A view from the Far Left...
The ten most recent threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums.
Fewer people getting married.
By No Elephants
I'm sorry to hear things have been so bad over here, and here's why --
By Leopolds Ghost
Happy Fathers' Day to all the Dads.
By No Elephants
Deleted. Triple post.
By No Elephants
Deleted. Triple post.
By No Elephants
NSA vs Snowden -- Follow the Money
Jeb Bush : 'Immigrants create more businesses than do US citizens' and "are more fertile..."
By Leopolds Ghost
Enthusiast, did you get a pm from me this morning?
By No Elephants
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
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What this is about
IS GEORGE BUSH THE WORST PRESIDENT -- EVER?
By Richard ReevesFri Dec 2, 8:13 PM ET
PARIS -- President John F. Kennedy was considered a historian because of his book "Profiles in Courage," so he received periodic requests to rate the presidents, those lists that usually begin "1. Lincoln, 2. Washington ..."
But after he actually became president himself, he stopped filling them out.
"No one knows what it's like in this office," he said after being in the job. "Even with poor James Buchanan, you can't understand what he did and why without sitting in his place, looking at the papers that passed on his desk, knowing the people he talked with."
Poor James Buchanan, the 15th president, is generally considered the worst president in history. Ironically, the Pennsylvania Democrat, elected in 1856, was one of the most qualified of the 43 men who have served in the highest office. A lawyer, a self-made man, Buchanan served with some distinction in the House, served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and secretary of state under President James K. Polk. He had a great deal to do with the United States becoming a continental nation -- "Manifest Destiny," war with Mexico, and all that. He was also ambassador to Great Britain and was offered a seat on the Supreme Court three separate times.
But he was a confused, indecisive president, who may have made the Civil War inevitable by trying to appease or negotiate with the South. His most recent biographer, Jean Clark, writing for the prestigious American Presidents Series, concluded this year that his actions probably constituted treason. It also did not help that his administration was as corrupt as any in history, and he was widely believed to be homosexual.
Whatever his sexual preferences, his real failures were in refusing to move after South Carolina announced secession from the Union and attacked Fort Sumter, and in supporting both the legality of the pro-slavery constitution of Kansas and the Supreme Court ruling in the Dred Scott class declaring that escaped slaves were not people but property.
He was the guy who in 1861 passed on the mess to the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. Buchanan set the standard, a tough record to beat. But there are serious people who believe that George W. Bush will prove to do that, be worse than Buchanan. I have talked with three significant historians in the past few months who would not say it in public, but who are saying privately that Bush will be remembered as the worst of the presidents.
There are some numbers. The History News Network at George Mason University has just polled historians informally on the Bush record. Four hundred and fifteen, about a third of those contacted, answered -- maybe they were all crazed liberals -- making the project as unofficial as it was interesting. These were the results: 338 said they believed Bush was failing, while 77 said he was succeeding. Fifty said they thought he was the worst president ever. Worse than Buchanan.
This is what those historians said -- and it should be noted that some of the criticism about deficit spending and misuse of the military came from self-identified conservatives -- about the Bush record:
He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process;
He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich;
He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state;
He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign;
He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (New Orleans) and foreign (Iraq and the battle against al-Qaida);
He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity;
He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress;
He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime.
Quite an indictment. It is, of course, too early to evaluate a president. That, historically, takes decades, and views change over times as results and impact become more obvious. Besides, many of the historians note that however bad Bush seems, they have indeed since worse men around the White House. Some say Buchanan. Many say Vice President Dick Cheney.
They will run candidates for federal and state office in the 2006 US mid-term elections. They will campaign in as many states as possible to build a mass political movement in opposition to the two parties of the ruling elite and big business, the Democrats and Republicans.
Their campaign will give voice and leadership to the opposition of millions of working people and youth within the United States and internationally to the Bush administration’s policies of war, repression and exploitation.
The United States is in the throes of a profound political, economic, social and moral crisis. It is a nation whose global imperial aims have become odious to millions of its own citizens.
During the more than four years that have passed since the Bush administration unleashed its so-called “War on Terrorism,” the policies of the United States have assumed an ever more openly unconstitutional, illegal and even criminal character. The events of 9/11 have been employed as a pretext for unbridled militarism and a brazen contempt for human life and dignity.
A nation whose revolutionary founders proclaimed the “inalienable rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is now led by a cabal of political gangsters who are attempting to abolish “the great writ” of habeas corpus and are conducting massive and illegal spying operations against American citizens. The leaders of the American Revolution proclaimed their “decent respect for the opinions of mankind.” The present occupant of the White House and his henchmen unashamedly flaunt their contempt for international law and defend the use of torture. Whereas Lincoln appealed as president to the “better angels of our nature,” the Bush administration appeals to the basest instincts of the most reactionary sections of the population.
This appeal to reaction includes a relentless assault on the secularist, Enlightenment foundations of the American republic and the cultivation of religious bigotry and intolerance. The Bush administration has unleashed a systematic attack on the past achievements of culture and thought, including science itself, opposing stem-cell research, rejecting the findings of environmental studies, and encouraging religious fundamentalist attacks on the Darwinian theory of evolution.
There exists within the United States immense and deep-rooted opposition to the Iraq war and the right-wing domestic policies of the Bush administration. Yet there exist no means within the political framework of the two-party system for this opposition to find genuine and independent political expression.
Far from being a serious political opposition to the ultra-right Republican administration, the Democratic Party functions as its cowardly accomplice. Whatever differences the Democrats have with the Republicans are insignificant when compared to what the two parties agree upon—that is, their shared determination to uphold the domestic and global interests of the American corporate and financial ruling elite.
The struggle to stop the war in Iraq, put an end to American imperialist militarism, defend democratic rights, eradicate poverty and establish social equality requires the building of a new mass political movement, based on a socialist program and perspective.
The need for an international program
Their's is the only party whose program expresses the common interests of working people all over the world and opposes every form of nationalism, ethnic and religious chauvinism, and racism.
The problems that confront workers in the United States are, in essence, the same as those which confront workers in every other part of the world. War, the attack on democratic rights, exploitation, unemployment, poverty and the destruction of the natural environment are not simply American problems. They are world problems and require global solutions.
The overriding economic and social fact of our time is the failure of the international capitalist system. On a planet inhabited by more than 5 billion people, all aspects of economic and social decision-making are subordinated to considerations of corporate profit and the irrational accumulation of ever-greater personal wealth by a small ruling elite.
The spectacular advances in science, technology and the productivity of labor should have made possible a dramatic improvement in the living standards of every human being. Instead, conditions of life are deteriorating for the broad mass of working people all over the world.
The year 2005 demonstrated conclusively—from the indifferent response to the Asian tsunami to the US government’s incompetence in the Hurricane Katrina disaster—the inability of this system to ensure even the most elementary physical needs of the people.
In the epoch of world economy, the problems of mass society can be resolved only on the basis of an international grassroots democratic program. The rational, planned and humane mobilization of the world’s resources conflicts at every point with the interests of national ruling elites whose wealth and power are based on the existing capitalist system.
Big business justifies its assault on the working class by invoking the specter of globalization. But the global integration of all aspects of economic life is not, in itself, the real cause of deepening social distress. The global expansion and unification of the productive forces have the potential to vastly improve living standards. However, social progress is blocked by the subordination of these powerful economic processes to the private profit interests of the ruling elites in competing national states.
When employers in the US tell workers that they must accept massive wage cuts or lose their jobs to low-wage regions, this only underscores the need for American workers to unite politically with workers internationally in a worldwide struggle for grassroots democracy against the economic tyranny of the transnational corporations.
Grassroots democracy means the reorganization of economic life on the basis of social need and the common good. Its goal is the elimination of poverty and oppression and the elevation of the living standards of the world’s people on the basis of social equality. It means the fullest extension of democratic control over the policies and priorities of society and the processes by which wealth is produced and distributed.
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