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View Diary: What's Happenin'? Climate Change Week 10.28.12 (77 comments)

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  •  Morning everybody. (8+ / 0-)

    The following, peripherally related paragraph, is from a piece I'm working on. It's rough and needs work but I'd like to invite commentary should anyone feel so moved.

    I've come to view the presidency in a different light. So much of modern American life is a chimera to one extent or another, the presidency being one of the biggest. The conventional view is that of the president as the most powerful individual in the world. Only that concept is as misleading as it is arrogant. No president is guided by their own will, their own sense of right and wrong, their own vision of a better world. By the time they take office they are thoroughly obligated to the major financial interests and under intense pressure from the 1%, who are the truly powerful in this plutocracy of ours. No president will ever stand against the Military Industrial Complex or Wall Street – and those are the only truly useful things a leader could possibly do at this crucial point in our history. Everything else is capitulation. And that's the only thing we are ever going to get from a president elected by the presently existing mechanism. The mechanism itself is fatally flawed. It can produce nothing but capitulation to the 1%. That's why nothing important ever changes. Put the best Democrat who ever existed into the White House and we'll still go on dropping bombs on people for no good reason, starting wars, polluting the environment, ignoring global warming and our own rights and freedoms will continue to be attacked, eroded and diminished. Put the best person on earth in that office and the fascism of the filthy rich would roll right on.
    •  4 years later and still no accountability. (9+ / 0-)

      No president will ever stand against the Military Industrial Complex or Wall Street
      Just so depressing to realize where we are......

      Part 2 of the Neil Barofsky interview.

      What does it mean, "playing ball for Wall Street"? asks BILL MOYERS:

      NEIL BAROFSKY: Well, what I saw when I was in Washington was this real pressure on myself, on other regulators to essentially keep their tone down. And I was told point blank by Assistant Secretary of the Treasury that, this is about in 2010.

      And he said to me, he said, "Neil, you're a smart guy. You're a young guy. You're a talented guy. You got your whole future in front of you. You've got a young family that's starting out. But you're doing yourself real harm.” And the reason why you're doing yourself real harm is the harsh tone that I had towards the government as well as to Wall Street, based on what I was seeing down in Washington. And he told me that if I wanted to get a job out on the Street afterwards, it was going to really be hard for me.

      BILL MOYERS: You mean on Wall Street?

      NEIL BAROFSKY: Yes. And I explained to him that I wasn't really interested in that. And he said, "Well, maybe a judgeship. Maybe an appointment from the Obama administration for a federal judgeship." And I said, "Well, again, that would be great. But I don't really think that's going to happen with my criticisms." And he said it didn't have to be that way. "If all you do is soften your tone, be a little bit more upbeat, all this stuff can happen for you." And that's what I meant by playing ball. I was essentially told, play ball, soften your tone, and all of these good things can happen to you. But if you stay harsh that was going to cause me real harm in those words.

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

      by allenjo on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 08:11:06 AM PDT

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    •  We need a new generation (5+ / 0-)

      raised without worshipping the god of money, winning, and buying stuff in order to change the mechanism.

      It's going to be a while. :(

    •  opol... (3+ / 0-)

      i think that you have exactly identified the correct tree to bark up.  there are some tweaks that i'd make to some of that, though.

      the assessment of a president's power is a mixed bag; presidents are frequently held responsible for things that they have little power individually to change, like the economy, for example.  on the other hand, the president has at his beck and call an enormous military and intelligence apparatus and, unfortunately, due to a confluence of a captured congress and an insufficiently vigilant people, a president has the ability to use those resources in virtual secrecy and without adult supervision.

      that is for me where this statement breaks down:

      No president is guided by their own will, their own sense of right and wrong,
      it is well to note that presidents are placed in a position where they are probably forced to choose between political sanctions and taking actions that are morally repugnant.  however, we are often left to wonder whether the president is a sociopathic maniac who does things like killing women and children and murdering americans with hellfire missiles because he is personally insensitive to the wrong of that action or because he is a weak man doing what he knows to be morally wrong but thinks he needs to do to please his constituency and maintain his position.

      either way, they are guided by their own moral compass. the president has choice as to whether he maintains a kill list and whether he chooses to use drones as a weapon even though it has been shown that 98% of drone strikes fail to hit a high value target, there is an unacceptably large amount of "collateral damage" and his drone program is terrorizing whole countries and causing innocent  populations to alter their life patterns where it is in use.

      other than that, i think you are right on in your assessment, the government has been captured by the 1% and those that fail to do their bidding will not last long.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 08:32:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think Matt Stoller sums up Obama's actions (0+ / 0-)

        and lack of action on many things very well.
        http://www.salon.com/...

        In fact, during the transition itself, Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson offered a deal to Barney Frank, to force banks to write down mortgages and stem foreclosures if Barney would speed up the release of TARP money. Paulson demanded, as a condition of the deal, that Obama sign off on it. Barney said fine, but to his surprise, the incoming president vetoed the deal. Yup, you heard that right — the Bush administration was willing to write down mortgages in response to Democratic pressure, but it was Obama who said no, we want a foreclosure crisis. And with Neil Barofsky’s book ”Bailout,” we see why. Tim Geithner said, in private meetings, that the foreclosure mitigation programs were not meant to mitigate foreclosures, but to spread out pain for the banks, the famous “foam the runway” comment. This central lie is key to the entire Obama economic strategy. It is not that Obama was stymied by Congress, or was up against a system, or faced a massive crisis, which led to the shape of the economy we see today. Rather, Obama had a handshake deal to help the middle class offered to him by Paulson, and Obama said no. He was not constrained by anything but his own policy instincts. And the reflation of corporate profits and financial assets and death of the middle class were the predictable results.
        The rest of Obama’s policy framework looks very different when you wake up from the dream state pushed by cable news. Obama’s history of personal use of illegal narcotics, combined with his escalation of the war on medical marijuana (despite declining support for the drug war in the Democratic caucus), shows both a personal hypocrisy and destructive cynicism that we should decry in anyone, let alone an important policymaker who helps keep a half a million people in jail for participating in a legitimate economy outlawed by the drug warrior industry. But it makes sense once you realize that his policy architecture coheres with a Romney-like philosophy that there is one set of rules for the little people, and another for the important people. It’s why the administration quietly pushed Chinese investment in American infrastructure, seeks to privatize public education, removed labor protections from the FAA authorization bill, and inserted a provision into the stimulus bill ensuring AIG bonuses would be paid, and then lied about it to avoid blame. Wall Street speculator who rigged markets are simply smart and savvy businessmen, as Obama called Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon, whereas the millions who fell prey to their predatory lending schemes are irresponsible borrowers. And it’s why Obama is explicitly targeting entitlements, insurance programs for which Americans paid. Obama wants to preserve these programs for the “most vulnerable,” but that’s still a taking. Did not every American pay into Social Security and Medicare? They did, but as with the foreclosure crisis, property rights (which are essential legal rights) of the rest of us are irrelevant. While Romney is explicit about 47 percent of the country being worthless, Obama just acts as if they are charity cases. In neither case does either candidate treat the mass of the public as fellow citizens
        .(emphasis mine)

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 01:58:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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