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stuck
07-31-2014, 03:55 PM
I think Obama is a center politician, so there's my slant. Have a nice day.

Bartender
07-31-2014, 04:09 PM
I think Obama is a center politician, so there's my slant. Have a nice day.

That has nothing to do with the news. I don't agree with you on that but I see how you could come to that conculsion. The media portrays him often as not going far enough. However if you look at his polcies it clearly falls in the liberal realm. THe problem with american liberalism is it is more a postion advocating state sponsered welfare and general statism than classical liberalism.

The typical conservative point is not much better in my mind with the archaic support of church is schools and attempting to ban gay marriage.

Dirac
07-31-2014, 04:19 PM
However if you look at his polcies it clearly falls in the liberal realm.
Doesn't seem like that when you look at it from a non-US POV. I guess it all depends how your scale is calibrated.

stuck
07-31-2014, 04:22 PM
It has everything to do with the fact that the political establishment in the USA has drifted right in the past 40 years, putting the increasingly liberal culture into sharp relief.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cgOtbUQGXcw/Ty7Ca71CznI/AAAAAAAADH4/Tmkrki-JvFA/s1600/presidents_common_space_1D.jpg

http://voteview.com/blog/?p=284

Here's a high-quality left news source for you: http://www.counterpunch.org

jigglypuff
07-31-2014, 04:26 PM
However if you look at his polcies it clearly falls in the liberal realm.
idk all his policies, but if you look at his handling of something like immigration & deportation he's like the most right-wing the US has ever had. i definitely do not see him as anything close to left.

Bartender
07-31-2014, 04:48 PM
It has everything to do with the fact that the political establishment in the USA has drifted right in the past 40 years, putting the increasingly liberal culture into sharp relief.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cgOtbUQGXcw/Ty7Ca71CznI/AAAAAAAADH4/Tmkrki-JvFA/s1600/presidents_common_space_1D.jpg

http://voteview.com/blog/?p=284

Here's a high-quality left news source for you: http://www.counterpunch.org

I don't get the same view from your graph that you do then. To me it seems that the democrat politicians have generally stayed within the same range with only the republican candidates moving farther right. I don't see how this graph would show obama as a centrist he seems within the margin of error of the other democrats putting him solidly in the left. Is this graph only taking into social liberalism or economic liberalism as well?

Also thanks for the link to counter punch I just started reading a few articles and they make a lot of sense. I'll read them in the future.

Personally I am neither a conservative nor a liberal. I think polarizing youself on lines like that is simply stupidity. I think you need to examine every subject.

Bartender
07-31-2014, 04:50 PM
idk all his policies, but if you look at his handling of something like immigration & deportation he's like the most right-wing the US has ever had. i definitely do not see him as anything close to left.

I'm not going to lie I know very little about his immigration/deportation policies. However I think it is pretty rash to call him the most right wing PONTUS we have had. I do know they are having a serious problem in the south with immigration thats about all. Where I live we are not effected by it so I have little intrest.

stuck
07-31-2014, 05:08 PM
Is this graph only taking into social liberalism or economic liberalism as well?

I'm not totally clear on this point, but I gather that this chart reflects government intervention into economic policies, including income redistribution.

stuck
07-31-2014, 05:10 PM
Well, I wouldn't have started this thread.

Is it really a digression so much from discussing media bias? Now it's my duty to bring this thread back around to that topic.

msg_v2
07-31-2014, 05:11 PM
Obama was upfront about his policy positions during the campaign season, but a lot of people ignored that in favor of wishful thinking.

I don't agree with the meme that Obama deceived people. People deceived themselves, or didn't pay attention to being with.

Bartender
07-31-2014, 05:20 PM
Obama was upfront about his policy positions during the campaign season, but a lot of people ignored that in favor of wishful thinking.

I don't agree with the meme that Obama deceived people. People deceived themselves, or didn't pay attention to being with.

The main problem was that he was not very clear on certain topics such as firearms. He did not make firearm restriction a point in his election campaign or talk about it frequently but then made it a major point of his presidency so far.

msg_v2
07-31-2014, 05:22 PM
I don't really care about firearms one way or the other, so I didn't really notice.

Bartender
07-31-2014, 05:28 PM
I don't really care about firearms one way or the other, so I didn't really notice.

Target shooting and collecting antique firearms are my favorite hobbies so I take serious note of changes in politicians stances.

Thoth
07-31-2014, 05:42 PM
Obama was a freshman politician on the national scale, owing his meteoric rise far to much to the Democratic elite and the tremendous cult of personality that swelled around him. He was doomed from the start, having not the necessary political clout of a senior statesman to enact his own policies, and weathering under a mountain of unrealistic expectations by a disenfranchised yet self entitled generation that cries for the immediacy they receive on the internet.

jigglypuff
07-31-2014, 06:01 PM
However I think it is pretty rash to call him the most right wing PONTUS we have had.
that isn't what i said, though.

stuck
07-31-2014, 06:15 PM
However I think it is pretty rash to call him the most right wing PONTUS we have had.

About as rash as Fox News equating him to the reincarnation of Che Guevara, I'd say.

Although she didn't really say that.

Seems we have a distributed media bias here on the internet.

[SUCK IT STIG]

Bartender
07-31-2014, 06:25 PM
About as rash as Fox News equating him to the reincarnation of Che Guevara, I'd say.

Although she didn't really say that.

Seems we have a distributed media bias here on the internet.

[SUCK IT STIG]

However I think it is pretty rash to call him the most right wing PONTUS we have had in terms of immigration.
fixed.


I had not heard they called him that but I wouldn't doubt it. I don't watch much TV I mainly get my news from paper or the internet so I wouldn't know.

Starjots
07-31-2014, 07:19 PM
The simple multiple choice question is not so simple.

The definitions of right, left and center are relative to whether you look at it from US point of view or world point of view. Since world is so interconnected and US has significant impact both are valid.

Center, left and right are relative to public opinion on topics which are seen as one-dimensional independent variables. Public opinion on these is seen as a spectrum, a bell curve, with center, left and right deriving from position on bell curve.

Each individual sees certain topics as being more important than others and tends to see their position as center. I think this explains why some see Obama as Lenin II while others see him as a better singing George W Bush (though W probably has him licked as painter).

However, one can try to evaluate against overall public opinion.

My impression is Obama tries to do most things from the center. His healthcare reform was centrist, his foreign policy is a mixed bag reflecting general disillusion with foreign entanglements. His internal security stance strike me as right-ist compared with general opinion. On climate change he might be left-ist from a US standpoint.

El D.
07-31-2014, 07:50 PM
I dont see how having a lackadaisical immigration stance would be considered a right-wing stance, but then again I don't understand why a true conservative would want the state to outlaw drugs or abortions.

People seem confused these days. In the context of politics, conservative is meant in reference to laws, i.e. conservative laws would lean toward more limits on what the government has the authority to tell you what to do or what not to do. In this sense, the democrat and republican (considering the assumption they are liberal and conservative respectively) stances on abortion and the drug war are completely asinine and ass-backwards. That is to say that the modern ideals behind conservatism and liberalism are fundamentally contradictory.

But, this is the only sense in which I could understand that Obama's immigration policy is right-leaning, i.e. he supports less strict rules administered by the feds.

That being said, I think right, left, and center have little real meaning aside from what the media ascribes to them. The terms conservative and liberal no longer describe a basic philosophy in regards to public policy. This is the result of the constant appeal to demographics in modern US politics. Religious fundamentalists want to keep their guns while telling women they shouldn't be having promiscuous sex, while hippies want to smoke pot and live in a idealistic dream world where everyone helps everyone all the time and its all peace, mannn.

Politics now are not about left, right, center. They are just labelled that way to create an allusion toward something that used to exist, but doesn't anymore.

Hermione
07-31-2014, 08:11 PM
He's a pragmatist and a tactician. It's so difficult to shove them into a box either way. I do believe that the right-wingers are finding out just how crazy it makes one sound to do so. (idiotic zealotry)

Starjots
07-31-2014, 08:23 PM
He's a pragmatist and a tactician. It's so difficult to shove them into a box either way. I do believe that the right-wingers are finding out just how crazy it makes one sound to do so. (idiotic zealotry)

I was surprised to see this does not seem to be the case. In an ideal world I would think it true.

From Gallup Poll:

http://content.gallup.com/origin/gallupinc/GallupSpaces/Production/Cms/POLL/heuaoauvcemsjsjbkmr7nw.png

Bartender
07-31-2014, 08:25 PM
It's terrible that those are the only choices we have.

C.J.Woolf
07-31-2014, 08:39 PM
It's terrible that those are the only choices we have.

On Election Day, yes. But the activist right-wingers understand that intraparty politics is where it's at. That's where they decide whose names go on the ballot, and what their agenda will be.

Madrigal
07-31-2014, 08:40 PM
I think Obama is a center politician


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMIy_KiBpKU

Starjots
07-31-2014, 10:54 PM
It's terrible that those are the only choices we have.

Yes it is, everything becomes a one dimensional issue.

MoneyJungle
08-01-2014, 02:01 AM
The concentric center of fundraising in the known universe.

msg_v2
08-01-2014, 03:57 AM
On Election Day, yes. But the activist right-wingers understand that intraparty politics is where it's at. That's where they decide whose names go on the ballot, and what their agenda will be.

Yup.

Roger Mexico
08-01-2014, 05:43 PM
Major American politicians are usually centrists, because that's what you get from an exclusive two-party system--people who are so marginally interested that they can easily be persuaded to support one side or the other are more important voters than people with clear ideological loyalties.

This means that Obama is president because he's the kind of liberal who has appeal to people who don't consider themselves liberals. He hasn't really behaved like an ideologue because being an ideologue is a political weakness in the American system. Doing anything that makes it seem like you're committed to a specific agenda means your opponents will likely bring that up in targeted appeals to "swing voters" who might easily be nudged out of supporting you because they don't identify with that agenda.

This was happening all over in the last presidential election, where you had two highly centrist candidates running against each other. The Republican campaign harped on Obama being a "socialist" (which he plainly isn't--this is laughable) while the Democratic campaign harped on Romney being some sort of right-wing zealot (which he plainly isn't--this is equally laughable). It was like a contest to see who could mischaracterize their opponents' positions the most, with the point of that being to make the case that Their Guy is an ideologue, while Our Guy is just a regular reasonable dude you can trust to make realistic decisions.

The Tea Party thing seems like an exception to this, but their successes have been pretty specifically confined to House elections, where they benefit from gerrymandering. (You can't gerrymander a Senate district seeing how Senators represent entire states, and there isn't much of a Tea Party presence in the Senate.) In those cases there was a sort of ideological insurrection in the Republican party which worked because the Republican nominee would have had to try to lose the general election. However, you can see how this hasn't resulted in the Tea Party actually getting what they want so much as just monkey-wrenched the national legislative process (e.g. with the whole budget impasse last year), because the system as a whole runs on moderates edging out compromises that are ever-so-slightly more favorable to one side or the other, within a framework established by an underlying assumption that there is an official national orthodox ideology which shouldn't be departed from. Thus ideology tends to be kind of irrelevant, except in extreme situations (like the Depression, but 80 years later we're still dealing with a national political discourse framed around whether or not FDR was too much of an ideologue. And FDR was really something of a pragmatist technocrat, I would say.)

MacGuffin
08-02-2014, 05:32 AM
Centrist.

stuck
08-02-2014, 06:11 AM
This was happening all over in the last presidential election, where you had two highly centrist candidates running against each other. The Republican campaign harped on Obama being a "socialist" (which he plainly isn't--this is laughable) while the Democratic campaign harped on Romney being some sort of right-wing zealot (which he plainly isn't--this is equally laughable). It was like a contest to see who could mischaracterize their opponents' positions the most, with the point of that being to make the case that Their Guy is an ideologue, while Our Guy is just a regular reasonable dude you can trust to make realistic decisions.]

egg fucking zactly

with the issue of taxation being like the battle of the somme, they're only going to change things by 3% or the known universe will implode.

notdavidlynch
08-02-2014, 06:54 AM
Does this have anything to do with that 225 million for Israel being approved by the Senate today?

US right-wing approval of Israel is starting to make sense to me*. We're basically funding live testing of military defense technology that we'll be privy to.

Too bad they're slashing all the arts funding.

* Not that I approve of it, but it makes sense. While they're at it, they may as well have Israel test out all of our extreme beta technologies as well.

Utisz
08-03-2014, 06:02 AM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f4/Bloch_Sphere.svg/330px-Bloch_Sphere.svg.png

stuck
08-03-2014, 06:03 AM
don't you bloch sphere me

Utisz
08-03-2014, 06:04 AM
you started it

stuck
08-03-2014, 06:09 AM
maybe it's autotelic

Utisz
08-03-2014, 06:21 AM
you mean autotelic qua autotelic?

stuck
08-03-2014, 06:44 AM
http://i44.tinypic.com/e6vq8l.jpg

Utisz
08-03-2014, 07:06 AM
http://www.vyralize.com/assets/2013/10/10-guy-02.jpg

stuck
08-03-2014, 07:09 AM
Dude it's like inception but with my face

Utisz
08-03-2014, 07:13 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYmn3Gwn3oI

Madrigal
08-03-2014, 12:01 PM
I'm a little confused as to how the president of the most powerful imperialist country in the world - with all of the military, political and economic intervention/extorsion that this implies for the majority of the planet - can be considered anything other than right-wing.

US politics seems to unfold in a tupperware container where the total absence of a left leads to some weird theory of relativity in which the least right-wing is considered left-wing by virtue of the fact that it simply measures itself against the most right-wing on a domestic level. This is absurd because it ignores the global stage, where actual right, left and center coexist. And the US cannot even be conceived of if not first and foremost as a global hegemon.

Being the goddamned Commander-In-Chief of the US Armed Forces is not a position that places you on the left of anything, let's get that clear. You don't arrive there by accident. You don't assume its tasks by accident. Everyone else in the world got the memo - Americans are the only ones who don't seem to be in on the "secret". This includes American progressives, who shouldn't be falling for that.

djm
08-03-2014, 12:05 PM
From the perspective of a European, Obama - like all US politicians - is right wing.

stuck
08-03-2014, 12:32 PM
Good points, both. I think I meant domestically when I [stig] started this thread [for me].

msg_v2
08-03-2014, 02:45 PM
Well, there's a worldview present in the U.S that refuses to look very long about how money and power might be intertwined. This is present even among ostensibly "left-wing" groups and organization, even anarchists. I'm not saying I think Marxism is the answer, but the refusal of people to really talk about or look at this is frustrating to me. People consider it offensive if you say something like "electing a woman president won't do anything about income inequality". The issues with the distribution of power is not tied to money, but to the fact that the wrong groups have had power, so a lot of people believe that the only thing we need to do this is to put one of those disadvantaged groups in a position of power, and all other problems will solve themselves. People erroneously believe that anything wrong with the way society sees things is exclusively a product of white males being in power ( maybe the worldview was shaped by them, but it's hardly exclusive to white males any more.) , so they think that if you put someone other than a white male in power. the actual attitudes or beliefs of that person don't matter, and putting them in power is enough to effect a massive transformation of society.

I won't say that can't have an inspirational effect, or have a positive effect in some respects, but I don't really think it has the impact people assume it has.

The problem is not that people look at, say, race or gender, but that they refuse to look at class (or other things that IMO we get pretty wrong, like the fear-driven security society, which is weird, because that ties into racism a great deal) . (And really, the historical reasons for people refusing to look at this are pretty obvious, because there have been at least two periods in this history where talking about this at all, whether you were a Marxist or not, was extremely unpopular, and even dangerous.) So it's not surprising that people will talk about animal rights before they will look at class or income inequality. People are more comfortable talking about cows and slaughterhouses than homeless people. Nobody wants to question the American Dream.

People assume that income inequality, and trying to reduce it, results in a decreased standard of living, but there are countries that have less income inequality without everyone living in shacks. I suppose this would be true if it was pursued as an absolute, but I think the only people that would really witness a decrease would be plutocrats, and they'd still be doing pretty well for themselves, just not obscenely well.

I'd say ideologically, I'm a democratic socialist, or social democrat, but that doesn't exist in this country.

TLDR: I think the various Red Scares the U.S. went through had an impact that reverberates throughout the present day, even in the absence of any major scary commie threat. Power is usually seen as not a question of resources, or armies, but who has the microphone, and that's a mistake.

Roger Mexico
08-04-2014, 01:14 AM
Does this have anything to do with that 225 million for Israel being approved by the Senate today?

US right-wing approval of Israel is starting to make sense to me*. We're basically funding live testing of military defense technology that we'll be privy to.

Too bad they're slashing all the arts funding.

* Not that I approve of it, but it makes sense. While they're at it, they may as well have Israel test out all of our extreme beta technologies as well.

You know, I've heard this theory before, from an Iranian guy who taught a class on Middle Eastern history/politics/geography I took in grad school. He said the Israelis even have direct deals with American defense contractors where they basically get free samples of technology that's in the beta-test stage.

It's really not just right-wingers who want to keep the US-Israel relationship going, though. The US military-industrial complex is a globe-spanning operation that represents a constituency unto itself. Domestic politics only have so much to do with what the people running the overseas infrastructure of the empire want from the government back home. The left-right divide here can be a red herring in that respect. It will be interesting if we get a Tea Party-tinged Republican running against Hillary Clinton--in a furtive, fumbling manner, some Republican figures seem to be coming around to the realization that anti-imperialism is an idea with traction among a large portion of the electorate, but there's no way Clinton can credibly claim she isn't exactly the sort of politician that critics of the military-industrial system complain about.

Rasofy
08-04-2014, 03:14 AM
He's center with evident leftist leanings, imo. Congress thinks differently though.

Utisz
08-04-2014, 04:44 AM
He's center with evident leftist leanings, imo.

I wouldn't blame him. My penis is the same way when I have to wear jeans.

Bartender
08-04-2014, 11:38 AM
I wouldn't blame him. My penis is the same way when I have to wear jeans.

That made me burst into laughter at work. Thanks that was hilarious i needed that.

Bartender
08-04-2014, 11:40 AM
Does this have anything to do with that 225 million for Israel being approved by the Senate today?

US right-wing approval of Israel is starting to make sense to me*. We're basically funding live testing of military defense technology that we'll be privy to.

Too bad they're slashing all the arts funding.

* Not that I approve of it, but it makes sense. While they're at it, they may as well have Israel test out all of our extreme beta technologies as well.

Yeah except some times they sell it to the chinese. That doesn't work.

We are always in some sort of military conflict we don't need the israelies to be our test bed.

Bartender
08-04-2014, 11:43 AM
I'm a little confused as to how the president of the most powerful imperialist country in the world - with all of the military, political and economic intervention/extorsion that this implies for the majority of the planet - can be considered anything other than right-wing.

US politics seems to unfold in a tupperware container where the total absence of a left leads to some weird theory of relativity in which the least right-wing is considered left-wing by virtue of the fact that it simply measures itself against the most right-wing on a domestic level. This is absurd because it ignores the global stage, where actual right, left and center coexist. And the US cannot even be conceived of if not first and foremost as a global hegemon.

Being the goddamned Commander-In-Chief of the US Armed Forces is not a position that places you on the left of anything, let's get that clear. You don't arrive there by accident. You don't assume its tasks by accident. Everyone else in the world got the memo - Americans are the only ones who don't seem to be in on the "secret". This includes American progressives, who shouldn't be falling for that.

This was from an american view point. so we are comparing the US left VS the US right not a global right vs left.

ferrus
08-04-2014, 12:26 PM
There was an article on the increasingly poor relations between the West and Russia in the New Yorker where someone in the State Department said they thought Obama was a realist - but he felt bad about it. That explains a lot of how he acts.
in a furtive, fumbling manner, some Republican figures seem to be coming around to the realization that anti-imperialism is an idea with traction among a large portion of the electorate, but there's no way Clinton can credibly claim she isn't exactly the sort of politician that critics of the military-industrial system complain about.
Yes. The interesting thing is that isolationism's nadir came at exactly the point where an ideology (Marxism) actually offered the threat of overthrowing the US system from within and without. Islamism is a much harder sell for a long run imperialist project because of its essentially external character. An ironic consequence of Bush's actions is that he quickly realigned the notion of Islamism as an internal (terrorist) threat into one about foreign wars and imperialism, and so pretty much used up what reservoirs of jingoism he had from 9/11 in the Afghan and Iraqi adventures.

Utisz
08-05-2014, 04:50 AM
Happy birthday Barack.

http://i.imgur.com/CHIrF1W.jpg

Hermione
08-07-2014, 01:03 PM
I think Obama is a center politician, so there's my slant. Have a nice day.

Me, too.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8tFaU571xg&list=RDb8tFaU571xg#t=14

Buddha
09-26-2014, 12:16 AM
A true left is impossible in the USA right now, given the importance that corporate sponsorship plays in getting elected as the president. I would put Obama in the center-right.

Zephyrus
09-26-2014, 12:36 AM
I think Obamas has left-wing sentiments. But he is a pussy, so he rolls over like an obedient dog to the demands of the ruling class, all the while confusing everyone with his brilliant speeches and contradicting decisions.

last_caress
09-26-2014, 01:24 AM
center right. the vibe from him now and when he was first running for president is strikingly different. I'm more inclined these days to reconsider the theory that an out of control intelligence apparatus pulls the strings.

msg_v2
09-26-2014, 01:47 AM
center right. the vibe from him now and when he was first running for president is strikingly different. I'm more inclined these days to reconsider the theory that an out of control intelligence apparatus pulls the strings.

The Beef Industry Council and Beef Board?

Think about it, when was the last time you saw one of these ads?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tviyAIS9c_U

Maybe they've moved on to other ways of pushing their agenda.

stuck
09-26-2014, 02:27 AM
upon fuhrther, and drunken recollection, there's two sides to any american president- domestic and foreign.

obama is centrist in domestic issues, and center right on foreign ones. every president post ww2 has been a hawk, probably for fear of ending the apex of the US's arc through world affairs. the grand chessboard and all.

Deckard
09-26-2014, 02:53 AM
I think his personal ideology is left-wing, and that he compromises a lot of his personal ideology for the sake of political pragmatism (i.e. meeting his opposition somewhere nearer the centre for the sake of getting things done). I also think people tend to assume he's the sole cause of everything the government does, so the public impression of Obama the Person gets erroneously conflated with the policies congress passes/blocks, with what the military, NSA & other branches of govt are doing, etc. It can be hard to figure out which parts genuinely reflect who he is, when we're only allowed to see the cultivated presidential face most of the time, and when the majority of what we're exposed to has been predigested by the media. But it's important to recognise that he's just one of the cogs in a very large & complex machine.

Buddha
09-26-2014, 07:14 PM
I think his personal ideology is left-wing, and that he compromises a lot of his personal ideology for the sake of political pragmatism (i.e. meeting his opposition somewhere nearer the centre for the sake of getting things done). I also think people tend to assume he's the sole cause of everything the government does, so the public impression of Obama the Person gets erroneously conflated with the policies congress passes/blocks, with what the military, NSA & other branches of govt are doing, etc. It can be hard to figure out which parts genuinely reflect who he is, when we're only allowed to see the cultivated presidential face most of the time, and when the majority of what we're exposed to has been predigested by the media. But it's important to recognise that he's just one of the cogs in a very large & complex machine.

That is true. But a great president can go beyond that. Kennedy was acting against the advice from his staff during the Cuban missile crisis and it was he alone that kept the Cuba missile crisis from escalating.

C.J.Woolf
09-26-2014, 08:40 PM
I think his personal ideology is left-wing, and that he compromises a lot of his personal ideology for the sake of political pragmatism (i.e. meeting his opposition somewhere nearer the centre for the sake of getting things done).

I agree. I think no Americans are more politically pragmatic than African Americans.

Deckard
09-26-2014, 11:00 PM
That is true. But a great president can go beyond that. Kennedy was acting against the advice from his staff during the Cuban missile crisis and it was he alone that kept the Cuba missile crisis from escalating.

A lot has changed in politics since the 60s. Would Kennedy have been an effective president in a post-9/11 political climate?

Buddha
09-26-2014, 11:18 PM
A lot has changed in politics since the 60s. Would Kennedy have been an effective president in a post-9/11 political climate?

I'd like to think so. As far as I'm aware the president's authority hasn't been culled. But he wouldn't get to run for president today. You need many rich corporate friends who pay for your campaign.

Faust
09-27-2014, 01:41 AM
That is true. But a great president can go beyond that. Kennedy was acting against the advice from his staff during the Cuban missile crisis and it was he alone that kept the Cuba missile crisis from escalating.

He could have pulled missiles out of Turkey as a measure of de-escalation, and didn't.

Buddha
09-27-2014, 01:53 AM
He could have pulled missiles out of Turkey as a measure of de-escalation, and didn't.

What is your point? I'm sure there were many moments in time when the arms race could have been stopped by either party.

Roger Mexico
09-30-2014, 04:22 AM
center right. the vibe from him now and when he was first running for president is strikingly different. I'm more inclined these days to reconsider the theory that an out of control intelligence apparatus pulls the strings.

You know, I'm not much for conspiracy theories and I don't mean this in that sense, but I think there's more than a grain of truth to this.

It's actually kind of an interesting emergent property of the presidency as an institution. Of course the size, scope, and power of the executive branch at the federal level has only grown and kept growing since the early 20th century, but I think with Obama and Bush we actually see less of the "imperial presidency" that people worried about during the Nixon years, and more the transformation of that segment of the state into a bureaucratic oligarchy with the president as its public face.

What I mean is that both Bush and Obama strike me as inexperienced politicians who have tended to be notably deferential to professional managers of the federal executive department's various arms--people who are nominally their subordinates. Those seem to be the people actually making executive policy, under a presidency which doesn't seem to really steer them so much as ask what they want to do, perhaps vet their ideas to some extent, but then mainly step in as the person who has to explain those decisions to the public.

Bush was actually something of a skilled rhetorician, in his way. Obama, obviously, is a very skilled rhetorician by conventional standards. "Chief Rhetorician for the Federal Bureaucracy" increasingly strikes me as an important dimension of how to accurately characterize a contemporary president's actual systemic role.

C.J.Woolf
09-30-2014, 12:28 PM
That all makes sense when you consider that the permanent bureaucracy took decades to build up and will outlast any president. Perhaps the greatest influence any president can have on it is the people he appoints to it. It's the same as the federal courts, only fewer people notice.

msg_v2
09-30-2014, 03:25 PM
It's actually kind of an interesting emergent property of the presidency as an institution. Of course the size, scope, and power of the executive branch at the federal level has only grown and kept growing since the early 20th century, but I think with Obama and Bush we actually see less of the "imperial presidency" that people worried about during the Nixon years, and more the transformation of that segment of the state into a bureaucratic oligarchy with the president as its public face.




That all makes sense when you consider that the permanent bureaucracy took decades to build up and will outlast any president. Perhaps the greatest influence any president can have on it is the people he appoints to it. It's the same as the federal courts, only fewer people notice.

It's an interesting hypothesis. As a cursory observation, it seems like the Democratic and Republican parties each have their set of people who they appoint into key positions once they assume the presidency. If they aren't the same people, they act as mentors of sorts. Rumsfeld, for instance, had served other Republican White Houses prior to Bush II.

ciphersort
09-30-2014, 09:22 PM
I think Obama is a center politician, so there's my slant. Have a nice day.

I agree - considering the supposed conservative backlash of recent US history, but because that backlash is actually extremist and authoritarian I place Obama on the right (Clinton as well) - if that makes any sense. If not oh well... it's not like our government makes sense.

Box
10-04-2014, 06:02 PM
That is true. But a great president can go beyond that. Kennedy was acting against the advice from his staff during the Cuban missile crisis and it was he alone that kept the Cuba missile crisis from escalating.

Khrushchev was the one that stopped the crisis, most would have demanded the removal of missiles from Turkey to at least be done publicly so they didn't seem weak. It even cost him his job eventually, few other world leaders would have made that risk, also some of the most important negotiations and information was done amongst spies. The whole crisis was precipitated by Kennedy's belligerence towards Cuba in the first place, Castro didn't start off a communist and might not have turned to the Soviets at all if Kennedy hadn't tried to destroy Cuba for what was initially just mild land reform. If it wasn't for the heavy handed reaction Castro wouldn't have been so justifiably fearful of a US invasion. The world got lucky we survived in spite of Kennedy.

Buddha
10-04-2014, 06:20 PM
Khrushchev was the one that stopped the crisis, most would have demanded the removal of missiles from Turkey to at least be done publicly so they didn't seem weak. It even cost him his job eventually, few other world leaders would have made that risk, also some of the most important negotiations and information was done amongst spies. The whole crisis was precipitated by Kennedy's belligerence towards Cuba in the first place, Castro didn't start off a communist and might not have turned to the Soviets at all if Kennedy hadn't tried to destroy Cuba for what was initially just mild land reform. If it wasn't for the heavy handed reaction Castro wouldn't have been so justifiably fearful of a US invasion. The world got lucky we survived in spite of Kennedy.

I see. And where do you get all of that from?
Not trying to be beligerent here. I'm always learning about historical crap like that from american sources.

Box
10-05-2014, 11:26 PM
I see. And where do you get all of that from?
Not trying to be beligerent here. I'm always learning about historical crap like that from american sources.


I don't think any of that is outside the normal scope of history on the matter. there's that often reported quote about "they just blinked" which for the leader who 'blinked' according to all public statements didn't work out well and he must've known it wouldn't when he agreed to the deal and allowed the part about the missiles in Turkey to remain secret. Kennedy won a huge propaganda victory and they were taking the missiles out of turkey anyway so he didn't really concede anything, so Khrushchev really made all the concessions that made avoiding war possible. Castro toured the US months after getting into power so it was clear he wasn't into opposing the US for the sake of it. It's still pretty well standard American policy to try and crash any Latin American country that turns even slightly left wing, so the US's aggressive response to basic land reform really forced Castro deep into the arms of the Soviets, which even his communist advisers weren't thrilled with.

C.J.Woolf
10-06-2014, 12:17 AM
The US policy toward Third World countries during the Cold War created a self-fulfilling prophecy, as you noted with Cuba. The West refused to help people trying to oppose oppressive right-wing governments, so they turned to the only country that would: the Soviet Union.

Limes
10-06-2014, 02:26 AM
From my viewpoint, he seems a little bit right of center on everything, except unions. He's right up the ass of unions and he even likes the European Union and urges the UK to stay in.
He's numbnuts for unions. I've stood in a few high ranking union official's offices and seen his picture right up on the wall standing with the same guy I'm meeting with.

My own experience of unions is not positive. The collective bargaining isn't the same in the modern era as it was in the 1800s and 1900s, times have changed and with the shift from manufacturing industry to service industry, 'collective bargaining' is looking more like blackmail and government bankrolling for unprofitable/unsustainable sectors. Coal miners, steel workers, car manufacturers etc.

jyng1
10-06-2014, 04:46 AM
My own experience of unions is not positive. The collective bargaining isn't the same in the modern era as it was in the 1800s and 1900s, times have changed and with the shift from manufacturing industry to service industry, 'collective bargaining' is looking more like blackmail and government bankrolling for unprofitable/unsustainable sectors. Coal miners, steel workers, car manufacturers etc.

Pretty much the unions have been brought to heel almost everywhere. They might come to prominence again as I see inequality has just reached levels not seen since the 1820s.

Roger Mexico
10-07-2014, 04:39 AM
Unions will probably need to drastically re-tool themselves if they're going to remain relevant.

In the US, last I checked the big ones (AFL-CIO, etc.) actually represented about 8% of the work force, which pretty much makes them just another special-interest group and hardly the "voice of the working class" or anything of that sort.

The teachers' unions (a longstanding stalwart Democratic party constituency) don't particularly like Obama, which is interesting. I'm not sure how I feel about the teachers' unions, honestly, but then I'm pretty sure I dislike the same tendencies of Obama's that they don't like, albeit for what I think are different reasons. (He's embraced a "school reform" movement which is, IMO, mostly a sham and a cover for shady think-tanks to cynically eat up grant money for producing dubious "solutions" that are drastically inferior to well-known measures, like reducing student-teacher ratios, that would be fairly easy to implement were it not for the apparent political consensus against them.) I think the unions' perspective is mostly just reactionary at this point--digging in their heels, making excuses for the status quo, and lashing out at anyone who even uses words like "reform", all of which strikes me as myopic and misguided--but on the general point of thinking Obama's big ideas for education policy are a bunch of useless hooey, I'm in agreement with them to some degree.

Box
10-11-2014, 05:00 PM
obama promised on the campaign trail to enact a pro-union law, and then proceeded to never say anything about it ever again. He also promised to reform NAFTA, another big union issue and again never said another word about it. He once said a nice thing about the 15/hr and a union fast food movement I think - I guess thats nice, but I think one nice comment over the course of 8 years is quite far from 'up the ass' of unions. His buddy emmanuel in chicago is now the bane of the teachers union entirely with talk of privatizations and semi-privatized voucher systems. I think the teachers unions are pretty reactionary because they have nowhere to go at this point - they've been so regulated and standardized tested and judged that they're backed into a corner and since every time the word reform is used it always seems to mean more testing and tighter standards and more vouchers - they don't get really any good options to take so the status quo is probably all they can shoot for unless they pick up their own vision for an education system outside of the parties somehow.

Unions are changing with the years and I think the decline will ebb soon. American union law is designed only for big unions in large single workplaces, which is why public sector unions are some of the last big ones, they're the only major employers left that can't ship the jobs overseas. Them and the mines. The ban of secondary strikes and weird regulations means that all the retail and service workers who make up the bulk of the union typical crowd legally have little ground to stand on (for instance to unionize a single starbucks in Manhattan, a judge said workers would have had to get all the starbucks employees on the whole island of Manhattan to form a single union - given a ton of people who have zero connection to each other in hugely varying conditions its effectively a government ban). There's a shift to not officially union but actually union activity like the 15/hr campaigns and the our walmart stuff as well as some left wing unions in the retail sector.

NedLudd
10-11-2014, 05:20 PM
I agree with Limey. If you look at what he's actually done, he seems right-of-center. He's an exceedingly conservative individual, both politically and personally, and he seems to have a profound belief in the theory of American Exceptionalism. Then again, even Carter toed that line.

msg_v2
10-11-2014, 06:08 PM
I agree with Limey. If you look at what he's actually done, he seems right-of-center. He's an exceedingly conservative individual, both politically and personally, and he seems to have a profound belief in the theory of American Exceptionalism. Then again, even Carter toed that line.

I don't think you could become president if you didn't believe in American exceptionalism.


Unions will probably need to drastically re-tool themselves if they're going to remain relevant.

In the US, last I checked the big ones (AFL-CIO, etc.) actually represented about 8% of the work force, which pretty much makes them just another special-interest group and hardly the "voice of the working class" or anything of that sort.

I think it's unfortunate that the AFL-CIO squeezed out the Wobblies. I think it's sort of amazing that from the very beginning, they were open to everyone.

Box
10-12-2014, 09:13 PM
I think it's unfortunate that the AFL-CIO squeezed out the Wobblies. I think it's sort of amazing that from the very beginning, they were open to everyone.

The wobblies are having a resurgence right now, a few campaigns like this IWW Rail Workers Strike To End Illegal Retaliation (http://chicagoist.com/2013/08/01/iww_rail_workers_strike_to_end_ille.php) going on, and a bunch of retail campaigns (starbucks and dominoes amongst the big names) which might not get shop recognition but still carry on doing union things. They're flexible to modern conditions where these sluggish old bureaucratic afl type unions are not.

That comment reminded me of this picture
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/6a/a4/7c/6aa47c0e80eef52cd6cbd5a3de8f2269.jpg

Roger Mexico
10-23-2014, 02:44 AM
http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/10/18/vote-all-you-want-the-secret-government-won-change/jVSkXrENQlu8vNcBfMn9sL/story.html


Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.

...

Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.

Hey, that's what I said!


Glennon cites the example of Obama and his team being shocked and angry to discover upon taking office that the military gave them only two options for the war in Afghanistan: The United States could add more troops, or the United States could add a lot more troops. Hemmed in, Obama added 30,000 more troops.


Glennon’s critique sounds like an outsider’s take, even a radical one. In fact, he is the quintessential insider: He was legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a consultant to various congressional committees, as well as to the State Department.



IDEAS: Do we have any hope of fixing the problem?

GLENNON: The ultimate problem is the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American people. And indifference to the threat that is emerging from these concealed institutions. That is where the energy for reform has to come from: the American people. Not from government. Government is very much the problem here. The people have to take the bull by the horns. And that’s a very difficult thing to do, because the ignorance is in many ways rational. There is very little profit to be had in learning about, and being active about, problems that you can’t affect, policies that you can’t change.


Hey, I kind of said that too, in the other thread.

Huh.

starla
10-23-2014, 03:24 AM
You obviously should be writing books.