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The Sorry Surrender of “the So-Called Radical Left”

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The essay below is extracted from the May 2010 postscript to my book The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2010) – the perfect Christmas gift for that not-so liberal know-it-all fake-progressive partisan Democrat cousin or uncle or sister-in-law who can’t stop making excuses for the center-right Obama administration’s abject service to dominant domestic and imperial hierarchies and doctrines…

Paul Street, ZCommunications.org

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

The essay below is extracted from the May 2010 postscript to my book The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2010) – the perfect Christmas gift for that not-so liberal know-it-all fake-progressive partisan Democrat cousin or uncle or sister-in-law who can't stop making excuses for the center-right Obama administration's abject service to dominant domestic and imperial hierarchies and doctrines.  Surely the deeply conservative Obama’s predictable (and widely predicted) “cave-in” (two days ago) to Republican demands for the continuation of George W. Bush’s arch-plutocratic tax cuts for the rich (in a “deal” that also includes reduced pay-in to the Social Security fund and a big "concession" to the Republicans on the federal estate tax) ought to be the last nail in the coffin of liberal-left faith that Obama is (in the words of Katrina Vanden Huevel, the multi-millionaire editor of The Nation, last fall), “clearly a reform president committed to improvement of peoples’ lives and the renewal and reconstruction of America” (Katrina vanden Heuvel, “Obama One Year On,” The Nation, November 4, 2010).

This was a fascinating comment more than ten months into an administration that had already set new corporate welfare records in the process of bailing out the very financial parasites who crashed the economy, an administration that had approved an auto-restructuring plan that rewarded capital flight, a “new” White House that had already made clear its determination to pass a health bill that only insurance and drug companies could love, that had already revealed its determination to undermine serious global carbon emission reduction efforts at Copenhagen, that had already showed it would not pursue major green jobs public works programs (even as unemployment reached new post-WWII record levels), that had showed its determination to escalate and expand the scope of imperial violence, and that has showed it would not pursue the labor law and global trade reforms Obama had eloquently promised to working class audiences in 2007 and 2008. Other betrayals include a key cave-in on offshore oil drilling, Obama’s recent announcement of a federal worker pay freeze (an exercise in cynical “deficit-reduction theater” [Paul Krugman]), and his recent stealth signing of what Jane Hamsher rightly calls “a new NAFTA-style ‘free trade’ deal” with Korea.  And now we have, as predicted, the continuation of the Republicans’ deficit-driving fat cat tax cuts – this in what is already by far and away the industrialized world’s most unequal and wealth-top-heavy society. “Whatever one thinks of Obama’s policy on any specific issue,” vanden Heuvel argued last year, “Progressives, should focus less on the limits of the Obama agenda and more on the possibilities that his presidency opens up.” No: the election of Obama has not sparked progressive potentialities but has instead discouraged and weakened them, with the administration playing an active role in deterring and suppressing popular resistance – with terrible results (essentially predicted at the end of the postscript pasted in below --- ee the section titled “Resentment Abhors a Vacuum”). The relatively paucity of left and progressive dissent has encouraged reactionary elements within the beyond the administration to take up and carry out an ever more extreme agenda.

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Ralph Nader: Obama Will Face Primary Challenge In 2012


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  • Calling the White House tax deal with Republicans the "last straw," Ralph Nader predicted that President Obama will face a primary challenger in 2012.
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  • Save Obama's presidency by challenging him in the Democratic Presidential Primaries
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  • Note to “the Left”: Obama Hates You
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Christopher Weber, Politics Daily

Calling the White House tax deal with Republicans the "last straw," Ralph Nader predicted that President Obama will face a primary challenger in 2012.

Nader, a third-party presidential candidate in the four most recent elections, told The Hill a Democrat will step up in two years to represent the progressive wing of the party. It's "just a question of how prominent a person."

The 76-year-old consumer advocate did not commit to running again himself, but said he hoped someone new would come along to stand for liberals.

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Related:

Save Obama's presidency by challenging him in the Democratic Presidential Primaries, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives

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  • Those of us who worry that a full-scale Republican return to power in 2012 would be a disaster not just for those hurting from the Republican-policy-inspired economic meltdown but also the environment, social justice and world peace believe it is critical to get Obama to actually become the candidate that most Americans believed they elected in 2008.
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  • Lerner's Wash Post Call for Primary Challenge to Obama Shatters White House Calm
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  • The left has lost its nerve and its direction
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  • 10 Commandments to Revive Progressives After the November Defeat
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Note to “the Left”: Obama Hates You, Paul Street, Z Communications
No matter how fiercely Obama demonstrates his determination (consistent with his longstanding “deep
ly conservative” instincts) to govern from the center-right, a dedicated cadre of liberals and progressives will persevere with the line that it’s our own damn fault. This is a mistaken and dysfunctional narrative.

Top 5 Problems with the Tax Deal

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  • Problem #1: The deal is a stealth attack on Social Security.
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  • Problem #2: For nearly one in three workers, it's a tax increase.
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  • Problem #3: The deal has not one but TWO millionaire bailouts.
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  • Problem #4: Unemployment help is insufficient and inadequate.
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  • Problem #5: Tax giveaways to the rich are a terrible way to create jobs.
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Nita Chaudhary, MoveOn.org Political Action

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Everyone knows that the "deal" that President Obama agreed to with Republicans will extend George W. Bush's reckless millionaire tax bailout--but what a lot of folks don't realize is that there are lots of other terrible parts of it, too.

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Unemployed Americans desperately need their benefits extended to get by in this economy—so Republicans held them hostage to force through a slew of horrible economic policies in this deal.

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Share this list by posting it on facebook and twitter and forwarding to your friends and help make sure as many people as possible know exactly what the Republicans are getting in the tax deal by acting like hostage takers

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Special Report | Obama-GOP Tax Cut Deal

Mary Landrieu (D-LA): 'Obama-McConnell Plan' Is 'Almost Morally Corrupt'

5 Items including:

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  • Top 5 Problems with the Tax Deal
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  • Obama-Republican Deal Could Mean Tax Hike For One In Three  Workers
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Mike Thompson

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Top 5 Problems with the Tax Deal, Nita Chaudhary, MoveOn.org Political Action
Problem #1: The deal is a stealth attack on Social Security.
Problem #2: For nearly one in three workers, it's a tax increase.
Problem #3: The deal has not one but TWO millionaire bailouts.
Problem #4: Unemployment help is insufficient and inadequate.
Problem #5: Tax giveaways to the rich are a terrible way to create jobs.

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Obama-Republican Deal Could Mean Tax Hike For One In Three  Workers, Ryan Grim, Huffington Post

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  • The tax deal reached between President Obama and congressional Republicans could mean a higher tax bill for roughly one in three workers as a result of the Social Security tax cut Republicans pushed as a replacement for the current Making Work Pay tax credit.
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  • Olbermann Special Comment on the deal on the wealthiest Americans tax-cut extension
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Obama’s Hostage Deal, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY
The point is that by seeming angrier at worried supporters than he is at the hostage-takers, Mr. Obama is already signaling weakness, giving Republicans every reason to believe that they can extract another ransom. And they can be counted on to act accordingly.

Olbermann Special Comment on the deal on the wealthiest Americans tax-cut extension, Hissyspit, Democratic Underground

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  • In exchange for this searing and transcendent capitulation the President got just 13 months of extended benefits for those unemployed for less than a hundred weeks, and they got nothing, absolutely nothing, for those unemployed for longer, the 99ers.
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  • (It is) not disloyal to say Obama (is) 'Goddamned Wrong,' Republicans (are)  'Treasonous'.
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  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA): 'Obama-McConnell Plan' Is 'Almost Morally Corrupt'
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Mary Landrieu: 'Obama-McConnell Plan' Is 'Almost Morally Corrupt' Ryan Grim, Huffington Post
Sen. Mary Landrieu, a conservative Democratic from Louisiana, lashed out Tuesday (Dec 7) at President Obama's deal with congressional Republicans that allows tax cuts for the wealthy to be extended for two years.

Obama-Republican Deal Could Mean Tax Hike For One In Three Workers

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  • The tax deal reached between President Obama and congressional Republicans could mean a higher tax bill for roughly one in three workers as a result of the Social Security tax cut Republicans pushed as a replacement for the current Making Work Pay tax credit.
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  • Olbermann Special Comment on the deal on the wealthiest Americans tax-cut extension
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Ryan Grim, Huffington Post

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If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

The tax deal reached between President Obama and congressional Republicans could mean a higher tax bill for roughly one in three workers as a result of the Social Security tax cut Republicans pushed as a replacement for the current Making Work Pay tax credit.

The Making Work Pay credit gives workers up to $400, paid out at 8 percent of income, meaning that anybody making at least $5,000 gets the full amount -- and gets as much as anybody else. Its replacement knocks two percentage points off the payroll tax cut, meaning a worker would need to make $20,000 to get a $400 break. Of the nation's roughly 150 million workers, around 50 million make less than $20,000 and will see at least some increase as a result.

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Related:

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Olbermann Special Comment on the deal on the wealthiest Americans tax-cut extension, Hissyspit, Democratic Underground

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  • In exchange for this searing and transcendent capitulation the President got just 13 months of extended benefits for those unemployed for less than a hundred weeks, and they got nothing, absolutely nothing, for those unemployed for longer, the 99ers.
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  • (It is) not disloyal to say Obama (is) 'Goddamned Wrong,' Republicans (are)  'Treasonous'.
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  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA): 'Obama-McConnell Plan' Is 'Almost Morally Corrupt'
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Summary | Barack Obama, Change We Can Believe In: Week of December 12

6 New Items including:

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  • President Obama is neither weak nor stupid... nor a progressive
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  • Save Obama's presidency by challenging him in the Democratic Presidential Primaries
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Lisa Benson

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President Obama is neither weak nor stupid... nor a progressive, Laurence Lewis, Daily Kos

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  • Politicians are but political tools, and they are not the only political tools. They are only as useful as the agendas they are willing to pursue. We don't owe them our loyalty, they owe us theirs. There are other political tools, and there are means of organizing that transcend the elective political game. It's about the issues. Given the gravity of the stakes, we have to focus on the issues, without excuses, and in some cases without compromise. That means we have to accept some politicians when there are no immediate alternatives, and we have to try to push them to do better and to be better even when it is counter to their own political ideologies, but it also means we can't pretend they are something they are not; and it also means we have to create a climate where there will be better and legitimate alternatives.
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  • Note to “the Left”: Obama Hates You
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Obama’s Hostage Deal, Paul Krugman, New York Times
The point is that by seeming angrier at worried supporters than he is at the hostage-takers, Mr. Obama is already signaling weakness, giving Republicans every reason to believe that they can extract another ransom. And they can be counted on to act accordingly.

Save Obama's presidency by challenging him in the Democratic Presidential Primaries, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives

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  • Those of us who worry that a full-scale Republican return to power in 2012 would be a disaster not just for those hurting from the Republican-policy-inspired economic meltdown but also the environment, social justice and world peace believe it is critical to get Obama to actually become the candidate that most Americans believed they elected in 2008.
  • \r\n

  • Lerner's Wash Post Call for Primary Challenge to Obama Shatters White House Calm
  • \r\n

  • The left has lost its nerve and its direction
  • \r\n

  • 10 Commandments to Revive Progressives After the November Defeat
  • \r\n

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Olbermann Special Comment on the deal on the wealthiest Americans tax-cut extension, Hissyspit, Democratic Underground

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  • In exchange for this searing and transcendent capitulation the President got just 13 months of extended benefits for those unemployed for less than a hundred weeks, and they got nothing, absolutely nothing, for those unemployed for longer, the 99ers.
  • \r\n

  • (It is) not disloyal to say Obama (is) 'Goddamned Wrong,' Republicans (are)  'Treasonous'.
  • \r\n

  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA): 'Obama-McConnell Plan' Is 'Almost Morally Corrupt'
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Flashback: Obama Slams Bush Tax Cuts For 'Millionaires And Billionaires', Shahien Nasiripour and Ben Craw, Huffington Post

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  • During at least three pre-election rallies, Obama, playing to crowds filled with die-hard supporters, railed against the tax cuts for the wealthy, eliciting rounds of boos from the audience, according to White House transcripts.
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  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA): 'Obama-McConnell Plan' Is 'Almost Morally Corrupt'
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The Charade of Israeli-Palestinian Talks, Noam Chomsky, truthout
Washington’s pathetic capitulation to Israel while pleading for a meaningless three-month freeze on settlement expansion – excluding Arab East Jerusalem – should go down as one of the most humiliating moments in U.S. diplomatic history.

Summary | Bachmann & Kline Watch: Week of December 12

4 items including:

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  • Bachmann in running for ‘Lie of the Year’ in PolitiFact contest
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  • Bachmann, Kline: Obama’s not saying ‘God’ enough
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Taylor Jones

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Bachmann makes ‘most-embarrassing’ list, again, Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent
Rep. Michele Bachmann made Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s 2010 Most Embarrassing Re-elects list, along with 10 other members of Congress. The rankings, released Monday (Dec 6), include an even split between Democrats and Republicans who, according to CREW, have violated the public trust.

Bachmann in running for ‘Lie of the Year’ in PolitiFact contest, Patrick Caldwell, Minnesota Independent
With the end of 2010 approaching, the St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact is holding a contest letting readers chose the “Lie of the Year.” In the running — for her recent incorrect claim that President Obama’s trip to India would cost $200 million per day — is Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann: Obama ‘flat out lied’ over tax cuts for the wealthy, Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent
Rep. Michele Bachmann told radio host Mark Levin on Tuesday that President Obama “flat out lied” during his press conference on the tax cut plan he’s negotiating with Republicans. The 6th District Republican seemed to take issue with Obama’s assertion that Republicans oppose tax cuts for the middle class — the party voted against them in the House last week because the Democrats didn’t include a tax cut for the nation’s wealthiest — and said Obama’s speech was “highly partisan, bitter, angry.”

Bachmann, Kline: Obama’s not saying ‘God’ enough,  Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent
Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann and John Kline, as part of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, chastised President Obama for not portraying America as a more Christian-like nation to the rest of the world. In a letter on Monday, the caucus complained that Obama omitted the word “God” five times during his recent trip to Indonesia and called on him to correct the record.

Obama’s Hostage Deal

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The point is that by seeming angrier at worried supporters than he is at the hostage-takers, Mr. Obama is already signaling weakness, giving Republicans every reason to believe that they can extract another ransom. And they can be counted on to act accordingly.

Paul Krugman, New York Times

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

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I’ve spent the past couple of days trying to make my peace with the Obama-McConnell tax-cut deal. President Obama did, after all, extract more concessions than most of us expected.

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Yet I remain deeply uneasy — not because I’m one of those “purists” Mr. Obama denounced on Tuesday (Dec 7) but because this isn’t the end of the story. Specifically: Mr. Obama has bought the release of some hostages only by providing the G.O.P. with new hostages.

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