Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Uptown Top Ranking - what is that?

22 comments:

socrates said...

TLNL: Why does the American "patriot" movement tend to regard Israel as such a pariah, when it might reasonably be expected Israeli indominability would appeal to the American revolutionary spirit of independence?

Americans had to kill people to become "Americans". To throw off external domination, imperialism, subjugation.

I'd have thought Israel's position and actions would thus appeal to that particular pride of Americans, especially amongst the "patriot movement".

I guess it's the attendant American Nationalism that makes the difference.....the fear that Israel/Jews are compromising American independence, and yankee nationalism takes absolute precedence over other nationalisms, even if they reflect america's own.





Why is TLNL equating the American "Patriot Movement" to anti-semitism? I mentioned a dude named Pat Robertson who adores Israel. Then TLNL went quiet. Methinks TLNL is giving internet sources more power than they truly have. Rivero, Jones, Agent99, Tinoire, Jeff Wells and many others are disinfo fucks. It's really not that tough to see. The first two portray themselves as right wingers. The latter portray themselves as lefties. What do they all have in common? They are full of shit. Most Americans love Israel and think it is a country protecting itself against surrounding nations out to destroy it. Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivero and many other right winger "patriots" do not fit the description TLNL is providing. This is how Israel has gotten away with a lot of bad stuff. GW Bush let Israel do whatever they wanted in Gaza. He totally threw away positive gains towards peace motivated by the Clinton Administration and to go back further to the Carter years. TLNL couldn't be more wrong in what he wrote above. There is a much different reality than how the internet zeitgeist tries to frame it.

the_last_name_left said...

Why is TLNL equating the American "Patriot Movement" to anti-semitism?

Because of Bo Gritz, Mark Kroenke, Montana Freemen, the Minutemen, Christian Identity religions, Ruby Ridge......etc

Dave Niewert writes: "The sheer venom coming from the Patriot movement, however, was in another universe. Built around strange conspiracy theories and fire-breathing rhetoric, the movement was wildly out of far-right field."

A review of his book " In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest" -- says: "Neiwert does a thorough job documenting a disturbing panoply of self-described “Patriots”—militias, Freemen, Phineas Priests, Posse Comitatus, Christian Identity, and Aryan Nations."

the_last_name_left said...

Neiwert writes: "Those who have read In God's Country know that I conclude, in the Afterword, that the Patriot movement represents a genuine proto-fascist element: "a uniquely American kind of fascism."

The Patriot movement that inspired Tim McVeigh and his cohorts -- as well as a string of other would-be right-wing terrorists who were involved in some 40-odd other cases in the five years following April 15, 1995 -- indeed is descended almost directly from overtly fascist elements in American politics. Much of its political and "legal" philosophy is derived from the "Posse Comitatus" movement of the 1970s and ‘80s, which itself Insignia of the Posse Comitatusoriginated (in the 1960s) from the teachings of renowned anti-Semite William Potter Gale, and further propagated by Mike Beach, a former "Silver Shirt" follower of neo-Nazi ideologue William Dudley Pelley.21

Though the Patriot movement is fairly multifaceted, most Americans have a view of it mostly through the media images related to a single facet -- the often pathetic collection of bunglers and fantasists known as the militia movement. Moreover, they've been told that the militia movement is dead.

It is, more or less. (And the whys of that, as we will see, are crucial here.) But the Patriot movement -- oh, it's alive and reasonably well. Let's put it this way: It isn't going away anytime soon.

The militia "movement" was only one strategy in the broad coalition of right-wing extremists who call themselves the "Patriot" movement. What this movement really represents is the attempt of old nationalist, white-supremacist and anti-Semitic ideologies to mainstream themselves by stripping away the arguments about race and ethnicity, and focusing almost single-mindedly on their underlying political and legal philosophies -- which all come wrapped up, of course, in the neat little Manichean package of conspiracy theories. In the process, most of their spokesmen carefully eschew race talk or Jew-baiting, but refer instead to "welfare queens" and "international bankers" and the "New World Order".

Forming militias was a strategy mainly aimed at recruiting from the mainstream, particularly among gun owners. It eventually fell prey to disrepute and entropy, for reasons we'll explore in a bit. However, there are other Patriot strategies that have proved to have greater endurance, particularly "common law courts" and their various permutations, all of which revolve around the idea of "sovereign citizenship," which makes every white Christian male American, essentially, a king unto himself. The movement is, as always, mutable. It includes a number of "constitutionalist" tax-protest movements, as well as certain "home schooling" factions and anti-abortion extremists.

the_last_name_left said...

[Neiwert continued]

As I explained it in the Afterword of In God's Country:

...[T]he Patriots are not Nazis, nor even neo-Nazis. Rather, they are at least the seedbed, if not the realization, of a uniquely American kind of fascism. This is an overused term, its potency diluted by overuse and overstatement. However, there can be little mistaking the nature of the Patriot movement as essentially fascist in the purest sense of the word. The beliefs it embodies fit, with startling clarity, the definition of fascism as it has come to be understood by historians and sociologists: a political movement based in populist ultranationalism and focused on an a core mythic ideal of phoenix-like societal rebirth, attained through a return to "traditional values."

As with previous forms of fascism, its affective power is based on irrational drives and mythical assumptions; its followers find in it an outlet for idealism and self-sacrifice; yet on close inspection, much of its support actually derives from an array of personal material and psychological motivations. It is not merely an accident, either, that the movement and its belief systems are directly descended from earlier manifestations of overt fascism in the Northwest -- notably the Ku Klux Klan, Silver Shirts, the Posse Comitatus and the Aryan Nations. Like all these uniquely American fascist groups, the Patriots share a commingling of fundamentalist Christianity with their ethnic and political agenda, driven by a desire to shape America into a "Christian nation."

http://cursor.org/stories/fascismv.php

the_last_name_left said...

Neiwert writes of Pat Robertson thus:

Among the leaders of America's religious right, Pat Robertson enjoys a uniquely powerful position, both as overseer of a large broadcasting and evangelical empire, but also as the first fundamentalist Christian leader in recent times to make a significant run for the presidency. He also has a pronounced history of transmitting far-right themes into the mainstream, most especially his frequent claims that America is a "Christian nation," and similar advocacy of installing a theocratic government.
Pat Robertson, appearing on ABC's THIS WEEK
Pat Robertson, appearing on ABC's THIS WEEK

His most notorious instance of trafficking extremist material came with the publication of his 1992 tome, The New World Order, which of course enjoyed a considerable audience on the extremist right. The book is literally riven with conspiracist allegations and references, including his invocation of the well-known Patriot belief that the Freemason conspiracy is "revealed in the great seal adopted at the founding of the United States."

Two articles -- one by Michael Lind and another by Jacob Heilbrunn -- in the New York Review of Books demonstrated conclusively that the bulk of the concepts in the book were clearly drawn directly from such notorious anti-Semitic works as Nesta Webster's Secret Societies and Subversive Movements and Eustace Mullins' Secrets of the Federal Reserve. What's truly remarkable about Robertson's tactic is that he soft-pedals these well-worn tropes in the cloak of references to "international bankers" and the like, much the same way the Patriot movement cloaks its own conspiracy theories.


http://cursor.org/stories/fascismviii.php

the_last_name_left said...

the Posse Comitatus movement -- which in turn spawned the Patriot/militia movement of the 1990s -- had its ideological origins in "Christian fascism"; one of its founders, Mike Beach, was a former Silver Shirt.
http://cursor.org/stories/fascismxiii.php


It is this lineage, in fact, that helps us identify the Patriot/militia movement as proto-fascist in nature. Much of the political agenda, as well as the legal/political theories, espoused by the Patriots actually originated with the far-right Posse Comitatus, whose own originators themselves were former participants in both the 1920s Klan and Pelley's Silver Shirts. (The definitive text on this is Daniel Levitas' excellent The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right.)http://cursor.org/stories/fascismiv.php

socrates said...

Ok, that's a good job explaining. I still contend that many right wingers into patriotism are pro-Israel. I haven't a clue then where the anti-semitism is coming from. I can see it with the skinhead, redneck types. They hate almost everyone. Maybe the source of the hate has to do with the overall complexity of the world coupled with a lack of education. Perhaps such folks know something is terribly wrong with the world but haven't the tools to figure it out.

Do you ever watch PBS? I was watching a show called the American Experience last night. It was on the Civilian Conservation Corps. FDR was a genius. what is taking Obama so long to bring hope alive? Maybe people go for the cheap conspiracy theories because doom and gloom is increasing. It's tough to love one another and do the right thing when your stomach is grumbling and there are no jobs.

As for the girls in the video, I'll take the one on the left and you can have the one with the glasses. Maybe the sound quality is off, but I'm not too impressed with that group. It sounded like karaoke night.

socrates said...

Oops, the CCC was a patriotic group. While watching that video, I could now understand how nationalism can be a good thing. Obama should create another one of those. But perhaps he is just a poser. These are tough times. Hate is on the rise because opportunity and fair play is dwindling.

the_last_name_left said...

S: I still contend that many right wingers into patriotism are pro-Israel.

For sure. I don't disagree. I didn't intend to suggest there isn't a great deal of support for Israel, particularly amongst the right. Indeed - there's scarcely much room for support for Israel in the left, at all. Support for Israel is perhaps exclusively from the right.....(it is present in the left only if US Democrats or British Labour Party members like Tony Blair are considered "the left". I don't really include them as "the left": they're the left of the business party imo....)

I came across this interesting article by David Horowitz attacking a book by the dude mentioned above, Lind.

Lind is a former "right-winger".....who attacked Pat Robertson's New World Order book because it used anti-semitic sources. Lind showed that Robertson's claims were anti-semitic ones, though in Robertson's recounting of them, they were shorn of their explicit anti-semitism. BINGO! That's exactly what Alex Jones does - and what so many of the far-right are engaged in doing: mainstreaming old anti-semitic memes, carefully avoiding explicit anti-semitism. The anti-semitic reader will make his/her own conclusion.

Does that mean Robertson and Alex Jones, even Willis Carto are all dancing to the same tune? No, I don't think so. But, functionally, they are performing the same task......of mainstreaming old (anti-semitic) far-right memes and conspiracies. One difference is perhaps that Robertson made a major effort to deny he was being anti-semitic, and does seem to have a history of genuine support for Israel. I don't know enough about Robertson, or Israeli politics, religious issues etc, to comment.

the_last_name_left said...

Anyway - Horowitz wrote (about Lind) that:

When he [Lind] gets around to actually analyzing Robertson's text, Lind shows just how manipulative a guide he can be. In composing The New World Order, Robertson or his researcher did make an egregious decision to draw on tired conspiracy theories from anti-Semitic texts. But what is interesting about his use of those texts is that he removed most of their references to Jews, and particularly to the Jewishness of principals involved in the alleged conspiracies - a peculiar quirk, to say the least, for an anti-Semite, let alone for the kind of neo-Nazi menace that Lind has portrayed. Nor is Lind unaware of this editorial process. Indeed, Lind actually draws the reader's attention to it as though Robertson's omission of ethnic particulars is further evidence of his anti-Semitism: "Throughout The New World Order, as I shall show in further detail below, Robertson uses 'German' or 'European' where his anti-Semitic sources have 'Jewish.'"

Because this seems to suggest a certain innocence in Robertson's intentions, Lind quotes a passage from Robertson's text and inserts in brackets the offending connections Robertson has removed:

"""Later the European powers [i.e., bankers like the Rothschilds] began to see the wealth of North America as a great treasure, and some of them still wanted to get their tentacles into America's economy [note the 'octopus' metaphor, a staple of anti-Semitic and anti-capitalist rhetoric]. They eventually did so not by force, but by investing their money here, by sending people [i.e., Jewish bankers like Paul Warburg and Jacob Schiff], and by buying land."""

This is a bizarre way to demonstrate that an author is anti-Semitic.

http://97.74.65.51/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=24322

Perhaps it is a bizarre way to argue someone is an anti-semite - if that is what Lind was doing. But it isn't a bizarre way to make the point that Robertson is reiterating anti-semitic tropes shorn of explicit anti-semitism. Whilst omitting references to jews can be taken an evidence against anti-semitism, the reality is that this is a definite known tactic of the far-right - used as a means to mainstream their (essentially anti-semitic) views.

As with Alex Jones - likewise for Pat Robertson: it needn't matter how conscious they are of their function.

You're right to differentiate them, over Israel particularly perhaps. However, there's a crossover too - between (perhaps) pro-Israeli Robertson and the anti-semitic "patriot"/militia/christian identity/ movements. The second of these two types is the one I was referring to when I said "patriot movement", though doubtless not all those in the movement are likely virulently anti-semitic. But likewise, doubtless much of Robertson's spiel speaks strongly to even the most anti-semitic parts of the "patriot movement" and the neo-nazi fringes, etc.

the_last_name_left said...

S: Maybe the sound quality is off, but I'm not too impressed with that group. It sounded like karaoke night.

Yeah - the sound is a bit borked. There are versions with better sound quality, but I like this video version so much because of the way those girls are......it's so warm, and I dunno what.....

I remember it going to No1 - right after Mull of Kintyre, IIRC. I liked it, but, being a child, I had no idea what it was about. Sex? "When you see me inna pants and ting
See me inna 'alter back
Sey me gi' you heart attack
Gimme likkle bass, make me wine up me waist
Uptown Top Ranking"

I didn't realise at the time how much I was taking in of reggae.....

I liked The Specials too. Two-tone/mod/reggae....

the_last_name_left said...

lol - i checked the lyrics for that song......someone asked "I wonder what they are doing now?"

Someone replied:

"Whatever they're doing, it's probably not teaching English... from the looks of these gobbeldigook lyrics....."

Someone else answered saying "It's not "english" - it's Jamaican Patois."

hehe

the_last_name_left said...

Patois contains many loanwords - examples from African languages include /dopi/ meaning ghost, from the Twi word adope

"I'm a duppy conqueror"

socrates said...

Borked. That's a new one for me. I come here as much for your knowledge on the right wing conspiracy nuts as I do just to hear some of your quirky words. :)

I mean, that's actually kind of funny the way you have dudes wearing wigs. Something about guys dressing up as women yet with staches is good humour.

I never liked your Mr. Bean guy. I never thought Benny Hill was funny, but as a teenager, it was nice to get a look at hot European babes.

Pat Robertson is basically an idiot. Although, unlike Alex Jones, I actually think he is sincere in his kookiness. We all get played. Maybe Robertson got played in promoting that anti-semitism.

You did a good job exposing Alex Jones for being anti-semitic without being upfront about it. Fancy that while you were doing that, the wingnuts have come out with claiming Jones is a Joo shill. The reason why I had a hunch you were correct about Jones is because of his close affiliation with Mike Rivero. The reason I was able to quickly have doubts about Rivero was his close ties to Jeff Rense. If these guys are paid disinfo, yeah I know, tough to prove, they could have done a better job hiding it. I think a damnation on them is when they use the robots.txt on the wayback machine. Like with Brad Friedman, why on earth would he ever have resorted to that? Why is he so close to Agent99 and her clan?

I can really dig stuff that has nothing to do with the kookiness we two have delved into trying to figure out. How can anyone rip into FDR for his New Deal? You'd have liked that documentary I mentioned. Maybe I can find a clip of it for you. Now that was where patriotism was a good thing. Poor people were given work. They only had to work for six hours a day and got to work with nature. Basically all those decades of cotton farming had destroyed America. The land was basically recultivated. Millions were put to work. Social security was also a good thing. Older people were allowed to retire and given enough to live on. That money went back into the economy and jobs were freed up for the younger people. You can watch a trailer on it here.

link/URL


It's outrageous that anyone is calling Obama a socialist. Maybe he is, but that is for the rich.

socrates said...

It looks like the whole show might be viewable at that link. I love that kind of stuff. It gives me hope we'll turn it around here. The only criticism I've heard of FDR concerning the New Deal is that he came up with it to stop the potential for riots. I think one thing Marx was correct about is the inevitability of sociaty being centered around humanity. We're obviously not there yet. Someday. We need better education. More accountability. We can't survive too many more GW Bush types.

the_last_name_left said...

yeah. What you're getting at is what I call "socialist nationalism", as opposed to the (nazi) "national socialism".

It's the difference between the (socialist) nationalism of, say, Chavez's venezuela, and the nationalist socialism of 1930s Germany, say.

Similar perhaps to the difference between the more acceptable "racism" and tribalism of genuinely threatened Amazonian tribes, as compared to western, white, male christians.

I think these are the sort of issues at the heart of Lenin's "On the National Question". That Nationalism pulls both ways......it can be a force for liberty - a bulwark against imperialism - a posiitve force for indigenous people - towards independence, against imperialism and colonialism. But it can also be a force the other way - a force propelling imperialism and subjugation of others. The context and relationships are the key to understanding the content and implication of the nationalism. I think. :)

In the same way, there's the division between, say, Curt Maynard's use of "nigger" and some Rapper's use of the term. Many people are confused by that difference - and racists seek to exploit such confusion - claiming the difference as proof of some societal hypocrisy. But the difference is easy enough to understand, really, so long as one knows a little of the context.

Likewise for nationalisms, imo. And "racism". Which is where Israel fits in.......or at least, where arguments about the acceptability of apparently "racist" and ultra-nationalist Israel comes in.

Welsh and Scottish nationalism are far less threatening, and are more positive, than English/British nationalism. Because of the formal relationships of England to wales and scotland - one of domination, imperialism, subjugation, exploitation, etc.

I'm an internationalist - against nationalism. And against racism. But....if I consider an amazonian tribe fighting to hold off the modern world and the tribe being subsumed into Brazilian state and all that......well....who can't empathise with the tribalism and the "racism" of it? My position is one of comfort about my "race" and "nation".......I don't care about those things........but I'm white, british, N european, atheist. Of course I'm not bothered about those things.....

But....."Welsh-ness" is a bit different.......and is more under threat not least from English/British imperialism and its domination of the union. Likewise in Scotland. And Ireland even more so......re IRA etc.

I think it's these sorts of isssues Lenin was on about in "On the Nationalist Question".

I find his writing on it hard work to understand properly, though.

socrates said...

I believe Lenin was creepy. Same with Mao. Of course with Stalin. It's funny how context is often missing in the blogosphere. Everyone is going for the polarising tricks. Calling Obama a socialist is the ultimate example. I think it is a sign that true lefties, progressives, and peaceniks have become marginalised from the political process.

There was nothing wrong in theory with early nationalism as a catalyst for the downtrodden to aim for. That is what's so depressing about history. The US and France (in theory) were great models to take us from commercial feudalism and monarchy control towards living the ideals of the Enlightenment. But we know how it turned out. The world was plundered and pillaged for capital and resources at the expense of true independence for all.

I hear you on the use of the N word. People who are put down perhaps feel they are taking power away from the word by using it themselves. As a white dude, I believe I have no right to use it ever. I've even stopped using the word spook, because it has been used as a racial epitath.

The C word is a funny one. You Europeans seem to be able to say it unlike us Yanks. We all know that fag means two different things to ourselves.

It's ironic that as we have had a more normal than usual give and take here, that we are two of the most censored bloggers on the net. We are perceived as blog wreckers and trolls. It used to get to me that I was being denied my right to join internet communities. I'm definitely over it at this point, considering those few forums that have banned me. Some say consider the source. I am saying consider the milieu.

Those people in the CCC learned social skills. They got three good meals a day. They built our state parks. They fixed the ruined soil. It made me proud to be an American to watch that show. The problem ended up being World War 2. That brought about the end of the Civilian Conservation Corps. It took a long time before an African-American could be elected in America, but it was the little things along the way that made it possible. Like the CCC. Like Martin Luther King. Nationalism can help break down racial tensions.

A lot of people from other countries are anti-American. But they need to realise this is a big country, and that we are not all that stereotypical tourist who pisses ye off. We're a good people who do the right thing, when we are aware of problems.

If I had to choose a world leader to believe in, I'd take the guy from Bolivia over Chavez. I hope I have the right guy. I forget his name. I agree with you that nationalism can be bad. But on the other hand, our cultural differences are what makes dialogue between folks from other countries more exciting. I'm finally at peace with the world and hard to believe also with the internet. I've gotten a lot of satisfaction in having exposed swine like Kimberlin and Friedman and all those others. It was a good ride afterall. (I think that guy's name is Evo Morales, but I am too lazy to google. He was on one of our late night shows and was quite impressive. He seems more legit to me than Chavez. But maybe Chavez is a great man too.)

the_last_name_left said...

Bush did a lot of harm - not least allowing space for a crude anti-americanism to flourish. Even I engaged in it - having previously been very impressed by visiting America. It's too easy to see America as a caricature of an artless McDonalds-loving, gung-ho militarism. It's easier to appreciate if you've actually been there......and if you're familiar with Chomsky and Zinn, for example. It's silly to write-off an entire nation - let alone one as diverse and large as USA. Just to "be" in America was a big thrill for me - last time was a few weeks before 911, when I drove from Toronto to Florida keys and back in about a week. Florida is no place to visit in August! Mad hot - humid. Yeuch! And bloody sharks everywhere too. W Virginia was more my thing - it's not too dissimilar to Wales - just a bigger scale of mountain - and the trees still remain.

The CCC seems a very good idea. I had been hoping Obama would launch something similar - with a highly green/eco twist. Such pump=priming has long been out of favour though.....at least since the rise of neo-liberalism in the late 70s and Reaganism? Ron Paul wouldn't stand for it, would he? Nor those already calling Obama a socialist? That's a political reality Obama's critics seem too ready to dismiss imo. I'm pretty ignorant of american politics, but, I think it's foolish of people to condemn Obama without accounting for the opposition he faces to anything he does or might be inclined to do - let alone anything genuinely socialist, or even to the benefit of the working class, social cohesion etc etc.,

Mind you -- I guess the counter argument can be made: he's criticised for his "socialism" regardless, so why not "go for it" some more? But then that probably mistakes Obama as a closet-socialist.......and he's not. Surely? He never said he was - he never promised to be?

What astonishes me most is that the US civil war was only 150 years ago. It seems "ancient history"......but Marx was in London....Darwin was publishing "On the origin of species"....the first transatlantic telegraph was laid etc. The modern world was already fast approaching. Another 100 years until MLK, and another 50 before Obama's presidency.

Less than 100 years between US civil war and the atomic bomb? The 1960s were a century after the civil war. Obviously - lol - but it's easy to get impatient for change......yet.....this is incredible pace of change, really.

I like Chavez. Have you watched that documentary "The revolution will not be televised" - about the coup which deposed him for a few days? Amazing. You must watch it, if you haven't already.

the_last_name_left said...

that documentary is here:
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=5832390545689805144#

socrates said...

I'll try to check out that video when I have the chance. You're going to want to put links in html. When they are too long, blogspot cuts them off.

According to the PBS documentary on the CCC, that nature you probably experienced in Virginia and on the interstate highways you drove through from Canada to Florida were probably planted by them.

That was a great post you wrote. I think too many young people do not realise that there is more to life than what we were born into. That the personal is political. That those who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them (Santayana). That social reality isn't something that is brand new but is something that has evolved. Your speaking of the Civil War being that close to the present was a great point. Though it would take a hundred more years before the Civil Rights movement, the 154th Massachusetts Regiment could be said to have a direct link to being a catalyst towards the promotion of civil rights. While the army was still segregated, their heroics showed the white man that blacks could fight and be as much a soldier and patriotic as the next dude.

Jesse Owens was another big story in helping us get over racial tensions. I think this is why the neonazis started spreading the propaganda that he liked Hitler or something crazy like that.

The story of Malcolm X was a good one. He used to call the white man the devil. But then he met white people who believed in the same things he did, and he stopped being racist. Many believe he was killed by his own people for seeing the light.

Muhammad Ali is a great man. He gave up his right to box as a protest against the Vietnam War. He said no Vietcong ever called him the N word.

Of course, perhaps no one was better for race relations than MLK who said people should be judged on their character and not the colour of their skin.

Maybe Obama is pulling a Gorbachev, trying to bring about American glasnost. I hate to be cynical, but I don't like what I am seeing out of him. Then again, perhaps America is more conservative than I think. The problem is election fraud in its various incarnations, such as with gerrymandering. Many ex-felons aren't allowed to vote. Many people don't vote on their own initiative. This is why we need education to be improved. The problem is the system has turned towards standardised test results over fostering an informed and critically aware populace. Apathy increases. Those who would vote for a kindler and gentler world are bombarded with cookie cutter history. Zinn's is not the vision they are taught. I don't think Obama is the right man for the job. Or maybe he is playing rope-a-dope to win a second term, and then at that point he will go after Foreman. The problem then, however, will be that there is always the excessive influence on politicians from special interests. A President can only do so much without the backing of Senators, Congressmen, and the Judicial system. And the Supreme is stacked conservative after decades of a Republican controlled Presidency. The President is the one who nominates those judges. If that wasn't the case, Al Gore would have become President in 2000. If there was no electoral college, that would have made him President also without the need for any recounts.

the_last_name_left said...

yeah - obama is a disappointment. but is that his fault - or ours, the disappointed? It is much better than Bush, but....it's still corporate, industrial, capitalist america. It was good to hope for something more, although ultimately foolish to have really believed in it.

And look at the reaction to what little he has done: Obama, nor anyone, can change that reaction. There seems a strand in the left that's keen to condemn Obama - keen to show it was never fooled by his audacity to hope, or whatever. But so what? Obama needs to be measured in historic sense - on where and what he will lead to. There's potentially another 7 years to go - and it's America in 7 years that he needs to be judged upon. I can't muster the interest to attack him yet, and US domestic issues aren't really my concern. I still give him a free-pass - what did any anyone really expect? Jesus?

My marxist bent has me perpetually foretelling imminent doom for capitalism. The financial crises of late seemed to be what I had long feared and anticipated. But is it? Capitalism is incredibly hardy and already the air of crisis has lifted somewhat. Things have already seemingly stabilised and we're back to a more normal situation, even if still a recessionary one. People miss, and want back "the good ole days".....even though they led us here. People still seem locked into an idea that "they" did this to us. True, of course, but it misses the important fact that people did this to themselves - by their own behaviour. Such as wanting "the good ole days back" as they do now.

I find it very annoying how everyone seems only to paint the crises as the fault of bankers, public officials, policymakers etc. Of course it's true they are responsible, but.....what about everyday people? Everyday people have borrowed themselves into insolvency....."everyday people" have ridden the property boom....enriching themselves (so they thought).....everyday people delighted in the stockmarket boom etc and "everyday people" demand high returns, low taxes, light regulation.......capitalism. Everyone seems to want to deny their own culapability and role in the mess. And the whole thing is "a crisis".......like starving children over the horizon aren't a crisis? This fractured, self-excusing conception of the problem is a real issue for me. Where did people think the rise in value of their homes and investments came from?

It brings home a perception I had previously - that people like to take the credit for their own success, but seek to blame society for their failures.

Only in a failing society do people generally recognise how much their own position is dependent upon society - for good, or ill. That's quickly forgotten once conditions improve.....and it's back to individualism and self-enrichment.

socrates said...

I think criticism of Obama is spot on. But I do notice there are some dubious "lefty" posters who let their guard down once in a while, and it sounds like they are doing Karl Rove dirty work. I'd find some examples, but it would make me feel queasy. The BradBlog people are kind of like that. Then there are the posers at Tinoire's. I still can't get over how obviously fake that place seems. If Tinoire was truly a connosieur of lefty theory and history, no way would she have ever been supporting Rivero and then Ron Paul. And then there's that little thing about working for military intelligence. If she weren't disinfo, in my honest opinion, she would use that as an example of how her ideas have evolved. But in one post of hers, she seemed to be denying it, making it seem I was making it up, kind of hushing it up like Brad and Larisa do with Kimberlin's past.