Duck! and Gather

Archive for July 2008

Five years ago this December, I wrote an essay entitled The Fourth Turning predicts People vs. Corporations. That essay served as the start of this Duck and Gather blog.

Back at close of 2003, when I posted that essay, a Google search for “people vs. corporations” returned little on that theme. But try searching for “people vs. corporations” today.

You’ll find many pages of on-point websites. Some seem to have been inspired by my writings. But the vast majority seem not to have been. For example, check out this fascinating “Historical Scorecard” of People vs. Corporations. What a clever and fresh take. Here’s a two-part YouTube video from November 2007 on the issue:

(Here is part two.)

To me, this clearly shows a significant growth in public consciousness of this notion — maybe the start of a debunkable “hundredth monkey” sort of thing. 🙂 Indeed, the presidential campaign of John Edwards seemed centered directly on this schism. And, at times, Obama has seemed at least “Edwards-lite” on the issue.

Still, even with all that, it seems hard to imagine that this People vs. Corporations meme will emerge front and center in the minds of most Americans — as did 9/11, Katrina, and Cho. But that’s where my reading of history leads. And I’ve seen nothing these past five years to contradict that prediction.

And yet, on this warm July evening, in 2008, such thoughts just seem like fantasy. Like a mere nightmare, to be cured by the light of morning.

Here’s hoping.

  • In: Obama
  • Comments Off on It’s the Bankrupt Economy, Stupid

Looks like the Obama campaign listened to the recommendation of my prior blog post entitled
Obama Strategy: Issues that Unite = Win; Issues that Divide = Lose. 🙂

That is, this morning, the Obama camp finally broke their 3 week long attempt at blowing up a magical campaign. They came close to that by having Obama wade neck deep into America’s intractable divisive issues in a clumsy attempt to color him conservative. I’m still waiting for news of some disembodied heads flying out of that campaign office (maybe the head of that “genius” Plouffe who is credited with the “brilliant” Obama campaign strategy.)

Anyway, it looks like McCain’s staff are the ones forcing Obama to do the right thing. Check out today’s piece in the New York Times about the shift of both candidates this morning toward focusing on the failing economy: Focus on Economy Poses Problems for Candidates.

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  • In: Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Obama Strategy: Issues that Unite = Win; Issues that Divide = Lose

I just posted this on

I think I’ve hit on the language that fits Obama, and that can articulate some of the outrage coming from the FISA group, and more broadly, from people horrified by Obama’s clumsy “move to the political center” in June.

It’s pretty simple, really. Sometime around mid-June, on the advice of his campaign managers, Obama embarked on a two week tour of historically divisive issues in American politics. Issues that over the past 40 years have demarcated the old divide between “left” and “right”.

These divisive issues include the relationship between state and church, gun control, crime and punishment, “Islamo-fascist” “terror”, “welfare queens” and absentee black dads, Israel, Iraq War, to name a few that Obama’s advisers had him weigh in on the last two weeks of June.

Unless we can perform some kind of intervention, I dread what words his too-clever-by-half campaign staff will now put in his mouth about abortion, gay marriage, and drilling in the Alaskan wilderness.

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  • In: Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Obama as Gorbachev (3 of 3): DIO

DIO = “Do It Ourselves”. This the third of a three-post series. In the first post of the series, I explain that I was disappointed to learn, these past couple of days, that Obama is an unprincipled pandering politician, rather than the human I thought he was. In the second post, I somewhat rehabilitate my view of Obama by noting that we are still in pre-crisis days, and that all the great U.S. presidents (Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt) were similarly more or less ambivalent to the historical imperative in their respective pre-crisis days.

But this isn’t 1772, nor 1859, nor 1928. This is July of 2008. Today, information moves instantly. There are no secrets. And everyone with a keyboard is a publisher.

So even if Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt were pandering politicians before their call to history, how many people knew that? Maybe a few insiders knew. But certainly not the whole nation by any stretch.

Today? Anyone with a pulse and an interest can know anything about a public figure, the instant that information is available.

This news about “Obama-the-panderer” is out. There’s no putting that cat back into the bag now.

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In the first post of this series, I explained my disappointment in learning that Obama is nothing more than a pandering politician. But then I wondered whether I was just being naive. Perhaps the phrase “pandering politician” is a redundancy. Maybe what it means to be a politician is to be a panderer. And maybe this is how it has always been.

In late 2006, I predicted that Obama would win the presidency. I still believe that, although I’m not anymore quite so bullish as to be calling for a landslide.

My reasoning for that prediction was based on Obama’s personality type, my belief that America is headed for an epochal crisis, and the personality types of the presidents during the last three major American crises (i.e. Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt). For those reasons I still believe Obama will win this fall.

But the revelation these past couple of weeks that Obama is just another pandering politician of vacuous principles got me wondering: Would that have described Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt too?

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I’m disappointed in Obama. Looks like I’m not the only one. Check out Keith Olbermann grasping to hold on to his view of Obama as a human meriting respect:

That video was about Obama’s recent reversal of his position on the FISA legislation. That surprising reversal was just one among many that Obama made in the last two weeks of June.

The pattern in these reversals reveals Obama’s “move to the center” after vanquishing Hillary. Obviously, I’m not the only person disappointed in Obama. Check out Arianna Huffington venting her spleen:

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  • In: predictions
  • Comments Off on The Way Out for Obama

Yesterday, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times confirmed what one might expect: Obama is way stressed out. She paints him as caught between the “warped imagination[s]” of the left and the right in America.

If so, then his mistake these past few weeks has been in trying to pander to the pet prejudices of each group. One problem with doing that, of course, is that in an Internet world in which nothing is secret, whatever he says to pander to one set of extremists enrages the opposite set.

Another problem with doing that comes when the man doesn’t even believe in his own pandering. When that’s the case, he’s stressed doing it, and not at all charismatic or engaging. This is what I have seen in his pandering to the right wing (evangelicals, neocons, big corporations) these past few weeks. I don’t believe Obama shares the pet prejudices of those groups. So when he pretends to do so in his speeches, those speeches fall flat.

What to do if you are Obama? I mean he just can’t ignore the evangelicals, neocons, and big corporations because that’s too big a chunk of the country. What to do? What to do?

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  • In: predictions
  • Comments Off on Wouldn’t it be amazing if …

… Obama’s screw-up these past couple weeks (see the previous post) is a result of his campaign merging with Hillary’s? I don’t mean to “blame the witch again” with this post. But the idea bears consideration.

One thing Obama said he would do as president would be to appoint to leadership positions in Government the very people against whom he ran in the primaries and election. A sort of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” approach.

Well, I’ll bet that if I looked, I’d find that some formerly Hillary people have found their way to the ear of Obama these past couple of weeks. Don’t get me wrong. Obama is still saying this shit. And Alexrod is still defending the indefensible.

But I’m wondering whether the centrist Clinton machine is having some effect on the Obama campaign, thereby bringing that soaring bird crashing back down to Earth.

Boy, would that be ugly or what?

After what Obama has been doing since I posted my Landslide prediction two weeks ago, I might just have to downgrade that one. Read Ariana Huffington’s piece of June 30 entitled Memo to Obama: Moving to the Middle is for Losers. It’s a well-written article. I highly recommend it.

IMHO, Obama got to where he is for two reasons: (1) deeply held core principles; and (2) his charisma in expounding these principles.

But it now seems that, having finally killed off the wicked witch, Obama is going out of his way to alienate the very core that supported him in the first place. Among the laundry list of topics on which Obama has lurched to the right, the one that has caught my attention is his awkward embrace of big corporations (e.g. supporting the FISA bill, and supporting McCain’s proposal to lower the already low corporate taxes).

As I have blogged, the sole substantive distinction Obama drew between himself and Hillary concerned her embrace of big corporations. And in his economic speech given shortly after he clinched, Obama drove home this anti-corporate position of his.

But evidently, two weeks ago, his “handlers” got to him.

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WARNING: This post has pretty much nothing to do with Duck and Gather. Well, except maybe there’s a tangential correlation between how big corporations see us humans as inanimate, fungible, objects. But, OK, that’s a reach.

Anyway, over the last two days, an NBA basketball player named Baron Davis switched teams — going from Oakland (Warriors) to Los Angeles (Clippers). It was Davis’ choice to make that move. He was scheduled to be paid something like $18 million next year by the Warriors. But he chose to walk away from that, and instead signed with the Clippers for $65 million over 5 years.

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for the money has gone too far

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July 2008