Obamacare forces even true believers to assess Obama. Will we learn, & do better in 2016?

Summary:  We laughed at President Carter, and suffered under his serial mistakes. Now we elected yet another President with remarkably little experience (less than Carter), and watch with astonishment the results. Since we’re Americans, we point a finger at anyone but the man in the mirror.

Perception: Obama-Kennedy

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“… I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above above the world, he’s sort of God.”
— Evan Thomas (Editor-at-large of Newsweek), interview by Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball” (source here)

As we close Obama’s 5th year, let’s review his accomplishments.

  • A surge in Afghanistan followed by humiliating withdrawal.
  • An ever-widening war, waged without Congressional authorization, probably against the laws of war, killing an ever-lengthening toll of innocents.
  • Destruction of civil liberties on an unprecedented scale.
  • Institutionalized the Bush tax cuts, wrecking the government’s solvency and increasing income inequality.
  • He wasted the opportunity offered by the crash to institute desperately needed reforms and rebuild America’s decaying infrastructure.
  • And now his signature accomplishment has been proven — as so many people said — a complex and poorly executed mess.

Now of this should surprise us. I wrote this in February 2008 at the beginning of the Obama-as-savior craze. What matters more than Obama’s deeds and misdeeds, but the degree to which we learn from this experience. Will we choose more competent Presidents in the future, or continue to choose based on expensively crafted media facades?

As these problems reach critical dimensions and our economy sinks into what is (at best) a severe recession, our national leadership will likely move into the hands of someone with astonishingly little capacity to govern.  Barack Obama has amazing rhetorical gifts and the potential for greatness, but becomes President with his skills immature, his vision on major questions of public policy unformed, and no executive experience.

His brief career and campaign of empty rhetoric — appealing to the best of America’s history and aspirations — tell us little about the course he will chart for America, or how he will respond to the terrible choices that lie in our future.  He provides a frame into which his followers project their dreams — a virtual reality candidate.  (Candidates’ white papers, like party platforms, have historically proved poor guides to their actions)

This is our failing, not his.  High office in America goes to those with both drive and hunger for fame and power.  That Obama goes along with our childlike dreams says much about us, but nothing bad about him.

This election might result in weak leadership for our national government during tough times, unless he grows in office (which would be wonderful, but not something we can rely upon). As these problems reach critical dimensions and our economy sinks into what is (at best) a severe recession, our national leadership will likely move into the hands of someone with astonishingly little capacity to govern. Barack Obama has amazing rhetorical gifts and the potential for greatness, but becomes President with his skills immature, his vision on major questions of public policy unformed, and no executive experience.

When I wrote this America was dazed by the wonderfulness of Obama, excitedly watching Obama Girl. We are now five years older. As you watch Obama Girl below, ask if we are wiser after this experience?

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President Obama

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“I would say he {Obama} is probably the smartest guy ever to become President.”
— Historian Michael Beschloss (Wikipedia) interviewed by Don Imus on his radio show, 10 November 2008 (source here)

For More Information

(a)  Liberals turn on Obama. Feel the rage.

Posts at Corrente (all Left, all the time) about ObamaCare; here are 2 examples, well-worth reading:

(b)  See these FM Reference Pages:

(c)  Posts about Candidate Obama:

  1. Is Obama running for the office of Chief Shaman?, 6 June 2008 — Weirdness from Obama
  2. Obama describes the first step to America’s renewal, 8 August 2008 — Obama’s statement about America may be the simple truth; this may be why so many find it disturbing.
  3. America gets ready for new leadership (or is it back to the future?), 14 November 2008
  4. About Obama’s coronation – wisdom from Fred, 23 January 2009

(d)  Posts about President Obama:

  1. Stand by for the Obama implosion, 9 December 2009
  2. Stratfor looks at Obama’s foreign policy, sees Bush’s foreign policy, 30 August 2009
  3. Obama, a disciple of Reagan’s foreign policy, 12 June 2010
  4. How Obama failed in the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the most common indictments of him are wrong, and overlook his biggest errors., 22 June 2010
  5. Obama scores again against the Constitution. The Tea Party is right about the battle, but AWOL., 28 September 2010
  6. With a stroke of his pen President Hope and Change erased much of America, 20 March 2012
  7. The real Obama revealed, at last!, 8 January 2013
  8. Obama repeals Magna Carta, asserting powers our forefathers denied to Kings, 7 February 2013
  9. Obama + assassination + drones = a dark future for America, 1 August 2013

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68 thoughts on “Obamacare forces even true believers to assess Obama. Will we learn, & do better in 2016?

  1. This is really an idiotic article. You should be embarrassed. The same could be said about George Bush and many other Presidents. You are saying the kinds of ignorant snarky borderline racist crap as tea partiers. I do t like a lot if things Obama has done but you are essentially calling him “boy” and don’t seem to realize it.

    1. Darwin,

      “but you are essentially calling him “boy” and don’t seem to realize it.”

      That would be a rational and useful statement if you provided the slightest shred of evidence or explanation. As it is, your comment has no more weight than the antics of ObamaGirl.

      Calling “racist” any criticism of Obama not only poisons the debate, but degrades the term — leaching it of any meaning. Racists love people like you, who immunize them from the accusation of racism by converting it into a meaningless epithet.

  2. Wow – showing your true colors apparently. Carter was a fine president btw – study a little history. The problem in this country are the idiots people vote into Congress. If Bush Jr is your idea of competent ( which I assume since you only singled out Presidents Obama and Carter as being incompetent boobs) I fear for your both your intelligence and your sanity.

    1. Mary,

      Define “fine”. As for the rest of your comment, you have either not read much on this website — or did not understand what you read.

      Bush Jr was a competent president in the only sense that matters in history. He, more than anyone else, laid the foundations of the New America, on the ruins of the the America-that-once-was.

      He used the opportunity created by 9-11 as a Obama failed to use the crash.

      The result is a decisive break with the past, perhaps on the same scale or larger than under Lincoln or FDR.

      I find the result horrific, and wonder if it’s reversible.

    2. Actually, Mary did make a good point when she mentioned that as long as Americans insist on blaming the federal government for the mess we’re in (instead of blaming themselves for putting these people into office), they really ought to be laying it on the shoulders of those who more accurately carry the lion’s share of responsibility — i.e., Congress.

      The Founders intended the Legislative branch of our government — not the Executive branch — to be the primary body charged with the creation of policy. The President can encourage legislation and promote policy, but the Congresscritters are really the ones who bear the onus of success or failure regarding the passage of measures which determine the direction in which this country moves. The President’s primary responsibility with regard to policy is to serve as the check on Congress through the power of veto in order to prevent the passage of legislation which he or she considers inappropriate and/or overreaching.

      It’s sadly ironic that a significant percentage of Americans evidently don’t understand this — especially given the fact that the elections for President are only held every four years while the elections for Congress are held every two years.

    3. Bluestocking,

      “instead of blaming themselves for putting these people into office), they really ought to be laying it on the shoulders of those who more accurately carry the lion’s share of responsibility — i.e., Congress. ”

      Yes, how sad that we elect elect elect these people whose actions do not measure up to our standards. Who do not reflect our wonderfulness.

      As for “instead of blaming ourselves” — you need not worry. We don’t. I do. Perhaps someone else does. Other than that America holds firm to its new national anthem “it’s not my fault.”

    4. With all due respect, FM, I think you either misunderstood me or took me out of context.

      The point I was trying to make is that not only have Americans failed to realize that they’re every bit as much to blame for the mess we’re in as the politicians are — the politicians still deserve a share as well, since nobody forced them to become corrupt — they’ve failed to realize that the person whom they’re blaming within the government for all the policy problems in this country (namely, the President) is not even the one who’s responsible for creating those policies.

      They keep doggedly convincing themselves (with the encouragement of the media, unfortunately) that an election held every four years is somehow infinitely more important to this country — assuming that they ever bother to vote at all — than one held every two years even though the people chosen in the two-year election are actually the ones with the greater power to shape policy.

      It’s a bit like blaming the dental technician for any pain that you feel when you need to have a cavity filled…the technician is an important participant in the procedure, yes, but the responsibility for the pain primarily belongs to you for failing to take care of your teeth and to the dentist who’s responsible for wielding the drill and administering the Novocaine which is supposed to help diminish or prevent pain.

    5. Bluestocking,

      I usually reply to quotes. So the context might be misunderstood, although the words are clear.

      I would be interested to see some evidence supporting your theory. The polls I have seen suggest broad decrease in confidence with our political system, except for the military and police (which does nothing for my confidence).

      The president as well as Congress.

      I see less than no evidence suggesting that many people look at themselves as the weak link in the system. Or have any interest in doing more than increasing their whining.

      The American idea of politics is discriminating diners seeking a restaurant worthy of them.

    6. To be clear: a partisan political viewpoint (of whatever type) that is fundamentally dishonest reveal its dysfunctional tendencies by demonizing critics.

      It reveals its deep weakness by demonizing critics. FM is simply pointing out that partisan politics is dysfunctional at a deeper level than is obvious to those mired in the typical establishment-liberal groupthink.

      This follows on FM’s post a week or so ago about the inability of both major political parties in the USA to engage in deep self-examination.

      As an independent (anarcho-libertarian), I supported Obama early on, after his “there are no red states or blue states, only the united states” speech in which he appeared to be advocating for a trans-partisan paradigm shift.

      I was somewhat alarmed at his lack of experience when he was put into the Presidency, presumably by Wall St. plutocrats, as a replacement for Hillary since there was fear that she would be embroiled in endless scandals since Bill had still not learned to keep his zipper up.

      This issue clearly shows that the Left/Liberal/Progressive faction is feeble, and will engage in any sort of silly polemics necessary to hold its “identity politics” tribalism together, NO MATTER HOW DYSFUNCTIONAL OR INCOMPETENT.

      fyi: I saw senior liberal journalist Mark Shields on PBS (US Public TV) in two different shows this weekend openly lamenting Obama’s incompetence. On both shows, Shields stated that Obama’s incompetence is probably going to result in the “death of liberalism” in the USA.

      The fact is that the liberal-democratic party establishment has created a fiasco that will make it difficult to continue get support for reforms. That underlying problem is that the Democratic party got in bed with corporate plutocrats in order to stay in power. This is the consequence of selling out your principles.

  3. Given the ascent of the national security state and the erosion of the Bill of Rights, we’d better keep electing weak presidents. Until and unless we manage turn those things around, a strong leader would be very, very dangerous.

    1. Americans might seek a strong leader, FM…but personally, I very much doubt that most of them truly desire and are prepared for what would most likely result. While this may be the product of a conscious choice on their part (as your statement appears to suggest), this is only because — at least from where I’m standing, according to my experience and observations — they lack the ability to think clearly and look far enough ahead to recognize what the consequences of this decision would really be. They might say that they want a strong leader, but what they really want is a kind of personal bodyguard who strongarms everyone except them…but as people throughout history have learned to their detriment time and time again, there ain’t no such animal because this is not how strong leaders work. Far more often than not, strong leaders are utimately out for themselves alone (no matter what they might say) and they don’t much care who they have to deceive or exploit or run over in order to get what they’re after. Once they’ve achieved their ambitions, plenty of strong leaders have turned on the very same individuals and/or groups who helped put them in power.

      The search for a strong leader is coming uncomfortably close to one of those old-fashioned slapstick sketches in which a laughing baby crawls through a dangerous situation (such as a construction site) in single-minded pursuit of a goal while remaining blissfully ignorant both of the repeated risks to its safety and the pursuit of its frantic caregiver who’s painfully injured again and again as a result of his or her efforts to save the precious darling from grievous bodily harm. Americans have increasingly become a nation of infantilized people who want what they want when and how and where they want it, with little or no thought for the probable consequences to themselves or anyone else. (Perhaps this is one of the reasons why we seem to want the kind of leader we say we want — this is actually the kind of person Americans can most easily relate to because this is what they themselves have become.) The only reason I can fathom to explain the reason why Americans want a strong leader is because — like the frogs in the old Aesop fable who wanted a king — they haven’t got the first clue what they’re really asking for and will be profoundly sorry when they get it (but it will be a little too late to do anything about it by then).

    2. Bluestocking,

      “Americans might seek a strong leader, FM…but personally, I very much doubt that most of them truly desire and are prepared for what would most likely result.”

      I agree. My comment was narrower in scope than yours. I suspect (who can know such things?) that the American people seek a strong leader, to relieve them of the burden — work and responsibility — of self-government. That’s what we want, and I suspect we will get it.

      Will we like the consequences? Probably not, but nobody cares what sheep think.

    3. Especially after recently downloading and listening to a 2013 BBC Radio dramatization of “Animal Farm” (a book which has served as an underpinning of my political philosophy for a very long time), I fear that you are very probably right.

  4. Yep, if you disagree with Obama you are either 1. crazy, 2. stupid or certainly 3. a racist. /sarcasm off

    The US hasn’t had too many good presidents over the past few decades. The good presidents are really “right for the times”. Obama clearly isn’t.

    Probably the president who presided over the most damage recently was Clinton. He planted all the time bombs (and didn’t defuse any left for him, which he could have….by the way with the glad help of the Republicans). Then Bush couldn’t figure out how not to step on the land mines (by the way with the help of the Democrats.)

    If you get a hangover do you say you had a good night prior to that? Clinton left a gigantic hangover for the economy. Believe it or not.

    1. Wkeview,

      Much depends on one sees these things. I agree with this …

      “The US hasn’t had too many good presidents over the past few decades. ”

      … but would rephrase it as “we have not chosen good presidents over the past few decades.”

  5. “Will we choose more competent Presidents in the future, or continue to choose based on expensively crafted media facades?”

    Okay, I’ll bite. Really, I’m trying to remember, when the Presidential primary election in California really mattered. With a little Googling I tracked it down how the last election went. This is typical of what it’s like voting in California. Of course Obama was getting his nomination, so the only chance to bring in someone new was on the Republican side. Romney was already the presumptive nominee on April 24th and he locked in the nomination on May 29th. However, the California primary election was on June 5th. No one here had cast a single ballot, and it was already over. I voted for Ron Paul — but really, ultimately there was no point. It had already been decided — and if someone had asked me is there really a point to voting in that election for President, I’d be hard pressed to give a reason — other than to put a make some kind of symbolic point, you know. In the end few remember now who came in second or third in that election.

    The consequence of this is that mainly California is place to raise money. As far as the actual voting, the Presidential primary elections are often kind of a non-event here. There’s no advertising and not much discussion — just a lot of news on TV about all the exitement in Iowa or New Hampshire. Really, I think I have some political geekiness in my history, and I should care, but in the end, it is very easy to get cynical about our vote that rarely ever seems to actually matter all that much.

    1. Cathryn,

      You raise an important point about the broader context. The US election system has degraded so that it no longer functions well. At its worst, international observers would condemn them as unrepresentative — if they occurred in a third-world nation.

      Unfortunately this is the least of the problems we face in retaking America.

    2. Well, to me, personally, this is the whole problem. And because of this issue, how can anyone guilt trip ME into feeling responsible? I showed up, and I cast my vote in the primary that didn’t matter, and then in the end it didn’t matter. I expect the same thing in 2016. Ooh, I feel empowered — not.

    3. Cathryn,

      “I showed up, and I cast my vote in the primary that didn’t matter, and then in the end it didn’t matter. ”

      I have long wondered where this consumerist idea of citizenship took root in America. Pay taxes, choose among the offerings on the ballot menu, whine about politicians = good citizen.

      That is not how this country was built.

      That is insufficient contribution to run the political system the founders a designed.

    4. The chances of anyone who seriously believes in things like democracy and consent of the governed and the Constitution getting though the obstacle course to come anywhere near the presidency are minuscule.

      The chances of anyone who has been in politics long enough and deeply enough to develop competence still being such a person are minuscule.

      If you’re going to wish for both in one person… we might as well have her ride in on a pony, too.

      It’s a shame presidential contests eat up so much of our scarce political attention. Some presidents are more destructive than others; but nothing helpful is going to happen there anytime soon.

    5. “Do you believe any of our past presidents met those criteria?”

      Some time spent trying to answer that question leads me to suspect my assertions make less sense than I thought they did. I’ll decline to answer, because I cannot draw a sensible boundary demarcating which policies are consistent with believing “in things like democracy and consent of the governed and the Constitution.”

      Frankly, I just don’t think the magnitude of will to power necessary to rise to a position of leadership in a major nation (nor the experience of authority itself) can coexist with such beliefs in a human mind. But I can’t prove it.

      In other words, I’m suggesting that anyone who wants a significant position in government enough to obtain it has already proven himself unsuitable to occupy it. Which, by the way, is pretty much what I thought during the “Savior Obama” days, too. I had hoped that he might be more dedicated to rational government (as opposed to government by faith in ideology) than his recent predecessors…

    6. Coises,

      “suggesting that anyone who wants a significant position in government enough to obtain it has already proven himself unsuitable to occupy it.”

      We can only speculate about the mental state of Presidents. However our system has proven that we can elect “suitable” presidents by operational standards, which is why the a Republic has lasted 224 years — and still running.

      Rather than attempt to shift the blame for bad presidents to structural factors, I suggest we look in the mirror. In fact, I classify such attempts as part of the larger effort — so visible in comments to these posts — to blame anyone but ourselves for America’s political outcomes.

      We have reduced the operation of the Republic to that of old folks whining about the quality of fruit in the market. Such stars as ourselves deserve better!

      We will do anything for a better America but work for it.

    7. “Do you believe any of our past presidents met those criteria?”

      Regarding competence, I got to thinking about how political competence and policy competence are not at all the same thing.

      Curiously, the only two presidents during my lifetime (1958-) I would credit with both were impeached. (LBJ came close, but Viet Nam was such a colossal blunder in politics and policy, it’s hard to call him competent. And I’m not saying the policies of Nixon and Clinton met with my approval, just that I think they probably knew what they were doing.)

    8. Coises,

      As I said above, Bush Jr was competent in the only sense that matters, as shown by the degree to which he reshaped America (which we refuse to see, much as might pretend to ignore someone defacing George Washington’s portrait in the National Museum.

      As for LBJ, how quickly we forget. Vietnam was a horrific policy error, but probably one any likely President would have made. And it was a brief moment in history, which Vietnam (amazingly) has largely recovered from.

      But his domestic reforms were IMO almost impossible for anyone with lesser political skills to implement. Getting his vast great civil rights legislation through a southerner-dominated Congress — looking back it looks like a magic trick. And we still benefit from them, a lasting change in America.

      It would have come anyway. But imagine the massive race riots of the post-MLK era if they were protesting injustices still in the law!

    9. I know there were voices advising Johnson to curtail our involvement in Viet Nam before it became a monster… but perhaps only in hindsight is it clear they were right. (I think there is no similar excuse for some of our more recent military ventures.)

      Indeed, he would be remembered as the greatest and most effective president since FDR were it not that he was cursed with a war for which the nation developed a monumental distaste.

    10. Coises,

      I agree with your view of LBJ. If not for Vietnam, we’d have added him to Mt Rushmore — deservedly so.

      “I know there were voices advising Johnson to curtail our involvement in Viet Nam before it became a monster”

      Yes, but not many. Histories of the time show the overwhelming popularity of the war, especially among the national security community. See “The Virtual JFK — both video and book — for evidence. Or read The Best and Brightest. Among those few voices were those who had actual experience in Vietnam, as a military officers returning from tours as advisers there.

      But too few listened. Just like our expeditions to Afghanistan and Iraq. But after the experience of Vietnam, those mistakes have even less excuse. Slow to learn and stupid are the two sins God always punishes.

    11. Rather than attempt to shift the blame for bad presidents to structural factors, I suggest we look in the mirror. In fact, I classify such attempts as part of the larger effort — so visible in comments to these posts — to blame anyone but ourselves for America’s political outcomes.

      Personally, I rarely find blame to be a useful concept. Cause—provided one remembers that causes are frequently multiple and often function by shaping random factors rather than determining precise results—yes; but blame usually confounds understanding with premature and irrelevant moral judgment.

      If I see a single ant crawling across my kitchen counter, it is probably a random scout. There is no cause/reason/blame for the particular course it follows outside of itself.

      If I see fifty ants in a small space, I can be sure I have spilled something tasty. (There is no need to blame either the ants or myself; the important thing is to clean it up.)

      I frequently see calls to “Put the bankers in jail!”—as if, somehow, the leaders of an entire industry just happened all to be personally corrupt at one time. Nonsense! We allowed a system to develop which selected for and rewarded actions which we now say were unethical. There is no point in punishing the bankers but leaving the system unchanged, and no need to exact retribution if we do change the system so that it no longer encourages behavior (we claim) we don’t want.

      If Americans as a whole are different than they were a hundred years ago, then there are causes that apply to Americans as a whole.

      A call to look in the mirror is a reasonable attempt to set up a countervailing causal force.¹ I’m not belittling it. Yet, at most, it can change a few people’s course for a short time—very few for very long. Like all living things, we adjust to our environment. If most Americans share certain characteristics beyond those common to all humans, then we can be sure the American environment selects for them; and without changing that environment, no change in the characteristics will persist.

      If we can’t figure out what the structural factors are, we won’t know what to target with the finite force that can be mustered by looking in the mirror.

      ===

      ¹ Narcissists that we are, I suspect we spend plenty of time looking in the mirror and not enough looking at the debris we leave in our wake—but that’s not quite the same metaphor, just something the idea of looking in the mirror brings to mind.

    12. Coises,

      “but blame usually confounds understanding with premature and irrelevant moral judgment.”

      That’s the voice of a philosopher, a saint — or someone uninvolved in the issue. It’s seldom heard when discussing problems affecting something you love. As in “He hit and killed my daughter while driving drunk, but to blame him would be an irrelevant moral judgement.”

      It’s the voice that saps energy and determination, the fire to change one’s own behavior and the fate of nations.

    13. “That is insufficient contribution to run the political system the founders a designed.”

      Okay, I get it. Maybe I should be out volunteering for a campaign in the next pointless primary vote. I’m so excited..

      Anyway, to be honest, I’m not completely convinced the failure of Obamacare is all Obama. It just seems like America just ‘can’t do anything other than destroy’ these days, and this whole travesty is just one more example. Like the non-rebuilding of New Orleans following Katrina or the Iraq reconstruction following that war. When it comes to punishing people we are experts, but if it means making something new, like that stupid website, all the effort dissipates into a cloud of confusion and eventually collapses in failure. Sure if there are Muslims that need to be exterminated, the USA is on the top of this list of people to call. But for actually building stuff — just a quick googling finds articles like this.

      http://www.npr.org/2011/06/21/137185048/will-kenyan-superhighway-also-benefit-china

      China is massively constructing projects in Africa and southeast Asia.

    14. Cathryn,

      “Maybe I should be out volunteering for a campaign in the next pointless primary vote. I’m so excited.. ”

      Poor baby. We understand that life is so hard. Please tell us what sort of activity to preserve the Republic would excite you.

      Let’s then send your note back in time to those people who worked, suffered, and often died to give you those freedoms you value so lightly.

    15. “When it comes to punishing people we are experts, but if it means making something new, like that stupid website, all the effort dissipates into a cloud of confusion and eventually collapses in failure.”

      Quick, off-the-cuff diagnosis:

      This is because we have become expert at a very hollow form of politics. (Not just in government; this pervades the corporate world as well.) We gather “stakeholders” with strong but disparate interests, and craft a Frankenstein’s monster that has something in it for all of them. Having diffused the objections of all powerful interested parties, we never coalesce on a common shared goal of any depth or substance.

      When it comes time to implement, we literally do not know what we are doing. What’s more, we don’t care.

      We are Dilbert nation.

    16. I feel a lot the same as you do, Cathryn, that it’s very easy for us here on the Left Coast to feel disconnected from national politics.

      I know, for example that my vote in the Senate is worth 1.6% of the vote of a resident of Vermont. In the Presidency, we’re already in the bag as a (D) in the electoral college, so the candidates only stop by to raise money before going off to make promises to people in Ohio. For national primaries, as you say, it’s already decided before we even get to vote.
      This is probably a large part of the reason why we only get 78% return from our tax dollars, compared to a 176% return for West Virginia.
      With California accounting for 12% of the nation’s population and GDP, I would think we should get more attention than we do from the people in DC.

      Personally, I would welcome the sort of de-centralized approach to politics that the United States was founded on. At the very least it would mean all that corruption, waste, and lobbying would be for local special interests…

    17. Even a basic understanding of human evolution makes the idea that either “the individual” or “the collective” is exclusively to “blame” as a cause of political dysfunction seem silly.

      Human beings are wired by evolution to be superb, but “sometimes reluctant” cooperators (see Richerson/Boyd’s work on Dual-Inheritance, “Gene-Culture”, Theory).

      The fundamental reality is that human beings are social animals that engage in shared ritual practices that build meaning and social cohesion, and our behavior is largely shaped by social norms, with occasional (but very important) “disruptive” innovations and paradigm shifts. Non-conformists frequently pay a high price for behavior or speech outside norms. This phenomena is far more complex than that of the actual “herd” behavior of sheep.

      1. Pre-modern cultures were dominated by mythic-conformism, which provided a strong sense of collectivity, frequently in a decentralized form of social organization that allowed for rapid recovery from disaster.

      1b. Imperial cultures, which have been described as “upscaled tribes”, tended to have far more catastrophic failures than actual tribal systems because a failure of the central institutions caused the entire structure to collapse.

      In both cases, the orientation toward individual achievement, or “striving” as it came to be known in capitalistic cultures, was suppressed.

      These forms of culture are based on “dependency”, the next stage of culture is all about “independence”:

      2. So, the primary differentiating feature at the culture center of gravity of modernist culture is a dominant orientation toward individual achievement, or “striving”, especially in the material spheres of life, such as science and commerce. The main structural feature is the Market.

      The problem with modernist culture is that it distrusts spirituality, preferring rationalism. The reason that is a problem is that collective meaning and purpose is central to evolutionary survival, and such purpose is dependent on both spirituality (myth, magic and shared ritual) and on reason.

      At the end-stage, the “independence” of Modernism becomes frayed, and is increasingly replaced by the “interdependence” (and pluralism) of postmodernism:

      3. Which is why a Holistic form of culture is necessary to re-integrate spirituality, and create new forms of meaning and collective purpose that have gone missing in the modernist project. The theory is that PoMo/Holistic-Integral culture has a form of organization that is “Networked”.

      The paradigm shift from “Market” to “Network” forms of social organization is likely to be as “disruptive” and violent as was the shift from “Institutional” (mythic-spiritual dependency) to “Market” (rational independence) was several hundred years ago.

      The idea that some sort of large-scale, imperial, centralized system like the US government or constitution will survive ***in its intended form*** seems very unlikely.

      Such a system, and its underlying premises, simply can not satisfy the coherence needs of emerging forms of culture.

      As such, FM’s dire predictions that the system will fully devolve, or collapse, into an more primitive form of social organization, such as oriental despotism (corporate plutocracy), seem quite plausible.

      Such further centralization will presumably only lead to a more catastrophic failure further out in the future.

  6. I can only repeat a point I often made while the Affordable Care Act was being legislated:

    We should turn the matter over to the Mexican Drug Lords, because they know howto get things done.

    More seriously, the nationstate is in decline. The problems FM has described are symptoms of that.

    Much more seriously. I am a cancer survivor. Under Obamacare I have access to the Cleveland Clinic, which is more than anything the Republicans can offer. ( Their plan – or more precisely deliberate lack thereof – I refer to as Mengelecare. ) I don’t expect this to last – as I said the nationstate is growing obsolete.

    1. Duncan,

      “the nationstate is in decline.”

      There have always been nations in decline, and nations ascending. There are many nations doing well today.

      I do hit believe there is much evidence to support a theory of nation-state decline.

    2. Well, I was considering citing, as one of Obama’s defects, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which, if enacted would provide you with plenty of evidence.

      Since healthcare is the topic de jour, may I suggest you google the term “Medical Tourism”?

    3. Regarding TPP, see A Corporate Coup in Disguise:

      What if our national leaders told us that communities across America had to eliminate such local programs as Buy Local, Buy American, Buy Green, etc. to allow foreign corporations to have the right to make the sale on any products purchased with our tax dollars? This nullification of our people’s right to direct expenditures is just one of the horror stories in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

    4. 2) A google of “tpp sovereignty” rapidly yields articles such as this:

      Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – Threat To National Sovereignty
      http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2013/07/trans-pacific-partnership-tpp-threat-to.html

      The TPP, if Passed, Spells the End of Popular Sovereignty for The United States
      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/11/the-tpp-if-passed-spells-the-end-of-popular-sovereignty-for-the-united-states.html

      Trans-Pacific Partnership: Secret Surrender of Sovereignty
      http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/13485-trans-pacific-partnership-secret-surrender-of-sovereignty

      This is just a handful of the myriad articles directly on point.

      2) Obamacare and Medical Tourism are two different things:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_tourism
      Medical tourism (MT) is patient movement from highly developed nations to other areas of the world for medical care, usually to find treatment at a lower cost. Medical tourism is different from the traditional model of international medical travel where patients generally journey from less developed nations to major medical centers in highly developed countries for medical treatment that is unavailable in their own communities.[1][2]

      Medical Tourism Could Be The Overseas Alternative To Obamacare
      http://www.businessinsider.com/medical-tourism-as-an-alternative-to-obamacare-2013-10

      http://reason.com/reasontv/2013/01/29/free-trade-health-care
      Can Medical Tourism Save Us From Obamacare?

      http://theaerogram.com/opinion-money-talks-obamacare-medical-tourism-india/
      OPINION: Money Talks — ‘Obamacare’ and Medical Tourism in India

      Once more, this is only a sample of the myriad articles on point.

    5. Duncan,

      Treaties have been hysterically described as loss of sovereignty since the League of Nations. It’s a small world, and we need mechanisms to share it. Get used to it.

      Rather than loss of sovereignty — a hoary standby of the Right — I suggest worrying about the TPP as a loss of public input to public policy, as the 1% builds mechanisms of direct control for the New America.

      The nation state as a mechanism does not require America to remain a republic. America the plutocracy will be just as sovereign.

      The 1% prefer us to be running fearfully around in circles, rather than see the rise of the New America.

    6. Much more about TPP here: TPP stories at Techdirt

      Such trade agreements are designed to ensure that the choices of individual nations—capitalist or socialist, democracy or dictatorship—are not permitted to interfere with the interests of global capital and trans-national corporations.

      Long ago, conservatives used to be wary of international agreements and institutions, fearing that they represented “One World Government” which would subvert rule by the consent of the governed. It turns out that they were more or less correct; but since it’s all done in the name of the divine right of wealth über alles, now it’s mostly left libertarians complaining.

    7. Coises,

      You might be right about “such treaties”.

      By and large the post-WW2 trade treaties have helped create a world of incredible prosperity. That does not mean they are perfect work of angels; rather that their net effect has been positive.

      That does not mean that the TPP is a good idea. But the history of opposition to treaties shows that the hysterical claims by opponents are usually wrong. Hence asking for a reasonably high degree of evidence is appropriate. So far I’ve seen mostly hysteria about the TPP. Not a surprise, since the Left seems to have collapsed into a hobby — a division of the entertainment sector. Ever day a new doom for everything.

    8. Well, for whatever its worth, several years ago Henry Kissinger* congratulated Obama on his “cooperation” with the “moderates” in the Chinese leadership, warning that if “hardliners” on either side took over, there would be dire consequences for the “international order”.

      I have a question about the sustainability of future corporate plutocracies under conditions such as we have now in the US and world. My assumption (correct if wrong) is that there would be severe problems with any attempt to maintain an *explicitly* anti-democratic regime in the USA for more than a generation or so. By definition it would be an internally weak system, probably subject to considerable internal rebellion/terrorism. It would also be seen as a juicy target for foreign competition, and in a world system that was increasingly disintegrating due to “lack of US leadership”.

      * (Sec. of State under Nixon during the opening of US relations to communist China in the late 60s or early 70s)

    9. Eric,

      “My assumption (correct if wrong) is that there would be severe problems with any attempt to maintain an *explicitly* anti-democratic regime in the USA for more than a generation or so. ”

      Why make it explicit? The Roman Empire ran for a century under a nominally Republican form, until its people became accustomed to the bit and reins.

      We are already well along in the process. Organizations like the Fed, TSA, IRS, and OSHA treat us like sheep — helping us gradually grow comfortable in our new role.

    10. My impression is that many more people are becoming much less willing to accept conventional wisdom. They do not necessarily have a clear sense of a good, viable alternative, but there is movement in that direction.

      I don’t reject your basic premise, but it seems like internal resistance will be fairly strong, making the project difficult to maintain. Also, external pressures are presumably different, the Roman economy was not as tied into a global system of high technology. It would seem like the frantic pace of modern life would make it difficult to sustain a fascist/police state for very long, even if the facade of a democratic-republic was maintained.

      Even if the internet was taken over and made “unfree” as a way to stifle dissent, alternate networks might evolve.

    11. Eric,

      “My impression is that many more people are becoming much less willing to accept conventional wisdom.”

      Personal impressions on something like that are proven to be unreliable. Surveys over time are the only way to measure something like that.

      Even defining”conventional wisdom” probably would be difficult.

  7. The American idea of politics is discriminating diners seeking a restaurant worthy of them. — Fabius Maximus

    I have long wondered where this consumerist idea of citizenship took root in America. Pay taxes, choose among the offerings on the ballot menu, whine about politicians = good citizen. […] That is insufficient contribution to run the political system the founders designed. — Fabius Maximus

    As a (former) computer programmer and software designer, I see government as a sometimes necessary and often useful application, but one with a horrible user interface. It’s as if we go out of our way to make everything government does as intrusive, threatening and annoying as possible. Much of what government does is valuable, but hardly any of it offers a user experience that would be acceptable, let alone good, in any competitive industry.

    Good government, in my view, would be like a good electric company or Internet service provider—rarely noticed, because it does its job well, without calling attention to itself. You come to take it for granted, because it “just works.” If and when you can’t take it for granted, it’s not doing its job well.

    When the Master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists. […] When his work is done, the people say, “Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!” — Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 17

    I don’t know that such a government has ever existed. Maybe it is impossible.

    Still, it is surely not that strange as an ideal against which we measure the products of those whose profession is the task of government. I do not consider it reasonable to expect a significant fraction of citizens to be either competent or willing to have much to do with government. We live in a complex, specialized world; for most of us, it is difficult enough to direct sufficient time and effort to just one thing to become more than an amateur. Unless politics is our field of expertise, we want our involvement with the apparatus of state to be minimal, straightforward and productive.

    This is a failing only in the sense that being human, and thus having human limitations, is a failing none of us can escape.

    It does, however, represent a troublesome conflict with the classic understanding of democracy, to which I think most Americans (myself included) are rather attached. It reminds me of what I’ve read about Walter Lippmann:

    Even if journalists did better jobs of informing the public about important issues, Lippmann believed “the mass of the reading public is not interested in learning and assimilating the results of accurate investigation.” Citizens, he wrote, were too self-centered to care about public policy except as pertaining to pressing local issues.
    […]
    To his mind, democratic ideals had deteriorated, voters were largely ignorant about issues and policies, they lacked the competence to participate in public life and cared little for participating in the political process.
    […]
    Lippmann called the notion of a public competent to direct public affairs a “false ideal.” He compared the political savvy of an average man to a theater-goer walking into a play in the middle of the third act and leaving before the last curtain.

    Early on Lippmann said the “bewildered herd,” his way of referring to the masses, must be governed by “a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality.” This class is composed of experts, specialists and bureaucrats. The experts, who often are referred to as “elites,” were to be a machinery of knowledge that circumvents the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the “omnicompetent citizen”.
    […]
    Lippmann was an informal adviser to several presidents. On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson presented Lippmann with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He later had a rather famous feud with Johnson over his handling of the Vietnam War, of which Lippmann had become highly critical.
    […]
    Similarities between the views of Lippmann and Gabriel Almond produced what became known as the Almond–Lippmann consensus, which is based on three assumptions:
    1. Public opinion is volatile, shifting erratically in response to the most recent developments. Mass beliefs early in the 20th century were “too pacifist in peace and too bellicose in war, too neutralist or appeasing in negotiations or too intransigent”
    2. Public opinion is incoherent, lacking an organized or a consistent structure to such an extent that the views of U.S. citizens could best be described as “nonattitudes”
    3. Public opinion is irrelevant to the policy-making process. Political leaders ignore public opinion because most Americans can neither “understand nor influence the very events upon which their lives and happiness are known to depend.”

    I think we are living in Lippmann’s world. Indeed, I do not like it—and yet it seems on the whole to be quite similar to what I defined above as ideal, except for the frequently unpleasant user interface.

    Perhaps the man in the mirror would prefer to be a sheep after all, so long as the pen is so cleverly designed that he never realizes he is a sheep…

  8. Fabius, I don’t like to see this kind of political hit-piece coming from you.
    I think it’s beneath the greater vision that you have for your website here.

    From following politics over the course of my adult life, I’ve come to the conclusion that the President has a lot less actual power than people assume he does. I think it’s very telling that Obama has continued or expanded on almost all of Bush’s policies, despite being very vocally against them before. Maybe these policies would have continued whether Stephen Hawking, Michael Jordan, or My Uncle Vinnie had become President?

    I feel very strongly that in national politics, just like in most other things, there is a lot more going on than we can see with our eyes. That’s why I feel trying to blame all these problems on one man, even on the so-called Leader of the Free World, is counter-productive.

    1. Todd,

      I find your comment quite odd. What standard of accountability should we use for the President? Or are we sheep, to applaud at whatever our masters do?

      “From following politics over the course of my adult life, I’ve come to the conclusion that the President has a lot less actual power than people assume he does.”

      History suggests otherwise. Reagan and Bush Jr have effected massive changes in the structure and policy of the US government — without much public debate, without large party majorities in Congress.

      “I think it’s very telling that Obama has continued or expanded on almost all of Bush’s policies, despite being very vocally against them before. Maybe these policies would have continued whether Stephen Hawking, Michael Jordan, or My Uncle Vinnie had become President?”

      So we evaluate the President vs imaginary counterfacturals, not on the basis of his actual deeds. Or perhaps you use some mysterious form of historical determinism to determine what “would have happened”. No, thank you.

      “I feel very strongly that in national politics, just like in most other things, there is a lot more going on than we can see with our eyes.”

      So what do you suggest we use? None of your comment makes any sense to me.

      “That’s why I feel trying to blame all these problems on one man, even on the so-called Leader of the Free World, is counter-productive.”

      The famous strawman rebuttal! Grossly exaggerate what I am saying until it is unrecognizable, and give a rebuttal to that. Bizarre, to be nice about it.

    2. I have been attempting greater moderation and restraint in my comments. For Todd’s I deserve elevation to Sainthood, for avoiding sarcastic mention of Obama’s assassination of US citizens without warrant or trial, on the basis of secret evidence and Presidential authorization.

      The Federal and every State Constitution expressly prohibits Bills of Attainder — legislative declarations of guilt and authorization of punishment. The Founders did not imagine that we might decay to the point where the President would order executions.

      While legal in the UK (where Parliament is Sovereign), the last use was in 1798.

      That out of the way, let us resume our pity party for poor President Obama.

    3. Don’t shoot the messenger. FM has never claimed to be a liberal, at least not a partisan liberal, and he has never been short on criticizing conservatives and right wingers when their antics lack practicality.

      It says a lot about the feebleness of the american Left that even the most obvious criticism of the practical shortcomings of an executive politician should be met with such mindless demonizing as playing of the race card.

      I watched three liberal journalists (one African American from WaPo) on PBS yesterday that went into agonizing detail giving major examples of Obama’s incompetence as a manager/executive. That incompetence included a massive problem in running the cabinet at a basic level of competency. The departure of Leon Panetta was a pained memory. Make no mistake, these major liberal journalists stated a clear lament that “Obama has no James Baker” to run the show for him.

      We would probably have better government if the writers of the old “West Wing” TV show were put in charge.

      The american liberal/progressive/left, at least the establishment left, has descended into a pitiful state of “feel good” narcissism/nihilism. As if some sort of diversity training has run horribly amok, people seem to think that nothing is required “other than” having pluralism. And, do not forget the connection between the “culture wars” in academia (political correctness taken to bizarre extremes on the academic left) and Obama.

      Long-time liberal journalists, including luminaries Mark Shields and Nina Totenberg, are deeply concerned that Obama is so incompetent at the basic, practical tasks of governance that the grand liberal social projects that are necessary to repair the damage of 25+ years of evil neoliberal and horrible neo-conservative policies will not be possible. *Ever again.*

      If that isn’t the definition of shooting yourself in the liberal/left foot, I don’t know what is.

      In my opinion this is all the inevitable product of too much social complexity and overcentralization, and far too much “Clintonian” willingness to sell out Big Government to Big Business.

      What is needed is decentralization (rhizomatic, sustainable decentralization) and a holistic-integral paradigm shift. What is not needed is more wishy-washy stuff, but TransPartisanism of a bare-knuckled sort, a new alliance of anarchists, anti-globalists, greens, permaculture and sustainability types, etc., with the working and middle classes.

      The debacle of the corporate plutocrats and the sell outs in both political parties has to be stopped.

    4. Fabius, first of all thank you for your saintly act of restraint. I do want to say that I appreciate the time and effort you take to respond to almost every comment on your site.

      My point is not that we shouldn’t hold our leaders accountable when they fail, and especially not when they do something wrong, illegal, or even downright evil.
      What I was trying to convey is that I think it’s inappropriate to look at these problems in terms of only one man. It seems to me like we’re directing all our hope and/or anger onto the face of the Great Oz, and not even bothering to ask the question whether there is something else going on behind the curtain.

    5. Todd,

      “It seems to me like we’re directing all our hope and/or anger onto the face of the Great Oz, and not even bothering to ask the question whether there is something else going on behind the curtain.”

      I believe that is not correct. Polls show that Congress gets at least as much blame as the President.

      Also, this is in a sense a misreading of the point of the post — which is that we get what we deserve by electing someone with limited experience. That does not excuse his actions, but says that we deserve much of the blame.

      The assignment of blame is a theoretical exercise, The significance is the degree to which we learn.

    6. Mark Shields (senior liberal journalist) points out in the TV show I linked to that even though the “approval ratings” for House Republicans are “in the single digits” in major polls, other “major polls” show that the approval ratings of House Republicans on the issue of “managing Obamacare” is slightly higher than Obama’s ratings for that same item.

    7. Eric,

      Polls– see the Monkey Cage at WaPo — also show that after years of GOP lies, Americans have little idea what ObamaCare does. Other than the death panels, of course.

      Polls show that the actual features are very popular.

      Implementation is the game, of course, and Team Obama has screwed this up. How much only time will tell. Experience counts, and Obama had too little for the job.

  9. Unfortunately what I have seen is that experience and mastery of methods and techniques is not typically seen as a good thing by the liberal establishment. The liberal establishment is inherently dysfunctional, a careerist mentality prevails, and anyone that dares to be “individually” successful outside acceptable parameters (the low tribal average) is frequently seen as a threat to the prevailing forms of dysfunctional PC/Left groupthink.

    1,000% speculation, but one possibility is that the establishment liberals have become “so postmodern” (feel good, consensus oriented) that they simply don’t have the capacity, or will (/taste), to operate within a conventional hierarchical leadership paradigm or command structure.

    This would again indicate the feebleness of the establishment Left, which is incapable of realizing that it needs to focus on relentlessly smashing the “far right” in the face in order to accomplish deep social-structural change (as did the anarchists and trade unionists 100 years ago).

    The far right does not understand or respect anything other than the brutal use of force and pure rage. All of their ideology simply is nicey-nice stuff meant to placate gullible followers into thinking that their use of brutal force and political corruption has some legitimate religious or rational justification, which it does not.

    Again, a Holistic perspective would recognize that some “blue memes” (medieval hierarchies and a spiritual ethos) are needed to put “red memes” (tribalism such as the TeaBaggers) back in their place, or to demolish rogue attempts at imperial power (such as the corporate plutocrats) that threatens emergent forms of culture.

    Some archival material on paradigm shifts, and the need for unLearning: (links may now be broken)

    ” at this point in our history, the societally effective leading edge of humanity, in the technologically advanced nations, is currently finishing the initial statement of the sixth(FS) [green] state of existence … Thus, some humans have started to think about and some of them are well into thinking according [to] the ways of a second spiral of existence, the being [as compared with the doing] level systems.

    These humans have truly started to think of the interdependence of existence rather than in individualized independent existence…”
    — Clare Graves

    http://www.leadcoach.com/archives/e-journal/2006/2006_08_whetten.html

    ” … As demonstrated by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific
    Revolutions, paradigm shifts tend to be traumatic, revolutionary events, which require heroic feats of unlearning our old paradigm before we can embrace the new one. Whether we’re talking about a scientific, theological or philosophical paradigm, the psychological dynamics are the same. Namely, the more powerful the paradigm shift is, the harder it is to make, the fewer the adults there are who will tend to make it—and the greater the temptation there is once we’ve made it to push it on others.

    … each developmental fulcrum involves first identifying with a stage (i.e. learning), then dis-identifying with the old stage (i.e. unlearning, or transcending) and finally integrating (i.e., including) the previous stage. When we’re young, there is almost nothing but open green space in our minds, much of our early education involves learning through models and more energy tends to be spent on identification than on dis-identification. As we age and our consciousness becomes more “full,” the developmental bottleneck moves from learning (i.e., ego building) to unlearning (i.e., letting go of our ego attachments).

    Interestingly, most of our academic systems spend most of their time constructing, debating and teaching different models. Our educational systems are really good at helping people learn, but we have very few programs to help people unlearn. …
    — Brian Whetten

    http://www.corecoaching.org/emotionaliq.html

    “In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman helped redefine what it means to be smart. He asserted that EQ (a combination of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and interpersonal skills) is more important than IQ in corporate success — an subsequent research backs this up. In Developing Management Skills, David Whetten (my dad!) and Kim Cameron summarize this research.

    “A study of UC Berkeley Ph.D.’s over 40 years found that EQ was four times more powerful than IQ in predicting who achieved success in their field–even for hard scientists. A McBer study comparing outstanding managers with average managers found that 90 percent of the difference was accounted for by EQ. In a worldwide study of what companies were looking for in hiring new employees, 67 percent of the most desired attributes were EQ competencies. In a study of highly emotional intelligent partners in a consulting firm
    … the high EQ partners contributed more than twice as much revenue to the company as did the low EQ partners.”

    1. re: “Unfortunately what I have seen is that experience and mastery of methods and techniques is not typically seen as a good thing by the liberal establishment.”

      The classic example was when Howard Dean, a highly experienced populist TransPartisan, was marginalized (“disappeared”) by the Democratic Party apparatchiks.

    2. Eric,

      “” … As demonstrated by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific
      Revolutions, paradigm shifts tend to be traumatic, revolutionary events, which require heroic feats of unlearning our old paradigm before we can embrace the new one.”

      Kuhn’s theory about the process of science offers a powerful analogy for social change. That statement does not, however, accurate represent it (if I correctly recall the book).

      Paradigms cannot be disproven, no matter his heroic the effort.

      Paradigms cannot be unlearned, anymore than a person can erase his or her wetware.

      Paradigms can only be replaced. That can happen without heroic effort thru the normal course of life.

      “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
      — Wissenschaftliche Selbstbiographie. Mit einem Bildnis und der von Max von Laue gehaltenen Traueransprache. Johann Ambrosius Barth Verlag (Leipzig 1948), p. 22, as translated in Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, trans. F. Gaynor (New York, 1949), pp. 33–34 (as cited in T. S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions).

  10. I am surprised by the emotional response to your criticism of Obama’ s administive skills. At this writing he impresses me with his unwillingness to get out front on any issue and state his desires and Lead. He is clearly inept as an administrator, as demonstrated by the poor handling of the Benghazi tragedy, and the awfull roll out of the Federal ACA website. Even now no one has been held accountable, and that is on him.

    By the way I voted for him twice and subsequently was overcome by buyers remorse, thinking that Hillary would have been tougher, more out front and a better manager.

    1. Choirboy,

      “I am surprised by the emotional response to your criticism of Obama’ s administive skills.”

      I’m not. As we become a weaker people, we have come to adore our leaders more.

      “By the way I voted for him twice and subsequently was overcome by buyers remorse”

      Buyer’s remorse, I know that well. I voted for Romney in 2008 GOP primary, quite an error of judgement. In 2022 I voted for Obama, the best of the worst.

      “thinking that Hillary would have been tougher, more out front and a better manager.”

      Even I, with my history, am not that delusional.

  11. There is something preposterous in the idea that the two or three presidential choices proffered by the power elite are more than meat puppets. Moreover, when voting machines count the vote and these companies are owned by convicted felons it is more absurd to call it an election.

    What we have is well orchestrated propaganda that makes ordinary people feel that they have a say. This is necessary so they do not get the idea that they are not empowered to make any change that the power elite dislike.

    No one running for higher office can get there without big money. The facts of American politics are such that each President is worse than one previous because the political economic situation is worse than the year before as all systems tend towards entropy. No doubt this charade will continue once we have a more formal totalitarian state. Even China has elections.

    1. Charles,

      It takes two to tango. We have become passive, and so are exploited. Prey attract preditors. That is the great circle of life.

      “Max, you’re a good boy. But there just ain’t no demand for good boys.”
      – Sound advice to a young man, from Robert Heinlein’s Starman Jones (1953)

  12. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website?
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    1. The FM website has a Creative Commons license, which allows reproduction in full — including links, such as in the ForMore a Information section, with full attribution and a link to the original.

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