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  • Lance Mannion
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« Another futile note to my fellow progressives: On the definition of nothing | Main | Fishing camp modeling for Winslow Homer painting »


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"Your lack of faith is... disturbing."


From Charles Pierce:

"But, all Lilly Ledbetters aside, it is becoming increasingly plain that the man is not up to the most important job he was elected to do--which is to wring the accumulated viciousness, ignorance, and hackery of the past eight years out of the various parts of the United States government--and to do it brutally, if necessary, which it is. One of our two major political parties has completely lost its mind. This should be a political issue. It is incumbent upon the other party to eliminate that party's influence until it purges itself and comes to its senses again. It also scarcely needs to be said that the sane party has to watch its own ranks for people who seem to be enabling and abetting the goals of the crazy party. Otherwise, as Ezra Klein memorably put it this week, every attempt at bipartisanship winds up as "a hostage negotiation." President Obama--and does anyone but me notice that he gets the honorific conspicuously less often on TV than the last guy did?-- ot only seems unequal to this task, he doesn't even seem to recognize the task at all. He wasn't elected to change the tone, dammit. He was elected to change everything because everything needed to be changed. So it's a hard goddamn job. So what? He didn't know this coming in? Now we're going to feed 34,000 more American kids into the meat grinder in Afghanistan because we're America and we can do anything we set our minds to? Hell, we can't even keep our own citizens alive by breaking the power of the health-insurance industry. We can't right our economy because it's still in the hands of Wall Street grifters, and the government has fallen into the thrall of a bunch of banker-morons I wouldn't trust with a potato gun. Some people needed to be crushed politically. Some people needed to go to jail. Some people needed to be exiled forever from the serious business of self-government. It's Black Friday, and I'm shopping for another candidate. I'm beating the rush."

I'm not yet shopping for another candidate, because we live in a bipolar politics here in the US, and the other side remains batshit insane.



Great quote. Thanks for posting it. I'm a big fan of Mr Pierce. He's a terrific writer. But...he has a habit of attributing his wishes and reasons to the the entire sane part of the electorate. There is no evidence that the President was elected to "change everything." That's just what a lot of us on the left side of the blogosphere were hoping he'd do when we voted for him. What everybody else who voted for him wanted can't be summed up in a single phrase like that. My guess is that the phrase the would come closet is they wanted him to "fix things," which is not necessarily and in a lot of people's minds may be far from "change everything."

And, yes, I'm not sure the President recognizes the need for the kind of drastic changes we want, and that bothers me. But even if he did, I doubt he'd be up to it, because no one would be except a benevolent tyrant of the sort that hasn't ruled anywhere since Queen Elizabeth I.


I agree with Lance, he wasn't elected to "change everything." And I'm quite certain at every single campaign stop for two solid years, the man said he would "finish the job in Afghanistan." The fact that none of the "progressives" who voted for him bothered to ask what he meant by that doesn't negate the fact that we all voted for him knowing this was in his platform. I don't like the AfPak strategy, but I can't claim I'm surprised he is pursuing it.

Ken Muldrew

It turns out that Sprint Nextel supplied information in response to 8 million tracking requests from law-enforcement agencies last year (cell phones have GPS in them, so the users' locations become part of the telecom's business records). Presumably the other major telecoms participated with similar volumes of snitching. So in a population of about 300 million, there were something like 40-50 million incidents where an individual's location was tracked by the government. Even the most benevolent tyrant will turn evil when that kind of power is handed to them.

When the archives of the former East Germany were opened it turned out that 40% of the population were collaborating with the Stasi in the surveillance of their fellow citizens. Americans were shocked at this revelation. A few years later, they accept the reality of a warrantless surveillance state with nary a whisper. What a strange land.


Two persons last night explained Obama's position in a way that made sense to me.

One was an American (not a member of the TV yapping class) who said Obama was trying to "put his arms around the situation" and get some good if limited results so that parents who lost sons and daughters wouldn't think they'd died in vain. Then declare victory and pull the troops out.

Another was a Pakistani who said approximately the same thing.

Since his speech was to ordinary Americans, Afghans, Pakistanis, troops, European allies who have personnel in Afghanistan, and our idiots in the senate and house, it seems foolish to me for all of the "analysts" to be parsing the language and drawing unwarranted conclusions when any given phrase could have been meant for one of those audiences.

I honestly think Obama cares more about the troops than any president since Eisenhower.


I'm also a fan of Charlie Pierce, and he puts my sputtering rage at the other party into words far better than I can, but as Lance says, he's ascribing goals to the President that I don't think the President would buy. Also, if you were going to pick a guy to be the Great Uniter of the American people, I think it's safe to say it wouldn't be an Ivy League-educated black dude.

The only ones who can fix the Republican Party are its members, and there has been no person within its ranks who looks capable or even desirous of pulling it back from its ledge. Yet.


What do Barack Obama and Tiger Woods suffer in common?


You mean besides their respective mistresses, Actor?

(Poor Vera must be pretty ronrey these days.)

Yaknow what Barry needs to do to make all your progressive dreams come true?

Talk more.

He must not be talking enough. The Russians are giving him the middle finger. North Korea is giving him the middle finger. Iran is giving him the middle finger... and all because he's just not talking enough. If he could just talk more, things would be good. Things would be fixed. Talking makes it all good. Start by blaming all his shortcomings on someone else. Then just talk talk talk until you love him again.

Because, as we all know, talking about progress is the same thing as making progress.


I'm sad to see you phrased it like

I can imagine me saying to myself, “I think it would be a hoot to be able to tell everyone else what to do and satisfying my craven lust for power while using my office to enrich myself and my friends.”

I can’t imagine any sane person thinking, “Wow, the country’s in an awful mess but I think I know how to fix it and I’m sure I can do it, all I have to do persuade a hundred milllion or so voters, sixty United States Senators, two-hundred and eighteen members of the House of Representatives, and twenty or thirty foreign heads of state to give me the permission, money, time, and space to put my plans to work.”

You see, I actually ran for elected office last year. I lost. And that's OK. If it couldn't be me, I'm glad the guy who won, won, and it wasn't either of the other 2 nuts (and I'm sure the other 2 losers thought the same way). Sure, if I could have convinced about 15,000 more voters that I was the better dog in that fight, then it would be me in the hot seat. I'm totally thrilled that as many random strangers voted for me as they did.

The office I was running for affects a lot of people in Colorado, and the people that made it into office are continuing to make the same expensive mistakes their predecessors made before, and that tears me up. Crap is broken, and I think I could help fix it. Sure it would be a lot easier if I could wave my magic dictatorial wand (or whatever it was that Darth Cheney waved) and make people shout stuff like Yes, Sir! How high, sir!. But it doesn't work like that.

I pay taxes. You pay taxes. We all deserve that our taxes get spent in a more responsible manner (for various values of "responsible").

When I have a "craven lust for power" then I go play Rail Tycoon or Civilization.

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