Pick a dream, any dream. Dreams work, for good or ill. Common Dreams? The DNC-oriented corporate “center” is where all dreams go to die. Too bad. Technocrats with carefully crafted words sound like voices of the dead, even when they speak with facts. Take me somewhere or spin me a tall tale. Too bad the heirs of Martin Luther King, Jr. or John Lennon quit dreaming. We forget that a failure to imagine becomes a failure to solve problems, and is ultimately a death sentence.
Americans are also hero worshipers and love celebrities. The republicans have be able to gain power through movie actors - Reagan and Schwartzeneger and a cheap tv host of the Apprentice. I had also hoped that Martin Sheen would run for President on the Democratic or independent ticket - he is right on most of the issues and probably a wide swath of America would believe that he had already served many years in the White House. Who else?
Also, last night I heard the former democratic governor of Kentucky talking on NPR about the health care situation. He has this great southern voice. Maybe we need more progressive politicians that have that down home southern twang. You know - it would get confusing to folks - a real down to earth southerner with the voice and all but with a progressive agenda. Not too long ago there used to be some southerners like that but they are mostly gone.
Morris Berman wrote a trilogy on the failure of the American Empire and “antics” could describe what he described in the third volume that the US has right from the start been a culture of hustlers. Trump is a hustler.
His 2006 book, “Dark Ages America” was a best seller during the W Bush years when we liberals could take the bad news and look forward to changes later. Well, Obama was elected and the neo liberal economic project continued, militarism, attacks on free speech, etc.,
In 2011, the third volume of the trilogy came out. “Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline.” Even in the 2006 book he said that there was no way to stop the decline and the third book was not what people wanted to hear. The sales of this book were very weak.
Here is the PR about the book on amazon.com. The bold is in the original. I added extra white space to make it easier to read.
Why America Failed shows how, from its birth as a nation of “hustlers” to its collapse as an empire, the tools of the country’s expansion proved to be the instruments of its demise.
Why America Failed is the third and most engaging volume of Morris Berman’s trilogy on the decline of the American empire.
In The Twilight of American Culture, Berman examined the internal factors of that decline, showing that they were identical to those of Rome in its late-empire phase.
In Dark Ages America, he explored the external factors—e.g., the fact that both empires were ultimately attacked from the outside—and the relationship between the events of 9/11 and the history of U.S. foreign policy. •
In his most ambitious work to date, Berman looks at the “why” of it all •
Probes America’s commitment to economic liberalism and free enterprise stretching back to the late sixteenth century, and shows how this ideology, along with that of technological progress, rendered any alternative marginal to American history •
Maintains, more than anything else, that this one-sided vision of the country’s purpose finally did our nation in. Why America Failed is a controversial work, one that will shock, anger, and transform its readers.
The book is a stimulating and provocative explanation of how we managed to wind up in our current situation: economically weak, politically passé, socially divided, and culturally adrift. It is a tour de force, a powerful conclusion to Berman’s study of American imperial decline.
The introduction to the 2006 book is posted on line
He runs a blog
He writes an introduction. There follows a couple of hundred – about 200 comments. Then he starts another thread. He frequently responds to comments. If someone is a jerk, he kicks them off.
The people on the blog call themselves WAFERS - from Why America Failed ERS – Why American Failed followers.
He has written about the hands on culture of Japan. He moved to Mexico many years ago and likes that culture better.
I just looked him up on Wikipedia and didn’t realize that he has written two trilogies
As book reviewer George Scialabba points out, Berman’s work is generally discussed in terms of the two trilogies he produced over a thirty-year span (between 1981 and 2011):
“Most historians would be content to have written one deeply researched and interpretively wide-ranging trilogy on a large and important subject. Berman has written two: one on alternative forms of consciousness and spirituality (The Re-enchantment of the World, Coming to Our Senses, Wandering God) and one on the decline of American civilization (The Twilight of American Culture, Dark Ages America, Why America Failed). The second trilogy, a grimly fascinating inventory of the pathologies of contemporary America and an unsparing portrait of American history and national character, is a masterpiece.”
This author is apparently clueless to the real problem in the US, which is the rise of corporate governance.
But that reality wouldn’t fit in his essay, so my guess is it’s not really a matter of being clueless but selective.
The irony is of course, by such omission he actually promotes the meme he supposedly derides i.e., that Democrats are losing because they have wandered too far left. A meme which intentionally distracts from the reality of the rise of corporate dominance of the power center of the Democratic Party.
And to promote Obama as anything other than a con artist just adds to the intellectual insult.
It’s odd to respond to a chicken, but here goes.
I don’t think your point and the author’s point are mutually exclusive. Corporate power may be the greatest con of all. They are persons in the law. They control political funding. They exempt themselves from oversight, regulation, anti-trust. They outsource and bust unions at will. They extort governments into welfare subsidies. They monopolize markets and run sham stock schemes that enrich owners and executives to the exclusion of workers.
Most Americans believe corporate capitalism as it operates today is a good thing. That if we change the rules, Apple won’t make iphones anymore…
Now that is a con. To your point, perhaps the greatest con.
Methinks Mister Gabler is on to something here. Good read!
The purpose of this article seems to be to avoid talking about racism. There is no mystery why Trump won, he appealed to racists. His campaign manager was Steve Bannon, former editor of Breitbart News, which Bannon called the platform of the alt-right, a deceptive name for white supremacy. In an interview Trump pretended he didn’t know a the former grand wizard of the KKk David Duke was and did condemn white supremacist organizations. What variable did Nate Silver find correlated best with areas of the country where Trump did best in the primaries? The variable was areas of the country which had greatest number of Google searches for the n-word. Democrats need to stay on the correct side of history and not try to attract Trump voters by appealing to racism. The Democrats are in the right place on values when it comes to race. For the Democrats there are no easy answers. The white working class has largely left them as these people are apparently now voting based more on racial views then economics. That is what the data shows. Analysis of the Google data found no link between n-word searches and unemployment searches suggesting that the racism is not based on economic hard times but on what could be described as tribalism. The problem the Democrats have is in the data but the solutions are not.
Here’s the reason the Democrats lost in 2016.
They nominated Hillary Clinton and she has abandoned the working class… not the “white” working class, the entire working class.
She lost because working class people, of all races, including single women, stayed home and didn’t vote in the Rust Belt states that went for Trump. Trump didn’t win the working class. He actually fared worse than Romney did. But Clinton lost them and thus lost these pivotal states and thus lost the electoral college race, despite her winning more popular votes in the big blue states due to identity politics.
It was a conscious decision on Clinton and the DNC’s part to not go after these people. Remember what Schumer said about it being cool to lose voters there because they’d pick up enough suburban professionals to more than replace them.
The problem with Penn’s analysis is that he wants to go after the “white” working class and to do so by moving further to the right on identity politics. So first the DLC types want to abandon the New Deal but focus on Identity Politics to create a new bases of ethnic voters, single women, and LGBT folk, then when that doesn’t work they want to abandon Identity Politics. What do you end up with? Something even worse than what it is now.
The solution is to move LEFT not right and stop trying to divide the working class between white and people of color. It is possible to have a politics of the working class that emphasizes what all members share in common- a need for economic justice, government working with labor instead of against it, and programs that help the poor and the working poor.
But now the party is contemplating adding some dog whistle racism and backing off LGBT rights and women’s health issues.
That’s silly. People who want an alternative to the Republicans will stay home like they did in 2016. People who want racism and ‘traditional’ values will vote for real Republicans instead of Democrats acting like Republicans. Want to see the Democrats go down? Stay Neo-Liberal and Liberal Interventionist and all Russiagate focused and abandon people of color, LGBT people, and women.
As to Trump’s hustle? People who love him love him because they hate the professional left and the establishment media and they love his blasting them. They also want guns and to stop abortion. Well, Trump gave them that when he put a right winger on the court. They don’t feel like they’ve been hustled. They love his ‘unhinged’ tweets. I know these people, I’m friends with them. Believe me, they eat it up.
Dem’s are too virtuous? Personally, I think Obama & the Clintons are also pretty good con artists. What they lack is Trump’s sheer bravado. Perhaps that’s what this article was trying to say? (though it really is quite a thoughtful piece, all in all …)
Where else in the world can a B-actor,(Reagan) a blowhard TV star, a peanut farmer,(Carter), and an idiot,(Bush II) become president of the most powerful country in existence? We’re all dupes and apparently love it by all accounts leaving the running of things to the ‘shadow’ or ‘deep state’ factions of the invisible government. The Democratic party is becoming superfluous as they’ve sold out to their corporate masters leaving the masses to scratch out a living on less every year. The GOP, well they’ve always been sellouts with the wealthy allowed to ‘game’ or exploit the working folks of their hard earned gains. I was never able to game the system so I worked hard to live a decent life with very little material things but enough to be comfortable. I never really wanted that much anyway which makes me decidedly in the minority. So we will continue to be plagued by cheats, hucksters, and blowhard professional liars as politicians until we’ve had enough. I won’t see that in my life anyway.
so, trump did not win the popular vote, clinton did, by 3 million.
trump got in due to a gerrymandering system that neither the political party appears to want to change.
there is not much difference between the two parties. dems lite. repubs heavy. smidgen of difference. both parties are interested in power for themselves and their ‘elite’ friends. in other words the top 1% to top 20% - leaving the majority of citizens up the proverbial creek.
trump is the epitome of the cartoonish ‘yummericun’ - loud, obnoxious, arrogant, boastful. he is the epitome of how the world views yummericuns. self-aggrandizement has always been a characteristic of the species, and why so many countries dislike or ridicule the citizen of u.s.a. abroad. willfully ignorant, greedy and grabbing, trump is the darling of those like him, and the butt of those who do not want to be like him. so he occupies the news, and the dismantling of the u.s.a. continues.