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(Heather King/

One of the more striking characteristics of the "new" Republican agenda (or the agenda of the conservative movement, or Tea Party movement, or whatever they prefer to call themselves) is how unrelentingly negative it is. Depressingly, ploddingly negative; America is simultaneously the best and greatest country in the world, as blanket assertion, and a nation on a slow death march towards insolvency and irrelevance. America must make sacrifices, goes the refrain, but every one of the sacrifices seems to involve retracting a past long-term success; America must not (something), is the defining chant, where (something) is any number of things that other countries can successfully do and have done, but America cannot, or an even larger list of somethings that America used to do, and quite competently, but America can do no longer.

Other industrialized nations can provide their citizens with better access to healthcare; we simply cannot, and you are a fool for even bringing it up. Other nations can, say, establish warning systems for tsunamis, or volcanos, or hurricanes; America must tighten its belt, and that meager, economically trivial ounce of prevention is considered fat that should obviously be trimmed, so that America-the-entity can get back to its fighting weight. Past-America could provide at least some modest layer of security to prevent its citizens from descending into destitution in old age; we in this day cannot. Past-America could pursue scientific discoveries as a matter of national pride, even land mankind on an entirely other world; we cannot. Past-America was a haven of invention and technology that shook the world and changed the course of history countless times: whatever attributes made it such a place we cannot quite determine now, much less replicate. Public art is decadent. Public education is an infringement. Public works are for other times, never now.

America of the past could build highways and railroads and a robust electrical grid. We cannot even keep them running. Of course we cannot keep them running: that was past-America. That past America had a magic that we modern Americans cannot match. Perhaps it was beholden to Satan, or to socialism, or merely to some grandiose vision of a better future, one with flying cars or diseases that could actually be cured, with proper application of effort. Whatever the case, past-America was wrong and stupid, and we know better.

It is not even that these things are debatable, mind you: they are certainties. It is a certainty that (1) none of these past tasks of government can be competently done, (2) none of these things should be competently done, and (3) any past success at actually doing them and paying for them is nothing but a random fluke of history. That was past-America; future-America is a profoundly less capable place. And, again, you are a fool or a communist for not recognizing it yourself.

We are at a time of record unemployment, of unemployment that was considered an apocalyptic worst-case only a few short years ago, but we no longer even talk about doing anything about it. Instead we continue to look for more goals to be stripped, more jobs to be removed, and more tasks to be abandoned. And it is all perfectly obvious, yes?

It is a staggeringly bleak vision. The notion that other free countries can do hosts of things that America, as blanket presumption, can no longer do should be the stuff of nightmares for any believer in American exceptionalism. Today believers in American exceptionalism seem to believe America is exceptional in the inverse way: America is the only country that cannot succeed at what other nations might be able to do. Healthcare, again, seems the most pressing example, though it seems Social Security is the next front on the war on past-America.

So what, then, is the national purpose? Is there such a thing? Should there be such a thing? If government cannot devote itself to bettering the life of its citizens, or rebuilding its own infrastructure, or accomplishing great and historic things, what is left? We can still wage war with aplomb, but even that is a product of our past technological prowess, and likely to be short-lived as the technological infrastructures of other nations continue to surpass our own. We are spectacular at the process of moving money around balance sheets, so long as nobody ever actually asks for it back; while such prowess has certainly built glittering edifices of private success, it is unclear what advantages it as given to our larger population.

We are good at watching television. We are experts at moral certainty. And we remain at the peak of our national capabilities when it comes to projecting a smug sense of superiority. But in the end all of that seems a bit vacuous... hardly the same as eradicating smallpox or polio. Nobody ever talks about a government project to cure cancer, these days. Nobody ever utters such claptrap as ask not what.

The conservative agenda, the one proposed by Ryan (and met with pronouncements of his courage!) or various state governors (they are praised for their leadership and innovation!) seems to lead, in the end, to nothing but a rather banal, milquetoast dystopianism. America as an entity is not supposed to do anything; it is supposed to merely be the flesh upon which our various native organisms can feed. We shall extract our resources, and we shall provide a market for products. We will provide a government that is as pliable as possible towards the encouragement of those two things, and all else is communism.

We say we still want to educate our future generations, but the path to that is to defund education and let "the market" do it. We say we still want to pursue progress towards a better future; the sole fashion in which to do it is to provide a Good Business Climate for "the market" to do it. We assert that we will have American energy independence, and the way to do it will be to extract our own energy supplies faster.

What else is there? Not a rhetorical question: what does the America of a hundred years in the future look like, according to Paul Ryan? According to Michele Bachmann? According to any of the crabby, shambling mounds of negativity grumping and plodding and tsk-tsking their way towards the presidency of the nation? Will America still have railroads? Airports? Roads? An electrical grid? Electricity to put in it? Will we cure the sick? Will we care for the old? How will we make our money? What will we make? What will we sell? Who will be considered American, in 100 years?

What a dismal future. Truly, what a gray, flat, boggy place it seems to be. Perhaps it is the final death of the frontier vision; there is no more land, no unknown horizon exists (and if it does it is too difficult to get to), and there is too little profit to be had. Perhaps America has just entered the grumpy old man phase of its life, in which we keep to ourselves, think back to our better past, and occasionally venture out to tell other, younger countries to get off our damn lawn.

We are told all the things America cannot do. We have yet to be told any vision of what we might still be able to do, or what hopes we should still retain, or why our children will be better off than we were, or why we ourselves will be better off than we were a scant few decades ago. Perhaps the very climate of the world will have changed, and the sky will be hotter, or the storms will be bigger, but none of those are things we can do anything about. Perhaps there will be nuclear disasters, or oil spills, or epidemics, or perhaps a city here or a city there will be leveled by some unforeseen catastrophe; we can be assured of it, in fact, but none of those things are things we can expect to respond to better next time than this time. Those are not, we are told, the tasks of a nation.

Our discourse, in short, reeks of depression and failure. We are told that our nation is to become a bleaker and less competent place. And we are told it in stump speeches, and the more we are told we cannot do, the more "serious" or "courageous" we consider the messenger.

Who knows. Perhaps we are rotten after all, if that is what we consider courage.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Fucking brilliant, Hunter! (28+ / 0-)

      I'm sending this to all my friends, especially the not quite enlightened.


      Ok Barack. You talked the talk. Now walk the walk.

      by jaf49 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:14:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If I could write as well as you, I (19+ / 0-)

      I wouldn't be broke all the time..!  :-)

      All so very well said.  I will forward this everywhere.

    •  Bravo indeed! (10+ / 0-)

      I've never, going back to Reagan, seen a more scathing, well-written, and above all accurate depiction of the Republican vision for this country.  I would make one caveat - it is in no sense a conservative vision.  The Democrats are the conservative party.  Specifically, we want to conserve a system - New Deal Capitalism - that brought us out of the Depression to make us the greatest economic superpower in the history of the world.  A system that won a World War on two fronts, then rebuilt the world afterwards; a system that built Hoover Dam, the internet, and put a man on the moon.  A system based on the idea that everyone deserves a fair shake, everyone deserves an opportunity, and that it is our responsibility to make sure no one goes without either.

      It's a pretty good system.  And it's the conservatives - the Democratic Party - who want to keep it alive.  These modern day Republicans, the teabaggers in particular, are the opposite of conservative.  They are radicals - dangerous ones - who want to replace our system - the greatest economic engine, and the greatest force for democracy and freedom the world has ever seen - with something akin to anarchy, where the ones who have the most money have all the power, and the rest of us have the right to pony up for the occasional bailout and then starve quietly after we retire or after our jobs are shipped to India and China.

      When they came for the manufacturing jobs, I remained silent; I did not work in manufacturing. When they came for the unions, I remained silent; I was not in a union. When they came for me, there was no middle class left to speak out.

      by schroeder on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:34:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No We Can't: (0+ / 0-)

      conceive of a power greater than ourselves controlling this shit.

       as we can not conceive of a power greater than ourselves that told us of the two-headed beast: one born of the sea (the people.) And one born of the earth (the Govt.)
       Of course this is mere speculation on my part, but makes more sense than anything anywhere that you can come up with.
      For people to cut off their own noses, their own benefits makes no sense other then they are stupid. Well that too, as it could not work with intelligence. The Progressives continue to fall into the trap of the lost GOP, like the lost ten tribes of Israel, because we are parts of those tribes. This is a war you can understand if you simply try.

      It's not about white and black, brown, yellow or red. Nor is it about GOP or progressives. This shit is about good and evil. You people know which is which, now flame me, even though you know better.

    •  Nonsense, Hunter... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      No we can't continue on the self-destructive, suicidal path we're on.

      Past-America could provide at least some modest layer of security to prevent its citizens from descending into destitution in old age.

      So can future America if present America recognizes that the system in place for that is badly broken, is unsustainable and is little more than a giant Ponzi scheme. It's nearly upside down now and will sink like a stone as 77 million baby boomers join the ranks of payees instead of payers over the next 20 years.

      Past-America was a haven of invention and technology that shook the world and changed the course of history countless times.

      It still is but those inventions are no longer manufactured here providing jobs for millions here owing in no small part to onerous government meddling and ridiculous union demands here.

      Other industrialized nations can provide their citizens with better access to healthcare; we simply cannot – and you are a fool for even bringing it up.

      No they can't. Americans, by and large, have ready access to any number of specialists, surgeries, machines and medicines when they need them and are not put on a waiting list while some bureaucrat decides their fate and finishes a fiscal year under or on budget in pursuit of a year-end bonus and an attaboy from the boss.
      Other countries with so-called free healthcare systems know now that it ain't free, that near confiscatory taxes are required to pay for the free lunch and that the menu, as it were, is severely limited. I haven't heard of too many Americans who go to one of these other countries when they need help, whereas story after story of them coming here is altogether common. Too, the populations of those other countries are a fraction of ours. Some have fewer residents in their whole countries than we do in some individual states. Where your foolishness comes in is when you suggest or insist that we could actually afford a free healthcare system that would be anything close to accessible or be remotely associated with the word quality.

      Other nations can, say, establish warning systems for tsunamis, or volcanos, or hurricanes; America must tighten its belt, and that meager, economically trivial ounce of prevention is considered fat that should obviously be trimmed....

      Nonsense. That's a legitimate function of government. Paying an artist to do his art is not. Just as a farmer who cannot make a profit and earn a living without a government subsidy should pursue something else, so too should an artist who can't survive by showing or selling his wares find a new line of work.
      Public education is a wonderful thing, but it ain't the only game in town anymore. Home schools, private schools, parochial schools and charter schools can and do do just as well or better and at less cost.
      The unions protecting bad teachers who are bad apples have left a sour taste in the mouths of many and they can't play by the same rules any longer that've given them the advantage that they took way too much of.

      Past America was wrong and stupid for allowing unions to get such a stranglehold on the economy and the classroom and for co-opting charity and creating a nanny state that's convinced generations that they don't have to do for themselves because the government will do for them.
      If present America continues on the path it's on, there's not much future for America as a concept or a country. If we embrace past America and return to a country whose government is subordinate to its people, then the future can once again be very bright indeed.
      Can we continue on this collision course with calamity or collapse?
      No. We. Can't.
      If you don't or won't recognize that, you're either a fool, a communist or a kookocrat. Or maybe a combination of the three.
      signed... johnqpublic

      JohnQ is a poster on "my" local yokel web board. I posted Hunter's blog post on there and, as I suspected and expected, JohnQ responded like the 'bagger he is. I just wanted to share it here.
  •  EXACTLY! (30+ / 0-)

    This is the point I made with my first letter to the editor I sent in to my local newspaper:

    Scott Walker is a terrible leader, because he is insisting the people he leads must give up hope of doing better.  "Get along on less" is one hell of a sh****y way to govern.

    Thaks to the Paul Ryan pile-on, I think 9hope pray) the general public will finally wake up!

    Stop. Stand up. Make a sign. Walk around in public. Be polite and orderly and the rest takes care of itself. Want to shake up the Plutocrats? Demonstrate your attention to politics.

    by Quicklund on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:06:33 AM PDT

  •  "It is a staggeringly bleak vision." (34+ / 0-)

    The purpose of the Tea Party is to find someone to blame for this.  They have found liberals.

    The Tea Party is going to "take back the country" to the good old days.

    More of an effort should be made to show teapartiers  that their simplistic dream might make them feel good about themselves but is actually a very lazy and misguided approach.

  •  Belt Tightener in Chief Speaks (8+ / 0-)

    ... just floating by ...

    by cumulo on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:09:28 AM PDT

    •  It is time (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jaf49, apimomfan2, cumulo, 3goldens

      for Washington to open its pockets.

      •  And past time (14+ / 0-)

        for us to take back Washington DC.

        Ok Barack. You talked the talk. Now walk the walk.

        by jaf49 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:43:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Gang of 6 has other ideas, as does the WH (11+ / 0-)

        The Chinese are eating our lunch on HSR, yet the widely-hailed budget "compromise" slashes what little HSR spending we had.  Either HSR isn't part of the future, or we apparently don't plan on winning that future after all.

        The House is now run by the bats**t crazy, and the Senate and the WH try to meet them partway.  There's no contrast to this utterly dystopian "vision."  There's no inspiration or imagination.  There's dealmaking, cowardice, and empty bromides.

        Last time off the top of my head I can recall a national Dem offering a compelling alternate vision to the GOP's was Mario Cuomo's 1984 Keynote Address.  Do the Dems even have a vision anymore?

        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 Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:58:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So you were hiding under a bushel or (6+ / 0-)

          something during the 2004 keynote speech, I guess.  

          The Dems definitely have their flaws but in the face of utter, total, complete, absolute Republican intransigence, esp. in the Senate, they have had a significant record of accomplishments.

          Each and every American 18 years and older has a weapon that can defeat the forces of evil.  You all just need to realize how powerful it is if you learn to use it properly.  

          We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

          by Observerinvancouver on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:39:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The 2004 Keynote Address said we don't have red (7+ / 0-)

            states or blue states, we have the United States.  I just re-read the transcript.  There's great rhetoric, but not much substance behind it.

            I've been trying to use this weapon you speak of ever since I turned 18 during the 1976 campaign.  In the intervening 34 years, I've seen this country become vastly more unequal, I've seen workers become vastly less powerful, and I've seen our system become visibly more corrupt.

            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 Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:20:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  same here... (0+ / 0-)

              my first vote was 1976, and i must admit at that point i was a republican. it took me several years to realize that "republicans" weren't really interested in my interests because they weren't the same party i had been weaned on.
              until people are properly informed and better educated, the lemmings will influence and skew the the detriment of the populace.

              •  Information and education. IMO, that means (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                starting to take over the school boards of America.  Pretty dreary stuff but that's the sort of thing the Republicans have been doing for decades.  It's one of the reasons they control the narrative.  Pres. Obama keeps talking about investing in education, so maybe you all can do your mite to support that idea by at the very least finding good candidates for school boards and helping them get elected.  Make sure the candidates you support want students to get thoroughly grounded in how your system of government works.  Can't fix what you don't understand.  

                Sometimes, reading comments here, I am completely astonished by the lack of basic information about how your political process works.  This is a generalization and is not directed at you.  

                We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

                by Observerinvancouver on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 04:05:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's an idea I've been on board with (0+ / 0-)

                  for quite some time. Here's one wrinkle, though, and I don't mean to be pessimistic, but we might as well face it.

                  We can implement that strategy, but we have to face the fact that the other side now wants a weapon in their arsenal - and has used it on one occasion. I'm talking about what Gov. Rick Snyder did to Benton Harbor, MI.

                  Should we go on and take over school boards and build from the ground up? Absolutely! Just realize that now nothing is to prevent a governor to unilaterally, with no judicial oversight or guidelines - to dissolve your school board or city council.

                  So we have to try to stay a step ahead, because if not we'll be several steps behind.

                  liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

                  by RockyMtnLib on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 05:00:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cumulo, 3goldens, RFK Lives, mattman
          Do the Dems even have a vision anymore?


          Please don't hurt me.


          Please re-elect me until I can get that million dollar job in industry.

          That's it.

          Ok Barack. You talked the talk. Now walk the walk.

          by jaf49 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:24:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's the Know Nothing Party (21+ / 0-)


     We're broke. Well then how can we afford to pay our soldiers.

     This should be an easy argument to win. So why haven't we?

     Obama's speech, 'just words' is a great starting point to using 'just words' to rally the people to the better vision that is democratic.

     I note that the tea party rallied their troops with 'just words', taxes enough already, death panels, etc. so let's not pretend that words don't matter, or that 'cult personalities (see Sarah Palin) can't rally their troops with 'just words'.

     Words matter. With all the smart people here we should be able to counter these blatant lies that the Know Nothing party keeps repeating. If we stand in solidarity.

    ~a little change goes a long way~

    by missliberties on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:09:47 AM PDT

  •  Energy Independence - they say it can't be done (20+ / 0-)

    So why try?

    Not only that, they say it doesn't have to be done.

    The attitude on natural energy sources belies this idea of exceptionalism.  Aren't Americans good at inventing things?

  •  America the Incapable (39+ / 0-)

    Sounds like a perfect slogan for today's Republican Party.  And yet they continue to claim America is the greatest country in the world.'

    Obviously, the one indispensable requirement for being a Republican these days is an absolutely limitless tolerance for cognitive dissonance

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:12:34 AM PDT

  •  We are already destroying our future (44+ / 0-)

    and have been for quite some time

    we have allowed our infrastructure to deteriorate, and have not paid for the additional infrastructure we would need just for our increased population

    we have shifted wealth and power in such a way that the selfish who think sometimes only in terms of the next quarter are now able to destroy corporations in whose future what pensions funds that still exist have been invested, so that the value of those pensions gets diminished

    we have so undercut and undervalued education that our ability to have skilled workers and an educated citizenry is continually being diminished.

    But no worry.  The wealthy corporatists will ship jobs overseas to maximize their profits in the short term, and will agree to government services only insofar as to subsidize their costs and protect their personal interests -  the military to protect their overseas investments, the criminal justice system to crack down on those who might righteously protest, the perverted legislative process and legal system to take away the rights that should belong to We the People, not Us the Corporations.

    Dystopian is probably too mild a term.  Hell on Earth for increasing numbers of Americans, with little future prospects for their progeny, is probably more like it.

    "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 Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:13:32 AM PDT

    •  Hang in there, TK! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jaf49, SherwoodB

      Just because you see clearly where this ^%$#@! path leads, it doesn't mean we're going there.
      Your work makes a difference that will continue after you choose to retire, whenever that is.

      BTW, Hunter -- notice the change in my sig line.

      the more we are told we cannot do, the more "serious" or "courageous" we consider the messenger.

      by MT Spaces on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:28:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is what happens when Capital... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      echo still, Farlfoto, jaf49

      ...subjugates Democracy.

      After all, don't you know, America is a "Capitalist" country.
      A lawless, oops, I meant deregulated, Capitalist country.

      The sleep of reason produces monsters.

      by Alumbrados on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:28:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tax cuts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for the wealthy don't go back into the economy, by and large. Their surplus income is invested in companies that use the funds to invest overseas and we see nary a job. For the middle and lower incomes, the cuts go right into the economy. But no one dares to question the plutocrats when they demand more tax cuts so that they can grow the economy.

  •  Of all the 20th century ideologies the New Deal .. (22+ / 0-)

    ... is the only one that can show demonstrable undeniable success. Police state perversions of Communism were civil rights and economic disasters. Conservatism, as defined in opposition in the 60s and enacted in various forms from Reagan until ... today (?) was a failure but only Greenspan has been man enough to admit it, the Republicans just hoping they can get a few more years of graft out of their con game and the Democrats deer in the headlights scared and, perhaps until Obama's recent speech, unable to articulate a forward looking view of America.

    I'd make the argument that defending the New Deal isn't a forward looking plan but faced with unrelenting nihilism and corruption from the other side it'll do for now. Maybe we can evolve the damaged success stories of the 20th century into something more efficient, and in my view, localized. Maybe we're stuck playing defense. But we have to make the argument that we're playing defense for something that worked. Tax cuts have never created jobs. Trickle down economics doesn't work. Ronald Reagan and George Bush(es) left the country in worse shape then they found it. FDR established a foundation for a great, decades long success story.

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

    by jgnyc on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:13:50 AM PDT

    •  Well, Greenspan did kinda, sorta (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldDragon, wsexson

      admit that just maybe his governing philosphy was a tad wrong, soto voce.

      But now he's right back screaming at the top of his lungs that Ayn Randism is just da bomb.


      Ok Barack. You talked the talk. Now walk the walk.

      by jaf49 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:18:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was one gem from Greenspan that I (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldDragon, rlharry, Matt Z

      think is worth repeating. That with the baby boomer generation is retiring and those left in the work force with lesser jobs than their predecessors it will be hard pressed to fund these senior retirements.

      So what do we do? Using this issue I think you could build strong support for building good high paying jobs for the working class. We need to install and increase import tariffs until we have a near zero trade deficit with the rest of the world. This would spur a rebuilding of manufacturing which is, and was the backbone of the middle class

      by AboutTime on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:50:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  tariffs are a bad idea (0+ / 0-)

        but there's nothing wrong with a union based "buy local" movement. Or even an international union label (which is a hair utopian but ...)

        I think we need a concerted movement to take the military industrial cash and jump start solar and alternative transportation programs. Which is basic Keynsian big government investment. Unlike tax cuts Keynsian stuff has worked in the past. Any movement that direction goes directly through the House of Reps. So that's after 2012 at a minimum.

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

        by jgnyc on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:20:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why are tariffs a bad idea? Give me your (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rlharry, mmacdDE, SherwoodB, Matt Z

          reasoning. I think tariffs are the only idea that is likely to work.

          I will concede that it will take democrats to do it but this is an issue where we can build much stronger support from the older generation

          by AboutTime on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:46:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agree, AboutTime (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I am sick of the right wing meme that tariffs are evil.  We already have tariffs in this country.  It's just that they are too low to make a dent.  We need to return to a policy of making countries pay enough tariffs/ taxes that companies will start moving manufacturing jobs back to America simply because it's cheaper to make those products here.

            As per Hunter's theme:  the following are not immutable or inevitable:  poverty, wars, disease, and outsourcing.  

            "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

            by rlharry on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:00:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  it's not a rightwing meme (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It's economic reality.  Tariffs only work when companies are nation-based. We live in a world of multi-national corporations in which nations are utterly irrelevant. Every one of the largest "American" corporations has most of its productive capacity (and makes most of its profits) overseas.

              Not to mention that the WTO sets trade policies, not the US or any other country--and WTO doesn't like tariffs.

              •  Years ago we manufacturer almost everything we (0+ / 0-)

                needed within our country, and we had a successful middle class. I am not suggesting that some goods to do cross borders. What I am saying is on AVERAGE we should be producing 100% of what we consume. Currently by having such a large trade deficits we are effectively allowing ourselves to be governed by foreign countries policies. It is their policies that set the price of goods and labor and we have to match these lower costs or lose the business. We have a ways to go in lowering our standard of living to that of their population to reach stability. A much better approach would be importation duties that adjust periodically to get us back to a near zero trade deficit.


                by AboutTime on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:36:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  ERROR insert not between do and cross n/t (0+ / 0-)


                  by AboutTime on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:39:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  it's simply not possible (0+ / 0-)

                  We simply cannot get global communications or transportation or most of the other things we take for granted now by making them locally.

                  How many local mom and pop businesses do YOU know that can make jumbo jets or supercomputers?

                  Like it or not, we live in a global world. The world you are defending and want to go back to, simply no longer exists. We will not return to self-contained national economies any more than we will return to feudalism or the Roman Emperor system.

          •  here's why: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            An excerpt from my diary series (and book) on the history of corporations:



            A favorite tactic utilized by protectionists is the punitive tariff. Tariffs are surcharges that are added to the price of cheap imports in order to artificially raise their selling price to match those of more expensive domestic products.

            As the global economy declined in 2008-2010, calls for protective tariffs became increasingly common from both Democrats and Republicans, even those who had formerly supported tariff-free “free trade”, as a measure to “help the American economy”. In 2009, Obama, bowing to pressure from the United Auto Workers union, imposed a 35% tariff on imported Chinese tires, which had captured about 17% of the US market. Some American tariffs actually double or even triple the price of particular imported products; the American synthetic-textile clothing industry is protected by a 32% tariff, most imported automobile parts have a 25% surcharge, imported sneakers and sport shoes pay a 48% tariff, some European meats and cheeses pay a 100% import tax, and the American tobacco industry is protected by a whopping 350% tariff. In 2010, the House passed, with heavy bipartisan support, a bill empowering the Commerce Department to impose a new round of tariffs as retaliation for China’s policy of manipulating its currency to keep the value of the yuan artificially low and thereby make Chinese imports cheaper for other nations.

            The whole intent of the WTO’s free trade framework is, of course, to eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers, and WTO has the authority to unilaterally invalidate protective tariffs passed by any member nation. The WTO agreement, however, does not cover all areas of trade, and the WTO does not have any jurisdiction over tariffs in economic areas that fall outside of those covered by GATT.

            Even in areas where the WTO cannot invalidate a trade barrier, however, it is unlikely that protective tariffs will actually play any effective role.

            Tariffs can be justified in certain cases. For decades, small nations in the developing world suffered as predatory corporations, most of them American, dominated their economy, crushed domestic industries, and turned the country into a virtual economic colony—and tariffs were seen as one weapon to gain economic independence. The “Asian Tigers” (Singapore, Korea, Taiwan), for instance, used tariffs to protect their infant industries until they were strong enough to compete in the world market and become economic powers in their own right. Developing nations in particular are still anxious to utilize protective tariffs to protect their small-scale farmers who are incapable of competing with the heavily-subsidized American and European agribusinesses (though the developing nations would prefer instead that the wealthy economies stop subsidizing large agribusinesses and drop their own protective tariffs against the small farmers in poorer countries). In cases where smaller and weaker economies are protecting themselves from larger and wealthier ones, tariffs may indeed have a progressive role to play.

            Most tariffs, however, have the purpose of protecting those large wealthy industries from competition by cheaper products in developing nations—not of protecting the weak from the strong, but of protecting the strong from the weak. The American industries with the loudest calls for protective tariffs—steel, textiles and auto parts—are formerly-huge rich industries who now face the stiffest competition from younger foreign companies. I.e., they are industries who are desperate to protect their formerly privileged position. Not coincidentally, they are also industries who still have large and politically-powerful labor unions.

             As the furor over the “Buy American” provision in the Stimulus Bill demonstrated, however, most corporations still reject protectionism and embrace the free-trade framework, making it difficult for the US to pass protective trade barriers. American corporations opposed tariffs not only because they did not want to  re-ignite the destructive trade wars of the 80’s, but also because most American corporations now had large portions of their productive capacity located overseas. For instance, at least 60% of all the products exported to other countries from China actually came from companies that are owned by Americans, Europeans or Japanese. Critics point out that tariffs to keep out cheap imported Chinese products are pointless when it is American companies themselves who are making and importing them. The American corporations do not want tariff “protection” from low-wage unregulated Chinese products—they are the ones who have been flocking to China to make them, and they want to be able to continue importing them back into the US as cheaply as possible.

            Other critics point out that measures to “protect American industry” are useless in a global economy where there are no “American industries” anymore. As American-based corporations move productive capacity overseas, the “foreign” corporations are locating more and more of their factories in the US. When the US used tariffs and import quotas in the 1980’s to try to keep Japanese cars out of the American market, Toyota and Honda responded by simply moving their factories here—today, most of the Japanese cars sold in America are actually manufactured within the US. In 2009, the German steel industry responded similarly to protectionist sentiments in the US by building a huge production plant in Alabama.

            Finally, progressive critics point out that protective tariffs don’t help American workers, and don’t help workers in developing countries either. Although tariffs raise the prices of imported goods, they don’t raise anyone’s wages, including those of the American workers they are supposed to be “protecting”. Indeed, by artificially raising prices and denying consumers access to cheaper imported products, tariffs actually hurt American workers by forcing them to pay more for products that they could otherwise get less expensively, thereby pushing their purchasing power even lower and decreasing their real wages. And, since the indigenous workers in developing countries do not get any of the money from the increased price of their product, they continue in the same low-wage poverty as before. The situation helps no one except the particular American corporations whose profits are being artificially protected.

            •  There are numerous way to skin this cat as they (0+ / 0-)

              say. The first issue I think needs to be discussed is, is it healthy or sensible to consume more then we produce long term. I do not think so, what this eventually leads to is being very indebted to foreign countries which is where we are are moving at an ever more rapid pace. As this debt crowds out our ability to spend on other government functions what will we do? I think we will end up someday printing a huge amount of cash to payoff some or all of this debt. This would result in a total collapse of any international trade for us not to mention the domestic disruption that will result from massive inflation, not something that sound healthy to me.

              The other thing we could do today if we do not want to install an effective duty system is print small amounts to cash regularly until the system comes into balance. If we had a stated policy of printing cash their would be reduced interest in providing all the goods and service we can buy and we would achieve this same result. I myself feel the import duty has the advantage that we are not somehow cheating our creditors.

              Lastly the Rules of WTO are not a good enough reason to continue this crazy path. We need good jobs and control over our own destiny.


              by AboutTime on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 02:19:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you need to face reality (0+ / 0-)

                The reality is that NOWHERE produces what it consumes.  Everything from the computer you are using right now to the credit card you used to pay for it, came from somewhere else.

                As for WTO, it's there, it has authority over the US government, and it's not going away.  Deal with it.

                •  Lenny I am not suggesting that international trade (0+ / 0-)

                  would stop, but there needs to be some incentive to change the current situation. Let's hear how you would fix this imbalance that is killing us, our jobs our unions our way of life. It certainly makes no sense long term to be in a trade deficit. It is no different that an individual that every year spends more than they earn, sooner or later the bank is no longer going to extent credit. Please just present some specifics on your approach to solve this, I might agree.


                  by AboutTime on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 03:53:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                    •  Lenny I looked over your diary. You have (0+ / 0-)

                      methodically shot down almost every way we could attempt to control our destiny. This leaves us with your idea that we have to make international trade unions work. This is absolutely ridiculous. It is hard enough to get workers in the same local to agree on an agenda for their common interest never mind workers in different countries that are experiencing very different standards of living.  

                      Come on whom here needs to come back to reality, once you have figured out how to effectively unionize many of the workers in China and India maybe you would have something, but the American people can't wait for that.

                      You talk as though the US has given over its sovereign rights to govern itself to the WTO and their is nothing we can do. I do not buy what you are selling here. This sounds to me the argument of smaller countries that find they cannot counter the negative effects of WTO rulemaking upon them. The US is big enough and still strong enough to control its own destiny.


                      by AboutTime on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 05:24:55 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  that's the problem (0+ / 0-)

                  It is a fundamental problem that nowhere produces what it consumes. Imports are going to be inevitable, and they are good to have. International trade should certainly not be cut off. But it is a problem that so much of what we consume isn't made here. The same goes for anywhere else. It makes us vulnerable in so many ways, and it ought to be regarded as a national security matter, not just an economic mater. We should be able to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, transport ourselves, and so on and so forth. Maybe under normal circumstances we wouldn't do 100% of those things ourselves, but we shouldn't find such basic sectors so lacking here that if something were to cut us off from our major sources we wouldn't be crippled. The unacceptable part of the current structures of globalization and the WTO is that it actually encourages continued loss of self-sufficiency by any and all countries. That's bad for us and bad for anyone anywhere. And that has to be addressed, it has to change.

                  •  alas, I don't create reality, I only describe it (0+ / 0-)

                    And the reality is that globalism is here to stay, and nobody on the planet has been "self-sufficient" for nearly half a century now.

                    We need to start from that.

                    And "lack of self-sufficiency" is the LEAST of the problems presented by WTO.

                    •  sounds defeatist (0+ / 0-)

                      So, rather than change a problematic system, we just have to live with it? That's the really we've created, the one we sustain, so we just have to run with it, even if it's a bad system we've created and continue to choose to sustain?  It may not be easy, but it's something that we human beings have created. It's something we human beings can most certainly change, too.

                      It seems to me that a lack of self-sufficiency is the most dangerous problem and the greatest risk we face from the WTO regime, second only to the ways that the WTO undermines national sovereignty and democratic systems ability to allow nations to direct their own destinies.

          •  see the trade war in the 30s for one (0+ / 0-)

            Banks are international, labor isn't. Trade wars aren't ever one sided. I see some other posters have joined in.

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

            by jgnyc on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:33:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  tariffs are an attempt (0+ / 0-)

            to return to the 1950's with a closed national economy with the minimum of goods beiing imported.  The problem is that those days are gone.  Like it or not, we live in a globalized economy and the creation of weath depends on the ability to move goods through that economy quickly with a minimum of tariff barriers.
            Railing against low tariffs and globalization is much like those who railed against the industrial revolution.  Raising tariffs now would provoke a retaliatory raising of tariffs by trading partners and the resultant impact would be to stifle the global recovery and cutoff your ability to reduce your deficit by export of goods and services.  
            What the US did not do during the 1990's is what every other developed western economy did, that is, re-engineer your economy to take advantage of the global economy.  Those things include introduction of national sales tax to spread the tax burden for manufacturing, modernize primary industries and (in Canada) convert to metric.  Your agricultural industry is still dependent on foreign labour (cheap) and government subsidies.  Your HC system is still employer based and expensive thereby harming your international competitiveness.  You are not positioned to take full advantage of the move to globalization.  
            What you did instead is conclude that that's for other countries, we're the United States, we have the world's biggest economy, we don't have to do those things.  Now you pay the price.
            Returning to a reliance on tariffs would be the end for you.  And you would probably drag everyone else down with you.

            •  you are MOSTLY correct . . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Our corporations DID go global, though, very effectively. They now have most of their productive capacity (and generate most of their profits) overseas.

              And they happily shipped everyone's high-paying American jobs overseas too, where they can pay people two cups of rice a day.

              Some of us back then saw it coming, but were, alas, just waved off and dismissed.

              •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

                exploitation of cheap labor and destruction of indigenous peoples and their environments have been the result of "free trade" policies.

                "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

                by rlharry on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:19:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I just can't see the US government effectively (0+ / 0-)

              investing national Sales tax revenues in the correct industries to do a good job of employing the population. It would likely end up in the pockets of well positioned special interests. I am not suggesting duties as a punishment, whenever we would be out of balance by exporting too much duties would go down, when the reverse is true duties go up. This is fair to the rest of the world and to ourselves as well.


              by AboutTime on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 02:35:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  your reasoning is irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

                The US government does not set US trade policy.  WTO does.

                And WTO doesn't like tariffs.

                •  Well if this is the case I would say it is time we (0+ / 0-)

                  change that. Maybe our unwillingness to up our borrowing limit is a bargaining chip for the left not just the right.


                  by AboutTime on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 03:57:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Then we have a WTO problem (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Which means it's time to dump the WTO and start setting our own trade policies.  Not necessarily because we should have tariffs (I think we should, judiciously, have more in some areas), but because we should be able to set our own trade policies via our elected government, period.

                  At the very least, we should enable our own government to simply ignore the WTO when we think it in our own people's bust interest.

                  •  you have no idea what you are fighting against (0+ / 0-)

                    Nor do you have any idea how we've already tried to fight it and failed miserably and abjectly.

                    Ignore the WTO . . .?  You, my friend, are not living in the real world.

                    •  Ignoring international rules isn't new, nor unique (0+ / 0-)

                      And WTO rules are not always in the best interests of the American people.  

                      There may be consequences, like the rest of the WTO countries doing things we don't like because we ignore a rule or several, but there really is not way the WTO can force our government to do something it is unwilling to do.  If we've failed it's because going with the WTO is the least bad amongst alternatives or because our government has been willing to go along with it.

                      •  tough talk is nice, but reality is different (0+ / 0-)

                        Every nation that has tried to fight WTO has lost, and abjectly surrendered.  Every one.  Including the US.  When you say "there is no way the WTO can force the US government to do something it doesn't want to to", you are simply wrong.  It can, and has.

                        WTO is specifically set up so no nation CAN successfully challenge its authority, not even "the sole remaining superpower".

                        The world you are defending, of independent nation-states which set their own economic trade policies, simply no longer exists.

        •  tariffs are dead anyway (0+ / 0-)

          No country (not even the big mighty US of A) sets its own trade policies anymore.  WTO sets them for everyone. WTO doesn't like tariffs.

          And WTO is unelected, unappealable, doesn't answer to anyone--and has legal veto power over any nation's democratic laws.

          •  Why the hell do we even have to be (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rlharry, AboutTime

            part of the WTO? They don't have legal power over ANYTHING. They are a trade organization - not a court.

            Would it start a trade war? Probably. The only reason that would be a bad thing is it would affect the price of oil, likely a lot.

            But there's no reason why things can't start slow - and we might stop funding the damn thing for a start.

            •  you are quite wrong (0+ / 0-)

              WTO was established by treaty, and is a legal part of US law. And they have legal power over EVERYTHING.  Literally.  They have, by treaty, legal veto power over any law passed by any country, and can unilaterally declare invalid any nation's law which they determine is a "restraint of free trade". (One of WTO's very first rulings, in fact, invalidated parts of the US Clean Air Act, and another invalidated parts of the Marine Mammal Protection Act). And we have no legal recourse or appeal.

              As for fighting WTO or defying it, every country that has tried (including us) has failed utterly and quickly surrendered.  WTO is set up specifically to make it impossible for any nation--even the big bad mighty US of A--to challenge its authority.

              The nationalist notion you have of "sovereign countries" is a quaint relic of the 20th century. It no longer exists in economic reality.

              WTO is, of course, merely the legal and political reflection of the hard economic reality that the world economy is global now, based on multi-national companies who belong to no country, answer to no government, and owe loyalty to no nation.

              There simply is no such thing anymore as an "American" economy with "American" companies and "American" jobs.  You are, alas, fighting to defend a thing which no longer exists.

              •  but should exist again ... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rlharry, mchristi314

                there needs to be a move toward a post-globalization world. There's no reason unions or citizens in general can't instigate "buy local" movements. The huge Friedman flat head world global supply chain is extremely energy inefficient. The international bankers et al take advantage of the low value of labor in China. And need to devalue US labor which was pointed out at great length in the 90s when the whole globalization scam was getting into high gear.

                International labor movement, yes. Nation based protectionism, no.

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

                by jgnyc on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:38:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  but here's the problem with "local" economies: (0+ / 0-)

                  It is, in our modern world, economically impossible. Small local mom-and-pop small businesses simply cannot build oil refineries or jet airliners or global communications networks, so breaking the mega-corporations into small local businesses would only return economic conditions back to the 19th century—and begin the inevitable process all over again.

                  Like it or not, we live in a worldwide economy. That will not change.

                  There ARE of course some people who advocate a large-scale return to an 18th century agrarian-based non-industrialized  local economy.  

                  They're nutty, and no one listens to them.

                  •  supply chains do not have to be global (0+ / 0-)

                    There is no fundamental reason screwdrivers have to be manufactured in Sheyang and container cargoed to Newark before being trucked to Ohio to be sold in a hardware store. The only reason iPads are manufactured in China is the wage differential.

                    I don't think "breaking the mega-corporations into small local businesses" is doable. Who would do the breaking? More like evolve under the dinosaur corporations ways of stopping doing business with them. In the early 19th century making clothes was skilled labor but economies of scale combined with lack of access to communication and transportation crushed the independent operators who ended up working in sweatshops for much less money. Local manufactures now only have to deal with economies of scale which could be countered by "buy local" movements.

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

                    by jgnyc on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 03:49:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  jgnyc I am all for Movements as you describe the (0+ / 0-)

                  problem is the bulk of the population will not follow these movements making them for the most part ineffectual.  They will make their decisions on what most benefits them here and now not with any big picture focus. We need to work on getting politicians and policies in place the will legislate to make these great goals happen.


                  by AboutTime on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 02:47:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  you are correct (0+ / 0-)

                    Most of the population will simply refuse to go back to a pre-1950 level of economics.

                    And no legislature will ever pass laws forcing them to do so.

                    •  no legislature should (0+ / 0-)

                      but thinking of it as pre 1950s is wrong. Think of it as post-globalization. The international supply chains are very energy inefficient. China won't keep a lid on the local strikes it is experiencing constantly forever.

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

                      by jgnyc on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 03:54:18 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I must say using the pre-1950 comment is (0+ / 0-)

                      backhanded way of saying I am a backward thinker. I do not believe this is the case. Present simple clear ideas on how to fix our problems and we can debate it till something worthwhile results.


                      by AboutTime on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 04:17:15 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  you are (0+ / 0-)
                        I must say using the pre-1950 comment is backhanded way of saying I am a backward thinker.

                        The world is not the same as it was in 1950.  It's not even the same as it was in 1995.

                        The idea of a self-contained American economy over which we have democratic control and can set policies to protect, is simply no longer true. We no longer live in that world.

                        And it will never be true again. We will never go back to national economies, just as we will never go back to an agrarian-based economy.

                        Like it or not.

                  •  that's what was said about the labor movement (0+ / 0-)

                    Besides infrastructure investment and tweaking the tax codes I'm not sure what government can do. As pointed out upthread protectionism from a national government violates international agreements regardless of whether you think it's good economic policy (I don't). International agreements cannot apply to peoples buying habits.

                    The international supply chains so beloved of the globalists are also very energy inefficient.

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

                    by jgnyc on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 03:52:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  you are fighting against the tide (0+ / 0-)

                      Globalism is here to stay. It won't go away, and the US government can't do anything to make it go away.

                      Whether that is "good" or not, is entirely irrelevant.  It's here, it's not going away, and it's what we will have to face. And the US government is, by design, incapable of facing it.

                      So it's time we came up with a Plan B.

                      •  the tide is high - and going out (0+ / 0-)

                        globalism isn't going away - and shouldn't - but the global supply chains are going to be shortened for the simple reason that they're not energy efficient. Container ships and trucks, in this country, for everything don't make sense as energy gets more and more expensive (plus the carbon issue etc ...). The US govt can only help addressing any of this with closing tax loopholes and tax incentives etc ...

                        But I am curious what you think a plan B would look like.

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

                        by jgnyc on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 05:25:46 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  my diary series on the history of corporations (0+ / 0-)



                          You'll particularly want to read the last seven parts.

                          As for "supply lines are too expensive", you are simply wrong.  The corporados can make a product in China from materials produced in South Africa, ship it all the way to London or New York, and sell it more cheaply than they could in a factory located next door to the retail store. Carbon?  They don't care.  (shrug)

                          And the US government is utterly powerless to do anything about it---the WTO has legal veto power over any US law or regulation which "acts in restraint of free trade". And yes, that includes any "carbon tax".

                          If you want to fight the WTO, you're 15 years too late.

            •  Then why the hell doesn't the WTO (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Geiiga, rlharry, mmacdDE

              force China to fix its Currency "Problem"?

              •  Exactly this. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mmacdDE, AboutTime

                Why? Because China would tell them to go to hell, and that'd be the end of that. Why don't we tell them to go to hell? It is a mystery.

                "I set up a stage, put up a few banners, stuck a podium up there, and started shouting 'Yes we can.' Next thing you know there's 150,000 people here." -Joe

                by Geiiga on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:40:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  alas, you are mistaken on several levels (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  First, the reason WTO hasn't taken action on China's currency manipulation is because it currently has no legal jurisdiction to do so---international banking and finance is not covered by the GATT agreement and therefore the WTO has no authority over it.  That is already changing, as one of the aims of the Dohan Process was precisely to expand WTO's jurisdiction to include international finance.

                  Second, China can no more tell the WTO to "go to hell" than the US or Europe can--and both Europe and the US tried and failed. WTO is designed specifically so that no nation--even the big bad mighty US of A--can effectively challenge its authority or decisions.

                  Third, the multi-national corporations (including all the "American" ones) have zero interest in challenging WTO or reducing its authority.  Quite the contrary--they want to expand it.  Why? Because the last trade war, in the 80's, was lethal to the corporados, and they don't want a repeat.  So they agreed among themselves to set up a uniform global set of trade rules that everyone would live by, and an impartial tribunal to enforce those rules. That was WTO. Were the US or China or any other national government to make any attempt to dismantle or reduce WTO, every multi-national corporation in the planet would oppose that move--and no national government is capable of standing against the multi-nationals and their political/economic power.

                  The reason it is a mystery to you is because you are still living in a world where nation-states have sovereign control over their own economic and trade policies.

                  That world no longer exists. We are no longer living in a world of nation-states.  We are living in a world of supra-national corporations who are richer, bigger, more powerful and have more direct control over people's lives than any government--and who belong to no nation, answer to no government, and are loyal to no nation.

                  •  They're only as powerful as they are necessary. (0+ / 0-)

                    And they're not. They're just slightly more sophisticated versions of the monopolies that brought about the trust busters. Making a blanket statement of "Play by our rules or GTFO" and they're forced to decide if they want to leave all that American money on the table for somebody else to take.

                    And if they don't, then they're colluding and in violation of US law and we'll just go ahead an nationalize their assets if they're not gonna use 'em.

                    Of course, all that requires a government with the guts to stand for the people, and, in case you haven't heard, we're too broke for that.

                    "I set up a stage, put up a few banners, stuck a podium up there, and started shouting 'Yes we can.' Next thing you know there's 150,000 people here." -Joe

                    by Geiiga on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 08:33:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  and again you are mistaken (0+ / 0-)
                      And if they don't, then they're colluding and in violation of US law and we'll just go ahead an nationalize their assets if they're not gonna use 'em.

                      They are not subject to US law. They control US law.  They have the legal right of veto power over US law. In the first two decisions issued by WTO, they invalidated part of the US Clean Air Act and the US Marine Mammal Protection Act.

                      With respect, you have no idea what you are fighting against.

                      •  I think we're talking cross-purposes. (0+ / 0-)

                        After Brown v. Board of Education, Alabama refused to integrate its schools, despite the fact that it was US law. The only reason Alabama schools are integrated is because Eisenhower sent a military force to ensure that the law was followed.

                        As we've learned from the Sherman Antitrust Act and the circumstances we face today, a law that isn't enforced has no value. AT&T's recombination into Ma Bell is something that's been fought in court and found to be illegal, but no one in the government now gives a shit, so they're going to go ahead and buy T-Mobile.

                        If the people of the United States tell the WTO to go fuck itself, whose army is going to enforce that treaty?

                        "I set up a stage, put up a few banners, stuck a podium up there, and started shouting 'Yes we can.' Next thing you know there's 150,000 people here." -Joe

                        by Geiiga on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 03:06:26 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  oh, it will (0+ / 0-)

                Just as it will force the US and Europe to end its agricultural subsidies.

                Right now, WTO doesn't have any jurisdiction over international banking or finance, so it CAN'T do anything about China.  But one of the aims of the Dohan Round WAS precisely to expand WTO's jurisdiction into international finance.  Fortunately for China, the Dohan Process was derailed and delayed when the G20+ bloc of small nations objected to the unwillingness of the US and Europe to end agricultural subsidies, so China got a temporary reprieve.  But Obama has reportedly been talking with others about re-starting the Dohan process.

  •  Ryan is comparable (21+ / 0-)

    to CEO's who run companies into the ground while earning millions and guaranteed a golden parachute.

    His current compensation is ego stroking by the moranic TM and his suicidal party;  his golden parachute is like every other Congressional golden boy/girl -- industry awaits with a thank you check.

    We have a choice -- be defeated by depression or fight back.  And I don't mean fight back on our computers -- that's what the Republicans are hoping.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:14:07 AM PDT

  •  Republicans crave death and destruction (16+ / 0-)

    This is their agenda:

    Let the elderly die.

    Let children die.

    Let poor people die.

    Let the nation infrastructure collapse.

    Let the nation dissolve into 3rd status.

    But be sure along the way to kill people overseas who are different from us.

    Negative? Bleak? That hardly does justice to the nihilism that permeates the teabagging Republicans.  Republicans are a danger to humanity.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:14:20 AM PDT

  •  we are the single richest society that has ever (34+ / 0-)

    existed in all of human history.  We are richer than the Roman Empire, richer than the Spanish Empire, richer than the British empire--richer than all of them combined. Our wealth dwarfs that of any other nation on the planet.

    The very idea that "we can't afford it boo hoo hoo !!!!" is jaw-droppingly mind-numbingly idiotically stupid.

    The small handful of people at the top who we have allowed to monopolize all that enormous national wealth, however, don't want it spent on anyone but themselves.

    And that is the root of all our problems.

  •  A diary somebody published (10+ / 0-)

    early in the Wisconsin debacle pointed out a critical difference in progressive demonstrators vs. RW demonstrators (besides sheer numbers): progressives actually seemed exuberant; the other side appeared bleak and somber.

    This wasn't just the groups of demontrators' respective moods on one particular occasion, the diarist noted; the observable contrasts in mood that day were a direct outgrowth of respective ideologies on display.

    Maybe it's why I'm so sensitive to language in comments and diaries in this venue that seems defeatist: no, that's for them, their side. Hopeless rhetoric is for them. It's NOT us, it's not how we win.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:16:10 AM PDT

  •  The 'Dickensian' View.....Debbie Downers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, 88kathy, Matt Z

    continually....'We're gonna turn into Greece any day now'.....yada yada yada.

  •  And that is why I adore your writing, (9+ / 0-)

    Hunter. Brilliant, clear, to the point. Thank you.

    And this all needs repeating over and over again in every progressive Democratic speech, campaign, editorial, and so forth. It's the yawning chasm between American the Great and America the reality.

    curious portal - to a world of paintings, lyric-poems, art writing, and graphic and web design

    by asterkitty on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:18:57 AM PDT

  •  WOW. Great analysis (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, apimomfan2, rlharry, Matt Z

    ANd here I was sitting thinking of corporations and how I could start to disentangle myself from supporting any that seek to suck the life force from humans. And you give us this masterful analysis of the depressingly negative world view of these sad narcissic peeps.

    Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:19:13 AM PDT

  •  It seems to me we're somewhere between the two (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, johanus, Luetta

    extremes in reality.....

    We're not in decline and we really can't do whatever we want anymore either. This country is now 235 years old;based on 1776; and the median age is 36.9 as per the CIA almanac.

    We are as a nation "middle aged". When a middle aged person acts like they're 17 friends and family usually have to perform some type of intervention. However being middle aged does not mean we don't have anything to offer.

    I'm the terror that blogs in the Night,. and the daytime too.

    by JML9999 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:19:13 AM PDT

  •  So very well said ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johanus, jaf49

    I'll be stealing some of your turns of phrase to use in some of my 'conversations.'

  •  Thanks, Hunter. (27+ / 0-)

    I'm reminded of a passage from Thomas Frank's What's the Matter With Kansas, which seems to lay out the post-'68 political origins of this kind of negative thinking:

    The angry men that I knew personally were not aggreived blue-collar folks, by any means. They were all fairly successful people, self-made men who had done quite well in their fields of accounting or construction or sales -- the sort of folks who are suppose to regard American life with a certain satisfaction, not infinite bitterness. And yet something had gone so wildly wrong for them in the sixties -- and had stayed so steadfastly wrong ever since -- that life had permanently lost its luster. It's not that they had any real material beef with the world. These guys were comfortable and prosperous. But the culture -- the everyday environment they lived in -- rankled them the way pollen affects someone with hay fever. Their favorite magazines, movie heroes, and politicians would never let them forget it, either, parading before them an ever-swelling cavalcade of grievances: tales of foul-mouthed kids, crime in the streets, rabid feminists, out-of-control government agencies, crazy civil rights leaders, obscene art, welfare cheats, foolish professors, and sitcom provocations, each one sending them deeper into the fever swamps of bitterness.

    The period Thomas Frank is describing here, of course, is not 2009, but the 1970s -- a period in which so much of what we see in the Tea Party movement was accumulating in the worldviews of a certain sector of the middle class. This constantly-stoked, low-intensity slow burn of constant resentment, in which each additional event constituted another layer of humiliation for their quietly self-satisfied generation, is the subterranean source of much of what we see today, but each new generation of conservatives has found a new way to tap into it: the specter of criminality with the Reaganite War on Drugs; the first round of the culture wars in Clinton's generation; the specter of terrorism after 9/11; the conspiracy theorizing of the birther movement in the Tea Party era.

    But throughout it all, if anyone was actually posing a threat to the way of life these folks clung to, it was the free market celebrants in both the Republican and Democratic parties: the signatories to NAFTA, the deregulators who repealed Glass Steagall; the smiling glad-handers who, every step of the way, facilitated the outsourcing and downsizing of formerly solid middle- and working-class jobs.

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:19:38 AM PDT

  •  Worse when you consider... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that politicians are nothing but distilled reflections of their electorate.

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:19:39 AM PDT

  •  Perhaps these are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, fireflynw, Matt Z

    the "time-tested truths" and "common-sense conservative values" we keep hearing about?

  •  Taking away social safety (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, apimomfan2, fireflynw, Matt Z

    nets (see China) takes money out of the economy. Why? Because people feel compelled to keep more of what they earn in savings for their future retirement.

     Hank Paulson was upset a few years back because the Chinese people were not spending enough. Why? Because they were keeping their money in savings for the retirement.

     Someone needs to start talking about JOBS and growing the economy.

     Cutting the deficit and laying off teachers will not create jobs. Or maybe it will. After they lay all the teachers off, the teachers will become so desperate they will be willing to take their old jobs back at ten dollars an hour.

     Free markets, free you from your job security.

    ~a little change goes a long way~

    by missliberties on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:21:10 AM PDT

  •  It's a bleak vision because it works. (8+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately America does have a bleak future with or without the Tea Party vision.
    The amount of treasure spent on the two wars, the tax breaks, and the bailouts along with the devaluing of the dollar to flood the monetary system is what's dragging our prospects down.

    The democrats have no better a vision on how to dispel that reality than the Republicans.

    As Ilargi has to constantly point out this is a political crisis above all else and comparing the Tea Party to the Obama Administration is a useless exercise.  The tea party has hit upon a winning electoral strategy that the Democrats refused to recognized: that everyday Americans know instinctively that the jig is up and the working class have been designated to take the fall.  There is an iceberg of anger, resentment and it is not going to discriminate between Republicans and Republican Lite.

    •  Quite so (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jaf49, tardis10, Aeolos, Matt Z

      It's not an attitude problem.

      It's a reality problem.

    •  If (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, Living in Gin, Matt Z
      The tea party has hit upon a winning electoral strategy
      let's hope it was only for the 2010 cycle.

      Voters nationally are turning against the House crazies and voters in MI, WI, FL etc are massively turning against the governors and legislatures that are following the teatard agenda.

      Ok Barack. You talked the talk. Now walk the walk.

      by jaf49 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:31:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're turning against an attack. (0+ / 0-)

        That's different than what Hunter is pointing out: The vision of the Democrats vs. Republicans.  The Democrats had nothing to do with how unions reacted in Wisconsin.

        They are not embracing a vision of recovery.  They know it's not taking place on the ground.  They've figured out the unemployment fudging long ago.  They see the shuttered storefronts and hear constant evidence from family and friends of layoffs, bankruptcy, foreclosure.

        Yes when cornered they will counter-attack but don't tell them they aren't cornered or that they'll count on the Obama administration because if that were true where is Arnie Duncan?
        Hanging with Michelle Rhee promoting Race to the Top.  Talking about Orwell.

  •  They aren't just negative.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They are explosively negative to the point I think it is hurting the economy.  We got a good budget deal passed for this year.  Assuming we get the debt limit raised, things really won't be that bad.  We have both a progressive and conservative long-term debt-reduction budget on the table....Without all the negativity, I could see S&P at 1400 by December....

    And they're not just mad about the economy...They're mad about everything....I think they are just miserable people who could use some could anger management counseling....If they want smaller government that badly, then they shouldn't participate....

  •  It's a ... (7+ / 0-)

    .. reflexive right wing reaction to the unbridled optimism of Obama's message (at least Obama's 2008 presidential campaign message).

    Republicans must prove Obama's message of unbridled optimism is nothing more than the mad rants of an ethnically flamboyant intruder.

    Since the strength of Republicans is messaging, they have successfully convinced a wide swath of America that buying into that "can do" spirit is equivalent to supporting the terrorists.

    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:22:17 AM PDT

  •  back in the day (7+ / 0-)

    this happened to  the left, at least in my personal experience.  when hopes of love and peace and social change on a grand level  seemed to get mired in the muck of the 70s, a lot of conversations inevitably got  and stayed so negative and depressing ,people just couldn't take it.  I watched some  older  'committed' lefties get so bitter and negative that, it just became impossible to keep up the harangue. some things just got to the end of the rope .In America, it seems, without renewal, today's hot budding issues just become next years old dead wood.
    trite as this is, people can only hang out and bitch feverishly for so long, especially when the issue really isn't life or death.
     i mean , birth certificates , trying to bring a president down because you just plain hate him?..those are motivating factors, but how long will they keep baggers pissy? they  need constant reminding from the likes  of Trump and Palin , i guess, but yes, are they  willing to tank everybody and everything to  prove their  pissy points? Pretty soon it turns you into a real drag and your friends will abandon you like old fish...

    I think the other side (us) is  motivating for better reasons and also willing to address real problem, which, now that i think about it, we have been at for quite some time. so don't quit now!

  •  No tip jar, so I can't tip. But I can rec. (12+ / 0-)

    I give this diary a standing ovation.  

    But I do have to take the diarist to task.  

    The problem is NOT the American people.  

    The American people have voted for change over and over and over again.  What in the name of all that's holy did the results of the 2006/2008 elections mean if not a vote for change and a new direction?

    The American were so hungry for change they did the unthinkable for many in the political establishment:  We elected a black man to the White House.  Why have so many not seen the yearning for change that is inherent in the 2008 election?  

    It is our political establishment, in both parties, that have taken that change message to really mean "business as usual".  We saw it with Congress in 2006.  We saw it again in both the White House and Congress in 2008.  

    2010 is no different.  For all the reform talk from the GOP, they are as committed to the status quo as the Democrats were in 2006/2008.

    It is only through the machinations of both parties that have prevented reasonable opposition to the status quo from being recognized via 3rd parties, debates, etc.  

    We need to break the stranglehold the two parties have on the political system before we will see real change.  

    Our discourse, in short, reeks of depression and failure.

    Of course it does.  When cutbacks to the poor, the elderly, the sick, and giveaways to the top 1% are hailed as victories for bipartisanship, there's something seriously wrong with the political establishment.  

    And a speech is not change.  There's an old saying:  Talk is cheap.  Talk may be cheap, but, unfortunately, the payoff is high for the political establishment via campaign contributions and lifelong jobs in the revolving door that is now our government.  

    How do we effect real change?  Obviously, it isn't going to come through the 2 parties.  They're too committed to corporate contributions and securing their future at the expense of the American people and the country.  

    We effect real change by rejecting those who have proven their version of change is nothing more than soaring rhetorical stump speeches during campaigns.  

    If you want change, you need to stop rewarding the status quo merchants with your vote and your future.  

    A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by ThAnswr on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:24:57 AM PDT

    •  Do you understand the mathematical certainty of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      First Past the Post Voting?

      Watch this 7 minute video, you will find answers.

      •  I understand the point of FFtPV. I also ...... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy, rlharry

        ............... understand highly simplistic explanations to complex problems and how appealing those simplistic explanations can be.  

        The problem with FFtPV is:

        1)  The voters voted for change overwhelmingly in 2 election cycles.  

        2)  In 2010, the Florida voters passed 2 Constitutional amendments outlawing gerrymandering on the state and federal level.  That aberration known as Rick Scott was the result of too much private money and a Democratic party who didn't infuse the Sink campaign with every dollar they could muster.  They could have spent that money on a real candidate instead of wasting it on the Blanch Lincoln campaign.  

        Anyway, thanks for link.  :)

        Btw, obviously, neither party has any desire to change the system.  I say this as a lifelong Democrat and a "yellow dog" Democrat during those years.  

        It isn't the party anymore.  It's the person.  My question still stands:  Why reward any politician who won on a "change" campaign and governs as "business as usual"?  

        That is not solely directed towards Obama.  The voters who voted for change in 2010 didn't get any bargains either.  

        Maybe we're looking at "change from the bottom up" in the making.  No matter the political ideology, we're all pissed off.  

        A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by ThAnswr on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:38:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is explained in the youtube after (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neither party has any desire to change the system.

          the one you watched.  It is called Alternative Voting. Simplistic, yes.  In the National conversation, no.  Maybe you will find it useful to pass on.

          Where it really gets depressing with Alternative Voting is the reliance on accurate counting.  Yes, I don't think we are up to the accuracy Alternative Voting requires.

        •  PS I think the turnout in WI for example (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is much more effective as a withhold reward strategy.

          Why reward any politician who won on a "change" campaign and governs as "business as usual"?  
  •  Makes you wonder how they get out (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, apimomfan2, Matt Z

    of bed in the morning.

    I was Rambo in the disco/ I was shootin' to the beat/ When they burned me in effigy My vacation was complete. Neil Young

    by Mike S on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:25:58 AM PDT

  •  Yup. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, Rick Aucoin, Matt Z

    We are definately going to have to change the title and lyrics to America the Beautiful.

    America the Bubonic?

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:26:27 AM PDT

  •  a FAR cry from "the only thing we have to fear..." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, Matt Z

    but then again, Mr. Ryan, you are no JFK.  

    "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." - Anatole France

    by stophurtingamerica on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:26:28 AM PDT

  •  All that evangelical preaching (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, Pluto, apimomfan2, rlharry, Matt Z

    about "the end of days" has morphed into a px for public policy among both the GOP and many Democrats. Cultishness abounds. Grab it all now,tell the little guy it's over and head for the best bunker you can afford.  

    Of course,maybe we just aren't capable of much anymore. Last year I was briefly in Chengdu & amazed at the rebuilding since the devastating 2008 quake. I've been to New Orleans post Katrina,too.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:27:05 AM PDT

  •  These bleak visions should have a competitor (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, geez53, mike101, apimomfan2, rlharry

    in 2007 Obama provided that hope. In 2011 nobody in government can plausibly provide such a hopeful vision. Either they won't provide one, or if they did, it would be overshadowed by their own pursuit of the "Middle Ground" between hope and destruction. An untenable place.

    •  untenable place (0+ / 0-)

      That untenable place is a myth that President Obama seems to believe in.  It's like saying we can peacefully coexist with Fred Phelps and the KKK if we could just find that middle ground, that elusive compromise.

      "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

      by rlharry on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:02:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not the best example (0+ / 0-)

        Apologize for my example in this comment.  Of course, President Obama's principals aren't that compromised, but it does get discouraging the degree to which he is willing to compromise to find middle ground.

        "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

        by rlharry on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:10:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They're really depressing to us past Americans ... (8+ / 0-)

    who grew up watching real Super Highway systems being built, diseases like polio being cured .....Walking On The MOON!!?!!

    Now the Granny (my age), with the tea bags stapled to her sun bonnet, wants Big Gubment to "keep its hands off" her Soc. Sec./Medicare while she cheers the Ryan Plan.

    We definitely have a Messaging Deficit.

  •  I am running out of hope rather fast (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, Pluto, rlharry, Matt Z

    Rep. Cleaver, who has always been a go along to get along guy, had a teleconference Friday.  ONE fellow talked about how bad the deficits were and Cleaver agreed with him, not once ever decrying the myth that we have a SPENDING problem not a REVENUE problem.  I didn't get to rebut.

    And Sen. McCaskill, who is truly iffy, has sponsored some odious piece of legislation trying to cap the debt ceiling with a rethug colleague.

    My other Sen. is Blunt is bent and so was his son who was Governor.

    And we should have beau-coup protesters out for tax day, but if we get 100 it will be a miracle. (KCMO)

    I could take some hope in the fact that the culture warriors and the class warriors seem to be making a last desperate move.  But those moves seem really awful and our push back so pitiful.  

    All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take. Mohandas Gandhi

    by glitterscale on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:29:47 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, rlharry, Matt Z

    And a damned good reminder of what our country IS (not was, not could be) capable of.

    It gives me hope for 2012: it's the message we have to force-feed, if necessary, to all those who are being lied to and frightened by the extreme right-wingers.

    Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

    by Miniaussiefan on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:29:55 AM PDT

  •  Spot on! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RhodaA, FiredUpInCA, Matt Z

    At times it seems that Barack Obama among all the politicians is the only real patriot who trusts in America's greatness.  Republicans and a good deal of the so-called Left are sure that America is kaput or never was worthwhile. From these people Obama is battered by a hail of negativism and pessimism, one side wanting to do nothing and the other only wanting to do everything or nothing.    

  •  'Small Business is the job creator'.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, RhodaA

    business bill held hostage.......'We have to become energy independent'........crickets.......'We must reduce the debt'.......massive tax decreases for the wealthy.......'We want Obama to fail'....BINGO!!

  •  And President Obama (11+ / 0-)

    has waffled between ineffectually denouncing this frame and ineffectually supporting it.  He reminds us that we must tighten our belts, that we cannot create an economy capable of keeping Americans in jobs or in their homes.  That health care cannot be meaningfully altered; the best we can hope for is to transfer a trillion dollars to ghoulish insurance companies in exchange for the sad hope of improvement.

    This is a bipartisan vision.  The difference is that the Republicans enthusiastically embrace it while our Democratic leadership sadly embraces it.  But neither rejects it.  Not really.

    My original UID is in the 3000s, but this one is more pseudonymous. Thanks for understanding.

    by Punditus Maximus on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:33:08 AM PDT

    •  the fact that he persists in maintaining (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the american empire is proof enough that he has no bold vision for the future.

      our president of 2016 will be a full-on fascist.

      fascism works in an environment such as ours.

      big badda boom : GRB 080913

      by squarewheel on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:12:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right wing authoritarians ALWAYS view things (16+ / 0-)

    through a lens of "our society is in decline and it's the fault of ___."  From the Fascists to the John Birchers to the Tea Party; from Oswald Spengler to the current idiots on Fox, they continue to run with the same narrative.  

    And to whom are they appealing?  Eric Hobsbawm had the answer in The Age of Extremes (1991):

    The common cement of these movements was the resentment of little men in a society that crushed them between the rock of big business on one side and the hard place of rising mass labour movements on the other.  Or which, at the very least, deprived them of the respectable position they had occupied in the social order, and believed to be their due, or the social status in a dynamic society to which they felt they had a right to aspire.  

    Sound familiar?  "We want our country back!"  Hobsbawm was discussing the right wing movements in Europe and elsewhere in the 1920s and 30s, but this could apply to today with a few minor changes (labour movements).

    In the German case, they scapegoats were the Jews (ever notice the anti-semitic hate mail Kos gets?).  Hobsbawm continues:

    These sentiments found their characteristic expression in anti-semitism, which began to develop specific political movements based on hostility to Jews…They could serve as symbols of the hated capitalist/financier; of the revolutionary agitator; of the corroding influence of “rootless intellectuals” and the new mass media; of the competition—how could it be otherwise than “unfair”?—that gave them a disproportionate share of jobs in certain professions requiring education; and of the foreigner and outsider as such.  Not to mention the accepted view among old-fashioned Christians that they had killed Jesus Christ.

    Today's scapegoats from the Right are immigrants, Muslims and the intellectual elite.  Like the fascists of the early 20th century, today's Right yells and screams about "traditional values" being in decline to the "degenerate" elements in society, such as homosexuals and the liberal elites.  

    Anti-intellectualism is another common theme, as the fascists made up the myths they wished to return to.  Combined with the anti-intellectualism is that Right wing movements also believe there has to be a conspiracy of some sort that is keeping the country down.  Nowadays, we have the birther movement rather than the Red Scare or the Jewish "stab in the back".

    And like the fascists, the current Right is firmly in the hands of the corporate elites who use the mass movements as a screen to enrich themselves.

    Not to say that the Tea Party will belch out another Hitler, but there is some continuity of thought throughout right-wing history....

    Puerilis institutio est renovatio mundi. Jesuit dictum, ca. 1590.

    by dizzydean on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:33:48 AM PDT

  •  The "Past America" was white (5+ / 0-)

    in a nutshell

  •  Consevatives thrive on creating catastrophies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, mike101, Matt Z

    that don't exist.  When Bush was in power remember the hysteria of Iraq's WMDs, and how we absolutely "had to" invade Iraq or the US was going to come to an end.   This budget hysteria is the same thing - they take a problem and over-hype and magnify it into a catastrophe, that (of course) only they have the answers to solve.

  •  It is articles like these... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, RhodaA, 88kathy, FiredUpInCA, Matt Z

    That make me a proud Democrat.  We sometimes say that Democrats are the lesser of two evils.  This both underplays the good that Democrats do AND the extremism of Republicans.  Look at what Republicans do with their power.  Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan.  The Bush years.  Democrats can appear spineless, or wishy-washy, but they will not sell out our basic American rights.

    •  I hope you're right (0+ / 0-)
      Democrats... will not sell out our basic American rights.

      I hope you're right.  We'll know a lot more in the next few years.  

      I mean, you've got a Dem governor in NY who looks a lot like a Repub.

      Ok Barack. You talked the talk. Now walk the walk.

      by jaf49 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:52:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See, this is my point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You say Cuomo "looks a lot like a Repub."  But what he is doing pales in comparison about what ACTUAL Republicans are doing.  No doubt, Cuomo has been coming off as a centrist.  But, as the governor of a large state, this is understandable.

        And remember, ALL Democrats voted against the Ryan plan.  Even the Blue Dogs, even conservadems.  They did not sell out on our basic, core principles.

    •  Only if we don't let them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We need to keep the fire to their toes.

      Parties do not lead revolutions. They follow them. And then only when forced to. ~ Joe Bageant

      by tgypsy on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:57:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Definitely (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, Matt Z, TrueBlueMajority

        Make no mistake: Had any Dem voted for the Ryan plan, we would rightfully primary the shit out of them.  My main point is that they didn't  EVERY Republican (minus Paul and three others) voted for this piece of shit plan.  EVERY Democrat voted against it.  Here is your difference between the parties.

      •  What fire? (0+ / 0-)

        It doesn't take a majority of citizens votes to be elected to office in our country, so even withholding our vote is no threat to them.

        They only need two people to vote for them, if the other guy only has one vote for him.

        The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10

        by Rick Aucoin on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:27:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    Recommended by:
    jaf49, rlharry

    For a bunch which yammers on endlessly about how much they love their dear country, they don't seem to believe it can successfully solve any problems.

    You're either part of the solution or part of the problem. Lend a hand or get the hell out of the way.

  •  What ever happened to "Can do" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, OldDragon, jaf49, Matt Z

    Thank you very much for this post. I've observed the same thing and wonder why this cannot be used forcefully against them.

    The President nibbled around the edges of this theme a bit in the past week, but it is a rich source for material.

    The complement to this theme is how the right wing hates most Americans. Step back and look at all the groups they hate: unions, feminists, environmentalists, poor people, etc, etc.

    I'm an American Liberal. Blogging in between family, work and activism time.

    by AlphaLiberal on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:46:05 AM PDT

  •  30 years ago, Ronald Reagan convinced us that (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, tardis10, jaf49, rlharry, Matt Z, Hirodog

    government has no solutions. We've spent the years since then electing people who have made this true. It's sad that we've become a nation of people who believes this adage even as we are surrounded by examples, many currenly crumbling, of this false premise.

    Parties do not lead revolutions. They follow them. And then only when forced to. ~ Joe Bageant

    by tgypsy on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:47:21 AM PDT

  •  I know it is just April (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, rlharry, Matt Z

    but can I please nominate this for the best article EVER written on Daily Kos in its entire history?

    Thank you Hunter, from the bottom of our hearts.

    We all have photographic memories. Some people just don't have any film.

    by fireflynw on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:49:41 AM PDT

  •  A clever way to control immigration? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, OldDragon, buddhistfist13, Matt Z

    This vision of America will see Mexico building a fence and Canada having to lay minefields to keep out the Americans looking for a better life someplace else. No one with any sense, except a multi-billionaire, would be an immigrant in a Republican-future USA.

    No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. H. L. Mencken

    by jim0121 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:49:44 AM PDT

    •  I keep (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, jaf49

      trying to figure out how I can claim either Canadian or Finnish citizenship since my great grandparent immigrated to America from those great countries.  Especially Finland, where teachers are held in the highest respect and chosen, yes chosen, from those at the top of their classes. Finland is a socialist country, but after WWII they made a conscious decision to build their country up and become great.  The weather isn't so great (I live in NC), but their people seem happier somehow.

      •  Its the definition of 'great' that matters. (0+ / 0-)

        In this country, it is mostly about money.

        People think they want money but to many people, money is just a means to an end.

        Its happiness and peace and security that most people want.

        The problem is that people focus on getting money instead of getting happiness or peace or security.

        If we all focussed on the good things then we could have more of those good things.

        Money just gets in the way and the more attention we pay to it, the less attention we pay toward the good things we really want.

        You cannot worship both God and money.

  •  It's been the plan all along!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Google up their plan....Eric Heubeck...Paul Weyrich's Teaching manual...
    I kept asking myself...How did we get into this discourse of depression and failure..well..
    Read this stuff last night  and it was hard to believe that this stuff has got this far.This is their vision..It's all there,
    step by step.
    pass it on folks
    I for one would hate to see this agenda fulfilled!!
    thanks for your GREAT Diary!!

  •  Since when is greed, stupidity, and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, OldDragon, Matt Z

    outright lying virtues? Since Reagan, that's when. Very, very good essay and brilliantly written. KUDOS!!

    "Global warming may be human-made, but the worst human-made disasters have seats in Congress." ---Marie Burns, Fort Myers, FL

    by orlbucfan on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:50:30 AM PDT

  •  What were we expecting with corporate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, Friend of the court, rlharry

    globalization?   America in its golden age was nothing more than a lush resource to exploit.  Now its time to move on to other markets, leaving a wasteland behind.  Look around-impoverished and gentrified cities, foreclosed suburbias, spoiled environments, crumbling infrastructure, massive unemployment, failing support systems, and an apathetic public.  These are all remnants of capitalistic squandering.  Ironically, the right blames this on anything but themselves and uses this lever to squeeze whatever else they can from what ever wealth is left.  Patriotism and Religion are merely fronts to distract the ignorant masses.

    The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people. Noam Chomsky

    by willkath on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:51:24 AM PDT

  •  One of the best, clearest (6+ / 0-)

    and most damning descriptions of the Republican Agenda I've read.  I'm joining others in sending it on to my contact list, hoping it goes viral.  Thank you for writing this.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:52:52 AM PDT

  •  To quote Saint Ronnie (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jaf49, OldDragon, Matt Z

    (with an obligatory twist, of course...)

    The Republican Party is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.

    All of this will come back to haunt the GP in 2012.  I've already ordered 2 truckloads of Jiffy Pop.  Anyone wanna party with me?

    "He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know." Lao Tzu

    by Dingodude on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:53:29 AM PDT

  •  Rise of the Dystopians (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, MT Spaces, rlharry, Matt Z

    It's like we're looking at a whole population of insecure children - bitterly lashing out at talent and accomplishment. It reminds me - not to bring the specter of racism into this, of course - of the kind of guys I saw in my youth . . . poor, semi-literate whites whose best career was pumping gas and sneered at any "colored" that drove a nicer car than they would ever afford or had a bigger vocabulary.
    These people aren't just negative, they're like endlessly critical in-laws that can't stop sniping because all they know is hate.

    "Socialism believes that people working together for a common good can produce a greater benefit, both for society and for the individual, than can a society in which everyone is shrewdly seeking their own self-interest." - Frank Zeidler

    by Jaxpagan on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 10:58:30 AM PDT

    •  Superiority (0+ / 0-)

      Superiority has one basic function- it allows people to justify their exploitation of their fellow human beings.  (Paraphrased from James Lee Burke)

      "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

      by rlharry on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:26:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting, huh? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, rlharry

    This crowd has spectacularly proven that they will say absolutely anything, and this is what they cloose to say...

  •  To add another point of "No We Can't" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, rlharry, echo still

    America can't possibly prosecute and legally punish those responsible for putting the torture regime in place and those responsible for actually ordering torture.

                     Standing for justice and accountability,
                                    For Dan,

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is doing it to whom.

    by Chacounne on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:12:22 AM PDT

  •  from a friend (5+ / 0-)

    I asked a long time friend why she was 'afraid of Obama'. This is a 75 year old educated. Afaithful and decent friend for 40 years. Her response enlightens but terrifies me:

    "You asked what I am afraid of?  I do believe he is Muslim – I do believe he may very well have not been born in the US – I do believe he will continue spending us into oblivion – I do believe he is an unqualified leader – I do believe he is not on the side of our military – I do think he is an ego-maniac – he surrounds himself with unqualified people that have never run a business of any kind.  Why are his early years, college etc. such a mystery? We keep borrowing money from other countries – we no longer really own our own country – The government is running more and more aspects of our lives – illegals get more benefits than we get – they get benefits that people born here do not get – he needs to stop blaming Bush for everything – he is not creating jobs – unemployment rates are horrible – he gave bailouts to companies who in turn gave bonuses to their CEO’s – I agree with what Hilary said in her campaign “he is a speech in a suit”.  I do not want to alienate you and quite frankly, I do not want to discuss these issues.  They are just too upsetting.  You asked me how I felt.  I am sure you could go over everything here and find documentation to defend your side.  I just don’t want to deal with it and don’t want to continue this discussion although I very much want to continue our friendship."

    Really, really sad isn't it??

    •  My impression is that because it's 2011 (7+ / 0-)

      people like your friend can't allow themselves to let the thought "There's as n*** in the White House" come up from their subconsciousness, so they spout their idiocies.

      Not that she is not entitled to making criticism, it's just as a whole they seem to reveal something deeper, especially after just going through Bush/Cheney, which was pretty much a trainwreck.
      I've worked with people years ago who were racist  and  noticed a pattern of their criticism of African-American coworkers.

      If this woman is 75, in her early adulthood 'coloreds' couldn't drink from the same water fountain, stay in the same hotel or eat at the same restaurant as whites,
      to have one occupy the White House would have been mind blowing back then.

      IMO, Your friend is a dinosaur and an idiot in these matters.
      People like her are inhibiting the country from moving ahead into the 21st century.

      •  Thanks, you are right (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, foresterbob, rlharry, Matt Z

        Yours is thoughtful analysis. We Oakroyds adopted two Vietnamese children (in 1968 and 1971). This friend had a major hard time accepting that as well. Luckily now that we two old ladies live a continent apart we are email friends only. But her wholesale acceptance of the entire Menu of Hatred is astonishing when actually written right out.

      •  the demographic change in the country (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rlharry, oakroyd, Matt Z

        and their fear of it drives a great deal of this hatred and negativity.  They are in large measure trying to hold back the future, by denying a social safety net and quality education for all because the "other" will benefit.  They are willing to let the very wealthy take an unfair share of our nation's wealth because it will keep it out of the hands of "those people."  Although racism is the largest factor, it is not the only factor: as a younger generation comes of age with no real issues with gay people living their own lives, with women in positions of power, with a variety of religions, etc., they can see their familiar terrain shifting forever.  And they don't like it!

        Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

        by SottoVoce on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:09:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fox News (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oakroyd, Matt Z

      Sounds like talking points from Fox News.  Making people stupid but more opinionated.

      "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

      by rlharry on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:28:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The frustrating part (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z, rlharry

        Over the years she has sent me many of the right wing emails....and I let her, because I agreed to put in time and effort into de-bunking them. Obviously, she thinks little enough of my opinion and facts that Fox over-rules it all. As I said, luckily the extent of the friendship is email. And there I can control how often and what is shared. It is just so sad to me, in a way, to truly be made aware of what has obviously been in her heart for a long time. Methinks the friendship just became a lot more shallow.

  •  Absolutely brilliant piece. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, Matt Z

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

    by MufsMom on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:19:14 AM PDT

  •  You don't get it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, Matt Z

    You were going along with them to here:

    That past America had a magic that we modern Americans cannot match. Perhaps it was beholden to Satan, or to socialism, or merely to some grandiose vision of a better future, one with flying cars or diseases that could actually be cured, with proper application of effort. Whatever the case, past-America was wrong and stupid, and we know better.

    That's where you lost your inner Republican.

    Yes, past-America could do these things and now America cannot.  But it's not because past-America was wrong and stupid, it's because now America has been ruined and wrecked by 50+ years of liberal social and economic policies.

    Our national wealth drained by unions and welfare cheats, our productivity and competitiveness sapped by Affirmative Action.  Our moral strength destroyed by everything from Brown vs. Board of Education to gays is the military.

    THAT is why we can't, now.  

    Just ask them, they'll tell ya.

    The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10

    by Rick Aucoin on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:20:58 AM PDT

  •  Whatever! the far left is just as pessimistic so (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def, Matt Z

    pot calling kettle black.  The sanctimonious on the left and their rhetoric is helping to hand the teabagger/republicans "their country back "(their words not mine) with glee.    

    Anytime this president accomplishes something some extremist on the left still whines..... it wasn't quick enough, it did not include what I wanted, He was not strong enough, I wasn't able to see what was going on behind the scenes,  etc etc etc or you don't hear anything about said accomplishment.

    Good luck under the Republican admin and house.   I am sure the pessimism will end,  the GOP will show the far left how to support when your pres is in power.  There will be no whining and the left will fall in line.  If their pres walks to AF1 it will be celebrated and called the most amazing walk ever.
    How is that WI thing working for you?  A taste of what happens when a leader rams their so called "mandate" down peoples throats.  Hurts when it affects you don't it.    DONE.

    33 senior citizens paying over $6k more in Medicare costs to pay for 1 millionaire/billionaire’s tax cut.Not on my watch...president Obama.

    by NorthCacalakaGirlForBO on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:24:45 AM PDT

  •  The system failure (0+ / 0-)

    is not unintentional.  It has been deliberately engineered by those who have benefited the most from the system.  Now they are breaking it so that they can simply plunder it unimpeded.  The rest of us are standing here in slack-jawed amazement, like tenants in a house that the landlords have broken into and are ransacking, tearing out the copper pipes and wiring to sell for scrap. We mere tenants would never do something so destructive, it takes the owners of our society to totally destroy it.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:27:05 AM PDT

  •  The deepest issue is fear/hope for the future (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here in Nashville I see this all the time in basic development issues.  We have a state fair which loses money because people aren't interested, and it is held on an old run down fairgrounds just a few miles from downtown which would be a prime spot for either a new baseball stadium or some high-density, anti-sprawl mixed use development.

    The latter option would 1) keep our city's tax base from continuing to relocate to Williamson County 2) save a zillion acres of farmland from being paved over 3) save tons of energy by reducing commuting costs, etc. etc.  This has been stopped by an organization putting up signs saying "Save Our Fairgrounds" and making a nuisance of themselves at public meetings.  

    These people pop up every time there's an issue like this and they have no agenda except trying to hold the city back from turning into what every American city must become to survive the future: denser, mixed use (zoned for form rather than function), more pedestrian/bike friendly, etc.  I actually am certain they don't care about the fairgrounds at all, they just see the future coming and it freaks them out.  

  •  I have been thinking about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, echo still

    this a lot lately.

    Republicans are cynical, because their actions and beliefs are motivated by fear.

    We want a 21st century country that is clean, modern, beautiful, safe, and chock full of educated people.

    Conservatives want that too, but in a different way.  They want it for themselves; they don't want to share.  They want communities like that, but they have to have gates and locks to keep the undesirables out.

    That's why they hate public anything.  They believe that only certain people deserve certain things.  They have no faith in humanity.

    What they don't understand is that exclusion is an infinite condition; you start out by excluding one group, then out of those who remain there are still some "undesirables", so you exclude them, and it goes on and on and on until there's no one left and  everyone is fighting with each other.  It's really stupid.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:28:21 AM PDT

  •  Well done...but (0+ / 0-)

    I didn't like this diary.  I'm sick of it.  It repulses and revolts me.  It's all too familiar.,

    I don't "need" to be reminded, in such detail, especially, of the imprecations and contradictions of the right, which I have been contending with for nearly 50 years.

    Maybe "some" people do need this, on some level...not going to HR it, heh.

    But I just thought it was pretty disgusting, and abandoned it fairly quickly.

    Why start off the day getting nauseous, and puking?

    Would have so much preferred to find the positive side, on the left, and among the masses, for a change.

    Of course, that would not be well-received by those obsessed with being negative.

    Indeed, one thing that jumped out at me from the diary was recollection of the style, rhetoric and practice of much of the purported "left", some of whom display a mirror image evil twin doppelganger of amazingly similar negativity, only reversed...yet insinuating the exact same premise as the right, that the Democrats are utterly non-viable, and should be abandoned.

    This unprincipled oppositionalist tendency toward the Democrats, from the right and the left, both, can only serve to suppress likely Democratic voter turnout, which is how the right ascended to power over our lives in the first place.


    Now, this diary attacks the right, which is a good thing.  But like I say, it still made me nauseous, lol.

    Let me just say, I'm going back to the main pages, and looking for something that will give me some real hope for the future, because I do think it's out there, for us to seize upon, and also to make.

    Let me also say, the perspectives described in this diary are, indeed, embraced by too many people for comfort, and that is...disconcerting.  But they are nowhere near a majority, no more than a third, at most, of whom only 20%, maybe, are consistent subscribers, and only 10% or less are hard core.

    And even many of that 30% now subscribe to more progressive world views than was the case for their demographics 50 years ago, trust me.  


    Is everything all good now?  Far from it.  But we are making progress, and are now on the cusp of a real leap forward, into the 21st Century.

    The rhetoric and practice of the right gets more hysterical and draconian in direct proportion to how close we're getting to real democracy.  

    Remember that people, going forward.  

    It's going to get even uglier, I guarantee.  

    But that's a good means we are winning.  

    Right/left polarization is good.

    Left/left polarization, not so good.


    It's not over yet.  The struggle continues.

    But this is the USA, and we aspire to be democratic.

    We will not be denied.

    Bring the Better Democrats!

    All Out for 2012!

    Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

    by Radical def on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:32:35 AM PDT

    •  I can see why you'd find it (0+ / 0-)

      depressing, and yes, I would wager most of us know a lot of what was written.  But sometimes writing isn't for us, in terms of teaching or inspiring us, so much as it might be to arm us with a way to reach those voters who are not reading dkos, but may be willing to look at something like this and have a seed of a conviction planted in there.  

      Or, to put it more simply, Hunter writes way better than I do, and I appreciate the opportunity to use his skill to advance the agenda, wherever possible.

      (Sadly, in Kathmandu no longer.)

      by American in Kathmandu on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:47:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tea Party = Parasites (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mideedah, rlharry

    It's a fascinating analogy worth pursuing further.  America is the host upon which the corporate fascists feed.  It's not a Land of Opportunity, it's a site for opportunists to take advantage of others.

    An accurate, and deeply troubling, analogy.

    Stop clapping. Stop screaming. Open your mind. Listen.

    by Benintn on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:40:06 AM PDT

  •  wow, best piece I've read here in ages (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, flumptytail

    Thank you so much Hunter.  This sort of powerful writing is why I first started making dkos my home.  I'm glad to have this to share with people in hopes of either inspiring some fight, or provoking some thinking.

    (Sadly, in Kathmandu no longer.)

    by American in Kathmandu on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:41:48 AM PDT

  •  Exactly. (6+ / 0-)

    Number of nations that have succeeded in invading Afghanistan and installing a government at gunpoint that was liked so much by the Afghan people that they kept it: 0

    Number of nations that have succeeded in providing universal healthcare for all their citizens: 32

    So naturally we try #1.

    Wait -- what?

  •  if the top 1% (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    insists on increasing their share continuously, of course it means the rest of us get by with less.

    Ah the tyranny of math.

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:44:47 AM PDT

  •  That's the basic idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    What we have is the essence of the conservative world view - the one that says the only way for me to have something is to take it from someone else, and keep other people from taking what I have from me. This IS the logical consequence of a worldview that makes selfishness a virtue, and can only see individuals in isolation, with no connection to a larger community.

    For all their talk of 'family' values, they really only think of a family as an extension and glorification of their own individual status. Wives, children are disposable if they fail to validate the worth of the male authority figure who must always be at the center of it all.

    Sharing, cooperation, mutual respect, community - they can only envision these things in terms of "What's in it for me?"

    This shaky video of Daffy Duck shows conservatives when they don't bother to keep up the facade. "Consequences, schmonsequences - as long as I'm rich..."

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:44:57 AM PDT

  •  I just forwarded your diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mideedah, rlharry, Matt Z

    To a certain arrogant mouthpiece of America's plutocratic elite, in the hope that it may be enlightening. An irrational hope, true, but one can always do just that: Hope

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 11:56:02 AM PDT

  •  Things we (5+ / 0-)

    can still do

    1. Put more of our people in prison per capita than any other nation.
    2. Spend more on militarism/wars than the entire rest of the world combined.
    3. Lead the world in cocaine use per capita.
    4. Lead the world in obesity
    5. Lead the world in divorce rate
    6. Lead the world in tv watching
    7. Lead the world in exporting "scrap and trash"

    So, we got that going for us.

  •  Taking the propaganda literally. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is what you get.  This is where reactionary thinking leads, to an empty wasteland with nothing positive.  Whatever the liberals have been doing and want to do, the answer must be the opposite.

    We can't make it here any more.

    Intelligent manipulation of the masses is the invisible government which is the true ruling power in our country. - U.S. propagandist Edward Bernays

    by geomoo on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:05:40 PM PDT

  •  It has become abundantly clear that the new (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, Matt Z

    republicans see two very disparate Americas. One is lazy, greedy and ignorant, and must make sacrifices that benefit the other, hard-working, upright and moral America. Oddly enough, the democrats have much the same vision. I see the problem as the fragmenting of America. We are not two separate nations, Siamese twins angrily joined and trying to murder one another in the mistaken belief that the victor will survive. If we reduce this dilemma to its simplest form, either what is best for the nation is best for the people or what is best for the people, or the majority thereof, is best for the nation. In most republics, perhaps the first statement can be true, but in a democratic republic the latter and only the latter can be true. Only that which benefits the greater body of the people benefits the nation. When a republic is governed only in the interest of the few, that republic fails. Seen in that light, even as much as I continue to disagree with President Obama and the current crop of democrats, I would rather have the two Americas united under "Yes, we can," than, "No, we can't." Thanks, Hunter.

  •  Brave Brave Paul Ryan (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BarackStarObama, mchestnutjr, Matt Z

    With apologies to Monty Python and Sir Robin

    Brave Paul Ryan away.
    Bravely ran away, away!
    When danger reared its ugly head,  
    He bravely turned his tail and fled.
    Yes, brave Paul Ryan turned about
    And gallantly he chickened out.
    Bravely taking to his feet
    He beat a very brave retreat,
    Bravest of the brave, Paul Ryan !  
    He is packing it in and packing it up
    And sneaking away and buggering up
    And chickening out and pissing off home,
    Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge...  

    It's all so clear to me now. I'm the keeper of the cheese. And you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.

    by bernardpliers on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:07:12 PM PDT

  •  Our choice, therefore, is thus: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mideedah, rlharry, Matt Z

    That we can re-embrace the past-America capable of doing all those wonderfully-wondrous things---or we march lockstep under the teaparty banner of past-America, and bring about a Magnum Confederatus, where the minority all see themselves as a modern-day Nathan Bedford Forrest, and the rest of us go down into eternal Slavery.

    I will wage war to the end of all ends for the former, and resist to the last breath the latter....

    I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

    by Liberal Panzer on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:08:33 PM PDT

  •  A Hobbesian vision (0+ / 0-)

    that could have squirted right out of Dick Cheney's orifice of your choice.

    Of course the veddy veddy wealthy don't see America through that those muddy crizzled lenses. Their view of America is exclusively purple silk velvet haze du jour, with built in myopia filters.

  •  If these people succeed in taking the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, rlharry, Matt Z

    reins of power, it could lead to a new Dark Ages, where knowledge, wealth and power are kept in a small, closely guarded circle, and all others are relegated to darkness, ignorance, poverty and unremitting labor.  That is the endgame that the extreme GOP philosophy points toward.  Modern communication will limit somewhat the most extreme effects, but the general trend is imaginable.  It has been this way for decades in the Middle East, and only now are we seeing a breaking point, where people have had enough.

    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

    by SottoVoce on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:13:39 PM PDT

  •  Why are Republicans so down on America? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, Matt Z, Hirodog

    That's a killer meme.

    Money=speech; every dollar has a right to be heard. The Supremes

    by orson on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:15:56 PM PDT

  •  This essay needs to be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the face of every damn tea-partier and Republican.  How in the hell do they expect America to return to any kind of greatness, any kind of progressive fucking greatness, with the economics that they practice?

    Can any of them prove that their economics accomplishes one single thing, with the possible exception of the jobs created to build bigger bank vaults to hold the money going to the top 1%?

  •  Excellent diary, except I have to ask, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mideedah, FiredUpInCA, Matt Z

    "It is just Republicans and the radical right you're about, right?"  The dystopia you're describing has a distinct right-wing tinge to it.  But it also has a slightly less distinct left-wing tinge to it, too.  And the left wing has  a definitely different set of prposed solutions.  :)  

    The Democrats are, imo, offering a brighter vision.  President Obama definitely is.  He is always talking about investing in the future - more investment in education, clean energy, reining in health costs, in research, technology, infrastructure.  His goal is that all of these investments will lead to more and better jobs that can't be out-sourced. Plus improve the health and economic security of all Americans.  I think he really believes this and he really does believe in the American people.  

    (Although, on this last point, observing how a large chunk of the American people seem to think about him, you do have to wonder if he was Pollyanna in a former life.)

    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

    by Observerinvancouver on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:28:36 PM PDT

  •  How Depressingly Perfect (nt) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Honk! If you're writing in Alan Grayson!

    by Detroit Mark on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 12:35:00 PM PDT

  •  Ah, we are waking up. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, echo still, Matt Z, Hirodog

    The tea party folks are on the wrong side of history.

    Few of them know the real history behind the Boston Tea Party.  It was about one company wanting to monopolize trade.   It was about tax cuts for The East India Company.   It was the Kock brothers of it's time.

    How this will eventually play out is anyone's guess, but I will place my bets with the American people.

    The tea party is a wealthy crowd, but on the wrong side of history.   The GOP is right there with them.

  •  Good diary! You're really on to something (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


  •  Sound Bites: Tea Party - Too Nasty for America (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, wendyg, Matt Z

    I think the Progressives need to work on sound bites that get our message across in 10 seconds or less.  Anything longer will be edited by Fox News, and the GOP have given us a great opportunity with the Ryan budget.

    Tie the GOP absolutely to the Tea Party: here's one suggestion:

    The GOP Tea Party - Too Nasty for America.

    No Medicare for your parents, and tax breaks for billionaires.


    Virginia Common Sense

  •  Thank you, Hunter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, Matt Z

    I am cheered by your words, because there is still someone who can speak truth, and I am so thirsty for it. You nailed it, as you always do. Thank you.

  •  What is YOUR vision for the future? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    An inclusive perspective for a changing world: Spiritual Persistence

    by sunflight on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 01:31:44 PM PDT

  •  What Will Rogers said:(organized Democratic Party) (0+ / 0-)

    As we have all observed over the last two years, the one thing we know is that the GOP is at least organized. We have also seen that they are organized around the wrong thing.  They are totally organized around defeating Obama in what ever vision he may have to try to lead the country out of the present fiscal situation. Not solving the problems in a bipartisan manner.  So, the question we as progressives should be asking is "How can we get organized totally to counter the GOP stupidity?". Now I don't have a Solution for this problem, but I trust the major contributors to DK do,which is I in my small way contribute to this site.

  •  Ever since this President was elected... (0+ / 0-)

    They have hoped he would fail....Rush said it...the T-bags really hope to derail the United States by shutting down the government or not raising the debt ceiling...definitely not pro-growth, definitely not pro-American....

    The result, not only have the Democrats captured the center in the country, they have captured the center-right..!!!!!

  •  I wish everybody in the country (0+ / 0-)

    could read this.  I wish the questions it asks could be put to those who aspire to lead this country, and that they would not be allowed to duck or sidestep any of them.

    Magnificent essay, Hunter!

    Fox News is to the truth as a flaming bag of dog shit is to a packed lunch. --MinistryOfTruth

    by snazzzybird on Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 02:34:57 PM PDT

  •  i haven't read any of the comments above, but... (0+ / 0-)

    this should be the sermon in every church/synagogue/mosque, etc on a perpetual basis.
    well said, hunter. carry on, and loudly!

  •  The only answer Republicans have (0+ / 0-)

    To justify their transfer of large scale wealth from the middle class to the super-rich is the federalist papers that expect the federal government to do nothing else besides defense! So many average folks do not realize that they are being royally screwed! Wish our dems would take more time to explain the other side of the argument as our President did the other day instead of rolling. Over and caving in at every instance!

  •  Oh, the goddamn Federalist Papers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ravenwind, Matt Z

    Frankly I am getting pretty sick of them.

    If the Founding Fathers had intended that the Federalist Papers be part of the ruling law of the land, they would have included them as appendices to the Constitution itself.

    They did not, for very good reasons.

    The FPs are interesting commentary but they do NOT carry the force of law.

  •  Word! (0+ / 0-)

    Brilliant. Thanks.

  •  Wonderful imagery: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ravenwind, Matt Z

    "...any of the crabby, shambling mounds of negativity grumping and plodding and tsk-tsking their way towards the presidency...?"

  •  Excellent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ravenwind, Matt Z

    One of the best pieces I've read in a long time.  It'll be crucial in the 2012 elections to enunciate what the repubs are about, and I hope that good progressive candidates can pull together a load of these thoughts into good campaign speeches and other messaging.  And that the msm and others pick up on this too.  Bravo.

  •  Impressive! (0+ / 0-)

    I've sent this on to a good-sized list.  Wish it would go viral.

    As others I have, I sure question why more Washington Democrats can't (or won't) articulate this reality.

  •  When the oligarchy can no longer control their (0+ / 0-)

    ...machine they'll need people who can think like independent people again.
    Corporate DNA is too simple. Not unlike a disease it strives to flourish. Profit is as complex as it will ever be and without human caring will serve only itself. Not CEO's or wall street titans, not anybody

    That would be Progressive Democrats to start the repair/dismantling of this legal fiction society has mistakenly chartered* and has now taken over the levers/reins of our collective voice (government)

    As long as we've got art, music and creative work and loved ones to care for we'll beat this thing.

    Just sayin

    So what, then, is the national purpose? Is there such a thing? Should there be such a thing?

    Yes, let's have some fun kicking some legislaive/electoral Gop ass come 2012. Then we'll have more work (Infrastructure etc. - every liberal goal) than we can shake a stick @

    * personhood:  a probable clerical error in 1886 [?] Santa Clara railroad case iirc

  •  Maggie Thatcher's answer to your questions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Taaffe
    So what, then, is the national purpose?
    Is there such a thing? Should there be such a thing?  

    ...was: "There is no such thing as Society, there are only individuals and their families,"  which implies a Hobbesian war of each against all, "and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

    In fact, even in hunter gatherer societies extended families are embedded in tribes, and higher order social organization emerged organically.

    I wonder what Maggie thought she was Prime Minister of?


    There's no such thing as a free market!

    by Albanius on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 12:21:54 AM PDT

    •  It's a matter of perception. (0+ / 0-)

      Some people can't see connections.  Large numbers of people are merely isolates, some with similar characteristics, others not--depending on the viewer's superficial optics.

      Imagine a person looking at pasture of wildflowers and seeing only different patches of color.  Having had no instruction in botany or biology, such a person cannot distinguish flowers from grasses or other herbs that herbivores know by instinct to consume.  It's a matter of perception.  One's own kind can be just as foreign as any other kind.

      by hannah on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 03:49:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Peak Oil is negative, too. (0+ / 0-)
    One of the more striking characteristics of the "new" Republican agenda (or the agenda of the conservative movement, or Tea Party movement, or whatever they prefer to call themselves) is how unrelentingly negative it is.
     Peak Oil is negative too, because it has to be.  There's no way to sugar coat how hard things will become once there is more demand for oil than supply, and we have done almost nothing to prepare for that contingency.  To think this situation is only a couple of years off, and we're still talking about cutting the alternative energy budget.

    On the front lines of the energy crisis.
    Peak Oil Hawaii

    by Arclite on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 04:11:08 AM PDT

  •  The Democratic Party of the past (0+ / 0-)

    would have gotten a WPA-style jobs program going as its first act upon taking political power. The 'new' Democratic party would never do such a thing.

    The Democratic Party of the past would have let teachers teach and be the judge of student achievement and poured resources toward that effort. The 'new' Democratic party bought into 2/3 of the Republican education agenda and poured money into corporations to subvert, circumvent and control teachers, while blaming them for the poverty of the schools they teach in.

    The Democratic Party of the past would have stood on the priinciple of equal access to higher education. The 'new' Democratic party shunts the poor off to underfunded community colleges, while chaining all students into a lifetime of student debt many - if not most - will never escape, while exploding the costs of higher education with pro-corporate policies, privatization, the explosion of administrative costs and the destruction of teacher salaries.

    The Democratic Party of the past would have stood its ground on the matter of living wages for all Americans. The 'new' Democratic party has been a happy co-collaborator in the destruction of living wage work in this country, across the employment spectrum.

    The Democratic Party of the past would have created millions of public jobs - at living wages - to serve the needs of the people. The 'new' Democratic party killled a million public jobs - in the middle of an economic depression - and was the leading agent of job destruction, until the Republicans outflanked them on the state level and went whole-hog against all public workers.

    The Democratic Party of the past would have responded to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and the wholesale destruction of thousands of cities, towns and communities by investing in those communities, providing work, rebuilding from within and creating new opportunities for grassroots economic activity. The 'new' Democratic Party serves the same economic agenda of corporate consolidation, globalization and the wipeout of Main Street, for the same corporations that finance and support the Republican party.

    The Democratic Party of the past would have defended homeowners against predatory banks. The 'new' Democratic Party defends banks guilty of fraud against the homeowners they defrauded.

    The Democratic Party of the past would have made sure people had heat and food when they were wanting. The 'new' Democratic party cuts food stamps and fuel assistance, even as these costs skyrocket and the trajectory of global warming warns us all these two issues will become more serious and dire in the coming decades.

    The Democratic Party led the charge on progressive tax rates and making sure the rich paid more. The 'new' Democratic Party gives lip-service to this issue, while cutting the budget on the backs of the poor, the unemployed and the economically endangered and putting corporate tax deadbeats - like GM's Immelt - in positions of enormous political power.

    The Democratic Party of the past made the same mistakes as the 'new' Democratic Party, and bought into imperial war, leading to their swift defeat and destruction by the Republican Party.

    The Democratic party of the past created the working middle class, the 'new' Democratic Party is destroying it.

    The Democratic Party of the past was the party of FDR, JFK, the New Deal and the Great Society. The 'new' Democratic Party is the party of Wall Street, K Street, tax cuts for the superrich, programmatic cuts for the poor, endless imperial war and smarmy public relations campaigns that recall the memory of the old Democratic Party, while their policies resemble the old Republican Party.

    This is not the change I voted for and I will not vote for it again.

  •  completely agree... (0+ / 0-)

    ...this is where the rhetoric for the presidential campaign should be headed over the next year and half- if only the white house can get in charge of the narrative.

    I have constantly been struck by this change in the national mood- and honestly it has been there for at least a decade.  It is staggering to me the number of people out there who are simply convinced that our country is incapable of doing anything- but who also think that this is the greatest, most wonderful country on earth.

    How in the world can a person think that their nation is great if it decides to not keep its promises to its citizens through social security and medicare?  Or that continues to think that basic health services are not a fundamental benefit of our society?

    I do not get their mindset.

    My thinking on this is that we need to portray them as thinking that America's best days are behind us- just  like Ronald Reagan did to Jimmy Carter.

  •  Thank You Hunter! (0+ / 0-)

    You've described the job ahead of us. To define who we are. To describe where we'll go. To determine our priorities. To define what is American and describe the American Dream.

    Seems we'll be bringing the conservatives along, as we always do, because our vision will include ALL of us. They won't understand how they got there, but we'll bring them along anyway and they'll believe they made it happen, as they always do.

    Thank you.

    "In a world of the blind, the one-eyed man is a pariah" Ask Galileo -- Ask Darwin

    by OKParrothead on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 07:40:24 AM PDT

  •  i rarely post link to non-finance sites (0+ / 0-)

    but essay  made the cut, and i had to write about these same issues, as they are
    exactly the financial problem. and yes, as others have noted, this is the oligarchy at war with the productive classes before they waken to the struggle.

  •  The "nation" is a secular deity, (0+ / 0-)

    in whose name humans are punished by government, because government can.  It is an improvement over religions which preach good behavior but have no recourse against the bad behavior in which humans, by nature, engage.
    Punishment is the sole gratification allowed because that way lies power.  And power over other people is the only available choice when power over oneself is denied.
    American conservatives are bedeviled by their own impotence.  The only relief lies in subordinating someone else.

    by hannah on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 03:31:02 AM PDT

  •  The answer to Shapiro's question in 2004 (0+ / 0-)

    by hannah on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 03:42:20 AM PDT

  •  Great, I needed something for (0+ / 0-)

    page 3 of my Democratic Club's newsletter.  I will credit you.

    Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

    by Seneca Doane on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:54:29 PM PDT

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