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Barack Obama
"Lincoln Sells Out Slaves"
by: Rob Kailey - Sep 13
1 Comments
If You Haven't Seen This
by: Rob Kailey - Apr 28
5 Comments
Impeach the President?
by: Rob Kailey - Mar 16
15 Comments
It's the system, stupid!
by: Jay Stevens - Oct 24
7 Comments

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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.

It's the system, stupid!

by: Jay Stevens

Sun Oct 24, 2010 at 18:37:25 PM MST


Matt wrote about Ryan Lizza's piece on the failure of climate-change legislation in the Senate, and found in it reason to "abolish the rules" of the Senate, which are "making our nation ungovernable." You probably know filibuster reform had me at "hello," so I put the article on the back burner, only slogging through it today.

Spoiler alert! I'm going to give away the ending, so if you want to be surprised, stop reading now!

The bill failed because of a combination of partisan Republicans, commercial interests' control of Congress, and fearful Democrats with a too-steady eye on polling numbers:

In September, I asked Al Gore why he thought climate legislation had failed. He cited several reasons, including Republican partisanship, which had prevented moderates from becoming part of the coalition in favor of the bill. The Great Recession made the effort even more difficult, he added. "The forces wedded to the old patterns still have enough influence that they were able to use the fear of the economic downturn as a way of slowing the progress toward this big transition that we have to make."

..."The influence of special interests is now at an extremely unhealthy level," Gore said. "And it's to the point where it's virtually impossible for participants in the current political system to enact any significant change without first seeking and gaining permission from the largest commercial interests who are most affected by the proposed change"....

As the Senate debate expired this summer, a longtime environmental lobbyist told me that he believed the "real tragedy" surrounding the issue was that Obama understood it profoundly. "I believe Barack Obama understands that fifty years from now no one's going to know about health care," the lobbyist said. "Economic historians will know that we had a recession at this time. Everybody is going to be thinking about whether Barack Obama was the James Buchanan of climate change."

Quite the shocker, eh? Okay, maybe not. But certainly the failure of climate change legislation is the icing on the cake of the systematic failure of government, finance, and media. Sure, in DC-land, it was collateral damage in its strange Kabuki theater, but climate change is the biggest crisis we've ever faced, our response to it here and now likely determining whether our planet will be habitable for humans in the next generation or so. (Sorry, kids. A bunch of Senators didn't like the idea of hurting coal industry short-term profit.)

Jay Stevens :: It's the system, stupid!
And here's Frank Rich to tell you like it is:

No matter how much Obama talks about his "tough" new financial regulatory reforms or offers rote condemnations of Wall Street greed, few believe there's been real change. That's not just because so many have lost their jobs, their savings and their homes. It's also because so many know that the loftiest perpetrators of this national devastation got get-out-of-jail-free cards, that too-big-to-fail banks have grown bigger and that the rich are still the only Americans getting richer.

This intractable status quo is being rubbed in our faces daily during the pre-election sprint by revelations of the latest banking industry outrage, its disregard for the rule of law as it cut every corner to process an avalanche of foreclosures. Clearly, these financial institutions have learned nothing in the few years since their contempt for fiscal and legal niceties led them to peddle these predatory mortgages (and the reckless financial "products" concocted from them) in the first place. And why should they have learned anything? They've often been rewarded, not punished, for bad behavior....

The real tragedy here, though, is not whatever happens in midterm elections. It's the long-term prognosis for America. The obscene income inequality bequeathed by the three-decade rise of the financial industry has societal consequences graver than even the fundamental economic unfairness. When we reward financial engineers infinitely more than actual engineers, we "lure our most talented graduates to the largely unproductive chase" for Wall Street riches, as the economist Robert H. Frank wrote in The Times last weekend. Worse, Frank added, the continued squeeze on the middle class leads to a wholesale decline in the quality of American life - from more bankruptcy filings and divorces to a collapse in public services, whether road repair or education, that taxpayers will no longer support.

Even as the G.O.P. benefits from unlimited corporate campaign money, it's pulling off the remarkable feat of persuading a large swath of anxious voters that it will lead a populist charge against the rulers of our economic pyramid - the banks, energy companies, insurance giants and other special interests underwriting its own candidates. Should those forces prevail, an America that still hasn't remotely recovered from the worst hard times in 70 years will end up handing over even more power to those who greased the skids.

We can blame much of this turn of events on the deep pockets of oil billionaires like the Koch brothers and on the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which freed corporations to try to buy any election they choose. But the Obama White House is hardly innocent. Its failure to hold the bust's malefactors accountable has helped turn what should have been a clear-cut choice on Nov. 2 into a blurry contest between the party of big corporations and the party of business as usual.

GOPers are naturally irate at this line of reasoning. This year, they're painting their Republican big-money stooges as champions of liberty and freedom, brave outsiders bucking the corrupt (Democratic) system! (Yes, take the time now to weep or laugh now, whichever you prefer.) But the hits to the House seats and the president's approval rating are quite normal this political landscape in which a party recently won a bunch of seats and for a president's first term. And the real story this midterm shouldn't be the Tea Party - largely a GOP-funded collection loosely connected and radical groups of unreliable voters galvanized around a few radio and cable talk show personalities - it should be the "enthusiasm gap," and why Democratic voters aren't tripping down to the polls in large numbers. Rich has got it. There haven't been fundamental changes.

All the more reason to engage in GOTV activities. For starters, local legislators are crucial to your communities. For another, as bad as it's been in DC, it will get much, much worse with Republicans in charge of all the investigatory committees in the House. You loved Monica Lewinsky, you'll love the impeachment hearings over Obama's birth certificate!

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Monica Lindeen? Was she there too? (0.00 / 0)
And we thought Cowgirl was a rumor-monger.

ROTFLMAO!

At least the lurid image of Bill and Monica and the stained blue dress had some intrigue for much of america (how could he...????). It was the soap opera destined to entertain and intrigue--very british.

But birth certificate??? yawn... Darrell Issa is going to make a total ass out of himself and the House Oversight committee as he goes on his witch hunt.


damn! (0.00 / 0)
did i put down lindeen? got to change that, hahahaha!

[ Parent ]
Hey, you know those Monicas (0.00 / 0)
They're all alike... ;-)

[ Parent ]
I changed it... (0.00 / 0)
but that was a funny mistake!

[ Parent ]
I assume by your mention of Monica Lindeen, (0.00 / 0)
you are refering to her public statement that, were she elected, she would push for impeachment hearings against Bush. Your statement wasn't very clear.

As far as impeachment hearings over Obama's BC, I find that really unlikely, even if the Repubs win big. First, it takes a supermajority to even call for impeachment proceedings and, unlike the situation when Lindeen was running for office, there aren't entire states petitioning for impeachment proceedings like there were for Bush.

I guess I am not sure where you got to that conclusion but I am sure that this kind of blind hatred for anything Republican will stand you in good stead when they do take a majority in the House (whether they take one in the Senate or not is still fairly up for grabs).  


"Lindeen" was a typo (0.00 / 0)
The Republicans have already promised to "bombard the Obama administration with subpoenas." I swear my "blind hatred for Republicans" had no influence on Issa and Boehner's comments.

Yeah Democrats suck, but have you already forgotten the last two decades? It's going to get very, very ugly.


[ Parent ]
Which is it? (0.00 / 0)
First Jay says it is "kubuki theatre" and the "system" that requires change. Then he urges us to GOTV?  

Doesn't voting legitimize the system by re-enforcing the perception (false perception) that citizens voice their interests through a democratic process?

By perpetuating the lie that through some national discourse or "conversation" values are expressed and policy formed, we simply post-pone the day when the question of real power is faced.

The "system" is political/economy. We have been taught to call it liberal democratic capitalism. But I will argue (along with Mouffe and laclau, Harvey, Negri and many much smarter than I) that the inherent contradiction between capitalism and democracy is unsolvable. Well meaning attempts such as the welfare state, social democracy, Third Way liberalism are all dead in the water.

You want "fundamental change"?  Organize a strike.


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