Saturday, February 14, 2009

Obama essay

I'm revising the preface to "Barack Hussein Obama and the Evolution to Utopia" which is at:

[] ...

...and maybe I'll do some more revisions in the body. No major changes, I just had an impulse to clarify things after the house republicans were so uniformly negative. It may be that they need money to reassure themselves about their status. I need to think about that a bit more, but it might provide an explanation for their actions as we continue to go through this crisis.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I want to remind my readers, (assuming that there are more than one), that Obama has the notion of equality as one of his fundamental ideas. In his inaugural address he said:

The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better
history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation
to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a
chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

"All are equal" is an immense responsibility, it is a call to a radically new worldview. If "all" really means "all" then "all" means everyone. Not just middle-class Americans, but all Americans. Not just white Americans, but all Americans. Not just Americans but all living human beings. And there's the rub.

If we are to take seriously the notion that we are all equal, then we are obligated to give all of us the opportunity to have the use of the globe's resources. Maybe not the same amount of resources, but at least enough to survive. If we are all equal, then we all have a right to life. And Americans, on the average, use so much of the world's resources that many people in the world are not able to survive. We literally kill them by wasting the way we do.

And yet our economic system is based on this level of wasteful consumption. Two-thirds of our economy is based on consumption of resources. When we cut back, and don't overconsume what we don't need, our economy collapses. So the problem appears to be conservation: if we don't increase the rate at which we consume resources, if we are not as wasteful as we were a couple of years ago, our economic experts don't know how to cope.

And yet it is clear that if everyone consumed resources at the rate that the average American did in 2007 there would not be enough to go round. If we try for the equality that Obama believes in, we have to waste less, and our economic system isn't designed to do that.

Obviously the best thing we could do would be to get used to the level of consumption we are presently adopting; and change our ecopolitical system to fit that. That would allow us to approach universal equality of consumption at a level that has a sustainable amount of waste. But that would require us to understand what's going on, and that's a lot to ask.

So we may have to try to put our Humpty-Dumpty socioeconomic system back together, although all of Obama's economists and all the world's stock traders are not likely to be able to do that. Only after that fails will it be possible to step back and take a serious look at where we are on a global perspective.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Obama getting tough

According to the L.A. Times "Obama's partisan turn entails a calculated risk. He cannot afford to see the stimulus bill fail. Without it, he warns, an already painful recession will worsen. With the stimulus in place, he says, the nation will create or save up to 4 million jobs."

Briefing reporters on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs did not rebut suggestions that Obama was opting for a more combative tone.

By failing to take dramatic action, "we'll find ourselves worse off than where we are now," Gibbs said. "We have to take those bold steps."

Personally, I don't think he should bargain for Republican support. At this point, having tried, they ought to just get a majority (partisan or not) on the bill and let the Republicans filibuster if they want. That will make it clear who is trying to hurt the middle- and lower-classes, and it won't cost any more time than fiddling around negotiating with people who have no motive but obstruction. Give them a chance to do their obstructing transparently.

It is simply too soon in the process for nonpartisanship.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bureaucratic Goals

As I noted earlier, the current stage of social evolution is where the establishment consists of bureaucrats: the Democrats represent government bureaucrats and the Republicans represent corporate bureaucrats. With regard to the economic system, the Republicans in the last days of the Bush administration used the near-collapse of the system to push through a 700-billion-dollar government welfare payment to the banks, which the senior bureaucrats used to pay bonuses and generally maintain their lifestyle.

Once the Obama administration came in the Republicans objected to making welfare payments to anyone except their corporate bureaucrats, and especially people (like me) who live on small government pensions and unemployment dole.

Barack Hussein Obama himself had been conned into believing that the goals of most Americans included returning the economic system to the status quo, with some slight tinkering that would increase its stability and get more equality in things like health care. That was not the case with the upper levels of the corporate bureaucracy.

Obama also misunderstood the tactics of the bureaucrats who were on his side, the government bureaucrats that were represented by Democrats. These democrats are limited in direct salary payments while they are in office, so they try to make up for it by increasing their power (through laws and regulations), and by lobbying (opening the loopholes) when they are out of power. Obama, who made his wealth by writing books, didn't understand the use of lobbying as an out-of-power income source by his senior followers, and was hoist by his own petard.

Obama thought he could trust his political allies because his experience as a community organizer allowed him to think in terms of actions that benefit "ordinary people" (i.e., the working and lower middle class); while his allies think of actions that will manipulate ordinary citizens into helping them fulfill their goals of personal ambition.

This doesn't mean that Obama can't save us from ourselves even using imperfect colleagues. They need him to provide the charisma that keeps them in their jobs, so they will follow his lead to a certain extent. But when he has finished his one or two terms both the corporate and government bureaucrats will go back to their normal behavior of looting the public treasury for their own benefit.

In earlier days, even in the twentieth century, this wasn't so terrible because the government bureaucrats kept anything from happening quickly and the corporate bureaucrats stole only a small fraction of the gross national product (GNP). The advent of computers, however, has made it possible for pyramid and Ponzi schemes to be worked so fast that they can collapse the economy in a matter of weeks; long before any government bureaucrat could do anything about it, or even be sure such a scheme was in progress. We can, therefore, reasonably expect that the global economy will collapse a matter of weeks after the end of the Obama dynasty (assuming Obama can find a successor).

On the other hand, Barack Hussein Obama is quite intelligent, and it is possible that he will not only learn how the system works, but figure out how to use the "Bully Pulpit" to allow him to represent those of us who are not in the bureaucracy or, if we are employed by bureaucrats, to think in our own interest and not as our bosses want. Obama became President long before anyone expected that of a member of a minority, so maybe he can break the bureaucratic cage the same way he broke the glass ceiling.

In any case we can wish him luck.