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Please, I could use your help.

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  • Independent
    Minnesota
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    Gentlemen and ladies,

    My sister is a strong liberal and fairly intelligent, she has all of the necessary credentials. The drawback is that she seems reluctant to discuss things beyond her first comment. There must be a reason for her beliefs, and I joined as this seems to be a place for liberal thought which would explain them to me. I'd like to take this in small pieces, and it might take a few threads, but I have a basic question to start with.

    I assume that Obama is considered a fairly effective liberal president with quite a bit of power through his regulatory ability, executive actions (which have at least two different names), his popularity, and his first two years with total control of Congress. Given all that, I'd like to ask where the improvements can be found.

    To control this, please, let's start with broad areas. For example, "Has the economy, as a whole, been strong and improving?" "Has our foreign policy increased peace, and strengthened our position with other nations?" "Do the citizens have more respect for the executive branch (to include agencies)?" "Have race relations improved?" I'm asking about broad areas of policy and it's effects on America and the world.

    I'm also not asking for comments such as "Well, it would have been better, if it weren't for . . ." Nor am I asking for comments such as "You can't see it now, but in five or ten years it will be wonderful."

    I'm trying to start with an understanding of the very broadest issues, in the clearest possible sense. As I say, more detailed discussion can come later. If you can suggest other broad areas of improvement, please add them in. If you think my restrictions are unfair, please tell me, maybe they have to be changed.

    Thanks, in advance, for all of your help. I'm looking forward to some great information here.

    Charles

  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Charles Wrote:

    Gentlemen and ladies,

    My sister is a strong liberal and fairly intelligent, she has all of the necessary credentials. The drawback is that she seems reluctant to discuss things beyond her first comment. There must be a reason for her beliefs, and I joined as this seems to be a place for liberal thought which would explain them to me. I'd like to take this in small pieces, and it might take a few threads, but I have a basic question to start with.

    I assume that Obama is considered a fairly effective liberal president with quite a bit of power through his regulatory ability, executive actions (which have at least two different names), his popularity, and his first two years with total control of Congress. Given all that, I'd like to ask where the improvements can be found.

    To control this, please, let's start with broad areas. For example, "Has the economy, as a whole, been strong and improving?" "Has our foreign policy increased peace, and strengthened our position with other nations?" "Do the citizens have more respect for the executive branch (to include agencies)?" "Have race relations improved?" I'm asking about broad areas of policy and it's effects on America and the world.

    I'm also not asking for comments such as "Well, it would have been better, if it weren't for . . ." Nor am I asking for comments such as "You can't see it now, but in five or ten years it will be wonderful."

    I'm trying to start with an understanding of the very broadest issues, in the clearest possible sense. As I say, more detailed discussion can come later. If you can suggest other broad areas of improvement, please add them in. If you think my restrictions are unfair, please tell me, maybe they have to be changed.

    Thanks, in advance, for all of your help. I'm looking forward to some great information here.

    Charles

    It appears that you are trying to make this a critique of Obama's tenure as POTUS rather than a discussion on where the country is headed and what the future holds?

    Are you asking our thoughts on what will happen if, god forbid, a Republican wins the election rather than a Democrat?

    Obama is past history and only time will prove or disapprove of his success at leading the USA into the future.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Yes I agree with P.R. Why ask these questions? Just look around you and you should know the answers; it is not difficult to know where we are heading if we continue on the war path and its trillion's of cost and lives, bully the world and keep filling the pockets of the one percent.
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    I was thinking that perhaps your original question was a bit "vague" --- I was not sure what you were asking for. You seemed to ask if there was any room for improvement in the Obama agenda (?) And you mentioned that your sister "had all the credentials" ---- for what? Is she running for office? I am sorry if this sounds too blunt, but I am searching for an answer, so we can all proceed. These are all good people, (on the Hub) -- eager to be of help.
  • Independent
    Minnesota
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    Dear Democratic Hubbers,

    I'm sorry for the confusion I've caused, I suspect I was unable to put my thoughts into words. Allow me to try again from a different angle.

    My political expertise is small. My assumption is that a politician is either lying when he speaks or surrounds the truth with misleading words. My impression of news organizations is not much better, but they have the additional privilege of deciding what stories to cover and which to condemn to an early death. Since I find those sources of information to be unreliable, I thought I'd come here for a more "real" and "grassroots" understanding.

    Understanding of what, you might ask? I'm having trouble putting this into words, but I'm looking for the honest opinion of real people on the issue of the strengths of liberalism (Progressivism? Socialist democracy? I don't know which term I should use.) That question came about through discussions with my sister. She's a fairly high-ranking federal employee who obtained her position through appointment. She takes the local paper and the New York Times. She's really pleased with our president and has always supported him.

    I don't need much knowledge to see that others view her opinions as goose poop. She is, however, unwilling to talk about politics very much so I am in the dark on that question. I assume she likes him because of his accomplishments or his goals. The reason I'm starting (and it is just a start) with a stress on accomplishments is because every politician has wonderful sounding goals. I want to see what has happened.

    The reasons I mentioned Obama include the fact that he is the current president, thus fresher in everybody's mind; that as far as I can tell it's pretty widely agreed that he is a Liberal, Bush is regarded as a liberal Conservative, and Clinton is seen as a conservative Liberal. (But I could be wrong here.) Also, Obama is seen as a president who is, for the most part, accomplishing what he wants to accomplish. The Republicans seem almost completely impotent in their attempts to stop him from doing what he really wants to do, or force him to do something he really doesn't want to do.

    The few polls I've looked at indicate that Americans would rather have Republicans fight the wars and handle the money, and have the Democrats handle the environment and social policy. I don't know if those are accurate, I suspect not. So, I'm asking what areas do Progressives or Liberals excel at as shown by the improvements brought about in the last seven years or so. Is there something about their beliefs or temperament that help explain these improvements? We can go deeper with the discussion after that, if you'd like, but this is new territory for me and I want to have a firm grasp on things before I go much deeper.

    Honestly and truly, I am not trying to go after Obama. As another poster wrote, he's basically history. Biden, Warren, and Sanders are the people to be looking at now if individuals are the issue. (Sorry, but I wouldn't want to handle Hillary's campaign now. Yes, she's ahead but Sanders is closing and Hillary doesn't seem to be able to stop a slow fall. Maybe a Biden - Sanders ticket? But that's off the subject.)

    Thanks for the help.

  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    This thread appears nebulous as if mud is being smeared to make it look as if "Help" is actually being asked. Having seen tricky ways how some propose to treat a subject, I caution anybody responding that may have the trap sprung on them capturing the rabbit they so much pursue. Having read several of these, "I'm asking for Help." posts, maybe I'm too cautious, but it is approaching the heat of political opposition fronts where they exposing themselves.

    If one asks how the Democratic Party has helped society in the past, now and in the future, one needs to work in the party being observant of the misuse of power by many in the Republican Party. It is easy to see where the Republican agenda seeks to deny/stagnant voting rights so that their agenda will initiate more oppression on the American people. It is easy to see where the Republican Party has denied health benefits and continue to do so as they sound off an inhumane policy of letting the poor and sick take care of themselves. It is easy to see where Republicans manage voting districts to deny minorities a strength in numbers to vote their candidates into office. It is easy to see where past military campaigns have happened on Republicans in charge of the high office and where millions have died because of their show of America's right to control other countries. Sure the Republicans never allow the American people to realize it takes a Democrat in charge to erase the debt, or work to get us out of a previous war and bring our troops home. I see Obama is trying, but he is up to so much opposition in Congress, mostly the Conservative Right that denies the President to act as a President. When Obama pressures Congress, it's all his fault and we all get to see the Speaker of the House bawl like a baby.

    I could go on for hours on this response for "HELP", but I sense this thread is a trap. So, please entertain this person, because I do not believe this is an honest ask for help.

  • Independent
    Minnesota
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    Dear AmcmurryFreedom (and anyone else interested),

    I'm sorry you see this as a trap, it isn't and won't be. Let me offer some of the more obvious reasons, because I don't think you'll take my word for it.

    First, what is my motive for a "trap?" Assume that it is a trap. What are the chances that I am able to destroy thousands (I suppose) of progressives? I'm not sure how bright I am, but I am absolutely certain that no one with a hidden motive would win an argument against Democratic Hub, especially not me. The last time I debated was in High School, because we all had to give it a try. The only time I ever ran for any office was the one time, over a decade ago, when I wanted to be on the school board. I lost and haven't tried again. I'm not a masochist and I'm not trying to start a fight I know I would lose.

    Second, what do I stand to gain from setting a trap? I waved good bye to 60 quite some time ago. I've given up on winning and losing, I'm past that. Now, all I want to do is learn, look for truth, and there are many different truths to find.

    Third, I type two fingers at a time. Consider the typing that I've done, just to ask my question and make myself understood. I could have been typing to a woman in Ohio that I've become fond of.

    In sum, if you can't take my word that this isn't a trap, use some reason to help guide you.

    I am not asking how the Democratic party helped in the past, is helping in the present, or will help in the future. Or, for that matter, why the Republicans are terrible. Anybody can find those things out instantly by going to Democratic Hub or Republican Hub (if there is such a thing). Each party can, and does, say that everything would be peachy if it weren't for the opposition of the other party. I know all that, everybody knows all that.

    I'll try to ask a little differently. My sister, whom I respect, is a bigger fan of Obama than of previous presidents. I assume that's because Obama is a strong and determined (Liberal? Progressive? Somebody tell me what word to use.) political figure. But she cuts off the conversation quickly, maybe she just doesn't like talking about politics.

    I could have gone through this asking for his accomplishments, but there's some website that lists 269 of them, including signing the Lily Ledbetter (sp?) Act. I don't want a discussion of whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, or whether any of his accomplishments are a good or bad thing. I don't have the patience for that, and Republicans will argue with Democrats over the first accomplishment and continue through the next 268. In the immortal words of somebody or other in some movie, "I'm too old for that shit." (Just hit me. Sgt. Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon.)

    Here's what I'm hoping for. Somebody will suggest that the economic strength of the country will have grown substantially over his presidency. Others may say that absolutely that is the case. If I ask any questions of those people, they will be these: "How did you determine or measure that?" and "Was there one or two actions taken that largely account for that improvement?"

    I have no interest in saying you're right or wrong. Communication is stopped when the arguing begins. I just signed on here, because I figured that this was a source of widely and honestly held beliefs that I can learn from. I don't know if I will agree or not. I'll probably agree with some things and disagree with others, but who cares? That's true about everything. I won't go any deeper unless someone asks me to. I truly am here to learn, not fight. I won't learn anything from a fight, and if I learn something, then it's all worthwhile. In a real sense, if I learn, I win.

    Thanks, though, for freely expressing your worry that I might be a phony. I'm grateful that you felt free and comfortable enough to express it.

    Charles

    P.s. I just saw an article describing a federal grant given to a University to study how men look at women when the men have been drinking. The University (I think it was Iowa) has been awarded about a quarter of a million dollars so far. The grant runs until April.

    Now, my kind of person will laugh, then come up with some fairly witty remarks on the project. (Many of my friends will be glad to tell you how they look at women when they have been drinking.) It will be harder for me to understand you if you say, "Good! Anything we can do to help destroy the sexually violent, patriarchal aspect of American society, it's abuse of women, and the curse of alcohol, is worth every penny!" - C -

  • Independent
    Minnesota
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    I just reread some of the responses here, and what caught my eye was the warning I was setting a trap. I have to admit that I'm still scratching my head. Suppose some says, "Obama's immigration policies have given us a large supply of cheap labor which we need, and has made us more diverse. These things can be shown by statistics ABC and XYZ."

    There's fear that there is a trap? I'm more likely to say thank you than say "Aha! You fell into my trap." What trap could be set? Pretend I disagreed with your statistics, or something else in your comment. If I shouted out, "I fooled you, I disagree," that would be a trap which would catch no one and only make me look more idiotic than I am.

    I suppose that's another question I have for you. What trap?

  • Independent
    Minnesota
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    Let me try once more. It seems people refuse to talk with me because they believe I've set a trap. How about this? Just answer the questions I originally asked (because I truly just want to know), and I won't respond to you unless you ask me to. There won't be any trap, because I won't question you or your information. I promise to not say anything in response to your post without you requesting it.

    All I want is for people knowledgeable about politics to tell me which general areas of America's situation are better than they seven years ago, what measurements are used to reach that conclusion, and what policies brought about that improvement.

    I won't be snarky, or try to argue, I just want that information. No trap, nothing hostile, just give me some information.

    Thanks.

  • Independent
    Minnesota
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    Let me try once more. It seems people refuse to talk with me because they believe I've set a trap. How about this? Just answer the questions I originally asked (because I truly just want to know), and I won't respond to you unless you ask me to. There won't be any trap, because I won't question you or your information. I promise to not say anything in response to your post without you requesting it.

    All I want is for people knowledgeable about politics to tell me which general areas of America's situation are better than they seven years ago, what measurements are used to reach that conclusion, and what policies brought about that improvement.

    I won't be snarky, or try to argue, I just want that information. No trap, nothing hostile, just give me some information.

    Thanks.

  • Independent
    Campbellsport, WI
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    Hello Charles,

    Long time reader, reluctant commentator, and former liberal here.

    First off, I'm sure your sister is a fine lady. :)

    Is your conclusion, that she is a "strong" liberal, accurate? Does her "reluctance to discuss topics beyond her first comment" exist because only strong emotion exists below the surface of the "first comment"?

    Ask her some time to define, compare and contrast Keynesian Economics to Austrian Economics. This is not a political question but will show if there is a foundation to the "first comments". :)

    I suggest reading and asking your sister if she has read, "The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith and "The Road to Serfdom" by Dr. Friedrich August Von Heyak. FYI, Adam Smith founded Economics as a field of study.

    Sorry to see you had so many negative responses on the forum but it could have been worse... :) You could have said you were a Christian.

  • Independent
    Minnesota
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    Good afternoon, Dialogue. Thank you for living up to your name. Amazingly enough, I have been honest through this whole conversation, I'm grateful someone wanted a quick chat and was willing to risk the non-existent "trap."

    My sister has been a lawyer for decades and is now a Federal judge. She might have been exposed to Keynes, Marx, Von Mises, and Hayek in school, but I'm certain that the best she could do now is recognize some of the names. Her interests tend to be in the areas of social policy and international affairs. I may have mentioned that her sources of news include the local paper and The New York Times. It may very well be that Paul Krugman is the source and limit of her economic knowledge. If I'm not mistaken, Keynesianism is the economic basis for Progressivism in this country, while the Austrian and Chicago schools of thought tend to prop up Conservative analysis. I approach this by asking if either school has any real world experience to judge it by. I suspect they both do. Which system has worked better, and what has that system worked better at? Is the goal equalizing income, maximizing employment, centralizing decision making, or creating more "value?" The answer to that, I believe, indicates which system any given individual is likely to prefer.

    A little bit about our discussions. We are both old farts (defined as anybody over 60). I suspect that she would claim, with some justification, that she doesn't have the time to read any book except for some recent novel, and that as a source of mindless relaxation. What we specialize in is bringing to each other's attention a new piece of information, or a new way of looking at existing information, when we have our discussions.

    As an aside, in my discussions with her (or anyone else) I tend to be as kind and respectful as I'm able to be. I'm a fan of the Socratic method, but I'm not very rigorous in applying it. I also believe that an important question is "What then?" For example, someone might say that it is important to allow for assisted suicide without limits, or religious practice without limits. A case could be made for either position, but it's revealing to ask what happens after that position is taken. If any religious practice is seen as legal and legitimate, then what? Mormon polygamy? Muslim honor killings? Presbyterian green bean casserole? (That last was meant as a bit of humor. I don't know how sensitive people around here are.)

    As long as I presented one of my favorite questions, I may as well offer my two favorite answers; "Yes and no," and "It depends." There are times when a simple, definitive answer is required, but I find that many real questions need a little more thought and analysis then I normally see applied.

    I'm surprised by the lack of response myself. Had someone asked me, I would have said this was a place where Progressive ideas and discussions were flying about like the souls of the lustful in Dante's Second Circle. I'm not to sure what to think about it now.

    With thanks,

    Charles

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    Ok Charles I will bite. Our country is better off than it was 7 years ago. We are not back to pre- Bush. The country as a whole has increasingly become divided, unsure of tomorrow and the people are so frantic that they are willing to accept change in anything without much consideration. They believe everything must be a statement against the establishment. O'bama's accomplishments have come from pure determination and the intellectual ability he has acquired during his life. Much of what he has accomplished has been forced through by Democrats or by executive order. This is perceived as a failure by the right and portrayed as O'bama has exceeded his authority. Remember the education system, the young people of voting age today, have given up on education, have had education priced out of their reach, have often been given sub-par education (wealthy vs poor districts) and quite frankly have been sold a bill of goods that education is not necessary.Obama's plate on taking office, economy tanked, now slowly recovering but never to be what it used to be, Foreclosures rampant, job loss, financial manipulation of the big guys on Wall Street coupled with two wars, health care crisis, Detroit crumbling, racial tension etc etc. We all said we want America strong again yet we vote in mid-term elections for representation that is inadequate and not in our own interests. I do believe we honestly don't know what we want, we just want change???? We want to be the bully of the world. We have no idea what relentless war in our country is like, just as long as it is not here. As you can see with the clowns on the right we have a glimmer of hope on the left. That is why I am a Democrat. At least I know there is sanity there.
  • Independent
    Minnesota
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    Dear Mary,

    I'm uncertain. I promised not to respond, but based on our earlier conversation I think you will allow it. If i am wrong, I will delete my post as soon as I can.

    One of the posters mentioned that I was unclear in my original request, I suspect that I still am. I'd like to offer an example of what i was looking for in an attempt to clear up confusion.

    "Over the last seven years our environment has shown marked, significant, improvement. This is demonstrated by the figures coming from (I don't know, EPA? The UN's WHO? Greenpeace?). This improvement was brought about by the EPA changing regulations governing (Whatever), and by spending $X on environmental studies."

    With information like that, I can answer questions asked of me by "Neutrals" and Conservatives. I was asking here because I thought that by having a large number of people answering I could be sure of fairly complete answers. Questions frequently come up in broad areas, such as Immigration, military strength, international diplomacy, race relations, confidence in government as a whole, civil rights for Americans, and I don't know how many other broad areas.

    Gay marriage would be a part of civil rights, the Iran deal would be part of international diplomacy. Terrorism might be part of international diplomacy, military strength, or might even be a broad area of it's own.

    When you say the country has become increasingly divided, even though I agree completely, is that an improvement? A number of the other points you raise sound like troubling developments, although I agree with them.

    Thank you for speaking with me.

    Charles

  • Independent
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    Your question is indeterminate. Or rather it is far too broad. Attempts to point at Obama and make comments regarding executive orders (used by many presidents) and the Democratic Party allegedly holding congress while ignoring the massive filibusters by the Republican Party cast detritus and result in meaningless noise. Are you looking for specific things to refute or agree with? Please put something forward.

    We can examine one small area as an example. At the time of the Great Depression 1.0 secretary of the treasury Mellon is quoted as saying "Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate." Which would "purge the rottenness out of the system." The problem was mellon's blindness since he couldn't see that the rottenness WAS the system. Thus here in Great Depression 2.0. The financialization of the political economy combined with the distortion of same by monied forces and de-industrialization resulted in a system which had no choice but to collapse since it had no foundation. Obama was at least as successful as could be expected with an opposition unwilling to bend and a party of his own timid in their own response. The number of jobs that have appeared due to increased demand is amazing despite the half-assed measures prescribed. Conservatives can take no credit for any recovery no matter how small or fragile. They provided no counter plan. Yet even conservatives in Europe knew to spend money. But that couldn't be done here as conservatism has morphed into a rigid, quasi-religious ideology. Pay obeisance to Grover Norquist! Line up for your daily dose of political economy distorting diatribes from on high by the Kochs.

    Your turn. Pick a place and start or respond to mine it makes no never mind. One will be happy to respond.