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November 13, 2014

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Great commentary!

Too bad Talton wasn't an advisor to the Democratic National Committee.

This is about a spot-on post out of Talton as I've read in a long while. It's good to know he is still capable of writing, thinking, and positing from the middle-left. But he doesn't need, nor want my accolades. This isn't an echo chamber for sycophants.

So beyond all that:

Why haven't the long knives come out for the leader of the Democratic National Committee? Why is no one calling for Debbie Wasserman Schultz's head?

Give me some of that old fashioned fire-in-the-belly Howard Dean stuff...

It really started a year ago with the disastrous roll-out of Obamacare. Republicans always have a stable full of mind-fucks with which to bamboozle their low-information base of the old, white and fearful. But this one was cut to the heart of Democrats' mantle as the party of good government. This loss of faith in the effectiveness of government didn't just start then, of course It's been a staple of rightwing agit-prop since Reagan. But given the hysteria unleashed in the media, it was tailor-made for the triumph of a meme: government can't do anything right. Just look at DMV!

Neoliberals really don't want to defend government since many of them have gotten rich in this new global marketplace. They are Third Way technocrats, looking to streamline government in service of a global economic elite and the new information economy. Bill Clinton is the perfect Democrat in this regard. What the DLC missed was that there were a permanent new class of losers in this economy, many of them traditional Democratic voters. The trade deals signed by Clinton didn't help them or their communities. The New Deal coalition broke up on the shoals of this transformation. The white working class, already predisposed to respond to culture war "issues" and race cards, decamped en masse to the GOP.

This is how Republicans escape blame for sabotaging the government, as they've brazenly done over the past six years. Republicans have this one overarching virtue: they believe a few things with the zeal of a recent convert. That zeal looks, in the public eye, like the convictions of red-blooded people rather than the boring nuances of a bureaucratic party. One is telling you what you want to hear. The other is explaining why it's more complicated than it looks. Guess which message prevails.

Voters reward the party that makes their lives more difficult because its messaging is stark, simple, and easily remembered. Obama's speechifying, by contrast, actually became a net deficit since Republicans lampooned him as an empty suit with no other abilities. This mild-mannered man, the opposite of the churlish demagogues of right-wing media and politics, became the devil in their ginned-up war between "real America" and the emerging muliticultural America that favors Democrats. Since old people who watch Fox News have little else going on in their lives, the fear of this new reality overwhelms legitimate genuine political concerns. It's how Ebola became the number-one public conern going into November. Having done its job, the panic has been officially retired.

2016 will be much better but the ongoing Cold Civil War still has years to go. Democrats are the party of the new, Republicans the party of old privileges, and the battlelines are drawn through the economic strata of a global marketplace. The real question is whether America will be permanently harmed by this utterly pointless war on behalf of cultural nonsense. We're not going back to Mayberry no matter how many tears Glenn Beck sheds. That's over. But if you want to live in a 3rd-world backwater for no better reason than spite, well, that's what freedom is all about.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"The stimulus was inadequate..."

Good point. Even Larry Summers wanted a larger stimulus (never mind Krugman).

The revised total cost of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is $831 billion, in an economy with a GDP of $14.7 trillion at the time. Most of it was spent in the first couple of years, so the effects didn't last long enough relative to the depth of the economic problems.

Seldom commented upon is the fact that a large portion of deficit spending simply went toward offsetting huge losses in federal revenues. Even before the recession, federal spending was a much larger percentage of the national economy than it had been during the Great Depression.

So when the recession hit, deficits had to increase hugely just to maintain the pre-recession federal component of economic demand. Only additional deficit spending beyond this could help offset declines in private sector and non-federal (state and local) public sector spending, and could therefore be considered as a Keynesian stimulus.

If the federal government had not maintained its own share of economic demand (never mind increasing that share with stimulus spending) the economy would have shrunk by a commensurate amount, since private sector and state & local government spending was also decreasing.

That said, federal outlays did increase by about $400 billion a year over pre-recessionary levels starting in FY 2009. Much of this was the result of longstanding federal laws governing such things as unemployment insurance, food stamps and other welfare, Medicaid, and so forth; eligibility increased as unemployment and foreclosures did, requiring federal spending in these categories to increase. Most of the spending provisions of Obamacare (aka The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) did not begin until FY 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

soleri wrote:

"It really started a year ago with the disastrous roll-out of Obamacare... given the hysteria unleashed in the media, it was tailor-made for the triumph of a meme: government can't do anything right."

The funny thing about this is that the Obamacare website that belly-flopped was developed by a private company called CGI Group, which is the fifth largest independent information technology provider in the world, with nearly 70,000 employees in 400 offices in 40 countries.

The federal government simply took the word of successful private company that their technical staff knew what it was doing. Nobody applies the same criterion to private business (e.g., saying "capitalism sucks" when a private company like this craps out).

And yes, the feds fired them when their contract ran out.

According to Bloomberg News, CGI built health exchanges for Massachusetts and Vermont, "which have also criticized the company's work".

Most Republicans don't even want Mayberry aside from the exclusively white cast.

Mayberry was a real (in the sense of a built environment) town with a dense, walkable downtown of locally owned businesses. It was loved and cared for.

People appeared to have decent jobs in this local economy. And to know each other and care for each other. Thus, a "commons." Law enforcement wasn't militarized.

The GOPers want the new suburbs of Mayberry, reached via freeways and six-lane "roads," behind walls, and "don't introduce yourself, please, we moved here for privacy."

North Scottsberry?

Incidentally, there's a really great historical example of Keynesian economics in triumphant success, which neither liberals nor conservatives seem to discuss much.

In 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was about 17 percent. By 1941 it had dropped to 12 percent and by 1942 it was down to 4.7 percent. (By 1944 it had dropped to an astonishing 1.2 percent.)

At the same time, U.S. GDP took off. In the late 1930s it had been flatlining at around $88 billion for years. By 1944 it had more than DOUBLED at about $209 billion. The economy actually grew 138 percent in just five years.

Note that this occurred during a period when the top personal income tax rate went from 79 percent in 1939 to 94 percent in 1944.

The reason for the improvement: American manufacturers expanded U.S. industrial capacity and output while hiring and training large numbers of workers to carry out this program.

Now, who funded this, and who created the new demand?

Answer: The U.S. government, which needed tanks, planes, and other munitions and wartime goods and services.

How did the U.S. government fund this?

Answer: Massive deficit spending financed through the sale of U.S. Treasury securities including War Bonds. That is, the government borrowed the money from private investors and spent it in the private economy, thereby creating a demand which could only be met by business expansion and increased hiring.

Note that this federal war spending was vastly greater than Great Depression era stimulus spending. The highest federal deficit during the 1930s was 5.9 percent of GDP in 1934; the highest during WW II was in 1943 when it was 30.3 percent of GDP (and remember that this was during a period of extremely large and rapid GDP growth, so it was a big chunk of something big).

There are several aspects of this worth noting.

One is that federal spending subsidized private business expansion and hiring in the domestic manufacturing sector, where unionized skilled and semi-skilled workers commanded good wages by working-class standards. These wages financed additional household consumption but also facilitated personal saving.

Another is that the economic recovery persisted after the war ended and war spending stopped (in 1947 the federal government ran a 1.7 percent budget surplus).

This was NOT due to wartime destruction of European industry and postwar American domination of world trade, for the simple reason that imports and exports combined made up only a tiny fraction of U.S. postwar economic activity (about 4 percent of annual GDP in the 1950s). America thrived postwar because its own domestic demand and output were high and growing.

Workers who had been trained in manufacturing skills in wartime industries went to work in consumer manufacturing after the war, and industrial capacity which had been expanded to meet war manufacturing needs was repurposed to serve the new consumer market, whose demand was financed by manufacturing job wages and by the savings these had allowed.

Wage gains were retainable in part because the government strongly supported bread-and-butter unionism as a way to coopt the union movement from radicals.

Postwar government subsidies for the higher education and housing of veterans and their families through the GI Bill also assisted upward mobility.

Note that this wartime largesse paid for itself: the huge increase in the national debt was never paid off: the debt was simply rolled over by selling an equivalent amount of Treasury securities as the old securities came due.

The debt nevertheless became less and less of a national burden because as the postwar economy continued to grow (thanks to wartime federal investment) the interest payments made to service the national debt became a smaller and smaller percentage of the economy, and thus a smaller and smaller percentage of federal revenues: the Democrats enacted no tax cuts per se (the top personal income tax bracket went from 94 percent during the war to 91 percent after the war, where it stayed until 1964).

Republicans had a brief window of postwar congressional control but Eisenhower, who believed that the government should not run large peacetime deficits, threatened to veto tax cuts that his own party was considering in Congress.

History itself, then, shows that massive government stimulus spending can work economic miracles. Something similar (in limited respects) happened in Nazi Germany during the pre-war 1930s and in postwar Stalinist Russia. The parallels might make some uncomfortable but the real lesson is that the economic principle involved is independent of political considerations.

Emil-you must be channeling Paul Krugman.This is the best explanation of Keynsian economics I have ever heard and I hope it is passed on to the millions that need to hear it.

Great stuff, Emil.

Republicans are disgusting. Politically they are very successful with effortless intellectual dishonesty, lies, vicious personal attacks and sociopathic manipulation of human beings. No doubt we'll have a few counterpoints in this thread demonstrating the Republican sociopathic method of debate. Goebbels would be proud of the heirs to his methods, the present day Republican party and right wing media.

I love the Mayberry trope exactly because it's not real and never has been. It was a fictional town in a sitcom, but it somehow embodies a pantheon of socially conservative values in the cartoon-scapes of suburban America. This is why our culture war is really about nothing. It's not even meaningful as nostalgia since Americans don't hunger for real towns and cities. They hunger for economic and social privilege, a drive-everywhere built environment, and the political imposition of their cultural norms (because.....er......freedom!). How many conservatives bicycle? Walk? Take transit? Advocate for better passenger rail?. How many are active in historic preservation, new urbanism, and localized economies? For those answers, read the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal.

When conservatives talk incessantly about "restoring" America, they don't mean the America that really was wonderful. They mean the America of their own ad copy and Reaganesque delusion. These people are lazy, unimaginative, fearful, and obtuse. There's one party that understands them perfectly because it's steeped in this tastelessness and boorishness. The Republican Party is the Seinfeld of counterrevolutionary movements. It's really about nothing.

Well, a post stating that Democrats are stupid and that it's unfair to compare Obama and Reagan.

Guess I can sit this one out.......


You're all asking the wrong question. The question isn't why the Democrats got whacked in 2014; it's how they did so well in 2008.

Given the anti Bush/Cheney sentiment in 2006-2008, the Democrats could have nominated Daffy Duck and he would have probably won (and Daffy probably would have done a better job). Democrats won the House, the Senate, and the White House. You think that was because of Obama's long, established track record of success? Of bringing people together? Of brilliant ideas of governing? No. Anti Bush/Cheney.

Then, in 2012, it wasn't like anyone tried to link McCain and Bush, was it?

Much like Carter's victory in 1976 (a victory for him, a loss for the USA), after Ford pardoned Nixon, it was a GOP loss, not a Democrat win.

But then it's time to govern. And that's hard. You replicate the policies you criticize. Your signature legislation rolls out in a manner that would embarras kindergarten kids. A lot of the "promises" in it become lies. Then you arbitrarily change it time and time again. And it wins judicial challenges by a whisker. The economy for Joe Sixpack limps along. Foreign policy isn't exactly shining. Too many swipes at Israel. Holder wants to bring the bad guys to NYC for trials. That blows up. The VA blows up. The promises of bringing people togther disappear under gridlock. You lose the House. No answers on immigration. Hope and change morphs into "same ol, same ol". He does a 180 on immigration executive orders (what a dopey move that was).

2014 is just another move towards the right that the country (and the world) has been moving towards since about 1980. 2008 was the hiccup, not 2014.


You had your chance in 2008 and US voters over the last 6 years have pretty clearly stated "No, thanks". Both at the federal and state levels.

One other thing:

Emil, we didn't elect a private company to implement Obamacare. YOu can't pass the buck to the company that was hired; they're not the ones in charge. They're suppose to be managed. That's what managers do.

To me, the horror wasn't just that the website didn't work. Stuff happens. But if two weeks before, Obama (or someone) had come out and said, well, we're having problems and we're going to need more time, I would have said, well, OK fine. The real ineptitude was that NO ONE KNEW THE DAY BEFORE THE WEBISTE WENT LIVE THAT IT WOULD TAKE MONTHS TO GET IT RIGHT. That's a stunning lack of communication, a lack of management, and a de facto supporting position that despite all of the resources and money available, government doesn't work (well).

But all is well at the VA, at least.....

And, of course, it wouldn't be fair given the Reagan oratory reference not to take a trip down memory lane. I know it's tough to pick his best ever, but this is my favorite. No high schooler in this country should not be required to read this speech. Just epic. Honor, humor, succint, the whole deal. The Great Communicator indeed:


http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/reagan-d-day.htm

boys indeed.


I know how you guys all love books- anyone pick up Bush's book on his dad yet? Can't wait to dig in.

@Emil: Thanks for in the info. Economists (and the rest of us) would be far better off reading history than concocting elaborate models.

On the stimulus:

You guys had the House, the Senate, and The White House.

Why wasn't it bigger? Why not a trillion and a half. Why not two trillion?

Who would have stopped that? Republican's couldn't have.

I think the answer is moderate, sane Democrats.

Then, in 2012, it wasn't like anyone tried to link McCain and Bush, was it?

I read this several times before realizing our this blog's idiot savant must have meant Romney. Except in 2012, no one was linking Romney to Bush. You didn't have to. An unvarnished plutocrat is running for president by condemning 47% of the nation. Curiously, he ended up with 47% of vote. Not bad, although I would suggest next time he try narrowing the scope of his contempt down to a manageable 40% or so.

Obama won in 2008 because he wasn't a Republican. That much is true. But a party that manages to inflict both the worst foreign policy debacle in the nation's history along with one of its worst financial and economic crises ever shouldn't complain that Obama is somehow underqualified. Remember George W Bush's "qualifications" for high office? Governor of Texas, a largely ceremonial position? Part-owner of the Texas Rangers and recipient of huge taxpayer subsidies? A man whose only apparent political leverage was his last name? That guy?

Obama is Winston Churchill by comparison.

The next time a party of idiots, holy rollers, corporate asslickers, and, chickenhawks wants to dispute the wisdom of the people, they might want to review their own gallery of grotesques. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Jan Brewer, and Timothy McVeigh, et al, are not the icing on the cake. They are the cake.


@InPHX: Where do you slot in on the " idiots, holy rollers, corporate asslickers, and, chickenhawks" menu. I going to assign myself to the "idiot (white trash redneck version) with a small touch of holy roller.

For the time being, I'm going to pull and Cal Lash and just goint to sit back and enjoy the show.

If things ever calm down, Emil raised some interesting points about Kenesian (spelling?) economics and FDR that would be fun to kick around.

Wow that should have been "pull a Cal Lash and just going to sit back and enjoy the show."

wkg, I was thinking of INPHX when I came up with "corporate asslicker". Please don't be put off by my language. The intemperate protests I file here keep me from shooting up a Trunk 'N Tusk dinner. Signed, Homer Simpson.

@Soleri: I enjoy your language and invective. It's one of the reasons I stop by see whats going on. Missed you when you went off the grid.

Sorry-I meant that link to Bush McCain in 2008, not 2012. That was the Democrats strategy- "not Bush".


And that has given us 6 years, of well, the last six years.

At least after the first two, the rug was pulled out a little.

And Soleri was off the grid? Guess they don't allow computers in the, um, well, errr, well,ummmm..... let's just call it the hospital.

WKG, I hesitate to argue with the great minds that come to this place but just so U know I am still watching (not football and don’t drink beer), har U go.

“Democrats with Long Knives” FDR and LBJ. I believe LBJ’s last years of near insanity were spent replaying the message, “And I approve this message” JFK must go.

2016, Hillary does own some long knives but she is not a surgeon with great carving skills. Maybe Howard Dean still has the “fire in the belly.” And could get roaring along with Elizabeth Warren as a running mate?

Presidential choices and Cal Lash, A long time registered Republican. My parents were god fearing card carrying FDR Democrats when I was born down by the river in a farm house with no electric or running water. And no doctor. By the time my parents last voted in 2000 they were still registered Democrats voting a straight Republican ticket. Poverty played a role in my becoming a Republican at about 16. I hated school and loved work and wanted a four on the floor Chevy with a girl next to me, on the bench seat, to assist in going through the gears. And since it seemed Republicans had the money, easy decision for a young horny boy. At 74 I am still a registered Republican. Can’t seem to find a reason to take the time to register as something else.

I have to advise that I have always had a hard time voting for presidential candidates. The two Roosevelt’s and Ike would have been far easier choices than anyone since. How do you choose between a Roman Senator that wants to rule the planet and hires a female Attila the Hun (hunting from a helicopter) to be his VP; and a reefer smoking, no experienced kid that is a community organizer that can dribble but has never made a three (3) point shot. I will call Obamacare care a three pointer if it survives. As president Obama came to a gun fight with a weapon that he didn’t know how to load and fire. He could have early on done much more. May he at least designate much more wilderness before his term is done? (Hear, Hear, say Teddy and Tricky Dick.)

Comment: Ford reminded me of a Republican version of Jimmy Carter, Nice guys that should just go to church and play golf but not run a country. Reagan in my opinion a terrible actor, and looked silly in a life guard bathing suit. I wanted to vomit when I heard he be the great communicator. He always sounded phony, to me. And he violated most everything Eisenhower told us to do. Nixon was a flawed person but he did do some things I thought were important for the environment. I believe he was the last of what I identify as a Republican.

Bush Jr’s book on his dad? Sorry I will pass just as I did Obamas books on himself. As I have said the Bush family should have kept George W Bush at home. The only reason he didn’t go to jail for selling futures in empty silos was the persecutor believed Georgie wasn’t smart enough to know it was a crime. And its Bush senior that knows where Pancho Villas head is resting and Bush and his Skull and Cross bone brothers have been running the country from the shadows for a long time.

Side: While writing the above I received an email from a white republican retired cop that still wants to load Black people on boats and Mexicans on trains and send them back from where they came. I hesitate to ask him about my lady friend from Spain.

Which reminds that I still live in the great Sonoran desert also occupied by greedy developers, bigoted rednecks, religious cult addled idiots and a retired senior citizenry that hide in gated community fearing the brown swarm and the marijuana monster.
Well I put at some welfare bird feed for the birds in the morn. Good nite.

"Great commentary!

"Too bad Talton wasn't an advisor to the Democratic National Committee."

Emil, something tells me the DNC wouldn't have listened to Jon, anyway.

@Cal: I’d recommend reading Obama’s “Son of My Father” (or something like that). Very well written (maybe even by Obama himself). Very candid. Exasperating omissions – but on the whole a good read.

As I’ve written previously, Ike is the only president in my lifetime I admire on all fronts. All others had serious faults. Despise FDR but find Teddy to be intriguing.

The modern political system pretty much discourages out “best and brightest” from running for office – at least at a serious level. It’s just gotten too down and dirty for a good person to consider.

WKG guess you didn't note who was Eleanor' s confidant and biographer?

"You guys had the House, the Senate, and The White House.

Why wasn't it bigger? Why not a trillion and a half. Why not two trillion?

Who would have stopped that? Republican's couldn't have."

The Republicans. We didn't have the Senate, as history has shown us. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/11/charts-explain-why-democrats-went-nuclear-filibuster

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/14/obama-agenda_n_6161022.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl2%7Csec3_lnk3%26pLid%3D564191

@Cal re elinore: nope. don't know.

Yep, it was mostly a macro-level messaging problem.

However, I would qualify the problem as being Democratic candidates and party operatives who abandoned the message.

Some of us advocated for a more aggressive message.

Many of you folks (including Mr. Talton) don't seem to get it: nearly all of the Dems have sold out to the moneyed interests (which the Repubs have always represented since Lincoln). Global corporate capitalism staged a coup in 2000 with the installation of Bush and then consummated it with 9/11 to instigate totalitarian control via the Patriot Act, NDAA, NSA surveillance and Citizens United. Money has usurped any semblance of democracy at the federal level. Obama merely has been following a script to mislead the public while acting entirely at the behest of the PTB. Now don't expect that we'll go back to anything resembling the New Deal. This juggernaut will continue its exploitation and war profiteering and deprivation of the masses until the empire collapses. As painful as that will be, I say: the sooner the better.

Amen Gaylord

a guy I could vote for.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/14/uruguays-president-beetle_n_6159302.html?utm_hp_ref=world

Gaylord, you almost sound like a Ralph Nader voter. And what was Ralph Nader's very special gift to this nation? A George W Bush presidency, which gave us John Roberts and Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court. And what was one of their epoch-defining decisions? The utterly obscene Citizens United one in your bill of particulars against the present regime.

You can't have it both ways. You can play faux naif on the Internet but the decision to help Republicans comes at a very high cost. Essentially, America's high-minded leftists decided that a sane and wise man (Al Gore) was too tainted by his proximity to the real world. Much better to vote for Saint Ralph and register your protest that compromises take place in this fallen world. Never forget the Corvair!

You are not going to win this war with concentrated wealth by refusing to participate in the actual arena. Yes, the little superiority game you folks live for is intoxicating. But millions more people have health insurance because actual liberals got a bill through Congress, despite the fervor of the most nihilistic opposition in this nation's history. They passed Dodd-Frank financial reform, too, which was a compromise but much better than the free-for-all that preceded it. And because they live in the real world rather than your world, they were able to make the necessary appointments to the EPA and begin the arduous task of transitioning away from a carbon-based economy.

I know, I know. You angels are much sweeter than people like me. I plead guilty. I get angry thinking how the left's Tea Party damages this nation for the sake of a world that doesn't even exist. But please save your lectures for the mirror you should practice them in front of. Our side is bedraggled and bloody, and you're off to the side with that smirk saying I told you so. I'll let my middle finger respond in kind.

One more thing before some False Equivalency troll defends the left's sabotage of the only future worth having. When I say "left", I'm not using that as a synonym for Democrats. I mean anyone who is sane enough to recognize that science is a better guide to reality than Big Oil ad copy. I mean anyone who is compassionate enough to understand health care is a basic human right. I mean anyone who can understand economics well enough to support a strong middle class. The Teabillies and corporate lickspittles of the right who disagree vehemently are the main "enemy". If you're on the left, you understand this or should. 45% of the electorate is virtually insane with cruelty and racism. They think guns, Aryan Jesus, and the "unborn" are the main issues. I say this as someone who thinks of himself less as a Democrat than as an anti-Republican. If you think liberals are at fault that 45% of this nation is so stupid that they vote for a party that it openly looting this nation, you're not paying attention. The last thing liberals need is for its own purists to carp at us from the sidelines. The hard left needs to swallow hard, stand up, get on board, and do the only sane thing possible: help us. We're in a fucking war. At a minimum, stop helping the real enemy. You want to "heighten the contradictions"? Do it in your imaginary world of rainbows and unicorns, not this one.

Soleri i dont think Gaylord sounds like Nader. I think he and I share a similar opinion. The Hunger Games are on and it don't end like the Movie.

Will be interesting to see How much of Obamacare can survive the continuing assualts. And the EPA?

I hung out at the Phoenix Downtown Cafe and Park near the Westward Ho yesterday for some food and music but my friend and I had to leave and breakout the inhalers. The air was so bad I could taste the gasoline in the air!

Gaylord:

Vote for whomever you want.

Disagreeing with Soleri triggers the Chatty Cathy response he copied and pasted from lots of his other "posts".

Rainbows are imaginary??

Cal, you're probably right. I tend to shoot first, aim afterwards.

That said, we don't have the luxury of opting out. As bad as things seem, this isn't the end-games, hunger or no. Obamacare might or might not survive. The anti-science nitwits might gut the EPA but let's wait until that happens. Waving the white flag is, at this point, premature. Who does surrender help? You know - the Republicans. The mind-fuck never sleeps.

One way they prevail is by making us fight each other instead of them. I think you know me pretty well by now. I'm way to the left of the average American, but I'm not a purist. I don't want to throw up my hands because Democrats play the game by the actual rules instead of the ones that ought to exist. We don't have the luxury of moral superiority here. We have to fight and win, I'm forced to say, by any means possible.

Examples of corporate cash in politics is not entirely evil. Tom Steyer threw a lot of cash at Democrats who recognize the existential crisis of our lifetime, climate change. George Soros upholds the ideals of the open society through his donations here and abroad. When we collapse all distinctions and simply damn corporate cash period, we're helping Karl Rove win the battle on the ground.

I would agree with you, however, that we don't have all the time in the world. Climate change is probably well past the tipping point, in fact. We are probably looking at untold centuries of disaster ahead of us. It's already baked into the cake.

And we must act anyway even if it means getting our hands dirty and consciences compromised. We have no choice except to act. Read your Camus.

Soleri, surrender is not in my vocabulary and I am up for the fight but I been around long enough to know Brave Heart dosent always win and Darth Vader seems to have a 1000 lives. So is there a Highlander out there or is the immortal Highlander, all of us?
And Camus and I hang out at the same Cafes and drink the thick coffee and smoke those Oval cigarettes.

INPHX, I read all your posts and have no problem with a few things that I consider "Chatty" or redundant. I read on as I do of Soleri's posts. So just keep posting and I tune in. I enjoy your company.

Blaming old people won't work. There aren't that many of us at this point, although Boomers are showing up in the world of the aged now. And plenty of us are leftists, too. We're not necessarily old farts like McCain. Better to lay off us as a group and get instead get busy mobilizing people. Get people registered to vote. That is #1.

and to brighten your day.
from a local genius.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6o881n35GU

Go tell it on a Mountain has a place in my library. So for today, James Baldwin.

I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.
James A. Baldwin

Memorial Day, Love, America
I've always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.
James A. Baldwin

Positive, Negative, Believed
It is very nearly impossible... to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/james_a_baldwin.html#LR77Zwb8RLed00GH.99

This Ladd fellow has some cheer for Democrats - he sees a Blue Wall:

The missing story of the 2014 election

It might be a unicorn, though. Prognosticators and analysts...

Cal, politics is meaningful only insofar as we consider our individual lives to be a relationship to the outside. Sanity is nothing less than acknowledging these relationships as oneself. In America, the epic narrative has had this one constant where we enlarge one's circle of concern to include others. We don't get this all at once. "All men are created equal" came with a big fat asterisk (*Except black people, women, the poor, the aboriginals, and more often than not, freethinkers). We are a work in progress but that progress has been the American story for over 200 years and it's been unrelenting. There's no reason to think it's going to stop because the fearful and small among us won a mid-term election. The entirety of the American saga points in this direction. Yes, there are the setbacks, the Gollums and Darth Vaders who seem to win at crucial points. But those are merely skirmishes in a war liberals are winning and will continue to win. There is no arc to this saga without us.

Soleri reference your comments about equal rights and sanity.
I give U what the Religious Right and many others have lost in today's world.

"Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount has been called the most superlative teaching of human ethics ever uttered by an individual. In fact, much of what we know today as “equal rights” actually is the result of Jesus’ teaching. Historian Will Durant, a non-Christian, said of Jesus that “he lived and struggled unremittingly for ‘equal rights'; in modern times he would have been sent to Siberia. ‘He that is greatest among you, let him be your servant’—this is the inversion of all political wisdom, of all sanity.”[3]"
from y-jesus (thanks Petro)

Gaylord said, "Obama merely has been following a script to mislead the public while acting entirely at the behest of the PTB."

I disagree. I think you are giving the job of 'President' far more power than the position holds. President Obama has not agreed entirely to the Patriot Act, NDAA, NSA surveillance (read http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/27/president-obama-is-trying-to-tame-the-nsa.html ); congress plays a larger role here.
Citizens United was decided by the Supreme Court. It is an interpretation of the law. President Obama has only two appointees on the court, and while I am not certain if they were both sitting on the bench at the time of Citizens United, I am certain that neither would have voted with the majority decision.
"Money has usurped any semblance of democracy at the federal level." True. However, I fail to see how the President is misleading the public about that.

Our government was designed with three branches just to complicate and frustrate action. If the President had the power you give him, he would be a dictator.

I have always felt sorry for Jesus since he could never be as good as his Dad.

WKG, Joseph P. Lash (December 2, 1909 – August 22, 1987) was an American radical political activist, journalist, and author. A close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, Lash won both the Pulitzer Prize for Biography[1] and the National Book Award in Biography[2] for Eleanor and Franklin (1971), the first of two volumes he wrote about the former First Lady. Wiki

Great interview of Rick Pearlstein by Tom Franks at Slate:

http://www.salon.com/2014/11/16/thomas_frank_on_ronald_reagans_secret_tragedy_how_70s_and_80s_cynicism_poisoned_democrats_and_america/

Pay no attention to the article's title, its much deeper than that (for example, did not know that about Vietnam MIAs).

Ramjet do not feel sorry for Jesus as he is his father.

Suzanne interesting, I got an entirely different take from Gaylord and the Playbook. Obama had no power. As soon as he took office, the Big Dogs called him in and told him where he could and could not play. Hence he gets to do Obamacare (financiers win on this one) and name a few national parks.
Big Dogs are folks that have no loyalty to party but to power, they are Financiers, CIA, and the NSA. However Obama can in these last two years cause some damage to these folks but it will take a lot of courage and he will have to strike with some very dangerous (to him) hot irons.

Note Obama can by executive order do a lot of things. And if there is a Democrat president in 2016 some of it will stick.

Hattie "#1"
It occurs to me we will not need Obama Care if we turn the Earth into one big acid bath. So I am putting EPA up as number one priority.
And per what I posted about Obama above, his agreement with the China indicates he may finally be on the war path. May there be many sharp arrows in his quivers. Not all fights are won by the biggest gun.
Sun Tzu

A lot of what President Obama does the next two years will be to enrage Republicans as much as possible for a Democrat sweep in '16. I have my doubts about the XL pipeline or anything to do with Israel, but other areas would be: fracking (via EPA regulation via the clean water act; marijuana reform by executive order and pardons for nonviolent offenders of said policy; foreign policy with China and (gasp) Iran; immigration (already under way); climate change.

Can you come up with some others (which may or may happen)?

There are some good posts over at Arizona Eagletarian on this topic. I am struck by the last two Bill Moyers shows: two weeks ago was an interview with the mayor of Richmond, CA, who faced the wrath and money of Chevron and won and then next week was Truthout and Lessig and I don't think they got the message that the only way forward is the Richmond model: organization and information and people.

Cal: We need to move forward on all fronts. Oh, and don't forget that many of us old people have a big stake in the future, because we have children and grandchildren.

Hattie, my Grandkids and I have had this discussion "where do you want to be in 50 years?
and what do you want the world to look like?
And, My Grandkids understand these issues better than their parents?

Cal,
Just trying for a little humor in such an otherwise serious discussion.

INPHX wrote:

"Emil, we didn't elect a private company to implement Obamacare. YOu can't pass the buck to the company that was hired; they're not the ones in charge. They're suppose to be managed. That's what managers do."

The government officials in charge functioned as executive managers. Executive managers aren't system analysts: they don't write code or troubleshoot software packages. Their job was to make sure that the company they hired to perform the technical functions was qualified, that the company under contract understood the parameters and features required, as well as the time constraints, and that high level administrative and budgetary problems were properly supervised.

If you hired a company of good repute to do electrical work for your house, and the house subsequently burned down because of faulty wiring, the fault would not be yours.

INPHX wrote:

"The real ineptitude was that NO ONE KNEW THE DAY BEFORE THE WEBISTE WENT LIVE THAT IT WOULD TAKE MONTHS TO GET IT RIGHT. That's a stunning lack of communication, a lack of management, and a de facto supporting position that despite all of the resources and money available, government doesn't work (well)."

How would they know? They had to take the word of their technical contractor, who provided the software. There was certainly no way for some bureaucrat to personally arrange a simulated test of tens of millions of simultaneous users performing a variety of tasks under a variety of conditions. That was the job of the software company. Either they knew what they were doing, and their assurances were worth something, or they didn't. All of the communication in the world, including repeated assurances, make no difference when a product requiring technical expertise to produce and evaluate is fundamentally flawed.

What's really amazing is that despite a budget that was for all intents and purposes unlimited, and loads of time, this gigantic, tremendously experienced software company failed so miserably. That sort of incompetence is almost suspicious. In any case, if it's a commentary, it's a commentary on the failures of private business, not of government.

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