My opinion means nothing. I have no great moral standing, education or expertise in politics or anything related to it. I only read a few headlines on the blogs this morning and I only watched the second half of the debate last night.
So, for what it’s worth, here are my impressions of what I saw of it:
I guess I look at this campaign/election with two perspectives:
1.The entire thing is a complete sham and it probably doesn’t matter all that much who wins.
2. The President is a ninety pound weakling, with both hands tied behind his back, in the ring with the champion heavy weight prize fighter.
Last night I felt the President gave the impression (intentionally?) of “I’m doing my best under impossible circumstances with an opponent and opposing party that are completely full of crap and I’m tired of it. It may be that we should accept that idea at face value. Well, because they are. However, I have been around long enough to know that nothing is accidental and there are many, many aspects and influences – deceptions and manipulations to this mess.
A few things bothered me greatly about the President’s performance. The worst, to me, was that he articulated no clear vision or path for our country. Nothing to rally around. From what I saw he seemed content to not even mention the most difficult and pressing issues facing our country and planet (although he may have in the first half of the debate).
While he did talk about the need for regulation of the financial industry (and his challenger’s ties to it) and the causes of the crash, I thought it was lackluster and without any passion at all. It almost seemed he knew he could only go so far in criticizing the real power in our country. And his challenger knew it, spewing all manner of nonsense that he seemed incapable of defending against. And he looked like he was resigned to it. Beaten.
OUR ELECTIONS AND GOVERNMENT ARE NOW CONTROLLED BY CORPORATIONS, (foreign and domestic) THE VERY RICH (foreign and domestic) AND FOREIGN GOVERNEMENTS FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE AND OUR PRESIDENT COULDN’T BRING HIMSELF TO EVEN MENTION THE DEMOCRACY DESTROYING CITIZENS UNITED DECISION AT KEY POINTS IN THE DEBATE?
At one point the President was attacked for investing so much in green jobs, Solyndra in particular, with the throw away line that went something like “the President doesn’t pick winners and losers, he just picks losers”. If I remember correctly, he didn’t make a peep about the need to protect our climate and environment. THE MOST DEVASTATING PROBLEM OUR COUNTRY AND PLANET FACE IS CLIMATE CHANGE AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER AND THE PRESIDENT WAS UNABLE TO MENTION IT IN A NATIONALLY TELEVISED DEBATE? AFTER BEING ATTACKED ABOUT HIS ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD?
One of the last questions was something like “how do you view the role of government and how does it differ from your opponent?” Again, the President seemed unable to articulate a clear vision for the role of government. What I remember about his uninspiring, lackluster answer was that he stressed that his job, and the job of government, is to protect the American people against our enemies. Right . His challenger ate his lunch, even mentioning that the role of the President is to “(preserve) protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” I realize how scripted and meaningless everything that comes out of the challengers mouth is, but the lack of anything resembling a strong answer on the role of the government and THE PROTECTION OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTIES from a sitting, democratic President AND CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR, I found most disturbing. It was a perfect opportunity to help clarify some of the difficult issues we face that was lost there.
These are what I consider to be the three most important, most relevant and most difficult challenges for the future of our nation:
1. Protection of our civil liberties as granted us by the Constitution of the United States.
2. The end of Corporate(foreign and domestic) control over our government and elections, wealthy elite (foreign and domestic) control of our government and foreign government control over our government and elections.
3. CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER WE FACE.
And from what I saw they were among the least discussed topics in the debate (at least in the second half that I watched.)
So, I’m left with my two perspectives:
1. The entire thing is a sham, in which case this is all probably a complete waste of time and I should just ignore it and try to go with the flow and try to enjoy life (sadly, this has never been my nature.)
2.The President is out of his league and I should try to help him or something?
While I’ve been leaning heavily toward the first one for quite some time now, I don’t think it automatically excludes the second. If I think about it like that analogy of being in the ring, with both hands tied behind his back, with a heavy weight prizefighter, it gives me some context to consider. Now, I have no idea what the President really thinks or what his ultimate motives actually are (they’re certainly not clear to me), but for now I’m inclined (perhaps for lack of anything else to hope for) to see the President as completely outmatched in the heavy weight fight of his life, in a corrupt system, against all that money and power. The judges, the boxing commission, the entire system bought and paid for. And maybe the corrupt powers that control the system are telling him to take a dive. Perhaps he’s being told to take mini dives? Perhaps, on certain issues (maybe the three I listed above?) he knows he will step on some powerful toes if he goes too far? Who knows?
There was a lot of discussion last night about healthcare, and taxes, and education etc… All important issues that must be addressed. But I think they pale in comparison to the erosion of our privacy rights and constitutional civil liberties. They pale in comparison to the fact that our elected government and our citizens now answer to rich, powerful, foreign and domestic corporations, rich, powerful, foreign and domestic individuals and foreign governments. They pale in comparison to the environmental disasters we are facing right now.
I’m clear that Mr. Romney would be a disaster for our country. But I’m also clear that President Obama would be as well if he continues to ignore the most important challenges we face.
I’m sure there are many decisions and tradeoffs he has to make as president. Maybe at some point he will get tired of being told what to do and get up off the mat, not take the dive AND FIGHT!!!
shocker commented on the blog post European Recession Spilling Over Into Global Economy
Oops, that should be 8/2/11 and 8/5/11
“Indeed, it seems like that has become the conventional wisdom since the economic turmoil in the U.S. immediately after the debt ceiling hostage crisis/fiasco/sham that ended last August causing worldwide panic in the financial markets?
8/2/11 Republicans finally agreed to release the debt ceiling hostage and the President signed the bill raising the ceiling.
8/5/11 Standard and Poor downgraded U.S credit rating for the first time in history.”
shocker commented on the blog post European Recession Spilling Over Into Global Economy
“I can’t believe that anyone tried to trot out as conventional wisdom the idea that Europe’s troubles would cause no economic turmoil in the US.”
It should be obvious to everyone how interconnected the global economy is now. It is amazing how fragile it seems.
Equally obvious, it seems, should be the notion that Europe is not the cause of all (or most?) of the financial corruption/problems etc. in the U.S. Although, watching the media here, that notion may not seem so obvious these days.
Indeed, it seems like that has become the conventional wisdom since the economic turmoil in the U.S. immediately after the debt ceiling hostage crisis/fiasco/sham that ended last August causing worldwide panic in the financial markets?
8/2/12 Republicans finally agreed to release the debt ceiling hostage and the President signed the bill raising the ceiling.
8/5/12 Standard and Poor downgraded U.S credit rating for the first time in history.
The following week, markets around the world (including in the U.S and Europe) had the worst crash since the 2008 crisis.
I understand there is plenty of blame to go around, I just wonder if all the finger pointing and denial isn’t part of why problems never seem to never get solved.
I remember watching the financial channels last summer and I remember how quickly, after the crash, the focus became about the problems in Greece and then Europe. The Debt ceiling hostage crisis became less and less a part of the narrative.
I heard recently that the republicans are threatening another kidnapping of our economy this summer via the debt ceiling limit.
Here we go again.
shocker commented on the blog post Get Ready for the Billion Dollar Flood of Outside GOP Money
One billion dollars from outside groups sounds low to me.
Of course, we have no way of knowing where (or who) the money comes from or where it goes, do we? How could we know how much?
I listen to all the talk about the “free market” and “job killing regulations” and I have to wonder. What is this mythical “free market” they talk about? As far as I can tell the “free market” is controlled by a smaller and smaller number of giant, multi-national corporations and billionaires.
Regulation of the financial industry is a pathetic joke. It doesn’t exist. I suppose the global economy is finally “leveling off”… our working and middle class is now being forced to compete with the rest of the world. Our retirement plans, pension plans and social security are being taken away. All of our labor protections, Environmental protections, public health regulations, food safety regulations, product safety regulations… are disappearing or less and less enforced. Wages will soon follow.
And kiss most of the small businesses goodby. They’re building a Wallmart on every corner (six new ones are being planned for Washington D.C.), a Home depot and maybe a Best Buy next to it. Small businesses will be reduced to competing on ebay or amazon. There are a handful of giant, multinational, corporations that control every industry in this country (the world actually). Whether it’s the media/entertainment industry, the financial/banking industry, the food/farming industry, the defense/weapons industry, the health care industry, the energy industry, the telecom industry, the “Cyber Defense industry”, the technology industry… You can point to from two to seven giant multinationals that control each of them.
These giant multi national corporations are free to spend unlimited, unregulated money, “lobbying” our elected leaders, and literally writing (OR ELIMINATING) the legislation and the laws that regulate them.
AND THESE PEOPLE HAVE THE GALL TO SAY REGULATION IS WHAT’S DESTROYING US? THE REGULATION THAT THEY ARE MOST RESPONSIBLE FOR WRITING AND/OR ELIMINATING?
FREE MARKET? Let’s see,just recently, I heard that a Mexican billionaire (the richest man in the world?) wants to buy (or already has bought) media companies in the United States. Or how about the China corporation buying all those AMC theaters in the United States for billions, oh yeah, and they’re buying banks now as well. And Bank of America is outsourcing tens of thousands of jobs to China. Or the Saudi billionaire who owns? a huge chunk of Newscorp… Who knows who owns what anymore? These are all giant multinational corporations with virtually no accountability, or responsibility to the people of our country or the people of any other country as far as I can tell. Who knows what other countries or their billionaires own in the United States? And who knows what “our” multinational corporations own in other countries or how they influence their governments?
And not a one of them want any regulation unless they are allowed to write them in a way that increases their profits and? reduces the profits of their competitors. Especially small business.
How much money are they spending to influence our elected government?
If we ever find out it will probably be too late. Because, for the most part, most of us haven’t even begun to think about (or want to begin to think about) the ways we are being influenced, threatened, bribed and blackmailed… by those who have hijacked our democracy.
shocker commented on the blog post Booker’s Wall Street Fundraising Past – and Obama’s
Leaving aside the discussion of whether anything in the media can be taken at face value especially post Citizens United, especially during campaign season, especially involving political infighting on cable tv, there are some excellent points made here about the duplicity and corruption of our political parties.
It seems this situation is being used to frame some kind of national debate? (at least by the President) regarding the benefits of private equity?
“I think it’s important to recognize that this issue is not a “distraction.” This is part of the debate that we’re going to be having in this election campaign about how do we create an economy where everybody from top to bottom, folks on Wall Street and folks on Main Street, have a shot at success and if they’re working hard and they’re acting responsibly, that they’re able to live out the American Dream.”
One problem,in my opinion,is that it seems this may be getting framed strictly in terms of economics. Not just part of it. Another problem is that the corporate control of our government was not even mentioned in the press conference that I saw.
No question, the economic challenges we face are huge. But to equate the “American dream” strictly to money, as this answer appears to have done, is wrong. Just as the ruling that money equals free speech is wrong.
“And when you’re President, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot. Your job is to think about those workers who got laid off and how are we paying for their retraining. Your job is to think about how those communities can start creating new clusters so that they can attract new businesses. Your job as President is to think about how do we set up a equitable tax system so that everybody is paying their fair share that allows us then to invest in science and technology and infrastructure, all of which are going to help us grow.”
It’s understood, especially since Citizens United, everything said (especially) during campaign season is suspect. (Sucks I know, but a whole bunch of people were trying to warn about that before the campaign.)
“My job is to make sure that the country is growing not just now, but 10 years from now and 20 years from now.”
Of course, the primary job of the President of the United States of America is to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Sadly, that doesn’t seem to get talked about much. Hell, I don’t think anyone can even agree on (or knows) what the Constitution means. I once had hopes that a Constitutional scholar would help us with that. Besides, at this point, it would come across as insincere, flag waving, campaign, BS.
It seems that there is only one thing that matters in our great country now.
You know, I’m old enough to remember the end of the cold war and all the spies and double agents and all. I remember how people used to talk, in shocked disbelief, about how anyone could betray our great country like that.
And the thing that really disgusted people was not just that someone would betray our great democracy because they believed in communism. The thing that many people were truly sickened by was how some of the traitors would do it just for money.
I have to say I’m having some difficulty keeping up.
“Germany Mulls Greek Euro Exit”
“Bank vs. America – protests outside, inside Bofa shareholder meeting”
“Activists want DNC convention to move of North Carolina after amendment one passage”
shocker commented on the blog post DC Democrats Upset That Feingold Called Out Pelosi’s Game of Footsie with Bowles-Simpson
I have great respect for the former speaker of the house, the progressive caucus and former Senator Feingold.
I don’t pretend to understand everything that is going on with the Social Security/Medicare debate, the Bowles/Simpson commission or this rift with Senator Feingold.
What I do understand, on a fundamental and instinctual level, is that there is way, way too much unaccounted for money, therefore corruption, in our politics and media.
Given that Wall Street has wanted to get their hands on our earned retirement benefits for decades, the only change to Social Security and Medicare I would be in favor, at this point, would be to raise the salary cap for payroll deductions. Clearly there should be some other reforms, but I wouldn’t support anything else unless the Citizens United Supreme Court decision was repealed.
I have great respect and admiration for these leaders. These are fundamental issues for democrats and the survival of democracy as we know it. I truly want to be able to stand with them.
“More to come, now if any media in this country care to notice.”
And the, obviously, relevant question is:
What possible reasons could our media have for not covering this story to the hilt?
shocker commented on the blog post White House Nixes Executive Order Prohibiting LGBT Discrimination By Federal Contractors
Good lord, the political horseshit is getting deep. Let’s see, if my calculations are correct, the first term ended and the campaign started about 6 months to a year ago (or maybe the campaign never ended?)
“Over the past couple weeks, not one but two potential restrictions on them have been lifted.” I would include another I saw in Monday’s WaPo (4/9/12 p.A10):
“U.S. to allow larger companies to qualify as small businesses”. Obviously, this does not support small businesses.
I would be up in arms about this latest outrage from our current president regarding this LGBT discrimination issue, but I’m tired of being jerked around by the latest headline.
Everything in the media is beginning to feel like a big campaign marketing/PR/propaganda/BS shell game to me. “Look at this, look at this, look at this… here’s the issue right here” then the next day, “stop looking at this, now look at that…” My, my, how easily distracted we are.
Whether with the divisions of gay rights issues, women’s issues, birth control, abortions, religion, the environment, labor, jobs, small business big business, health care, fear of terrorism, fear of everything… we are being manipulated, jerked around and distracted in more ways than you can shake a stick at.
And what we do get from our current president?
“While it is not our usual practice to discuss Executive Orders that may or may not be under consideration, we do not expect that an Executive Order on LGBT non-discrimination for federal contractors will be issued at this time,”
I may be wrong, but it feels like the psychological equivalent of the “good cop, bad cop” routine that they seem to be laying on everybody. It may be subtle, but I think the insinuation may be there: “if the gay community supports my campaign I can help you, if not well…?” And this seems to be the game they play with everybody, from big business issues, to minority issues, to women’s issues… And perhaps, not long before the election, they will allow some key “victories” regarding some of them. While all the time giving a wink and a nod to big business. Kabuki and a half.
Playing both sides against the middle. Or all sides against all other sides.
I wish I understood all the ways we are all influenced and manipulated by the corporations, the corporate media, and our political parties. And I wish I could communicate them better.
Look over here! The issue is the way we are being influenced and jerked around, and distracted, and divided (by marketers, the corporate media and our political parties)to the point where can no longer focus on the most pressing problems we face, the environment, sustainability, a just and fair economy, a just and fair judicial system, civil liberties…
The issue is that our government is literally controlled by multinational corporate interests that don’t give a shit (other than a little green washing etc… lip service) about our country or our people. Only profit and power.
“…don’t just repress your opponents, have them repress each other.
That’s what American-style freedom is all about.”
This is an important point. It’s clearly not only relevant in this case, though. Many, if not all, of our differences are exploited and manipulated in the media and everywhere. From religious differences (Christian vs. Muslim, vs. Jewish vs…) to racial differences, to pitting environmentalists against unions as was done during the XL pipeline debate… even women vs. men. It seems the supply of differences to manipulate and exploit are endless for those trying to make a name (or money) for themselves. Or those trying to distract and deflect attention from some of the huge problems we face.
Not the least of which is the unbelievable influence (and control) giant multi national corporate interests and the super rich have over our government.
Our diversity, inclusion and compassion are our country’s most valuable and honorable assets. But instead of working together to celebrate and promote these incredible characteristics that, as far as I can remember, our country has taken great pride in, many of our so called “leaders” are working to destroy for their own selfish gain.
I’d like to hear the argument, given the current climate of attacks on the viability of social security, that it is a good idea for anyone, much less democrats, to propose a cut in payroll taxes. If the only arguement is that it will make republicans look bad in the media, it’s a big, stupid gamble in my opinion. Especially knowing that the media is owned by the very people trying to cut/eliminate social security. Of course, it is getting more and more difficult to tell where the democratic stands on anything these days.
Nothing but kabuki.
Beautiful song. Thanks for posting it.
Sometimes I forget. Through all the war, violence, greed, division, mayhem, corruption, unfairness, lack of responsibility and my own anger at it… Through my own failures and dissapointments… sometimes I forget to see things that make life worth living.
“Never mind, I’ll find someone like you… I wish nothing but the best for you.”
You know, regardless of the way cynical “leaders” have exploited the hopes and dreams of our people there is always a spirit of possibility that will never disappear as long as we continue to look for it. And work to share that sentiment “I wish nothing but the best for you” with others.
Good to know what you’re fighting for.
shocker commented on the blog post GOP Poll: Gingrich Now Tops the Field, Cain Falling Fast
Saw this at hullabaloo:
Gingrich to OWS: “Go get a job right after you take a bath”
From a religious forum the GOP candidates participated in.
“All of the occupy movements start with the premise that we all owe them everything. The take over a public park they didn’t pay for; To go nearby to go to bathrooms they didn’t pay for; to beg for food from places they didn’t pay for; to instruct those who go to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park, so they can self-righteously proclaim that they are the paragons of virtue for which we owe everything.”
“Now that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country and why you need to assert something as simple as saying to them, “Go get a job right after you take a bath”
So we should all grovel at the feet of the powerful for allowing us unworthy 99% to breathe the very air that they so generously have provided for us? They will allow us to exist, you see, as long we have jobs, shut up, and don’t speak out about their abuses of power.
This is fucking sick.
And if you do stand up (or sit down) you will no longer be breathing the air, you will be breathing a throatful of chemical pepper spray.
shocker commented on the blog post Live Blog for #Occupy Movement: Day 59, Occupy Wall Street Camp is Gone
When a Billionaire, acting like a bully, can buy a powerful “leadership” position, when a billionaire, acting like a bully, can buy media and use PR/spin/marketing/propaganda/BS to justify actions like this, when a billionaire, acting like a bully, can randomly and selectively enforce laws in ways that ultimately damage our nation’s higher values of civil and constitutional liberties for all of our citizens…
We have to question whether those who hold “leadership” positions are actually providing the leadership our representative democracy requires.
Thinking about leadership in that way, it almost seems impossible for an actual leader to hold a leadership position in our corporate/media/government.
When I take the time to consider what real leadership means, it seems much less exciting and glamorous?, to me, than perhaps it is portrayed in our media culture (if it is ever portrayed in media). I believe real leadership is personal and requires a large dose of humility, making many acts of leadership unknown to the majority of people. Almost by definition, real acts of leadership are not done for profit or credit, but simply because they’re the right thing do.
Leadership is making the hard choices, the ones that often don’t make us “look good”. Leadership is a set of values, courage, compassion, humility, honesty…, that I often like to write about in blog comments…
and too often fail to live up to in my own life.
Sadly, I’m not familiar with Edward Hopper, but I think I get your point, and it’s a good one. I’m not an artist, though I do appreciate the artistic perspective and context from you and Glenn.
Something is definitely missing from the canvas, from the music, of leadership in our country.
Misplaced values? Or perhaps it’s that too many of them are simply untrustworthy?
Cheap, production line knockoffs of the real thing?
“Why do they want to reduce life some a kind of shadow life, a life in which everything but their own power or pursuit of power is without meaning?
It seems this type of smallness of thinking somehow, in our media culture, is what passes for leadership and strength?
Actual leadership, actual strength, I believe, is doing what is right simply because it’s right and good for society. Without looking for credit or profit. (Is that considered blasephemy in our society?)
Nice post, thank you.
shocker commented on the blog post Bill Daley Relieved of the Chief of Staff Part of the Chief of Staff Job
For a long time I couldn’t understand it. I couldn’t understand how conservatives can think the media is ” the left wing, liberal, drive by media” (or whatever they call it), and, on the other hand, progressives think the media is a corporate owned propaganda echo chamber (which it is of course).
So the corporate media narrative is: “if both extremes hate the media it must be just right”
Likewise, progressives think the President is too conservative/corporate and, on the other hand, the conservatives think the President is too liberal or socialist or whatever…
So the corporate media narrative is…
shocker commented on the blog post Bill Daley Relieved of the Chief of Staff Part of the Chief of Staff Job
“A couple things here. Daley was more a symbol than anything else, something the Administration could hang up in the West Wing and say “see, we’re not anti-business, ex-JPMorgan Chase banker Bill Daley is here!” I guess he doesn’t actually have to do his job to remain as that symbol.”
So, now that it’s campaign season and the winds of “change” are blowing in a different direction…
You know, I truly hate how cynical I’ve become.
I really don’t see that I will ever have any trust in a politician again, until they prove to me (when it’s not campaign season) that they are not double talking, double dealing, multi national corporate monopoly mouthpieces.
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