Monday, October 14, 2013

Next Exit 2016?

The outlook is dull, no silver linings can be seen behind the clouds, so far. To brighten things, how about looking further ahead than the next government shutdown (if this one ever ends).

2016? Whenever I have to face something I don't enjoy ( major dental or medical treatment for example) I send my mind well ahead to when it'll all be over, and concentrate on that. Perhaps concentrating on future possibilities now would serve to lighten our darkening skies a little.

I read a decent piece by Sean McElwee in this vein yesterday at Salon, with some interesting comments attached:
"To defeat the Tea Party, the left needs bolder leader than Hillary
The right's tactics won't change. Democrats need a 2016 candidate who fights differently than Clinton and Obama."

Whether Hillary Clinton will run for the presidency in 2016 isn't clear, but let's say she will. Would she be the best way forward for the "left"? I use the word "left" with caution, because really and truly there is no representative of the true left in the USA - such a person is not allowed to rise. If one were to appear on the scene he/she would be put down rapidly, either by ridicule or something more destructive. I shall have to curb my enthusiasm for true leftists and third parties in 2016, while still scanning the horizon anxiously for the rise of one of them. Bearing all that in mind then, would Hillary be the best we could hope for as next President? I must not forget that the president is only one piece of the picture. More truly left-leaning and outspoken congress people would be an even more important step to take at election time - but where are such people? Perhaps a few more of them will appear in 2014 and 2016, emboldened by the currently wretched job incumbents are doing.

One commenter to the linked piece pointed out that progress towards the left, however much many of us wish for it, has to be very, very gradual, in order to avoid dangerous backlash from the extreme rightist and/or dominionist factions. I agree, reluctantly. Hillary does fill that requirement. From what I've read about her early years, she did seem, then, to be of the true left. Her experiences with "the guys behind the curtain" must have dampened her leftist ardour in maturity. She does know how to play the game, must have learned many lessons from Bill. How to play the game is a valuable skill to have, in the circumstances. The skill: an ability to please "the guys behind the curtain" while still helping the rest of us, and the nation, as much as possible. Maybe this would be further lesser evilism, but if, for the time being, it's all we can have....what else is there, other than to keep scanning the horizon for signs of change?

The argument I see often, that "the US isn't really a leftist country at heart", doesn't ring true. Look what happened when candidate Barack Obama presented his original promises of hope and change, leftist proposals all the way from him - then: fighting Wall Street, making government more open and transparent, healthcare legislation with a public option, closing Gitmo, and more. You remember all those good promises? The people ate them up, ravenously, and voted him in. Then what happened? His devoted followers still insist that he has been thwarted at every turn by an intransigent congress. Others consider he was a centrist or mild conservative from the start, someone wily enough to know how to play the base sufficiently well to get into the White House. History will decide which was the true face of Barack Obama. What his original triumphant win did prove is that the USA truly wants to be the more left-leaning nation it is not presently allowed to be.

Names such as Elizabeth Warren, are being thrown around as an alternative to Hillary Clinton for the Democrats in 2016. I think Ms Warren is too new to the game, but in time she could prove to be the nation's saviour. 2020? 2024? I'd like to see Alan Grayson and Bernie Sanders in positions of some power, if not president, with considerably more national influence - and Dennis Kucinich of course. It's not likely to happen in my lifetime though, maybe not even in theirs.

Well....that didn't turn out to be a particularly sky-lightening exercise after all. Hmmmm. I shall have to take the following to heart:
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

~ Bruce Lee


mike said...

Well, Twilight, much can change between now and 2016...the USA might be a dictatorial country by then and voting rights suspended...or perhaps corporations will be allowed to run for office by that time! Maybe a queue from Russia...Joe Biden wins the 2016 election with Obama as VP, then Obama back as POTUS in 2020?

With NSA's broad reach, I would suppose that any election can be rigged, since it's all digital now (maybe they've been rigged since 2008).

With the Americans' uncanny ability to be mentally herded, any candidate that promises the missing elements of our lives will be a sensation. Throw-in a couple of theatrics to yield an impression of presidential suitability and voila.

I have no idea what has gone wrong with the Obama dream...yes, Martha, it was but a dream...but I would have to say that his promises have been restricted at just about every turn by congressional stumping. He offered judicial trials to Gitmo prisoners, but no one wanted the trials in their backyards...congress pulled the plug. Obama discussed gun regulation and you know how that went over with the public. PPACA became bastardized quickly by congress. While I don't approve of drones, if all other countries are droning, what ya gonna do? Bombing is bombing regardless of method. The most egregious of all, to me, is the overreach of privacy denigration and the strengthening of the Patriot Act.

From Scholastic:

Americans expect a lot from their Presidents. Understandably, they want the President to take quick action on problems facing the nation, such as crime and drug abuse. However, the U.S. Constitution limits the President's power to act. Only Congress can pass legislation, and Congress sometimes moves slowly. The President can only approve or veto (reject) legislation that Congress passes. Even then, Congress can override a veto and make it the law. The Supreme Court can also limit the President's power by ruling that a law or action violates the U.S. Constitution. "The President has less power than the average voter thinks he does," says presidential expert Paul Boller. "He can't simply by himself make major domestic policies."

Twilight said...

mike ~ Just as change for the better has to be so slow that it's scarcely discernible, change for the worse is similarly slow, so I doubt that the USA will be a dictatorship without voting rights by 2016.

NSA and rigged elections have to be considered, it's true, and have probably existed in the USA long before the digital age and NSA, on a smaller scale than is possible now. I agree this is a big problem.

It's possible to argue both ways about Obama and the "dream" he peddled. History will have to decide. Neptune's effects are too strong in him for me to see through clearly, I can only trust my own instincts about it. I'd love to think you are right and he has simply been stopped at every turn by congress - but my instincts tell me that there's more to it than that. Much more.

Dang - but it's a dismal day today, weather-wise and all else. Chris Hedges, excellent writer that he is, could have us all jumping under the nearest semi or off a cliff if one is available this morning.

I'm trying, somewhat ham-fistedly I admit, to be positive here, and fairly realistic. Things political are hardly ever as bad as the worst diagnosis and hardly ever as good as the best. I'm trying to land somewhere between.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - Obama has been trying to minimize our two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq...these two wars are responsible for our HUGE national debt. Who declared war on these two countries? Who created Gitmo?

The current government shutdown and threat of non-negotiable debt ceiling is a farce. Most citizens do not realize that the budget and consequent debt limits are essentially a two-part sequence. First step is the "Budget Resolution", determined by both the senate and house, Dems and Repubs. It is the second stage, the "Appropriation Bill" that is being haggled now. Why the Repubs cry foul now, when they had direct input to the budget process and consequent "Resolution", is beyond me.

mike (again) said...

A very good piece from Chris Hedges...I always enjoy his presentations...usually pessimistic, but honest and vibrant depictions of our status!

I have Scorpio-plus, so I don't particularly mind the notion of death pangs...perhaps understanding the rebirth...much like your side-bar quote of Louis L'Amour. Much like the seasons of summer's decline toward winter, then the renewal. We are undergoing a natural process.

We in the USA have earned our decline...I can't say that there are many innocents...few hostages were taken. We want it all, yet we do not understand our particular role in consequences.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ G.W. Bush did those things originally. I realise that.
I respect your more positive take on President Obama, I just am unable to share it, mike.

I am ignorant of the detail involved in debt ceiling, deficits, budget resolutions. I see what you're saying about the Republicans haggling over things for which they were partly responsible....same goes for ACA, as you've pointed out before.

I know, without a shadow of doubt, that Republicans, as they are now anyway, are dangerously misguided at best, downright destructive and know it, at worst. I've no good words for the crew who are in power now. I might have found some good in more old-fashioned Republicans, as I once did in some of Britain's old fashioned Conservatives.

Will go read up on budget process - thanks for the link

Twilight said...

mike ~ Scorpio-plus versus Aquarius/Aries.


Your last paragraph says it all, mike. Yet I still feel compassion for the ordinary folk of this nation.
On the whole they are good-hearted, and many have been sorely misguided for a long, long time

LB said...

Twilight ~ While I understand and share your frustration, I think the answers lie elsewhere. Of our President you wrote: "What his original triumphant win did prove is that the USA truly wants to be the more left-leaning nation it is not presently allowed to be"

To some extent that may be true, but what's equally true is that his win also proved how easily misled we can be by false advertising. Most of us weren't (and aren't) willing to look beyond the words and/or illusion. It takes too much work and is far too unpleasant to pay attention to the smaller clues and to act on them in meaningful ways.

Maybe the answer is for more of us to become the change we want to see, something that would require individual effort, sacrifice and discernment - not just politically, but in all areas of our lives. If most people aren't even willing to give up on certain brands of chocolate to help stop child-slavery and forced labor, what does that say about us as a society? This is just one of many other examples. I chose mainstream chocolate because it would be such an easy issue to address.

You know the Buddhist proverb, "When the student is ready, the teacher will come."? Maybe when the people are ready, the leader will come.:)

LB said...

mike ~ Just read your comment, "We in the USA have earned our decline...I can't say that there are many innocents...few hostages were taken. We want it all, yet we do not understand our particular role in consequences."

Your thoughts echo those of my own Scorpio plus mind.: Transiting Saturn conjunct my own natal Neptune-Mercury-Jupiter conjunction (in the 2nd/3rd) has been like getting a big shot of reality plus, with not many illusions left. My husband and I are in the process of changing our whole way of life right now, trying to get serious about making a difference through our choices.

LB said...

Twilight ~ If mike is Scorpio plus and you're Aquarius-Aries plus, I'm a combination of both! Only my Aries is in the 8th and my Aquarius is square my Scorpio and opposite my Uranus. I've learned the hard way.

mike (again) said...

When I said, "I can't say that there are many innocents...few hostages were taken."...I meant internally...many innocents and hostages outside of our territory.

I don't quibble with you, Twilight, in Obama's role of disappointments, but I think all too often, much ointment goes on him when others are deserving of the smear. You and I have had similar discussions in the past and I suspect you think I'm defending Obama...I'm not...but, I'm aware that there are many factors that contribute to his pallid ethics, some not by his hand.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Yes, Obama's 2008 win proved that too - as you've said - the people are easily led by advertising and "brand", careless about doing any checking for themselves.

We should all try to be a better example of what we'd like to see universally - no doubt about it. It's quite a hard task in the bigger, important ways though. Your chocolate example is one we could all make a start on - this Hallowe'en. I shall do that, then maybe look for bigger stuff I can change in my life, without making life nothing but sacrifice and difficulty, that is.

Balance ought to be key, a populace of disgruntled citizens with no pleasures wouldn't be helpful.

Yes - I'm always scanning the horizon for that "teacher" or leader!

Astrologically, then, we 3 are forming a planetary tangle of sorts. ;-)

Twilight said...

mike (again #2) ~ I did think you were defending Obama quite a bit, mike, at times. I'm glad of the clarification. :-) I can see why some people do want to defend him, I truly can - and their reasons.
From the start he has been wrapped in a Neptunian fog (I've said this over and over again).

Just a few minutes ago I read a comment, I've forgotten on which blog - Avedon or Eschaton - one of those - it went like this:

If you believe Obama is incapable of learning, twist yourself into a pretzel, ignore certain key decisions, and look at him sideways, you can believe that he wants the best for us all. And is simply a bad negotiator.

Or, you can say: He saw Bill Clinton make $100 million for selling out the Democratic base, and came in from day one with that goal in mind. And this explains everything he's done, not to mention the things he's still trying to do (cut Social Security, pass the TPP, etc.)

That Neptunian fog has many people bamboozled, still.

mike (again) said...

This is an interesting piece about how politicians select the voter rather than the voter selecting the politician:

ex-Chomp said...

Well I do agree, but let me simply say that Tea Party of Far Rght Wing groups are a desease, a public desease, and in Europe it is even far worse...

Basically there is the lack of command on the crisis by left parties: :
Analysis: Not much left for Europe’s left ...

mike (again) said...

The floor inquiry about House GOP's recent (Oct. 1) change to the shutdown rule. Those Repubs!

Twilight said...

mike(again) ~ Yes - there's an old practice which ought to be outlawed!
I realise that sometimes changes in boundaries are needed for a variety of reasons, but there should be a way of eliminating the trickery and manipulation which clearly goes on.

#(again) What a shambles - the Republicans seem to think they can do exactly as they wish, go around changing rules, changing boundaries....the world is theirs, and all that therein is - (or so they assume).

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~Thanks for this information, I wasn't aware of how badly things have gone for the left over there. :-(

(Note: If the link doesn't work for any passing reader, make sure the colon at the end of the line isn't included when you copy it).

We have to hope that this is just a low point for the left in the constant but slow-moving waves of change. The lower we go, the higher the next surge could be. :-)

ex-Chomp said...

Oh in Europe they are resurging the Nazi Parties, consider this...

Not the liberty maniacs of the neoliberist fanaticists but the return of Naziism...

Fantastic, isn’t it??

Perhaps they won’t win, but consider the extent of the plague.

Far Right Wing dominating societies are a threat in economy in Usa, basically that is the knot.
In Europe it is the immigration problem the not.
Even Norway is under a far right government.

Of course low wave are followed by higher waves but not with the people in command up to now, not with a **profound** change in cultural landscapes.

Basically culture is far-right wing dominated.

Leftists continue to live in dreams and in the refuse of reality being completely unable to face the situation.

There are still defenses but I wuld suggest an attack.

ex-Chomp said...

An interesting link:

ex-Chomp said...

Someone of them told it clearly, These seem to be their clear intentions, at least of a part of them:

Coburn: Need 'Managed Catastrophe' Now To Make Difficult Budget Choices

If not now, then. I mean that, if these are the intentions, they will be fulfilled in some way or another even if they may arrive at a sort of compromise, for this issue will reappear again in another way.

If things are so, I think Americans should make a total revolution in their way of thinking.

I cannot be sure these informations are true, I only quote a link I found.
But if I read well, the intentions of a part of Tea Party groupings or sympathizers are to act in a sort of managed catastrophe.

Ufortunately everyone that tried to manage catastrophes descovered catastrophes managed them....

Of the series: If you look into the abyss the abyss can look into you, ad so try to be more intelligent, one may add....

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~ Thanks for these thoughts and links - I've read, or watched, them with interest. Tom Coburn in the video (re: "managed catastrophe") is one of our two senators in Oklahoma. He's dangerous - while managing to sound reasonable and convincing to many.

Tea Party distribution map is scary in one way but reassuring in another - they and their ilk are few really, and the current debacle is going to sully further their already damaged reputation.

You said that "Basically culture is far-right wing dominated.
I'm not sure about this. Culture, in the US anyway, is wealth dominated, certainly, more old fashioned conservative than far right-wing. But I could be missing your point here.

Leftists (the few true ones who continue to exist in the USA) are drowned out or ridiculed. Pretend leftists, such as most of the celebrity liberals are absolutely useless, and do more harm than good pandering to the faux Democrat establishment.

I think, Chomp, that it will depend on the outcome of the current impasse in the US how the TP/far right is viewed here going forward. They will try again, maybe even learn some lessons from this and be more crafty next time.

I do agree fully that, as you wrote, "everyone that tried to manage catastrophes descovered catastrophes managed them...."