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View Diary: Sunday Train: Trains and Not Destroying Civilization (44 comments)

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  •  my apologies (0+ / 0-)

    I didn't mean to read into your comment (the only thing I can offer is I was having a discussion about that when I wrote the comment so that's probably why I saw it in your diary)

    And I simply just utterly disagree with your characterization of this 'hedge fund'. You can clearly see the difference in clean energy on things like the  wind tax credit. Just my opnion but Obama only 'moved' right when he had to.

    But as I said I agree that we need to think beyond Obama and about moving the needle left. I think that in a way the north east could be a leader in that both in clean energy, rail and single payer because right now we're fightnig 30 years of 'government isn't the solution it's the problem'.

    That imo is the real enemy we're fighting

    •  If 'have to' includes ... (3+ / 0-)

      ... having to aim to get continued large contributions from the finance sector, then yes, you can make a bit of an argument that Obama only moved to the right, appointing a neoliberal Secretary of the Treasury and having his Justice Department avoid prosecuting the largest wave of control fraud in the finance sector since the 1920's, because he "had to".

      However that 'have to' does not seem to include pushing the false neoliberal theories regarding the need for a sovereign economy to "balance its budget" when it is the monopoly issuer of the currency that its debt is issued in. According to Obama's statements on the economy while running originally and as President, he believes in the neoliberal fantasies regarding the economy.

      And that "have to" does not seem to include pushing the corporate unfettered wealth transfer agreements, misnamed "trade agreements", which Senator Obama voted for as a Senator, Candidate Obama supported as a Candidate and President Obama has supported as President. They are raw power grabs on behalf of international and transnational corporations, and given that when they are contested they often pass over the opposition of a large number of Democratic Representatives, they are one of the clearest indicators we have of which elected Democrats are in the Hedge Fund wing.

      If the Democrats want more sluggish economy performance, they would be well advised to nominate another Hedge Fund democrat in 2016, as a Hedge Fund Democrat is going to deliver more of the same. When Bill Clinton claimed that there wasn't any President who could have done more regarding the recovery from the Panic of 2008, that "any President" does not include FDR, Truman, Kennedy or LBJ.

      Its not as if the Hedge Fund Democrats are the worst possible alternative. The Hedge Fund Democrats are in a natural opposition to Big Oil, which is one of the largest backers of the Republican business wing, and while the Wall Street is perfectly happy to see continued government support for Renewable Energy, the Big-Oil backers of the Republican Party are against it.

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      by BruceMcF on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 06:54:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and the credit card reform? (0+ / 0-)

        the stimulus?

        I just don't see how you can make that argument in light of the totality of what Obama did. Yes Getinher (sp) as treasury is not who I would have chosen

        And let's be clear no matter how much we all and likely most of the American people might have wished for a lynching any real investigation was going to take years and frankly I doubt there will ever be charges simply because it's such a fucked up situation. That's not how I wish it was but it is what it is.

        Further let's be clear here even FDR who arguably is the only president ever to inherit a worse situation had issues. In fact even after 8 years of spending the US economy was still struggling it really was WW2 that finally gave gas to the economy so while I salute FDR for all that he is done let's not look though rose colored glasses on FDR.

        Honestly if you think Obama supports big oil I utterly disagree with that it is because of Obama we're talking about removing the susidies for oil, that rail is progressing and that the US is in the begining of a possible explosion in renewables.

        Just imagine what we could do, how much we could move the needle from 'government sucks' with another 4 years and then a even more liberal president.

        That's all I am saying

        •  Can you get a better example than the ... (2+ / 0-)
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          poligirl, gooderservice

          ... stimulus? Even Paul Krugman, inside the frame of neoliberal economics but in pursuit of progressive objectives, pointed out in advance that the Stimulus was too limited.

          As far as thinking that the President supports Big Oil, I am wondering about your willingness to read the worse that are written:

          Its not as if the Hedge Fund Democrats are the worst possible alternative. The Hedge Fund Democrats are in a natural opposition to Big Oil, which is one of the largest backers of the Republican business wing, and while the Wall Street is perfectly happy to see continued government support for Renewable Energy, the Big-Oil backers of the Republican Party are against it.
          How in the hell can you read "the Hedge Fund Democrats are in natural opposition to Big Oil" and come to the conclusion that I said that President Obama supports Big Oil?

          He certainly supports expanded oil production, oil fracking, and natural gas fracking, but unlike the Republicans he does not exclusively support those destructive activities. He also supports things that Big Oil hates, like High Speed Rail and Windpower.

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          by BruceMcF on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 08:34:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the problem with (0+ / 0-)

            saying the stimulus was too small was it was the largest that could be passed.

            So is it Obama's fault that what may or may not be needed (I'm no economicist to judge really) did not equate to political reality?

            And yes Obama expanded production of oil while also pushing renewables, are you seriously going to argue he should have ignored oil completely in favor of something that won't really be felt anywhere but locally for a while?

            That's a great way to lose the WH and have all that progress undone. Just think what would have happened if Carter had won reelection, instead he lost and Nixon undid all the work Carter had done on renewable

            •  How would we ever know? (0+ / 0-)

              He never asked for a sufficient stimulus.

              His policy platform at the convention (that is, his convention speech promises and the filtering of the other prime time convention speeches) is a promise of mild austerity in place of the severe austerity of the Romney approach. At a time when we do not need austerity.

              He's always talked as if reductions in the structural deficit are a good idea in the aftermath of a financial disaster. Which is more of the neoliberal nonsense from the economists who confidently told us in 2006 that we were not in a property bubble.

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              by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 08:46:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  by the by (0+ / 0-)

            if you want to see why I am 'willing to read the worse that are writtien' see gooder's response.

            I barely paid attention to politics till 2008 and even then are got involved near the end (oddly enough because of a post on an anime forum linked to here). I didn't register because by the time I really considered it already the judgement had started. I came back and registered because I wanted to talk about trains to find that within a couple weeks of being here I saw a rather stupid cartoon right in the middle of the DNC.

            So I guess what I have been tap dancing around is just how much blame you want to assign to Obama? You call him a 'hedge fund' democrat as if it's insult (and maybe it should be), you insist that Obama accomplish political miracles  and it's frustrating.

            I get it, I want to snap my fingers and have everything change over night. But that's not how politics in the US works and for good reason. Right now my concern is Obama, the Senate and the House. Then we can talk about building on things in 2016 but that's just my opinion.

            I leave last word to you

            •  I'm not engaged in laying blame. (0+ / 0-)

              First, that was a typo. It was supposed to be reading the words that are not written. You claimed that I wrote the exact opposite of what I actually wrote. I said that the Hedge Fund interest is in natural opposition to Big Oil. There is no way to from there to your claim that I said Big Oil backs Obama. Your claim is either a careless misreading or a deliberate misrepresentation.

              Second, I don't see why you keep trying to change the topic I have been addressing and shift it to the questions of blame.

              I am talking about the policy positions of Obama's wing of the party, and whether they are policies that can solve the problems that face us.

              Why would I blame Obama for holding the economic part of his positions? He's held neoliberal positions from the outset, he ran on neoliberal positions, he won on them. The way a democracy works is when a politician runs on position A, and pursued position A, he's doing what he's supposed to do. Its up to opponents of those policies to convince people to stop supporting politicians who run on those policies.

              If there is blame to be laid there, the blame lies with a system that filters out presidential contenders to the representatives of the corporate wing of their parties and the voters who fall for it.

              The people upset with Obama's brutal foreign policy of blowing the crap out of weddings and funerals and other events to attempt to kill one or a few of the people at the wedding, the reversal on the closure of Guantanamo, the continuation of Bush's assault on our civil rights in the name of fighting terror ~ well, he promised he would do the opposite of what he ended up doing, so they would certainly be in a position to blame Obama if they backed him based on progressive foreign policy position promised that he reneged on in office. I never took those promises seriously, so I never went through the same sense of betrayed promised that they went through.

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              by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 09:07:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I think the system ate my comment :/ (0+ / 0-)

        and I don't feel like redoing the entire thing.

        In summary there's credit card bill, lily ledbetter, student loan reform etc etc yes Geithner (sp) was a disappointing pick but the fact is any prosecutions were going to be unlikely unless you literally caught people with their hand in the cookie jar. I say this because first it is hard to prove most white collar crimes because they depend somewhat on less phyiscal evidence and proving intent (always a trickier subject) and second because Obama is not really a raging populist and he certainly had other things to do at the time.

        Is that a shame? Yes but I don't think it warrants the conclusions you're making.

        Reversing 30 years of 'government is the problem' mentality will not be done by Obama or 2 terms or even possibly by 2020 (assuming we get another democrat elected in 2016). This nation did not go hard right over night and it will not revert back over night either

        just my opinion

        •  :sigh: nvm there is the other comment (0+ / 0-)
        •  We have left the finance system ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poligirl, gooderservice

          ... in a position of being able to fail catastrophically a second time. We still have private debt at well over 200% of GDP.

          As you say, the President is not a "raging Populist". Which from my perspective sound like you are agreeing with me: any President taking action to reform the finance sector on the level that we need would necessarily be labeled a populist. Shying away from being labeled a populist implies shying away from doing the things that need to be done if the system is to be fixed, and leaving the administration with a series of "engine tune-up" achievements when the transmission remains in danger of falling out of the car.

          You can point to, if you wish, that the minimum necessary is more than the maximum that is politically feasible, but it remains the minimum that is necessary. If our political system cannot deliver the minimum that is necessary to avoid a recurrence of a financial crisis on the scale of the Panic of 2008, then in order to do the minimum necessary to avoid the destruction of our civilization, clearly the maximum of what is politically feasible has got to move, because it is made up of social rules, and the minimum that is necessary is driven by actual physical cause and effect relationships in the real world.

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          by BruceMcF on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 08:45:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  to an extent I do agree (0+ / 0-)

            I just also disagree to an extent too in so much of the mindset of 'blame Obama'  that I have seen in various places.

            •  The point I'm focusing on is ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... that what Obama is trying to accomplish falls short of what we need to be trying to accomplish.

              I don't see that that's a matter of blaming Obama, since anyone reading his Audacity of Hope would have known in 2007 that he was offering a neoliberal Hedge Fund Democratic approach. The mix of sweeping rhetoric describing the massive challenges we face and small, inadequate policy solutions was out there as public information long before he won the nomination.

              Now, he also ran as a civil libertarian, especially in international affairs, so those who supported him primarily because of those positions have a right to claim that they were duped. But on economics, he ran as a neoliberal, so it would be silly to "blame" him for governing as a neoliberal.

              Its not even a matter of blaming the 2008 Democratic primary electorate, since it turned out the only credible candidate offering a platform in line with what we need suffered from slippery zipper syndrome and would have been obliterated if he had won the nomination.

              But looking ahead, its a mistake to deliberately blind ourselves to the fact that the Hedge Fund Democrats are substantially limited in terms of how far they can go in the direction that we need to go, just because we are in the middle of General Election season and its time to decide which is the better of the two corporatist candidates on offer. Sure, its more emotionally satisfying to convince ourselves that Obama is Great and Romney is Horrible, but in terms of the Economy, the reality is that Romney is Horrible and Obama is Not Nearly So Horrible.

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              by BruceMcF on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 09:43:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  and your closing is what I (0+ / 0-)

                utterly and completely disagree with

                And before you say it, no that is not saying that Obama is godly either but he certainly is not 'not nearly so horrible'

                •  If we can't get there from here ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... economically on the back of promised and counter-productive cuts to the deficit, and on the back of an "all of the above" Energy Policy, then, yes, we have two politicians offering sets of policies that will both do harm, that will neither do the minimum good required, but one will do substantially more harm than the other, and the other will not fall so far short of the minimum good that is required, that's "not nearly so horrible".

                  It cannot be escaped that the hundreds of children killed in a policy that undermines American national security in a "War on Terror" that generates new terrorists as it kills a few terrorists and a large number of innocent civilians is horrible. So when neither party offers to end the "War on Terror" that generates more terror, but one promises to waste less of our blood and terror on that misguided and doomed effort to maintain the American Base Network Empire system, that's "not quite so horrible".

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                  by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 08:36:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  obviously we disagree so I leave it there (0+ / 0-)
                    •  The disagreement seems to be on how to approach .. (1+ / 0-)
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                      ... policy.

                      I'm approaching policy from the perspective of first asking how the world works, what are the problems we face, what are the range of possible policies, what are their advantages and disadvantages, what policies to support and oppose and only then looking at what is being offered by Team Red and Team Blue and evaluating it in the light of the citizen's own critical analysis.

                      So when I argue that the policy position of a politician as being incapable of averting disaster, the automatic assumption that I am somehow blaming the politician for the policy positions he holds ... it seems quite bizarre to me.

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                      by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 09:28:05 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

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