Newsfare for Smaller Screens
Larger Print for Mature Eyes

Search Newsfare
Weblogs, with Update Times
Boing Boing • 18 min ago
Daily Kos • 22 min ago
Emptywheel • 1 hr ago
Eschaton by Atrios • 1 hr ago
Hullabaloo by Digby • 2 hr ago
Talking Points Memo • 11 hr ago
Energy Bulletin • 22 hr ago
The Raw Story • 24 days ago
Huffington Post •
The Oil Drum •
Fafblog •
War and Piece •
European Tribune •
Counterpunch •
Firedoglake •
Duck of Minerva •
The Automatic Earth •

Recommended Indy Posts
Permalink Article
Obama's Pragmatism
I think I’m beginning to understand Barack Obama’s concept of pragmatism better. Pragmatism is the name of a school of philosophy. The major point to understand is that, in the pragmatic view, we have to continue working hard at “business as usual,” regardless of what we believe is ethically right or wrong. As I understand it, Obama’s current philosophically-inspired position is that economic success is the major gauge of his leadership, simply because that is the way everything works in our civilization. Many aspects of our system are repugnant, probably as much to Obama as to some of those reading this, but according to his pragmatism we can’t get away from things as they are.

Obama’s is a deeply thought out attitude and not the same as a policy of continuous expediency. He demands that we throw ourselves into the world as we find it. I think he would say that any other attitude amounts to shirking our (his) responsibility to run the country for the good of everyone, including the good of people we detest.

This attitude can be compared with the one advanced by Victor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl survived life in Auschwitz while following similar principles. I recommend Frankl’s moving and disturbing book without reservation to anyone who would try to see human beings as we are, inextricably connected to the world around us. In some ways the philosophy of Frankl is the antithesis of the agonized lament, heard in Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit, that “Hell is other people.”

I’m not sure I can entirely accept either Obama’s pragmatism or Frankl’s grim determination to follow the road on which we find ourselves. Nevertheless I believe these are ideas that we need to take seriously, particularly in light of the current president’s apparently deep commitment to principles such as I am awkwardly trying to characterize here.

If Obama succeeds in getting himself voted in for another term, it will be interesting to find out what he does with his second four years. He may not change his policies, but I’m hoping he will start to explain, in much greater depth, the decisions he is making and the logic he follows in making them.

—Ralph    |   |

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by
Cached May 25, 2015, 11:12 am (all times Eastern US)
Reuters News
Donor fatigue hits Nepal one
month after mega earthquake: U.N.

Burkina Faso exhumes remains of former
president Sankara in murder probe

Congo soldiers clash with
Rwandan rebels in transit camp

Air France flight to New York's
JFK escorted after threat: report

Colombia's FARC says end of ceasefire a
'step back' in peace talks

Malaysia finds 139 graves in
'cruel' jungle trafficking camps

Japan and Malaysia bolster
defense ties, with eyes on China

Opposition breaks off Burundi peace
talks over killing of opposition leader

Germany protests Russia's ejection
of conservative MP from Moscow

U.S., allies conduct 35 air strikes
against Islamic State in Syria, Iraq

Iran will need to spend most of any
post-sanctions windfall at home

Libyan rival parliament to replace
fuel, food subsidies with cash payments

Tunisian soldier shot dead after killing
seven in army base shooting spree

Death toll in Tunisia army base
shooting rises to seven: military

Militants target telecoms
in Indian Kashmir, one dead

Greece says wants to make debt
payments but needs aid urgently

Tanzania to pick new president,
parliament on Oct. 25: officials

Rights groups slam Myanmar
birth law as anti-Muslim

Philippines seeks stronger commitment
from U.S. in South China Sea dispute

Eyeing the next frontier, Miami
law firms ramp up Cuba strategy

Indonesian minister fears government
sabotage in contaminated rice scare

Greece reiterates it has
responsibility to make debt payments

Second poll shows Turkish ruling
party may lose majority in election

U.N. urges Lebanon to pick
president, end political vacuum

Islamic State faces battle
in Iraq, bombs in Syria

About 100 U.S., European jets
join Arctic exercise near Russia

Taliban truck bomb hits government offices
in southern Afghanistan, wounds dozens

Stalling economy hurts Turkey's
AK Party ahead of election

Polish opposition cheers presidential
vote win, markets uneasy

European shares dip, dollar
gains after Yellen comments

Heavy fighting in Yemen's south,
aide says talks postponed

Only Iran is confronting Islamic
State, paramilitary chief says

Sydney siege gunman too 'weird' for
Australian motorcycle gang, inquest hears

Syrian air force targets
captured Palmyra city - monitor

China lodges complaint with
U.S. over spy plane flight

Ex-Israeli PM Olmert sentenced
to more jail time for corruption

Bangladesh arrests two suspected
Islamic State activists

Asian shares edge up, Fed
views hurt some markets

Portugal, like Europe,
loses hunger for reform

Eastern Japan shaken by 5.6
magnitude quake, no tsunami warning

Authorities detonate suspicious
device near U.S. Capitol

Malaysia has found 139 graves believed
to contain migrants: police chief

China clamps down on 181
'terror gangs' in west

Two dead as south-central
U.S. storms force evacuations

China officials taken on prison
visits in warning against corruption

Man and child killed, three children
injured in N.M. cherry picker crash

Man arrested after Washington
state courthouse evacuation

Thousands of bikers gather
in Washington to honor vets

Spain's ruling PP gets worst
local election result in 20 years

Indonesia's military creeps
back into civilian affairs

Libyan government warplanes
attack oil tanker docked at Sirte

Polish president concedes election
defeat to conservative challenger

New Orleans housing police
officer shot dead in patrol car

Colombia's FARC rebels kill one in
first attack since halting ceasefire

Syria says Islamic State kills hundreds,
including children, in Palmyra

Hezbollah says it will step up
presence in Syria as needed

Quirky Chicago judge helps put
accused felons back on track

John Nash, mathematician who inspired
'A Beautiful Mind,' killed in car crash

Ex-advisor to Peruvian
president disappears in Bolivia

Cleveland police say 71 people
arrested overnight in protests

Greece hasn't got the money to make
June IMF repayment: interior minister

Firefighter drowns during rescue
as floods menace Oklahoma, Texas

Rebel shelling kills at least two
in Ukraine, coke plant shuts down

Iraq regains ground from Islamic
State; mass deaths reported in Palmyra

Saudi king says heartbroken by
mosque attack, promises punishment

Italy coast guard rescues 70 Afghan,
Iraqi migrants from crowded boat

Ruling party seen winning Ethiopian vote,
opposition says supporters harassed

U.N. chief urges dialogue in
Burundi after politician's killing

After bruising safety crisis,
U.S. car watchdog shows its bite

G7 finance ministers to address
faltering global growth

Saudi forces and Yemen's Houthis
trade heavy fire, border crossing hit

U.S. Republicans navigate the
new politics of energy abundance

Islamic State killed 400 people
in Syria's Palmyra: state TV

Fighting partly destroys Yemeni-Saudi
border crossing: witnesses

Syria says killed 300 insurgents to
free besieged soldiers in Idlib?

Pacific free-trade talks 'in the
end-game:' U.S. trade official

Spanish regional elections
set to fragment political map

Unable to halt Europe-bound
migrants, Tripoli demands help

Saudi king vows to punish those
behind suicide attack: agency

Iraqi forces regain ground from
Islamic State east of Ramadi

Britain's opposition Labour Party
backs Cameron's EU referendum plan

One Ukrainian civilian killed, two
wounded in Avdiyivka shelling: police

Women activists cross DMZ to mixed
reception on South Korean side

Shelling halts production at Avdiyivka
coke plant in east Ukraine: Metinvest

Mass graves of suspected trafficking
victims found in Malaysia

The European
center-left's quandary

Rohingya Muslims found on
boat rescued by Myanmar navy

Nepal landslide blocks river, raises
fears of flood reaching India

Drenching rains force scores
of rescues in Oklahoma City

Cleveland protests erupt after officer found not
guilty in fatal shooting of two unarmed suspects

Saudi clerics urge calm as village
hit by Islamic State seethes

Motorist arrested for killing Colorado
cadet, injuring officer: police

Polish presidential race too close to
call, spells trouble for ruling party

San Francisco police keep eye
out for missing 'Eyeball' mask

Northern rebels say
captured 19 Mali soldiers

Missouri fugitive sought in
double murder killed by police

Burundi opposition figure shot
dead in capital: activist

Police believe suspect in Washington
quadruple murder may have had accomplices

Ireland becomes first country to
vote in favor of gay marriage

Former rebels, devout cheer as murdered
archbishop beatified in El Salvador

Dozens killed in al Shabaab fighting
in Somalia, attacks in capital

Israel thanks U.S. for stand on
Mideast nuclear arms ban at U.N.

Nigerian military says killed scores of Boko
Haram militants, rescued 20 women and children

Gay Ireland hails 'a new Republic'
as same-sex marriage approved

Arab air strikes hit
military bases in Yemen

British anti-slavery chief enlists
Vatican in global pact to end slavery

Protesters scuffle with men
outside China-Taiwan meeting

Egyptian court acquits 17 charged
for protest at which activist killed

Fate of U.S. domestic surveillance
program uncertain after Senate vote

In chaos of deadly Texas gang fight,
self-defense claims may abound

Shi'ite militias advance on Islamic
State insurgents near Iraq's Ramadi

Decision reached in Cleveland
police officer shooting case

On L.A.'s Skid Row, a judge
leads pack on run to recovery

U.S. bird flu causes egg
shortage, emergency measures

Germany declines comment on reported
'deep freeze' with U.S. intelligence

Al Shabaab attacks soldiers in
south Somalia, two dozen dead

Sea urchin haven disturbed
by Santa Barbara oil spill

Irish voters back gay marriage
in 'social revolution'

Greek PM says on final stretch
toward deal with lenders

Five Tunisian migrants
die in shipwreck

Bank of England confirms EU exit
research after email misfire

Russia to adopt tough position
if Ukraine defaults: PM Medvedev

Islamic State raises flag over citadel
in Syria's Palmyra: supporters

Ireland backs gay marriage in
historic vote, ministers say

Shi'ite militia approach Islamic
State-held areas from base near Ramadi

Ireland appears to have voted for
same-sex marriage: equality minister

50 million gallons of water lost after
California dam vandalized: newspaper

Senate votes spell uncertain fate
for domestic surveillance program

Senate passes two-month
transportation spending patch

Bill to reform domestic
surveillance is blocked in Senate

Missouri governor commutes man's
life sentence for drug charge

U.S. deejay Kasem's widow will
not face criminal charges

China and Peru agree to study
transcontinental rail link

Mexico gunfight kills 43 as
government hits gang hard

Probe leaves unanswered questions
in deadly California bus crash

Senate votes to grant Obama
fast-track power on trade deals

Senators urge Obama administration
to block Arctic oil drilling

U.S. Navy pilot safe after jet ends
up in water off San Diego runway

Safety measures ordered for
failed oil pipeline in California

Elderly Colorado man deemed
incompetent in nursing home killing

Senate tries to bridge gaps
on domestic surveillance

Gunfight in western Mexico
kills at least 44: officials

Dispute over Mideast nuclear arms
ban torpedoes U.N. conference

Fast track trade bill clears
final Senate procedural hurdle

U.N. investigates reports of
executions, abuses in Mali

High turnout seen favoring Yes
in Irish gay marriage vote

U.S. suspends Burundi peacekeeping
training over protests

Senate closer to approving
fast-track trade bill

Mother found pushing dead toddler
on swing in Maryland park

Magnitude 6.8 quake strikes
off Solomon Islands: USGS

Senate rejects trade bill currency
rules mandating sanctions

China says U.S. South China Sea
actions 'irresponsible, dangerous'

Arizona lawman calls for judge's
removal in racial-profiling case

Pentagon plans long-range
missile defense radar in Alaska

Newark NJ students call for local
control of schools run by state

Quadruple-murder suspect held
without bond in Washington

Magnitude 5.3 quake hits
Nevada, close to Las Vegas

Wounded Egyptian soldier kidnapped
and killed in Sinai: sources

Man charged with killing California
family obtains attorneys

Iran's Yemen-bound aid ship docks in
Djibouti, WFP to deliver aid cargo

Five plead not guilty to
Kentucky bourbon heist

Clinton emails show concern
about image after Benghazi

Two California men charged with
seeking to help Islamic State

Moscow issues travel warning
over U.S. 'hunt' for Russians

University of North Carolina gets
NCAA findings in academic fraud probe

Ex-students of elite Conn.
university charged in drug scandal

Idaho couple whose 5-year-old fatally
shot another child reach plea deal

Obama reaffirms commitment to
Israel security to American Jews

Senate intelligence chairman
offers surveillance compromise

Dallas girl sentenced to
40 years for drowning baby

Houston firefighter dies
in apparent murder-suicide

Washington state officials urge
calm following police shooting

FBI identifies two California men
arrested for seeking to help militants

Clinton attacks Republicans over
Ex-Im Bank in New Hampshire

In Spain, grassroots movements
revive interest in politics

NY can ban 'Choose Life' license
plates as DMV program upheld

Hundreds march in Sudan
against Mursi death sentence

White House says remains concerned
on delay of surveillance bill

Two killed in grenade
attack in Burundi capital

U.S. court denies motion to halt
execution of long-serving Texas inmate

U.S., Cuba make progress on
restoring ties but no deal yet

EU, ex-Soviet neighbors patch
over rifts with eye on Russia

Accused arms smuggler left Tunisia for
Italy before museum attack: official

U.S. State Department posts first
set of Hillary Clinton emails online

Florida mother agrees to son's
circumcision after jail time: media

Suicide bomber kills 21 at Saudi Shi'ite
mosque, Islamic State claims attack

U.S.-Cuba talks made progress on restoring
diplomatic relations: Cuban official

Mother stands in at graduation of
son killed in prom night crash

Soldier kidnapped by suspected
Islamist militants in Egypt's Sinai

Contest for Nokia's HERE
seen as a three-way race

Myanmar's Rakhine State denies
persecution at root of migrant crisis

Clinton friend promises cooperation
with panel probing Benghazi attacks

U.S. court hands partial win to tobacco
firms over judge-ordered disclosures

Netherlands plans to ban
full-face veil in public places

Armed elderly woman arrested after
22-hour standoff in California

Pennsylvania city faces fiscal
pain for immigration law

NATO says sets date for
2016 summit in Warsaw

U.N. panel adopts new rules
on treatment of prisoners

Islamic State fighters press
advance east of Iraqi town

SpaceX capsule splashes down in
Pacific with space station cargo

BBC News
NY Times News