If you want some bizarre fun --

-- read Chris Wright's recent essay on Counterpunch, The Stupefying Mediocrity of Barack Obama. Here I will give this piece a go-over, pointing out its highly amusing word choices. It's not as if Wright is wrong, or as if his politics were suspect, or anything like that. It's that describing Barack Obama and his political party, the Democratic Party, requires a degree of verbal gymnastics that renders one prone to verbal belly-flops. Onward!

First, the title. Obama wasn't a "mediocre" President. He might be considered a "bad" President, by those conscious very few who feel stung by Obama's selling-out of the title of "first Black President." He was an excellent President if you think of the acuity with which he fulfilled his economic mission -- keeping the masses poor while making them feel loved. He did his job, and he did it well.

Obama also fulfilled his political mission -- to hand power over to the Republicans. In fact, we can now say that the Democratic Party is his party -- a party which serves no purpose which its members can identify because it offers nothing to the public. Its pitch is: just STFU and vote for the Democrat because the Republicans promote their evil more openly. Thus when Wright says:

This perception of his ("he is certain he will be vindicated") probably also explains his general reluctance to publicly criticize Trump. He simply doesn’t care enough to do so—he has nothing like a deep outrage against the continuous injustices of Trumpian politics—because his task has already been accomplished: he has written himself into the history books by being the U.S.’s first black president. That achievement is what matters, that and his eight years of (supposed) attempts to “heal the country’s divides.” Again, it’s too bad the country wasn’t ready for him, but that isn’t his fault.

he makes an excellent point while missing another one. When they do criticize Trump, elite Democrats criticize Trump for the same reason the slackers at your workplace periodically try hard to "look busy." They don't care enough about Trump either, but they still criticize him. Obama doesn't have to look busy -- he's retired.

And then you have Wright's pronouncement upon Obama's narcissism, which also makes one important point while leaving out another:

When your overriding value in life is self-glorification, what you tend to get is the moral cowardice and fecklessness of people like Obama, the Clintons, and, in truth, all centrist politicians. They’ll do whatever they have to do to rise to power, so they can realize their “destiny”—of being powerful. They’ll always try to please “both sides”—a binary notion that leaves out the genuine left, which is to say the interests of the large majority of people—because that is the safest and surest road to power.

Yes, of course, leaving out the public's interests is the safest and surest road to power.
But it isn't really "moral cowardice," because the principles that would guide morally effective government simply don't exist in actual government. No government has the courage to phase out the fossil fuel industry, the main prerequisite of effective climate change mitigation today. No government has the courage to phase out capitalism, which is today the main impediment to mass prosperity and to the continuation of the utopian dream begun with the Enlightenment and immortalized in Condorcet's Sketch. This is so because all governments under neoliberal rule are obliged to maintain the aggregate profit rate for an owning class (thus depressing wages) lest the forces of capital attempt to destroy them and the countries which they claim to govern. Rather, Obama's is the moral courage depicted in this New Yorker cartoon:

Which brings us to Wright's summation of Obama's legacy. Obama's legacy is of course Trump, and an America in which there are eight Democrat trifectas and twenty-six Republican trifectas even though the Republicans are, by membership count, a minority party. Here's the quote:

While the U.S. is certainly not Weimar Germany, and the risks of full-blown fascism are not as great now as they were then, one can see parallels. Just as the feckless, vacillating liberalism of Jimmy Carter ushered in the reactionary age of Reagan, so the vacillating liberalism of Obama prepared the way for the semi-fascism of Trump and the reinvigoration of white supremacy.

I'd like to know how Obama's idea of government counts in any way as "liberalism." Once again: catch one truth, miss another.

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detroitmechworks's picture

I'd compliment him on his ability to lie smoothly and convincingly.

I'd applaud his mastery of changing the subject.

I'd praise his ruthlessness at eliminating the harmless.

That's about it. Unless I wanted to resort to cheese jokes.

/snark

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

thanatokephaloides's picture

I'd like to know how Obama's idea of government counts in any way as "liberalism." Once again: catch one truth, miss another.

The article said: "vacillating liberalism".

As in: liberal when speech-making time arrives, but milquetoast incrementalist when the time for bold action would be obvious to any genuine liberal.

Bad

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

Cassiodorus's picture

@thanatokephaloides I tend to think of Obama theater as indicative of his audience rather than of anything else. Did Obama vacillate when he signed that bill cutting food stamps?

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cassiodorus

Wasn't Obama's "vacillation" basically an act? I tend to think of Obama theater as indicative of his audience rather than of anything else. Did Obama vacillate when he signed that bill cutting food stamps?

This, too. And the non-closure of Guantanamo. And our continued unwelcome presence in Afghanistan.

He comes out two-faced any way.

Bad

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

Amanda Matthews's picture

@Cassiodorus i

Prez Hopey Changey Transformational didn’t hesitate a heartbeat to make sure Wall Street got bailed out AND bonuses while we got ‘Austerity’ . He hopped right in front of the tv camerars to lie about NSA spying without hesitation and he blatantly lied about it all. He didn’t hesitate to make this world is a more dangerous place by send troops into places to either destroy the current government in power or to ensure our ‘enemies’ don’t get in the way of America being the world’s ‘policeman’.

Obama is the biggest political fraud this country has ever seen.

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@thanatokephaloides The word liberal means, to me, basically what it meant to Phil Ochs, at this point.

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--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

enhydra lutris's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

The word liberal means, to me, basically what it meant to Phil Ochs, at this point.

No lie!

Smile

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

thanatokephaloides's picture

No government has the courage to phase out the fossil fuel industry, the main prerequisite of effective climate change mitigation today. No government has the courage to phase out capitalism, which is today the main impediment to mass prosperity and to the continuation of the utopian dream begun with the Enlightenment and immortalized in Condorcet's Sketch.

And no government on Earth has the courage to restrict the so-called "right" of every adult human to breed as many descendants as they want, thus guaranteeing endless wage dilution as simple supply-demand economics dictates. The "pie" isn't all that much bigger than it was 80 years ago, but it's being cut into many, many more pieces; do the math. Moreover, this wage dilution guarantees major capital a loyal stream of cannon fodder for its resource wars -- another win for the 0.01% and a completely disastrous loss for all the rest of us.

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

Cassiodorus's picture

@thanatokephaloides

And no government on Earth has the courage to restrict the so-called "right" of every adult human to breed as many descendants as they want

First off, the Chinese have in fact "had the courage" to restrict the breeding of their subjects. Ever heard of the one-child rule?

Secondly, only under patriarchy do families "want" to have a lot of kids, and every government from the Sumerians through Margaret Thatcher has been a patriarchy. Maybe the women could speak here -- my guess as a man is that pregnancy is something many if not most of them might want to try once or twice if at all.

Of course this is one of the virtues of the John Varley "Eight Worlds" fantasy, in which the men become women and the women become men. Think of an alternate reality in which the US decided to spend a tiny portion of what it spends on the Pentagon across-the-board on medicine. We'd have cancer cures, dementia and Alzheimer's-disease cures, easy and safe abortion, effective gender-reassignment surgery...

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CS in AZ's picture

@Cassiodorus

Speaking as a woman who has never wanted children, from as early as I can remember, I would lean toward agreeing with you. But, my older sister had 6, and she absolutely loved being pregnant and having babies. I can’t fathom why. I’ve certainly been told my whole life that I’m weird and “not normal” for my aversion to motherhood.

I do happen to have a number of women friends in my life who totally agree with me and are happily childless by choice. But, no doubt we are friends and hang out together in part because we all don’t have kids. Those of our friends who have had kids, we don’t see much because they don’t have time anymore. Most of the people I know who do have kids, like many of my coworkers, do tend to limit their families to 1 to 3 children, mostly. I don’t know if that’s due to economic reasons or time/energy demands, or what.

It’s definitely true that when women have access to birth control, birth rates drop. So it seems clear most women prefer to put limits on the number of babies they want to have, and relatively few want to produce very large families, if they have a say in it.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@CS in AZ

Most of the people I know who do have kids, like many of my coworkers, do tend to limit their families to 1 to 3 children, mostly. I don’t know if that’s due to economic reasons or time/energy demands, or what.

It's all of that and then some.

Sounds like your friends who are parents are responsible parents, doing their best to do right by their children.

I salute them! And you, too, for recognizing that you aren't parent material!

Give rose

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

Cassiodorus's picture

@thanatokephaloides I'm not having any kids.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cassiodorus

I've been told that I was great parent material. I'm not having any kids.

Decided to prove you were great parent material, eh?

Wink

(Actually, in many ways, I resemble that remark!)

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

Anja Geitz's picture

@thanatokephaloides

I'd be very interested to hear what you believe is included in that criteria.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Anja Geitz

Parent material? I'd be very interested to hear what you believe is included in that criteria.

First: My remark bearing those words was addressed to (and, more importantly, about) one of us who had decided (s)he wasn't "parent material" by his/her own criteria. I had no need to know what those criteria were in order to applaud my fellow c99er for honoring them and him/herself thereby. The ethicality of the decision was more than sufficient.

Next: My own criteria (since you did ask) are basically: being male, the possession of a secure, reasonably prosperous livelihood whose demands are reasonable enough to leave enough of me to actually participate in the development of healthy adult human beings in body, mind, and spirit; combined with a stable temperament, a loving, kind, forgiving, and merciful disposition; and a mature, loving, stable relationship with the partner with whom I have those children.

Stated more succinctly but bitterly, I say I have no children because my best efforts have yielded neither the minimum livelihood nor the minimum level of relationship to justify bringing children into my life. I would not wish either my job history (mostly temporary gigs) or my dating history (much the same) on any child.

My world-view has rapidly become such that I feel that no one has any business bringing children into this world the way it is now. But I'll readily admit that at least some of that view may be due to prejudices, my eyes being jaundiced by my own experiences.

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

Anja Geitz's picture

@thanatokephaloides

First: My remark bearing those words was addressed to (and, more importantly, about) one of us who had decided (s)he wasn't "parent material" by his/her own criteria

CS in AZ never mentioned any of the criteria you listed in your definition of "parent material" in her decision to not have children. Moreover, women don't necessarily need to be a part of that criteria in order to decide to be child-free. Further illustrating a larger point I made down thread about entrenched societal assumptions that a women's circumstances in life must be "inadequate" for them to actively make the choice not to have children.

They do not is what I am saying.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Anja Geitz

CS in AZ never mentioned any of the criteria you listed in your definition of "parent material" in her decision to not have children. Moreover, women don't necessarily need to be a part of that criteria in order to decide to be child-free.

CS in AZ didn't mention any criteria at all. Nor did I need her to. That she stuck by her decision for her own reasons was more than sufficient.

Further illustrating a larger point I made down thread about entrenched societal assumptions that a women's circumstances in life must be "inadequate" for them to actively make the choice not to have children.

They do not is what I am saying.

And one point I was trying to support, as well. The decision not to have children can be arrived at for myriads of reasons, and all of them are valid.

Smile

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@CS in AZ Here's what makes birth rates (or "fertility" as they describe it in social science) drop: educate women. The more advanced the education of women and girls, the lower the birthrate drops. This works across history and cultures.

If we'd actually wanted to restrain the birthrate, round about the time we noticed it was going to be a significant problem we should have made a full-court-press global effort to advance women's education everywhere, to save our own necks.

Would it have actually saved us? Don't know, but it would have been nice to have tried.

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--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Anja Geitz's picture

@CS in AZ

But it's interesting that society has conjured up the word "child-less" to describe women who do not have children.

Recently, I saw a very good documentary directed and produced by two Indian women on arranged marriages in India, titled "A Suitable Girl". Well worth the watch. It was a striking look at the lives of three women, their families, and how marriage is culturally defined. Speaking directly to the issue of societal "norms", the message that penetrates through this film is the intense pressure that culture and tradition places on women to conform. While the pressure to have a family is portrayed more vividly in this film than you would typically see here in the U.S., the expectation for women to get married and have children exists here as well. Notably in the common assumption that anyone who is older, unmarried, and child-free is either unhappy or unlucky, or worse.

More interestingly still is the attempt to convey this to people who cannot fathom a life lived any other way. And yet, if female self actualization is competing with the traditional duties of women who have a house to run, a husband to cater to, and children to raise, young women have got more than a few daunting challenges ahead of them to carve out a piece of their identity that belongs solely to themselves.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

CS in AZ's picture

@Anja Geitz

I had a tee shirt long ago that said “Child free is the choice for me” and I loved it. I don’t even know when or how “childless by choice” entered my vocabulary. Thanks for mentioning that. It’s a subtle difference but it does have that edge, like if you don’t have children you are lacking something. I will go back to saying child free. That is much more congruent with how I feel about it.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@CS in AZ

And you hit on exactly the connotation the word conjures up for me. A sense of lacking. An amusingly incongruent adjective to describe the abundance of wonderful people I am thankful for to have in my life, each day.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cassiodorus

And no government on Earth has the courage to restrict the so-called "right" of every adult human to breed as many descendants as they want

First off, the Chinese have in fact "had the courage" to restrict the breeding of their subjects. Ever heard of the one-child rule?

Sure. And it's not in effect today. (In a lot of ways, it's no longer necessary; China's population is pretty stable today, and China can feed herself now. She wasn't able to do that for most of Mao's tenure in office.)

To the support of your point, most Han Chinese couples are still restricted to two children or fewer. And from what reports I've seen, the Chinese are pretty much at peace with that.

India, on the other hand..... shudder!

Secondly, only under patriarchy do families "want" to have a lot of kids, and every government from the Sumerians through Margaret Thatcher has been a patriarchy. Maybe the women could speak here -- my guess as a man is that pregnancy is something many if not most of them might want to try once or twice if at all.

Ah yes. Patriarchy. The same folks who brought us all the selfsame wars for which the cannon fodder is required.

For this reason and many others, the women should speak here. Preferably before they get sold on becoming breed mares for some patriarch out there. (Every time some fundie goes off about "full quivers", I have to suppress various foul urges.....)

Think of an alternate reality in which the US decided to spend a tiny portion of what it spends on the Pentagon across-the-board on medicine. We'd have cancer cures, dementia and Alzheimer's-disease cures, easy and safe abortion, effective gender-reassignment surgery...

And full employment no matter how many kids Americans had. (Yes, we spend that much on military!)

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"US govt/military = bad. Russian govt/military = bad. Any politician wanting power = bad. Anyone wielding power = bad." --Shahryar

"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

@Cassiodorus his "Titan/Wizard/Demon" was one of my instant classic saves. Samuel R. Delany wrote "Triton" that was the first book I read that I thought was a sci-fi novel that was actually a love story.

I dunno, I remember Indira Ghandi and Golda Mier as long time leaders, and they didn't fundamentally change the culture of their country. Maybe now that people can access information and ideas directly from the world things will change. I always thought change comes up from the people. Unfortunately, looking at the U.S. it could go the other way.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Snode @Snode @Snode as his best fiction. With the "Eight Worlds" short stories Varley was able to make settings and characters so fascinating that it really didn't matter what happened in the plots. The novels, of course, had to have plots -- but they don't seem to matter, at least not to me.

I don't think he writes any "Eight Worlds" stuff anymore. I remember reading somewhere that he got his inspiration more recently from reading old Heinlein. The thing is that (if I recall correctly) plot really matters in old Heinlein.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

Cassiodorus's picture

@Cassiodorus https://varley.net/nonfiction/news/irontown-blues-blues/

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Snode Rulers rarely change the nature of their countries.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Rulers rarely change the nature of their countries.

And when they do, it's oftener that it's their fuck-ups that create those changes rather than goods the rulers desire and work for.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar.

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 2
source

Example: Virtually all the good stuff in the US Constitution is there because of unfinished business from the English Civil War, which was the result of Charles I's fuck-ups.

And the single worst military command ever given was issued by Alexander the Great. When he lay dying at Babylon, he was asked: "Who shall succeed to your command?" His answer, "The strongest one!", destroyed his entire empire and insured that his homeland, Macedonia, would never be ruled by a Macedonian (as Alexander knew Macedonians) again. This obtains to this day, as Macedonia is divided in two, with Greece ruling half and Slavs (from the former Yugoslavia) running the other.

Smile

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@thanatokephaloides We used to talk about overpopulation, up until about the late 80s. Then, every time I talked about it, somebody accused me of wanting to commit genocide against Black people, so I stopped. Everybody else stopped too. It has been off the public radar since, until recently when a lot of scientists came into the public sphere saying "Nothing anybody can do about it ever! We're all doomed and there's no point in talking about it! Thank you for playing."

The evolution of that issue in American politics stinks of propaganda. Smells like Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, and John Brennan, or somebody in their brotherhood.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

divineorder's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal chose to believe the tenets of Zero Population Growth we learned about in college back in the 60s.

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

We used to talk about overpopulation, up until about the late 80s. Then, every time I talked about it, somebody accused me of wanting to commit genocide against Black people, so I stopped. Everybody else stopped too. It has been off the public radar since, until recently when a lot of scientists came into the public sphere saying "Nothing anybody can do about it ever! We're all doomed and there's no point in talking about it! Thank you for playing."

The evolution of that issue in American politics stinks of propaganda.

To high heaven. As bad as a dead skunk in the middle of the road!

Smells like Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, and John Brennan, or somebody in their brotherhood.

Any one of those stinks to high heaven! Smile

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

piece. I don't really think he wanted anyone but HRC to follow him. Pritzker sold him to the bankers & he kept his part of the bargain. including his support for HRC. His main regret is that it didn't work out as planned.
They used the FBI, CIA, NSA et al. to cover up her criminal influence peddling and to sabotage Trump. It remains to be seen how that will work out for his legacy. For me he will always be a snake in the grass.

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chuck utzman

TULSI 2020

thanatokephaloides's picture

@chuckutzman

For me he will always be a snake in the grass.

Alligator Ed might get upset at your disparagement of honest reptiles.....

Wink

/snark

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"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

@chuckutzman

& he kept his part of the bargain."
What a bargain it was for Citigroup and the rest.

Barack "the Mailman" Obama - he delivered.
billions and billions and billions
(forgive me Karl Malone)

Jesus wept.
I just get sick to my stomach.
aarrrgh.

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Wink's picture

as Russiagate plays out,
@chuckutzman
to see just how much of that comes back to bite O'bummer in the ass.
"They" (including Deep State, it looks like) bought and paid for HRC's coronation.
"They" All must have been stunned with disbelief Election Night.
Hillary still can't believe it.
It's going to be a good movie some day.

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Wink They were shocked. It was the first time since 1976 that they got an unexpected result.

Even though Trump is wealthy and holds most of the same views the hegemony does, they don't like surprises. Control freaks, all of them, at a psychopathic level.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@chuckutzman He dislikes Hillary intensely, and so does Michelle, and no wonder. But they work for the same masters, and Barack Obama is trying to get a ticket for his family on whatever lifeboats the elites are setting up for when everything falls apart. He's not going to do anything that pisses off the masters of the universe.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Wink's picture

was told, like a good little Negro.
And did it well.
Sadly, he still is worshiped by many as the greatest president ever.
And, unlike Her Heinous, could get reelected in a heartbeat.
Prolly what really tortures Her.

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the little things you can do are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-2.1) All about building progressive media.

divineorder's picture

@Wink early on.

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Anja Geitz's picture

@Wink

Your use of vernacular always aims to elevate, doesn't it?

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

snoopydawg's picture

What a brilliant description of Barack Obama. The historical election of the first black American president who have done almost anything he wanted and who could have seen this country reborn out of the ashes of the Bush administration will instead be etched in history as the President Who Could Have Been. That Trump's presidency followed his is a direct reflection on how he will be remembered for all time.

Love this guy's sense of humor ..

With his accession to power, and that of such moral visionaries as Lawrence Summers, Hillary Clinton, Timothy Geithner, Eric Holder, Arne Duncan, Robert Gates, and Samantha Power, MLK’s dream was at last realized.

Obama did what he was selected to do. Protect the bank CEOs, increase wealth inequality, stop the anti war movement in its tracks and all the other things he spent 8 years doing.

Oh yeah and this

IMG_0829_8.JPG

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Cassiodorus's picture

@snoopydawg it's just hard to be adequately critical of Barack Obama.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

CS in AZ's picture

@Cassiodorus

I’d seen the quotes from Obama yesterday, and just rolled my eyes and thought oh god, he’s ridiculous. We go on about the Clintons, and it’s impossible to overstate how bad they are, but he deserves equal scorn. Maybe he went too far??? He was before his time??? He is just as nuts as they are.

I liked your additions to the original critique. You made some good points. Thanks!

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snoopydawg's picture

@Cassiodorus

“Progressive” Obama: He’s Melting, He’s Melting

Beneath progressive pretentions, Barack Obama the national political phenomenon has never been anything other than a tool of the United States’ corporate and financial ruling class.

Over 9 million people lost their homes after the banks crashed the global economy and of course they looked to the newly elected "progressive" president for help. After all wasn't that why we elected him and not the corporate tool McCain? That's what we thought we elected. Instead we got the other corporate stooge who betrayed us in so many ways. Here's one ..

And answer to the lobbyist’s question came less the three years later: priceless. In his book Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President (2011), the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind tells a remarkable story from March of 2009. Three months into Obama’s presidency, popular rage at Wall Street was intense and the leading financial institutions were weak and on the defensive. The nation’s financial elite had driven the nation and world’s economy into an epic meltdown in the period since Silverstein’s essay was published – and millions knew it. Having ridden into office partly on a wave of popular anger at the economic power elite’s staggering malfeasance, Obama called a meeting of the nation’s top thirteen financial executives at the White House. The banking titans came into the meeting full of dread only to leave pleased to learn that the new president was in their camp. For instead of standing up for those who had been harmed most by the crisis – workers, minorities, and the poor – Obama sided unequivocally with those who had caused the meltdown.

“My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks,” Obama said. “You guys have an acute public relations problem that’s turning into a political problem. And I want to help…I’m not here to go after you. I’m protecting you…I’m going to shield you from congressional and public anger.” For the banking elite, who had destroyed untold millions of jobs, there was, as Suskind puts it, “Nothing to worry about. Whereas [President Franklin Delano] Roosevelt had [during the Great Depression] pushed for tough, viciously opposed reforms of Wall Street and famously said ‘I welcome their hate,’ Obama was saying ‘How can I help?’” As one leading banker told Suskind, “The sense of everyone after the meeting was relief. The president had us at a moment of real vulnerability.

It's simply amazing how so many people still see him as the second coming of FDR. He's not man enough to shine FDR' s boots!

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Cassiodorus's picture

@snoopydawg And it achieved its mission rather well. Here was my take on it, from 2010:

https://cassiodorusblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/please-drop-the-weak-ob...

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

@Cassiodorus

early and often.

Obama has facilitated the regime of neoliberal governance, with the perpetuation of enormous disparities in wealth that all that implies, and along the historical trajectory of neoliberal decline discussed by the authors listed above.

and more specifics in this short piece. h/t

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Cassiodorus's picture

@irishking You know, back when Daily Kos permitted some semblance of free speech, which it assuredly does not do now. The Obama sycophants had no idea of what I was saying about their hero.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@snoopydawg Not a big fan of Ike Eisenhower, but I don't think it's fair to compare Barack Obama to him. Obama is much more like Reagan.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

snoopydawg's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

I compared him to Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@snoopydawg I'll have to re-read your comment. I must have gone too fast. I'm sure you wouldn't say that Obama was like FDR. I thought you said Obama was like Ike.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@snoopydawg OK, clearly I responded to the wrong person. Sorry!

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

snoopydawg's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

I meant to say what I had written

It's simply amazing how so many people still see him as the second coming of FDR

You wouldn't believe how many people say that, plus they say that he ended two wars and hasn't started any new ones and no I'm not kidding. I first read it on ToP, but I've seen it elsewhere.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@snoopydawg No, what I mean is that I was responding to a comment in which somebody compared him to Dwight Eisenhower. That clearly isn't you, since you didn't mention Ike.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal @Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
when I look at everyone who followed him. LBJ gets kudos for his anti-racism work, but it's negated by Vietnam.

Add Medicare to his positives, but Vietnam is still the big negative.

BTW, my parents voted for Adlai Stevenson both times and I think they were right.
But the Party was wrong to let him run twice. Rejected once and then ran against the same man, now a sitting President who ended active fighting in Korea?

Look for that same scenario from Her Heinous, ensuring a landslide for Trump in 2020.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness I agree with you, though I don't hate JFK (I neither hate nor idealize him.) Not everything he did or wanted to do was bad. LBJ's great society and environmental work gets forgotten except when right wingers want to shoot it down; mostly people remember him for Vietnam. Seems a bit unfair given that he didn't start that shit (something I didn't like that both Ike and JFK were involved in, esp. Jack).

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal @Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
He was right on that.

Agree about JFK, we will never know.

Add school integration to Ike's credit. And it was clever to federalize the local National Guard instead of sending regular army from out of state. If the Guard had refused, they would have been in rebellion and using locals stifled talk of "outside interference".
He was a good politician. If you wanted great strategy, you call MacArthur. If you want a Hell for Leather crazy cavalryman you call Patton. When you want a politician that can deal with the prima donnas and get a consensus, you call Eisenhower. After all he kept (barely) Patton and Montgomery from each other's throats.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness BTW, Adlai Stevenson is a distant cousin of mine, through my grandfather. Smile

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

LBJ gets kudos for his anti-racism work, but it's negated by Vietnam.
Add Medicare to his positives, but Vietnam is still the big negative.

The mitigation for LBJ here is that he didn't embroil us in that quagmire; Ike did.

That LBJ mis-handled the war he inherited, of course, does count against him. But in his credit, he didn't choose to put us there.

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"US govt/military = bad. Russian govt/military = bad. Any politician wanting power = bad. Anyone wielding power = bad." --Shahryar

"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

@thanatokephaloides

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

enhydra lutris's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
here around us. After Beezlebub the deluge; the good Dr. Faustus, Reagan, Clinton, the DLC and all that herd, they are truly all lesser evils, but evil all the same.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris It all looks like pretty much the same evil to me, in increasing degrees of extremism and reach, since 1980.

I mostly don't get hung up on party labels or even individual personalities anymore, not since about 2010.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

thanatokephaloides's picture

@enhydra lutris

After Beezlebub the deluge; the good Dr. Faustus, Reagan, Clinton, the DLC and all that herd, they are truly all lesser evils, but evil all the same.

It's spelled "Baalzebub". (A corruption of "Baal Zebul", "The god of Zebulon".)

Wink

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"US govt/military = bad. Russian govt/military = bad. Any politician wanting power = bad. Anyone wielding power = bad." --Shahryar

"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

janis b's picture

@Cassiodorus

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Creosote.'s picture

@janis b
at least here at 11:58 pm

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janis b's picture

@Creosote.

from his album "the Philosopher's Stone'. Maybe this one will work ...

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@janis b

"and the next one,and the next one,and the next one,just like the last one"

"can rob you with a fountain pen"
I posted this line from Pretty Boy Floyd yesterday and here it is again!
an old story. ha

thx
oh,and thx for your generous comment.

when the music stops...

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@Cassiodorus

and there is much we don't know about this guy.

the old saying- "so dishonest he had to hire someone to call his dog" comes to mind.

and that doesn't begin to cover it.

in fact, "hard to be adequately critical" itself ...

oh man.

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ggersh's picture

@Cassiodorus

it's just hard to be adequately critical of Barack Obama.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/ian-berman/when-you-say-you-miss-presiden...

When You Say You Miss President Obama . . .
IAN BERMAN·SUNDAY, MAY 7, 2017
Do you mean his bombing 7 Muslim countries?
Do you mean the terror he caused from his drones buzzing over so many foreign lands?
Do you mean the failed state he created in Libya?
Do you mean lying about about Assad’s use of chemical weapons or the $12 billion spent on regime change from 2014-2017 alone in Syria?
Do you mean his support for Saudi Arabia’s destruction of Yemen?

Do you mean not condemning the coup in Egypt and providing aid thereafter in violation of U.S. Law?
Do you mean how his approval of the Honduran coup led to rampant crime and murder?
Do you mean supporting the coup in Ukraine and the Neo-Nazi Svoboda who provided the muscle for it?

Do you mean initiating the plans to spend $1 trillion on modernizing the nuclear triad?
Do you mean not prosecuting the war crime of invading Iraq without defensive justification?
Do you mean dismissing the prosecution of torture?
Do you mean the erosion of civil liberties while letting the NSA, FBI and CIA run wild?

Do you mean signing the NDAA which allows the military to hold an American citizen without charge or legal representation under the Executive’s determination as a terrorist?
Do you mean the reauthorization of the Patriot Act?

Do you mean the assassination of American citizens without Due Process?
Do you mean the repeal of decades-old Smith-Mundt Act allowing for the government to disseminate propaganda in the USA and towards American citizens?
Do you mean prosecuting whistle blowers instead of following up on their exposes? Like when whistle blowers such as Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Asange, Bill Binney, John Kirakou were deemed criminals and not patriots?
Do you mean “Obama’s disappointing record on free speech,” including his 7 year prosecution of “two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist James Risen,” “who helped reveal Bush's program of warrantless wiretapping?”
Do you mean the continued militarization of the police?

Do you mean nominating a cabinet almost entirely chosen by Citigroup?

Do you mean the way he provided $16 TRILLION of low or no cost capital to essentially bankrupt companies during the financial crisis?
Do you mean NOT prosecuting Wall Street executives who defrauded mortgage backed investors of billions, laundered drug money and rigged the $400 - $800 Trillion LIBOR index?
Do you mean having a "Green President" who was actually globally neutral with all the fossil fuel projects supported around the world, including the Sec. State's export of fracking to 30 countries?
Do you mean giving BP a permit to drill in the Arctic after destroying the Gulf of Mexico?
Do you meant negotiating the TPP in secret (as it thankfully failed)?
Do you mean standing idly by while protestors were doused with water cannons in freezing temperatures at Standing Rock?
Do you mean giving $400 billion a year to the healthcost © and pharmaceutical industries while dismissing single payer and public option on the first day of raising the issue?
Do you mean signing HR 933 protecting companies like Monsanto from having to label their genetically-modified food (after campaigning on the right to know)?
Do you mean the continuation of essentially all income gains going to the top 10% of income earners and an unprecedented 95% of income gains going to the top 1% of earners?
Do you mean making permanent the taxation of investment income (which is especially applicable to the 0.1%) at lower rates than middle class wages?
Do you mean deporting over 5.4 million undocumented immigrants?
Do you mean failing to close Guantanomo Bay?
Do you mean changing U.S. policy to detain women and children seeking asylum and giving Corrections Corp. of America a $1 billion no-bid contract to do so?
Do you mean his not removing cannabis from Schedule 1 Controlled Substances?
I would say he earned the $65 million for his book deal. The 0.1% and their industries made fortunes with him in office.
- - - - - -
Ian Berman is an entrepreneur and former corporate banker at leading global banks in New York City. He now focuses on renewable energy, financial advisory services and writing about representative government, equitable public policies and ending American militarism and Israel’s continuing colonization of Palestine. He is the Co-Founder of Palestine 365, the Ongoing Oppression and its predecessor, Palestine 365, on Facebook.
© 2017. All rights reserved.

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“Those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.”
— Hannah Arendt

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@ggersh Good for him. (The author, not Obama).

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

ggersh's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

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“Those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.”
— Hannah Arendt

@ggersh

lest we forget what he was and still is.

legacy. never let it go.

"I was good at killing folks." - B. Obama

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ggersh's picture

@irishking

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“Those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.”
— Hannah Arendt

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@ggersh Too many people who blamed Bush won't blame Obama and too many people who blame Obama still won't blame Bush. Partisanship is a disease.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

ggersh's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal I'm sure he could kill anyone
on 5th St. and get away with it, while cheney
only got away w/wounding his buddy.

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“Those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.”
— Hannah Arendt

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@ggersh not for lack of trying. how awesome, to shoot somebody in the face and then get him to apologize publicly to you.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@irishking We tortured some folks. But don't get too sanctimonious about it.

This one's a classic.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

One everyone should see, together with a list of the torturing Bush Admin warmongers both officially and unofficially running government. You don't even have to look backward any further than that to see where this pathology is going forward to.

Thanks for posting it.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Ellen North Apparently Harry Shearer had had enough.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

snoopydawg's picture

@ggersh

on so many sites where people say that they DO wish Obama was president because he was such ...... or some other bullshit!

Heh, you should see some of the replies. Smile

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

ggersh's picture

@snoopydawg lest I go

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“Those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.”
— Hannah Arendt

Song of the lark's picture

And Sarah Palin, or Bain Vulture Romney. Chris Wright a revisionist history nitwit.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Song of the lark

I suppose we would have been better off with John McCain And Sarah Palin,

Ah yes, the McPain Administration! Smile

or Bain Vulture Romney. Chris Wright a revisionist history nitwit.

There's no "better off" here. McCain, Palin, RMoney et al., were honest about wanting to deliver the exact same fuck-over that O'Bomber actually delivered to us 99%ers.

The only real difference was that O'Bomber promised us change from the Dumbya Administration, but actually delivered Dumbya's third and fourth terms.

"Any two things, both equal to the same third thing, are also equal to each other."

-- Euclid of Alexandria

Just like in 2016, we ordinary Serfs could not vote our own interests at all.

Bad

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"US govt/military = bad. Russian govt/military = bad. Any politician wanting power = bad. Anyone wielding power = bad." --Shahryar

"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

Cassiodorus's picture

@Song of the lark @Song of the lark that the Democrats constitute an alternative to the Republicans when it's the Democrats' purpose to hand power to the Republicans.

Tell us all this: when, over the course of the Obama administration, the Democrats ceded 900 state legislative seats to the Republicans, what was your reaction?

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Song of the lark There is no "better off" in a country dominated by 13 bankers.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@Song of the lark forerunner to Trump, ie, with her on the ticket people would be insane to vote for McCain.... Just a thought, I cannot help but think these people had this all planned long ago. Chris Wright's point about the fecklessness of Carter leading to Reagan got that old tin foil hat vibrating away with my suspicious thoughts.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

will be remembered not for what he did, but for what he failed to do.

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Amanda Matthews's picture

@Snode

The guy on the campaign trail and the guy who got elected were either 1) two different people or 2) one world class opportunistic lying fraud.

I’m going with #2.

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

many crimes and failures, he betrayed so many. Obama lied his way into office, and Wall Street lived happily ever after. My only hope is that karma finds him sooner rather than later. I want to be around to enjoy it.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

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