Comments: Psych!

But, Jonnnnn! You have to remember that Obama doesn't really have much power, so he's not really doing anything. It's other people who are doing the bad things, and he's just going along with them, because like, they'd totally assassinate him if he crossed them, just like they did to Kennedy. Besides, you can't become President if you are any different from the usual bunch of political hacks and whores, but Obama is really totally different! It's like saurabh wrote in comments here last year:

Maybe what Obama REALLY wants to say is: "Greetings! I am Lord Xypto, from the planet Korg in the Ztrog Nebula! I have come to enslave humanity and harvest your rich supply of biliary fluids to nurse our spawn with. Starting tomorrow, you will all be chained to a funnel in a vomitorium. Muahahaha!!" But he can't say that, 'cause there will be people who won't be ready yet.

... Someday we'll be ready, and Obama will manifest himself in his true glory. Till then we must be patient! He can't change the world overnight, it will take at least a weekend! And we'll be able to tell our grandchildren, "We were there! We saw history changed! Now, get back to the funnel!"

Posted by Duncan at December 1, 2009 10:34 AM

Yeah...I don't even have the heart right now to make fun of those people. I don't think Obama supporters were silly or dumb or contemptible if they hoped Obama might have changed some significant things. Especially for lots of the younger ones you see in the documentary, they really had no way of knowing any better. It takes a lot of time-consuming work and a pretty weird personality to figure out how U.S. politics function.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at December 1, 2009 10:55 AM

It takes a lot of time-consuming work and a pretty weird personality to figure out how U.S. politics function.

Well, it takes a little bit of reading about at least the past 60-odd years of US history; 200 or so would be better, but may be asking too much. Especially of people — like my kids — to whom the concept of being asked to 'allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery' is tantamount to being asked to commit suicide. And to whom all of history is basically confined to a (highly sanitised) six-year period from 1939 to 1945, endlessly repeated on television channels that nobody watches.

I mean, A People's History of the United States, anyone? Oh. A book. Where's my iPod?

Posted by NomadUK at December 1, 2009 11:13 AM

It takes a lot of time-consuming work and a pretty weird personality to figure out how U.S. politics function.

Yes, if you are alone, separated, divorced from others and don't know of any meaningful organized and intelligent way to comprehend how political parties, class, power etc and so on work in this country. Alone it is very difficult to figure this out and get some kind of rational picture of the US and world. It takes tremendous time and effort which lots of people don't have especially when they are struggling to provide for their families. Part of the reason is the destruction of working class consciousness and the lack of an organized left alternative to dominate state/media/corporate propaganda.

These are huge problems that have to be addressed before things change significantly otherwise we can expect more of the same and worse with more and more of the population falling under the sway of hateful right-wing neo-fascist ideology.-Tony

Posted by tony at December 1, 2009 11:14 AM

This educational aspect is at least a place to begin, and something lefties here on the nets might help out with. But, like NomadUK sez, reading that People's History would be a start, it's just one book.

We're at another of those potentially enlightening moments -- where people will swing right, swing left, or turn off -- since just now a lot of people _should_ be able to see that Obama has now 'betrayed' all of his most important schmoozy 'promises'. 'Turn off' is what most are doing, if the poll are reliable. But, for those 'regular people' that will swing left, is there anything there for them? Not really, the 'left' in America has made itself into a 'loserville', a place for impractical whiners. IMHO.

Posted by fairleft at December 1, 2009 11:28 AM

Yes, people are pushed and pressured by all sorts of forces. And it's worse now than ever. But at some point, you have to make a fucking effort, especially if you fancy yourself at all politically aware.

That countless Americans still consider this political system as democratic, if not the envy of time and space, says less about systemic constraints and more about their unwillingness to face obvious truths. For once you understand how the sausage actually gets made, you are cornered. The onus falls on you. In my experience, most people don't want that kind of responsibility. It terrifies them, which is why they project it on the likes of Obama, Palin, or whatever huckster gives them the illusion of safety and competence. If they feel betrayed, well, at least it's not their fault. They were willing to Believe.

Posted by Dennis Perrin at December 1, 2009 11:41 AM

to NomadUK

Although "A People's History of the United States" is, unfortunately, a book, "A People's History of the American Empire" by Zinn, Konopacki, and Buhle, is a comic book.

I gave it to my niece last Christmas.

Posted by mistah "Devananda" charley, Ph.D. at December 1, 2009 12:15 PM

The death of the written word, and the triumph of visual infotainment, signals the end of our civilization.

But back when squiggles on paper mattered, a guy named Quigley (rhymes with squiggly) wrote some:

"When the business interests ... pushed through the first installment of civil service reform in 1883, they expected that they would be able to control both political parties equally. Indeed, some of them intended to contribute to both and to allow an alternation of the two parties in public office in order to conceal their own influence, inhibit any exhibition of independence of politicians, and allow the electorate to believe that they were exercising their own free choice."

Quigley showed that both socialist and communist movements in the United States were funded by the Morgans and the Rockefellers and other financial interests. Quigley found amusing how right-wing populists in the United States mistakenly believed that Communist subversion was the root of the threat to national security in the 1950s. In fact, he said, it was simply n illustration of the political manipulation of foreign and domestic policies by the financial elite.

"There is, however, a considerable degree of truth behind the joke, a truth which reflects a very real power structure," Quigley wrote. "It is this power structure which the Radical Right in the United States has been attacking for years in the belief that they are attacking the Communists. ... These misdirected attacks by the Radical Right did much to confuse the American people."

Quigley had this to say about our two-party system and its plan for control of the population: "Hopefully, the elements of choice and freedom may survive for the ordinary individual in that he may be free to make a choice between two opposing political groups (even if these groups have little policy choice within the parameters of policy established by the experts) and he may have the choice to switch his economic support from one large unit to another. But, in general, his freedom and choice will be controlled within the very narrow alternatives by the fact that he will be numbered from birth and followed, as a number, through his educational training, his required military or other public service, his tax contributions, his health and medical requirements, and his final retirement and death benefits."

"The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can 'throw the rascals out' at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy."

Mission accomplished.

Posted by Oarwell at December 1, 2009 12:51 PM

Why are they always so fascinated by personalities; I don't understand it. As the old song says: not god, nor tsar, nor hero.

Posted by abb1 at December 1, 2009 12:54 PM

From the comments one might think that common sense has totally left the minds of Americans. Logic be damned and never trust your gut over what the pretty man on TV (wearing the suit) says.

No, Americans aren't "silly, dumb or contemptible", but we sure as hell seem to have lost any semblance of common sense and have the indicators of a totally brain-washed bunch of people.

I don't know what it takes to improve, but swallowing anything and everything your favorite "Party" says gets us what we have.

Posted by BuelahMan at December 1, 2009 12:58 PM

Oarwell,

Excellent!

Posted by BuelahMan at December 1, 2009 01:02 PM

First the hollow charade of Dem vs Repub will fall away as fascia on a cheaply built house

Next the tribal sense of "right" vs "left" will fall away as termite-ridden timber framing on that cheaply built house

Finally the sense of money-worship monetarism, materialism, consumerism will fall away as the foundation for that cheaply built house turns to quicksand.

Everyone catches on at a different rate. If you are just now seeing the fakeness of Dem vs Repub, you can look forward to confronting the hollowness of Right vs Left, and the insincerity of a system which exults money and material acquisition as the key to existential bliss.

Posted by the anti-federalist at December 1, 2009 01:54 PM

As someone who spent countless hours working for Obama in 2008, I would prefer you don't generate any condescending anger on my behalf. What are you accomplishing? You're so disappointed, but you knew all along this is what would happen, so... you're disappointed? You're angry because politics is a mess and not everyone sees it as clearly as you do? Fuck you.

The world is still a messy place, but it's better than it was before November 2008. It's not Nirvana, it's just less shitty.

Everyone sees that American politics is a shitstorm. As a lifelong Liberal, I'm sorry to read your blog, which is usually so well written, but lately just bemoans the imperfections of Democrats. Way to be a true caricature of the American Liberal Elitist, sitting on the sidelines throwing spitballs because things aren't as they should be.

Posted by dcs at December 1, 2009 02:11 PM

Oarwell

It's very astute of you to read Carroll Quigley, especially Tragedy and Hope, which is unending. Those points you and Quigley make about the coopting of journalists and publicatons are important.

When you abandon hope of finishing Tragedy and Hope, check out Quigley's other great and much shorter book, which even he couldn't get published for quite a while: The Anglo-American Establishment. Those who don't believe in cabals should find that one especially surprising. Quigley said in it: "No country that values its safety should allow what the Milner group accomplished--that is, that a small number of men would be able to wield such power in administration and politics, should be given almost complete control over the publication of documents relating to their actions, should be able to exercise such influence over the avenues of information that create public opinion, and should be able to monopolize so completely the writing and the teaching of the history of their own period."

The Milner Group was the model for our own Council on Foreign Relations, which took its lessons to heart, and for that story you can turn to Shoup and Minter's fine Marxian analysis, Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy.

Both those books went back into print in paperback within the past few years, for anyone who wants to get an understanding of how our Presidents so consistently end up not quite being as 'normal' as they promised. There is a method to ensure this madness, and it can be understood easily enough. (You should check it out too Duncan.)

Posted by N E at December 1, 2009 02:20 PM

Alone it is very difficult to figure this out and get some kind of rational picture of the US and world.-Tony

I think its the exact opposite, I know for myself, it was not until my own personal "Great Depression" did i spend some time alone and actually figure out just how fucked this place is. Up until then it was friends/girl friends/sports as constant, lovely distractions. what we need is some introspection! from micro to macro!

Posted by sloweducation at December 1, 2009 02:25 PM

I agree, Jonathan, and I should clarify that I was making fun not (or less, at any rate) of Obama fans in general than of his apologists and collaborators, the people who leap to defend the One in those terms, to obfuscate and deny what he's said and done, and to attack anyone who criticizes him. I don't just mean a certain person NEar and dear to our hearts in these precincts; they were all over the liberal blogosphere during the campaign, and they're still with us. Obama hasbara, you know. (Could the practitioners be called hasbaristas, or would that be too arcane?)

The details change with time. During the campaign anyone who dared to suggest that Obama was not bringing change and light and hope, by pointing to his actual pronouncements, was denounced as one trying to deny Hope (TM) to America in this, its darkest hour. Now it takes the form of denying that Obama was ever going to bring light and change and hope, only the silly leftists ever thought that, they weren't paying attention, it was always obvious that Obama is a center-rightist, so their spite today is motivated by disappointment that he didn't fix everything overnight -- and besides, he doesn't have that much power anyway. These people, I think, should not only be mocked but exposed and given generally a hard time.

Posted by Duncan at December 1, 2009 02:36 PM

You're angry because politics is a mess and not everyone sees it as clearly as you do? Fuck you.

Wait. You spent countless hours working for Obama, who's going to announce a major expansion of the war in Afghanistan tonight, and you're angry at...me? For some blog posts?

I can see being angry at him. I can also see being angry at the constraints that pull U.S. presidents to the right. I myself am most angry at the failure of people to create forces to pull him to the left, because I generally don't think individuals matter that much in politics, so creating those forces are what everyone should concentrate on. And we could do a much better job of it than we do.

But seriously, being angry at a blog, even one as magnificent and globe-straddling as this, suggests that you're actually angry about something else and are just reaching for the nearest target.

That's human nature and I do it myself all the time. But come on.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at December 1, 2009 02:45 PM

"It's not Nirvana, it's just less shitty."

That's really the trillion dollar question--is it less shitty? I find a satisfactory answer to that question as elusive as a greased pig.

It is most definitely less shitty in the sense that too much more Bush/Cheney would likely impoverish everyone, maybe destroy human civilization and the whole planetary climate system, and force us all to pray around the clock to Jesus that terrorists don't kill us in our sleep. I can understand why someone would get upset enough by that prospect to start fuckyouing.

On the other hand, maybe it isn't less shitty because it gives The Powers That Be (TPTB)time to consolideate their recent period of extroardinary gains (aka "pigout") and let things simmer down so that the whole freaking political system doesn't implode, which will enable TPTB to proceed toward another cycle of the same old same old barbarism in ten or fifteen years. Dejavu anyone? That doesn't sound all that great to me either. That prospect seems likely to cause more fuckyouing.

But drop back to a sufficient distance and all the discontinuities disappear, and it's hard to see what all this fuckyouing is about. Real, visible change will come, if it comes, some other way. If not tony's pre-ordered revolution, then maybe an asteroid.

Or maybe I have been watching too much of the ssyfy channel on my teevee.

Posted by N E at December 1, 2009 02:57 PM

I was perhaps too jocular in tone when I characterized A People's History of the American Empire as a "comic book". I would have done better if I had simply quoted the review from School Library Journal:

Grade 10 Up–A study of empire-building by established politicians and big businesses from the 1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee through the current Iraq war. As nonfiction sequential art narrative, this stellar volume is compelling both as historical interpretation and you-are-there observation during many eras and in many climes. Konopacki melds realistic and energetic cartoons–-Zinn lecturing in the present day, American and Vietnamese soldiers in the jungle, the Shah of Iran's White Revolution–-with archival photos and document scraps to create a highly textured visual presentation. Each episode has its own period-specific narrator: Woody Guthrie sings about the Ludlow Massacre, a zoot suiter recounts the convergence of racial politics with popular music, and Zinn remembers his class-conscious boyhood through World War II soldiering and activism undertaken as a Civil Rights-era college professor. Politically charged, this book can't stand alone as a history text, but it is an essential component for contemporary American government education, as well as an easy work to suggest to both narrative nonfiction and sophisticated comics readers.

Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia


Posted by mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at December 1, 2009 02:58 PM

oooo. Schwarz burnnnnnnnn. wheres mike myers! i need a number to call!

Posted by sloweducation at December 1, 2009 02:58 PM

"I myself am most angry at the failure of people to create forces to pull him to the left, because I generally don't think individuals matter that much in politics, so creating those forces are what everyone should concentrate on. And we could do a much better job of it than we do."

Speak for yourself. I'm organizing people to push electeds to the left. What are you doing?

Posted by dcs at December 1, 2009 03:12 PM

I'd like to thank the Obama supporter for the herculean efforts to get such a dismal public relations creation elected president.

By raising such fevered hopes after the horrid bush II years, and then dashing them ...

[with a piece-of-shit healthcare bill, continuing bush II's illegal spying and detention policies, "surging" troops in Afghanistan AFTER Karzai's electoral fraud, killing civilians in Pakistan, acquiescing to Israel's expansion of its illegal settlements, continuing to bail-out Wall Street (while condescending to fake outrage for the rubes), slithering away on Wall Street reform, dithering on global warming, worrying about the deficit in the while the world economy remains in the ICU]

... Obama's betrayal just might get US-Americans thinking critically again.

I come from a country where most people ALSO need a swift kick in the pants, thank you very much.

Posted by thwap at December 1, 2009 03:14 PM

A Note on Terminology

Instead of TPTB [The Powers That Be], which has an ominous tone but lacks all specificity, I prefer MICFiC -

M ilitary
I ndustrial
C ongressional
Fi nancial
C orporate Media Complex

The first draft of Eisenhower's 1961 Farewell Address referred to the "military-industrial-congressional" complex, and I've made it more inclusive by adding the financial and corporate media wings.

Of course, from within the MICFiC (note the non-capitalized second "i" - in addition to making the acronym easier to say, it makes the graphic design more interesting) it's quite clear that there are factions and struggles. However, from outside the MICFiC, the term promotes recognition of:

the aggregation of power

the use by this complex of the governing apparatus of the Republic to promote perpetual war preparations - and actual mass murder as often as possible

the purpose - to steal from the people using the tax system, and use them as raw material

its method of mind control - the mass media's constant distraction and disinformation - on one level, for one group of people, "The Price is Right" and "American Idol" - for another group of people, smooth-talking neoconservative paranoia via PBS and NPR

No one knows what will happen next - but I was impressed by something William Black (author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One) said in his April 3, 2009 interview with Bill Moyers.

There's a saying that we [who were working on the Savings and Loan crisis] took great comfort in. It's actually by the Dutch, who were fighting this impossible war for independence against what was then the most powerful nation in the world, Spain. And their motto was, "It is not necessary to hope in order to persevere."


Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at December 1, 2009 03:17 PM

Alone it is very difficult to figure this out and get some kind of rational picture of the US and world.-Tony

I think its the exact opposite, I know for myself, it was not until my own personal "Great Depression" did i spend some time alone and actually figure out just how fucked this place is. Up until then it was friends/girl friends/sports as constant, lovely distractions. what we need is some introspection! from micro to macro!


Slow education,

I am glad to hear that you began to figure stuff out after your "great depression" though sorry to hear you went through the depression.

My basic point is that people isolated from one another and not organized to make the world a better place is difficult if not impossible. Individuals up against gigantic concentrations of power are doomed to failure...its one reason why unions are so hated by the business community...much easier to crush and piss on individuals than an organized group which is active, radical and working to make things better....but glad to hear again that your consciousness was raised own your own...not impossible but not easy.-Tony

Posted by tony at December 1, 2009 03:27 PM

If not tony's pre-ordered revolution, then maybe an asteroid.

And I'll be the first to admit that there are certainly times I have felt it will be an asteroid, or catastrophic climate failure, or whatever,long before it will be a popular revolt. Its hard to remain optimistic all of the time.-Tony

Posted by tony at December 1, 2009 03:32 PM

Those interested in visual infotainment about Carroll Quigley could spend six and a half minutes with YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRkCvubUGCM

This video highlights some of the more important quotes and passages taken from the books of former CFR archivist, Georgetown professor and Bill Clinton mentor, Carroll Quigley. This includes passages from 'Tragedy and Hope' (1966), as well as 'The Anglo-American Establishment' (1982). The books provide a look into the inner workings of the elite bureacracies that run the world today, from one of the conspirators themselves. This video is an excellent start for those unfamiliar with Quigley and are just waking up to the agenda, as these are irrefutable quotes from an insider and undeniable proofs of a massive, longstanding conspiracy against the people, not only of the US, but the entire world.

Those who are more committed to civilization and the written word can download an 18 MB integrated version of the first and second editions of Quigley's The Evolution of Civilizations: An introduction to historical analysis


http://www.carrollquigley.net/pdf/Carroll-Quigley-TheEvolutionOfCivilizations-AnIntroductionToHistoricalAnalysis-1st&2nd-Editions.pdf

Posted by mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at December 1, 2009 03:34 PM

There's Zinnfotainment too, in fancy moving pictures suitable for iPods.

Posted by ~ at December 1, 2009 03:37 PM

Speak for yourself. I'm organizing people to push electeds to the left. What are you doing?

Working 90 hours a week on a movie called "Capitalism." Seriously, of all the things in the world to be mad about, are you actually mad at me? Really? Or is it something else?

I ask because we've all sort of been dumped in a cage, and it's easy for everybody in the cage to get angry at each other, rather than concentrating on trying to get out.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at December 1, 2009 03:39 PM

Wow, did NE just question the dogma of Lesserevilism?

"You're angry because politics is a mess and not everyone sees it as clearly as you do? Fuck you."

This is the standard way that people who hold rationally indefensible positions defend their positions.

I agree though that Schwarz may be off base in feeling bad for these people, because most may not feel betrayed by Obomber. Maybe I'm wrong, and some are starting to wake up. I avoid the Obombsquad in flesh and word, so I don't know. But the ones I talked to last year never seemed inclined to worry about things like Obomber's voting record, campaign contributors, handlers, and so I wouldn't guess they'd be much concerned about his policies now. They can always blame the economy on Bush, and even the wars, as sick as that is.

Did any Obombsquaders have their hearts crushed when the senator rolled on telecom immunity, or voted for one war appropriation after another, or pimped the bailout? So what's new, he's still got a deep voice and creepy smile, and doesn't embarrass the US in front of Europeans with bad syntax.

Posted by Marcus at December 1, 2009 03:45 PM

If this turns into another 80 comment long argument that's been argued nine hundred times before, I'm going to ask to be excused to go despair for humanity.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at December 1, 2009 03:53 PM

Hey that Zinnfotainment link is really good!

Does anyone know what is going on with the "Peoples History.." being made into a tv series? It seems like its been in the works for years.-Tony

Posted by tony at December 1, 2009 03:55 PM

dcs should be ashamed at his self right about now. But no, those that were correct are still assholes.

Fuck you.

Better than before 2008 (in your stupid assed dreams). There is no difference and YOU are a reason it is so, you stupid asshole.

Posted by BuelahMan at December 1, 2009 04:10 PM

Speak for yourself. I'm organizing people to push electeds to the left. What are you doing?

Translation:

"I'm engaged in a ridiculous fantasy revolving around my personal political power(s) and prowess, and I refuse to accept reality. Which makes me superior to you. Nyaaah nyaaah."

Posted by the anti-federalist at December 1, 2009 04:28 PM

mistah charley phd

that little 'i' truly is stylish, and for me it made your comment almost as entertaining as the comment of sloweducation, which was guffawesome.

As an aside, on the subject of dejavu all over again, i spent the morning talking with an elderly man who in 1963 as a young man happened to be in Vietnam in the military, and he mentioned that he was special forces (all the rage at that time too). He didn't seem to think we did much good, though we (and it sounds like he himself) did a lot of bad. Here we go again.

LBJ's idea was also to get in and out as fast as possible, in time for reelection in 68, which was three years after his big buildup. Why fix it if it doesn't work?

(By the way, this man said that the way some special forces types casually talked about killing people gave him the creeps. You have to be pretty creepy to creep out the other assassins. I'd bet big money that McChrystal's finest are just the same.)

Posted by N E at December 1, 2009 04:39 PM

The text of Quigley's Tragedy and Hope

for free - 1090 pages in the pdf

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/archivos_pdf/tragedy_hope.pdf

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at December 1, 2009 04:46 PM

Jon, you say you don't think individuals matter that much in politics, but some seem to. NE pulled a quote from the back cover of 'The Anglo-American Establishment,' but inside the book is simply chock-a-block with names of individuals who seemed to matter a great deal. Lord Milner's Roundtable group always placed "emphasis on publicity and the need to control the chief avenues by which the general public obtains information on public affairs." No doubt because they knew full well the power of ideas, and sought to contain their effects. A single writer could change everything, if left unchecked.

Their fiefdoms included the Ministry of Information from its establishment in 1939, as well as Governor of the BBC, the Reserach and Intelligence Dept. of the Foreign Office, and the Embassy in Washington. In the US Jerome Greene, Secretary for Harvard and Morgan banker, founded the Pacific Institute. They were all members of interlocking corporate directorates: Milner himself a director of Rio Tinto, others with interests in South American copper, alumninum, tin mines in Nigeria, utilities, the Smuts and gold interests in S.A., on and on. They controlled the Times (of London). There was a well-defined "inner circle" and "outer circle" (which Orwell must have used as template for his inner/outer party members in 1984). The names are unfamiliar to us 80 years later, but lines can be drawn to current mechanisms of control, including the CFR, whose publication, Foreign Affairs, remains the most influential foreign policy publication in the U.S. As you well know, FA is merely a blueprint for the future direction our benevolent elites will take us.

So when you argue that individuals lack power, I assume you were excluding these elites, who in fact wield vast amounts of power, far disproportionate to their small numbers. Even then, I would contest your point: individuals CAN have a great deal of impact, even if the effects aren't immediately apparent. Glenn Greenwald leaps to mind, for obvious reasons. Ron Paul another, a man who single-handedly has placed the Federal Reserve system on the public's radar screen (ten years ago the very topic was verboten in public discourse). Even though Obomba is clearly a creature of the bankers, the "idea" of a single galvanizing individual still appeals. Huey Long, for all his faults, was such a man, Eugene McCarthy, another.

As for your detractor, at some point he will discover the futility of his efforts, or that his organization was coopted from day 1 by banking interests. Interestingly, BIC (according to Wiki) offered to fund the SDS. A friend of mine, active in the anti-Vietnam war movement, was invited to Paine Whitney on Wall Street around 72 and offered assistance. So it goes: keep your friends close, and your enemies etc.

As an aside: it's not capitalism per se that crushes us, it's cartels. Banking, agro, pharmaceutical, weapons cartels, to name a few. But good luck on your script.

Posted by Oarwell at December 1, 2009 04:46 PM

Both of our comrades are completely correct

Frodo:I'm going to Mordor alone.
Sam: Of course you are, and I'm going with you!

Tony wrote

Alone it is very difficult to figure this out and get some kind of rational picture of the US and world.

To which sloweducation replied,

I think it's the exact opposite, I know for myself, it was not until my own personal "Great Depression" did I spend some time alone and actually figure out just how fucked this place is. Up until then it was friends/girl friends/sports as constant, lovely distractions. What we need is some introspection! From micro to macro!


Tony's point - that the reason the bosses hate the unions is because solidarity is the only way the people can avoid being crushed by the MICFiC's money and their hired guns - is of course completely correct.

And sloweducation is also right - immersion in a daily routine of companionable repressive desublimation is no way to begin to catch on to what's really going down. I'm reminded, once again, of the central insight of the most prominent of the applied philosophy collectives of the late 20th century. In Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, in the boardroom of the Very Big Corporation of America, Harry reports to the board about “Item 6 on the Agenda, the Meaning of Life”:

What we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts.... One...people are not wearing enough hats. Two... matter is energy; in the Universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this soul does not exist ab initio, as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.

The board responds by asking “What was that about hats again?” Harry answers, “people are not wearing enough.” The Chairman is aghast. Another member of the board asks, “When you say 'enough', enough for what purpose?” After a few more exchanges, the Crimson Permanent Assurance accounting firm makes its hostile take-over bid.

The above passage is quoted from Pete Porter's very interesting essay, “The Case for Menippeanism: The Meaning of Life”, which begins:

Menippean movies and their literary kin are welcome friends known singly without recognizing the family resemblance. Those who have delighted in the books Gulliver's Travels, Candide, and Alice in Wonderland, or in the movies Duck Soup (McCarey, 1934), Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (Jones and Gilliam, 1983), and The Big Lebowski (Coen, 1998) have appreciated the peculiar charms of Menippeanism. These and other Menippean works set out spectacular banquets of incongruous elements that suggest the incompetence (or whimsy) of the author as their lone constructive principle. Further scrutiny, however, reveals a commodious form that encourages such oddities: an aesthetic of parody and violating decorum, storytellers who are ridiculous, burlesques of language and learning, a fantastic setting, and the theme of the wisdom of common sense.

However, Porter does not unpack "enough hats". I did so in a comment at this very blurg back in 2005, and I quote:

"Wearing enough hats" is a polysemic phrase in the discourse there - it refers both to distraction by the trivial, and the actual or imaginal assuming of different roles in a variety of contexts, which promotes the process of guided self-observation.

At another time I may return to sloweducation's comment about his experience as an excellent example of what Dabrowski called "positive disintegration". Or you could look it up.

May the Creative Forces of the Universe stand beside us, and guide us, through the Night with the Light from Above (metaphorically speaking).

Posted by mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at December 1, 2009 05:43 PM

I was accused a while back of being one of an Obama worker's "less progressive friends" for having the unmitigated gall to point out that he was doing what he was doing. She was insufferably priggish about her position in his machine and could not even glimpse the hypocrisy of her positions. She, too, STILL flatters herself that she is working to strengthen the pull leftward.

It's inescapably apparent that she is furious with herself, fighting that naked-on-a-plane-of-light feeling for all she is worth, and, well, guess what?

THAT'S NEVER GOING TO PULL ANYONE LEFTWARD.

It's just going to keep rubes scrabbling in thin air for enough superiority to turn out that awful light on their nakedness... which is the kind of thing that WEAKENS the prospects for manifesting positive intent.

Jonathan is right to be angry on your behalf, dcs, because, clearly, you are not able yet to be honest enough about your pain and shame.

One more thing. I think you should ask the families of the dead in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Gaza if the world is less shitty than it was before November 2008. You are obviously very smugly ignoring way too much.

Posted by 99 at December 1, 2009 05:44 PM

Tony asks

Does anyone know what is going on with the "Peoples History.." being made into a tv series? It seems like its been in the works for years.

For info on movies and TV shows, try imdb.com

I nternet
M ovies
D ata
B ase


Entering the name "Howard Zinn" results in several hits, including as writer, as self, and as "crew" - specifically, as "consultant" or "academic advisor".

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at December 1, 2009 05:55 PM

I entered the name "Howard Zinn" in my local library catalog, and among the several hits discovered that there is

A Young People's History of the United States

published in 2007, adapted by Rebecca Stefoff, in two volumes

1. Columbus to the Spanish-American War
2. Class Struggle to the War on Terror


Surprisingly, these are not filed in the kids' area. Or maybe not so surprisingly.

I checked them out. Maybe not so suprisingly, I have read only parts of the adult version, although of course I have it on the shelf at home. But these books look like I could actually read them from start to finish - only 200 or so small pages each, with big print, illustrated...

In other news, at Fafblog the Medium Lobster has a new post up about "Victory Science", even before the President's speech. Hilarious, as usual. And people were afraid that the end of the Bush years would mean the end of the golden age of 21st-century American comedy.


Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at December 1, 2009 06:35 PM

Wow, Mistah C, thanks for that stuff on Menippeanism ... the most wonderful stuff in the world, which I adore, and I never heard that word.

Speaking of elite plans (which silliness helps to transgress), this is from an article written by Lord Birkenhead in Feb., 1929, in Cosmopolitan Magazine:

“…the character of the future inhabitants of any state could be determined by the government which happened temporarily to enjoy power by regulating the choice of the ectogenic parents [basically the test tube kids Huxley would describe a few years later in Brave New World] of the next generation. The cabin of the future could breed a nation of industrial dullards.”

“If it were possible to breed a race of strong healthy creatures intelligent to perform intricate drudgery yet lacking all ambition, what ruling class would resist the temptation? Many of the arguments brought against slavery would be powerless in such a case, for the ectogenic slave of the future would not feel his bonds. Every impulse which makes slavery degrading and irksome to ordinary humanity would be removed from his mental equipment. He wouldn’t care as long as happiness would be his task. He would be the exact human counterpart of the worker bee.”

“Only the arguments of religion could be used to prevent this evolution.”

“His emancipation could never be considered, for in freedom he would find only crushing boredom and misery.“

And tonight, Perfect Man Obama will explain why we must bomb the imperfect heathen into submission.

Howdy-doody, step aside -- Golems is us!

Posted by Oarwell at December 1, 2009 06:47 PM

Extensive selections from Quigley's The Anglo-American Establishment, annotated by an Australian (apparently)

http://files.meetup.com/196633/CAROL%20QUIGLEY.pdf

The complete book, 1.5 MB

http://www.conspiracyresearch.org/forums/index.php?s=c2e7be5c7bdf55346ba27c4cf5f31251&act=attach&type=post&id=473

Posted by mistah "Devananda" charley, Ph.D. at December 1, 2009 07:04 PM

I see what I said above about not getting angry at the other people in the cage with you has not been taken to heart. While I'm not crazy about providing a venue for someone to tell me "fuck you," I'm also not crazy about someone calling them a "stupid asshole." And in fact I prefer the former to the latter.

Despite everything, let's try behaving decently towards each other and see where that takes us.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at December 1, 2009 07:49 PM

For info on movies and TV shows, try imdb.com

Thank you Mistah for the info.-Tony

Posted by tony at December 1, 2009 08:07 PM

All that Quigley for free!

Oarwell obviously knows his Quigley, but there's more than a list of names in the Anglo-American establishment. Parts of it are tedious, but Quigley really shows how the secret imperial organization that Rhodes started basically ran British foreign policy for nearly half a century, and how they worked it.

I didn't read all 1400 pages of Tragedy and Hope, but it certainly demonstrates fantastically the low quality of British elite behavior between the world wars. As I recall, Quigley also doesn't spare the Brits criticism for feeding the religious antagonisms between Muslims and Hindus in what was then all Greater India, to disastrous effect later.

and yes, oarwell is right, the cia and fbi coopted and corrupted and infiltrated and sabotaged SDS and the peace movement back in the day, making the left look radical and anti-American and ridiculous and even on occasion terroristic and ridiculous at the same time. Anyone remember the Symbionese Liberation Army? Gimme a break.

Posted by N E at December 1, 2009 08:26 PM

"Despite everything, let's try behaving decently towards each other and see where that takes us."
Fuck you, Jonathan.


(Yass, yass, that is not to be taken seriously. I admire you immensely.)

Posted by Justin at December 1, 2009 08:40 PM

i think i'm going to try to use 'lesserevilism' every day in a sentence from now on to see what it feels like to be marcus.

i'm not ready to tackle menippeanism yet

Posted by N E at December 1, 2009 08:41 PM

uh oh, barely half way to 90 and we're losing steam. I'd be bumming if that speech hadn't really lifted my spirits. Rove and McChrystal certainly nailed it with their gracious praise!

Listening to all this bellyaching about bad language and civility makes me almost want to repeat some of the ear-catching things I used to hear my sister say late at night when she got home after her shift back in her bartending days. That would blast the wax out of the pinko panzy ears around here and stun all you sissies into a shocked silence, and then maybe you all would stop cussing like little girls and show respect to our Commander in Chief.

But I turned my back on those evil ways. Besides, that Obama is crafty, making McKillem with the big "dithering" mouth work weekends now to get all his marines deployed in six months instead of 12, and announcing to the country that we are going to begin to withdraw in three years, which baits the dim-witted GOP into running in 2012 on a stupid "it's too soon to withdraw" campaign that everyone will hate.

Smart, relatively speaking, given O's crummy options, unless of course everyone to the left of Palin is so pissed at him that they don't care and don't vote.

Posted by N E at December 1, 2009 10:23 PM

NE,
Why do you keep doing this? All he has to say is the war is wrong, and we're going to end it and bring our troops home.

"Oh, but what if they assassinate him?"

Who fucking cares?

If you run for the office and become prominent you put yourself at risk for assassination, regardless of your politics. If you win the office this probability is suddenly more pronounced. Again, regardless of the politics you espouse.

You want 400 grand a year? OK, risk your life.

Is that really such an unreasonable expectation? All over this shitty, going-down-the-tubes country, firefighters, security guards and convenience store clerks put their lives at risk, sometimes daily, without a phalynx of highly trained secret service types watching their backs, let alone the promise of a cushy presidential pension and security and healthcare for the rest of their lives, let alone the promises of other, more lucrative and covert goodies in the future if they toe the corporatist line while in office.

So I don't agree that all his options are "crummy" and that it's somehow unreasonable to expect him to risk his life to try to make the world a somewhat less bloody place. The argument that he doesn't have enough power to be an effective change agent might be true, but so long as it remains untested it's just so much rationalization and bullshit.

Why should he stick his neck out? I want to evoke citizenship, and virtues, and principles, but if a consumerist wasteland is all we have left, then because the son of a bitch is paid to.

Posted by grimmy at December 2, 2009 12:02 AM

thank you grimmy, i feel better now, having succeeded at stirring up the pot and eliciting one whopping comment.

you're right that just because O's options were crummy from his perspective doesn't mean the options were all that crummy from everyone else's.

"If you run for the office and become prominent you put yourself at risk for assassination, regardless of your politics."

Since you say that (obviously just to please me) even though I didn't say a peep about that subject, that was precisely teddy roosevelt's stated position after crazy john shrank shot him in his speech (i kid you not, and a little in his chest through the speech too) in milwaukee on october 14, 1912, after Teddy really pissed off the big money old guard in the GOP with his bull moose campaign. TR was no sissy liberal.

Now a speech that will stop a bullet, that's a good speech! Hnmmm, maybe there are other ways to stop a bullet . . .

Posted by N E at December 2, 2009 01:06 AM

"i think i'm going to try to use 'lesserevilism' every day in a sentence from now on to see what it feels like to be marcus."

You may not use the word everyday, but you certainly use the concept.

Posted by Marcus at December 2, 2009 02:09 AM

DELUDED FOOL


I do not aim these remarks at any of the people in this particular cage. Jonathan is quite right - fighting among ourselves is playing into the MICFiC's hands. In fact, I sometimes wonder if there isn't a commenteur provocateur or two amongst us - but it would be wrong to name names.

The harsh words above are not even mine, but rather, a noted blogger's assessment of our President. George Kenney wrote as follows at Electric Politics:

Cloud cuckoo land

The six point speech. No, wait, the three point speech. Or was it the four point speech?? From initial enthusiasm you could see (and practically smell), gradually yet steadily fading interest among the cadets and their officers. Eyes glazing over. Disbelief. A disconnect between the speaker and the assembly. I've spoken to enough live audiences — hell, I've spoken at West Point — and I know when that rapport breaks. The BS didn't fly. His policy amounts to cut and run on a timetable... so every one of those cadets is wondering why, if we're going to cut and run, should we delay? After he'd finished he waded into a throng of cadets to shake hands. More than a few turned their backs. On television. I almost feel sorry for the poor deluded fool.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at December 2, 2009 05:57 AM

NE,
You say that you "didn't say a peep about the subject" but it has been a consistent undercurrent in your comenting that it's unreasonable to expect the president, whether Obama or anyone else, to stick his neck out with respect to fundamentally challenging the received wisdom of the oligarchy.

Of course this leads back to the received wisdom of voting for somebody you perceive as "electable", which in turn leads further to what Dennis Perrin said earlier about how we might feel we're implicating ourselves if we question too much.

And(my argument, not Perrin's) actually voting, but rejecting "electable" candidates who will only serve the war machine means taking a degree of responsibility for your vote. Now Dennis P. might agree with that bit, but I don't know that this is the case.

Posted by grimmy at December 2, 2009 06:25 AM

Menippean Topical Rhyme Thyme

Even those who are quite fond of Lewis Carroll's Alice books may never have read Sylvie and Bruno. I have read this book (long ago, in the previous millennium), and I concur with the consensus that its obscurity is deserved.

The best part, in my opinion, is "The Mad Gardener's Song", which is sprinkled through the novel one verse at a time. Collected, it reads

He thought he saw an Elephant
That practised on a fife:
He looked again, and found it was
A letter from his wife.
'At length I realize,' he said,
'The bitterness of Life!'

He thought he saw a Buffalo
Upon the chimney-piece:
He looked again, and found it was
His Sister's Husband's Niece.
'Unless you leave this house,' he said,
'I'll send for the Police!'

He thought he saw a Rattlesnake
That questioned him in Greek:
He looked again, and found it as
The Middle of Next Week.
'The one thing I regret,' he said,
'Is that it cannot speak!'

He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk
Descending from the 'bus:
He looked again, and found it was
A Hippopotamus.
'If this should stay to dine,' he said,
'There won't be much for us!'

He thought he saw a Kangaroo
That worked a coffee-mill:
He looked again, and found it was
A Vegetable-Pill.
'Were I to swallow this,' he said,
'I should be very ill!'

He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
That stood beside his bed:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bear without a Head.
'Poor thing,' he said, 'poor silly thing!
It's waiting to be fed!'

He thought he saw an Albatross
That fluttered round the lamp:
He looked again, and found it was
A Penny-Postage-Stamp.
'You'd best be getting home,' he said,
'The nights are very damp!'

He thought he saw a Garden-Door
That opened with a key:
He looked again, and found it was
A Double Rule of Three:
'And all its mystery,' he said,
'Is clear as day to me!'

He thought he saw an Argument
That proved he was the Pope:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bar of Mottled Soap.
'A fact so dread,' he faintly said,
'Extinguishes all hope!'

And speaking of all hope being extinguished, in October of 2008 I dared to hypothesize that Barack Obama might be a particular kind of liar. It turns out he was another kind of liar. So it goes.

Here's what I wrote then:

I can see why those of us with limited perception (i.e., everyone, approximately) might think that Obama is a member in good standing of the War Party. He talks like one. They treat him like one. He has the endorsement of Colin Powell, you betcha.

But follow me through the steps of a Gedankenexperiment. Let us suppose Obama is dedicated to gaining power by any means necessary. Clearly, the road to the White House is barred to anyone who does not welcome the embrace of the MICFiC. Let us reduce our occupation force in Iraq, says Barack - so we can put more boots on the ground with guns in their hands pointed at the inhabitants of Afghanistan. This is just what a suitable prospective Commander in Chief in Charge of Killing Foreigners would say.

But although Obama says things like this with apparent sincerity, what if he's lying to us - for our own good? What if he really is a Christian - not a Christianist, like Gov. Palin, but someone who tries to live according to the teachings of Jesus? Recall Matthew 10:16 -

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."


As Brian said, "Blessed are the cheesemakers" - which should be understood to include all those involved in the production and distribution of dairy products.

On the other hand, maybe the following verse, following the format of Lewis Carroll's The Mad Gardener's Song, is a better prediction of the future:

She thought she saw a candidate
Who'd put an end to war.
She looked again, and found it was
The Same Game as Before.
"If that's the way it goes," she said,
"Then what is voting for?"


Posted by mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at December 2, 2009 07:36 AM

Sums it up:

Man-of-Peace Obama Has an Xmas Present for Afghanistan:

Death.

http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/?q=node/423

Posted by Oarwell at December 2, 2009 09:18 AM

mister charley, mister charley: I feel the stinging brand of "CP" burned in red--no wait, yellow?--on my tender heart. Have I been branded by a disciple of Brian? It burns!

Your cruel reproach, followed by such sacred words, has reminded me that I once sat in first class (I upgraded) next to a bulk cheese salesman who, despite being specially blessed by Brian, spent the whole flight telling me about his marital problems. He, a newlywed of just six months, was troubled that his young, spoiled bride, a lovely jewel that he had been so proud to have acquired, was already distraught that he was not quickly enough ascending the bulk cheese corporate ladder. I, a covert priest of Brian and also a counsellor of a more practical sort, must have seemed like a life preserver tossed to this poor lost prophet as he was drowning in a curdled sea. But his desperate plea for help threw me into a spiritual quandary. "There is a corporate ladder among the cheesemakers," I thought. "Is nothing sacred?"

The question so frequently asked about politicians, Is he a liar?, quickly transcends the political realm into sublime philosophy: What is a lie? Is a man who speaks falsehood with a pure heart still a liar? "No," answered a wise secretary I once knew, and that's why she excused George W. Bush for telling so many whoppers. By her lights, all politicians lie, just as all fish swim. In context, as Yoda might say, more must the verb convey.

So what is a lie from a politician? Following standard hermaneutics and canons of construction that my friendly office sorceress knew instinctively without schooling (as most sages do), we must indeed presume meaning to be added by the verb. Otherwise, we have fallen prey to a dreaded redundancy! Therefore, and verily, if a politician lies, more than a mere falsehood must be involved. To think otherwise defies not just received wisdom, but the sense of context that creates common and uncommon sense alike.

So I bid you in the spirit of Brian to look into the heart of the O, and if you see emptiness, avert your eyes, just as those eager young warrior cadets did, for darkness will surely fall upon the land, and we will know the dread of predators in the sky and more and more improvements in prosthetics and better and better expensive high-tech treatments for several cerebral injuries that make life hellish and grotesque, and the ruin of prosperity for a generation, and all for nothing more than cruel political gain in advance of cutting and running and bailing out and quitting and every other kind of treason devoid of honor, and together we will know wailing and gnashing of teeth just as in the times of old, and now just as then there will be no peace for the wicked or the righteous, for the bonds of sin unite us and may not be broken by truth or falsehood while the kingdoms of men endure.

Cheese be upon you.

Posted by N E at December 2, 2009 09:26 AM

N E, that's "hermeneutics." Not a bad try, though.

Here's the thing, O Mighty Obama Apologist and Lesserevilist. I expect politicians to lie, though you know an apologist is scraping the bottom of the barrel when he uses that sort of excuse -- how far would you have gotten in Dem circles five years ago if you'd used it for Bush, though it would have been just as pertinent? Indeed, I expect people in general to lie.

Here's an analogy, perhaps not the most felicitous. Let's say I'm an Afghan peasant, and American soldiers come to my village looking for Taliban extremists. Let's say I recognize that they're just poor working-class kids, that they joined the Army because it was the best job opportunity they had, and they've been brainwashed by the army into thinking they're doing the right thing, and they'll face serious penalties if they refuse to invade my village, but they're still invaders and they shoot my brother. Of course I'm going to shoot them.

Obama had a lot more opportunities in his life, especially once he got to the point where he was living in a condo (even if it was too small for the kids and all) and he and Michelle had paid off their student loans and credit-card debt. (I thought I saw some rather dubious looks on some of his volunteers in that clip at that point, like: Hey, rich guy, you don't really think all that makes you like us or like most people, do you?) He might even be a nice guy personally, though I'm less and less inclined to believe that anymore, the more I see of him. Doesn't matter, what does he care what I think of him?

The thing is, it's irrelevant. He's joined the evil forces and is doing their work. Even if all politicians lie, so what? That doesn't mean that his critics shouldn't point out that he's lying. Even if all politicians eat the flesh of young Afghan children for breakfast, that doesn't mean that his critics shouldn't point out that he is eating the flesh of young Afghan children for breakfast, let alone attack him for it. Obama has extended and defended and protected the Bush administration, its people and policies -- even included some of its worst offenders in his own administration. Those who attacked Bush would be hypocrites if they didn't attack Obama when he does the same things. Those who defend Obama with such transparently specious excuses are on the same level as those who defended Bush with such transparently specious excuses.

Here's another consideration. Back when South Korea was under a vicious military dictatorship, some people happily supported it, some people fought against it, and many others kept silent or went along out of fear, fear which was fully justified. I don't blame those who kept silent out of fear, I'd probably have done the same in their place, but I only honor those who risked (and often lost) their lives to fight the Park and Chun regimes. I'm not going to say, oh, everybody collaborated, what else could they do, so let's give everybody a medal for courage. I fully understand why Obama is doing what he's doing, but I'm not going to give him a medal for courage either. Especially since I see no reason whatever to suppose that he's anything but a willing and eager collaborator; I don't believe he's doing what he does out of fear.

dcs (and I wrote my previous comment before I'd noticed yours), I'm not disappointed in Obama. I would have been delighted if he had surprised me by being what his supporters claimed he would be. Nor am I doing the "I told you so" dance now, though I and others like me are entitled to do so, and you who supported Obama need to suck it up and face the fact. I'm just continuing the critique of Obama that I started during his election campaign, on my own blog, here and elsewhere. You, however, clearly are disappointed, and Jon replied to you very well.

Posted by Duncan at December 2, 2009 10:50 AM

duncan

Tou caught the wrong typo. I am actually more of a student of Hermanneutics than hermeneutics. Brian is not the only prophet.

Posted by N E at December 2, 2009 11:21 AM

I'm really getting tired of people saying a lot of fancy pants blather while casually mentioning my discipline.

Posted by Herman at December 2, 2009 12:13 PM

Herman

You are the same presumptous bastard you always were. I said I am a student of 'Hermann'eutics!

http://nds.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Hesse

Posted by N E at December 2, 2009 01:47 PM

hey mistah charley, thanks for the finger point towards positive disintegration. i had not heard of it. you are as wise as you are eloquent me thinks. thanks.

Posted by sloweducation at December 2, 2009 02:42 PM

NE,
I'll ignore your foul language because I'm guessing you're tired of Anti-Federal Express guy laying into you and are feeling a mite defensive.

Actually, it sounds like you should try Hermaneutics. It'll make you feel really good-natured and you get to stomp around a lot, which sounds a lot better than foppishly brooding about how alienated you are from an unfeeling society that doesn't understand you and all that junk.

Posted by Herman at December 2, 2009 08:00 PM

Herman

I'm actually busy writing an experimental novel incorporating the theory of positive distingeration into esoteric nineteenth century children's literature, but the profits are going to be donated to an organization specializing in landmine removal in Waziristan.

Your Brother in Hermann and Brian

Posted by N E at December 2, 2009 08:46 PM

I'm not beating N E about the head with virtual bludgeons. I agreed with him in the thread re 9/11 recently. I just think N E gets all invertebrate-like when it comes time to criticize any Donkey Heroes. The latent Liberal isn't dead, no matter how much empire-criticizing N E might do, that latent Liberal pokes its (anti-)intellectual nose out every so often. It could be much worse; N E could be more wordy and use poor grammar to boot.

Posted by the anti-federalist at December 2, 2009 09:45 PM

esoteric nineteenth century children's literature

No doubt this includes Kingsley's Water Babies, and you may be thinking of the work of Alfred Noyes, Hans Christian Anderson, and the Brothers Grimm. And Carroll's Alice books, of course.

And speaking of Carroll, and archetypal echoes reverberating through the Collective Unconscious across space and time, in re-reading the Mad Gardener's Song I was much struck with the foreshadowing of the 21st century's financial crisis in the verse

He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk

Descending from the 'bus:

He looked again, and found it was

A Hippopotamus.

'If this should stay to dine,' he said,

'There won't be much for us!'

Here we see the metastasizing of the FIRE sector (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate - see the work of Michael Hudson) from its proper role as a facilitator of the real economy (a banker's clerk, riding a bus - a functionary, on the same level as the rest of the society) to its massively overgrown size, consuming not just its own lunch, but everyone else's.

Whether we the people will accept the debt slavery which the Banksters are now imposing on on us, or whether we will take off our blinders and throw off the MICFiC's chains, is very much an open question.

Some of us, like dcs, and even our host, in his own way, are trying to do something about it.

Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome some day. By "we" I don't mean us, specifically, but some people in the future who would identify with us in some way. And by "some day" I mean some indefinite time in the future, when truth, justice, and the potentially sentient way have substantially overcome selfishness, greed, hate and fear. In the future, or maybe in the next life. Or the one after that.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at December 2, 2009 11:03 PM

mistah charley

i cannot struggle to my feet again. you are the heavyweight champion of wit, and i commend you on being educational too! in my groggy stupor on the mat, i see in a haze another prophet beckoning to me, holding a towel and a cup of water, a blurry sanctuary from the cruel blows of knowledge

i am going to read michael hudson's book Super imperialism and also global fracture, and though an economist of course can never be more than a lesser prophet, even someone as sage as dean baker or robert brenner, the lesser prophets speak their own holy words too.

so thank you mister charley, and may we all strive to remember that maxim of dispute resolution which great nations should never forget, but which we alas have forgotten:

when a pig becomes a hog it gets slaughtered

Posted by N E at December 3, 2009 11:25 AM

You don't remember his debate with John McCain? His Afghanistan actions are 100% compatible with his stance then. It should be no surprise or disappointment. When he said we need to increase troop strength in Afghanistan, I guess some wanted to believe he was merely lying then to get elected. We can't pick and choose what to believe is a lie based on wishful thinking.

Posted by Maezeppa at December 7, 2009 07:02 AM

Obama is just another pawn... although I believe he is a good man by nature, there is no way the ruling elite would ever let him enact real change. Do you think Obama has qualities of a leader ?

Posted by Sinny at December 7, 2009 06:32 PM