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Reminder: ‘The Era of Big Government Is Over’

Posted on Apr 30, 2012

Boy, he wasn’t kidding. Those infamous words are from Bill Clinton’s 1996 State of the Union address, in which he kneecapped Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The full line, which is awfully haunting 16 years later with record poverty and the safety net in tatters, is “The era of big government is over, but we cannot go back to the time when our citizens were left to fend for themselves.”

Later that year, on Aug. 22, Clinton would sign the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which sounds like it was titled by George Orwell and ended the way welfare had been distributed to the poor, mostly women and children, since the 1930s.

“Welfare reform” was a plank of Newt Gingrich’s true believers in Congress. Clinton’s acquiescence and the line about big government, replayed below, were, a skeptic might say, an election year maneuver to show that the president could be tough on poor people. It worked in the sense that it helped Clinton win re-election. It failed in the sense that the welfare system is now so broken and insubstantial, some poor people don’t even bother applying.  —PZS

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By Stephen Luftschein, May 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow.  How confused can you be. Government has not only expanded since then, but exploded, and what has happened?  More than $40 TRILLION dollars on the “new society” and education worse, the poverty rate identical, etc.  The only time those things changed were during Reagan/Clinton, and what was the common theme?  Exactly that - end big government.  Bureacracy is ALWAYS less efficient, less reliable, and certainly less creative in solving problems, and the fact that EVERY objective measure affirms that does not sway you is frightening.

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By EmileZ, May 4, 2012 at 1:39 am Link to this comment

I voted for this piece of shit in 1992, at age 18.

I remember it well, as a feeling of nausea descended upon me as I entered the building.

It has never quite lifted.

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By Alan MacDonald, May 2, 2012 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

Jim Yell (6:51) says, “Neither of the Political Parties deserve public trust, neither deserves to have the publics votes. Until the Republican and the Democratic Party as they exist are dismantled there is no democracy in the United States.”

Yes, Jim, in fact your conclusion also came up from a student at a teach-in I spoke at yesterday regrading Occupy’s May Day activities.

You’re both precisely right, that “both parties need to be delegitimized and discarded”.

To do just that, the American people have to have sufficient reason and particularly the emotional strength to deligitimize these parties—- which many ill-informed Americans (what other kind are there?) may well think of as revolting against not just these lying parties, but against their own government.

Thus most (close to 99%) of such Americans are apprehensive and down-right ‘fearful’ of anything that would deligitimize the only thing they have ever known, and of attacking the parties, and by implication, their own government (which these parties control).

So there is a high barrier to any real popular ‘action’—- which the complicit, complacent, and co-opted parties know.

The ONLY emotional trigger that a true majority of average, informationally-deficient Americans would respond to, and dare to delegitimize these entrenched and treasonous parties, is a call to save their country from Empire.

Thus, the goal of the Occupy movement, to get some ‘movement’, from more than their own small band, and hope to attract anywhere near their claimed 99%, before the undiagnosed and under-discussed DGE (Disguised Global Empire) “lower the boom” on all of us, is to shout-out, as Paul Revere had great success in doing, “The Empire is coming.” 

“The Empire is coming.” 

“The Empire is here.”

We are already beyond informed understanding and knowledge of what the threat is.

We are at a late stage where education about the deadly threat has already been dumbed-down to prevent any social intelligence.

Or only hope for change is within society’s intuitive sub-conscience of what it meant to be American, 

I am convinced that nothing short of this single call to action “Against Empire” will motivate ‘ordinary Americans’ soon enough to prevent us all from becoming what ‘ordinary Germans’ slipped into becoming without ever understanding that they would not as our Franklin feared be able to “hold onto our democratic republic” (from becoming an Empire), and would instead become like ‘Hitler’s willing executioners’ for Empire.

Best luck and love to the “Occupy Empire"educational & revolutionary movement.

Liberty, democracy, equality, & justice

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By Alan MacDonald, May 2, 2012 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

Here’s my featured op-ed page comment from the “Boston Globe” in Jan 2001 answering the Globe’s question to readers about what Clinton’s Legacy would be:

“Clinton’s legacy?  It will be as the Neville Chamberlain of the Democratic party, and for the same reason: that he caved-in to fascism——not the old personalized, nationalist fascism, but a newer ‘friendly fascism’ of global corporate empire.

Clinton tried to triangulate corporate fascism with a slightly friendlier version, which could feel our pain while applying it also.  He learned too late that you can’t co-opt fascists by applying half their programs for them.  They will only grouse and continue to do the second half with rougher hands on the controls.

Clinton has left America without the defense of a democratic party——without an opposition party to the rule of global corporate empire.

Clinton and the DLC hijacking of the Democratic party were a ‘one trick pony’, as proven by Gore’s loss.

Christopher Hitchens has summarized better than anyone, “The Democratic party is not so much dead, as actually, visibly, palpably rotting on the slab”. 

Clinton, like Chamberlain stepping off the plane, is smiling to the crowd, while waving the death certificate of the Democratic party, which he has just negotiated.”

A decade later I would still suggest that this is exactly what Clinton will be remembered for.

But it may still may take another decade or more for dumbed-down demo-robots to admit it, after Clinton and Obama have completed their service for this still unrecognized DGE (Disguised Global Empire) which totally controls our former country—- and which is still being denied by dumbed-down, demo-robot, ‘liberals’ (and unfortunately some who call themselves progressives).

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By weindeb, May 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

Not quite as bad, perhaps, as the previous bloggers have suggested, but surely a highly overrated president. Smart as they come, maybe, and apparently very personable in his just-folks way, but in so many instances a phony, with his “I can feel your pain” nonsense as he and his administration harmed the poor, helped destroy safeguards against unbridled and predatory capitalism, and shipped jobs overseas, thus showing American labor that being paid well and enjoying other working benefits need not happen…. Come to think of it, maybe he was pretty bad after all.

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By gabriel, May 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clinton was made president because all the drugs
arriving into the United States came through Arkansas
on his watch!! Remember the Iran Contra hearings???
Just another good ol’ boy working for the 1%!!!!

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By the jack, May 1, 2012 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

man, the rats are in a bag and chewing each other’s
legs off.  first the “progressives” go after the
messiah Obama, now the previous “progressive” savior
brother bill.  the won’t be happy until they have a
president named Fidel or Lenin…

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By Jim Yell, May 1, 2012 at 6:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I reluctantly voted for Clinton one time, even though I understood he co-operated with capital against labor in Arkansas and was in all but name a Republican Politician. Why did I do that because the Republican Candidate in name was even worse than Clinton.

The fact is the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are no longer separate from each other, but work together to hood wink the voter. How else can we explain Obama who should have at lest been an effective Progressive President according to what candidate Obama said but in fact has spent most of 4 years validating the lawlessness of the Bush Administration and institutionalizing the very things he said he was against as candidate.

Neither of the Political Parties deserve public trust, neither deserves to have the publics votes. Until the Republican and the Democratic Party as they exist are dismantled there is no democracy in the United States. We have been sold out and campaign contributions from Corporations have bought the government and excluded the voter. To hell with them both.

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By jimmmmmy, May 1, 2012 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

Clinton . the best Republican POTUS we never elected.

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By prisnersdilema, May 1, 2012 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

Liberals used to say, that they didn’t mind Mr. Clinton screwing Monica Lewinski
as long as he wasn’t screwing the country…

However Mr. Clinton was screwing the country, his ability to lie and manipulate the
voters without conscience, was enacted both at the personal level and the political

Now the Democratic party, has dragged his image out in front once again to try
and sell president Obama’s re election.

Portrayed as the elder statesmen of the Democratic party, rather than helping Mr.
Obama, he further taints Obama’s image.  Mr. Clinton, is just another DINO, like
Mr. Obama himself. They both are the same.

Which makes the Democratic party just a simulacra.

The Democratic party, and both men must believe they are not obliged to do
something real when lies seem to work just as well, and the masses keep inhaling
their bullshit. 

Con artists like them are always just one step ahead of getting found out.  Mr.
Clinton, really meant to say, that the era of government was over. What’s replaced
it is a corporate Reich.

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By vector56, May 1, 2012 at 2:48 am Link to this comment

Obviously, the Puritans and their Calvinistic buddies still rule. 


many here would tell you to “get a job and a hair cut!”

I, on the other hand would direct you to the alternate reality where there is a WPA that pays a “living wage” and provides child care; a kinda of workers public option that causes the private sector to “compete” for your labor.

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By kerryrose, May 1, 2012 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

Amen.  As an official ‘poor’ person, I don’t even bother.  $300 a month and a requirement to take a minimum wage job even hundreds of miles away, and if that minimum wage job doesn’t exist- a requirement to spend 8 hours a day in the TANF office as punishment.

The kids?  To hell with them- Parenting in not a ‘job’ or respected if you’re poor.  Let em fend for themselves.

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