Welcome Roger Hodge, (website), and Host Christopher Ketcham, (website).

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism

Christopher Ketcham, Host:

When the votes were tallied on the night of November 2, 2008, I was at a bar in Moab, Utah – the one rabid Democratic stronghold in a rabidly Republican state – to enjoy the hysteria as Barack Obama was summoned to lead the country out of the disaster of eight years of George W. Bush. People shook hands, hooted, clinked glasses, got drunk, raised fists, wept. The good liberals had elected a visionary Democrat to the presidency, who, blessed with a Democratic majority in Congress, would fashion “hope” and “change” into a palpable policy. I was told that in parts of Brooklyn, my hometown, voters ran through the streets banging pots and pans. The feeling was of religious jubilee – the new dispensation was upon us, and 2009 would mark the emancipation from the old rottenness. Corruption and fraud and deceit and war and oligarchy would be washed from the body politic. It was the beginning of the restoration of the republic.

That it was all a joke on the good liberals, those believers with the pots and pans, is by now axiomatic and yet somehow offensive for liberals to admit or discuss. If Obama’s presidency to date represents a betrayal of liberal expectations – or, more precisely, a measure of how much they had deluded themselves about his prospects – then the book we’re here to talk about, Roger Hodge’s The Mendacity of Hope, is also a betrayal of liberal expectation, in that thinking men on the political left are not to criticize the Dear Leader while the barbarian horde on the right clamor at the gates and howl for blood. Hodge, former editor of Harper’s magazine, makes the admirable leap to the place where thinking men should of course end up. “Right” and “left” in the US today, Hodge will tell you, are useless terms to describe our political economy, and in fact serve only to veil the dismal reality. The two parties, guised in the pretense of polar opposition, are effectively a single party operated as machines of corporate power, their players distinct from each other only in the degrees of hypocrisy when they pretend to represent anything other than the rarified institutions of wealth that invest to get them elected.

Hodge traces the genealogy of this single corporatist party, run by a minority of political investors, to the Third Way machinations of Bill Clinton, who effectively sold out the labor base of the Democratic Party in deference to big business. Thereafter, “both parties generally agreed on the necessity of dismantling or at least starving the welfare state, despite its overwhelming popularity with the general public, and appeasing predatory and financially irresponsible corporations as they neglected, exported, and otherwise dismembered the greatest industrial infrastructure in world history.” Both parties would be “marked by an almost unshakeable consensus on national security,” which amounted to unceasing expansion of the warfare state. Both parties would celebrate “the creative destruction of laissez-faire capitalism, with its tearing asunder of all tradition, its reduction of all relationships to the cash transaction.” To find a difference between Democrats and Republicans, then, is to embrace a hallucination – and it is this hallucination of difference, materialized for liberals in the figure of “the Archangel Obama,” that Hodge seeks to dispel.

Consider, first off, that the most offensive and horrific of the policies in the imperial consensus go unquestioned under Obama. “Torture continues,” writes Hodge. “The wars continue. Rendition and secret imprisonment continue. Blanket surveillance of the American people continues….State secrets, executive privilege, sovereign immunity and executive usurpation continue. Transparency and accountability proved to be figments of the candidate’s and the electorate’s hopeful imaginations.” We can conclude, where it comes to the question of “national security,” so-called, that the apostle who made himself the darling of liberals by mouthing the gospel of hope and change is effectively serving out the third term of George W. Bush. We might also conclude, writes Hodge, that Obama’s believers on the left, mouthing not a peep in protest, “were not truly outraged by the news from Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo or Bagram….Perhaps they were just angry that Bush bragged about his crimes, that he had trampled on their precious humanitarian pieties, that he had offended the decorum of discreet hypocrisy.” Perhaps the left’s opposition to war and torture and kidnapping and assassination and the imperial presidency was mere opportunism in service of partisanship – and thus rendered itself as mere moral bankruptcy. We hear little from the mainstream left, for example, to decry Obama’s enthusiasm for US assassination policy, which involves most often the deployment of Predator drones for “targeting killings” (more such summary executions from the sky were ordered in 2009, under Obama, than during the entirety of the Bush administration). We heard no aghast reaction when the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, warned the administration in 2009 “that its assassination program was probably illegal under international law” and that Obama’s “refusal to justify the program was untenable.” Lawyers for the State Department assured that the program conformed with “all applicable laws,” offering no explanation for why this might be so – except that the citizens should trust in the Archangel’s wisdom and judgment. “I did not see [the State Department] say anything that was different from the previous administration’s legal thinking,” concluded John Bellinger, a lawyer for the National Security Council under Bush.

Unaccountable power abroad in the form of military empire – itself driven, in no small part, by business interests that profit from conflict and war and death – has its natural corollary in corporate empire at home, where economic violence is exploited to expand the power of the unaccountable oligarchy. Thus, following the financial crisis of 2008, as Joseph Stiglitz observed, “the Treasury under both Bush and Obama used 9/15 – the day that Lehman [Brothers] collapsed – and the fears of another meltdown to extract as much as possible for the banks and the bankers that had brought the world to the brink of economic ruin.” Thus, legislation in Congress to limit the size and leverage of banks – the modicum of regulation to preserve an open playing field in the market – was shot down by the Democrats in whom Goldman Sachs and Wall Street had mightily invested. Thus, the vaunted health care “reform” was passed with the go-ahead of the drug and insurance industries, the hospital associations, the American Medical Association, the medical equipment manufacturers, basically every institution that had a stake in for-profit health care. The result, in Hodge’s assessment, was “a bailout of the health care industry that seeks to guarantee some 30 million additional customers for insurance companies” by coercing Americans to purchase a product “from a predatory for-profit business that adds no value to the economic transaction accompanying the activities of doctors and nurses.” Obamacare, though it offers picayune improvements, “merely postpones the kind of fundamental reforms that our broken health-care system demands” – a system that looks broken to most Americans but functions quite as it should for the health-care industry.

“The Mendacity of Hope” has for its purpose, however, a higher aim than the simple cataloguing of the degenerate condition to which the nation has sunk. Hodge believes, despite the lateness of the hour, that we still have a chance to topple the corporate empire. To do so would require “serious, sustained opposition, not respectful disagreement” – perhaps a third political party, a people’s party that sees the Democ-Repub duopoly for what it is. A people’s party that targets, say, “the 1 percent who control our corporate oligarchy.” We all know the one-percenters: they’re the class of top managers in finance and industry that took in 54 percent of all national income between 2001 and 2006. They’re the ones getting very rich, always richer, while the great majority of Americans work harder for less and less return. “What we require,” writes Hodge, “is precisely what our congressional barons and corporate overlords fear most: class warfare.” What we require “is that Americans take a stand on behalf of their selfish material interests and against those of the monopolies and transnational corporations that have captured our institutions of government.” What we require is to kill those fake persons known as corporations by ending the laws that provide them all the rights but none of the duties of flesh-and-blood persons. What we require, in short, is a revolution against the most powerful and entrenched and dangerous interests in the country. “If we shrug and say that the system of corrupt influence can never be overturned,” writes Hodge, “then we are truly doomed.”

268 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Roger D. Hodge, The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism”

BevW November 13th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Roger, Welcome to the Lake.

Chris, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

egregious November 13th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Welcome to Firedoglake – glad you could join us!

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:00 pm
In response to BevW @ 1

Thanks. Good to be here.

dakine01 November 13th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon Roger and Christopher and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

Roger, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but as someone who was active and observing during the ’08 elections, even though Obama was not my first choice (more like 5th or 6th) and though I watched the warning signals in his voting patterns, I think that I and many others are still quite stunned at the overall levels of actions being so far out of line with the words.

Do you think folks in the current electorate will ever be able to trust any politicians going forward?

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Hey there Roger…

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:03 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

I think that’s a good question. I was also very skeptical of Obama from the beginning, but I’m still surprised by how terrible he has turned out to be.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Hey Chris. Thanks for hosting.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Roger – while you’re thinking about Dakine’s question, here’s something for you: you frame the argument of the book by looking back into American history at the genealogy and evolution of two ideas present at the founding, two ideas that you say have contended for supremacy ever since: the Jeffersonian vision of “democratic-republicanism” and the Hamiltonian vision of power centralized in the hands of the few. Tell us a little bit about this “primeval dispute…over the fundamental character of the republic” and why it matters now more than ever.

diosnomeama November 13th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Good afternoon to everyone. I was wondering why, in general, do you think liberals are mum about Obama’s continued civil liberties abuses after all the outrage when Bush was doing it?

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:06 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

As for trusting politicians, one bright side to the Obama debacle would be for people to realize no one will do our politics for us. It’s time to stop waiting for political redeemers.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Preaching to the choir here. Won’t find many at FDL who don’t despise O.

we still have a chance to topple the corporate empire. To do so would require “serious, sustained opposition, not respectful disagreement” – perhaps a third political party,

How in the world to do that, or anything like it?

Perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but the third political party is on the right, not the left. That’s because they get all the $$ from the usual suspects & all the organizing talent. There is simply no way for the left to match any such effort.

The class war is over & the rich won.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:12 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

Dakine — just throwing in my two cents: I think that the electorate will trust whichever politicians have the most money to flood the airwaves with deceit…

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

One of the most fascinating things about American history is the way it keeps repeating a basic pattern that was established in the 1790s: the conflict between Hamiltonian administration and Madisonian republicanism. The names change but the story stays the same. Hamilton self-consciously set out to create a financial oligarchy. Madison and Jefferson went into opposition. Now we have two Hamiltonian parties, both of which tend to the needs of the financial oligarchy.

dakine01 November 13th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

And unfortunately, you may be correct, altho eMeg and Linda McMahon might beg to differ

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

What do you see as the most egregious acts where the President betrayed his campaign promises, or at least, the general expectation for his being different from W?

Tammany Tiger November 13th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

In 2007, it appeared that Hillary Clinton, the DLC candidate, would almost certainly win the Democratic nomination. So why did Obama attract so much corporate cash: were the big donors unsure of Clinton’s chances in November, or were they simply hedging their bets?

learo November 13th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Good afternoon.

One of the interesting things about the responses to your book is how many people seem to think that you’ve somehow crossed a line in imputing mendacity, or anything less than complete good faith, to Obama. Even as critics concede the rightness of many of your arguments, they dismiss the validity of these arguments in the name of Obama’s ultimate, mysterious goodness.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:15 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 11

Well, if it’s over we might as well shut down our computers and watch tv. If you read my book you’ll see that I’m no optimist but I’m not convinced that we’ve completely lost.

November 13th, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Chris Ketcham,Maybe you’re acquainted w/my friend, Valerie Payne, a native of Moab, and one of those few Ds in the area. LOL I know her from her yrs as a member of the Lincoln Co, OR Dem central committee. Say hello if you run into her. Cheers, Tom Gravon, Otis, OR

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:18 pm
In response to RevBev @ 15

In my view the single worst betrayal is the assertion of the right to order the summary assassination of an American citizen.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:18 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 11

I think Hodge frames class war very specifically in terms of killing corporate personhood, given that corporations are the vehicles of warfare by the very rich against the rest of America…and how to kill corporate persons is indeed a question. A constitutional convention to amend the law of the land so that corporate personhood is explicitly abolished?

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:20 pm
In response to howardganic @ 19

Nope, don’t know Valerie. But if she’s one of the mindless Democ Drones that populate Moab, then I don’t want to know her…

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:21 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 16

Obama did a lot of preparatory work to make sure he had the backing of people like Robert Rubin and Warren Buffett. I think those endorsements were very important.

tgs1952 November 13th, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Hi Roger. Haven’t gotten to your book yet – but it is on my Amazon wish list for the holidays. I did recently read Paul Street’s book Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics which establishes how conservative Obama actually is and has been.

Personally, I didn’t expect much on the foreign policy front – are you surprised at how conservative his administration has been domestically?

McMia November 13th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Welcome Roger. I haven’t read the book yet but surely will.

It seems to me the only weapons “the people ” possess to fight the corporate greedheads and their government/media partners are very blunt indeed.

Economic boycotts. I was thinking if a decent portion of working Americans made it clear that they were sitting out this “commercial” Christmas they might take notice. Of course this would hurt retail jobs, which the most economically distress rely on. See what I mean about blunt instruments?

I was also thinking about not paying bills in a regular fashion, keep them guessing just how much money they have coming in. This of course would involve late charges and such. Another blunt instrument that would hurt people. Do you see what I’m saying?

What are the actual concrete steps working Americans can take to fight the powers that be?

November 13th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Hey, I don’t think she’s of that ilk. When i gave her a copy of Zinn’s People’s History, she exclaimed that by reading it, it had destroyed her fantasy of what America is like, LOL. She’s a warrior….

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 2:23 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 23

Do you know if Buffet is still with him?

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:24 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 20

And this is no joke: The case specifically to which Hodge refers is that of American-born Anwar al-Awlaki, who we’re told is a dangerous terrorist and who needs to be assassinated. As an American citizen, then, his right to due process — indictment, trial, the confronting of his accusers and the evidence against him — is tossed out the window. Instead, we’re just gonna kill him. If it can happen to al-Awlaki, it can happen to any American. The precedent is set, the law twisted to the ends of unaccountable power…

veganrevolution November 13th, 2010 at 2:24 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 18

Hi Mr. Hodge. Read an excerpt of your book. Liked how you went into detail about Obama’s state senate record. For a lot of people, it was never elucidated properly.

I share your optimism. But I come to a different conclusion. Corporate capitalism is dying and a new system must replace it. Even Zizek realizes this truth.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:24 pm
In response to learo @ 17

A lot of critics got hung up on the title. In the book I make a point of emphasizing that it doesn’t really matter whether Obama has deceived himself into thinking he’s honest, that his intentions, his wishes, and his dreams don’t matter. All that matters is what he does.

As time goes on, of course, it becomes increasingly difficult to credit anything he says.

TomR November 13th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Thanks for being here today Roger.

I recall after the election, Obama came to the White House to meet with Bush for several hours. Do you think he made some deals or promises to Bush then, like my Justice Department will never investigate you? Bush never seemed too worried about anything. I’m betting Obama gave him reassurances then.

I can’t wait for someone to ask Obama or someone from his administration, “Since this administration is all about looking forward and not backward, will you promise never to build a presidential library?”

- Tom

Jane Hamsher November 13th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Thanks for being here today Roger, and for hosting Chris.

I remember when Chris Carney was talking about how both parties played their role in the financial reg bill. The Republicans got the $50 billion “bailout” fund killed that the banks were supposed to contribute to, on the grounds it was “inadequate.” Then the Dems came in an passed the bailout anyway.

He said the health care bill worked the same way: the Republicans demagogued the public option, then the Democrats passed used the paper-thin notion that they were “helping the poor” to pass the bailout.

Something clicked and I saw how they were connecting cogs just jockeying for the right to sell off the country’s assets for pennies on the dollar.

Thanks for writing this book. Are people telling you it’s quite perfectly timed?

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 2:27 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 13

Oh really. So the poor should go West & push the Indians (or immigrants) out in order to raise whites’ standards of living? Or join the military & push the locals out of oil rich countries? Exactly how is U.S. history to be repeated, since the short version of U.S. history is to create ‘opportunity’ by conquest?

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Yes, I argue that the only way forward is to tackle the constitutional issues of corporate personhood and the bizarre equation of spending with speech. After my debate with Jonathan Alter last month, someone came up and said that every public interest group in the country should devote 30 percent of its budget to those issues.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:28 pm
In response to tgs1952 @ 24

No I’m not surprised. I think it was clear from his Senate record that he was a conventional centrist Democrat.

Tammany Tiger November 13th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

One more Clinton-related question, if you don’t mind. Was the heavy Clintonite influence in the Obama White House the result of a deal made after the primaries to avoid a brawl at the convention?

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

My point still stands, no matter how you frame the argument. Who will organize & pay for such a constitutional convention? Pipe dream.

November 13th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Hi Roger – do you have any insights as to what might be done about Obama’s Simpson/Bowles Commission, which around these parts we call the “Catfood Commission?”

It’s one of the most egregious battles on the class warfare front in my opinion, and one that Obama specifically started.

solerso November 13th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

“The Mendacity of Hope” has for its purpose, however, a higher aim than the simple cataloguing of the degenerate condition to which the nation has sunk. Hodge believes, despite the lateness of the hour, that we still have a chance to topple the corporate empire. To do so would require “serious, sustained opposition, not respectful disagreement”

so FUCK Jon Stewart.

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

It’s impossible to credit ANYTHING he says.

But in that he’s in no way different from any President we have ever had.

Oilfieldguy November 13th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Moab is awesome. Obama, not so much. Like that pile of uranium just north of town.

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

How do we topple the corporate empire without wholesale revolution?

greenwarrior November 13th, 2010 at 2:31 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 20

That’s the exact one I think of as most egregious also.

Thank you Chris for your extraordinarily wonderful intro and Roger for your book and thoughts and coming to join us today.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 2:32 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 37

Not to mention what a catchy political slogan ‘abolish corp personhood’ is, esp since (I’d guess) about 90% of the U.S. public doesn’t even know what corp personhood means.

Look what happened to the ERA, even though it would have benefited half the U.S. population.

Sharkbabe November 13th, 2010 at 2:32 pm
In response to solerso @ 39

I can’t watch Jon anymore, using his brains for veal pen schtick. Like Obama, he’s risen to be a cultural force – and has chosen to whiff it.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:32 pm
In response to McMia @ 25

Boycotts, strikes, protests, etc. are all part of the toolkit. But first we have to bring public opinion along. Right now too many people are in denial. Look at the appalling rally to restore vanity.

Jane Hamsher November 13th, 2010 at 2:32 pm
In response to tammanytiger @ 16

Read Ken Silverstein’s prescient “Birth of a Washington machine,” if you havne’t:

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/11/0081275

From 2006. What was said publicly was very different from what was being said privately. Which is why I think they were so pissed when Mayhill Fowler busted him on “cling to their guns and religion.” Yes it caused a stir, but more importantly they thought that stuff said to elites “off the record” would not make it into the public domain.

veganrevolution November 13th, 2010 at 2:33 pm
In response to Cellar47 @ 42

If you click on my link, you will see where my allegiances lie politically. Mutual aid and decentralization–and worker control of industry–are the solutions that come to mind.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:33 pm
In response to solerso @ 39

Fuck Jon Stewart? Roger, what do you think of the Democratic “activist” news-clowns such as Stewart? Effectively serving their masters — Stewart makes $15 million a year — through quiet pacification of an otherwise pissed-off Democratic base?

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:33 pm
In response to RevBev @ 27

I don’t see why not, but I don’t know for sure.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

whoops, I think you just answered my question above…appalling indeed

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:35 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 46

So how do we bring along public opinion? What’s the toolkit for that?

econobuzz November 13th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Great intro, Chris, and welcome Roger.

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I’m an Anarcho-Syndicalist myself.

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Jon Stewart is a Rockefeller Republican at heart.

marymccurnin November 13th, 2010 at 2:37 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 46

One of the first things we need to do is decouple people from their credit scores. Massive amounts of people need to stop paying their usury credit card bills and stop going into debt. We need to stop living what is dictated to us.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:38 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 33

You’ll get no argument from me in favor of imperial conquest…

greenwarrior November 13th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Yes, the one thing I WAS sure Obama would do would be to restore habeas corpus. Instead, he has stomped on it and dragged it through the mud.

Sharkbabe November 13th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Thanks for your book, Mr. Hodge.

I was so disheartened and then disgusted with Obama very early on. I didn’t think I could be any more gobsmacked than I was by Bush v. Gore, and that surreal presidency. But this certainly does top it, in surreality.

Still when I talk to too many of my liberal or gay friends and express my dismay at the repeated, ever-worsening traitorous actions of this man, they continue to have this bizarre trust in him. It is BIZARRE.

learo November 13th, 2010 at 2:40 pm

To what extent do you think that factional myopia + ingrained ignorance make alliances between Tea Partiers, libertarians and liberals unrealistic? Is there a way to “popularize” constitutional concerns & opposition to corporatism without their being vulgarized to the point of meaninglessness?

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:40 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 32

Yes, the response has been good by and large, though the mainstream reviews were pretty strange.

Tammany Tiger November 13th, 2010 at 2:40 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 47

Thanks, Jane. I plan to read the Silverstein article this evening.

And thanks to you, Roger. I finished your excellent book about ten minutes before this chat started.

Jane Hamsher November 13th, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I actually don’t think that’s what he’s doing. I think what he’s saying is much more subversive than that, which is why Maddow and Olbermann got so upset.

He’s saying both parties are playing their roles in the service of corporatism, and cable TV on the right and the left play the role of tribal cheerleaders that keeps everyone pacified. “Yeah our side may not be perfect, but LOOK AT THE FREAKS ON THE OTHER SIDE OMFG!” Go Dems.

It’s the only way you can get the public behind corporatist ideals if you’re not actually doing anything that benefits them — manipulate their collective values by pitting them in opposition to the manipulation of the other side’s collective values being done by the other party. Assert cultural superiority, while one way or another, Boeing and Aetna and Pfizer get what they want.

Maddow did the very same thing the other night with Stewart. She was leaning in like she was really going to teach him something about how crazy those right wingers are, as if he didn’t know. He just leaned back like he knew this was going to be pointless.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 2:41 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 57

So how will U.S. history be repeated?

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Roger — what about Sharkbabe’s observation? The bizarre nature of continued fealty to Obama among liberals/progressives? Just denialism?

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:41 pm
In response to Sharkbabe @ 59

Not sure which gay or liberal friends you’re talking to.

Speaking as a gay man we’re SO OVER HIM!

My major problem is deterring fellow-gays from the inane fantasy that “Hillary would have been better.”

veganrevolution November 13th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 56

I like that a lot. But how do you get millions of people in the US to stop paying their bills? Americans are not given to European-like protest. We do not think collectively. If we could do this, then mutual aid would kick in and we would all help each other. There would be no need for a violent overthrow of the gov’t because the people would essentially bankrupt the elite.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 47

Yes, Ken’s piece is excellent. Everything I did was built on that foundation.

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 64

Through wars of course.

I became an adult during Vietnam — which was brought to us by that famed “Liberal” JFK. Escaped the draft because I checked the Whooopie Box (“Do you have homosexual tendencies?”)

brutaltruth November 13th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
In response to solerso @ 39

Stewart is what’s known as a left gatekeeper, like Amy Goodman, Michael Moore, Matt Taibbi, Noam Chomsky etc. The elites like to control both sides of the discourse so as to keep it within narrow parameters that are safe for them and left gatekeepers are their tools for doing just that while making it appear to the unobservant that both sides of an issue have a voice.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 63

Jane – all this silly shit with Stewart and whatshername is happening on television, so it can’t be relevant to reality…

TomR November 13th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Any thoughts on how Obama used to teach Constitutional law and yet feels so free to violate it?

Was Obama really surprised by this year’s election backlash by the Democratic base? Or did he assume the Dems are as stupid as Republican authoritarian followers?

- Tom

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

True, but t’s relevant to fantasy.

judybrowni November 13th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

If only Obama had led this country to some kind of financial security for the middle and poor — I’d have settled for a Huey Long approach. A ward boss who at least served his constituency.

Now it appears that’s the very last thing we should have expected from Obama: but also get so much more disaster.

And we told for two long years, that at least Blue Dogs won elections. Now that they can’t even do that, what’s the point ‘em.

ubetchaiam November 13th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Exactly,especially when the mass media is corporate owned and controlled. But the other issue not spoken of often is that there ARE millions doing quite well in the U.s. who don’t see a need for change at all. How does a ‘social conscience’ get awakened in those people?

Oilfieldguy November 13th, 2010 at 2:46 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 63

The philosophy of “Bothsiderisms.”

veganrevolution November 13th, 2010 at 2:46 pm
In response to brutaltruth @ 70

I don’t think Chomsky is a gatekeeper–but he certainly has grown more conservative in his old age.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Stewart is a comedian, a clown. That’s what he’s supposed to be. What I don’t understand is why people treat him as if he were some kind of leader.

Jane Hamsher November 13th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

(smacks self in forehead)

DOH!

McMia November 13th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

So how do we bring along public opinion? What’s the toolkit for that?

Echoing Christopher here. FDL, Jame Hamsher, Glenn Greenwald, your book, etc are great but unfortunately reach about .000067% of the population.

Chris framed it well here too:

Stewart makes $15 million a year — through quiet pacification of an otherwise pissed-off Democratic base?

A lot of the lefty sites aren’t much better, for instance I have been banned from DailyKos numerous times for, shall we say, dissenting against the new fearless leader a bit too vigorously.

One thing I do believe is that bringing along public opinion will involve the rank and file tea party members once they realize they too have been misdirected. Another thing I am sure of is we can’t rely on either party here.

But in the meantime I don’t have a megaphone. What can I do. Give me a task.

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

How so?

marymccurnin November 13th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Maybe he is just tired.

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:48 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 78

Stewart isn’t a leader at all. He simply reads the copy with a soupcon of Truthiness.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:48 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 64

I didn’t say that US history will be repeated. Not sure I follow yr line of questioning.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:48 pm
In response to McMia @ 80

McMia — start by kidnapping corporate CEOS and dropping them out of airplanes…alright, just kidding, just kidding!

~~~Mod Note: We do try to stay away from such topics at FDL~~~

AdamPDX November 13th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

What was the big crucial item on Obama’s biography that we all missed?

Was it University of Chicago? Was it somebody at that law firm?

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:50 pm
In response to TomR @ 72

I think people make too much out of the fact that Obama taught a few classes in constitutional law. There are plenty of scholars in the Federalist Society.

brutaltruth November 13th, 2010 at 2:51 pm
In response to Sharkbabe @ 59

It’s not that bizarre, it’s just that they are unable to admit to themselves the truth about Obama because of what it says about the larger issue of the illusion of democracy in the U.S. It’s far more comfortable to go on pretending that American voters actually have a real choice in elections instead of admitting to themselves that the whole process is about as genuine as a pro wrestling match.

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:51 pm
In response to Adam503 @ 86

The crucial item on Obama’s biography is that the Dmocratic Party ran him for President.

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:51 pm
In response to brutaltruth @ 88

SING OUT LOUISE!!!!

Oilfieldguy November 13th, 2010 at 2:52 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 87

Methinks John Yoo teaches constitutional somewheres.

Sharkbabe November 13th, 2010 at 2:52 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 78

Stewart is a comedian, a clown. That’s what he’s supposed to be. What I don’t understand is why people treat him as if he were some kind of leader.

Because he’s a razor-sharp social critic with a megaphone that can out-Beck Beck.

And he uses it to interview Condi Rice and preach to us that Glenn Beck’s just a guy with an opinion like you or me.

Oilfieldguy November 13th, 2010 at 2:52 pm

constitutional law.

econobuzz November 13th, 2010 at 2:53 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 87

Yeah, they make too much too of Larry Summers teaching economics.

learo November 13th, 2010 at 2:54 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 78

Stewart is a clown who clearly loves his role as a player while also loving to proclaim himself above the fray. “I’m just a humble wiseacre with no skin in the game.” Meanwhile everyone, including Obama, comes to his studio for newsmaking interviews/legitimization and Stewart meets secretly with the likes of Geithner. Touting the wisdom of centrism-in-itself is a pretty sure sign of having surrendered.

Knut November 13th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I don`t see anything good happening until a powerful interest group (I mean people who are already rich and powerful) find it in their own interest to reform the system. How will this happen? It strikes me that the way it will happen is through the continued meltdown of the American economy and increasing problems with projecting American power abroad. Both are coming, whether in my lifetime or not remains to be seen. The present course is unsustainable. The American economy is not going to be lifted by rising asset values, which is basically the whole ‘Hope and a Prayer’ that the Obama administration now has, and it will be the same for the Republican Administration that follows.

I don’t see anything short of collapse and something like sovereign default can cure the present problem. It’s very grim.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 2:55 pm
In response to McMia @ 80

It’s hard to come up with a recipe. It’s frustrating, and to be honest I’m not the best person to be giving practical advice on how to start a revolution. Some of us edit magazines and write books. Others figure out how to create movements. I wouldn’t underestimate the effect of sites like this.

Jane Hamsher November 13th, 2010 at 2:55 pm
In response to Oilfieldguy @ 76

Nah, I don’t think Stewart is expressing the “morally inert,” “both sides are equal” message he’s accused of.

For instance. If you are ostensibly pro-choice, and you help the Democrats pass a bill that isn’t by spreading propaganda which is just not true and use your pro-choice bona fides to fool people who are also pro-choice into supporting it, you aren’t actually “left.” You’re manipulating people with liberal values into supporting a bill that benefits Aetna.

You can justify that to yourself in a variety of ways, and you can say you’re still superior to Bill O’Reilly because you express pro-choice opinions and he doesn’t, but the role you’re filling isn’t the one you think you are. You’re not a liberal advocate, you’re a liberal propagandist.

Stewart can still believe in liberal ideals (which I think he unquestionably does) and still point out that this is the function that Bill O’Reilly serves on the right. Which is true.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 2:55 pm
In response to Sharkbabe @ 92

Astonishing to hear the “logic” here: Stewart is a “leader” because he has a “megaphone” louder than that of…Glenn Beck. Truly we have fallen to the depths if this is the measure of leadership.

brutaltruth November 13th, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Sorry but Chomsky definitely is. He spouts the official government propaganda line on some of the most important events of the modern era (two good examples are the J.F.K. assassination in ’63 and the 9/11 false flag attacks), refuses to consider any other possibility than the official line no matter how impossible and ridiculous it is and he discourages inquiry into them or discussion regarding them. Sorry, but that’s a left gatekeeper.

ubetchaiam November 13th, 2010 at 2:56 pm
In response to Sharkbabe @ 92

You need someone else to tell you that? Really? Jon doesn’t hold a candlestick to the ‘old timers’ like Bruce,Sahl,Paar,etc.

Cellar47 November 13th, 2010 at 2:57 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 97

True, Roger. We were the ONLY place that covered the Irving Libby trial. I’m sure that hasn’t been forgotten.

McMia November 13th, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I’m pretty close to where you are here, but if any of us had TOTALLY given up i guess we wouldn’t be here i nthe first place.

The only way to hurt these fuckers is in the pocketbook.

Organized intermittant bill paying, stopping all but absolutely necessary purchases, etc. But like i say these things hurt the very people trying to fight the corporate bastards.

And Roger is right that the first thing we need to do is wake enough people the fuck up.

That’s why I’m here. To hopefully start moving that forward.

veganrevolution November 13th, 2010 at 3:00 pm
In response to Cellar47 @ 81

I think Chomsky saw a lot of promise in the Sixties. Plus, he was much more an advocate of libertarian socialism then. (At least, it seems like it to me.) But that promise has fizzled away, as we all know. Lately, he seems to advocating lesser evilism and working within the system more strongly.

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Roger, I haven’t had a chance to read your book, but I would like your thoughts on something that just occurred to me today regarding Obamacare. A truly pernicious effect of what happened is that the American Right is getting Americans to make an equation: Liberal(/Socialist)=Obamacare. So the betrayal of liberalism isn’t just substantive, it is rhetorical/conceptual also.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:01 pm
In response to TomR @ 72

I honestly think Obama was surprised by the backlash, and genuinely hurt that the American people were so ungrateful. I think his vanity is bottomless.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:01 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 84

Maybe it was Ketchum who typed that U.S. history tends to repeat itself.

My point, then, was that, if you had to reduce U.S. history down to one of its, granted, many aspects, the most important was conquest.

In any event, whoever made the original point, I think the implication was that U.S. history tends to cycle back & forth between corps/wealthy & labor. My counterpoint is that is a misread of U.S. history. I’m weak on knowledge of the early union movement, but militantism, standing up to power, being willing to sacrifice one’s life (remember Pinkerton slaughters in workers’ tent camps), seem to have been essential, and I see nothing like that kind of dedication on the left today.

bluewombat November 13th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I’m jumping in here and apologize if this question has already been asked, but what do you think about a liberal/progressive challenge to Obama in 2012? Yes, I know the Republicans are worse, but still…

Oilfieldguy November 13th, 2010 at 3:04 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 98

I somewhat disagree. Perhaps another time on another thread we can debate this issue.

McMia November 13th, 2010 at 3:04 pm
In response to McMia @ 103

Not sure what happened there. #101 was supposed to be a reply to that long rant that seems to have disappeared.

it’s hard to come up with a recipe. It’s frustrating, and to be honest I’m not the best person to be giving practical advice on how to start a revolution. Some of us edit magazines and write books. Others figure out how to create movements. I wouldn’t underestimate the effect of sites like this.

Yeah I’ve never actually started a revolution either. But it’s got to start somewhere.

The only thing I’m sure of is that fighting the bastards will involve hurting them financially. This is where we need to focus. And it will be done outside the normal party process/

Sharkbabe November 13th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

“Fallen to the depths,” I’d say that goes without saying.

Sorry I just think Stewart could step up, since there seems to be nobody on our side as the police-state authoritarian dark age is foisted upon us. Like Obama, he’d rather just be a comfy multimillionaire.

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

There are very few politicians who aren’t thin skinned and vain. As I get older I really do see that psychologically speaking they still are kids who want everybody to like them and vote them most popular. I really think that is where most of them begin and honestly remain.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:06 pm
In response to eblair @ 105

I agree with a lot of what’s been written on Firedoglake about Obamacare. I think the bill is not only a substantive disaster but a strategic catastrophe. It might be another generation before we have a chance to fix this mess.

November 13th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Obama’s vanity as well as his mednaciousness MUST be bottomless.

At the same time he’s acting so hurt, he is overseas negotiating trade, and here’s a little tid-bit.

David Cote is the CEO of Honeywell, and appointed to Obama’s Catfood Commission by Obama. Cote, as well as Vrikam Pandit (Citigroup)and Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan/Chase) are on the Us-India CEO forum, and Obama was just there helping to secure some deals, as Cote expects Honeywell India to grow by 15% in software sales this year.

Bye bye to more programmer jobs here.

It is simply maddening.

Jane Hamsher November 13th, 2010 at 3:06 pm
In response to Oilfieldguy @ 109

Yeah I think I’ve got to write this up. Been avoiding it.

peony November 13th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Probably too late here, but want to say, Christopher, what an eloquent opening statement.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:07 pm
In response to Knut @ 96

My knowledge of FDR history is also sketchy, but I have read that both the communist party fought tirelessly for FDR social programs & no one like that around today. But to your point, that corp execs also fought for the social welfare programs because demand for their products was so rock bottom. Also see no signs of that today. Quite the contrary. Corps expect consumer dubes to figure out a way to continue to buy despite all fundamentals (income, debt overloads, etc) to the contrary. So far, dubes have proven corp execs right.

I have argued that the quickest way to get corps to wake up is a one-week consumer buying strike (with unending renewals ‘on the table’). But can’t figure out how to organize that.

TomR November 13th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

In this fight, how important is it to stand up for progressive values? Or is it simply about fighting corporate control of our government?

I ask this because our progressive values are under attack by The Third Way, attempting to redefine what they mean:

“Unlike many on the left, the Progressive Policy Institute believes the free-market system has generally been a progressive force in our national life. PPI will continue to fight protectionism in all its guises as a barrier to innovation and a formula for economic stagnation.”

- Tom

veganrevolution November 13th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Obama doesn’t have to worry about being foreclosed on and losing his job. The dude has no idea what it’s like to be an average American. He’s absolutely clueless.

greenwarrior November 13th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I know you wouldn’t want to do that just in case they hit any supreme court justices on the way down.

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:08 pm
In response to McMia @ 110

The revolution will begin when enough people realize that the current government lacks legitimacy. What legitimacy amounts too has been debated for a long time, but there is a number that is sufficient for losing it.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:10 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 107

I do think that we see a pattern of opposition that repeats itself, and that certainly doesn’t rule out the history of American imperialism. Conquest has always been one of the ways that a ruling elite diffuses pressure from below.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:11 pm
In response to eblair @ 121

Not necessarily. Not sure what the historic record is, but would guess that lack of govt legitimacy is just as likely (or more likely) to result in (long lasting) dictatorship than in revolution.

econobuzz November 13th, 2010 at 3:12 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 115

Oversimplifying, I think Obama originally said the right things, but did the wrong things, and now even says the wrong things.

Stewart, on the other hand, has usually done the right thing — he is a comic, after all — but sometimes says the wrong thing.

Hey, I said it was oversimplified.

Oilfieldguy November 13th, 2010 at 3:12 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 115

I understand the hesitancy. Yo tambien.

Lorraine Watkins November 13th, 2010 at 3:13 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 63

Very astute analysis Jane! Thanks.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:13 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 117

Read Thomas Ferguson on the New Deal in his book, The Golden Rule. He shows that FDR put together an impressive investment bloc of corporations who supported his programs.

The Democrats’ current investment coalition is dominated by the FIRE sector. That’s all you really needed to know to predict how Obama would govern.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

What are the signs of opposition that you see today? Because, other than a few impotent left blogs and pols, I see none now. I sure would like to have my oversight corrected.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Roger — Let’s talk a minute about Clinton and the Third Way he ushered in under the name of liberalism. Clinton was even worse than Reagan on the matter of industry deregulation, or, more precisely, in the way he allowed industry to drift into consolidation. DOJ anti-trust enforcement became a dead letter… under his administration massive consolidation occurred in telecommunications, media, oil, agribusiness, banking, and retail trade, with Clinton’s DOJ overseeing an estimated 70,000 mergers at a cumulative combined value of $6 trillion – more than the entire GDP of the country in 1992…

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 3:15 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 128

Impotent left blogs — there’s definitely evidence for that….

perris November 13th, 2010 at 3:15 pm

what a terrific lead in to a book salon, I’m sorry I got here so late

I have one thing I would like to correct;

If Obama’s presidency to date represents a betrayal of liberal expectations

far more then “liberal expectations”, those called “liberal” today would have been called concervative 25 years ago, this wasn’t “liberal expectation” it was “majority expectation”

“liberals” according to the media today happen to be the majority

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:16 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 123

Point well taken. I was perhaps too quick. (But, I actually doubt Americans would put up with an oppressive dictatorship a la East Germany for too long.)

brutaltruth November 13th, 2010 at 3:17 pm
In response to eblair @ 121

I think it has more to do with “pocketbook” or “kitchen table” issues, whatever one wants to call them. Once the issues that really hit home for the average American get to such an atrocious level of misery, that’s when we will see some action I think. Maybe it will take this Great Recession turning into Great Depression 2.0 as horrible as that sounds. Maybe another depression rivaling the “Great” one would be the necessary birth pangs of a new world? You know the old saying, “People are only three good meals away from a revolution.”

perris November 13th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

could someone give me a link to the “fire sector”, never heard of it

dakine01 November 13th, 2010 at 3:18 pm
In response to perris @ 134

Finance Insurance Real Estate = FIRE

brutaltruth November 13th, 2010 at 3:18 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 120

What?? That would be what’s known as a two-fer.

perris November 13th, 2010 at 3:19 pm
In response to eblair @ 132

Point well taken. I was perhaps too quick. (But, I actually doubt Americans would put up with an oppressive dictatorship a la East Germany for too long.)

you give “american’s” too much credit, I would have never thought we would put up with torture

nor fabricated war

nor giving middle class assets to the wealthy

it seems “americans” will put up with whatever their TEEvee tells us to put up with

gesneri November 13th, 2010 at 3:19 pm
In response to Sharkbabe @ 59

Clarence Thomas aside, many people still are convinced that a person of color must be “a liberal”. They seem incapable of seeing through our President’s skin color to the person beneath.

perris November 13th, 2010 at 3:19 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 135

THANX dak!

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:20 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 128

The opposition is that between the republican principle of self-governance and the Hamiltonian principle of oligarchy. You see it in the 1790s, in the Jacksonian era, with the populist movement, the progressive era, the New Deal, the Civil Rights movement, etc. That’s the pattern I was alluding to.

spocko November 13th, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I too was struck by this comment.

we still have a chance to topple the corporate empire.To do so would require “serious, sustained opposition, not respectful disagreement” – perhaps a third political party,

And as the eCAHNomics mentioned

How in the world to do that, or anything like it?

Perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but the third political party is on the right, not the left. That’s because they get all the $$ from the usual suspects & all the organizing talent. There is simply no way for the left to match any such effort.

The class war is over & the rich won.

I asked Matt Taibbi last Thursday at a book signing what can a ordinary person do? He didn’t have a good answer. So I asked him, “What are the corporate persons afraid of? How can we make that fear come true?” He said, “It’s not journalists, but some are afraid of the SEC and things that impact their stock price via bad PR.”

If you want to fight corporate persons and rich people you take away their money. And you look at what are the few regulation that still exist and you help those regulators do their jobs while keeping the public informed.

This is something that we can do. We focus on the corporate persons and physical people who are lying and breaking the law. We report them to the IRS and the SEC and we get a percentage of the revenue the government recovers to fund the effort. We use people with skills ranging from Legal, finance, research, communications, tax and coordinate virtually via computer networks. If I’m going to lead an effort like that and I’d need support from regular folks because no corporation will fund it. No veal pen will support it.

This might not topple a corporate empire but it can put the hurt on some big offenders. I have a track record putting the financial hurt on right wing media, I just need some help to take on someone like Pete Peterson and NewsCorp.

Lorraine Watkins November 13th, 2010 at 3:20 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 117

I can’t compare FDR and his policies with current times without first illuminating, or trying to, the “spiritual” or how man views himself and his fellow humans as context.. I really feel we are profoundly dehumanizng man, to predators and prey, not creatures bearing the divine fires of creativity and life that FDR and most of the nations experienced.

GlenJo November 13th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Roger,

Thanks for being here. Sorry for a double down question (if it has already been asked.)

Can you give us some specific actions to implement the way forward?

Can you crystal ball Obama and the next two years? (Mostly to counter his actions – I’ve given up on thinking he will start supporting normal Americans.)

TIA!

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Thanks for the ref. I’ll certainly read that book.

Paul Street had O’s # long before the election.

Wall St, where I worked for 30 years, was certainly obvious. Three of us here had a knock down, drag out with Krugman on a book salon in 12/08, about what a disaster O’s econ team would be. I recently had a chance to ask Krugman about that and he said he thought Sommers, Bernanke (who hired him at Princeton), and Geithner were smart and ‘flexible,’ whereas an reasonable reading of their histories would evidence a complete doctrinaire history, the farthest thing from flexibility that you could find.

But my fave from Street is Excelon, one of O’s biggest contributors, and the $9 billion nuke power giveaway Excelon got from O right soon after inauguration.

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:21 pm
In response to brutaltruth @ 133

The outrage over the atrocious TSA scanner implementation is not going to go away any time soon.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:21 pm
In response to perris @ 134

FIRE sector = finance, insurance, real estate.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:23 pm
In response to perris @ 134

Finance, Insurance, Real Estate.

Do you need more info?

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:24 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 144

Yep, Exelon was one of Obama’s biggest early backers.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

The power of FIRE among the senior Democrats in Congress is not to be underestimated. Chuck Schumer is bar none the favorite of Wall Street’s securities and investment firms, collecting over $15 million in lifetime totals from the FIRE sector. From 1999-2000 and through 2005-06, only John Kerry raised more money from the parasitic assholes on Wall Street. So Schumer is first, Kerry second…and in third, 4th, and 5th place, respectively, comes Democrats Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton, and Chris Dodd. In the big picture, this is merely a symptom of the enormous increase in influence of the securities/investment sector, which since 1989 has contributed more money to federal campaigns than the contributions of energy, health care, defense and telecoms combined!

perris November 13th, 2010 at 3:25 pm

thanx everyone for what fire references, I can go from there

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:25 pm
In response to perris @ 137

Well, your argument is a good one and I could be wrong, but I just think that when the TSA starts grabbing your crotch and the fusion centers start getting heavy handed while the economy truly goes to shite that people are going to say enough is enough. eCAHN’s point was about accepting a dictatorship (a la East Germany) and that I don’t think that the NRA members will go along with.

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 3:27 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 142

Thanks for that reminder. I also think your view explains some of the rabid disappointment with Pres. Obama. That the contrast with Bush and other things, ex. the class/race struggle, implied that he had some of that humanity (Community organizer/liberal church); these are the elements that have disappeared. There was some story that Ted Kennedy had already been alienated through the health care conversation. You hit on an important element of the disenchantment.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Seems like Jackson used conquest as a foil against all other problems. But that is one of my weak suits, so correct me if I’m wrong.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:27 pm
In response to GlenJo @ 143

I think the most important thing we can do kill the corporate person by focusing on things like the Fair Elections Now Act. The Disclose Act is worthless. Beyond that, a constitutional amendent that would negate the spending=speech heresy. This stuff sounds boring and wonky but unless we can push private money to the margins we have no hope of doing anything else.

shaharazade November 13th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

thanks FDL

This is my first comment here, although I have been registered and reading for awhile. More and more lately as insanity spreads though out the Democratic loyalist blogs. Thanks Rodger I’m reading your book as soon as I can. One of the first steps that needs be taken is overcome the false narratives pumped at the people from every direction.

This administration has reached a point where there is no doubt about their agenda, hard to parse what is happening in people real lives into any thing other then what it is, as it get worse it will force more to open their eyes. Thanks for providing real political discussion, that does not require blind obedience to the narrative that the establishment Dems call the world as we find it.

TheOracle November 13th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I agree.

One of the first definite signs that the Democrats were in lock-step with the Republican Party occurred in 2007, when newly-seated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi worked with Republicans to extend retroactive immunity to all the telecom companies complicit in illegal warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens, essentially covering for the illegal acts of the Bush/Cheney administration, while at the same time Speaker Pelosi took impeachment off the table.

Then in 2009, newly-elected President Obama continues illegal Bush/Cheney policies, even having his DOJ defend them in court, while at the same time refusing to investigate the previous criminal Republican administration, covering for the criminal Bush/Cheney administration like Speaker Pelosi did in 2007 and still does.

The real divide in America, like in many countries, is between those believing in the rule of law and those who practice the rule of lawlessness, or condone the rule of lawlessness, making the Democrats and Republicans almost indistinguishable, unlike what happened during Watergate and shortly afterward, also unlike what FDR had to do to save America during his first 100 days in office in 1933. Just like there aren’t many Old School “rule of law” Republicans left, there aren’t many Old School “rule of law” Democrats left either. Thus, making America more and more lawless, with America ruled by the corrupt, only for the corrupt, to hell with laws and legal precedents (see Citizens United, see Civil Rights Act, see Geneva Conventions, see United Nations Charter). The 20th Century was so, so Old School, you know.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:29 pm
In response to eblair @ 151

If the U.S. goes along with NRA, don’t expect a librul USG. Just saying.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:31 pm

And this speaks to your question about Clintonism. Clinton was instrumental in solidifying the FIRE sector’s hold on the Democrats. Biden was big part of that too. Right Turn, another great book by Tom Ferguson, is the best thing I’ve read on that story.

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I do think it can be explained in terms of the obscene amounts of secret money we have just witnessed; seems to me alot of citizens have paid attention to this.

progressive cat November 13th, 2010 at 3:32 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 46

Does donating or supporting alternative media help with moving public opinion? What I mean by alternative media are sites such as Free Speech TV. It seems that most people get their news from TV and radio, so maybe making the alternative media more visible is the key to changing opinion.

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:33 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 157

Well yes and no. My point was about the NRA membership not going along with a Stassi dictatorship. At that point my guess is the US would break up.

Funnydiva2002 November 13th, 2010 at 3:33 pm
In response to shaharazade @ 155

Hey, welcome!
Once ya de-lurk it’s hard to go back to the sidelines. Hope to see your fonts often.

FunnyDiva

bluewombat November 13th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Assuming the carnival isn’t over and everyone hasn’t gone home, I’ll toss this out again:

What do you think about a liberal/progressive challenge to Obama in 2012? Yes, I know the Republicans are worse, but still…

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:33 pm
In response to RevBev @ 159

I agree. Many non-political people are disgusted with our money-driven politics.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:34 pm
In response to bluewombat @ 163

I do hope we see a challenge to Obama in 2012.

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

This has been a great discussion. So honest/truthy almost makes me weep. Come back to keep us up to date.

lsls November 13th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Any suggestions?

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:38 pm
In response to Ryan Mann @ 160

Sure, supporting alternative media is good. But it’s not enough. And obviously voting is not enough either.

bigrock November 13th, 2010 at 3:38 pm

it seems either way we are screwed,,,

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:39 pm

So, perhaps on last Monday’s movie salon, there were some #s. By way of background, I posited that buying pols was the highest ROR a corp could hope to earn in its heartiest wet dream. Movie producer looked it up & oil industry on xity-x million dollars of political contributions earned yity-y billion dollars of USG giveaways over something like a decade. Resorting to a trusty xcel spread sheet, I calculated that the return on investment was 800 times.

I have also argued that consumers are far smarter than corps, becuz consumers are closer to economic disaster. But that doesn’t mean corps never learn. And corps have certainly shown in recent years that buying pols is way to profitable to skimp, or even to hide.

When you are up against such a juggernaut, it doesn’t matter how smart you are.

bigrock November 13th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

maybe things need to get really really bad before the people realy decide to stand up,,,when the supreme court is ready to outlaw class action suites,,the republic model has failed….

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

OK, can someone tell me briefly why we can’t start a third party? Get it started in a few smaller states. Get some fed up celebrities to help publicize it. Then it would catch fire. Americans are dying for a third item on the menu. Please just answer in a few words.

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Roger — I’ve been writing about a left-liberatarian — a kind of anarcho-capitalist — secessionist movement in Vermont (see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-ketcham/vermont-revolutionaries-a_b_699954.html)

Short of secession — which is unlikely — they hope to start a state-wide movement in answer to the capture of the two-party duopoly by FIRE and corporate America. They want to pass laws that outlaw usury, that severely curb the “freedoms” of corporate persons in their state, that abolish the power of money in elections. They want to establish a state bank, along the lines of the Bank of North Dakota, to keep credit and debt within Vermont. They want to bring home the national guard and implement state-wide tax revolts against support of our wars and the continuing enrichment of the military-industrial sector. Do you see any hope in state and local movements arising to counter the corrupted center?

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:41 pm
In response to eblair @ 161

The U.S. military will not allow the U.S. to break up, stari decisis (sp?) notwithstanding. Don’t forget the new ‘northern command.’

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I completely agree. Government has got to be one of the most lucrative markets going. Opensecrets has great post on the returns on investment of the main TARP recipients.

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:42 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 174

When there is no money left to pay them they will.

perris November 13th, 2010 at 3:43 pm

you know when I knew we were in trouble?

when even progressive blogs were arguing against re-enacting “the fairness act’

rescinding that act is the single most damaging thing that has happened to this country, it allows the liars free reign, it allows the rush, the hannity the levin

it is because of that we had a second term of reagan, we had bush and we had the impeachment of clinton

and when obama said the fairness doctrine was off the table without even using it as some bargaining chip, it was clear

bigrock November 13th, 2010 at 3:43 pm

and the loses from the AIG shell game,,,,TARP lost money and is still losing money

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Local movements are probably the only way to drive wedges into the duopoly.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:44 pm
In response to eblair @ 172

Among other factors mitigating against your suggestion, is that Koch, Coors, Mellon-Scaife contributions to such third parties would change their character PDQ. A tactic the usual suspects have already used, which is why Sierra Club, Green party, etc., were nowhere to be found on BP’s Gulf oil disaster.

perris November 13th, 2010 at 3:45 pm
In response to eblair @ 172

I’ll give you the reason;

a third party will only be able to get at the most a few seats, those seats will be worthless unless the third party caucuses with someone

then the corporate investments will corrupt that third party

it’s incredibly hard to face giving up your seat in power and when corporations give you what looks like a perpetual eat in that power, it will be hard to legislate against your sponsors

in other words, a third partier is not going to stay third party

of course there are exceptions but we would need everyone to be that exception

duncan November 13th, 2010 at 3:46 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 115

Yeah I think I’ve got to write this up. Been avoiding it.

Please do, it’s an interesting take on the subject.

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:46 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 180

Yeah, well that would be the central concern wouldn’t it?

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:47 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 180

Yes, and that’s why fighting the money system is the condition of any possible reform.

BevW November 13th, 2010 at 3:48 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 170

FDL Movie Night – Pricele$$

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Back to the beginning. How do you fight money with no money?

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Where may the young voters be in all of this? They supported Obama, and are also disappointed. I do not know what their numbers are like these days, but they have youth and energy and intelligence and could certainly be willing to be loud, etc. I’d like to know more of their outlook.

perris November 13th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Roger D. Hodge, The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism

one thing about that word “betrayal”

there were visionaries here at the lake who recognized immediatly obama would not be the hope we were looking for

people like ecahn who pointed out long before obama was elected that he was a corporatist

and jane and any others who pointed out he is not a liberal

I myself pointed out a number of times we might be better off with mccain since a democratic majority would not let mccain get away with what they would let a democrat get away with

obama didn’t really betray us, we knew he was a corporatist and that knowledge was re-enforced when he lobbied for the bush tarp, when he lobbied to give telecom retro active immunity

we really did know what we were getting, there wasn’t that much betrayal at all

bigrock November 13th, 2010 at 3:50 pm
In response to perris @ 181

we just meed to take over the dem party on the local level,, that is something we can learn from the tea baggers,,,maybe if some of the life long dem losers get kicked out, maybe thing will change,,currently we really have no choice and you need to invest accordingly…

ben nelson, mary landrieu,,amoung others need to go

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 3:50 pm
In response to duncan @ 182

Well, if that is what J. Stewart is saying, it is not original and hence not that subversive. He seemed to be saying something like that back when he went on Crossfire, but if we are not sure that he is saying that now, then it seems likely that he is hedging what he is saying and/or not entirely sure what he is saying. (I confess, I didn’t have the time to pay attention to any of that Stewart news.)

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:50 pm
In response to BevW @ 185

Thanks Bev. I knew what it was, but this salon is moving so rapidly, I didn’t want to take the time to go back & link. Appreciate your help!

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:50 pm
In response to RevBev @ 166

Thanks, Bev. Great discussion. Challenging to keep up with all the excellent questions.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:52 pm
In response to perris @ 188

The subtitle is not Obama’s betrayal, it’s Obama and the betrayal of American liberalism. Obama is only part of the story.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 3:53 pm
In response to RevBev @ 187

Read recently that there were 29 million 18-24s OFAs who didn’t bother to vote in 2010 becuz O didn’t try to keep them on the reservation. And, iirc, the Rs won by 9 million (or whatever the # is but far less than 29 million).

If that isn’t a sign that O is deliberately trying to trash the D party once & for all, I don’t know what is.

brutaltruth November 13th, 2010 at 3:54 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 174

Would they fire on their fellow citizens though? Some might, the military is getting increasingly filled with more thugs as the energy resource wars wear down the all-volunteer force and lower recruiting standards, but my best guess in that situation is that it would cause a schism in the military between those willing to “just follow orders” and those with a conscience who would be willing to turn their guns around against the officers ordering them to shoot other Americans. Maybe some units would join the rebellion, others might stay loyal to the oligarch puppetmasters depending on which way their officers go and how popular their officers are with their troops. Could be a civil war.

Regarding what someone said about the N.R.A. however I have always thought that the elite thinks of them as their “private militia” that could be used as proxies to maintain “order” to lessen the burden on the military and police in the event of mass civil disorder. Every N.R.A. clown I’ve ever met is brainwashed enough to do it too.

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

You met the challenge ;) you’ve done a great job.

BevW November 13th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

As we come to the end of this lively Book Salon,

Roger, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and the Obama Adminstration.

Chris, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:
Roger’s website, book
Chris’s website, contact

Thanks everyone,
Have a great evening.

Roger D. Hodge November 13th, 2010 at 3:55 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 186

There’s plenty of money out there that might support the overthrow of the money system. If popular outrage grows loud enough it might happen.

Probably won’t, of course, but what else can we do?

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

What’s compelling for me to watch in the discussion is the sense of futility, hopelessness, desperation, paralysis. We all — and by that I mean the participants here — see and understand the problem, and have no idea what to do about it. Very depressing, as Bev notes. However, I see two strands of the possible: local movements to upset/undermine the duopoly; and local electoral laws to begin to move money influence out of the political arena. Local action is doable.

duncan November 13th, 2010 at 3:56 pm
In response to eblair @ 190

I’m getting something different from that from Jane’s posts today. Maybe I’m reading too much in. The first post seemed to be about what you’re saying, but the second hinted at a more insidious and interesting role being played. I’d like to see a complete write-up, though, to be sure.

bigrock November 13th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

move

perris November 13th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

though I got here late this is one of the very best discussions I have seen, THANK YOU ROGER!

perris November 13th, 2010 at 3:58 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 194

ECAHN, that is one scary point you just raised

hownow November 13th, 2010 at 3:59 pm
In response to brutaltruth @ 100

This does not look like he agrees with the politically correct line on this event:
http://www.zerohedge.com/article/noam-chomsky-no-evidence-al-qaeda-carried-out-911-attacks

Funnydiva2002 November 13th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

“local action is doable”

until the moneyed interests challenge such local legislative actions through the captive courts.

but you’re right. and the fight’s gotta start somewhere.

PeasantParty November 13th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Roger,

I want to go off the grid so to speak. I want to buy real farm fresh eggs, not your Koch eggs. I’m working on a huge project to do just that, but with no money it is hard. Can small increments like this help with bringing down the corporate personhood?

Christopher Ketcham November 13th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Bev, Roger — thanks for having me over to host. Maybe next time we’ll figure out how to topple the corporate empire….sigh….

wundermaus November 13th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

“it seems either way we are screwed,,,”

Not if we organize.

1. Carry no debt. Pay off all debt including mortgages.
2. Shop minimally. Only buy what is needed to function and not what is wanted.
3. Consolidate travel to absolute minimum. Do all travel one or two days a week. Carpool to work. Use all your annual paid vacation and sick time as soon as possible.
4. Organize locally to form “protest intersections”. Pick the most popular or heavily traveled intersection in your neighborhood, town, or city to form protest walks. Gather people at each corner and walk with the lights around the intersection. No signs, no chants, just tens to hundreds of people walking around the intersection to circumvent “protest” registrations or restrictions.
5. Carry fliers or pamphlets to organize networks with people that spontaneously join your “walks”.
6. Keep this up for a year and then assess the results for further action. Don’t give up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oRoQTwac9M

brutaltruth November 13th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Great discussion everybody.

perris November 13th, 2010 at 4:00 pm
In response to RevBev @ 196

one of the best jobs I’ve seen, roger reads quick, types fast

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Got that right. O is only part of the problem, but he certainly is a visible and obvious representation of it.

I have many bleeding heart librul friends (as opposed to my Wall St hard-hearted analytical approach) who stick with O despite the evidence. So as long as they say to me, by no means to the left of center: ‘Don’t be too hard on O,’ there is NO hope.

In fact, I would guess that my condemnation of O, despite how much evidence I advance, is viewed by my bleeding heart friends as biased becuz of my background.

WRT my background, I was in a position on Wall ST where my forecast never affected my employer’s biz. So I was free to opine. I came to realize over the 90s how much labor had been screwed. Wrote about it often, but before I left a decade ago, there was always the ‘more debt’ will support consumer spending meme, which turned out to be accurate.

Now, not so much.

duncan November 13th, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Thanks for writing this book, Roger. Can’t wait to read it.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 4:03 pm
In response to brutaltruth @ 195

Would they fire on their fellow citizens though?

Oh really. If you are in any doubt about the A to that Q, you are completely out of touch with the news.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 4:05 pm

LOL.

Yep.

Two As to most Qs. (1) Becuz we can. (2) Becuz we have to.

perris November 13th, 2010 at 4:05 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 212

ecahn, i wanted to ask you about that more debt stuff

it seems to me having money “evaporate” from a depression is necessary for increasing debt to be stabalized

in other words, depression and loss of dollars might well be orchestrated to dissolve accumulated debt

what say?

eblair November 13th, 2010 at 4:06 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 214

That’s unfair eCAHN especially without significant link support. It is a damned good question and asking it certainly does not make one “completely out of touch”.

TaosJohn November 13th, 2010 at 4:07 pm

OT, but important: Jane, you really need a different template or custom CSS for these single post pages. Both the article and the comments are nearly impossible to read at 950 pixels wide, or whatever it is. Keep it the same width as on the home page.

As for the topic at hand, however, thank you Roger Hodge! While many of us have been aware of the problem you write about for some time, the more this gets talked about, the better. I see that even Frank Rich (NYT) gets it. Unfortunately, I think we’re due for a great deal of pain before things improve, and also that we haven’t begun to feel it yet. Pray that I am wrong, and thank you again.

brutaltruth November 13th, 2010 at 4:07 pm
In response to hownow @ 204

Well then Chomsky’s recently changed his tune because for years his position was that it was self-destructive for the left to accept anything but the official myth on 9/11. For example
http://911blogger.com/node/2173

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 4:09 pm
In response to perris @ 210

roger reads quick, types fast

Oh soooo true!

One of the shortcomings of the book salon I hosted. My prof author was frozen in oral communication & couldn’t type fast enough to keep the hoi poloi edumacated, or at least entertained.

learo November 13th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

I feel like Mr. Hodge’s book would be most beneficially read by a frustrated idealist–by someone who really did want to believe in Obama, and who is deeply disheartened and thus ready for a primer on the history of faction and money in this nation. And perhaps this reader would be inspired to convert his misguided fealty into action directed at the real problem, which is private money’s hold on our politics.

The way it’s been reviewed you would think that the book was just an intemperate screed against the man, and not a serious and detailed argument for why we should never have seen him as our redeemer to begin with.

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 4:11 pm
In response to eblair @ 217

I am so glad you said that; I wanted to respond, but wouldn’t have done so well.

eCAHNomics November 13th, 2010 at 4:12 pm
In response to eblair @ 217

Oh really. Here’s the nothern command website, and if you google northern command you come up with this.

As I mentioned earlier, this book salon was moving quickly, so I didn’t link. That does not absolve YOU of your job to find out for yourself.

greenwarrior November 13th, 2010 at 4:13 pm
In response to eblair @ 217

google:

wto in seattle
republican convention in new york
florida police being trained for protests
little old lady tasered by police for protesting being stopped for going 5 miles over speed limit – i forget where

for starters.

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 4:13 pm
In response to learo @ 221

And I wonder if the huge # of disappointed youth could get re-energized.

November 13th, 2010 at 4:14 pm
In response to eblair @ 151

“a dictatorship… I don’t think that the NRA members will go along with.”
They love a dictatorship as long as they are running it.

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 4:15 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 223

E: Not everyone is retired with lots of free time…you are not the police of the thread. Please.

bigbrother November 13th, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Oligarchy power takes fascist military threat. Created here as Homeland security. The military force at the Presidential conventions illustrated what is in store for civil disobedience. That door is closed.

brutaltruth November 13th, 2010 at 4:16 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 214

Oh believe me, I’m far from out of touch with the news. As I said, some likely would fire on their fellow citizens, others might not and refuse to obey their orders (or desert which I didn’t mention.) It’s highly likely that a greater portion of the military would follow orders but I would find it hard to believe that it wouldn’t cause quite a fracture in the military. The risk of that eventuality might be a brake against willy-nilly use of deadly force. But I certainly have no respect for the U.S. military or illusions about the quality of its soldiery.

brutaltruth November 13th, 2010 at 4:19 pm
In response to eblair @ 217

Thanks EBlair.

intentionality November 13th, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Exactly! We need to start from the ground up in order to make changes from the top down, no the other way around. I wish I had come across this salon sooner. Hodge is right, Democrats and Republicans are both bought and sold by corporate interests, so it is time to turn to a party that won’t betray the base. That’s why I’m trying to start a Green Party movement – first at my own college, then at my friends colleges, and from there wherever I go. We need people, at the local level, to get involved in the political process in a meaningful way so that we can start to really impact the state and, eventually, the federal levels. That means not just voting, but actually doing the legwork that the corporatists have been paying their pawns (aka us) to do for them. Change is possible, but remember this: We must BE the change we wish to see in the world. Sound familiar?
Don’t give up! Let’s save the world from these greedy bastards! Can’t do it without gettin some of our OWN asses into it, though! What do you all think? :)

intentionality November 13th, 2010 at 4:22 pm
In response to RevBev @ 225

I’m working on that, as one of such energized youth you refer to ;)

greenwarrior November 13th, 2010 at 4:23 pm
In response to spocko @ 141

I think you’re on the right track spocko.

bigbrother November 13th, 2010 at 4:23 pm
In response to brutaltruth @ 229

The volunteer military and the addition of Private forces has made USA a fascist state. We are a Republic run by corporations backed by the full force of the largest military power in the history of the world and they are willing to turn that around on the citizenry as surely as Tianamin Square.Criminals can be tolerated but dissent is not. Rachel reflected that in steeping back.

RevBev November 13th, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Thanks…I was wondering when I read your post. I am hoping there are lots of you….it’s your world we are talking about. Good luck; keep us engaged!!

bigbrother November 13th, 2010 at 4:25 pm

The Green Tea Party!

intentionality November 13th, 2010 at 4:32 pm
In response to RevBev @ 235

The interest is most definitely there. Everyone my age who has taken the time to really listen when I tell them about the Green party is all for it. Its only in the intial stages right now, as I have only just recently gotten SGA approval to start my Green chapter and now need to actually set everything else up (time/place to meet, agenda, etc) so I can actually start making a difference.

@bigbrother: That’s the idea! That’s why it can’t just be me…. I need my friends to help. That includes you all here on FDL, as well. Get involved in your communities and start Green movements however you can. I’m trying to start the movement at the college level, but thats not where I plan on it ending. It needs to grow and spread, but we need to start planting seeds NOW in order for it to reach its full potential…

intentionality November 13th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

….and those seeds can be planted anywhere ;)

bigbrother November 13th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Every environmental effort has been neutered by big Chen and Big AG, The EPA has become Department of Environmental Pollution not protection. Neuter every effort for anything progressive that is what the Corporation congress does…from health care to financial reform. Obama administration is a puppet government of the Oligarchy families.

bigbrother November 13th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

See Transition Towns for more ideation. If the Oligarchy is surrounded by Green Tea Party groups that want to protect our Earth, Air and Sea/waters by implementing conservation and local representation as we grow they are eroded.

intentionality November 13th, 2010 at 4:40 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 239

thats why its so important that we get those assholes out of office. their greed will lead to the death of all life on this planet as we know it. this is absolutely unacceptable to me. I WILL help save the planet, or die trying. If I die in pursuit of this goal, at least I will die happy. I can only hope that if I do not succeed by the time my own end comes, that others who knew me take up the charge in my stead. Hope – such a wonderful thing…

intentionality November 13th, 2010 at 4:43 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 240

I will look into that. Just bookmarked a few links about them, but right now I don’t have the mental energy (just wrote an 11-page philosophical theory about knowledge, reality, morality, and God yesterday x_x) but I will certainly read up about it. Looks like it could be just the kind of thing I was looking for, thanks!

Stephen November 13th, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Media superstardom, it’s addictive, once you are hooked you make sure you appease the puppet master. Both Maddow and Stewart stay away from one particular subject and that is Gaza, and the ongoing genocide. Yes sir no sir, thank you very much sir. As well, do they ever bring up off-radar subjects like the infamous H.R. 3808 or the up and coming MERS patch to continue foreclosures concocted by the Obama Administration and Congress.

TheLurkingMod November 13th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Jane Hamsher is upstairs!
Cartoon: Quantitative Easing Explained

JaneaneTheAcerbicGoblin November 13th, 2010 at 5:12 pm
In response to gesneri @ 138

Clarence Thomas aside, many people still are convinced that a person of color must be “a liberal”. They seem incapable of seeing through our President’s skin color to the person beneath

Or a woman has to be “liberal”. Or a gay/lesbian person has to be “liberal”, when in fact the opposite is true more often than not.

For every Barney Frank there’s a Log Cabin Republican.

Mauimom November 13th, 2010 at 5:23 pm
In response to spocko @ 141

Perhaps this is why they’re so frightened of the 50 Attorneys General getting into the foreclosure fraud game, and so anxious to pixie dust MERS.

liberalarts November 13th, 2010 at 5:27 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 47

An account by a Chicago reporter gave a very different version of Obama’s Illinois senate career. He wasn’t the lead on those bills, he was the mediator who compromised away the writers’ original programs. By that account, Obama was an astute rider of other people’s winning horses. And an absolutely sensational resume polisher.

liberalarts November 13th, 2010 at 5:30 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 50

For Buffet it’s about business, it’s not personal. He’ll keep an oar in.

liberalarts November 13th, 2010 at 5:34 pm
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 68

Disagree.

liberalarts November 13th, 2010 at 5:36 pm
In response to McMia @ 80

The anti Obama sentiment is rising at DKos, even. Openly.

sporkovat November 13th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

the spectrum of acceptable thought seems to have shifted favorably here at FDL over the last couple years – great to have authors hosted here who articulate such hard truths.

such opinions were most unwelcome when FDL was in GOTV mode in 2008.

Teddy Partridge November 13th, 2010 at 6:21 pm

A wonderful discussion, thanks to author and host, well matched by our Bev!

Kassandra November 13th, 2010 at 6:39 pm
In response to Knut @ 96

Oh, I think they’re coming and they’re coming fast. Once Social Security gets eaten up by the war machine, what really is left?
Especially now that we know Obama and congress are going to actually try to legalized fraudulent foreclosures?
These things we hear nothing of on the “news”.
I suspect the US is much closer to collapse than anyone knows, even the monsters who seem to think there is an endless supply of golden goose eggs…..What then?

And sometime in the next 2 years the internet will be sold also….just because SOME people are waking up. even a percentage of 1% scares them silly

perris November 13th, 2010 at 6:57 pm
In response to liberalarts @ 250

finally, took long enough

I guess they’ll be called firebaggers?

or will that be kosbaggers

madma November 13th, 2010 at 7:11 pm
In response to Sharkbabe @ 45

one of the more difficult ones to take is Thomm Hartmann. He just said “no matter what Obama does he will support and vote for him in 2012″.

madma November 13th, 2010 at 7:33 pm
In response to McMia @ 110

they don’t rely on us anymore for money. They are international corporations stealing resources from other countries and profiting that way. Using the poor for production to make more money.

maximus7 November 13th, 2010 at 8:32 pm

We the people of the United States of America form this Liberal Democratic Party of the United States of America for the promotion of a progressive agenda for America.

We generally support the progressive and liberal candidates that run in the regular Democratic party. We do not run candidates. We do not handle money. Our power comes from the unionization of our party members who tell GOP contributors and other regressive contributors that UNTIL you get the House and Senate and the President to enact our party platform at the present point into law YOU will lose our business as consumers. By doing this we avoid petitioning a corporate corrupted congress and go to the source of corruption and pressure them for the legislation under threat of massive boycotts.

Party members will send the party agenda by email to these GOP and regressive contributors and get new people to join us.

Imagine it and it will happen.

The Republican party appears weak and vulnerable at the cash registers of those companies that give money to them.

To join us go here http://www.democratz.org and send some emails and get others to go there. If you like this message then Join us.

Jane Hamsher November 13th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Tom Ferguson is da bomb.

maximus7 November 13th, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I support the write in of Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa for President in 2012 who has more compassion in his pinky than the GOPranos and conservadems have.

maximus7 November 13th, 2010 at 9:04 pm
In response to McMia @ 25

Yes, economic boycotts for the purpose of getting progressive legislation will knock the power out of conservative hands. See message 257.

skepticdog November 13th, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Put another way, the strong always prey on the weak. Still a bunch of animals.

eblair November 14th, 2010 at 2:36 am
In response to greenwarrior @ 224

The question on the table is about the military, not the police.

eblair November 14th, 2010 at 2:38 am
In response to eCAHNomics @ 223

lol. Well, those links don’t prove anything. Your claim is about what the troops would do and YOU have failed to provide ANY specific or indeed general support for your claim. The salon is over and it is YOUR responsibility to support your claims.

eblair November 14th, 2010 at 2:42 am
In response to grumps @ 226

Michael Moore is an NRA member. Their membership is more diverse than you give it credit for.

eblair November 14th, 2010 at 2:44 am

Here for example, they endorse a Democrat.

Evelyn November 14th, 2010 at 4:40 am
In response to Roger D. Hodge @ 34

I appreciate Hodge’s very important overall message and insights but I am confused about his reading of corporate personhood.

“Yes, I argue that the only way forward is to tackle the constitutional issues of corporate personhood and the bizarre equation of spending with speech. After my debate with Jonathan Alter last month, someone came up and said that every public interest group in the country should devote 30 percent of its budget to those issues.”

Are not public interest groups “corporate persons” also? Public interest groups should devote 30 percent of their budgets to fight against their right to spend money advocating their right, etc.?

Roger D. Hodge November 14th, 2010 at 8:21 am
In response to Evelyn @ 266

Killing corporate personhood doesn’t mean that we do away with corporations — or nonprofits. It means that we strip corporations of the rights of citizenship.

Rereading the thread this morning I realized I didn’t properly sign off …

Thank you, Chris and Bev and FDL for hosting this salon, and thanks to all who logged in and hit me with your questions.

raybeckerman November 14th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Obama clearly has the ability to get on track.

His presidency is in some ways reminiscent of JFK’s. JFK despite his wit, demeanor, and charisma, wasn’t doing much for liberal policies.

Shortly before his death, he did get on track, and would have achieved much had he lived.

The people who provided the strong base for Obama’s election are still here. We provided that base because Obama’s campaign rhetoric meshed with our values. If he starts bring his policies into synch with his campaign rhetoric, we will all be thrilled.

And his late mother, presently rolling over in her grave, will smile broadly.

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