Chuck Spinney: Progressives Argue Over Defeating Obama – a Conversation on Email

Civil Society, Commerce, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government
Chuck Spinney

Most of my liberal friends reluctantly support President Obama’s re-election, because the alternative is so much worse.  Invariably, they invoke the effects of a Romney presidency on judicial appointments, especially those to the Supreme Court (ironically, Obama’s two appointees just voted with the majority to decline to hear the Guantanamo case, if effect, putting another nail in the coffin that is burying habeas corpus).  For those few still on the fence, the attached article by one of the President’s former law professors provides useful food for thought.

Chuck Spinney
San Remo, Italy

 JUNE 20, 2012Obama’s Former Law Prof Declares: “Obama has failed the progressive cause.”Why Obama Must be Defeatedby RUSSELL MOKHIBERNot Ralph Nader. Not Amy Goodman. Not Noam Chomsky. Not Chris Hedges. Not Cornel West. Not Alexander Cockburn. Not one of the great left critics in the United States have dared say what Harvard Law School Professor Roberto Unger said last week. “President Obama must be defeated in the coming election.”In 1976, at age 29, Roberto Unger became the youngest tenured professor at Harvard Law School. Obama took two classes from Unger – Jurisprudence and Reinventing Democracy. During the 2008 campaign, Unger was reportedly in frequent contact with candidate Barack Obama via email and Blackberry.But here he is today saying that “President Obama must be defeated in the coming election.”

Why?

“He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States,” Unger said in a heavily edited video posted on YouTube last month.

  • “He has spent trillions of dollars to rescue the moneyed interests and left workers and homeowners to their own devices.
  • He has subordinated the broadening of economic and educational opportunities to the important but secondary issue of access to health care in the mistaken belief that he would be spared a fight.”
  • “He has disguised his surrender with an empty appeal to tax justice.
  • He has delivered the politics of democracy to the rule of money.
  • He has reduced justice to charity.”
  • “His policy is financial confidence and food stamps.
  • He has evoked a politics of hand holding. But no one changes the world without a struggle.”

“Unless he is defeated, there cannot be a contest for the re-orientation of the Democratic Party as the vehicle of a progressive alternative in the country,”

Under said.

  • “There will be a cost for his defeat in judicial and administrative appointments.”
  • “The risk of military adventurism, however, under the rule of his opponents, will be no greater than it would be under him.”

“Only a political reversal can allow the voice of democratic prophesy to speak once again in American life. It’s speech is always dangerous. It’s silence is always fatal.”

Russell Mokhiber edits the Corporate Crime Reporter.

COL GI WILSON USMC (Ret) with permission:

Chuck, still feel It makes no difference who is POTUS,. Nothing (like in zilch-nothing) will ever improve saving this Nation from itself and its self-induced-death-spiral until Congress (all sides of the aisles), big money lobbyist/PACs, revolting-revolving door Generals/Admirals/Colonels appointees/contractors are brutalized into being accountable/responsible with each staying on its own side of the fence. Hell we are all fired up about the radicalized jihadi threat while DC flourishes (as DC  Grand Poobahs fiddle as the Potomac Palaces burn) as the cosmic cesspool of our political radicalized elites of all stripes. The self-licking toilet bowl is standard kit for Congress. Nothing gets done in DC save Congress puts on this great act they are acting….acting in a theatrical sense!  Semper-13th-Cup-of-Coffee,  “GI”

ANONYMOUS 001

Chuck, et, al.,

I love you, you are one of my mentors. But, i have to agree with GI, it does not matter who is in the White House, the big banks, corporate interests backed by last year’s Supreme Court decision for unlimited funding (I mean bribes)=unparalled in the history of mankind=GREED, makes it impossible to get a real leader in there. Romney will be worse, he will “strip mine” the nation worse than Obama has, at least Obama appears to care for the middle class. Any fucking dude that puts a dog in a box on top of his station wagon on a long trip, is a dirt bag.

Only until the fellow citizens start reading above the 7th Grade level, understanding the Constitution, stop believing all crap that the upper echelons of the military are the most trustworty institution in the country, media gets real balls and returns to unbaised reporting, and they vote real leaders into office, will there be change. But first, we will have a big financial crash, followed by the survival of the fittest.

I was at an AUSA sponsored conference on Mission Command. What a fucking joke. Every panel was filled up with with GOs and headed by retired GOs. They all talked about it in cheerleading terms, that by simply saying we will do it,  and it will happen like making a wish in one hand and taking a shit in the other. See what fills up the fastest.

I had been invited to speak, but then someone said no (No guts to tell me who). Their excuse, I am a dirty contractor, needed more uniforms and government people. Then, not one expert on Mission Command, and I think I know them all, were invited to speak. Eitan Shimar, who just wrote the great book Transforming Command (on mission command), was invited in my place, but then they refused to pay for his plane ticket from Israel, so he could not afford to come.

Only one guy, Lenny Wong from SSI at the War College had any balls. His presentation was “Barriers to Mission Command”. It was well done, and supported by the latest data from last years “Study of Professionalism sponsored by Army Center of Professional Army Ethics at West Point (I worked with these guys on this, and some real good guys, surprised they did not get fired for the results they found out-just will be allowed to fired and not promoted). Anyway, I was very proud of Lenny. His data was exactly what I had seen, and it said, that the lower ranks of the Army think there is no trust or empowerment to do mission command.

Lenny also presented data that says, that most of today’s younger officers and incoming people are coming from a risk averse Army culture and larger society that is risk averse, that they enjoy being told what to do, and like others doing it for them. This is in reference to all training having been taken away from companies and battalions in the last ten years, and done by a mobile training team pre-mob deployment plan, every thing is laid out when, where and how much. He said with such a culture as this, and larger society (which I agree again), how can we be professional enough to do Mission Command? Later, when Lenny was even in the audience, he sat in the very back, other panels made under the breath fun of his data and comments.

Nothing was said about the bloated force struture, out of date personnel system (two recent studies within the last two years said it was due to the personnel system that the Army could not become adaptive or was a barrier to being adaptive), a bloated senior officer ranks, doctrine that was too directive and too thick, and equipment to technological sensitive to be used in long term operations (well, that is ok, if our doctrine was right, we would never occupy any country, and only do in and out expeditionary operations).

Hey, see attachment, du now, more data confirming what we have been saying, see email below and attached dissertation.

I have a lot more work to do,

2012-06-21 Sowers_nanomanagement

ANONYMOUS 002:

GI–

Though I hold you in very high regard – as you know –  I cannot agree with you on this occasion. Of course it makes a difference who is president providing he or she actually communicates the situation, and spells out in a clear and forthright manner what needs to be done. Obama rarely does that – except in a general sense; and even when he does, he rarely communicates well despite the fact that he has a reputation as a great speaker. He may have made some great speeches (a matter of debate) but generally speaking he is a poor communicator. He speaks too fast; he throws away the ends of his sentences; he goes on too long; and he seems incapable of focusing on the point. Listen to a few FDR speeches and the contrast is truly striking. Here I would add that the actual content of Obama’s speeches leaves a great deal to be desired. I don’t know who writes for him, or whether he, Obama screws up the message, but the end results are generally mediocre. And I am being kind.
This communication problem is fundamental because it allows the Republicans to pound away at him through disciplined talking points (ably crafted with the assistance of the charming but dangerous Frank Luntz) and gives the impression that Obama doesn’t have a clear sense of direction, but is primarily opportunistic in both style and vision. Is that impression correct? I have no idea. I don’t know what Obama stands for – and never have. Accordingly, though I think he was superior to the alternative – and still probably is – and may well be a decent man and competent – his vision for this deeply troubled nation remains a mystery to me. In contrast, the Republican message, which I regard as deeply flawed to the point of leading to disaster – is clear-cut. It comes across as decisive and gives everyone someone to hate starting off with Big Government. A Good Hate, like A Big Cry, can be deeply satisfying. 
Obama compounds the problem by appearing to be far too close to the financial sector, and by failing to identify – in defiance of a great deal of well researched data – the sheer scale of the disaster inflicted upon this country by the big banks and other financial institutions. People are aware, of course, in general terms, but the Great Recession constituted a regular Pearl Harbor in relation to this, and other, economies; and should be treated accordingly. If we interned Japanese Americans in WWII, perhaps we should consider interning senior members of the financial sector this time around. And we certainly should have put the major banks into receivership. After all, the Swedes did that in the early Nineties and it worked like a charm (and their economy is booming). Instead, truly vast sums have been – and are being – spent on subsidizing the financial sector while the earning power of the average American steadily declines. Study the figures. They are dramatic in their implications.
Obama is also guilty of failing to identify and spell out the clear imbalance between the welfare of the average American and corporate America, and to come up with solutions. He could, and should, if he really believes in “We the People” but instead seems to think that de facto corporate rule is acceptable providing the appearance of democracy is maintained. One is reminded of Augustus remaining the fiction that the institutions of the Roman Republic were still strong and vital whereas the reality was that the emperor held all the power. 
My point is that there is much that Obama could have done – and still could do – but which he chooses to ignore. At a time when we clearly need a leader of vision, character and candor, who can use the bully pulpit to chart a new direction, we have a competent but excessively cautious technocrat in the role.
Would Romney be better? I doubt it very much.
Right now, we don’t just need A Few Good Men: We need a Few Good Speeches which lead this country in a drastically different direction.
I have one additional criticism of Obama. It is had not to be struck by the sheer lack of imagination that has been shown. At a time when boldness and fresh thinking has been called for, all we have had is more of the same.  Once again, look back at FDR.
By the way, when I wrote REDACTED, the whole thesis of the book is that REDACTED is chosen to save the day because all American humans are too corrupted by greed and Fast Food to do the job. Of course, it is a satire but my core argument is that leadership matters. 
Which you know perfectly well.
TOM CLEAVER:

Anyone who thinks there wasn’t a “dime’s worth of difference” between Al Gore and George W. Bush has their head up their assets.  It might have only been 11 cents worth of difference, but consider where we would be without having had an Iraq War, not involved in endless bullshit in Afghanistan, and not reeling from 8 years of Republican economic mismanagement.  Whatever the alternative would be, it would definitely not be this bad.For those of us who thought we had finally won the election of 1968 back in 2008, it is disappointing, but we failed to consider how radicalized, how “Confederate”” the current Republican Party is.  The “Southernist” (a political movement, different from “southern,” a regional culture) political parasite that has chosen one or the other of the major national parties on the basis of whichever would grant recognition of their “peculiar institutions” since the foundation of the Republic decided after the “treason” of the Democrats on the issue of civil rights 50 years ago that it would take over a party to insure its interests were cared for.  When a parasite takes over the host, the host dies, and what we are seeing is that situation in the current Republican Party.  There is no way this gaggle of Southern wackadoodles can be allowed near any levers of any power if they can be stopped. I’ve said it before and will say it again:  “Not the Republicans” may not generate a lot of excitement, but it is the one choice that has within it the possibility of “Not what we have now” being created.

I’m enjoying this conversation.

ROBERT STEELE:

Here is my own contribution.

GI is right.  The White House has been theater since JFK was murdered by a mix of financial, oil, criminal, and military interests, and LBJ actively assisted in the cover-up.  All three branches of the federal government are corrupt.  For those not aware, the Supreme Court has been molded by Justice Lewis Powell and the US Chamber of Commerce, working over decades to establish the “personality” of the corporation (which, bearing in mind that all corporations operate under public charters, is moderately insane as well as criminal).

That in  turn was a sharp deepening of the shadow government that emerged from the capture of all the Japanese gold in the Philippines, gold that became the Black Lily Fund and was used, among other things, to marry up with 100 Nazis a year imported by CIA, with special deals among the Vatican, Zionists, reinstated Nazis in Germany, reinstated fascists in Italy and Japan, and generally create a governing class able to integrate wealth, secrecy, and special access to further their own ends to the detriment of the public interest.  Since JFK’s death, I do not believe that the US government has effectively represented the public interest, particularly in relation to future generations.

I believed in Obama.  I even drove to Iowa to help in his campaign, was immediately turned off by his staff, put a memo under his door, and tried repeatedly to get Axelrod and Plouffe to focus on substance.  I realize he had sold out after he broke his promise to stick to public funding, and he has still not accounted for $300 million in contributions out of $750 million.

We live in a two-party tyranny.  I ran for President for six weeks (accepted as a candidate by the Reform Party, registered with FEC, the campaign website remains up at http://bigbatusa.org).  There are eight political parties accredited at the national level, and all it would take to put all eight on every ballot would be an act of congress instructing the states to put every part on every ballot for federal office (cannot mandate state and local), and to include all eight parties in every debate pertaining to a federal office.  Such a bill has been introduced nine times, the last four by Ron Paul, and always laughed off the floor.  The two-party tyranny lives to exploit the public purse and to borrow money in the public’s name, money it discounts by 95%–no earmakr is too criminal or insane, as long as the requisite 5% makes its way into the Political Action Committee (PAC) coffers.  Our Congress, a tiny handful not-with-standing, is despicable, beneath contempt, and richly deserving of public recall, shunning and exile.

With all due respect, to consider Obama anything other than a complete puppet is to ignore his appointments.   Just think, carefully, about who he has appointed beginning with Rahm Emmanuel, and moving on through the Cabinet–from the well-intentioned ignorant to the pathologically corrupt (Paulson) and the deeply disturbed (Holden), Obama has made Bush-Cheney look good, something I would have thought impossible.

Occupy had a chance and blew it.  Now they are busy vying for small hand-outs from the “non-profits” used by the foundations and financial webs to control the opposition and field their own controlled opposition (the Tea Party, for example).

America has become a very sad case.  As one author puts it, an empire of illusion.  There is no one now serving — including Ron Paul — who is qualified nor deserving of being our President.  And that, my colleagues, is this year’s epitach for a Republic long lost.

Semper Fidelis,
Robert Steele

ANONYMOUS 003:

I will try to jump into the fray here…First, I think it is correct that Kennedy tried to do some very significant things. In fact, there is a new book out about his assassination that raises some frightening questions…There’s also a book by Noam Chomsky suggesting he wasn’t so great, but then there is the famous American University address. That’s something very important (at least rhetorically).  Second, I just walked by the elevated subway station at 125th Street and Broadway in Manhattan.  Obama’s stimulus money helped give it a paint job, so that’s something.  I don’t think Romney would do anything about that.  The junking of democracy is pretty much a bipartisan effort, although certain legislators in places like Vermont, New York City, and Portland, know what’s going on.  For example, the local Congressman Nadler declared that we were in a DEPRESSION.  So, Nadler is not Obama, but that’s something.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/01/08/after-iowa-and-new-hampshire/  In this article the author explained that we had to build a political network external to the political parties and influence electoral outcomes.  The left largely abdicated doing this, but some worked within the Obama campaigns pseudo-grassroots machinery.  There should have been a parallel effort, like Gingrich’s party within the party structure, but there wasn’t.  The unions could have registered voters, built mailing lists, used campaigning for him to create networks to forge an independent media contact base so after Obama sold them out in part, they would be having something left over.   Alexander Cockburn proposed Russ Feingold for President.  So, if he runs, I will vote for him.  But, really, we need to think about this four years from now, nobody who was associated with the Democrats will go up against Obama now.  Also, if Obama wins or loses, the same processes and networks are needed, so we should be building these networks, e.g. www.globalteachin.com  that we organized in about 20 places.

TOM CLEAVER:

While the author may be correct that Obama has “failed the progressive cause,” (I certainly find myself disappointed, after having raised $350,000 for him in 2008 from small donors who were willing to rearrange their family budgets to “max out” their donation, so strongly did they believe in “change worth fighting for”) his solution is one only someone as out of touch with reality as a law professor (I’ve experienced these people first-hand, and they do mostly live in a cloud-cuckoo land of simulated reality) could arrive at.

Sorry, but letting the Far Right take over this country through a Romney presidency that sees the enactment of the Ryan Budget is a catastrophe too awful to contemplate, not to mention the war with Iran this service-avoiding moron will allow himself to be pushed into by those who are working to create Armageddon and speed the Second Coming.  Like it or not, we need to be as enthusiastic as “progressives” should have been about voting for the uninteresting Social Democrat in Germany back in January 1933.  Put bluntly:  under Obama there will be room to continue to try and achieve what we are all hoping to achieve and put things right once again.  Under the Far Right, we are likely to find ourselves dealing directly with the system Upton Sinclair had in mind back in 1932 when he said “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”  The stakes for the future are far too great to allow the kind of doctrinaire stupidity that ranks with the German Communists’ belief that electing Hitler would “spur the revolution.”  We all know what a great idea that was.

MARSHALL AUERBACK:

Romney is getting even more money from Wall Street, which is truly frightening. If Romney gets in he will just treat the economy as another private equity deal i.e. restructuring. He may restructure the debt (normal PE style is to go for longer duration and more of it) but I fear that as he “restructures” the economy, people may look back at 8% unemployment rates with a degree of fondness! PE chaps tend not to take prisoners. I can’t see how anyone can get the economy growing properly without real wage growth – as I understand it the nominal median wage of about $45k p.a. has not increased since 2003 (and in real terms since the 1970’s). No wonder most people can’t afford to educate their kids. Perhaps corporates are the solution but only if someone orchestrates some inequality rebalancing – and by the way, the 1%  are doing “just fine” under Obama, which makes me wonder what else these modern day Robber Barons want.

ANONYMOUS 004:

Obama is what FDR would have acted like if there had not been gigantic forces from below pushing up and against the status quo. Kennedy, according the Seymour Melman, founded the modern day MICC. The great Liberal “pulse” from about 1932 to 1968 was more of an aberration for the Democratic Party (don’t know if there are fans of Walter Karp out there, but he is a good source) than the ensuing or previous years — Carter, Clinton and Obama are par for the course, which is to do as little as possible.  Only forces from below push that possible.  The Republicans, since they turned into the dominant party after the Civil War, are constantly campaigning for oligarchy.  Again, the only real push-back comes from below.

I think a Romney presidency would accentuate some of the worst of the Left, which is to simply muckrake about the Republicans, without forming an alternative agenda.  Roberto Unger has an interesting youtube video called “beyond stimulus”, which is an interesting start for an agenda.  The Russian historian Alexander Gerschenkron wrote a little essay called “The advantages of backwardness” in which he pointed out that the faster you need to reconstruct society the more government has to intervene in the economy.  My own work has focused on quite a bit of national planning, which for perhaps easy-to-understand reasons is not high on the agenda, but I don’t hear anything about this on the Left, in fact, I don’t hear much in terms of agenda on the Left.
If we are collectively heading for a cliff, the Republicans want to drive there at 60 mph, and the Democrats at 20mph.  A slower speed still gives us more time to create an alternative, it seems to me.  Thanks Chuck for this discussion!

ROBERT STEELE:

Folks, if you really think unemployment is at 8% you are not doing your homework.   Consider these:

Paul Craig Roberts: December Net Jobs a 12,000 LOSS – Actual Unemployment 2.6 Times Official Rate or 22.4%

Josh Kilbourn: John Williams of ShadowStats Discusses Most Recent False Economic Statistics

Mini-Me: Economists Scoff at Obama, Romney Job-Creation Myths

Penguin: DEAR AMERICA You Should Be Mad As Hell About This [CHARTS]

ANONYMOUS 005:

Folks, I am going to elaborate on some comments I made to my brother Chuck in reply to his food for thought e-mail. First of all I share the general disappointment in Barack Obama many of you feel. Sell out is not too strong a term to describe many of his policies and actions. However I do not accept the logic that he must be defeated. Such logic carries within it the implicit assumption that the Republicans under Romney could do no worse and that somehow the country could weather the next four or eight years without lasting damage. I utterly disagree with such thinking and view it as highly dangerous.

Today’s Republican Party is run by hard men and women to whom the term compromise means coming around to their point of view. As we have seen, they have not hesitated to practice scorched earth politics without regard to right or wrong much less the good of the country. Their creedo is that government is the problem and can be brought to heel by simply privatizing many of the functions we traditionally view as public services. Those of you who have served in the military–did you ever think you would see the day that the army could no longer feed or clothe itself? Did you ever think you would see the army fighting  with the “assistance ” of mercenary private contractors such as Blackwater? Granted Obama has done nothing to change this but do you seriously believe Romney will do anything other than accelerate this trend? He is, after all a Private Equity Man and you may be sure that Wall Street will not be disciplined on his watch Nor will government contractors be held to any stricter accountability than they are now. In fact abuse will likely get worse. THEY DON’T WANT THE SYSTEM TO WORK!!! They want less government and don’t want to pay for it regardless of size. Way back in the 1980’s the Hudson institute and many other right wing think tanks advocated high Federal deficits as a means of crowding out people programs with the ultimate aim of undoing 50 years of progressive legislation. Ultimately their aim is to privatize Social Security and let Wall Street play with it Do you seriously believe Romney will buck this trend? Likely he would favor it coming from a private equity background.
Most importantly, Obama will be a lame duck if reelected and that fact alone will limit his ability to do any more damage. If the Republicans capture both houses they may try to impeach him but that could backfire as it did with Clinton.The election of Romney on the other hand will provide a window of opportunity to enact policies that will hasten the peonization of America particularly if the Republicans capture both houses on top of the Supreme Court. Imagine all three branches of government controlled by such people. It’s bad enough now but with Obama as a lame duck, I think the damage will be less. Not much of a choice for ” World Only Superpower” but we must buy time for a newer more altruistic generation to assume the leadership of our country.
There is no positive outcome. Electoral reform will not come from Occupy or any other collection of interested parties. They don’t have the money and everyone is too busy just treading water to get involved. Real change will come -as in 1929-with a collapse of the system. Very likely that will happen-it;s just a question of when and on who’s watch. My only hope is to delay the inevitable until the right people can assume leadership when the crunch comes.

ROBERT STEELE:

Respectfully, the only possible positive outcome is NEITHER of the two parties.  If enough serious people came together and made electoral reform an issue (working with Occupy and many others we identified the 11 core points, a statement of demand was composed, and it could be done in 30 days), that would serve as the bridge to a new coalition that included the Independents now marginalized.  The details are at http://bigbatusa.org.  I take it no one has looked.  Below are three articles published in Reality Sandwich.  I can do no more.  Not a single candidate — and I included Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader — is serious about restoring the Republic.

2012 Reality Sandwich: The Open Source Everything Manifesto

2012 Reality Sandwich: How I Tested the Boundaries of the Two-Party Tyranny – Last Call for Occupy/*

2012 Reality Sandwich: The Battle for the Soul of the Republic

TOM CLEAVER:

Obama is what FDR would have acted like if there had not been gigantic forces from below pushing up and against the status quo.

Absolutely the case.  Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s classic “The Coming of the New Deal” should be read and re-read nowadays to understand those “gigantic forces.”  Another good one is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “No Ordinary Time” about FDR and Eleanor and how the war ended up being fought for things worth winning (despite the Republicans being as obstructionist in the middle of our biggest war ever as they are today – I couldn’t help as I read it thinking in various places that I was reading of today – but then there’s a reason why my great-grand-uncle Jim McKelvey, who spent his life working for his old artillery battery commander Harry Truman, told me 55 years ago that “the only ‘good Republicans’ are pushing up daisies.”   They’ve always been SOBs)  It’s also important that Roosevelt understood this, too. He was told in 1933 what needed to be done, and told those who told him “you’re right, now go out there and convince the people to convince me it should happen.”

COL GI WILSON USMC (RET):

Tragically the U.S. military just like Congress (PC Generals/Admirals artfully mirror/mimic congressional behavior) concordant with DOD’s inability  to conduct warfare within clearly defined Constitutional and sensible strategic parameters are insidiously perverted by domestic political interests, political correctness and political constituencies inside the senior ranks of America’s military establishment fused to the Generals’ and Admirals’ unabashed careerism.The same is true of Congress where “Congress Persons” are fused to their own unabashed political careerism of contributing to the money flow at all costs. They wish to secure the money flow rather than secure the Nation. The political reality is the Defense Industrial Congress Complex loves the congressional dysfunction. Congress and industry lobbyists have no interest in r use for a system with functioning checks and balances where accountability and responsible are taken seriously. PC and dysfunction rein supreme. it is truly a wondrous political plumbers’ aradise featuring the self-licking toilet bowl and cape jobs of selling high voltage water facets to the bare foot and unsuspecting masses. Again, it does not matter who the POTUS for POTUS is no match for the congressional plumbers.  S/f

TOM CLEAVER:

For those who wonder if anything can be done about Republicans, I submit the following from the Rachel Maddow Blog today,  Do click the hyperlinks.  This is pretty shocking, even for someone who thinks modern Republicans are the space aliens John Carpenter meant when he did a little movie about being able to put on special sunglasses and discover who the aliens were.

Andrew Sullivan makes the case today that one of the major American political parties is “unhinged.”

Or, rather, it is living in an alternative reality. 63 percent of Republicans in a new poll believe that Saddam Hussein had WMDs when we invaded in 2003, despite even George W. Bush’s acknowledgment that he didn’t. 64 percent also believe that Barack Obama was born in a foreign country, even though we have the long-form birth certificate from Hawaii. This alternate reality is sustained by a 24 hour propaganda network, and hermetically sealed off from any external intervention.

We are reaching a democratic crisis of some sorts. One major political party refuses to accept empirical truths. It has become a hall of ideological mirrors.

 

Andrew’s not exaggerating. His item references this Dan Froomkin piece, published today, on a YouGov poll conducted last month. To help drive home the point, I put together a chart based the YouGov results on the WMD question.

Remember, the poll was completed last month — as in, May 2012, not May 2003.

About a year ago, I wrote that the scope of the nation’s challenges is enormous, but the larger problem is that we lack a discourse equipped to even begin serious conversations about how to address those problems: “[A]ny policy discussion has to progress from a shared foundation of reality, and at this point, the right isn’t even prepared to accept the basics.”

ANONYMOUS:

I very much enjoy the “company” and the quality of the conversation amongst friends, and at the same time find the conclusions to be very sobering.  I am left pondering whether Voltaire didn”t have it right when he suggested, “il faut cultiver notre jardin”. Most days, I get by simply by tending to my garden.  It’s Mussolini style corporatists vs the Hezbollah!

ROBERT STEELE:

BOTH political parties are unhinged.  This is what all you smart liberal progressive Democratic-leaning folks are  not computing.  Van Jones makes the same mistake in his recent book that I am reviewing shortly at Amazon (Rebuild the Dream).  Al Gore took the bribe that Warren Christopher delivered verbally and today Al Gore is worth $100 million.  Al Gore, who knew about the crimes of Jeb Bush and company three months in advance (Greg Palatz broke the story), CHOSE to step aside for financial considerations.  He lost his integrity, and we lost all semblance of balance.

ANONYMOUS 006:

If there had been no Grest Depression, there would have been no FDR. Timing is everyrhing. As far as the Republicans go, we have Teapot Dome, the Great Crash, McCarthyism, Cambodia, Watergate, Iran Contra, Iraq, Afghanistan, Reaganomics and the Crash of 2008, and “Corporations are now people” to thank them for. This is a Rap Sheet not a history of accomplishments and all would do well to remember this when arguing that it makes no difference who is in charge. The Democrats at least have a long history of legislation in behalf of Middle America and little people. Politics is the art of the possible and right now the only possibility open to us is to try to arrest the damage being done. For all his mistakes and misdeeds, Obama is not Newt Gingrich, Jim DeMint, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Tom DeLay et al. He is the lesser of the evils and they system is rigged against any third party candidate. Moreover one simply cannot declare a “pox on both houses” and withdraw behind a fortress of idealism. Like I said, stick to the possible and work for a better day. There are no promises. We may not be lucky as we were in 1933. The Messiah may not come. But what other choice do we have realistically?

ANONYMOUS 007:

I must be up front, I am of neither side, neither party (they are one in the same to me now it is all about power and playing good cop bad cop, but the Dems dont do it well, they just roll over to the Reps side of the status quo)-I cannot stand the lot of them. I am a Constitutionalist, small government guy. Politburos don’t work.

The problem we have to day, is much deeper and distrubing than who occupies the WH. This is a sympton of the larger cancer destroying our nation. We are not creating leaders, problems solvers, people who seek and accept responsibility beyond their self.

We are taking too much responsibility and accountability away from the shoulders of the individual. I just participated in the last two years in a study on Army professionalism, as well as my own studies for my forthcoming book. I have translated what I have studied extensively for 30 years, leadership and warfare, and discovered that same factors filtering over to the larger society. If you want the most out of people, you have to enable the conditions for them to succeed, within the boundaries of ethical conduct.

We are now moving in the extreme opposite way, not with progressive acts, as I read, most of you stand for (and a noble cause for goodiness), but the ruling elite, now bribe people with big government, making them more dependent and less able to be individuals that can think. That way, they can “strip mine” the country to become even more wealthier. As I say, when is enough enough?  Obama Care will do this, as Romney pushed his version as governor, as a way to make the masses more dependent on the government.

At the same time, you have to be bordering on harshness with people, who on their own free will, know the facts, but still do stupid shit, must be held accountable for their actions. Only family or friends can make the decision to bail them out. My good friend Al Gill and I had a good argument last year about Ron Paul (whom I am for) and the current system in place. “How about the drug addict you find on the street? Do you deny him care bcause he does not have it?”

Years ago, after working years with my youngest step son on drugs, lost a lot to it, he decided to go out anyway, and overdose. When they took him to the hospital, my wife went (she is my biological mother), but I did not. I also refused to help him until he would seek treatment and stop using drugs. He recovered, realizing no one was going to bail him out, and now, after two years, has turned around (still living with us for free as he pays off his fines and gets his feet down), but we, not the government must play these roles.

You have to also realize that, like everyone in the military does not want or aspire to be Chief of Staff (how it is designed on that very poor out dated assumption of Ego Ethotism from the 1920s, as well as mistranslation of the Progressive movement a few years before), everyone does to aspire to be rich (though through television the system tries to brainwash everyone to believe that is success).

With that, the Republicans–whom I quit the party in the early 90s due to Newt and their move to the extreme right (“Christian Taliban”)-I am a Christian, but my interpretation of the bible as well as the Constitution is that it is not my place to judge others. As long as they and their actions don’t interfere with my life. I have enough time keeping myself in line–belong to the modern Robber Barons. The most greedy and selfish of any lot I have studied in history. Why are they the worse, and most should be shot? Because the data is incredible about what you do to a nation when you don’t have a vibrant middle class, you start looking like Mexico, two classes, the haves and everyone else that don’t have anything. They have forgotten the conditions that enabled them to be wealthy in the first place, how about giving something back?

Enough rambling, just my position from my earlier rant about lack of leadership.