Wednesday, December 30, 2009

To a Better Next Year

One good thing about the 2000s was the expansion of the blogosphere - the quality of available commentary has never been better, and we can access expertise and insight that otherwise would have been limited to a particular college lecture hall or small-circulation speciality magazine.  So here's to folks I unambivalently celebrate as creators - Ted Newton and his conceptualization of hypertext, Tim Berners-Lee and the universal resource locator, and the thousands of others who put the Toile together as they say in French.

On the decade itself, Krugman's Zero Decade pretty much sums it up for me so nuff said.  Zero economic progress, intellectual suspension between paradigms, no answers to 1990s questions about how to have a productive economy and decent, sustainable life without monopoly rip-offs and exploitation of the global South - actually questions barely asked by the ones in power.  The gap between intelligence and leadership seems as large as ever in my lifetime, and I'm old enough to remember Richard Nixon.

On the absence of establishment intelligence in the United States, Jane Hamsher puts it well:
the right, whose numbers are relatively small and whose views are generally far outside of the main stream, has dominated politics for the past 30 years because they made an alliance with the corporations. It’s only natural that Democrats have sought power by replicating that model, even at the price of destroying the illusion that they’re the “party of the people” and fracturing the support that put Obama in office.

The Democrats are trying to secure their political ascendence by tying up the money, no different than Tom DeLay did. But whereas the Democratic Party represented a net to collect and unite those disaffected with the kleptocracy of George Bush, the actions of the Democrats since securing the White House this time around have dimmed the hopes that the Democrats present a real alternative.

The Bush Republicans flogged social issues in order to obviate the need for populist economic measures. They satisfied the base by treating them to a banquet of God, guns and gays while they looted the taxpayer trough. The Democrats, however, are making a sacrifice play on social issues and enabling corporatism by triangulaing against their own base.  . . . the White House positioned themselves as “centrist” after the widely popular public option was dispensed with, simply because it was something “liberals” seemed to want too.  What they’re forcing, however, is a situation where there is no place for populist liberal discontent to rationally go.
Hamsher ends by seeing a populist alliance opposing "kleptocracy"of the republocrats, but given the 2-party lock this can only be a domestic "war that will last for years."

On the coming War Decade, one need only extrapolate from Glenn Greenwald's piece on the Five Wars and the absence of clear thought about what to do. See also Juan Cole's Top 10 Middle East Crises, which are a fitting epitaph for the decade overall.  Obama seems even more manipulable than Bill Clinton by any accusatory nonsense the Right can dream up about his lack of masculine will to kill the terrorists and their infinite threat.  I'm also old enough to remember the Cold War, when the hysteria could at least base itself in a opposition to a real superpower, the Soviet Union, and its utterly unconquerable unappeasable ally, Red China.  Today's global mobilization against a crazy college dropout who lit his pants on fire only to be subdued by his fellow passangers, all of whom landed safely, and this deranged young man's several dozen committed al-Qaeda allies in Yemen, is frankly pathetic.  Some sorryass superpower we turned out to be, shouting and ranting and flagellating ourselves in public over a security lapse, and making ourselves feel better with threats of world war. 

The worst part is the shock and rage each time that someone obsessed with the US presence in the Muslim world tries to kill some Americans.  What exactly do we expect?  Either we are trying to rule the Muslim world by supporting dictatorial governments and reactionary monarchies everywhere, deploying dozens of military bases and advising local governments in the arts of political repression, scrambling for resources in competition with Europe and Asia, and backing Israel no matter how much it colonizes and mistreats its neighbors, in which case a portion of the affected populations will naturally try to kill us.  Or we will try to get them not to kill us by creating relations of economic equity, sustainable development, and political democracy with real local control (and hence disagreement with U.S. policy and favoring of local rather than U.S. businesss).  Can we grow up enough to even see that there is a choice here?  Not very soon, since the rage that suppresses thought is in sync with the loss of collective intelligence we suffered during the Cheney Years.  Obama doesn't have the chops to escape.

Hopefully, however, we do. Happy New Year no matter what.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Era of Permanent Discontent

Thanks to Juan Cole for writing up the Top-10 "worst things about the wretched period" of the 2000s - for me the Top-10 signs of decline.  Yes, it was a truly bad start to the new millennium for which we have many dumbass electorates and self-serving elites to thank.  The decades' leaders replaced negotiation with belligerence wherever they found it convenient to them - really, with Iraq, whenever it felt right.  The same goes with finance now and the end - Cole's top 1% who reaped 2/3rds of the gains of the 2000s are getting a free pass from the Obama admin to do as they like.  The same goes with the environment, where the failure of Copenhagen to produce targets and timetables in an utterly quantified management culture that responds only to these will mean the reinflation of fossil fuel use - oil sands, clean coal, the whole 9 yards.

The decade began the Era of Permanent Discontent.  There were mass protests and opposition to policies like the Iraq war that political and business leaders systematically ignored.  Individuals like Dick Cheney were more openly contemptuous of public opinion than others, but it's hard to think of a national or state-level leader who has recently opposed his or her small inner circle or the Ring of Lobbyists - on any issue in order to back a majority view.

Continuing the cycle, obvious rejection of popular positions then produce further protests and widening gap between leaders and the vast majority they claim to lead.  Polling data picked it up: rulers implemented positions accepted by a minority of the public, and this is happening again with the health care "reform," where a "clear marjority" wants a public option (October 2009, December 2009), and where political leaders don't, and so there won't be one. In Europe they call this "post-democracy." In California, it is called minority rule, and a UC professor George Lakoff has started an initiative to end the Proposition 13-based supermajority rule for budgeting and taxes.  This is a great idea. But it needs to confront an electorate that has no experience with or trust in real majority rule.

The twin of permanent discontent is Permanent War.  Bush's "war that will go on for years" has become Obama's Afghanistan escalation and similar rhetoric of standing, dispersed dangers to global security.  Apparently no American executive can govern without Cold War-style insistence that the country is in grave danger from all over.  The benefits to the military and industry are obvious, and so are the benefits to executive authority.  Obama's Wars now involve escalating the drone attacks and secret military incursions into Pakistan that echo the Nixon-Kissinger incursions into Laos and Cambodia that hardened and widened the Vietnam war that they too claimed to be winding down.  In the context of majority demands for public health care, better infrastructure, cheaper higher education, green technology, more and better jobs, war has an important role to play.  The function of war i to make all popular things impossible.

It's worth nothing that finance has come to play a similar spoiling role. Its absorption of somewhere between $17 and 24 trillion has already killed off any new New Deal for the states and their outmoded intrastructures and social systems (the US ranks 12th to 16th in the social distribution of its own core technologies, broadband access).  Finance is increasingly acknowledged to invest largely in unproductive assets, so it's not like we need its domination over the economy because they are about to give back to society - give back new industries, high productivity growth, better living for all.

But the financial sector is good for the political executive function. It concentrates wealth and concentrates the power that goes with it.  Wall Street's importance magnifies Washington's importance, and the leaders of each get enormous personal benefit from the acute stratification of their sector, where all meaningful decisions are made at the top.  The concentration of finance into a few banks that are too big to fail is also good for the military, which operates on the same principle.  Having a superconcentrated financial sector run by insiders has long stabilized corrupt, crony-ridden governments in places like South Korea and Japan. It provides the same function in the United States.

The epoch battle now shaping up is between innovation and control.  Concentration and hierarchy are good for control and bad for innovation.  You can't spread broadband across income groups if you can't distribute and share because your broadband industry is a plutonomy of interlocking monopolists.  But most of our innovation industries, starting with IT, have become oligarchies built up around monopoly rents, and the innovation economist David Mowery has pointed out that software developed with market shares of 80 percent at home and 65% abroad (p 14).  Innovation depended on acquiring monopoly control in the post-war market environment - and on large amounts of military funding.

Where are the forces of innovation that can do without this kind of control?  Mostly lodged in our permanent discontent.  My hope - and fear - is that they will remain dormant until they enter into open revolt against the control-focused governance that now pervades every corner of politics and the economy.

In 1009, Egypt's Fatimid caliph al-Hakim leveled Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the ground. He then "hacked the church's foundations down to bedrock."  The church was rebuilt in 1048, but it's initial destruction became the cornerstone of the crusade preaching of the Catholic Church. His successor would rebuild the church ing 1048, but Hakim's rash act stirs demands in Europe for a Christian crusade to recover the Holy Land from the "infidels." In 1096, the First Crusade would leave Europe for the Holy Land with more than 30,000 men, and would crystallize the anti-Islamic hostilities and salvific-warrior mentalities that seek to control our destiny today, a thousand years down the road.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dissociation in a Bad Decade

A few posts this week get close to the heart of the problem.  Fr. Frank's Sunday sermon provides the frame - "As we say farewell to a dreadful year and decade," we have to recognize the following:
The men who played us for suckers, whether at Citigroup or Fannie Mae, at the White House or Ted Haggard’s megachurch, are the real movers and shakers of this century’s history so far.
Fr. Frank replaces Time Man of the Year Ben Bernanke - "as big a schnook as every other magical thinker in Washington" with Tiger Woods, the age's typical con man who piles up tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in personal wealth with a skill base prosthetically extended via an image fabricated by extremely expensive media machinery that is at complete odds with reality.

This blog's technical term for the state of mass suckerdom has been dumbness.  This is a word I also use for dissociation, the systematic though often unconscious concealment of intersubjective reality behind a screen image of the real.

The most effective means is obviously the mass media in general and its hyperdeveloped skill at producing idealized simulacra of reality - simulacra so perfectly cleansed of anomalies that they fit the definition of hysteria.  The source is often a trauma. Thinking of US history in general and of 9/11 in particular, I would say that dissociation is a response to a trauma that suppresses the subject's own role in having produced the trauma.

Everyday examples of dissociation can be found in Fr. Frank's descriptions of hero-worshipping of male sports stars and of faith in Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.  The other huge example that we're very much living with is the securities industry, in which values for securities that brokers made up were assigned through exchanges via mimetic thinking and mutually reinforcing professional networks.

Fr. F rightly starts the dismal decade with the Enron scandal rather than 9/11: 2001 was the year in which its "assets" came gradually to be seen as accounting fabrications.  He gets good play out of the accounting firm Accenture's use of Tiger Woods as its sole emblem of all things virile and triumphant, and then its attempt to scrub Tiger Woods from every piece of company material as though the relationship never existed.  Fr. Frank doesn't mention that "Accenture" was the name that emerged when accounting giant Arthur Andersen had to scrub itself out of existence as the disgraced accounting firm for Enron Inc.

There is an Orwellian aspect to these total reversals: we worship Tiger Woods; we look down on Tiger Woods.  Enron is America's most innovative company; Enron is America's most fraudulent company.  As an educator, I notice first and foremost the absence of learning.  We just go onto the next thing: from Enron's "special purpose entities" to Lehman's "structured investment vehicles," from day-trading in equities to zero-down real estate investing.  The pattern is reinforced by our leaders, who depend on it to maintain their own position.  A recent example was Obama's justification of the escalation in Afghanistan by trying to suffocate reflection with a thick blanket of primal innocence: "unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination."

In his amazing novel 2666, one of Roberto Bolano's main characters, a Spanish specialist in German literature and in particular the works of the elusive Archimboldi, returns to his hotel room in a Mexican border town, puts down
rugs on the bed he didn't sleep in, then . . . sat on his bed and for a fraction of a second the shadows retreated and he had a fleeting glimpse of reality.  He felt dizzy and he closed his eyes. Without knowing it he fell asleep.
Why are we still sleeping?

The effect of the Big Sleep appears in another great framing moment, Glenn Greenwald's continuation of his critique of the Obama administration on health care. He argues that Obama is systematically continuing Clinton's Third Way, which Greenwald defines as corporatism.
It's about more than just letting corporations do what they want.  It's about affirmatively harnessing government power in order to benefit and strengthen those corporate interests and even merging government and the private sector.  In the intelligence and surveillance realms, for instance, the line between government agencies and private corporations barely exists.  Military policy is carried out almost as much by private contractors as by our state's armed forces.  Corporate executives and lobbyists can shuffle between the public and private sectors so seamlessly because the divisions have been so eroded.  Our laws are written not by elected representatives but, literally, by the largest and richest corporations.  At the level of the most concentrated power, large corporate interests and government actions are basically inseparable.

The health care bill is one of the most flagrant advancements of this corporatism yet, as it bizarrely forces millions of people to buy extremely inadequate products from the private health insurance industry -- regardless of whether they want it or, worse, whether they can afford it (even with some subsidies).
Greenwald is right about this "centrist" Democrat philosophy, and about its authoritarian overtones. It's also important to figure out where this corporatism comes from.  Part of it is the media simulacra, of course, providing all the comforts of Babyland for an infantile population.  The deeper harder part comes from systematic and self-protective dissociation from anything that conflicts with an airbrushed image of America that helps us all confront absolutely nothing the country or its leaders actually do - like "seeking world domination" around financial markets, military power, UN climate policy, and so on.

The area where the country's middle classes are being continuously damaged is finance itself.  The financial system created untold trillions of dollars of assets that its own participants determined in the summer and fall of 2008 to be worth little or nothing.  Collapse was averted because governments led by the US Treasury and the Fed stepped in to provide unconditional guarantees that these assets would be worth close to face value.  This was the importance of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's "giveaway" (also here, here and here) of 100 cents on the dollar to AIG's counterparties. Even if it wasn't a giveaway, it signaled Total Commitment to whatever fictions finance had been using to pile it high and deeper.  In other words, to avoid collapse, the feds supported dissociation.  This meant the rapid forgetting of what we had momentarily learned about the non-value of financial values through their real support with taxypayer-supplied direct payments, loans, and guarantees. The forgetting continues to this day, when it is hard to find any commentary on the problem assets that remain on everybody's books, because we are now dissociatively engaged in an economic recovery.

How do we make it stop? The old Left mechanism was the exposure of false consciousness through immiseration.  The lie of prosperity (for the large majority) would be exposed through the truth of suffering.

We have plenty of suffering in the dying states.  In the Left Business Observer, Doug Henwood writes,
According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, one in three U.S. households reports that a member lost a job over the past year. The effects: 90% report higher personal stress; 62%, anger; 58%, depression.  That translates into 83 million Americans experiencing stress; 58 million, anger; and 52 million, depression, as the result of recen job loss. Not quite four in ten of the job losers report having foudn a new job - and of those who do, half say it's for less pay.  For those unable to find a new job, the emotional effects are severe: 70% are depressed.
The obvious problem is that suffering that leads to depression doesn't lead to change.  Anger is more useful, but can easily be reversed into depression, particularly in a culture like that of the U.S. in which everyone is held personally responsible for failure and there are no structural problems really or exploitative ruling classes etc etc - except the ones you see when you are really angry, and then even your friends avoid you for being the loser you are.

The Left is not doing well right now in defining a new architecture for a egalitarian economy that develops the whole society. It also needs to do better at confronting the psychological blockage to imagining what that would be, starting with acknowledging our own role in getting us here.  I think the key to ending dissociation is ending the threat of being a loser by confronting the fact that in the current situation that is exactly what nearly all of us are.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Getting Rolled AGain

Glenn Greenwald outdoes himself in this unrelenting slam of the Emmanuel-Obama Axis of Nixonism -  except Nixon was more of a New Dealer.  Here's a particularly nice summation:
In essence, this reinforces all of the worst dynamics of Washington.  The insurance industry gets the biggest bonanza imaginable in the form of tens of millions of coerced new customers without any competition or other price controls.  Progressive opinion-makers, as always, signaled that they can and should be ignored (don't worry about us -- we're announcing in advance that we'll support whatever you feed us no matter how little it contains of what we want and will never exercise raw political power to get what we want; make sure those other people are happy but ignore us).  Most of this was negotiated and effectuated in complete secrecy, in the sleazy sewers populated by lobbyists, industry insiders, and their wholly-owned pawns in the Congress.  And highly unpopular, industry-serving legislation is passed off as "centrist," the noblest Beltway value.
 Digby's quite nice on this too.  The key here is the middle section of the paragraph: Obama can directly and coercively give the taxpayer's money first to the "F" in FIRE (finance) and now to the I (insurance) because of the pathetic psychological state of progressives - so pathetic that it's hard to even know if they are progressives or not, or if they know. Would these people respond if exposed and pounded on by a thousand Greenwalds and 10000 Digbys?  How much more failure is it going to take? My only disagreement with Greenwald is that he doesn't sufficiently stress the apparent causal power of a mass mental break.

It's true that Obama is more to blame than Lieberman, but why is Lieberman able to act like one of the regional tyrants that could blackmail the emperor as the western Roman empire disintegrated (e.g. throughout all of the 400s).   This is a sign that Obama has already lost most of his authority, if he ever had it in the first place.  It's also more evidence for Fire Dog Lake's important claim for the practical failure of the Rahm Emmanuel strategy of crippling the left and even the center so they can cut deals with the right.  They have achieved almost nothing this way - unless what they want is in fact FIRE corporatism instead of government.

There are a lot of parallels with Clinton, of course, but it reminds me more of Tip O'Neill's disastrous accommodation of a not-yet-strong Ronald Reagan during the recession of the early 1980s, when instead of fighting him on the air traffic controllers and tax cuts, he found lots of local advantages in caving in. The Dems haven't ever really recovered on the level of strategy or of ideology, and that was almost 30 years ago.  And of course O'Neill was still running scared from the McGovern debacle, which they never analyzed correctly - as is Obama in his desire to be Nixon rather than McGovern (or Carter) in Afghanistan . . .

I like FDL's virtual whip project but am not sure how to scale up opposition to a DC that is completely off the rails and selling itself to the highest bidder as quickly and totally as it possibly can. (This view is compatible with Nick Silver's good rationalist analysis of progressive failure.)  Obama's vaunted Internet strategy was built to campaign the masses and not to rule the brokers in the capitol.  A starting point would be for Obama to engage in a public slicing and dicing of his enemies in a major national address - really hang them by their heels from the telephone poles on the road to Woody's Creek,  as Hunter S. Thompson used to say -  but he's already lost the spirit to rule in the midst of all his orthodox calculations  of compromise, to say nothing of implementing any actual renovative ideas.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Decline And Fall - For No Reason at All

Pretty much the whole sad story of Obama, War President of the Nobel Peace Prize is wrapped up by Glenn Greenwald, so no need to expend extra thought there.  This Greenwald is required reading on the foreign policy portion of the current rapid Democrat slide into Republican policy hell - all for basically no political reason, since the Repubs are widely despised. (See also David Cortright here.)

Same goes for Obama's Republican economic policy - Matt Taibbi this time on the" economic team made up exclusively of callous millionaire-assholes an economic team made up exclusively of callous millionaire-assholes [that] has absolutely zero interest in reforming the gamed system that made them rich in the first place."  Thank you.  Taibbi links the names, a simple way of showing the painful marginalization of any critical thought - finally as insidious and life-sapping a trend in modern America as the pervasive, half-veiled faith in violence. The sorry outcome is that all those Dems from Obama to Frank et al can't move ahead unless, as they were in Fall 2008, they are prodded by simple fear.  With the visible threat past for the immediate Finance Family, it's back to their laissez-faire.

The result with the Obama admin is, as one person puts it, ""Rather than having a team of rivals, they've got a team of Rubins."  How much clearer could it be that Obama is finished as an indepenedent force in US politics?  Rolled like that, you never recover.  At least he won't.

Amidst all the enforcing of progressive timidity by Rahm Emmanuel et al is the sheer timidity of the conventional wisdom here.
Why would leading congressional Democrats, working closely with the Obama administration, agree to leave one of the riskiest of all financial instruments unregulated, even before the issue could be debated by the House? "There was concern that a broad grant to ban abusive swaps would be unsettling," Frank explained.
On this point, Obama foreign policy is even worse than Obamanomics.  Greenwald wraps up the Nobel speech like this:
Indeed, Obama insisted upon what he called the "right" to wage wars "unilaterally"; articulated a wide array of circumstances in which war is supposedly "just" far beyond being attacked or facing imminent attack by another country; explicitly rejected the non-violence espoused by King and Gandhi as too narrow and insufficiently pragmatic for a Commander-in-Chief like Obama to embrace; endowed us with the mission to use war as a means of combating "evil"; and hailed the U.S. for underwriting global security for the last six decades (without mentioning how our heroic efforts affected, say, the people of Vietnam, or Iraq, or Central America, or Gaza, and so many other places where "security" is not exactly what our wars "underwrote").  So it's not difficult to see why Rovian conservatives are embracing his speech; so much of it was devoted to an affirmation of their core beliefs.

The more difficult question to answer is why -- given what Drum described -- so many liberals found the speech so inspiring and agreeable?
 And then the 64 dollar observation: "Yesterday's speech and the odd, extremely bipartisan reaction to it underscored one of the real dangers of the Obama presidency:  taking what had been ideas previously discredited as Republican or right-wing dogma and transforming them into bipartisan consensus."

Dissociation, fear, mindless nationalism, avoidance of solutions to economic problems that would require change, mindless nostalgia, cultural stupidity so deep that it endangers the country: what is it ?

Fr. Frank's Sunday sermon points out that our "particular darkness" is "the disconnect between the corporate culture that is dictating the firing and the rest of us."  And there is the total immunity from the "consequences of their actions."

There's some kind of death knell here for even the illusion of the Dims as a second and oppositional party. There's the Dead Zone politics to come, followed inevitably by far more unrest than we've seen in the US in quite some time.  See the U blog for the local versions unrest - or this poll report for majority desire for the New Deal now abandoned -  as the pseudo-recovery continues to squash the little people and their chldren.

With this in mind, we have to start facing the fact that Obama, who rapidly moved from "change we can believe in" to disappointment to sell-out (to Wall Street), may be entering the territory of "worst thing to happen to the Democrats in decades."

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Oursource Traders and I-Banks Too

Dean Baker had a nice short bit called "Toyota's CEO Works for Less":

The NYT told readers that GM may have trouble getting a new CEO because of the limits the government has imposed on CEO compensation. It would have been worth mentioning that the CEO of Toyota and other successful auto manufacturers work for pay that would likely confirm to the government limits.

This suggests that CEOs in the United States have simply priced themselves out of the market. The obvious solution would be to outsource top management, as was done with Chrysler.

Same goes for the banks themselves. At some point we may tire of claims that huge bank bonuses during the Great Recession they caused are necessary because you can't get a trader to exert his god-like powers for less than 500x the median annual wage. We'd then ask that all trading be sent to back offices in Banglore and Ho Chi Minh City, just down the road from where the banks got industry to send US and UK manufacturing jobs years ago.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Obama Kills His Better Half

Obama's decision to escalate in Afghanistan was sad and stupid, and made stupider by the bollocks he talked in justifying the dumb murderous thing.

There was
  • "the waving of the bloody shirt" - the oldest presidential gesture in US histor - around  9/11. 
  • the repetition of Bush's fradulent claims of The Terrorists' immediate threats to American security.
  • the phallic backdrop of West Point, the martial imagery, the sentimental militarism, the "using [of]American soldiers as props" by yet another president who feels insuffficiently martial for warrior nation, the grotesque ass-kissing - "it's an extraordinary honor for me to do so here at West Point" - hello, you're the elected president, we still have a civilian government don't we?
  • the standard self-righteous vision of America's own saintly and hence preeminent leadership in all actions, thanks to its absolute innocence of selfish motives behind violent acts ("unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination"). 
  • no recognition of the failure and uncertainty of military interventions (cf Bacevich)
  • no recongition of the absurd double standard of the US military presence in 130 or more countries - you must check with us about everything; we do whatever we want
  • no recognition of blowback (Reuters found multiple expressions among Afghans within a few minutes of the speech's end)
  • no recognition that the US, in escalating its occupation of a Muslim country, is doing exactly what a credible authority named Osama bin-Laden said provoked terror in the first place - occupying a Muslim country
  • no ability to see that 130,000 US troups in a country is an occupation. For god's sake.
  • no recognition of the mindless destructive waste, the death trip, the death drive.
  • no recognition that noone in other countries believes any of this bullshit - strictly no one, none of it, especially not the pathetic washing of the blood off the hands at every public opportunity as though the whole world were a fundamentalist church.
Aside from the futility of the policy itself (see the whole Democracy Now broadcast December 2 for the many reasons why), it's also finished for Obama - he's cooked his own goose.

Historical evidence for this unpleasant conclusion was nicely condensed by Rep. David Obey in his honorable attempt to impose an Afghan wartax (squashed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi):
if we don’t pay for it, then the the costs of the Afghan war will wipe out every other initiative that we have to have to rebuild our economy. That’s what happened with the Vietnam War which wiped out the Great Society. That’s what happened with the Korea War that wiped out Harry Truman’s Square Deal. That’s what happened to the progressive movement back before the 20s when we went into World War I. In each case costs of those wars shut off the ability to afford anything else.”
Obama has deliberately embraced the wiping out of his own domestic policy. And that is what he will get.

Obama is going down.  During our latest undeserved ordeal, try at least to enjoy Onion stories about our most recent Teleprompter President. The big question remains:  how will we avoid going down with him?