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I haven't made a political post in a long, long time.

I'd make one now, except just thinking about it depresses me. I was not happy about the results of the midterm, needless to say... and I am even less happy, if possible, about this "compromise" that Obama has made with the GOP on taxes. From where I sit, it smells more like capitulation than compromise. Give a lot, get almost nothing.

Obama is the most intelligent president we've had since Jimmy Carter... and, sad to say, he is looking more and more like Jimmy every day. A good man, but not a good leader. At least not so far. He doesn't seem to have the stomach for a fight. We need another FDR, another JFK, another LBJ. NOT Jimmy II. (And, yes, I know, Obama has accomplished some important stuff. But so did Jimmy. Camp David accords, remember?)

Yeats was writing about his own time in "The Second Coming," I know, but sometimes I think he was prescient:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And could that rough beast whose hour has come round at least be... Sarah Palin?

No, please. Tell me that's just a bad dream. Somebody wake me up.



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Dec. 16th, 2010 09:36 am (UTC)
My .02 $
I read just a part of comments, but as a neutral party i want to share some thoughts. Probably gonna be a long post, so I assume most wont bother reading... I like to call my self a "classic liberal" with strong belief in personal freedom and personal responsibility, and I must say I am actually bothered by this modern use of liberal to mean left-leaning as I find it, personally, a perversion of the word "liberal". And as I see in the US right now no party protects freedoms and I am quite libertarian leaning in the way that I oppose democracy as "the tyranny of the mob". Democracy should refer just to common issues.

That being said I think the main issue with the US, and every other country, is that it's way to polarized, and despite people calling themselves moderate, very few are. Everything is partisan and ideological. I read many comments to various politics end economy articles and most have very little critical thinking on the issue and are mostly keeping the ideological lines. Both the right and left ideologies right now are, with all due respect, simple brainwashing from politicians who want to buy votes, politicians with little qualifications to lead a country, mostly lawyers and they get elected by promising to spend other peoples money. Obama may be smart but I don't see how that qualified him to take macroeconomic decisions.

I live in a former communist eastern European country and I can say one thing for certain. Big government does not work and left ideology is the path to ruin for a society. Most here being socialist will disagree, but the truth is that government is inefficient and cannot give someone prosperity. I am not comparing US to communism, but that is where left ideology leads to, sometimes fast in a revolution sometimes slow over centuries. I hear many people giving the northern european systems as example, but those systems wont last long in this current form, they benefited by some very special global conditions. Most welfare states in Europe are destined to bankruptcy in the long run, as they are just Ponzi schemes, they work great until the crash. A bit of background on my beliefs.

Regarding taxation, I believe no tax increase should be allowed until the government cuts wasteful spending. Government, a coercive monopoly, has no way of correcting inefficiencies, the only way of reducing them is reducing government. Allowing tax breaks to expire would not fix the problem, which is spending, because it sends the message to politicians that they can continue spending and just increase taxes. off course, I generally support a flat tax rate, not increased taxation on people declared arbitrarily rich (why 250k and not 240 or 260 ?). I believe in free markets, not government spending, as the economy is something to complex to be regulated by various bureaucrats. Regulation should be clear and minimal (I unlike many libertarians believe in some environmental regulations for example ).All centrally planed governments failed and every economy that moved from regulation to freedom prospered. All citizens should get equal protection, equal treatment. Taxes should go to common goals - infrastructure, defense (not in the invade small countries kind of way), justice and law enforcement. And maybe some minimal, short term, social spending. That can be achieved with low taxes not the overbearing ones prevalent right now in most OECD countries. I am especially bothered by some on the left who claim that the tax deal is "giving" rich people money as it assumes that all income belongs to the government and they give you some of it. Taking less does not equal giving. I am also against this ideal of wealth redistribution as it implies arbitrarily taking money from some people, wasting most of it in government bureaucracy and giving a small part to other people.
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:37 am (UTC)
Part two
Again sorry for the length don't mean to be spamming ...

The problem with welfare is that in the end it will end up with a larger number of parasites and profiteers than people who actually need help. If people were taking welfare only when in absolute need there probably be a lot less need of it, but in reality it creates moral hazard for some, a welfare trap for others and does little to assure prosperity. It also takes away the idea that each and every person is responsible for his prosperity and that it should be given by government, the idea that hard work is the way to a good life. It creates various privileges that pretty soon become "rights" and it feeds the privileged group of career politicians and government workers, getting more and more benefits when private sector people are losing theirs, and it divides society by means of artificially induced "class warfare". Also it sends the message that its not people who should take care of each other. I herd many a time, in the face of some problems, people saying the government should do something, not we should do something. And if you follow news in Europe you will see that as much as government and welfare increased, it did little to solve most social problems.

Another problem with the US is the Federal Government. I have worked in several companies of different sizes and I can tell you the bigger the management structure the more inefficient it is. Of course you need big entities for big projects, but you should do at department level everything that can be done. The government is the same inefficiency increases exponentially with size. You cannot govern 300 mil people centrally. Even those who admire northern European countries, those countries have 4-5 million people and still they have most done at local level. Federal should cover defense, supreme court justice, diplomacy and external affairs, some form of federal police and interstate highways. The rest should be left to state governments, county, city etc . Which would also solve a lot of the division of society.

And I'm done ...
Tanto Ten
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:59 am (UTC)
Christmas is coming.....
Dec. 16th, 2010 10:21 am (UTC)
I just want to mention that life is anarchy by default and it works the best because there is only one person who needs to make a decision and only one person who can immediately put that decision into action.

However, it only works if all life has been sufficiently integrated into the environment and does not cause any harm to any other life...humans have yet to properly integrate and in fact are constantly changing their environment so that it's possible that we will never fully integrate. So, we need government...and the extent and power of that institution depends on how disruptive individual anarchies are to each other.

For the past 100 years we have been growing more and more able to devistate ourselves and others...sometimes without any malace or knowledge that events lead to such damage. I'm making a wild guess, but I believe at least 50% of the people in the world actively try to gain advantage in life by damaging others who are competing for the same resources. If we want to reduce the strength, and cost, of our government institutions then we need to actively find those people that are damaging others and stop them from causing problems.

If we take an active role in governing ourselves and helping others fit into the environment (both physical and social) then our cost of government will decline...no other effort will really do the job. In fact, if we don't take an active role then government costs will most likely continue to increase until we can't afford the freedoms that we are paying such governments for the rights to them...we would have the privilege, but not the means to enjoy those freedoms. A thought which I'm sure many of us have already felt or perhaps feel now.
Dec. 16th, 2010 11:01 am (UTC)
Obama et al
I love that Yates poem, and have felt for some time now that it well describes our current times. I don't think we should harsh on Obama too much, as the "no room for compromise" is one of the evils that Yates speaks of in that poem. Obama was always going to fail because his supporters thought he could make wine out of water, and his detractors were ready to believe anything, no matter how stupid, said about Obama.

On Sarah, I met her back when she was still just a poodunk state Governor. I thought she was smart, personable, and *cough* hot. This thing that calls itself Sarah we see on TV now is a creation of the most evil conspiracy in America....the spin doctors. Someone somewhere decided that conservatives were stupid, and revel in that like pigs in filth. Anyone running for office as a conservative had to prove their loyalty to the movement by demonstrating their own stupidity.

As for drawing comparisons to Cersei....I don't think Sarah is that hot. I do think that with all the idiotic moves by governments around the world the parallel between our favorite fantasy series and real life is the unspoken, unrevealed, conspiracy that push the 7 Kingdoms into crisis. As Tyrion said "We may not be the only wolf in these woods". (George, sorry if I butchered that one, but I am pretty sure it was close).
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC)
If I'd been president of your country, I'd just have let the republicans carry on and just be clear towards the media. "Today we wanted to get healthcare for 9/11 first responders, but the Republicans felt that a minor taxation increase on millionaires was more important to stave off than to reward the greatest, most iconic american heroes." "Today we tried to suggest that maybe we shouldn't let our children eat cadmium, but millionaires was more important." etc etc. Turn their hostage-taking of your country towards themselves.

But I guess a president needs to think about stuff differently.

But yeah if it was me living there? I'd say a few more months of misery would be worth seeing republicans crush themselves. :(
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:32 pm (UTC)
Health Care reform was incremental at best, financial reform was a joke that didn't address the real issues (derivatives etc.), a senseless war is prolonged until at least 2014, many civil rights are not worth the paper they've been written on, the legality of torture is merely a matter of opinion, rendition is still going on, etc. etc.
Also take a look at the results of that deficit commission. They're going to cut your social security to pay for further tax breaks for higher incomes.
Wake up, guys. We thought Obama would be a real progressive because of his background, slogans and, yes, maybe the color of his skin. Think about it, had he been some white senator, we would have long given up on him. Well you can't predict someone's approach by his background. He's a corporatist. Hillary is too, but she would have fought the right wing. This guy is caving in before any fight begins. He's pathetic as a leader, and the worst thing is that we have to defend him against the likes of Sarah Palin, who are worse. It's sickening.
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)
I find i passing strange that we have allowed things to get to this point...What is to be done....

I love the stories in retrospect, so i guess it seems proper that we always suffer through the likeness of them.

I am in my fucking cups bout now....but i thought i should stop by and drop my praise.....a song of ice and fire has changed my life....for the better.....George, You are my favorite writer...my whole social circle has tattoo's reflecting your work.....

Thanks for kickin ass.....and being a wall to wall end all bad ass motherfucking story teller.

kinda lost sight of the comment point....but in all points i agree with the Jimmy Carter analogy. and fear what my generation will do when they see Palin in a puma tracksuit wavin a flag.

Here's hoping there's still hope....

signin out
-Jameson Lannister
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:49 pm (UTC)
The only hope this country has....
is Ron Paul.

He is the only honest politician we have left. You can't tell me that Bush or Obama are good people after reading some of the stuff on Wikileaks. We have a secretive government that does what it wants and hides the things that make it look bad. Obama ran on a platform of getting us out of two wars, yet all I've seen is him following the same plans that Bush had. And now we hear more talk of war with Iran and North Korea.

But none of this is going to matter until we get control of our money. As long as the secretive Federal Reserve is printing money and giving it out to anyone that want, with no oversight and in secrecy, we are eventually going to destroy the dollar (it's almost there now) and the United States, as we know it today, will cease to exist. Superpowers throughout history have not been overthrown by military force (or terrorism). They have all been destroyed from the inside economically. We are heading down that same path. Ron Paul understands this, and has been fighting to open up the secrets of, and eventually bring an end to, the Federal Reserve. Central Banking and Keynesian economics are what put us in this mess, and they are only making it worse by trying to fix it. And all they do is print money and cause inflation. We live with inflation as if it is something that just is. But it doesn't have to be. Inflation is an increase in the money supply, and as you get more of something, it becomes worth less. And the Fed keeps printing more money every year.

Both sides are the same any more. Republicans or Democrats, they are all the same. All they do is spend our money on wasteful government programs and pet projects, and we are being left with the bill. More and more people are starting to wake up to the realization that neither "party" is going to save this country. We need to elect individuals who truly believe in an honest, open, non-interventionist, free-market society that defends the liberties of the people. And no, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney are not those people. They will continue to do the same things we are doing, while talking about how we need to cut spending.

So while I totally disagree with you on politics, I still love the books, and I can't wait for the series on HBO!!!
Dec. 19th, 2010 05:53 am (UTC)
Re: The only hope this country has....
Well said.
Dec. 16th, 2010 01:28 pm (UTC)
GRRM, I don't know much about politics. But I get this weird feeling that every election in the past 2 years (and next 2 years to come) is a dramatic reaction, railing against what just came before. People hate 1 administration and go WAY opposite in the next election. And the candidates are catering to this! I wish we could moderate our reactions better, I guess.
Dec. 16th, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC)
Never fear - it seems her ratings are actually significantly lower than Obama's. I AM moving to Canada if she gets elected, however. I have nothing against women presidents (heck, I'd vote for Hillary in a second) but I don't want to see an eco-nazi crazy bobble-head with that much power. It is obvious from her current and previous exploits that Palin is nothing more than an attention monger.
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:22 pm (UTC)
Politicians are not qualified to run anything. They are lawyers who create beuracracies that accomplish nothing. Lobbyists and corporations run our country and the world bank. WE the people have no say anymore, except the fact that we blindly go to the polls and vote the same useless parties in each election , only to be angered and disappointed each round by lies and propaganda. I've lost hope in our system.
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
Take a little solace from history
Clinton made tremendous strides after his initial drubbing in his first midterm elections, including balancing the budget and ushering in an economic boom. It's not all gloom and doom. Historically, the president's party loses seats during the first midterm. That's going to be even more pronounced during trying economic times. Add to that the utterly incompetent leadership of Reid and Pelosi in Congress, and this shouldn't have come as much of a surprise - Congress' approval ratings are at an all-time low, and have been bouncing on the bottom of that hole for the last year.
Scott Rollen
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
The Balance of the Deal
Mr. Martin, as a left-leaning pragmatist, I have great respect for your opinion but I do think you somewhat overstate when you say "Give a lot, get almost nothing". I also think that the gut reaction by many on the left to this deal springs primarily from the lingering let down that came from the abrupt shift circumstances forced Obama to make from the soaring poetry of his campaign to gritty sausage making of governance. I feel he has shown considerable back-bone in his relentless but (unfortunately) uninspiring push to shift the long-term direction of this country. As for the question of who got what in this deal, please take a look at this: http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/79837/two-charts-explain-obamas-great-or-horrible-tax-deal . There is a viable argument to be made that (if the two year time table is held to) that the Republican's "victory" was mostly symbolic while the stuff that Obama got may be of real substance to those that need it most.
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:30 pm (UTC)
So much for "so called intelligents" What we need are people in politics that care about America. What we keep getting is people who speak out of both sides of their mouths (liars). They tell us what we want to hear, we vote them in, they waste our tax dollars, than use their power to take more of our money.

But on the bright, I know Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savor, so no matter how badly the so called "intelligent" mess up the country, I can take comfort in knowing, in the end I will be fine.
Dec. 16th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
The Winter is near. "Kondratieff Winter", the economic depression 30-years cycle, full of pain and awful for all peoples.
Dec. 16th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
The second coming is about Communism ...and the weird occult stuff that yeats believed in too.
But thumbs up for mentioning irish poets :D
Dec. 16th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
Our political system is a joke. One of the many many many reasons why I wish I did not live in America. I wish I could live in Australia or New Zealand. But too many ties to this place to just pick up and leave. To make matters worse, I live in NJ. :(
Eric Koch
Dec. 16th, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC)
Disagree But Well Said Sir
I can't possibly disagree with your politics more and yet, I can't help but think, I wish more liberals could argue their passions like George RR Martin, without base insults, minus a distinct close-mindedness that I find maddening, and devoid of this need to saturate all commentary in hostile verbiage and f-bombs.

Dec. 16th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
I think when we voted Obama into office the bar was set very high. I would also say the amount of unfair media coverage he has received is more than any other president. Its not like he inherited a stable America. Did anyone expect this economy to recover in 2 years time? Take into consideration the amount of obstruction in the Senate and we are in an incredible position.

Do I still want a public option? Yep.
Do I want these wars to end? Yep.
Is there a better alternative than the democratic party? Nope.

Don't give up on Obama just yet. America still has 6 more years of him. The chances of him losing in 2012 are slim and none. People might not come out to vote for his party but they come out to vote for him. I find it amazing his approval rating is still in the mid 40's. That alone should be a good indicator of just how well he will do in 2012.
Dec. 16th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
This post is so full of inaccuracies I don't even know where to start.
Dec. 16th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
I disagree with almost all of your political views, but the idea of Palin as president is damn depressing. Please no. Obama is very similar to Carter, but he is also more similar to Bush in pushing through an unpopular agenda early in is tenure. There is a price to pay for that. Lets just hope that price is not Sarah Palin.
Dec. 16th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
Chicago Syndicate
I am from Chicago and quite aware of Obama's shortcomings. As an Illinois politician he did very little to better this state. He spent most of his time promoting democrat candidates in the neighboring states. He received his position from one of the most corrupt politicians in Illinois history (and believe me it is a long list), Mayor Richard Daley. His post was then attempted to be resold but was bumbled by Blagovich who was disowned by the Daley Machine. And now that Daley is stepping down after 7 out of 10 department heads under him have been replaced for corruption, Obama is sending his "boy" Rahm Emmanuel back to Chi-Town to take over for Slick Richie until his son is ready to take over the mayorship.

Chicago runs the state of Illinois not Springfield and Chicago is a hotbed of corruption. Obama is a poster boy put in an impossible situation who lacks the tools/know how to get anything done. He is in way over his head and will most likely go down in history as one of the most ineffective presidents in U.S. history right next to Mr. Peanut.

As for those of you get your panties in a bunch over Palin. Get real, take your head out of the sand, unlike the Dem's and their hard on for Hillary the Republican party will never put Palin on the ballot. She will never be more than a mouth piece and pretty face to sympathize with all the "hard working housewifes" who are happy to support their husbands political views because they have none of their own.

I am neither Rep or Dem. I have voted for both parties as well as Green and independent. I always vote for who I think would be best and my claim to fame is that in 5 elections I have never voted for the person who won. But worrying over rheotoric such as the comments (mine included) that has been posted here is not worth it. As long as we allow ourselves to be controlled by a two party system and the electoral system nothing is going to change and the parties will keep playing the public against each other rather than address the TRUE issues.
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)
Jimmy II?
"And, yes, I know, Obama has accomplished some important stuff"

This isn't an entirely fair comment. He hasn't accomplished *some* important stuff - he has pushed through some of the biggest changes in 100 years.

- Being healthy is now a right in America. The implementation sucks, and everyone agrees on that, but for the first time ever health care is a right. That is an accomplishment that some of the biggest personalities in the White House haven't been able to pull off.

- A slide towards depression and the worst recession in living memory was not just halted but reversed. The American automotive industry was saved, and with it millions of immediate jobs. If GM and Chrysler went down they would have taken thousands of suppliers with them, and as a result Ford who was saving itself. Financial institutions, while evil and karmanically detestable are the back bone of our society, were saved and with them the economy. The Dow was at 6600 shortly after Obama took office, and it is now at 11,500 DESPITE the European economic crisis still underway, despite the housing market still being broken. That's a big deal, not just to wallstreet, but to everyone who is hoping to retire soon. We still have 9.8% unemployment, but had he not reversed the trend it would be twice that. We aren't recovered, but we are recovering, and that is no minor thing.

- for the first time no American will be unable to attend college because they can't afford it, because the government has taken over processing their loans and at the same time saved itself a fortune in cancelled subsidies to banks. No person getting a government loan will be bankrupted by it, as it caps at 10% of income for reimbursement and is forgiven with government service. That is freaking huge

- Isreal and Palestine are seriously talking about a two state solution

- Combat operations in Iraq are effectively done. Troops may remain, but many fewer of them are in daily harms way.

- relations with the Arab world were rebooted with a single freaking speach. Find me another modern candidate that could have done that

- NASA has finally been restored to a suitably ambitious path while simultaneously promoting private innovation. Basic science and technology innovations with will make up the foundation of our future are again being funded at respectable levels. Renewable energy is being promoted and supported at never before seen levels. From a STEM standpoint he is the single most inspring president since JFK.

- huge swaths of our national infrastructure either have been renewed or are in the process, at levels outpacing any investment of the past 30 years.

- the most sweeping wallstreet reform since FDR

He achieved all of this in two years, with a far more fragile, less united, and smaller majority than either FDR or LBJ, and with a much more polarized and united opposition than at any time since Henry Clay ran the opposition (and that's even arguable). He has done so through very shrewed pragmatism, and if he was a firebrand of idealism that bullet list would be empty.
Dec. 17th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Jimmy II?
You said
"Being healthy is now a right in America"

Tell that to the tumors eating my lungs. I demand my rights to be healthy...You think a power grab by a pack of egotists cures disease?

What you want is a free lunch. Tanstaafl
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
Take a deep breath?
Politics, like religion, is flawed because we are flawed...yet I am still religious. What I mean to say is, Mankind is flawed. Point to a perfect person, and another will find the part of them that escapes polish. Point to a perfect political idea or agenda, and another will be able to point out its flaws in one or many situations, either hypothetical or currently relevant. We have to make do with what we have, when we have it, and we give our voice to those we hope will carry it truthfully. We can debate for as long as we want, because there will ALWAYS be something to debate over. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it keeps us thinking and it keeps us involved. But nothing will change for the better--no matter which political side holds the current seat of power--until we take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that we need to point our finger upward and onward, rather than at each other...in my opinion at least.
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