Obama Has Made Civil Liberties AND Foreclosures Worse

Greg Sargent and Steve Benen have interesting taxonomies of the Democrats who should buck up and clap louder. I think both bring some needed nuance to the discussion. As part of that, both include some kind of category of lefties who oppose Obama to defend important principles. Sargent doesn’t limit that category to any one policy issue.

The second group on the left constitutes high-profile commentators, such as Rachel Maddow and Glenn Greenwald, who are mounting a detailed, substantive policy critique of the Obama administration on issues that are important to them. These folks see their role as advocates for a particular policy agenda, and they don’t hesitate to whack the White House when it commits what they see as grave policy missteps. For them to hold their fire because the White House wants them to would be an unthinkable betrayal of the role they’ve carved out for themselves. This is the “professional left” Robert Gibbs sneeringly alluded to — even though Obama himself has said he craves such criticism.

But Benen does (and he cites a Kevin Drum post in the same vein):

Kevin Drum notes, “If you’re, say, Glenn Greenwald, I wouldn’t expect you to buy Obama’s defense at all. All of us have multiple interests, but if your primary concern is with civil liberties and the national security state, then the problem isn’t that Obama hasn’t done enough, it’s that his policies have been actively damaging. There’s just no reason why you should be especially excited about either his administration or the continuation of the Democratic Party in power.”

Right. Glenn not only has a legitimate beef, I honestly can’t think of anyone who’s offered a persuasive argument to counter Glenn’s criticism. I don’t know, however, how large a group of voters we’re talking about that disapproves of the president based primarily (but not exclusively) on concerns over the national security state.

I’d argue that if Glenn’s contingent represents one group of the disaffected, the other two general groups of center-left critics are (2) those who believe the president’s accomplishments have been inadequate; and (3) those who are struggling badly in this economy, and expected conditions to be better than they are under Obama.

And note that both Benen and Drum make a clear distinction between those (like Glenn, and I assume they’d include me in that camp) have a legitimate gripe, and those who are unhappy with the state of the economy.

I disagree with their argument–that Obama could not really have done much more with the economy–but I think they present it in good faith.

But on one area, their claim that Obama couldn’t do more is absolutely false: on foreclosures.

The Administration has had no requirement to get Congress’ approval for their HAMP program. They have the money sitting, unused, at Treasury. Yet long after it became clear that HAMP was not only not helping, but was actually making things worse, after it became clear that other restructuring programs were much more successful, the Administration made little more than tweaks to the program. And then, as the number of people actually harmed by HAMP piled up, they claimed that the program had succeeded because it helped them get away (thus far) with the Extend and Pretend strategy.

But that introduces another problem with the taxonomies that make a distinction between those with a real gripe and those unfairly holding Obama responsible because the economy has not gotten better.

The failure to do something effective to prevent foreclosures–that is, being satisfied that HAMP helped Extend and Pretend rather than making a sustained effort to help actual homeowners stay in their homes–has made the economy worse. That’s by no means the biggest cause of the ongoing crappiness of the economy. But it is one cause.

So even if you buy the argument that Obama couldn’t have gotten more stimulus passed, even if you forgive Larry Summers for his “insurance policy,” and even if you ignore Obama’s decision to renominate Helicopter Ben in spite of his unwillingness to do anything about the full employment part of his job description, you still have to give Obama some of the blame for the economy. Middle class homeowners all over the country are seeing their home values continue to fall, and that’s something that the Administration could have at least tried to alleviate.

But they didn’t.

  1. donbacon says:

    My major issue is war.

    Why spend tons of borrowed money on a foreign wars during a recession, when major domestic spending would be more effective? Why build schools and roads using foreign labor in Afghanistan when we need them here built with domestic labor?

    In Afghanistan, Obama is spending nearly as much borrowed money in two years as Bush spent in eight years. And chances are he’ll spend more.

    Operation Enduring Freedom
    FY10….104.8 (Obama’s first budget)
    FY11….119.4 (requested)

    (FY=fiscal year, Oct-Sep)

    And the war in Afghanistan isn’t the only place the US is pissing away money and effort. In fact it’s spending money nearly everywhere in the world.

    Some countries need help, it’s true. Take poor China for example. (Forget that China holds almost a trillion dollars of US debt.)

    “USAID is helping China promote clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is working with China to improve environmental law and environmental governance. Activities also will strengthen environmental due diligence among national agencies and the private sector and reduce China’s environmental footprint.

    “USAID assists China’s efforts to develop a legal system for fair, participatory, and transparent governance, as well as its efforts to introduce reforms within the justice system. Programs preserve cultural traditions and promote sustainable development and environmental conservation among ethnic Tibetans.”

    The 2010 budget request to help China — $13,158,000

    • PeasantParty says:

      Didn’t China and India take our jobs? I am getting older and may forget a few facts but remind me again why they need so much assistance?

      • donbacon says:

        It’s true that China and India take our jobs, but it’s because the president had to make certain legislative compromises. Obama had to compromise with Democrats on the economy just like he had to compromise with the generals on the wars, with The Lobby on Israel/Palestine, and with Wall Street on the economy. Sure, some malcontents call it caving, but compromise sounds better because it includes promise.

        Now about that India thing, you just go here:
        India Outsourcing Gurus
        Move Operations Offshore & Save Up To 70%. Call Us For A Free Consult.

        And I looked it up — the US State Dept is only spending $3,733,000 in India this year.
        foreign aid tables
        Asia 9c

        • PJEvans says:

          They’ve been taking our jobs for years.
          The current president didn’t start it, but he isn’t doing anything to slow it down.

          You might want to get outside and check your talking points against reality a little more often.

    • onitgoes says:

      Agree: the wars are bleeding us dry and beyond.

      It gauls me, too, to see/hear/watch how much of MY tax dollars are being peed down the drain in central Asia. It’s outrageous. And for what purpose?

      We are going down the same road of stupid that the Soviet Union did (with our help when we armed the Taliban against the Soviets… and we are STILL arming the Taliban against our own soldiers now – sa-weet).

      I don’t mind “helping” those in need in the third world, but this isn’t about that. It’s about greed run amuck, gone mad on steriods and terminally out of control.

      My biggest issue with conservatives is how they’ve allowed themselves to be bamboozled in agreeing with endless war at ANY cost, and in exchange they “get to vetch” about “welfare.” Mind-effen-boggling. I’m a true fiscal conservative, and I want these d*mn costly useless wars to END NOW.

  2. MadDog says:

    It still makes me laugh, albeit tinged with WTF outrage, when the Obama administration complains about us complaining.

    It’s kind of like calling a company’s customer support line to complain that their widget/service doesn’t work and then having customer support berate you for deigning to call and complain.

    • PeasantParty says:

      OMG! LOL. My thoughts exactly.

      After reading EW’s post I was gonna say:

      I’d say something about this but My President told me to STFU and not say anything. On the otherhand, during his campaign and immediately after accepting office he told me to make sure to let him know when things were not right. Now, he along with the VP and all his staffers are telling us to STFU and picturing us as emotionally deranged kids.

    • ShotoJamf says:

      It’s kind of like calling a company’s customer support line to complain that their widget/service doesn’t work and then having customer support berate you for deigning to call and complain.

      Sounds like my cable company. Oh…and the current posture of the Obama Administration.

  3. Teddy Partridge says:

    Worse, they pretended to try to alleviate it.

    But everyone in or near the HAMP program know they were lying.

    So they’ve discredited governmental solutions for all those people, probably for a generation. “Yeah, my parents went to Obama for help with their mortgage, but now we’re homeless.”

  4. BMcGarth says:

    Why isn’t anyone in the Media confronting him on his HAMP program & civil liberties violation is beyond pathetic….and all week he is going around the mainstream media…

    Welcome to America….where almost anything presented as good is a fraud.

    • captjjyossarian says:

      Why isn’t anyone in the Media confronting him on his HAMP program & civil liberties violation

      Because Bill Moyers retired.

      Ratigan at MSNBC has at least done some decent coverage of the financial meltdown. But the closest thing to mainstream which has provided decent coverage of the HAMP Twilight Zone is probably Pro Publica.

  5. jo6pac says:

    But on one area, their claim that Obama couldn’t do more is absolutely false: on foreclosures

    I disagree, they could have at lest fought for more instead of rolling over then whining that they didn’t have the votes. What wh ran on, what they’re in life is extactly what I told friends that were in love with him and now will just hold their nose to vote. Yes I voted for him but I’m not suprised.

  6. papau says:

    I know of no happy endings for those in HAMP – although it is claimed that a tiny percent got small principal reductions, everyone I know was either played for a fool or allowed to add missed payments to the end of the loan with no real attempt to match ability to pay/value of house to what the principal should be written down to and what interest rate to reset at.

    The HARP program works and at least gets you a lower interest rate (not the published ones but better than you had) and does not depend on credit checks or underwriting.

  7. radiofreewill says:

    A few weeks ago, I was in a very wealthy neighborhood. A moving van was being busily loaded with household goods. The owner was outside directing the loading.

    I went up to him and said, “Wow! Lucky you that you get to move in this bad economy.”

    He said, “It’s not what you think. For the sake of my family and kids, I’m doing a strategic walk-away. I refuse to pay any more money to the Bank when I know they’re just milking me before they take the property.”

    It was Bush the Real Estate guy who opened-up the sub-prime mortgage market – it was Bush who enabled privatised profit on the front-end, and laundered the liability – which they Knew was Certain – on the back end into tranches of shredded mortgages.

    The entire scheme was a Scam designed to make Bush’s Real Estate/Wall Street/Bankster Buddies even richer…at Our expense.

    Bush did Generational Damage that can’t be ‘fixed’ in any kind of a short time frame.

    Regardless of HAMP or however many other programs We come up with, imvho, it’s going to take decades to recover from the plundering…

    • onitgoes says:

      Regardless of HAMP or however many other programs We come up with, imvho, it’s going to take decades to recover from the plundering.

      Agree. I live in a neighborhood that’s meant to have the “best” real estate values in our area of SoCal, and it’s true that home values have stayed fairly steady, dropping only slightly.

      That said, I’m still seeing short-sales and foreclosures in the area. Perhaps not as many as in other areas, but still happening.

      This is a pretty unprecedented disaster, and Obama is “correct” in one way: it was perpetrated upon us by Bush. But at this stage: wtf has Obamaco done? Especially for Main St?? Not much, if that.

      I think it will take a lot longer for recovery to happen, despite pundits who claim the opposite.

      • posaune says:

        The administration has decided to let the housing market crash . . . . CRASH. Period. They have done the demographic analysis, the electoral analysis, the debt analysis, probably even the school district analysis (which by the way was why so many middle classers got sucked into buying the new house in the best school district).

        And the Admin has decided to throw the boomers under the bus, to crash housing values (even for those paid up), so that housing prices fall, eventually, to the new wage levels they are planning. Serf nation.

    • posaune says:

      They’ve killed the goose that laid the golden egg(s). The US mortgage system, developed out of VA home loans post WWI, was the envy of the world. It was a new model: 20% down, 20-year mortgage. It contributed to prosperity with an annual average appreciation of 4%. It could be counted on for the most part. The housing industry in this country will NEVER be the same again. There is too much inventory (yeah, it will end up 15-20 years inventory). Given the historic re-alignment of the economy, ie. mostly WAGES, that we will see in our lifetimes, residential housing development will be turned on its head. Housing will either be outrageously expensive in desirable locations (cities, where a car is not necessary), or financing will not be available. The old model is toast.

  8. GlenJo says:

    My biggest beef was the continuation of the Bush bailouts to Wall St.

    Max Keiser is a bit over the top, but starting at about 5:40 in the part one, and through the start of part two is a a good political/economic analysis:


    There’s an old joke in the business world, but it contains much truth:

    Prepare Three Envelopes
    A fellow had just been hired as the new CEO of a large corporation.

    The CEO who was stepping down met with him privately and presented him with three numbered envelopes.

    “Open one of these each time you run into a problem you don’t think you can solve,” he said.

    Things went along pretty smoothly, but six months later, sales took a downturn and he was really catching a lot of heat.

    At his wit’s end, he remembered the envelopes. He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read,

    “Blame your predecessor.”

    The new CEO called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame at the feet of the previous CEO.

    Satisfied with his comments, the press — and Wall Street – responded positively, sales began to pick up and the problem was soon behind him.

    About a year later, the company was again experiencing a slight dip in sales, combined with serious product problems.

    Having learned from his previous experience, the CEO quickly opened the second envelope.

    The message read, “Reorganize.”

    This he did, and the company quickly rebounded.

    After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company once again fell on difficult times.

    The CEO went to his office, closed the door and opened the third envelope.

    The message said, “Prepare three envelopes.”

  9. JamesJoyce says:

    Operation Enduring Freedom
    FY10….104.8 (Obama’s first budget)
    FY11….119.4 (requested)

    Technological innovation has always been driven by war. These numbers demonstrate this fact. It is most unfortunate that America fails to realize life’s war is with energy. Imagine a portion of these resources invested in a real “War on Energy,” and the beneficial results to society opposed to http://icasualties.org/OEF/Fatalities.aspx I wonder how many good men have died never reaching their full potential………..

    Protect that corporate interest as law once protected slave owners….

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Protect that corporate interest as law once protected slave owners….

      Yes, in both (if you will pardon the Marxist aside) you see the alienation of nature and of labor, and the fetishization of socially created categories as everlasting entities. The state is about protecting these entities, and defending the social relationships that correspond with their operations. Reforming the state (or the social relationships that stand behind it) ultimately runs into the stone cold fact that those who have don’t want to give up what they have. Sooner or later, the have-nots get pissed off. The trick is to channel the latter’s agitation into impotent side channels. If you wait a generation or two, then in our culture, it’s as if none of this ever happened before.

      As if, Barack Obama, as if no fucking one ever told us to be patient before, or that Rome wasn’t built in a day, or that they were doing the best they can, and what do you expect, and all that baloney!

    • onitgoes says:

      We here at FDL are not retarded. Not sure about Obamaco. On the other hand, Obamaco will make out very nicely from their payola from our Chinese overlords. Anyone interested in Mandarin lessons?

      • JamesJoyce says:

        “R WE RETARDED” I was not speaking of the people here. It was a generalized term referring to the nation, collectively!

  10. bigbrother says:

    “Obama Has Made Civil Liberties AND Foreclosures Worse”
    Which army brigade is trained in civilian surpression?
    What communication is not captured in the FISA dumps?
    Is the government positioned well to surpress dissent?
    Has deregulation opened up huge leveraging of risk.
    Does the shadow banking system have $600 trillion in off balance sheet bets?
    Has the downward spiral of real estate value added more under water households and businessess to short sale and forclosure markets?
    Does a bear live in the wood?
    Donate to Russ Fiengold at Act Blue!

  11. hijean831 says:

    I’m tired of being told I should admire the new deck-chair configuration, instead of being unhappy that nobody’s attempting to avoid icebergs. Name the topic, it’s the same gripe.

      • stevo67 says:

        That’s what sank the Titanic — they went hard right when they should have gone left.

        and that’s what all the Obamapologists just don’t get…

      • bobschacht says:

        Well, actually, the Titanic was just plowing straight ahead, not bothering to check for obstacles. Which, come to think of it, is not a bad metaphor.

        What gives me the heeby jeebees, however, is not that Obama has not been able to accomplish *enough,* but rather that he’s not doing some of the things he could be doing rather easily at the DOJ, which don’t take any bills from Congress– like the impartial administration of justice, regardless of rank or station, and that justice must be “blind,” and that crimes committed by members of the Bush or Obama administrations should be promptly and fairly adjudicated (and not just by David Margolis) without hiding behind “State secrets” and other forms of obfuscation. If he did that– which he could do by administrative fiat– I would be supporting him with more enthusiasm.


        • pdaly says:

          I just checked wikipedia. David Margolis still does not have a wiki entry (except for the industrialist David Margolis).

  12. CalGeorge says:

    “…home values continue to fall, and that’s something that the Administration could have at least tried to alleviate.”

    Home values have to return to an affordable level. They haven’t done that yet. If alleviation means artificially inflating values, it’s not a good idea.

  13. jdmckay0 says:

    I’m not sure BO’s made foreclosures worse.

    The mortgage mess is too big, too much influenced by all the other US economic degradation from the Bush years, and using property bubble as lipstick on a pig through those 2 terms of Bush’s crime spree. That so much of meaningful US economy has gone overseas, our sourced and such… there’s just not enough $$ being earned by middle class to pay these property prices.

    It’s a mess.

    There’s so many folks underwater, for different reasons. Some, played by rules/lived w/in means/saved and bought a house. That pool is greatly diluted by all kinds of greedy speculators, however.

    My biggest gripe w/BO is (as others have said)…
    a) WS bailouts
    b) Utter lack of energy/focus/articulation of new US economic goals. We’re in this mess
    largely by letting WS’ “free market capitalism” rape US’ economic assets, dumb down our
    media and (especially) education. We are a poorer, more rudderless, less principled nation.

    A) actually allowed banks to keep bad mortgages on books longer, hoping they’ll rebound, which kept property prices from falling quite a bit further. It’s a kick the can down the road, cross one’s fingers maneuver.

    Re: B)… well, Barack hasn’t done shit. That’s the biggest disappointment to me. We’ve fallen behind in everything that matters over long haul. And BO hasn’t done shit. Zeeero… nada… no-thing.

    • bmaz says:

      See, I think the phony hollow HAMP horseshit absolutely made foreclosures worse in that it suckered people into thinking they had a chance and then causing them to pay out all kinds of money and still losing their homes. Total boon to the banks.

      • jdmckay0 says:

        suckered people into thinking they had a chance


        then causing them to pay out all kinds of money and still losing their homes.


        Total boon to the banks.

        more or less, yes.

        But *everything* in both Bush & BO’s “recovery” has been about banks. Christ, they’re making 2-4 % just buying treasuries, when rest of US has trouble getting .5 p/c on a CD. Re financing the banksters was never a viable plan, given what we’re up against.

        Damage w/home prices done in prior years this decade, as was damage to economy. Home prices are gone AFAIC, it’s a done deal… nothing can be done about that at this point.

        What can be done is to build a real, viable economy. And that hasn’t happened, w/prospects for doing so getting worse under BO.

  14. racetoinfinity says:

    Your three groups of the disappointed, disaffected on the left intersect. Obama has either continued the power-elite war-on-terror wars and trampling-on of civil liberties or has actively sat on his hands while more progressive measures in reform bills sank in The Congress.

  15. JamesJoyce says:


    “World Energy Media-Editorial Division (September 28, 2010)-LDK Solar Co Ltd, a Chinese-based solar wafer manufacturer, entered a credit agreement for US $8.95 billion with China Development Bank (CDB). This agreement, which spans five years, will support LDK’s organizational development plans as well as growth initiatives over the long term. LDK is the latest in a string of Chinese solar companies receiving CDB loans.”

    Who are the real players?

  16. JamesJoyce says:


    Maybe the nexus between resources and liberty wasted on energy and the lack of available money due to wealth extraction based on energy costs will some day be made. Life and liberty have been eviscerated by the rising cost of energy. The .80 cents of every American dollar wasted on the purchase of gasoline for 60 years should have gone to:

    Paying down Mortgages and debt,
    Healthcare, not health insurance,
    Property tax relief,

    to promote the “general welfare” of the nation and its national security! Instead we protect corporations who use and treat our greatest resource, the “American People,” as a dysfunctional alcoholic treats his family, using the color of law to justify profit at the expense of civil liberties, homes and lives.

  17. captjjyossarian says:

    The Obama admin is fresh out of buts….

    If they could say, yes HAMP is a mess but look we ended the wars. But of course, they have not ended the wars.

    Or they could say, yes our civil rights record isn’t popular but look at how many banksters we prosecuted for fraud. But if your even slightly more plausible than Bernie Madoff… DOJ/SEC/FBI hasn’t touched you.

    Unfortunately for the nation, the only positive of any significance was the big stimulous package which turned out to be a half measure. Sure, Congress has been a road block on many fronts but the way the admin has behaved you’d think the admin supports the road blocks. Bill Black outlined many things that the admin could do clean up the financial sector without needing to go to Congress.

    Thanks to Obama, Rahm & Co, the admin has done it’s best to burn it’s bridges with 98% of the public.

  18. abinitio says:

    I am a registered independent that voted for Obama and the Democrats in 2006 and 2008. I am afraid what he have got is Dubya’s third term.

    I am totally in the liberty camp along with Marcy and Glenn on our seemingly inexorable march towards a fascist national security state. Our forefathers will not understand how easily American citizens gave up their liberty.

    On the policy arena of economics I also believe at some point massive government intervention as we have seen becomes counter-productive. Today we effectively have a nationalized mortgage market with around 98% of mortgages guaranteed in some way or another by taxpayers. I know many of the folks on the left will disagree with my opinion that housing markets need to be allowed to clear not artificially supported. Policies enacted by Dubya is now on steroids where bond holders and managements of private banks are essentially backstopped by taxpayers against taking their speculative losses preventing the prudent banks from competing on the basis of making the right decisions. Additionally the idea that one can borrow and print to prosperity is something that I find ludicrous just on the face of it as it defies common sense but that is current economic wisdom of the Obama brain trust like it was for Dubya’s.

    I am at a loss what to do in this election. Both parties enact policies that I believe are detrimental to our constitutional republic.

    • danw5 says:

      The irony is that Obama is arguing IN FAVOR of all of Bush’s policy that took freedoms. Obama did do away with torture and the Congress did restore habeas corpus to the US Constitution, along with most of the Bill of Rights taken under the 2006 Military Commissions Act.

      Obama is far from what I wanted, but he is not the fascist Bush was. A drunk who should be in jail for war crimes, not drawing a pension and building a library. of course our last war criminal (convicted in Nicaragua vs US), Ronald Reagan, did the same!.

  19. coloradoblue says:

    For this FORMER democrat, the key issue is Obama’s refusal to investigate the war crimes of the Bush/Cheney administration. By failing to investigate and, if warranted, prosecute, Obama is complicit in war crimes (as Glennzilla has shown on numerous occasions).

    How in hell does one vote for a war criminal?

    I can’t, and I won’t.

  20. Sara says:

    I would suggest that the Housing matter is so much more complex, that Obama is wise to leave it be for a time. It isn’t just trying to restore something like the previous market — the whole dang culture needs to be changed, and the beginning of 2009 was not the time to start.

    First yes, all the speculation (and what it wrought over the last 40 years) needs to be wrung out of the system. That will be a function of two things — downward trak of market values with homeowners taking the hit at resale, and what comes next, the realization that we finance local Government on the back of the Property Tax System, (Police, Garbage, Fire, schools, local roads, parks, snow removal, etc., etc.,) and as values go down, so does the revenue for paying for local necessities. Believe me it is going to shock the system when this is comprehended. Sadly, to get people to change their thinking away from just their house, to the larger problem, a little shock is going to be absolutely necessary. I bet more people believe in the ethos of Home Ownership as asset and investment than believe in any religion. The Myth has to be ripped apart.

    Finance. I suspect one of Elizabeth Warren’s jobs will be to put forth a vastly simplified set of rules as to what constitutes Fair Housing Finance for the Individual or Family — and I would imagine from what I have read of her work, she has ideas, but I am not sure she has unloaded sharp pencils into her desk yet. My emphasis is on simplified. Also Fair. No sense doing this till the bubble is very much reduced. No one needs the paper worth left in the system during the bubble inflation, and popping the bubble is the only way to bring sanity. Too much Home Equity Credit was taken out of all that paper value — it has to be creamed away, and yep, sadly folk are going to take losses.

    Add to this the problems with our housing inventory, largely driven in recent years by developers. Peak Oil you say? Domestic Gas Lines that need repair or replacement or might blow up? Need for two cars in a family with no access to public transport? Simply put, we have too many

    four bedrooms on an acre, with two or three baths, a declining birthrate, an army of baby boomers who may not relish cutting grass for the next years of their lives, and we have not replaced the boomers or their economic profile. All this was more or less finance and developer driven, but they constructed the cultural narrative. This was what we should dream to live in. Big Mall just far enough away to require a car for access to the goodies. Gads you cannot even buy groceries without car access to such a system. And I don’t know about you, but cooking at home on my own hearth is part of having a HOME. NOTE EMPHASIS ON HOME, AND NOT ASSET OR INVESTMENT. HOME. THINK ABOUT THAT OLD ARCHITECTYAL TERM, MACHINE FOR LIVING. EMPHASIS ON LIVING.

    I Use the Machine term because that idiom leads into the necessity for comprehending how all the new technologies change everything, in ways we cannot even clearly see yet. We still have the Koch Brothers trying to imprison us in THEIR profitable gas technology — maybe they have to take the loss too as far better ideas are deployed? We haven’t knocked them off their little pointy mountain yet — know about their scummy types, know about the coming knock down drag out conflict, but knowing isn’t winning and getting vast deployment of far better technology. Once we get them off our backs, with enough folk understanding why this is necessary, then transitions can begin. For every Koch Brother we know about there are more in the anthill. Fix mind on Nanotechnology, new materials research, and then ask what kind of a boot kick in the pants such will give to building materials and systems in near future. Sometimes you have to kill much of old order of things in order to make way for the newer and better, particularly when the old order is so deep into the economic system.

    Now the hard part — Taste and Culture. What kind of material culture do people want around them? Not what the Jones down the steet have, but what do you really want to be surrounded by? What is your real identity? Lots of places to expand one’s mind on this question — sit down and read through a generation of Better Homes and Gardens? Read books about Religious Utopias that regulated how to express religious identity by Home Architecture and Arrangements, Read the 19th Century Feminists ideas about liberated housing design? Minds have to be freed up on this question. We need artists to offer suggestions, but we need to put the Developers in the back seat, at least initially. Once the better ideas flower a little, then let’s make the developers our servants, not masters.

    Now, do the demographics. Economics plus some sort of Population Descriptions. I am getting old. But I have thousands of books, and always want to live with a dog. I need a good kitchen, but need to limit needs to climb steps. I love living in a well cluttered environment. Neatness makes me crazy. Cancer years ago made me allergic to the sun, and over the years I became much more a night person. I have hobbies such as sewing, that require a little space. I am so-so with technology, and do not appreciate some of the speedy aspects of it. I like to think things through. I am not ready for leasure world, would hate living near a golf course, but a little green — Yep. I own a big 100 year old house, income property, free and clear of debt. Don’t plan on moving, I remodeled to my taste and culture and it took 30 years to get to this point. But everyone who is not raising a family has their own taste and culture, it is our individuality. So how do we get people thinking about these matters so that the plurality of Taste and Cultures emerge? And oh yea, how do we get the Finance System in line with all this potential diversity, but at the same time get Warren, or whoever, to come up with the finance system that is fair, simple, straightforward, and cannot be gamed by the wolves in the forest?

    I don’t think it is Obama’s job to think this out for us. He is an executive, and once ideas are formulated will be time enough for getting an executive who can help put the packages together. I am damn glad he did not try to keep the bubble inflated, even though on net worth anyone who had name on an asset took a hit. But an Asset is not a HOME. It isn’t how you finance a vacation or your kid’s education, or that bass boat you have your eye on.

    The old Progressives did a few things in HOME design of interest. I am talking the TR through the FDR periods. They took the live-in servants quarters out of the American Home. But they also elaborated clutter in fascinating ways. They elaborated home libraries. Progressives usually had a place to type in their HOMES, first generation to be mechanical writers at home. They were Internationalists, Most had National Geographic in pride of place. They did not have elaborate bathrooms, just good serviceable ones. They liked gagets — replaced the in-house servant who kept up the Coal Furnace with a Rube Goldberg thing that took up the whole basement floor, but in a timely way, stoked the furnace.

    Then came the Depression, and once FDR sorted out the banks, created the Savings and Loan system, established FHA, we got a system that capped how much mortgage you could get with a Government Guaranteed Loan, meaning we got smaller houses that could be expanded, built to higher codes, built with efficency in mind. (Work Triangle in Kitchen) — In essence, we became modest. We recognized the need for below market Public Housing, but then screwed up on how we designed and engineered, putting a “WE ARE POOR” sign over the gate to the projects. VA — yea. We paid a debt to our vets much the same way we paid the American Revolutionary Soldiers with land warrants for farmland in the western reaches. But those were conscript armies — do we have the same debt to the Professional Warrior? First and Second ring suburbs are, in many ways, a function of new building techniques adopted in the crisis of World War II, which gave the craftsman builder a kick in the pants from which many never recovered. We industralized much of the stream of building supply and technique. The developers of recent years doing multi-house projects on nearly identical plans, are the grandchildren of the World War II types who built the army camps, and temp buildings all about in those days. Is it time to tell them their time is over?

    • JamesJoyce says:

      Great comment. Between the escalating cost of energy, the increased cash outlay for homeownership, living expenses and education, America has been gutted. Yet the power elite continues to protect the very institutions and interests which perpetuate the gutting and bloodletting. Now, technological innovation which has bettered the live’s of so many people for decades, is essentially stifled by tight money policies of lenders, thereby killing potential technological developments, brought to market providing American’s with increased “value,” for the money they spend rather than “WASTING,” .80 cents of every American dollar spent on gasoline for generations. America has been raped. Rather than focusing on the “rapists,” who perpetuated the crime we blame the the victims of the rapist. Then when the “raped victim” complains it is called whining? Leveraged economic servitude, to corporations is not liberty. It is akin to servitude to a King and his aristocratic cohorts in colonial crime.

      • Sara says:

        By the way, the only candidate for office even beginning to talk about all this in this election year, particularly the local tax angle I discussed briefly at the top is Mark Dayton, running for Governor of MN, and this morning the MPR/Humphrey Institute Poll shows he opened a lead to 11 points, over Republican Emmer, who tends to get a new mortgage every ten days it seems, because he is edging toward foreclosure I guess, and needs the Governors Mansion for his family. Dayton no. His family invented Target, and once owned Daytons/Hudsons/Marshall Fields, and his first wife and mother to his sons was a Rockefeller. Dayton is actually using the old line, “No Questions, Money Back Guarentee” in his TV ads. Long time since I heard that line. His Platform — Raise Taxes on the Rich and make them pay a Progressive Income Tax Share. Dayton of course is the Democrat.

        But James, what I really want to focus on is not who screwed whom in the last cycle, but more on a History of Domestic Architecture, where ideas came from, how they changed given new building materials, New possibilities in Technology. I want to be liberated from zoning boards who are in bed with Developers and their $$$, and who want to suck the last dime out of their old techniques, materials, and methods. I want to see how people can work with artists, designers, and the potential new technologies and imagine and create new domestic material environments that serve humankind, but also recognize the pluralism in human kind, and the various ages and stages of humankind life. I think we could all have quite nice housing at reasonable cost that would express our individuality and how we want to live. But we have to examine all the myths, and we have to lay out all the interconnections in the existing systems, and understand what has to be changed, or just thrown on junkheap.

        Minnesota Public Radio had interesting documentary about a week ago, focused on conditions in Michele Backmann’s District, (one of highest foreclosure rates in the country), describing the waste. Seems that every little farm town in that district thought commuters from the Twin Cities would want to live in their towns, in a McMansion on 2-5 acres, commute distance to MPLS about an hour to two hours, one way, so they all platted subdivisions, and put in underground utilities. You know, for 2-400 McMansions. Well yes, there are lots of Foreclosures on those that got built, but in many places you have 300 house sites, and 11 houses got built. Those little towns have to maintain streets they put in, remove snow, provide fire and police and emergency. I mean they are stuck with the mess of a hell of a bad Myth from just a few years back, and sadly, all too many interviewed thought it would all turn around, and go back to how they got sucked into the town investments about four or five years back. The program ended with some folk talking about the need to bulldoze some of the boarded up foreclosed housing that was attracting squatters. Big Meth Labs have been found on occassion. The money in meth is about the only possible source that actually would produce a family who could afford the McMansion as designed. Those towns don’t produce jobs. They are farm towns, maybe they service a vacation lake in summer. That’s it.

        What I really hope someone will do is take one or a few of these places and find some creative types — artists, technology people, design folk, and yes, perhaps an anthropologist or two, and see what creative rethinking would come up with. I want to see experimentation. And Mark Dayton is the only live mind I know of who has that instinct on the campaign trail this year. And he is talking, and he is opening up a double diget lead. Of course you have to figure out how to control costs, of course you have to be environmentally friendly or loving. Of course you have to figure how to eventually finance. But first comes the thinking — that is what I want to see. I want people to feel able to put the past mess in the Historical Society under Mistaken American Myths. But so many myths need to be destroyed first. So many.

        • jdmckay0 says:

          What I really hope someone will do is take one or a few of these places and find some creative types — artists, technology people, design folk, and yes, perhaps an anthropologist or two, and see what creative rethinking would come up with. I want to see experimentation.

          Indeed… enlightened intelligence put to work.

          We need critical mass of people more committed to making sense then “making money”. Commit to the former, and real wealth will follow. Never gon’a happen, I don’t think, while so many people are so miserably mis-informed.

          Problems on US shores are manifold and deep.

    • jdmckay0 says:

      Agree w/most everything you say… good post!!!

      I’d add: most of the OpED’s, “featured” articles on financial media I read (Bloomberg/WSJ) getting most play in MSM has all the talk being about “entitlement reform”. Even BO suggesting that’s where his team is focusing.

      Most of US”Asians don’t know mechanics of our “financial meltdown”, are unaware of utter casino turnstile operation of WS which nearly bankrupted the world, or means by which so many 401k’s went up in smoke by hands of these “hardest working Americans” (as most vociferous “free marketers” like to refer to our captains of finance”).

      No, where these “experts” are steering us is to strip remaining safety nets from structure of US society. Essentially, the crooks who brought us to the brink are directing traffic.

      China’s investing 15% of GDP into R&D, w/a lot to show for it: hi-speed rail, clean coal, waaaaay ahead of us in clean/efficient water infrastructure, same w/advanced material development & application… not to mention cutting edge green technology.

      US: less then 3% R&D investment. WS returns based on canibalization of US economy, adding little real value. Right on down the line, we’re falling behind while forfeiting re-seeding of US society for educated, smart folks capable of solving problems of tomorrow… eg: we’re getting dumber.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      “I bet more people believe in the ethos of Home Ownership as asset and investment than believe in any religion. The Myth has to be ripped apart.”

      For me, it was not a myth, it was a reality.

      I bought my first house in 1976 for $30,000, sold in 1980 at $35,000

      bought my second and final house at $51,900 and it is currently valued

      at $250,000.

      I believe my house is an asset..

      Most people would rather rent than buy.

      The trend is going the other way (more rental units being built than

      single family)

      Who knows where housing will end up since it is a perfect demand/supply

      economic equation (for the most part).

      If you rip it apart, what do you replace it with?

      • Sara says:

        “If you rip it apart, what do you replace it with?”

        You experiment — You look at New Materials Science and Technology, and get creative with applications. Nanotechnology perhaps allows you to “grow” something you design on a frame. Maybe you can put all sorts of circuits into it that do various flash bang things. You use designer engineers who think cost controls, and then you conceive of finance systems that can carry it.

        HOME is the many generation later corner of your primeval cave. It is where you paint the picture of the beast you will kill and eat today on the wall, so you can remember it tomorrow. HOME is not an asset or an investment. It is an expression of self, it has spirit. But it is profoundly material, it is where we organize our stuff, it is where we engage a personal material world. It is where we go when we want to be alone with ourselves, or with a few friends and family. It is private.

        I too believe most people would rather buy than rent. How else to give yourself permission to paint a picture on the wall? But think all the environmental questions, Peak Oil and all else, and ask how we solve practically for all those matters, keep our feet warm in winter, and get decent space for living, and space and place for searching out our personal identity, have play space, space for stuff — cook well, eat well, read well, sleep well, love well — and grant that personal right to others by minimizing class and caste from our thinking about HOME.

        We Experiment. We try to find the new Paradigm. We dip back into History and explore how others hacked out the thinking about it in the past — and then we use all the new materials and technologies, and try something new. We are Progressives. If something doesn’t work, we try something else.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          Interesting thoughts but not very practical.

          We raised my two kids in my home, we have grandkiddos that come over

          and sleep here, we enjoy our neighbors. In my view, I’ve invested my time

          and money, and to me, my home and property is an investment.

          When I die, it has value and will be transferred to my kids.

          If that isn’t a fucking asset, I don’t know what is?

          You are on a higher, more exalted plane than I….

          • Sara says:

            “You are on a higher, more exalted plane than I….”

            Not at all.

            It is just me, a dog, and maybe about 7000 books and a really swell kitchen I designed for myself. design copied from a terribly bad kitchen in Chicago by Frank Lloyd Wright, so I corrected his errors. The books require old style heavy beam construction because of the weight.

            I thatched the ceiling in the back room with plaster, straw and paint.

            I build bookcases. Then I reorganize books and knowledge and ideas. It is a very hands on process.

            I have miles of old oak woodwork, floors and all — a 100 year old Victorian, and I strip, sand, stain and finish and re-finish at will. I love old Oak. Love it so much I hired Cabinet Maker years ago, and had lots of stuff duplicated and copied. I got lots of my Oak by doing salvage jobs in schools being torn down.

            I also have a stock of insulation material in the basement, and I am constantly inventing new fashioned ways to stuff it in places, and save energy. I spend hours thinking about the war against cold air. It is up there with the war against terror for me.

            I paid 18,300 in 1968, 20 year direct reduction Mortgage, paid it off, invested thousands more (thousands and thousands) into major rebuild of all 1900 systems, Plumbing, electrical, heat, you name it, I done it… and the place has three 1 bedroom rental units, a mile from the University, they are all fully remodeled, total kitchens, baths, furnished down to plates, pots, silverware and all — and select renters on the basis of research and thesis topic. I try not to make a huge profit, my object is quiet intellectually fascinating types. I build bookcases for them too. One person or couple per two apts, one apt, single only. No exceptions. I pay Utilities. You turn off lights. You get thrown out on your can the second time you leave a door open in winter. No Exceptions. It is a 22 room Victorian, that once had live-in servant quarters, that I have made into something else. What it was when I started out doing this in 1968 is quite different from what eventually emerged. Surprises are interesting. From back of house, Pan view of all Minneapolis for about 30 miles N-S. Will be one block from Light Rail connecting St. Paul and Mpls in 2014. Now on bus line with 7 minute service. And Oh Yea, I expect tenets to help garden. I don’t do grass, just Hosta and Lillies. No sun, all shade. Have seven 4 story Oak Trees. And no, you may not put in an air conditioner. Just window fans under the oaks.

            I am still sick about all that Cherry Wood I didn’t salvage from the band room of a 1915 high school they tore down. Could have had yards of it for under a hundred dollars. I am big on building cozy window seats.

            A friend got the 1915 Chemistry benches, and did a dandy high modern/retro Kitchen from them.

            I don’t totally restore — I refashion and repurpose.

            • BayStateLibrul says:

              Great job. You are on a higher plane, I can’t put in a nail straight.

              My wife does most of the work, and we contract out remodelling.

              Sounds like an investment to me? (grin)

    • crowinghen says:

      Sara, what a great comment. I am a looong time lurker and rare commenter, but I have been considering a diary about the experience I’ve had in the last two years.

      You and I share a lot of the wants and needs of our houses. I own a house that is almost 100 years old, in a city in the Midwest and raised my kids there. Very walkable neighborhood, and everything I need for daily living–grocery store, pharmacy–within a mile. I walked 3 miles a day on a route within the neighborhood where I didn’t have to cross any arterial streets. All was well.

      Until two years ago, when I discovered a sinkhole adjacent to the basement and structural cracks on the interior and exterior walls. And as the months went by, more sinkholes developed on the other side of the house, all within a few feet of the sewer mains (one was on one side of the house and one on the other). And the house started developing interior and exterior cracks, and these happened about 48 hours after a heavy rain–heavy enough to fill the stormwater catch basins under the drains in front of the house. And those drains were insufficient to handle any kind of heavy rain….the intersection flooded, sometimes a couple of feet deep.

      As it turns out, my house was built over an old creek bed, in which the city had (without obtaining easements) placed the sanitary and stormwater sewer mains. The city said my problems were not their fault, and after months of trying to figure it out, I started taking photos of the inside of the stormwater drain catch basins in front of my house, and then of the interiors of the catch basins throughout the drainage area.

      I discovered that they were more sieves than basins….and when it rains enough for the stormwater to fill the basins, the pressure of the water could easily push water out through all available exits. Most of it went out the stormwater pipe in the drain, but a lot was pushed out the cracks and holes in the old brick catch basins and into the soil near the outside of the stormwater line.

      I figured out that 48 hours was about how long it would take stormwater to run outside the lines (gravity flow, so the water that escaped the leaky catch basins could flow downhill along the outside of the sewer lines) and in the process wash more soil away from the lines, and the soil above to sink, creating sinkholes in the yard and enlarging a void that was discovered under my house when the first sinkhole appeared.

      My house began to lean, and twist and sink. I lived in fear of collapse each time it rained, and finally a few months ago, I had to leave for my own (and my cats) safety.

      As we read more and more about sinkholes in streets (thankfully most of the sewer mains run under streets and not houses) around the country, I wonder how much of the problem is because other cities also don’t maintain their stormwater catch basins. As I documented what was happening at my house, I noticed that in my neighborhood, tree roots that used to be below ground were now on top of the soil, and a professor from a local university walked the neighborhood with me and said the whole area appeared to be sinking…there were cracks running from curb to curb indicating that the soil under the streets was being removed–washed away–and the streets were sinking in sections.

      I am now paying my mortgage on my home and paying rent so I can live safely–and the only place I found affordable rent, with a landlord who would rent to a person with four cats, and rent on a month to month basis is 2 hours away in a very rural area. Because it takes me 30 minutes to get to the nearest town, I only go back to ‘civilization’ about once a week….I have learned to need less and buy in bulk.

      I miss very much my walkable neighborhood and my wonderful old house that suited me so well. And I know that even after my lawsuit is resolved, I will never be comfortable living in one of those wonderful old walkable neighborhoods again. I never want to live near municipal stormwater or sanitary sewer lines again….and at a time in my life when it would be wise to live near medical care and given my commitment to use less gasoline, it is a dilemma because living outside the city where I can have a septic tank means driving more.

      This country has to address not only the issues you brought up, but the infrastructure issues that I have become all too familiar with. And city governments seem to not realize that by ignoring the maintenance of catch basins, the increase in extreme weather events and heavy rains is going to lead to more sinkholes, and more street maintenance expenses. My city says if there is not a hole in their sewer mains, any sinkholes are the property owner’s problem–they refuse to recognize that leaking catch basins can undermine city streets as well as anything built over them. (Since the city didn’t obtain easements when they put the sewers in, when I bought the house the land records didn’t alert me to the problem of sewers under my property.)

      I see myself and my home as the canary in the coal mine in terms of our failing infrastructure, and the chickens are coming home to roost in our cities.

      And yet we spend the taxpayers’ money on unnecessary wars and data mining and harassment of anti-war activists….these are some seriously misplaced priorities that are making things worse instead of better.

    • posaune says:

      Speculation in housing. That’s right on the mark. The deregulation of housing market finance started with Nixon’s abolition of Regulation Q, that set housing finance in the S&L’s and restricted the mortgage markets. That’s why historically, the return on housing was pretty much 2-4% +/-. The S&L debacle could have been predicted. Hence, the Reagan era mini housing boom (well, mini compared to this one). Clinton’s erasure of Glass Steagal was the final blow (along with the$500K tax free selling bonus) — removed the block to “bundling” mortgages into investment vehicles that were speculative for far more than the home buyer. And who started it? Alan Greenspan, who wanted to give Bushco a way to pay for the war. It was planned from the get-to. And no one of any influence called him on it.

  21. Jane Hamsher says:

    After the Brown/Coakley election, Thomas Ferguson did an overlay of the foreclosure map with the voting map, and found there was a strong correlation:


    I spoke with him recently. He says that people who are likely voters this fall are older people who had a lot of their wealth tied up in their homes, they are struggling to get by, and the “no new taxes” mantra resonates with them because they think they can hang on if nobody ads another burden.

    It just goes to show how poorly the Democrats have handled not only the foreclosure situation, but the messaging to the people who fear it.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      For me, the bellweather vote is a ballot question to reduce Mass Sales

      Tax from 6.25% to 3%.

      If that passes, then the Republican message has resonated.

      If it doesn’t pass, then there is still HOPE…

      • JamesJoyce says:

        Most people vote in accordance with “myopic self interest.” Given the present situation in the Bay State, which is not good do you think people want to give government 6.25%? Mandated Healthcare insurance in Mass extracts @$1400 dollar a month from a family. This is absurd, and I believe in real healthcare reform! Like protecting people from tax exempt 501 c(3) health insurance corporations who now get our money under fear of tax penalty, signed into law by Mitt and supported by Brown while a member of the MA Senate. Meanwhile Insurers continue to raise premiums, then deny coverage on legal technicalities. Do you think Massachusetts deserves 6.25% of every taxable purchase you make, from your income. Do you really think using the DOR/IRS to intrude into the live’s of people is justified considering BCBS et als and the like lobbied relentlessly before Beacon Hill to pass this law? I do not get it? Could you tell me where my concerns are wrong? Why can’t government control corporations as they seek to control the governed? This is over the top!

        Hopefully, intelligent Americans understand we are being “gang-banged” by corporations in collusion with government, they own! I understand your hope. Hope that Americans will pay more in taxes to enable the functions of government. But what the corps are banking on is the selfishness of people, to not fund government, to not protect the public’s interest so they can continue to rape and pillage the population as they have done for decades…..

        • Sara says:

          :Hopefully, intelligent Americans understand we are being “gang-banged” by corporations in collusion with government, they own! I understand your hope. Hope that Americans will pay more in taxes to enable the functions of government. But what the corps are banking on is the selfishness of people, to not fund government, to not protect the public’s interest so they can continue to rape and pillage the population as they have done for decades…..”

          Yes, James, I think many understand this which is why we have so many thinking that to go rally with a Tea Party might make them feel better as they flag their anger.

          The problem for Progressives is different — we have to point a way to a better situation, an improved situation, PROGRESS if you will. We cannot just be calling for beheading of all the enemy, we have to offer avenues to improvements. We also have to be very responsible about this, it is not our job to rip apart just for the sake of ripping.

          Where we are not doing all that well is with the kind of educational messaging that is comprehendable to the various people who need to hear facts. We need to be trusted to stick pretty much to facts, and we need to think about how these are put forward so they are understood. That’s why I am so impressed with the voter ID almost listening one on one project I mentioned above. People feel better when they are listened to, and someone cares enough to at least help them re-register to vote this fall, and pick up if necessary. Small silly thing, but guess what, it may work.

          I am not sure about the myopic self interest notion of voting — it plays a part, but identity has a great deal to do with how folk vote. Identity is very complex, economic, ethnic, religious, class and caste based, gender and life style based. It is what makes political history so fascinating.

          Nuther topic,

          BayStateLivrul and I have been commenting on HOME, HOUSE, ASSET and INVESTMENT, and we got down to putting in nails and screws. Turned off computer for reading, cooking eating and sleeping time, but then thought about a little nugget.

          If you can’t drive in a screw, and all that, and you want to help your kids get some of those old time skills. I am reminded that a good many of mine came from volunteering in old Weekend American Friends Service Committee Workshops during the 50’s and 60’s. The old Quaker crafts types would lead, maybe ten to fifteen of us would show up, and we would fix up a room or rooms for someone in an old house, talking Peace all the time, but also learning about things like plaster, fixing floors, woodwork, painting, — all the skills one could ever think of some of those old Quakers had at the tips of their fingers. When I see a problem, frequently I see one of those old Quaker Lads, the guy on the Oatmeal Box for instance, and for some reason a little of his logic for problem solving somehow comes out of the air. His Inner Light must still be about.

          I don’t know whether things like Habitat for Humanity does Teen Workshops, but they were cheap, fun, and I learned everything my Dad, who could nail nothing at all, could not teach. (He was a very high level Procurement Officer for the Air Force, He bought Jets, and Research and Development Programs). Eventually I did a couple of short term international ones, one under the UN in an Austrian Refugee Camp. (Learning to mix cement with a couple of British Quakers who were bricklayers). Anyhow — I wanted to throw this out as a nice romantic cheap idea for people to play with.

  22. Sara says:

    Jane, I won’t detail, but Michele Backmann’s district has one of the worst foreclosure rates in the country, and there is interesting strategy going into campaign efforts, which are not being advertised at all.

    We now have two polls with Mark Dayton opening up a double diget lead, including in the 6th District, and believe me people I have talked to doing in depth voter ID calls are getting an earfull. The key is to get folk on the phone and talk the problems. Because of the double up with sisters or mamma stuff going on, they have to take lots of folk in to re-register, and we are not shy of volunteers. Dayton is running on Raising Taxes. Yep, Raise Taxes. Tax the Rich. (And yea, he is rich). He can say he was lucky at birth, and lucky at marriage, and he should pay more than his fair share. So should his brothers and cousins. It is working.

    The big shock is going to come when towns, villages and cities realize that the Property Tax Rates cannot sustain local governmental services. That understanding is totally missing in the discourse. Republicans have depended on throwing stuff on the local property tax for thirty years around here, and it won’t cut as property/market values crash. If anyone is historically minded, you might want to check out the fashion for paying teachers, city workers, et. al. in script during the great depression of the 1930’s. Fascinating History — Chicago did it, Philly did it, Cleveland and Akron did it.

  23. JamesJoyce says:

    Hey Sara,

    I’m a jack of many trades. I’ve done it all from site planning to site development, foundation, to the roof! Residential commercial Industrial. I’m licensed to operate heavy equipment. I do not just rip heads off. I have many practical solutions. I’ve drafted zoning by law and had them passed. I’ve shredded $500 dollar an hour suits who came into my community and tried to ride shotgun, over the community. I’ve sued my own Zoning board of Appeals as as a Planning board chairman, and have won. I’ve been the driving force behind organizations that have benefited my community in many ways. Maybe you cannot hammer nails or screw screws or build foundations, homes and the like but I can! I can also engage in meaningful dialog.

    “The problem for Progressives is different — we have to point a way to a better situation, an improved situation, PROGRESS if you will. We cannot just be calling for beheading of all the enemy, we have to offer avenues to improvements. We also have to be very responsible about this, it is not our job to rip apart just for the sake of ripping.”

    I’m a problem solver. And as a problem solver there is nothing worse than trying to talk to individuals whose heads are so buried in the sand they are incapable of reason. Like those that would censor my comments on this site, because they are scared of what is being said. I’ve done more in ten years of my life than most do in a Lifetime. So may I ask you, What caused this economic collapse? Do you recall the effects of untimely oil embargoes in our not so distant past, and the job loss? How about the effects of oil @ 147.00 a barrel then the collapse of the housing Market and our economy?

    “What we are not doing all that well is with the kind of educational messaging that is comprehendable to the various people who need to hear facts. We need to be trusted to stick pretty much to facts, and we need to think about how these are put forward so they are understood. That’s why I am so impressed with the voter ID almost listening one on one project I mentioned above. People feel better when they are listened to, and someone cares enough to at least help them re-register to vote this fall, and pick up if necessary. Small silly thing, but guess what, it may work.”

    I’m factual and back it up. Lets see, sober 25 years, inquisitive and provide thought provoking comments. Many of which have been censored here, because it must be a little to close to the truth and makes people nervous. I beginning to realize some of the folks here think their bowel movements don’t stink, when they do! Have a wonderful day!

  24. uneasyone says:

    From a Daily Kos internal poll of their membership, currently on the front page:

    At the 1½-year point (July 20) into the first of his two terms, 63 percent of you rated President Obama as doing a good or excellent job. 6 percent said he was doing poorly. (9,493)

    Wonder why I no longer post there?