Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, December 3, 2010


Ian Welsh has a good post up about Obama. You have to look at what people do, not just what they say. After you see someone do something you think is wrong, if you are sure you must accept that they did something wrong. If you aren't sure you must question what happened. If your new knowledge gives you pain you must let yourself feel the pain. When the pain has run its course and nothing is left to prevent you from doing the right thing, you are ready to fight.


Anonymous said...

You are right, Susan, and yet its just too dark for me. I can't face it. Its a question of moral courage and one I just don't have.


Susan of Texas said...

I will answer when I have more time, but I can say right now that you do have the moral courage.

atheist said...

You know, I can accept that Obama's a Reaganite-- it's certainly how he acts. He may be a bad man, though honestly I don't care that much. The part about a primary challenge makes sense, but who would do that?

Anonymous said...

I second atheist. I can't think of a prominent Democrat with the record or moral standing to throw his or her hat in.

DocAmazing said...

Russ Feingold?

Howard Dean?

Robert Reich?

Alan Grayson?

Bill Moyers?

Sean Penn?

...just tossin' out thoughts...

Larkspur said...

aimai, I feel like huddling with you. Part of the problem is that I'm reading Matt Taibbi's Griftopia right now, and I kinda don't think I'm going to get any sleep tonight.

Yuppers said...

Feingold? He's proved to be no better.

Dean? Doesn't understand politics enough to win (been proven again and again in the last year).

Grayson? Maybe for 2016, but I don't think he has the resume quite yet (I'd like to see it, though. I wish it could be sooner).

Reich? Might as well be Obama.

Moyers & Penn? Seem pretty far-fetched.

Anonymous said...

A primary from the left will do nothing, because it can do nothing. Obama can't be meaningfully pulled to the left because that's not where the majority of voters are who turn out for the general election. If the country as a whole were reliably progressive then he'd have to run left and govern left. But Obama has two seperate problems at the moment: how to get back in power in two years and how to govern now. The dems and Obama could be doing a better job if they were well organized and vicious but they aren't. They are disorganized and incompetent and helpless in the face of a well financed, well organized, nihilistic bunch of enemies with an actual plan.

The real argument we all are having is whether continued incompetence at the top levels of the democratic party--extending down to the lowest level of communication strategy with the voters--is evidence of incompetence/stupidity or real malice. That's the "Obama's a reaganite" argument. I don't think that, actually. I think that the imperial presidency and National security state requires fealty from its pawns regardless of where they start out or the good or bad they want to do in other areas. I think Obama sincerely wants to apply keynsian principles to the economy and get people unemployment and put people back to work. I think he sincerely wanted to reform health care. But I think he and the top dems are prisoners of both incompetence, arrogance, and well targeted payoffs and "capture" by the billionaires money party.


Substance McGravitas said...

The challenger to Obama has to win or it's like a strike vote that loses: the Republicans have an opponent with no backing. I'd like other people to take him on and win, but I don't think anyone can.

Kathy said...

These days I'm reading more suggestions here & there that Americans stand together and strike; whether its the "opt out" day (undermined by the TSA switching off their Electronic Strip-Search Machines), or a "don't shop" day.

I kind of like the "don't buy gasoline" strike idea- it would highlight so many different aspects of our crazed-consumer society: like the grounding of airplanes on 9/11 & 12 it might show how nice the air can be when there are half as many cars fouling it; it would be a kick in the nuts for Oil Companies, it would give people a good example of how car-pooling (even if its just 3 or 4 families going grocery shopping together) can bring us together and work; and it would be a good example to people of how much POWER we do have if only we stick together and use that power wisely.

"Demonstrations" in D.C., or anywhere I guess, aren't effective any more because the corporate media won't publicize them anymore. Witness all the anti-Iraq-invasion demonstrations: millions of people around the world, but Americans didn't even know about it.

The "media" and Powers that Be would have a hard time ignoring a Nationwide strike on buying gasoline.

Susan of Texas said...

What is the goal--win, or scare Obama into action? Winning--I have no idea. Scaring Obama--Al Franken, who has the same media star quality as Obama and is genuinely liberal, unlike Obamma. The media would enjoy covering it, the right would go nuts, the left would have something to do.

Kathy said...

Several goals, the most important is to demonstrate to The People! that we DO have power, were not helpless to defend ourself from the Corporatocracy and the Government they own.

The frantic consumerism of crap is a choice not something we are be forced to do. Stop buying gasoline for a while, quit eating junk food for a week, boycot all fast food places for a couple of days. And continue to Opt-Out of being Strip Searched just to board an airplane.

If we can reject being brainwashed into senseless buying, maybe we can decide to reject the constant fear and hate and threats that we're also being sold 24/7.

Anonymous said...

And just how would any primary challenger to Obama win black voter from him?

DocAmazing said...

To argue that the majority of voters isn't peogressive misses the point. They aren't attracted to the tribal identifier "progressive". But they sho' do love their Medicare, their financial aid for school, their freedom to enjoy a bonghit, and their access to healthcare. What will win is making an issue of the issues--"hey, remember when you could afford to go to college? What the hell ever happened to that?" "Hey, there sure are a lot of homeless vets sleeping in the rain! That didn't happen when we taxed the rich adequately!" Und so weiter. Obama ran that way, then gave up on that approach once in office. American voters still respond to lunchpail issues--if someone will bring them up, like a primary challenger. The challenger does not have to win--just bring up the issues, and get some commitments from Obama.

Kathy said...

Anonymouse: don't assume black Americans are morons, or vote strictly based on race. Minorities have been hit the hardest and are suffering the moste in this Not-So-Great-Depression; they know the difference between what they were promised and what has been done.

Obama's election showed that when the Country was in terrible trouble we would transcend our racism -if the candidate appears to be able and willing to take charge and start fixing things. Unfortunately, Obama was not that person. But if such a person does step forth, I hope he or she would be recognized and voted for by a majority of Americans, after checking out that person's history a bit more closely, and not depend on the corrupt propaganda called "the Media" for information.

Anonymous said...

Well, but Susan, we don't get just Franken. We'd get an open primary in which a variety of Presidential wannabes would bloody both Obama and the progressive movement--remember there's as much agitation that he's a closet socialist as that he is too far right. Not only would Franken not win in a multi-way race but I doubt he'd even run.

Politics is the art of the possible. Its possible to totally screw up and damage a pretty good president (and Obama is a pretty good president) and get somethign much, much, worse. Look at Maine and its new Governor? The guy won a three way race--62 percent of the voters wanted someone else. He's a tea partier and completely nuts. And now Maine is stuck with him.

Obama isn't giving me the fight I want, and not giving me the policies I want. I know he could do better with better negotiators and I don't know if that is, as I said, malice or incompetence. But for sure the alternative in a two party system is something worse. And I don't believe a primary will pull him to the left or replace him.

I predict that he will run solidly to the left, against the Republican house, for the last two years of his presidency and attempt to get back in. Meanwhile, if we have another wave election, he'll have a better congress though we might have a worse Senate. Or the back of Republican resistance might be broken by the changing demographics of the nation. If Obama gets back in with a better/more democratic voter base then we can fight on for more progressive action. If he loses to a Republican we are doomed.

That's about the size of it. In a two party system you have to play the cards you can while knowing that the top levels of both parties are basically indistinguishable in their middle class/party of the rich intentions. But along the way there are points of difference that do make a real difference. Obama is actually fighting for DADT, DREAM, for Health care reform etc.. something no one before him was doing.


Anonymous said...

I predict that he will run solidly to the left, against the Republican house, for the last two years of his presidency and attempt to get back in. Meanwhile, if we have another wave election, he'll have a better congress though we might have a worse Senate.

Heart-breakingly wishful thinking, unfortunately.

Susan of Texas said...

Aimai, if you are happy with Obama then of course you should (and will) go on supporting him. I disagree for all the reasons I've stated many times, but in the greater scheme of things one voter's discontent doesn't mean anything.

People have to do what they have to do, because of who they are and who they want to be.

Anonymous said...

Well, there I think I disagree with you, Susan. I don't really vote to express who I am--although how I vote is certainly determined by how I evaluate the candidates which is dependent on how I think about them and their motivations and capabilities. But none of that happens in isolation: in other words we are offered candidates of varying degrees of capability and skill and good and bad intentions. I vote for the least worst candidate given what I want to see happen. Sometimes the least worst candidate is also the best candidate. Sometimes the best candidate is also someone I like or think I can trust. But generally speaking that person isn't someone I am planning to take home to meet mother. And its not about who I am but what I want to achieve within the constraints of a fairly corrupt and complicated political system.

I prefer not to think that Obama is, as SteveM puts it, a "manchurian republican candidate"--he's certainly more moderate and compromising than I am but hell *manson* is more moderate and compromising than I am. But I think, on balance, he's tried to do some good things without much help from the Senate which holds a pivotal role in what gets done. I think he could have been smarter about using the leverage he could have had with people outside the system but the truth is that the real influence and power is and always will be with the very, very, rich. Its their country and they just let us live here.


Susan of Texas said...

I'm speaking very generally, in the sense that we vote based on what we believe and what's important to us.

We agree on goals, disagree on methods, and none of this will really matter if times don't get worse. But I believe they will get very much worse.

We'll have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Manson for president!

fish said...

We agree on goals, disagree on methods

I believe the looting will continue until everyone walks away from both political parties.

Larkspur said...

I believe the looting will continue until everyone walks away from both political parties.

But does this even matter any more? If corporations own both political parties...I mean, why would they care what anyone is walking away from? What can hurt them? The latter is a real question. What can we do that would hurt them? Massive non-voting won't do it. What can possibly make them want to do anything other than what they've been doing?

I'm not an anti-government person. I think there is stuff that only a good solid federal government can do (like roads and security and food & drug and financial regulation), but what if it's really true that we don't have a good solid federal government any more? What if corporate influence is, like, viral? Cellular?

I don't think Al Franken, for example, is corporate. But how could he or anyone stop corporate interests from having him for breakfast?

This commenter is hopelessly bewildered, and kind of grievy.

Kathy said...

KOS has a diary about people in France & England planing a Bank Run!

" ... The global mega-banks may control our politicians, but they don't control the public.
All around the world the recently subservient serfs are causing all sorts of trouble for the ruling oligarchy.
That trouble could start as early as tomorrow.

Bank managers across France were waiting a little nervously for the start of business on Tuesday after the former football star Eric Cantona urged his compatriots to stage a bank run and trigger a revolution.

Around 40,000 people in France have pledged to withdraw their money from the banks tomorrow. Another 9,000 in UK have pledged to do the same.
You can find the organization's web site at" ...

nate said...

Yeah, the Europeans don't seem to take the destruction of the middle class quite as complacently as us, do they?

I am far to the left of the corporatist modern Democratic party, but I hoped to see Obama win the primary mostly because I was a young idealist when Bill Clinton took office and watching him sell almost every belief I held dear was a large part of what radicalized me in the first place but... God dammit do I bitterly regret not supporting Hillary now. At the very least, she knows what "compromising" with these vipers gets you. Obama never seems to learn.