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Now they have hope..God help them

by Helen Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 05:08:21 PM EST

I'm not being cynical or wordly-wise, butwhen I read Kid Oakland's diary on dKos I felt a shudder of fear.

A Change is upon us.

Our nation will never be the same. We speak to the world tonight, and we speak with a new voice. We look out at the world tonight with new eyes. And behind the visage of our candidate, Senator Barack Obama, stands that vast quilt of assembled faces that make up the diversity of our great nation. Republicans and Democrats, independents and progressives, the engaged and the disaffected, the rich and the poor, the rural, the suburban and the city folk alike.

Forging unity out of our diversity is the essential aspect of our American story, and in 2008, that is our Message to the World. There is nothing we can't do when we work together. We are many, but we are one. We are, as Senator Obama so powerfully expressed it four years ago: the United States of America.

And in that voice, in that victory, in this precious moment in our long journey as a nation, we can all be proud.

..fear for progressive voices in the USA. Because I realise, I understand, that it must have been beyond terrible to live in George III's benighted land for the last 8 years. To have lived under the creeping conservative strangulation of the last 30 years, to have felt each and every hope crushed, every last stand flattened. I feel the pain and empathise, but now they have hope. God help them.


Because this is exactly what I was warning against when I wrote my diary The unbearable Lightness of Obama

I wrote;-

But it's different for Obama, they believe in him: And he can't deliver on those expectations; nobody really could, but he won't even try. Items already announced, such as a bigger military really will make things worse. And where do progressives go then ? It isn't despair that hurts; you can live without expectations. It's hope that will break you, every time.

I'd seen this at democrats Abroad when I'd been inspired to write in my earlier diary The wind Cries Obama

Those who were for other candidates had strong logical yet nuanced policy reasons for doing so, the Obama supporters were energised by the feelings he inspired.

I don't mean this unkindly but there was something of the X-Files poster about the way it was expressed. It read "I want to believe" and they really wanted to believe, I almost felt I could reach out and touch that need. After 6 years of Bush and 15 years of Repugnican hate they wanted more than dust clogged policies to stop the rot and maybe improve things in  median percentage terms. Blow that, they wanted someone who could make them feel good again, to feel good about themselves, their party, their country in a way they hadn't for a generation. Obama gives them that belief, the "Audacity of hope".

It's heady stuff to see close up, but it is undeniable that the Force is with him. From what I saw last night, barring absolute disaster, I can't see him failing to win next year.

(Okay, that last paragraph was just me boasting from 14 months ago :-)) ).

And my fear is described here;-

Fran noted at the Paris meeting that ET-ers are mostly all of "an age", not necessarily how many growth rings are in our heads, but a seen-it-all-before, won't-get-fooled-again attitude that looks at politicians with a hard-eyed reality. It was her observation that, conversely, Obama supporters, those who truly bought "the audacity of hope", are the ones who are most fired with enthusiasm and are consequently the ones must susceptible to disillusion.

Maybe I'll be wrong and Obama will confound our Old-Europe cynicism, but if he doesn't then it may be the progressives, the one real hope for America, who disintegrate under the burden of disappointment. And that, not another failed Presidency, will be the real disaster for America

And that's what gave me a sinking feeling when I read Kid Oakland's diary. I love his writing and seek it out, but he's got religion and I'm pretty sure an awful lot of people in the US have it too. I fear for them, people I've never met, but who I hope I'd like and would like me back cos we want the same things. And I don't want them to be hurt and this hope, this belief, is a first love's hopeless adoration. And first loves often end in bruising disillusion. And it's where that will go which worries me.

Display:
It's what God does.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 05:42:17 PM EST
Maybe, but she's been mighty inattentive of late

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 05:47:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama's is a Broad Church

<hides>

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 05:47:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Broad church?

If churches were filled only with those, I'd go.

by redstar on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 05:59:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You couldn't resist, could you?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 06:28:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assuming he even gets elected. (And seriously folks, it's not a done deal. House and Senate maybe are, but I've been here long enough to never, ever underestimate the pigheaded and ignorant stupidity of the average American voter.)
by redstar on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 06:21:16 PM EST
Yes, I keep wondering, "Does everyone at dKos know something I don't?  I think we're going to win, but it's still John McCain.  It's still going to be a dogfight."

But I will say this: the American voter has been very mature throughout this primary season compared with what I would've feared, and, while I appreciate my fellow political junkies in the states, I think the typical American has been a lot more reasonable than the junkies have thus far.

Could change, of course, but just sayin'.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 06:30:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe there's reason to hope...a lot of the repubs (the "moderate ones") are Obama fans too..

There's a reason for that.

I sure hope that behind that reason, he's got something to surprise us all.

by redstar on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 07:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That and a certain amount of reality is becoming painfully apparent.  We just had our 11th soldier come home in a body bag in my local area.  Of course that pales in comparison to what we have wreaked, but its pretty apparent its not just for nothing, its for something bad.

The problem is that Obama and the Democrats are incrementalists at best, the saving grace may be that just stopping the momentum may be all we can hope for in the short run.  There sure is going to be hell to pay in the next 4 years, and we are quickly going broke.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson

by NearlyNormal on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 07:10:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder whether we should hope for the wheels to come off before the general election (or at the latest before Obama's inauguration) so that Obama's administration is forced to really make tough decisions and be revolutionary.

FDR was not particularly progressive as Governor of New York, and you saw what he did as soon as he took office in 1933.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 07:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or maybe he was...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 07:22:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He wasn't really progressive even in his presidential campaign -- not until he actually entered office.  I believe Roosevelt ran on what we'd consider a platform more Libertarian than anything these days.  I'm not sure when the New Deal was formally launched.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 07:29:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Roosevelt Week - TIME

Helped up to the convention platform, the nominee, in a dark grey suit with red rose in lapel, sat quietly by while Chairman Walsh "notified" him of his nomination. When his turn came to speak, he rested his weight on his hands on the rostrum, delivered an address which he put together on the flight from Albany. Excerpts:

"[My] appearance before the convention is unprecedented and unusual but these are unprecedented and unusual times. We will break foolish traditions and leave it to the Republican leadership to break promises. . . . Ours must be a party of liberal thought, of planned action, of enlightened international outlook and of the greatest good to the greatest number.

"It will not do merely to state, as do Republican leaders, that the Depression is worldwide. That was not their explanation of the apparent prosperity of 1928. If they claim paternity for one, they cannot deny paternity for the other. . . . For ten years we expanded far beyond our natural and normal growth. . . . Corporate profit was enormous. . . . The consumer was forgotten . . . the worker was forgotten . . . the stockholder was forgotten. Enormous corporate surpluses . . . went into new and unnecessary plants, which now stand stark and idle, and into the call money market of Wall Street. . . .

"Just a word on taxes. Government costs too much. We must abolish useless offices, merge . . . consolidate . . . give up. . . . I propose that government of all kinds be made solvent and that the example be set by the President and his Cabinet. . . .

"This convention wants Repeal. Your candidate wants Repeal. And I am confident the United States wants Repeal. . . . From this date on the 18th Amendment is doomed. . . . We must rightly and morally prevent the return of the saloon.

"We should repeal immediately those provisions of law that compel the Federal Government to go into the market to purchase, sell and speculate in farm products.

"I accept that admirable tariff statement in the platform. We have invited and received the retaliation of other nations. I propose an invitation to them to forget the past, to sit at the table with us as friends and to plan with us for the restoration of the trade world. . . .

"For years Washington has alternated between putting its head in the sand and saying there is no large number of destitute people who need food and clothing and then saying the States should take care of them if there are.

"Throughout the nation men and women, forgotten in the political philosophy of the Government, look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth. . . . I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people. This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms."

"We Start Tonight" Governor Roosevelt's first official act as national head of his party was to have "Jim" Farley elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Bubbling with enthusiasm, Nominee Roosevelt declared: "The whole idea of flying here was to bring forward the idea of getting the campaign started. August is usually the month to get stirring. But I believe some votes can be made in July. The new national committee is organizing and we start the campaign at ten o'clock tonight."



A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 08:34:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, so a little of both.  Still, I don't think that reflects the radical change Roosevelt wound up bringing.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 10:33:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if you look at Wikipedia's Franklin D. Roosevelt's terms as Governor of New York it's susprisingly "progressive"
Roosevelt came to office in 1929 as a reform Democrat, but with no overall plan. He tackled official corruption by dismissing Smith's cronies and instituting the New York Public Service Commission. He addressed New York's growing need for power through the development of hydroelectricity on the St. Lawrence River. He reformed the state's prison administration and built a new state prison at Attica. He had a long feud with Robert Moses, the state's most powerful public servant, whom he removed as Secretary of State but kept on as Parks Commissioner and head of urban planning. When the Wall Street crash in October 1929 ushered in the Great Depression, Roosevelt started a relief system that later became the model for the New Deal's FERA. Roosevelt followed President Herbert Hoover's advice and asked the state legislature for $20 million in relief funds, which he spent mainly on public works in the hope of stimulating demand and providing employment. Aid to the unemployed, he said, "must be extended by Government, not as a matter of charity, but as a matter of social duty." In his first term, Roosevelt famously said, "The United States Constitution has proved itself the most marvelously elastic compilation of rules of government ever written." He was referring to the belief he had that the Federal government would need to use more power in order to bring the country out of the Depression. New York Public Service Commission.

...

Roosevelt knew little about economics, but he took advice from leading academics and social workers, and also from Eleanor, who had developed a network of friends in the welfare and labor fields and who took a close interest in social questions. On Eleanor's recommendation, he appointed one of her friends, Frances Perkins, as Labor Secretary, and there was a sweeping reform of the labor laws. He established the first state relief agency under Harry Hopkins, who became a key adviser, and urged the legislature to pass an old age pension bill and an unemployment insurance bill. Roosevelt entered the governorship with a $15 million budget surplus left by previous governor Al Smith and left the state with a $90 million deficit.

which is what led me to post my beck-tracking comment above.

It is entirely possible that he ran on a "libertarian" platform in 1932 because that was the only electable platform. According to JK Galbraith one of the reasons for Hoover's inaction in 1930-32 was that the "very serious people" (as we would say here) favoured a hands-off approach to the financial crisis and the recession. But the first week of FDR's administration was like Jesus whipping the moneychangers out of the Temple.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 02:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I see it, there is one major difference between FDR and Obama. The establishment had no experience with someone like FDR, and didn't anticipate what he would be doing. If people like us can discuss the similarities, you can be sure that the establishment can figure it out as well, and they will be much better prepared to fight him.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 04:00:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure there are similarities between FDR and Obama as characters, the similarities are on the historical juncture.

I think the similarities between Obama and RFK are stronger more in terms of the historical juncture and personally, and that's a scary thought.

If the Democrats sweep the Legislative elections in November radical reform becomes easier.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 05:47:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there are fewer actual similarities between Obama and RFK, aside from both being good speakers, than there are scary parallels, if you're superstitious and want to look for those kinds of things.  (First-term senators who took on the big dawg of the party primarily over a war, with candidacies built on the coming of age of large generations -- Boomers and Millennials -- along with black folks, main themes of "change" and "hope"/"what can be," etc.)  I think RFK is the better comparison than JFK, if America is going to insist on continuing this never-ending circle jerk around the myth of the Kennedys and Camelot (which it, of course, will until the Boomers die off, because everything in America is either an extension of the Vietnam pissing match or the obsession with Camelot).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 08:39:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True.  It's not reasonable to look at FDR without the historical context.  In the context of national politics, he was very progressive.  In the context of state and local politics, where ideas about government intervention were already taking root, he was sort of a logical extension who moved much faster than one would've expected looking back.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 08:44:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure when the New Deal was formally launched.
From Wikipedia's Emergency Banking Act:
The Emergency Banking Act (also known as the Emergency Banking Relief Act) was an act of the United States Congress spearheaded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. It was passed on March 9, 1933. The act allowed a plan that would close down insolvent banks and reorganize and reopen those banks strong enough to survive.

On March 5, 1933, the day after Roosevelt's inauguration, he called a special session of Congress which instituted a mandatory four-day bank holiday. This act provided for the reopening of banks after federal inspectors had declared them to be financially secure.

The bill also gave the Secretary of the Treasury the right to confiscate the gold of private citizens, in exchange for an equivalent amount of paper currency which was subject to later devaluation with relation to gold.

Sure, that's not the New Deal yet, but I think only Bush the Lesser has used executive power like this since (see the USA PATRIOT Act).


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 02:14:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe there's reason to hope...a lot of the repubs (the "moderate ones") are Obama fans too..

There's a reason for that.

The reason has little to do with ideology and a lot to do with age.  That's the divide we're going to see in this election.  The Silent Generation will vote strong for McCain, the Millennials even stronger for Obama, and Generation X and the Boomers will decide it.  The Greatest Generation, of whom there are few left anyway, will lean McCain but not leave Obama completely dry.  The Republicans voting for Obama are overwhelmingly of the young-professional variety.  Mainly urban, mainly middle-class.  Generally anti-war, not completely opposed to the welfare state, not fans of Bush.

In other words, Obama voters on everything but race and party affiliation.  Most are, I suspect, Republicans simply because their parents are Republicans, but there are no deep ties to the GOP, and I think they'll wind up as Democrats eventually.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 08:56:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what I'm afraid of, actually.

He'd better be the second coming of Abe Lincoln, or this is going to end in disappointment...

by redstar on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 01:54:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
from our local, semi-rural Republicans rather frequently. They can see as well as anyone what George has wrought, wreaked, or worked. Some go so far as to say, "well, I was never really so much a Republican...."

Have to laugh, but I try not to do it in their faces.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 02:03:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am 150% in favor of a dose of Bill Clinton's semi-sensible moderate republicanism. That's the best we can hope for.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 01:09:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wake me up when either party stops funding the fucking war machine that's killing so many people, stops building bombers and bombs instead of good schools and starts recognizing everyone's human right to adequate health care.

Until then, I still don't care.

by redstar on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 01:52:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I care about women's rights, no more hard right supreme court justices, reduced science spending, etc. These things matter in lieu of the defense budget, which isn't under the control of the president as it is, as Clinton discovered.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 03:49:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember spending 1997 to 2002 in close proximity to students watching this process in close and painful detail as the big hope of the end of Thatcherism came into view and the Titanic of New Labour hit the iceberg of reality.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 06:32:36 PM EST
It wasn't just students.

The useful subtext was 'Resistance is futile. And it's been a huge success - so far.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 06:47:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't quite get the student appeal of British politicians, because y'all generally have much younger party leaders than we do, at least these days.  Didn't Clegg just qualify for his driver's license a month or two ago? ;) <hides from Mig>

Obama's very young.  Older than JFK and Bill Clinton were, I think, but I think he'd be the third-youngest.  But he'd be pretty typical over there.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 06:53:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's what not having a historical party of the left gets you (the real left not the imaginary American Bogeyman left) ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 06:57:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do remember somebodys comment on the day of the election. After Blairs statement that they were going to stick to Tory spending plans for the first two years in office, that this was the first time he'd ever gone to vote hoping that the new government was lying to him, rather than knowing they were lying to him.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 06:54:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.  And let's not forget it's even harder to turn around the ship of state in a land where the system itself is broken. Millions of votes stolen.  Congress and the Parties sucking up obscene amounts of lobbying money. The Courts packed with arrogant, righteous ideologues. And no one able to stop the madness of an unbridled Executive.

Underneath it all a military machine which undergirds a military economy criminal in its scale.  Surrounded by the most sophisticated propaganda apparatus the world has seen.

I want to believe in Obama too.  But it will take a Gandalf to right this ship.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 07:02:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
are you saying that after fighting the firey beast in November he will emerge both White and Bearded?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 07:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 07:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The prospect is (at the least) an administration that isn't working to destroy constitutional government, legitimize torture, foster wars, increase the Gini index, discredit science, and split the public into bitterly opposed factions.

From where I sit, even this minimal hope seems grand and inspiring. (And the level of realistic hope is, I think, somewhat greater than this.)

Damn! I've damaged my status as a lurker.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 03:14:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bush did say in 2001 that he was a uniter, not a divider.

With a disapproval rating of 80%, he's not wrong.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 08:55:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Knowing Kid Oakland, I doubt he is putting blind faith in Obama as a progressive savior - but he does believe that Obama is a representative of a rising progressive movement in the country, especially Obama's power to motivate new folks to become involved in politics (and his ability to bring back those who deserted politics a while ago).

Then again, Kid Oakland always has emphasized those aspects of politics, going back several years now - community activism, diversity, etc. It doesn't move my democratic socialist self the way it does some others, but neither does it cause me any great concern.

I always saw Obama as the least awful of the Democratic choices - he had the smallest downside, and by mobilizing a ton of new voters from traditionally disempowered groups, had the biggest upside. I don't expect him to be an FDR and few do.

Maybe it does take 8 years of George III, as you say, to come to a point where Obama seems like something to celebrate. The tasks we have in this country are enormous, and maybe we're likely to have less interference in solving them with Obama as president and not Hillary.

Still, it does suggest that we're not going to be seeing any significant change until the '20s. Sigh.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 06:59:33 PM EST
I don't know Kid Oakland personally, but from reading him for a number of years I think he is more of a diversity kind of guy than a progressive kind of guy, they may travel along the path together for a while,  but its not the same thing.  Could be wrong, but I find little in Obama's policies that I really think is progressive.  I think he'll be hard-pressed to fund some of his stupid shit, like adding another 100,000 to the military-but I think he'll reach across the aisle to try to be bi-partisan and they will eat his hand off just like they did to Jimmy Carter.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 07:15:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since people don't study history any more they tend to think what they are experiencing is unprecedented. One only has to look back at what kinds of resistance FDR faced when he tried to bail the country out of its economic disaster.

He even tried restructuring the Supreme Court since it was so obstructionist. A Dem president, even with a "mandate", won't have it any easier. Not only are the forces favoring the status quo stronger, but they are international in scope.

There is one ray of hope, the internet now gives those who may feel betrayed a way to speak up; this wasn't available before. Demonstrations in the street don't lead to policy discussions only clubbings. There have been some examples of the power of the internet to mobilize people in ways that politicians pay attention to.

The one coming to the fore now concerns changes proposed by the FCC on ownership of TV, radio and newspapers in the same market. There were over one million letters sent to the FCC opposing this change, but the GOP dominated commission chose to ignore this. Congress, however noticed and a bill is up to reverse the ruling, Bush will veto it, but it will be enacted (along with a new FCC chairman) next year.

More action like this gives one some hope.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 08:51:17 PM EST
The Internet mostly gives people a chance to talk, not so much to be heard - especially not where it matters.

I worry it's going to take action, of the General Strike kind, to push the Overton Window back away from Teh Craxzy it's drifted to.

Both UK and US progressive reforms - the original kind - were bought at an incredible price in confrontation and violence. People don't have the stomach for that again, and they also lack the personal solidarity which made it likely before.

The Internet is the one tool which could start recreating that solidarity. But it's a much more double-edged tool than unionisation used to be, and potentially a much more fragile one. No one really wants violence of the kind that was happening a century ago - although historically it seems to become popular once people are starving and homeless. And unfortunately the great neo-conservative treasury heist is making that more and more likely. So... we'll see.

I wouldn't be surprised to see conventional politics become irrelevant. If regionalisation becomes a life-saver, no one is going to care much what's going on in Washington unless it affects them directly.

As transport becomes harder, I'd guess national and international politics will start to become more distant too - even if the media continue as they are now.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 09:44:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there has been sometimes-heated argument over Obama campaign over at FS, particularly focusing on O's distancing himself rapidly from Rev Wright (who made some percipient and trenchant remarks about racism and US policy).

I too get the sense that there's a desperate hopefulness in some of the Obama supporters.  "Help me, Obama-wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!"

If the whole charade demonstrates anything, it demonstrates how desperate the voters are for a real change -- whether it's likely or not, they will still pin their hopes on anyone who looks even vaguely like a new broom.  IMHO Obama is BizAsUsual in a new, improved, demographically-tested wrapper;  but I'm among the ranks of the old and cynical.  It would be nice to be proven wrong for a change, but to me O looks just so much like the USians' very own Tony Blair.  The youthful good looks, the verbal adroitness (a nice change from Babbling Baby Bush, admittedly), the teflon-slick PR surface, the vague promises of change and restoration and unity;  and meanwhile, the military swagger, the Exceptionalist jingo, and the team-full of ortho neoliberal advisers.

I'm trying real hard to pull the covers over my head, but they won't stay put.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 10:14:12 PM EST
Blair's firt term and a half weren't a total loss - not progressive, exactly, but he was a relief after the Tories.

So Obama could still do some good, just by not being Bush or McLame.

But he doesn't look like the visionary who's needed. Gore would have been closer to that - not perfect either, and not someone who was going to take down Wall St.

But smart enough to understand the issues and pushy enough to start to do something about them.

Instead he folded. I still don't understand why.

Meanwhile - any bets on whether or not Hillary will try to split the Dem party with a formal breakaway faction?

I don't think she can afford to, cash-wise, but that doesn't seem to have stopped her yet.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 10:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gore would have been closer to that - not perfect either, and not someone who was going to take down Wall St.

But smart enough to understand the issues and pushy enough to start to do something about them.

Instead he folded. I still don't understand why.

The Gore of 2000 wasn't all that visionary, or didn't look like it. It's only the gore after 2002 that I like, but the new gore wasn't interested in being President any longer.

Then again, he's written a couple of books since, which might illuminate this point. I believe Geezer in Paris has read The Assault on Reason - has anyone else?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 02:04:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am deeply disturbed by Clinton's bizarre, non-concession

Concession Speech

I have no idea what she's thinking, but the word i keep returning to is... deranged.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 03:57:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I dunno. Some rather uncharitable thoughts entered my head reading the trasncript, especially when she was still obviously appealling for donors (I'm down to my last $80 million, please help in any way you can).

But then you remember, she's a member of the elites and when you or I might be down in the dumps, they're seeking advantage, looking for a deal. That's what this speech was, a calculated way of seeking to get the best deal she can. Not for her voters, but for Hilary Clinton, that's how elites work, it's why they're where they are.

I can think of good positions she can fill for Obama but not VP), and the quid pro quo must be that she works Appalachia cos Obama is dead meat down there. But right now they are negotiating.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 05:54:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I agree with the American expectation that political races are conceded before the votes are counted or, in theis case, actually cast.

The problem with Clinton is that if she stays on until the Convention it will be on an ego trip and not because she has significantly different policy planks she wants to push into the party platform at the Convention (that's what Kucinich did in 2004 and what Paul is doing this time around and you have to respect that).

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 06:24:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She has never addressed the fact that the popular vote is only a 1/3rd of the process of nomination, and thus an irrelevant metric.

Only the delegate count covers all 3 aspects: popular vote, caucus, super delegate. The last two contain no element of recorded popular voting. A caucus produces delegates, but not popular votes. The states that use a caucus would be illegitimately excluded if there was a popular vote count - unlike Michigan and Florida.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 09:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No point in betting on that one because it's an absolute certainty. If she succeeds is another matter. The Clintons (and they are a family business) must be very, very angry, incensed. The nerve!
by Quentin on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 04:04:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the Blair comparison is overwrought. The political system functions differently in the USA. And Obama frankly seems to have more brains than Blair. Clinton 1993 is a closer comparison. If Obama wins the Democrats in Congress face mid-terms within less than two years. Although they now seem less vulnerable on the downside than back then and may have learned a thing or two...

As for the economics crowd, they're slightly less dogmatic than the Clinton people, or so Noam Scheiber thought:

Like their intellectual godfather Thaler, the Obama wonks aren't particularly interested in tearing down existing paradigms, just adjusting and extending them when they become outdated. (Thaler urges his students to master the same traditional, mathematical models their colleagues do if they want to be taken seriously.) For example, a central tenet of the economic thinking favored by Bill Clinton and his Treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, was that cutting the deficit lowers long-term interest rates, which in turn stimulates the economy. The Obamanauts are perfectly willing to accept the relationship between long-term rates and economic growth. But recent evidence suggests that low rates weren't quite as central to the success of the Clinton years as they appeared, and that investments in infrastructure and R&D might be as important as deficit reduction. Not surprisingly, Obama plans to focus less on the deficit than Clinton did.

Pragmatic neoclassical economics with a behaviourist bent is better than dogmatic neoclassical economics without a behaviourist bent. Much as I'd prefer Daly and Costanza to be on the Obama team.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 10:32:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But recent evidence suggests that low rates weren't quite as central to the success of the Clinton years as they appeared, and that investments in infrastructure and R&D might be as important as deficit reduction. Not surprisingly, Obama plans to focus less on the deficit than Clinton did.

New Deal II ??

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 11:24:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt we'll see anything on the scale.

Obama does promise a lot of investment in information infrastructure. Which is good for the US. It has really fallen behind. He's also talking about a lot of green investment. Which is only partially good, because he's going to send half of that to carbon capture and storage and biofuels. The other half could still work wonders if it's enough money overall.

He's also talked a bit about investing in high-speed rail. He could do a lot more of that. And he actually seems to care about urban planning. Which is a huge difference from all US presidents in the past 40 years or so.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 02:02:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thaler sounds like an interesting guy:
Richard H. Thaler (b. September 12, 1945, in East Orange, NJ) is an economist perhaps best known as a theorist in behavioral finance and for his collaboration with Daniel Kahneman and others in further defining that field. He received his B.S. from Case Western Reserve University in 1967. At the University of Rochester, he received his M.S. in 1970 and his Ph.D. in Economics in 1974. He currently teaches at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and is an associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has previously taught at Cornell University and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

...

Thaler gained some attention in the field of economics for publishing a regular column in the Journal of Economic Perspectives from 1987 to 1990 titled Anomalies[2], in which he documented individual instances of economic behavior that seemed to violate traditional microeconomic theory.

...

In one of his most recent papers [5], together with three Dutch economists Thaler has analyzed the choices of contestants appearing in the popular TV game show Deal or No Deal and found support for behavioralists' claims of path-dependent risk attitudes.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 02:15:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... while we leverage the retirements of Replicant Congressmen who found that being in minority was no fun, plus some pick-ups of those caught flat footed by challengers better in tune with the time, to gain a genuine House majority.

A centrist Democrat is the presumptive nominee ... no big surprise, given that two centrist Democrats were the last two in contention for the laurels.

The job ahead is to elect the progressive Democrats who will prove to be a thorn in the side of the centrist Democratic administration.

As far as the October Surprise ... it'll be in August, in Iran, because McCain will be so badly behind, and it will backfire.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 01:15:13 AM EST
As far as the October Surprise ... it'll be in August, in Iran, because McCain will be so badly behind, and it will backfire.

God, that's scary cos you can actually see them doing it. It will certainly backfire militarily, but electorally ? I dunno, the tradmed still wants a repug and they want a television war even more. It will certainly distract from any message but bomb bomb bomb Iran.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 05:42:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... but I wasn't joking.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 10:36:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know. It's scarily possible.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 11:23:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in the US first.  That is the only way they can even hope to get the popular support they would need to carry out another major war (bigger than Iraq--if it doesn't start out that way, in no time at all it will be).  

The false-flag operation must be bigger than "9/11"--a "terrorist attack" that is more dramatic, or causes more casualties, or both.  It must be big enough to consume popular attention and blot out thought.  It must be big enough to commit the powers that be--to force the choosing of sides--one way or the other.  

If it happens, you will know, it will be obvious.  And the US will promptly uncork.  Two main choice lines:  Martial law OR civil war WITHIN the government.  

I have no inside knowledge, but if I did it would not help:  Plainly, right now, this whole thing is balanced on a knife edge.  Just about every day we see the signs of moves and counter moves (bulletins, press releases, resignations) as they struggle (mostly) secretly in cold war against a largely invisible no-bomb faction.  NO ONE knows if they will be able to try their scheme, and if so whether they can pull it off.  

The attack on Iran may never happen.  But if it does, the false-flag event in the US will occur and will be your "five-minute warning."  

How would this affect Europe?  I have no idea, but I would expect the oil markets to shut down completely.  Plan for that, at least.  

Before August.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Jun 6th, 2008 at 02:32:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... the replicants are used to the Democratic candidate folding up like a lawnchair when faced with that kind of situation. Senator Obama has already shown that he lost the "give a shriek and run away when there is a foreign policy crisis" card that seems to be handed out to all newly elected Democratic politicians.

That's not to say he's a progressive ... a core value of a centrist Democrat is representing the moderate faction of the Corporate party, so while a Democratic presidency means the joyride might be over for Halliburton, obviously nothing is going to be done that undermines Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

But the Corporate Party is not united on the question of reckless foreign adventurism, and I reckon that Obama is as good as anyone in the Corporate Party at standing up against it.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 10:44:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess his biggest problem is taming the miltarists. He needs to stop spending on wars, he needs to stop spending on pointless hi-tech systems, he needs to lose bases and new planes and well...a whole buncha stuff cos the US can't afford it anymore.

Whether he'll do that I dunno.

He'll inherit little but wreckage. Just sorting out which bits go with what will take time and I'm not sure time is on his side. A lot of things might suggest this would be a good election to lose, America can't afford the repugs to win right now.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 11:22:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He does not have the coalition that can do that. Edwards was the only one who had a chance of building the coalition that could do that.

The best Obama will be able to offer is reducing the spending on reckless overseas adventurism. What is sad is that "less spending on reckless adventurism" comes down as a noticeable budget saving and noticeable contribution to reducing the current account deficit.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 11:29:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is Edwards were his VP?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 02:10:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is not Dubya. Edwards as his VP would probably help some in domestic policy, but not in foreign policy.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 02:26:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bruce,

But the Corporate Party is not united on the question of reckless foreign adventurism, and I reckon that Obama is as good as anyone in the Corporate Party at standing up against it.

Rolling back our foreign adventures is vital in order to close off the severed femoral artery before we bleed out.

If he could also strongly encourage an increase in interest rates it could have the beneficial effects of reducing the size of the financial sector, which has become a parasite on the body politic.  Advocacy for regulatory changes could help there also.  Speaking of parasites, if he could euthanize the medical insurance industry and reign in big pharma , we might actually be able to afford health care as a nation.  A hundred billion here, a hundred billion there....(we have had a little inflation since Dirksen's time.)

Fostering development of green energy--wind, & solar + an EV-PHEV transportation infrastructure would make the economy much more resilient and could start to re-industrialize the economy.

But these folks are not going quietly.  The only way real progress will be made is if enough of Congress and the Administration and business realize that some of the beneficiaries of the current spree of looting have to be brought to account so that the country can survive.  That might also be the only way some of the gross political abuses of GWB's gang will be dealt with--if a new administration has the courage to admit that no real improvement can be made without dealing with the problems that got us here.  Studiously ignoring past problems will not cut it.  They must be dealt with or Obama and the Dems will fail.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 5th, 2008 at 12:09:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If he could also strongly encourage an increase in interest rates it could have the beneficial effects of reducing the size of the financial sector, which has become a parasite on the body politic.  Advocacy for regulatory changes could help there also.  Speaking of parasites, if he could euthanize the medical insurance industry and reign in big pharma , we might actually be able to afford health care as a nation.  A hundred billion here, a hundred billion there....(we have had a little inflation since Dirksen's time.)
Raising interest rates can wreak havoc on existing debt-financed investment and cause a wave of bankruptcies as happened under Volcker. If you want to reduce the size of the financial sector and control the money supply without killing the economy you can keep interest rates low but 1) have the SEC raise margin requirements; 2) raise the Fed's reserve requirements for fractional reserve banking so as to curtail new credit.

This will curtail new investment but won't kill existing investment. Raising interest rates to 18% is guaranteed to do both.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 6th, 2008 at 03:25:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Raising interest rates can wreak havoc on existing debt-financed investment and cause a wave of bankruptcies as happened under Volcker.

Agreed.  I should have noted that what I would like to see is a 1% raise in rates.  Just a modest shift back from a policy totally favoring the banks over the value of the dollar and the rest of the economy.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 6th, 2008 at 02:57:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the people in Real Life that I know who are supporting Obama are well aware that he's human and he's going to let us down.  We're going to need to apply a lot of pressure to that administration to get what we want.  And we'll be lucky to get 25% of what we think we're entitled to get.  The US constitutional structure does not make "change" easy.  But better to win on a platform of change than on a platform that is the same old thing.

I would wager that Kid Oakland knows this, he's a smart cookie.  But he isn't going to write about it.  He's in campaign mode this year and is, in my opinion, writing only campaign propaganda.  In your words - he's got religion.  And that is a shame.  

He's one of my favorite writers too.  Usually.

by Maryb2004 on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 12:35:52 PM EST
I hope you're right, but I do worry that disappointment at Obama's failure to move beyond a bipartisan Beltway centrist might break the nascent US progressive movement.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 05:25:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep in mind that DKos is a partisan web site in the middle of a heated election campaign, and that most of its regulars are actively involved in campaign work. You want to admonish and persuade, wait till November. Otherwise you're at best going to be ignored, or at worst breed resentment that will make you a less effective messenger.

If you want to debate issues and policies, this is a good place to do it.  Or post on a progressive site that is not dedicated to partisan electoral work. Though even there, keep in mind that plenty of the Americans will not be interested. The same type of person who is a dedicated liberal and interested in participating in online progressive communities is also likely to be involved in campaign work. (Note that there is far more grassroots participation in American campaigns than European ones for a variety of structural reasons).

by MarekNYC on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 03:00:52 PM EST
You want to admonish and persuade, wait till November. Otherwise you're at best going to be ignored, or at worst breed resentment that will make you a less effective messenger.

You mistake my intent. What you describe is JaP's motivation, it is not mine.

I do not post on American sites, I am fully aware of the resentment that european involvement engenders, actually I can attest to the fact that it is often much more than mere resentment; outright hostility is a mild description.

No, I wrote the diary for the people here, both europeans and those few americans who find a home here, expressing my fear for what might happen. I know better than to expect a sympathetic hearing from dKos or elsewhere.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 4th, 2008 at 04:40:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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