What the "do nothing" Obama is up against

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George Victor
What the "do nothing" Obama is up against

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George Victor

NYTimes Krugman today:

Addicted to Bush

By PAUL KRUGMAN

 

For a couple of years, it was the love that dared not speak his name. In 2008, Republican candidates hardly ever mentioned the president still sitting in the White House. After the election, the G.O.P. did its best to shout down all talk about how we got into the mess we're in, insisting that we needed to look forward, not back. And many in the news media played along, acting as if it was somehow uncouth for Democrats even to mention the Bush era and its legacy.

The truth, however, is that the only problem Republicans ever had with George W. Bush was his low approval rating. They always loved his policies and his governing style - and they want them back. In recent weeks, G.O.P. leaders have come out for a complete return to the Bush agenda, including tax breaks for the rich and financial deregulation. They've even resurrected the plan to cut future Social Security benefits.

But they have a problem: how can they embrace President Bush's policies, given his record? After all, Mr. Bush's two signature initiatives were tax cuts and the invasion of Iraq; both, in the eyes of the public, were abject failures. Tax cuts never yielded the promised prosperity, but along with other policies - especially the unfunded war in Iraq - they converted a budget surplus into a persistent deficit. Meanwhile, the W.M.D. we invaded Iraq to eliminate turned out not to exist, and by 2008 a majority of the public believed not just that the invasion was a mistake but that the Bush administration deliberately misled the nation into war. What's a Republican to do?

You know the answer. There's now a concerted effort under way to rehabilitate Mr. Bush's image on at least three fronts: the economy, the deficit and the war.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Alright, let's talk about Obama. What did you think of his widely celebrated speech in Cairo and how has his record since matched up to it?

Norman Finkelstein wrote:
There were a couple of things in the speech that actually weren't awful. For example, he did say he thinks women should have the right to wear the hijab. I thought that was pretty good -- it was completely unnoticed, but it was sort of like, 'mind your own business! If they want to wear it, for cultural reasons, personal reasons, family, etc., you should mind your own business'. I kind of liked that statement, although that's about the only statement I liked in the whole speech.

The speech was typical Obama - just speechifying with the most vacuous, insipid homilies. There's zero substance to anything he says -- it's all what I call bar mitzvah speeches, but of course not meant for a bar mitzvah. Some of the speech was just outrageous, and it went completely over people's heads. Right after the Gaza massacre, he lectured Palestinians on how they should not use violence. Well excuse me, I think you're lecturing the wrong side! And the fact that he's praising Mubarak. . . .

And his policy record so far? Is it different from his predecessors?

Finkelstein wrote:
Well, in some ways it's significantly worse. As my great friend Alan Nairn observed, he's actually killed more people in his first year in office than Bush. It's easy to make broad brush statements about how terrible he is, but on every front, when I read the details, it's really deeply depressing how terrible he is. I think he was too young and too inexperienced to become President. He rose from very humble roots, and he's bedazzled by power and elite institutions. They're easy to be intimidated by, and so all the people he has surrounded himself with are just Harvard people who have very secure positions in power. Because he has to be very insecure about the fact that he's a relatively young person from a relatively humble background who has very little experience. He was a senator for two years, that was it. And this insecurity manifested itself in what you call 'safe picks' -- everybody he chose was very safe.

Look who he chose for the Supreme Court -- Elena Kagan is a complete nonentity. Her only impulse is ambition. We all have ambition, but ambition in the service of an idea, a cause, a principle. But hers is just ambition in the service of ambition. And that's him -- there's no cause, there's no principle, there's nothing, except for these empty, vapid homilies.

Blown out of the water. Again. But plenty will still say that the Pres. is a flea-hop closer to "freedom". And that's all that matters. lol.

"God Helps Those Who Help Themselves."

 

George Victor

NYTimes, July 23 :

The Caucus
Alexander a No on Kagan
By BERNIE BECKER

Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican, cited Solicitor General Elena Kagan's barring of military recruiters from the Harvard campus for his opposition to her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Noah_Scape

The Tea Party is complaining about government spending, but it was under GW Bush that the budget deficit rose to just under $1 Trillion. Obama is being blamed for being a typical "Democrat tax and spend" type, but  it is allways the Republicans who spend the most money. It even happened under Reagan.

I guess when government does warmongering, then Big Govt. is okay, but spending on anything else is not. There is a huge appetite for war in America, but they fail to recognise their biggest enemies such as climate change and ocean pollution, acidification, etc..The world, and America, would be in much better shape to weather the future if they would quit with the military gig.

Sigh

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:

Why doesn't this president realize commanding this emergency offers his best political redemption? Start the re-election campaign in the Gulf by obliterating GOP-BP boot lickers. Like FDR, make some entrenched powers hate you. Regain popularity as the sustainable jobs, alternative energy president and limit, don't enable, earth-killing energy usage and mining. Become a mensch.

Will Obama do any of this? Doubtful, for mediocrity is safe, though more of the same jeopardizes Democratic leadership of Congress. To all those Obama defenders, this president is not doing his best under bad conditions: he is doing badly under bad conditions, replicating failed presidencies since Reagan.

The Audacity of Ruin

George Victor

Yes, this black president should"start the re-election campaign in the Gulf" states of MIssissippi, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana... those states whose white voters grew up respecting colour and where the polls show a tendency to continue in that vein.  Of course the liberal can overlook such nasty, offensive statistics, make them go away at the tap of a keyboard.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

You live in a state of denial, George. You're entire logical construct is that Obama can't do anything at all. Nothing. And, further, better, he's not at all responsible for what his administration chooses to do do or what it chooses not to do, despite having full authority and descretion. You're like a Monty Python character in possession of a newly purchased dead parrot. Sorry. But it is tiresome.

George Victor

Tiresome is the constant comparison with FDR...despite the personal and historical differences. FDR had millions of unemployed workers in hand, wanting government solutions.  Raher different today, Palin and her teapartyers.   In the vernacular, get real.  :)

al-Qa'bong

So if Obama isn't up for the job, why did he run?

Doug
George Victor

al-Qa'bong wrote:

So if Obama isn't up for the job, why did he run?

 

                                                                  ????

George Victor

The continuing saga of a nation where tax revolts were institutionalized:

 

From today's NYTimes:

 

"If no tax legislation is passed, all the major tax reductions passed under President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003 will expire, with rates reverting overnight on Dec. 31. The top marginal income tax rate, for example, would go back to 39.6 percent from 35 percent now, with corresponding increases in rates for lower income brackets.

Given the partisan gridlock of recent months, there is a chance that the battle could go down to the last minute, or even - in the face of a stalemate - that the tax cuts could be allowed to expire completely, a development that Republicans are already heralding ominously as the largest tax increase in history and that lawmakers in both parties say could be the worst outcome.

From both political and policy perspectives, the tax issue is dizzyingly complex, and even some of Washington's most grizzled legislative operatives say they cannot predict the outcome.

Some liberals want Mr. Obama to keep his promise to raise taxes on the rich, and the White House's budget forecasts rely heavily on rolling the top income tax rates back to their pre-2001 levels. Some fiscal hawks warn that extending the tax cuts would add more than $2 trillion to the federal budget deficits at a time when the national debt is becoming an economic concern and a political issue. Political economists are fiercely divided.

So are Democrats. In recent days, fiscal conservatives like Senators Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Evan Bayh of Indiana expressed support for extending the tax cuts at all income levels, at least temporarily.

Senior administration officials said there was no interest in such a plan at the White House, which intends to have Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner lead an effort to make the case that continuing tax breaks for the rich will not help lift the economy, but eliminating them will help reduce the deficit."

George Victor

In Thomas Friedman's column We're Gonna Be Sorry column in the NYTimes yesterday, following Congress's rejection of the proposed bill to fight climate change...one of the e-mails he has received in the past couple of days:

 

"The last word goes to the contrarian hedge fund manager Jeremy Grantham, who in his July letter to investors, noted: "Conspiracy theorists claim to believe that global warming is a carefully constructed hoax driven by scientists desperate for ... what? Being needled by nonscientific newspaper reports, by blogs and by right-wing politicians and think tanks? I have a much simpler but plausible 'conspiracy theory': the fossil energy companies, driven by the need to protect hundreds of billions of dollars of profits, encourage obfuscation of the inconvenient scientific results. I, for one, admire them for their P.R. skills, while wondering, as always: "Have they no grandchildren?"

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

George Victor wrote:

Tiresome is the constant comparison with FDR...despite the personal and historical differences. FDR had millions of unemployed workers in hand, wanting government solutions.  Raher different today, Palin and her teapartyers.   In the vernacular, get real.  :)

Do you read history? They plotted a coup against FDR. If Bush led a coup in the wake of 9/11, Obama consolidates it.

Quote:

That the White House sat back while Vilsack capitulated to a mob is a disgraceful commentary on both its guts and competence. This wasn’t a failure of due diligence — there was no diligence.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/opinion/25rich.html

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture
Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:

Finally, lets talk about who defended this horrible law before the Supreme Court. If it had been the corrupt Justice Department of George W. Bush, we would all be asking what else can you expect? How very much in character for them to do this. But George W. is no longer in charge. His relatively liberal opponents are. Yet it is apparent that when it comes to the "war on terror" President Obama and the Democratic Congress have decided to carry forward the dangerous legal prohibitions of Bush's Patriot Act. The Democrats most likely fear that if they do not do so, and there is another terrorist attack on the US, they are politically doomed. Thus, the administration has made no attempt to reeducate or reorient public opinion on the question of terrorism. In the absence of such a reorientation the security-minded majority continues to view any group designated a terrorist organization by the State Department as "radioactive," and President Obama is trapped into defending reactionary laws like the one that did in HLP. It is a circular scenario.

http://www.readersupportednews.org/opinion/42-42/2506-free-speech-takes-...

Jingles

Quote:
In April of this year, Obama once again reminded everyone that everything is and has always been "on the table," as far as he's concerned, including Social Security. His so-called "deficit commission" is stacked with rich sociopaths sharpening their knives to carve up, sell off or otherwise doom Social Security. It is a battle that safety net defenders thought they had won against George Bush. Barack Obama has picked up Bush's marbles and put them back into play. He is the right wing's most potent weapon, the one before which liberal Democrats throw up their hands in surrender without the dignity of a fight.

No doubt, this commentary is motivated simply by the base [url=http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/obama-cant-say-no-rich]racis... of Tea Baggerery.

George Victor

And back to the loss of the climate bill in congress...Paul Krugman in his NYTimes column today:

 

"By itself, however, greed wouldn't have triumphed. It needed the aid of cowardice - above all, the cowardice of politicians who know how big a threat global warming poses, who supported action in the past, but who deserted their posts at the crucial moment.

There are a number of such climate cowards, but let me single out one in particular: Senator John McCain.

There was a time when Mr. McCain was considered a friend of the environment. Back in 2003 he burnished his maverick image by co-sponsoring legislation that would have created a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. He reaffirmed support for such a system during his presidential campaign, and things might look very different now if he had continued to back climate action once his opponent was in the White House. But he didn't - and it's hard to see his switch as anything other than the act of a man willing to sacrifice his principles, and humanity's future, for the sake of a few years added to his political career.

Alas, Mr. McCain wasn't alone; and there will be no climate bill. Greed, aided by cowardice, has triumphed. And the whole world will pay the price."

 

Back to how FDR would have handled it.

 

George Victor

I still think FDR unfortunately "saved" America from socialism.  McCarthy only mopped up the last of the true socialists from the 1930s. Barbara Kingsolver centers her novel, The Lacuna, on this. Sample dialogue: ' "I could see that, if I were a Communist. Luckily for you, I am not...Look, I know you're not a Communist...What you are,' he said when I came back, 'is controversial'." Kingsolver told a CBC radio audience the other night about her search for the reasons for the closing of the American mind back then.

M'Lord Black shows us in his FDR biography how FDR accomplished the defeat of socialism through active government participation in the economy (and of course, a war) , and Galbraith was one of the folks who brought Keynes to the rescue (Richard Parker's bio on Galbraith shows him as a young "price czar" in the two years leading up to war.

Yes, there are Republican households where an edict has been in place - for a few generations since FDR - his name is never to be mentioned. And, of course, there was a plot. As someone said, history may not be a plot, but history is littered with plots.   :)

But yes, FM, I'll have to read more history of that time and place.

And yes, Jingles, them Dems sure want to get re-elected this fall...no comment on the state of the  American mind in that, of course.

 

George Victor

The Democrats are still hoping that the wealthiest 2 or 3 per cent of Americans will have to pay higher taxes when Dubya's 8-year-old tax cut legislation runs out, but Republicans and some Dems say no to the idea:

 

"WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner pressed the case on Sunday for letting Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire later this year.

In appearances on two television programs, Mr. Geithner said that letting tax cuts expire for those who make $250,000 a year or more would affect 2 percent to 3 percent of all Americans. He dismissed concerns that the move could push a teetering economy back into recession and argued that it would demonstrate America's commitment to addressing its trillion-dollar budget deficit.

On "This Week" on ABC, he said, "We think that's the responsible thing to do because we need to make sure we can show the world" that America is "willing as a country now to start to make some progress bringing down our long-term deficits."

Mr. Geithner added, "I do not believe it will affect growth."

Most Republicans and some Democrats in Congress strongly disagree and have pledged to launch an all-out effort to extend the tax cuts for people of all incomes. The cuts were passed under President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003. Supporters of extending the cuts for everyone argue that raising taxes on any group, particularly one considered crucial for creating jobs, could endanger a precarious economic recovery.

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, spoke about the administration's plans in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."

"The safest thing for America would be to have a provision passed this fall that said no tax increase of any kind for 2011," said Mr. Gingrich, who is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. "I mean the fact is, everywhere I go - and I've been in 10 states in the last 14 days - businesspeople say to me over and over again, 'I will create no new jobs in this environment because the uncertainty is too frightening.' "

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

US Claims Right To Assassinate Americans Overseas.

That's the Obama regime. Uh huh. This was LAST February, btw.

Quote:
"The U.S. Government has now established a ‘death list' for U.S. citizens abroad akin to those established by Latin American dictatorships during their so-called ‘dirty wars.'"

State terrorism. Against their own citizenry.

 

George Victor

In the land of the free, where the pres. is making himself the friend of the high income crowd (by letting their tax rate rise to the pre-Bush figure) that also happens to pull the levers on the major corporations, here's the developing situation, from today's NYTimes:

 

"Let the Spending Begin

The starter's gun went off last week in the squalid new race for unlimited campaign cash. The Federal Election Commission approved the creation of two "independent" campaign committees, one each from the left and right, expressly designed to take advantage of the new world of no rules.

One committee is being set up by the Club for Growth, the conservative advocate for low taxes and less government. The other will be run by a new group with close ties to the Democrats called Commonsense Ten, which says it will raise money from individuals, corporations and unions. Because both are obviously completely independent and would never dream of coordinating their efforts with those of any political party,(my appreciative Smile) they will be able to spend unlimited amounts, thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision earlier this year.

Both committees, and others like them, will also be able to collect unlimited checks from their donors. A little-noticed decision in March by the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia said there is no longer any basis for limiting contributions to independent committees, known as 527's. The old contribution limit of $69,900 every two years apparently abridged the free speech rights of well-heeled donors."

BlueBerry Pick'n BlueBerry Pick'n's picture

I'd say as a successful part of the DNC, Obama's integrity was besmirched from the moment I saw the swag bags @ the Denver DNC... 

gee, anybody still wondering why AT&T hasn't been charged with *global* warrantless wiretapping?  its no wonder he got an applauding standing ovation when he visited the intelligence services communities... they got their pass & then a hell of a lot more since then...

you don't actually think it means CANADIAN personal & business electronic communications aren't being surveilled, do you?

get serious, that "ain't just a US issue", kiddies... 

as anybody watching the Liberal "Lesser Evil" Ignatieff turn a blind eye in Canada & abroad & the OilBerta Harper Globalization SellOuts can testify:  

those 2-party systems that divide the entire nation from dogcatcher on upwards is a recipe for treating the entire World like its a clearly defined 'Us/Them' sports match...  & everybody knows, the first thing a coach teaches a team is 'lie for the Team to the Referree, or you're not a Team Player'.  Anything for a win, "we" are never in the wrong

 

George Victor

From the NYTimes:

WASHINGTON - The Senate on Tuesday refused to take up a bill that would require more disclosure of the role of corporations, unions and other special interests in bankrolling political advertisements, after Democrats failed to persuade even one Republican to support it.

The bill was drafted in response to a Supreme Court decision in January allowing unlimited campaign spending by corporations and interest groups.

President Obama and Democratic leaders have been seeking to use the Republicans' opposition to the bill to portray them as beholden to corporate interests. Republicans, in turn, say the Democrats drafted the legislation in an effort to gain an advantage in this year's midterm elections.

But the bottom line was that the court's decision now stands, helping define the November election and, perhaps, campaigns in years ahead. Democrats pledged to try again in September, but the bill's chances seemed dim.

The official tally was 57 in favor to 41 against, with Democrats falling short of the 60 votes needed to defeat a Republican filibuster. But the Democrats were actually just one vote shy.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who caucuses with the Democrats and expressed support for taking up the bill, was absent to attend a funeral.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Obama now afraid of FBI Lobby

Quote:
The administration wants to add just four words -- "electronic communication transactional records" -- to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user's browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the "content" of e-mail or other Internet communication.

But what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture
George Victor

Paul Krugman, NYTimes, July 29:

"What explains Mr. Obama's consistent snubbing of those who made him what he is? Does he fear that his enemies would use any support for progressive people or ideas as an excuse to denounce him as a left-wing extremist? Well, as you may have noticed, they don't need such excuses: He's been portrayed as a socialist because he enacted Mitt Romney's health-care plan, as a virulent foe of business because he's been known to mention that corporations sometimes behave badly.

The point is that Mr. Obama's attempts to avoid confrontation have been counterproductive. His opponents remain filled with a passionate intensity, while his supporters, having received no respect, lack all conviction."

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Getting bombed on Obama

Quote:

The United States is currently the world biggest weapons supplier — holding 30 per cent of the market — but the Obama administration has begun modifying export control regulations in hopes of enlarging the U.S. market share, according to U.S. officials.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/07/29/98337/obama-seeks-to-expand-arms-exports.html#ixzz0vPr27yXE

Jingles

Quote:
Paul Krugman, NYTimes, July 29:

Once again I leave it to [url=http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2010/07/concerning-those-who-manufa... Silber[/url] to demolish that crap:

Quote:
All of which demonstrates what has been entirely obvious for a long while now. There is absolutely nothing the Democrats could do which would cause dedicated partisan hacks like Krugman, or the major liberal and progressive voices in the media and on blogs, to abandon them. The Democrats could launch a nuclear attack and invasion of Iran, establish detention camps in the United States and start populating them with allegedly "dangerous" U.S. citizens, restrict internet access to "approved" sites, proudly announce a system of rewards for friends and family members who denounce "dissidents" with possible ties to terrorism, and pursue a host of other despicable and vile policies, and Krugman, et al. would still say you have to vote for Democrats.

Because the Republicans are still more evil -- and they're crazy!

Standing O

George Victor

Paul Krugman in NYTimes today:

"The point is that a large part of Congress - large enough to block any action on jobs - cares a lot about taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population, but very little about the plight of Americans who can't find work.

Well, if Congress won't act, what about the Federal Reserve? The Fed, after all, is supposed to pursue two goals: full employment and price stability, usually defined in practice as an inflation rate of about 2 percent. Since unemployment is very high and inflation well below target, you might expect the Fed to be taking aggressive action to boost the economy. But it isn't.

It's true that the Fed has already pushed one pedal to the metal: short-term interest rates, its usual policy tool, are near zero. Still, Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, has assured us that he has other options, like holding more mortgage-backed securities and promising to keep short-term rates low. And a large body of research suggests that the Fed could boost the economy by committing to an inflation target higher than 2 percent.

But the Fed hasn't done any of these things. Instead, some officials are defining success down.

For example, last week Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, argued that the Fed bears no responsibility for the economy's weakness, which he attributed to business uncertainty about future regulations - a view that's popular in conservative circles, but completely at odds with all the actual evidence. In effect, he responded to the Fed's failure to achieve one of its two main goals by taking down the goalpost.

He then moved the other goalpost, defining the Fed's aim not as roughly 2 percent inflation, but rather as that of "keeping inflation extremely low and stable."

In short, it's all good. And I predict - having seen this movie before, in Japan - that if and when prices start falling, when below-target inflation becomes deflation, some Fed officials will explain that that's O.K., too.

What lies down this path? Here's what I consider all too likely: Two years from now unemployment will still be extremely high, quite possibly higher than it is now. But instead of taking responsibility for fixing the situation, politicians and Fed officials alike will declare that high unemployment is structural, beyond their control. And as I said, over time these excuses may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the long-term unemployed lose their skills and their connections with the work force, and become unemployable.

I'd like to imagine that public outrage will prevent this outcome. But while Americans are indeed angry, their anger is unfocused. And so I worry that our governing elite, which just isn't all that into the unemployed, will allow the jobs slump to go on and on and on."

 

That's the Times' Nobel prize-winning economist stating his concern for workers' future and laying the blame on Congress.

And he didn't once have difficulty in expressing himself and having to resort to the vernacular of the monosyllabic set.

 

Jingles

Quote:
And he didn't once have difficulty in expressing himself and having to resort to the vernacular of the monosyllabic set.

I see. Krugman's a "serious" critic. One that doesn't offend delicate, sophisticated liberal sensibilities by mentioning things like, oh war crimes, torture, unbridled corruption, etc, and doesn't use those awful, dirty cusswords like some low-bred trailer trash. We expect that sort of filth from the tea baggers, but not from respectable, serious critics. Krugman can be respected because he's not one of the lower classes. He has a Noble Prize (like the Peace Laureate Obama, currently ordering death squads to roam the world), so therefore is RIGHT! He's in the NY Times! QED!

Now, how about responding to Silber's criticism instead of attacking the language he uses? I wonder how you can read Bageant without getting the vapours. And try not to be so goddamned elitist.

I'd have respect for Krugman if he actually said anything meaningful. His job as an establishment critic, however, is to frame the "debate" within acceptable limits. His job is to legitimize the criminals that run the place without mentioning that they are criminals or that those institutions he holds in such high regard are illegitimate. He can prattle on and on about "recovery", or "stimulus", and "inflation" as if these concepts are as immutable as the laws of physics, but he must not mention that the entire system is a complete sham, and that Obama's Goldman-Sachs administration is entirely complicit in the fraud and theft. 

George Victor

Bad bunch for sure.

George Victor

NYTimes today:

August 2, 2010

"A Respect for World Opinion

 

Nativism in American politics has become so rampant that it is considered scandalous in Republican circles for a judge to acknowledge paying any attention to foreign courts and their legal rulings. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the few prominent jurists to speak out against this trend in recent years, gave an on-the-money speech last week pointing out the xenophobia on recent display in the confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan.

At one point, Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican of Iowa, noted with scorn that Harvard Law School, where Ms. Kagan had been dean, required first-year students to study international law. Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican of Oklahoma, asked why Ms. Kagan thought it was acceptable to use foreign law to interpret the Constitution, which she retorted was almost never the case. Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican of Arizona, summed it up: "I'm troubled by it," not because foreign law would create a United States precedent, but "because it suggests that you could turn to foreign law to get good ideas."

In her remarks on Friday, delivered to the International Academy of Comparative Law at American University in Washington, Justice Ginsburg said that kind of thinking is completely at odds with the views of the nation's founders, who were extremely interested in the opinions and laws of other countries. The authors of the Federalist Papers, she noted, cited the "high importance" of observing the "laws of nations." And, of course, the Declaration of Independence itself was an appeal to the "opinions of mankind" in a "candid world." "

NorthReport
George Victor

Do those polls tell you something, NR?    I have some ideas from them in relation to recent events in the U.S....but you first.  :)

NorthReport

GV,

 

Those polls tell me that books like this are a "must" read for Americans. Time is running out for them, and the more of the same BS from Obama just ain't gonna cut it.

 

 

The Anti-American Manifesto

by Ted Rall

 

a new manifesto for an America heading toward economic and political collapse. While others mourn the damage to the postmodern American capitalist system created by the recent global economic collapse, Rall sees an opportunity. As millions of people lose their jobs and their homes, they and millions more are opening their minds to the possibility of creating a radically different form of government and economic infrastructure.

But there are dangers. As in Russia in 1991, criminals and right-wing extremists are best prepared to fill the power vacuum from a collapsing United States. The best way to stop them, Rall argues, is not collapse-but revolution. Not by other people, but by us. Not in the future, but now.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Anti-American-Manifesto-Seven-Stories-Press/dp/158...

 

George Victor

Yes, those polls tell me a lot about the American voting public, in line with what every rational observer has to conclude...it's still a class-divided, dumbed down, racist state, and the folks on the right are not about to try to solve the unemployment that was the inevitable product of GOP policies since Reagan.

But "us" in "revolution" NR?   Sort of the Gandhian protest sitdown?  Surely not using firearms! 

And who is us?  

George Victor

Amy Greene, grandaughter and daughter of Tennessee ministers tells NYTimes readers what it's like there today:

 

"Some of my first memories are of sitting in my grandfather's church, a little cinder-block building tucked in a thicket, listening to his voice ringing in the rafters. After my grandfather died, my dad took over as pastor. I never heard either of them mention politics from the pulpit, even though at home, in a family that has been divided between Democrats and Republicans going all the way back to the Civil War, there were some heated discussions. My dad always said that it was biblical to pray for our leaders, but not to campaign for them in a house of worship.

As an adult, I visited other churches in the valleys and hollows of my community. One in particular stands out in my mind, because it reminded me so much of my grandfather's church. It was nestled in a copse of shade trees beside a creek, its frosted windows shining. Going into the vestibule was like coming home. I knew the words to every hymn the congregation sang.

But this was in 2008, with the presidential election around the corner; when the preacher took the pulpit, he admonished his flock to remember their Christian values and vote Republican. I haven't gone back since, but I keep encountering the same kind of religious lobbying. Not surprisingly, the only enthusiasm I've seen for the primary is a lone Zach Wamp sign sunk into the weedy lawn of a church near the highway.

This is the opposite of what my grandfather and my dad and Appalachian preachers of their ilk tried to teach - a devotion that is as much a part of our mountain heritage as the land, that can't be reduced to campaign propaganda, that shouldn't be exploited for one vote or one issue. It's way too big for that. I just wish politicians and pastors would stop making it so small."

 

 

Amy Greene is the author of "Bloodroot," a novel.

 

 

al-Qa'bong

I once attended a Sunday mass with my Papist girlfriend in 1980 and heard the priest rail against communism.

George Victor

You should read Gregory Baum's Catholics and Canadian Socialism: Political Thought in the Thirties and Forties, al-Q.  Or maybe you did and don't want to set your own experience in historical context. :)

Anyway, U.S. southerners are now Republicans on the side of God, apparently.  And the colour of the pres's skin will likely come to be seen as a factor, y'all hear now.

al-Qa'bong

Wellsir; back in our own United Church, a minister in the 70s once said, "God loves Liberals and Conservatives too."

And GV, I'm quite capable of setting whatever I want into an historical context, thanks.

Slumberjack

Never heard politics from the pulpit in the RC church I attended as a child.  Never heard one denunciation of the crimes being committed at the time by western states around the world for that matter.  It was all about the potential wickedness of the congregation and the general public, about the need for unquestioning obedience to a system of control that had likewise spread its genocidal destruction around the world.

George Victor

George Victor wrote:

You should read Gregory Baum's Catholics and Canadian Socialism: Political Thought in the Thirties and Forties, al-Q.  Or maybe you did and don't want to set your own experience in historical context. :)

Anyway, U.S. southerners are now Republicans on the side of God, apparently.  And the colour of the pres's skin will likely come to be seen as a factor, y'all hear now.

 

"Wellsir; back in our own United Church, a minister in the 70s once said, "God loves Liberals and Conservatives too."

And GV, I'm quite capable of setting whatever I want into an historical context, thanks."

 

You'll notice I tried the :) al Q. If you want to drop flippant little vignettes from your past into a thread about what is actually happening in the U.S.churches today - events with predictably serious consequences for us all - expect a reply in kind.

Or perhaps you have some knowledge from the Baptist belt that can refute the growing racism in the Grand Old Party, and the Christian role? Or perhaps you don't much care?

 

al-Qa'bong

Or perhaps the phenomenon of clerics making political pronouncements during church services isn't terribly unusual.

George Victor

Amy Greene wrote:

"I never heard either of them mention politics from the pulpit, even though at home, in a family that has been divided between Democrats and Republicans going all the way back to the Civil War, there were some heated discussions. My dad always said that it was biblical to pray for our leaders, but not to campaign for them in a house of worship."

 

You probably have another explanation for the difference that Ms Greene has detected since 2008 on the cusp of the election. Perhaps she's just another lyin' liberal Democrat, makin' up stuff. But with the evangelicals panting for another shot at Wade vs Roe (on top of the question of the pres's colour) I would not bet the farm on her story being far from the truth.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:

Despite President Obama's pledge to retain more hi-tech jobs in the U.S., a federal agency run by a hand-picked Obama appointee has launched a $36 million program to train workers, including 3,000 specialists in IT and related functions, in South Asia.

UPDATE: InformationWeek has learned that USAID just launched a similar campaign in Armenia.

Following their training, the tech workers will be placed with outsourcing vendors in the region that provide offshore IT and business services to American companies looking to take advantage of the Asian subcontinent's low labor costs.

Surely this is a direct result of fear of Palin and her Nascar Following.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:
You probably have another explanation for the difference that Ms Greene has detected since 2008 on the cusp of the election. Perhaps she's just another lyin' liberal Democrat, makin' up stuff.

 

What, in particular, prompts you to make such an accusation??

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture
George Victor

Yes, he's clearly not ready to go down in the Jesus' posture as Republicans become the friends of labour, eh FM?  Fancy that! 

(As church folks are whisperin', he's really the devil in disguise.)

George Victor

A Democrat describes the political environment in Washington...sounding much like the Copnservative obstruction in Canada's Parliament:

 

"Instead of engaging in a real debate about how to address the challenges we face, Republicans have turned to obstruction, no matter the issue, and then cry foul after the fact. They claim to want an open legislative process with more consultation and debate, but the truth is they simply don't want to pass anything.

Meanwhile, conservative television and talk radio programs are full of false anger, intended to scare Americans. I think some genuine frustration at this misleading tactic is overdue.

That's why I got mad last week. That's also why I'm going to fight for this bill when we come back in session in September. I'm still angry. Playing politics on important issues is never right. But on health care for 9/11 responders, it's an outrage."

 

 

Anthony Weiner is a member of the House of Representatives from Queens and Brooklyn.

And like the president, he can't call those media out for the business-controlled, populist, devious purveyors of lies that they are. The gormless MSM, of course, must remain beyond reproach for anyone seriously attempting to gain elected office, there in the land of the free, or here.

 

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