Going Electric…

By any fair measurement the 111th Congress and the first two years of the Obama Administration have been an incredibly productive time. The list of real legislative accomplishments is long and so is the list of new Executive orders, Presidential Memorandas, rule making and changes to the way the Federal Government is run.

But of course, none of that matters because not everything desired has been accomplished and there have been some compromises along the way that make some of the successes less than perfect. Worst than all of that has been the process used to pursue these policies–Barack Obama just will not follow the game plan of the very knowledgeable pundits, bloggers, activists and thinkers of the left. And we are repeatedly told that this failure of process will lead to our collective doom.

Over and over again we are assured–on issue after issue–that Obama does everything wrong, that he is a sell-out (worse than Bush) and that he must be opposed. And yet somehow progress keeps being made.

This outrage at Obama is something I find curious.

Now I’m not talking about the existence of some specific policy disagreements on specific issues. There are many important issues to advocate for, fight for and to call the Obama Administration to task over when it makes a error–and there have been some errors. But some specific policy disagreements here and there do not–in and by themselves–explain the endless rage at Obama by some on the left. For many the goals and the policies to achieve those goals seem to far less important than the process used to pursue these shared goals. It is this rage about process that I find curious.

As I read the posts and listen to the talking heads voicing this rage it seems that their real beef with Obama is all about process and priorities–strategies and tactics. The anger seems to rooted in the way that Obama approaches issues and not what his goals are. The way that Obama pursues his policy goals seems to piss these folks off far more than the outcomes (which, more often than not, are squarely on the progressive side of the ledger).

The main objection seems not to be about the goals as they seem to be shared between Obama and those who rage at him from the left–but rather to be about the way Obama moves towards these goals in the short term and in the long term. And it is Obama’s focus on the long term that seems to be at the root of most of the rage.

Last week I was glancing through Pravda on the Potomac and one of their writers, Glenn Thrush, came up with an analogy that provided me a fresh way to think about this endless Obama rage. In an otherwise typically useless Politico article, he wrote:

And liberals say President Barack Obama is the biggest sell-out since Bob Dylan went electric.

Setting aside the intentional ‘hippie punching’ of the usage in Politico, I still found the analogy to be an interesting way to think about the nonstop grudge-filled rage that some of the left direct towards Obama and anybody who still supports him. I think the Obama process battles have generated a rage that is similar to that old rage directed at Dylan.

Decades ago, Dylan outraged his folk music fan base by using a process to present his music that they did not understand. Dylan shocked these folksters when plugged in an electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. He turned the established process for how things are done on its head and changed what was possible. More than anything, Dylan let the self-appointed guardians of American music know that he would not be constrained by their narrow definition of what worked, what was allowed and how music could be played. Bob plugged in and told the world that trying new things was cool.

Here is the clip of that moment

When Dylan went electric it freaked some people out and they hated it. They did not hate the songs. They hated the way that Dylan present the music. They hated that it was different and at odds with the way they thought his music should be presented. Dylan had a very hard time accepting their rage as sensible on any level and from time to time he lashed out at them with comments that some folks today might call ‘attacking his base’.

The analogy struck a chord of relevance with me because time proved Dylan right and the process outrage of the folksters just looks silly in retrospect. And two years into the Obama Administration I think the same can be said about all the process rage directed at President Obama. Perhaps I’m wrong here and all these very knowledgeable pundits, bloggers, activists and thinkers of the left are correct and history will prove their case.

But I doubt that.

From the moment Obama announced his run for the White House to now he has been following his own process and priorities–strategies and tactics–to meet some pretty ambitious progressive goals. So far, the list of accomplishment is long and I doubt there would be a fraction of these successes if he had stuck with the orthodox and predictable game plans of very knowledgeable pundits, bloggers, activists and thinkers who claim to have all the answers for progressive victory. Hell, if he followed their advice he would have never been elected in the first place. And yet for all their rage about how Obama is not following their game plan it is very hard to think of any victories won by anybody who has ever followed their advice.

Based on the evidence so far I think Obama’s approach to getting shit done is more like Dylan’s. I think he has gone electric and that he is changing what is possible in real time. He has produced real results and I expect that the next two years will produce more.

Time will tell.

Those outraged at questions of process have already thrown in the towel and sing their songs of doom daily. I am sure some will express their process outrage in the comments. So it goes.

It may be useful to have a new tag “Obama goes electric” to have at the ready as more and more outburst of outrage erupt from these self-appointed guardians of ‘progressive’ thought in the coming two years. I get that they hate Obama over his refusal to follow their advice, but if we do have any victories in the coming two years it will be because Obama has followed his own plan and not theirs. I get that they hate that reality, but I still find it to be a curious thing.

Anyway, this is a late evening/early morning post that I hope will give all the good folks on the overnight crew something to argue about discuss.

Have fun and be nice (if you know how).

Cheers

291 replies
  1. 1
    low-tech cyclist says:

    But of course, none of that matters because not everything desired has been accomplished…

    It still all comes down to global warming. I hate to keep being Johnny One-Note here, but no matter how long the list of other accomplishments is, failure on this one ultimately erases all the other successes.

    Maybe the EPA regulation will suffice. One can only hope.

  2. 2
    General Stuck says:

    This outrage at Obama is something I find curious.

    Let me ask the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

  3. 3
    General Stuck says:

    Maybe the EPA regulation will suffice. One can only hope.

    Not until there is beach combing on the Capital Building east lawn.

  4. 4
    JWL says:

    Kudos.

    A twenty-three old David Broder could hardly have put it better, Dennis G.

  5. 5
    danimal says:

    Waiting until Monday morning to post would have guaranteed a 500-comment thread….

    I voted for Obama because it was apparent to me that he wanted to get stuff done and would use whatever process was most effective to achieve his goals. I’m not disappointed. He’s been the center-left mainstream Democrat that I expected.

    Some of his lefty opposition is because Obama’s not the radical that FoxNews fears and some of his lefty opposition is because he doesn’t want to run up the score and crush the GOP opposition. Beyond that, I can only surmise that some folks enjoy the butthurt.

  6. 6
    mr. whipple says:

    I think the Obama process battles have generated a rage that is similar to that old rage directed at Dylan.

    What angers some of these folks is that Obama doesn’t channel their impotent rage at Republicans. They want him to beat up Republicans for them, even if the result is getting nothing done. You see this in their endless focus on Obama, and little on Republicans.

    The Puff the Magic Dragon people are really, really angry but not very good at fighting.

  7. 7
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Damn it. This is a very good post, dengre. And I will have to bow out of it pretty soon because it’s going to devolve into the usual shitty arguments (some concerning General Stuck’s gorilla). Sigh.

  8. 8
    Cassidy says:

    It’s all projection. The “Far Left” wanted Dave Chapelle. They got Wayne Brady instead.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Dennis G. says:

    @low-tech cyclist:
    I think your right that the failure to act on Climate Change may be the biggest fuck-up of our lifetime.

    The EPA action concerning Texas last week is something, but the things that can be done through Executive Action alone will never be as strong as action backed up with new legislation. We are entering into a phase where Executive Action will need to be more confrontational than it was in the last two years–and that might force some Congressional action. Still what ever is done will not be anywhere near the scale of the problem.

  11. 11
    General Stuck says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    As Dennis G states, there is no rational argument to explain the Obama fail mania from the left. It is purposeful and does not assimilate even the most basic common sense concerning Obama’s historically splendid first two years in office. If someone could provide me with a sane analysis to explain it, then I will show that gorilla the door.

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Why does it matter if some people think the accomplishments of Democrats and this administration aren’t the most amazing things ever?

  13. 13
    ruemara says:

    @Cassidy:
    And wtf does that mean? Neither of those guys are threatening in any way.

  14. 14
    muddy says:

    I think it’s because he gives too good of a speech. His speeches sound like the Revolution is commencing, but then he sits down at his desk and starts working quietly. It’s confusing.

  15. 15
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @General Stuck: Yep. Right there with you on the gorilla. Er. You know what I mean. I’ve read some of the more virulent protests against Obama, and he should just treat them like the nutters because they will never be satisfied with anything he does.

  16. 16
    ABL says:

    I want to get my comment in under the 30 mark (maybe… I’m on my phone and the typing is slow as she goes; I imagine the usual chorus of nitwits have already pied…erm….chimed in):

    FUCKING BRAVO.

    ::ahem::

  17. 17
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    I’m reading David Halberstam’s War in a Time of Peace just now, and Bill Clinton did much, much worse in his first two years.

    I’m thinking of blogging my take tomorrow and will link back here for Dennis’s wealth of links. Thanks, Dennis.

  18. 18
    Dennis G. says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:
    It doesn’t matter. I would hardly expect a member of the Republican Confederate Party to share my view of progress. OTOH I would expect that of folks who identify themselves as a ‘progressive’ or ‘liberal’ or Democrat to be thrilled at all that has been accomplished.

    It is the outrage at Obama and Democrats over process–and not results–by these folks that I find curious.

  19. 19
    handy says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Just more hippie-punching. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  20. 20
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    “The scope of everything achieved was truly remarkable. Barack Obama deserves and A or A+.”

    ~ Al Hunt, Bloomberg News

  21. 21
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    “I think this one (Obama Agenda 2009-2010) edges the Great Society. It is at least on par with the Great Society. For all the dysfunction (in Congress), it was just astonishing what they were able to get done.”

    ~ Congressional scholar Norm Ornstein

  22. 22
    ruemara says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Here’s my question. Why is acknowledging that there are positive accomplishments from the Obama administration akin to “MOST AMAZING THING EVER”?

    You taking it to a point of hyperbole that is not in the original post.

  23. 23
    kwAwk says:

    DennisG said:

    The analogy struck a chord of relevance with me because time proved Dylan right and the process outrage of the folksters just looks silly in retrospect. And two years into the Obama Administration I think the same can be said about all the process rage directed at President Obama. Perhaps I’m wrong here and all these very knowledgeable pundits, bloggers, activists and thinkers of the left are correct and history will prove their case.

    This is a great analogy and I think you hit the nail on the head. People got upset about Dylan because he ceased to be a traditional folk musician, as Obama ceased to be a traditional liberal.

    But who is to say that Dylan was right? Who is to say Obama is right? Both have disappointed their fans and their base by making dramatic changes. When you make dramatic changes to yourself like that people can sometimes start to question whether you are the person you used to be or are you the person you are now. What about the person you were before or was that fake? People lose trust in you and you lose the benefit of the doubt. And people who liked you and identified with you before when you were the person you were before begin to think that maybe the rejection of your former self is possibly a rejection of them.

    If you’re not able to explain your decisions clearly as both Dylan and Obama failed to do, then it could come across as disdain for your former fans. People get invested in people you know?

  24. 24
    tractor says:

    So the American people gave Obama both houses of Congress for his first two years, and they actually passed some progressive legislation. And I guess that means we should all just shut up about the things that aren’t happening, like good little sheeple.

    For instance, despite widespread criminal fraud that occurred in the financial sector, the Obama justice department has chosen to prosecute nobody. Crimes, were committed, but, hey, Obama wants to look forward, not backward.

    Yes they passed a financial reform bill. But what has really changed? Banks are still too big to fail. We don’t have effective regulation of derivatives. Bankers are still taking the same types of risks. We’ve simply further institutionalized large-scale moral hazard.

    Wars are still being fought, strong as ever. Government power of summary detention is going strong as ever, and in fact Obama is looking to strengthen it.

    And perhaps the biggest problem the country faces is the increasing income and wealth disparities, which contribute to the concentration of political power among the few. Being progressive means challenging that dynamic. Nothing Obama has done, not financial reform nor health care reform, even scratches the surface of that problem.

    I like this blog, but sorry, not going to join in the Obama worship.

  25. 25
    NobodySpecial says:

    It’s almost typical. Not Dengre’s post, of course.

    As I read the posts and listen to the talking heads voicing this rage it seems that their real beef with Obama is all about process and priorities—strategies and tactics. The anger seems to rooted in the way that Obama approaches issues and not what his goals are. The way that Obama pursues his policy goals seems to piss these folks off far more than the outcomes (which, more often than not, are squarely on the progressive side of the ledger).

    If you talk to some of the angriest, I’m sure they’ll argue that the things that pissed them off the most (Secret deal before ACA to eliminate the public option being one example) are either proof that Obama doesn’t really care about that issue or that Obama is actively opposed to that issue. It’s hard to convince people that you really care about something when your actions are deliberate and don’t lead toward the desired outcome. That’s a large perceived negative, when you consider that people have been raised on the last 40 years of the narrative that the angry hippie stopped the war, helped eliminate segregation, and generally put the world right until evil Gen X came along and undid everything.

    Of course, then you get the mouthbreathers like Stucky, who insist it’s all racism, when the real reason is the lack of immediate gratification. But whatever.

  26. 26
    Dennis G. says:

    @handy:
    Actually, it is old folkster punching if you want to be technical. It turns out that the hippies really liked Dylan just as most (over 80% on average) progressives, liberals and Democrats really support Obama.

    The so-called professional left are not hippies. They are more like old folksters raging on about loud music and kids these days.

  27. 27
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    “a fitting end to two years with more significant legislative victories since LBJ (or even FDR, depending on how you score these things). Which is why President Obama had good reason to sound as confident as he did today.”

    ~ Even the liberal, Huffington Post

  28. 28
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    I feel sorry for Politico. They spent 7 months pushing blackjimmycarter meme, trying to get payback for shrub’s self inflicted failed administration, and now they’re back to square one.

  29. 29
    Cassidy says:

    Tractor wanted Dave Chapelle. Keeping it real hasn’t gone wrong enough for him yet.

  30. 30
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    Balloonbaggers believe that if a government official does three halfway decent things, while also doing 17 terrible things, including Nuremberg-prosecutable war crimes, then that government official is competent, sufficient, and worthy of all praise, and Mission Accomplished also too.
    .
    .

  31. 31
    General Stuck says:

    @tractor:

    Ever heard of Operation Stolen Dreams concerning mortgage fraud, and much of what happened on Wall Street with derivatives was actually legal, but there are still investigations occurring. We just don’t hear about them until they are completed, and arrests made, if laws were broken.

    And Obama is not torturing people, not rendering them to be tortured, and whatever mess Bush left over for detention, is being blocked from bringing those folks to US soil and trying them. Iraq is still on course per the previous status of forces agreement there, and Obama always said he would continue fighting the war in Afghan, though has put some limits on even that. It is not perfect, but it is progress, ie progressive.

  32. 32
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: The reason it matters is 2012 and 2016.

  33. 33
    chris says:

    Here’s the deal: the sitting President actually has two jobs. The first is President of the United States. The second is leader of his party.

    Obama is doing some good on the first count. He has disastrous on the second. How the GOP could win back the House of Representatives only two years after their policies crashed the economy is a subject historians will debate for generations, but I’m pretty sure that Obama’s name will figure prominently into the conversation, very rarely in a positive way.

  34. 34
    General Stuck says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    Of course, then you get the mouthbreathers like Stucky, who insist it’s all racism, when the real reason is the lack of immediate gratification. But whatever.

    In your particular case, I would just called it permanent WATB syndrome. Now take that thumb out of your mouth and sit up straight.

  35. 35
    ino shinola says:

    Bill Clinton was like the Beach Boys. Whitewater was kinda like when Mike Love went crazy and “Good Vibrations” reminds me of after he got acquitted. The whole Pet Sounds album fits in there somewhere.

    I always liked electric Dylan, why am I disappointed with Obama? I’m so confused.

    Could we just talk politics? Or not.

  36. 36
    Steeplejack says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    One of my favorite sketches. It has become a running joke with a coworker. “Is Steepman gonna have to choke a bitch customer?”

  37. 37
    General Stuck says:

    @chris:

    Representatives only two years after their policies crashed the economy is a subject historians will debate for generations, but I’m pretty sure that Obama’s name will figure prominently into the conversation, very rarely in a positive way.

    And here we go again with this left wing zombie meme. Democrats voted in normal numbers for a mid term. The reason dems lost is that wingnuts and seniors went to vote in larger than normal numbers because Obama passed HCR,

  38. 38
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): To Add (I now wish there could be a permanent ETA ability to comments event if you can’t modify) I am not replying to JSF’s “greatest thing ever” comment. I am replying to the need to get over the process issue.

  39. 39
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    next glenn tweet:

    “if joseph goebbels were an obama fanatic and had a blog, balloon-juice is exactly what it would look like.”

  40. 40
    Ruckus says:

    The long term vs the short term.
    Looking around at most of the problems that we have not only here in the US but around the world, the one pretty common thread is short term thinking has got us where we are. Quarterly profits, not company health. Huge bonuses even in a crappy year, because short term money was made. Screw the rule of law, foreclose because banks have to have a profit every day/quarter. Foreign policy, support dictators because, I can’t even think of a good short term reason. War. We will attack a country who can’t defend itself very well so we don’t need to build up a proper force, have the draft or even think of the consequences other than we look good, so profit. Of course it’s wrong but why worry our little selves about that? Short term thinking gets short term answers, but this is a long term world and short term answers rarely are correct.
    So a president that thinks long term, gets what he can, lives on to fight another day, I’d call that pretty damn smart. Way smarter than all the pundits who can’t find their asses with both hands on a sunny day.

  41. 41
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @tractor:

    I like this blog, but sorry, not going to join in the Obama worship.

    GAWD, I wish people would give this type of shit up and just respond to the blog posts/other comments. This whole “I’m not going to be an O-bot” thing is the definition of a strawman and contributes nothing. Actually, it totally undermines any otherwise good argument a person might make.

  42. 42

    @General Stuck: Also because the party in power almost always loses in mid-terms.

    And, finally and most importantly — it’s the Economy, Stupid.

  43. 43
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): I agree with Dennis G. that it doesn’t matter but if you really think it does matter, being resentful, snotty and high-handed prolly isn’t gonna warm ’em up to how awesome they oughta think things are.

    People are weird like that.

  44. 44
    Uloborus says:

    @tractor: I believe has put his finger on one of the most crucial points by making himself Exhibit A.

    Most of the angry left want REVENGE, not good governance. Obama’s accomplishments already would be impressive even if he wasn’t facing a Republican opposition that has ceased to even pretend they’re playing the game fairly. But none of those accomplishments are significant, because they weren’t served up with a side of Revenge. Bush and Cheney haven’t been arrested and the banks and the insurance industries haven’t been dismantled. That’s all they care about, not fixing the problems those people caused or preventing those problems from happening again.

  45. 45
    ruemara says:

    @tractor:
    Here’s a few things:
    For instance, despite widespread criminal fraud that occurred in the financial sector, the Obama justice department has chosen to prosecute nobody. Crimes, were committed, but, hey, Obama wants to look forward, not backward.
    Actually, there are few, if any, crimes committed. Why, because what was done involved bending the rules til they screamed. There are current investigations and are now some few criminal charges being posted, but determining the depth and possibility of there being criminal acts was always going to take forever.

    Yes they passed a financial reform bill. But what has really changed? Banks are still too big to fail. We don’t have effective regulation of derivatives. Bankers are still taking the same types of risks. We’ve simply further institutionalized large-scale moral hazard.
    I can guarantee that if there was a bill that reinstated Glass-Steagal Obama would sign it. I guarantee that a stronger financial regulation bill would also have been signed. I can’t exempt the President for doing or not doing enough to have a stronger bill, because I don’t know what was done by him, but I will say that the law is written in Congress. Period. And far too many Democratic Senators elected to work for their future job than for real financial reform.

    Wars are still being fought, strong as ever. You expected President Obama to end war? Ok.
    Government power of summary detention is going strong as ever, and in fact Obama is looking to strengthen it.</i. Congress has voted against closing Guantanamo. We have few alternatives that can be stomached by our fear ridden populace and the one avenue they've come up with is an EO that codifies indefinite detention. I'm not in favor of it, I do not want this and while I think we need to fight this, I also don't think it's just up to the president. I think we need to accept that we do horrible things as a nation and we have no real proofs that could satisfy our laws ergo they should go free. But I also know that this will eventually come back to us, some how, some day. I'm just not fearful enough for it to be a policy.

    And perhaps the biggest problem the country faces is the increasing income and wealth disparities…Being progressive means challenging that dynamic. Nothing Obama has done, not financial reform nor health care reform, even scratches the surface of that problem.
    I’m sorry, but you want the President to deal with income disparity. In 2 years, craft policy that resolves wealth inequality and income disparity. With the current Congress. OK. I’d like to introduce you to the greatest barrier to progressive policy besides the American Voter. American Congress, meet this commentator. Duke it out.

    I like this blog, but sorry, not going to join in the Obama worship.
    Seriously, saying there are positive accomplishments that are remarkable in face of the obstruction from friend and foe alike is worship? Ok. Fair enough, different strokes.

  46. 46

    @kwAwk: People are always the person they are now. They are not the people they were in the past, unless they fail to grow. People that don’t evolve and change are boring.

    people can sometimes start to question whether you are the person you used to be or are you the person you are now.

    Furthermore, Dylan and Obama both offered explanations for why they did what they did. Your failure to accept those explanations doesn’t mean they weren’t given.

  47. 47
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @chris: From what I have read, the history of the 2010 elections has already been written: The Democrats lost about the same number of House seats that a party loses with a first term president of the same party as the House leadership. What was surprising is that this is the first time that the House and Senate did not flip together.

  48. 48
    General Stuck says:

    “asim”

    Also because the party in power almost always loses in mid-terms. And, finally and most importantly—it’s the Economy, Stupid.

    Yup, especially that last one. It is something of a minor miracle we kept the senate. Though maybe we should thank the tea party for that.

  49. 49
    mr. whipple says:

    And perhaps the biggest problem the country faces is the increasing income and wealth disparities,

    I thought the biggest problem is global warming, and since that is the only thing that matters, your issue is meaningless because were all gonna fucking DIE!!!!!

  50. 50
    tractor says:

    @General Stuck
    Regarding the financial crisis, my take is that criminal fraud was widespread and not all that hard to identify with proper regulation and enforcement. And much of it continues to this day. Karl Denninger provides a good synopsis in a post about the coming WikiLeaks BofA material:

    “There’s no “scoop” here. One need only open one’s eyes to see massive and outrageous scams and frauds top to bottom. Do mortgage-backed securities actually have mortgages in them, or was that a multi-trillion dollar scam? Were all those CDOs and such honestly created, or did banks intentionally misrepresent who bespoke what and for what purpose? Where did the over $150 billion valuation write-down go that Bank of America took when it got a $15 TAF loan – and where did all the other 90% write-downs go on the other bank balance sheets? We know where they didn’t go – they were never accounted for in any earnings report and yet auditors and examiners passed on these financial statements, capital ratios and current financial condition on multiple occasions, fully-aware of The Fed’s “valuation marks” on these securities.

    “The schemes and games have been – and still are – “in your face.” Our failure as a nation in regulation and governance is a failure to look, not a failure of ability to see. The evidence is quite literally right under their – and our noses. There is no scoop here – there is, instead, willful and intentional blindness that has, and continues to, screw the public and promote a claim of “economic recovery” that is in fact fraudulently false.”

    Justice has not been served in any way, shape, or form. I’m going to go ahead and call it a travesty of justice. Or a case where justice applies to the common people, but not the privileged.

    And okay, Obama is probably not torturing people. But we’re setting the bar pretty low now aren’t we? Obama is not Bush, and certainly not worse than Bush. But with respect to the national security state, he hasn’t seemed inclined to change much of the Bush-era policies.

  51. 51
    MH says:

    Shorter Dennis G:

    “It must be very strange to be President Obama. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.”

  52. 52
    Ron Beasley says:

    I don’t really blame Obama he’s just part of a really broken system. As we have seen it really doesn’t matter which tribe is in charge it’s the Oligarchs of Wall Street that are calling the shots. Ayn Rand has won a temporary victory – temporary because it’s a house of cards built on greed and it’s all going to come crashing down very soon. We should be looking to pick up the pieces in a constructive way when it does. Peak “cheap oil” and the chaos created by climate change are upon us and it’s too late to do anything to mitigate the impact. Collapses and Dark Ages are painful for those living at the time but historically Phoenix has risen from the ruins. In this case it won’t be Phoenix, AZ however – it will be one of the first ghost towns.

  53. 53
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    but…. but…. but what about the bully pulpit?

  54. 54

    Interestingly, I was talking about this with my Father, tonight. He’s a man with, among other things, a scar from his Civil Rights work “back then”. On the flip side, we both separately, and unknown to the other (we were very estranged at the time) worked for Obama’s campaign. I mention this to underline this:

    He and I tend to agree that what was won in the 50’s through 70’s was because people tended to organize and drive like mad to ensure a piece of social justice. I feel like a lot of that, on the Liberal side, was lost during the 80’s. What we have now is a bunch of fiedoms of Liberalism, a Netroots with no real direction, and not enough “punch” to make any change happen.

    The “Professional Left”, i think, is driven to criticize so intensely, in no small part, because we’ve given up on believing we can make change happen. Too many simply “hoped” Obama would shift the whole world, and that’s not what Big Tent Coalitions do in 2 years — even Reagan took many years, really the campaign for his 2nd term, to cement the Reagan Democrats shift.

    As always, this isn’t about not criticizing Obama — Reagan got a lot more grief from Conservatives than we on the Left really remember (working for Strom Thurmond opened my eyes to a lot, even in that brief time). It’s about doing so such that we’re not cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

  55. 55
    tractor says:

    @ruemara
    @Belafon
    Regarding the last part of my first comment:

    I like this blog, but sorry, not going to join in the Obama worship.

    There’s just a lot of posts on this blog these days talking about progressives critical of Obama, and how that’s wrong, and we should all just admit how great he is and be supportive or something. I just wouldn’t grade his performance in office so high, and I have some specific complaints.

    And to those who think there wasn’t widespread fraud on Wall Street contributing to our current dire economic situation, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  56. 56
    Uloborus says:

    @tractor:
    For the banks… ‘dishonest’ is not ‘illegal’. Sorry, it’s not. The DoJ can’t prosecute bank officials for actions any sane person would consider fraud if the LAW does not consider them fraud. Hopefully they’ll dig up something that actually was illegal, but it’s not likely. This whole mess was caused by the development of financial mechanisms nobody had thought to regulate.

    As for ‘not inclined to change Bush security state policies’, what ARE you talking about? I’ve yet to hear a story of Obama infringing on civil liberties that stood up to investigation or an attempt to put them in context. The ‘assassination’ was approved by a court on standard legal grounds, congress damn near unanimously blocked him from closing Guantanamo, his lawyers argue state secrets using the traditional definitions every president uses, the US military is back to standard manual of operations techniques of dealing with prisoners… People have made up a lot of hooey by taking something that sounds vaguely bad and assuming the worst interpretation must be true.

  57. 57
    tractor says:

    @Uloborus
    No, it’s not about revenge, it’s about rule of law. I didn’t say anything about dismantling banks (although I think they should be forced to mark their assets to market, and bondholders should be forced to take losses instead of passing the bad assets on to the American public).

    When people break the law, and do not get held to account, but instead get rewarded with billions in bailout money, how do you expect them to act in the future?

  58. 58
    thejoz says:

    Funny that you use an analogy that, according to Wikipedia, might not actually contain quite the rage that’s being ascribed to it.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    If you talk to some of the angriest, I’m sure they’ll argue that the things that pissed them off the most (Secret deal before ACA to eliminate the public option being one example) are either proof that Obama doesn’t really care about that issue or that Obama is actively opposed to that issue. It’s hard to convince people that you really care about something when your actions are deliberate and don’t lead toward the desired outcome.

    But then you get into the question of what the desired outcome was. If your desired outcome was for a single-payer system or at least the clear beginnings of one then, yes, you would be disappointed in ACA. If your desired outcome was to prevent people from being driven into bankruptcy by medical expenses and being denied cancer surgery because they had acne, then the ACA looks pretty damn good.

    It’s the difference between wanting a specific system implemented and wanting a specific policy implemented. There are many ways to get to a policy, but there’s only one way to get to a system. The people who are still pissed off about ACA are pissed off because they didn’t get the system they wanted, even though ACA fulfilled most of the policy issues that it needed to. Those of us who were more interested in getting the policy implemented than a specific system are a little impatient with the cries that only the critics’ preferred system is acceptable to them even if the ACA gets us to the right policy.

  60. 60
    Upper West says:

    @kwAwk:

    It’s Politics v. Policy. Obama has been great on policy, within the constraints of the GOP he had to work with. The problem has been that people don’t know about these policy achievements, or worse, believe the opposite (e.g., that the stimulus didn’t create jobs, etc.).

    I know that much of the blame is the Fox Noise Machine etc., but even within that (difficult) framework, there could have been better messaging by the adm.

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @tractor:

    When people break the law, and do not get held to account, but instead get rewarded with billions in bailout money, how do you expect them to act in the future?

    That’s the thing, though — most of the time, they weren’t actually breaking the law, because they had been able to get Republicans and compliant Democrats to pass the laws and regulations they needed to make sure that what they wanted to do would be technically legal.

    You can’t prosecute someone because what they did should have been illegal, or was illegal 20 years ago but isn’t illegal now. The goddamned Supreme Court has ruled that companies basically have no responsibility towards their investors or shareholders.

    If you can figure out how the Obama administration can get around the Supreme Court through regulation and somehow prosecute people retroactively for things that the SC has already said weren’t illegal at the time they did them, I’d love to hear your plan.

  62. 62
    General Stuck says:

    @tractor:

    Listen, I just provided you with a rebuttal of your assertion no prosecution was being done for the scams that occurred the past 8 years. You ignore that, like most Obama critics on the left do, and go on to some other complaint that everything hasn’t yet been turned into “justice” in your mind. And intimate that you know for a fact there are massive crimes concerning the derivatives mess, maybe there were, but you ignore the fact that much of it was actually legal, and the certainty that fraud investigations are ongoing. And fraud is one of the hardest crimes to prove and investigations take a very long time, usually.

    And okay, Obama is probably not torturing people. But we’re setting the bar pretty low now aren’t we?

    And this little nugget probably describes the left wing mindset as good as any. There is no bar to set. Either Obama is acting within current laws, or he isn’t. And none of you has been able to make a case that he is not, on anything whatsoever to do with national security. And what policies are being continued of Bush’s, other than trying to unwind his lawlessness over detentions, and is being blocked. Everything else, is not policy, it is current US law, with wiretapping and the Patriot Act. Both of which will be sunsetting soon, and we can push for a better law when it is time to renew them.

    What we have here, is something like a continuous BDS playing out, where everything that Bush did was evil. Some of it was like torture. But all the other stuff has been US law and practice for many decades, and Bush ignored or exceeded the laws at the time. Obama is not, or at least there is no credible evidence he is. It is all one giant emo braindead epic war between Bush and Obama, or Obama wiping clean Bush’s crimes with something further than simply doing these things that have been done forever, legally rather than not.

    That is the bar, and changing existing law, is a matter for congress, it is not a matter of Obama policy decisions. He is not the CEO of a private company. He is the CEO of the federal government executive branch, meaning all of the departments and agencies have been given their basic marching orders from congress, with Public Law, and Federal Regs, and a congressional mandate with means set into law that they are ultimately responsible to congress for meeting. A president does not have the all encompassing power of a CEO in a private corporation. People get this confused, and I think this confusion adds greatly to the disappointment level of fire breathing activists.

  63. 63
    kwAwk says:

    @John – A Motley Moose:

    People are always the person they are now. They are not the people they were in the past, unless they fail to grow. People that don’t evolve and change are boring.

    Evolution is a slow process of change to adapt to your environment. What Dylan did, going electric, and what Obama did with the Public Option at the very beginning of his Presidency was not evolution but actually a fairly quick change.

    I think the explanation people are looking for has to do with how did we get from ‘Yes We Can!’ and “We are the change we’ve been looking for!’ (emphasis on We both times) to the in office authoritarian version of the Democratic Party where we’re told that if we don’t accept Obama’s accomplishments on their face then we’re being unreasonable and ungrateful.

  64. 64
    Shade Tail says:

    @tractor:

    There’s just a lot of posts on this blog these days talking about progressives critical of Obama, and how that’s wrong, and we should all just admit how great he is and be supportive or something. I just wouldn’t grade his performance in office so high, and I have some specific complaints.

    Listen, kiddo. *DROP THIS STRAWMAN, PLEASE!* You have completely misrepresented every single one of those posts you are whining about, just like every other such post by you and every other such commenter, and it is getting old. Just because you are only capable of thinking in black-and-white terms doesn’t mean those posts are making such black-and-white points.

    We all have specific complaints. That doesn’t mean that acknowledging the good points is a demand that you “admit how great he is and be supportive or something.”

    Seriously, grow up.

  65. 65
    PS says:

    On the Dylan analogy, note that as Bob plugged in, he lost part of his original base (though almost all of them came round eventually) but he found a much larger audience. Maybe it’s a flawed comparison …

    Anyway, who’s the supporting cast? I can sort of see Rahm as Robbie Robertson (whip-smart but weaselly), but who plays Bob Johnston? Could Axelrod do Neuwirth? Would Barney Frank step up and play Grossman? Now, that’s a development I’d like to see …

  66. 66
    tractor says:

    @Uloborus
    @General Stuck
    Maybe if you don’t believe me, you’ll believe Joseph Stiglitz (a Nobel prize-winning progressive economist) on the subject of criminal fraud.

    Another Nobel Economist Says We Have to Prosecute Fraud Or Else the Economy Won’t Recover

    “I think we ought to go do what we did in the S&L [crisis] and actually put many of these guys in prison. Absolutely. These are not just white-collar crimes or little accidents. There were victims. That’s the point. There were victims all over the world.”

    Pam Martens:

    “The massive losses by big Wall Street firms, now topping those of the Great Depression in relative terms, have yet to be adequately explained. Wall Street power players are obfuscating and Congress is too embarrassed or frightened to ask, preferring to just throw money at the problem and hope it goes away. But as job losses and foreclosures mount and pensions and 401(k)s shrink, public policy measures to address the economic stresses require a full set of unembellished facts…

    “It was four years after the crash of 1929 before the major titans of Wall Street were forced to give testimony under oath to Congress and the full magnitude of the fraud emerged. That delay may well have contributed to the depth and duration of the Great Depression. The modern-day Wall Street corruption hearings in Congress … must now resume in earnest and with sworn testimony if we are to escape a similar fate.”

    William Black, senior regulator during the S&L crisis:

    “Lehman’s failure is a story in large part of fraud. And it is fraud that begins at the absolute latest in 2001.”

    “A criminogenic environment is a steal from pathology, a pathogenic environment, an environment that spreads disease. In this case, it’s an environment that spreads fraud. And there are two key elements. One we talked about. If you don’t regulate, you create a criminogenic environment because you can get away with the frauds. The second is compensation. And that has two elements. One is the executive compensation that people have talked about that creates the perverse incentives. But the second is for these professionals. And for the lower level employees, to give the bonuses. And it creates what we call a Gresham’s dynamic. And that just means cheaters prosper. And when cheaters prosper, markets become perverse and they drive honesty out of the market.”

  67. 67
    Redshift says:

    Hmm. Honestly, I think a certain portion was that inspirational speeches about hope made quite a few people think it was possible they’d get what they were hoping for, rather than what Obama was promising, and an expectation that we could push and FDR “now make me do it.” (I’ll confess to some of that myself.) Yes, what followed should have been perfectly normal disappointment as inspiration gave way to sausage-making, but perhaps this is the price of being unusually inspiring.

    The place I parted company was when a bunch of people concluded that the only possible reason things hadn’t gone the way they hoped was that Obama never really wanted it and had deliberately undermined their goals. (And if there wasn’t any evidence of this, that he must have secretly done it.) That part still mystifies me, and I have no idea where it came from.

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Redshift:

    The place I parted company was when a bunch of people concluded that the only possible reason things hadn’t gone the way they hoped was that Obama never really wanted it and had deliberately undermined their goals. (And if there wasn’t any evidence of this, that he must have secretly done it.) That part still mystifies me, and I have no idea where it came from.

    I, too, am very puzzled by that whole notion. It was especially bad during the DADT repeal, but I’ve seen it said about several policies that Obama was somehow working against them behind the scenes and it was only by luck that they were able to get through.

    Presidents don’t propose policies that they don’t support. It doesn’t happen. You really have to twist yourself into a serious pretzel to decide that a policy like DADT that Obama ran on and that he highlighted in the State of the Union this year was something he was secretly undermining all along because he’s a bigot who hates gay people.

    Of course, I strongly suspect this conviction that Obama is deliberately undermining his own policies is where that elephant in the room raises its trunk, but I guess I’m not allowed to mention it.

  69. 69
    tractor says:

    @Shade Tail
    Sorry if my “whining” bothered you. You’re response dripping with condescension certainly put me in my place.

    Sincerely,
    “kiddo”

  70. 70
    Uloborus says:

    @tractor:
    Sigh. Economists aren’t lawyers. Their opinion on what’s illegal is mildly relevant at BEST. I would love to prosecute these people. That would require they have committed crimes – things that are AGAINST THE LAW, not immoral and unethical and dishonest – and have left enough evidence that the authorities can make a case. All that CDO crap? Misrepresenting the quality of those products, betting that they’d fail, making corrupt deals to ensure they were sold? That’s all completely, totally, 100% legal. Disgusting, but legal.

    Well, it was legal. Obama, with his typical approach, got a financial regulations package passed by congress that legally closes most of the worst offenses, provides a legal mechanism to deal with such disasters so that we have options other than ‘pay the bankers for fucking up’, and created a government office with the power to regulate them further to try and rein in this crap bit by bit.

    He dealt with the problem. He didn’t give you revenge.

  71. 71
    4jkb4ia says:

    When essentially the Democratic members of the FCIC went on the road, they heard about Operation Stolen Dreams. However, Bill Black testified to them that this is based on a poor definition of mortgage fraud–it won’t get to the people who created policies that encouraged mortgage fraud–and Angelides seemed to be buying it. He asked each of the US Attorneys how high the investigation had gone.

  72. 72
    Redshift says:

    I will certainly admit that I wanted someone who would take it to the GOP the way they had done to us. That’s why I was an Edwards backer, and while I hoped we might get some of that from Obama, I didn’t actually expect it.

    I still think we’ve got a big problem with the Republican Noise Machine having steadily shifted the center of American politics to the right (as practiced at the highest level, though not necessarily in terms of what policies actually poll well), and I’m not sure that competent fairly progressive accomplishments are enough to change that. But I don’t know if openly battling Republicans would do it either — one of the difficulties we have to deal with is that their base is more energized by a black and white good-vs.-evil battle than ours is, and we still need to find an effective form of political jiujitsu against the constant tide of bullshit from the right.

  73. 73
    burnspbesq says:

    @kwAwk:

    “When you make dramatic changes to yourself like that people can sometimes start to question whether you are the person you used to be or are you the person you are now. What about the person you were before or was that fake”

    Which is mind-blowingly stupid.

    I actually don’t think the Dylan analogy is all that good. The audience that was outraged when Dylan plugged in at Newport had a history with Dylan, and failed to understand that the new songs he was writing demanded a broader range of instrumental color (“Like a Rolling Stone” and “Maggie’s Farm” wouldn’t have worked with just acoustic guitar and harmonica). In contrast, the left misjudged Obama from day one, projecting characteristics on him that he never had and never will have.

    The Dylan fans wanted him to keep making the same record forever, and weren’t willing to evolve with Dylan as he evolved (more recently, Liz Phair has faced the same problem with that part of her fan base that wants here to keep making “Exile in Guyville” forever). Obama’s problem is different: he wants to be Wayne Shorter, but the left wants him to be Sun Ra.

  74. 74
    General Stuck says:

    @4jkb4ia:

    You know how these things go. First you reel in the little fish and plea deal to turns states evidence. But fraud is hard to prove and easy to create reasonable doubt, and the bigger the fish get, the bigger the legal talent gets as well.

  75. 75
    WyldPirate says:

    Damn, you really broke out the knee pads and lip balm out for this post , Mr Green.

    Be sure to wipe off all that Obama spooge soaking your face before you go back for round two. We wouldn’t want anyone thinking you are Obama’s personal hose bag.

  76. 76
    red plaid says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Instead of focusing whether laws where broken or if the administration should have more people under arrest, I think it is less controversial to say that the Obama administration has heavily disappointed in regulating and reforming the finance industry. The people he put in charge (Summers, Geithner), the useless programs (HAMP), the larger than ever bonuses/salaries, the secret loans to all sorts of financial institutions recently uncovered, and the lack of enforcement of regulations have been underwhelming. What happened to ending to big to fail? What happened to making sure the financial crisis would not strike again? How are things any different than before the financial crisis struck?

    To be fair this is not only Obama’s responsibility, and Congress wouldn’t be open to much reform anyway because of the large donations the finance industry gives.

  77. 77
    MH says:

    @Uloborus:

    Well, it was legal. Obama, with his typical approach, got a financial regulations package passed by congress that legally closes most of the worst offenses, provides a legal mechanism to deal with such disasters so that we have options other than ‘pay the bankers for fucking up’, and created a government office with the power to regulate them further to try and rein in this crap bit by bit. He dealt with the problem. He didn’t give you revenge.

    Closing loopholes so the problems don’t happen again is nice, but it’s only half of “fixing the problem.” The other half is righting the past wrongs. You can call that ‘revenge’ if you want, but it’s very childish of you.

    It’s not enough to just stop the rightward shift of “the center;” it needs to be pushed left.

    It’s not enough to stop our government from torturing; it needs to become taboo to torture.

    It’s not enough to stop increasing our rate of greenhouse emissions; we need to start reversing the flow.

    That’s not “revenge”.

  78. 78
    Redshift says:

    @Mnemosyne: Hell, maybe it’s PTSD from Bush. After eight years of a president and an administration that would lie without compunction, even telling really obvious lies, maybe it’s hard to get back to a mindset that this wasn’t always the way things were.

    It seems like there’s a bit of conspiracy-theory to it as well. The fundamental motivation for conspiracy theories is a desire for a world that makes more sense than reality does. Maybe for some activists, having lost on a particular policy outcome that you sincerely believed you could win on, it’s easier to believe that administration officials worked behind the scenes to sell you out than to believe that the senators and congresspersons who publicly came out in support of your policy were willing to negotiate it away. I dunno.

  79. 79
    4jkb4ia says:

    @General Stuck:
    This would be more true if the mortgage fraudsters were confined to bank institutions. You could keep the feds very busy putting just scam artists away and they would never implicate a bank.

    (ETA: Well, someone had to get a loan from a bank to run a mortgage scam…)

  80. 80
    Mark says:

    Two issues:

    – Christina Romer came up with an adequate number for the stimulus. Various advisers wanted less; Obama then asked for even less; and then the snow princesses took us down to half of what Romer wanted. Net impact: insufficient reduction in unemployment; somehow allows government spending for job creation to be discredited.

    – In the midst of American Stupidity Month (August 2009), Obama decided it would be a good time to throw out the maximum price tag ($900B) for the ACA over its first 10 years. Net impact: basically zero uninsured people get access to health insurance until 2014.

    A decade of unemployment and four more years of medical bankruptcy do not a visionary make. I don’t see the long game here.

    None of this says Obama is a bad president (at least I can periodically watch the news, which is more than i can say for 2000-08.) He accomplished about 65% of what he could have. He just wasn’t the right guy to quickly make a lot of his brief historic opportunity.

  81. 81
    Karlisle says:

    There’s a point that this blog keeps making, and it’s really pissing me off.

    There’s always this long list of achievements by the congress and the president- but every time we point out the very real flaws in those achievements, we get accused of being purist or dead-enders. The health care bill pissed me off, not because it won’t make life better for most Americans (it will) but because we had to make sure that rich people get billions of dollars before we can take care of our own citizenry. It’s the same theme all throughout these achievements- yes, we’ll extend unemployment benefits during 10% unemployment, but only if we first give 900 billion in tax breaks to rich people. You can save the auto industry, but only if you break the UAW in the process.

    It is good that more people will have insurance coverage. It is good that the unemployed will continue to be able to buy food for a while longer. It is good that DADT is gone. But there is a larger, long-term problem.

    We shouldn’t have to have sign-off from the Chamber of Commerce on every bill that the president signs. We shouldn’t need the top military brass to sign off on implementing basic human rights. the president’s need to find “common ground” is setting a dangerous precedent that we need to get agreement from the people who are the fucking problem .

    So I think Obama’s long game is fucked up. He passed a Republican health care bill, and now the goalposts are moved, so that this is a “major progressive victory.” Really? Maybe we should stop quantifying the victories and ask ourselves what it’s going to cost us next time we want a no-brainer, left-leaning bill passed.

  82. 82
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal says:

    @tractor:

    Do mortgage-backed securities actually have mortgages in them, or was that a multi-trillion dollar scam?

    And this highlights a large chunk of your problem. No, they didn’t. It may or may not have been a scam, but it wasn’t illegal. You are conflating the loose usage of an imprecise term, “scam,” with the much more precise term, “crime.” They aren’t the same thing.

    The other thing is that, for a lot of the types of crimes that likely did occur, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is extremely hard to establish. The DOJ did prosecute Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin of Bear Stearns for some of the things you want them to go after. When it was over, the jury basically laughed at them. The sorts of intent and knowledge you need to be able to prove are really hard. We may know damned well that something happened, and be pretty damned sure that a particular person knew about it, if there’s no actual paper trail establishing their knowledge and intent, you can’t get a conviction. It’s the sort of stuff where it’s very easy to avoid leaving any such paper trail.

    I’ll be very interested to see where the various investigations go, but I don’t expect to see the sorts of prosecutions you want. I’d love to be wrong, but there’s no value to it. The blows done to the honest services doctrine recently make it even more difficult.

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    @red plaid:

    What happened to making sure the financial crisis would not strike again? How are things any different than before the financial crisis struck?

    You mean other than the new financial regulation bill that was signed into law in July?

    I think there are a whole lot of criticisms that you can make — HAMP, especially, has been a total disaster — but claiming that absolutely nothing has been done and it’s all business as usual is ridiculous.

    And for the people who will proclaim that the financial regulation bill was all kabuki theater and does absolutely nothing, I ask you why the financial industry and the Republicans are so desperate to kill it off if that’s the case. Is this like with the ACA where the insurance companies just love the idea of all of those millions of new customers too much and are accidentally squeezing it to death like a cartoon character with his rabbit?

  84. 84
    PS says:

    @burnspbesq: Sun Ra?! Wow, there’s a stretch. Maybe Charlie Parker or Ornette Coleman over Shorter? Jimi Hendrix over Carlos Santana? Janis Joplin over Judy Collins?

  85. 85
    General Stuck says:

    @Karlisle:

    So I think Obama’s long game is fucked up. He passed a Republican health care bill, and now the goalposts are moved,

    LOL, then somebody should tell the republicans so they won’t be spending every waking hour scheming to repeal, or defund, or have it declared unconstitutional, that republican health care bill.

  86. 86
    Anne Laurie says:

    Well, on a selfishly personal level, one thing Dylan and Obama have in common is that I can’t stand the sound of either man’s voice. Plenty of people disagree with me on that, so I don’t claim that every right-thinking left-leaner should agree. Still makes me clench my teeth a little to listen to either one.

    When Obama was elected, given everything I’d read or heard about him, I figured he’d govern like the Moderate Republicans of my youth. That was fine with me, I wouldn’t mind President Bill Milliken, I was perfectly happy to vote for Governor Milliken in preference to a virulently anti-choice Democratic candidate. These days I’m just hoping President Obama doesn’t morph from “Bill Milliken” to “Willard Romney” in his attempts to get bipartisan with a Congress full of raging nutter Talibangelicals, fReichtards, and Robber Barons… not all of them with an ( R ) after their names, either.

  87. 87
    Suck It Up! says:

    Totally agree Dennis G. IF these critics had any sense they’d be rubbing every single one of Obama’s accomplishments in the oppositions face no matter how small.

    Time to stop bitching over every crumb given to the right and enjoy the meal.

  88. 88
    Suck It Up! says:

    Totally agree Dennis G. IF these critics had any sense they’d be rubbing every single one of Obama’s accomplishments, no matter how small, in the oppositions face all day every day.

    Time to stop bitching over every crumb given to the right and enjoy the meal.

  89. 89
    tkogrumpy says:

    @General Stuck: You are aware that Bradley Manning has been in solitary confinement on orders of the government for seven months despite not having been charged with a crime,right?

  90. 90
    Dollared says:

    @tractor: Tractor, great links and you are absolutely right on the “illegal” point.

    Bottom line, if you think our country was just a bit off track, then Obama has done a fine job of course correction.

    OTOH, if you think the country’s business model is upside down, then you think that Obama has done a fine job in the DLC tradition of making selling out to consolidated corporate control of our economy and politics a slightly more humane and ethical process with slightly more humane and ethical outcomes. And you think that at the end of two years, the corporations and the military are even more in control than they were when Bush left office.

    Historical perspective might help. Handing control of healthcare to the huge corporate rollups that had once been our many independent, honest and ethical Blue Cross Blue Shields is a perfect example of how Obama is simple not enough help for average working people. Once the BC/BSs spent over 90+ of premiums on patient care. Now we have massive political upheaval just to guarantee 85%, without Obama ever pointing out the obvious, that employer-paid health care is disastrous policy and that the health care “market” is not a market.

    Similarly, it is absurd to think that somehow financial fraud is not fraud anymore. Sort of like how indefinite detention is not a violation of habeus corpus anymore. And torture is something we should ignore, rather than investigate.

    If you really want to hold our government and society to the standards of the Reagan era (low insult, I know), then you aren’t impressed with Obama’s results or advocacy.

    Oh, and jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. And income inequality. And Larry Summers. Really?

  91. 91
    tractor says:

    @That’s Master…
    @Uloborus
    Here is one example of criminally fraudulent activity, on a massive scale, described by William Black, professor of economics and law, and head regulator during the S&L crisis:

    ******
    We need to review the bidding. Mr. Kahr has explained that nonprime lenders characteristically:
    Cared solely about maximizing loan volume and (nominal) yield
    Deliberately removed underwriting procedures and anti-fraud warnings in order to increase volume and (nominal) short-term yield even though they knew this would produce an epidemic of fraud and substantially reduce (real) yield (because it would cause massive losses)
    Were aware that these steps led to endemic mortgage fraud, yet the nonprime industry norm was to fund loans known to be fraudulent and to violate the law requiring that the lender file criminal referrals on the endemic frauds
    And, though they knew the loans they were selling were commonly fraudulent and would produce enormous net losses, the banks followed this strategy because they intended to sell the loans to Fannie and Freddie and transfer the catastrophic losses to the taxpayers
    The obvious point, ignored by Mr. Kahr, is that the banks could not lawfully sell endemically fraudulent loans to Fannie and Freddie. If they had disclosed the endemic fraud they would have been unable to sell toxic waste to Fannie and Freddie (and the private label secondary participants — who also bought hundreds of billions of dollars of fraudulent nonprime loans). The lenders had to make false “reps and warranties” to be able to sell fraudulent loans to Fannie and Freddie.

  92. 92
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Karlisle:

    So I think Obama’s long game is fucked up. He passed a Republican health care bill, and now the goalposts are moved, so that this is a “major progressive victory.” Really? Maybe we should stop quantifying the victories and ask ourselves what it’s going to cost us next time we want a no-brainer, left-leaning bill passed.

    This strikes me as yet another iteration of the “but we just want Obama to fight for things even if he loses” claim, a claim that has constantly moving goalposts because those same critics claim that a loss is proof that Obama didn’t fight enough. It’s a no win situation.

    If the people calling for Obama to stand for a policy and not back down even if he loses would actually support him after the loss, you might see some action in that direction, but as long as people insist that there are deep, dark conspiracies surrounding the fact that DADT repeal wasn’t a no-brainer and it was proof that Obama hates gay people, it ain’t gonna happen. Otherwise, it sounds a whole lot like “let’s you and him fight — I’ll stand over here with your coat.”

  93. 93
    lol says:

    The Netroots has hated Obama since he took office in 2005.

    Of course, back then Obama was getting shit done despite being in the minority with a Republican President. His name is on some quality legislation. And when he decided to run for President without their permission, they went after him even more.

    Meanwhile, Markos, Sirota, Stoller, Bowers et al had their lips firmly wrapped around John Edwards’ dick for so long one has to wonder how Rielle Hunter ever got pregnant.

    John Edwards! What did he ever get done in the Senate? I mean, aside from the Iraq War resolution. The Netroots rewards talk, not action.

    Remember when Chris Dodd was briefly the true Netroots savior? It was shortly after he decided to put one of them on his payroll. Maybe if Obama had been willing to spread some cash around the Townhouse email list, he might have gotten similar treatment.

  94. 94
    tractor says:

    @Dollared
    Yes, exactly.

  95. 95
    General Stuck says:

    @tkogrumpy:

    Yes, I am aware. Your point?

  96. 96
    Uriel says:

    @WyldPirate: Ya know, i gotta say, this whole fascination of yours with equating oral sex with the most abject debasement imaginable has taken a turn towards the bizarre that’s almost self parodying – it’s starting to seem down right pathological.

    I’m just curious- when some willing partner in the past offered to go down south, was your usual reaction to sneer through the entire act before spitting in their face?

    Or did it just never happen for you at all, and now your burning resentment leads you to dismiss the entire thing as the epitome of human degradation?

    Like I said- just curious. ‘Cause it’s really fucking weird.

  97. 97
    tkogrumpy says:

    And please don’t try to convince me that the masters of wall street weren’t aware that some one was going to be left holding the bag when this was over. Cripes I live in bumblefuck backwoods Maine and when all my unemployed fellow citizens suddenly became mortgage brokers in 2007 even I knew something not good was happening.

  98. 98
    Ash Can says:

    @PS:

    but he found a much larger audience. Maybe it’s a flawed comparison …

    Actually, this is exactly what makes it such an apt comparison. By being a moderate, pragmatic left-of-centrist, Obama won over the vast numbers of middle-of-the-road voters he needed to win the 2008 election. “The base” as defined by the obsessive Obama critics isn’t a base at all — it’s so small and narrowly defined as to be insignificant in the grand scheme of voting blocs. And poll after poll shows this to be the case. So why make this group a priority?

  99. 99
    lol says:

    @tkogrumpy:

    Is Google so difficult to use that you have to make up shit?

  100. 100
    KG says:

    @chris:

    the sitting President actually has two jobs. The first is President of the United States. The second is leader of his party.

    Any president who would put party before country is not worthy of the office.

    I do get the sentiment from some on the left about wanting Obama to give it to the GOP they way they think Bush gave it to them over the last decade. But don’t forget, there are plenty of people on the right who think Bush sold them out over the years (Rush, if I recall correctly, was furious back in the day that Bush would work with Ted Kennedy on education policy).

  101. 101
    General Stuck says:

    @lol:

    Thank you. That thing with google typing out the search is so fucking cool. I need to learn that someday.

  102. 102
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @lol:

    Meanwhile, Markos, Sirota, Stoller, Bowers et al had their lips firmly wrapped around John Edwards’ dick for so long one has to wonder how Rielle Hunter ever got pregnant.

    personally, I loved it when Hunter went on Oprah not too long ago and bashed a dying woman. Nothing says class like fucking a complete stranger and then kicking his cancer stricken wife on national tee vee.

  103. 103
    TooManyJens says:

    @Uriel: I’m wondering if WP is equating all fellatio with debasement, or just fellatio performed by men. Either way, you’re right, it’s starting to look like a complex.

  104. 104
    monkeyboy says:

    Dylan goes electric at Newport and in particular the lyrics to Maggies Farm he performed there were a loud FU to the Folk Music Industrial Complex. Dylan essentially said he didn’t want to be their Dancing Monkey anymore.

    To presume Dylan’s electrification is analogous to Obama’s estrangement from the further left is to assume he was part of it to begin with. Maybe in their minds he was and as a Dancing Monkey could be commanded to dance to their tunes.

    However I have never heard of any Obama statement (analogous to Maggie’s Farm) announcing his new-found independence from the far-left that he used to be a respectful performer for.

  105. 105
    goatchowder says:

    It is simple. We are battered housewives, we have a victim syndrome. We’re like beat dogs; if you raise a hand, we cower in the corner, ready for the beating which is surely to come. Our trust have been violated so much that we don’t know what it is anymore.

    We’ve been lied to, beat up, shit on, fucked with, pissed on, robbed, and dragged through the streets so much, that now we don’t trust ANYONE. Not even the good guys. Not even the people trying to help us.

    Anyone who looks like they might be doing good, we’re hypersensitive and paranoid that they’re just another abuser.

    I’m told that survivors of torture sometimes cannot bear to go to a doctor. Anyone in a white coat, they get terrified of, and sometimes lash out aggressively against them.

    This is a very familiar phenomenon to anyone who has dated an adult child of domestic violence, a rape survivor, worked with children from abusive households, POWs or torture victims, or had a shelter dog that came from an abusive owner. The ability to trust has been destroyed. It takes a long time to come back.

    This is what the American left has become of after 30 years of Reaganomics, union busting, hate radio abuse, and Wall Street Galtian thievery.

  106. 106
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @tkogrumpy: Show us where this is illegal under the UCMJ.

  107. 107
    Jewish Steel says:

    Dylan always played rock n roll. He just did it with the tools of the folkies early on. And so, Dennis, I think that analogy holds nicely.

    I can’t help feeling that a great deal of the derangement syndrome comes down to Obama doing 55 in a 54.

  108. 108
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    5 Stages of Grief:

    Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.

    Fellas, let’s cut the firetards a break, most of them are struggling btwn anger and depression. Remember the butt-hurt-berkeley-bums are going through hell, now that their obamafail meme went up in smoke last week, as one review after another, hailed the triumph of obama and pragmatism.

  109. 109
    The Raven says:

    Obama raised progressive hopes for real positive change, blew the opportunity, and we will be living with the consequences of his failures for years. Break their hearts and stamp on the pieces, why don’t you, Obama? Going electric led to Dylan’s lasting popularity. Obama’s policies, er, lost the Democrats the House and several Senators in the 2010 election. Way to go, O!

    The reasons aren’t too far to look: the administration failed to adequately address unemployment and the mortgage crisis, and still has not done so. These failures (and others) in turn spring from two central failures:

    1. A failure to respond in any effective way—or even to show an interest in responding—to the huge expansion of the power of wealth and the expansion of the gap between rich & poor. Two of Obama’s much-touted successes–health care reform and the extension of unemployment benefits–came at the cost of huge concessions to very wealthy businesses and individuals. The problem with this approach is, sooner or later, and later is sooner, there’s nothing left to give to the rich.

    2. A failure to use the “bully pulpit” of the Presidency to change public discourse. The President is the only elected public official who the national media consistently pay attention to. Obama could have said: “Social Security is not in major trouble.” He could have said “Austerity budgets don’t improve the economy.” He could have said, “Government is not the problem. Instead, he agreed with the Republicans.

    I addressed this at greater length if less clarity on my own blog, in three separate posts. The central point is simple: and bears repeating: Obama had a great opportunity, and has fallen far short of it.

  110. 110
    Karlisle says:

    @Mnemosyne: You’ve missed the point. Every time a turd like the health care bill (again, I recognize that a cracked cup holds water, just as a deeply flawed bill does good) is hailed as a major progressive victory . . . we lose. Yes, I think it is better that the President fight for something and lose than stand victorious atop a whole pile of shit.

    Look, let’s not pretend ANYONE reading this thread is going to walk away convinced of anything other than their own superiority. The best we can do is get the other to admit we have a point.

    Yes, this congress has accomplished much, Yes, this is something to be celebrated. But no, this is not the GREATEST LIBERAL ACHIEVEMENT SINCE LBJ BITCHES! This is a bunch of half-measures, and I think the long-term damage outweighs the benefits.

  111. 111
    Redshift says:

    @General Stuck: The basic flaw in the “Republican health care bill” argument is in believing that the Republicans who advanced it back in the Clinton era were any more sincere than the ones we have now.

    In general, if a policy advocated by conservatives gets implemented and actually works (the Earned Income Tax Credit being the classic example), it is eventually embraced by liberals and attacked by conservatives. This is because they don’t actually believe in helping the poor or getting more people health care or whatever, and they just propose alternative policies that are more in line with “the free market will solve it if we just remove burdensome regulation” and other bits of their ideology so they can claim to have a better answer when they’re tearing down whatever Democrats are proposing.

    Passing a so-called “Republican” bill from years gone by isn’t, in fact, a victory of any kind for conservatives or Republicans, because they never actually wanted it to be implemented (at least if it had any chance of working.) They hate the EITC because it’s a government program that alleviates poverty even though it’s a frickin’ tax cut. It’s no surprise that they hate the supposed “Republican” health care bill, since it’s government regulation, and subsidies, and government-run exchanges, and more, all of which will continue to undermine the “government is the problem” mentality.

    And all of this is because of the fundamental dichotomy that they care about ideology above all else, and we care about getting shit done. So they can “win” by preventing government from functioning in the service of ideology and lying about it constantly, and we can’t, and we sometimes have to put up with incorporating their crap that we know isn’t going to work (creating government waste, ironically) in order to get the stuff that will.

    It’s frustrating as hell, but I’d much rather be us than them.

  112. 112
    PanurgeATL says:

    @Karlisle:

    It may simply be a sign of the current screwed-up state of the system that “we need to get agreement from the people who are the fucking problem”. I’m not sure Obama can be blamed for this. OTOH, I can understand the frustration. The FAIL on messaging makes it worse, for sure. All I can ask is: Who would’ve been better?

    @burnspbesq: LOL!

    Though sometimes Obama seems more like Kenny G than Wayne Shorter. To put it in Dylan terms, I was thinking “Dylan hires the Mantovani Orchestra” rather than “Dylan goes electric”.

  113. 113
    Karlisle says:

    Also, Dennis, a few years back, that overpaid hack Ruben Navarette said that baby boomers need to get over themselves. I hate to agree with him, but seriously, Bob Dylan? Going electric? Hell, I just asked my mother and she barely remember this incident. If you want to burn me with a new tag, you have GOT to get a reference that is younger than 45.

  114. 114
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @tkogrumpy: if you’re so smart, why didn’t you short market indexes and long bond funds? Everyone is Nostradamus, after the fact.

  115. 115
    General Stuck says:

    @Redshift:

    Well, if republicans told the truth about what they are after, they could never get elected dog catcher with a true slogan of “We Want All Your Money To Give To Rich People”

  116. 116
    Karmakin says:

    I think that what has to be remembered here in certain things is that it’s seen that there is “one kick at the cat”, and if that the kick misses..well then you’re screwed. I don’t think it’s always right, or it’s always wrong.

    Health Care:I think there will be another kick. I think it’ll be mostly a backwards kick, but the fight is going to come up again, probably next year.

    Health care is by and large seen as a zero-sum game and as such, there’s no interest in sharing.

    Economics/Stimulus:Nope. Sorry, this issue is over. Next year is going to be all about deficits, and how to reduce them. 10% unemployment is the new normal, with the resulting effect of working class wages. This is Obama’s big loss IMO, but at the same time it should be an easy win. But the public is simply not with him to the degree that you would expect. Job creation in a society where white-collar workers think that blue-collar workers are basically scum is next to impossible.

    On the top end, there’s no recognition of the dangers of investment inflation, and as such absolutely no movement towards fixing this issue.

    Foreign Policy: Like it or not, Obama’s hands are tied by your neighbor who would go apeshit if there’s ever even a small terrorist attack on American soil again.

    The big problem for Progressives, in the end is thinking the problem is the politicians rather than thinking the problem is the people voting them in.

    And one final thing. I don’t like the term “Professional Left”. At least to me, it strikes me as people who make their living from politics to some degree. And as such I would assume that cultural/political victories (which Obama HAS obtained) are a symbol of strength, as other posters have said and should be lauded.

    But in the end I think the “Professional Left” is actually less interested in culture war politics than their critics.

  117. 117
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Karlisle:

    You’ve missed the point. Every time a turd like the health care bill (again, I recognize that a cracked cup holds water, just as a deeply flawed bill does good) is hailed as a major progressive victory . . . we lose.

    As Redshift said, how does passing a policy that the Republicans now reject categorically and fight against tooth and nail somehow become a loss for progressives?

    I think the problem here is that you don’t seem to realize how far down the rabbit hole the Republicans have really gone. Passing a bill that allows for government regulation of health insurance companies is a huge slap in the face to the current Republican philosophy that All Regulation Is Bad.

    It’s funny how the Republicans and conservatives can see what a setback this is for their ideas and are doing everything in their power to kill it, but all progressives can see is that their preferred system didn’t get implemented, so therefore it must be a win for Republicans.

    The political discourse has gone so far to the right in this country that using a Republican plan from 1993 actually moves the country to the left because that plan was rejected by 2009’s Republicans as sociaIistic government intervention.

  118. 118
    Wrong attribution says:

    I do not see the President deserving many of the attributions mentioned in the article. He did not use his bully pulpit strategically and often enough. If anything, in some instances he seemed as if he was set on giving away free goodies from the progressive bargaining chip bag. I’d attribute Pelosi most, Reid second for the accomplishments so far.

    Additional negative points:
    Wanting to be able to kill US citizen without due process.
    Still continuing with torture (e.g. Manning).

    So, color me unimpressed.

  119. 119
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal says:

    @tractor: Let’s run through your citations.

    First, Joseph Stiglitz is a very fine economist. So far as I know, he has no particular expertise in securities law. If he would like to make some specific charges, great. Then we can evaluate them. If not, then there’s no reason to think he’s a good source on the specific topic you’re exercised about.

    Pam Martens’ piece is a complete mess. She throws around a lot of long words and never really explains them. For one thing, she cites the notional value of swaps as if they have any real meaning. They don’t, and she makes it worse by lumping all swaps together to create her figures. The overwhelming majority of the notional value figures she cites are in interest rate swaps, which weren’t the cause of any problems.

    She either doesn’t really understand how a clearinghouse works or just doesn’t bother to explain it. She cites a huge number of unconfirmed trades, but never gets around to explaining what the problem with this is, or whether it led to the meltdown. The answer is that it didn’t. The problem wasn’t that some people claimed that there were trades that the counterparties denied were made. That’s because the two parties to an OTC trade sign a contract. That still exists, even if a trade hasn’t been confirmed.

    There are other problems with what she’s written. Again, there’s not much there.

    As for the William Black quote, you have selected very carefully what you cited. Throughout that piece, he points out another problem I mentioned above, namely that there probably isn’t the evidence necessary to prosecute people. His criticism extends way beyond Obama, back to the time when people would have needed to be regulating things. Without that regulation then, we don’t have the evidence now.

    Beyond that, Black plays fast and loose with timelines. He accuses Tim Geithner of being disingenuous when he says that, as president of the New York Fed, he didn’t have the authority to regulate certain players. Black says this is misleading, because, back in 1999 when this was being discussed, the Fed took the position of opposing regulation. This may be true, but it doesn’t lead to Geithner being disingenuous, because he wasn’t even a Fed employee, of any sort, at that time. By shifting pronouns around, Black leaves you with the impression that Geithner was somehow responsible for this situation, when it wasn’t. He was working on international issues at the Treasury at the time, rather than having anything to do with banking regulation.

    So, Black is dishonest in what he says, and you were dishonest in reporting even what he did say. There’s nothing here.

  120. 120
    KG says:

    @The Raven:

    the administration failed to adequately address unemployment and the mortgage crisis

    What exactly is the proper response to unemployment and the mortgage crisis? We hear all the time that lower taxes lead to more jobs, Obama has kept taxes relatively low yet there are no new jobs. It’s not like he can just go tell companies (many of which are failing for a variety of reasons) to go out an hire more people. Nor can he wave a magic wand and solve the mortgage crisis. These aren’t things that any president could do. The government can’t undo contracts (which mortgages are) or force them to be rewritten. It can’t simply command that people go to work.

  121. 121
    Karlisle says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s a loss for progressives because this is now considered a progressive victory, that’s why. How are we ever going to get a public option, or prison reform, or get out of Iraq if you can only be as progressive as Republicans were 17 years ago?

  122. 122
    DW says:

    I think Krugman was right that Obama should have pushed harder for a bigger stimulus. And if Obama really is going to propose Social Security cuts, he’s being a damned fool. That said, he accomplished a lot in unfavorable circumstance.

    1. The Right spent a couple of generations building themselves up in politics, starting back in the 1960s. Nixon governed as a moderate – on domestic policies he was arguably to the left of Clinton. Reagan moved further right, but got most of his policy changes done in his first two years. Reagan was also friendly to the Christian Right but not truly a member. When the 1990s came along, the conservatives finally got full control of the Republican party and it wasn’t until 2000 that they finally got a bona fide Christian Right conservative as President. Building up the Republican establishment took decades of organizing and building institutions. Tearing it down will take the same time and effort.

    2. The nature of the Senate makes things difficult for liberals – white, rural conservatives are overrepresented and to aggravate matters it’s easy for a determined minority to grind things to a halt.

    3. The modern Republican party and conservative establishment is extremely hard line and resistant to any compromise. What moderate Republicans exist are too thoroughly whipped to dare challenge the party. Moderate Democrats are far more assertive. On top of this, we still have self defined moderates among the elites who simply refuse to recognize that the Republicans simply aren’t playing by the old rules. So any policy changes have to be done with almost purely Democratic groups while making gestures toward bipartisanship. I might note here that if you’re angry about this, direct your anger at politicians like Snowe and Collins and Lugar who enable the crazies. Collins and Snowe could have walked into Mitchell’s office at any time during the 111th and told him that either he started working with Obama or they would walk. They chose cowardice.

    Given all that, getting anything done is a major accomplishment. It took a couple of generations to get into the current mess – it will take that long to get out.

  123. 123
    Jewish Steel says:

    Further, if you are saying that Levon Helm should be Obama’s new Press Secretary, I couldn’t agree more.

  124. 124
    Terry says:

    Bradley Manning has been in solitary confinement on orders of the government for seven months despite not having been charged with a crime,right?

    He hasn’t been convicted of anything (yet) but he certainly has been charged.

  125. 125
    Yutsano says:

    @Karlisle: Oh wow. You honestly think ACA is the actual end here. The whole fucking point was to at least get a structure for reform in place then move things forward from there. But without the framework it’s just spinning wheels. And every piece got into place even without the public option. Which the states are now totally free to enact. Or even a single payer system if they so choose. Before ACA that couldn’t happen.

  126. 126
    Dennis G. says:

    @Karlisle:
    When FDR passed Social Security he made compromises that intentionally left most workers of color ineligible for the program. Time and time again compromises to appease racist Southern Democrats were made to win their support for the progressive policies of the New Deal–policies that would sometimes take decades to become actual progressive policies that applied to all people. Still, even with the many and real flaws that grew out of the compromises that FDR made to get them passed the laws from the New Deal were progress–but it took decades for that progress to become a reality. And the effort to perfect those laws is still an ongoing one.

    I just do not understand the fantasy that everything could have been perfectly done in two years if Obama had just followed some secret formula that never worked in the past for anybody else.

    This is not a perfect world. It is a flawed one. Progress has been made in the last two years and that is a good thing. I am still amazed that pointing that out is a cause for anger among some. That anger over not getting everything done in a way that progress has never been done before is curious. Your comment expresses that anger, but it does not explain it.

  127. 127
    General Stuck says:

    @Karlisle:

    It’s a loss for progressives because this is now considered a progressive victory

    You know why this statement is wrong. Because the HCR was progress, and progress does not necessarily include a public option. Progressive is not a point on the legislative map to get to. That would be an ideal or goal. It is the journey toward that ideal or goal, in a significant way, that is progressive. And how can anyone claim that providing health care insurance to 30 million Americans, regardless of the means, is not progress in a significant way. Think about it.

  128. 128
    The Raven says:

    I think this Krugman and Wells article also has something to do with the matter.

  129. 129
    Yutsano says:

    @Dennis G.: Solutioning is hard, poutrage is easy. That’s my bumper sticker sized take on it.

  130. 130
    lol says:

    @General Stuck:

    It’s not a victory because the Professional Left wants to stick it to their enemies, not actually help people.

  131. 131
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Karlisle:

    It’s a loss for progressives because this is now considered a progressive victory, that’s why.

    That’s because it is a progressive victory. It stopped the flow of deregulation and started to reverse it. How is that not a victory?

    More importantly, how does passing a law that flies in the face of every claim the Republicans have been making for the past 30 years about how the government can’t do anything become a loss for progressives?

    How are we ever going to get a public option, or prison reform, or get out of Iraq if you can only be as progressive as Republicans were 17 years ago?

    By moving legislation back to the left, which is what the ACA does, instead of letting it continue to move right.

    Again, you have a very peculiar idea of where the country currently stands if you think that the public option and prison reform are somehow mainstream political positions that just didn’t get their due this year rather than the radical leftist ideas that they currently are. Yes, I know, in any other country they would be mainstream ideas, but we don’t live in any other country. We live in the United States, and we have to deal with the system we have now, not dream about a magical future where Senators and Representatives will suddenly clamor for the public option no matter what Fox News says.

    (Edited for clarity)

  132. 132
    The Raven says:

    @Dennis G.: Dennis, but FDR was President for four terms, and Truman for another two. The unions support the progressive reforms of the day.

    Not going to happen for the current Democrats unless some big changes are made. I don’t see how things are going to get better for you hominids in less than a decade. Us corvids are going to feast.

  133. 133
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal says:

    @tractor: Okay, now construct a legal case that would allow you to prove that any particular individual had the intent to defraud Fannie and Freddie. It’s a fact that they ended up with a lot of bad paper. It may seem pretty obvious that someone intended to give it to them under false pretenses. It’s perfectly logical to assume that the reason that much of the due diligence apparatus was dismantled at least in part to allow this. However, there’s no paper trail to indicate this, and there is no paper trail linking any individual to the decision to do it for this reason. On the other hand, there is a long paper trail laying out that the mortgage lenders did it in order to save on costs. Then you look at their business models, which all relied upon cutting costs wherever possible in order to keep the margins large enough, and it becomes plausible, if not likely, that this was the driving reason.

    Where are you going to come up with enough evidence to prove a case against any particular person? If you can’t do that, you can’t prosecute anyone, no matter how sure you are that fraud took place.

  134. 134
    lol says:

    @Dennis G.:

    As far as the professional left is concerned, political history began with the Dean campaign. Asking them to consider what actually happened during FDR’s administration, instead of some cartoon version where Social Security sprang fully formed from the loins of his bully pulpit, is just a bit too much for them.

  135. 135
    burnspbesq says:

    @MH:

    “The other half is righting the past wrongs.”

    I’m sorry, but you’re a little weak on the fundamentals here. If there are loopholes in need of closing, then by definition your “past wrongs” weren’t wrong (or at least they weren’t illegal), and therefore can’t be “righted” due to the Constitutional ban on ex post facto laws.

  136. 136
    Redshift says:

    @Karlisle: And you’re once again ignoring the difference between “a counterproposal from a few Republicans to a Democratic initiative” and “where Republicans were.”

    When Republicans took control of Congress shortly afterward, no form of health care reform was anywhere within shouting distance of their agenda. They never tried to make it real to anyone other than the pundit class.

    (And I’d suggest looking up Nixon’s health care reform proposal before assuming that taking up past Republican proposals can’t be progressive.)

  137. 137
    Karlisle says:

    @Dennis G.: I don’t think you’ve understood my argument, Dennis, and I try not to make assumptions about people I am having a comment-flame war with, but it feels like you’re arguing against a collective liberal-Obama-critic-blogger hive mind, not me.

    I’ve never said that this wasn’t progress, nor that compromise was unacceptable. I’ve never said there’s something he could have done differently that would magically make all my wishes come true.

    What I am saying is this- we can’t get anything done in this country unless it involves a fuckton of free money for rich people. And this is now the consensus position, something the Obama has done nothing to push back against. And every one of these victories I’m supposed to be happy about are only possible because we gave a fuckton of money to rich people to get them through congress. And I’m seeing diminishing returns here- the 787 billion stimulus package was about a third tax cuts. The health care bill had a mandate but not public option to cut into the insurance industries profits off their new captive customers, and now I’m supposed to be happy about trading 900 billion for the super wealthy for an extension in unemployment benefits?

    How are we supposed to build on this framework is we keep having to bribe the very people who caused these problem in the first place to try to deal with it? Perhaps our system is just too far gone, and no, that’s not Obama’s fault. But he doesn’t seem particularly interested in pushing back against this trend, and that scares me, because let’s face it- Obama, wherever he is on the spectrum, is as far left as anyone is ever allowed to go.

  138. 138
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @Dennis G.:

    I am still amazed that pointing that out is a cause for anger among some. T

    because this would have admit being wrong.

    take DADT for example, some of the “just sign a EO” types still can’t admit they were wrong and a few of them are deflecting by calling the accomplishment a “crumb”. Of course if he didn’t get their “crumb” accomplished they would have called it a “major” betrayal.

  139. 139
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @Redshift:

    taking up past Republican proposals

    The EPA was proposed and enacted by Richard Nixon. I image today’s left would spit it back because it didn’t come from ralph nader.

  140. 140

    @Karlisle: I would accuse you of throwing up another strawman if I didn’t think you really believe this is true.

    There’s always this long list of achievements by the congress and the president- but every time we point out the very real flaws in those achievements, we get accused of being purist or dead-enders.

    I’ve seen Obama critics claim they are only pointing out the flaws in process or policy then complain that everyone wants them to stfu and be good little O-bots when they encounter the slightest resistance to their opinion. That’s not what I see happening.

    What I see is the valid complaint that the Obama critics are incapable of giving Obama credit for anything. The DADT issue is the most obvious. It was rather revealing. Obama critics on the left did everything they could to ignore the positive aspect of DADT. Oh, they gave grudging acknowledgment that it was a progressive cause, but had to qualify it with every negative thing they could think up.

    I’ve started to think of the most vociferous critics on the left as the “but” left. It’s always, “Yeah, so we got this passed, but it took too long, or it isn’t good enough, or someone we don’t like (rich people/bankers/the MIL/…) got something too. It’s always, “but, but, but” from the whiny left.

    As proof I offer this –

    There’s always this long list of achievements by the congress and the president- but every time we point out the very real flaws in those achievements, we get accused of being purist or dead-enders.

    The health care bill pissed me off, not because it won’t make life better for most Americans (it will) but

    It’s the same theme all throughout these achievements- yes, we’ll extend unemployment benefits during 10% unemployment, but

    You can save the auto industry, but

    It is good that more people will have insurance coverage. It is good that the unemployed will continue to be able to buy food for a while longer. It is good that DADT is gone. But

    Not only isn’t anything ever good enough, it’s always Obama’s fault too. It doesn’t matter that we couldn’t even get Lieberman to go along with a public option or an expanded Medicare buy-in. It’s all Obama’s fault. It doesn’t matter that Congress refused to act on the tax cut issue until after the election. They punted on the issue for nearly 2 years and then dumped it on the President in the last month of the year. But, we all know it’s all Obama’s fault. It’s all Obama’s fault that Gitmo is still in use. Even though Congress blocked every effort he made on the issue. The Democrats in Congress. But, that doesn’t matter, it’s all Obama’s fault. It doesn’t matter that Congressional Dems gave their president a bloody nose over civilian trials. It’s all Obama’s fault we aren’t holding trials in NY City right now.

    It’s not the criticism of the President that I find offensive. It’s the constant nagging criticism from people that can’t give him one tiny nugget of credit for anything. It started on the left before the general election and hasn’t let up one bit since then.

  141. 141
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Karlisle:

    What I am saying is this- we can’t get anything done in this country unless it involves a fuckton of free money for rich people. And this is now the consensus position, something the Obama has done nothing to push back against.

    Wait, saying that the Republicans are holding the whole country hostage so they can get tax cuts for rich people isn’t pushing back against it?

    Or, as I mentioned above, do you think that the fact that Obama lost this battle despite his repeated demands that only the middle-class tax cuts be continued mean that the problem was that he didn’t fight hard enough because, by definition, fighting hard enough would automatically mean victory?

  142. 142
    lol says:

    @Redshift:

    Ted Kennedy basically ran the “compromise is for pussies” page from the same playbook the Professional Left is using.

    The difference is that Kennedy realized what a massive fucking mistake he made and learned from it. The Professional Left is utterly incapable of learning from its mistakes or from history.

  143. 143
    Karlisle says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century): I am one of those who said just sign an EO, right here in comments at this very blog.

    I don’t call ending DADT a crumb at all. Maybe I’m not representative of the people you are thinking of, but this is a major victory for LGB (not T) people. Thanks, Mr. president.

    I’m confused about what I’m supposed to admit to being wrong about, though- are we arguing about the proper procedure here? I still think signing an EO in his first month of office would have been much a much better outcome, because, let’s face it, nobody gives a shit how the policy originates, they only care about the actual policy.

  144. 144
    burnspbesq says:

    @The Raven:

    “Obama raised progressive hopes for real positive change”

    No, that’s wrong, and because that’s wrong, the entire remainder of your comment is useless.

    Progressives fundamentally misunderstood Obama from day one, and raised their own hopes based on nothing. Anyone who was paying attention knew that Obama was a marginally-left-of-center pragmatic technocrat. He never promised anyone a unicorn, a pony, or even a hot fudge sundae. Anyone who thinks he did needs to own their own delusions.

  145. 145
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Karlisle:

    I still think signing an EO in his first month of office would have been much a much better outcome, because, let’s face it, nobody gives a shit how the policy originates, they only care about the actual policy.

    Really? Having all of the heads of the armed forces and the Secretary of Defense all ranged against an EO that temporarily halted dismissals would have led to a better outcome than getting them on board and having them testify in front of Congress that they wanted the law to be repealed entirely?

    Papering over the fact that it was illegal to be gay and serve in the military by doing a stop-loss that could easily be reversed by the next president would have led to a better outcome than changing the law so it was no longer illegal to be gay and serve in the military?

    I’m sorry, but I do care how the policy originates when it’s the difference between something being against the law and being legal. I was not comfortable having that law hanging over the heads of all of our gay and lesbian servicemembers for the indeterminate future where maybe it was possible that a Republican president wouldn’t bother to reverse the EO that stopped people from being thrown out of the armed services for breaking the law, but left the law in place just in case the Republicans ever needed to show those uppity gays who was boss.

  146. 146
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @Karlisle: the dead-enders of the Professional Left™ are calling it, I quote, “a crumb”, “small potatoes”, “a bone”.

    You see, the haters hate obama so much, by definition they have to marginalize any accomplishment, even ones they favored.

    as for signing an EO, it wouldn’t have been permanent. the next religious fundamentalist winger president, who says he/she speaks to god, would have reversed it.

    plus an EO would only stop discharges, it wouldn’t change the current law holding gays to be illegal. Now, it’s no longer illegal to be gay in the military.

  147. 147
    tractor says:

    @That’s Master of Accountancy to You, Pal
    First thing, we’re talking about a massive quantity of loans. I do not know what representations and warranties were made to Fannie and Freddie regarding these garbage loans, but I imagine there was a wide variety, considering that everyone was buying and selling them. Constructing a case, I would think it less important to determine why a lender or reseller failed to properly document the borrowers’ qualifications. For whatever reason, they failed to perform due diligence, we know that. More to the point, what actions did these parties perform in order to make representations and warranties to Fannie and Freddie that these loans were compliant with contractually agreed-upon standards?

    If banks can say they didn’t ask for proof of income in order to save on costs, fine, although the cost-to-benefit argument escapes me. When reselling the loans, they still had to somehow represent that they were good loans. The question is how they managed to do that, how they documented the loans when they sold them, and whether they did so in a legal fashion.

  148. 148
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @burnspbesq: online progressive never supported Obama. They supported Edwards by a 2 to 1 margin in all of the online straw polls, and poured their money into his campaign. Obama picked up nominal support when Edwards, Dodd, Richardson, and Kuchinich ALL dropped out after South Carolina because he was the only one left not named Clinton. Even though Hillary received half of the votes in the primaries, she was loathed by the online left, to the point that she only received 8% of support in the straw polls and she was the only person boooed at the Netroots convention debate.

  149. 149
    mclaren says:

    @General Stuck:

    Obama fail mania from the left.

    Show us the evidence that anyone on the left has exhibited “fail mania” about Obama or stand revealed as a pathological compulsive liar.

    The critics of Obama range from left to center to right, and they all present sober statistics and simple facts to back up their claims.

    Fact: Obama bargained away the only real hope for genuine health care reform, the public option, before he even got to work with Democratson the hill crafting an HCR bill. As a result there’s no cost control whatever in medical procedures.

    Fact: Obama bargained away the single biggest means of cost control, drug reimportation and collective governmental negotation on the price of drugs with big pharma, before he even started working with congressional Democrats on an HCR reform proposal. As a result there’s no cost control whatever in medication costs in American health care.

    Because of these betrayals, the American health care system is rapidly going bankrupt and, as Dr. Arnold Relman pointed out in the article “Health Care: The Disquieting Truth” in the New York Times Review of Books on 30 September 2010, the entire U.S. medical-industrial complex is heading for a systemic breakdown. Meanwhile, individual states continue to slash medicare funding while people are now so desperate that they’re shooting themselves to get into the ER to get treatment for chronic conditions.

    the current rate of inflation in health costs—between 4 and 6 percent per year—obviously cannot be sustained.

    Why is this the case? First, the present trajectory of federal health expenditures predicts continued rapid growth of Medicare expenses and the exhaustion of the Medicare Part A fund—which partly covers hospital costs—within a decade or so. Second, most economists agree that the states will not be able to pay the rising costs of Medicaid in future years, when millions of beneficiaries will be added to the rolls. And looking at the private sector, there is increasing evidence that the inflation in the cost of health insurance cannot be supported by employers and employees much longer. In sum, the whole health system, if not radically transformed, seems headed toward bankruptcy.

    Dr. Arnold Relman, op. cit.

    Fact: Obama broke his promise to shut down Gitmo. The result is that a vast number of innocent cab drivers and children will spend the rest of their lives in prison without ever being accused of a crime. Most of these people languishing in dungeons in Gitmo are now known to be mostly innocent bystanders sold to American forces by greed Afghan warlords who lied to get the bounty for anyone accused of being a terrorist, and former Bush defense intelligence people have publicly stated that “most of the people in Guantanamo Bay are innocent” and that continuing to hold them without charges and torture them and starve and beat them is a travesty and an ongoing crime against humanity.

    Fact: Obama broke his promise to end the kangaroo court military commission trials so rigged that the chief military prosecutor under Bush at Guantamo Bay resigned in protest. The result is a medieval system of show trials not seen since the hated Star Chamber that has served as the emblem of monarchical British tyranny for hundreds of years.

    Fact: Obama broke his promise to meaningfully reform Wall Street, with the result that the next bubble will blow up the world economy so thoroughly that there will be nothing left. When the next financial meltdown occurs, there won’t be enough money on the planet to bail out the bankrupt institutions.

    Fact: Obama broke his promise to end torture. Investigations by the BBC and the Red Cross show that torture has continued throughout Obama’s presidency at the second secret prison in Bagram airbase, using the same Appendix M of the CIA interrogation manual used as a guideline for torture during the Bush administration. As a result, Obama is guilty of war crimes, and should be impeached for violating the eighth amendment of the constitution.

    Fact: Obama broke his promise to end Bush’s illegal and unconstitutional “extraordinary rendition” AKA kidnapping American citizens without charges and hurling them into dungeons forever without even charging them with a crime. Obama merely renamed the process “preventive detention.” As a result, the rule of law in America has disppeared.

    Fact: Obama has ordered the extrajudicial murder of American citizens without charges or a trial, a practice not seen since before the signing of the Magna Carta. Even the tyrannical William the Conquerer agreed with his barons that he owed them an explanation after the fact for why he tortured and murdered his subjects…but Obama’s justice department has followed John Yoo’s legal argument that they do not even owe a court that much. In fact, Obama’s justice department has claimed that an American citizen whom Obama has ordered assassinated without a trial does not even have standing to go to court to ask this grossly illegal violation of the constitution to be blocked by judicial order. Few tyrants in history have claimed such sweeping power: not just the power to murder any citizen without giving a reason, but the power to be immune from scrutiny even by the judicial or legislative branch when they do so. Only a handful of tyrants like Stalin and Pol Pot have claimed such extraordinary power to abrogate the basic rule of law. The result is a descent into barbarism not seen since Stalin’s show trials featuring defendants savagely tortured into “confessing” to imaginary trials (exactly what is going on under Obama’s military commissions) or Pol Pot’s Year Zero.

    Fact: Obama has expanded the military-industrial-terror-police complex by 6% above what it was even under Bush — a systematic violation of the basic rule of law which not wipes out a thousand years of civilization and erases the basic rights to trial by jury and for defendants to hear the charges against them and to be immune from being tortured into confession, but which is bankrupting us in the process. The result is that under Obama, as under Bush, America has turned into a garrison state which is effectively under martial law, in which evidence and charges mean nothing, and in which muggers with badges routinely murder innocent citizens by tasing or beating them to death or shooting them for no reason on the streets and walk away scot free.

    Fact: Obama has repeatedly broken his promises about Afghanistan. First he promised to start troop withdrawals by July 2011 and now he has renegged on that promise and announced that troops wills stay until at least 2014; next, Obama promised to use COIN methodology instead of calling in fire on innocent villagers and massacring thousands of innocent Afghan bystanders, a promise recently broken by General Petraeus’ abandonment of COIN in favor of using bulldozers and demolition to destroy the homes of innocent families in one of the world’s poorest countries:

    The unprecedented home demolition policy and other harsh tactics used in the offensive suggest that General David Petraeus, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, has abandoned the notion that he will ever win over the population in those Taliban strongholds.

    The New York Times first reported the large-scale demolition of houses in a November 16 story that said US troops in Arghandab, Zhari and Panjwaii districts had been using armored bulldozers, high explosives, missiles and airstrikes in “routinely destroying almost every unoccupied home or unused farm building in areas where they are operating.”

    Source: “Kandahan gains come with `brutal’ tactics,” Asia Times, 21 December 2010.

    The result is a descent into a brutal and mindless quagmire of mass slaughter indistinguishable from Vietnam.

    Fact: Obama has vastly expanded the Bush practice of murdering innocent bystanders in Pakistan with UAV drones, mostly wedding parties and funderals. As a result, Obama is guilty of war crimes and should be arrested and dragged in front of the international tribunal at The Hague.

    Fact: Obama has vastly expanded the insane and counterproductive war on drugs, with billions in new weapons and DEA personnel sent into Mexico and his Attorney General Eric Holder promising to intensify the penalties for marijuana possession “in order to cut off revenue to the Mexican cartels that are destroying Mexico.” Obama broke his promise to end DEA raids on state-authorized medical marijuana dispensaries: instead, he simply stopped publicizing them. The result is a vast expansion of the American gulag of prisons, with more of America’s population locked away behind bars than any other nation on earth — a process which has not only turned America into a gulag archipelago of drug prisons housing non-violent “drug criminals” who would not even be guilty of a crime in most other countries, but which is also bankrupting us as a nation.

    Fact: Obama has vastly expanded the insane and unwinnable war against copyright infringement, with Obama’s Department of Homeland Security now shutting down websites without court ordered authorization to do so, and announcing these bizarre actions on the Disney website. The result is a third unwinnable endless war (#1, the war on global terror; #2, the war on drugs) against copyright infringement which can never be won and which attempts to make every college student who downloads a TV show via bitorrent and even junior high school kids who unlocks their iPhone into a criminal.

    It is purposeful and does not assimilate even the most basic common sense concerning Obama’s historically splendid first two years in office. If someone could provide me with a sane analysis to explain it, then I will show that gorilla the door.

    In view of the above facts, General Crackpot Fake Name’s bizarre statements require no refutation: they refute themselves by their weird disconnection from observed reality. Dennis G’s entire post stands as a memorable testament to self-delusion and evidence of what Gustave LeBon described as the tendency of worshipful crowds (like the mob of adulatory obots) to descend into a “lower state of being”:

    By the mere fact that he forms part of an organised crowd, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilisation. Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian – that is, a creature acting by instinct. He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings, whom he further tends to resemble by the facility with which he allows himself to be impressed by words and images – which would be entirely without action on each of the isolated individuals composing the crowd – and to be induced to commit acts contrary to his most obvious interests and his best-known habits. An individual in a crowd is a grain of sand amid other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will.

    Thus we see the obots like General Crackpot Fake Name using the same types of arguments and uttering exactly the same kinds of lies to excuse the inexcusable crimes of their idol Obama that were used by the far right to defend the indefensible crimes of the Bush maladministration.

  150. 150

    Fact:

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  151. 151
    Uriel says:

    @Redshift:

    In general, if a policy advocated by conservatives gets implemented and actually works (the Earned Income Tax Credit being the classic example), it is eventually embraced by liberals and attacked by conservatives.

    You know, I hadn’t thought about it in exactly those terms, but you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head here.

    It kinda explains the whole Jack Kemp phenomenon- the right keep holing him up as this paragon of caring, heart felt conservatism. But you always got the feeling that, on the unlikely day that any of that lower-class empowerment stuff he went on and on about ever showed the slightest signs of actually coming to pass- well that would be the day Jackie woke up to find Oliver North holding a silenced pistol to the bridge of his nose.

    Because, as much as they liked the sound of all that stuff he babbled about as head of HUD on the TV- there was the odd chance some of it might have actually helped someone, somewhere. And there was no way any one in the GOP was going to let something like that slip through the cracks….

    But as long as the adults were around to make sure all that stuff he was babbling about would never rise above the level of a wild-eyed pipe dream- sure let him go. Sounds nice, he looks good on camera, and, hey- football guy!

  152. 152
    chaseyourtail says:

    Seriously good post, Dennis. You really hit it on the head. I think that’s why the progressive left is so obsessed with “fighting” for fighting’s sake. Many progressives (especially Boomers) always want to have a big, prolonged argument about EVERYTHING. To them, the act of railing against your political opponent is a noble cause in and of itself. They’re constantly pissed at the president because, according to them, “he doesn’t fight hard enough”. When in reality, there’s absolutely no evidence that raging at the GOP on any given front would have accomplished a darn thing. Personally, I’m sick of the same old ways of doings things. I voted for Barack Obama because I knew he was an innovative thinker and that he would bring a new approach to governing…and he has. Now, that’s change I can believe in.

  153. 153
    mclaren says:

    @burnspbesq:

    No, that’s wrong, and because that’s wrong, the entire remainder of your comment is useless.

    No, your argument is based on a classic logical fallacy, and because of that logical fallacy, your entire post must be disregarded and discarded as ignorant and foolishly false.

    The classic logical fallacy you have made is the Red Herring fallacy.

    Topic A is under discussion: topic B is introduced, and subsequently topic A is abandoned.

    In this case, the topic under discussion is Obama’s thoroughly documented appeal to voters as an agent of transformative change. That is Topic A. Burnspbesq introduces Topic B, the claim that people “misunderstood Obama,” and then proceeds to abandon the actual focus of the argument — namely, Obama’s promise to act as an agent of transformative change.

    Burnspbesq is unable to reason through even the most rudimentary syllogism, and so of course he provides us once again with overwhelming evidence of his garbled thinking and scrambled logic — for in this case, we ought to be asking, “Why did so many people misunderstand Obama, if indeed they did misunderstand him?”

    And the answer is clear from Obama’s own words: because at every turn, Obama systematically lies about what he does and about what he is going to do.

    Obama lied about shutting down Gitmo. Obama lied about reforming the financial system. Obama lied about restoring the constitution after Bush’s abuses. Obama lied about changing our health care system for the better. Obama lied about curbing America’s out-of-control war on global terror. Obama lied about cutting back on DEA raids of state-authorized marijuana dispensaries. Obama lied about ending torture. Obama lied and lied and lied and lied and lied and lied, and that’s why people misunderstood Obama.

    The fact that people have misunderstood Obama supports The Raven’s argument — but of course, as a lawyer, you’re too stupid and too incapable to reasoning through a simple logical syllogism to realize this.

    People misunderstood Obama because Obama has systematically lied to them. Moreover, Obama’s lies continue. He continues to lie, claiming for example a few months back that U.S. troops would begin to exit Afghanistan by July 2011; now, of course, Obama reveals that this is a lie.

    As a result, the most reliable way of predicting what Obama will do is to listen closely to his promises, and conclude the exact opposite.

    This turns out to have serious consequences in the real world, especially for a political leader. When everything that comes out of his mouth gets revealed as a lie, Obama’s political capital rapidly reduces to zero. Even the Republicans have realized this: they recognize that Obama will betray every principle he ever claimed to stand for, and as a result the Republicans are having a field day inducing Obama to walk back his opposition to tax cuts for the rich, his claims to support social security, and so on.

    It is indeed shocking that a lawyer would prove so grossly incapable of reasoning through even the simplest syllogism; but of course we’re talking about burnspbesq here, a specimen scraped from the true bottom of the barrel. As always, burnspbesq reveals himself as a blot on his profession, a shitstain on the body politic, and an ongoing disgrace to this forum.

  154. 154
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    And yet for all their rage about how Obama is not following their game plan it is very hard to think of any victories won by anybody who has ever followed their advice.

    You mean the blog-all-stars Edwards, Lamont, Halter, Dean lost?

  155. 155
    mclaren says:

    @John – A Motley Moose:

    Of course not. To you, as to most obots, a fact is a matter of redefinition. Obama has proceeded by redefining terms and then claiming to have achieved something. Obama has redefined “health care reform” to mean “forcing everyone in America to buy shitty unaffordable private health insurance while the underlying costs keep skyrocketing to infinity,” and then he has claimed that this is a policy achievement.

    It’s not an achievement. It’s just spray-painting a turd gold and then calling it bullion.

    To the rest of us in the real world (as opposed to the obots) facts are documented evidence.

    Everything above has been thoroughly documented. The only reason I don’t include links to newspaper articles and government statistics showing detailed evidence for each of the factual statements above is that I would rapidly exceed the limit of 3 links per post, insuring that my post would get dumped into moderation.

  156. 156
    NobodySpecial says:

    @burnspbesq: online progressive never supported Obama. They supported Edwards by a 2 to 1 margin in all of the online straw polls, and poured their money into his campaign.

    Someone’s lying their ass off tonight, aren’t they? The closest Edwards got to a 2-1 margin at DailyKos was a 40-22 in June 2007, and a 31-18 when Dodd put a hold on a bill and saw his straw poll numbers shoot up from around 1 percent to 11. Obama was always a respectable second from the moment he announced there and actually started his first straw poll tied with Edwards.

    Shorter Mike Kay: Truthiness!

  157. 157
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    ATTICA!! ATTICA!! ATTICA!!

  158. 158
    mclaren says:

    @mclaren:

    Personally, I’m sick of the same old ways of doings things. I voted for Barack Obama because I knew he was an innovative thinker and that he would bring a new approach to governing…and he has. Now, that’s change I can believe in.

    Obama has indeed brought a new approach to governing — pre-emptive surrender to the Republicans in the vain hope that they won’t hurt him.

    Obama, like the rest of the congressional Democrats, still hasn’t learned that no matter how much they cave in to the Republicans, the Republicans will always demand more. Watch and see. The Repubs will force Obama to extend further tax cuts to the rich — they won’t be satisfied, no tax rate above zero will ever satisfy them — while at the same they’ll use various underhanded legislative tricks to claw back Obama’s tax cuts to the middle class and defund even those pitiful few trivial changes Obama has made to the broken American health care system.

    Americans will never re-elect a leader so weak and so feckless. Obama is an impotent and vacillating leader whose time is running out. As Bill Clinton remarked so presciently, “The American people would rather vote for someone who is strong and wrong than someone who is weak is right.” Obama is such a weak ineffectual impotent figure that he’ll be rapidly reduced to jelly by the onslaught of congressional investigations led by thugs like Darrell Issa.

    By November 2012, with unemployment still above 9% and Obama reduced to a whimpering ineffectual placater eager to give the congression Republican bullies ever tax cut for the rich they demand, voters will shun him in record numbers and rush to elect the crazy and ignorant crackpot Sarah Palin…because while she’s a nutjob, at least she’s not hopelessly weak and vacillating.

    That’s change you can believe in.

  159. 159
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @NobodySpecial: You are such a retard. edwards led Dkos freak poll 48-27 the night before the iowa caucus. That rounds to 50-25 or a 2 to 1 margin the minute before the voting started.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyo.....straw-poll

    Personally, I love it how kos said “the numbers speak for themselves”. Yes they did. Edward got crushed by the REAL base.

  160. 160
    chaseyourtail says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century): Mike Kay, you’re cracking me up. Love your comments. Keep ’em coming.

  161. 161
    Nathanael says:

    “But some specific policy disagreements here and there do not—in and by themselves—explain the endless rage at Obama by some on the left.”

    Hell yes they do, you idiot.

    Assassination orders, warrantless spying, imprisonment without trial forever, no actual *action* on global warming (approval of more mountaintop removal, though), requiring people to buy junk insurance from criminal for-profit health insurers,…. doing very little about 10% unemployment while letting the banksters who wrecked the economy walk away with millions more in bonuses while still running their “banks”, while allowing the “banks” to falsify their accounting… talking about how we have to make foreclosures go “faster” when banks are stealing houses which don’t even have mortgages…. damn well explains the rage.

    We don’t need your Bob Dylan bullshit. Try living in reality for a change.

  162. 162
    Cerberus says:

    I think a lot of it is that I think a good number of people were basically holding their breaths for much of the Bush Administration. Some people have been holding their breaths since Reagan and so on through the fairly disappointing Clinton era.

    And well, to torture an analogy, I think everyone got ready for a big breath. We had a huge swell of anger at the failure of a huge amount of conservative ideology in extremely messy fashion. We pretty much lost an American city, the general disaster that were the Bush years, and record gains in the Senate and House.

    Now, I understand the political facts on the ground. Why more progressive legislation was going to be blocked, the machinations and the ownership of our process by wealthy interests and conservatives willing to do anything to prevent any beneficial progress, the complete failure of our media, and that the raw numbers of this congress have been fantastic. I get that.

    But I think the giant breath never came. We got this slow shallow breath of mediocre slightly leftish, mostly centrist and moderately conservative legislation and a few strong attempts at major setbacks on a couple of issues (abortion access, due process, so on…).

    And I think a lot of people were half-expecting a big liberal push, something so dramatic and special that one could believe our collapsing empire could be saved in the very small amount of time we have left.

    And instead, the realization and fear is setting in that our system is so broken that even when we have a congress this productive, we don’t see dramatic movements forward, we aren’t even beginning to fix what was broken in the last 8 years, much less the last 30 and it’s quite apparent that we won’t fix the looming problems or even just the ones who have been quietly been delayed on the back-burner because “gosh, you know conservatives”.

    I don’t think it’s Obama’s fault, nor do I think it’s any of the people feeling this’s fault. I think many of them do intellectually understand the limitations and factors and are just trying to process the powerful negative emotion of a wish one didn’t know they were counting on.

    I know everyone who likes Obama and likes what he’s doing overall have had to drink that slurry, I can only imagine a nice dash of unexamined racism or the like can turn that into Obama personally killed my puppy.

    Overall though, it’s hard to work through the disappointment, because it’s not Obama failing us. It’s that we’re in a failed country.

    We got to get health reform that still means I have to scramble to keep a health insurance that is actually impossible to use for any form of health care, we got a few gay bills that are at least a decade overdue, we got some serious attempts at setting back abortion access again for the fortieth time, and we’ve got a bunch of laws that are watered down versions of what moderate Republicans in the past have proposed.

    They are important steps in the right direction, but in the way that makes one despair.

    Because if that’s the “right direction”, where were we, how do we get out. How skewed is the Overton Window and how impossible will overdue progressive legislation be? I mean, I wasn’t expecting any Santa gifts soon, but will I die before I see Single Payer, actual protection of the right to abortion, actual prosecution of rape, any attempt to stop Global Warming, a nationalized railway, legalized gay marriage, or anything akin to the protections and lifestyles that modern Scandanavians take for granted today?

    When DADT repeal (a bill with obscene levels of support) needed machiavellian techniques and a total surrender on the tax debate to pass? When the watered down horse swill of health care reform is the best we could possibly have gotten? And when our stimulus refuses to operate off actual unemployment rates and is about half crappy stimulus?

    It’s a depressing state of affairs and I think Obama is eating a lot of the anger at that and unjustly so.

    But what can you do? Life sucks, no one can get a job, and the best activism seems focused on long-term shaping of public opinion.

    Merry fucking post Christmas everyone.

  163. 163
    chaseyourtail says:

    @mclaren: I’m always honored when you reply to me (or to yourself quoting me), Mclaren. Your anti-Obama rants are like a warm Snuggie on these coldest of winter nights. If you were a cup of hot cocoa, I’d sip you all night long, baby.

  164. 164
    Uriel says:

    @John – A Motley Moose:

    fact

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Sure he does. See-
    fact (fkt) n.-
    1) Crazy-assed mixture of misinterpretation, conjecture and wishful negativity screamed at the poster named Mclaren by the ghosts, demons and boogidy-boogities that live dome-shaped surreal parallel universe he calls a skull.
    2) Any claim, no matter how far fetched or unlikely, made by anyone, anywhere on the internet that can be twisted into seeming to support of (1).

    I think you’ll find that all of his facts firmly adhere to either definition one or two.

    ETA- I edited stuff.

  165. 165
    Nathanael says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century): Wow, that HuffPo article is completely delusional. And that’s a good example of why some of us think there’s an Obama-worshipping cult out there. More accomplishments than LBJ, who established Medicare, Section 8 housing, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and that’s off the top of my head? Anyone who believes Obama has accomplished more than LBJ is just plain delusional and probably can’t be reached.

  166. 166
    kdaug says:

    @MH:

    It’s not enough to stop increasing our rate of greenhouse emissions; we need to start reversing the flow.

    This is damn near the stupidest thing I’ve read in a long time.

    You’ve got a greenhouse gas sucker-upper machine? Methane, CO2, the whole shebang?

    I’ll buy one, if you can prove it works. So would every damn government on the planet.

    But then, you’d be the richest person in the universe, and likely not posting stupid shit on blogs.

  167. 167
    mclaren says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    And yet for all their rage about how Obama is not following their game plan it is very hard to think of any victories won by anybody who has ever followed their advice.

    You need to improve your lying skills. Bill Clinton faced down the congressional Republicans when they threatened to shut down the government in 1995. Clinton used sheer confrontation and chutzpah, and as a result he won a decisive victory.

    Watch what Obama does when he gets faced with a congressional threat to shut down the government unless he agrees to massive cuts in social security benefits and defunding of his HCR changes. Obama is so weak and so ineffectual that he’ll cave in and agree, and the congressional Republicans will win a decisive victory. And they know it.

    FDR faced similar opposition from Republicans and he famously gave speeches in which he said “They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.” FDR won landslide victory after landslide victory by directly confronting the Republicans showing some balls. Watch what Obama does when faced with ferocious Republican opposition in 2011 and 2012. He’l continue to mumble mindless pabulum about “bipartisanship” and “reaching across the aisle” while the congressional Republican feed him into an industrial meat grinder feet first.

    Harry Truman won his historic 1948 re-election campaign by savagely attack the “do-nothing 98th congress.” Watch what Obama does in 2011. He’ll whimper and cave in instead of attacking the do-nothing Republican congress, which when Republicans held power over the last 8 years, passed fewer bills than any other congress in history. They were too busy feeding at the pork trough and grabbing bribes from Jack Abramoff to be bothered actually legislating…but of course, Obama won’t point this out. He’s too feckless, too weak, the vacillating, too gutless.

    Whenever we look at a post-WW II Democratic president who was successful in getting his agenda through, we see a fighter who ferociously took on the Republicans. Naturally Mike Kay must observe this record and claim the exact opposite, since his obvious intent is to lie out his ass. However, Mike Kay needs to sit at Karl Rove’s feet and get some pointers, because this kind of baldfaced lying just doesn’t get you anywhere. You need to at least try to make your lies seem plausible, Mike.

    Phone Karl Rove up and tell him you need a refresher course. Right now, your little Swift Boat scam ain’t cutting’ it.

  168. 168
    Cain says:

    @tractor:

    Yes they passed a financial reform bill. But what has really changed? Banks are still too big to fail. We don’t have effective regulation of derivatives. Bankers are still taking the same types of risks. We’ve simply further institutionalized large-scale moral hazard.

    You can’t just dismantle everything just like that. It doesn’t work that way. It takes time and patience and the public needs to support it. See, that’s the big thing here, the public has to support all this stuff but we have a press that doesn’t want to illuminate real issues. It’s a tragic situation here.

    I suggest if we can starve the press to the point that we can drown it in a bathtub, things will be get better. They can’t afford people like Broder. Hopefully, they’ll be able to out source it to some Vietnamese schmuck. Same thing, amirite?

    cain

  169. 169
    lol says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    Don’t forget Alan Grayson who actually put one of those jokers on his Congressional staff.

    But, I have to note, they have supported some people in primaries than have gone on to win the general. By and large, people are now also considered DINO traitors by the Netroots. (ie: Webb, Tester, Herseth-Sandlin)

  170. 170
    Nathanael says:

    Isn’t it funny that when McLaren posts facts backed by evidence, Obama-worshippers pretend that he’s just making stuff up. And then they utterly fail to provide any evidence at all, because of course McLaren was actually right, and they were wrong.

    Typical cultist behavior, though. If you hear anything which contradicts the Holy Leader or the Holy Text, you declare it false *a priori* regardless of empirical evidence. Just like the freaking creationists, whose definition of “fact” is “it says so in my doctrine”.

    Here in the real world, pretty much everything McLaren listed is a fact. But in religious-Obama-worship world, it’s not.

    Sigh.

  171. 171
    Emerald says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century): Funny thing about Edwards, too. Back in 2004 when he was the veep candidate, we all expected him to eat Cheney for lunch in the veep debate. I sat down with great anticipation to watch Edwards eat Cheney for lunch. Of course he would.

    Edwards was the hot trial lawyer. People came from miles around to watch him give closing arguments. He couldn’t be beat.

    Then he just sat there during the debate and let Cheney eat him for lunch. Turned out Edwards talked a great game about fighting but couldn’t actually fight.

    And truly, most of the Professional Losers were Edwards supporters (except for the PUMAs like Hamsher), who keep yelling fight fight fight. Which is what their erstwhile hero did–just yelled fight fight fight, but didn’t do it.

    Kinda interesting.

  172. 172
    Nathanael says:

    @Karlisle:

    “How are we supposed to build on this framework is we keep having to bribe the very people who caused these problem in the first place to try to deal with it? Perhaps our system is just too far gone, and no, that’s not Obama’s fault.”

    Good point. If that’s the case, we have to forget about Obama — *and* the entire federal government, and possibly the state governments — and start working outside the system. I don’t think any of us here actually want that, but maybe that’s what has to be done.

  173. 173
    Nathanael says:

    @kdaug: Greenhouse gas sucker-upper machines are called “plants”.

  174. 174
    chaseyourtail says:

    @Nathanael:

    LBJ, who established Medicare, Section 8 housing, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and that’s off the top of my head?

    All that right off the top of your head? Impressivo.

  175. 175
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @Emerald: the only thing Edward ate was this.

  176. 176
    kdaug says:

    @goatchowder: Rings true.

  177. 177
    Nathanael says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You mean other than the new financial regulation bill that was signed into law in July?

    And for the people who will proclaim that the financial regulation bill was all kabuki theater and does absolutely nothing, I ask you why the financial industry and the Republicans are so desperate to kill it off if that’s the case

    OK, I’ll explain this one to you.

    The financial reform bill was not strong enough to prevent a repeat of the 2008 disaster. (Therefore we will in fact get a repeat of the 2008 disaster.)

    However, it does rein in the banksters *slightly*. Not enough to prevent total, unmitigated disaster, but enough that they may have to file more paperwork in order to commit some of their frauds.

    Like most big businessmen, they have learned to be crybabies. Every time something which is slightly less than ideal for them happens, they scream bloody murder. Which they are doing again.

    Comparison: The health insurers needed a national mandate — they were backed over a barrel. They wanted, of course, to give absolutely nothing up in trade for their forced customers. So, because the bill involved them making some mild concessions, they screamed like crybabies. A good strategist might have called their bluff; the moment it seemed that the bill would die if it didn’t have (insert progressive policy here), the health insurers would have backed down and started supporting the bill with that progressive policy.

  178. 178
    kdaug says:

    @Nathanael: Ya don’t say.

  179. 179
    Nathanael says:

    @Ash Can:

    By being a moderate, pragmatic left-of-centrist, Obama won over the vast numbers of middle-of-the-road voters he needed to win the 2008 election.

    I realize that this is the Beltway Bubble fantasy, but polling says that it is a complete fantasy. There are no “middle-of-the-road” voters.

    In fact, by promising “change”, Obama won over the vast numbers of frustrated-with-business-as-usual voters he needed to win the 2008 elections. Then he failed to deliver “change” (yes, he delivered some good policies, but not “change”), and they stayed home, cynical and disenchanted, in 2010.

  180. 180
    Cerberus says:

    Also I kind of bristle at the idea that the only game in town is electorability.

    Yes, it’s an important game. No, I don’t think that say Bernie Sanders has a fucking chance in federal elections or that we have to accept the machinations that are and that elections are extremely important in preventing horrifying things and bringing forth slow aching steps in the right direction.

    But it’s not so important that one must focus on one’s team and one’s output irrespective of anything else.

    What gets passed, what are the beliefs of who gets elected and what is the platform are important and more importantly what people believe in, what they grow to support and be exposed to and are educated about, and so on are fucking important.

    Yeah, Dems had good numbers, both in seats and in bills passed, but there was a bitter tang especially among youth whose political centers are very far out-of-whack with what is firmly believed to be “possible” and more importantly, the center of discourse in this country is where moderate conservatives and con-men negotiate with DC Supervillains and the asylum escapees to determine what is “possible”.

    And the starting positions of both are the young can die painfully in an alley and the compromise slightly less putrid on the tongue.

    I understand it’s part of pork sausage, but it’s also why the real important battle is not and possibly never has been congress. If we want real meaningful reforms, we can’t focus all our attention in fighting against anyone discussing anything above the mediocre improvement of the status quo and for singular bills, but in changing minds and attitudes so that things like soci.alized medicine are discussed everywhere and concepts have been socially in-grained.

    A great example of success on that front has been things like gay marriage or rape, where the actual political realities have been of massive setbacks and outright surrenders on the issue, but decent progress has been made on the social front and what people think. As such, gay marriage, at least, has a political victory seeming imminent on the national level and consent has at least arrived at the level of receiving lip service support from most every person in the country.

    Ditto in the fight against racism, especially in the political failure department.

    So yeah, Obama and our current democratic congress are electable, they are passing good centrist legislation that slowly pushes things moderately in a good direction and so on.

    But must we kick anyone who dreams beyond that in the teeth over and over again for “being unreasonable” and “that they should fucking shut up about their unelectable pipe dreams” when it is only due to decades of those fucking dreamers working on public opinion that even this mealy-mouthed centrist level of improvement was possible.

    Who the fuck has been working on public opinion since before Clinton on the gays in the military issue, who the fuck has been pushing for decades for genuine health care reform? It’s been people just like the ones who have been pushing for more.

    And you know what?

    Obama gets that.

    That’s why he asked people to push him from the left. That’s why he asked for people to make him pass things. He knows where the seeds originate that he then harvests with decent centrist political skill.

    So can we stop punching the fucking hippies already?

    Universal health care is better than the horse shit we’re getting, there is no secular reason we don’t have gay marriage right this second, the biological state of fetuses is not actually up for debate no matter what one’s pastor has told them.

    Yes, the political climate, yes, people’s minds must move. Yes, yes, yes.

    But someone needs to move it. Without that, we’re going to get only shittier compromise after shittier compromise and even more retreating from issues we weren’t even aware we needed to be fighting to keep (such as torture or whether basic economic realities can be waived because people want to sink another generation into disproved clap harder theories).

    So please, let’s keep punching the hippies and making it all about electability.

    Fuck electability. I actually give a shit about these issues. Sure, I understand the importance and hey, I’m not voting Green Party, but I’m sick and tired of all of us non-politicians having to pretend like “electability” is the sole thing that’s ever important.

    Especially when we’re at the grass-root activist level that’s most removed from the political calculus engaged in by people who will never be unduly affected by the policies they enact or fail to enact.

  181. 181
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    James Carville: “it’s the economy, stoopid”

    Professional Left™: “it’s the fighting, stoopid”

    the Firetards are as bad as the wingers. the wingers say, they’re not against the START treaty, they’re just against the process. the loser-left says, they’re not against the legislative outcomes, they’re just against the process. In short, to them, nothing won without a show-trial, is worth winning.

  182. 182
    Nathanael says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    If your desired outcome was to prevent people from being driven into bankruptcy by medical expenses and being denied cancer surgery because they had acne, then the ACA looks pretty damn good.

    Both are still ****ing happening. Medical bankruptcies are actually increasing. So no, it does not look good. Maybe it will look good in 2014. Or maybe the Republicans will have dismantled it by then, once Obama has convinced the country that Democrats never do anything for them.

    The 2014 start date was a freaking poison pill, I don’t know why it was accepted.

  183. 183
    mclaren says:

    @Nathanael:

    Anyone who believes Obama has accomplished more than LBJ is just plain delusional and probably can’t be reached.

    As I pointed out. The obots are actively delusional, but as Gustave LeBon noted in 1897, this is a typical feature of the dementia which takes over in crowds. People who gather in crowds become capable of convincing themselves that the most bizarre hallucinations are real — study the records on crowds at Lourdes, who claimed to see the Virgin Mary walk among them, or claimed to see the sun stop in the sky and descend to the ground.

    The book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles McKay, 1847, is another excellent source documenting the hallucinogenic self-delusions to which crowds are prone. Like Gustave LeBon’s The Crowd (1897) it documents the kind of bizarre behavior and weird self-delusion we observe in obots.

    Few people are aware of the extent of mass delusions throughout American history (indeed, throughout all countries, and all history). The “June bug” mania of 1962, the Seattle “windshield pitting epidemic” in 1954, the nonexistent Mad Gasser of Mattoon in the 1940s, the Satanic child molestation panic which swept America in the 1980s (the FBI investigated 20,000 reports of alleged Satanic child molestation in the 1980s and found not a single piece of evidence to support any of them) — all examples of group hysteria and mass hallucination. In other countries, we observe even more extreme examples of mass hysteria. Look up the Indonesian group hysteria of koro for a real education.

  184. 184
    Nathanael says:

    @DW:

    On top of this, we still have self defined moderates among the elites who simply refuse to recognize that the Republicans simply aren’t playing by the old rules.

    I actually think these people are the biggest problem, and that if we can get rid of them or get them to wake up to reality, we may be able to start making progress.

    Unfortunately I have been thinking more and more that Obama is one of them.

  185. 185
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @lol: I can’t believe Alan Grayson lost by 22 pts to the teabaggers, he was such a fighter!

  186. 186
    lol says:

    @mclaren:

    You mean the Bill Clinton who signed DADT, NAFTA, “Welfare Reform” and a raft of odious deregulation bills that are largely responsible for the shitstorm we’re in today on numerous fronts (1996 Comm Act, DMCA, financial dereg bills)? He sure showed those Republicans!

    Like I said before, it’s been funny watching the Left lionize the Clinton administration lately even as they assail Obama for not repealing up his policies fast enough.

    Once again, we have someone who conveniently forgets FDR had a 3 to 1 margin in Congress to work with. And even then, he had to compromise with conservative Democrats time after time to get stuff passed. Social Security is a prime example.

    Civil Rights Act? You realize there were several toothless versions passed before 1964, right? And the version that passed was a compromise? And that there were Civil Rights Acts that were passed after 1964?

    You remember the victories but you’re pathetically ignorant of what was needed to make them happen.

  187. 187
    Nathanael says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That’s the thing, though—most of the time, they weren’t actually breaking the law, because they had been able to get Republicans and compliant Democrats to pass the laws and regulations they needed to make sure that what they wanted to do would be technically legal.

    You may not have known this, but in the case of the banksters, they actually were breaking the law.

    Naked Capitalism has been collecting most of the stories, but basically MERS was a sham operation designed to evade state mortgage recording fees (illegal #1), servicer fee fraud against mortgage holders is endemic (illegal #2), outright issuer fraud was common (illegal #3), and failure to actually deliver the notes into the trusts which issued “securities” based on them became extremely common in the last few years before 2008, which is a violation of the Pooling and Servicing Agreements, and the banksters filed SEC documents swearing that they were obeying the PSAs (illegal #4); to cover up for all of this they’ve been filing false affidavits in court (illegal #5). I may have missed a few.

  188. 188
    Anne Laurie says:

    @mclaren: __

    Obama lied about shutting down Gitmo. Obama lied about reforming the financial system. Obama lied about restoring the constitution after Bush’s abuses. Obama lied about changing our health care system for the better. Obama lied about curbing America’s out-of-control war on global terror. Obama lied about cutting back on DEA raids of state-authorized marijuana dispensaries. Obama lied about ending torture. Obama lied and lied and lied and lied and lied and lied, and that’s why people misunderstood Obama.

    To be scrupulous (lawyerly), Obama wasn’t lying if he actually intended, or at least hoped, to achieve some or all of these excellent goals. And to be honest, a considerable percentage of the voters who pulled the “D” lever in 2008 didn’t actually care whether Obama intended to achieve any of these goals — they voted for him because they always vote the D ticket, or they despised McCain/Palin (or Hilary, sigh), or they wanted to see an African-American in the Oval Office, or they’d picked up the idea from Facebook that Obama was the trendy candidate for “winners”. I suspect the percentage of people who actually listened to the Obama campaign’s high-minded promises, and voted under the impression that those promises would become law, never rose much above the magical 27%.
    __

    Obama, like the rest of the congressional Democrats, still hasn’t learned that no matter how much they cave in to the Republicans, the Republicans will always demand more…
    __
    Americans will never re-elect a leader so weak and so feckless. Obama is an impotent and vacillating leader whose time is running out. As Bill Clinton remarked so presciently, “The American people would rather vote for someone who is strong and wrong than someone who is weak is right.” Obama is such a weak ineffectual impotent figure that he’ll be rapidly reduced to jelly by the onslaught of congressional investigations led by thugs like Darrell Issa.
    __
    By November 2012, with unemployment still above 9% and Obama reduced to a whimpering ineffectual placater eager to give the congression Republican bullies ever tax cut for the rich they demand, voters will shun him in record numbers and rush to elect the crazy and ignorant crackpot Sarah Palin…because while she’s a nutjob, at least she’s not hopelessly weak and vacillating.

    Repeating anti-Obama buzzwords like “weak” & “impotent” & “ineffectual” so often doesn’t reinforce your argument, it just makes you seem strident. (I know Newt Gingrich considered it a brilliant political tactic, but Gingrich wasn’t very successful as a politician, just as a media blowhard.) It may, goddess save us all, be that Obama is no better a politician than Mitt Romney, and that he’ll end up pawning his every principle until he panders himself right out of a second term. It’s more likely, I suspect, that he’ll pull a Slick Willy, throw a lot of school-uniform-and-V-chip chaff at the Republican kamikaze-ers, and eke out just enough pundit-friendly “legislative victories” to win a second term… supported, as in 2008, by the majority of low information voters who don’t give a fart in a windstorm about the dreadful fates of a bunch of brown foreigners and homegrown hippies &faygelahs, as long as things aren’t too desperate in their neighborhood and the President doesn’t interrupt any key episodes of So You Think You Can Dance with the Survivors of Real Housewives on the Fifth-Grade Runway.

    Yeah, the key factor is the economy. But I don’t think the average American voter cares about longterm global trends in the financial marketplace — as long as the Obama administration can gin up the jobs engine so it looks like things are “trending upward” by the end of 2011, Obama will beat whichever mook staggers over the finish line at the RNC. And unless things go very pear-shaped very fast (something none of us should be praying for, no matter how satisfying it will be to gloat), that mook will not be Sarah Palin… it will probably be Mitt Romney.

  189. 189
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century): Ah, I see, if we allow you to round numbers to where you want to whenever you want to, you can say 2 to 1. Like Karl Rove, you’ve got the math.

    Like I said, ‘Truthiness!’.

  190. 190
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @lol: … and signed DOMA, PNTR w China, and repealing Glass-Steagall.

    what a fighter!

  191. 191
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @NobodySpecial: doncha have to catch the little yellow-bus in the morning? tomorrow is a school day.

    PS say hello to trigg.

  192. 192
    Nathanael says:

    @That’s Master of Accountancy to You, Pal:

    The other thing is that, for a lot of the types of crimes that likely did occur, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is extremely hard to establish.

    You know? It’s not actually that hard to establish. Unfortunately, we’ve had some rather corrupt courts which have raised the standards for proving such cases above the ordinary meaning of “reasonable doubt”.

    It is not reasonable, for instance, to think that MERS was created without the intent to defraud local county clerks. It is not reasonable to think that the fraud shops manufacturing fake affadavits to run illegal foreclosures were motivated by any intent other than fraud, or that the companies which hired them at rock-bottom prices and demanded super-fast foreclosures did not intend for them to violate the law.

  193. 193
    Nathanael says:

    @Ruckus:

    So a president that thinks long term, gets what he can, lives on to fight another day, I’d call that pretty damn smart. Way smarter than all the pundits who can’t find their asses with both hands on a sunny day.

    Yes, I’d like one of those. Could you tell me where we can get one?

  194. 194
    mclaren says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    the loser-left says, they’re not against the legislative outcomes, they’re just against the process. In short, to them, nothing won without a show-trial, is worth winning.

    Do you have any hard evidence to support your unsubstantiated claims?

    First, what evidence do you have that Democrats who fight for what they believe are “losers”? Doesn’t the evidence from the recent 2010 election show just the contrary, that in fact the Blue Dogs who went along with the Republicans were actually the biggest losers?

    In fact, the objective evidence on the ground is clear: “Conservative Blue Dog caucus cut in half.”

    Study the facts. They’re clear. Democrats like Nancy Pelosi who stood their ground and fought for substantive change survived their electoral challenges in 2010, while the Blue Dogs who sought to “go along to get along” with Republicans got wiped out.

    The polls show overwhelming support for a hard left liberal agenda in America: overwhelming support for reducing Pentagon spending, overwhelming support for a public option in health care, overwhelming support for higher taxes on the rich. Show us the polls which allegedly demonstrate the public support for Obama’s acquiescence to tax cuts for the rich. There are none.

    Show us the Show us the polls which allegedly demonstrate the public support for Obama’s expansion of the pointless unwinnable war in Afghanistan. There are none.

    This is what’s so puzzling about both Obama and the obots. The polls clearly huge vast support for the positions which Obama repudiates.

    You talk about “loser liberals.” Who is the loser here? The obot who steadfastly encourages Obama to go in the exact opposite policy direction of the polls, or the liberals who calls on Obama to pay attention to the polls and show some spine and actually advocate policies which the public supports?

    Second, where’s your evidence that anyone who criticizes Obama doesn’t care primarily about the outcome? I wouldn’t give a damn how Obama gets the troops out of Afghanistan. He can declare victory and evacuate, or he can negotiate with the Taliban, or he announce that America has been defeated, or he could just claim we’ve run out of money and public support — I don’t give a shit. As long as Obama gets the troops out of our unwinnable pointless war in Afghanistan, I’d be happy. Likewise, I wouldn’t give a flying fvck how Obama gets meaningful financial reform through: if Obama has to negotiate with congress, fine; if Obama were to order his DOJ unilterally to investigate and prosecute Dick Fuld and Jamie Dimon and the rest of the criminals, fine. If Obama does a deal to let the Wall Street criminals go free in return for jacking up the taxes on the rich and instituting ironclad oversight on Wall Street trading practices in the future, that’s fine too. Whatever, I don’t give a damn, as long as our broken financial systems gets cleaned up and some genuine oversight gets put in place, I’m happy.

    This is true of the other people I’ve heard criticizing Obama. So where’s your evidence, Mike Kay, that I “don’t care about outcomes, only process”?

    Sounds to me like you’re just making sh|t up. You’re just pulling wild claims out of your ass.

  195. 195
    chaseyourtail says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    I can’t believe Alan Grayson lost by 22 pts to the teabaggers, he was such a fighter!

    Lmao…again.

  196. 196
    Cerberus says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    Man, fuck process.

    Yeah, I know, it’s most of the battle on the political level and that’s the level Obama’s on and trying to get the most out of and a lot of people want to backseat driver a bunch of fights about that.

    But really, fuck process.

    My fevered unicorn dreams are of legislation I can point to with pride being passed, of attitudes shifting like crumbling mountains, of being surprised from the progressive side by current legislation, hell even just as proposed legislation.

    So much seems to be watering down expectations and then watering down even more and constantly reminding myself how critically important it is to take joy in the little victories because they are all one has.

    And I try and do a good job on that, but sometimes, it all just seems like rancid dog feces.

    Right now, fuck process. Fuck what “gets the best electability” and fuck “we’ve passed a bunch of bills that will never fucking improve your life in any way”.

    Maybe I’m bitter because people politely corrected my delusions on the number of trans people murdered last year (my source was wrong, the numbers went up…a lot and investigation was initially better but has fallen apart of late with an increased number of cases with recalcitrant or lackluster police follow-up), I found out the health insurance I “luckily” got thanks to HRC is actually a scam my parents and I can’t actually use without forcing medical bankruptcy (all the “benefits” of not having health insurance, but now costing them a giant stack of money to “keep”), and not only am I looking at possible future eviction and continued joblessness but it’s become strongly apparent that the way all the businesses are acting with regards to hiring right now is a giant game of chicken that’ll guarantee a long and ugly depression, one the federal numbers does a poor job documenting and addressing because of Bush fucking with the unemployment numbers and no one wanting the ugly political consequences of fixing them to be accurate.

    Actually, yes, I am.

    But please, let’s have the battle of which process will best advance the best incremental slight improvements to our failed country. Maybe if I’m really lucky I won’t freeze to death on the streets before we start analyzing the next presidential election cycle.

    Also, as a side note, obsessing over the horse race bullshit is what our failed media overlords do.

    Being nominally activists we are allowed to give a shit about other things. I think Obama should be re-elected. He is successful at the political level, now can we start moving enough things on the ground that he and our Galtian overlords can have a new normal to work with/against for the center-right compromises that will be made?

  197. 197
    Nathanael says:

    @Uloborus:

    Bush and Cheney haven’t been arrested and the banks and the insurance industries haven’t been dismantled. That’s all they care about, not fixing the problems those people caused or preventing those problems from happening again.

    If you let the criminals go free, they commit more crimes. And these particular ones are recidivists with a record.

    The Nixon aides who didn’t get convicted or prosecuted in Watergate went on to perform Iran-Contra. When they got away with that, the people involved in Iran-Contra moved on to the George W. Bush administration. Now that they got away with that, God only knows what the Bush alumni are going to pull next.

    The banks? Do I need to run through the historical record of banks blowing up the economy, running back hundreds of years? Only with laws like Glass-Steagal do they NOT blow it up every 5-10 years.

    The insurance companies? OK, they don’t have such a long record, maybe they will be reformable.

  198. 198
    Nathanael says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Yeah, the key factor is the economy. But I don’t think the average American voter cares about longterm global trends in the financial marketplace—as long as the Obama administration can gin up the jobs engine so it looks like things are “trending upward” by the end of 2011, Obama will beat whichever mook staggers over the finish line at the RNC.

    Seems like a reasonable analysis. I don’t actually think Obama will successfully gin up the jobs engine at the right time, however. The very bad deals he just made with the Republicans are designed specifically (presumably by the Republicans) to generate a downturn in 2011…..

  199. 199
    Nathanael says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yes, I was pleased to see Obama point out that the Republicans were hostage-takers.

    He undercut it a bit by saying that he intended to give the hostage-takers whatever they asked for because the hostages might get hurt otherwise, though. I think most Americans still remember the “We do not negotiate with hostage-takers!” principle…

  200. 200
    Nathanael says:

    @John – A Motley Moose:

    The DADT issue is the most obvious. It was rather revealing. Obama critics on the left did everything they could to ignore the positive aspect of DADT.

    You know, it isn’t actually gone yet!

    Obama worshippers have a nasty tendency to premature celebration, and I think this is rather revealing Yes, it’s nice that DADT can be repealed after several more steps. But this reminds me of CO2 regulation — we’re all pleased that it’s progressing, but it *hasn’t changed any facts on the ground yet*.

    Just to be absolutely clear, there are things Obama can be congratulated for. Saving GM was done well, and seems to have worked out excellently. The high-speed rail money is well worth it and going well, and Ray LaHood turned out to be an excellent appointment. At the DoD, Gates’s willingness to stare down Congress over unwanted military pork has been excellent (and has *succeeded*).

    I don’t think it outweighs the disastrous mistakes made so far, but yes, there are things to congratulate Obama for.

  201. 201
    Cerberus says:

    And I need to stop posting, because I strongly doubt the conversations had this Christmas reminding me of the ticking clock when my inability to find a job will officially fuck my partner potentially in irredeemable ways and of my mom scared to go to the dentist to treat cavities because it could lead to medical bankruptcy (the fucking dentist and my parents are way further along in the economic spectrum than me) aren’t at all affecting my reactions to this conversation.

    Obama is doing what he does well. As is the Democratic congress we had. They deserve their props for that.

    But the system is broken and bad and it sucks that the only things that could fix that are “off the table as possibilities” as the default.

    And it sucks worse when things are as dire as they’re getting in my life and with as short of a time limit as I’ve got and when the ability to fix the mere “personal is political” day-to-day is as dire and seemingly impossible as to fix the really big stuff.

    Props to Obama and if people need to vent their rage by screaming at Obama’s centrism or the bad short-term political level advice given by armchair politicians on the web? Fine.

    The situation still sucks and I and pretty much everyone to the left of Hitler wants it to stop sucking.

    Now if only we had a functional democracy and an educated and engaged public that could make that possible.

  202. 202
    Nathanael says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Again, you have a very peculiar idea of where the country currently stands if you think that the public option and prison reform are somehow mainstream political positions that just didn’t get their due this year rather than the radical leftist ideas that they currently are. Yes, I know, in any other country they would be mainstream ideas, but we don’t live in any other country.

    The public option actually had, what was it, 46% support in blind polling, before any serious advocacy for it…

    But anyway, suppose you’re right. What does that argue for?
    (1) Getting the hell out of this country, because Mexico is already more sane, let alone Canada.
    (2) Concluding that our entire populace is the craziest in the world, but not leaving because you think mass conversion is possible.

    The second sounds implausible, but if you have ideas for how to do it….

  203. 203
    Nathanael says:

    @Uloborus:

    None of what you say is actually true (regarding civil liberties issues), as I’ve looked into all of this. Obama really has advanced arguments which were never advanced before Bush, for the purpose of doing things which were wildly illegal. You’re just flat wrong about the assassination orders, wrong about the state secret claims, etc.

    But I don’t expect you to have the scales fall from your eyes, you’re a true believer.

  204. 204
    Cerberus says:

    @Nathanael:

    One last thing though.

    Yes, it’s premature celebration, but that’s human nature, especially in a media environment this ADD about even recent history.

    It’s worth celebrating the moment victory is scheduled and most of the work is done, because that’s the time you have the most focus and have the most fellow supporters.

    The only people who bother to remember and celebrate implementations tend to be only the people directly affected and even then the track record isn’t good.

    If everyone celebrated when DADT was fully implemented, great, but I can’t fault people opening the champagne early though they know that the final process isn’t complete.

    It’s like celebrating the title-clinching victory on the field right afterwards on the pitch itself, even if there’s some administration steps needed to bring home the trophy or even to receive the official title of Champions.

  205. 205
    Lysana says:

    Anyone who thinks Obama lied about Gitmo is a selective memory case on two feet. It was CONGRESS who blocked what Obama wanted about Gitmo. Any arguments about this that include “could’ve done more” or “bully pulpit” should be shoved up your ass.

  206. 206
    Nathanael says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The goddamned Supreme Court has ruled that companies basically have no responsibility towards their investors or shareholders.

    Ahem. You raise another issue.

    This Supreme Court has four outright criminals on it. We all know this.

    A President thinking long term would have a strategy for dealing with that. I can think of several. (FDR actually used one.) All high-risk, but hey, you have to do it, you have to neutralize them, or they’re gonna go back to stealing elections like they did in 2000.

    Obama just doesn’t seem to even get what the problem is.

  207. 207
    Karen says:

    I’ll tell you the problems the Super Duper Left has with Obama, the real 800 pound gorilla or the pink elephant: they WANT Obama to be Cheney! Except for the things they want. They WANT Obama to rule by fiat, to try to rewrite the Constitution and just issue Executive Orders. They would love it if Obama was Cheney but a Cheney of Progressive Lefthood.

    Sorry, it doesn’t work like that.

    I love how everything is all for or all against.

    If I like anything that Obama does or dare to praise him for it, I am an Obot. The only way I’m not an Obot is if I scream “HILLARY, HILLARY, rescue us from the evil Obama and toss him into Guantanimo for daring to deny you the crown you were entitled to!!!!!!!!!!”

    See? I can throw around extremes too. But what I find really interesting is that Obama gets the blame for everything. The snow storm is his fault too you know. But oddly enough, none of the Super Duper Left seems to remember that there’s a Congress. And that the Democrats in that Congress write laws. And that they’re not blameless.

    Oh wait. Anytime Obama does something good, it was Congress, not Obama.

  208. 208
    Nathanael says:

    @Cerberus:

    Yes, it’s premature celebration, but that’s human nature, especially in a media environment this ADD about even recent history.

    OK, I can accept that. After the number of lies and betrayals we’ve had in the last decade, I think I’ll wait until we see facts on the ground. But I won’t begrudge others their optimism.

  209. 209
    Nathanael says:

    @Karen:

    They WANT Obama to rule by fiat, to try to rewrite the Constitution and just issue Executive Orders.

    He does when it comes to assassination orders and “state secrets” and imprisonment without trial and kangaroo courts. I really would rather he didn’t, but if he’s going to….

    They would love it if Obama was Cheney but a Cheney of Progressive Lefthood.

    …a dictator who used his powers for good would be better than one who uses his dictatorial powers for evil, but when someone proposes a good thing says “Oh, I must consult the Senate and defer to them”.

  210. 210
    mclaren says:

    @Cerberus:

    And I think a lot of people were half-expecting…something so dramatic and special that one could believe our collapsing empire could be saved in the very small amount of time we have left.

    And instead, the realization and fear is setting in that our system is so broken that even when we have a congress this productive, we don’t see dramatic movements forward, we aren’t even beginning to fix what was broken in the last 8 years, much less the last 30 and it’s quite apparent that we won’t fix the looming problems…

    I think this really nails it.

    Obama’s and the Democratic congress’ failure in 2009 and 2010 to do anything at all about global warming and making serious substantive preparations for Peak Oil are the two big ones for me. Everyone with eyes and a functioning brain knows that Woodland CA hit 129 degrees F on 23 June 2006 and downtown Los Angeles hit 114 degree F this summer. These kinds of temperatures are harbingers of things to come.

    When you put together Peak Oil and global warming, you have got a recipe for upheaval that is going to tear the United States apart, and no one in Washington or the Democratic caucus or the White House seems to regard this giant tsunami of social and economic disruption as something to be worried about.

    California is the seventh largest economy in the world. What do you think is going to happen when temperatures in Los Angeles hit 130 degrees F and oil gets to $150 a barrel?

    Antonio Villaraigosas, the mayor of Los Angeles, knows what’s going to happen to California:

    LA, like the rest of the state, has no time to lose in building out a mass transit network that can handle the travel needs of its population. As oil prices rise later this year, part of a long-term trend upward that will lead to a sustained price of $175 a barrel by 2017 according to Deutsche Bank analysts, the LA economy will grind to a halt unless more effective mass transit options are provided.

    Source: “Why Antonio Villaraigosa’s 30/10 Plan Matters,” Saturday, 3 April 2010, calitics website.

    Los Angeles is a microcosm for America. Obama has had chance after chance to push hard for massive green technology and mass transit. Instead, we got bailouts for GM…but no requirement for massive change — say, to electric vehicles, or biofuels, or anything but “more of the same” SUVs. Obama, like the Democrats in Washington DC, seems to think we can continue our happy motoring lifestyle into the indefinite future. Obama, like the Democrats in Washington DC, seems to think we can continue importing vast amounts of increasingly unaffordable oil without cranking up a massive crash program of nuclear power and solar-electric power and mass transit to wean us off our oil addiction.

    China is not this complacent. The leaders in China are moving toward zero-emission cities and massive nuclear power plant buildouts as fast as they can. Chinese industry is now the world leader in wind power systems and solar power technology.

    Where is Obama and the Democrats? Why don’t they have a sense of urgency about this?

    Instead, they’re all yapping about the global war on terror. You know, I’m against terrorism, and guess what? When the world’s seventh largest economy in California grinds to a halt because global warming and Peak Oil has driven prices up to $150 a barrel sometime around 2017 and the temperature in downtown L.A. is 120 degree F and the National Guard has been called out to contain the water riots and the gasoline riots, this is not going to be good news for the American people because they’ll be dying on the freeways when they try to walk away from their stalled cars in the middle of killing heatwaves. Republicans are going to be just as dead of heat prostration as Democrats are when their cars die due to lack of gasoline in a global warming heatwave in another 8 or 10 years, so I would suggest that global warming and Peak Oil are just a little goddamn more important than stuff like the bullshit made-up “global war on terror” or the war on drugs or the war on copyright infringement.

    Everyone, liberal or conservative, is going to be royally screwed when California comes apart at the seams because of global warming and Peak Oil. When the world’s seventh largest economy crashes, it’s going to take the rest of America down with it.

    And I can see it coming. Why can’t Obama?

    Why can’t the Democrats in congress?

  211. 211
    Raenelle says:

    If he doesn’t cut Social Security, OK. Allowing the torture and wire taps and tax cuts; OK. Don’t let the best be the enemy of the good. I get that. I know it’s hard to do anything at all with the Republicans as the opposition party in this country. I get that.

    But if Obama cuts Social Security, if a Dem cuts Social Security, then fuck him. Period. I don’t care what else he does. We paid for Social Security with the Greenspan reforms in increased payroll taxes in the 80s. Now the adults are saying we should compromise that in the name of fiscal responsibility, or some shit like that. Fuck them all. If they voted to extend the Bush tax cuts, then try to take my Social Security, if a Dem leads the charge, then fuck them, and fuck him.

  212. 212
    Karen says:

    @Raenelle:

    Is “means testing” cutting Social Security? Does someone who has a pension worth millions of dollars need Social Security? Shouldn’t it be for the people who need it the most? If Social Security is running out of money wouldn’t means testing make sense?

  213. 213
    maus says:

    @Uloborus:

    Most of the angry left want REVENGE, not good governance.

    Do people actually believe this? Based on what? We don’t want to see legislation unnecessarily neutered, watered down, and benefiting corporations over the people.

  214. 214
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @Raenelle: what torture? what wiretaps?

    he put an end to torture on day one via an executive order. there hasn’t been a single illegal wiretap. hell if he did illegally wiretap someone, the wingers in congress would impeach him.

  215. 215
    mclaren says:

    @Nathanael:

    [Obama] does [rule by fiat and ignore the constitution] when it comes to assassination orders and “state secrets” and imprisonment without trial and kangaroo courts.

    Exactly. Precisely.

    This is what’s so incomprehensible about the obots.

    They swoon with delight when Obama unilaterally issues fiat executive orders in violation of the constitution to kidnap American citizens and hurl them into dungeons without even charging them with a crime, to assassinate U.S. citizens without a trial, to eavesdrop and wiretap on everyone in America in gross violation of the fourth amendment, to continue Bush’s torture at Bagram airbase in crass violation of the eighth amendment.

    But when someone suggests that Obama might issue a signing statement which, for example, sequesters the funds from the recent tax cuts for the rich, the obots shrink with horror and shriek piercing cries of plaintive terror. Oh nooooooooo, no, noooooooooooooo! they howl in wild panic, Obama can’t do that, because that might violate the constitution!

    What the fuck?

    Seriously, obots. What the hell is going on in your brains?

    It’s fine for Obama to tear up the constitution and wipe his ass with it in order to murder and kidnap American citizens who’ve never even been accused of committing a crime…but it’s horrible beyond imagining and completely outside the bounds of propriety for Obama to issue a signing statement that would impound tax cuts for the rich? It’s totally outside the realm of civilized behavior to issue an executive order shutting down Gitmo, but it’s completely within the realm of civilized behavior to kidnap American citizens and throw ’em into a dungeon forever without charges?

    Are you obots even listening to yourselves?

    Do you even pay attention to the insane shit that’s coming out of your mouths?

    The only possible explanation I can come up with for the stuff Dennis G. wrote in this post is the explanation George Orwell posited in his essay “Politics and the English language”:

    Writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.

  216. 216
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    So the poster here quotes a brain-dead Politico piece, claiming the usual “Oh I think Politico is full of stupid talking points– just not this one!” exemption.

    The Dylan-going-electric analogy is one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever read. Reading it in Politico wouldn’t surprise me in the least. The fact that you select it among all of the rest, which you admit is the usual Politico tripe, and give it your blessing, just shows how far off into frantic fandom you’ve drifted.

    Yes, Obama accomplished some good things recently. If you’re going to make it all about him, however, and clearly you are, then you should understand that it can just as justifiably be described the other way: Obama screwed up the stimulus plan, was arrogant and nasty about it, and turned out to be wrong, which left unemployment much higher than he predicted and lost him the House of Representatives to the Republicans.

    Yeah it’s a simple-minded Politico-style argument, but so is yours. Your quoting from the Politico was sort of the giveaway.

    Oh and by the way: The Dylan story was a classic that’s repeated over and over in the arts. Miles Davis experienced the same thing, most truly memorable musicians go through something similar. Innovation is at the heart of their endeavor as artists, and people become attached to what they come up, but they’ve moved on. It has nothing to do with promises they made to anyone in order to get elected, because there are no elections or promises involved.

    Good grief. I mean, at least John can take things on a case-by-case basis, deal with the issues, instead of this blind adoring cheerleading, bolstered with Politico links that are suddenly deemed intelligent because they support this cultish position.

  217. 217
    mclaren says:

    @Uloborus:

    Most of the angry left want REVENGE, not good governance.

    Huh?

    Redefining “enforcing the law” to mean “vengeance” may have amusement value, but what purpose does that kind of bizarre verbal calisthenics serve?

    Prosecuting Bush and Cheney isn’t a matter of “revenge.” It’s a matter of upholding the rule of law. When you refuse to prosecute people in high positions for crimes, you know what happens?

    The rule of law breaks down.

    When that happens, you get Argentina’s “Dirty War.” You get people dragged off the streets into torture chambers without charges or a trial. And guess what, buckaroo: we’re already there.

    The rule of law is important.

    If you don’t believe me, you may want to take a gander at the 50th anniversary symposium held by various law professors at U. C. Berkeley on the topic Is there hope for the rule of law in America?

    The conclusion was “no.”

    And it’s because of Obama’s and the Democrats’ refusal to prosecute Bush and Cheney for their crimes.

    This isn’t “revenge,” it’s a matter of keeping society from disintegrating into barbarism — because that’s what happens without the rule of law, kiddies. It’s Hobbes’ state of nature, where life is nasty, brutal and short.

    Obama’s accomplishments already would be impressive even if he wasn’t facing a Republican opposition that has ceased to even pretend they’re playing the game fairly.

    What accomplishments?

    Tearing up the constitution and wiping his ass with it?

    More Bush-era tax cuts for the rich?

    More torture? More endless unwinnable wars in third world hellholes? More money for the Pentagon to piss away on useless worthless non-working weapons systems like Ballistic Missile Defense and the Osprey and the F35 Joint Strike Fighter?

    But none of those accomplishments are significant…

    Still waiting for a list of those accomplishments of Obama’s administration.

    …because they weren’t served up with a side of Revenge. Bush and Cheney haven’t been arrested…

    Still waiting. Still no list of Obama’s alleged “accomplishements.” As for the “revenge” claim, we’ve already debunked that, so we can dismiss that crap out of hand.

    and the banks and the insurance industries haven’t been dismantled.

    Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. The only way to enforce securities laws and the laws against fraud is to ‘dismtantle’ the bansk and the insurance industries. In other words, we must have zero regulation on banks and the insurance industry, or we must “dismantle them.”

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    You know, in poker, this is what is known as a “tell.”

    That’s all they care about, not fixing the problems those people caused or preventing those problems from happening again.

    Right, right, right, right — at this point, we know we’re dealing with a far-right Red State troll. Because he’s tipped his hand. He done shot his wad. He has let his agenda slip.

    Enforcing the law against people in high office who commit crimes is “revenge” and the only way to regulate banks and the insurance industry is by “dismantling them.”

    Okay. We’re done here. Red State troll has been revealed, bullshit exposed, game over.

  218. 218
    Kath says:

    It is interesting that Dennis G. uses the Dylan analogy. He misses the point, imo, of Dylan going electric. It was to break out of a choke hold of the old way because the message was getting lost. With Dylan, the medium is subservient to the message.

    And the message was about righting wrongs, stopping wars, recognizing the essential equality of all human beings. At that time, the zeal from Dylan was about the message of ideals, and ideas that transcended fear/hate/division. And he would go through several re-incarnations of form (country, christian, etc) but each was to shake the expectations and create catalyst in order that the message be heard at an existential level.

    The part of the left that is so denigrated is not in despair over the “move to electric” as much as that move was intensely anticipated, and the problem was that ultimately — whether through necessary compromise, or being forced to the center, or real politics that were always there — the message was the same as “the old acoustic” version.

    I will be interested in watching how my centrist brothers and sisters GOTV. Because ideals and message were always the driving force of the passion of the left. I do not defend the anger and irrationality that comes up from progressives, because it ultimately divides us and is counter productive. But I am curious to see how the center will drive the future.

  219. 219
    mclaren says:

    @Lysana:

    Anyone who thinks Obama lied about Gitmo is a selective memory case on two feet. It was CONGRESS who blocked what Obama wanted about Gitmo. Any arguments about this that include “could’ve done more” or “bully pulpit” should be shoved up your ass.

    You’re a liar. Obama could easily and quickly shut down Gitmo. Do it by executive order.

    When Congress refuses to provide any funds, Obama should’ve just upped the ante and released the prisoners in Gitmo (most of whom are harmless bystanders innocent of any crime) back to their own countries. Then Obama orders the military to use military transport jets to pick up all the prisoners and return ’em to their countries of origin.

    Problem solved.

    Obama’s cowardice has let hundreds of innocent bystanders languish in dungeons for the rest of their lives. Obama did this for purely political reasons, so he couldn’t be called “weak on terror,” and it’s contemptible. Most of the Guantanamo kidnap victims are innocent.

    “Most Guantanamo Detainees Are Innocent – Bush Official,” Associated Press, 19 March 2009.

  220. 220
    Peter says:

    Nathanael and mclaren spend so much time going back and forth, patting each other’s butts, that I’d swear they were the same person if Nathanael’s writing was just a liiiiiiiitle bit crazier.

  221. 221
    Alex S. says:

    Let’s see… at the moment Obama is going “Bitches Brew”. Once he goes “On the Corner” things will get difficult.

  222. 222
    mclaren says:

    @Kath:

    I do not defend the anger and irrationality that comes up from progressives…

    Can you provide us with evidence of this alleged “anger” and “irrationality”?

    Why is it “irrational” to point out that the constitution forbids torture? (Amendment eight)

    Why is it “irrational” to point out that the constitution says that people must be arraigned and charged with a crime before they can be thrown into jail? (Amendment five)

    Why is it “irrational” to point out that Obama ridiculed insurance mandates as unworkable during his campaign, yet now he defends them?

    “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a home.” — Barack Obama, 2008.

    Why is it “irrational” to point out that Obama sharply criticized Bush for kangaroo court military commissions in 2006, yet now Obama has embraced these selfsame kangaroo court rigged show trials?

    We learned late today that Army Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld, the lead prosecutor in the military commissions case against Mohammed Jawad, has resigned in protest because the prosecution team was not providing the defense evidence that could indicate Jawad’s innocence. Jawad was a teenager when he was captured in Afghanistan and he’s one of the two youngest prisoners at Guantánamo.

    CBS adds, “In a declaration submitted to the defense, Vandeveld said prosecutors knew Jawad may have been drugged before the attack and that the Afghan Interior Ministry said two other men had confessed to the same crime.”

    Source: “Prosecutor Daniel Vandeveld resigns over fairness of Guantanamo trials,” 25 September 2008.

    Where is the evidence of “anger” or “irrationality” by progressives when they point out these documented facts?

    Is stating a documented fact “anger”?

    Is pointing to the record of Obama’s statements and actions “irrational”?

    Please explain.

  223. 223
    magurakurin says:

    this was an interesting thread until McLaren came along.

    for the record, I didn’t read a single word the guy wrote.

    scroll, scroll, scroll your boat.

    you’re a douche bag, mate.

  224. 224
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Kath:

    The part of the left that is so denigrated is not in despair over the “move to electric” as much as that move was intensely anticipated, and the problem was that ultimately—whether through necessary compromise, or being forced to the center, or real politics that were always there—the message was the same as “the old acoustic” version.

    I disagree. The message is different, and it’s one of the problems Obama’s been said to have, actually. It’s the ‘policy over politics’ stuff. Dude doesn’t spend enough time selling his stuff. I think he believes like goatchowder said that we became an abused country that won’t trust easily anymore. That with good policy he earns the trust of the masses and then that’ll make bigger changes easier to get through.

    I don’t know if that’s a good idea, but that’s what it seems like he’s doing to me. I also think he’s counting on the GOP eating itself. Perhaps he’s a believer in Peak Wingnut? The saying is that Peak Wingnut is a lie. I don’t know. Maybe we’re just not anywhere near the peak yet, even now….

  225. 225
    mclaren says:

    @magurakurin:

    As usual, no facts and no arguments — just vacuous insults and empty name-calling.

    Typical obot.

  226. 226
    magurakurin says:

    @mclaren

    blow me asshole. It’s got nothing to do with politics. You’re a fuckstick, at least as represented by your ravings although I didn’t bother to read them this evening.

    go fuck yourself, please. really.

  227. 227
    Tancrudo says:

    @DW: These are similar to my thoughts on the matter. Obama was never going to be the return of FDR. The battle was over whether he would be the return of Clinton or the return of Carter.

    Our system has been so broken by the metastatic military-industrial complex and the depredations of thirty years of Reaganomics that it can’t be turned around in two years by one president. If you thought it could, either you thought the problem was really not so bad or you thought the president has more power than he does. I’d say they’ve been digging a ditch for decades and it’ll take us decades to fill it in.

    If Obama’s major job was to show that Democrats can get some things done, and are a viable electoral option, then he has succeeded. His accomplishments are a base he can build on for reelection and recapture of the House and a demonstration for the electorate that we don’t have to capitulate to the nihilism of the Republican Party.

  228. 228
    burnspbesq says:

    @tractor:

    “Constructing a case, I would think it less important to determine why a lender or reseller failed to properly document the borrowers’ qualifications.”

    If you think that, you need to rethink, because if you can’t prove intent all of your defendants will walk.

    “When reselling the loans, they still had to somehow represent that they were good loans”

    And if there were misrepresentations, someone may have a civil cause of action.

    Not every bad act is a crime.

  229. 229
    mclaren says:

    @magurakurin:

    Blow me, asshole. …fuckstick… Go fuck yourself…

    Thank you for confirming the standard behavior of obots. You have nothing to contribute other than hysterical obscenities.

    Isn’t it interesting that the obots who howl f-words get praised by people like Dennis G. for showing that “somehow progress keeps being made”?

    And isn’t it fascinating that people like myself who point out the absence of facts or logical arguments in the obots’ obscenity-laden outbursts are the ones who get attacked for our alleged “endless rage”?

  230. 230
    burnspbesq says:

    @Nathanael:

    “Therefore we will in fact get a repeat of the 2008 disaster.”

    Your entire problem, neatly illustrated in 12 words.

    A guess is not a fact. Until you stop pulling stunts like that, you shouldn’t expect to be taken seriously.

  231. 231
    tommybones says:

    When does Cole stop the endless hippie-baiting posts? It seriously gets old quick.

    I know I should be ecstatic with all these WONDERFUL accomplishments, yet the fact that I am still unemployed and living on borrowed funds makes it difficult to join the celebration. My sister? She’s about to lose her house. My mother? After decades of hard work? Is now spending her retirement money keeping her fully grown children afloat.

    It would be nice for Cole and company to take a moment to comprehend that people are still suffering, by the tens of millions, and a bunch of alleged accomplishments which do nothing to mitigate their day-to-day suffering means SHIT to them. I need a fucking job. My sister needs a fucking job. My mother needs hope for a retirement which doesn’t include living in an attack above the garage.

    Take these obnoxious barbs, thrown out from your nice comfy home and shove them up your ass.

  232. 232
    matt says:

    I think this analogy is scrambled. The problem people have with obama is that he’s too much in the mold of the old broder-friendly easy to punch approval hungry liberal. Not that he’s too radical and change-y. Sure, he’s gotten some laws passed in the reeking cesspit that is our political system. But he hasn’t shown any kind of will to run the corrupt hacks out.

  233. 233
    agrippa says:

    This is not a time of reason.

    This is a time of fear and anger. It is illogical to expect people to be logical.

    There is a recession; the old are afraid for themselves and their chidren and grandchildren; the young are afraid for their future – if there is one worthy of the name. people have lost – or may lose – their home and/or their job.

    Some do not really know why they are angry and afraid; things have just not worked out somehow.

    The left [ or, what can be called the left] did not see the radical change that they wanted, or thought were needed. So much needed to be done.

    Obama is not a man on horseback.

  234. 234
    General Stuck says:

    @mclaren:

    FACT – Mclaren is a lying sack of shit, whose blind hatred of Obama is only matched by his blind hatred of life itself. you and all these whiny fucktard trotskyite pieces of shit can diaf with the holier than thou non stop puke funneling of Propaganda for anarchy. There are few creatures on the planet that are filled with more vile, bitterness and sadism than a purity leftist, that exist less than a stones throw from the most right wing on the backside of the great circle of ideology. You can spam you’re bullshit fake humanity till the cows come home mclaren, you will still be one hateful sumbitch. And Obama will still get reelected, and 85 percent of self described sane liberals will still support him. Bunch of self absorbed, self deluded barnacles clinging to the side of the toilet boil on this blog, the lot of youze.

    And peel away the onion of this vapid bullshit, and you will most likely find just another cracker holding up a D sign.

  235. 235
    mclaren says:

    @Tancrudo:

    Our system has been so broken by the metastatic military-industrial complex and the depredations of thirty years of Reaganomics that it can’t be turned around in two years by one president.

    You make a good point here. However, you’ve fallen into the classic logical fallacy of the excluded middle. The implication here is that critics of Obama expect perfection. But there’s no evidence of that. Your argument boils down to the claim that Obama’s critics want “perfection or nothing,” but in reality what we’re demanding is some evidence that Obama isn’t making things worse.

    Moreover, there’s no evidence that people who criticize Obama are criticizing him for failing to “turn around in two years” a system that has been “broken by the metastatic military-industrial complex and the depredations of thirty years of Reaganomics.”

    What critics of Obama’s miserable failed presidency are pointing out that Obama has actually made our broken system worse.

    You make a good point about the way “our system has been…broken by the metastatic military-industrial complex” but Obama could have faced reality and withdrawn troops from Afghanistan. There is absolutely no rational justification for continuing a failed unwinnable war there. And if you try to claim “Obama campaigned on escalating the war in Afghanistan,” yes, he did, and he also campaigned as a pragmatic moderate.

    A pragmatic moderate recognizes the facts on the ground and when the facts change, he changes his opinion.

    The judgment of the vast majority of national security experts now conclusively condemns the U.S. war in Afghanistan as a failed and futile endeavour. Pragmatism and moderation demand that Obama admit that nothing is being accomplished by a continuied American military presence in Afghanistan, and he should order all U.S. troops out pronto.

    This isn’t just my opinion:

    Yesterday, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a well-connected Washington DC think tank, released a report on Afghanistan titled, Responsible Transition. The report lays out a strategy for the United States to lessen its investment in Afghanistan while still securing America’s interests in the region.

    The report is good news for people like me who want to end the Afghan war, because it signals a change in thinking for very serious people that make up the Washington consensus. That’s probably the best thing that can be said about the report: In the tenth year of war in Afghanistan, the Washington elites are finally considering ways to bring it to an end.

    Source: “For Afghanistan, A Wind Of Change From Washington,” Keith Boyea, 8 December 2010.

    As the years have passed, layers of support for the war effort have peeled away. Today, a majority of Americans see the military campaign in Afghanistan as a futile endeavor.

    That shift was foreseeable. Almost from the moment the first bomb dropped, we were destined to end up here, disillusioned and tired of a war that continues to consume lives with little hope of the clear victory Americans can embrace. (..)

    We would be certain that the mission had succeeded only if Afghanistan somehow became a stable liberal democracy, a “land of the free” like the United States.

    But reaching this bar was always mission impossible. Afghanistan was an utterly devastated, failed state long before we arrived, and the necessary precursors of true democracy were largely lacking. The literacy rate is 30% — lower than in America in 1650. Western-style civic institutions are virtually nonexistent. Even in a best-case scenario, Afghanistan would fall far short of our ideals, with the country looking to most Americans like a chaotic mess — more Mad Max than Massachusetts.

    Source: “Mission Impossible in Afghanistan,” Los Angeles Times op-ed, Dominic Tierney, 17 December 2010.

    And yet, despite the judgment of the majority of the national security policy experts that the war in Afghanistan in futile and unwinnable

    The war being waged by the United States in Afghanistan today is fundamentally different and more ambitious than anything carried out by the Bush administration. Afghanistan is very much Barack Obama’s war of choice, a point that the president underscored recently by picking Gen. David Petraeus to lead an intensified counterinsurgency effort there. After nearly nine years of war, however, continued or increased U.S. involvement in Afghanistan isn’t likely to yield lasting improvements that would be commensurate in any way with the investment of American blood and treasure. It is time to scale down our ambitions there and both reduce and redirect what we do.

    Source: “Rethinking Afghanistan,” Richard N. Haas, Council on Foreign Relations, 18 July 2010.

    So as you can clearly see, the majority of the foreign policy experts in Washington along with the majority of the American people have concluded that the war in Afghanistan is pointless and unwinnable and it’s time to get out — so Obama has decided to escalate and stay in longer than 2011 (the new deadline is upto 2014).

    Obama isn’t “turning things around,” buddy.

    Obama is actively making things worse in Afghanistan. He’s pouring in more troops, pissing away more money, building more bases, ordering more airstrikes.

    So you’re way off base here.

    If Obama were working to make things better and turn around our metastatic out-of-control U.S. military, sure, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. But Obama isn’t doing that. Obama is doing the exact opposite.

    Obama is doubling down on a failed and futile war that can never be won…exactly the way Bush doubled down on the failed and futile war in Iraq when every foreign policy expert told him the war was lost and the U.S. mission was a disaster and it was time to get out.

    So let’s be clear here: your claim is 180 degrees the opposite of the truth. You’re telling us that our system is so broken by the uncontrolled growth of out military-industrial complex that it can’t be turned around in two years by one president…

    …Yet the plain fact remains that Obama is actively and systematically making the uncontrolled growth of our militayr-complex worse. The U.S. military budget is now 6% above what it was when Bush was in office. We’re pouring in massive amounts of troops and bombs and tanks and jet fighters into a failed lost war in Afghanistan. This is getting better, it’s getting worse, and Obama has specifically and deliberately decided to make it worse.

    Now let’s discuss the “depredations of Reaganomics.”

    Obama just agreed to extend the grotesque tax cuts for billionaires. On top of that, Obama has systematically refused to prosecute any major financial criminals. Not one major CEO, from Dick Fuld to Jamie Dimon, has been charged with a crime and hauled into court and thrown into prison. Instead, Obama supervised a massive infusion of govenrment monies into the failed bankrupt firms of these financial criminals without insisting that a single bankster go to prison in return.

    Once again, this isn’t Obama slowly reversing the “depredations of Reaganomics,” Obama is making the financial chaos and destruction worse. Tim Geithner’s policies have let the financial criminals get away scot free while the toothless financial non-reforms have insured that we’re going to get an even bigger blow-up on Wall Street sometime soon.

    On June 15, President Obama pronounced that “because of this [financial reform] bill, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.”

    As if to prove him wrong, Goldman Sachs simultaneously announced it had struck a deal with federal prosecutors to pay $550 million to settle federal claims that it misled investors, a sum representing a mere 15 days profit for the firm based on its 2009 earnings. Goldman’s share price immediately jumped 4.3 percent…

    Source: “Reform molehill: why did Goldman get off so easily on serious fraud charges?” Robert Reich, 28 July 2010.

    The ground-breaking financial reform bill agreed by U.S. lawmakers last week is “toothless,” according to Mizuho Securities analyst Jim Antos.

    “Some of the most popular measures have been watered down,” Antos told CNBC on Monday. “For instance, on the issue of inflated executive pay, shareholders will have the right to vote every 2-3 years, but this will be non-binding on management.”

    Antos also noted that the contentious Lincoln provision on derivatives trading – that in its most severe form would have required banks to spin off this lucrative business – was also scaled back in the bill to require banks to spin off just their riskiest derivative operations into affiliates.

    “So, consequently, it’s toothless,” he concluded.

    Source: “Financial Reform Bill ‘Toothless’: Analyst,” CNBC, 28 June 2010.

    The more than $600 trillion derivatives market was supposed to get some tough regulation and force banks to spin off risky trading operations. Loopholes were created for the banks so they can keep trading those profitable but risky securities. There are some new restrictions, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not nearly enough. (Some say the real value of the derivatives market is more than a $1,000 trillion.)

    The rating agencies that gave top grades to toxic debt dodged a bullet. The new bill makes it harder for investors to sue the bond rating companies for losses. Also, not much will get done until after a two year study on the rating agencies is done by regulators. These folks vouched for trillions of dollars of insolvent junk that was supposed to be equal to the “risk free” return of treasuries. Those wildly optimistic ratings helped cause the financial crisis, and nothing is going to be done for two years? In my view, this is simply outrageous and borders on a criminal cover-up.

    Source: “Financial Reform Bill Will Not Stop the Next Meltdown,” Greg Hunter, 28 June 2010.

    Once again, Obama is not slowly but surely cleaning up the mess on Wall Street — one again, Obama has caved in and impotently agreed to toothless cosmetic changes that insure we’re going to get another global financial meltdown because the criminal practices of the bond ratings companies and the criminal negligence and outright fraud of the companies like Goldman Sachs have been given a slap on the wrist and they’ve gotten the green light to continue business as usual.

    So what we’ve got here is a president, Obama, who is persistently making things worse in the areas you complain about. When that happens, he gets no benefit of the doubt. Obama isn’t cleaning up the stable, he’s pulled down his pants and he’s squatting and he’s shitting everywhere.

    You and the other obots keep talking as though Obama were cleaning up Bush’s mess. But Obama is clearly and demonstrably working hard to make that mess worse.

    So at this point, Obama gets no pass from me, nor from anyone else who is paying attention to actual policy. Until Obama stops accelerating the growth of America’s out-of-control military and until Obama stops escalating our failed and pointless unwinnable foreign wars, he gets plenty of criticism.

    And until Obama stop escalating Reaganomics by agreeing to yet more tax cuts for billionaires and yet more slap-on-the-wrist non-punishment for grossly criminal firms like Goldman Sachs when they commit massive financial fraud, Obama will get heavily and continuously criticized by me — and by all the other experts, like Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate in economics and former head of the World Bank who has called Obama’s failure to reform Wall Street “criminal” and “inexcusable,” and national security experts like Bernard Finel, Associate Professor of National Security Policy at the National War College, who has called Obama’s war in Afghanistan a “lost cause” and a “fiasco.”

    I gotta tell ya, you obots are out there alone.

    All the nobel prize winners, all the national security experts, the vast majority of the American public….they’re all lined up against you. You obots are the only ones still defending Obama’s failed and inexplicable policies in extending and worsening the metastasis of America’s out-of-control military spending and Wall Street’s out-of-control criminal frauds and financial thievery.

  236. 236
    agrippa says:

    @mclaren:

    Mclaren:

    Too many words.

    You only needed one:

    OBOTS!

  237. 237
    Sko Hayes says:

    @mclaren:

    You’re a liar. Obama could easily and quickly shut down Gitmo. Do it by executive order.
    When Congress refuses to provide any funds, Obama should’ve just upped the ante and released the prisoners in Gitmo (most of whom are harmless bystanders innocent of any crime) back to their own countries. Then Obama orders the military to use military transport jets to pick up all the prisoners and return ‘em to their countries of origin.

    This is a complete fantasy. First of all, many of the prisoners still in Gitmo are not “harmless bystanders”, secondly, when the last military appropriations bill was passed, Congress had added strict limitations to transferring prisoners anywhere, restricting the power of the executive branch to do anything. Whether the DoJ reacts to this attempt to restrict Obama’s powers or not remains to be seen.
    And last, the Obama administration is providing far more access to lawyers and due process than the Bush administration ever thought of:

    That leaves us with the idea of revving up the military commissions system for Gitmo prisoners. As I have argued for nearly nine years, and as many others have more persuasively contended as well, if the administration provides these men fair tribunals there is little doubt that the results will be upheld by the Supreme Court. In other words, what crippled the Bush administration’s plans to use tribunals was its short-sighted insistence upon unfair procedures that were short of the due process requirements the Supreme Court was willing to accept on behalf of the prisoners. At no point in any of the great post-9/11 rulings did any of the justices ever declare that they would not accept properly conducted commissions. It’s also clear from the precedent that the closer those military trials look like federal civilian trials, the more likely they’ll be upheld.
    So the “draft” rules for “indefinite” detainees is a good start. The rights and access contemplated for those men should be granted to all Guantanamo prisoners to make the tribunal process fairer and thus more legally and morally defensible for the 126 defendants, including Mohammed and Binalshibh, who are just waiting to be tried. If Congress won’t allow terror detainees to come to the United States for federal trials, in other words, then the Obama administration should bring more of the essence of those federal trials down to Guantanamo Bay.

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2.....anamo-bay/

  238. 238
    General Stuck says:

    @mclaren:

    These long manifestos of bullshit are nothing more than a sure sign that Obama is succeeding and stuffing the haters back down into their cesspools of hate. So keep em coming mclaren. The longer they are, the more they are unread, and the more desperate you look, hoping to stack enough bullshit on a blog to claim a virtual victory in a virtual world. The real world has et yer lunch, as has obama, my precious.

  239. 239
    mclaren says:

    @General Stuck:

    [insert the usual mindless name-calling here]

    As usual, nothing but hysterical insults. No facts, no logic, only hysteria and vituperation.

    Typical obot.

    Note well, ladies and gentlemen, the behavior of the Obama supporters on this thread: faced with link after link, fact after fact, a mountain of evidence showing Obama’s broken promises and his extension of Bush’s failed and futile foreign wars and the Bush-era financial frauds, they come back with…

    …Nothing.

    Nothing but hysterical obscenities.

    Consider carefully the difference between the behavior of the Obama supporters on this thread and the Obama critics, and judge accordingly.

  240. 240
    magurakurin says:

    @General Stuck

    what you said.

    fucking Jacobins.

  241. 241
    amk says:

    Obama doesn’t give a shit about the shouters from both left and right. That’s great.

    A true presidency amidst vuvuzelas.

  242. 242
    General Stuck says:

    @mclaren:

    Note well, ladies and gentlemen, the behavior of the Obama supporters on this thread: faced with link after link, fact after fact, a mountain of evidence

    Your mountains of evidence have long since been debunked as in fact largely bullshit on this blog, whereupon, lately you seem to be piling the max onto BJ, as though you arrive newly from the front with tidings of true facts. We know your game whackjob grasshopper. The more you rant, the more the stench of desperation coming from the leftist cracker seats.

  243. 243
    snarkypsice says:

    @PS:

    Or maybe it’s actually a perfect comparison. The White House has to be focused on reaching independents next year or they lose in 2012. They’re willing to lose Jane Hamsher’s vote to get those millions back.

    I gave up on reading the comments halfway down because the same dreary ‘Obama is as bad as Bush’ silliness took over by about comment #50, but I just wanted to say that I loved this post and you really made me think.

    A few people have misinterpreted your analogy to mean that Obama stopped being the liberal he painted himself as and changed into something else. I’d just like to know what campaign they were watching. Obama has done 85% of what he promised in his campaign – IN TWO YEARS! But if you were only hearing what you wanted to hear rather than what he was saying, perhaps you have reason to be disappointed.

    Case in point, he never made a big deal of the public option during his campaign and he promised to escalate the war in Afghanistan and drop bombs in other countries with or without their permission.

    I didn’t (and don’t agree) with the war policy but I guess these guys just blocked that out or something, so they can now feel betrayed when he does exactly what he said he’d do – just as they feel betrayed when he doesn’t champion a public option that might derail his whole bill, even though it was never a huge part of his plan anyway. Now mandates … those he talked a lot about.

  244. 244
    sparky says:

    @General Stuck: that’s a really sad, spiteful and childish comment. you didn’t refute a single thing he wrote. instead you threw insults and claimed that because he actually provided support for his arguments no one would care because the argument was too long. so your comment, such as it is, boils down to “stupid wins”. ironically, that’s one of mclaren’s points.

    nice to see that you have so well imbibed the tactics of the Rs in the Bush era. when the US goes down the hole in 2020, don’t say someone didn’t warn you.

  245. 245
    mclaren says:

    @Sko Hayes:

    This is a complete fantasy.

    Great. Where’s the evidence that most of the Guantanamo Bay kidnap victims have committed a crime?

    First of all, many of the prisoners still in Gitmo are not “harmless bystanders”…

    That’s your unsupported assertion. I’ve just cited the testimony of a former Bush high-level anti-terrorism official who says “most of the Guantanamo detainees are innocent.” In return, you have cited….

    …Nothing.

    You’ve provided no evidence to support your baseless claim. Nothing.

    So where is it?

    I’m still waiting for evidence of your claim that the Guantanamo Bay kidnap victims aren’t innocent cabdrivers like Dilawar who was held in Bagram for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    …secondly, when the last military appropriations bill was passed, Congress had added strict limitations to transferring prisoners anywhere, restricting the power of the executive branch to do anything. Whether the DoJ reacts to this attempt to restrict Obama’s powers or not remains to be seen.

    Bush routinely used signing statements to nullify congressional authority. Obama could easily have used a signing statement to nullify any restrictions congress tried to place on his transfer of prisoners.

    Obama has torn up the constitution and wiped his ass with it when he orders American citizens assassinated without a trial and without charges — so why can’t Obama order the prisoners released from Guantanamo? They’re both unconstitutional, and so what? No one protests at the uncontitutionality of Obama’s assassination orders, so why should anyone protest at the unconstitutionality of an executive order releasing innocent kidnap victims from Guantanamo? We’re living in a system of government now where the rule of law has gone away, so the legislation congress passes means nothing — Obama himself has seen to that, along with Bush. And so have the obots who support Obama’s unconstitutional arrogation of power to the exeuctive branch. So you cannot now argue that Obama is constrained from releasing the Gitmo kidnap victims by the rule of law, since the rule of law has gone away. It’s done. History. Toast. Kaput. Nada. Bupkiss.

    And last, the Obama administration is providing far more access to lawyers and due process than the Bush administration ever thought of…

    Now you’ve been caught in a lie.

    In actual fact, the Obama administration is continuing the Bush administration’s exact same legal defenses of kidnapping, torture, secrecy and global assassination squads:

    The Obama Administration today announced that it would keep the same position as the Bush Administration in the lawsuit Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.

    Source: “Obama Administration Maintains Bush Position on ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ Lawsuit,” ABC News, by Jake Tapper and Ariane de Vogue, 9 February 2009.

    In a court filing submitted in the middle of the night, President Obama’s Justice Department is continuing the “state secrets” argument of his predecessor in litigation over the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program.

    Source: “Obama Justice Department Continues Bush’s ‘State Secrets’ Argument…Again,” Jake tapper and Jason Ryan, May 30, 2009.

    One of the worst aspects of the Bush administration was the belief by administration officials and the president himself that the executive branch was superior to all other branches in virtually all matters. No court could hear a case involving national security no matter what – effectively immunizing administration officials from lawbreaking – and no law passed by Congress could bind administration policy that couldn’t be ignored via signing statements.

    The Bush administration was effectively the closest this country has come to having a King that handed out orders to the commoners, where laws didn’t apply to the elites and rights didn’t exist for American citizens that the government didn’t like. That administration argued for a short time that it could legally arrest and imprison Jose Padilla – an American citizen – without charges indefinitely.

    Replace Gitmo with a Navy brig on American soil, and foreign combatants with an American citizen, and everything else is the same according to Bush.

    Although the Bush administration later backed away from that fight (knowing it could preserve that power by not letting a court examine it and strike it down), the Obama administration has taken the theory of President-as-King to an entirely new level.

    And an American court just signed off on it.

    Source: “Obama administration wins right to assassinate American citizens in court,” Paul William Tenny, 7 December 2010.

    So the evidence clearly and specifically shows that Obama’s violations of the constitution, Obama’s abrogration of the civil rights of anyone suspected of wrongdoing (without even being charged with a crime, without even being arraigned, without even having evidence of a crime produced) and Obama’s abrogation of the constitutional guarantees of habeas corpus and fourth and fifth and sixth and eighth amendment protections, and Obama’s withholding of access to lawyers or legal recourse is even worse than the Bush administration, not better, as you claim.

    You want to watch those kinds of lies.

    When you tell a lie that easily disproven, you make yourself look not just dishonest, but stupid into the bargain.

  246. 246
    harlana says:

    @tommybones: We are in a Depression and almost everyone who hasn’t lost most or all of what they had is still in denial. I know that doesn’t help much, but it’s the only explanation.

  247. 247
    David Marotta says:

    Brilliant analysis. I wonder how long it will take for the haters to realize that O really knows what he is doing. And he is smarter than them…

  248. 248
    Ross Hershberger says:

    Obama in some ways is the Anti-Dylan. I don’t see him shunning interviews, releasing a Christmas album or starring, uncredited, in movies for instance.

    I’m rather puzzled by how the last 2 years has gone but for the most part I can’t argue with the results. maybe that means we have to question our assumptions about 2 party politics and learn something from a President who got things done his own way.

    No snow here to speak of today, so I guess we dodged another one.

    Happy Monday.

  249. 249
    Dennis G. says:

    @lol:
    Exactly

  250. 250
    General Stuck says:

    @sparky:

    your comment, such as it is, boils down to “stupid wins”. ironically, that’s one of mclaren’s points.

    LOL
    Who says there are no wingnuts on the left? “stupid wins” are so over rated, right.

    Nobody and especially me is saying the US is not in some deep shit, but the expectation that any president, in this case Obama, can save us in two years is what is so laughable. If you all want to speak of these dire straights in terms not bashing Obama, nor minimizing his “stupid wins”, nor embellishing and making shit up about the man, then we can have a civil discussion on the state of the union. If you want to do nothing but rant how Obama has failed the realm and is bad as, or worse than Bush, then you will get flames. Neither mclaren, nor you, nor any of the other critics can demonstrate where Obama is actively breaking laws like Bush did. PERIOD, other than assertions and links to various outposts in the fever swamp. Nor that he is doing much other than trying and succeeding with “stupid wins” to fulfill his campaign promises, in the world of reality where he is not king in a democracy, and others have a say so on what gets done, and what does not get done.. As for mclaren, his game is well known here, and designed to lure anyone stupid enough to track down his mountain of links to where it is a full time job with no pay. He mixes some fact with a lot of bullshit for this purpose.

  251. 251
    rickstersherpa says:

    @low-tech cyclist: My head hurts when I read comments like this. The President cannot pass laws. Under Article I Congress does that, and there are two houses of Congress that must concur, and in one of them, the Senate, you apparently now now need a super majority of 60 votes to get anything done. Given where the Repulibcan party has gone on Global warming, that the Conservative Movement has now made Global Warming Denial a doctrinal point, and that Democrats from coal producing states are going to protect that industry and the jobs associated with that industry, what political strategy would you hav posed that would have resulted in something other than the lost of over 60 house seats and 6 Democratic senate seats. When did the last Republican who was a global warming denier lose a Republican primary? When you start running environmentalists in Republican Primaries and winning, then you will get movement on global warming.

    A huge interest, the Oil, Coal, and Gas industries, have blocked even a sensible national security/trade policy on energy these last 35 years. Everytime the price of oil goes up, these folks make even more money. They don’t want demand depressed by any Governmental action, since that means money out of their pocket (a barrel of oil not consumed is a $100 not going to Exon’s profits). Until we figure out a political strategy other than calling people and companies nasty names, they will keep winning as their money talks louder.

    I don’t expect the convince you or anyone by argument who has already made up his mind and written his or her narrative, at least until something else comes along to divert your passions. And I do have major concerns about the President’ ideology. He is way to neo-liberal and not enough New Deal for me. But since I was never a zealot for Obama, I take what I can get and consider the alternatives. And boy, the next few months are going to show us some pretty ugly alternatives to even a corporatist Democratic President and Congress as the Movement Conservative Republicans and Tea Party types seize the House and many State governments.

  252. 252
    amk says:

    Does anyone here even read the mountains of spam that mclaren spews forth here ?

  253. 253
    sparky says:

    @MH: really, nothing to add to that bit of brilliance.

    but naturally, i will type a bit, if only because i don’t really feel like shoveling 30 inches of snow in a 50 knot gale.

    i want to say thanks for the original post, because it’s not that often one gets the opportunity to use the phrase “nonsense on stilts” as a response. but, if there was ever a “serious” post that deserved it, it’s this one.

    so, Obama’s performance is analogous to Dylan changing his performing style.

    Seriously? you are comparing governance to an entertainer’s performing style?
    nothing shows better the hollowness (and the PR) at the core of the Obama regime than this desire (need?) to manufacture claims of progress out of, well, fog.

    the falsity of the Obama administration claims have been repeatedly exposed here, so i will skip that and just ask:

    1. Quantity does not equal quality.
    are you all really that simplistic, or just disingenuous?

    2. it is the Obama defenders who resort to emotional pleas and irrational arguments to defend the administration. if, as claimed, the administration has done such great things, why not show how good they are? why this endless resort to silly analogies and strawmen?

    3.

    Allowing the torture and wire taps and tax cuts; OK. Don’t let the best be the enemy of the good. I get that. I know it’s hard to do anything at all with the Republicans as the opposition party in this country. I get that.

    But if Obama cuts Social Security, if a Dem cuts Social Security, then fuck him.

    this quote embodies all that is wrong about cheering Obama, because if you permit the first you lose the power to contest the second. don’t you see that if you give the power to the government you will never, ever get it back until that regime is destroyed? no government has ever given up the power to spy on its citizens, and, eventually, every government that has that power becomes a totalitarian state. the US is not there, yet, but it is well on its way.

  254. 254
    Ross Hershberger says:

    @amk:

    mountains of spam that mclaren spews

    McWho?

  255. 255
    mclaren says:

    @David Marotta:

    I wonder how long it will take for the haters to realize that O really knows what he is doing. And he is smarter than them…

    If Obama wins the war in Afghanistan and turns Afghanistan into an Islamic version of Rapid City South Dakota, complete with free elections and women’s rights, then I will cheerfully admit I was 100% wrong and Obama really did know what he was doing.

    If, on the other hand, in 2016 U.S. forces are still mired in a quagmire in Afghanistan, still building new bases and still murdering innocent bystanders with artillery and drone strikes, and still knocking down Afghans’ houses with armored bulldozers and blowing up Afghan’s houses with demolition charges, then you will have to admit I was 100% right and Obama doesn’t have a goddamn clue what he’s doing.

    Want to take that bet?

  256. 256
    sparky says:

    @General Stuck: let’s leave mclaren aside for the moment, as you id’d me as part of the whatever it is.

    Nobody and especially me is saying the US is not in some deep shit, but the expectation that any president, in this case Obama, can save us in two years is what is so laughable.

    i didn’t say this either, and of course it is a silly argument to make. that’s why no one is making it, despite your efforts to imply otherwise. thanks but no thanks for the strawman argument. you can keep it.

    If you all want to speak of these dire straights* in terms not bashing Obama, nor minimizing his “stupid wins”, nor embellishing and making shit up about the man, then we can have a civil discussion on the state of the union.

    1. please explain why the chief executive of the US should not be included in any discussion about the situation in the country he ostensibly leads.

    2. “stupid wins”: false attribution. no one has labeled them that. the term is “cosmetic reform”. if you don’t like that term explain why it is incorrect.

    3. i don’t know what “making shit up” refers to. the only making stuff up i see here is from people who write things like this:

    I can guarantee that if there was a bill that reinstated Glass-Steagal Obama would sign it.

    4.

    If you want to do nothing but rant how Obama has failed the realm and is bad as, or worse than Bush, then you will get flames. Neither mclaren, nor you, nor any of the other critics can demonstrate where Obama is actively breaking laws like Bush did. PERIOD, other than assertions and links to various outposts in the fever swamp.

    this is really two (or perhaps three) different arguments cleverly(?) conflated into one.

    a. “Obama has failed the realm”
    this is a matter of opinion. i think he has by failing to take advantage of the near-collapse of the FIRE sector to institute real reform. i also think he has made a catastrophic mistake by bringing corporations into the provision of public goods (health insurance).

    b. “Obama is as bad or worse than Bush”
    with respect to civil liberties, there is no serious dispute that Obama has maintained almost all of the Bush policies and has actually extended them. and please don’t be cute and claim that the NYT is the the fever swamp. demanding proof on this point is rather like Rs claiming Syria has Iraq’s WMD. there are other points to be made here but this is a starter.

    c. Obama has claimed that he is above the law beyond Bush in the assassination program. that is breaking the law, as the basic premise of the US is that no one is above the law. you may not like that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not so. and as far as proof goes, it’s a matter of public record.

    these are not details. it is my belief that without a functional legal regime all other arguments such as taxes and entitlements are in the end irrelevant because an government not bound by law may do as it wishes.

    now, perhaps like the commenter above you don’t care about such things. your prerogative. but IMO you would do better to explain why i am wrong than create strawmen and engage in disingenuous wordplay.

    *From the New Oxford Am. Dict: 2 ( straits) used in reference to a situation characterized by a specified degree of trouble or difficulty : the economy is in dire straits.

  257. 257
    Dennis G. says:

    @Karen:
    This desire for a Unitary Executive from the left does animate much of the outrage. It is a slice of magical thinking and practitioners of it are among the most outraged that Obama tried to change things in the first two years through the slow and terribly flawed Legislative process.

    In the next two Obama will have to rely more on Executive Power to put in temporary fixes as legislative opportunities are blocked. These fixes will not be as strong as legislation. They run the risk of repeal by a future President, Congress or the Courts, but they will be the kind of grand gestures many of Obama’s critics are advocating for him to take. I expect once he does take some of these actions his critics will start complaining that the only real way to change things is through legislation. So it goes.

  258. 258
    Elm says:

    I think my disappointment with Obama is mostly about wasted potential – he and his staff proved on the campaign trail that they had an incredible ability to bring together and energize people to do great things, and that just disappeared after the inauguration.

    I have no doubt that Obama would sign much better legislation than he has if it ever crossed his desk, but it hasn’t, and the folks in the White House have done a pretty piss-poor job of building any sort of momentum towards improving the quality of what he sees in the future.

    Obama might yet manage to be a good president – but unless he and the Democratic party of which he is allegedly the leader manage to get their shit together politically, he’ll never be a great one, because he’ll never have the opportunity to do what needs to be done.

  259. 259
    Dennis G. says:

    @Tancrudo:
    Spot on.

  260. 260
    General Stuck says:

    @sparky:

    “Stupid wins” is what you attributed my comment boiling down to. And the rest of your comment of Obama being as bad or worse than Bush, is nothing more than assertion of illegality.

    You don’t like what is being done, so you call it illegal, when it is not.

    with respect to civil liberties, there is no serious dispute that Obama has maintained almost all of the Bush policies and has actually extended them

    I beg your pardon, yes there is serious dispute of such allegations. You may not like these national security practices, but they are not illegal, like with what Bush did, what Obama is continuing in a legal way. Except, once again, in the left wing fever swamps where moral dissent is conflated with the illegal. Whereupon it is further conflated with Bush lawlessness.

  261. 261
    EdTheRed says:

    Dylan Fan: JUDAS!
    Dylan to Fan: I don’t believe you. You’re a LIAR.
    Dylan to the Hawks (aka the Band): Play it f*(king LOUD!

    That, my friends, is rock and roll.

  262. 262
    Martha says:

    @amk: No. Scrolling is my friend. It also leads to carpel tunnel syndrome however.

  263. 263
    catpal says:

    @red plaid:

    that the Obama administration has heavily disappointed in regulating and reforming the finance industry. The people he put in charge (Summers, Geithner), the useless programs (HAMP),

    and continuing the financial corruption of Bernanke/Greenspan. – All of this has been the biggest disappointment/failure. Since the bush regime was able to use an 1863 law to stop state AGs from prosecuting mortgage fraud – you would think the obama admin – could have found some laws to prosecute the banksters.

    probably the last great effort of Eliot Spitzer – “In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative.” — “In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation. ”
    How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers

  264. 264
    Martha says:

    Dennis, very thoughtful post. However, in reading the comments this morning, I am reminded, yet again, how many people need to be reminded 1) how our three-part system of government works (e.g. The President cannot legislate), 2) that many people do not understand what constitutes a prosecutable offense (versus unethical/slimy behavior), and 3) how to read history as well as the original post and the links you included. Oh well.

  265. 265
    amk says:

    @Martha: Yup. And it takes a heavy toll on my mouse too.

  266. 266
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @MH:

    So basically, you want Obama to magically change conservatives and conservative leaning moderates into liberals. You are mad at him because he didn’t change people’s attitudes. You are going to have to accept, whether you want to or not, that half of the country fundamentally disagrees with you on most issues and Obama can’t change that. The only people who can change that are people in their local communities who do outreach and persuade low information voters. You could be doing that, but I’m going to guess that you aren’t.

  267. 267
    Karmakin says:

    @Martha: “Losing” mortgage payments in order to generate fees is fraud, plain and simple. And that appears to be happening quite a bit. A lot more than I originally thought to be honest.

  268. 268
    The Raven says:

    We hear all the time that lower taxes lead to more jobs

    This was an error of economic theory, which has hardened into a lie that protects the wealthy. Obama could have begun by publicly refuting it: there is plenty of evidence. He might then have achieved support for an adequate stimulus, which would have led to more jobs.

    Nor can he wave a magic wand and solve the mortgage crisis.

    The Department of the Treasury, whose Secretary Obama appointed, has a great deal of power in this area. It is not being used. Nor did the administration press for adequate legislation in this area; HAMP is not enough.

    The government can’t undo contracts (which mortgages are) or force them to be rewritten.

    Of course it can.

    It can’t simply command that people go to work

    There is no need to command. All that is needed is create jobs, & jobs can be created by stimulus.

    These aren’t things that any president could do.

    I guess FDR has been expunged from the history books.

  269. 269
    Laura says:

    I’m wishing I had book-marked the blog, but someone put together a few examples showing the present-day Obama-bashers are the same Edwards and Hillary supporting Obama-bashers from the election.

    It’s why it’s very hard to take any of them seriously. They’ve *never* liked Obama and they’ve found that they can make a career for themselves speaking out against Obama and his administration

  270. 270
    Martha says:

    @Karmakin: If there is proof of fraud like this, then prosecute to the fullest extent and throw away the key. But many of the laws passed during the Clinton and Bush (times 2) eras made a lot of what happened, although completely slimy, legal. We should channel our rage to change those laws again. IMHO

  271. 271
    mzrad says:

    Hello. I read this site a lot and read the comments rarely, so as not to expose myself to too much bile (given the observed recent trend on this site of liberals suggesting Obama is “worse than Bush” somehow). Thanks for this apt analogy.

    Personally, I’ve called the offices of specific representatives and senators in the past two years to voice my opinion about various decisions with which I disagreed. While I do have a certain perspective as a voting American vs. their DC insider (“OMG! What are they doing?!”), I’m also not a political expert. Frankly, after some of the recent successes for the Dems, I’m feeling a little chagrined at my “o’er weening confidence” (no politico: English major) in offering my advice about what Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, David Axelrod, and the rest of these folks should do.

    I’m starting to think that I need to view these Dem leaders as members of a loose team largely on the same side of particular issues meaningful to me. I also need to keep working on communicating my voice and values to the political leaders who make decisions more in line with my values. To twist Donald Rumsfeld, you live with the government you’ve got (in 2 year increments) and then you advocate and vote for the change you want to realize.

    Thanks for cultivating such a great online discussion with so many people. Keep up the good work, everybody. Free freaking speech, respect, progress, and a little hot air.

    mzRAD

  272. 272

    This outrage at Obama is something I find curious.

    The most important thing to Protest People is their self-image as Protest People. If they aren’t shrieking at the president, they aren’t being Protest People.

    And what if some other Protest People see them? Can’t have that.

  273. 273
    Nutella says:

    One source of the problem Dennis notes is the way news is done. Lefties can filter out the fact/policy BS from the news they hear every day, but the political/tactical BS in the news (like the ‘do-nothing congress’) is accepted. Propaganda is effective even when only part of it gets through.

  274. 274
    Michael Furlan says:

    The petty retributions, discriminations, calumnies, character assassinations, and herding attacks are most often abuses of power in the cause of self-promotion and aggrandizement. It is the politics of the herd and lower forms of bottom dwellers, but politics nonetheless. The acts and tactics often mask incompetencies of the perpetrators and collective obfuscation of truth. For the most part it is based on vacuous notions of rank and disciplinary worth and comes out under the rubric of “critical thinking”.
    http://www.ecclectica.ca/issue.....Article=17

    Lots of smart, even accomplished people are jealous of President Obama, and they just can’t help themselves.

  275. 275
    Ruckus says:

    @Nathanael:
    For sure don’t look in the mirror.

    Someone on this blog once accused me of wanting a pony because before the 2008 election I was looking for a very liberal candidate. But I accepted Obama because I understand that all politics is negotiation. It is always negotiation. How much money/power a politician has available can make his negotiation position stronger but it is always negotiation. Period. I wanted a lot of things to happen when I voted for Obama but I expected a lot less. I’ve gotten a lot more than I expected. It sounds like many expected either nothing or everything and therefore have to find fault as their standard position.
    Obama and congress have achieved a lot. Do I have my pony? No, but that was not in my expectations, only my wishes. Could it be better? Sure but then I’d have my pony and a house full of horseshit. Of course I’m seeing lots of horseshit here and still don’t have the pony.

  276. 276
    MH says:

    @kdaug: Maybe you should read more about carbon sequestration, and less about the inner workings of your own colon.

    Also, we don’t have to actually get to a net negative emission rate of greenhouse gas. We just have to get it lower than the natural background reduction/absorption rate provided by the ocean, forests, etc.

    Or, you know, we could comment angrily, lashing out thoughtlessly when someone says something we don’t like about Obama. Let me know how that’s working for you.

  277. 277
    mikyd1954 says:

    The reason that both the “far left”( or whatever you wish to call that collection of people) and the right have this almost visceral anger towards Obama is the same, they both expected somebody DIFFERENT …why? because he is black. I think that explains it pretty well. The rights reaction (for many anyway) is pretty obvious, they expected at least a white person, if not a white male. The far left saw a black man and expected as radical a change in policy/attitude as the change from a white male to a black male is radical in the history of the presidency

  278. 278
    lethargytartare says:

    @mclaren:

    Then Obama orders the military to use military transport jets to pick up all the prisoners and return ‘em to their countries of origin.

    Problem solved.

    you’re either the dumbest motherfucker on the planet, or a brilliant and intense commitment by DougJ.

    or maybe you really are in favor of the US violating the airspace of foreign nations at the president’s whim.

    OMG – YOU’RE JUST LIKE BUSH!!!11!

  279. 279
    Tata says:

    It’s really sad to see yet another Doug post that epitomizes hippy punching. There’s nothing new here. I mean, you should go with your strengths and all, but what about when your strengths are just …dull?

  280. 280

    Oh my god, this thread is the reason it has become entirely boring reading the comment section of most prog blogs.

    Can someone please come up with some new turns of phrase already?

    Hippie punching. Obot.

    ::blows head off::

    Anyone who thinks Jane “Hollywood” Hamsher is a hippie is an idiot. She is a rich ex-producer who does exactly nothing of value and knows even less. And the strategery! Oh she is so good at that, what with getting no candidates elected even when she resorts to blackface to do so.

    It seems to me that the Hamsherites and GOSsers are getting more riled up because they know that they are being ignored. They aren’t getting the revenge they want. 80% of his base is happy. People much smarter than they are starting to see them for what they are — idiotic contrarians who will never be happy. Unable to get their message across, they have become more and more shrill and desperate. So much so that the biggest brouhaha over at GOS is the outing of a 60 y.o. white lady who was pretending to be poor and black in order to push the same bs narrative.

    It’s really pathetic and so very tiresome.

    Obama has serious foreign policy and civil liberty failings. He has gotten a lot of shit done.

    When did everythng become so black and white

  281. 281
    PTirebiter says:

    Great post. It immediately brought to mind the first time I heard Live 1966 -The Royal Albert Hall Concert.
    After his acoustic set, Dylan brought out his band. There were a few subdued murmurs in the audience and then someone clearly shouts “Judas”. It was some thirty years after the fact and I nearly drove off the road laughing. Early firebagger and congregant of Our Lady of the Perpetually Aggrieved.

  282. 282
    Uriel says:

    @Tata: Did you happen to notice that Doug isn’t actually the author of the post before granting sad voice to the pensive sighing of your long suffering ennui?

  283. 283

    I’m even boring myself. Can’t be bothered to finish the comment. I’m going to eat some pie and rest assured that the next two years are going to be annoying with all the shouting from the left, but he will get reelected and all the Obots will be thrilled and the hippies can cry in their patchouli oil.

    Peace.

  284. 284
    Evilbeard says:

    I suppose I would say I am angry because Obama inspires with his words and sounds as if he is ready to fight but he never actually fights for anything. Where was he during HCR? And now, this disastrous tax cut deal and his appointees at the FCC turning the internet over to large corporations just…well it makes me angry.

    Why is it wrong to be angry at someone for the bad things they do even if they have done some good things as well? I don’t support a primary challenger for Obama and I plan on voting for him in 2012 (mostly because there is exactly 0% chance the Republicans will nominate someone who is not batshit crazy), but he did not fight for anything I believe in. So yeah I am angry with him and feel completely justified in it.

  285. 285
    Alex says:

    Interesting that you drew this analogy at this point in time, as I was just reading an NYT article by a fellow trying to produce a documentary about Phil Ochs. Like many other disgruntled leftist radicals, he scorned (and scorns) Dylan for “selling out” after departing from protest music. I always found this comical because it is quite clear to anyone with a sound ear that there is more art and creativity in “Desolation Row” or “Visions of Johanna” than in the entire oeuvre of Ochs, Pete Seeger, Van Ronk, Guthrie, or any other “protest singer” — preceding or succeeding Dylan. I don’t know if this has any relevance whatsoever to Obama, but I needed to get it off of my chest.

  286. 286
    PTirebiter says:

    @Alex: I think it’s relevant. It took a little time and distance before Dylan was vindicated for his choices. Probably should be mentioned that Baez embraced the change early, while the old entourage just got bitter.

  287. 287

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century): This is bullshit and you know it. Richardson and Dodd always got middling support in the online polls. Once Edwards dropped out, TGOS got behind Obama.

  288. 288

    @Karen: You don’t understand the point of Social Security. Taking it away from the rich(even if they don’t need it) will lead to it’s eventual dismantling. Why? How would it then be any different from welfare?

  289. 289
    brantl says:

    @danimal: Is it beyond you to think that they aren’t keeping score, that the actual accomplishment of nearly all the things that the GOP resent in liberals are things that liberals think are needed, and many are absolutely vital?

    If not, what would your opposition to Republican policy be founded on?

    For most of us, (should be all of us), this isn’t a game.

  290. 290
    Karen says:

    @Laura:

    It’s why it’s very hard to take any of them seriously. They’ve never liked Obama and they’ve found that they can make a career for themselves speaking out against Obama and his administration

    Firebaggers + Obama haters = PUMA

  291. 291
    Dorothy Rissman says:

    John, what you have stated is something I have thought for a long time.

    Each of us create a framework that will allow us to feel safe and in control of our own world. That script will include the creation of certain stereotypes. Those who fall outside of the parameters become suspect. This is just human nature.

    Obama does work in a different manner. I happen to like the way he goes about his work. Of course, it is not always perfect, but in my mind he is being who he really is.

    The anger that results is an inability to pigeon hole. How can you trust someone who acts in a manner that is in opposition to your vision?

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