White Kids on Poutrage

By Al Giordano

In his post yesterday, Outrage Works: Extra Bailout Funds Out of Budget, OpenLeft’s Chris Bowers hunts for a silver lining in the wake of the collapse of the “Dump Geithner” movement before it got any authentic traction in public opinion. He shifts the line of scrimmage from Geithner to future bailout funds, hailing a quote from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who informs that a $250 billion “place-holder” fund – reputedly put aside for future Wall Street bailouts – has been removed from the Obama budget. Bowers writes:

“…it wouldn't have been possible without red-hot, blinding, widespread outrage over the bonuses. Score one for anger!”

Gawd, this is beginning to sound like something in the self-help books section at Barnes & Noble: “Assuage Your Liberal White Upper Class Guilt through Anger Gestalt Therapy in 10 Days or Less,” could be the next NY Times bestseller.

As Bowers himself noted in May 2007:

We know from repeated studies that the progressive, political blogosphere skews toward the following demographics: 85-90% white, 60-65% male, very high income ($75-$80K average income), and the highly educated (40-50% advanced degrees, and 80-85% four year degrees).

To the extent that the aforementioned “progressive, political blogosphere” has grown slightly more diverse over the past two years since that May 2007 snapshot, the Obama movement gets the credit for bringing most of the refreshing newcomers in. The gates of the  “unbearable whiteness of blogging” have been stormed by a new generation of black, Hispanic and other minority bloggers, readers and commenters, some of whom, like our colleagues over at Jack & Jill Politics, have risen to the front tier of the Netroots. The May 1, 2006 general strike against immigration raids in the United States and the movement it launched likewise provoked a new generation of blogs like that of one my favorites, The Unapologetic Mexican, who have generally been skeptical if not scornful of the white Netroots personalities.

I’d say that no other factor has had a more positive effect on the Netroots than this relatively recent storming of the previous gate-stormers. (And, yes, it’s very heartening to see Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos come home on the immigration reform issue; I look forward to fighting side by side, probably later this year, with him and others when the matter comes to blows again in Congress. As I noted back in 2007, the last time it came up, the Netroots had offered deafening silence or worse during that hour of national moral crisis.)

Human events have acted over the past week to confirm our thesis of The Banality of Outrage. The “Dump Geithner” movement – led mainly by white college-educated neo-populists - has been completely undone in a matter of days. And now its architects – foiled again - are back at the drawing board trying to move the chains and set new yardsticks as the old ones have drifted back into the dustbin of history.

I don’t consider myself to be a huge fan of Time’s Joe Klein. But he is a fairly accurate barometer of liberal media punditry and the chatterers have now noticed what we pointed out last week. Klein just wrote a post titled Populist Rage? …Never Mind:

So, yes, people are "angry" at Wall Street. They are also "angry" at Octomom. I wonder if the depth and quality of those two rages differ--or is this all just a television show? I mean, how many demonstrations, how many economic riots, have there been? There have been real free-for-alls, featuring real violence and bloodshed, in places like China, where the level of societal unfairness and desperation makes our own not-insignificant inequities seem like a workers' paradise. There used to be economic riots and marches here--back in the Great Depression, and further back in the populist era of the late 19th century. But none lately. There doesn't even seem to be significant movement in the polls, which are our own, latter-day way of marching on Washington…

But most of the anger we see and hear comes from people who are paid to be angry, on cue, on cable television--as opposed to people with actual grievances…

And, yes, to a certain extent some in the online Poutrage Club are either being paid for it (or, say, using manufactured outrage as part of their auditions to get on Cable TV and become paid well for it), but there’s also a “self-help book” flavor to much of it among that mostly white, male, $75,000-a-year average income crowd that now wanders the Internets looking for its next Poutrage-of-the-Week: “I am outraged, therefore I am part of the working class!”

Pshaw! How flattering!

And yet so much of it is based on their own prejudicial stereotypes of the working class, common in white college-educated circles, that we’re somehow uncontrollably angry: walking balls of rage waiting to be ignited... by their so-called leadership! In fact, the opposite is the case. It’s, rather, the ones that are wearing their caricature of anger and outrage like a new style of clothes who don’t have much practice (if any) being on the receiving end of the fundamental unfairness of capitalism.

I certainly don't intend to return the volley of class prejudice by lumping all college-educated whites earning $75,000 a year into that anger-as-fashion-statement camp. A few angry apples don't spoil the whole bunch, no!

Authentic anger knows all too well the dangers of “exploding head syndrome,” its impotence and its consequences, and therefore understands how to control and harness itself, based on experience. That’s why when the President says, as he did on 60 Minutes on Sunday, that “we can’t govern out of anger,” the increasingly diverse working class in the United States of America and elsewhere “gets” that on a profoundly informed level, whereas the white kids on poutrage seem to be viewing their new fetish as about their emotional needs, with apologies to Ginsberg, “looking for an angry fix.”




Excellent post

As a woman I can't agree more. Great post, thanks! The power struggles in the "progressive blogosphere" are so typical of the power struggles of women and minorities. People need to support the people, who are the regular folks on the street in the workers' uniforms (not the business uniforms or the casual jean Friday blogging uniforms) instead of their little agendas. I'm about ready to dump the word "progressive" -- it's been taken over by the angry white males!

Why Feed the Flames?

Hi, I really like the Narco News website and generally like your blog posts; they're a very unique perspective that's missing on progressive blogs.

BUT,  I wonder why you've focused so much time on the Geithner controversy if it's manufactured by all these "neo-populist" white college kids? Why bother feeding the flames of these bloggers, if they are already out of touch and self-marginalizing?

Reading your post "The Smart Move Isn't Going Anywhere," it seems that you are basically supporting Obama's decisions (even if they are bad ones for the population), if it helps his administration. Isn't this the same logic that the right wing (especially Bill O'Reilly) used to use 'you might disagree with Bush but you have to support his decisions.' Why is Obama 'off the hook' even if he does something bad (or appoints a right leaning person)?

I'm not in the 'I hope he fails' chorus, but I would like Obama to fail with pro-business politics that Geithner represents, and suceed with the good things he's doing. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth when such a great blog gushingly support Obama's pro-business decisions, just because they are good strategy for his administration.


Nothing represents the arrogant and ridiculously self importance of popular bloggers more than one of their "look at all of the cool music I listen to" posts which are, to me, emblematic of their desire to push their sense of what, "you people should do".  That is if we were as smart, hip, cool and white as they we could walk by their gate.  Thanks but no thanks I do not need a neo-populist blowhard to tell me what is hip nor what I should be pissed off about. I will crash the gate without them. 

Almost the same as it always was.

That's pretty much how I've been feeling about the 'progressive blogosphere' lately.  It's still a better place to be than disengaged and wandering or, god forbid, the other side.  But it hasn't been feeling like home and it is a repeat of the dynamics in the primaries (the bad apples not being representative of the whole thankfully being part of that dynamic) so I should be used to it by now.

Thanks for highlighting the colorful contributors to the Netroots Al, it is indeed telling that they haven't jumped on the gripe-hype bandwaggon.  And one can anticipate the response the self-appointed leaders would think of that (if not say aloud) "of course they blindly support the President"...ala Rush on Powell's endorsement.  Of course it's not that at all, it's that the nature of their existence in this country and it's political circus requires them to have perspective and avoid the exploding head syndrome.  Nuance is a survival mechanism for minorites and women and serves their blogging efforts well which will become even more evident as times goes on.

It was very telling who had the best questions yesterday at the presser - IMO Univision and Ebony.

@ Beth...I've been feeling the same way about the 'progressive' political identifier too.  It's being used like a trendy new bag for some and for the vets it's always been a way to identify with a group they assumed needed their leadership and assumed had a vacuum of such leadership.  In other words, they couldn't get to the top of Corporate Media pile (nothing more than the arbitrary nature of capitalism) so they identified another group to infiltrate and poke out their chest for.

And most importantly Obama's appreciation for nuance befuddles them even more then those outside of their faux-leadership pack in the Netroots. The fact that the 'people', the actual people, get it pisses them off.  It pisses them off because they know they should be actually acting and engaging to provide a better primer for their analysis than circle-jerking and insular back-slapping.  It pisses them off because it proves wrong everything they really, really think about the actual people they profess to represent.  It pisses some of them off because it makes a whole shit-load of their writing/supporting from the primaries seem head-scratchingly wrong.  It pisses them off because they don't know where the hell to find anything authentic because they've been padded by a place of bullshit for so damn long.  They literally can't keep it real!  And it hurts. 

Al, you already know... 




@ Eric B

Eric B - You're of course welcome to your own opinions, but your interpretation of my motives is wayyyy outside of anything accurate.

You write that "it seems that you are basically supporting Obama's decisions (even if they are bad ones for the population), if it helps his administration."

Well, guess what? You're not even close to having divined my view, even as you say you had read my "Smart Move" post of Monday. Here, I'll give it to you: As I said then (and so many times over so many years), I oppose capitalism. When I have seen legitimate grassroots movements against capitalism - in Mexico, in Venezuela, in Bolivia - I've put considerable years of labor and resources into positively reporting on those movements on a level that few (if any, in the English language) have done.

But my yearning for a better economic system than capitalism does not extend to favoring economic collapse and depression - which fall harder on the poor and the workers, always - as some people seem to wish (they sometimes even admit their belief that, "if we make things worse, the people will rise up").

If those huge banks and financial industries in the United States crash, a la 1929, the economic harm will extend to not only the US economy, but that of all América and the entire world. And poor everywhere will consequently suffer worse than the property owners of the United States. You may not like the concept of the US government propping those institutions up. But if they fall, they will create a perfect storm for right-wing authoritarianism to seize the moment and regain control of the State. The "left" in the United States is not organized. With the exception of the grassroots movement that Obama constructed over the past two years, it doesn't really exist in the ways it does in other lands. It doesn't have the organization across racial and other demographic lines to pick up the pieces if everything falls down. The US "right", however, is still very well organized, and has the added advantage of the corporate media ready to help it along should economic chaos (way beyond the hardship that presently occurs) suddenly inflict the land.

Therefore, I think it is of the highest of priorities to prevent that kind of economic crash, the sort that almost happened last September and October, which had circles of power openly talking about "martial law" as a response.

Clearly, you haven't thought any of this through. Too many people don't think ahead even one step, much less various of them.

For you to compare my very hard-thought view with that of Bill O'Reilly and other Bush cheerleaders - stating that my motive is to support anything Obama does even when its "bad" - only indicates the limits of your imagination. It also ignores the times I've criticized decisions or actions made by Obama (just because I haven't done so with childish poutrage doesn't lessen their sharpness).

What's clear is that some folks seem to want the financial giants to crash, even if they fall most heavily upon the poor of the earth. That I think that would bring a prolonged disaster, and therefore want the administration to take the actions that prevent that from happening, doesn't mean I have "pro business" politics (I'll match my track record of fighting big business and winning against yours or anybody's). It means that I've looked enough steps ahead to see that scenario as leading to forms of fascism that will make current times look like a tea party.

Paid to be outraged, on cue

"paid to be angry".  Joe Klein has a keeper there.

I really like:

But most of the anger we see and hear comes from people who are paid to be angry, on cue, on cable television--as opposed to people with actual grievances…

We as a nation have to become more savvy about our sources of information or we are sunk.  Al, your tutorials on this subject are of immense value and will keep me coming back with hits and contributions.

The "dump Geithner" movement got some attention because they yelled and peed in their pants.  They'll be content with that for a while as they sit at the kiddie table blowing bubbles in their chocolate milk, but sooner or later they'll engage in more attention seeking behavior.

On a different note, the attempts to discredit Obama with any conceivable taint reminds me of the flavor of criticism against Pres. Carter and Ambassador Young.  Lot's of people pushing an "assumption" that the administration is hopelessly incompetent.

Eric B must read Greenwald.

Eric B must read Greenwald. His post today attributes to your "Smart Move" post "cult-like liberal veneration for Obama". Laughable.

The Anti-Geithner Bloggers "Want" The Economic System To Fail?

Uh, my impression is that the economic system HAS failed, and that's why we're in the mess we're in.

No, Al, in your zeal to "prove" the bloggers "wrong," it is once again you who misreads what's going on in an effort to defend Geithner (and by extension, Obama). The issue isn't wanting the system to fail or even wanting Geithner to fail -- the question is a far more elemental and simple one: Will Geithner's plan work? The bloggers whom you continue to disdain say no; your answer from the don't-dump-Geithner post a couple of days ago seems to be, maybe but the alternatives are far worse so let's stick with what we got.

Ironically, the most reassuring thing I've read about the Geithner plan comes from the guy who I consider the most authoritative: Nouriel Roubini. If the guy who saw this coming accurately has some positives to say about the Geithner plan I'll listen - and I will.

But your victory lap over the bloggers over Geithner's head is, I venture to say, premature. Perhaps Geithner won't be fired this week, but it's all going to come down to TALF and whether it appears to work or not. Some accounts I've read now say Larry Sommers was pushing hard for nationalization, but Geithner won the day - but that tells me Obama and others in the White House are not shutting the door on that possible action if Geithner's plan doesn't work. And if Geithner's plan doesn't work and he's against the alternative, it's hard to see how he'd survive if a Swedish-style nationalization plan is the next option.

One thing I know is that all those bloggers you are gloating over right now may ultimately be proven right - as they were proven right on Iraq, on WMDs, on the housing bubble, and on other items of importance to this country (some of which I'm sure you agreed with). 

I hope I'm wrong about Geithner, but the answer isn't in yet, and until it is I reserve the right to change my mind about him. Which I haven't, yet.

Good comment Al,

Whatever political ideals we may have, this nation has an economy currently based on certain structures.  I'm now seeing a lot of unfocused rage at "Wall Street" and "business" that is not based on reality.  Those institutions need huge efforts at reform and regulation, but the unqualified condemnation from some sources is just nuts.

Example:  There is a machinists union in northern Illinois that just took a 40% decrease in pension benefits.  That hurts people who've worked hard and deserve better.  The reason?  Their pension, like most, was invested in the financial markets and has done poorly.

@ Jeff Larson

LOL @ blowing bubbles in their chocolate milk.

I do think some of the unengaged assume incompetance (nothing more than old stereotypes), but I think the ones with the bully pulpits and mechanisms for creating a smear know damn well how competant he is and that is precisely what scares them because without said incompetance they can't enact the scary future Al drew a line to in his comment just above yours.


@ Edgewater Joe

Edgewater Joe - You say "the economic system has failed." Maybe it's because I've lived so much of my life in what used to be called the "third world" that I have a very different vista on economic misery than what is occurring inside the United States right now, where the great majority of people still have electricity, running water, heat during the cold season, roofs more sturdy than cardboard over their heads, floors more smooth than earth under their feet, they still have access to basic medicines for curable illnesses, and continue to enjoy such creature comforts as Cable television, cell phones, Internet access, occasional restaurant dining, etcetera.

The scenario you perhaps have not considered is that things could suddenly turn a lot worse in the United States, in which those things you may take for granted suddenly don't exist, and a population totally unpracticed, soft and unprepared to live without water, electricity, etcetera, nor to make the communal concessions that a majority across this impoverished earth make every day in order to survive.

Maybe you don't think it could turn that bad. Others of us see it very differently. Some of us even have the lived experience to know what living like that is like.

@ Edgewater Joe

It's not if, it's how.  It's not if they are critical it is how they are critical.  That has been Al's point for a while, it's not a reactionary tool he carelessly spit out to defend Obamas admin (he's been pointing out futile and unproductive analysis since the primaries) and dump on certain bloggers. 

I honestly can't fathom how anybody could think firing the head of Treasury after 60 days wouldn't SURELY usher in some of the consequences they think MAY come of Geithners plans and some of the ones they aren't even anticipating at all like global implications.  I just can't believe the short-sightedness of some of them.

I don't think there are victory laps here, just the desire to hold folks accountable when their futile way of engaging becomes useless.  Someone has to point it out, maybe they'll change, maybe they won't, but if we ignored wrong time and time again we would indeed be like the Bush lemmings we detest. The irony of the false accussation of blind support toward Obama that these folks invoke is indeed rich. 


My take on the placeholder pull

Is that it was done to placate Senate Republicans.  That's the first thing I thought of when I heard about its being pulled.

It will of course be futile, but I almost half-wonder if Obama and Reid put that in there just so they could pull it, then use the fact of its being pulled to demonstrate to the American people just how unreasonable the Republicans are being when they continue to oppose the placeholder-less bill.  (The continued Republican obstructionism would also be further justification for cutting loose with the nuclear option, as I strongly suspect will happen soon.)

@Eric B

How do you know which economic policies are bad for the population? And, how do you propose to get the "right" economic policies (which you do not define) through Congress and the Senate not to mention render them palatable to a population where some think cretins like Michelle Bachmann deserves to be a member of Congress and where millions upon millions listen to Limbaugh? Also, what have you done to persuade ordinary people, which include Republicans, that your economic policies would be best? Also, given the fact that our legal system gives corporations the rights of a person and that corporations ALWAYS pawn off everything on their employees at ALL levels and they are not legally prevented from outsourcing so they can exploit people somewhere else through the active COMPLICITY of those governments and the upper classes in those countries, how exactly do you propose to make change in a system that we have all willy-nilly had to buy into? Also, what measures do you propose to ensure that rich western countries do not make the poorest countries in the non-west, who are already in medieval debt-bondage after centuries of colonialism, pay for this crisis as the poorest people here and in the "third" world will pay the most for global warming caused by western systems of production for which we were colonized to begin with (of course it was called progress and modernity, which is why I am wary of self-proclaimed "progressives". Things look very different if you have to stand in someone else's shoes.). 


My question of the day for these "liberals" or "progressives" who think they have such ideological purity and are aligned with the working class: Did you buy a cup of coffee today at Starbuck's? Congratulations. You have just contributed to famine in Ethiopia and the unfair trade policies of Starbuck's that are actively contributing to it in one of the richest coffee-growing regions of the world (See the PBS documentary, "Black Gold"). Why not express your "outrage" at that and mobilize fellow coffee-drinkers in the first world? Wouldn't THAT be one way to change how corporations do business that screw EVERYONE over? Where is the outrage at the US run World Bank and IMF that force "structural adjustment," dangerous products, dumping of nuclear and other toxic waste, no local management of resources, and global financialization on these countries (using helping women as an alibi) so that we can continue to live our parasitical imperialist and militarized resource-hungry lifestyles? Class is a very complicated issue and these bloggers are not honest brokers if they actually think that what they are doing is tantamount to aligning with the poor in any country. 


A little note. Roubini and Richardson have written an editorial giving Geithner some credit for his plan. See link below. I noticed Krugman's criticism received top billing at the Huffington Post, TPM and received countless sidediaries on Kos (as well as on other sites).  I guess Roubini's analysis does not fit within their narrative/argument and now will barely get a mention. I will be watching the coverage but now find this very curious if not egregious.


Kevin Drum of Mother Jones has also done a great job of mentioning some of the problems nationalization poses and also the administration's handling of the situation. Booman recently started comparing Geithner's plan to nationalization.

These are the type of discussions we should be having, not Geithner's plan just sucks; he needs to be fired; and nationalization is going to be candy canes and rainbows. The bottom line is there are a bunch of horrible decisions that Obama needs to make, and the taxpayers are going to be on the hook either way.


More on what could happen . . .

if all the wheels come off the system. "Populism  and Paranoia" by George Packer from the latest New Yorker:


Party of No

These are the type of discussions we should be having, not Geithner's plan just sucks; he needs to be fired; and nationalization is going to be candy canes and rainbows.

What bothers me is that the criticism of the White House's plans from self-identified leftists at this point seems to consist entirely of attacks on Tim Geithner and "The Geithner Plan", but light on (or entirely devoid of) pushing of any particular alternate plan or strategy for how to get that plan enacted. It is as if the point here is not any particular policy goal, but just political maneuvering among factions of the Democratic party targeting a particular couple of people (Summers and Geithner) who were designated enemies last October.

For example in the last 48 hours we have seen the White House make moves toward being given the statutory authority to nationalize or take into receivership institutions like AIG. As far as I understand this is specifically the alternative the faction attacking the "Geithner Plan" from the left would like to see explored in a widespread fashion. But this faction has shown little or no interest in this development; looking on the relevant blogs I see either no discussion of this development (as far as I can tell, Krugman has not even mentioned it) or discussion drowned out entirely by how the Geithner plan must be stopped, is designed to fail, will pick our pockets etc. One blogger I have a lot of respect for in other contexts mentioned the plan briefly when it was announced only for purposes of dismissing it as "kabuki" and stating a belief the White House doesn't really mean it.

In the meantime, Congress is reacting with noteworthy skepticism to the emergency receivership idea. They seem to be wavering. It seems like, if the people who claim to be in favor of receivership plans were actually interested in doing so, they actually have a large potential to help Congress make up their mind one way or another on this. (Certainly a widespread network of grassroots organizers can much more easily influence accountable Congresspeople to accept a plan, than they can get appointed members of the executive to reject a plan they personally thought up and already have authority to enact.) But there does not seem to be any interest in this. The proposed receivership powers are treated like a triviality, an abstraction, something Congress is doing but which there is no need to convince the public to become personally invested in. They are not interested in promoting alternate plans, only obstructing hated ones.


I well remember friends who thought it would be good if Reagan won in 1980 because it would heighten the contradictions and lead to a true, progressive movement.  By 2000, I had zero tolerance for that sort of view and had vociferous arguments with people who said things like Al Gore was no different from Bush and it was no real progress to get all children health care coverage (as Gore proposed) because it wasn't getting everyone health care.

So what happened? The world got screwed by Reagan and W. and no one got more screwed than the poor.

The left blogosphere combines this kind of ideological purity without regard to consequences with a lack of political awareness of how their purity (often revealed in tantrums) undermines any movement toward better policies and better lives for people. In part they do this because they can -- their positions are relatively safe and secure.

The Paradox of Poutrage

You could see the Geithner Killed My Pony campaign falling to pieces throughout the day yesterday when it became clear to the poutraged that a). Geithner would not in fact be leaving (surprise), and b). that the Geithner plan was getting some positive media traction and that there might actually be more than one way to skin Paul Krugman's cat.

The problem, though, with the Public Tantrums of the Perpertually Aggrieved is that their myopia often has unintended consequences. By loudly and obsessively ranting about spending (in this case about executive bonuses and bank bailouts) they inadvertently called into question any kind of spending - including the spending in Obama's very progressive budget. Now we find ourselves in a very hostile anti-spending environment with healthcare, energy, and education funding at risk. Democrats in the House and Senate are already hacking away at Obama's budget and the media is already spinning anti-bailout spending as anti-spending in general. Of course the Usual Suspects won't bother connecting these dots (Sirota, Hamsher, Powell, Digby, Atrios, etc.) since most of their time is spent in the pursuit of being seen as smart by other folks just like them (quite an achievement, that). Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald celebrates this stupidity as though it's all just a healthy debate in our Great Big Civics Class for Smug and Affluent White Progressives.

This is the stuff that frustrates, and why the work Al is doing Al is so important - and useful on a practical level. To Edgewater Joe - these kinds of posts cannot come often enough. We need to be reminded of counter-productive tactics every single day. Not once did I read any one of these outraged folks asking themselves, what effect will my harping on A (bank bailouts and Geithner) have on the larger objectives of B (progressive initiatives like healthcare, energy, education, etc.)? I found the short-sightedness remarkable. It was just all outrage, all the time. DK was like freaking Burning Man for the outraged.

I only hope that before the next Poutragefest some consideration will be given to long term consequences and that organizing for progressive change requires consensus-building and, sometimes, short-term sacrifice.

White Kids

Al,  as I commented on Digby's site recently, I'm with you and (apparently) a minority on the progressive side of the blogosphere in regards to Obama's economic team, and specifically on "The Geithner Plan" and the (mostly) absurd "outrage" over the AIG bonuses.


I mean, I dearly love Atrios, and Josh Marshall, and DailyKos, and Digby, and Calculated Risk, and many others beside (along with your own bad self, of course).  They (and you) have all been essential components in helping me through the Dark Ages of Bush, and giving me a sense of sanity in the red sea of backwards conservatarianism where I live and work (McCain Central; i.e., Snobsdale, AZ).


I get Big Shitpile -- no better term has been coined, and Atrios (and others, no one more so than Roubini, Dr. Doom Himself) were warning about that long ago. For that I am eternally grateful, and on a personal note they allowed me the knowledge and understanding to get the hell out of the market with my 401(k) and personal investments just in time to avoid the 2008 losses, back when the Jim Cramers of the world were still selling their derivative-based snake oil, all while the real estate bubble was bursting.

But what I also get is there is just no way we (collectively, and for many, if not most, individually) work our way out of this without paying pretty dearly, and the oligarchs have it rigged so that they benefit no matter what.  Essentially, we're paying them the ransom to get the kid back safely, and they're mostly going to get away with it.  Just one more example about how life ain't fair.  In my fantasy we'd instead line all the financial system assholes against the wall, tear down their mansions, and sow their land with salt.  But I realize that's just what it is, a fantasy.


The way I see it, we (especially the "progressives") have to give Obama and his economic team the time to succeed. This isn't conservative-style "blind faith", but based on my understanding that what is being done is simply the least worst option.  Either it will work or it won't, and if it doesn't, we try something else.  Obama's in it for the long haul, and if anyone at the top can pull it off, I believe he can.  I've always enjoyed reading Greenwald, but if he thinks that constitutes "cult-like liberal veneration for Obama" then he can stuff it.


I mean, what's the alternative?  Hoping that things get worse so we can have a revolution?  In the U.S.?  That's as idiotic as the Republican's ridiculous Hooverite ideas about "freezing government spending" in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.  Either way, real jack-booted fascism here in these United States is a much more likely result than any progressive peace and prosperity.


So, I'm with you on this, man, and not with my friends like Digby and Atrios.


Still, that being said, I have to take a bit of exception to your educated white-guy bashing, primarily cuz I is one, I suppose.  And a relatively affluent one, to boot.  I just differ with many of my colleagues in white privileged wealthdom in realizing I didn't get here on my own, and don't think "I've got mine, Jack, keep your hands offa my stack" or "Devil take the hindmost" are particularly helpful philosophies, either ethically or practically.  I also believe democratic socialism is better than raw capitalism.


But I also realize that my values stem primarily from the European Enlightenment, and that there is much in the Third World -- culturally, ideologically -- that has a lot more in common with the conservatroids around here than with anything liberal or progressive. 


Not everything, of course, but as a personal example, my son is currently dating a Peruvian immigrant (very sweet girl -- we all love her) and her family is patriarchal to the core, and the men all macho as can be.  For instance, they're blown away that my son helps with kitchen duties like clean up, instead of heading for the sofa after being served dinner by the womenfolk.  They are equally puzzled by the 50/50 partnership I have with my wonderful, beautiful, and hardworking wife of 31 years.


Makes my (and my wife's) upbringing in white, working class, Catholic, inner-city Cleveland seem like the very image of a feminist paradise by comparison.


Really, some of us white, college-educated, affluent people can do good instead of evil, you know.  Just sayin'.


Nationalization and the Supreme Court

Commenting on Edgewater Joe and others:  One important factor in the debate I have gathered in recent days is that the government doesn't think it has the legal authority to place the likes of AIG and CitiGroup in receivership.  These are "non bank financial institutions."  The partial repeal of Glass-Stegal Act in the late '90s allowed regular banks to buy up brokerage houses, etc.  FDIC and Treasury can seize bank holding companies (e.g., CitiBank), but not the non banks (e.g., CitiGroup).  Just imagine what would happen if the government seized CitiGroup, zeroed out the stockholders, and then the whole thing went to the Supreme Court on constitutional grounds.  If the Republican-dominated SC ruled against nationalization all hell would break loose and we'd be back to square one, or worse.

If you read Roubini's op-ed in the NY Daily News and the piece in the NYTimes about it today, you'll see this is what he is saying.  Roubini is much more careful in his words than Krugman, perhaps because he also has a consulting business on the side.  He sees the potential total collapse of the financial system as resulting in a deep "L shaped" global depression, which is to say we go down and stay down for a long time (as opposed to short "V" shaped, or moderate "U" shaped recessions).  Therefore he is strategically supporting this move as a positive first step, which he believes will ultimately lead to nationalization because the process will demonstrate that certain big banks are insovent.  Meanwhile,  Geithner and Bernanke are in front of Congress asking for this new authority to take over nonbank financial institutions.  The Treasury plan buys time for this process.

Obama, among other things, is a constitutional law professor.  I imagine the topic of the contitutionality of federal seizure has come up.  See Youngstown Sheet and Tube v. Sawyer (1952):  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youngstown_Sheet_%26_Tube_Co._v._Sawyer

@ Toby

Also, what about these huge banks that have subsidiaries in other countries? Do those countries have to nationalize their parts and we nationalize ours? Or if we are only able to nationalize the U.S. parts, what happens to the rest? There are so many practical questions about this that nationalization proponents just wave away. Talk about magical thinking!

Victory Lap?

Edgewater Joe writes: "But your victory lap over the bloggers over Geithner's head is, I venture to say, premature." Criticism of so-called progressive bloggers who want some unspecified revolution, the trigger of which might very well be the paralysis of Treasury and a significant delay in marshaling of any solutions to the present crisis, is NOT about winning a pissing contest but about pushing back against political naivete or outright political stupidity. It is also, most definitely, not an economic debate. That you would even use the notion of a "victory lap" suggests that for you--like the enthusiasts you are defending--it is personal. But then, that is precisely the critique made by Al's post above as well as Siddhartha's post on the previous thread. This is also not about your critics' absolute faith in Geithner or the Obama plan he is presenting. As Obama has said repeatedly, if something doesn't work, it will be changed. The problem is that keyboard revolutionaries want a single and immediate grand-unified plan fixed in time because apparently they need ossified behemoths to tilt against. A pragmatism (such as Obama's, the evidence suggests) that is genuinely committed to the amelioration of real suffering on this planet will necessitate a variety of solutions nimbly shifting across time to address the mutating crises before us that both cause suffering and promise to significantly worsen suffering if not addressed. The blogger enthusiasts who are not economists but rather political pundits and who are the subject of the last few days of criticism here and elsewhere have progressively lost my trust since the primary because for them (the OpenLeft/FDL/Greenwald axis) analysis and argument has too often smacked of personal affirmation (or even reification) as opposed to honest engagement with the messy issues of the day.

I wonder, for example, if they have seriously thought about race through the lens of their own racial privilege. I saw no evidence of their being honest brokers in the discussions about race a year ago; I agree with Siddhartha's assessment of their "race loyalty" having trumped nearly all other forms of possible identification. Their apparent lack of the capacity for empathy, signified by their defensive focus on personal grievance, makes me distrust the sincerity of nearly all of their outbursts

World War I poet, Siegfried Sassoon, in his protest against the war, wrote on July 15, 1917: "On behalf of those who are suffering now I make this protest against the deception which is being practiced on them; also I believe that I may help to destroy the callous complacence with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share, and which they have not sufficient imagination to realize." Despite this blistering indictment of those civilians who found empathy--standing in another's shoes, at least imaginatively--distasteful or impossible, and who were benefiting from others doing their fighting, Sassoon returned to the front voluntarily to lead and comfort his men. He did not grandstand on the radical-ness of his truly treasonous protest against both the war and his society. The lesson in our context: the comfort of social or political absolutes (the logic of "Off With Geithner's Head!") is a luxury few have and some--like Sassoon--reject precisely because such absolutes enable genuinely "callous complacence" of others' actual or potential agonies.

Obviously, I am not an economist, but I have been fascinated by the variety of commentators on Obama's plan for the financial markets who have suggested that central to the current plan's design is an aversion of risk such that, if there was a small but real chance of catastrophic financial collapse in the more radical approaches such as large-scale nationalization, a more incremental (if potentially more expensive approach) that lessened the chance of such catastrophic failure would be Obama's first option. Similarly, confronting the problems from many different angles of approach instead of with a single grand-unified plan (large-scale nationalization?) also appears to fit this aversion to some forms of risk. At this moment in history, I am comforted by a President who is attempting to find real solutions with a minimum of risk of catastrophe. Maybe the current solutions don't work. Then small-scale nationalization is on the table per Krugman, et. al. In the meantime, Obama appears to be plotting this concern over unlikely but extreme outcomes on a timeframe that will allow for various changes to the plan across time.

This is totally OT but this,

This is totally OT but this, um, 'journalist' for Prospect Magazine  in the UK has just published the most increadibly vapid evil little artilce about Obama. Are the wingnuts taken over the UK press or what? Please read it and make sure you comment on the blog. Best part--He thinks Hillary now has a chance!



@DFH #6

I do not even know where to begin with the problems in your comment. Have you forgotten that the European Enlightenment is what justified slavery, genocide, and colonialism? And that its current inheritors are precisely the "progressives" that claim "solidarity" with the poor but have no inkling of how imperialism has reconstituted itself as globalization/transnational capitalism? Your very claim to have to those values is a claim to racial and cultural difference, which you then reinforce by constituting patriarchy as a "third" world cultural value. Really?

And, if you are so enlightened, where is this concern for women when it comes to the poorest women in the world on whose backs we live our lifestyles and whose CHILDREN we use as "cheap" labor? What about the feminization of poverty in this country? 

You are trying to have it both ways. You use your western, enlightened entitlement to conflate markedly different, complex, and historical cultures with "conservatives" in the US. Yet, you also claim that they are culturally different from western enlightenment values. This trying-to- have-it-both-ways move you make is a DEMONSTRATION of white male privilege. And, pitting Peruvian women against Peruvian men in terms of "patriarchy" is a CLASSIC colonial strategy, which dissimulates the fact that Enlightenment norms are also patriarchal. They are just presumed to be the "right" kind of patriarchy, which functions as if it were reasonable humanity. This divisive move, in turn, leads to more regressive patriarchy within colonized spaces AS IF it were anti-colonialism. This is what happened in the primaries as well when privileged white women castigated black women for "choosing" race over "gender" when these white women have not been able to get it for CENTURIES now that race and gender cannot be separated. They've been holding up feminism for decades because of their race loyalty and those chickens came home to roost in Clinton's shameful campaign. Perhaps you could read some "third" world and African-American women. This writing is readily available.

By the way, Enlightenment philosophers were some of the most racist, sexist, imperialistic, and misogynistic people around. Perhaps you could study what Hegel had to say about Africa, or what Kant (the father of the Enlightenment) had to say about women. Even Marx supported colonialism and was pretty daft when it came to women (although one wouldn't call him an Enlightenment philosopher).

And, also, the Enlightenment belongs to ALL of us. 

@ DFH #6

DFH #6 - In case you read quickly and missed the part where I declared the obvious (to me) that not all white college educated folks are misguided (and that many are quite wonderful), here's the paragraph, again:

"I certainly don't intend to return the volley of class prejudice by lumping all college-educated whites earning $75,000 a year into that anger-as-fashion-statement camp. A few angry apples don't spoil the whole bunch, no!"

Hope that's clear to all.

Ruthless idealism

Al -  you said this:

"But my yearning for a better economic system than capitalism does not extend to favoring economic collapse and depression - which fall harder on the poor and the workers, always - as some people seem to wish (they sometimes even admit their belief that, "if we make things worse, the people will rise up")".


Absolutely, absolutely, yes, yes, yes.

The role of responsible, sensitive government cannot be to ignore consequence for all the people, of course, but for those who are the weakest, most fragile we have to keep a special eye for - special heart for.  Life is not theory.  It can be real pain, need and despair.  We are nothing if we cannot mitigate the worst outcomes of our many times self made disasters - economic or otherwise, to take care of those who need it -- those who could be any of us at any time. 


Why don't people see it?  Just 3 years ago we saw the meaning of absence of government in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast after Katrina.  Those images are seared into my heart and mind and I am so surprised -- apalled even that the impact and meaning of that disaster could be so quickly lost on so much of our brothers and sisters on the left.  I am not at all surprised by the right who are just socially, spiritually and civicly impaired -- but many of the bloggers who make rabid recommendations to have the administration jump off a cliff to ignite some sort of revolution to economic righteousness -- are they forgetting what that looked like - that sort of abandonment?  The palpable pain of hungry and suffering people begging on television for help from their fellow American citizens?  That they could even think of that as even a remote possibility -- and yet press forward saddens me to no end...

We are truly so fortunate to have this leadership right now...we have a chance to survive this with new civic awareness and reinvigorated strength and committment to duty to each other again!

I so respect your insight not only about the politics but  the needs of our people that transcend the ruthlessness of any kind of ideology or ambition that would place their needs so low.


Emerging Poutrage Meme

"Obama does not represent real change".  $3.6 trillion budget and stimulative package of unprecedented size notwithstanding.

Because he is not going along with our bank nationalization proposals.


dont get me started!

Thanks Al, you rock, of course for reasons other than linking to me. Been following you for a while, from Narco News of course. And yeah. I've had my blowups with the BigLib blogs, jeje. Don't EVEN get me started on that scene. It's a story I plan to underline, tho, in a documentary I'm still working on shot at YearlyKos 07, when I was granted a place as one of the Chicago 17, which was an effort to "diversify" the mostly-white progressive blogworld. Interesting tale that. Keep on, bro!

What I want to know is how

What I want to know is how to turn my college education into $75,000 a year.  I graduated 14-15 years ago and the best I ever did was maybe $26,000 one year, and it took 3 jobs to do it.



Here's a familiar trick.  I'll say anything (with caution) to get you to agree with me.  Once you're agreeing with me I can start telling you what to do.

Who wants to own my rage? And now what is it I'm reading from the big papers? What is this stuff about the Carlyle Group  being a "too big to fail" institution  mentioned in the NYTimes piece on G? Are we bailing out the military industrial complex too?

Who's "we" the taxpayer anyway? Aren't these mutlinational companies ...multi-national? Arent the investors living it up wherever they want ?

Dear Al, I've been visiting recently

and I've found your resistance to faux outrage and the off-with-their-heads chants mighty reassuring.  I am off to read some of the folks you read.  Thanks and I'll be seeing you more often.

DFH #6

No, I didn't miss that part.  And even if you hadn't included that disclaimer I would have assumed from reading many of your blog posts that you do not, in fact, believe that all (or even most) white college educated folks are misguided.  Quite the contrary.
That's why I spent the bulk of my comment telling you how much I appreciate and (on the particular topic at hand -- the left blogosphere's unhelpful jumping all over Obama on his economic team and plans) agree with you.
I find myself more in solidarity with you than with many of my long-time "friends" like Duncan Black and Glenn Greenwald (not meant as flattery, just a statement of fact).
The minor note of my comment ("hey, leave us white college educated folks ALONE!) was introduced by saying I "take a bit of exception".  Emphasis on "a bit".  Use of the term "bashing" was meant as hyperbole (like my parenthetical phrase in the first sentence of this here paragraph).  I don't really think you were bashing, you just focused much of your critique of left blogistan in this particular post on the whiteness and affluence of their being.
And, hell, let's just say you have a good point there ("the unbearable whiteness of blogging" -- chuckle) and go on.
I suppose I was more talking to those like siddhartha, who seem to think people like me (white, educated, affluent, and -- perhaps worst of all -- male) are clueless and careless about history and the state of the world, and are just as much an enemy as Rush Limbaugh.  No, dearie, I'm on YOUR SIDE.  Really.
And siddhartha?  You say you "do not even know where to begin" with the problems in my comment. Let me say the same about yours, only doubly so.  What a mess!
Far too long to take it all on, but maybe a few salient points:
The European Enlightenment is what justified slavery, genocide, and colonialism?  Umm... no, not hardly.  The enduring values of the Enlightenment (universal human rights, justice, equality, plurality, rational inquiry using empirical data, etc.) employed in a long (and unfinished) struggle are the antithesis of such things.
That the white conquering hordes committed those atrocities has nothing to do with The Enlightenment (with the very large exception of the huge technological advantage engendered by scientific advances) and everything to do with them being white conquering hordes (Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" is and excellent primer on how and why this was).
Patriarchy?  Patriarchy holds sway everywhere.  I look forward to the day that is no longer the case, but I'm afraid I will have long turned to dust before then.  I don't believe there is any "right" kind of patriarchy, just somewhat less damaging kinds (like those extant in my neck of the woods).  In the meantime, yes, patriarchy is absolutely a key cultural value all through the Third World.  In fact, places as diverse as Peru and Indonesia (where I have traveled) are much more patriarchal than where I live.  The West is the main place where even small cracks in that edifice have occurred, primarily through the agency of women's education and feminism.  I've tried to do my infinitesimal bit by the way I've raised both my daughter and my son, how I've partnered with my wife, and how I live my life in my community and at work.  Imperfectly done, of course.
I don't consider myself "so enlightened", just a bit enlightened, I hope, and that mostly due to the privilege of my personal situation and the actions and thoughts of the millions who went before me, on whose shoulders I am fortunate to stand.  And I don't owe you any explanation or enumeration about my "concern" about anything, and you are incredibly presumptuous to say such a thing, let alone put it to writing in a public forum.
I stand by my statement that there is much in the Third World that more closely resembles what in the West is categorized as "conservative" (especially modern movement conservatism in these United States) than anything "liberal" or "progressive".  How in blazes could it be otherwise with the poor state of education, and that no more so than among women?  There can be no honest argument about that.  I look out my (figurative) window and see Third World societies, different from each other, yes, and complex, that are nonetheless deeply conservative, as I understand conservatism.  I believe that is the primary reason for their plight (not the only reason -- insert slavery, genocide, colonialism, and modern globalization here).
On a final note, and I don't mean to be pedantic, but Hegel was not an Enlightenment philospher.  And yes, I know the ridiculous take he had on black Africans, that they had no history, no important interaction with the rest of the world, that they were so primitive that they were essentially not like the rest of us, and only the inroads made by Islam "civilized" them to any extent.  Awfully wrongheaded, I'd say.  I also wouldn't postulate Kant as the "father" of the Enlightenment (I don't know that anyone could be given that patriarchal title, though if I had to pick one I'd say Spinoza).  As for Enlightenment philosophers being "some of the most racist, sexist, imperialistic, and misogynist people around", well, you're certainly entitled to your opinion about that but, seriously.  I think the words of the late, great John Lennon pertain here, "if you go carryin' pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow".  I see your comments as figuratively displaying a number of different pictures of Chairman Mao, as it were. 
And yes, the Enlightenment does belong to all of us.  That's kinda the point. 

Of Course,

if the poutrage faction succeeds in derailing the Geithner toxic assets plan or succeeds in bringing down a big bank or two thru "nationalization", they are going to have to put that $250 billion back in the budget, and a whole lot more.

To siddharta


Siddharta, I find your rage against the age of enlightenment rather short-sighted. Wikipedia has the following to say:

The intellectual and philosophical developments of that age (and their impact in moral, social, and political reform) aspired toward more freedom for common people based on self-governance, natural rights, natural law, central emphasis on liberty, individual rights, reason, common sense, and the principles of deism. These principles were a revolutionary departure from theocracy, oligarchy, aristocracy, and the divine right of kings.

Nothing in there, which supports racism, imperialism or patriarchy. That some founders of enlightenment have been racist or misogynist is irrelevant to the pertinent truth that their ideas were the starting point to get rid of racism and misogyny.

And do not forget that white affluent males do not hold the monopoly for racism, slavery, misogyny and colonialism. For example, arabs have been rather effective on all counts in the last millenium, in fact many instances of racism can be found in the nonwestern world. And peruvian machoism is not better than white machoism, just because nonwhites are doing it. That we have mainly heard about white racists and slaveholders in the last two centuries is caused by superior weaponry of whites, not by superior wickedness.


the unbearable defensiveness of whiteness

When I first read the discussion here, I thought to myself "How refreshing that there haven't been any upset white people freaking out about Al making the role of whiteness visible! This would never happen on dkos!"

Then today I come back and am scrolling up from the bottom and read this comment from DFH #6 and I am not even going to scroll up to see the initial exchange.

I think it is like a cultural rule or something in this society: in any public discussion where whiteness is made visible, the probability that a white person will come along and attempt to energetically defend his/her "goodness" is ... let's just say really really high, in my observation.

It's like: make sure to protect the sense of goodness or there is this deluge of defense. Annoying, predictable, boring all at once.

Well, at least the post itself is pretty good and most of the discussion that I have seen is pretty good too.


Chairman Mao?

I do not think you got Siddhartha's critique of your post at all.  I am sure Siddhartha will respond to your perception of the western philosophical canon, but "just between us white guys" (you know the racket, dude) the point of many of the comments in this thread has been to push back against a certain historical and political naivete: that (virtually) tattooing a "P" to your forehead does not mean you are "progressive"--or "good"--though it may feel good to have folks see you as Progressive or Liberal or Whatever. To somehow view the great cultural achievements of the west's Enlightenment--namely race-based slavery, colonization, imperialism, and genocide, not to mention an Earth-breaking ideology of consumption predicated on industrialization--as somehow accidents and not culminating or resultant features of the ideology of exceptionalism that is at the core of Enlightenment and subsequent western thought, is to radically simplify the history of the west these last 400 years. To go about speaking of the "third world" as if it were some wholly other place (an actual place at that!) that is not in a perpetually intimate relationship with western Power is a rejection of the historical fact that you cannot dissociate "them" from "us." To try to do so is merely a reiteration of European-American exceptionalism. And to suggest that somehow Siddhartha was eliding the many ways in which the so-called "third world" merits strenuous critique for specific laws, policies, movements, and attitudes is to depend upon an archaic black and white, us/them representation of the world. Indeed, if you truly are on Siddhartha's side, then as a self-identified privileged white guy I trust that you surely do the daily gut-check work of setting aside the pretense of liberal (or Enlightenment) smugness to truly engage the imaginative work that (as I noted above) someone like Sassoon (another privileged white guy) demanded--that is, to try (always failingly) to see yourself in another's skin. This is neither Maoist nor politically correct; it is called being alive to the facts of historical and cultural interconnectedness--an interconnectedness that is, nonetheless, always hierarchical and governed by Power.

Furthermore, I would also challenge your notion of "conservative" in relation to the "third world." (Surely you forget that South Africa, for instance, is one of 5 countries in the world that have inscribed into their constitution the legal standing of same-sex unions. Such a tit-for-tat game of "progressive" or "conservative" examples underscores my point that your broad-brush claim about the "third world" is precisely the problem.) If you are talking about fundamentalisms--be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu--you will have a very hard time segregating western liberal democracies' fundamentalisms (might we include the "free market fundamentalism" that has created the current economic crisis as a 5th great and global religion?) from the "rest of the world." From one privileged white guy to another, your generic use of "conservative" for rural poor? urban poor? global south? is a tad sweeping, don't you think?

@ Various commenters - Play nice!

Hey gang - Let's keep this comments section as the gold standard in the blogosphere, and that means ratcheting down the tone just a wee bit in the disagreements or different vistas reflected here. Let's make sure we don't fall into the usual traps on all sides of the wide gaps in perceptions of race and racism. Social conditioning isn't ended in a day.

Okay? Thank you very much for considering the feelings of those you disagree with.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming!

Thanks Al

This discussion was starting to remind me of late-night dorm conversations in college, and not in a good way.

to Al and siddartha and other folks

I definitely haven't thought out every scenario ahead (for economic collapse) but it seems like pumping money into the banks has brought very little of that money to the real economy for people. That's why I'm very skeptical of the Geithner plan (and similar attempts to throw anything the banks want at them, if it came from the [hypothetical] McCain administration would you criticize it?). I don't want to see the economy collapse either, but so much as our government keeps throwing money at banks and we keep falling into recession, that doesn't appear to be the answer either.

I'd rather see such massive amounts of money be used to help failing schools, provide healthcare and make green jobs (and thankfully Obama is at least giving a little to these things, but nothing compared to what banks get). Maybe that's unrealistic, but wouldn't that be better than throwing money into toxic assets? I guess I'm asking why should I support more of the same (bailouts) when I see little effect in the real economy where I live?


@sophie--"starting point?"

While I hope that I am keeping within the bounds that Al reminds us of,  I wanted to offer a little different perspective of where the "starting point to get rid of racism and misogyny" may lie.  Perhaps the resistance of the victims over centuries of struggles against oppression were as important as Enlightenment ideas.  Perhaps.

Mikell Hagood

@Eric B

Hi Eric B, Thank you for your comment/response. Yours is a very fair question about a very specific aspect of the crisis. To be honest, I do not have enough of a background re: this issue of toxic assets. My concern has primarily been around "white poutrage" and the immediate self-consolidation it ostensibly allows without regard for strategy, larger goals and vision of complexity, as well as presumptions of universality (of values, of economic effects and systems, of experience of the crisis, presupposed rather than fought for or worked for "solidarity" with the poor, etc.). Thus, even if the concern with toxic assets is critical, the manner in which the criticism is leveled undermines any mandate that may allow this to be fixed, especially given how entrenched corporate interests are and how both Republicans and Democrats are bought and paid for in DC. The "poutrage" gives ammunition to the likes of Limbaugh and consolidates white supremacy in addition to classism, ethnocentrism, etc; it is not democratic dissidence. I am thankful for your comments and understanding of the issue of toxic assets and for sharing them here. As for McCain, if he had won (the horror, the horror), I must admit that a part of me would have fallen into full-fledged cognitive dissonance, which is how I partly survived Bush. But, to be honest, the irony is that "liberals' and "progressives" of the sort being discussed here have not yet caught up with the historical moment at hand, in every sense, not just the "first" of a black presidency. Republicans will do what they have always done. It is we who must seize this moment and adapt and change, especially now that we HAVE won and have history on our side. Al calls this the beautiful loser syndrome and he has also demonstrated how the danger lies in not recognizing how easy it is to become mirror images of that which we fight against because we do not recognize complicity and relation. In other words, rather than presuming ideological purity because one always opposed Bush, the more important and honest process would have been to do a gut check (especially now that Bush is gone) to figure out what we ALL did to make the Bush presidency and reign possible as well as the wretchedness of American foreign and economic policies. These lend the lie to any claim to ideological purity, whether one shops at Walmart or at Starbuck's (I use this because this is how Nate once described the method of his amazing electoral predictions: he used the Walmart to Starbuck's ratio, which is interesting because economically and foreign policy-wise--sheer exploitation--they are the same. I mean Ethiopian farmers are not allowed subsidies while our farmers receive billions in tax-payer money. The artificial over-production of agribusiness is dumped on Africa's shores as "aid" while policies ensure that Africa cannot become self-sustaining and is deliberately "underdeveloped." Africa is allowed 1% of world trade. If it were even allowed 2% it would produce 5 times more than what is dumped as "aid."). I hope this clarifies where I am coming from. 

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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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