Is the American dream over?

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So the eloquence of Barack Obama and the bully pulpit of the White House are simply turned to mush by the Limbaugh and Palin, without whose existence everyone would simply fall into line and support the White House's policies. Care to buy a bridge (I'll even call it a Free Market Bridge just for you, HDB)?

 

Have you figured out which "unregulated free markets" caused the financial crisis, or are Palin and Limbaugh going to be blamed for that as well?

 

I too think that Obama has been quite effective in pursuing the policies he wanted to pursue. I also think that some of his supporters simply don't want to admit that not only wasn't he the miracle worker they were so sure he would be, but that his economic policies were simply ineffective.

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The Chicago School and Greenspan and their central role in US conservatism is undeniable. These guys along with the neocons are the second strand of the double helix that comprises the intellectual backbone of conservatism for what, the last 50 years?.. Or was Greenspan a Democrat? Or was somebody else deciding on interest rates in the wake of the dotcom disaster? Who has profited from deregulation - unions?

 

I have never said the Democrats are perfect or even desireable. I also realize Glass-Steagal was repealled by (or at least under) Clinton. I also realize the role of Democrats in red-lining, Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, etc. in the mortgage disaster.. I just think anybody trying to argue sensibly in favor of Republican interests is completely overshadowed by the nonsensical lunatics that dominate the entire political spectrum - culturally, first, then electorally, second.. - and have dragged it unequivocally to the right. Your suggestion that they don't play a significant role is blatantly and irritatingly disingenuous.

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Please let me know if I understand your reasoning correctly:

 

-Greenspan is a conservative and is associated with the Chicago School of Economics, which has a free market orientation

-Because he had a free market orientation, in his role as Fed Chairman (i.e., as a government employee), he kept interest rates too low after the dot com bubble burst

-Interest rates which were set too low by Greenspan caused the housing bubble and subsequently the financial crisis, hence free market beliefs caused the financial crisis

 

Make any corrections necessary to accurately reflect your argument so I can be sure I am responding to what you actually believe.

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The point is, politically, the massive failure we have seen of the financial system should have provided the Democrats with a Mt. Everest of ammunition with which to attack the Republicans, but for whatever reasons they have wimped out and failed to capitalize(the way the Repbublicans did with Clinton getting a blowjob..) Not to even mention Iraq.... The whole bizarre - neocon - justification for which was surely tied up with related conservative notions of free-market economics..(OK, Clinton voiced these positions too.. But that was a big part of his success - taking and running with Republican positions.. To their - Gingritch's especially - rage.. So you end up with Lewinsky as a kind of lynching-revenge...)

 

Just look at what recently happened with the UK. Cameron kept the UK out of the big Euro-agreement..(however cosmetic..), primarily to keep the rich financial interests of London happy. And what are these interests opposed to again?.. And are they "liberal"?..

 

All your equivocating sophistry and lame rhetorical questions aren't proving anything. After eight years of Bush an old shoe in a gutter should have won against the Republican candidate. As it is, it was too close. AND, Obama was a hell of a lot more promising than an old shoe. BUT, the Republicans - largely thanks to all their ogres you seem so eager to ignore or push under the carpet, have played an absolutely central role in dragging the whole cultural political spectrum to the right. And THAT is at least a big part of the reason Obama hasn't accomplished more - NOT just because he wants to stuff his pockets.. He'll be doing that by giving speeches after his presidency like all presidents do.. Anyhow, the cultural ground having been shifted under his feet, in that sense I think he has lost a big if not the biggest part of the political battle before really being able to get started. Limbaugh and Palin and Beck and Fox News and co. have changed the game - to Obama's disadvantage. Whatever happens in Congress.. I also think the Democrats haven't had any balls since the likes of James Carville were around to tell the Republicans just how fucking stupid they are(when in the thrall of the ogres anyway..)

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without a comment other than to say it is from ground zero.

 

http://dollarcollapse.com/the-economy/welcome-to-the-third-world-boomers-reap-what-theyve-sown/

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@HDB - Greenspan was nominally a Republican, Hank Paulson too. Robert Rubin, Franklin Raines and Jon Corzine are/were associated with the Democrats.

 

It makes no difference whatsoever. Trying to frame their motivation as a partisan issue makes no sense when the examples of bad behavior are plentiful across the political spectrum.

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Exactly, kropotkin. HDB's comments are symptomatic of the partisan extremism I alluded to earlier, and in Greenspan's case the partisan/free market argument really falls flat when you remember that Greenspan endorsed the Democratic 1993 tax hikes and budget as well as being reappointed as Fed Chair by Clinton.

 

In addition to the very flawed partisan perspective HDB employs, he also uses a very flawed ideological one. He doesn't really understand what "free market" means, leading him to bizarre conclusions such as the neocons allegedly being adherents of the free market and thus that supposedly makes free market economics the cause of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

 

I'd sum up HDB's thinking as follows:

 

-I hate the policies followed when Bush 43, a Republican was in office

-I hate the Republicans and conservatives because they have an extreme free market ideology

-Because Bush was a Republican and I hated his policies they and everything else pursued by a Republican in public office must have been caused by free market ideology, even when those policies were government interventions.

 

On Toytown political threads, we often see a failure to understand cause-and-effect and a habit to conflate unrelated or only tangently related things because it's easy to throw everything you dislike into a pile. HDB's posts reflect this, and he isn't interested in looking at evidence before he draws a conclusion.

 

HDB, there are at least four reasons why the Democrats might not want to scream like crazy about the financial crisis:

 

1) They were also to blame- there isn't as much of a difference between the two parties as their marketing would lead you to believe. Both parties get a lot of donations from financial interests and you yourself have alluded to the Democrats' role with Fannie Mae, etc.

2) Voters want to hear about solutions to problems rather than just hearing finger-pointing about the past. Blaming Republicans for the financial crisis would highlight that the Democrats have presided over a huge increase in the nation's debt and unemployment/underemployment, i.e., they haven't solved the country's financial and economic problems.

3) Democratic base voters already believe the Republicans are to blame for everything and independents aren't as attracted to emotional hyperpartisan arguments.

4) The financial crisis is a harder issue to understand than the themes the Democrats do want to hit on.

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I wouldn't characterize that crap as my position at all - or a legitimate critique of it. We are talking politics. Economics is only a facet, and you can whirl all the sophistry around you want, but IMO the Democrats have missed an opportunity to capitalize politically by not honing in more on the yes very real relationship between extremist free-market economic ideology and the Republican party. Greenspan sure was popular among Republicans before '08...

 

You can see it all over the internet and Fox news: "Government is bad" is a Republican cliche. Millions of redneck Americans were against nationalized health care - even though they themselves couldn't afford it and had none!!.., thanks to the Republican media machine.. On my part that's not even an argument FOR nationalized health care. I just find the Republican hatred of all things left of pretty far right, and their utterly cynical ways of manipulating people to pursue their psychotic religious agenda disgusting.. Yeah, Bush was a real down-home cowboy...

 

I mean, you can write fairly articulate sentences. Are you against fucking evolution too? Do you think the world is 6,000 years old? Do you think gay marriage is "a threat to the moral fabric of America"? and and and.. You can't write that shit off and pretend it doesn't matter. Not when there are schools banning the teaching of evolution, or even worse, permitting the teaching of creationism... Then there's the bloody disaster of Iraq - literally.. And not only all the people senselessly killed - Iraqis and Americans, but the enormous hit to America's repuation around the world.. And now we are "in decline". Big surprise after eight years of Bush. And again, THAT is my point.. The Dems haven't attacked back hard enough afaic. They had the opportunity, but Obama was too spineless to hit back as hard as he should have. Seriously, after eight years of Bush, no Republican should have had a change for a generation..(an offhand reference there to Karl Rove's stated goal to keep Dems out of power for a generation...)

 

Back to the Republican hatred of "goverment" - which includes regulation to reign in unfettered selfishness. And though yes the economic and financial crisis we are in now has many causes - including ones for which the Dems are guilty, I fail to see how anyone can seriously deny the anti-gov't stance of the Republican party did not play a significant role in the mess that has been playing out. YOU are the one who was saying the reason Obama hasn't accomplished anything is because all he cares about is stuffing his pockets(if it wasn't you specifically, it was one of your pseudo-contrarian wannabe "conservative" cronies..) MY argument is that a big factor in his inability to accomplish anything has been Republican obstinance and HATRED of government, yes, of regulation, and of ANYTHING Limbaugh and co. are spewing against.. If only the Dems had been as obstinate against the Iraq War and hard-core in their attack mode as Tom Delay and co. were against Clinton during the embarassingly moronic Lewinsky affair, maybe America wouldn't be quite as fucked as it is today. For that they deserve blame, as I have already said. But the Republicans afaic are the real party of selfishness and hatred and ignorance, and have the lion's share of blame on their side of the ledger or fence or whatever for the major problems America is facing today.

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As Starshollow once pointed out in another context, HDB, you simply cannot be reasoned with. In this case, your extreme hatred of Republicans is simply too deep for you to process anything that doesn't march in lockstep with it.

 

Despite all that, I invite you once again to (coherently) correct any false impressions of your "arguments", which unfortunately are simply rants. In your anger and haste, you have irrationally drawn some conclusions that simply aren't supported by evidence. You also wouldn't recognize the application of free market principles by those in government if it hit you in the face so hard it knocked you back in time a few years. Here's a hint- manipulating the federal funds rate isn't an exemplar of free market principles, let alone the creation of GSEs like Fannie Mae, the creation of tax breaks for homeowners and sellers, FHA loans and other "encouragement" by the federal government, not least the emasculation of traditional lending standards, most notably the standard 20% downpayment.

 

I can only hope that you aren't representative of the median Democratic voter, because you really are off the rails for the most part when it comes to analyzing and discussing political and economic issues.

 

BTW, the excessive focus on Monica Lewinsky in the 1998 midterms actually hurt the Republicans, who would have been better off keeping their mouths shut and letting it play out. Perhaps the Democrats learned something from that, especially taking their own complicity in the housing bust into account. Another thing that you don't realize is that a President has to act presidential, and being a screaming partisan as you call for isn't very presidential (although Obama is very partisan, he knows not to let himself lose control).

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You are justing ranting, HDB.

 

There are plenty of examples of Republicans supporting their cronies with government contracts or legislation, e.g. Medicare drug benefit passed by Shrub. Like all political parties, the Repubs talk out of one side of the mouth and do the exact opposite. Such is politics.

 

The only election i voted in was 1992 - and i voted for Ross Perot. Shortly after that, i saw Ross on CNN debating Al Gore, who was in favor of NAFTA. What had been the party of organized labor was now arguing against a Republican businessman turned independent to push through legislation which as Perot claimed, was essentially a job killer and it did indeed decimate the industrial base of the US. The Democratic party of the mid-1990s was a party of yuppies. Bill Clinton made a seismic shift in abandoning organized labor and going after support from Wall Street.

 

As far as I can tell, nobody on this board, Republican, Democrat or otherwise is suggesting that Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Fox News and the people agitating against the teaching of evolution in public schools are balanced, rational or intelligent. You and few others keep bringing up these pariahs as if they speak for anyone on this board when it is absolutely clear that they don't.

 

On the other hand, the people who seem to be obsessed with those same entities have not recognized that the Democratic has indeed morphed in the past 20 or so years into something quite different than a party of working or middle class people.

 

Under a Democratic President with an incredibly powerful mandate for reform, not a single high profile banker has been prosecuted by DOJ for activities related to "the crisis". There is no lack of regulation. There is simply a lack of action from the DOJ. In comparison, over 2000 bankers served jail time for activities related to the S&L crisis back in the 1980s.

 

If you missed the seismic shift and still want to blame Shrubco and the Republicans for everything, you should take a closer look.

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I've explained very clearly why IMO the Democrats have not been able to do more; because the Republicans - specifically their radical far-right ideological hate-spreading ogre-faction - have so succesfully shifted the entire political landscape to the cultural far right. Rove, like the 9/11 terrorists, was unfortunately a big success. The Dems have not fought back against this wave, and therefore the whole poliical process is basically being played out on right-wing ground afaic. So it's no wonder bankers are not being prosecuted, rights are being taken away, etc..

 

I'm not a Democrat either btw. I also have voted only once ever - and just like you it was for Perot in '92. My first and last and only time voting.. There are all kinds of things to criticize the left about. But currently all that pales compared to the Limbaugh-Palin contingent.

 

And again, they are kind of quiet at the moment. But do not forget, Palin was a VP candidate. We are not talking about marginal fringe weirdos. Marginal fringe weirdoness is now the middle of the Republican party afaic. The Repubs maybe have the ogres coralled in the closet for now because of the election or whatever. But they'll be back. And that they're there at all, and have had the success that they have, is troubling enough..

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Palin wasn't put in the VP slot because she was a powerhouse in the party, and certainly not because of her intellect, rather because McCain erroneously thought she would win some women's votes from disaffected former Hillary supporters and also that she'd help with social conservatives (she may have somewhat).

 

While those who hate Republicans may comfort themselves by claiming she and Limbaugh are the intellectual epicenter of the party, those who really want to know where it is should look at the conservative think-tanks like the Heritage Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the Claremont Institute, the Center for Security Policy and the Hudson Institute. My guess is that the usual ranting suspects won't be very interested in the topics being discussed there and will simply continue to rant aimlessly about Limabugh, Palin, et al.

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TPM

 

This graph shows the reason why the Dems can't seem to get anything done in Congress anymore. From 2010.

 

post-19497-13244840255333.jpg

 

And who owns most of the Media in America? Oh yeah...Murdoch and GE. :ph34r:

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I agree with HDB that what power people like Palin and Limbaugh have (and Michele Bachman, who's still in the running for President though she's not doing well) has to do with shifting the national conversation starkly rightward. There's no similarly strong influence going the other way.

 

You may ridicule their perceived influence, but it is significant in some areas. Conservative think tanks don't influence the public conversation as much as popular media/political figures do.

 

I believe, for example, that without this shift rightward, the American public would not have so calmly swallowed the recent (bipartisan) NDAA legislation. Even the pepper-spraying of peaceful OWS protesters didn't cause much of an uproar.

 

It's hard to imagine what kind of legislative or law-enforcement outrage would disturb significant numbers of Americans these days, when even Constitutional protections are being treated by lawmakers of both parties as privileges, and not rights.

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That would be the GE (owner of NBC) whose CEO sits on one of President Obama's economic advisory councils. Who owns CNN, ABC and CBS?

 

Anyway, I figured there would be excuses made for Obama by liberals too terrified to be thought of as disloyal to him, but what cinzia just posted makes me shake my head.

 

cinzia, Obama is signing the bill because it gives him more power, not because he is pandering to the electorate. He's probably most afraid of a terror attack occuring that could endanger his re-election.

 

It seems more likely that polarizing figures such as Limbaugh would be more effective at increasing the intensity of their supporters rather than persuading others.

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That would be the GE (owner of NBC) whose CEO sits on one of President Obama's economic advisory councils. Who owns CNN, ABC and CBS?

 

Which is exactly my point Conky.

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cinzia, Obama is signing the bill because it gives him more power, not because he is pandering to the electorate.

 

The NDAA legally codifies power that he already assumed he had, yes. Also, neither he nor the Congress gives a shit anymore about whether those powers are granted by the Constitution or not.

 

Nobody has to pander to an electorate that has already been prepared to accept what you want them to accept. Where does this "preparation" come from? Ah, the media/politicians who have steered public opinion in that direction.

 

The whole system is working great for both parties. I no longer believe, as HDB apparently still does and I did formerly, that one party has The Good Of The American People At Heart, and the other doesn't. Neither does.

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Two points: all those former University of Chicago staffed think tanks WERE indeed very influential - in getting the US to invade Iraq.

 

Secondly, of course Limbaugh and co get people into the party and into politics. It's amazing sometimes what I can see just on FB from friends I went to school with who were far left of me(I don't actually see myself as left at all as a matter of fact..), who were all gung-ho for Iraq and continue to repeat all this gov't-is-bad nonsense spread by the ogres. The ogres also have a patina of contrarianism, which attracts rednecks who otherwise might not care enough. Limbaugh and co. give these people things to hate. And in doing so have moved the whole political landscape radically to the right.

 

Back to the think-tanks, I know there are lots of smart people there. Condoliza Rice as smart - academically, about the Cold War.. Unfortunately post 9/11 the world doesn't really work that way anymore.

 

I am of course all for the US protecting its interests. I'm not naive in that sense as so many lefties are. BUT, I cannot abide anti-evolution pro-creationism mongrels dominating - and altering - the cultural landscape.. With Bush the "national conversation" was dumbed down to an alarming and irritating degree. How cynical were Rove and co. to practically market and brag about the fact that Bush didn't like to read or travel abroad?.. Anything for power..

 

Which brings to mind the examples in this book I'm reading about failing markets. Basically, from Adam Smith to Hayek to the Republican think-tanks, there have been all these grand theories, that sound good on paper. Everybody pursuing their self-interest will be in everyone's interest.. But in reality, the real world where capricious and irrational people are involved, tends to fuck up those theories.. I don't think America is stronger now than it was when Clinton was President.. OK, that's totally loaded, and there are a ton of factors. But it comes back to the original point - Bush and Repubs never had to pay nearly the price they should have for all their royal fuckups.

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The defense authorization bill that Congress passed and President Obama had threatened to veto will soon become law, a fact that should be met with public outrage. Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, responding to Obama’s craven collapse on the bill’s most controversial provision, said, “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law.” On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney claimed “the most recent changes give the president additional discretion in determining how the law will be implemented, consistent with our values and the rule of law, which are at the heart of our country’s strength.”

 

What rubbish, coming from a president who taught constitutional law… Sadly, this flagrant subversion of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law was opposed in the Senate by only seven senators, including libertarian Republican Rand Paul and progressive Independent Bernie Sanders.

 

http://lewrockwell.com/bonner/bonner527.html

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