...’

Actually, I think those who call themselves “progressives” and deluded themselves into believing that Mr. O was going to do something for them have been rather patient with Mr. O and their delusions.  The fact is, Mr. O unceremoniously dumped the Democratic Party left as soon as he had the nomination tied up.  I would not call Mr. O a failure, however, because I don’t think he ever had any intention of engaging in anything but conservative, established-order, mainstream politics.  (I read the small print on the side of the package.)

The progs shouldn’t cry in their beer, however.  They did contribute to the astonishing election of a Black man to the presidency, and in the coming months they have a popular issue with which to either break free of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party or at least overcome it for a while.  I think they are somewhat inhibited by Mr. O’s color, eloquence and style, but you can bash the man’s policies (or lack of them) without bashing the man.  Up’n'at’em, progs!

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By RdV, September 23, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

“The real situation is that the Bush Administration was a wrecking crew that created a big hole that we have to dig ourselves out of.”

  While obama is intent on paddling in the wrong direction, how long do you suggest we wait?
  These tiresome and oft-repeated lines that Obama has a deep hole to dig out of and he needs time are pathetic considering he is digging the hole deeper with each passing hour.

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By StuartH, September 23, 2009 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

I think the competition to win the contest to type out the most heated hyperbole on the failure of Obama is at least premature. 

The real situation is that the Bush Administration was a wrecking crew that created a big hole that we have to dig ourselves out of.  This can not be done by indulging in exercises of polarizing rhetoric as most of the posters here engage in quite recklessly.  Why not? there is no responsibility whatsoever here.

Obama’s speech before the UN no doubt echoed his conversations with world leaders that he has had over the phone, as well as other addresses such as the speech he gave in Cairo, beginning to change the way Bush antagonized the world.

Climate change is one of the great problems of the world, and it won’t be dented in any quick action.  Steadiness of purpose and consistency that can last beyond this administration will take time to institute.

The measure of what Obama can accomplish cannot be taken until at least the election campaign of 2012 brings the debate into focus.  If he succeeds in creating a record after a full 8 years, then an assessment will be fully appropriate. 

Obama is not Reagan and thank God.  His new appointment as head of the FCC is already tying into Net Neutrality, which is about laying a Constitutional framework, or perhaps more appropriately, ensuring that the existing framework continues to apply to the development of the internet and further communications technologies built on top of it. 

This forum is possible because those people involved in governing the telecommunications technology it is based on have been convinced so far that Net Nuetrality is the best policy.  If that informal sense of it changes, as it certainly would have under a President McCain, the potential for a system that can have a chance of empowering citizens in dialogue will dissolve like the morning fog.  To establish Net Neutrality as law is to actually create a hugely significant step forward. 

To me, Obama is being careful to actually find his feet and establish crediblity with those centers of power that could make the difference between aborting his presidency and supporting it.  No doubt he has learned lessons by talking with Carter, Clinton and Ted Kennedy.

One of the prevalent trends that is obvious if you are really looking at what is going on is that those most eager to bring Obama down,  have a tendency to be the least likely to be concerned with the discipline to really base criticism in fully understanding the facts.  That is certainly true on the right. 

What is at stake is whether the President of the United States is a figure to take seriously or whether history will make the office completely irrelevant within the US or internationally.  That is what Obama is facing.  Building cautiously so as to create the most solid basis is an approach that most people would use. 

The problems we face are far too complex for simplistic hyperbole.  Since angry rhetoric promoted by people with no purpose other than to stoke negativity has infected our national dialogue to the extent it has, the antidote is not greater angry rhetoric, but more effective reasoning and steadier nerves.

Those who want more sharp rhetoric will no doubt find a more sober approach frustrating.  Personally I find the more adult approach, especially in contrast with Bush, encouraging. 

Most of the arguments I have are with Congress members who seem to me to be obstructionist and I hope that enough energy can be mustered by the progressive community in 2010 to avoid the spectacle of a more Republican Congress.  The sort of Republicans likely to win would most likely be bent on the mission of ensuring that any move to do anything be sabotaged in favor of creating the most negative possible atmosphere in 2012.

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By Gurp, September 23, 2009 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

“... the political base that made his presidency possible.”

Well, I agree with you in principle, Mr. Sheer, but unfortunately Obama and
nearly the entire democratic party now seem to view their “base” in much the
same way that the GOP sees theirs. As one component of a collection of
diverse groups who must be somehow sold on voting for a particular party. It
has almost nothing to do with representing the interests of those groups; it’s
only about appealing to them.

And the most tragic part is that with this political worldview, the base is to be
taken for granted.

My guess is that Obama sees the so-called “center” as the ones that made his
presidency possible. Sadly, that center voted for him because Bush was such a
colossal screwup. Has everyone forgotten that McCain was ahead before
September 15?

If cynical political calculus is all that is left in our system, it still means Obama
needs to do the right thing. He can’t run against Bush in 2012. He has to
define his presidency with the courage of his convictions.

It’s amazing to me that this administration decided to emulate the Bush model
in the way they court and manipulate the press, but not in the way they could
arrogantly insist that they were elected and would do as they saw fit.

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By SUE, September 23, 2009 at 7:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

TRUTH DIG:

WHOSE TRUTH IS THIS?

ROBERT SCHEER IS DELUSIONAL OR A TOOL OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

“SAVE THE TENTH” READER SAYS IT ALL.
OBAMA VOTED WITH THE ELITIST, CORPORATISTS IN CONGRESS AND HAS CONTINUED AS PRESIDENT TO HAND OUT WELFARE TO THE RICH. 
HE IS ONE OF THEM.

THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED BECAUSE IT NEVER EXISTED.

YOU FOOLS WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA HAVE TAKEN US DOWN A PATH OF 4 MORE YEARS OF WAR, NO HEALTHCARE, NO JOBS, NO ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS, CONTINUED WELFARE FOR THE RICH.

WAKE UP AND VOTE FOR THE ONE WHO VOTES FOR YOU!!!
VOTE FOR DENNIS KUCINICH NEXT TIME AND VOTE FOR:
PEACE DEPT.
END TO WAR
SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE
END TO WTO, NAFTA
ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS
END TO WELFARE FOR THE RICH

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION??

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By chrisr, September 23, 2009 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since when has a revolution ever come from the top? I don’t care if we somehow got Noam Chomsky as president, the effectiveness will come from We the People.

We’ve had some very small success in keeping healthcare from being completely sold out to the oligarchs, but if we want a real revolution, we need to be more revolutionary. I don’t mean in any kind of armed or violent way, but with a serious commitment to real change.

If We the People aren’t ready to march, to strike, to do what it takes, Obama certainly isn’t going to do it.

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By hark, September 23, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve never understood the reasoning behind scaring us with those barbaric scenes, presumably in the mountains of Afghanistan, of would-be third world terrorists practicing their martial arts skills.  How is that a threat to the United States?  Are these pathetic gangs going to overrun us in the streets with those tactics?

The threats they pose involve far more sophisticated schemes, and it is most unlikely that they are training for them in primitive Afghanistan.  More likely they are plotting and training right under our noses here in the states and other western nations, where the attacks, if there are any on the drawing boards, will occur every few years, while we have all our resources deployed where they almost certainly aren’t.

I remember Bush telling the nation eight years ago that this would be a different kind of struggle, a clandestine one of intelligence and special forces operations.

And then we forgot all about who the enemy was, and attacked and occupied two third world countries with massive deployments of conventional military forces, and got ourselves stuck in two endless quagmires.

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By Boomerpaw, September 23, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Reagan Revolution was in sync with the plutocracy.  The Obama Revolution is not.

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By Old Geezer Pilot, September 23, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

I love listening to his speeches. He is truly eloquent.
What else is he capable of doing?

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