June 9, 2012
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The photo above is from an article about the battle for control of the French parliament now that a socialist has won the presidency. The woman on the left (ha!) is Marine Le Pen the far-right, anti-immigrant, nativist who has made a career on her papa’s (Jean Le Pen) ideas. The man to the right is Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the left-wing candidate.
I find the slogans interesting. Le Pen’s is, “Your only defender,” or “The Only One to Stand Up for You,” appealing to the frustrated sense of victimhood that fuels popular movements everywhere, often with a fascist tinge. It would not be out of place in a Tea Party setting.
Mélenchon’s is “Take the power.“ Can you imagine such a slogan in the US? What I find intriguing is that it recognizes that there is power to be taken! Here, we assume that we have it already, people-power, democracy, all that. His slogan would amount to class-war heresy here in the US.
August 1, 2011
I am on vacation, but I do read the newspaper, and words are failing me. Rather, I should say, words are choking me! I’ll just use a few bullets and a quote, and have done with it.
- Repeal the law that created a debt ceiling. It’s idiotic. Just a phony way to impose “fiscal discipline.”
- Do we have a democracy? Most people want a taxes on the corporations, the wealthy, and judicious spending cuts. We got neither, and the show is being run by a bunch of radical lunatics with backing from very big money. I’m beginning to think Troutsky is right after all.
- I voted for Obama because I thought he could win and Hillary might not, and of course, he was far better than McCain. I never expected much. He has surpassed my expectations in a negative way to an amazing extent.
- Is he a dunce, a tool of the establishment, or a technocrat robot?
Here’s some text from Paul Krugman (bad on global warming, good on politics!) in his column today on Obama’s abject surrender to the Tea Party arm of Wall Street, and part of his linked text – my emphasis:
Did the president have any alternative this time around? Yes.
First of all, he could and should have demanded an increase in the debt ceiling back in December. When asked why he didn’t, he replied that he was sure that Republicans would act responsibly. Great call. . .
Obama, at his press conference last December, announcing his surrender to the GOP on tax cuts; the questioner was Marc Ambinder:
Q Mr. President, thank you. How do these negotiations affect negotiations or talks with Republicans about raising the debt limit? Because it would seem that they have a significant amount of leverage over the White House now, going in. Was there ever any attempt by the White House to include raising the debt limit as a part of this package?
THE PRESIDENT: When you say it would seem they’ll have a significant amount of leverage over the White House, what do you mean?
Q Just in the sense that they’ll say essentially we’re not going to raise the — we’re not going to agree to it unless the White House is able to or willing to agree to significant spending cuts across the board that probably go deeper and further than what you’re willing to do. I mean, what leverage would you have –
THE PRESIDENT: Look, here’s my expectation — and I’ll take John Boehner at his word — that nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse, that that would not be a good thing to happen. And so I think that there will be significant discussions about the debt limit vote. That’s something that nobody ever likes to vote on. But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower. [Oh, yes you can!!]
And so my expectation is, is that we will have tough negotiations around the budget, but that ultimately we can arrive at a position that is keeping the government open, keeping Social Security checks going out, keeping veterans services being provided, but at the same time is prudent when it comes to taxpayer dollars.
January 24, 2010
Since the time of the ancient Greeks, one of the main criticisms of democracy has been that it is nothing more than rule by mob. Our Founding Fathers pretty much agreed:
In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever character composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason. Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.
Madison – Federalist Papers No. 55
Let’s face it – it’s true! But the argument for democracy is clinched by this wise statement from Winston Churchill:
It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.
This truth seems to be lost on President Obama. He and the Democratic party should be riding this wave of popular rage and anxiety, but instead, they are becoming its target.
November 14, 2007
I cannot understand the attraction of this man for the electorate, no, not on any level. Just to highlight one aspect of his miserable career as mayor of NYC, America’s Mayor, as he likes to call himself, I quote in full this excellent letter to the New York Times from today. The emphasis is added by me.
To the Editor:
Many thanks to Frank Rich for reminding people that after 9/11 Rudolph W. Giuliani tried to destroy democracy in New York City by urging that our elections be postponed so that he could overstay his term. In my experience, many people here have forgotten this shameful attempt at a power grab.
Whenever Mr. Giuliani the candidate says that “they” attacked us because they hate our freedoms and our rights, people should be reminded that his first response to this hatred was to try to strip away our most precious right: the right to vote.
The rest of America needs to know that the person they call “America’s mayor” desperately tried to become “New York’s autocrat.” Mayor Giuliani responded to an emergency by attacking the right of the people to vote. How would a President Giuliani react to an emergency?
New York, Nov. 11, 2007