Tag: Progressives

May 30

Why I don’t claim to be a progressive

(crossposted at Voices on the Square)

Back in 2009 I wrote a diary over at Kos: Fundamental flaws in progressive ideology. The point was to show how the idea of being a “progressive” contained the idea of selling out within it. The actual record of “progressives” in this era speaks for itself — forty years of decreasing global growth, neoliberal economic policy, and so on.  We’re not really progressing toward anything — unless you count the future described by Gopal Balakrishnan:

We are entering into a period of inconclusive struggles between a weakened capitalism and dispersed agencies of opposition, within delegitimated and insolvent political orders. The end of history could be thought to begin when no project of global scope is left standing, and a new kind of ‘worldlessness’ and drift begins.

Against this background, progressivism appears as a sort of holdover from a previous era.

In the midst of all of this, in progressive blogs you have recognitions such as: Twilight of an Empire: More Than Just Bridges Are Crumbling In America. Eric Stetson recognizes that austerity planning is already hurting America, and will get worse in the future.  Here is his lament:

Schools, libraries, parks, advanced weather forecasting, and other features of great modern civilizations? Forget about it! All being cut to the bone.

So few jobs being created that labor force participation is the lowest since 1979 and food stamp eligibility is the highest ever?

Who cares! It sure isn’t the government’s responsibility to do anything

about unemployment, right? — the reaction from America’s politicians

on this score is as deafening as John Cage’s infamous symphony of silence.

Even spending money on disaster relief for American cities destroyed by a hurricane or a tornado is no longer

an automatic thing, but instead a political football. Our politicians

are so tight, the unreformed Ebenezer Scrooge would be proud.

Eric Stetson, however, simply does not imagine more in his conclusion than that America should “demand more of its leaders.” What makes Stetson think that America’s leaders are at any point going to pay attention to such a call to action?

Meanwhile, at the Atlantic, the complaint is now that we have Presidents who routinely break the law, and nobody really cares. Or rather, I suppose, nobody with a shred of power really cares. Our most progressive journalists are telling us: we can expose it, at least for now, but we can’t do anything about it.

And then you have climate change.  Climate change is going to be dreadful if we stick with capitalism, as there will be crop failures and famine, and it’s not going to be mitigated by any climate change bill written by the fossil fuel industries, nor will just a bill for a bill’s sake do.  While the progressives were applauding the EPA’s assertion of its right to regulate “carbon emissions,” what was strictly necessary, as James Hansen was telling us we had to get back to 350 parts per million in atmospheric content, was that we have some sort of phase-out of fossil fuel production so we can keep the grease in the ground.  While radical transformation is necessary, the progressives at DailyKos.com are arguing that “fixing the economy first is not the best way to pass a climate bill.”  How is a phase-out of fossil fuels not “fixing the economy”?

Let’s move, now, to FDL. Michelle Chen, a name I don’t see a lot at Firedoglake, tells us that we have “a budget that tightens belts by emptying stomachs.” Chen ends her lament about proposed cuts to the food stamp program with a pointed criticism of “free markets”:

So that’s the theme of this year’s budget debate: that millions of people can’t afford to eat is not a cause for alarm for politicians so much as a burdensome line item. And erasing public benefits make it easier to make the poor invisible in the public mind. After all, food stamps symbolize not only the failure of “free markets” but the power of social policy to reduce endemic human suffering.

Well, OK, social policy to reduce suffering is good. Is that what the progressives have gotten for us?

Well, not a whole lot of it, unless you’re counting a watered-down and inadequate stimulus (now being erased through sequester) or a Heritage Foundation-inspired health insurance bill. Generally speaking, what progressives do every election year is to retreat on all of their presumed off-season goals and to declare themselves firmly in favor of the Democrat and against the Republican, without any serious consideration of what the Democrat actually supports. This is how the progressive vote was delivered for Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama and for numerous lower-ups in Congress, and this is how said vote will be delivered for the next neoliberal austerians who plan to run for Federal-level offices in 2016.

Even worse is the conceptual schemes progressives have had to invent in order to defend their political choices. The Democrats are better than the Republicans, stop whining and start working, you can’t have everything you want, and so on.  The result is stuff like this: we didn’t like it under Bush, but now we’ve changed our minds, say many progressives.

Now, the idea of calling liberals “progressives,” if I recall correctly, started out in the late 1980s as a result of the senior Bush’s campaign against “the L word.”  The idea, then, was to identify liberals with the promoters of what was once called the “Progressive movement” during what was once called the “Progressive Era” (fundamentally, from 1890 to 1920).

In general, the progressive critique of American society’s political dysfunction cannot bring itself to name, correctly, the design flaw operating in both politics and the economy.  The name of this design flaw is “capitalism,” and understanding it as an operating principle of the capitalist world-system is quite necessary to understanding why progressives may have had success in the Progressive Era, but cannot seem to find much of it (outside of legislation protecting gay rights, and a few initiatives here and there to legalize marijuana) today.

Progressives in the Progressive Era confronted a young, expanding capitalism that had not yet experienced two world wars, nor had it fully established the consumer economy of the golden age of capitalism (1948-1971).  This explains, more or less, their success in getting reforms enacted in that earlier era.  Their success was just beginning!

Progressives in this era, on the other hand, are being asked to defend a doctrine of incremental change leading to a better world, when nowadays declining rates of economic growth clash with increasing demands for corporate profit.  As the resultant neoliberal political economy facilitates the theft of everything that isn’t nailed down for the sake of meeting this demand for corporate profit, progressivism is increasingly being forced into either of two directions: 1) the general apparatus of apologetics with which the Democratic and Republican Parties (and other parties, elsewhere) defend reactionary legislation designed to privatize and deregulate the economy and subject it to fiscal austerity while the whole of society is militarized in anticipation of public dissent against the abolition of the middle class, or 2) a general sense of distressed spectatorship as the worlld gets worse, accompanied by a growing sense that something fantastic has to be proposed to cure the disease (such as what one sees in a recent diary of One Pissed Off Liberal).

An interesting discussion of the original Progressive Era in this light can be found in Cecelia Tichi’s collection of biographical sketches titled Civic Passions: Seven who Launched Progressive America (and What They Teach Us). In this regard, Tichi views the Progressive movement of 1890-1920 as a reaction to the “Gilded Age” of the 19th century, and regards our era as a new Gilded Age, one of corporate hegemony and political corruption. Tichi can find corruption in both eras, as well as muckrakers.

Reading history can be comforting, and engrossing, as Tichi’s book amply demonstrates.  The reformers Tichi depicts were able to “get the ball rolling” on concrete efforts to change living conditions for American society’s worst-off individuals, and to instill some humanity into America’s emerging consumer society.  In reading Tichi’s biographical sketches, one can’t help but want to duplicate their successes in today’s society.  One would, for instance, like to campaign much as Alice Hamilton did against unsafe conditions in lead mines, or as Florence Kelley did in organizing against child labor.  One would like to conduct the sort of worker-empowering social science that John R. Commons conducted in Pittsburgh, or pursue the same sort of pioneering efforts for social justice for Black people that Tichi depicts in her biographical sketch of Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Some of the activist strength Tichi extols may still be useful today — but we are no longer in the Progressive Era, and that the efforts of the original Progressive Era activists earned their successes through an emergent, felt need for a class compromise that circulated in the halls of the wealthy and powerful in that, adolescent, emergent stage of the expanding capitalist world-system.  The problems of child labor, horrific work conditions, and excessive poverty merited fresh efforts at reform in light of the increasing prosperity of the capitalist system at that time.  We are no longer in that era, and so if progressive efforts are to continue to have success, they need to be underwritten by some other way of thinking than progressive ideology.  In saying this, I am in solidarity with writers such as Aaron Schutz, whose book “Social Class, Social Action, and Education: The Failure of Progressive Democracy” described progressivism as a “middle class utopia,” (28) and Shelton Stromquist’s Reinventing “The People,” in which progressive reformers are said to pursue “an ideal of social harmony in which the interests of labor and capital would be reconciled.”  (23)  I also agree to a certain extent with Chris Hedges, whose Death of the Liberal Class complains of the resistance progressives no longer offer corporate elites.  Mild reformism was, without doubt, both effective and beneficial in an era in which the capitalist system required a “middle class utopia” if the crises which it generated were not to overwhelm the system as a whole.  Our era, on the other hand, is an era of a declining middle class, of deepening poverty for the multitudes, and increasing poverty amidst record profits for the super-rich.  The reconciliation of class interests is off the table. The consumer society no longer serves as the pretext for profits among the wealthiest when the wealthiest can just compel the government to print money for their enrichment.  The dire poverty of urban immigrant populations at the turn of the 20th century may not be part of our landscape today, but this fact itself forms a pretext for keeping present-day poverty off of legislative agendas, to the detriment of all of us.  What we need today are more movements such as the Zapatistas, or the various movements for ecological justice, or the MST.

In this environment “progressivism” appears as a sales-pitch for the Third Way.  Progressives are now people who tell you to vote for the Democrat because she/ he is better than the Republican — it might still ring true, but it becomes less and less important with each passing election, with each issue that becomes vitally important everywhere but in Washington DC.  Once progressivism was robust; today it has reached a cul-de-sac.  If anything, today’s world needs a class struggle more than ever, and a vision of civilization free of capitalism and the crises it promotes with increasing frequency (see e.g. Greece, Spain, global warming, pollution in China, war in Africa) today.  When the capitalists, with their governments in tow, are forcibly undoing all of the good done by the progressives and social democrats around the world, while at the same time bringing Earth’s ecosystems into increasing crises, another compromise is not going to restore the world to stability.

***********

Indeed a recent Gallup poll tells us that the number of liberal Americans is growing.  But this poll result is itself the product of an impoverished political discourse both with the Gallup pollsters and with America as a whole.  So, for instance one can also read of polls that say that “young people are more likely to favor socialism than capitalism” as well.  What I’d like to suggest, here, is that an opposition to the 7% at the top (as their fortunes improve) will have to be made up not just of progressives, nor even (perhaps) mainly of progressives, but of people with a diversity of political beliefs (socialists, anarchists, post-capitalists and so on) outside of progressivism.  These people exist already — the leap forward is not that a non-progressive Left needs to be created from nothing, but rather from the mere discussion of theory to an engagement with the world.  Bhaskar Sunkara:

After all, the problem with the Left isn’t that it’s too austere and serious; it’s that it doesn’t take itself seriously enough to make the changes necessary for political practice. We can be rigorous and ideological – without being afraid of being heard outside our own circles. Mass exposure wouldn’t spell the end of a vibrant socialist critique.

The future of resistance is in the diversity of non-progressive Left approaches, and in making that diversity actionable, not in progressivism or liberalism.  Being a “progressive” or a “liberal” is easy, but obsolete.  I’d like to think I can do better, so at this point I don’t claim to be a progressive.

Jan 24

Reagan Is Obama’s Touchstone

Like Reagan, Obama hopes to usher in a long-term electoral realignment – in Obama’s case toward the moderate left, thereby reversing the 40th president’s political legacy. The Reagan metaphor helps explain the tone of Obama’s inaugural address, built not on a contrived call to an impossible bipartisanship but on a philosophical argument for a progressive vision of the country rooted in our history. Reagan used his first inaugural to make an unabashed case for conservatism.

http://www.nationalmemo.com/re…

Does E. J. Dionne not know that words have meaning?

Reagan was never remotely a conservative, let alone any kind of thinker.  His silly “shining city on a hill” should provide a clue.  The one-time union leader and aging philanderer was clearly a reactionary.  He had more in common with LBJ than most any other president though Reagan’s achievements were enormously destructive while LBJ, despite his enormous flaws, managed the monumental civil rights achievement that reverberates so today.

Both were mainly good at jawboning, something totally beyond Obama’s ken.

One great story involving Al D’Amato, “Senator Pothole,” is illustrative.  I think it was Michael Kinsley, every winger’s liberal so naturally he wasn’t, who told the story.

Al D’Amato was at a private dinner in a restaurant when a waiter told D’Amato he had a call.

When D’Amato got to the phone, Reagan started into his pitch for a vote on approving another missile funding that was hanging in the balance, D’Amato exploded, “Will you quit calling me, you fucking son of a bitch?”  D’Amato had been receiving nuisance calls from some stalker.

When Reagan somehow convinced the fine senator from New York that Al was talking to the President, D’Amato quickly agreed to vote for the missile funding, forgetting entirely about his lengthy shopping list in his embarrassment.

How I wish there were a recording of that conversation as there is with at least some calls by LBJ to some Southern segregationists seeking approval of Johnson’s nomination of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court.

Best,  Terry

Sep 02

The Underlying Issue: the War on the Constitution

The Republican and Democratic parties have accomplished an amazing feat with the red state/blue state paradigm. They’ve convinced everyone that regardless of how bad they are, the other guy is worse. So even with 11 percent of the public supporting Congress most incumbents will be returned to Congress. They have so structured and defined the question that people no longer look at the actual principles and instead vote on this false dichotomy.

John Cusack’s interview with Jonathan Turley is a good read if you like intelligent discussions by smart people who put what is important about an issue to the fore. This is in marked contrast with the Mainstream Media that puts trivial, ephemeral concerns front and center of any discussion and utterly ignore the underlying issues that do underlie all our major issues. In a way, it is not their fault since they see their job as merely to mirror the concerns of ordinary citizens who don’t want to think too deeply about anything whether it is the world of national and international affairs or even personal issues. Once there was a notion that the media would serve three important purposes, inform us on significant events that are bound to affect our lives, provide education about the world, and to keep track of the truth and hold politicians accountable. This has not even come close to be its role in recent years and is unlikely to be because the general consensus reality that this media has been presenting to us is the normal American consensus reality. This is the world we live in. Thus Obama is on the left and Romney is on the right. Never mind what left and right means or whether these people really fit the mold-they actually don’t because they are both opportunists-essentially, guns for hire who will pretty much represent their clients’ interest and guess what? We will never be their clients.

Apr 03

Who decides who’s “viable”?

     

Following up on one of my previous posts, I want to post regarding Glenn Greenwald's recent shilling for three Democrat Congressional candidates running for their party's nomination.  Specifically, I want to comment on something he said in his opening paragraph:

 "Most  Congressional contests are boring and largely inconsequential; the   vast bulk features certain victory by unnotable incumbents or open-seat   races between Party-approved, script-reading, poll-driven,  cookie-cutter  challengers. But there are a few new candidates for  Congress who are  both genuinely exciting and viable, and thus very much worthy of  attention and support."

 I  put the relevant statement in bold-faced type.  I have to marvel at  Greenwald's curiously contradictory dismissal of candidates he deems not  to be viable, because here he is using his blog to do what journalists  are supposed to do in elections: highlight candidates whose policy  positions are relevant to the electorate, thereby providing voters with  information they need to render good decisions at the ballot boxes.

Shouldn't  it be voters who decide which candidates are viable by casting their  ballots?  How are they supposed to do that when media figures — even  liberal ones — deny them information they need?

 Jill Stein, Roseanne Barr, and Kent Mesplay are all running for the Green Party nomination this year, with Stein so far having won more primaries.  Stewart Alexander is running on the Socialist Party ticket, Gary Johnson is running for the Libertarian Party nomination, and Rocky Anderson  is running on the newly formed Justice Party.  But you wouldn't know  that to hear the mainstream news and blogs tell it; as far as they're  concerned, these candidates aren't "viable", aren't "serious", and are  therefore excluded from all discussion that isn't ridicule.

Regardless  of your political views, shouldn't you as a voter determine which  candidates are worthy of your ballot?  Journalists have an obligation to  provide all the relevant facts, including candidates for public  office.  When certain candidates and political parties are ignored or  dismissed by the mainstream media, it becomes even more important for  them to include such persons in their reporting.  Deny voters the  necessary information, and they cannot render fully informed decisions  at the polls.  This has the effect of disenfranchising voters because  those voters are limited in who they are allowed to vote for, and in  such circumstances the options are almost always limited to candidates  who represent the polar opposite of the public interest.

 I am not asking Greenwald or any other media personality to endorse  any candidates they don't wish to endorse.  Nor should they.  But if  Americans are to have any hope of using the electoral system to generate  real, substantive change for the better, they deserve to have all  candidates reported on objectively so that they may decide for  themselves who is "viable" and who isn't.

   

Mar 22

Green Candidate Wins Primaries, Blasts Obama

Green Party* candidate Jill Stein, who ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2010, has taken the lead for her party’s nomination to run for president against dictator Barry Obama and whoever his Republican counterpart is this November.

According to Ballot Access News and other sources, Stein has won enough of the vote in various state primaries to qualify for matching funds.  She is competing for the Green Party nomination with Kent Mesplay and Roseanne Barr, the latter of whom she did a Skype session with to Greens across the country.

Stein has blasted Obama for his many betrayals.  She criticized his signing of the FAA Re-authorization bill, which further erodes unions, his overtures of war against Iran, his decision to support portions of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would cause further destruction to the environment and jeopardize human health and safety, his assaults on civil liberties including the “Defense” Authorization that allows American citizens to be imprisoned indefinitely without charge or trial, his taking of single-payer and a public option off the table in favor of an insurance-industry-authored mandate to buy private coverage or face stiff tax penalties, and other far right policies embraced by the incumbent.

Stein’s alternatives to all these things and more reads like a leftist’s dream: a Green New Deal to create environment-friendly jobs, an energy policy dedicated to 100% conversion to clean, renewable sources, expanding Medicare to every American and generous funding of public education (including the forgiveness of student loan debt), protecting America’s Safety Net, and ending America’s imperial wars.

Stein does not appear to be on record so far as to prosecuting America’s war criminals, including Obama, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the thugs in their respective regimes guilty of war crimes, but I can’t imagine she would let them off the hook, since it would only reinforce the notion of total immunity for high-ranking lawbreakers – a travesty of justice.  (I’ll keep you apprised of this as I learn more.)

With many progressives determined to sit out this election, Stein’s candidacy appears to be offering a welcome alternative.

Nov 30

The Obama Primary Challenge That Is

Salon.com’s news editor, Steve Kornacki, lamented yesterday that “Obama won’t face a credible primary challenge”, going on about how the closest thing to a liberal challenge he has comes from Republican candidate Buddy Roemer.  While it is true that many liberals aren’t seeing any “viable” candidates materialize on the left, Kornacki isn’t telling us why that is: the failure of supposedly liberal pundits to report on candidates who are actually running.

And therein lies the catch-22 bloggers like Kornacki can’t seem to escape from.  They complain about Obama, but they refuse to use the public voice they’ve been given to alter the political landscape.  Pundits influence public opinion simply by reporting on someone or something.  And they pass up opportunity after opportunity to do so when they fail to do their journalistic duty.

Because there is a Democrat trying to get himself on the ballot to challenge Obama from the left in next year’s primaries: Aldous Tyler is seeking the nomination to run for president as a liberal Democrat.  His platform hits all the right notes, including opposition to war, taxation of the wealthy, a sustainable energy policy, cleaning up the environment, and restoring and protecting the safety net, among other positions.  Tyler also favors heavily regulating Wall Street and corporations.

So why aren’t supposedly liberal bloggers and pundits giving Aldous Tyler any coverage?  Kornacki writes that “[t]he depths of liberal despair over his presidency are often overstated“, meaning that bitch as they might about Obama, far too many who claim to be liberal aren’t dissatisfied with his policies enough to want to be rid of him – and having so thoroughly bought into the Big Lie that Republicans are just so much worse than any Democrat no matter what the evidence disproving that notion, they fear that any challenge might weaken Obama to the point that the GOP nominee might manage to cheat his way to victory next year.

But it’s Obama’s fault that he is even in such a precarious political position in the first place.  Having made big promises only to cold-bloodedly refuse to even try to deliver on so much as one of them, and after literally adding insult to injury by dissing his party’s official base, it’s no wonder that his campaign is looking a lot more like Al Gore’s and John Kerry’s lackluster, doomed efforts than, say, Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election drive.  So coming out of a primary challenged beaten up and vulnerable isn’t exactly a legitimate excuse not to cover challengers, especially ones from the left of the political divide.

Isn’t it time to break the self-imposed media blackout on left-wing challenges to Obama?  If Democrats are truly fed up with him, and are seeking alternatives, it only makes sense for those blessed with public voices, such as Steve Kornacki, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, or Ed Schultz to use their gifts to report on people like Aldous Tyler.  The media might lament the lack of candidates, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  They only need to be reported on objectively, so voters can render their own decisions.

May 19

The Left is Dead, Long Live the Left (reborn from the right?)

I will first refer to Chris Hedges’ book The Death of the Liberal Class. His analysis of the Americna left’s turning it’s back on the very values it professes is beautifully presented. I will not re-capture his argument here. There are YouTube videos of him giving talks on the subject that I urge you to listen to if you are unfamiliar with his POV. Suffice it to say that what it left of the left is fairly isolated and so far-outside the mainstream that most Americans don’t even know it exists. What the right, for example, terms as “the left” is largely fantasy and projection based on the bizarre idea that Obama is a socialist despite the fact that even rhetorically he is, by Euro standards solidly center-right politically, if not on the right.

The left, in terms of function, today is mainly made up of the extreme right-that is, it is on the right that you see real commitment to revolutionary and fundamental change since the liberals and progressives seemed to have abandoned much interest in the working-class. The militant masses have gone right not left and the most fertile ground for the left is on the libertarian right particularly those gathered around Ron Paul. Paul represents a critical interest that should be first and foremost on any real leftist’s mind. That concern is structural and procedural. How do we re-establish Constitutional rule (in case you haven’t heard it has, in many ways, been suspended) and basic rule-of-law. Honest law, honest law-enforcement, honest courts, and so on are essential. The left cannot succeed at anything if the oligarchs can jail us, torture us, kill us, seize our property, watch us, enter our homes without a warrant often without any reason. Lettres de cachet are now mainstream law. War is carried out on “terror” which is impossible no matter the definition you have of the word-you can have war on France or even a criminal gang but you cannot have a war on terror. Yet this Orwellian term is accepted by the mainstream without any sense of irony, without any question as if it was all perfectly sensible-well it is not in any way sensible. And if you accept that “war” then you accept nonsense and illogic.

It is the libertarian right that is on the forefront of talking about civil liberties, about clearly illegal wars and the growing power of the federal government. As a social democrat it is difficult for me to say “government is the problem” but today I will say that government is the problem. It is the problem because, in most situations and in most of the government, it is acting in the interests of the oligarch class and not the majority of people and furthermore is so constructed that it is furthering an anti-Constitutional, anti-liberty, and anti-human agenda that the libertarian right-wing condemns and the left seems to be ambivalent about. Nothing the government does can be trusted to be anything other than some form of racketeering just as nothing that is said in the mainstream media can be believed even if some of what is said is true. The government is now in service of a criminal class and the right notes that more than the left which seems stunned and hypnotized by the magician Obama.

And worse, it seems more common to see 9/11 skeptics on the right than on the left. The left seems to have swallowed the government/media story without any question–this is stunning in itself. I repeat, even most of the more radical left, including Hedges, accepts the government narrative without question–it is still forbidden on blogs like DKOS to suggest even a minor quibble about the events on 9/11. This to me stamps what is left of the left as dead. When you abandon reason, when you, as a leftist accept government proclamations without question, then how can you consider yourself on the left?

Apr 01

What Is Morality?

Note: I originally posted a version of this at FireDogLake.com, only to see it flagged as spam and my account deactivated.  I guess certain persons don’t like having their lack of any moral foundation challenged.  Oh well.

In my previous two entries, I discussed why it is important for people who call themselves left-wingers to have a solid moral foundation.  To sum up, one cannot call one’s self a progressive or a liberal and support the extreme right-wing policies of those in government.  To support Obama’s continuation and expansion of Bush-Cheney fascist policies, whether directly or by refusing to challenge him electorally, or by simply remaining silent in the face of ongoing crimes and usurpation of Constitutionally delegated powers, is immoral.

But what is morality, and how should the American left apply it to politics?

Jan 23

The Only Hope We Have Left

As The State Of The Union approaches, it is interesting that just recently Dick Cheney endorsed President Obama’s conduct of U.S. Foreign Policy:   Endless Bloodshed, Endless Futile Foreign Occupations, Prediator Drone Mass-Murder, Indefinite Gulag Detentions, CIA Torture Renditions, No Legal system (termination of Habeas Corpus), Criminalizing Whistleblowers, Assassinations, War Profiteering Corruption, etc. — the final proof of the depths of treachery, depravity, and global tyranny that Obama has aggressively promoted and protected.

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You’d think that giving us a Dick Cheney Foreign Policy, and a Mitt-Romney Health Insurance sentence, and a reverse robin-hood Bush-Reagan Tax Policy would be enough rightward, reactionary policy betrayal by Obama, but no.  We will soon hear about Obama’s coming plans for stripping away at Social Security, as he continues to appoint and surround himself with Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Robber Barons when formulating his “public policy” on economics.

Cutting the Debt is, in truth, an important priority for a Country awash in runaway $16 Trillion Dollar Debt — a number impossible to repay — and which threatens the solvency and legitmacy of the U.S. Dollar. But there is a right way to do that, and a wrong way to do that.  

If Obama had any brains, he would stop wasting away Trillions of Dollars on futile, corrupt Foreign Occupations and U.S. mass murder (which has also directly killed more Americans than any “terrorist” ever did, ever could, or ever would).

Instead Obama is going to strip away at Social Security — something that George W. Bush could not do, but under the cover of “bipartisanship” Obama will do.

What hope does this Country have left?   None whatsoever, if we keep supporting Corporatist-Neocon Democrats like Obama, and their unholy GOP counterparts (God Bless America).

But as the 2011-2012 Presidential process begins to get underway, there is one coalition that could offer some real honesty, and some real solutions to our very real problems:



The Only Hope We Have Left

While neither man could win on his own, the combination of Nader and Paul together represent a true left-right “bipartisan” coalition that would be based finally on putting the priorities of ordinary people first, and the priorities of Corporate Oligarchs where they belong — dead on arrival.

It’s time to back such a coalition.

Jan 13

Post-Progressive Anthem

Is there anybody in the world who can hear the word “progressive” without puking?

“We are kinda sorta maybe for some stuff that Republicans kinda sorta maybe aren’t for!”

“We’re Progressives!”

No, we aren’t! We’re DICKHEADS!

Dec 29

A New Third Party. Kucinich: It’s Time!

I received a letter from Dennis Kucinich today.  Dennis reported that the recent census resulted in the need for Ohio to eliminate 2 Congressional districts.  Guess which ones?  

Dennis states:

The New York Times, Newsweek, and Fox News have all recently headlined stories that I may lose my Congressional seat, not through an election, but through redistricting!

Because of this attack on his district, Kucinich has sent out this letter to ask for the suggestions of “We the People” about what he/we should do about this.  I wrote a letter to him suggesting that we form a new, progressive party of the well known politicians who have either been driven out of office or who are feeling incredibly frustrated with the impossibility of accomplishing anything meaningful.

This new third party might be called the “People’s Progressive Party.”

Both Kucinich’s letter and mine are below:

Nov 04

Forget Elections — Framing Should Be the Focus

(updated for coherencea and now available at DKOS)

Framing is not everything but it contains all the problems we speak of. I see several aspects of this problem:

  1. History: the left and center-left in America have not created a historical narrative that makes sense to most Americans as an alternative to both the MSM corporate narrative that is radically ahistorical, i.e., they pick and choose historical facts to present a pro-corporate narrative simply because it is there. I include the MSNBC and Comedy Central pundits in this–the accept at face values unproven and clearly false historical facts as being accepted truths. Don’t ask me to list them right now–I’m not trying to prove anything here just to spur discussion and thought.
  2. Class struggle: any framing of issues has to be done within the context of class-struggle which is very real in this country. The Democratic Party is very afraid of this because they are worried about cultural backlash–yes, there will be a severe cultural backlash from people who are obsessed with American Exceptionalism (the new buzzword on the right) but it’s time that progressives and liberals desacralize that concept–the data doesn’t lie, we are a deeply class-divided society with an entrenched oligarchy with relatively static social movement. What movement there is comes form immigrants who start out relatively poor and within a generation or half a generation return to whatever social class they populated in their native country, e.g., a doctor comes to the U.S and drives a cab until he/she can get their credentials here.
  3. Pragmatism: the left/progressive movement should emphasize pragmatism as a deep American value and use it to frame issues as much as the class-struggle frame. The right in America has descended into a moment where it traffics strictly in fantasies. I’ve heard various discourses on the right in this country and they bear no relationship to reality. These notions can be dismissed easily. For example, their views on health-care are easily repudiated–why didn’t the left do its job? The “debate” that occurred had no basis in fact because the left, did not insist on using facts, studies and the scientific method but were suckered into the MSM narrative that the rest of the world does not exist and “nobody” really knows how to “fix” health care. There is no and was no ambiguity! The only way you fix health-care is through making it a public utility like the rest of the world does. The right-wing and centrist counter-arguments are basically the equivalent of saying the world is flat–disproving that contention is incredibly easy. There is no reasonable argument on their side! Now, as a counter-example there is a reasonable argument for Empire, there is a reasonable argument for authoritarian rule and social Darwinism thought the right doesn’t even bother to make those arguments except in private. People need to be forced to choose between reality and fantasy–the HCR debate was a debate that was entirely conducted in fanstasyland and for this the left bears a lot of responsibility.

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