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View Diary: Not for the first time, I am really ashamed of my country (262 comments)

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  •  I think that aside from a very few people (14+ / 0-)

    like Sanders, Grayson, and only a few others who go into it because they truly want to "do" something about the problems rather than just "be" a president or some other office holder, most people go into politics for the same reason most people go into any other industry or profession.

    To make money. And to be part of the "upper" class? And if they have to climb over bodies to get there they will.

    Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

    by Edger on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:28:34 PM PDT

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    •  I am going to disagree (26+ / 0-)

      I know a fair number, including Senators and Congressmen, who got into politics to make a difference, often on a particular issue.

      They are then confronted with what it takes to (a) get legislation passed - lots of compromises;  (b) what it takes to remain in office to be able to get other things done.

      That process does not have to be corrupting, but too often it is.,

      For some, the corruption begins even before they achieve office - they decide to go after $$ to have a better chance of winning an election.

      This was clearly true of Obama's run for the Presidency with respect to education policy.  Once the decision was made to go after Wall Street money, there was no longer any meaningful possibility of challenging what had become the received "wisdom" on education, which is quite destructive of meaningful public education, but makes many big money contributors happy.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:35:50 PM PDT

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      •  Well, I'd agree that some may not (7+ / 0-)

        consciously do what I described and would deny it anyway if they did, but I think you just described the same the same end result....

        That process does not have to be corrupting, but too often it is.

        It doesn't have to be corrupting, but a choice gets made somewhere on the road....

        Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

        by Edger on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:42:23 PM PDT

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        •  Some make choice once attaining office, others (10+ / 0-)

          make it on their way to office.  In some ways, it doesn't matter when the choice is made.   Either way, it has already been made by far too many Dems on both ends of PA Ave.

          U3/U6 have been at intolerable levels for years, a pointless war in Afghanistan drags on, and trillions have been thrown at Wall Street in a vain effort to prop up a financial house of cards.  The dominant "bipartisan" consensus, however, holds that cutting entitlemens to reduce the deficit is the critical issue.  Never mind that entitlements don't add to deficit, and never mind that the deficit wasn't nearly as big a deal when W/Cheney were cutting taxes for wealthy and starting wars.

          Our party, as often as not, chooses to stumble down the path upon which the GOP proudly marches.  We have way too many honest pols who, once bought by FIRE, have stayed bought.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 07:05:19 PM PDT

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      •  Speaking of Obama wrt his education policy... (12+ / 0-)

        I almost typed Wall Street policy... honestly, it skipped to the front...

        Well, hedge fund operatives are totally down with Obama's RttT (with their allies, Democrats for Education Reform, Education Reform Now, etc ). They brought it to the NY legislature in a big way, bringing their neoliberal laws into existence inside that Trojan horse of school funding via Race to the Top. What a scam! (They are busy working on toppling the anti-voucher sacred cow at present)

        Here's something that I think fits rather well with the topic:

        Most Americans can't afford a $1,000 emergency expense

        A majority, or 64%, of Americans don't have enough cash on hand to handle a $1,000 emergency expense, according to a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, or NFCC, released on Wednesday.

        and

        An earlier study by the same organization found that 30% of Americans have zero dollars in non-retirement savings. A separate study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 50% of Americans would struggle to come up with $2,000 in a pinch
        .

        As I read the Ehrenreich quotes, and then your following paragraphs, summing up much of the bad news of what is out there for folks, how hard it is and the corrupt system that is continually eroding our comfort zones, I couldnt help but think of Obama's education policy - how it is so of a piece with it all - with the economic shrinkage for the masses, the neoliberalized reforming of everything.

        I mean, given the paucity of jobs, as BE described - and those are bottom of the barrel jobs - and the competition for them, the driving down of wages with outsourcing and globalization and no jobs/no jobs/no jobs.... well, it makes sense that they would go after public sector jobs.

        I think they need to make it all of a piece. Cant have one layer still comfortable while the others keep sinking down. Cant have the appearance of something better in the line of sight of the folks who expected to get something close to that but now are getting shafted... get everybody who isnt "somebody" in more or less the same boat. Get everybody's expectations down to the level they will now live at.

        Even the WI teachers' end of the deal, the one they agreed to and are fighting for, is sad to me. A worrisome sign of these times. Many of those in the union bashing, teacher bashing media, including Dem pols and pundits who parrot the neoliberal reform propaganda, were often saying the teachers should keep their collective bargaining. Scarborough, who loved to bash teachers, unions and appears to salivate over more sacrifice from the middle class, said so too.

        It seemed everyone was patting the teachers on the head for being such good sports. Well, yeah! Red flag, that praise. They were willing to give up everything, just keep collective bargaining - that is what is now considered a "win." But when you promise to give up so much, bargain for less and less, cb in itself becomes a rather weak and ineffective prize.

        Let me keep my gun, but you can have the bullets.

        This is a privatizing, neoliberalizing landscape I see forming very clearly, in all realms. Banana Republic outcome isnt some goofy, wild eyed imagining. It's happening! It is just too obvious.

        Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

        by NYCee on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 05:32:05 PM PDT

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      •  We both live in the DC area--I see something else (0+ / 0-)

        The Washington DC area, particularly starting with the FDR era was always a magnet for people who wanted to not only make this country better but the world better as well. But, particularly at this time, that desire to do good is the conscious motivation but people tend to often be dominated by unconscious motivations that often, through a series of small steps, cause them to end on the dark side--while telling themselves that they are doing the "right thing."

        Norman Mailer, when asked about his great book on Gary Gilmore, commented that what struck him the most is that all the sides he talked to in the affair, including Gilmore, felt they were acting for the best not just for themselves but for others. Americans, Mailer seemed to say, always have good intentions yet, if you look at American history we don't come out looking so hot, i.e., we aren't really better or worse than other civilizations/empires. So many people who come to this town may not appear to have wonderful and positive agendas but, when you look deeper, you see something different.

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