Comments: No

Spain is cutting back on all their social programs so I expect riots in the streets of Madrid soon much like Greece. The rich, world wide, plan on cutting open the "goose that laid the golden egg" and gettin' it all.

Posted by Mike Meyer at June 8, 2010 11:16 AM

You forgot cops and jails.

Posted by homunq at June 8, 2010 11:59 AM

^^^
wars

Posted by mike at June 8, 2010 01:07 PM

Yggie's job is to provide just this sort of pretzel logic for his followers. He may in fact be a true believer in this nonsense, but as soon as he stops shilling this crap he'd loose that sweet, tasty access he lives for.

Posted by RedPhillip at June 8, 2010 01:11 PM

PRINT MORE MONEY, DUMP IT ON MAINSTREET, call Pelosi @1-202-225-0100. Stop giving bankers welfare.

Posted by Mike Meyer at June 8, 2010 01:31 PM

It reminds me of all the bizarre stellar behavior Ptolemy had to build into his astronomical model once he started from the premise that the earth is stationary at the center of the universe.

Once you let the evidence induce the hypothesis that the sun is at the center, everything becomes much simpler to depict and easier to explain.

But the cultists can't figure that out. (As for the hacks, I figure they're mostly conscious liars, and not even clever ones. Though Frank Rich's most recent was more smooth than this example.)

Posted by Russ at June 8, 2010 01:44 PM

I don't see the bizarre conceptual knots. All Yglesias is saying in his own wonkish way is that all those bitching about deficit spending that would help create demand in the economy need to look at the long-term financial crisis instead of focusing on current fiscal deficits. The long-term budget crisis is largely about health care costs, which everyone might recall the GOP wanted to do absolutely nothing about, suggesting they don't really try too hard to be honest or consistent or principled. Surprise! It would be swell if they would try to help solve a problem every once in a while instead of just ranting like nutjobs and stealing as much as they can while everything goes steadily to hell, but don't hold your breath. I don't think Yglesias's specific analogy is very good, but what he is saying is reasonable enough and doesn't even seem controversial to me.

The Dems are better than the GOP because the GOP has set the bar so very, very low. It would be hard to even trip on it.

And yeah, our leaders (fka rulers) don't have the best interests of us citizens (fka subjects) at heart any more than they did a hundred years ago. They just have to fake it now, which means it isn't as easy to see what they are up to as it used to be.

Posted by N E at June 8, 2010 04:12 PM

@NE: I'm with Jonathan here. In the face of 10% official unemployment, and the highest long-term unemployment rates since the 1930s, this administration is openly choosing in the middle of the midterm elections year to make "deficit reduction"* the priority over job creation.

Those who want to look at this choice as political stupidity or a screw-up remind me of those who had the same analysis of the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla: it's a way of avoiding the unpleasant but much simpler assessment that this is what they intend.

Obama made a deal with the FIRE devils who provided about half his campaign funding that he'd start dismantling the welfare state.

In an exchange with one of the most determined 'leave Barack Obama alooooone' defenders at Obsidian Wings recently, I did my own bit of pretzeling, coming up with the most generous/realpolitik assessment I possibly could manage for each of the major Obama actions/inactions that make me seethe. The one that crosses the line for me is this one. At some point, you have to be able to name what you're looking at. He wants to do this.

This intelligent, good-looking guy is out to take the final props out from under the already weakened social safety net. Isn't he a perfect front for the austerity program we've seen coming for decades?

---
*"Deficit reduction" of course is not about deficit reduction; otherwise the wars and military / contractor boondoggling would be on the cutting table. It's polspeak for dismantling the remains of the welfare state.

Posted by Nell at June 8, 2010 05:41 PM

"Once you discard the mentality that the people in charge care whether we live or die, you no longer have twist yourself into bizarre conceptual knots in order to make sense of what they're up to."
And using the HCR debate as evidence, one can see the main difference between the parties.
The Republicans don't care if you die, but they'd love to see you spend shitloads on health care before you go.
The Democrats would prefer that you live a long, healthy life even, so you can keep working and thinking about that non-existent Animal Farm pasture waiting for you at some point down the road.
As long as there's enough Terry Schiavos, Republicans would love world of service workers.
Democrats want to protect those service workers so they can keep doing service work.
As Mel Brooks said, "It's good to be da King."

Posted by dcastro at June 8, 2010 06:36 PM

Shiny.

Posted by Jack Crow at June 8, 2010 07:37 PM

Nell

I don't disagree with the gist of what you wrote, but Yglesias didn't say and has never said the welfare state is bad or should be dismantled, and what he did say doesn't seem bad to me. Those guys currently complainging about deficits are disingenuous and dishonest, and they really don't care about trying to solve actual problems, which is often noted by Yglesias, to his credit.

I agree completely that the effort of Wall Street (led by the zealots like Pete Peterson but seconded by everybody else including Summers and Geitner) to dismantle Social Security and Medicare (not just Medicaid) is not just accidental. I agree that the Right and the bankers have always wanted to do that, and now the US is starting to have to play by those awful IMF rules it has forced on everybody else for so long, including during that Asian crisis in the 90s. I remember reading Chomsky once observing that putting all retirement money in private accounts was going to vastly increase the power of Wall Street, and boy was he was right about that. With the enormous benefit of hindsight, it seems to me that the situation we have now was almost a foregone conclusion as soon as we let Wall Street hold the financial security of everyone hostage by letting them control the value of everyone's retirement assets. When everyone loses half of their retirement, it's inevitably tough politically on whoever is in office, but if whoever is in office tries to do anything the Street doesn't like, the traders on The Street will raise the cost of borrowing and tank asset values and drastically raise the cost of financing your deficits. The economics of how this works create a very real dilemma for any President, one that Carville recognized with his quip that he wanted to be reincarnated as a bond trader. (By the way, I do NOT like Carville any more than I like the Clintons. They all just succumbed to the Maitlin side of the Force.)

Anyone who has a way out of this dilemma will win a really big prize, and I'm sure Obama wants a way out, not because he's a humanitarian but because presumably he wants to succeed. He is not an economist, snf he really can't just ignore the economics of the situation. I agree with mistah charley that is part of the MICFiC, not an outsider, and I may cut him too much slack for my own subjective reasons, but outsider or insider, he still has assumed a role as a player in a game that has rules that govern him. Though it wasn't done fairly, nonetheless WE (as Mike Meyer might point out) let those very Wall Street friendly rules get made, and Obama is stuck with them until someone can present him with a way to pay the interest on the huge debt the GOP foisted on him and still fund programs.

Personally, I think it would be wise and ultimately is necessary to cut the military about in half, at least, but in our post-911 world that just isn't going to happen anytime soon. Not with Al Qaeda striking fear into the hearts of people everywhere with shoe bombs and underwear bombs and lordie knows what else that will explode ina fury of political vengeance against any weak-willed politician. That post-911 world sure is the gift that just keeps on giving, and I guess we can thank the magnanimous Osama bin Laden for that.

Right?

Posted by N E at June 8, 2010 08:46 PM

"Those who want to look at this choice as political stupidity or a screw-up remind me of those who had the same analysis of the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla:"

Alternatively, some of us who look at this choice as involving political stupidity or a screw-up are aware that the President doesn't actually pass legislation. So there is ample room for useful idiots in the process. Is President Obama smart enough to "know better"? Yes. Is your average "Blue Dog" member of Congress? A bit less likely. It's more both / and than either / or. Though I would be interested to see if Obama were prepared to veto an actually helpful stimulus bill, based purely on his tough guy stance on deficits. Not that such a bill will be forthcoming, since see above.

Posted by mds at June 8, 2010 11:47 PM

N E said:

"The economics of how this works create a very real dilemma for any President, one that Carville recognized with his quip that he wanted to be reincarnated as a bond trader."

You've bought the lie right here (as did Clinton and Carville.) The federal government has absolute power over the bond market. If there was not sufficient demand for government debt, the government could amend its own rules and stop issuing it.

Ask yourself where was the bond market during the Wall Street bailout, or the Iraq War? This nonsense is only trotted out when there is something on the table that the elite don't want to do. Relatively speaking you don't hear a peep over money spent on things they want to do.

You all should take up reading Warren Mosler, L Randall Wray and Bill Mitchell. Most of what is taught in schools (even the best ones) and repeated in the media about the economy and money is a BIG LIE. In order for economists to get prominent jobs they must prove they believe the BIG LIE.

We need a revolution in our understanding of money. We are powerless as long as we buy into the "we can't afford it" lie.

This is exactly what Russ is talking about above. Economics didn't predict the GFC because you had to be a Ptolemy in order to be heard by anyone. There are branches of economics and monetary theory that make much better predictions, but they make some things clear that endanger the status quo.

Start your re-education here:
http://moslereconomics.com/2009/12/10/7-deadly-innocent-frauds/

Posted by Jeff65 at June 9, 2010 07:15 AM

@N E "Though it wasn't done fairly, nonetheless WE (as Mike Meyer might point out) let those very Wall Street friendly rules get made,[...]"

This enduring faith that somehow us sturdy US citizens could somehow have made, or make, a major difference in The Way Things Are through the farce of our kabuki elections would be absolutely charming if it weren't so abjectly pathetic.

Posted by RedPhillip at June 9, 2010 09:33 AM

RedPhillip: NOT the elections which have always been flawed but the FACT that WE walk away after the elections and LET our elected officials do pretty much whatever they want. WE stand by doing nothing while they ruin the land and piss away OUR money killing the neighbors. Its OUR APATHY to believe that elections are the ONLY control over those elected officials and OUR LAZINESS to not other venues to direct them. WE say WE love them but WE never call.

Posted by Mike Meyer at June 9, 2010 10:57 AM

Jeff65:

Mosler is praised by James Galbraith (the good Galbraith brother), and by William Black, and I respect the views of those two, so I'll check out what he has to say despite that tea party rally mentioned on his site. Lately tea parties put me off more than they used too when only little girls had them.

I agree that the US public needs to come to a better understanding of money and finance. Hell, even I do and I have a graduate degree in economics, though not quite a real one despite the moderately hoity toity name on the diploma. The public has been fed a lot of dogma and doesn't think very empirically about economic issues, like many other things. From history, I gather that wasn't always the case.

But I don't agree that the government has absolute power over the bond market. Then again, I don't even understand how that could be true. The government could indeed stop selling treasury bills to borrow money, but there would be significant consequences to such a decision that limit that "absolute power" you mentioned.

Why the bond market didn't tank because of the Iraq war or the Wall Street bailout is a very important question. But I think the answer is that the bond market has narrow, greedy concerns, not the welfare of humanity or our old, sick grandmothers. The markets might have perceived stealing all the oil in the Persian Gulf very favorably, just as they might have perceived taking everyone's money and giving it to Wall Street very favorably. Whatever maximizes the values of publicly traded assets.

Posted by N E at June 9, 2010 01:18 PM

@mds: The President doesn't actually pass legislation, but he sets an agenda. He appoints the members of the 'Let 'em eat cat food' commission -- hell, he decides to set up such a commission in the first place. The point of Jonathan's post, and my comment in agreement, is that it's not helpful to pretend he doesn't really want this policy put into effect.

Doing so obscures what's going on. It reduces the predictive value of one's analysis. It makes a fool of the person engaging in the excuse-making.

Posted by Nell at June 9, 2010 03:52 PM


This article by Glenn Greenwald hits the nail on the head.-Tony


http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/10/lincoln/index.html

Posted by tony at June 10, 2010 01:31 PM

N E,

I'm not going to engage in a debate, but please do read the Mosler link and find out why you are wrong about the government and bond markets.

A proper understanding of the monetary system and economics shines a spotlight directly in the place the elite don't want people to see. They've even managed to conceal the truth from themselves! There is a reason economics used to be called "the political economy".

Posted by Jeff6 at June 10, 2010 05:13 PM

tony

I can understand why Greenwald is mad about Blanche Lincoln winning, because she is what the Senate is all about, but Obama undoubtedly campaigned for her because he told her he would if she supported the health care bill, which she did. That's not saying she's any good, which she obviously isn't, but if you tell somebody you'll endorse them and campaign for them in exchange for their vote on your most important bill, that's what you do if you ever want ANYONE to make a deal with you again. I believe Obama campaigned some for that drip Specter too for the same reason. Politics is just gross that way. You're just lucky you'll never see a bunch of anarchists run our government, because it would kill you.

Greenwald seems to think it was contemptuous for someone in the White House to say that ten million bucks spent on support for Halter was wasted and could have been used better. Well, couldn't it have been? Greenwald himself said "I don't know if he [Halter] would be substantially better" in the article. Come again? Plus, Greenwald concedes that it's pretty likely that either Halter or Lincoln will lose to the GOP candidate in November. So let's see if I understand, some anonymous person in the White House supposedly said something terrible by stating that it was foolish for the left to spend ten million bucks on Halter's campaign against Lincoln, either of whom will probably lose in November anyway, rather than using it on close races that could be won in the general election. That's supposed to be a shockingly terrible opinion to hold. Go figure.

As for Greenwald's group Accountability Now, the GOP and those corporations he hates must really love it, because there's no better way to win than to divide your opposition. You know the old idea, my enemy's enemy is my friend. That plus divide and conquer. It's all pretty intuitive to anyone willing to think strategically. That's the game that our maddening system makes it so easy to play, especially if some of your opposition hates the ugly compromises of politics that the self-same system requires. Greenwald notes that his group has "crytstallized . . .the very significant divisions within the Party" as a result of his effort to "impose a meaningful cost on [Lincoln] for her past behavior." Great, if it accomplishes anything, but what will it accomplish? What did Greenwald say about that?

The answer: Greenwald says it was about payback, because Lincoln had to be taught a lesson. And that would be a reasonable objective if it would serve as a lesson to other Senators to teach them not to betray labor and the left, but that seems doubtful to me. Lincoln's real worry was from the right, not the left. And who will benefit, at least in the short term? We the people? No. The crazy GOP and its crazy corporate backers? YES. And the thing is, Lincoln will almost certainly get her payback in November anyway, but now maybe we can all be divided enough so that other Dems will get defeated and we can totter on back over to a GOP rampage against civilization again for a while before everyone teeters back over to supporting the Dems again until that proves disappointing because they just aren't that good either and have to be punished for disappointing us, and as Nell said, making us feel like fools. Because that's what it's really apparently about, whether we feel or look like fools.

Or maybe Greenwald is right and it's about punishment for the wicked. How will that work out? "Well, you need to be punished," said the nose to the face.

Do I think Greenwald is accomplishing anythign? Not that much. The DNC is still going to be dominated by corporate contributors, because our politics are determined by money, which is permitted by rule and now apparently constitutionally mandated after the Citizens United decision. Greenwald can't change the Democratic party until that changes, and he's basically just ignoring an obvious problem. Dividing the party will just hand over the keys to Congress and the White House to the nutcases on the right, which I am starting to think is pretty much a long term certainty. Eventually people are going to get sick of feeling like fools that the far right wing of the GOP, those crazy white tea parties, are going to take over. So there is a day coming down the road when everyone, including those who ranted about Obama, are going to be schooled in the full consequences of our present hubris and self-deception. This is not our collective nadir. Of course, that's just prophecy.

So Tony, keep up your organizing, because it will be much needed one day, and by the way, I can wholly understand people forming a third party. It may even be necessary--that question is too hard for me--because this system is very seriously busted. The thing is, Greenwald isn't putting his efforts behind change that will actually happen any more than Obama is, and it's quite possible that the results of his well-intentioned efforts will be to actually make things worse in the short term, however long that is.

And that will remain my view no matter how many tiffs Greenwald has whenever his plans don't work out and somebody has the temerity to say he had a bad strategy.

Posted by N E at June 10, 2010 05:49 PM

jeff 6 thanks. I could well be misunderstanding, because it's been a long time since I tried to understand the economics of it, so I'll give it a look. As I said, I think highly of Black and Galbraith, each of whom plugged Mosler.

Posted by N E at June 10, 2010 05:52 PM

NE,

You seem to have missed the point of the Greenwald article since you didn't comment on it....his point was that Obama apologists cant say Obama doesnt have the votes to pass a progressive agenda, which I am sure rings a bell, when he backs and endorses corporate right-wing senators that are opposed to a progressive agenda to begin with...regardless of the political in fighting or deal making of the matter which is besides the point, how can one even pretend to say Obama is a progressive when he works in favor of someone who is corporate centrist...someone who is supposedly standing in the way of Obama's progressive agenda and so on....Greenwald gives the obvious and correct answer....the same one Nell-I think-gave in this or another thread.... This is what he believes in and this is what the democratic party believes in. This is who he is....which is not all that surprising if you know his background and history..and not surprising given how politics works in this country with the domination of politics by corporate money and power....Common sense....


You then say "As for Greenwald's group Accountability Now, the GOP and those corporations he hates must really love it, because there's no better way to win than to divide your opposition."

I dont know anything about Accountability Now so I cant speak about what they do, but it seems like a good idea to me...I don't see the problem in trying to work to put forth those that do have a more progressive view than the standard corporate backed and paid for candidates.Where exactly is the problem?...Frankly I would think anyone with any kind of progressive leanings and sentiments would..so why your condescending attitude? Are you saying that just doing more of the same is somehow better than trying to push the dems in a more positive direction by backing more progressive candidates? That makes no sense to me. You seem to fear that the bad republicans will replace the good democrats so we should not split the party and so on....This is just silly given that both parties are two sides of the same coin which marginal differences at best...of course Obama continuing with much of Bush's policies should be ample evidence to convince all but true believers....

So I ask you, if you feel that working to push the democrats in a more progressive direction by backing candidates and policies that are truly progressive will only work to divide the party and then bring about republican control, then what should one do?

And again, I am not all that much in to political parties and elections as you know...I think reasonable choices have to be made, but the whole idea of change coming through elections is nonsense in this country given the corporate control over elections and such, but that doesn't mean that I don't think the democrats should not be pushed..they should. But there are many ways to do that pushing...You can do it by working within traditional ways or by more direct means...like say what is happening in Greece right now as one of many examples.


"The thing is, Greenwald isn't putting his efforts behind change that will actually happen

What do you mean? How can you be so sure of yourself? He is one person who at least is trying to push for it by forming an organization outside of the traditional political parties..That's something, isn't it?

"any more than Obama is,"

This assumes that Obama wants change. And this is based on what evidence exactly besides blind faith?

Are you saying Greenwald should join the IWW and take to the streets in protest and direct action as opposed to political party building? If so I may agree with you but I don't think that is what you have in mind.-Tony

Posted by tony at June 10, 2010 08:13 PM

Third Party, Folks.

Posted by Mike Meyer at June 10, 2010 08:42 PM

Tony

It's not condescending to say that Greenwald's strategy is bad and that his article doesn't hit the mark. That's my view, for the reasons stated, and he writes in that article he writes in a tone that might be called condescending too, by anyone who doesn't agree wtih him. I won't repeat what I said, but I certainly did comment on it. I almost commented on it paragraph by paragraph, so you sort of lost me with the claim that I didn't do that. Frankly, I have not yet seen any criticism of Obama that you did not reflexively agree with, and I could point you to plenty of statements where I wasn't happy with Obama, so I don't think the bias here is mostly with me. You're not alone in that either, and reflex reactions are unfortunately easily manipulated. My concern is that the left at this point would follow anyone chanting "Obama sucks!" off a cliff without thinking about it. It could be a long fall.

The unions have a right to try to take down Lincoln for not supporting them, and I don't like her politics, but Greenwald's claim that Obama betrayed the trust of African American voters by endorsing Lincoln is bullshit, and not the best kind. Greenwald doesn't even identify the obvious reason that Obama supported Lincoln, apparently because he preferred to accuse Obama and the DNC of something sleezier than trading his endorsement (not so valuable really after the primary) for her support of his legislative agenda. I really don't like that tactic Greenwald employed. Seriously, it's better to be accurate and honest when accusing someone else of being sleezy. Otherwise the irony is too acute.

Of course Lincoln and all those Senators are the Democratic party. And of course Obama is also the Democratic Party. And yes the Democratic Party is dominated by corporations, which screws us all. Everyone knows the progressives are marginalized. None of the powers that be are actually progressives, and they never will be as long as money controls the process, which I said and repeat. That this is all true is not a news flash. It has been true for a long, long time.

I didn't and don't assume Obama wants any more change than will make him a successful President, which is not determined by how many people he helps but by getting reelected and getting his legislative agenda enacted. What I did say is that nothing Greenwald said or is doing would lead to change any more effectively than what Obama has done. I suspect actually it will be worse, because it will fail and divide the party, and so I suppose I could just accuse Greenwald of being a sleezebag and a hypocrite and a fraud, which seems to be the view he is taking of Obama because Obama doesn't do much that he likes. But this idea that everyone who disagrees is contemptible is pernicious. It's not just divisive, its political suicide. Greenwald's article is basically all angry invective and bitter disappointment, but that won't lead to change. It will just lead to the GOP regaining strength and returning to power to take some more steps in the wrong direction, probably big ones. You ask how I know that? I know that because this has been happening, over and over, for more than a century. Apparently Greenwald doesn't know it, which suggests that despite his otherwise fine commitment to principles since he gave up his law practice he hasn't bothered to look into what has happened in the past. He doesn't write much about that, I suspect because he doesn't know. But it's a good thing to know when the tactics never seem to change: Divide the opposition by pitting the progressives and idealists against the moderates and pragmatists, split the vote, and regain power. It's not rocket science. What's astonishing is that the same damn thing works generation after generation. The Greenwalds of the pundit world get some credit for that.

Public commentators and pundits aren't any more noble than politicians. Many in the past and at the present too have been seduced by their jobs and the trappings of their jobs--the thrill of criticism and having an audience and being a public moralist--and in the end more than a few of them have turned out to be a lot less independent than they claimed. So you should make sure you remember that you have made assumptions about Greenwald, apparently without even considering that someone pays him to decry Obama's compromises and pragmatism. I'm sure he believes it, or he wouldn't be so good at it, but moralists get paid too, and they don't always even know who is really paying them. We live in a sneaky world, which is probably why people as good as you don't run it.

I don't know how this game can be won, because the deck is stacked, but it won't be quick or easy, and it won't happen if everyone can be so easily divided. Maybe it's not possible anyway and forming a third party is really the only thing that will work. That's the question that's too hard for me. But what Greenwald is doing won't work, and he doesn't even write likes he thinks it will. He just seems pissed.

Personally, I tend to think nothing will work until corporate money quits controlling politics, and that won't change now unless there is a Constitutional amendment, which hasn't happened in a while and won't be easy. So there's something for us to do.

Posted by N E at June 10, 2010 10:12 PM

Ne,

Frankly, I have not yet seen any criticism of Obama that you did not reflexively agree with,

Because the criticism are correct...I didn't delude myself before the election thinking he was going to be some great progressive bringing about change despite all of the rhetoric because that is not how politics works in this country...Greenwald correctly pointed how it works in this specific instance by showing how the democratic establishment, not just Obama, worked to defeat an attempt to put forth a more progressive candidate....Its pretty clear matter born out by the facts....


NE:and I could point you to plenty of statements where I wasn't happy with Obama, so I don't think the bias here is mostly with me.

There is no bias on my part....I feel the way i do about all Presidents not whether they are republicans or democrats. They don't represent the interests of the majority and we should not expect them to do what is best for the majority....they all represent empire and inequality and will continue to do so so long as political economic structure of the country remains the way it is....That's not a bias. That's a rational conclusion based on evidence and experience.

NE:"As for Greenwald's group Accountability Now, the GOP and those corporations he hates must really love it, because there's no better way to win than to divide your opposition. You know the old idea, my enemy's enemy is my friend. That plus divide and conquer. It's all pretty intuitive to anyone willing to think strategically."

This is what I meant by condescending since anyone who works to put forth more progressive candidates is just not thinking properly according to you. Sorry NE, that is simply arrogant elitism.

Your comments are very typical liberal apologetics since if someone does try to move the party to the left then all they are doing is just spilting the party and paving the way for the republicans to win....This is always trotted out by dems every time someone tries to run as an independent. So the choice is just to support the corporate authoritarian democratic party and just except what you get..In other words do nothing.

I don't see how what you are saying doesn't lead to this conclusion...and maybe, just maybe, it is a good idea for the democrats to lose election after election if they fail to represent the interests of the majority.

NE:I don't know how this game can be won,

well apparently you do since you feel that those that try to push for more progressive candidates are wrong and only dividing the party and paving the way for the republicans to win...

So if you don't know how the game can be won I don't know how you can be so sure that Greenwald is wrong to do what he does....

because the deck is stacked,

Its always been stacked. This is nothing new

but it won't be quick or easy, and it won't happen if everyone can be so easily divided.

Well maybe traditional party politics is a dead end and maybe some kind of action based on an understanding of class and power is the way to go?

Maybe it's not possible anyway and forming a third party is really the only thing that will work.

Actually it would be a second party not a third..and you contradict yourself here since forming a third party would also split the democratic party, Greenwald's crime against humanity, and pave the way for republican victory.


That's the question that's too hard for me. But what Greenwald is doing won't work, and he doesn't even write likes he thinks it will.

Anything that threatens the democratic hierarchy and authority is good and should be pushed as far as it can...whether forming another party or pushing for more progressive candidates is good....Not that I spend my time doing this but I appreciate and respect people who at least try to attack the democratic party structure and it seems to me that is what Greenwald is doing with his writing and with the political group he help to establish even if their ultimate goal is simply reforms which are good as far as they go but not far enough in my opinion.


He just seems pissed.

And you aren't? Why??

There is a lot to be pissed about. Isn't three illegal wars, criminal wall street kingpins robbing the Treasury blind, income differences at depression era levels,public option health care dead in the water thanks to Obama and Lincoln and the constituency they serve and protect, and more and more people all around the world sinking in to misery and poverty reasons enough to be pissed?....All continuing and becoming greater under President Hope and Change and the democratic party.-Tony

Posted by tony at June 11, 2010 12:48 PM

Tony

You didn't explain how to break the cycle that results--and consistently has resulted--from the structure of our government and the rules we use for elections. You don't even mention it, and those are the issues that I contend make what Greenwald did in that article counter-productive. Until you figure out a way to respond to what has failed in the past, it will continue to fail. Einstein's definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

I'm not less pissed than Greenwald, or for that matter less pissed than you. But emotion only provides motivation, not results. There still has to be a strategy that will work under the objective conditions and rules and laws that exist. As Sun Tzu wrote long ago, "tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."

By the way, it's not cool to claim that my position is arrogant elitism. That's just name-calling, which is only okay if someone says someone deserved to be murdered or lose an eye or suffer some horror. Then it's okay by me, but in general it's uncool. There's nothing elitist about what I said or what I think. (But don't sweat it, I also end up insulting people without intending to according to some observers.) Having a workable strategy isn't elitism, and egalitarian rhetoric that can't create an egalitarian society becauase it won't work isn't good just because it sounds good. I'd like the bulk of people to quit getting so much less out of life than they should because of everything being unfair, as it is, but change won't come about just because Glenn Greenwald wants Accountability NOW (now there's a telling name).

I think you're right that basically under the present rules a third party doesn't lead anywhere any more productive than Greenwald's approach of trying to torpedo one of the worst Dems in the Senate without careful consideration of the opportunity costs of that or intelligent consideration of the President's reasons for his actions. Most of your criciticism of Obama is fine, and it certainly is consistent, but it's so consistent because it doesn't whatsoever take into account what his job requires of him and at least sometimes forces upon him. You might as well consistently criticise turtles for being slow or porcupines for being prickly. No President under our present system could meet your expectations, and if you got to pick the President all by yourself, whoever you picked couldn't meet your expectations either. EVERY President has failed by your criteria.

What frustrates me is the insistence that all departure by Dems from principle is bad in a system that absolutely forces that upon them. And what irritates me even more is that the Roves and Luntzes of the world know how to manipulate the emotional reactions to disappointment, because they reactions and the disappointment are as regular and predictable as the tides. How could they not recognize how to manipulate them?

So we're trapped in this ugly political cycle of petpetual worsening. We need to fix the damn system, not be constantly shocked the a money-dominated system is controlled by corporations and that Senators and Presidents do what their funders want.

So how do we create a better political system?That's a hard question. Maybe a third party, maybe not, but there has to be a plan, not just some great rhetoric. I don't know if I've said it often enough, but I think there has to be a recognition that broad, systemic change is necessary. Greenwald seems to think we can just elect people who aren't cynical frauds, or vote them out when they show they are. But that doesn't work; it just perpetually rotates control of Congress and the Presidency.

Maybe we'll never get this political system improved, maybe we will. But when an honest person doesn't provide good answers to crucial questions, he should at least realize that maybe others have noticed that he doesn't have those answers and rejected his position for that reason rather just showed their arrogant elitism or sleazy corporatism. Or perhaps compromised not because he's malevolent, but because that's the nature of the system. Otherwise, people think they'll get a different result with a new guy, which they really won't. Sorry if I didn't edit enough, gotta go.

Posted by N E at June 11, 2010 10:35 PM

A third party, to win, has to be modeled differently than the other two. THAT'S the reason the Greens, Reformers, and even the Teabaggers don't and won't get anywhere. They look just like the other two.
That party needs a solid party goal, a direction that a MAJORITY of the population can relate to and BELIEVE in.

Posted by Mike Meyer at June 11, 2010 11:18 PM

NE:You didn't explain how to break the cycle that results--and consistently has resulted--from the structure of our government and the rules we use for elections.

i have stated on numerous times over and over in plenty of threads on this blog what I feel needs to be done....Let me repeat. I spend my time trying to build mass movements of direct action outside of mainstream politics which are a dead end in my opinion....I think traditional political parties should be pushed as far as they can be by forces outside of their control that they will have to respond too if they want to retain relevance....Eventually I would like to see the general population so radicalized that we would get to a point of a revolution which would change the political and economic structure of not only the US but the world....Obviously we are no where this in this country since ultimately it is a matter of raising consciousness and education more than anything else....But there are cracks all over the world in the current political economic order...See for example Greece right now which I have already mentioned or what has taken place in numerous countries throughout Latin America and so on.

NE:You don't even mention it,

See above...And I think I mentioned Greece in this thread but dont have the time to look for it...

NE:and those are the issues that I contend make what Greenwald did in that article counter-productive.


They are only counter productive depending on what your goals are and what you want to accomplish and so forth....

I would think Greenwald wants to move the dems in a more progressive egalitarian way and his basic goals are reforms along the line of a social democratic state which is fine as far as it goes....I really dont know his view on capitalism which I would suspect he thinks is legitimate but just need s a powerful govt to regulate its excess and so on. If I am wrong on that I apologize to GG in advance, but that is what I suspect...which again is fine as far as it goes but in y view capitalism has to be replaced ultimately with a democratic economic system.

Until you figure out a way to respond to what has failed in the past, it will continue to fail.

I gave what I think...and you are wrong about this because moves toward reforms will make the world a better more civilized place to live for the great majority of the world population....yes ultimately there needs to be a revolution but that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon...so those working to make progressive egalitarian reforms happen should be encouraged and praised in my view because they are those reforms will lead to a better world


NE:Einstein's definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Like voting for corporate democrats time and again and thinking they will work to make the US, never mind the rest of the world, a better place for the majority...


NE:I'm not less pissed than Greenwald, or for that matter less pissed than you. But emotion only provides motivation, not results.

I dont really know what this means but ok....

NE:There still has to be a strategy that will work under the objective conditions and rules and laws that exist. As Sun Tzu wrote long ago, "tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."

I agree but you have to ask what peoples goals are...reforms are good even if it leaves the basic political economic order in place..as far as tactics go they have to judged on individual circumstances....what will work one place doesnt mean it will work everywhere....again look at Greece now and Latin America or Spain during the revolution or Russia prior to the Bolshevik taking power and so on...

I really don't what more to say on this matter on what to do...History is just full of examples of people making the world and their own lives better...Rarely if ever has it had anything to do with the workings of political parties except in so far as those parties act in accordance to pressure put on them from the outside...


NE:By the way, it's not cool to claim that my position is arrogant elitism. That's just name-calling, which is only okay if someone says someone deserved to be murdered or lose an eye or suffer some horror. Then it's okay by me, but in general it's uncool.

Sorry to disagree NE, but I call it like I see it...You have a repeated pattern of saying about others who disagree with you that they fail to think properly....Here is another example from my memory which is almost a direct quote...You said about Chomsky that his IQ dropped a few points when it came to conspiracies...Sorry NE, that is just pure arrogance..I don't know how else to put it...And your comment about Greenwald is not on that level of arrogance but reflects the same mentality and outlook...


NE:I think you're right that basically under the present rules a third party doesn't lead anywhere


I never said a third party-second actually like I said before-doesn't lead anywhere....I think it would in fact lead to something since it would scare the democratic authoritarian structure to maybe changing their ways and actions...I think a populist party or labor party would be a very good to achieve..so my view on this are very different than you write above...I personally feel that the most effective ways to work for change are through more direct ways that political parties but doesn't mean I would not like to see another party form that would threaten the democrats.


NE: any more productive than Greenwald's approach of trying to torpedo one of the worst Dems in the Senate without careful consideration of the opportunity costs of that or intelligent consideration of the President's reasons for his actions.


I though he gave a very good recap of the reasons why the dems and Obama did what they did...You dont agree with what he said.

NE:Most of your criciticism of Obama is fine, and it certainly is consistent, but it's so consistent because it doesn't whatsoever take into account what his job requires of him and at least sometimes forces upon him.


Not true...I think understanding that he is a corporate "new democrat"-his term- beholden to wall St and financial power in general who serves the interest of ruling class and power in the US is a very good understanding of who he is and what he will do..I don't see how understanding this somehow blinds me "to take into account what his job requires of him and at least sometimes forces upon him." I think I understand how Presidents act quite well.

Also, as I side note, you said in previous post that i just agree with every criticism of Obama or something along those line...Not true....the right wing and the racist, militaristic etc, tea party has lot of criticism of Obama...all nonsense...So I don't agree with their views of Obama...


NE:No President under our present system could meet your expectations, and if you got to pick the President all by yourself, whoever you picked couldn't meet your expectations either. EVERY President has failed by your criteria.

Thats correct...

My views are based on an institutional understanding of wealth and power in the US and what that leads to...So I dont disagree with you on this..and this is why, for I don't know how many times I have said this, I think looking towards political parties and the President as some kind of white knight who is going to serves the interests of common people is wrong...I did not expect much from Obama-like every other president-and was not disappointed...He is what he is..it cant really be any other way given, again, the political economic order of the country...

NE:What frustrates me is the insistence that all departure by Dems from principle is bad in a system that absolutely forces that upon them.

They are not departing from priciple...they are acting in accord with the principles of Empire and Inequality...this was one of GG's points in his article...We should not be surprised that we have the health care reform we got given that the insurance industry basically wrote the deal in a behind the public's back deal hammered out way in advance of the actual public "debate." Again GG has written very well on this.

NE:And what irritates me even more is that the Roves and Luntzes of the world know how to manipulate the emotional reactions to disappointment,

More liberal apologetics NE...since the dems do the exact same thing. You seem to never be able to see this...Its just the republicans who manipulate popular anger to forward their power agenda, not the dems...

NE:So we're trapped in this ugly political cycle of petpetual worsening. We need to fix the damn system, not be constantly shocked the a money-dominated system is controlled by corporations and that Senators and Presidents do what their funders want.

I agree...those trying to reform it by running candidates that threaten the corporate controlled dems are trying to do this...maybe not the most successful way but not everyone is a radical looking to overturn capitalism and private control over the economy which is ultimately needs to happen.

NE:So how do we create a better political system?That's a hard question. Maybe a third party, maybe not, but there has to be a plan, not just some great rhetoric.

I agree...

I don't know if I've said it often enough, but I think there has to be a recognition that broad, systemic change is necessary.

yeah a revolution

Greenwald seems to think we can just elect people who aren't cynical frauds, or vote them out when they show they are. But that doesn't work; it just perpetually rotates control of Congress and the Presidency.

Again, he seems to me to looking to bring forth reforms which again is good...A social democratic state like exists in Europe still-how much longer who knows-is certainly a better world to live in than a "free market" jungle where the only rights one has it what they can earn on the labor market and thats it.

My time is short also and i am going to skip you last paragraph...Sorry to all about any typos and such just in a rush as usual when I have the time to look at the internet.-Tony


Posted by tony at June 12, 2010 10:58 AM

tony: What if a third party were to change the Republican Party toward social democracy? Would YOU vote them in and the Dems out?

Posted by Mike Meyer at June 12, 2010 11:49 AM

What if a third party were to change the Republican Party toward social democracy? Would YOU vote them in and the Dems out?

That's an interesting question Mike and hard to see how it would happen but if say it did then yes i would vote for them depending on the circumstances obviously.


That would be a first for me since I have never voted for a republican in my life on any level at all-state, local and federal...and again I dont get all wrapped in voting given my more radical anarchist sentiments, but as i have said before reasonable choices have to be made given the country and world we live in...

I have also said in the past that had my state-I live in New jersey-looked like it was going to go to the Mad bomber I would have voted for Obama because I felt he would be slightly better...but NJ pretty much always goes for the dems-Obama won NJ easily- in Presidential elections so i voted for Mckinney.Tony

Posted by tony at June 13, 2010 12:21 PM

I also want to add that if the republican party truly became a social democratic one advocating a greater welfare state for the general population and such, that would also be the day I buy a lot of lottery tickets!-Tony

Posted by tony at June 13, 2010 12:25 PM

Tony: EXACTLY and just as exactly the Democratic Party will NEVER be any more so socially democratic than the Republican Party. BOTH are corrupt. Republicrats-gotta love em.

Posted by Mike Meyer at June 13, 2010 06:48 PM