Tag: right

The Left is Dead, Long Live the Left (reborn from the right?)

I will first refer to Chris Hedges’ book The Death of the Liberal Class. His analysis of the Americna left’s turning it’s back on the very values it professes is beautifully presented. I will not re-capture his argument here. There are YouTube videos of him giving talks on the subject that I urge you to listen to if you are unfamiliar with his POV. Suffice it to say that what it left of the left is fairly isolated and so far-outside the mainstream that most Americans don’t even know it exists. What the right, for example, terms as “the left” is largely fantasy and projection based on the bizarre idea that Obama is a socialist despite the fact that even rhetorically he is, by Euro standards solidly center-right politically, if not on the right.

The left, in terms of function, today is mainly made up of the extreme right-that is, it is on the right that you see real commitment to revolutionary and fundamental change since the liberals and progressives seemed to have abandoned much interest in the working-class. The militant masses have gone right not left and the most fertile ground for the left is on the libertarian right particularly those gathered around Ron Paul. Paul represents a critical interest that should be first and foremost on any real leftist’s mind. That concern is structural and procedural. How do we re-establish Constitutional rule (in case you haven’t heard it has, in many ways, been suspended) and basic rule-of-law. Honest law, honest law-enforcement, honest courts, and so on are essential. The left cannot succeed at anything if the oligarchs can jail us, torture us, kill us, seize our property, watch us, enter our homes without a warrant often without any reason. Lettres de cachet are now mainstream law. War is carried out on “terror” which is impossible no matter the definition you have of the word-you can have war on France or even a criminal gang but you cannot have a war on terror. Yet this Orwellian term is accepted by the mainstream without any sense of irony, without any question as if it was all perfectly sensible-well it is not in any way sensible. And if you accept that “war” then you accept nonsense and illogic.

It is the libertarian right that is on the forefront of talking about civil liberties, about clearly illegal wars and the growing power of the federal government. As a social democrat it is difficult for me to say “government is the problem” but today I will say that government is the problem. It is the problem because, in most situations and in most of the government, it is acting in the interests of the oligarch class and not the majority of people and furthermore is so constructed that it is furthering an anti-Constitutional, anti-liberty, and anti-human agenda that the libertarian right-wing condemns and the left seems to be ambivalent about. Nothing the government does can be trusted to be anything other than some form of racketeering just as nothing that is said in the mainstream media can be believed even if some of what is said is true. The government is now in service of a criminal class and the right notes that more than the left which seems stunned and hypnotized by the magician Obama.

And worse, it seems more common to see 9/11 skeptics on the right than on the left. The left seems to have swallowed the government/media story without any question–this is stunning in itself. I repeat, even most of the more radical left, including Hedges, accepts the government narrative without question–it is still forbidden on blogs like DKOS to suggest even a minor quibble about the events on 9/11. This to me stamps what is left of the left as dead. When you abandon reason, when you, as a leftist accept government proclamations without question, then how can you consider yourself on the left?

What Is Morality?

Note: I originally posted a version of this at FireDogLake.com, only to see it flagged as spam and my account deactivated.  I guess certain persons don’t like having their lack of any moral foundation challenged.  Oh well.

In my previous two entries, I discussed why it is important for people who call themselves left-wingers to have a solid moral foundation.  To sum up, one cannot call one’s self a progressive or a liberal and support the extreme right-wing policies of those in government.  To support Obama’s continuation and expansion of Bush-Cheney fascist policies, whether directly or by refusing to challenge him electorally, or by simply remaining silent in the face of ongoing crimes and usurpation of Constitutionally delegated powers, is immoral.

But what is morality, and how should the American left apply it to politics?

The I Got Nuthin Files. Both Sides’ Violent Rhetoric?

The Main Stream Media – in lockstep with the “fairness doctrine” (suddenly in popularity again) are talking about the violence of the extreme left and the extreme right.  About the “nuts” on the left and the patriotic gunrights advocates of the right.  

How many people were shot on the jeering other side in the huge anti-war marches in Chicago.

Umm – let me think.   None.

How many people were violent in those marches?

Umm – well the police occasionally.  And to be fair – some bottles were tossed.  In most of the marches I attended families with children in strollers attended – and there was no violence at all on our side.

Did these wild crowds in their frenzied madness tie up traffic for an hour or so?

Yes but to be fair it was more like two hours.  

Were any motorists attacked?


How many people throughout the world during those marches carried guns and used them?

Hmm.  I don’t think any used them.  But, of course, in the interests of fairness perhaps some carried weapons.

Sputter sputter — but flags were burned.

Yes, they were and there was some amusing and on-target theatre also going on.

How is Iraq doing now?

We’ve pretty much ruined it in sanctioned and targeted bombing of the population.  Smart bombs you know.  But lots of people are making money – the governing class, of course.  In 2010 according to the UN, over 140,000 refugees fled to Syria and Jordan, et al.  And thousands more in prior years.  Over a million are internally displaced.  Of course, we musn’t forget that a statue was toppled and Sadam was eliminated.  So – there’s that.

What about Falujah?

We destroyed it for its own good.

But we’ve secured oil for ourselves in any event.

No, not really.  I believe for instance other nations such as China are buying that oil.  And they didn’t have to go to war – smart people.

Why aren’t there any marches now?

The American people are dispirited by a government that is not interested in them, yet takes away their money for the upper classes. And let’s face it – huge numbers in the world came out and no one paid any attention to us before so…. Oh — plus we’re scared now.  

I got nuthin.

The Virtues of Ranting in the Former USA

As long as we don’t take it too seriously ranting may be all we have left as a productive political activity. Sure, organizing and all that is a good thing–but on what basis? On the left, where most of us here live, there is no solid intellectual framework for us to rest. In America Marxism never took hold though it provides us with an excellent frame of analysis of our current system but it isn’t the only one. I prefer our native pragmatism which can step outside of systems and allow the “data” to guide us to see patterns. Marxism is useful to orient us but I don’t think it offers, as a general intellectual framework, a system that works for the current environment. Still, I consider Marxists the most valuable contributors to the project of the left. Certainly the time for liberalism is over because reform, in all foreseeable political arrangements is now impossible.

On this the day of the full-moon I urge that we howl at the Moon and rant. Ranting is a way to find out what we really think un-censored from the super-ego which in this country is fraying anyway and won’t last too much longer. We need to touch the truth and to touch it we need to find an authentic place in each of us. We need a new dispensation and that will only be made clear by a process of de-programming ourselves from the current discourse.

Let me be provocative here. I think the time to say “it isn’t fair” is over. It’s time to stop with careful analysis of the political situation when we lack a strong framework. The criticism from the American left always comes down to some moral complaint–that the rulers are, in some way, immoral. Really? I think that’s a pointless and bootless complaint. The problem is in the system that has emerged, not in the people that run it. The system has been constructed to meet a need on the part of the oligarchs to bring stability to their power-positions (not only them personally but their families as well) on the one hand–and on the other hand the need of the vast majority of the American people to take away their responsibilities as citizens because to try and understand the world around them without a solid framework of certainties is simply too painful–thus they want to be assured that they are indeed brave and virtuous when really they are, increasingly (by historical standards) quite the opposite because their focus in life is to have their job and their cable-TV where they can live in fantasies. Most people want to live in fantasies because reality is, to most of us (myself included), almost incomprehensible. This is enforced by a system of laws, cultural practices, structures like “security” (which reflect a profound collective cowardice) which gradually are eliminating any semblance of freedom as envisaged by the Founders. In short, to put it bluntly, we have to face the fact that the majority of the American people (in my view) consciously or unconsciously want to be in chains–it is the only conclusion that I can reached based on the data in front of me.

The only answer I have is to rant.  

Where the Battle Really Is in American Electoral Politics

For those manning the barricades at DailyKos, fending off the DLC and OFA hordes, it’s been a tough couple of weeks.  Horrible news arrives on a daily basis about the latest betrayal by the Administration, Congressional Democrats or the party apparatus, but discussion of these outrages is blocked or at least blunted by well orchestrated legions of loyalists.

Cassiodorus referred me yesterday to a link about “democratic centralism,” a Leninist, top-down approach to political organization that brooks no dissent once the majority has made a decision.  He noted the mind-numbing consistency of the loyalists’ message:

  1. Praise Obama.

  2. Cite Obama’s big resume.

  3. Denounce all of Obama’s critics.

All this has made me even more skeptical about the value of conventional politics in the United States, and confirmed my view that the Democratic Party is worthless.

What’s interesting is how the same thing is taking place in the Republican Party.  A Naked Capitalism link led me to David Frum’s lament about purges taking place in Republican think tanks.  Frum himself was a victim earlier in the year when he was fired by AEI, but today he’s writing about Cato purges:

The summer’s biggest inside-Washington story was the abrupt and simultaneous departure of co-authors Brink Lindsey and Will Wilkinson from the Cato Institute.

Lindsey was Cato’s vice president for research; Wilkinson a Cato scholar. They were working together on a book arguing for a new political approach fusing libertarianism and liberalism – a concept that Cato has previously endorsed on issues like drug control, foreign policy, and sexual freedom.

Frum then despairs about the effects of these purges on Republican policy initiatives should they gain the majority in either the House or Senate:

Right-of-center think tanks claim to do objective research that can be trusted by all policy players, regardless of point of view. They boast that they care about ideas, not parties or personalities. They aspire to set a broader agenda for the right, in lieu of the narrow demands of K Street special interests.

These claims look increasingly false. The right-of-center world is poorer for the dessication of the institutions that used to act as the right’s brains.

We are likely soon to have a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, maybe the U.S. Senate too. And what will that majority do? The answer seems to be: They have not a clue. Unlike the Republican House and Senate majorities of 1994, unlike the Republican Senate majority of 1980, these new majorities will arrive with only slogans for a policy agenda. After staging a for-the-record vote against Obamacare, and after re-enacting the Bush tax cuts, it will be policy mission accomplished.

There’s little other policy inventory, because the think tanks have not done their proper work. Without a think tank agenda, the new majority will rapidly decline into a brokerage service for K Street.

What we see are the two major political parties both engaging in an intense effort to purge those interested in policy, those who dissent from party political strategies and those who care more about ideology or principle than loyalty.

The rationale for the purges given by the parties’ leadership and its spokespersons to party members is that a great battle for the future of the nation, if not Western Civilization, lies ahead.  Only if “we” win can the world remain safe for the “middle class” or the “free market,” for LGBTs or Christians, for African Americans or whites, for freedom of religion or a Christian nation.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.  The policies of the two parties are indistinguishable because, as Frum points out, the source for policy for both parties is the same: K Street as it symbolizes the international, Capitalist Corporatocracy.  Imagine that you have arrived from Mars and been told a little about the history of the Democratic and Republican parties and the ideologies around which they supposedly coalesce.  Then consider how you would answer if you were asked which of the following enacted programs, foreign policy, military strategies and legislation were supported by which party:

Medicare Part D

2010 Health Insurance Reform

Iraq surge

Afghanistan surge

No Child Left Behind


Telecom Deregulation

Welfare “reform”

It is all but impossible to identify any of these as distinctively Republican or Democratic because the ideological and policy distinctions between the parties, minimal as they were in the pre-Reagan, pre-DLC period, have now shrunk to almost zero.  Note that you were asked only about those things that actually became law or were adopted as policy by the Executive branch, not those things that were advocated by either party but never enacted.  Republicans have benefited from the support of the Christian Right, but what part of the Christian Right’s agenda has ever become law?  At most, they have seen a little tinkering around the edges of abortion restrictions, some of which did not survive court challenges, something fully expected by the Republicans who enacted the bills.  Democrats have made many promises to Labor over the past two decades.  What of it has ever become law?  Immigration issues are treated similarly by both parties.  Each party panders to different interest groups, but the status quo that satisfies elites, is carefully maintained.

Both parties tell their members that absolute party loyalty is required because the effects of losing to “the other side” would be so catastrophic.  Yet it is all but impossible to determine substantive differences between what is enacted by Republicans when they are in power from what Democrats do when they are in control.

The two parties do differ greatly in how they portray themselves and each other to the general public.  Republicans are consistent in their internal and external messages.  They tell both their membership and the wider electorate that Democrats are traitorous socialists who must be defeated and defeated completely.  The Democrats, however, are completely inconsistent.  They send out internal messages to their own members that Republicans constitute a grave threat to constitutional democracy, peace and the rights of minorities, but they follow a policy of reconciliation and bipartisanship when dealing with the opponents in Congress or in the press.  It’s no wonder that the two parties are often compared to the Globetrotters/Generals “competition” where one team is masterful and always victorious while the other is a perennial weakling and loser.  The only difference is that there are times when the public is so dissatisfied with how things are going that the “loser” party must step up, absorb the “throw-the-bums-out” votes of the majority and assume power for a while.  Once in power, however, they immediately revert to their Generals’ schtick and prove as ineffective and bumbling as ever.

If there is any battle left in electoral policy, any hope for change, it lies either in the emergence of third parties or in the battle for control within the existing major parties.  Inter-party politics, if confined to the Republicans and Democrats, is meaningless.  The behavior of the Obama Administration has confirmed that once and for all for anyone on the Left, just as the behavior of the Bush Administration confirmed it for conservatives like Frum and Bartlett.

The are several questions that Leftists need to ask themselves.  How they answer those questions will determine how they focus their individual energies in the coming hard times.  That Leftists answer these questions in different ways is not a bad thing, however.  There’s nothing wrong with concentrating energies in different venues if we do so in solidarity with one another and with strategies that complement each other’s efforts.

The questions:

1) Do you believe conventional electoral politics at any level offers any opportunities for change in the coming decade?

2) Do you believe conventional politics at the national level offers any opportunities for change in the coming decade?

3) If you answered “yes” to #1 and/or #2, do you believe that third party efforts or a takeover of existing Democratic Party structures offers better opportunities?

Depending on how those questions sort us out, we could find people working for change in a number of different ways:

1) organizing communities to become more humane, green, resilient and self-reliant and eschewing party politics altogether;

2) working to take over the local Democratic Party with the goal of preservingimproving public transportation and education;

3) building a regional third party movement to run a economic populist against a Blue Dog Democrat and a Lunatic Republican in a southern Congressional district;

4) coordinating a national movement to change the Democratic Party rules for nominating a Presidential candidate.

Ironically, even DailyKos can be used a tool in some of these efforts because the FAQs explicitly call for the site to be an “anti-Establishment” force in the Democratic Party.

Any effort to re-build a Left in this country must begin with the acknowledgment that the “competition” between the two major parties has no substance.  It even matters little to the party elites because they benefit as long as they play their designated role.  It is mere distraction, a way to absorb the ever growing dissatisfaction with the American social, economic and political systems.

In my view, there is no definitive answer to those questions posed above.  We can argue about them, but at this point, it may be best just to come up individually with the best answer we can and agree that we can disagree and still be comrades.  If we find that a particular strategy is working, great.  More focus can be placed on it.  If something appears fruitless, it can be abandoned.

One thing is clear.  Continuing to do what most of the Left has been doing is insanity.  

Confronting the inner teabagger

Read the article at HuffPo yesterday, got pissed and wrote something angry, then went to work. While at work I read some comments, though, admittedly, not all of them, and realized why so many people have a beef with HuffPo. I’m not trying to throw HuffPo under the bus, writing in anger leads to this, and I wrote in anger and put too much trust into a single source. Just because you are using a BIG NAME for a source doesn’t mean that source is right, they are just as likely to misinterpret something as you are. That is human. But there is a difference between misinterpreting and deliberately misconstruing, and since our political guard is always up about deception, and since many of us are partisans, we often frame things within our own pre-made narrative. All of these things I have been guilty of, but who among us can plead innocent among such charges?

More below the fold

An “Ideological Left?” Are you kidding me?

(I wrote this as a comment in Budhy’s essay about forming a left ideology, and decided to write it as an essay.)

An “Ideological Left?”  Are you kidding me?    

Talking about a “progressive agenda” is like people sitting around talking about what they’d do if they won the lotto, or prisoners talking about what they’re gonna eat as their first meal once they get out of jail.

The world is not left-and-right any more, not one bit.

The whole notion of even calling something “left” is, frankly, kind of silly.

Listen, what we currently have in place is a thoroughly corrupt government, corrupt media, and corrupt corporate system, all of which exist in a conspiratorial circle-jerk where they all help each other out, to continue their consolidation of corrupt power.

There is only one way to get ANYWHERE right now, and that is to eliminate corruption from the system.

I mean, we cannot even TALK about a “progressive agenda” or “right vs left” until these things are addressed and dealt with.

Right now the entire government exists to provide Corporate Welfare and legal protection to a corrupt corporate class.   The media is there to do the same, and to propagandize the people into not being aware of any of this, and for the people to blame each other rather than those who are behind all the corruption.

In this battle, politics shouldn’t play a part.   Corruption is corruption, thievery is thievery, gangsterism is gangsterism.

All Americans need to realize that they are being SCREWED, and band together to get rid of the screwers so that we can get back to the quaint notions of discussing whether we should have small government, states’ rights, etc. etc. etc.  

We are being robbed blind by a ruling class who has hijacked the government itself, and has bought the media.

Listen, one year ago, I had to travel to visit my father, to help him out because he had fallen seriously ill.    He is a very intelligent man, an engineer with three graduate degrees, a career Army veteran, and is about as well informed as I am, only on the opposite side of the universe.  He is an unrepentant right-winger.    And so is his wife, my stepmom.    She is ignorant, relatively uneducated, racist, fearful, and superstitious.    She listens to Rush like he’s a member of the familiy.   They watch only Fox News.   They are the die-hard, right wing fundamentalist “Christian” types that represent a significant portion of the electorate, probably in the 25% range.  

As I was travelling is when the stock market fell 777 points, and the “bailout” was announced.

Never before in my life, and in a way that I never thought would happen, we were all on the same page.   We, for ONCE in our lives, AGREED on what was going on — that we were getting ripped off and SHAFTED.

It was, really, a beautiful moment.   We could talk about what was going on and be in agreement, for the first time ever.  

Americans all across the country felt the same way.  For, oh, about a week or two.   Then we all got distracted by the bullshit election (and the election WAS bullshit, seeing as how Obama is just another tool of the same fucking elite rich bastards who committed all these crimes), and we all moved on, and we all thought “oh well there’s really nothing we can do”.

But underneath all of that is STILL a festering realization that we’ve all been shafted.  Not the left, not the right, not the moderates, but ALL of us.

And that is what needs to happen, is we all need to get together and realize “okay, wait a minute, lets put our idealogical issues aside for a while and GET RID OF THESE LYING THEIVING MOTHERFUCKERS WHO HAVE TAKEN ALL OUR MONEY and who are LAUGHING THEIR ASSES OFF AT US.”

Which leads me, for one, back to TocqueDeville’s essay on the Guillotine.

I, for one, am for peaceful acts rather than violent ones.   Although I do honestly believe that a few brooks-brother-suited corpses hanging from lamposts would have a MONUMENTAL affect on the way these people operate.

How much shit will Americans eat?

That is really the only question worth talking about.

Beyond that, who really gives a shit about progressive agendas?   A progressive agenda is never gonna happen as long as pirates are running the show.   Talking about it is pure fantasy, it’s masturbation.

I’ve long advocated a new party, one that represents nothing but Common Sense.  In fact, I would call it the Common Sense Party.   It wouldn’t have anything to do with “left” or “right” or any of the crap that’s entrapped us for generations now, it would be about looking at problems and figuring out how to fix them.

The biggest problem right now is that Corporate Welfare has destroyed this country.  Corporate Welfare has led to the corruption we now are experiencing.

Military spending?   It’s not “defense”, it’s Corporate Welfare.   The money we spend on the “war?”   It’s not really spent on a war, it’s Corporate Welfare, i.e. $400 a gallon for gasoline.   Who gets that money?  Corporations!   Marking up the price every step of the way!    I mean, think about it.  

The money comes from us, goes to the government, and is handed out, sometimes literally, to corporations who then rent PO boxes in the Cayman Islands so they can avoid paying taxes and avoid all the American laws.   They build their factories in China so they can avoid all the American laws including those designed to protect the environment, workers, and so they can avoid paying American workers American wages.

Talking about a “progressive agenda” is like people sitting around talking about what they’d do if they won the lotto, or prisoners talking about what they’re gonna eat as their first meal once they get out of jail.

Talking about “revoking their corporate charters” is the same.  Fantasy.  Ain’t gonna happen.   “Sending them to jail” is a fantasy.  They own the judges, they own the lawmakers, they own everybody.  

So really the only thing worth talking about right now is how do we get out of jail?    Let’s come up with a foolproof escape plan, then we can start bickering about the details of our future.  

Right now there is no future.  There’s only more of the same.

Right to Left: Two Paths You Can Go by

Yes, there are two paths you can go by

But in the long run

There’s still time to change the road you’re on.

And it makes me wonder.

It is conventional to express the political spectrum in a linear fashion, running from “far left” to “far right”.  This conventional view thus requires that if you are trying to “reach out” to people on the other side of the median, to try to bring them over to your side, one must necessarily do so by building a path through that middle ground.  Thus the Democratic political establishment spends a great deal of time shushing the liberals and the left for fear that we might scare off center-rightists being gently escorted through that moderate minefield.

But reality is that the political spectrum isn’t so one-dimensional.  It is more a circle, or even a sphere, and as an online column published today by a former Reagan Administration official illuminates, there is another path you can go by, a back way, a hidden portal, when you decide to change the road you’re on.  It’s the path that takes you from far right to far left, and it’s a path I know well, the one I myself traveled to become a leftist.  Come on over, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

h/t to rjones2818 for the link that inspired this piece.


No one’s talking about prosecuting Cheney, any more. Lots of distractions, these days. I hope the congress hasn’t forgotten about how important that is, too. All the happy talk in the world isn’t going to make everyone who lives outside our borders forget that we’re now officially a nation that tortures. Prosecuting the master mind under existing law would go a long way toward ending that (accurate) perception.

Everything Connects and the Surrender of the Left

One day I will write more on “everything connects” but I think it does. FYI, I prefer to use the term “left” rather than “liberal” or “progressive” because I see left, right and center to be a kind of organic whole and those terms are more inclusive. The “center” in fact is made up of two poles–one is where the left and right meet in a kind of compromise and is generally where the social conformists line up and is generally where politics operates (and is the only healthy place for it to operate in a Democracy by definition. On the other end of the center where the extreme left meets the extreme right.

Because our political and cultural system operates under the laws of systems analysis I don’t believe that anyone in our political system is “wrong” just that diffent ideological stances all have a positive function and that is to keep a balance (homeostasis)–the system is only wrong when it is out of balance. Currently we have a kind of cultural/political fever in which the right has become too strong (in fact cancerous) and the left too weak.