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War of the Whales


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How Democracy Dies: Lessons From a Master

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Posted on Oct 10, 2010
AP / Matt York

By Chris Hedges

The ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes spent his life battling the assault on democracy by tyrants. It is disheartening to be reminded that he lost. But he understood that the hardest struggle for humankind is often stating and understanding the obvious. Aristophanes, who had the temerity to portray the ruling Greek tyrant, Cleon, as a dog, is the perfect playwright to turn to in trying to grasp the danger posed to us by movements from the tea party to militias to the Christian right, as well as the bankrupt and corrupt power elite that no longer concerns itself with the needs of its citizens. He saw the same corruption 2,400 years ago. He feared correctly that it would extinguish Athenian democracy. And he struggled in vain to rouse Athenians from their slumber.

There is a yearning by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They seek out of ignorance and desperation to create a utopian society based on “biblical law.” They want to transform America’s secular state into a tyrannical theocracy. These radicals, rather than the terrorists who oppose us, are the gravest threat to our open society. They have, with the backing of hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate money, gained tremendous power. They peddle pseudoscience such as “Intelligent Design” in our schools. They keep us locked into endless and futile wars of imperialism. They mount bigoted crusades against gays, immigrants, liberals and Muslims. They turn our judiciary, in the name of conservative values, over to corporations. They have transformed our liberal class into hand puppets for corporate power. And we remain meek and supine.

They want to transform America’s secular state into a tyrannical theocracy. These radicals, rather than the terrorists who oppose us, are the gravest threat to our open society.

The huge amount of taxpayer money doled out to Wall Street, investment banks, the oil and natural gas industry and the defense industry, along with the dismantling of our manufacturing sector, is why we are impoverished. It is why our houses are being foreclosed on. It is why some 45 million Americans are denied medical care. It is why our infrastructure, from public schools to bridges, is rotting. It is why many of us cannot find jobs. We are being fleeced. The flagrant theft of public funds and rise of an obscenely rich oligarchic class is masked by the tough talk of demagogues, themselves millionaires, who use fear and bombast to keep us afraid, confused and enslaved.

Aristophanes saw the same psychological and political manipulation undermine the democratic state in ancient Athens. He repeatedly warned Athenians in plays such as “The Clouds,” “The Wasps,” “The Birds,” “The Frogs” and “Lysistrata” that permitting political leaders who shout “I shall never betray the Athenian!” or “I shall keep up the fight in defense of the people forever!” to get their hands on state funds and power would end with the citizens enslaved.

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“The truth is, they want you, you see, to be poor,” Aristophanes wrote in his play “The Wasps.” “If you don’t know the reason, I’ll tell you. It’s to train you to know who your tamer is. Then, whenever he gives you a whistle and sets you against an opponent of his, you jump out and tear them to pieces.”

Our democracy, through years of war, theft and corruption, is also being diminished. But the example Aristophanes offers is not a hopeful one. He held up the same corruption to his fellow Greeks. He repeatedly chided them for not rising up and fighting back. He warned, ominously, that by the time most citizens awoke it would be too late. And he was right. The appearance of normality lulls us into a false hope and submission. Those who shout most loudly in defense of the ideals of the founding fathers, the sacredness of Constitution and the values of the Christian religion are those who most actively seek to subvert the principles they claim to champion. They hold up the icons and language of traditional patriotism, the rule of law and Christian charity to demolish the belief systems that give them cultural and political legitimacy. And those who should defend these beliefs are cowed and silent.   

“For a considerable length of time the normality of the normal world is the most efficient protection against disclosure of totalitarian mass crimes,” Hannah Arendt wrote in “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” “Normal men don’t know that everything is possible, refuse to believe their eyes and ears in the face of the monstrous. ... The reason why the totalitarian regimes can get so far toward realizing a fictitious, topsy-turvy world is that the outside non-totalitarian world, which always comprises a great part of the population of the totalitarian country itself, indulges in wishful thinking and shirks reality in the face of real insanity. ...”

All ideological, theological and political debates with the representatives of the corporate state, including the feckless and weak Barack Obama, are useless. They cannot be reached. They do not want a dialogue. They care nothing for real reform or participatory democracy. They use the tricks and mirages of public relations to mask a steadily growing assault on our civil liberties, our inability to make a living and the loss of basic services from education to health care. Our gutless liberal class placates the enemies of democracy, hoping desperately to remain part of the ruling elite, rather than resist. And, in many ways, liberals, because they serve as a cover for these corporate extremists, are our greatest traitors.


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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 22, 2010 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

Being true to my pedantic nature… it is fairly certain that Marcus
Arelius read Aristotle’s Politics, Physics, and Nichomachean Ethics,
if indeed he said Of each thing ask what it is in and by itself, ask
“what is its nature?
As an example, in his, quest to describe how it
is and why it is people come together, Harry follows his usual method
of discovering the particulars of the state by analyzing it into its parts
and study it in its origins by describing stages of aggregation.  (Saul
Alinsky’s intentions and morally civic actions also showed he read
Aristotle as well.) 

But I won’t tease you into wondering what Aristotle thought, for in your
laziness (or for me not to be so snot nosed about it, in your “busy”
schedule) maybe you wouldn’t bother to find out.

In the first stage, two primary instincts lead humans to associate with
each other, the reproductive instinct where men and women come
together and the associated reason of self-preservation, (we can see
that over 2,500 years ago, Harry Stottle already had a step up on my
hero Darwin, and I’m not really very fickle about either of these two
gents, life being what it is). 

The next stage is that of the tribal village, which he calls the “union” of
several families for the supply of something more than everyday needs. 
The village structure made possible an equal division of labor and thus
the happiness of an increase in varied needs as well as better protection
against man and beasties.

The third stage is the combination of several villages into a community
that is complete and “large enough to be almost self-sufficient, coming
into being for the sake of a life but existing for the sake of a good life.” 
The Good life includes two things, moral and intellectual activity.  And
in this regard, the state offers a more sufficient field for moral action by
reason of more of a variety of relations whereby the virtues may be
more exercised than within the earlier smaller units.  And further it
gives more scope for intellectual activity, a more complete division of
intellectual labor is possible and each mind is more stimulated by the
effects of minds on other minds.  Aristotle says, “if the earlier forms of
society are natural, so is the state, for it is the end of them and the
nature of a thing is its end.  For what each thing is when fully
developed, we call its nature
… Hence it is evident that the state is a
creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal, and He
who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is
sufficient for himself, bust be either a beast or a god.”

Then again in his “Physics,” he states “The natural purpose of a
primary being is expressed in its nature, which is its soul and is
expressed in its form. To know a thing’s nature is to know its natural
purpose, and that leads to knowledge of what is good for it.”

We see where Marcus’s got his ideas.  Alinsky was a master at
understanding the “nature” of aggregates of people and their
dispositions.  Individually they each wanted to be successful and to
have a good life.  But, as always, there were forces that would keep
everything they could for themselves, the wealthy and powerful, keeping
the ordinary people from having a decent life.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 22, 2010 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

Ah yes, the crimes of the liberal elites and for fun, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Crime_Squad

What is most laughable is the typical conservative effort to drive a
wedge between “We the people” and who are called the liberal elites.” 
And not afraid to name names, I nominate Ronald Reagan as a
conservative elite.  For instance, in October 1988, Ronald Reagan tried
to nominate judges to the Federal bench but they sat in the Senate and
the Democrats made it clear they would keep as many judicial slots
open as possible so that a new Democratic president would have the
choice (a natural political move since a Democratic president would
select more liberal judges, and rule more for the common people).  And
the Republicans parried back.  Reagan accused the “liberal elite” of
wanting to appoint judges who were soft on crime and durgs.”  Which
was a ridiculous charge, but also was politically motivated since Reagan
wanted to appoint more conservative judges who would rule for the
powerful conservative “elite.”  QED

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said: Saul Alinsky thought of himself as a radical, not a liberal, he was a community organizer who organized communities against against their elites, and he’s long dead.  So how is he the modern liberal elite?

I also point out that Saul Alinsky was never President, or congressman, or governor, or even a mayor. We should ask, “How could he be an example of an ‘elite’?”

In which case we are barking down the wrong tree. The beginning of understanding “Liberal elite” is to introduce the concept of political Relativity. It is time for the Albert Einstein approach instead of the Isaac Newton approach on the word “Liberal” as well as word “elite”.

Perhaps you have already figured out some questions and protestations about what I just said. Rather than trying to anticipate all your questions or head off all your protestations(which would require me to write a book) I will not go much further today. So ask your questions. Or perhaps you dont want to know? We will find out shortly, and we wont waste time. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

I will caution you, though. The Relativity of the Liberal elite is found in primary relation(within) and not in secondary relation(outside). No doubt you will bring it up anyway. Its okay if you do.

But we can understand what Liberal Elite means by studying it in itself, and by itself. Remember your first principles? Marcus Aurelius said:

Of each thing ask what it is in and by itself, ask “what is its nature?”
 
For those who find Greeks and Romans and Renaissances distasteful, please relax! I am actually quoting the most knowledgeable man of our time, a fellow you are already familiar with: Dr Hannibal Lector.

The Relativity of “Liberal Elite” applies to its own political structure, its own methodology, and to its own nature. The clues are there if you know where to look, and can push the idea through to its conclusion. This might be painful but its how you win understanding. For the Sage Almighty sayeth: It is possible to push a negative hard enough that it breaks through to its opposite.

Shenonymous… What you see is the crime of “Liberal Elite” being used as a cudgel. The unfairness of it all is understood. The rest is a mystery to you. Therefore do not contradict Sage Almighty, especially after defending and praising him so profusely. It makes you look fickle.

One more very important rule. You all know a few things that I dont know, so I will ask you some questions and you must answer them. Just some little questions, but I warn you now that if you do not answer my little questions… the deal is off.

If you give nothing, you will get nothing. 

If the screaming of the lambs in the dark night of this election cycle doesnt bother you, then fly away like a good little starling.

Or…

Quid pro Quo, Clarice?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

She, your post has helped me answer a looming question in me mind!

Over my time here Posting on Truth Dig, I have been called many different names,  I have been loosing sleep fretting to change me ways and was thinking of becoming like a Buddhist monk and started looking for a cave someplace!

Some names; at least the ones I can recall anyway are: brain dead, Right Wing Conservative Shrill, Nazi with jack boots on, a Nazi Zionist, Pinko Commie, Blasphemous, a person who hates Arabs, a bad plumber and the suggestion I may be part of a great Progressive plot. Now these are not all the names I have been called for unlike a Spaniard,and if I was a Spaniard I would never be able to remember all my surnames!

My observations are She has been called many different names also, most names much more salty then the ones I have been called. It seems to me the name calling must be some last resort or last gasp for the mentally challenged and now I feel relaxed about this name calling, for after reading Shes post these names do not mean anything at all! .....Sticks and Stones?

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 21, 2010 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

Terms like ‘political enemies’ or ‘liberal elites’ or ultra-right-wing-
conservative are meaningless pluralities until names are put to them. 
Now a ‘consecutive’ with credentials named Bush is quite meaningful,
I think, and I think that illustrates what I am saying. 

All terms improperly used are imprecise and ambiguous.  There is no
such thing as degrees of ambiguity.  Using language imprecisely is by
definition ignorance when done unwittingly, but using it intending to
be ambiguous is verbal trickery.  I think, though, that ambiguity is an
incorrect term.  It is a condition where information can be understood
or interpreted in more than one way.  Since there is no information
provided, no understanding is forthwith coming. The term, liberal elite,
is better described as vague.  Vagueness is a statement about the lack
of precision contained or available in the information.

It is not a matter of denying meaning to “political terms” not liked,
is it more a matter of auto-cannibalism, like a meaning-ouroboros that
swallows its own tail annihilating all meaning in its munching.  There is
no meaning until some outside agent applying the term to something
tangible interrupts the cycle.  Until then, it hangs in the air like that
other mythical beast, the Chimera. The more philosophic minded would
call it a fuzzy cliche. If the truth be told, it is an exercise in nonsense to
say one can master unliked synthesized fanciful conjectures.  In other
words, it is claptrap and no insight can ever come of it.  Only defeat is
promised.  Poor Sun Tzu is a dead issue.

Context may play a role in resolving vague abstractions, that is,
instantiation by naming members.  Without any members named,
‘liberal elites’ merely refers to an empty set “full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing” as Will once said.

In my obsessive search for one liberal elite in order to save it from
the doom of eternal fuzziness, the liberal elite, specifically is an
idiom used to describe members of society such as politicians, college
educators and celebrities who regularly promote the liberal agenda. I
think that has already been said.  So the hunt for candidates should not
be too difficult.

In Ireland, Pat Kenny, a prominent talk show host who displays all the
worst aspects of the liberal style of debating, symbolizes the liberal
elite there. It is also said that the liberal elite believe they are superior
to others.  Not in a physical sense but mentally, they have their high
ground and nobody dare challenge.  If you challenge the liberal elite
thinking and beliefs, you risk, at the least, being ridiculed. So we have
found one, an Irishman (they always steal the show, don’t they?).  But
an article in The American Prospect (August 10, 2010) The Real Liberal
Elite, names quite a few American liberal elites. 
http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_real_liberal_elite
And having found perfect examples of our quarry, can we line them up
and shoot them?  And it seems only fair that conservative elites be
named also.  We might as well make good use of the wall.  Or do they
not exist?

Pardon me if I ‘forced’ some levity to the conversation about liberal
elites.  I for one would never ruin a perfectly good mug of beer by
dripping tears into it.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 21, 2010 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

Saul Alinsky, a genuine modern-day Robin Hood hero, who boasted
about robbing the rich… was studied by ‘elites’ on both sides of the
political spectrum, and was considered the most eminent liberal
activist. His primary axiom was “Always remember, that the guiding
star is the dignity of the individual,” who advocated empowering the
poor and middle class. He established the Industrial Areas Foundation
and as its executive director he took his method of reform to declin-
ing urban neighborhoods. His approach depended on uniting ordinary
citizens around immediate grievances in their neighborhoods and
stirring them to protest vigorously and even disruptively. In his
first book, Reveille for Radicals, he explained how neighborhood
residents could be effectively organized as activists for reform. 

He was a intense critic of the young radicals who spoke reactive
violence.  Wisely, he called instead on reformers to be more practical
and to use the self-interest of ordinary citizens as the principle force
for increased political participation. “A guy has to be a political idiot,”
he told radicals, “to say all power comes out of the barrel of a gun
when the other side has the guns.” For Alinsky, driving and motivating
power arose out of stable local organizations and political participation
by aroused citizens fighting for their rights.  When he was effective
against the established conservative efforts, their desperate response
was to paint him as a dangerous demagogue and fanatical communist. 
Problem is…his ideas worked to help the underprivileged and that
pissed the autocrats helplessly off.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 20, 2010 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—Saul Alinsky thought of himself as a radical, not a liberal, he was a community organizer who organized communities against against their elites, and he’s long dead.  So how is he the modern liberal elite?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 20, 2010 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

Since I seem to have a problem with stereotypes especially in the general terms of politics, I feel Political terms may change with the times and are in constant flux as people change with them. It seems to me the conservatives of the 1950s did not have the same political ideals we see in conservatives today, liberals possibly the same.

Pigeon holing groups of people appears to me almost bigoted in a limited sense. Labels are usually used to promote the us and them mentality.  Anyway these are my ideas on political category’s or names!

For instance Obama does not seem liberal to me, but to the conservatives he is a liberal socialist and I considered Bush a consecutive with credentials as a Fascist. interestingly people calling Obama a Fascist, except a liberal fascist?

Seems to me politics is a fuzzy target to hone in on and an apparent dumbing down of the public may be accountable? 

Of course my comments are not set in stone and seldom will I make a comment which I qualify as an absolutism, unless I am discussing Sara Palin!

By the way, nice to see your post OM.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 20, 2010 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said: I just think the term ‘liberal elite’ is vague and ambiguous. I knew who they were in 1955.

What does this prove? It proves that political terms are imprecise, and eventually become more ambiguous with improper use. The ambiguity rises to its highest level when the term is used to smear political opponents.

Does this prove that “Liberal elite” is a meaningless term that refers to nothing and to no one, that there is no wisdom or insight behind the concept? Does this prove that the term “Liberal elite” is pure verbal trickery and deceit?

In my opinion, there is meaning all around. Our denial of meaning in the political terms that we dont like becomes a vortex that eventually swallows up our own political terms until there is no meaning anywhere. Conversely, our mastery of the terms that we dont like can lead to insight and an ‘overcoming’, and thus to victory. That is a Sun Tzu warrior thing.

Or perhaps the phrase “Liberal elite” is just plain nettlesome to your hindquarters so you want to kick it down the hill in order to get even with it?

In that case, please keep for future reference that i did drop a name(rhetorically) which you asked for(rhetorically). The very best name, the sine qua non of Liberal elitism. For the concept in question is perfectly defined by that person’s life and by his mode of operation and by his writings.

As for me, I ought not force seriousness upon a light hearted chat. Or meaning upon a rhetorical chat. Sometimes we need to cry in our beer and just complain about how unfair it all is.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

Well yeah, I guess I am frequently snotty nosed, and to refrain from
using the back of my sleeves, I keep a box of extra-soft Kleenex on
my computer desk just to keep from dripping on my keyboard.  Oh
well…I’ve been called worse.  And I can have fun as much as the
next person.  Actually I have a very elevated sense of humor

It is hard to tell how definite is your familiarity with the ancient
classical or archaic writers except for your parochial expression on
this TD forum.  After rereading your Oct. 18, 4:49pm post, by mawkish
I meant that falling into the sentimentality of Star Trek episodes seems
to be the typically shallow kind of remarks that comes from an
undemanding and superficial study of eloquently pertinent humanly
relevant literature. 

As one who has given much more than a quarter semester to one
course, I reacted to the short shrift you gave the ancients and throwing
ancient and archaic together in one chowder pot showed me you really
didn’t understand much about what those venerable men of letters
wrote.  And StarTrek scripts, much as I am a hard-core fan, are hardly
comparable to the likes of Aristophanes, Euripides, or the sophistication
of a Platonic dialogue, regardless of how small a piece, such as the Ion,
was given thoughtful life with many layers of comprehension and
interpretation.  It strikes me that many contemporaries who have never
really studied the classics critically often give cavalier or casual
utterances the intention of which is to give an impression of erudition
and your comments seemed to have lapsed into that perfunctory class. 
I find it difficult to give Roddenberry credibility for anything except the
most fanciful lightweight storytelling with no intention to sway the
public as were the ancient’s regardless of where his source materials
came from.  He was a master at entertaining but unchallenging tales
that will not attain anywhere near the stature of the ancients, not even
in the unforeseeable future. 

I would say that most of life is unrewarding in meaningful ways, so I
won’t worry myself that you don’t get much more than the ordinary
blogfare from interacting on these forums.  Your question about
coalescing with political allies or relinquishing power to political
enemies is merely rhetorical and is not so very helpful since many of
the minds that visit Truthdig have asked similar questions; even the
more conservative visitors.

So perhaps together we can be constructive in a discussion and get
beyond the rhetoric and give some concrete ways to “coalesce with
political allies” and not give up power to perceived political enemies. 
Perhaps starting with a list of who are the political enemies is a good
place to start?  One can’t battle ghosts, and as long as they are
consigned to the abstract form of “political enemies” they exist only as
hypotheticals and nothing can really be done, don’t you agree?

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, October 20, 2010 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous

O.K., I’ll bite, but it won’t be a big bite. You seem to be a person who takes pleasure in intellectual sparring. My motivation for posting here has to do with very real tangible issues, and not abstract superficial diversions.

“Slushy” comment aside, you strike me as being an intelligent, well educated, and literate person. These qualities and three dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, but if they are not used for any other purpose than a kind of self serving showmanship, they don’t have much value in my oh so humble, opinion. One more thing, I’m puzzled as to how someone can be mawkish about current events as they unfold.

I’ll admit that my most recent post here was somewhat knee jerk and limited in its scope, but as a feeble defense, I’ll offer that the comment was born of frustration. Having studied the Renaissance at an institute of higher learning for a full quarter, and humbly acknowledging that the results of my final examination were startlingly exceptional, I give myself some limited credibility regarding that issue and many of its peculiarities. I am, of course, not a legitimate scholar on the period, or on the period of Classical Greece, but somehow, this lack of expertise doesn’t mean diddley to me as it pertains to current events, but I sort of get the gist of the whole deal.

As an aside, I’ll mention that I watched Nova last night and was impressed by the study of Gothic Cathedrals, dating from the mideival period (Middle Ages, Dark Ages, whatever.) So, apparently chivalry and the Gothic Cathedrals give some credibility to that period. My intent was not to be mawkish about the Dark Ages, I don’t believe that that period of history, or the Renaissance, or the Classical Greek period, can be definitively instructive in relevance to current events, my point was to point out mawkishness about the study of the Renaissance, or more specifically, the obvious mawkishness regarding the emphasis put on the historic period of Classical Greece.

Not having a Star Trek Concordance, I find it difficult to refute your claim of Classical Greece having an impact on the artistic creations of Gene Roddenberry, et al, but it would not surprise me in the least. I wasn’t attempting to enhance Gene Roddenberry’s credibility, I was only attempting to point out that he and others should be given as much credibility as an ancient playwright. In terms of passé pop culture icons, I prefer Sterling Siliphant, who strikes me as being more contemporary, and not so mawkishly fantasmagorical.

Well this post has been fun, but unrewarding in any meaningful way. Let me conclude this post, with an attempt to divert us away from intellectual froo frah, and towards contemporary concerns, by quoting myself from my most recent post.

“It seems to me that the real question for our current reality, is do we coalesce with our political allies, or relinquish power to our political enemies? One of those courses seems to be most advantageous and least destructive.”

In conclusion, I feel compelled to comment that your “Snotty-nosed” comment must be interpreted as metaphorical, if so, I must suggest that, based on our previous exchanges, you are projecting. Let me give you a little bit of etiquette related advice. One’s using the back of one’s sleeve is generally frowned upon in polite society. Hopefully you’ll find this little tidbit of etiquette helpful.

I feel fairly certain that one of us, or the other, will feel the need to criticize the other some time in the future (More than likely you will have an obsessive, compulsive need to criticize me.) Until then, ta ta!

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael— I just think the term ‘liberal elite’ is vague and ambiguous.  I knew who they were in 1955.  It’s not obvious to me today that there is a specific liberal elite today.  Mr. O, for example, is even said to be a ‘socialist’, and is compared to Lenin and Hitler, and yet he’s actually rather conservative and has generally continued the policies of his predecessor, although blessedly without a phony Texas accent.  As I said, I am sure there are elites, and that some of them are liberal in once sense or another, but this doesn’t tell us very much, and doesn’t give us an idea of how they can be responsible for the extensive evils attributed to them.  I don’t see how George Soros destroyed the schools.  But if those who use the term were a little more specific, maybe we could get somewhere.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 18, 2010 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

I’m pretty sure my point is not really who are the liberal elites even
though I’ve asked a couple of times.  It was just a device to motivate
thought.  My point is that when undefined groups are named without
any particular names almost anything can be said with impunity. 
And no one, not anyone can really assail anything that is said.  It is
pure verbal trickery and deceit.  The dialogue keeps building on a
foundation of sand yet the partisans keep right on going and before
long they fall into quicksand.  And often in a Sartre-like quagmire,
there is No Exit into a state of rationality.

Your narrow understanding of the use of revisiting the ancients is
surprising given that you often appear to write with insight, JDmysticDJ. 
And while I adore Gene Roddenberry, who the hell is he?  Captain Kirk,
et al?  I’m sure if Data could appear he might tell you about the
significance of Aristophanes and others such as Aeschylus, Euripides
and other Greek authors.  Therein we find vignettes of human nature,
human behaviors, their folly and their courage and importantly gives us
food for thought on the same problems we face today, 2500 years later
but have no solutions because not enough thought, the right kind of
thought, has been given to them.  And we blindly follow our snotty
noses instead of the instincts that were handed us by the ancients
who had the audacity to write them down.  No one is asking anyone
to believe Aristophanes and his cronies.  By the way, where in the hell
do you think Roddenberry got a lot of his material?  I have a Star Trek
Concordance, small vignettes of all of the shows, and the Metaphysics
of Star Trek.  You would be surprised at how much comes from the
“ancients.”  There is nothing new under the sun, or maybe you don’t
intuit that?  Good grief are you that sheltered in contemporary
mawkishness?  Pray tell what ‘real’ knowledge are you imparting to
the denizens of these forums outside of your slushy criticisms.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 18, 2010 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

Who in the hell is Aristophanes, and why should we believe that an archaic playwright, or any of the other Greek Philosophers have any significance in the modern world. I’ll suggest that Gene Roddenberry and any of a number of other modern science fiction writers would be as significant as Aristophanes.

It should be noted that resurgence in popularity of the Greek Philosophers brought us the Renaissance, which corresponded with the black plague, the 30 years war, the 100 years war, the dawn of capitalism, world conquest, etc.

Classical Greece effectively ended when the militaristic, perverse, authoritarian, Spartans conquered the more democratic Athenians after the Peloponnesian wars. I, for one, wonder why classical Greece was seen as so desirable by Renaissance thinkers, and why its mystique continues.

The Dark Ages are considered dark because of the sparse historical record, aside from stereotypical portrayals of that period, only recorded at the end of that centuries long period, we don’t have much information about everyday life in that period of history. Leechings, witch trials, inquisitions, torture, famine, disease, corruption of the church, etc. are chronicled from the Renaissance, not from the Dark Ages. The fancy pants Renaissance sonnet writers were more than likely disconnected from the greater society, so what do we really know? The age of chivalry is associated with the dark ages, the Renaissance, not so much.

Given our lack of real knowledge about archaic history, one could bend that history according to whim, personal prejudice, or dialectic rhetoric, which seems to be an elitist intellectual’s pastime, not bearing any real relevance to current realities, except as parables or fables.

The debate and analysis of Greek Philosophers, Enlightenment Philosophers, and German Philosophers etc. goes on here at truthdig with no real effect, other than to establish one’s pseudo-intellectual credentials.

It seems to me that the real question for our current reality, is do we coalesce with our political allies, or relinquish power to our political enemies? One of those courses seems to be most advantageous and least destructive.

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By OzarkMichael, October 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

The Truthdiggers dont know of any “liberal elites”. They are puzzled. They are perplexed.

They search everywhere and find no answers, Shenonymous even did a google search, but comes up empty handed. All that can be found of substance by Anarcissie are bad motivations among those who would use such a term.

But even so the Truthdiggers protest that they would really like to know if there are any liberal elites. They express their desire to know any one, just one, even one(!)name of a liberal elite. Please somebody, point out a name.

You were wishing so hard that it compels me to break out of my ‘read only’ mode. 

Earlier in this thread the Truthdiggers had no clue about Saul Alinsky’s political philosophy. Apparently a Truthdigger simply cant know what Alinsky’s viewpoint was because he didnt spell it out. Apparently it is a mystery too deep too fathom.

Ah the innocence.

Ah the naivete.

oh yeah, and… Ah the irony!

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By Shenonymous, October 18, 2010 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

From what I can gather, the liberal elites are the leaders of the
liberal contingent.  Jonas Goldberg’s author of the book Liberal
Fascism somewhat names David Neiwert, Chip Berlet, and scholars
Robert Paxton and Roger Griffin all of whom, he says gnashed their
teeth on his expose: http://hnn.us/articles/122667.html article
Definitions and Double Standards, in History News Network online
editorial magazine.  I am supposing that elite can equate on some
level to fascist.  If Goldberg does defame others, it is probably
because he is an iconoclast type.  As long as he provides references,
his type is necessary in a society that hardly pays attention to what is
being force-fed thinking, meaning classic Skinnerian conditioning, via
the media. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_liberal_theorists
Let us say at least for our purposes that among the fifty-five or so
recognized liberal theorists in history, names like Max Weber, Croce,
von Mises, those who most directly affect our lifestyle and political
thinking in modern times might begin with Friedman and run through
Rawls, Dworkin, Rorty, Nozick, de Soto, Ackerman and the most
contemporary Nussbaum and Kymlicka are names to start with in terms
of finding out what the ambiguous term liberalism means.  The Daily
Howler takes shots at the liberal elites rather regularly.  So these so-
called elites are not a group who is able to deflect the flack.
http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh091710.html  Dumb like us! Who do we
liberals love to hate?” They end the title with the clerk in the grocery
store:  But can we include Robert Reich, how about the talking heads at
Slate, or how about our very own Robert Sheer? Or how about liberal
economist Paul Krugman?  Yeah, like who?  Let’s start putting faces on
these fuzzy sets.  You can’t hit a moving or blurry target unless you are
a very good shot and can track movement.

Another article: http://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/the-
need-for-liberal-elite-to-up-responsibility/
George Fulton, Express Tribune, talks around the topic but doesn’t
name any.

Without more definition of who, this indistinct group will never rise to
action because they don’t even know they belong to the lofty
assortment of anonymouses.

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By Anarcissie, October 18, 2010 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Alphysicist, October 18 at 4:30 am:

Anarcissie and Shenonymous,
Perhaps I should have been more careful about throwing in the name “liberal elite”.  I thought though, from the institutions mentioned, it should be obvious what I meant….

It’s not clear to me what you meant.  ‘Liberal elite’ is a catchphrase which I began to hear in the 1950s from working- and middle-class people who resented having political and social equality for Negroes (as they were then called) forced on them, and who generally also felt that the government wasn’t repressive enough toward leftist political minorities, cultural deviance, and so forth.  I don’t know who the liberal elite are supposed to be these days.  You mention George Soros, but I’m not that familiar with his activities, other than having and playing with a lot of money.  Hollywood, the media and academia are generally not very open; they practice and advance extremely repressive intellectual-property laws and lawyering which may be elitist but are certainly not liberal in most senses of the word, and their model of the intellectual world has been static and hierarchical, or at least it was until the Internet started to break it up.  Maybe you could clarify what you’re getting at.

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By Anarcissie, October 18, 2010 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

QuantumBubbler, October 18 at 10:16 am:

Oh, good comment Anarcissie:

“Every willful being desires the power to work its will.  It is not a weakness; it is a condition of existence.  It is as true of the powerless as of the powerful.  A view which overlooks this fact is defective, maybe dangerously defective.”

Let me apply that concept now, in the real world. Liberal share-the-wealth politics does not work because “Every willful being desires the power to work its will.  It is not a weakness; it is a condition of existence.”

When rules about one’s life situation are heralded from one’s higher-ups in the political rule-making machine, it is depowering, especially to the less powerful. ...’

Well, yes, but that is the deal most people choose to agree to.  The intelligent willful being desires power to work its will, but soon finds that it is lodged in a world with numerous other beings who have their own wills.  So, it can try to conquer the universe; or it can try to escape from all the other beings; or it can try to cut a deal with the other beings.  This is the most popular option.  There are many deals, but a favorite one is to join with an organization which coerces everybody into some tolerable order.  This is generally called the state.  The willful being gives up its independence and submits to coercion, but is rewarded with the right to coerce others, and maybe some kind of share of goods produced, discovered, or stolen by the collectivity.  At the bottom, of course, are a large number of beings who can’t coerce anybody, who have not gotten to make a choice.  But not many of us fall into that category, or we would not be sitting around typing philosophical musings into the computer.

As you know there are many kinds of states.  I believe the juxtaposition of ‘liberal’ and ‘share the wealth’, as above, is an oxymoron.  Liberalism has been concerned from its beginning with private property.  However, the exercise of statecraft is another matter.  Machiavelli, in The Prince, says that one should never exhibit public generosity, but he makes one exception: when you can give away someone else’s stuff.  Politicians, liberal or not, like to follow this rule.  But they’re not sharing their wealth, or that of their friends; quite the opposite.

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By Shenonymous, October 18, 2010 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

”Sometimes, starting over is better than finishing. Start over with the
Constitution, sooner or later. Countries do ‘start over’.”
  Is this from
personal experience or conjecture.  If conjecture, can you provide
some historical proof?

Thinning out the premises of liberalism with pretension of omniscience is
a strategy for something, in this case, it is incomprehensible.  Without the
prescription to either articulately supplant it or prove the accusations, it is
hot air gasping.

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By QuantumBubbler, October 18, 2010 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

Oh, good comment Anarcissie:

“Every willful being desires the power to work its will.  It is not a weakness; it is a condition of existence.  It is as true of the powerless as of the powerful.  A view which overlooks this fact is defective, maybe dangerously defective.”

Let me apply that concept now, in the real world. Liberal share-the-wealth politics does not work because “Every willful being desires the power to work its will.  It is not a weakness; it is a condition of existence.”

When rules about one’s life situation are heralded from one’s higher-ups in the political rule-making machine, it is depowering, especially to the less powerful. People who think they are smart because they can lie to the mindless herd at least will get trampled when the stampede begins. The Universe is thus perfect. I have no qualms with how it is and how it will play out.

Europe! Stop the protesting! Obama-icans say you have the best way to go! Or is that the best way to have gone?

Sometimes, starting over is better than finishing. Start over with the Constitution, sooner or later. Countries do ‘start over’.

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By Alphysicist, October 18, 2010 at 12:30 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie and Shenonymous,

  Perhaps I should have been more careful about throwing in the name “liberal elite”.  I thought though, from the institutions mentioned, it should be obvious what I meant: it is true that these institutions are only liberal on the surface, not in any positive sense of the word.  Also, plenty of the blame for our current ills go to Republicans (actually I think that there is an effective one party system), but I remember when Nader came on the scene, it was the Ivy League, the New York Times,  and the Democrats who persecuted him the most.

  Chris Hedges’ book gives a thorough account of the cultural decay of the U.S. (valid for the West as a whole, probably).  The lobby that monopolizes culture and intellectual life (Hollywood, media, academia) does pride itself on adhering to the “liberal” ideology, presumably with one of the goals being to monopolize the idea of openness. 

  George Soros finances a so called “Open Society Institute”, an institute which has attempted to monopolize the political scene in the last decades in Eastern Europe (the control of this institute over the cultural and intellectual life is still overwhelming in many countries).  But slowly Eastern Europe has been managing to shatter the chains of that dictatorship.

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By Shenonymous, October 17, 2010 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

It is not that I doubt you, Anarcissie, it is just that I’d like the name
of one.  Just so I know there is a real, existent one.  The amorphous
group called liberal elites is such a faceless abstraction.  You know,
like ultra-right-wing conservative. Guess I’ve seen a few of those on
the TV.  But if the liberal elites are resented not for being elite but
for being liberal, then how does that distinguish them from common
liberals?

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By Anarcissie, October 17, 2010 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

There are definitely elites, in the sense of people who have significantly more power, wealth or social status than others, and who generally recognize one another, a self-conscious class.  Some of them are doubtless liberal for one meaning of the word or another.  My impression is that popular resentment of the liberal elites is not that they are elites but that they are liberal.

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By Shenonymous, October 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

Well after doing a fair amount of googling, since I wanted to see a
real live liberal elite so I could march them up against a wall, you
can point your gun, even shoot it if you are so inclined, but you
won’t hit one liberal elite since not one is ever named!  Not any
where by anyone.  So I’m of the mind that it is a mythological ‘new’
class with no members. A null set.  I love it.  It is just one to be
able to rant against when the bowels are in an uproar and there
is no where to take a crap.

Here are some search results:
The ‘liberal elite’
By Avery Walker | RAW STORY COLUMNIST – No date, sometime written
in 2004???
http://www.rawstory.com/exclusives/avery/liberal_elite_1109.htm
The “liberal elite”. Even liberals are throwing the phrase around, as if
it’s a given that liberals—who favor lower tax rates for the poor, higher
tax rates for the rich, equal rights and opportunities for people of all
colors and sexual orientations, and a government that stays out of
religion—somehow think they’re better than everyone else. Do I even
need to point out that “liberal elite” is a contradiction in terms?

http://reason.com/archives/1995/04/01/liberal-elites

In Defense of Elitism, by William A. Henry III and
The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, by Christopher
Lasch

Apparently the tea party movement embodies the core principles that
liberal elites despise and their failed policies force them to paint a false
narrative about their opponents.  The crux of the issue is liberal elites
want a society where the state controls everything down to the most
minute decisions.  The tea party on the other hand wants a society
structured around a small and limited government that allows
individuals to have control over their lives.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2010/oct/13/libera
l-elites-vs-tea-party/

Larry M. Bartels (2006), “What’s the Matter with What’s the Matter with
Kansas?”, Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 1:No. 2, pp 201–
226.  I’ll pick this one up at my university library. Read it then report!  I
mean if we are going to have a public execution, we ought to know a
little bit about the bastards?  No?  Bring the beer and popcorn.  I have
17 other references to check out if I run out of things to do otherwise. 
LOL.  By the end of this, I should be a walking encyclopedia for the
topic of liberal elite!  Oh yeah and oy vey

Oh, one more thing…don’t hold your breath for utopia.

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By vicente carranza, October 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

Folks sorry for my message all on caps.  Wasn’t thinking.
The only person that I was going to mention was Shenonymous.  Did you all read what she said about my post?  I guess the shoe fit.  God Bless everyone and that it for me on this article.  Tlamatini-vicente carranza.

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By Anarcissie, October 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

Who are the liberal elites?  I’ve seen them blamed for every political and social ill since I was a child.  I have to conclude that if we only killed them all we’d have no more problems and utopia would break out instantly everywhere.

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By Alphysicist, October 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

PS: Democracy died long ago…I have probably never really experienced it in my life.

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By Alphysicist, October 17, 2010 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

I believe this article is a good analysis, but it misses some key points.  The rise of the Christian right and co. are not really the most important causal factors in the current crisis: that prize goes first and foremost to the liberal elite.  It is not the ID people who are the biggest threat to the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment, but the institutions which claim to monopolize that scientific rigor, like academia, and exploit it for political means.  The proponents of outsourcing, liberalization of the financial sector, NAFTA, uncontrolled immigration, etc., in short the policies which have made life significantly more difficult for the working class were usually Ivy League economists, some of them Nobel Prize winners by now.  The prevailing cultural illiteracy is partly what dominates our TV screens from Hollywood, but partly due to political correctness in academia, thanks to which a war has been waged in the recent decades on quality literature, since most of that was written by “dead white males”.  It was ignored how much those dead white males have done to reexamine ourselves and improve our capability of empathy and solidarity and to see through what is going on (like for example Aristophanes).  Most Western Academics are very quick to jump on the anti-Catholic band-wagon, which suits certain political agendas, but they seem to offer little solution to the world’s current ills, in fact they are mostly interested in upholding the political status quo, disregarding its injustices and contradictions.

So either that intellectual and scientific rigor has not been upheld by the institutions claiming it, or it is not sufficient in itself to solve the problems we are facing.  Probably both….

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By ardee, October 17, 2010 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

vicente carranza, October 17 at 8:33 am

Caps are considered to be shouting, you might understand. Is that what you meant to do?

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By Shenonymous, October 17, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

That is not all that is stuck.  Senõr Carranza seems to have found
some arcane data from a secret study about 99% of “the people”
who do not read all some unspecified stuff.  A lovely mindless kind
of observation that is as empty as a blank CD especially when the CD
has been misplaced.  What, Senõr, do you know about ‘ego trips,”
Senõr?  How do you know that people in the “outside world” only think
and take care of their “I” and never think of reality?  What reality is it
that you think is real?  Please describe it for the pathetic 99%.  You
make sweeping condescending accusations that really are more full of
fecal matter in comparison to the do-do of ours who reside in the
“inside world.”  I believe you are full of it and have said nothing of any
importance.  It was a waste to have even glanced at your post, but like
El Capitan, it was there in all its glorious caps.  Such is serendipity
where unpredictably both good and feeble show up.  Suggestion:  take a
hike.  A self-reflecting one if your ego is capable of it.

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By Leefeller, October 17, 2010 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

With the certainty of the Pious?

“Every willful being desires the power to work its will.  It is not a weakness; it is a condition of existence.  It is as true of the powerless as of the powerful.  A view which overlooks this fact is defective, maybe dangerously defective.”

I do not know about defective, dangerously or even rectangle dysfunctions I see on TV commercials,.... but all this talk about power and powerless reminds me of the pecking order of chickens and in particular, Billy the Goat!

Talk about being stuck on themselves!  Billy believes he is the cats meow of powerful, he has massive horns, really buff for a goat and has huge balls almost the size of his head, he reminds me of Republicans but I believe Billy may be a bit smarter. Billy the goat seems all powerful strutting his stuff,...that is until something spooks him, then he becomes like the Rich people trying to get off the Titanic, chickens and kids last.

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By Anarcissie, October 17, 2010 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

Your caps key is stuck.

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By vicente carranza, October 17, 2010 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

99% OF THE PEOPLE WILL NOT READ ALL THIS STUFF.  IT IS ALL AN EGO TRIP TO SHOW PEOPLE HOW MUCH YOU KNOW.  THE COMPUTER AGE HAS DEVELOP A NEW CLASS OF PEOPLE. PEOPLE WHO IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD ONLY THINK AND TAKE CARE OF THE ‘I’ BUT NEVER THINK OF REALITY.  YET THEY GET IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTER IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR LONELY ROOM AND BECOME REAL BRAVE. WHAT THEY CAN NOT SAY OUT IN REALITY BECAUSE THEY ARE SCARE IT WILL EFFECT THE ‘I’ COME HOME AND SAY IT IN THE COMPUTER AND USE A FAKE NAME. SO KNOWING ALL THIS DO-DO DOES MEAN NOTHING IF YOU DON’T GO OUT IN TO THE REAL WORLD AND USE IT.  SO DON’T HIDE BEHIND THE COMPUTER.  Tlamatini-vicente carranza

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By Anarcissie, October 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, October 16 at 8:38 pm:

‘“Shenonymous correctly detects the Machiavellian element, which leads to a serious contradiction in Alinsky-as-philosopher: If the powerless acquire power, aren’t they simply replacing one oppressor with another?”  —Anarssisa

So you expect everyone to be a dictator in waiting? It is certainly a weakness of humanity that I have seen but even I won’t say it automatically. ...’

Every willful being desires the power to work its will.  It is not a weakness; it is a condition of existence.  It is as true of the powerless as of the powerful.  A view which overlooks this fact is defective, maybe dangerously defective.

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By Hadley, October 16, 2010 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

vicente carranza:

Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s civil disobedience for us was taking to the street in all kinds of protests. ...We need a revolution, another words a complete change if we are to survive. Lack of good and common sense intelligence is killing this country.

Right, back in the late 60’s there was a lot of civil disobedience that got us nowhere but in jail - but the most effective ‘disobedience’ came later in the 70’s when everyone left their high-paying jobs and retreated to communes - not paying into the tax system, which in my opinion - helped end the Viet Nam War.

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By Shenonymous, October 16, 2010 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

”The more callous the people the more callous the gov’t.” 
Interesting claim, so you must have some insight into how the
people of a government become callous in the first place?  Perhaps
they are just callow?  And the adjective “good” is rather ambiguous,
so maybe you could shed light on what you mean by good people,
Night-Gaunt?  What happens when the liberated oppressed become
the oppressor, I think that is the question. 

Of course what comes first to mind is the Israel/Palestinian misery. 
But we all know about that one.  Another one involving once oppressed
Jews, Eusebius McKaiser, political analyst and weekly politics talk show
host, reminds Israel that nations are no different than human beings.
These former oppressed also are susceptible to shameful discrepancies
in moral judgment. Case in point: the devastating revelations that have
come to light about military ties between Israel and apartheid South
Africa in the ‘70s.  http://tinyurl.com/2vcxapp  So Israel, not exempt
from the moral imperative, was also guilty of culpable amnesia with
respect to the massive military co-operation between the two countries. 
Was that an instance of callousness… or callowness?  Which is it?  And
why?

Then we have the case of Rwanda? Many NGO’s went to Rwanda to
begin amazing projects and to help create a country of freedom from
one of violence, and they have done wonderful work. Yet, violence has
become a fear again in Kigali and in the surrounding areas where
opposing political groups have been gathering.  See:
http://www.ngonewsafrica.org/?p=1867

There are others in history.  The psychology of the transference of
power maybe does not pick favorites?  As an aspect of human nature
where an underlying assumption and dynamics in social systems there
is a perceived but an unnecessary inclination of privilege; and at
the same time, there is a relatively ubiquitous lack of awareness that
either the disposition of privilege exists or that it is indeed
unnecessary. It is a matter of disconnect and I guess the game starts
at square one once again and the moral rules have to be reinvented?

The challenge of questioning underlying assumptions that might
possibly be obsolete, or are felt to be unfair seems to indicate that
there is a primitive inability to adjust.  This applies to social and
cultural systems and which include political, religious, economic, family,
and other traditions and common practices.  Usually with oppression,
the assignment of blame accompanies and if it is embedded deeply
enough the sense of retaliation carries through liberation in the same
way that neurotic projections take place when an individual finds a long
awaited freedom.  At least this is the way it seems to be.  People who
study this sort of behavior professionally will have to give rational
explanations.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 16, 2010 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous correctly detects the Machiavellian element, which leads to a serious contradiction in Alinsky-as-philosopher: If the powerless acquire power, aren’t they simply replacing one oppressor with another?  Anarssisa

So you expect everyone to be a dictator in waiting? It is certainly a weakness of humanity that I have seen but even I won’t say it automatically. Limiting the power with checks and balances is the best way. But a gov’t much less an entire civilization is only as good as the people in it. The more callous the people the more callous the gov’t.

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By Anarcissie, October 16, 2010 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

QuantumBubbler, October 16 at 7:17 pm:

“‘Well, why can’t we just all hate each other in peace?’

Is that it Anacissie? Did I wear you down?
Are you just gonna throw me on the hate heap called the Tea Party?
I love that I thought what your thoughts started me thinking, thank you.”

I think I was mostly responding to colin2626262.  That’s a quote or paraphrase from Art Spiegelman, by the way.  colin2626262 may have worn me down a bit.  In any event, I believe you will have to get to any hate heaps you have in mind on your own.

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By QuantumBubbler, October 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

‘Well, why can’t we just all hate each other in peace?’

Is that it Anacissie? Did I wear you down?

Are you just gonna throw me on the hate heap called the Tea Party?

I love that I thought what your thoughts started me thinking, thank you.

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By Anarcissie, October 16, 2010 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

It’s interesting that people saw such different things in Alinsky.  Quantum Bubbler, if I read through the poetry correctly, sees him as a localist, while I saw his emphasis on study, planning and organization as globalizing across both time and space, opposing this to the idea that people see something on television and rush into the streets.  Shenonymous correctly detects the Machiavellian element, which leads to a serious contradiction in Alinsky-as-philosopher: If the powerless acquire power, aren’t they simply replacing one oppressor with another? 

There has been something of an ongoing debate among activists and observers of the activist scene about the structure of effective activism.  Most recently, Malcolm Gladwell published an overlong article in The New Yorker to the effect that the revolution will not be Twittered, contradicting a number of previous commentators who he seems to think are too taken with Internet phenomena.  The article, which I think misunderstands and misconstrues its targets, has been in turn widely misconstrued and denounced in a variety of places.  The manufacture and destruction of straw men never ceases, does it?  Still, there is some validity in the debate.  Unfortunately, you probably won’t hear about it on Truthdig, especially from Chris Hedges, whose tasks of bemoaning the falling sky and excoriating popular culture leave him little time for anything else.

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By Shenonymous, October 16, 2010 at 12:54 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, October 15, 7:54 pm ”‘Well, why can’t we just all hate
each other in peace?’”
Would that be the other side of the coin,
where we just all love each other in war?

gerryhiles, your interest just became uninteresting to me.  Aside
from the Socratic Method, the value of reviewing Plato’s Republic is
to see that in 2500+ years the screenplay has not changed.  Whatever
inconclusive conclusions that Plato arrived at have not changed over
that time either.  But seeing it in dramatic form could lead to more
contemporary insight.  Plato also dwelled to a great degree on self-
delusion.

I do not have one iota of interest in conspiracy theoriesabout 9/11. 
The script for that piece of theater is that 19 suicide-preconditioned
members of al-Qaeda, whose countries of origin includes Saudi Arabia,
Egypt, the United Arab Emirate, Lebanon, coordinated attacks on four
commercial airplanes and hijacked to purposely crash two of those
planes into the two World Trade Center towers, one into the Pentagon,
and one thwarted by passengers crashed in Pennsylvania thought to
have been headed for the Washington, D.C. with the White House
allegedly the target.  Period.  There is plenty of evidence to support
what many in person visually saw and is captured on video as well as
people watched live on TV.  I refer you to the following:
1.  “9/11 Commission Report” (PDF). National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks Upon the United States. 2004.
http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf. Retrieved
2008-09-30.
2.  “9/11 and Terror Travel” (PDF). National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks Upon the United States. 2004.
http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/staff_statements/911_TerrTrav_App.
pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
3.  Aust, Stefan; Der Spiegel Magazine (2002). Inside 9-11: What Really
Happened. Schnibben, Cordt. MacMillan. ISBN 031298748X.
4.  Burke, Jason (2004). Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam. I.B.
Tauris. ISBN 1850436665.
5.  Federal Bureau of Investigation (2008-02-04). “Hijackers’ Timeline”
(PDF). NEFA Foundation.
http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/FBI911Tim
eline.pdf. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
6.  Fouda, Yosri; Fielding, Nick (2003). Masterminds of Terror: The
Truth Behind the Most Devastating Terrorist Attack the World Has Ever
Seen. Arcade. ISBN 1559707089.
7.  McDermott, Terry (2005). Perfect Soldiers: The Hijackers: Who They
Were, Why They Did It. HarperCollins. ISBN 0060584696.
8.  Smith, Paul J. (2005). Terrorism and Violence in Southeast Asia:
Transnational Challenges to States and Regional Stability. M.E. Sharpe.
ISBN 0765614332.
9.  Wright, Lawrence (2006). The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the
Road to 9/11. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 037541486X.
10. “How The FBI Identified The 19 Hijackers’s Identities” (PDF). 911
Myths at
http://911myths.com/images/e/ef/Team5_Box62_AliasesAndIDs-
FBIIDsHijackers-2.pdf.

There is no justification to believe any conspiracy that surrounds this
attack against America other than the one where al-Qaeda conspired to
commit it.  It is the nature of conspiracy believers to believe whatever it
is they want for whatever reason they may have and to that purpose will
perpetuate their pet conspiracy for all their days regardless of evidence
to the contrary to their theory.

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By Leefeller, October 15, 2010 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment

Well I just gleaned through the last two pages of comments and am delighted to see some new posters actually offering in my opinion enlightened comments, at least comments which caught me eye. And of course some old time posters I recognize .

Also, I appreciate the discussion on Plato and comments on what might be done to correct the problems of our society, something Hedges traditionally leaves out, unless he pushing for Ralph Nader.

As to the greatness of Hedges weekly sermon, that remains to be seen for I shall now read it. For a change I will attempt to be objective towards Hedges article this week,  but only if he deserves it! (like what I think matters?)

Actually I am posting to stay tuned, I find this thread interesting.

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By Shenonymous, October 15, 2010 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

gerryhiles – getting back to Socrates, Plato, et al is a struggle
with this forum all over the map.  But if I can slip it in edgewise,
I have some comments on these ancients as well as their progeny,
harrystottle.  From your quote from the Republic, I am assuming
book VIII?  But we must remember that his ideal city degenerates
on account of a series of inferior constitutions, into tyranny.  And
don’t forget too, that each political constitution is a metaphor for
the soul of a person whose soul resembles the form of organiza-
tion of that city.  Socrates criticizes these constitutions callng them
timocracy, oligarchy, and tyrannical depending tacitly on a developed
conception of freedom.  This he then identifies as the value of the
only remaining constitution, democracy.  However Adeimantus’s
inability to recognize what freedom is and whose character personifies
the oligarchic perspective of the democratic value prevents its endorse-
ment in the dialogue.  Soc’s descriptions of democracy only seems to be
criticisms if one appropriates this perspective, mistaking freedom for
mere unbridled and unprincipled license.

It seems like Plato and Alinsky had some views in common for in the
Republic also not only do cave dwellers of Book VII dislike leaving the
cozy darknesses of their lives to which they are accustomed, they also
hate and mistrust those who have left that kind of existence but who
come back to improve things.  As Plato indicates most people dislike
being told that they lack knowledge; gadflies like Socrates are rarely
respected for their critical remarks and demanding ideas, he disturbs
their otherwise numb psyches. What people basically like Plato
understood is having fun and being left alone.

And that, according to Plato, is the reason to get back to your comment
why democracy fails. Good government requires a minimum but
sufficient degree of knowledge and understanding, and democracy in
particular presupposes a competent citizenry. Plato’s experiences in
Athens convinced him not only that the demos of his city was incapable
of making rational decisions, but also that it is simply not in the
nature
of most people to exert themselves in the pursuit of a serious
education—to become competent governors of themselves. Self-
determination is not a principle by which they live. There will, Plato
thought, always be the few who are willing to develop their intellectual
faculties to a point where whether really earned or not to some degree
are trusted to make informed and reasoned decisions, however well or
not.  So far you gents have given some worthwhile “food” for thought,
but now I have to get some food for zee body.

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By Shenonymous, October 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Quantum Bubbler Oct. 15, 1:03pm you might get some glasses
since it was I and not Anarcissie nor Alinsky who wrote Assimilation can
only happen at the local level, then went on to say how it was akin to
what Alinsky said, even going so far as to quote him.  Seems like your
posting style is very difficult to make head and tails out of.  Not heads
or tails.  Maybe you have been in your quantum bubble too long to
remember how ordinary non-quantum bubblers live and think? 

colin2626262, Oct. 15, 3:28 pm ”We must instead advocate for our
fullest vision and insist on why it makes the most sense as the path to
heal American society.”
  Can you articulate that vision and why it
makes the most sense?

Then, ”And we will solve the immigration issue in the only possible
way: by making the countries from which immigrants are fleeing much
more economically successful.”
  It is not that simple.  Immigrants
come to America for more than jobs but for a certain kind of life that is
constitutional based but also the savoir faire compared to the life they
were leading, the suburban style is their dream.  Access to free
education and actually I think they are intrigued with the political
process here regardless of the obvious cankersore it is.  They see that
nearly anything is free to be said, politicians can accuse their
opponents of the worst and egregious corruptions while they
themselves are the worst and egregious, and the media, especially
editorial shows vet everything any politician says repeating until we are
engorged on it.  So eventually no one will get away with anything said
although they may get away with the corruption anyway.  Nevertheless,
the political circus here is nothing like the tyranny in so many other
countries.  Censoring is heavily done and people are prosecuted as
criminal if certain issues are discussed.

Personally I don’t believe in anything that has the word spiritual
included.

Anarcissie, Oct. 15, 10:30am – ”the main value of Alinsky’s work for
them will mostly be to anticipate and forestall Alinsky-style
opposition.”
  Seems right. 

Mr. O studied Alinsky early in his political career.  Alinsky is often
erroneously accused of being a Marxist, a communist, or the milder
expletive, a socialist.  Fact was the he was none of those.  Plain and
simple, anyone who engages in community or collective organization is
called a commie by the Right.  Contrary to the beliefs of those on the
Right and even many on the Left, Alinsky was not Marxist,  He had little
use for them, and could not have organized Back Of The Yards grass
roots gatherings if he had been. It was a heavily Catholic area of mainly
eastern European ethnic communities who had their own churches and
didn’t mingle much with each other. He organized these desperately
poor, exploited stockyard workers by forming a partnership with the
Catholic Church, which was strongly anti-Communist. They would not
have worked with him had he been even slightly socialist. This is well-
documented in biographies about him.  Given anything that smacks of
the power of the people, without a beat is at once accused Marxism or
being communist.  This is the kind of drivel and dross the people have
to contend with and learn how to turn it back on the savage exploiters
of the public.

Alinsky’s tactics were utterly different from Marxists as well. He started
groups, then moved out of the way and let them run it themselves.  No
central committee running things, because that exactly what community
organizing is about. People power. And not about forcing a mindset or
ideology.  But just try and you will see the fetid conservative jinogists
crawl out of the woodwork, even here on TD they slither in with their
reptilian blitzkrieg.  But there are also disaffected Democrat ideologues  
who are not stalwart in their partisanship but sway in political breezes.

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By Anarcissie, October 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

‘Well, why can’t we just all hate each other in peace?’

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By colin2626262, October 15, 2010 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

http://www.spiritualprogressives.org/  (Michael Lerner’s ideas, not mine, but I support them, as should we all):

A progressive spiritual politics challenges the “old bottom line” in American society which teaches people that their life’s activities will be judged by how much they can advance their own material well-being, power and prestige.

Surrounded by an ethos of selfishness generated by the old bottom line, people increasingly treat each other as vehicles to satisfy their personal needs. Instead of seeing other people as embodiments of the sacred, they are viewed instrumentally as “useful” or as “human resources” for the sake of advancing societal goals.

Living in a society where people regularly absorb and then act upon this “marketplace rationality” in which “looking out for number one” seems the only rational way to live, many people feel lonely, alienated, and scared even in the midst of friendships and marriages—because they see themselves surrounded by so many people who only seem to care about them to the extent that they can “deliver something.”

What we need, then, is a New Bottom Line, one which judges institutions, corporations, legislation, social practices, health care, our educational and legal systems, and our social policies by how much love and compassion, kindness and generosity, and ethical and ecological sensitivity they inculcate within is, and by how much they nurture our capacity to respond to other human beings as embodiments of the sacred who can and do respond to the universe with gratitude, awe, and wonder at the grandeur of all that is.

This New Bottom Line is the central message of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. It leads us to present policies to our elected officials that are embodied in the Spiritual Covenant with America—an alternative to both Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” and the economistic visions of American society that have been developed by liberal and progressive think tanks that are trying to help the Democrats out of their dogmatic slumbers.

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By colin2626262, October 15, 2010 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

The Spiritual Covenant with America

1. We will create a society that promotes rather than undermines loving and caring relationships and families. We will challenge the materialism and selfishness (often rooted in the dynamics of the competitive market-place) that undermine loving relationships and family life.

Every institution or social practice that encourages us to see others as instruments for our own advancement rather than as embodiments of the sacred must be reconceputalized and rebuilt so that it instead maximizes our capacities to be loving and generous and caring.

We will challenge cynical attempts to reduce life to self-interest. And we will oppose the cheapening of sexuality that regularly occurs as marketers use sex to sell their products and seek to do so with teens and now pre-teens. Sure, we need full employment, child care, flex time, a coordinated assault on poverty, and many other economic changes; so we support all these elements of the traditional liberal agenda — but our spiritual focus goes beyond the normal liberal list of demands to insist on a fundamental change in the values that our society promotes: our society must be safe for love rather than fostering the qualities in people that make love more difficult to sustain: cynicism, harshness, individualism, self-centeredness, despair about ultimate meaning, insensitivity to the possibility of transformation, and fear.

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By colin2626262, October 15, 2010 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

CONTRAST: LIBERAL AGENDA — Family support is always posed in terms that emphasize economic entitlements, but since everyone knows that family breakdown is not confined to those lacking economic supports, the liberal platform is seen as just using the family issue for its pre-existing agenda rather than actually addressing the fear in people’s lives about the breakdown of loving commitments and the resulting feelings of loneliness. We agree with the supports, but see them as necessary but not sufficient.

CONTRAST: CONSERVATIVE AGENDA — For the conservative ideology, family support often means restricting the rights of gays and lesbians to marry (as though that had anything to do with why families break up), teaching women to be subordinate to men in family life (a strategy that requires women to give up their own natural intelligence and wisdom to “go along” with men, rather than to build partnership relationships based on mutual respect, which have a much stronger foundation and greater prospect of lasting), opposing abortion (but giving little support to the child when it is born), and providing religious communities in which families are embedded and central (a positive aspect of the conservative agenda which has to be emulated by creating progressive “communities of meaning” but without a right-wing ideology governing them).

2. We will take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for ethical behavior by reviving the sacred element in sexuality, shaping a purpose-driven life connected to our highest values, building an inner spiritual life, devoting time and energy to caring for each other as well as to self development, affirming pleasure and humor and joyfulness and celebration of the grandeur of the universe and the mystery of being, and recognizing that government cannot replace our own efforts to build a spiritually grounded life.

We will be compassionate toward each other, recognizing that each of us is unlikely to be the fullest embodiment of our own highest ideals.

CONTRAST: LIBERAL AGENDA — Liberal politicians rarely articulate any sense of personal responsibility, because they claim that these issues are “personal” and have no role in the public sphere. We agree with them in opposing legislation on these issues, but not in believing that they have no appropriate public place. A movement can foster an “ethos” as well as legislation, and that is exactly what we did do when we fostered the ethos of respect for women, gays and lesbians, and minority groups. Taking personal responsibility is not just a personal issue. It is an issue of creating a form of community that encourages, supports, and rewards people for so doing, and that is absent from the discourse of the liberal world.

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By colin2626262, October 15, 2010 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

CONTRAST: CONSERVATIVE AGENDA — Conservatives talk about taking personal responsibility as their alternative to badly needed social programs, funding for which they continually seek to slash (health, welfare, education, support for the poor and the homeless). They claim to be concerned about poverty, but then say that individuals should take responsibility for eliminating poverty (for example, urging people to take jobs on which they could not even subsist, particularly given inadequate child care) or homelessness (but then they don’t actually take homeless people into their homes each night to provide the “personal responsibility” alternative to abandoning the homeless to hunger and the streets of our cities). So when we talk about taking personal responsibility, we do so not to replace government and societal programs, but rather to address areas in our own personal lives where we could have a huge impact.

3. We will build Social Responsibility into the normal operations of our economic and political Life. The Social Responsibility Amendment (SRA) to the U.S. Constitution that we propose requires corporations to get a new corporate charter once every ten years. Such a charter would only be granted to those corporations that could prove to a jury of ordinary citizens that it had a satisfactory history of social responsibility.

This is one step toward our larger goal of transforming the bottom line in our economy, government, and social institutions. While seeking support and endorsement for the SRA, we will encourage public officials to include a Social Responsibility clause in every contract-awarding process, so that corporations competing for public funds must present a detailed social responsibility report, and private citizens and local community groups and unions can challenge the accuracy of that report to the governmental body deciding on awarding of city, state, and federal contracts over $100,000.

To make this happen, we will also seek public funding of all state and national elections and instant runoff procedures for counting votes.

CONTRAST: LIBERAL AGENDA — The Liberals continually seek to legislate minor restrictions on corporate avarice and social irresponsibility, and usually fail to get such laws adopted because of the tremendous power of corporations to influence financing for the legislators who must pass these bills. Meanwhile, corporations throw all their weight into opposing each little reform measure. We seek one big reform that would end the need for countless smaller reforms. While the SRA may take several decades to pass, the struggle for it will concentrate attention on the systemic nature of the problem we face.

CONTRAST: CONSERVATIVE AGENDA — Conservatives typically oppose any attempts to put constraints on corporate social irresponsibility because they believe that the best good for all will be achieved if each corporation pursues its own self-interest unrestrained, and then the profits it amasses will “trickle down” to the rest of the population.

4. We will reshape our education system such that it teaches the values of love, caring, generosity, intellectual curiosity, tolerance, gratitude, awe and wonder at the universe, democratic participation, and environmental responsibility. We will emphasize education for these values without abandoning necessary reading and writing skills — and focus on learning respect, thanksgiving and awe for the wonders of the universe, and celebration of all the goodness that has passed on the cultural and scientific wisdom of the human race

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By colin2626262, October 15, 2010 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

CONTRAST: LIBERAL AGENDA — Liberals focus on getting better pay for teachers and more money for building schools with lower teacher-student ratios. But they’d be far more effective in getting support for these important demands if they gave more attention to demands about the moral and spiritual content of what is being taught.

CONTRAST: CONSERVATIVE AGENDA — Conservatives correctly criticize the values that are actually being taught in our schools (materialism, competitiveness) but then fail to note that these values reflect the values of the marketplace that conservatives champion. And they propose false solutions whose underlying intent is to dismantle the public school system or at least wildly under-fund it and thereby “prove” that everything “public” must be a failure and that the only good thing is the private sector.

5. We will seek a single-payer national health care plan and also broaden the public’s understanding of health care. Our physical health cannot be divorced from environmental, social, spiritual, and psychological realities — and the entire medical system has to be reshaped in light of that understanding to focus on prevention, encourage alternative forms of health practice along with traditional Western forms, and insist that because human beings have many levels of reality, health care must reflect that rather than seek to reduce the human to the merely material.

CONTRAST: LIBERAL AGENDA — Liberals seek the gradual addition of benefits for different sectors of the population but leave the whole system in the hands of the profiteers, thus guaranteeing that their proposed changes will be undermined by the insurance companies and drug companies who raise their costs to make huge profits and thus make these health care reforms unreasonably costly. The single-payer plan does not increase but, rather, will decrease the total amount spent on health care by the U.S.

CONTRAST: CONSERVATIVE AGENDA — Conservatives continually place private profit over public need when it comes to health care. They think of health care as something that needs to be earned rather than as a manifestation of the sacred obligation we have to care for each other.

6. We will be stewards of the environment. We will champion voluntary simplicity and ethical consumption while seeking to change the global economy so that it is ordered in rational and sustainable ways.

We will bring spiritual wisdom into daily life to change our addiction to endless consumption and challenge the media and advertising-driven belief that the price and number of things we own are the measure of our worth in the world.

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By colin2626262, October 15, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

CONTRAST: LIBERAL AGENDA — Liberals fight for partial reforms that rarely take into account the systemic and global nature of the problem and rarely note that for every reform they win, there are ten new areas in which environmental damage is intensifying. They have no global plan or willingness to imagine how to recast the global economy so as to make our planet environmentally sustainable. And they avoid any serious discussion of, much less fostering of, an ethos of voluntary simplicity.

CONTRAST: CONSERVATIVE AGENDA — Conservatives cheerlead for policies that actually reduce the amount of land protected from corporate abuse. They put the interests of corporate profit above their responsibility to be stewards of the planet, and often deny the urgency of global warming and other environmental disasters.

7. Foreign policy and homeland security transformation: We will build a safer world and promote a rational approach to immigration through a strategy of nonviolence and generosity that eliminates poverty both in the U.S. and in every other country. The well-being of Americans depends on the well-being of every other person on the planet and of the planet itself.

We will support a Global Marshall Plan to use 1-5 percent of the GDP of the advanced industrial countries societies — each year for the next 20 years — to end global poverty, hunger, homelessness, inadequate education, and inadequate health care. This will do more for homeland security and military safety than does sinking trillions of dollars into wars and strategies of world domination that can never work and are immoral. Ending poverty both at home and abroad is both an ethical and a security priority.

And we will challenge the globalization of selfishness promoted by Western corporations (and their clones in China, India, and Japan) and promote the spiritual values of solidarity, caring for others, and love as the most effective way to build a sustainable society and achieve “homeland security.” Our path to a world of peace must be a path of peace, social justice, sensitivity to cultural differences and to environmental needs, and nonviolence. We will maintain an army on our borders and carefully search every container that comes into the country, and redirect the trillions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on the military to ending global poverty and creating adequate education and health care.

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By colin2626262, October 15, 2010 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

So, while we support the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the creation of an international Nonviolent Peacekeeping Force to prevent conflicts from escalating, we do so in the context of a coherent global policy that immediately implements the Global Marshall Plan (not by dumping money into the hands of corrupt governments, but through cooperation with nongovernmental organizations committed to human rights, democracy, environmental sustainability, and enhancement and respect for native cultures and traditions).

We seek full rights for all immigrants who have made it to our shores. And we will solve the immigration issue in the only possible way: by making the countries from which immigrants are fleeing much more economically successful. Instead of imagining new methods for repressing the desire that so many immigrants have for a life free from extremes of poverty and political oppression, we will support the Global Marshall Plan in ways that would build the economic infrastructure of the “underdeveloped” world, ensuring that its benefits flow to all people and not just to the economic elites of those countries. We seek a world in which open borders are the norm, and there is no fear that the rich countries are being overrun by immigrants, because their well-being has improved so much in their own countries.

CONTRAST: LIBERAL AGENDA — Still stuck in the militarist assumptions of the past, liberal politicians compete with the conservatives about “who is most effective” in projecting American power and domination around the world. They are more concerned to prove that they are “tough” than to prove that they actually have policies that address the issues that drive people into wars and terrorism. Similarly, their correct desire to avoid repression of immigrants does not link to a coherent answer to “what can be done to prevent future millions from risking their lives to get across our borders if we create incentives for them to take such risks?”

CONTRAST: CONSERVATIVE AGENDA — Though quick to demand testing of the effectiveness of liberal programs, conservatives have never proved the effectiveness of their strategy of providing security through wars and the domination of other countries. Distorted by their own “arrogance of power,” they cannot acknowledge that 5,000 years of warmaking has not worked to bring peace and security but only, century after century, increased the numbers of people killed in wars. Nor can conservatives see that their wars have actually undermined the internal life of America and increased our propensity to rely on violence as a solution to otherwise frustrating problems. They call for more repression of immigrants and of countries that do not follow our rules, but seem unable to acknowledge that such programs do not work.

8. We will seek the separation of Church, State and Science. We will protect our society from fundamentalist attempts to impose a particular religion on everyone, but will not fall into a first-amendment fundamentalism that attempts to keep all spiritual values out of the public sphere.

We will protect science from invasion by the state, religion or corporate priorities, but reject “scientism,” the worldview that claims that everything capable of being known or worthy of our attention can be fully described in scientific terms.

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By colin2626262, October 15, 2010 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

CONTRAST: LIBERAL AGENDA — Liberals confuse the separation of Church and State with the separation of spiritual values from the state. They claim to be defending the neutrality of public space, but fail to realize that there is already a religion operating in the public space: the religion of the dollar, of materialism and selfishness, the religion whose highest belief is that all that is real or at least all that can be known is that which can be verified through sense data or measured by the principle of exchange (which, for the public realm, usually means money, the one thing most easily validated and measurable). Thus, liberal defense of the first amendment is based on the false assumption that we actually have a neutral public space and that it must be protected from all values.

CONTRAST: CONSERVATIVE AGENDA — Conservatives often seek to privilege Christian values in the public sphere and get lots of support from many Americans who know that when their children come home from school drunk with the disease of “making it” in the larger society (either through good grades to get the best career, or by physical prowess and active domination over others) and “making it in their peer group” (either by conforming to the peer group standards of the group or, increasingly for young girls, by responding to the sexual pressure championed by a growing sector of the media) these children are responding to a public sphere drenched in corrupt values that loving parents want to resist. Using this perfectly legitimate desire for alternative sets of values, the conservatives often rush in with a repressive agenda that will do little to solve the social problems, and in addition will seek to eliminate or dramatically weaken the actual functioning of the separation clause of the Bill of Rights.

Neither liberals nor conservatives understand how much the requisites of the marketplace drive “science” in its choice of research topics, so neither has seriously addressed how to protect science from these pressures. And those same pressures exist, though in somewhat different form, in the many religious communities that have become dependent on the support of the wealthy or those who have bought into the assumptions of the marketplace. Too often this has resulted in a clergy more subordinate to the fund-raisers than to their own highest moral and spiritual values.

We seek to change all this.

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By colin2626262, October 15, 2010 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

http://www.tikkun.org

How Realistic is the Spiritual Covenant with America?

This vision, needless to say, is “unrealistic” in the sense that it does not conform to the assumptions of politicians and pundits in the mainstream mass media. For most politicians, that ends the discussion, becuase they’ve consistently been unwilling to risk any electoral loss for the sake of some higher good in which they believe. But that is precisely why so many Americans have come to distrust their Representatives — because if they won’t fight hard for their own beliefs, how can they be counted on to fight for the best interests of American society when the going gets rough?

The women’s movement in its early years, the civil rights movement in its early years, and the environmental movement in its early years were all dismissed as “unrealistic” because they too stepped outside the frame of politics as it was then currently understood by the media and the politicians. We are following that same path.

We are a consciousness-raising movement, and so our primary task, like that of the other major movements that have had a lasting impact on American society, is to not compromise what we believe in for the sake of short-term political gain. We must instead advocate for our fullest vision and insist on why it makes the most sense as the path to heal American society.

We encourage people to meet with elected officials every year, but this is only a small part of what we need to do to get our ideas into the public consciousness, and we are sure that you can devise many more imaginative steps to take.

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By QuantumBubbler, October 15, 2010 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

Oh, Anarcissie,

One of self proclaimed ‘superior intellect’ compared to me, the deepest and widest thinker of all time.

To reiterate and explain for you what I said, makes me suspect your abilities:

I said,
The jewel in the bedrock of your (and Alinsky’s) understanding of large systems in my opinion was the short line ” Assimilation can only happen at a local level.”

Here’s an explanation:

‘The jewel’ (AKA more precious, valuable object)

‘in the bedrock’ (AKA Principles from which other truths can be derived)

‘of your (and Alinsky’s) understanding’ (apparently only Alinsky’s understanding)

‘of large systems’ (AKA complex systems, networks, society)

‘was the short line ’ (a few words of introduction to what I found the jewel of Alinsky’s diatribe)

And the line itself:

Assimilation can only happen at a local level.

I particularly like the statement of Mr Alinsky’s as it has the word ONLY in it, hence suggesting traits of a potential postulate.

So I opened with my next observation,

‘Anything’ can only happen at a local level. (And then I noted a qualifier) ‘This trends to be true over long time periods.’

The ‘Anything’ suggests substitution is possible within the statement for the word ‘Assimilation’.

This means there is trial potential for the postulate attributes of the phrase by using substitutions of ‘Assimilation’.

For instance, ‘Politics’ can only happen at a local level. Hmmm… I’ve heard that before.

‘Safe food supply’ can only happen at a local level. Hmmm…. (the Hmmm… is when I’m thinking, you should try that!)

‘Charity’ can only happen at a local level. Hmmm…. (but superior intellect is saying it is working despite costing more and more and more exponentially since the national government intervened, hmmm…)

‘A penny saved is a penny earned’ can only happen at a local level. Hahaha… I like that one…

Anyway, not to bore your superior intellect, I will go on and enjoy further lonely measure of this postulable parameterization within my own and only my own, bubble.

“Life” can only happen at a local level.

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By RickMassey, October 15, 2010 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is so much out there about where we are and where we are headed.  But this is the best, the most concise well-written well reasoned discussion of the state of our country I have seen so far.  The sad thing is that the people who understand this are the ones more likely to read it.  The ones who need to read it most probably will not.  But thank you for putting it out there.  Excellent article!

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By Anarcissie, October 15, 2010 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—Since liberals (for some meanings of the word) are already in power, the main value of Alinsky’s work for them will mostly be to anticipate and forestall Alinsky-style opposition.  Mr. O’s familiarity with Alinsky may have something to do with the hypnosis and paralysis which the Left has fallen into since his election.  The Tea Parties, some of whose organizers are also familiar with Alinsky, have not been likewise inhibited, maybe because their primary targets are what is left of the Republican establishment, to the advantage of establishment Democrats.

I mentioned Alinsky because I think he can tell us a lot about how social and political change can take place.  ‘Change’, however, is ambiguous.

One of the qualities that distinguish the successful mass movements of the recent past, such as the labor union movement or Civil Rights or (1960s) anti-war, was the extreme simplicity of their central ideas.  In the case of the first two, it was the idea that (1) employees and (2) descendents of the Negro slaves had the same rights as everyone else.  The third was even simpler: stop the war.  Even so, a great deal of planning and forethought were necessary for the various campaigns, and they had to go on for a long time.  People didn’t just pop into the streets, flash mob style, and change everything in one day.  Building a new and different social order will be much more difficult than merely stopping legal segregation or the war.

Quantum Bubbler—In spite of my superior intellect, I am unable to discern what you’re talking about.  Maybe we’re in different quantum bubbles.  (I’m fond of many-worlds theory.)  I hope you will publish your idea of a flat currency anyway, however.  We’ve had a few people mention new forms of money on this site (and elsewhere of course) without the universe (this version) going up in smoke.  I have some ideas of my own.  Since no one ever does anything about them, they coexist happily in the space of the imagination.

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By QuantumBubbler, October 15, 2010 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

The jewel in the bedrock of your (and Alinsky’s) understanding of large systems in my opinion was the short line ” Assimilation can only happen at a local level.”

In case you have not noticed, ‘Anything’ can only happen at a local level. This trends to be true over long time periods.

That is why the top-down ruling of big government is grossly inferior to allowing people to use their own intelligience at their local level (individual) instead of conglomerating a hodge-podge of national rules interpreted by degreed bureaucratic chair warmers. So the ‘tea partiers’ are right. It’s good to see the collective mind agrees in the majority!

I don’t want to see how many of the 4000 characters I can use. I could go on ad infinitum. I have to plant the winter wheat. Here’s something dumb I have to do, open up a hive of bees and take their excess honey from them! Does that make me mean? LOL

We have to work hard so you can go on pontificating. We have to feed you people in the city so we’ll know everything you’ve learned that is bad about the rest of us!

BTW, any smug satisfaction you have gained from your superiority to ‘the other’, your more thorough education, your ‘abilities’... is probably about to be WIPED OUT!

Here’s a deal, if you can piss me off by claiming falsely that what I have written here is NOT pointing in the direction of Truth, then I will not begin the dialogue which will lead to the secret of ‘how-to operate a fiat currency successfully’... mean as that seems, it’s really just a parry against the Main Stream ‘everything’ and is nowhere near the meanness of the results of the likes of Alinsky, the Clintons, the Obamas:

“Now that we’ve got you here, we’re going to fail like every other society before us that has gotten you here! With no cut in pay!” Give ‘em a raise!

Oh, about that wheat and honey…

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By vicente carranza, October 15, 2010 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

My now all the comments on this article has become an ego trip to show how much “”“I”“” know about what is happening.  It is the same people talking with each other.  If this is done with every issue we have then it is no wonder we are stuck in the same place.  So let say you have all the answers, so now where do we go from here??????????????????????????????

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By Shenonymous, October 15, 2010 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

The civil rights and the anti-Vietnam War movements were able to
arouse a great number of people from the bottom up for solid but
very different reasons.  That being said, there is a particular
psychology of seeing individuals as movable groups.  Intuition into
the forces that can do that can move mountains. 

Anarcissie, October 14 at 2:55 pm - Thank you, Anarcissie, for
introducing Alinsky.  We who are ignorant are much obliged.

In the mid-20th century, he expressed stunningly clear many of the
beliefs I have come to have about people.  Eric Hoffer in his True
Believer
made as many similarly percipient reflections.  That people
are conservative when it comes to making radical changes is an
observation I’ve expressed on various TD forums.  I was enormously
surprised to read that was also Alinsky’s.  The way he put it with regard
to that basic conservatism was, “[there is]… reason for working inside
the system.” 

Assimilation is the first step in any plan to effect change I’ve also
frequently said to gaining the target group’s confidence. However,
Alinsky developed that idea in a dazzlingly complete systematic
approach.  Assimilation can only happen at a local level.

The following is from his Rules for Radicals

“There’s another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevski said
that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary
change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging
attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel
so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing
system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future.
This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring
on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system,
among not only the middle class but the 40 per cent of American
families – more than seventy million people – whose income range from
$5,000 to $10,000 a year [in 1971]. They cannot be dismissed by
labeling them blue collar or hard hat. They will not continue to be
relatively passive and slightly challenging. If we fail to communicate
with them, if we don’t encourage them to form alliances with us, they
will move to the right. Maybe they will anyway, but let’s not let it
happen by default.”

Seems like the bluish Democrats have lived up to his prediction and
have moved to the right.

Reading his Wikibio I was amazed that such a keen observer ever lived,
not having heard of him in my limited socio/politico/economic
education.  Funny hardly anyone speaks of his talents today.  But I read
where many of the current illustrious names have had close study of his
ideas:  Barack Obama for one, Hillary Clinton even wrote a thesis on
him in her college days.  Funny that the Democrats haven’t learned his
lessons!  Liberals look in vain these days for a surrogate or heir
apparent Alinsky.

Your caution to ‘bring your own morals’ is also an astute remark as the
conservatives most certainly have found him!  I can only hope it will be
for them like holding aces and eights from their misunderstanding the
elemental dynamics of his theory that is one of how to exploit the
people for their own gain when in fact his was to exploit the people for
the people’s gain. 

Funny how theories can be pressed into the service of either of two
opponents.  Having seen into the vital conflict between ‘Them and Us’
was seemingly Alinsky’s guiding purpose.  For the liberal ideology, his
ideas appear to be worth regenerating.

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By REDHORSE, October 14, 2010 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

LAFAYETTE: True and rational!! And (as always) I enjoyed the read. I appreciate the attempt at, and call for, clarity. Unfortunately the people who have created the disintegrative social/financial chaos now destroying American lives are not interested in clarity, rationality or truth. Like all criminals, they just want to get over. Can we stop their willful distruction, restore a Democratic Republic and re-establish a humane moral center in Government? The Romans couldn’t save Rome. Is America past the tipping point? The World Environment sure is. I continue to believe that the failure to act (illegal immigration-drugs-failing education-health care-home forclosures-name it) is intentional. If you have no job, your child is on the verge of being swept away by gangland, your home is being foreclosed and you’re battered with propagandist hysteria daily by the MSM how clear and politically active are you likely to be? The American intellect, reason and human dignity we all cherish can still speak but no longer contain and sublimate the destructive social forces now tearing the average American family to pieces.

      I agree with you that kneejerk rage feeds irrational emotional rant. It is “the” hook that destroys us. Every Hedges article has posters screaming that he didn’t deliver answers, call to specific action or leadership. It is easier to hate President O than as FAT FRED has been saying (TY for the links and posts FRED) doing something.

      In reality, President O may be working wonders in the face of the organized corruption he is fighting. It is now clear that more than a small influence is being exerted on American electoral politics and American economy by International financial forces. There is an entire ” World elite” that operate above the law and corporate and criminal money is now interchangeable. Bureaucratic systems of justice have been infiltrated and bought and paid for corporate “yes men” now hold key decision positions in Government.

      If we started now, how far away is Major Campaign Finance Reform, regulation of Wall Street thugs, sane tax law or moral social stability and an intelligent educated healthy American. It is easy to say that if we never try we’ll never know but the whine continues and as long as American bread has just enough butter to feed the most, they care less about the least, who have no bread and butter at all. Now throw in the insane moral/financial bankruptcy of the War.

      The Nation will continue, but no savior is coming, nor will the people act in their own defense. The American future now belongs to others and Americans themselves, the dreams they held dear and the culture of freedom and openness they fought for is despised and abused by Washington perps and the Third World labor imported and designated to replace them. Washington will continue as Washington is. We are already being written out of history. In a hundred and fifty years “We the people—” won’t even be a footnote.

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By Dr. Norman Livergood, October 14, 2010 at 10:56 am Link to this comment
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No, Chris, you don’t understand the history of human freedom. Aristophanes did NOT battle the assault on true democracy, he supported the fake democracy/theocracy of Greece during his time.

“Aristophanes’ depiction is important because Plato’s Socrates says at his trial (Apology 18a-b, 19c) that most of his jurors have grown up believing the falsehoods spread about him in the play. Socrates calls Aristophanes more dangerous than the three men who brought charges against him in 399 because Aristophanes had poisoned men’s minds while they were young. Aristophanes did not stop accusing Socrates in 423 when Clouds placed third behind another play in which Socrates was mentioned as barefoot; rather, he soon began writing a revision, which he published but never produced. Aristophanes appears to have given up on reviving Clouds in about 416, but his attacks on Socrates continued. Again in 414 with Birds, and in 405 with Frogs, Aristophanes complained of Socrates’ deleterious effect on the youths of the city, including Socrates’ neglect of the poets.”

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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By Anarcissie, October 14, 2010 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Civil disobedience is not carried out effectively by people who rush from their computer or television screens to the streets, carried along on a wave of emotion.  If it’s going to work, it has to be carefully planned and it has to make a point.  The best writing on the subject I know about is not some by Great Hero Leader but by Saul Alinsky.  (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saul_Alinsky)  Warning: unlike a Great Hero Leader, Alinsky does not moralize a lot; he is a technician of politics.  Bring your own morals.

Because it is a form of combat, the effects of Civil Disobedience are mainly negative.  This may be a desired outcome, as with Civil Rights (ending state support for racism and segregation) or the anti-war movement, but in itself it’s not going to bring about a new social order.  For that, you are going to have to ‘be the change you desire.’

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By Lafayette, October 14, 2010 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

EASIER SAID THAN DONE

She: A movement must be started by an valiant imaginative, articulate and charismatic leader, and there is the rub, there are none.  So it will have to start at the grass roots level..

I could not agree more. Any reform must come from the grassroots level. The American people must want change or it will not happen.

What would do America a whole lot of good is to have a real Social Democrat Party. This party is centrist in its ideas as exemplified by the politics of Clinton in the US and Blair in the UK. It sums up to this: Yes, capitalism is a great Cash Cow. Let’s milk it and spend it on building a socially Just Society.

The presumption is that government cannot do everything, because when it does, it gets a lot wrong and wastes money. (Even with wars, evidently). But, it certainly can do a great deal to level the playing field and make a country More Just than it would be otherwise. And America is decidedly in the “otherwise” category.

People, I am told, don’t like statistics. But if you don’t have a road-map, how do you get where you want to go. Pray God? 

The road-map that shows how socially fair a nation is called a Gini Coefficient. The higher the coefficient (between 0 and 1) more unjust is the distribution of income – and vice-versa. So, income is a key determinant of social justice, though it is not the only one.

See the Gini coefficient infographic here. The US is significantly above the European nations and therefore more unfair in its income distribution.

And to what is the difference attributable? Easy answer: Much higher taxation and spending on Public Services in Europe. Meaning near-free Postsecondary Education and an almost free National Health Service. These are costly elements of any national government – but not one European country would dare touch them with a ten-foot pole to change them.

Which means what? It means that Americans think that private enterprise can provide all their needs, with the exception of Defense, Security and Justice. For as long as they believe the inanity force-fed them about “Free Markets”, they will not want to change the way either Education or Public Health Care are provided. One should think, after the Great Recession debacle, that opinion would be more skeptical about America’s private enterprise system and how it works. I hope so, but am not counting on it.

How do you get the grassroots to even take notice? Well, it starts with a very serious Depression / Recession, when people finally start to wonder from where their next meal is coming. That concentrates a person’s mind wonderfully on how the economy works. Otherwise, economics is the “dismal science” and one whole helluva lot less interesting than a Ball Game.

The grassroots really does not like politics. But if not watched carefully then the wrong people start tweaking it to their own advantage – which has been the case for the past three decades.

So, if democracy is of the people and for the people and by the people - where are the people? Do we really think that going to vote is the bare minimum? Yes.

The bare minimum may be necessary but it is rarely sufficient. People must invest in politics and make their opinions known and participate in the debate – not just listen to it Politics is not a spectator sport.

Why? Because we don’t participate personally, as in a town meeting. So, since we invest nothing, we feel there is nothing to gain. Ways have to be found to make politics interesting.

That’s easier said than done ...

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By Lafayette, October 14, 2010 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

bw: I agree with (the) point about civil disobedience, but slides, charts, statistics, posters & verbal vomit aren’t high-powered motivators any longer, IMO.

Perhaps, but if people do not make their judgments based upon the best/most facts available, they remain manipulable by the sound-bite propaganda that passes for “electoral infomercials” in todays BigMedia - which is often misleading if not defamatory.

Besides, 40% of adult Americans have a postsecondary degree today. So we must hope that facts and, thereby, convincing arguments do indeed matter to them.

Otherwise, one is led to wonder ... how ever did they get that advanced degree? (BigMac University? ;^)

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By blueworld, October 14, 2010 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

Forgive me - on my best day I’ve never approached your intellect nor insight, but IMO writing & talking people to death isn’t going to accomplish anything but an afternoon nap.  It’s quite a different world now than the one Ari inhabited, even though the ideals are the same.  I agree with your point about civil disobedience, but slides, charts, statistics, posters & verbal vomit aren’t high-powered motivators any longer, IMO. 

Most white folks weren’t against Civil Rights in the ‘60’s but they didn’t work FOR it until they saw newscasts & pictures of black children being attacked by vicious dogs & vicious “authorities” wielding fire hoses. 

All sane people hate war, but the majority of this country didn’t move against the quicksand in Viet Nam until the photos of dead bodies & naked napalmed children were forced into daily view.  Perhaps we need Life magazine or its equivalent again. 

I believe the internet is faster & more readily available as long as the pictures are true & confirmed by valid sources.  It’s human nature to struggle & get by until that’s no longer possible.  That won’t change.
We move when we ourselves & our loved ones are suffering OR when we witness the horrible suffering of others.

More interviews with sick old folks, people being foreclosed on, victims of gang violence, teenagers who can’t afford to continue education so they’re flinging crab legs in a chain restaurant if lucky enough to be employed…

Lots more award-winning photojournalism to go with the great rhetoric & you will get the civil disobedience you rightly declare is necessary.  More Wiki-leaks & Ellsberg wannabes - pictures that will stick in people’s minds forever.

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By Juan, October 14, 2010 at 8:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All this fancy talk and intellectualism undermines that there are basic and obvious problems, ones that are only countered by man power, organizing, and real conviction—not internet blather and petitions and small donations.

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By Anarcissie, October 14, 2010 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, October 14 at 2:10 am:

‘” In that case the cause is surely lost, because obviously the plutocrats who now rule the government and the media are not going to allow their power to be diminished.“ That’s a rather defeatist attitude, Anarcissie.  Way…ell, we might as well fold up the tent and all migrate to Canada?

I was just following the logic of your previous paragraph, which depicts American politics as a plutocracy.  Actually, I think the problems of the state are more fundamental, but as far as it goes your own argument against your theory of campaign finance reform looks pretty valid.

A little analysis will tell you that it is pointless to migrate to Canada.

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By Shenonymous, October 14, 2010 at 4:32 am Link to this comment

Your truths are well-spoken, Lafayette.  Worthy to print out for their
lucidity.  But it is a tale often said on these forums if not as eloquent,
then crudely but said nonetheless.  Another truth, there is a large
group of conservatives, both Republican and Democrat (though not
all Democrats mind you, but not a big enough contingent), who, for
their reasons that appear driven by ideology and greed that would
impede the progress of which you speak.  Better arguments for the
Democrats who can make a difference in the government, then better
arguments for us is what is needed. 

A movement must be started by an valiant imaginative, articulate and
charismatic leader, and there is the rub, there are none.  So it will have
to start at the grass roots level. There is nowhere else for it to begin. 
Impassioned local elections will undermine the seemingly indomitable
baronial system that evolved.  Your call for action can only begin an
erosion at the local level, unless that valiant imaginative, articulate and
charismatic leader emerges to carry it farther to the national level.

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By Lafayette, October 14, 2010 at 3:48 am Link to this comment

OBAMA FECKLESS?

CH: All ideological, theological and political debates with the representatives of the corporate state, including the feckless and weak Barack Obama, are useless.

After a good start, this is the point where Hedges goes of his intellectual cliff.

Feckless? Barack Obama? Sounds childish. Yes, it seems like the uttering of a child who is disappointed by someone in which s/he had put great faith.

But if one is disappointed in another person, there are two equally good reasons. Either the person in question is truly inept. Or our expectations were wholly unreal.

I suspect firmly the latter and I will not take Barak Obama to account. Punditry becomes pedantry when people refuse to understand the reality of a situation. And, as much as we may be disappointed by the performance of this administration, many of us our blind to some fundamental facts.

Namely:
•  The Great Recession is due to an accumulation of factors:
1.  The American public went on cheap-credit binge, spending without caution and way beyond their means.
2.  This debt was fraudulently securitized as Toxic Waste (since much of it was bad-debt based upon non-creditworthy consumers)
3.  The Toxic Waste also included debt derivatives that were sold and held by many banks, which came to a point where they would not offer overnight credits to other banks in order to close books. The nation’s banking system went into seizure, requiring a federal bailout. Yes, the economy could well have stopped overnight.
4.  As a result, the Great Recession began as the consumer confidence bubble burst and Disposable Income declined precipitously, reducing Demand, causing layoffs. All the above happened before Obama took office.
•  Barack Obama is no miracle worker. He was gifted the Great Recession hand-made by an inept Republican administration, abetted by a corrupt philosophy that unregulated markets in all ways get it right and when they don’t, they repair themselves (Greenspan’s delusional theory of markets).
•  This recession, like those of the past, will not create jobs lowering the unemployment rate for at least three years – at best. That’s an economic fact proven by past recessions of even a lesser magnitude.
•  The unemployment rate would not be 10% if Obama had not pushed through Congress a stimulus spending program. It would have gone to Great Depression levels (in the 1930s) of 25/30%.
•  We elected the Reps and BlueDogs in office that stonewalled any major reforms such that they were effectively neutered. Just one example: A Public Health Care Option that is the model of most other democracies (mostly in Europe) in the matter. When HC subventions are ruining our national budget with runaway costs. (Yes, didn’t you know that the government subsidizes corporate Health Care insurance?)

We like to point the finger of blame at those we think are blameworthy. But, Obama feckless? No, that is just not on. And, in this case, we’ve not enough fingers.

For fecklessness (irresponsibility), look in the mirror. We went on the Credit Binge. We, the people, elected this Congress. All by ourselves, no help from outsiders.  So let’s point the finger of blame at ourselves. Let’s accept the blame like adults and stop the infantile nonsense.

So, we should stand up and take the blame. And any pundit who says otherwise is smoking pot on the side.

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By Lafayette, October 14, 2010 at 3:10 am Link to this comment

Translation of a French dictum: In order to know where you are going, it is often best to know from where you have come.

Our history as a people actually goes back somewhat further than the 17th century and the Jamestown settlement.

Both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson spent a great many years in France and they knew well European values—which made them so fiercely opposed to the European monarchies.

And if it is permitted to read their minds, though both were very well off, I suspect they disliked intensely the manner in which the monarchy and its aristocracy was skimming off the agricultural wealth of their nations thus having it shared amongst so comparatively few.

And just because we are not starving in America, as many people indeed were in Europe of the 18th century, does not mean that accumulated discontent cannot explode.

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By Lafayette, October 14, 2010 at 1:38 am Link to this comment

WINNER TAKE ALL

We don’t learn enough about the history of economics. All history is, in fact, economic. Wars were fought for land, because land was the source of much of the wealth in the Agricultural Age.

Both Feudal and Medieval Ages developed a hierarchy in which the noble and the bourgeoisie (constituted of artisans, such as bakers and bankers, merchants and millers) governed the city-states that defined Europe (since nations did not exist per se). Nobility was ensconced into power (blessed by the Church with Divine Rights) and an aristocracy was formed – land in exchange for wartime services rendered.

It took the Enlightenment (meaning Awakening) period for political economists to ask some penetrating questions. And some of the answers (Marx’s for instance) would upset the world, economies and the lives of people. But democracy evolved anyway, in fits and starts. That “experiment in democracy” is far from complete.

And where has it brought us, these past thirty years since the arrival of Ronald Reagan’s Ayn Randian utopia?

To a return to the sort of Plutocracy that existed in Feudal and Medieval times. Where the riches accumulate to a select group of the upper-class.

Like it or not, this is exactly the point Marx was trying to make, when he explained the exploitation of the poor. Modern democracies, particularly those that have a deep social character, should try to level the playing field.
And the only way to achieve that objective is by progressive taxation of incomes—to the level, if necessary, of total confiscation beyond a certain threshold.

Yes, this proposition seems extremely Leftist. But anyone willing to open their eyes and see America without the coloured filters must scratch their head and ask penetrating questions. How in hell, as a modern nation, did we come to this sad state of affairs? Why do some call ours a New-Age Banana Republic?

The response: It is the direct consequence of thirty years of unbridled “Free Markets” and the neutering of government market regulation coupled with the plundering of corporate profits at the top. (Made possible by ludicrously low marginal income and capital gains taxes.)

Both of the above movements were in concert with the political philosophy of a Winner-take-all Ethic of Individualism.

What are the choices: Freedom for the Individual versus Freedom for the Whole? The correct answer is not entirely binary.

It is in a society of progressive wealth, devoid of its unjust concentration at the top. Let us not forget the salient fact that 20% of the American population own 85% of its wealth. (See the analysis that arrives at this fact here.)

Which provokes the next question: Is this what is meant by a Just Society? Is this the future that we want for our children as well—one where personal precariousness is so tangible that one can fall into its clutches unwillingly?

Methinks not. With higher taxation and spending on both Physical and Social Infrastructure, ALL Americans can have a better life - and not just a selected few. By this is meant
•  Return to tight regulatory control of market mechanisms to avoid the pitfalls into economic calamity, and
•  Reform of a political system corrupted by cronyism and venality, and
•  A refusal to let a plutocracy run the government of, by and for the people.

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By Volma, October 13, 2010 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

Again Chris speaks some very powerful truths…Someone in the semi mainstream media of liberal news needed to say this…Reactions as usual (minor irritations like having a fly in the room) by some are anger and accusations that Chris is just laying guilt trips out there; to, he is inciting riots, which is absolutely a out and out lie….If this disturbs you, I would recommend some deep soul searching and honesty as to the real reason you are so disturbed…Don’t be killing the messenger…Chris Hedges is a very brave man for speaking his truth, in a international venue…His articles reach people all over the earth, he is in a unique position to say what others feel but are afraid to speak up and out about…He can make a difference because of the nature of his venue…He is not a egocentric, comment clique member of a blog, a paid comment troll, or electronic pissing contest member in a enews site…I have gained more respect for Chris Hedges, and see a genuine truth intelligence and honesty in his writing even more now than ever….

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By Lafayette, October 13, 2010 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

PROPER ENGLISH

c96: I was suprised Merrian-Webster included oral sex between a man and woman as part of Sodomy. I can’t find that in the Bible. It would be interesting to know how Merrian-Webster arrived at that conclusion.

Oxford English Dictionary: Sodomy = anal intercourse. Period.

Change dictionaries, quickly.

American English has become a dialect of British English. 

PS: OED (dialect = a form of a language which is peculiar to a specific region or ethnicity.)

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By Shenonymous, October 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

” In that case the cause is surely lost, because obviously the
plutocrats who now rule the government and the media are not
going to allow their power to be diminished.“
That’s a rather
defeatist attitude, Anarcissie.  Way…ell, we might as well fold up
the tent and all migrate to Canada?  Uh…Germany?  Saudi Arabia? 
Hmmmm, how about all of us Americans migrate to Mexico?  Or
China, they have lots of room, another 308 million won’t even be
noticed. Notice I did not say immigrate. Let’s see wherever we go,
it would take a major operational deployment.  Or… Bosch can start
building big energy star walk-in ovens!  Naw…I think I’ll stick around
to see what happens, do what I can to help.  I have my own approach. 
I rather like it here.

christian96, you don’t have to explain.

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By christian96, October 13, 2010 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous—-No, I’m literally not a yoyeur.  In
the context with which I used “sodomy” I guess
watching most of us getting screwed in the ass by
our elected representatives sort of makes me a
yoyeur. I was suprised Merrian-Webster included
oral sex between a man and woman as part of Sodomy.
I can’t find that in the Bible.  It would be interesting to know how Merrian-Webster arrived
at that conclusion. I wonder if they include oral
sex between a married couple(man and woman)? Not
clear.  What would give you the idea I’m obsessed
with Sodomy.  I was reading a book the other day
that included the word “sodomy.”  I decided to go
to my computer in search of a definition.  It’s
not clear in the Bible.  When the men of Sodom came
to Lot’s home because they wanted to “know” the
men(two angels) and Lot answered, “Not so.  Take my
daughters.”  It is assumed they wanted to have
sexual relations with the men but that’s as specific
as it gets.  It’s also not specific about “men being
with men.”  Leviticus 18:22 reads, “Man shall not
lie with man as with woman.  It is an abomination.”

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By Anarcissie, October 13, 2010 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, October 14 at 12:57 am:

‘The bad thing is they have more freedom than ever to buy their candidate. The good thing is they don’t have 100% control yet so there is still some room for us to actually win elections.’

Well, for witches.  I don’t know about the rest of us.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

The bad thing is they have more freedom than ever to buy their candidate. The good thing is they don’t have 100% control yet so there is still some room for us to actually win elections.

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By Anarcissie, October 13, 2010 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

Well, Truthdig threw away my last contribution; let’s see what happens to this one.

Shenonymous, October 13 at 4:00 pm:
’... Obama has done much and as much as the Congress as half-assed as they are will let happen.  He is and has been the target of a concerted effort to make him fail.  He is a black man who the white conservatives hate and have had him in their vicious sites from the moment he was declared the winner of the election.  The Democrats in Congress have been impotent by their inability to attain or maintain an erection most likely from the fear that their corporate benefactors will pull their supporting dollars from either their personal coffers or election treasure chest.’

Well, yes, it’s a bit monarchical to blame Mr. O when practically whole Democratic Party establishment is at fault.  But Mr. O is in them and of them.

The only way to effect change is to elect politicians at the local level who can demonstrate their ability to actually represent the people.  The only way to do that is to change campaign finance practices to where no funds are permitted from contributors. ...’

In that case the cause is surely lost, because obviously the plutocrats who now rule the government and the media are not going to allow their power to be diminished.

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By otterinwater, October 13, 2010 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

to JDmysticDJ:

Some good points. CH is over the top at times; “worst traitors” is clearly an expression of frustration with folks he thinks should know better, and with folks he thinks DO know better.

Don’t Sommers and Guitner know better? Obama could have had half of the angry mob that became the tea party if he had forcefully advocated progressive responses to the financial meltdown and recession, even strong Keynesian responses, rather than the Sommers/Guitner prescriptions. He needed to start talking the increasingly unequal income distribution and its relationship to tax policy right from the start. Tracking to the center was both bad politics and bad policy here.

The O administration is a mix of people, some of whom fit CH’s depiction of gutless liberal elite who want to keep cozy with the masters of economic power; others who honestly believe in the progressive agenda but who are too unimaginative to see how forceful leadership and control of the discussion might move the center to the left rather than letting it slide to the right under the influence of corporate $$, cynical right wing politicos and nut jobs; and others whose ideology is “middle of the road”, and think that governing from the center is not just practical politics, but the best policy, in healthcare, and job creation, and environmental protection.

I’m not sure which of these are the “worst traitors”, but group number two really should know better.

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By colin2626262, October 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

gerryhiles, I’m not sure you read what was in the link.  First of all, the ideas aren’t mine.  They’re Rabbi Michael Lerner’s.  Making sure everyone has enough to eat, using a small percentage of GDP to help the poor, cutting the military budget and using that money to provide for those in need in our country and around the world - this has nothing to do with “economic development.”  It’s about compassion and caring, generosity as opposed to the selfishness and heartless materialism of the market.  The Global Marshall Plan is a cure for a “despoiled planet, wars over diminishing resources and so on.”  The solution isn’t the problem.  Lerner’s ideas, if implemented, would make Chris Hedges’s columns here unnecessary.

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By Bat Guano, October 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WS/DC/FED - “are the gravest threat to our open society. They have, with the backing of hundreds of hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate money, gained tremendous power.”

In other words they are the real Axis of Evil.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

“its message is true and relevant.” – Truth is measurable.  What is
the measure of truth in this claim?  If no measure, then not relevant. 

Obama has done much and as much as the Congress as half-assed
as they are will let happen.  He is and has been the target of a
concerted effort to make him fail.  He is a black man who the white
conservatives hate and have had him in their vicious sites from the
moment he was declared the winner of the election.  The Democrats
in Congress have been impotent by their inability to attain or maintain
an erection most likely from the fear that their corporate benefactors
will pull their supporting dollars from either their personal coffers or
election treasure chest. 

The only way to effect change is to elect politicians at the local level
who can demonstrate their ability to actually represent the people. 
The only way to do that is to change campaign finance practices to
where no funds are permitted from contributors.  A separate national
campaign fund account must be crafted either from taxes or from
donors to that fund and funds distributed to candidates equally. 
Campaigns must be made cheaper as well, with the cost of the current
mid-term elections ranging in the 100s of billions now (an aggregate
of all candidates) only the TV stations and advertising companies are
making money and none of it going back into the society by consumer
spending.  The money is going into the corporate repositories.  The
public must withstand all the greasy and pathetic political bickering of
those greasy and pathetic candidates.  With equality of funding for
candidates, it is my unproven opinion that a more serious debate of
candidates would be discovered since they all have an equal chance at
convincing the public.  Money is already earmarked on IRS Returns
when one checks the little box to put some tax dollars into campaign
finance.  Why do we not get a report on how that money is distributed?

It is my belief that expectation is much too high for this black
president.  He has taken charge of many many problems both world
wide and within our own borders, including the wars and the continued
terrorist threat and a plethora of issues that confronted this nation as
fallout from the financial disaster.  It is an intention to not pay attention
to all of those problems but to line them up like bowling pins and
before one is taken care of another one is set up so that he does not
have a moment to breathe.  Such is the nature of politics I know.  But
there is such a thing as treating him as if he had the same space and
time as a white guy.  I mean he is as intelligent as they come, so it can’t
be because he is as dumb as the last president.  There are those who
relentlessly will attempt to paint him as incompetent that essentially is a
shill contingent for the Republican agenda to defeat him as well as the
socially minded Democrats.


christian96 – do you have a fascination for sodomy?  Do you practice it
yourself being part of the population who are either sodomists or
sodomees?  By your own words then, “Using the above definition are
politicians in Washington sodomizing the American public?”
are the
Washington politicians the same sex as the American public?  Are they
both males or females?  Or what mix of males and females are being
sodomized?  What is the percentage?  What exactly is being used as
the instrument of the sodomy?  Does the public invite the sodomy that
is happening to them? If so, how?  If not, then they just have to take it
since no one is exempt from the events who can stop it.  Is anyone
screaming?  If you are just a bystander watching, why are you just
watching the sodomization?  Are you a voyeur?

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By johnny, October 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

katmanduu said:

“We The People” very rarely get to choose who we really want to represent us any more.”

‘Twas ever thus in representative government without civic participation.  Digital technology has made decentralized direct democracy a logistical probability.  The sooner it flourishes, the better for all.

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By Brad Evans, October 13, 2010 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Which means that Hedges is another “prophetic” voice, “Crying in the wilderness”?
  Please.

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By kattmanduu, October 13, 2010 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

If you look very carefully at our form of government it is NOT a democracy (majority rule aka mob rule) except in our very beginning maybe. After that it went down hill.
It presently is a fascist type government where a minority of ultra-wealthy bankers and the major corporations (mainly from the infamous military industrial complex){they, their} actually call the shots in back room deals and in the media they own and operate, along with a majority of our “elected officials” they buy and sell like professional sports players.
We The People” very rarely get to choose who we really want to represent us any more. We are given “their” choices to pick from. Money rules the roost in our present system of elections. If you don’t have millions of dollars up front you can’t even be considered for a ballot slot. You must also pass a litmus test given by certain foreign interests, I won’t name names but the major foreign interest interfering in our national elections starts with an “I”.
Our “great democracy” imploded within 10 years of our first elections and was sold out to foreign bankers to fund the building of Washington DC and then to pay for our first big war (1812)and then the expansion westward. History tells the tale.
The whole purpose of the European monarchy’s move to the west was to grab all the wealth/resources of these lands (north and south America) and to leave it barren and desolate and move on to the next source of extractable riches to fill their vacuum like treasuries that never seemed to get full.
They raped and pillaged all along the way. Altering native societies to suit their needs and decimating the environment to extract the wealth. Very little of that said wealth stayed here, it all ended up in some foreign treasury. Reminds me of the crusades of the 10th through the 12th centuries. All about the money. Nothing much has changed since then, they are still forcing peaceful peoples to change their way of life and religions to suit them, raping their women to change the race of the natives one way or another and forcing the natives to extract the riches for them. The history books are a lesson in what not to do, not instruction manuals for want-to
be dictators. Too bad most history books are written by the victors in these wars of empire not by both sides of the conflicts.

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By christian96, October 13, 2010 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

By christian96, October 13 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment


Definition of SODOMY
: anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex; also : copulation with an animal

              Merriam-Webster

Shenonymous—-Using the above definition are
politicians in Washington sodomizing the American
public?  If so at least they are using oil to do so.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 13, 2010 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

The substantial truth is that Mr. O has not done anything which wasn’t already in the works before.  The wars, bailouts, surveillance, security games are inherited from the late Bush regime.  Attempts to keep the economy going by inflating credit money continue.  Huge deficits continue.  Nothing effective is being done about the unemployment or the foreclosure epidemic.  In short, Mr. O is a conservative, and he’s trying to muddle through.  It’s as if Coolidge had been elected to handle the Great Depression.  A plastic Coolidge.  Even I, in my cynicism and pessimism, am somewhat surprised by this turn of events.  I can understand why proggies are beside themselves; Mr. O was supposed to be their guy.  Did I really need to explain this?

I think it’s politically dangerous as well, since when the Left and the ‘center’ offer nothing, the Right is likely to pick up the slack, and I’m not talking about libertarians and conservatives here but far, far more unpleasant people.

So, yes, the list is cherry picked, things are far more complicated, blah, blah, and yet its message is true and relevant.

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By johnny, October 13, 2010 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

gerryhiles was banned from Conyer’s blog for questioning Israel’s policies and my friend was banned from the Huffington Post blog by Big Nuke shills bombing his posts and protesting his calling for bloggers to contact their representatives and question the use of taxpayer subsidies to hire shills to post pro-nuke propaganda on the blogs.

Herding liberals may be like herding cats and one can understand the need for some censorship, but when “progressive” blogs don’t allow dissent, they are shooting themselves in the foot, losing credibility, making enemies of friends and doing incremental harm to the progressive movement.

Diversity is at the heart of liberal thought.  But conservatives have so thoroughly demonized the word “liberal” that many liberals bought it. They call themselves “progressives” and even “conservative” progressives, becoming more authoritarian like we all tend to do when things deteriorate. 

Progressive blog censors should keep diversity of ideas in mind and think twice before they ban a poster.

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By Shenonymous, October 13, 2010 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

Well I for one who highly appreciates logic, I fail to see how “may
not be accurate or fair, but I think it does represent a substantial
truth”
truth is substantial in a list that is simply cherry picking not
knowing from what tree the fruit comes from.  It is called babble
dabbling in my book

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By Anarcissie, October 13, 2010 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, October 13 at 9:20 am:
... One way to hit and runners get off is to list one liners that demonizes someone.  Now I don’t mind criticizing leaders at all especially politicians, as they definitely need it, but let’s do some fact checking since I hate being run over by a garbage truck….

The list may or may not be accurate or fair, but I think it does represent a substantial truth.  The Democrats’ ‘We’re the ones who aren’t crazy’ may not really suffice as a political position in a time of crisis.

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By D in CT, October 13, 2010 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

How Democracy Dies: Lessons From a Master

Nobel Laureate A.F. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom


Or how about Thomas Jefferson:

“And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle
in one instance becomes precedent for a second; that second for a third; and
so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automations of misery,
to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering. Then begins, indeed,
the ‘bellum omnium in omnia’ [war of all against all], which some philosophers
observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural,
instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse of the frightful team is
public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and
oppression.”

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By Shenonymous, October 13, 2010 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

Ohhhh those damn question marks!  They come about occasionally
when copy/pasting from the ‘net, I do apologize. But maybe they
are a blessing in disguise, since asking questions may be the biggest
boon humans have over other animals.  While not the only ones that
appear curious, they seem to be the only ones that wait for answers.

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By Shenonymous, October 13, 2010 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

I was reminded this morning, by a dear dear friend, of another
master at thinking, Rudyard Kipling, and his poem that was read
to me many years ago and that I’ve revisited from time to time,
but it has been a while so I thank my friend for the mental nudge,
and it seems appropriate that I offer it to you for your reflection in this
trying time:

If
If you can keep your head when all about you ?
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; ?
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, ?
But make allowance for their doubting too; ?
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, ?
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, ?
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, ?
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; ?
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; ?
If you can meet with triumph and disaster ?
And treat those two imposters just the same; ?
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
?Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, ?
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, ?
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings ?
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings ?
And never breath a word about your loss; ?
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew ?
To serve your turn long after they are gone, ?
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, ?
Or walk with kings or queens- nor lose the common touch; ?
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; ?
If all men count with you, but none too much; ?
If you can fill the unforgiving minute ?
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run - ?
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, ?
And - which is more - you’ll be a Man my son!
(and also more - you’ll be a Woman, my daughter!)
– Forgive my postscript.

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By colin2626262, October 13, 2010 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

Michael Lerner left a comment on this article.  It’s one of the first comments, so you have to scroll down.  Everyone should read it and understand his message.  Also, have a look at this link:

http://www.spiritualprogressives.org/fmd/files/MarshalPlan_insert_final.pdf

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 13, 2010 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

I want to respond to your post gerryhiles, October 12 at 7:49pm
and 6:49pm but a bit later (it looks like we could have a good
discussion) but first I feel compelled to write the following:

One way to hit and runners get off is to list one liners that
demonizes someone.  Now I don’t mind criticizing leaders at all
especially politicians, as they definitely need it, but let’s do some
fact checking since I hate being run over by a garbage truck:
1. Favored expanding the war in Afghanistan -
Way…elll,…
http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/usnews/foreign-policy/4670-woodward-book-explores-obama-afghanistan-exit-strategy
Read more:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1263914/Obamas-nuclear-strike-policy-softened-Iran-North-
Korea.html#ixzz12EgCrVIj
http://factcheck.barackobama.com/factcheck/2008/01/05/fact_check_obamas_consistent_p_1.php
Starting with the Patriot Act that Obama vote for: The reality: Obama consistently said he would support a Patriot Act that would
strengthen civil liberties without sacrificing the tools that law enforcement needs to keep us safe.  Obama said that the Senate
compromise on the Patriot Act was “far from perfect,” but modestly improved the original law by strengthening civil liberties.
Clinton slammed him but guess what, Clinton voted yea as well, 89 Senators yeas to 10 nays with one abstention:
http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00029
2. first strike nuclear attack on Iran - He said he was making an exception for ‘outliers like Iran and North Korea’ that have violated or
defied the international nuclear proliferation treaty.
Mr Obama told the New York Times the move was part of a broader effort ‘to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete,
and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions.’
As well as narrowing the conditions under which the U.S. would use nuclear weapons, the Obama administration said ‘the fundamental
role’ of the warheads was for deterrence.
U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates also said America will not develop any new nuclear weapons.  He added that non-nuclear countries
which attacked the U.S. using chemical or biological warfare would still face a ‘devastating conventional military response.’
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1263914/Obamas-nuclear-strike-policy-softened-Iran-North-Korea.html
3. Threatened to invade Pakistan – first of all, it was really reported that Obama said he “might” invade… not that he “would.”
http://mediamatters.org/research/200708130002
then
http://www.dhartipakistan.com/pakistani-newspapers/obama-never-called-for-an-invasion-of-pakistan
and
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=01f_1255986508
4. Wanted to expand the size of the military. -
way…ell, again
http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/policy/securityspending/articles/040609_gates_drops_gauntlet_budget/ 
and
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/7/9/883083/-The-Rationale-for-Peace
5. Aggressively opposed impeachment action against Bush – No evidence either way. 
The impeachment process is a two-step procedure. The House of Representatives must first pass by a simple majority articles of
impeachment, which constitute the formal allegation or allegations. Upon their passage, the defendant has been “impeached.” To convict
the accused, a two-thirds majority of the senators present is required.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_in_the_United_States
6. through 34. Please provide backup references.

It is demagoguery, plainly and simple, to drop birdshit one liners out of context.  Playing to the inflamed passions of the disaffected is
nothing but adolescent rabble-rousing.

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By FiftyGigs, October 13, 2010 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

Oh yes, John McCain would have been SO much more liberal. How could we be so stupid!

Much of the list below is incomplete, arguable, or invalid, and were one to not have a life, it would also be easily possible to write an impressively long list of things President Obama has also done that are a bit more progressively admirable.

The question you should ask yourself is: why is someone attacking the one official who isn’t running?

If you want to turn Congress over to people who think God has chosen them to legislate your morals, stay at home like these conservatives want. If you will be happy subjecting yourself to some kind of “sexual proclivity test” to determine if you are “fit” to be around children, heck, go vote Republican with both hands.

But if you want to engage in an expression of civil disobedience, if you REALLY want to tear into the people who have REALLY been demonstrably and horridly irresponsible for the past two years, then defy the propagandists, and vote.

Punish Republicans.

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QuantumBubbler's avatar

By QuantumBubbler, October 13, 2010 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

Ardee,

A note about your first two paragraphs. The whole quote is from you and includes quotes from you of something I wrote. They are:
Paragraph One:“Your opinion that ‘the Tea Party is maneuvered by forces beyond their ken or control’ perhaps is just a precipitate of your ‘beliefs’ in a Democratic Party that is controlled by non-other than the billionaire, George Soros.

Paragraph Two:This is a typical paragraph in a post filled with a distortion of my position and, in at least one case, a mistaken attribution of something someone else posted. I guess you can be classified as a typical rightie in your zealous disregard for truth and accuracy.

You say of paragraph one above, which is a quote from me, you say it is a ‘distortion of your position’. Do you maybe perchance not know what the word ‘perhaps’ means?

I said “your (opinion)... perhaps is… A synonym would be ‘your opinion…possibly is…’ As in, what do you say to that possibility? Debate…debate…debate…

BTW The logical construct you’re yammering about would be ‘your opinion…which is…’ That would be a ‘distortion of your position’.

Granted, it was a satirical reference using news reports. But even in MSM George Soros is acknowledged as being a major Progressive (Socialist) supporter. Single-handedly? No way! Anything wrong with that? Of course not. That’s how that is with me BTW, but Oh heck, ardee has already ‘classified’ me by the end of Paragraph Two. I’m classified! Which Obama camp do I proceed to? LOL <—joke! Probably not true. Camp Ayers?

Well, by the time you reach your last paragraph of denigration, number ## (I’m not gonna go count them) I don’t consider you a debater. Period. Your ego by the end of your diatribe has totally counted me out of the ‘debate’ equation and won it for you!

People like you make TruthDig so ...

<hidden>
Anyway, while I was getting it together this morning and wasting this time the Final Plan bubbled up to the surface of the stew ...<—-classify that… ha ha ha

I can totally have this country transformed in XX days… </hidden>

Oh, forget it…

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BarbieQue's avatar

By BarbieQue, October 13, 2010 at 2:25 am Link to this comment

Adding to jklfairwin’s excellent post (and in response to those who think Obama’s hands are somehow tied by a congress the (D)emocrats themselves control):

Beneath Hope and Change: The Real Zero

Barack H. Obama is a man who-

—0—Favored expanding the war in Afghanistan

—0—Wouldn’t rule out first strike nuclear attack on Iran

—0—Called Pakistan “the right battlefield ... in the war on terrorism.” Threatened to invade Pakistan

—0—Wanted to expand the size of the military.

—0—Aggressively opposed impeachment action against Bush

—0—Had argued that conservatives and Bill Clinton were right to destroy social welfare,

—0—Supported making it harder to file class action suits in state courts

—0—Voted for a business-friendly “tort reform” bill

—0—Voted against a 30% interest rate cap on credit cards

—0—Had the most number of foreign lobbyist contributors in the primaries

—0—Was even more popular with Pentagon contractors than McCain

—0—Was the most popular of the candidates with K Street lobbyists

—0—Opposed gay marriage

—0—Opposed single payer healthcare

—0—Supported restricting damage awards in medical malpractice suits

—0—Was named in 2003 by the rightwing Democratic Leadership Council named Obama as one of its “100 to Watch.”

—0—Supported the war on drugs

—0—Supported Real ID

—0—Supported the PATRIOT Act

—0—Supported the death penalty

—0—Opposed lowering the drinking age to 18

—0—Went to Connecticut to support Joe Lieberman in the primary against Ned Lamont

—0—Endorsed US involvement in the failed drug war in Colombia.

—0—Voted for a nuclear energy bill that included money for bunker buster bombs and full funding for Yucca Mountain.

—0—Came in at 48th in the ranking of senators by the League of Conservation Voters

—0—Promised to double funding for private charter schools, part of a national effort to undermine public education.

—0—Supported the No Child Left Behind Act

—0—Wouldn’t have photo taken with San Francisco mayor because he was afraid it would seem that he
supported gay marriage

—0—Dissed Ralph Nader for daring to run for president again

—0—Called the late Paul Wellstone “something of a gadfly”

—0—Supported Israeli aggression and apartheid.

—0—Favored turning over Jerusalem to Israel

—0—Was ranked 24th in the Senate by Progressive Punch

—0—Said “everything is on the table” with Social Security.

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By Lafayette, October 12, 2010 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment

And if you would like to see how the Reps are playing “bellow the belt” campaign politics, just have a look here.

Your a Dem who voted for Health Care and Stimulus Spending? Then you are unAmerican and want to throw the country into BigDebt!

The facts are that (1) America has one of the worst HC systems of any developed nation on earth and (2) anyone who thinks that the American economy must be creating jobs just two years after the worst recession since the Great Depression is deluding themselves.

But the graphic linked above shows the sound-bite, ignorance-mentality of campaign politics - 11/2010.

It’s not only a disgrace but an insult to one’s intelligence.

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