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This is probably the most difficult diary I've ever felt I should write here. I've spent quite a lot of time here, met some people I admire and some I can't stand. But, the time spent here was generally pleasant and interesting (h/t to BiPM and triciawyse). So I don't take any pleasure in saying that, over the last few months, at least, I find myself coming here less and less. I think this site has lost its way. It's full of emotions, but the brains have sloshed out through the ears.

Perhaps I'm making too much of it, since I am not a US resident nor citizen, but an interested observer I came here for the laughs (which are still here) and for the debate. Certainly, rational discourse was never perfect (and can never be perfect), but back then Daily Kos tended towards equilibrium: The site would go pear-shaped, but eventually calmer posters prevailed, the admins busted a few heads from time to time, and rational discourse returned, at least to a certain extent.

Nowadays - this isn't a new phenomenon, but one which has been around by my count since 2008, and has become worse over time - this site, and, I would argue, the progressive movement in general, hasn't been able to find that equilibrium. Now it's all outrage, all the time. My computer had broken down, for example, during the Cenkpocalypse, and it took more than a week before I set up an internet connection on my notebook. What did I see? Another Cenkpocalypse. Now, at the time I agreed with Mr Salvatore (in the interest of full disclosure), but I think the broader point is that it's pathetic that a crap diary from a two-bit pundit should be able to send the site into meltdown mode for a couple of days.

The reasons for this, I think, are twofold: Democratic victories exposed deep divisions in the movement, both in terms of goals and strategy. Furthermore, the recession and associated suffering tend to hystericise public discourse, and it becomes populistic in the worst sense of the word: Complex matters are simplified, convenient solutions are proposed, regardless of their flaws and even viability. Dissent and criticism become viewed with contempt.

Now, I will not criticise anyone who is hurt by this recession (I'm not for now - knock on wood), but from the point of view of achieving political goals, anger just won't cut it. The teabaggers have it easy; their less savoury ideas are glossed over by a friendly media, and their economic policies are close enough to conventional wisdom that they can always double down on them when they fail, claiming failure was due to their not going down enough, creating a vicious downward spiral to a breaking point.

The left in general and progressives in particular have no such luxury, given the hostile media and conventional wisdom. Lackwit populistic measures won't cut it. Results need to be delivered. In a way, the situation isn't dissimilar to what Lenin faced after the revolution, when he wrote Chto Delat': The bolsheviks took over. Great, but what now, Sparky? How do you get from where you are to communism? In fact, progressives aren't just faced with such questions: They haven't taken over, democratically, of course, not even the Democratic Party.

1. Ideas

It pains me to say this, but progressives are really short of ideas in many cases: Reinstate Glass-Steagal, repeal CFMA, revoke... re, re, re. That's not new ideas; that's recycling the same old ones, regardless of flaws and advantages. There's nothing new about them. And when progressives have new ideas, for example during the healthcare debate, they were utterly unable to implement them (see below). Finally, this approach makes progressives almost exclusively fight defensive battles: Protect social security. Protect unemployment insurance (why not advocate permanent social assistance for the unemployed?). Protect against the erosion of environmental standards. Playing only defence inevitably means you'll lose. It's just a question of when.

Thing is, in some cases progressive positions have become just as ossified and dogmatic as the right's supply-siderism. I'll give two examples. Just the other day, people were smugly saying that tax cuts can't spur growth. This will, I'm sure, be news to both monetarists and Keynesians, since neither side for the most part claimed that (temporary) tax cuts or deficit spending cannot get an economy out of recession. They differed on the relative effectiveness of both approaches and the various ways of implementing said approaches. Now, you could very well make the case that the tax cuts' effect would be negligible or suboptimal or that attendant disadvantages don't outweigh the advantages or that they would be harmful in the current type of recession. But the statement above had no such nuance. In its own way, it's just as bad the supply-sider claim that tax cuts always increase revenue (they don't). Both represent a convenient, populistic bastardisation of a policy.

Another example: Free trade. Yes, let the developed world close its borders because of labour arbitrage. Thing is, free trade did help pull about a billion people out of povery even with labour arbitrage. Both the neoclassical argument (millions of people's lives have been improved) and the left's counterargument (free trade causes an erosion of social rights) can be valid at the same time.

Now, this has an interesting implication: Sure, you can simply close your borders, but this would screw the Third World, and make few friends there. Demanding modern labour and environmental standards from everyone would price out the poorest of the poor, which have nothing to offer but cheap labour and resources, condemning them to poverty. This fact perversely facilitates labour arbitrage, since the protectionist position of workers in the developed world kills any solidarity between them and the workers in the developing world. After all, the former implicitly want to beggar the latter.

I would argue that the International was successful precisely because it was universal: If a capitalist were to decide that he was tired of dealing with Jaures and were to move his factories to Germany, he would have to deal with Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht. Not exactly an improvement. So why not, for example, demand an additional regulation of free trade: The undeveloped could trade more or less freely (with low tariffs) but as a state would develop and meet certain economic indicators, it would have to meet certain social and environmental standards (for example, when a state's GDP/capita reaches $1000, it has five years to guarantee the drugs from the WHO's Programme on Essential drugs to at least 80% of its population) or its goods would face punitive tariffs. To ensure impartiality, an international institution could be used to determine this, and this approach could fit under a (reformed) WTO framework or under a new international organisation.

I think the current climate, on Daily Kos and generally, can be summed up by a diarist on the recommended list who said, "I bring you these truths." Why, Mr Lightbringer, I didn't know you had an exclusive franchise on God's own truth and boundless intellect. Such language is subtly corrosive, since it precludes criticism: If something is completely true, criticism must be error, lie, or spin.

Now, I don't ask you agree with me. The examples were used to show that matters aren't simple, that a policy can have innumerable consequences, and that there are many legitimate interests at stake whatever one does. Since progressives don't have the luxury of conventional wisdom, they should pay attention to detail and analysis.

2. Power

Progressives can't get their ideas passed, and haven't been able to. Great. We all know that. But what are progressives going to do about it? Moaning that Obama is a member of teh Oligarchy who doesn't care about the common people (an impressive feat of telepathy, by the way) isn't going to do much. The question is what to do to ensure your policies are enacted.

As much as I hate to say it, I think the Tea Party showed a viable approach: A gathering of crackpots has managed to become an important political force because they managed to stage coups within their own party. Sure, they lost the Republicans three Senatorial seats, but the electoral season was still a victory for the Republicans, and the teabaggers have unfortunately become a political force.

Of course, the Democratic Party can be declared dead, but abandonment alone won't make progressives win. The Democractic party has tacked to the right with every loss. Is the alternative a third party? Probably not by itself. In a first-past-the-post voting system, two competitive parties on one side of the political spectrum almost ensure the other side wins, so parties merge. In order to have another viable political party, one has to collapse. This means that anyone who thinks the Democratic Party is hopeless really should be setting up another party's infrastructure, finding out which Congressmen would be willing to defect, and which segments of the Democratic Party's infrastructure could be taken over by a third party.

I don't see it happening. Neither do I see any movement on the primary Obama front, despite some quite virulent rhetoric. Tell me, which progressive hero is being groomed for that role? Republican contenders have already been preparing for their runs. 2012 isn't far away. And that's quite apart from the question of whether it makes political sense to primary the man.

More generally, have progressives utilised their resources to get their message out? I don't see it. Sure, the traditional media is hostile to progressives. How many magazines and newspapers have progressive organisations started? The alliance with universities? How many professors are being asked to travel the US and hold public lectures? How many samizdats are being handed out on city streets? And please, let's stop fetishising blogs. The only thing they've done is to make truth a matter of taste: Progressives cluster here, the right-wingers on Free Republic. They both hold the Truth in their raging hands.

3. Conclusion

Now, I may have come across harshly. I'm sorry, but this smug "everything is shit and I hate both parties and the President and the media and..." attitude, while certainly comforting, won't prevent the loss of a single job or do one iota to protect the environment. If progressives are a movement, they really should start acting like one. It's going to be an uphill battle as it is, As for Daily Kos, this is simply one of innumerable appeals to reason.

Oh, and Obama supporters (again, I'm not as hostile to Obama as many here, but I'm not too fond of him, either), really, you can be snide and dismissive with the best of them. I could write another diary on the thin-skinedness of supporters. The President screwed up some things, did well on others.

I realise this won't be popular, but I felt I should write this diary, anyway. This place had and still has potential. But if it stays all outrage, all the time, nothing will come of it, and the same goes to the progressive movement in general. Anger is probably here to stay, but focused anger coupled with reason and organisation is better than rage.

4. A Final Note

I'm not advocating for or against Obama or a certain policy. My argument is with the anger. The content is, in the context of this diary, quite irrelevant to me.

Originally posted to Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 05:45 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What are you going to do, Sparky? (33+ / 0-)

    When progressives realise how to get into power and what to do when to get there, things will change. Until then? More of this.

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 05:42:13 AM PST

    •  Maybe the United States is just not capable (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mnemosyne, Sandino

      of change in the way we envision.  Capitalism makes it impossible and if we tell the real truth, most people in this country don't want it.  They have been raised with this system and although it is demonstrably worse than most other alternatives(except extreme chaos), they are comfortable with the problems of this system. Maybe, we are tilting at windmills, hence the rage because in our heart of hearts, we know it.    We are angry at Obama but maybe the truth is that what has been done is the best this system(a republic) is capable of and maybe the crap that we have all been taught to hope in, is exactly that, crap.  A great vision but just not achievable.  

      "New TSA slogan: can't see London, can't see France, unless we see your underpants."

      by lakehillsliberal on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 07:20:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The US will lead by example (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lakehillsliberal

        giving the world another object lesson in the absolutely destructive nature of late-stage crony capitalism. The combination of a neo-feudal economic model with corporate control of the media as well as the political apparatus in a security/surveillance state is unsustainable without tremendous human costs.  God have mercy on us and our victims.

  •  Progressives are not going to get into power (5+ / 0-)

    until such time as the whole system collapses.  Real change has never come without significant societal upheaval and strife.  To think somehow we've evolved past that simple fact, is foolhardy.  It didn't happen with FDR and ain't gonna happen now.  I'm just here to watch the barn burn at this point.  It horrible and it's sad but there isn't a damn thing I can do personally but prepare myself and my loved ones for the horror that is to come.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 05:50:56 AM PST

    •  I disagree. (4+ / 0-)

      Substantial change oftem came without strife. Look at the collapse of communism or the rise of FDR in the US. Or, take the evolution of Scandinavian welfare states. Sure, times were hard, but didn't come close to total collapse.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 05:52:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The fall of Communism wasn't violent? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mnemosyne, penguins4peace

        I speak with a man that lived through the Soviet Unions collapse.  He would beg to differ.  The labor revolts that resulted in FDR's New Deal were FAR from non violent.  By total collapse, I mean in the societal fabric.  So long as people still have Dancing with the Stars it will hold together.  When austerity is pounded over their heads...not so much.

        ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

        by Kristina40 on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 05:55:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, there was violence, but total (5+ / 0-)

          collapse, as opposed to social upheaval, would imply widespread institutional collapse. You know, civil war, Somalia, things like that. I don't see that as necessary.

          Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

          by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 05:56:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  They will throw enough scraps at the people (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kristina40

          to ensure there's no revolution. This is what the game is now, the balance of ensuring maximum profit for the rich while keeping the hoi polloi from rising up.

          They titrate death, carefully adjusting the tolerance level just so. We have been conditioned to accept Death by Spreadsheet for "health care", to accept a never ending war on a feeling [terror], to accept ever increasing poisoned food, water, air ..

          All in the name of the profits for the wealthy.

          This is government's primary function, as the arbiters of just how much pain and suffering we'll accept. They carefully poll and use focus groups and advertising campaigns to see just how far we can be suckered to accept death and suffering. And then, they pass the 'laws' to make it happen.

          Obama/Democrats: The Earth is round. Republicans: No! it's flat!
          The compromise: The Earth is a triangle.

          by shpilk on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 10:48:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'd agree, but the system won't collapse. (0+ / 0-)

      It will just get stronger. There is nothing we can do.

      As we continue on a breakneck pace destroying the environment, Nature will take its course soon enough and make all of this wrangling irrelevant, soon enough.

      Obama/Democrats: The Earth is round. Republicans: No! it's flat!
      The compromise: The Earth is a triangle.

      by shpilk on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 10:40:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, I almost forgot: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kestrel9000, Oh Mary Oh

    Does the Cyrillic show up properly?

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 05:53:30 AM PST

  •  What? Sanity and Coherence in an argument? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, happy camper, Dauphin, Oh Mary Oh

    Here?

    Too bad people will read this and either

    1 "meh"

    2 Draw all the wrong conclusions.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 05:59:18 AM PST

  •  we're not short of ideas (0+ / 0-)

    please.

    There is plenty around here about government spending on green infrastructure - to move the country toward sustainability.

    and there is plenty about how to reframe trade and industrial policy.

    And how to reduce the destructive gap betw. rich and poor.

    and re-instating Glass Steagal (and related reforms to reduce the influence of finance) just make sense. They were right about this in the 1930s.

    Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

    by mightymouse on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:05:49 AM PST

    •  PS - but we tend to talk about other things (0+ / 0-)

      as it is blindingly obvious that none of this will happen.

      and how much have people talked about good ideas for health care? And what good did it do?

      Things suck - the plutocracy rules. What to do about it?

      Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

      by mightymouse on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:07:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, shrike, Azazello

      As Krugman noted, while the banks took a lot of damage and were bailed out, the real wipeout was in the so-called shadow banking system. Auction-rate securities, for example, were economically a bank but not legally. The 750b market collapsed completely.

      Whatever the merits of reinstating the Glass-Steagal Act, it would not have done anything to regulate those kinds of institutions. This was new. But this fact is routinely ignored.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:09:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "and related reforms" (0+ / 0-)

        who said the only thing that has to happen is to restore one law? the point is to regulate and reduce the finance sector.

        Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

        by mightymouse on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:11:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  However, because of the obsessive focus on (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shrike

          GSA, that "and related reforms" part has been routinely ignored. That's what I'm talking about. Even Taibbi took on only the banks.

          Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

          by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:13:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  the banks are a big deal (0+ / 0-)

            I don't get your point at all.

            You also have not responded to the other points in my original post.

            People have good ideas, which get mentioned here. You are oversimplifying.

            Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfrazado - Hector LaVoe

            by mightymouse on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:22:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Taibbi went after the shadow banking system. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse, Dauphin, Azazello

            The derivatives market was the true problem.  They bet a Quadrillion (yes with a Q) on the unregulated derivatives market.  These are the bets that we covered and why we had to bail everyone out.  They set it up so nobody could fail.  Lehman showed them just how bad it could get if one was allowed to fail.  This is a must read.

            http://www.portfolio.com/...

            ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

            by Kristina40 on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:39:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Not enough about how to reframe (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, Oh Mary Oh

      labor is a problem for Progressivism, IMO...

  •  I think yhu're wrong about the teabaggers: (0+ / 0-)

    As much as I hate to say it, I think the Tea Party showed a viable approach: A gathering of crackpots has managed to become an important political force because they managed to stage coups within their own party.

    What coups?  The republican party is pretty much the same as before.  

    The concept of teabagger power confuses volume and getting on cable news with power.  While the pundits were having articles about the new and exciting populist grass roots phenom of baggers, interest groups were collecting billions to put the same elite corporate interests at the head of the line.

    Seems to me that the left is learning the wrong lessons from the teabaggers: in fact it seems the strategy is teabagger envy, wondering why the left doesn't have the "power" of the teabaggers and feeling that it requires more screeching spittle flecked anger.

    Denounce someone else's lack of courage from safe distance and anonymously!

    by Inland on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:09:42 AM PST

    •  I'd disagree here. (0+ / 0-)

      While it's too early to tell, I think it's likely Republican policy will cater to teabagger interests far more than before. All the money in the world won't help you if the ranting maniacs vote you out in the primary. I think they'll become the ghost haunting the Republicans.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:12:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's us vs. Ayn Rand, and Ayn is kicking (0+ / 0-)

    our asses. If there's anger on here... meh.

    •  It's not only here, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, Oh Mary Oh

      and anger is the problem. Some have predicted rioting in the streets; but rioting without an idea behind it achieves nothing. Look at the French riots: The kids torched a few cars, and that was it. The worst that can happen is that riots become a seasonal thing, like spring cleaning.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:16:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I favor burning down Wall Street (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Uncola

        and have said so in many posts on here. Other than totally toppling the Wall Street apparatus I see no way out of our "economic crisis." Wall Street isn't the answer, it's the problem. Kill that beast and we have a chance of returning to "normalcy."
        People are angry and rightfully so. I'm with K.O. Grab a torch and pitch fork! Posting on blog sites won't get this done. We need action, and we need it to be on a daily basis. I'm tired of having my ass handed to me by Randians and Teabaggers while the "MSM" laps up their drivel.
        It's us vs. Ayn Rand. We need all hands on deck or surely we get picked off one at a time, dumped on the unemployment trash heap, never to join the working world again. Angry? You bet your sweet bippy I'm angry. But, what I'm mostly angry at is the lack of activism here. Libs here seem to be content to scream and holler on the pages here when they should be on Wall Street with torches and pitch forks.

        •  There was a time (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Oh Mary Oh

          when that would have been physically possible

          burning down Wall Street

          But now, the big firms are in midtown Manhattan skyscrapers instead of clustered around Wall and Broad and the other 17th-century streets at the end of that little island, and many of the financial business never set foot in NYC. It's all pixels, which makes any efforts at regulation or reform even harder.

          One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.--A.A. Milne

          by Mnemosyne on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 07:51:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  "SIcko" was NOT banned in Cuba! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man, Dauphin

    That's what I heard, at least.

    Follow Rex on Twitter as he follows Sarah Palin, conservatives and loony pundits!

    by Bob Johnson on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:26:17 AM PST

  •  People need a place to express outrage. Some of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dauphin

    us are stuck in deep red territory.  Yes we work the local scene and try to make an impact in the local elections (and Dallas is turning blue) but I view it as a place where we can gather and share frustrations and plot outcomes.  It isn't all rosy but for some of us it is a necessity.  It helps me keep my sanity while living in Tea Bagger Nation.

    Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

    by temptxan on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 06:26:37 AM PST

  •  A bit less fixation on Obama (8+ / 0-)

    and more on Congress would be productive, but I'm not holding my breath.

  •  Thank you, Dauphne, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mnemosyne, Dauphin, mudslide, Oh Mary Oh

    I found this a thoughtful and intelligent diary and some of the comments interesting.  I struggle to find where I am in all of this.  So many people write here with such certainty.  I don't have that kind of certainty.  I wonder, "what do they know that I don't know?" that gives a diary writer or commentor such apparent confidence in the correctness of their position and so hostile to any disagreement. Having been a high school debator, many, many years ago, I then dogmatically presented, with proof, just one position, which is how so much is written here. It's a dualistic process:  there is a right and a wrong to be debated.  The complexity of everything purposely (as in debate) or unconsciously keeps getting missed.  Even as I write this, I'm aware of how I'm missing complexity - which is why I usually don't even write here.  

    I empathize with the continuous outrage, which for me, often comes from an intense experience of powerlessness, which seems to be based on fact, since apparently I am (and have always been) a member of a minority group:  'progressives'.  

    I really don't know at this moment if I agree or disagree with all that you said.  What I do know is that I appreciated the tone of your diary and the challenge to be more thoughtful and less dualistic and emotional in our writing and commenting.  I know I keep looking for ideas here of how to live as a minority party (progressive), have productive influence, and keep my sanity.

  •  comforting??????? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    Now, I may have come across harshly. I'm sorry, but this smug "everything is shit and I hate both parties and the President and the media and..." attitude, while certainly comforting

    a lot of people are in agony over this.

    comforting?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Gaia is heartbroken.

    by BlueDragon on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 07:04:36 AM PST

  •  Thoughtful diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, Dauphin, Oh Mary Oh

    and I thank you. I agree with you on many of the points, especially about tone. Have to mull this over for a while.

    What does your title mean in translation? Not, I trust, good-bye cruel world.

    One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.--A.A. Milne

    by Mnemosyne on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 07:55:28 AM PST

    •  Chto delat' means "what to do." It was the title (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mnemosyne

      of one of Lenin's pamphlets.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 08:14:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, thank you (0+ / 0-)

        I know that title, even read it back in Russian History days. But only in English. My grasp of Cyrillic consists of being able to read things like street signs--Nevsky Prospekt and so on.

        One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.--A.A. Milne

        by Mnemosyne on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 09:31:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nicely done. Now, let's do a DKossian nitpic of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dauphin

    one idea floated. The Teabaggers have had limited success not because they mobilized their nutjobs but because, as you pointed out, they have a sympathetic media and can serve as shock troops for established conservatism. The left would immediately be scorned in the press with a similar approach. Their almost complete lack of self consciousness and lack of a long term game plan is perhaps the only lesson we can learn from them. They do not care what others think of them, or their long term success, they are just angry and vocal, albeit with a simplistic set of ideals. Their party took notice. We are angry, but not organized around any particular set of causes or principles. It's like we are constantly yelling fire and only occasionally picking up the phone to call for help or getting a bucket of water out ourselves or starting our own fire department.

    When Social Security comes up for plucking, if we cannot get our act together and stop the assault we will be set back for a long time.

    "Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons."

    by the fan man on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 08:03:57 AM PST

    •  The 'baggers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      the fan man

      also have the backing of the right wing infrastructure of the Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity, and other big--money lobbying interests, as well as the RWNM. They'd never had gotten off the ground without that.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 08:27:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed, but this wasn't an astroturf movement as (0+ / 0-)

        much as it was a gathering of kindling and striking a match. There is a communist fascist Muslim foreign black president in office after all.

        "Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons."

        by the fan man on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 08:39:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with some parts of the diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happy camper, Dauphin

    and not others, but I won't get into that here.

    I will say there's a lot of truth to the playing defense argument. For instance, instead of talking about ways to "save" social security, I was thinking the other day what we should do is try to put a bill forward that is SHORT and simply says something along the lines of "The United States government cannot privatize social security and must honor full financial commitment to the program."

    I know those aren't the right words, but suffice it to say, we should be enacting into law in some EASY TO UNDERSTAND  AND IMPOSSIBLE TO MISINTERPRET WAY.  Put the bill on the floor, hit the talk circuits with it, talk about it by saying "we are sure there is no representative who would vote against such a bill>'  Assume victory.

    "Whenever a fellow tells me he's bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me."-- Harry S. Truman

    by irmaly on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 08:21:54 AM PST

  •  I hope this isn't a GBCW - most of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dauphin

    Big Picture guys like yourself just quietly leave.

    The Credit Crash destroyed many of the oldest Wall St institutions yet there is a persistent myth here that somehow they planned their own demise for profit.

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 08:25:41 AM PST

    •  Well, I did initially plan this as a TTFN, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2

      I like the pootie diaries, Cheers and Jeers, and the What Are You Reading Series. The GUS crowd isn't bad either. Plus, around Christmas you get some beautiful diaries. Finally, for now I'm too arrogant to let myself be chased away by some frothing demagogues.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 08:55:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  you make a very good point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dauphin

    Most of the progressive ideas are a return to a previous progressive era's policies. While I may agree short term with the spirit of those ideas I don't think we have been addressing the future so much as trying to hold onto the past.

    I'd go into more detail but will keep it to: You enunciated something I've been thinking about. Good work.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 08:43:26 AM PST

  •  This is not just another round of politics. (0+ / 0-)

    It's sort of like the McCarthyism of the 1950s; and unlike the 1950s when many in both Parties rejected it, almost all Republicans embrace it today, and 70% of the so-called Democrats enable it, including Obama.

    Today's McCarthyism is Reagan's trickle down economics, and "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" BS that most of the Democratic leadership genuflects to, as they hand power over to the corporations and the rich.

    What was 'communism' in the 50s is now the 'global war on terra' today, constantly changing and morphing as needed to demonize the next group of black, brown, yellow and purple people we need to turn into red mist.

    The purpose of our government, like all the others is to to serve the criminal distribution networks that dig poison up from the ground that we then burn, killing the environment. Our government helps to enable slave labor in dozens of countries, where people toil in inhumane conditions to produce CRAP that Westerners consume as fast as they can make it. These people are 'better off'? I don't think so. They could be building their own quality of life, but instead they are destroying their own environments in the name of CEO corporate profits.

    Am I angry? No. I've gone well beyond anger into despair.

     

    Obama/Democrats: The Earth is round. Republicans: No! it's flat!
    The compromise: The Earth is a triangle.

    by shpilk on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 10:37:32 AM PST

    •  Thing is, no country, not even an authoritarian (0+ / 0-)

      regime, can govern completely opposed by its population. China managed to quell the call for democracy after the Tiananmen Square debacle by delivering economic growth and improve the standard of living for sufficient numbers of people and promising the rest they'd soon follow. We shouldn't deny that.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 11:45:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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