March 27th, 2010

Let’s revisit Obama and Alinsky

There were many troubling influences in Obama’s life that were revealed during the 2008 campaign—Reverend Wright, Rezko, Ayers, Alinsky—that conflicted with his calm and reasonable-seeming demeanor and the moderate way he positioned himself. Those of us who looked deeply were disturbed by what we saw.

But our warnings got little or no traction. Most people weren’t paying attention to the details. Obama’s smooth surface disarmed them, and they took it for the whole.

Now even a good many of those who were seduced by the con and voted for Obama are feeling uneasy about him. And those who saw him earlier as a committed leftist, and attempted to warn, have the dubious distinction of being able to claim “I told you so.” Fat lot of good that does now.

The revelation of Obama’s background as a community organizer, and especially his ties to the work of Saul Alinsky (including the fact that he taught workshops in Alinsky’s methods and concepts), had sounded a particularly harsh and jarring bell for people who took the trouble to understand what these things signified. Now that we all look back with clearer hindsight, and read articles such as this Ryan Lizza profile of Obama that originally appeared in March of 2007 in TNR, that bell rings with an almost deafening clang:

The first and most fundamental lesson Obama learned was to reassess his understanding of power. Horwitt says that, when Alinsky would ask new students why they wanted to organize, they would invariably respond with selfless bromides about wanting to help others. Alinsky would then scream back at them that there was a one-word answer: “You want to organize for power!”

Galluzzo shared with me the manual he uses to train new organizers, which is little different from the version he used to train Obama in the ’80s. It is filled with workshops and chapter headings on understanding power: “power analysis,” “elements of a power organization,” “the path to power.” Galluzzo told me that many new trainees have an aversion to Alinsky’s gritty approach because they come to organizing as idealists rather than realists. But Galluzzo’s manual instructs them to get over these hang-ups. “We are not virtuous by not wanting power,” it says. “We are really cowards for not wanting power,” because “power is good” and “powerlessness is evil.”

There’s a great deal of talk about whether Obama is an idealogue or a pragmatist, or whether he is a pawn of others. I have never felt the latter was true, although there probably have been powerful mentors and supporters pushing him along. But I have long seen him as both a true-believer ideologue and a tactical pragmatist who takes whatever position he needs to if and when it suits his ends, and abandons it with impunity when it no longer does. Here’s Alinsky again:

At the heart of the Alinsky method is the concept of “agitation”–making someone angry enough about the rotten state of his life that he agrees to take action to change it; or, as Alinsky himself described the job, to “rub raw the sores of discontent.”

“Rubbing raw the sores of discontent,” encouraging class hatred, sequentially stirring up anger at doctors and Wall Street and insurers and whomever might happen to be the targeted scapegoat of the hour, Obama’s demagoguery follows the Alinsky rules he studied and taught so carefully.

It’s only a little over a year into his presidency, and the person we see today barely contains any remnants of the campaign facade, because it is no longer necessary. Obama has shed that old skin like a snake molting, and he’s left it to shrivel on the ground where it lies, unneeded.

85 Responses to “Let’s revisit Obama and Alinsky”

  1. Hong Says:

    “There’s a great deal of talk about whether Obama is an idealogue or a pragmatist, or whether he is a pawn of others. I have never felt the latter was true, although there probably have been powerful mentors and supporters pushing him along. But I have long seen him as both a true-believer ideologue and a tactical pragmatist who takes whatever position he needs to if and when it suits his ends, and abandons it with impunity when it no longer does.”

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with that Neo. Like one of my professors said about Stalin, he’s the type of man who’ll search every door on every floor searching for an unlocked room. As long as you keep your defenses active, he’ll leave you alone but find one lock undone, and you’re undone.

  2. Brian Swisher Says:

    Okay, since everyone else around here has made predictions about things to come, I think I’ll weigh in with my own…

    Once the prohibition on use of pre-existing conditions in health insurance policies kicks in, we will see insurance premiums rise (cf. New York State and Massachusetts). The usual suspects will use this natural market reaction to denounce greedy insurers and to demand that the government either excercise more control over and/or actually take over the insurance industry.

    It’ll be interesting to see how far they get with that…

    (Full disclosure: I work for a major insurer – though not in their health insurance side of the business – and the above is emphatically not their public position, or in anything they’ve communicated to us. Indeed, they seem to think that they can work with the government…though they have resisted the industry bashing that O and crew have been indulging themselves in…)

  3. rickl Says:

    I tried making this comment on the Bibi thread but it vanished. It could also belong on the Lie thread. From Riehl World View:

    Obama Caught Lying To Netanyahu?

    It seems he told Netanyahu “I’m going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls,” but they were actually in NYC that night.

  4. Hong Says:

    New York and Massachusetts premiums are already the highest in the nation yet the geniuses in those state capitals refuse to scrap the programs. Once the Obamabots in Washington realize the revenue simply isn’t there to cover these healthcare costs they’ll either carry out a repeal/overhaul of their healthcare overhaul or raise taxes. Which sounds easier for a bureaucrat or politician to do?

  5. rickl Says:

    Brian Swisher Says:
    March 27th, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Once the prohibition on use of pre-existing conditions in health insurance policies kicks in, we will see insurance premiums rise (cf. New York State and Massachusetts). The usual suspects will use this natural market reaction to denounce greedy insurers and to demand that the government either excercise more control over and/or actually take over the insurance industry.

    I’d bet my life savings on it. That’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

  6. Kurt Says:

    I completely agree with rickl about that being a feature of the plan. In fact, that’s one reason why I never understood why the “single payer” folks were mad about this plan. If this monstrosity isn’t the clearest path to “single payer” ever, I don’t know what is. It’s plain that in addition to dramatically increasing the deficit, this plan is designed to drive the insurance companies out of business, and as soon as that happens the intense lobbying for “single payer” will resume.

  7. gs Says:

    Hong: New York and Massachusetts premiums are already the highest in the nation yet the geniuses in those state capitals refuse to scrap the programs.

    We have lost the kind of collective common sense that led us to repeal Prohibition.

    Private Sector 101, Lesson 1:

    If you screwed up massively, update your resume.

    Government 101, Lesson 1:

    If you screwed up massively, demand more power and raise taxes. (If you didn’t screw up, raise taxes and demand more power.)

  8. Brian Swisher Says:

    rickl: prezackly my point…

  9. Barry Meislin Says:

    Neocon, that sounds pretty dead on to me. To better help weather this storm, the American people (and America’s purported allies?) will have to know whom they’re dealing with.

    And be prepared to deal with an artful performer who can change and shift-shape with great skill. Most Americans are not used to dealing with this kind of personality, especially not at this level.

    So it will come as a shock. Most will not want to believe it. Until they are forced to (and even then….).

    The question is, how long can the charade continue? We’re about to find out.

    There’s about a six-month window between now and November. Hang on.

  10. gs Says:

    I agree with the post, but here’s a friendly caveat.

    The economy may appear to be healing by November, with an unemployment rate in unmistakable (though perhaps temporary) decline: see this or this, for example. The pernicious effects of Obamacare will have yet to kick in.

    Americans are hopeful people. We vote our expectations for the future more than we vote our present condition.

    The GOP needs to combine unvicious criticism of Obama with a forward-looking, positive, constructive message, or its gains in November will be limited. IMO the positive, constructive message is more important than the criticism. Unfortunately, criticism is easier.

  11. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    The Alinsky/Leftist game relies on the victims accepting the organizers rules. This was well stated by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged. We don’t have to accept their standards. The Tea parties have shown that. They have worn out the racist/sexist/homophobe card. Obama is too much of an egoist to play the long game and has shed his skin.

    The american people do not like being had. The meme of Bush lying about WMD (though untrue) showed this directly. Obama will suffer worse because of his deliberate deceptions

  12. Steve Says:

    Neo: You nailed this one.

  13. SteveH Says:

    Obama got elected because of an 8 year smear campaign by MSM against GWB and republicans.
    You knew it was effective when people who couldn’t spell politics hated George Bush and all republicans.

  14. br549 Says:

    http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/transportation-department-embraces-bikes-and-business-groups-cry-foul/

    Did not know where to put his. We are surrounded by idiots. Our nation is run by them.

  15. gs Says:

    br549, as a member of the Obama-is-Bush-on-steroids school of thought, I wish to note that LaHood is Republican.

  16. Sandy Horwitt Says:

    Some conservatives get Alinsky, but many like those who made these comments don’t. You might want to take a look at his biograghy, “Let Them Call Me Rebel,” and start the conservaton again.

  17. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    How did the Nazi’s do all this before Alinsky?

  18. Perfected democrat Says:

    Deception leading to agitation leading to sedition; when power corrupts: Mao, Castro, Hugo Chavez, etc….

  19. Perfected democrat Says:

    Oh, and Hitler….

  20. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    The Insurance industry, who have certainly run the numbers, are for this because of two factors; 15-30 million new customers and their transformation into utility companies.

    Think of the advantages; the feds set the rates and policy coverages; if the numbers don’t match (and they won’t) the feds have no other recourse but to raise taxes or create a new tax or restrict treatment and coverage.

    But for the new insurance ‘utilities’…they take their ‘percentage’ (sure to match their current 3.4% profit margin) and walk away smiling with no more consumer anger directed their way and no more politicians pointing their fingers at the ‘evil’ insurance companies.

    How is Obama going to pay for all of this?

    Krauthammer has it right; The VAT Cometh

    The VAT delays significantly our financial ‘chickens’ coming home to roost; CBO report: Debt will rise to 90% of GDP

    This does not, however, consider all of our debt. Our national debt is $12.6 trillion dollars. Obama has committed us, to an added $9.7 trillion dollars.

    Our unfunded entitlement programs represent a liability of $107.0 trillion dollars.

    The total amounts to $129.3 trillion dollars.

    That results in a GDP-to-Debt ratio of 975%. Which is higher than Greece’s GDP-to-debt ration…

    In real terms, it represents a debt of $424,078 for every U.S. citizen, and $1,124,728 for every U.S. household.

    “be prepared to deal with an artful performer who can change and shift-shape with great skill. Most Americans are not used to dealing with this kind of personality, especially not at this level.” Barry Meislin

    Indeed. Obama and the dems strategy appears to next be to push for ‘Amnesty for Illegals’ but call it “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”.

    So that they can label anyone who objects and calls it, what it in fact is, a racist. They’ll attempt to attach the racist label to anyone who objects in hopes that Independents and those disinterested in politics will be frightened away from association with ‘racists’ and refrain from voting for Republicans in November.

    Plus, if they can pass it and, we now know they aren’t going to be dissuaded by the will of the people, then they also figure that they’ll eventually add 11-20 million ‘new’ Democrats to the voter rolls.

    Obama and the Democrats are expecting to lose seats in November but they’re counting on the MSM supporting their distortions of the debate, sufficiently enough to confuse the average voter and, thus blunt the damage of the mid-term elections.

    Obama and the Dems will then run for 2012 on the meme that the obstructionist Republicans in Congress are blocking Obama’s efforts to make Democrat’s legislation work. Seeking to make a persuasive enough argument that Obama is reelected with a strong enough majority to ‘get the US back on track’…

    Much of the just passed Health Reform legislation’s effects don’t kick in until 2014, by then, it may be well too late and we will be another euro-style socialist society, in decline just as is Europe with collapse unavoidable but denied by both leadership and public until ‘over the cliff’s edge we all go’.

    Of course, a myriad of events could derail or throw a wild-card into the mix, such as terrorist attacks and/or an economic collapse that can’t be stopped.

    A grim prognosis? Yes, and it will take all of our efforts to keep it from fruition.

  21. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “I wish to note that LaHood is Republican.” gs

    Might I offer a small but significant correction? LaHood is a RINO…a Republican in name only.

  22. betsybounds Says:

    The thing that bothers me about making the Obama-Alinsky connection–which I think is demonstrably valid–is that the Left has been remarkably successful, over years of effort, in making such links into laughing-stocks. I remember too well the years in which rational fear of the very real Left/Communist threat was made into a joke, largely following the efforts of Senator McCarthy. We learned to chuckle at those who saw “Communists hiding under every bed;” they were paranoiacs, deluded, and dangerous. It’s entirely possible that making the Obama-Alinsky connection, then, will end in the same way–the MSM/Academy Narrative will attempt to reduce it to a pathology and a joke in the popular mind.

    I’ve often thought we’re also deceived by the FDR line, “We have nothing to fear but fear, itself.” This is a lie, of course, but it’s seductive nevertheless. Fear is a perfectly rational response to threat. As with any instinctive reaction, it can become pathological and crippling–but it is not so merely by definition. Democrats and the Left have broadened that famous FDR statement to refer to any of the “Progressive” changes (and after all, what sane person would be against Progress?) they’re in the process of making, and have tried, with notable success, to brand Republicans and conservatives as fear mongers. Conservatives are both stupid and deranged, according to the Narrative, and conservative ideology is, by itself, a symptom of mental illness (http://reason.com/archives/2004/10/20/pathologizing-conservatism).

    It all reminds me of the old Soviet Union, in which dissent from the Party Line was actually treated as a mental illness, and dissidents were often hospitalized in psych wards (Orwell’s O’Brien may even have been the attending physician). That’s just one of the more disturbing–frightening, actually–trends we’re seeing these guys fall into.

    Ugh.

  23. Steve Says:

    I wonder why question Obama’s true intentions. There is little point in doubting the country is going in the wrong direction.

  24. betsybounds Says:

    Geoffrey, you’re exactly right about LaHood. There are still enough of those around to tarnish the brand. I notice that the Transportation portfolio has become emblematic of the search for Administration bipartisanship–remember Norm Mineta? He was worse than useless, he was destructive. But I think he was small beer when compared with LaHood, who has some truly all-purpose governmental privacy invasions in mind. See this, from the invaluable Andrew Ferguson:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/driving-while-distracted

  25. betsybounds Says:

    The Reason link in my 7:50 post didn’t highlight, maybe because of the parentheses. Here it is again:

    http://reason.com/archives/2004/10/20/pathologizing-conservatism

  26. Hong Says:

    I agree that the liberals attempt to ridicule the Alinksky-Obama connection but his actions reveal the seriousness of the charge and make it problematic to dismiss it all. His preening arrogance, broken promises, doubletalk, may not be caught by all but enough that it’s forming, I believe, a counter narrative that getting harder to shake. His rapidly plummeting poll numbers suggest people understand this man misrepresented himself and it’s doubtful to me that they’ll be swayed by costly new entitlements. I could be wrong but I sense a permanent divide forming between the MSM O worshippers and fiscally skeptical voters. They may not be sold to the Republican party either but they’re having buyers remorse in blindly supporting a complete unknown.

  27. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    betsybounds, valid points all, I would only point out that this is not the 50′s. The ability for liberals and the media to control ‘the narrative’ is increasingly limited.

    One thing that would be of great help in combating that liberal narrative would be another ‘fair and balanced’ news network. The hopefully upcoming Breitbart TV channel on cable would make it harder for liberals to maintain that FOX is an aberration. On the internet we currently have more and more outlets for information not controlled by the MSM which of course is dying.

    The best technique that I have yet seen for counter-acting the liberal meme of setting the narrative is Glenn Beck’s putting up video’s of the left in their own words revealing their agenda. Beck of course is ridiculed for his ofttimes over-the-top presentation but the technique of presenting liberals uttering unacceptable views in their own words is a viable technique for anyone to emulate.

    What would be great is if we had a website that acted as a clearinghouse for video clips and media quotes of the most egregious statements by liberals. There’s no end to them of course, because like the gift that keeps giving, they have to keep, in Jefferson’s words, “declaring themselves”.

    So all hope is not lost. That said, the struggle shall nt get any easier, any time soon.

  28. SteveH Says:

    “”I would only point out that this is not the 50’s. The ability for liberals and the media to control ‘the narrative’ is increasingly limited.”"
    Goeffrey Britain

    I think liberals control it more. The sheer volume of pop culture media now compared to the 50′s gets the message into more heads. And the message they put into those heads is about acceptable feelings and fashionable thought. You don’t have to discuss politics once you get people operating on such a base level. They’ll vote for the policies that feel right and make them fit in.

  29. rickl Says:

    SteveH Says:
    March 27th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    I think liberals control it more. The sheer volume of pop culture media now compared to the 50’s gets the message into more heads. And the message they put into those heads is about acceptable feelings and fashionable thought. You don’t have to discuss politics once you get people operating on such a base level. They’ll vote for the policies that feel right and make them fit in.

    You nailed it. While I appreciate Geoffrey Britain’s comments on this thread, the left’s control over communications, entertainment, and education are far more pervasive today than they were in the 50s.

    I know people who don’t pay close attention to politics but who are reflexively liberal and even leftist. All of the musicians and entertainers they listen to continually keep reinforcing the message. “Fashionable thought” is exactly right.

  30. jon baker Says:

    Geoffrey Brtitain said : “What would be great is if we had a website that acted as a clearinghouse for video clips and media quotes of the most egregious statements by liberals. ”

    You might check out Newsbusters, which I link to below. While it is not exactly what you are talking about, it is a real eye-opener and it has searchable archives. On his Radio show, Beck interviewed one of the editors on Friday, Noel Sheppard. Noel and Newsbusters have also been cited by Rush. :

    http://www.newsbusters.org/

  31. jon baker Says:

    I might add that not too long ago, NEO herself linked to a Newsbuster’s article.

  32. Thomass Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “The Insurance industry, who have certainly run the numbers, are for this because of two factors; 15-30 million new customers and their transformation into utility companies.

    Think of the advantages; the feds set the rates and policy coverages”

    No doubt… whenever the subject of public utilities came up in an econ class the instructor would point out that most companies would love to be public utilities.

    One was also up to pointing out where the idea of them came from….

  33. betsybounds Says:

    Geoffrey, you’re correct, of course. But the Left’s discreditation efforts still have a lot of power, given that they now control our government. We should not forget that their efforts, tired though they may be, gained them control of the Executive and Legislative branches in 2008 (and will likely gain them control of the Judiciary shortly, as well)–I know personally some otherwise very intelligent and well-educated people who are under their sway, and who believe conservatives are an active and present threat. You probably do as well. The old, discredited memes may be old, but they have not been completely discredited. Their power may yet force us into being an underground movement. And while this is not the ’50s (although they hope for the ’60s, I think) there is still a fair bit of power in what they accomplished then–it has its place in the Narrative, and is daily cited as evidence from the past. All you have to do is look at the mileage they get from ancient racism. Racism may be effectively dead (although not gone–never quite gone), but they wield it yet as a tool. And it works in many precincts. I know I’m an old lady, but still, some things never change–and I’m damned well old enough to know that. If they did, we wouldn’t be facing a fight worthy of the name right now.

    I’m bothered by rumblings that these guys are planning measures that will seriously curtail, or shut down altogether, opposition media, including opposition internet sites (like Neo, whom we all treasure) and others. I’m seriously worried about that.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised to see–and in fact I predicted some months ago to a friend at work–that we will shortly see a version of the Reichstag fire to aid them in their efforts. Neo has lately posted about the Reichstag fire.

    Glenn Beck bothers me in some ways (not the least of which is the funk into which his facts sometimes put me), but I agree that he is invaluable as a teacher in these matters. The Left would love to succeed in discrediting him, and they never stop trying (THESE PEOPLE NEVER GIVE UP!). The MSM may be dying, but they have their feet in the door of attempting to gain rebirth through government funding, painting themselves to a sympathetic government–which, after all, controls the money–as an essential organ which may require stimulus and salvation.

    So–in what sense are they dying?

    Pfui.

    But there you are.

  34. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    jon, thanks I’ll check them out.

    SteveH, rickl,

    You’ve got a point, especially with the young. ‘Generational momentum’ in ‘pop culture media’ is definitely with the left. What we have going for us in that regard is two factors; the young are notoriously poor at voting (Obama’s election was historically atypical) and we’re in the right, we have all the virtues on our side while all they have is the distortion of “do it for the children! and that’s not fair! In time, the young get older and as they do, they naturally become more open to conservative ideas.

    So, powerful distortions, true but based as they are in false premises and promises, they can only survive as long as their advocates can practice the art of deceit. Which leads me to rickl’s category of communications, critical to maintaining that deceit and where they are steadily losing ground. The proof of that assertion is their declining ratings and in the rising ratings of FOX.

    Thus their desperation is revealed in their attempt at “The Fairness Doctrine” never lacking for chutzpah, the left set a new standard in sheer blatant gall with that one.

    In Education, liberals do currently control the playing field but cannot much longer, their day is done and the radicalism of academia will be increasingly exposed.

    No doubt a long bitter battle is before us but not only is the prize of freedom worth the struggle but reality itself supports our assertions and arguments.

  35. rickl Says:

    A lot of us who were active on the internet in 2004 remember “Rathergate”. Dan Rather and CBS News promulgated memos from the Texas Air National Guard that purported to show that President Bush’s service was less than honorable. This happened in September, less than two months before the election.

    Within a matter of hours, a commenter at Free Republic proved that they were forgeries by noting that he could recreate them precisely using Microsoft Word. That spread like wildfire on the internet and it seemed to many of us to signal the death knell of “Old Media”.

    But Old Media learned their lesson, and in 2008 they closed ranks behind Barack Hussein Obama. They promoted him relentlessly as the “cool” candidate and steadfastly refused to show even the slightest interest in his background. The conservative blogosphere was overwhelmed by sheer volume and repetition.

    The Old Media are far from dead, and they may in the near future become de facto government-run media, as they are propped up with taxpayer subsidies and the opposition is hamstrung by regulation.

    After 9/11/01, who in their wildest imagination thought that only eight years later we would have a President of the United States named “Hussein”? And yet it happened, thanks in great part to media propaganda.

  36. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    betsy,

    Yes, ‘progressives’ are still a force to be reckoned with and they will yet attempt more unconstitutional measures to shut us up but unless they overthrow the Constitution they cannot win that fight.

    Let’s keep the cart before the horse; the MSM are dying for lack of viewers and readers which is leading to a lack of revenue. MSNBC, arguably the most radical of networks has the worst ratings in viewership. The NYT, in the largest, richest city in the world, can’t hold its readers.

    Yet FOX’s ratings are off the charts.

    This is still a center-right country as its citizens self-define themselves. The Republicans joining the liberal narrative under Bush (whom I still esteem) and the necessity of the War on Terror with a media that unceasingly distorted that effort is what led to the Democrats seizing Congress and Obama’s victory.

    Now they seek to seize the ‘opportunity’ and force upon the American people a degree and type of ‘change’ that only the most radical on the left truly welcome.

    That is a formula for overwhelming political rejection and the Democrats own actions shall defeat them. All we can do is help them along, in their rush toward the political cliff ahead.

  37. rickl Says:

    Geoffrey: I missed your 10:10 comment while writing my 10:27. I’m a slow writer and typer. Comments like that take me awhile to compose.

  38. Tim P Says:

    Geoffrey,
    I have to say that your comment of 7:32 nails the dems strategy for 2010, 2012 and beyond. For discussion, I focus in on your statement that

    “Of course, a myriad of events could derail or throw a wild-card into the mix, such as terrorist attacks and/or an economic collapse that can’t be stopped.”

    I am becoming increasingly convinced that health care and all of the other issues discussed on this blog and elsewhere, though important, will be washed away by the coming financial meltdown that is coming.

    Witness the increasing reluctance of China and others to continue to finance our debt with treasury bond purchases. WItness our increasing monetization of our debt, which will lead to (IMHO) stagflation, where our money will become increasingly worthless and there will be high unemployment.
    The financial situation was grave under Bush, but our new crew of crooks and cronies has taken spending to heretofore unseen highs. The crisis will be bad for democrats AND republicans. One need only look at the history of government bailouts since 1970 to see that most were done under republican administrations.

    To wit;
    Penn Central Railroad, 1970 (Nixon), 3.2 billion

    Lockheed, 1971 (Nixon), 1.4 billion

    Franklin National Bank, 1974, (Nixon), 7.8 billion

    New York City, 1975, (Ford), 9.4 billion

    Chrysler, 1980, (Carter), 4.0 billion

    Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company, 1984, (Reagan), 9.5 billion

    Savings & Loan, 1989, (Reagan/Bush I), 293.3 billion

    Airline Industry, 2001, (Bush II), 18.6 billion

    Bear Stearns, 2008, (Bush II), 30 billion

    Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac, 2008, (Bush II), 400 billion

    American International Group (A.I.G.), 2008, Bush II), 180 billion

    Auto Industry, 2008, (Bush II), 25 billion

    Troubled Asset Relief Program, 2008, (Bush II), 700 billion

    Citigroup, 2008, (Bush II), 280 billion

    Bank of America, 2009, (Obama), 142.2 billion

    My point being that we ALL need to remember that the financial profligacy that has led us to where we are was a bi-partisan achievement. Obama is only the latest crook. Please remember that when voting.

    Yes Obama is more dangerous, I agree, but his dangerousness is largely due to the weakened condition that our county’s been left in by a long parade of crooks & cronies. (Much like a weakened host being susceptible to an opportunistic infection that it might have otherwise fought off.) We the public have been unconcerned until now, when the bill is coming due. I just hope it’s not too late.

  39. rickl Says:

    Tim P:

    You’re right. The corruption is and has been bipartisan.

    I recommend and have previously linked Karl Denninger’s excellent blog, The Market Ticker. It will be a treasure trove of information for future historians.

    From your comment, you may already be familiar with it. I linked it again for those who aren’t.

    I made a flippant comment at American Digest the other night about Civil War II and Great Depression II happening simultaneously. Though the tone of that comment was light, I wasn’t really joking. It was more like black humor.

  40. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    # Hong Says:
    March 27th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    ” … Once the Obamabots in Washington realize the revenue simply isn’t there to cover these healthcare costs they’ll either carry out a repeal/overhaul of their healthcare overhaul or raise taxes …”

    ================

    Caterpillar, AT&T and others have announced that Obamacare will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars. Waxman and Stupak have “invited” the CEO’s of those companies to testify before the Energy and Commerce Committee.

    The Obama Party has a 20-Year Plan, comrades; the Goals Will Be Met. If your Thieving Capitalist-Pig Corporation will not voluntarily make the sacrifices necessary to ensure fair treatment of the downtrodden masses, The State will find a way to PERSUADE you to do so. (Hugo Chavez is probably giving El Presidente Obama advice on the Red Phone as we speak.)

  41. Boots Says:

    I know people who don’t pay close attention to politics but who are reflexively liberal and even leftist. All of the musicians and entertainers they listen to continually keep reinforcing the message. “Fashionable thought” is exactly right.
    ————————————————

    Twenty-somethings get their news from Jon Stewart. That’s all we need to know……

  42. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    TimP,

    While I share your concerns, my gut tells me you’re greatly understating the amount of bailouts under Obama. While technically not a bailout, the stimulus bill was financial profligacy of the highest order. And the Health Care Reform bill is even worse.

    Plus, from the source you cited, ProPublica:

    “Latest Bailouts:
    $514 billion of taxpayer money has been allocated or promised to 834 companies and 13 programs.”

    By your count (which I suspect may be debatable) Bush II’s bailouts totaled 1.63 Trillion in 8 years,

    In 14 months Obama has indebted us as much as 3.7 Trillion dollars and I suspect he’s just getting started.

    I reject the assertion that Carter, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II were crooks, per se. Economically misguided, yes.

    A President can’t afford to act rashly, as his actions can and often do affect millions. Until the country supports changes that put the country on a sound financial footing, what would you have them do?

    Obama however, is a horse of a different color. There’s no way he doesn’t know what this will do to the country, in fact, I believe he’s doing it intentionally.

    I too am concerned that a financial collapse is looming and within a matter of years. Should it occur while Obama is in office, I’m fairly certain he’ll see that crisis “as an opportunity not to be wasted”.

  43. Tim P Says:

    Rickl,

    Great link, thanks for re-posting it.
    Here’s another disturbing chart.

    An ominous quote from the Market Tickler, but a scenario that I think is more likely every day is,
    “Worse, those consequences will not be simply political defeat, because the outcome will be the inability of The Federal Government to finance its operations. You’re free to extrapolate “what comes next”; I can assure you it will not simply be peaceful acquiescence by the roughly 100 million Americans who will suddenly find that the government tit has run dry – without warning.

    Again, I hope all remember this during the next election.

  44. rickl Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:
    If Tim P erred, it was in linking the bailouts with the party of the President in office at the time. As we all know, it is Congress that is mostly responsible for spending.

    I agree with you though: Obama is implementing the Cloward-Piven strategy on a national scale, aided and abetted by his fellow travelers in Congress.

    If the inevitable financial collapse occurs after Republican victories in 2010 and/or 2012, it will naturally be blamed on the Republicans. “But things weren’t this bad under Obama” the morons will say.

  45. rickl Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    March 28th, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Until the country supports changes that put the country on a sound financial footing, what would you have them do?

    And that’s the root of the problem. In a pure democracy (which is what we nearly are today), the majority of the voters will never support sound fiscal policies. They will always vote themselves more and more of other peoples’ money.

    The Founders understood this well, which is why they created a republic. They knew that democracy would inevitably lead to ruin, followed by tyranny.

    We are about to relearn that lesson in the most painful way possible.

  46. Tim P Says:

    Geoffry,
    Nice followup comment.
    It was not my intention to understate Obama’s bailouts.

    I fully agree that Obama will outstrip them all. I also agree that, “Obama however, is a horse of a different color. There’s no way he doesn’t know what this will do to the country, in fact, I believe he’s doing it intentionally.”

    As for your statement that ,“I reject the assertion that Carter, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II were crooks, per se. Economically misguided, yes.” Let me say this. While they were not crooks per se, I am sure they were and are honorable men, they like General Grant, presided over some of the greatest corruption ever seen. They were in office at the time, it happened on their watch, they can not be simply absolved. Enough said.

    You also said, “Until the country supports changes that put the country on a sound financial footing, what would you have them do?”
    I know it’s easy for us to sit back and Monday morning quarterback, that’s not my intention, but somebody somewhere should have had the courage to stop that bus. It would have been far easier then than now. (There were some who made warning cries.) Yes, it would have been political suicide and I would never expect that kind of courage out of a politician, but I would a true statesman. None of these men are up to that measure. We will now pay the price for their taking the easy option and kicking that problem down the road for those coming later to have to deal with.

    You also said, “By your count (which I suspect may be debatable) Bush II’s bailouts totaled 1.63 Trillion in 8 years” That’s not my count. Looking at the bailout dates, one can easily know who was in office at the time. Not much research is required.

    But never the less, I think that we agree on the major points, about the economy and about Obama.

    Finally, I also agree with your statement, “I too am concerned that a financial collapse is looming and within a matter of years. Should it occur while Obama is in office, I’m fairly certain he’ll see that crisis “as an opportunity not to be wasted”.
    Where we differ is that I suspect (again I hope I am wrong) the republicans would not be much different, except in specific methods. I doubt that they have learned any lesson and when (not if) they re-take the majority in 2010 and the White House in 2012, we will continue to see the likes of Bernanke, Geithner, et al. They know who their masters are and where their money comes from. We will continue to also see more corporate malfeasance being bailed out by taxpayers until there is no money left. What I suspect we won’t see will be meaningful reform and any semblance of fiscal responsibility.

  47. strcpy Says:

    One interesting thing I wonder if it has been learned – teaching someone a lesson by doing the opposite of what is in your best interest is generally a bad idea. The idea has been mostly dropped (and I do not mean to push it, but it does need at least mentioned), but I have to wonder what those that voted for Obama (or refused to vote) in a form of protest think about that action now?

    Or rather, if given it to do over again with this knowledge what would they do? Were I to have done that (I have always said – and still say – the primaries are *vital* if you want that message and candidate. Final elections get you what ever the primary voters wanted) I would say I made the best decision as I saw fit at the time and I’ll buy that – sometimes you have to touch the iron to know what “hot” means.

    Then again that idea has at its core the idea that we must fail in order to succeed and in some ways those people were correct. It *is* causing a backlash but I doubt most figured it would be this bad. As such I’m sure there are some thinking “Mission Accomplished” too.

    Further, I also have to note those conservatives that decided to try and game the system how they feel – that is instead of voting in their primary and getting an actual conservative they decided to try and get the person they saw easiest to defeat. Once again, only do so if you can control the outcome of *both*, in that case they couldn’t and the margins on everything were fairly slim. Maybe everything would have turned out the same, maybe not – hard to say how large this one was (I suspect large enough to make a difference).

    The real lesson here should be the real fight if you are after an ideal is in the primaries (if you are just a yellow dog dem or repub then they are irrelevant). I do not know yet how well this has been learned – we will have to see how the Tea Parties play out. I do find it amusing that many conservatives have woken up to the tactics of the left and are using them – it has changed the face of politics a great deal and time will be needed to see how it plays out.

  48. Tim P Says:

    In light of Obama’s impending Cloward-Piven financial melt-down, here’s a good link on the financial history of this nation.

  49. rickl Says:

    A good gauge of the desperation of our situation is constantly hearing “Republican” politicians prattling on about the virtues of “democracy”. I include GWB in that list.

    If Republicans are that historically illiterate, then there is no hope.

  50. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    You’ve been talking about the advantage that liberals seem to have in getting ideas ‘out there’ and making them stick.

    I’m still working on figuring out what the differences are between “liberal” and “conservative” views and assumptions. It seems to me that Liberals are attuned to Externals or Labels or Category: they focus on the “visible outside” of things (so they focus on groups and classifications — Race, The Poor; can we say they’re simplistic? they don’t seem to analyze much, to dig into details and underlying causes. Maybe that’s why Mr. Oooh-a-polished-surface got elected!) Liberals also seem to be really good at buzzwords and sound bites. However-it-happened that Sarah Palin came up with that “death panels” remark last year, it was JUST the sort of thing that resonates with liberals. Can we find ways to highlight MORE of their misguided efforts so succinctly?

  51. NeoConScum Says:

    Great points, all, N-N. The naked-shameless lying to achieve their goals has always been a hallmark of the ‘Hard’ Left. Obamalinsky and his craven bunch practice it consistently. Always with their ideological eyes on the next Prize. Think of it. He’s pulled off the monstrous, society changing, liberty diminishing Health-Shipwreck UNILATERALLY. Not one Republican aboard. And then boasts that it’s the ‘Will of the American People’. The MSM-Lapdawgs sit on the sidelines and cheer without questions or critiques. Sheep. (*However, even Pravda..errr…The NYTimes was questioning some things in the Health Ponzi by week’s end. BUT, IT’S TOO DAMNED LATE, YOU PRESS IDIOTS!*)

    Now, barely taking a break, the loathsome bunch is back to pushing for their next Big Goal: Cap & Trade..errr..Cap & Tax..errrr…Cap & Rape.

  52. jay Says:

    neo,

    what you think about the dismissal of David Frum from AEI Thursday?

  53. SteveH Says:

    A Nonny_Mouse says..”You’ve been talking about the advantage that liberals seem to have in getting ideas ‘out there’ and making them stick.”

    The reason they stick is because an immature person would rather hear a comfortable lie than a cold hard truth. We would have had a destuctive radical like Obama in office 50 years ago had the voting age been reduced to 7 years old. What child could be against sunshine and lolipops for everyone?

    This really is about the people, not the politicians. The question is how bad do things have to get to make these people grow up real fast?

  54. Jay Kaplan Says:

    I recall reading during the campaign an article about Obama (I think in a lengthy piece in the NYT. It talked about a conversation Obama had with a fellow community organizer about the time Obama decided to leave organizing and go to law school. Obama explained to his associate his decision: he could not accomplish his goals at the community level. The writer of the article really caught the moment so much so that I felt that I was right there with Obama and understood where he was going and why. What we are seeing now is both the “where” and the “why”.

  55. Artfldgr Says:

    but unless they overthrow the Constitution they cannot win that fight.

    if you want to protect something stop thinking of a fragile something as indestructible.

    your maginot line has already failed… so stop relying on the soundness of its construction. i can list about a dozen things that are completely unconstitutional.

    you dont get that they have already overthrown it, and left a skeleton remaining for you to focus on.

    but social security, czars, signing statements, progressive taxes, medicare, medicaid, health care bill, family court, kelo, abortion, affirmative action, govt officials not subject to same rules,social engineering, etc…

    all are unconstitutional in some way or have been made to operate along unconstitutional lines.

    if the constitution were a bucket it would barely hold water, so i don’t know why people keep referring to it as the lock on the land if its as unsound as cheesecloth.

    they know its gone, which is why they are acting on it as if there is only a image which cant be disturbed too much as one guts the building inside.

    this is why we dont wake up… because we are too busy judging by the perception of appearances, and so as long as the appearance is kept up, we prop up our perceptions and the whole can change around these fixated points.

    in this way, liberals went from john stuar mills, to alynski… a republic went to a democracy…

    remember its not the end that justifies the means, its the presumption of an end that justifies it to them.

    if the end is impossible, then all they have left is presumption of an end that is impossible and never obtainable. such goals, when held by a society become dystopian hells who have to convince people that they are really not in hell.

    this same mental trick allows individuals to create really horrible lives with their choices, and somehow convince themselves that such lives and choices are good and so not be able to change the circumstances of their lives.

    the best at obtaining power are not the best to govern, they are the worst to rule.

  56. Cappy Says:

    The problem isn’t revisiting Alinsky and Obama. The problem is that they are being visited upon us.

  57. J.L. Says:

    Speaking of “Rubbing raw the sores of discontent,” I recommend an article from the Weekly Standard called “Repeal: Why and How Obamacare Must be Undone.” It a lengthy article which can be found at this link:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/repeal

    It goes well into details of how catastrophic this gigantic bill (now law) will be, and how the Dems plans to use it to further government involvement in the health care system.


    . . . in order to gain 60 votes in the Senate last winter, the Democrats were forced to give up on that public insurer, while leaving the other components of their scheme in place. The result is not even a liberal approach to escalating costs but a ticking time bomb: a scheme that will build up pressure in our private insurance system while offering no escape. Rather than reform a system that everyone agrees is unsustainable, it will subsidize that system and compel participation in it—requiring all Americans to pay ever-growing premiums to insurance companies while doing essentially nothing about the underlying causes of those rising costs.

    Another quote:


    Indeed, many conservatives, for all their justified opposition to a government takeover of health care, have not yet quite seen the full extent to which this bill will exacerbate the cost problem. It is designed to push people into a system that will not exist—a health care bridge to nowhere—and so will cause premiums to rise and encourage significant dislocation and then will initiate a program of subsidies whose only real answer to the mounting costs of coverage will be to pay them with public dollars and so increase them further. It aims to spend a trillion dollars on subsidies to large insurance companies and the expansion of Medicaid, to micromanage the insurance industry in ways likely only to raise premiums further, to cut Medicare benefits without using the money to shore up the program or reduce the deficit, and to raise taxes on employment, investment, and medical research.

    The case for averting all of that could hardly be stronger. And the nature of the new law means that it must be undone—not trimmed at the edges. Once implemented fully, it would fairly quickly force a crisis that would require another significant reform. Liberals would seek to use that crisis, or the prospect of it, to move the system toward the approach they wanted in the first place: arguing that the only solution to the rising costs they have created is a public insurer they imagine could outlaw the economics of health care. A look at the fiscal collapse of the Medicare system should rid us of the notion that any such approach would work, but it remains the left’s preferred solution, and it is their only plausible next move—indeed, some Democrats led by Iowa senator Tom Harkin have already begun talking about adding a public insurance option to the plan next year.

    And lastly:


    That big step will not be easy to take. The Democratic party has invested its identity and its future in the fate of this new program, and Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress. That is why the conservative health care agenda must now also be an electoral agenda—an effort to refine, inform, and build on public opposition to the new program and to the broader trend toward larger and more intrusive, expensive, and fiscally reckless government in the age of Obama. Obamacare is the most prominent emblem of that larger trend, and its repeal must be at the center of the conservative case to voters in the coming two election cycles.

    I recommend the whole article.

  58. Steve G Says:

    Alinsky’s rules are intended ultimately to enable the revolutionary to wrest power from the elite. To write that presupposes that there are people who one can identify as revolutionaries and others as elites. But, by winning the presidency Obama has become the most powerful man in the world and the most elite of elites. Yet, he remains a revolutionary. Why. What is the game? Where is he leading us?

    So far we have had little nibbles of clues, from which (like Sherlock Holmes) we try to understand why the dog did not bark in the night. He is now ruining the economy and taking away our individual rights in the guise of health care reform. At the same time, by providing what is in essence an ultimatum to Israel to cede its sovereignty he is uniting the Arab world and giving notice that the USA will not step in if the Arabs decide to “solve” the Israeli problem on their own. Moreover, he has been doing nothing to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Nothing. And, once Iran has the nuclear bomb, it will control the middle east and its flow of oil.

    Step back and look at the situation Obama is creating. The middle east is on the verge of war. Israel has few options available to it, one of which is preemptive strikes not only against Iran but also against those Arab states that are lulled by Obama into trying to impose on Israel an unworkable two-state Palestinian solution. My only hope is that the Israelis are under no illusions as to the precarious situation Obama is creating for them and they are able to work out middle eastern alliances that benefit all of them.

    Is the end game nothing more than chaos and anarchy? If so, is this what Alinsky really had in mind? Are the Democrat followers of Obama really that stupid to follow him into a living hell? Does anyone have any countervailing opinion as to how this could work out well?

  59. Mr. Frank Says:

    A major factor in our predicament is the extension of the vote to 18 year olds which came out of the Viet Nam war. The fact that the drinking age has held at 21 or was raised to that in some states is evidence that young people aren’t trusted to make good decisions.

    Once an undergraduate student asked me why we didn’t give food stamps to everybody so food would be free.

  60. Artfldgr Says:

    George Kennan has quite a lot to say in his long telegram as to the psychology of such. interesting thing is that he is not the only one that points out that they worked so hard at acquiring power and working out the science of seizing it over time from others, that they expended no such energy on governance. they are very much like the dog that chases the car in which the infinite struggle with an unreachable goal would be best for them, not the actual acquisition of the power for once it is in hand, they dont actually know what to do with it. makes the differences between rulers in the past and their behaviors much more interesting as outcomes are not assumable and rulers vs governors do make differences.

  61. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    These words from SteveH ring so true with my experience of trying to get people around me to see what’s going on:

    The reason they stick is because an immature person would rather hear a comfortable lie than a cold hard truth.

  62. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    I hate to be all gloom and doom all of the time, but this is what I see.

    From what I have observed of our precarious economic situation and our advance into uncharted economic waters, thanks to the massive shove given by Obama & Co.’s gargantuan and utterly reckless spending and programs, I do believe that a cataclysmic financial meltdown is rapidly approaching—be it caused by deflation or hyperinflation—that will be the equal to and probably much, much worse than the Great Depression; a catastrophe that will conveniently (and by ineptitude and/or design) make us all much more dependent on government “help,” and also justify and usher in government repression to counter the resulting disruption and “violence,” real or made up.

    Just a few of the major signs all around us—persistent high unemployment (and not the official 9.7% but in reality more like 17.9 %, with many cities in the 12-20% unemployment range), falling house prices and an anemic housing market—and this means misery for all allied sectors—real estate, building trades, lumber, sheet rock, furniture, major appliances, paint, electrical wiring and fixtures, heating and cooling equipment, landscaping, trucking, etc., with 20-25% of all the mortgages in the U.S. now “underwater,” and many more private sector mortgages headed for foreclosure (some for the second time). There is also the underreported story that more than a $Trillion and a half dollars in commercial sector mortgages are sliding into foreclosure, too. The automotive sector is also hurting and this also means their suppliers of things like—electronic systems, auto parts, sheet metal, paint, auto upholstery, auto glass, tires, petroleum and chemicals, etc. are too.

    I also note all of the hard pressed former patrons who, because of high gas prices, are reducing local traveling, and also reducing trips to and spending at malls, strip shopping centers and downtown shopping areas all over our country; I expect spending for necessities like food is also contracting, and the shedding of secondary expenditures for recreation and other non necessities. I note our generally depressed and sluggish economy (except perhaps for the guns and ammunition and survivalist equipment sectors), and also the often ignored contraction of the U.S. travel and tourism sector due to unemployment and high gas and airline prices, a sector that is one of the major income generators for all areas of the U.S.

    I note Obama & Co.’s various Nationalizations—Health Care (tell me, how do you dump 30 million new customers into a system without a corresponding increase in medical personnel or facilities and equipment, and expect prices to go down and the availability and quality of service to go up?), the Insurance Industry, the Auto Industry, Banks and Financial Institutions, the Student loan Industry. I note the devastating costs of Obamacare for U.S. big businesses, just starting to be reported this week—for Caterpillar Tractor and John Deere an estimated $100 million each in extra annual costs for health care, and for AT&T an estimated one billion more a year.

    I note the news that Social Security has gone into deficit this month–ten years earlier than had been predicted (with Medicare and Medicaid to follow shortly thereafter).

    I note our artificially low interest rates, a weakening U.S. dollar, our vastly expanded monetary base, and the government’s policy of “ monetarizing the debt” i.e. the Treasury issues debt instruments–T bonds and bills–which the usual buyers (other countries like China, Japan and Russia, and private individuals) are increasingly not buying because of their low interest rates, and the Fed quietly buys them and electronically transfers cash to the Treasury, inflating the money supply—a government policy that has always led to hyperinflation in the past—see Zimbabwe, see Weimar Germany–and the predictions by bond rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, that they will have to downgrade the formerly rock solid AAA rating of our U.S. Treasury bills and bonds if trends continue, etc. etc.

    Cloward-Piven, indeed.

  63. NeoConScum Says:

    I didn’t know until the jay 6:13am comment and link that David Frum was out at AEI. He’s seemed, more & more in recent years, to have become a David Brooks clone. A scold and a beltway snob. Not the same man who published,”The Right Man”, in 2003 on the early Bush presidency and the war foisted upon us on 9-11. Good, stand-up stuff.

    I hope I’m wrong, but it would not surprise me to see him move further toward Lib-Lefties.

    AEI: Good on you Neocons !

  64. Tim P Says:

    Wolla Dalbo,

    Interesting comment. The impending economic meltdown (and its consequences) has been much on my mind too of late.

    One aspect that you didn’t mention, nor did I in earlier comments regards housing. During the collapse of the USSR in the early 90′s, the majority of the populace did not loose their housing. Why? Because housing was publicly owned. (Visualize those multi-story drab gray concrete socialist monstrosities.) Though there were few jobs and many of the jobs weren’t able to pay employees much if anything at all, people did not loose their apartments.

    Contrast that to the conditions here. Most of the residential property is privately owned, by banks and other financial institutions. In a severe economic downturn, how does one continue to make payments when they have no job? Will we be looking at massive foreclosures?

    I predict that many of those same stupid asses who disregarded the future day of reckoning and signed up for ARM’s (adjustable rate mortgages) for homes whose cost was way beyond their means. Those same stupid asses who live from one credit card cycle to the next. They will be the same ones clamoring the loudest for government help. As will the home-builders who over-built, the lending institutions who over-lent, the speculators who thought they could continue to flip properties for as long as they wanted to.

    And the government will rush in to help them, further distorting the economy and its underlying fundamentals. Never mind that the government played a large part in creating this problem. (Remember Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, Barney Frank? Can you hear me?) The state run media will portray the democrats as helping the poor victims of those greedy lenders. Much as another fix helps an addict stem withdrawal.

    This scenario is and will be played out time and again. The government will institute single payer health care to thwart those greedy insurance companies. The government will bring mortgage relief from those greedy lenders. Wage and price controls will be instituted to stem those outrageous bonuses for those greedy corporate CEO’s, etc, ad nauseum. Unemployment insurance will be extended to provide relief from those greedy Kulaks, er I mean employers. The main greed though will be government’s desire to accumulate and maintain ever more power. No one in the media will talk about that though.

    Those who oppose this march of the expansion of the government will be publicly reviled, de-humanized by our state run corporate media. We are seeing it already with Palin, the Tea Party, Conservatives, etc.
    This is just the warm up. The run up to this election in November will see an increase, bet on it. And the run up to the election in 2012 will see it rise to a thundering crescendo. If the cause is lost, so is this country as we have known it.

    You need not be reminded of what comes after the media has turned public opinion against you and you are now ‘the eternal Jew’ (produced and directed I’m sure by Michael Moore). No camps, not yet. The population hasn’t been softened up enough. Gulags may be 20 to thirty years down the road. Think it’s far fetched feverish non-sense? Read about those Germans who ‘thought they were free.’ Read Lolita in Tehran. Read Jacobo Timerman’s prisoner without a name, Cell without a number or the testaments of Russians who were present at the formation of the USSR. Ask any Argentine or Chilean who was there in the 70′s how improbable such horror seemed at the time.
    If you think I’m feverish, read, if you can find it, Obama’s protege’s book ‘Prairie Fire.’ Written by Bill Ayers.

    The battle is about more than health care. It’s about whether people are free and have the inalienable rights to self determination mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, or whether a class of elites who run the government tell us what is best for us and allow us only the prescribed freedoms within their imposed constraints. That’s the real fight. I hope we are up to it.

    Sorry about the ramble. Just airing some thoughts on a Sunday morning.

  65. Tim P Says:

    Sorry for the bad link to The Eternal Jew.
    Here it is.

  66. Occam's Beard Says:

    Great post and comments, all.

    To follow up on this:

    Once an undergraduate student asked me why we didn’t give food stamps to everybody so food would be free.

    I once had an undergrad passionately (and somewhat sanctimoniously) tell me that we should “end poverty” by giving everyone a 20% pay raise.

    The econ department is that-a-way, Bucky.

  67. TIm P Says:

    From Instapundit, I have to agree, the timing does seem conveeeenient.

    raids

  68. rickl Says:

    I want to quote a comment I just found at the Belmont Club post A Whole New World. It’s an Artfldgr-length comment, but I urge you to read the whole thing. I found it utterly fascinating, and I also think Art would approve. Its themes fit in nicely with the current topic.

    53. bartok:
    I too had my doubts about Obama. Now I’m sure the guy is no amateur and he’s playing for keeps. The point is: what is his game? And his endgame?

    Seems clear now that those who are usually considered America’s enemies are not his and his group’s enemies. Why, if there’s a single grain of truth in the story that has been told about the recently deceased Senator Kennedy, the story that he had actively looked for an alliance with the Soviets against Reagan, I don’t think such a thought would be entirely alien in the current White House.

    The one thing we can be sure about this pres and his people is that they love power and that their own good comes before anybody else’s, that meaning the whole of the country they govern. What if they concluded that they have a better chance of keeping power in a weak America than in a strong one? What if they bet on the possibility of being only one major international crisis away from much more and more durable power? Would they, for the country’s sake, opt for a stronger country in the hand of another group?

    Americans have been lucky until now in that they have been having administrations that, however good or bad they were, used to be rather patriotic, even if just after their own particular way. Thus Americans have been spoiled: they forgot that there are governments, even democratically elected governments, that may consciously work against the common good of the Republic.

    One thing that kept even such mediocre presidents as Carter relatively patriotic while in power was the weight of the tradition, their respect for at least part of the country’s history, a history they wanted to belong to, and even the vanity of being the president of the strongest country on Earth. Thus, there used to be at least some identity between president, country and people.

    But, what if the current government thinks differently? What if someone like Obama doesn’t have the least empathy for the US and the Americans, only for himself and his group, and couldn’t care less about the country singularity, its role in the world and so on? This president was obviously elected by the people (and the media etc.), but does he even want to represent the people? And, if not, whom does he actually represent? Maybe a new class, a kind of transnational state bourgeoisie?

    Let’s take this last hypothesis and, from it, try to infer how would he be acting. Or, instead of passing judgment on his supposed failures and mistakes, we, taking as granted that all his acts (and omissions) were cleverly intentional (and I mean even his passing an appearance of weakness when losing something absolutely irrelevant like Chicago’s Olympic bid) could try to reverse engineer his so to say master-plan. For instance: Obama seemed weak vis-à-vis Israel for some time, he allowed people to think he had been outsmarted by Netanyahu. But was he? What if his last year’s apparent weakness was actually a trap? What if he doesn’t even want to just weaken Israel in order to impose a bad solution (from the Israeli point of view) on the conflict – I mean: if he actually wanted to get rid of Israel once and for all, how would he act? How would he be behaving if he weren’t even pro-Palestinian, meaning he couldn’t care less about the Palestinians, but actually looking for a way to fulfill Iran’s deepest wishes? Why allow the Palestinians or Arabs to destroy the Jewish State if he can do it all by himself, alone, and thus actually become the world’s greatest living hero? If he feels able to impose a health-care solution against the will of most Americans, why would he behave differently in the international arena?

    I’m afraid this can be done. And getting rid of “embarrassing” (no more) allies like Taiwan or South Korea can also be done – before the next mid-term elections. On the one hand, if he has already got to the conclusion that health-care will cost him one or both houses, now he has nothing left to lose and is free to do whatever is in his immediate power. On the other hand he may already have a very good plan to win on November. What would this plan be? It has just been proven that he has enough power to bribe, buy or bully the Democrats. Why shouldn’t he be able to do the same with many Republicans. Obama is, unlike most of those who oppose him, a guy perfectly able to think –maybe brilliantly—out of the box. Even most of those who disliked him from the start thought that, though he started campaigning from the left, he, like Bill Clinton, would eventually be forced to govern from the center. He is proving before our very eyes that he can govern from a position to the left even of that he started his campaign from. This man is no Clinton, he is in a hurry, but he knows how to ouwait his rivals. He is probably the cleverest guy in the White House since Reagan, maybe even cleverer than him. Take a look at his curve or trajectory: from nobody to state politician, to the US Senate to the White House before his 50s. What’s next? Where does the curve point to?

    Just one more thing. Ever since he got into the White House, I felt clearly that a huge power vacuum was being created in the world. But this goes beyond that. He has already been the beneficiary of a power vacuum created in the very core of American politics. He is its creature and, understanding this, he is spreading the vacuum that propelled him into power. Chaos, disorder and instability are his medium, and he thrives by propagating them. He has a very good card that, if he plays skillfully, may win him the next elections: a huge international crisis which will make most Americans (because they’re patriotic) to rally around anyone who happens to be their leader. I don’t think this is a matter of if, but of when – a question of good timing. Just consider that he just started fuelling the biggest international crisis of his presidency when he was already sure of the approval of Obamacare, I mean: he made the beginning of the international crisis coincide with the temporary end of the national one. He is not playing to the rhythm of politics as usual, but all his adversaries are.

    Could Obama really be trying to pull a Cloward-Piven on a global scale?

    I have in the past made remarks similar to the bolded section, but not nearly so well as “bartok”. It would certainly be in Obama’s interest to create a crisis of such magnitude and danger that it would practically force the American people to rally behind him.

  69. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I’m in agreement with much of the above. Gasp! even a bit of Artfldgr’s reasoning…in that I’ve never doubted the design’s of the left, only their ability to pull it off here in the US.

    SteveG asks where is Obama leading us? I’ve been puzzled too but as we progress further down the road, the fog of calculated misdirection is lifting a bit.

    Given the financial situation and that Obama has to know what these maneuvers and machinations will in time, lead to I perceive Obama following a two-pronged strategy;
    1) he and his ‘minions’ successfully take us, over the next 7 yrs into a full-fledged, euro-style secular socialist society. With a VAT tax, cap & trade, Amnesty for illegals, etc.,etc. Which is of course the liberal dream.
    2) A massive economic collapse occurs (may be just a year or two away), as the result of the factors previously discussed and in the resultant chaos, with millions of suddenly destitute Americans, Obama responds to calls for order and the relief of the destitute by declaring a ‘national state of emergency’ and imposing Martial Law.

    It being unavoidably necessary for public order, especially with the value of money having collapsed and even necessary to ensure the basic survival of many members of the public. Which no one would be able to credibly deny.

    Should this happen, this leaves but one conclusion, with but one of two possible outcomes for Obama; since he is intentionally engineering a now mathematically unavoidable economic collapse and, will then have to declare Martial Law… after it is imposed, he either plans to unconstitutionally and thus illegally seize power (Artfldgr’s scenario) or, I believe more plausibly, uses the declared state of emergency and Martial Law to attempt to impose a new Marxist/Socialist model of government upon the US.

    Blatantly seizing power is highly unlikely for it would be doomed to failure. No one who knows the military, as presently constructed, could accept that they would ever collectively agree to enable and support any President illegally seizing and holding on to power.

    So unless Obama is concealing delusional aspirations of a Chavez-like, permanent ‘Presidential appointment’ in a new Marxist Amerika, that is a path he will not follow.

    Much more likely is the scenario of Obama using Martial Law to implement ‘reforms’ greatly exceeding anything he has previously accomplished; turning the US, incrementally but as quickly as circumstance permits, into a Marxist/Socialist State with truly transformational changes imposed upon us; like the nationalization of all major and publicly held businesses, followed by seizure of all of the property and assets of the ‘uber’ rich*, with mobilization of the National Guard during the declared emergency (to ensure order), restrictions upon the media (FOX, etc.) suspension of habeas corpus and ‘if’ necessary, even the ‘temporary’ imprisonment of political ‘agitators’, etc., etc.

    Basically, he’ll do whatever it takes to secure enough power, long enough, to achieve his ends.

    That’s where he’s leading us SteveG, it just about has to be because no other explanation fits his behavior, the situation and his history, beliefs and narcissistic/ sociopathic psychological personality.

  70. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    rickl,

    An international incident such as Iran seizing the Strait of Hormuz would not fulfill the conditions necessary for Obama to seize power. Nothing less than a nuclear terrorist attack upon a major US city would fulfill those conditions. My own estimate, as an interested, semi-knowledgeable amateur is that terrorist groups are still perhaps a decade away from that capability.

    Where bartok’s scenario breaks down is in portraying Obama as able to personally destroy Israel using the power of the Presidency. That’s not going to happen under any possible circumstance. The House’s recent vote of 327 in favor of Israel demonstrates the support Israel retains in the US.

    An economic collapse, far more certain as it is mathematically unavoidable, if we continue on our present course and especially as it may indeed already be too late, does fulfill the conditions that would allow Obama to fully implement the Cloward-Pliven strategy. At present, all that prevents Obama from going so now is that the requisite crisis has yet to emerge.

  71. br549 Says:

    gs, he’s still an idiot.

    You know, I have heard more than once and for quite some time, there are many who felt Bush (W) is a Christian Socialist.

  72. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Let’s not forget that Obama revealed his preference for left wing dictatorship over democracy in his efforts destroy democracy in Honduras and his continued preference for Floyd Wilson, his pro-Chavez FCC czar, the one who endorsed Chavez takeover of the media. There cannot be any debate that these happened nor of their meaning, yet they are forgotten by the public.

  73. S.Graham Says:

    This is the same tactic used by the unions.Stir up trouble,make an employee feel he isn’t happy,make managers the target and attack.

  74. br549 Says:

    Be patient, artfldgr. You will yet be vindicated.

  75. rickl Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:
    I’m not really envisioning Obama seizing power–at least not all at once. Rather, I can see him using an economic crisis along with ratcheting international tensions to foment enough fear to pull the wavering moderates and independents back into his camp, and win re-election. I think that’s what bartok was driving at. Needless to say, the media will aid him by stoking fear as fast as they can shovel.

    If he wins a second term, that’s when the mask and the gloves will come off. By that time he will have staffed the courts and the regulatory agencies with enough Progressives to ensure he will be able to do pretty much anything he wants to.

    Hugo Chavez seems to be the model here. He has slowly and methodically built up his power over time, rather than seizing it all at once, as Castro did.

  76. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “there are many who felt Bush (W) is a Christian Socialist.”
    “Be patient, artfldgr. You will yet be vindicated.”
    br549

    Bush is a conservative who has bought into ‘the narrative’ see: Can Republicans Govern? just as are most RINO’s and McCain, though McCain does have a bit of the maverick in him.

    God help us all if Artfldgr is fully vindicated. It will be civil war and/or 1984.

  77. rickl Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    March 28th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    God help us all if Artfldgr is fully vindicated. It will be civil war and/or 1984.

    Really. Most likely the latter.

  78. Tatyana Says:

    For sanity sake I tried very hard to find flaws with your logic, WD, *rickl, Geoffrey Britain and especially TimP – and I can’t find any.

    I don’t see an exit from this.

    In Russia in the 90s people were paid by barter – money were completely devalued – and nobody except criminals could find a job. Scientists went to work as construction hands, doctors – as janitors and programmers were selling produce on impromptu farmers’ markets. That’s when Turkey invented a new slang word for “prostitute” – Natasha.

    So, it is happening again. Here.

  79. Maggie's Farm Says:

    “Rubbing the sores raw” worked for me…

    Alinsky on rubbing raw the sores of discontent.
    It has already worked: I am entirely sore about Alinsky and his minions. As I always ask, "What sane human would want State power over a fellow citizen?"…

  80. Baklava Says:

    Neo,

    Off topic – the new McCarthism

    http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/03/29/the-new-mccarthyism-is-waxmania-silencing-the-capitalists/

    excerpt: Congressman Henry Waxman intends to haul before Congress corporations that have told their employees to expect increased health care costs because of Obamacare.

  81. Baklava Says:

    Yes, I call this tyranny. http://sistertoldjah.com/archives/2010/03/29/more-fallout-from-the-passage-of-obamacare/

  82. Knucklehead Says:

    “Twenty-somethings get their news from Jon Stewart. That’s all we need to know……”

    This is true for ages way beyond 20-somethings. We have long since lost track of when those of us beyond a “certain age” were expected to bring experience and common sense to bear. In this sad era we are supposed to remain in touch with the trendiness of youth, apparently, forever.

    I know plenty of fifty-somethings (and many points between there and twenty-somethings) who take what they believe is edgy and accurate political points from Stewart’s Daley Show and the Colbert Report.

    It doesn’t seem to occur to them that this isn’t about comedy – it is painfully serious business.

  83. Artfldgr Says:

    Be patient, artfldgr. You will yet be vindicated.

    I dont want to be vindicated, i want to be wrong… and i want a future where we can look back and say “remember that crazy time back when”…

  84. neo-neocon Says:

    Yes, Artfldgr—this would be a case in which there’s no joy in saying “I told you so.” The best that could happen would be if it all ends up being just a warning of how vigilant we need to be, and that people don’t forget the lesson.

  85. Artfldgr Says:

    Personally i would be happy with a VERY near miss that causes people to wake up for another 100 years.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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