Progressive Disappointment Syndrome

What is at the heart of the great disappointment Liberals are having with President Obama? I wonder if it is inherent in any of the three progressive “change elections” I have experienced in my lifetime. Do we really believe that just because the Presidency passes from a conservative Republican to a progressive Democrat that anything really essential to the established power structure of America is going to change? My first experience of Progressive Disappointment Syndrome (PDS) was when I was too young to even vote in 1960. Somehow a teacher of mine convinced me that Kennedy would really listen to Eisenhower’s warnings about the unwarranted power of the Military Industrial Complex and move us towards a more peaceful stand with the rest of the world. But all you have to do is look at this picture of the first meeting after the election where Ike and JFK met.

There lurking behind the Presidents were the Joint Chiefs, as if to say, “don’t worry, nothing is going to change”.

And then there was Bill Clinton, heading out for his first trip on Air Force One, and for the Wall Street establishment, Bob Rubin is right by his side as if to say “don’t worry, nothing will change”

And then we come to President Obama, elected in the middle of the biggest financial disaster of the last 70 years, caused by Bob Rubin and his buddies. And who does Obama show up with on the White House front steps? You got it. Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, Bob Rubin’s acolytes, saying to the barons of finance, “Don’t worry, nothing will change.”

I really feel like Obama has to prove in the next week that he is not a prisoner of the establishment. He has to show that he can break with the twin powers of the Military-Industrial Complex and the Financial-Congressional Complex that have bankrupted our country, compromised our democracy and condemned us to years of stagnation and drift. It’s obvious the Republicans have no solutions to our current crisis. There are solutions out there. Whether Obama get’s his balls back on Thursday seems to be the only question.

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37 Responses to Progressive Disappointment Syndrome

  1. Anonymous says:

    Jon, this assumes that Obama believes in a more progressive agenda but for reasons of re-election, some endogenous need to be seen as reasonable, he has not advanced those beliefs. It may also be that he believes completely in the positions he has been holding.

  2. len says:

    Do we really believe that just because the Presidency passes from a conservative Republican to a progressive Democrat that anything really essential to the established power structure of America is going to change?

    Well Jon, to be completely frank: yeah, that’s pretty much what you said you believed 2008 and believed it enough to challenge doubt as racism.

    And if that bites, well, yeah. It does.

    I don’t have to be convinced of the limits of power or have failed to understand the fragility of Obama’s coalitions. Time for a New Deal. Hope, change, yadda. Deal.

    The bet you made in 2008 was two terms. The difference for those of us for whom the culture war is personal is we want to see him make promises he can keep, but more than that, we don’t want to turn it over from mild incompetence to weirdly wascally.

  3. BERNARD. says:

    As an outsider I think that since he took office nothing has changed. The problem now is that his failure will help the conservative

  4. len says:

    Want to start a real revolution? Convince the government that the XSL-FOs by which they print from XML should be open source. Gets protected like Obama’s private cell number, but has no security information in it. It’s just a format for a complex data set and tells you nothing about the data.

    It does almost perfectly guarantee that a contract for material produced with it is exactly what is contracted as far a formatted document is concerned. And when done in the right order, decreases the cost of the production while increasing the reliability of the content. It’s a win win for everyone if all the best of any company can work on the shared resource.

    Then … there is Apple. Apple is successful precisely because of the walls it erects to sharing information. If you need a hobby project for the lab that will actually help us out here, tell us what kind of information has to be protected to ensure innovation vs the kinds of information that have to be shared to ensure compatibility

    … not only with other devices, but with the social cultures that it drives/affects. This moves the dominant attactor from profit to social innovation.

    Not being able to tell secrets from commonly used lore is expensive to innovation. Some IP is inversely rewarded.

    “Many eyes make all bugs shallow.”
    “Loose lips sink ships.”

    These are both plausible points of view. I don’t think they are incompatible.

    Share incompetence. All work on a project is not about contractors vs the government, IP vs diminished profit. It is about resources all share for projects, common work items, materiel everyone is using to get a job done. In government work, they maintain people to control work that no one needs to control because everyone has to use it and across those organizations, different people are incompetent differently with regards to creating it. Government’s first best job is to ensure it gets created, then to release it into the ecosystems that can consume it profitably. That works. Taxes for greater good by increasing opportunity through shared incompetence.

    Incompetence is the inevitable outcome of systems based on equal access to opportunities. We try to balance it in accordance with social goals and in so doing, we guarantee that some systems are really and truly Peter Principle driven if not by design, by the side effects of designs for goals of higher values.

    There are such things as ‘qualified bidders’.

  5. JTMcPhee says:

    @len — What the Obamites are doing is “mild incompetence?” Then I have to wonder what full-on, intentional DINO Deviltry would look like. Not a world I would care to live in, I betcha, since I have no idea how to “make” money, as opposed to “earning” it — what these folks are doing (or not) is bad enough.

    And of course this mildly incompetent user bets that somewhere in the Cloud is a shadow of the Obama pre-election web site, with all the positions on various “promises” laid out. No idea where to find it, of course, maybe you or someone else knows. I do have some small recollection of the flavor of the text. I and others were hammered, a couple of years ago, for daring to swim against the ebullient tide, at places like Daily Kos, to suggest that there was little to nothing “progressive” in any of that, and that if none of us could hold the obamites feet to the fire, nothing would change.

    My personal fave was the “health insurance reform” (NOT “health CARE reform”) part, speaking as a nurse who spends a large part of every day trying to get necessary treatments and medications for my patients past the gatekeepers of those UNsurance entities whose prime directive is to drive the loss ratio to zero. Nothing about any of the kinds of notions that might actually change the game, just a tepid look at “bending the cost curve downward” by getting “voluntary decency” out of our for-profit drug and hospital and provider lobbies. (Just like the promises to “cut War Department spending,” which if you look close are really, if anything, minor reductions in the RATE OF GROWTH of the Wars of Choice Wealth Dump.) The ACA is largely an unknown, maybe bits are good, but it seems so obvious that single payer is the only way to actually unjump the shark on all the things that are bad about our “world’s best sickness diagnosis and treatment system.” (Worgon, you can just shut up here.)

    It sure does not seem to me that there is any music or light in anything this dysministration has done. Oh, DADT. Big whoop. Gays get to go play Imperial Trooper too, alongside the women who Mss. Steinem and Friedan and others assured us could run things SO much better than men. Killing is one thing humans do too darn well, and glory in it, for Christ’s sake.

    Bernard, salud! Hope you are well and reasonably happy! This cynic thinks maybe the Obama crowd are maybe happy to actively and intentionally plow the earth for the “conservatives” to come on in and salt it.

    Not that “nothing has changed.” The MIC is maybe unstoppably bigger, more people are reduced to poverty of the most grinding kind, I read that the Chinese bankers estimate there’s about $1.4 QUADRILLION in “notional value” of securitized or just derivatized funny-munny transactions (underwritten by the full faith and credit of the American Dumb Money Class) hanging like a fiscal Sword of Damocles out there, privatized prisons are going up everywhere, hope is being changed into despair, and most of these shits think, apparently, that THIS TIME the rabble will not revolt, or at least in the wonderful Wall Street formulation, “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone,” so let’s stick it to them while we can, grab all the wealth, and go to Venezuela or someplace else where gas and haciendas and esclavos de casa and putas and booze and drugs are cheap and there’s socialized medicine and all that…

  6. John Papola says:

    Jon, this is because “progressivism” is an intellectually bankrupt and delusional doctrine. It’s a doctrine where somehow 51% of 40% of a public who progressives believe will not help one another peacefully will somehow elect benevolent, technocrats who will dispassionately do work for the “public good”, as if there can be such a unified thing as the “public good”.

    This is farce made manifest in the real activity of politicians, as you point out. In the real world, the concentration of monopoly power attracts generally bad people who have no qualms about lying their way to the top (or smearing their opponents by releasing divorce papers). In reality, politicians are no different from this unwashed mass of the public who progressives believe won’t take care of one another, only politicians face incentives that make them act even more sociopathic than normal people.

    For all the talk of “fairness” and “equality”, the clear fact of the matter is that there is neither present in “progressivism” in practice. It is an approach based on the inequality of technocrats vs the rest of us. They get all the power. The rest of us are supposed to shut up and take orders.

    Again, you are schizophrenic, Jon. Your very good vision of New Federalism is much more libertarian than “progressive”, yet your team allegiance pulls you right back to the top-down elitist ideology of “progressivism” as soon as the election season starts kicking into high gear. This saddens me. Federalism is a long-hated and repeatedly damaged notion on the progressive left.

    Yes, I’m a radical and a freedom fanatic. Granted. But given that this is a blog about ideas and ideals, I really want to see you challenge yourself. What do you have to lose by fully embracing your New Federalism idea and pushing constantly for local power and local governance.

    Obama is not a victim of anything. He is a corrupt person. Period. When our founders got fed up with their system of governance, they overthrew it or moved out and started something new. We need to carve out ways to recreate that. Let’s take New Federalism seriously. So, how about a movement to found some charter cities where the city pays the fed’s a small fee for national defense services but is otherwise exempt from all federal law? How about pushing for a radical reduction in federal spending and taxation so that your home state can do it’s thing?

    You know, it’s funny. I found your blog because I was looking for a critique from the left of “Liberal Fascism”. I haven’t read that book, but I have read many other works which lay out the ways in which Bizmarck’s nationalist agenda, Mussolini’s pre-murderous “fascist” third way and America’s “progressivism” are all rooted in similar intellectual ooze. I don’t remember your criticism, but I was struck by the “New Federalism” post and stuck around.

    It’s time to recognize that the government as an entity can NEVER be a counterforce to big business and never has been. It’s time to recognize that progressivism was never meant to confine big business anyway, but rather to “partner” with it in the name of advancing nationalism. Progressive corporatism and dirigisme, whether it’s fair to call them “fascism” or not, suck. They’re a corrupt boondoggle enterprise.

    Break out of the box, Jon. Don’t be another screaming partisan this election, railing about god, guns, gays and racism. Innovate. Even if you don’t come all the way to my approach, at least imagine that real libertarians have much more in common with your ideals than you think. It’s time to embrace free-market anti-capitalism, the unknown ideal. Start by reading THIS:

  7. John Papola says:

    PS… what I know of JFK, I mostly like. I think he was a better president than most, which is why they killed him (whoever “they” may be).

  8. V says:

    Interesting article. The comments are even more interesting.

  9. Roman says:

    Jon, really??

    “…Obama has to prove in the next week that he is not a prisoner of the establishment.”

    So what’s in the offing for “next week”? Another canned event hoping to cast Barry in a different light? Doubt it. Not the canned event, the different light.

    Barry is who he is, a mediocre politician. It’s not the “Establishment” Jon, it’s the man. He’s never been up to the task; he came into office with a razor thin resume which he’s repeatedly tripped over.

    Barry’s a company man, not a reformer. He’s proof there’s no political ideology at the apex of the pyramid. Proof? Look no further than the Wall Street-housing crisis. No investigations, indictments or trials following the biggest theft in the history of the world!

    So if he’s refused to take on the “Establishment” for the better part of three years, why make it his new specter du jour? Barry needs to be cast as the protagonist, and needs an antagonist; a Rep target hasn’t coalesced yet, so cue the “Establishment”.

    But there’s a narrow window to get traction with the “Establishment” meme (i.e. “next week”), the NFL season kicks off tomorrow, and the network’s fall season starts Mon Sep 19.

  10. JTMcPhee says:

    How many types of libertarian can dance on the head of a pin?

    I’m sure there are a few more flavors than even the many captured in the link, but there’s not much to fear from libertarians — however sneaky and subtle they might be, they can’t get three of them in a room without a quibble-war starting, and a fight over whose definitions control the outcome of all debate.

    For fairness’ sake, the link does include the take of at least one flavor of libertarian (without agreement of many others, apparently) on what the 24 categories of “authoritarians,” which I guess is the libertarian-think label for The Enemy, looks like.

    In the meantime, people ganging up to pursue the amassing of huge concentrations of dollars that will let them infinitely diddle their personal pleasure centers are busily dismantling, in the name of some Moloch or another, whatever remains of the late great Untied (spelling intentional)States…

  11. woodnsoul says:

    Wanna change the world? Make it “real”?

    Change the regulation back to “mark to market”. The “too big to fail banks” do. The local community banks – or new iterations thereof pick up the slack, almost immediately.

    The average Joe and Josphine hardly notice the blip. The power moguls topple and lose the power to buy the pols and we are off to the races again…

    Power to the people!

  12. woodnsoul says:

    The MIC, without preferential treatment from the banks, loses huge amounts of influence – for a while at least.

    The international scene follows a similar course.

    Not sure what China would do? Not sure that it matters.

    Now I can hit the “Submit” button!!

  13. John Hayden says:

    With the financial crisis in Europe (Italy, Spain, maybe even France); the apparently hopeless economic stagnation in Japan (graying population, inability to recover from the recent earthquake); and democracy on the brink of failure in America, I’m getting a doomsday feeling about the Western, developed world. I don’t know if even FDR, or Churchill, or Moses could lead us out of this wilderness.

    If it’s true that the bigger you are, the harder you fall, the future might be . . . Anarchy or Fascism.

  14. Jon Taplin says:

    It’s so cool to see so much of the old gang back arguing together with just as much passion. To JTM , I agree that health insurance reform got corrupted. And to John Papola, if there was a true Liberalitarian Party, I might sign up. But as far as I see we are going to be left with Rick Perry or Barack Obama. I’m more comfortable with Obama, by far.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Obama could resurface if only he makes good all the promeses he made during the campaign of a “change you can believe in”.
    Things are progressive like time is, then it becomes a disappointment and a syndrom that transforms into a somatization… with the results we all know. It is time for the wrongs to be corrected or face the judgment of history. In difficult time false flags dont work.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The death of the old and the birth of the new and we are in the Interregnum, right Jonathan,
    hey its good to be back on board.

  17. bernard says:

    JTM I am happy within reason waiting for fair winds. Lots of rain in here. Un abrazo.

  18. bernard says:

    Here in South America we have no idea who is Rick Perry nor madam Bachman or Palin here we remember Bush and are waiting for Obama. I think it resumes de general feeling of the South regarding the Progressive Disappointment Syndrome.

  19. John Papola says:

    Jon, here is my proposition though. You individual vote is of no statistical consequence. But your VOICE is. You can have an impact with your voice. I see the impact we’ve had with our rap videos and it dwarfs every vote I’ve ever and will ever cast.

    So what do you want the power of your voice to do? I want mine to push for people to think more deeply about fundamental issues. Yes, I want them to move towards a libertarian worldview. No I don’t expect that to mean Ron Paul will win the election (though it’s not nearly as impossible as many think).

    But the aggregate impact of ideas DOES matter. There was a time when Grover Cleveland was the democratic president and was as libertarian as I can imagine any president being. But he did. It’s not impossible to have a libertarian democrat or republican in the future. Or, more importantly, to have decentralism, the idea you really have a chance of making waves by promoting.

    So dig deeper. Heed the advice of Eleanor Roosevelt:

    “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

    Be GREAT, Jon.

  20. V says:

    “Be great, Jon.”

    Why do you talk down to Jon? I seriously don’t understand. What kind of mind game is this? What do you hope to get out of this exchange, John?

  21. John Papola says:


    I like Jon a great deal. We’re enjoyed a number of meals together. I see Jon pulled in two directions in his writing. One is towards big ideas like New Federalism. This is where his day job is. This is Jon the entrepreneur. It’s great. He’s great. But then there is this pull towards reactionary partisanship. I do get it. He’s been in the game for a long time and has deep rooted allegiance and cultural simpatico with the progressive democrats. I don’t find this appealing. I don’t think he’s being his best when he’s mud slings about Perry vs. Obama and writes things like “bring it on”.

    It’s not talking down to Jon. I’m in no position to do so. I’m actually coming from a place of admiration and respect. All that said, there’s fun to be had in playing the debate game and getting all armed for rhetorical battle. No question. And hell, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the world turns on these political winds. But don’t think so. I think the world turns on ideas. Jon has many. I like hearing about that more.

  22. rhbee says:

    We We-Uns will never get past the belief that chanting we’re Number One, we’re Number One, we’re Number One actually means that we are and that that means anything anyway. I firmly believe that Progressive idealists and Libertarian idealiads should rtecognize what Obama has been saying all through this first term. We Have to Work Together. If that IDEA seems corrupt to you maybe its because you’ve sold out our future so you can maintain your point of view. Well, fuck that. As JTM points out, people are dying out here.

  23. len says:

    The President laid down the gauntlet and says he can pay for it with some cuts in spending and some increases in taxes for corporations and the wealthy.

    That will play well on Wall Street (is there an emoticon for sarcasm because the republicans only applauded for cuts in medicare). And the class war ratchets up.

    Bring it on.

  24. rhbee says:

    Damn the gauntlets, lets go bare backed. Cancel everything. Let the rich eat their gold and drink their oilcockandbulltails. And no there ain’t no emoticon for sarcasm because the tweetheads that use them don’t believe in hurting the feelings of others . . .

  25. V says:


    The odds are heavily weighted against your being right, there being an infinite number of ways you can be wrong, but only one way you can be right, if it is possible to be right in these matters at all, which I doubt.

    I want to write that, to my ear, at least, your tone is condescending. If you are here to gain converts to what seems an esoteric and narrow pursuit, you have not taken a winning tack. If you think that there is one chance in a googol that Jon Taplin will cast an experimental vote for Rick Perry to perhaps further his Neo-Federalist agenda (as you seem to be bearing down on him to do), well, I just gotta say, you are through a looking glass or two.

    My question is what do you hope to get out of this. Will you bend Jon to your will, convince him of the superiority of your point of view? I guess this is fun for you. I hope you will forgive me for writing that for me,it is not fun. It is merely tedious. I take no issue with your obvious sincerity. Perhaps, however, you could curb your enthusiasm.

  26. V says:

    One last thing, then I will leave you to your debate game, as you put it. In the first paragraph of your note addressed to me above, you have run afoul of the admonition you quoted from Mrs. Roosevelt. Please stop evangelizing Taplin. The debate often takes the form of a diatribe. Is that good? If you admire and respect him, you might evince more of that rather than putting him, and us, through these harangues.

  27. John Papola says:


    I’ve been participating on this blog for a few years now. There is background that you’ve clearly not seen. My tone is playful for Jon, and he and I have talked about it in person. He takes easy jabs at me and I know its partly fun.

    You protest too much.

    Ps… When did I express any interest in Rick Perry or convincing anyone to vote for him? How did you arrive at that?

  28. JTMcPhee says:

    V, we all suffer, in one way or another, from “identity politics.” Either in our souls, as persons drawn into dysidentities, or as victims of those who are so drawn.

    We got a local “libertarian” group here, mostly Randian marginals, that seems to operate like the Scientologists do, drawing vulnerable people in with “bait” issues, and then using the techniques of groupthink to “switch” them ever further into crazy positions and inculcated “beliefs.” All while working hard to sound like the voices of sweet reason and moderation and the source of all true and honest and correct thought. Deviation from the Given Word, as with Randianism generally, is a kind of disease, to be treated or extirpated.

    To my view, this is just part of good old human nature. We all need an identity, unless we move on to catatonia. We are wired to want to be agreeable social critters, a fact that marketers of all types (who are often either a- or anti-social) play upon, and there are archetypes and pleasure centers hard-wired into us that have handles that sharpies like Gingrich and Rove and Engels and Dobson and the German pre-Nazi philosophers knew and know how to latch onto and twist like reins on a draft animal. Some of those folks may be actually convinced of the rectitude of their views and actions. Others, like Carville and Matalyn, are just snickering, cynical SOBs whose moral compasses seem always to point to “self.”

    It’s all just part of the unfortunate spectrum of possible human behaviors, from war and torture to (name your eleemosynary favorite), way too many of which lead in the direction of dissolution of the species.

    But of course my personal identity is “cynic,” which like the “libertarians” in their debating tricks I insist on defining as “disappointed romantic.” The thing about many of the “libertarians” I have encountered, is that they tend to disappear into their own craftiness and subtlety. Kind of like George Will, who is SO subtle and crafty that hardly anyone can even figure out what the hell he is talking about, though maybe that’s the result of his fielding (oooh, a BASEBALL referent!) a large staff to do his research and writing for him. The editorial meetings must be a real stitch.

    Too bad we are wired for self-pleasing and dominance and all that. There’s more than enough, of everything that counts, to go all the way around the table, if only we can keep the pig in the right rear corner from grabbing all the cookies. Because just like taxes, that is THEFT. Right?

  29. len says:

    What the Obamites are doing is “mild incompetence?” Then I have to wonder what full-on, intentional DINO Deviltry would look like.

    The full on looks something like the last guy to sit in that chair, but that’s just my perception.

    One of the side effects of working with the technologies we use for document production is it is simple to prove when someone or something is wrong; it is difficult to find a fair judge who understands the proof. And this is what we like to say is “a training issue” but is an example of what I call the shared incompetence because learning does not occur no matter how many times the evidence is presented.

    This is a hefty issue for our government. In far too many cases, the guidance given is insufficient or wrong and when the evidence is presented, as the folkslinger described, the judge has a seeing eye dog, and so much for the colors glossies with the circles and arrows on the back. So we pay the fine and pick up the garbage… even if we didn’t heave down the hill.

    And right now, Obama is hauling it up the hill

    As I said, I’m probably one of the few here who isn’t that disappointed in the man. For the size of the pile and the slope of the hill, he’s doing ok. The VW bus isn’t big enough and it will take a lot of trips, so … two terms. We may be tired and running out of hope but we aren’t out of change yet.

  30. Jon Taplin says:

    Damn RH Bee-You are in good form as always.

  31. Jon Taplin says:

    JTM-I don’t think this motley crew could ever be accused of Group Think and that’s why I like smart uber-libertarian/anarchists like John Papola in the conversation. But he does tend to preach. I still think that the state and the city are mostly in charge of “the public good”—roads, police, fire, schools, etc. They should not have to go begging the Federal Government for money to maintain the public good. So I’d still like to see Federal Taxes go down and States and cities get a bigger share of the total tax dollars

  32. JTMcPhee says:

    Jon T– I would dearly love to see a path to devolution of the “monopoly on violence” to more local entities. A path that doesn’t pass through revolution or Ragnarok, and one that won’t once again, after la Terreur/Balkanization/Thunderdome stage, get driven right back on the path to feudal kleptocracy. It sure does not seem that there can be any fixing of the present mess, too much money and power at scales and in forms that nobody controls and too many profit personally from, without any consequences for predation and parasitism and plain old murder of others.

    And it’s not like state and local governments don’t have money to do good stuff — if they run short, it’s often because of how they distribute the bucks, and how are privatized prisons funded again, and the costs of roads and sewers and stuff, where, as in FL, even minimal “impact fees” are no longer imposed on developers, one tiny aspect of the power of a few to warp politics and Hayek’s “free market” to let them externalize trouble and pain and costs onto the rest of us? It’s complicated, for sure, and a lot of smart fellas know how to argue justification for every tiny predatory and parasitic act of greed. The only “reputation” that counts is a “reputation” for successful highway robbery.

    Of course as a registered cynic, who was born in New Jersey, grew up in Chicago and spent my young summers in Rhode Island, I’m a little short on faith in the positive aspects of human nature and the presence, let alone persistence, of the milk of human kindness, and way too much awareness of corruptibility and corruption and corruptness and all that. When I first got work as a government enforcement attorney, one of my co-workers earned the nickname (a play on his own) “Corruptnik,” for taking bribes and representing in a related civil matter a person he was supposed to be prosecuting and other cool stuff, and I’ve had multiple up-close-and-personal, similar experiences ever since. (Along with many experiences of the other kind, of course. Decency and kindness are part of the species’ repertoire too.)

    For some reason, it’s always seemed to me that effective and durable organization is mostly the hallmark and forte of mean and greedy and/or violent humans. I don’t know how any effective group of good-intentioned citizens could first, agree on what constitutes the public good, and second, organize effectively to do what it takes to get the greedheads and and generals and political animals to stand down, share, not hit, and all that other stuff one was supposed to learn in kindergarten. And libertarians think the sumum bonun is achieved by everybody going full-on after their private, personal pleasure and benefit, 24/7.

    The libertarian/anarchist schtick ain’t gonna do it in any event, since that actually depends totally on the greed, on the one hand, and the magical calling-into-existence of a precisely tailored and delimited government to create and enforce perfect rules to outlaw fraud and coercion and apply exactly the perfect remedy to keep everybody on a “fair” footing. Which includes the tacit assumption that people will be screwing other people, and need to be reined in somehow. Not to pick on libertarians, they’re a wonderfully shattered bunch — fortunately. The MIC (more accurately the World MIC, if you read the trade literature) is a better example of how humans can organize around a sort of principle, and take the world by storm. $4 trillion for a couple of wars of choice, leading to what, again? And a long multi-fanged process of weapons development aimed at producing what, the Perfect Weapon, the “Terminator?” In the assumption that autonomous battle robots and smart UAVs and little nanodevices and plagues will obey their creators any better than Frankenstein’s monster or some of the various mythical djinns and golems did?

    Now that most everything that is necessary for life (and all the iStuff too) is marketed, monetized and securitized, and the world is driven by people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing, and how to manufacture important stuff like “demand,” how you gonna keep ’em down on the farm, when wheat and corn and pork bellies and all that are just commodities and the whole south 40 has been snapped up for a song by a post-national corporate person, via all the tricks of lobbying and regulatory capture and “financial industry” shenanigans and interest-group skulduggery? Even if there’s enough and more than enough of the Maslow’s basic Materials to go around for everyone… A few humans are always going to grab for the whole plate of cookies if they can. Without some pretty universal spiritual change, not much Hope of any real Change, at least on any significant scale. I am glad my wife and I part of a small, self-selected inter-reliant intentional community in a marina in FL. Paying the best part of a kilobuck every month for the right to occupy a couple hundred square feet of water surface. But we can go off grid and could anchor out and catch rainwater and limit electic use to our solar panels’ capacity…

    No groupthink here, fer sure, and maybe that’s a BAD thing — this is a pretty moderate locale, and you have extensive exposure on how hard it is to find common ground even among pretty decent folks. If only large numbers of people were interested in becoming, and able to be, different than they are… all 6.9 billion of us.

  33. V says:

    “You protest too much.” (Iprotest too much?!? A HA HA HA HA HA Please rest assured that I will protest no further.)

    Remind me never to have a blog.

  34. V says:

    Morgan Warstler

    Rick Perry will let you have a far more liberal, well funded state of California than you have ever had before.

    He will give it to you on a silver platter… lots less taxes for DC, lots more taxes for CA.

    Your courts will be more powerful, but only for CA. You gays will have stronger marriages (yay!), your abortions will be more protected (yay!), and you will have the money for that state-wide train.

    Jon, Rick Perry as President is just a Texas Governor, who KNOWS being Texas Governor is the best job, who wants Governors to be far more powerful…

    And there is no way for you tohave what you say you want, unless ALL 50 states get to have things their own way too.

    Why can’t you take the deal?

    This is a big soul searching for you, it makes no sense.”

    John Papola


    “I’m going to fully agree with Morgan here in the sense that this election is going to be a put-up-or-shut-up regarding your New Federalism.”

    See there, John? “Fully agree”! That is what I was talking about when i wrote you were bearing down on Jon to vote for Rick Perry. (Or bearing down on him not to support Obama.) You and this other guy- a Randian, I would guess by JTM’s admonition above and the crass manner in which he communicates. Anyway, there is a direct answer to your question. (I don’t believe you can answer mine.)

    Carry on.

  35. Amber in Albuquerque says:

    That’s all. I’m taking the kids to mini-golf. 10 years later and I’m still sick to my stomach.

  36. Ken Ballweg says:

    I see Jon has come out of hiatus and the usual Dysfunctional Family Circus players are all back on board. Must dust off my status as the token IWW Wobbly Pinko reincarnate, and jump back in.

    First and foremost, have all you folks read “This Time Is Different” by Reinhart and Rogoff. Nothing like well researched HISTORY to offset echo chamber screeds from both sides. Pretty much dismantles the “just give us more of (my self serving version) of Regonomics and I’ll whip this economy into shape”. Yeh, that’s working so well!! If lower taxes create jobs, WTF are the jobs? (I know, I know; India and China, and Texas. Dopy me.)

    In case you hadn’t noticed you’ve already got more of that neo-con con than 10 years before, and that was more of that than 10 years before that, and that was … back to sainted Ronnie (who would be thrown out of the new neo-con tent as too Obama-like), and it isn’t working.

    The wealthy have gone international, and don’t give a flying fig if the county goes bankrupt, but are happy as hell to see you Libra-utopi-tarians running around like the children soldiers of Somali warlords brandishing your randian economic equivalents of AK-47s (the great market equalizers).

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