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View Diary: LISTEN: Robert Reich on What We've (Not) Learned from Watergate (17 comments)

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  •  My son asked me, in an email yesterday, what the (13+ / 0-)

    hell we can do.  I haven't replied yet.  I really don't know.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

    by nailbender on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:04:35 AM PDT

      •  Since you have a son about mine's age, here's the (7+ / 0-)

        exchange, OPOL (he's studying microbiology in a US university):

        Good morning pops,

        As I peruse the news on this Sunday morning, supposedly an hour later than normal {it was daylight saving Sunday}, I can't help but notice that all of the same people that caused previous financial ruin on this country are still holding onto power and even climbing the government ladder (have you gotten your hands on a copy of Bailout?). What are your thoughts on this administration and its capabilities to effect meaningful change given the obvious obstructionist right wing representatives? They have seemed a little lacking to and it is disappointing that Obama has had more frequent "sit downs" with the party of stalwart and injudicious indignation than he has had in the past. I am also a little disappointed with what the Democrats did while they controlled both houses of Congress as the ACA is more conservative than its original Heritage Foundation incarnation and fails to remove certain free market mechanisms that will inevitably continue to bleed the involuntary consumers dry in this most involuntary market.

        As I see it, we have three major failings in this nation; the first is education, which ought to be subsidized to the consumer and NOT the producer, the second is the Health Care industry, and the the third is campaign finance (or more to the point, moneys' and markets' capabilities to influence politics).

        A brief aside; I think that some of these CEO's payouts are based on the sqaure of the slope of their companies earnings curve and I've noticed that correlation almost always proves causation in the business world.

        But Obama should rightfully be accused of playing the media game as he has shown time and again to gloss over and distort information in the normal Purple Collar political fashion.

        Perpetually stumped,

        my response:
        Hey dude

        Sorry to take so long to respond.  Yes, I’m aware of all that shit.  It’s very disturbing on many levels, not the least of which being that I supported Obama wholeheartedly in ‘08 as opposed to Hillary because I assumed incorrectly that he would not take the same road that her husband did.  Not only did he do that in the financial sector, but he did it in the national security sector, blowing Bush out of the water when it comes to secrecy and violations of our right to privacy.  If Bush had done the same shit as Obama, the “left” would be completely bonkers with outrage right now.  Very disturbing.

        Just in the last three days we’ve learned that Morgan Stanley’s 6 billion dollar derivative collapse was spun by their CEO under oath to be a rogue trading deal whereas it reality it was blessed by Dimon, the CEO, himself.  Will he get more than a sternly worded letter from Obama’s Justice Dept?  Hell no.  He’ll probably be golfing with Obama soon, like the Keystone pipline players who were golfing in FL with him last month on the very day the environmentalists were protesting Keystone XL in front of the White House.

        Back to the financial mess, just a couple weeks ago, as the sequester was kicking in, the lady that is the head of investments or something at Goldman/BOA (an Indian name) said “the Market wants more austerity.”  So that’s who we’re taking orders from.  As I posted on a blog that day, our current situation could accurately be described as “neo-feudalism.”

        Obama’s worse than Bush, imo, because he sells himself as the exact opposite of the way he actually performs.  I really don’t know what the answer is and I’m afraid that the future is very bleak because our culture is so shallow and heedless of the impact we’re having on the future.  I’m very sorry, as a parent, grandparent, and greatgrandparent that this is what my generation is handing down to you.  

        I hope to see you when I come through (A) on my way to (B) sometime in June (to finally finish the house!).  I’ll check in with you about your work schedule before I book my ticket.  I hope you still have a job with (X ), btw.  Did you get fucked by the sequester?  I heard (Y) has cut (Z) in response.   I’ve got my fingers crossed, that’s about all I can do.  The sequester was Obama’s idea, as well, btw.  What a fuckwad.

        I hope your studies are going well.  



        (some personal stuff deleted)

        His response:

        A good read! I didn't get screwed by the sequester, I even got a promotion, and the department as a whole isn't going to be hurt too bad as we get a lot of funding from the (X) Association and some (not enough really) from grants. The season is getting cut short this year by a few weeks to a month but I am already having to end at the end of August for fall semester. I'll try to get my available dates ASAP. I'd love to go to (A) as I missed the trip with the brother over spring break due to previously made plans with (his Sweetheart) and her friends.

        Is there a way for America to emerge from this Oligarchy intact?

        I haven't responded to that last question yet.  I'm stumped.  I was heavily involved in the protests running up to the invasion of Iraq (one of which - the MoveOn rally in Manhattan that shut the borough down - he attended with me and his mom, all of us getting herded into pens by the NYPD, like cattle), and I worked hard writing and campaigning for pols who understood the illegality of it.  Those movements were huge, approaching those of the civil rights era, though of a shorter lifespan.  But unlike those movements, they were almost entirely futile (other than to be able to say "I told you so" when things inevitably went to shit).  

        I'm feeling very depressed these days.

        "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

        by nailbender on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:38:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hear that. (5+ / 0-)

          Sounds a lot like many of the conversations I have had with my son. (You've obviously raised a fine son BTW.)

          Yes, they have ignored, co-opted or crushed anyone who has risen in opposition to the brutal rule of the oligarchs. It's difficult to imagine how we can defeat them. But if we don't, we are selling out the future of your grandchildren and fact, we are selling out the future of the entire human race.

          These bastards must be stopped and we should pay any price to do so. The mechanics of it all, however, becomes very murky. They hold all the cards. But there is power in numbers. We have to wake more people up. The question, I think, becomes, can we wake up enough of them in time to make a difference? I don't know the answer to that, but it seems to me that we have to try.

          I can certainly relate to how depressing it all is. But don't be depressed. Be angry. Raise some hell.

          •  Well waking folks up is what Bill's diary is about (3+ / 0-)

            I guess, as it ends with a plug for Reich's upcoming documentary about what I'm calling "Neofeudalism."  So we agree on that as a first step, as daunting a task at that is today.  Last night I listened to Chris Hedges being interviewed on Humankind. His take on our current dilemma is extremely depressing: waking up the American public is increasingly a project that requires breaking through an almost impenetrable shield of media-generated obscurity and obfuscation driven by sensory-overloaded programming foisted on us by (ta da!) one segment of the oligarchs.  Our culture, for all practical purposes, is moribund.  

            Thanks for all you're doing, btw, OPOL.  Much appreciated.  Don Quixote has nothing on us, though.  

            What worries me most is that the ultimate trigger for real change may be multiple-systemic collapse.  That scares the shit out of me.  

            "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

            by nailbender on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:14:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As I said in a diary about Ben Masel, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nailbender, FarWestGirl

              better to spend a lifetime tilting at windmills than to swallow the shit being shoveled.

              And yes, I also worry that the longer it takes to reach the tipping point, the more catastrophic it may be. I guess we have to hold on and hope for the best.

              Thanks brother.

            •  I gotta cut in here to say thanks for the Hedges (4+ / 0-)

              link and that I agree with you in your letter to your son and OPOL's comment about the power in numbers, but only if they exercise that power. Which is something that is hard to harness with all the distractions 24/7 of 'breaking news' and nonsense human interest stories gobbling up their time in bumper sticker time slots.

              My son is in his late 30's, my daughter almost 40, but they are Canadians (I'm multi-gen Texan) and sometimes that gives me a sharp contrast, reminding me that the world is not the USA alone. Health care, (not insurance policies), is one big example because they don't have bankruptcy from medical bills ruining families lives.
              You mention the insurance industry profit protection Bill,the ACA and I look at one of my grandsons who has needed medical help since birth, but it made no economic impact on their family. Money that would have gone to the corporations in the USA , goes instead to a better life for them all in Canada.
              In fact they are coming to visit in a few days (!) and it's all being paid for by the Canadian govt., the ferry costs, motel costs and a per diem allowance for food all because the prosthetic device one grandson needs is only available in the USA. How lucky we feel that it also happens to be in this town I live in near the border.

              Maybe the help we need will come from other Countries banding together to stop our march around the world and I am also very worried about the nut case Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Canada as he rules in a 'try and stop me' fashion, stripping environmental laws, labor laws in his attempt to be more neo feudal than the USA.
              So they have a big political sell out problem too but at least on a few fronts they have a much better scenario than those in the US under similar medical circumstances.
              (yikes! I rambled on without noticing)

              without the ants the rainforest dies

              by aliasalias on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 12:25:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  That's who I felt when the 2000 election (6+ / 0-)

      crime happened.

      How do you say something that is honest, constructive and hopeful for a young person after something like that?

      It totally shook my grounding and I admit I've never regained it since.

      Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

      by Words In Action on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:39:37 AM PDT

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    •  Occupy the Dems! (0+ / 0-)

      And don't stop till the job's done.  

      A lot of our discouragement has been the result of expecting results faster than we've been getting (to say nothing of things actually going in the opposite direction).  Well, we can't think about it that way--we just have to understand that this is our lives here.

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 12:35:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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