LEFT OF DAYTON

This is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White House

November 20, 2008
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My worst fears about the forthcoming Obama Presidency seem to be coming true. Readers will recall my skepticism during the primaries vis a vis Obama’s rhetoric about the middle east and his willingness to use “bomb” diplomacy in places like Pakistan and Afghanistsan.  I really really hoped that he was going to be a different kind of democrat, that his early anti-war stance was really about “change”, that we were not re-electing the Democratic Leadership Council [DLC]. Reading the article reprinted from the weblog Alternet that is posted below made me very depressed. Is there really a new direction in national politics or is this really just more of the same?

This is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White House


By Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet
Posted on November 20, 2008, Printed on November 20, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/107666/
U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises. But the best immediate indicator of what an Obama administration might look like can be found in the people he surrounds himself with and who he appoints to his Cabinet. And, frankly, when it comes to foreign policy, it is not looking good. (more…)

IS THE FUTURE REALLY OURS? TWO VIEWS OF BARAK OBAMAS IMPACT

November 6, 2008
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Where have I been? Here it is November and the country I know of as America is a much different [changed] place. For me survival in a tough retail environment became ALL.
The recorded music biz is NOT what once was and realignment became the order of the day, requiring nearly all my energy

We are now faced with a uncertain future led by a man anointed as the next big thing by the American people. Republicans are out, Democrats are in. But what does this really mean? Sara Robinson offers one view, wherein progressives have won an ally who generally shares their view of the world. Larry Pickney, a former Black Panther and a contributor to the Black Commentator, offers a starkly different perspective in his essay More Of The Same, Only Worse .

I find myself somewhat in the middle, or muddle, as it were. I really  want to believe that the future IS going to be better due to  the leadership of this man, Barrack Obama.
I am of the 60’s, a disillusioned Vietnam Vet remembering and recognizing the ongoing collusion of the national [ and state and local] Democrats with conservative and  right wing forces. Yes there has been progress, but at what cost. How any Democrats voted for the Bush tax cuts, for the Iraq War authorization,  for the Patriot Act? The list is long and disgusting.

I am a democrat, small d. That does not mean being blind to reality.
We shall see whether the new shaman can pull it off, whether he can actually mobilize the American people in a new populist & progressive direction. I am waiting with bated breath…

The two articles cited follow:

All good movements turn into organizations turn into businesses turn into rackets.
—Old organizers’ saying

I don’t think any of us expected to get so far so soon.

Back in 2003, when Bush was southern-frying the Dixie Chicks and the Iraq War was propelling millions into the streets and progressive blogs consisted of a small handful of folks writing in their pajamas under esoteric banners like “Eschaton” or “Orcinus” or “Daily Kos,” anybody who suggested that America might someday return to its liberal Enlightenment roots was right up there on the wack-o-meter with those who dreamed that the country might someday abolish private property and adopt socialist utopianism. Nobody serious thought it was remotely possible. Amongst ourselves, we told each other that ousting the conservative juggernaut would probably be the work of a couple of decades. Or maybe even a whole generation. Or maybe it was a fool’s errand that wasn’t even possible at all any more. (more…)


Learning from the Cultural Conservatives,Part II: Talking Up The Worldview

March 14, 2008
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This is Part II of a series on the strategies used by the conservatives to promote their worldview, and the lessons progressives can learn from them to promote our own. Part I is here.

As we saw in the previous post, the entire conservative movement was organized around the single goal of changing the country’s dominant worldview, weaning it away from liberal assumptions about how the world works, and teaching Americans to assign meaning to the world using conservative values instead. They firmly (and rightly) believed that that once the rest of the country evaluated and prioritized reality the same way they did, the rest of the conservative political, economic, and social agenda could be implemented with strong popular support, and no meaningful resistance.

But the early architects of this plan, including Paul Weyrich, also realized that having strong ideas wasn’t enough. To succeed, they would also have to master the arts of persuasion.

“Ideas do not immediately have consequences,” wrote Eric Huebeck in his 2001 update of Weyrich’s long-followed plan. “They do not have an impact in direct proportion to the truth they contain. They have an impact only insofar as adherents of those ideas are willing to take measures to propagate those ideas.”

Or, as a more cynical conservative once put it: You gotta catapult the propaganda.

This may seem like heresy to liberals. We like to believe that the progressive worldview is so patently superior that intelligent people will readily see the logic of it, and then sensibly adopt it as the best way to think and live. If people resist it, it’s only because they don’t completely understand it (yet). Fixing that is simply a matter of education: we just need explain our vision more clearly. Our own resolute faith in the power of reason convinces us that reasonable people will be reasonably persuaded by reasonable discussion of reasonable ideas.

It’s time to consider the reasonable possibility that we may be wrong. (more…)


Ha-Joon Chang’s ‘Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism’

March 2, 2008
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Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism
by Ha-Joon Chang
Reviewed by Thom Hartmann

The fundamental myth of the Milton/Thomas Friedman neoliberal cons is that in a “flat world” everybody is not only able to compete with everybody else freely, but should be required to. It sounds nice. America trades with – and competes with trade with and for – the European Union. France against Germany. England against Australia.

But wait a minute. In such a “free” trade competition, who will win when the match-up is Canada versus the Solomon Islands? Germany versus Bulgaria? Zimbabwe versus Italy?

There are two glaringly obvious flaws in the so-called “free trade” theories expounded by neoliberal philosophers like Friedrich Von Hayek and Milton Friedman, and promoted relentlessly in the popular press by (very wealthy) hucksters like Thomas Friedman. (more…)


What the Hell Are Democrats So Afraid of? by Glenn Hurowitz

February 22, 2008
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By Glenn Hurowitz, Maisonneuve Press. Posted February 22, 2008.

As this excerpt from “Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party” shows, if Dems want a lasting majority, they have to stop caving in.

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Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party” by Glenn Hurowitz (Maisonneuve Press).

Like many progressives, I’d heard all the explanations for Democratic failings, and they all boiled down to this: a lack of smarts or competence. But was that realistic? After all, we’re the egghead party, the party of science, the party of the PhD. Could we really just be as stupid as we say George Bush is? What I’ve seen is something quite different: a lack of courage that makes Democrats afraid of implementing the strategies that work. It’s why even when Democrats win, they lose.

After Democrats took back Congress in 2006, Republicans still manage to bully Democrats and the media into controlling their agenda. It seems like Democrats forgot James Carville’s basic lesson of political summer school “It’s hard for your opponent to say bad things about you when your fist is in his mouth.” Unfortunately, too often, the Democrats are the ones coughing up fingernails. What follows is an excerpt from my new book, Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party (Maisonneuve Press), which illustrates this debilitating weakness in the Democratic Party. (more…)


FIRST KUCINICH, NOW EDWARDS…PROGRESSIVES BAIL OUT OF PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES.

January 30, 2008
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So, with John Edwards announcing today his departure from the Democratic presidential primary field, what’s a progressive with a populist inclination supposed to do? As a previous post here noted, the idealogical scope of the Democratic field was diminished by Kucinich’s departure. With Edward’s announcement the breadth of political views becomes even more constrained. Ok, yes, former Senator Mike Gravel is still technically in the race, but his presence & impact is for all practical purposes is non existent.

I don’t like the Triangulator and her Democratic Leadership Council buddies. Wrong on the Iraq War and NOT anti-war enough. And, overall, despite her rhetoric, I see her as being too deeply entwined with the status quo to do much “changin'”.

And I just don’t know about Obama. Is a vision of Hope enough? Plus, his seemingly unequivocal support for US policies on Israel [Republican AND democratic] is a sticking point with me. We’ve had a failed Middle East policy for decades, with that department of the State Department seemingly outsourced to the Israel lobby. His remarks to the powerful American Israeli Public Affairs Committee in March of ’07 articulate that view and are posted at his website, indicating they represent his basic current position on the Middle East. http://obama.senate.gov/speech/070302-aipac_policy_fo/

I fear facing another election cycle when the most necessary accessory for the voting booth is going to be a clothespin. I sincerely hope that does not turn out to be the case!

freepresssheesh_0.jpg


Whose Side Is She On?? Pelosi greeted with “Impeach” Bush and Cheney buttons

January 21, 2008
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Reuters

January 18th, 2008, filed by Thomas Ferraro

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s drawing heat from fellow Democratic lawmakers as well as people across the nation for refusing to move to impeach President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.

“I go through airports, and people have buttons as if they knew I was coming,” Pelosi said with a smile, mimicking a protester pointing to an “Impeach” button on their chest.rtx4btx.jpg

But the California Democrat said she is sticking to her position that trying to remove Bush or Cheney would be divisive, and she added, most likely unsuccessful. If the House voted to impeach Bush and Cheney, a two-thirds vote would be needed in the closely divided Senate to oust them.

Many Democrats and civil liberties groups have accused the Bush administration of misleading the United States into the Iraq war and violating the rights of U.S. citizens with its warrantless surveillance program. The White House denies the charges.

In helping Democrats win back control of Congress in 2006 from rtr1vyu5.jpgRepublicans, Pelosi said she would not push for impeachment despite a number of calls to do so.

Speaking with reporters, she recalled that she wanted to focus on unifying the nation, passing the Democrats’ legislative agenda — not picking an impeachment fight with the White House.

“It was my belief that an impeachment of the Vice President or the President … would be very divisive in our country, and that is what I believed then,” Pelosi said. “It should have come to no surprise when I became Speaker I said it again, and I continue to hold that view.”

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.


AN ANTI-IMPERIALIST VIEW OF “CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR”

January 18, 2008
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Imperialist Propaganda Second Thoughts on Charlie Wilson’s War
by Chalmers Johnson
I have some personal knowledge of Congressmen like Charlie Wilson (D-2nd District, Texas, 1973-1996) because, for close to twenty years, my representative in the 50th Congressional District of California was Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham, now serving an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence for soliciting and receiving bribes from defense contractors. Wilson and Cunningham held exactly the same plummy committee assignments in the House of Representatives — the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee plus the Intelligence Oversight Committee — from which they could dole out large sums of public money with little or no input from their colleagues or constituents.Both men flagrantly abused their positions — but with radically different consequences. Cunningham went to jail because he was too stupid to know how to game the system — retire and become a lobbyist — whereas Wilson received the Central Intelligence Agency Clandestine Service’s first “honored colleague” award ever given to an outsider and went on to become a $360,000 per annum lobbyist for Pakistan.In a secret ceremony at CIA headquarters on June 9, 1993, James Woolsey, Bill Clinton’s first Director of Central Intelligence and one of the agency’s least competent chiefs in its checkered history, said: “The defeat and breakup of the Soviet empire is one of the great events of world history. There were many heroes in this battle, but to Charlie Wilson must go a special recognition.” One important part of that recognition, studiously avoided by the CIA and most subsequent American writers on the subject, is that Wilson’s activities in Afghanistan led directly to a chain of blowback that culminated in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and led to the United States’ current status as the most hated nation on Earth. (more…)

IS THIS GUY FOR REAL?QUESTION ABOUT A JUDGES GAY “ETHICS” IS A JUDICIAL DISQUALIFIER

January 17, 2008
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In a scurrilous attack reported in todays Dayton Daily News concerning Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Wiseman, County Area Judge James Piergies questioned whether Ms Wiseman shouldn’t recuse herself from cases that involve the states gay marriage law or the new Dayton anti-discrimination ordinance.

Wait a minute. Then what else did he say?? You’re kidding me? He didn’t REALLY say that Thurgood Marshal should have excused himself from appointment to the Supreme Court based on his history/involvement with Brown vs Board of Education?

Before I go any further, let us induct Judge Piergies into the Blue Dog Democrat Hall of Infamy. With two slurs in one commentary, the Judge is a shoo in.

Let’s get real. Based on his stated viewpoint, the only logical conclusion one can draw about the influence of sexual orientation on judicial proceeding’s is that heretofore, heterosexuals should excuse themselves from all cases involving, would you believe, heterosexuals?? It’s a perverted logic that also flows right into whether or not those with a history of civil activism should be judges in cases involving civil activism. Our inductee manages to be both racially and sexually insensitive at the same time. Not a particularly progressive position for a “d”emocrat.

Judge Piergies may sincerely and honestly believe that gays should still be in the closet. He may think that people of color should know their place. And, if those are his views, that opinion, in the America we all live in, is his inalienable right. Our Constitution protects bigots as well as civil rights activists.

The crucial issue here is whether we want people on the Judicial Bench who act fairly and impartially in applying the law or those who are openly bigoted.

For big “D” Democratic primary voters this should be a no brainer…

http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/01/17/ddn011708judges.html

UPDATE DDN 01/21/08/ Blog follow-up? Local attorney calls for judge to drop out of primary. http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/01/20/ddn012008judges.html

UPDATE #2, JUDGE WITHDRAWS FROM RACE 01/24/07

http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/01/23/ddn012308judgeweb.html


The Campaign for America’s Future>>It’s the Recession, Stupid

January 16, 2008
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It ain’t sexy, I know, but a word about the economy and the presidential debate.

Wall Street banks are holding a fire sale; employment is down, holiday sales tanked. Burdened with record debt and stagnant incomes, homeowners are about to reckon with declining home values, their largest investments, with a projected $2 trillion in assets evaporating in the course of the year. Even clueless George — “the fundamentals are strong” — Bush admitted a little stimulus might be needed.

So finally, the r word — recession — hit the presidential campaign trail. In the January Myrtle Beach Republican debate, the candidates were asked what they would do to get the economy going in the event of recession. The answers expose just how preposterous conservatism has become. (more…)


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61 Y/O VIET VET WORKING FROM THE LEFT OF CENTER

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