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Democrats’ Faustian Bargain

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Posted on May 19, 2007
billhill
AP Photo / Seth Wenig

Familial faces:  Bill Clinton (he’s the one with the pink tie) sets his charm beam on “high” as Chelsea (right) smiles in support of mom Hillary at a New York campaign fund-raiser on April 23, 2007.

By Bill Boyarsky

In their mad race for money, the front-running Democratic presidential candidates might be selling themselves to the devil.  That is, in words more familiar to political debate, they might be delivering themselves into the hands of rich and powerful opponents of progressive policies.

That’s the natural consequence of soliciting the huge sums required by the campaign.  We’ll see what happens if a Democratic president takes office and tries to make progress on universal health insurance, child care, greedy loan practices and all the other parts of a domestic agenda shelved during the Bush presidency and compromised in the Clinton years.

I thought of this after reading a story in The New York Times on Bill Clinton’s efforts on behalf of Hillary.  It was an admiring account of Clinton’s role as “master strategist ... consigliore and ... a fund-raising machine who is steadily pulling in $100,000 or more at receptions.”

You don’t raise $100,000 at an event on charm alone, even with someone as charming as Bill Clinton making the pitch.  More important than charm are the bundlers, the heart of a presidential campaign.  As described in a Hoover Institution study of campaign finance, bundling is “the practice of pooling individual contributions from various people—often those employed by the same business or in the same profession—in order to maximize the political influence of the bundler. Typically, all of the checks collected in this way are sent or delivered to candidates on the same day.”

With federal law limiting individual contributions to $2,300, or $4,600 for a couple, the bundler has become perhaps the most valuable player in presidential politics. Sometimes, a bundler is just a well-connected, rich, star-struck fan.  Other bundlers are friends.  In politics friendship isn’t the same as in normal life.  A friend is a political ally who can help you out.  Life is too busy for other kinds of friendships.

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The most common bundler: a power lawyer, lobbyist, Wall Street executive, real estate mogul or Hollywood boss.  This individual will host a dinner or reception at his or her luxurious home or in a prime room in the most expensive and exclusive club or hotel in town.  The candidate mingles, feigning great interest in the donors’ idiotic ideas.  The candidate then gives a speech sucking up to the guests.  Reporters, barred from the event, wait in a crowded pressroom or stand behind ropes, illustrating that the candidate and the campaign managers hold them in contempt.

A report of the Center For Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that tracks campaign contributions, gives an indication of which Democratic candidates have the best bundlers.  The report does this by breaking down the percentage of donations of $2,300 or more to each candidate.  Such contributions are the usual ingredients of a donation bundle.

  Not surprisingly, the findings correspond to the candidates’ current standing in the presidential nomination handicapping.

First is Sen. Clinton.  A total of 74 percent of the $36 million she has collected came from those giving $2,300 or more.  For Sen. Barack Obama, it was 49 percent of his $25.7 million.  Forty-seven percent of John Edwards’  $14 million came from such big contributors.

That’s a lot of bundling.  With it goes an unspoken agreement that candidate and staff will listen to the bundler’s business and professional problems when the time comes.  When Republicans do this, nobody blinks twice; the Republican Party is in bed with corporate America.  But the Democrats, as heirs to progressive politics, have an obligation to tackle the country’s social and economic problems.

Obviously, the biggest blight on our country today is the war, and the Democrats’ greatest challenge is to find a way to force President Bush to end it. 

After that, though, is the domestic crisis of a poor and middle class deprived of affordable healthcare, good public education and reasonably priced housing.  And that’s just a start.

The biggest of these is health insurance.  All Americans need access to something like Medicare, which provides fairly good insurance for those over 65.  Our present system of employer-based insurance no longer works.  Even big business admits the high cost makes it difficult for American companies to compete with foreign firms.  Companies are shedding workers, often partially replacing them with contract employees who receive no benefits.  The ranks of the middle-class uninsured are growing, joining the large army of uninsured poor.

To fix this, a Democratic president and Congress will have to find their way through a tangle of special interests—drug and insurance companies, big and small employers, doctors and others opposed to universal medical insurance.

Unlike the war debate, these domestic battles will not be fought on a public stage.  They’ll be done in the backrooms, deal by deal, one sneaky clause after another, far from the public view, too arcane for the mainstream media, too dull for most of the blogosphere. 

In this atmosphere, the bundlers are transformed into policy-makers.  Hopefully, a new Democratic president and a Democratic Congress will not sell out to them.

 


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By Skruff, June 3, 2007 at 6:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

74900 by Point Blank on 6/02 at 7:24 pm witnesses a:


“battle of wits”

Where was that?  I must have missed it.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, June 2, 2007 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Boy! are you ever correct, Skruff.

My fault, I always assume when someone only gives opinions that all they need is facts to think rationally.

Oh, well….win some, lose some, and some are not worth your concern.

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By Skruff, June 2, 2007 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

74819 by Point Blank on 6/02 at 10:34 am

“Just WHAT have you done to make your mark in life, EXCEPT cry because you don’t get your way. Dept. of the Army, CIC, is who I worked for and I DAMN sure did NOT need some robber union speaking for me.  WHY should I throw facts at you? Just so you can come up with some pinko rationalization. You and others like you have a GREAT PENCHANT FOR DISTORTING ACTUAL FACTS, and for that I have absolutely no use you you or your kind.  I would NOT doubt that you were probably one of the many who spit on troops returning from Vietnam. I do hope you know what the vernacular for a female dog is as that is my opinion of you.  Keep your trash coming.  You won’t win except in your disturbed mind.”

Hope you are seeing someone about that paranoic anger. PHEW!!! You are sure one pissed off dude.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, June 2, 2007 at 7:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OK, you worked as a union member, had three businesses, were in the service, worked at DOA, which could either be the Dept of Ag., or Dead on Arrival, but in all that long life and varied experience you never learned to check facts for yourself?

PB. It´s usually when one´s facts are weak that personal insults are all that is left in the arsenal.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, June 1, 2007 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nearly 1,100 fewer air traffic controllers are working in U.S. facilities than three years ago, despite increasing air traffic.
The number of controllers who chose to retire exceeded the Federal Aviation Administration’s expectations for the third year in a row.
As the FAA replaces veteran controllers, as high as 20 percent of the workforce will be less experienced trainees.
The FAA says some facilities need more controllers and some less, but overall staffing is satisfactory.
Short staffing is causing some controllers to periodically work 10-hour days and six-day weeks, increasing the possibility of mistakes from fatigue, according to the union.
Mistakes made by controllers rose 68 percent between 1998 and 2005, according to FAA data.

These are the present concerns listed on the website.

I AM ASSUMING YOUR 3 BUSINESSES DID NOT HAVE THE LIVES OF SEVERAL THOUSAND PEOPLE DEPENDING ON YOUR CLEAR HEAD AND ABILITY TO CONCENTRATE COMPLETELY.

When I am one of those people up in the sky, I would be happy to know the people responsible for getting me on the ground in one piece are rested, happy in their work, well paid, and just had a coffee and pee break. But, that´s just me,maybe you would be happy for the FAA to privatize the towers so some company can put some guys with 30 minutes training, being paid $10.00 an hour with no overtime and no breaks, you know, like Walter Reed.

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By Skruff, June 1, 2007 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

74641 by Point Blank on 6/01 at 2:51 pmsays:

“Come now, Skruff, I’m far from being “wet behind the ears” to believe that is ALL they wanted.  No, I will NOT take the time to list ALL the crapola they demanded.  You, apparently, know it all.”

have it your way!

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By Skruff, June 1, 2007 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“And just exactly WHAT were the asinine DEMANDS of the union.”

The Air traffic controlers wanted more frequent breaks for stress reduction, no double shifts (at straighttime because it’s a government agency, not bound by most labor laws) and an end to the practice of “supervisory breaks” where during your traffic control break, you supervised three other controlers.

Sounds reasonable to me.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, June 1, 2007 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Forgot to say that info is from an article by Dick Meister, a journalist from San Francisco, who has covered labor and political issues for more than 40 years, named THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES OF GWB.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, June 1, 2007 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PB…...Here´s something to warm your heart…..if you are not flying anywhere.

Hundreds, if not thousands of air traffic controllers work a day shift—typically from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.—then report back to work that night, eight or nine hours later… On a good evening, I get four hours sleep. A typical evening I get 2 1/2. That’s right,

2 1/2 hours of sleep for an already sleep-deprived mind and body that has been going all week. Then it’s in the shower, a snack, pack up and drive back to work to separate airplanes from the ground and from each other.”

Under such circumstances, the potential for serious accidents is obvious. Consider the crash of a Conair jet on takeoff from the Lexington, Ky., airport last August that killed all 49 passengers and crew members. Only one controller was on duty, although staffing requirements called for two, and the lone controller had had only nine hours between shifts - and only two hours sleep.

The controllers have tried through their union to improve the situation. But the FAA, as unabashedly anti-labor as all other federal agencies under Bush, rejected union demands for improvements during negotiations for a new contract last year. The agency then unilaterally imposed new work rules that made the situation even worse.

YEP, THEY PUT THE QUIETUS ON YHAT PESKY UNION, WHICH IS UNNECESSARY SINCE WE CAN TRUST THE FCC TO KEEP US SAFE…..NOT!!!

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, May 31, 2007 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Does this sound remotely familiar to any of you?

Colonial exploitation necessitated the development of a transportation system to facilitate the flow of British ready made goods, and the export of Indian raw material. Although construction of the railroad began in the period, shortly before the Sepoy Mutiny, improvements in the system following the rebellion significantly altered the interior of India as new towns came into existence specifically for the purpose of transporting Indian resources to market. Additional enlargments to the infrastructure of India came in the form of new roads, as well as improvements of the communications system and the harbor at Bombay.

  British economic policies further worsened the situation for India’s poor. Increasingly, village artisans were squeezed out by competition from English machine-made goods. The destruction of the Indian craft industry forced large numbers into poverty, relegating them to working the land. During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Indian agriculture shifted from foodstuffs to cotton to supply the English textile industry. The transfer to staple production, coupled with a drought in the 1870s, however, resulted in widespread famine throughout India.

After WW2 the Brits recognized that they had a choice to make…..they could have a somewhat democratic government at home or they could have empire and total control from the top, because, among other new problems, communication had improved too much for the secrets of keeping an empire, i. e. murder and mahem, to be kept. Also, empires are very expensive to administer and control, as the US has found. After a while you are hip deep in debt to the money people, the big banks, who answer to no country, or in our case, to China and Japan who become richer as we become poorer.

The international corporation is the tool of the big money movers, so must endevor to control the governments under which they operate. Is it so strange, then, that they would buy politicians?

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By Marshall, May 30, 2007 at 2:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#73638 by Skruff on 5/29 at 5:26 am

Thanks for the links, Skruff, but those are opinion pieces, not evidence of an outsourcing problem in the US.  They cite no figures whatsoever and are about Walmart only.  What I’d like to see is some real data on number of actual outsourced jobs, taking into account cost savings, insourcing, and other mitigating factors.  You won’t find anything because the outsourcing issue (like the minimum wage issue) is a bogus political issue, not a real one.

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By Skruff, May 29, 2007 at 8:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

73656 by Point Blank on 5/29 at 6:40 am informs:

“Skruff, the term I used was, is, an old mountain man, western term used when someone died on their woolen blanket and was buried wrapped up in it.”

I’m an old dawg, but still learning…. Thanks for the info.

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By Skruff, May 29, 2007 at 7:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#73643 by Point Blank on 5/29 at 5:52 am

“... died in the wool…”

It’s a textile term spelled “Dyed in the woll”

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By Skruff, May 29, 2007 at 6:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

73551 by Marshall on 5/28 at 5:49 pm

“I would challenge you to cite some valid figures on the supposed “outsourcing” to which you refer.  I think you’ll find that this issue, which we haven’t heard about since the last Presidential campaign, was a partisan football that turned out not to have any air.”

Oh, there’s plenty of air there!

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/secrets/shots.html


http://www.forbes.com/opinions/2007/03/23/weiss-walmart-india-oped-cx_gw_0326weiss.html

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By Marshall, May 28, 2007 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Point Blank - I wish I did have a vested interest in Wal-mart… at least from the 1980’s.  In the last several years, it’s stock has gone down so I’m glad I’ve never had any.

I would challenge you to cite some valid figures on the supposed “outsourcing” to which you refer.  I think you’ll find that this issue, which we haven’t heard about since the last Presidential campaign, was a partisan football that turned out not to have any air.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, May 28, 2007 at 11:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is the relationship?

73061 from Point Blank….
Marshall & Russell, are you both so naive to believe anything that is put out from “think tank?” Perhaps the both of you lack the intelligence to realize FACTS ARE, AS A RULE, MANUFACTURED TO SUIT A CERTAIN PURPOSE OR PURPOSES!

Then…....

72555, from Mariam Russell
Most union avoidance consultants and law firms pay lip service to “preventive” or “positive” labour relations (i.e. solving workplace problems so that unions are rendered unnecessary). In reality, however, the vast majority of their work consists of running union avoidance campaigns, as employers hire them only when confronted by organizing drives.[3]

Several union avoidance firms operate internationally, but only in the US has this industry developed into a multimillion-dollar concern that operates throughout the country and in every sector of the economy. And only in the US do employers, policy makers and (to a lesser extent) the general public consider the activities of union avoidance experts a legitimate part of mainstream industrial relations. ”

John Logan, The Union Avoidance Industry in the United States, 2006.[3]

Union busting is a field populated by bullies and built on deceit. A campaign against a union is an assault on individuals and a war on truth. As such, it is a war without honor. The only way to bust a union is to lie, distort, manipulate, threaten, and always, always attack. ”

Martin Jay Levitt, 1993, Confessions of a Union Buster[2]

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By cann4ing, May 27, 2007 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

Point Blank:  It’s point-less to try to confront Marshall with the facts.  The guy still thinks NAFTA and the WTO were great ideas.  It doesn’t matter to him that a wealthy elite has betrayed their own country by moving its manufacturing base to places like China where people work 16 hours for $2/day so that Wal Mart can deliver “always low prices” or that Wal-Mart rakes in $7 billion in annual profit while not only reducing its own workers to below-poverty wages but actually encouraging its own workers to feed at the public trough by applying for food stamps.  Perhaps we should put him to work at Wal-Mart for minimum wage, then sit back as his supervisors lock him inside and tell him to work for nothing “off-the-clock.”  If nothing else, perhaps that would get him to take off his rose colored glasses.

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By Skruff, May 27, 2007 at 6:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

73146 by Marshall on 5/27 at 1:07 am says:

“The downside of Walmart is ...”

You mention ONE downside? 

A communist nation, using prison labor to compete with US employees, unbalancing further our trade balance, allowing China to use this new found wealth to buy up our notes?


I’d rather do business with the MAffia.

We have learned nothing through two oil embargos. we have learned nothing while chinese ingrediants poisioned our pets. actually, we’ve learned nothing even from 9/11, ‘cause it is Walmart that blocked the tougher inspection legislation for container imports.  For money we’re selling our (supposedly the greatest) way of life to folks who do not like us very well.

If thye Chinese embargo, it will take a long while to replace what they will no longer sell.  Oh yeah, as the WW II generation dies off, we will lose the lesson of Pearl Harbor too!

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By Marshall, May 27, 2007 at 2:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hello Leefeller - Interesting to hear your personal story about farming.  I do realize that the kinds of jobs americans have has changed over the years due to globalization, demand, competition, and other factors.  Your example of Walmart is a good one.  The downside of Walmart is a reduction in the number of “mom and pop” businesses which did some of the same things.  The upside is the convenience, wide selection and low prices offered by a large retailer like Walmart… which is exactly why they are so popular.  The public is the driving force behind this kind of change, as they’ll go where they think they can find the best service/pricing/product availibility/etc…

As to Hillary - the engine behind US politics is private and corporate contribution, and many corporations give to both Democrats and Republicans so it’s no surprise that Hillary is part of that.  If you believe that campaign funding needs to be reformed, then this may be a problem.  On the other hand, running a political race is hugely expensive and the money has to come from somewhere.  It’s up to the politicians not to provide quid pro quo for those contributions.

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By Leefeller, May 26, 2007 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

Marshall, As I have stated on a previous post, I do not know much about economics actually find the subject as exciting as watching paint dry. 

Your points are well taken, even though I may have a different opinion.

As a small farmer, I have concerns about the direction our government is going especially spending (wasting in my opinion) so much money on the military establishment. 

When I used to be a member of the Farm Bureau, every year the Farm Bureau would send us annual economic update, telling us how much less it was costing the families of America to feed themselves. The cost of food was going down to families of the nation, but as a farmer my costs were sky rocketing.  At the time I did not know it but the Farm Bureau was controlled by the chemical companies. 

Nation wide, since the 1950’s,  family farms have been going out of business at an alarming rate.  Several factors have caused this to happen, but economics is one of those factors.

Corporate farms have been a problem by keeping prices too low for small farmers to be sustainable. Similar to Wal-Mart driving out small family retail businesses. 

A side note, just a bit of trivia,  I always remember in the early 1970’s, I had to pay several thousand dollars in taxes, but Ronald R. did not pay any because of his cattle ranch writeoffs.

Sorry Marshell, I did not reply to your post with facts and figures, just simplistic personal observations. 

P.S. Marshell, do you have a point of view on Hillary and other candidates receiving funds from big money deep pockets, I would like to hear your views?

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By Marshall, May 26, 2007 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

<<Your fictional writings are so far afield of the facts that it seems a waste to even respond further, so I don’t intend to.  If you want to continue with your dishonest mumblings, that is your prerogative.>>

Ernest - People who can’t support their claims with facts often choose this way out of a discussion; blanket dismissal of the other person as not credible.  This is often the liberal escape hatch - speeches about tolerance but, when it comes down to it, they’re anything but when it comes to differing viewpoints and short on facts to back up their own.

I’ve backed up my statements with facts but apparently all you have to do is invoke the name of an ecnomist that few other professionals agree with (and his “odd man out” status somehow makes him MORE credible?)  Have it your way.  Maybe someone else with a better education and some informed opinions will pick up this thread in your absence.

<<As to the so-called “progressive” nature of the tax code, The Bushies have already substantially eroded that even as to wages, and have made it a complete joke with respect to non-wage income and the numerous loopholes that allow wealth to often escape taxation altogether.>>

Please tell me how?  You make the claim but don’t supply a single bit of evidence, yet you dismiss me as not credible.  Amazing.

<<During four of the five years that Cheney was CEO, Halliburton paid no federal corporate income tax whatsoever. >>

I could find no reference (or even claim) about this on the internet.  Can you please supply a credible link?

<<I am sure that if you took a poll of Americans, asking whether they are better off today than they were in 2000, 95% would say “no way, no how.”>>

Ironic that you’re asking the question Reagan used to deflate Carter’s run for reelection.  Unfortunately, your answer is entirely your opinion.  The fact is that the current strong economy is sustainable because it’s not built on the rampant internet speculation of the late 90’s.  We’re near full employment with strong job creation and job availability across the board, not just low paying jobs as some would have you believe.  Feel free to check the official figures if you want proof:  http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t10.htm

Since Ernest is apparently at a loss to continue this discussion, anyone else can feel free to jump in… just bring some sustainable opinions this time.

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By Leefeller, May 26, 2007 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Can anyone explain to me why bundling is even allowed?  Why do I feel that lobbyists are calling the shots while running the floors of Congress like rats at Taco Bell.  Why do Republican candidates seem to be clones from another planet, offspring of the pod people, and when asked, “who does not believe in evolution”  raise both their hands? 

Hillary may believe in evolution, does this mean having both her hands down the pockets of Big money is better?  Well since Bush did it why not her.  Senator Hillary became senator only as a stepping stone to president.  Hillary’s vote to go into Iraq, apparently shows us she does her homework and job quite well.  It is nice to know Hillary will follow in the footsteps of Bush who is a constant screw but never admits it. Is it a Political unspoken rule, never admit a mistake, people might believe you to be human?  In Hillary’s case could it be residue left over from from Bill Clinton’s,  Monica days.

Hillary is Collecting her funds from many different deep pockets, we could suppose one of those deep pocket may even be her past employer.  If Hillary becomes president, we will see change,  Wall-mart expanding to Iraq.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, May 26, 2007 at 8:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The reason corps have been buying politicians for a very long time is to engineer what has been happening for a 50 year period, but speeded up under the Raygun and Bushit regimes…....

New Haven, Connecticut (April 16, 2007) From Combined News Services and Evolution Solutions Newsroom—A 2004 analysis of data by the US Census reports that 60 million Americans now live on less than $7 per day. That’s one in five in the U.S. living on less than $2,555 per year. At the same time, the richest 1 per cent now garners about 16 per cent of national income, double what they earned in the 1960s.[1]

While global income inequality is probably greater than it has ever been in human history, with half the world’s population living on less than $3 per day, and the richest 1% receiving as much as the bottom 57%, the fact that so many Americans are living on so little, is particularly confounding.

This is the start of an article by William Shanley, POVERTY IN AMERICA, that you can find at Global Research.ca

Marshall and PB, if this is the world you want to live in, there is a goodly supply of greedy, power hungry sociopathic conmen who will ensure that you have it. All you have to do is ¨get the government (that´s all of us who have to live with the consequences of their whim of the day) out of their bizness¨, de-regulate, fail to enforce the existing laws, and pass new ones to make it impossible for the citizens to demand an accounting for their actions. Buy into the idiocy of the world´s resources being owned by a few because they have the guns to back their appropriation and holding of these resources.

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By cann4ing, May 26, 2007 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Marshall, now I get it.  The validity of economic analysis is not based on substance but on whether one possesses a “minority viewpoint,” ergo, let’s reject Paul Krugman.  I find that no more convincing than your earlier rejection of Krugman because he is, God forbid, “a liberal.”

As to the so-called “progressive” nature of the tax code, The Bushies have already substantially eroded that even as to wages, and have made it a complete joke with respect to non-wage income and the numerous loopholes that allow wealth to often escape taxation altogether.  During four of the five years that Cheney was CEO, Halliburton paid no federal corporate income tax whatsoever. 

I am sure that if you took a poll of Americans, asking whether they are better off today than they were in 2000, 95% would say “no way, no how.”

Your fictional writings are so far afield of the facts that it seems a waste to even respond further, so I don’t intend to.  If you want to continue with your dishonest mumblings, that is your prerogative.

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By Skruff, May 26, 2007 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

72883 by Marshall on 5/26 at 12:44 am

“This claim that “only the wealthy got tax cuts” is left-wing propaganda.”

Funny, I didn’t see my “tax cut” in fact in my 40 years of paying taxes Ive seen NO tax cuts.  I’ve always made less than $30,000 and NEVER taken dollar one from the Government.  I am a NASCAR fan, a member of the NRA live in a red county, whhere the average income is less than $18,000 and can’t stand the government… I never thought of myself as “left wing” BUT no one in my shop nor any that I’ve spoken to have seen any “tax cuts” 

the tax rate for the very rich is 23.49 percent (top 1 percent)

As recently as 1968 it had been in excess of 50%

Those are just facts AND In my humble opinion the rich SHOULD pay more..  When looking at money the rich control 80% of the wealth, so (in fairness) they should pay 80% of the taxes….  It’s not about numbers of people who make little or no money, it’s about cash, and how has it!

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By Marshall, May 26, 2007 at 1:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ernest Canning - I guess you’re not understanding my comment, or the tax cuts.  I never referred to “average” tax cuts.  The US has a progressive tax system whereby people pay tax as a percentage of their income.  Those who paid more tax would obviously get more back, in total dollars, than those who paid less (unless you’re suggesting everyone gets the same amount back?)  Amongh other things, the Bush tax plan introduced a lower tax bracket (10%) for low income people (was 15%).  This claim that “only the wealthy got tax cuts” is left-wing propaganda.

<<The fact is that under the Bush tax cuts, wages are taxed at a much higher rate than non-wage income.  >>

The fact is, you’re wrong.  This depends entirely on what tax bracket you’re in.  If you’re in a low (10%) bracket, then cap. gains taxes are, at the least, the same but likely higher depending on how long you’ve possessed the asset.  As to the higher wage brackets, it has always been this way (ie. nothing changed significantly under the Bush tax cuts), so you’re wrong there.

Bottom line: the wealthy pay a far larger percentage in taxes than the poor.  In fact, the wealthy are paying more in taxes now than ever before in history, and the poor are paying less (many actually receiving govt. money and paying NO taxes) than ever before.  Fact.

<<Oh, and real good retort.  Just call Paul Krugman a “liberal” as if that somehow discredits what he has to say.>>

You may not have noticed that my criticism of Krugman was that he’s a “minority viewpoint economist” - meaning: virtually no other prominent economists agree with him.  Unless you misquoted him, he already got the “tax cuts were for the wealthiest 1%” wrong, so he’s not difficult to refute.

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By cann4ing, May 26, 2007 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

Tax cuts were across the board?  Marshall you are either badly misinformed or thoroughly dishonest.  I am beginning to think it is the latter.  Typical of the hard-right’s play on numbers is the effort to set forth the “average” tax cuts.  It doesn’t matter then if one person gets $100,000 and another gets ten cents.  When you average the two, it’s $50,000.05 That’s why some of my fellow truthdiggers refer to it as Bushit. 

The fact is that under the Bush tax cuts, wages are taxed at a much higher rate than non-wage income.  That means that wealth can accumulate at a far greater rate for those who already have it.  So please, spare us the “across-the-board” canard, it just isn’t so!

Oh, and real good retort.  Just call Paul Krugman a “liberal” as if that somehow discredits what he has to say.

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By Marshall, May 25, 2007 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ernest Canning: Manufacturing moved out of the US because union labor costs are too high.  American auto makers, continually out of touch with consumer demand, have made bad decisions coupled with tough competition from foreign auto makers.  On the other hand, many foreign auto makers have opened (non-union) plants in the US providing thousands of jobs.  It’s called “insourcing” and is never mentioned by the left because it contradicts their bogus “outsourcing” claims.

As to your Krugman piece (surprise! A liberal viewpoint from the Times!), I beg to differ.  Krugman is a minority viewpoint economist, but you’ve obviously swallowed his opinion as fact.  For example, the article states the tax cuts were for the wealthiest 1%.  That would be wrong - tax cuts were across the board.  And for Krugman’s proof?  A British periodical commenting on the US economy - making the assertion that Repubs want the economy to fail.

I’ll not grace you with a reply on that one because it’s absurd and if you don’t know that, then I’m wasting my breath.

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By cann4ing, May 25, 2007 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Marshall, you are in dire need of an education.  I would again urge that you read Jeff Faux, “The Global Class War” and perhaps follow up with Kevin Phillips “Wealth and Democracy” or consider some of Paul Krugman’s writings.

The manufacturing base didn’t shrink.  It moved, first south of the border with the passage of NAFTA and then elsewhere with passage of the WTO.  At the same time GM and Ford announced major layoffs last year in Detroit, they announced corresponding increases in the size of their plants in Mexico and India. 

Returning to your original misperceptions of the value of the Bush tax cuts, consider the following excerpts from Paul Krugman’s 5/27/03 NY Times piece, “Stating the Obvious.”

“‘The lunatics are now in charge of the asylum.’  So wrote the normally staid ‘Financial Times,’ traditionally the voice of the solid British business opinion, when surveying last week’s tax bill.  Indeed the legislation is doubly absurd: the gimmicks used to make an $800-billion-plus tax cut carry an official price tag of only $320 billion are a joke….

“But then maybe that’s the point.  ‘The Financial Times’ suggests that ‘more extreme Republicans’ actually want a fiscal train wreck.  ‘Proposing to slash federal spending, particularly on social programs, is a tricky electoral proposition, but a fiscal crisis offers the tantalizing prospect of forcing such cuts through the back door.’”
....
“Although you wouldn’t know it from the rhetoric, federal taxes are already historically low as a share of of G.D.P.  Once the new round of cuts take effect, federal taxes will be lower than their average during the Eisenhower administration.  How, then, can the government pay for Medicare and Medicaid—which didn’t exist in the 1950s…”

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that providing massive tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent has created new jobs in this country, let alone good jobs.  There is growing evidence that it has simultaneously helped to accomplish the Grover Norquist openly stated goal of reducing the federal government to a size where “it could be drown in a bathtup,” while serving to exacerbate a growing income inequality.  As revealed by an article in today’s New York Times, under Reaganomics, more appropriately Enronomics, the gap is not merely widening between the minute numbers of wealthy elite but even between CEOs and second tier managers.

I am sorry, Marshall but you are just flat-out wrong, across-the-board.

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By cann4ing, May 25, 2007 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

Come on Point Blank, you have been doing so well in engaging us with intellectual dialogue of late.  You don’t need to return to your prior rudeness by telling another poster to “shut the Hell up.”  Besides, I think
Bill O’Reilly has already sought copyright protection for the “shut the Hell up” line.

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By Marshall, May 25, 2007 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Ernest Canning - I might remind you that US manufacturing has been shrinking for 30 years in an age of modernization and high tech.  You can choose to blame specific people, or instead blame the real culprit; a changing world.  You may also be surprised to learn that US manufacturing employment INCREASED in from March 2006 to March 2007.

<<what was left of American labor was Wal-Mart-ized>>

Not true.  US job creation has expanded in just about all areas, not just low paying service sector jobs.

<<increasing numbers of Americans find they can’t make ends meet and have leveraged their finances>>

That leveraging isn’t from “not making ends meet” - it’s from tapping the equity in their appreciating houses and the associated credit offers to buy luxury goods (their choice, not necessity).

<<the gap between rich and poor has grown>>

Yes - as wages are driven down by illegal immigrants who take jobs away from citizens while, at the same time, an upwardly mobile middle class joins the ranks of the wealthy and sees real wages increase.

<<the number of Americans without health insurance has gone from 40 million to 47 million>>

Won’t argue with you there - US healthcare needs attention.

<<as the housing bubble bursts>>

It’s clearly a soft landing and the concensus among economists is a resumption of more sane appreciation late this year or next.  Hardly a burst bubble.

<<the price at the pump (and oil industry profits) has more than trippled in the past six years>>

Yes - the unfortunate affect of high global demand, uncertain oil markets, and the discouragement of US refinery construction that took place during the nineties.

<<Again, Marshall, I ask, please give us the name of the planet you are living on.>>

It’s called Earth.

<<During the period of the Ante Bellum South, there was a form of full employment amongst the slaves.>>

If you feel like you’re a slave to your job (assuming you have one), then I suggest you get another.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, May 25, 2007 at 9:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That´s OK, PB, read Howard Zinn anyway.

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By Skruff, May 25, 2007 at 6:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

72582 by Point Blank on 5/24 at 9:45 pm

“I suppose, in some areas they are still needed, but union members have, in my opinion, become spoiled brats”

My family has Union blood back to the beginings of the textile indrustry, and I have also researched Union history. 

First when you say “Unions have become spoiled brats” I can see what you are saying, BUT it is like saying All Mexicans are lazy, all Blacks are Democrat, and all whites are rich.  “The A.F.L&C.I.O. The Teamsters, have bade a mockery of unions searching out new areas only within the high wage folks.  The folks needing to be unionized, retail store clerks, harvesters, and personal home service personnel have been by-passed.  BUT as far as “spoiled” goes you don’t need union membership to join that group.  Trying to get a small business to complete a sale, or attempting to get goods delivered in a timely manner is impossible in this part of Maine, and we have very few Unions.  The Teachers Unions which congregate around big cities seems to be absent here. teachers have no breaks in our local (two room) school. and they recieve no social security from ANY job they had before, or have after teaching in Maine. There pay is so low student lenders get only interest payments on student loans, and they use their own money to purchase necessary student supplies. 

On the other hand the UFW union has done fantastic things notablly in the area of removing younger children from the fields and getting them into schools.

There are a number of things (list to long for this venue) that need changing in the employee-employer system.  Admittedly the Unions have fallen down on the job,,, Like many US institutions. The cure is not Union bashing, but union membership.  Needed, new blood.

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By Nitro, May 24, 2007 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment

You are right as rain Skruff (72400) I am not familiar with Peter LaFarge. Enlighten this old Heathen Savage a little.

A wise old man told me once, “if you don’t learn something new every day, you’re wasting your life.” Old school waiting to learn…

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, May 24, 2007 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PB…..No, back to 1850 or so, no one in my family ever belonged to a union. Pioneers in North Central Florida….Farmers.

This is not a contest for me to be right and you to be wrong, or visa versa. This is about information…not emotions or parading any or all of our prejudices, however we acquired them. I recognize that you feel that you have cause to be against unions, but, I do think it worthwhile to explore the origins of our most prized thoughts. To do that, it is necessary to know just what has been happening in an area….history you will find hard to get in history courses. You can read Howard Zinn´s History of The American People for starters.

Here´s a few tidbits from Wikipedia under Union Busting…..worth reading

When a chief executive hires a labor relations consultant to battle a union, he gives the consultant run of the company and closes his eyes. The consultant, backed by attorneys, installs himself in the corporate offices and goes to work creating a climate of terror that inevitably is blamed on the union. ”

Martin Jay Levitt, 1993, Confessions of a Union Buster[2]
John Logan, a labor expert at the London School of Economics, observes:

Most union avoidance consultants and law firms pay lip service to “preventive” or “positive” labour relations (i.e. solving workplace problems so that unions are rendered unnecessary). In reality, however, the vast majority of their work consists of running union avoidance campaigns, as employers hire them only when confronted by organizing drives.[3]

Several union avoidance firms operate internationally, but only in the US has this industry developed into a multimillion-dollar concern that operates throughout the country and in every sector of the economy. And only in the US do employers, policy makers and (to a lesser extent) the general public consider the activities of union avoidance experts a legitimate part of mainstream industrial relations. ”

John Logan, The Union Avoidance Industry in the United States, 2006.[3]


Union busting is a field populated by bullies and built on deceit. A campaign against a union is an assault on individuals and a war on truth. As such, it is a war without honor. The only way to bust a union is to lie, distort, manipulate, threaten, and always, always attack. ”

Martin Jay Levitt, 1993, Confessions of a Union Buster[2]

I did work at L.M. Berry, when it was a contractor to the phone company to do the yellow pages, a business my boss called ¨a license to steal¨. I recognize some of the psycological union avoidance plans described in the Wikipedia article. The phone cos and everyone connected with them have a history of being rabidly anti-union, so we were treated to the full spectrum of propoganda, threats (veiled, of course), open door policies, etc, etc.

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By cann4ing, May 24, 2007 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

Point Blank—hate to disagree with a fellow vet, but companies did not move because of outrageous union demands.  They moved because under NAFTA and the WTO, they can pay a pittance at sweatshops in places like Sri Lanka for what essentially is slave labor, then ship the stuff back here duty-free, where the remnant of American labor is increasingly Wal-Mart-ized.  They moved because the loyalty of the multi-national wealthy elite is to one another and not to this country.  (See, Jeff Faux, “The Global Class War”).

Before 1991, Wal-Mart, the company Jim Hightower aptly described as “The Beast from Bentonville,” did not have a single store outside the continental US.  Thanks to NAFTA and the WTO.  By 2003, with some 4,400 stores, it had become the world’s largest corporation.  In 2005, it had opened its 39th Super Center in China, where the “employees” of its sub-contractors slave 16 hours/day for $2/day so that Wal-Mart can bring you “Always low prices”—prices that equate to “always huge profits”—some $7 billion/year, profits that have placed five members of the Walton family amongst the world’s top ten richest people, with a combined personal worth in excess of $100 billion.  This enormous wealth at the top is punctuated by the poverty level wages of its U.S. employees, the more fortunate of whom receive $15,000/year for full time work.  But for 70% of the employees, Wal Mart defines full time as 28 hours/week—$11,000/year.

Wal-Mart has every intent to keep things that way. Employing teams of lawyers, Wal-Mart actively strives to snuff out any hint at unionization.  Not satisfied with simply paying minimum wage, the Scrooges at Wal-Mart devised an “off-the-clock” scheme in which employees are instructed to clock, then assigned extra tasks for which they receive no compensation—a practice that netted Wal-Mart $30 million/year in Texas alone.  In one instance an Oregon jury found that Wal-Mart, which had locked its employees in, was guilty of forcing employees to work overtime without pay.  (Wal Mart, which should probably be prosecuted for slavery in the Oregon case, is merely the trend setter for the rest of corporate America.)  Curiously two of the so-called “leading” Democratic candidates have direct ties to Wal-Mart.  Both Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama’s wife served on the Wal-Mart board.  As they say, you are known by the company you keep.

Whatever criticisms can be laid to unions, the basic fact is that unions provide the only means by which the working class can defend itself against unbriddled corporate greed.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, May 24, 2007 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nope, never belonged to a union in my long life. Have been here long enough to have observed that every worker benefited from unions, so, no, I will not join your analysis of the tit for tat fight between unions and management, but, while unions were not perfect, they were the only power the worker had, as the government, from the git-go, supported the corp and even sent the national guard to kill strikers. There has also been a long smear campaign with the same sort of urban legend stories created to destroy unions that are used to convince a credulous public that we need ¨tort reform¨. Of course, the anti-union campaign has had a longer life than the campaign to get us to give up the last bit of power we have over the corps.

Do corps need slave labor to make a profit? I think not, but, of course, their profits are very much higher with slave labor, and they have actually codified into law that they must make all the profit possible, which makes them total sociopathic ¨persons¨ who need to be controlled by law if we, the citizens and necessary work force of the world, are to have a decent life and freedom from the slaughter of our families to make resources available at firesale prices for these sociopathic ¨persons¨.

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By Skruff, May 24, 2007 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#72363 by Nitro on 5/24 at 11:17 am

“Well Skruff (#72262), I hate to rain on your parade a little, but maybe TAO can verify this for me, but I don’t think ANY TREATY developed or signed, was ever honored by the white man or his government, just gave them the time to get “whomever” surrounded and massacred or driven to some “convenient” place for white man to rape & pillage the resources.”

Obviously you are not familiar with Peter LaFarge?  There’s been rain on most parades I support since Wounded Knee.

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By Nitro, May 24, 2007 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

Well Skruff (#72262), I hate to rain on your parade a little, but maybe TAO can verify this for me, but I don’t think ANY TREATY developed or signed, was ever honored by the white man or his government, just gave them the time to get “whomever” surrounded and massacred or driven to some “convenient” place for white man to rape & pillage the resources.

It sounds all good and well, but those making the treaties in the first place have to have some fundamental properties. An Honest Heart. An intention of making good on the treaties. And something that has become extinct in this country evidently, HONOR!
That and the ability to speak the truth in the first place.

How can you expect any treaty, especially one King Bushit would come up with to be honored when he holds none of the above mentioned properties needed to make good on it? Or as far as that goes, anyone there on Capitol Hill. Eg, the alleged need for the Iraq War. The need for fair trade with other nations, while the whole time,.. we’re outsourced because of theamericanpeople’s greed. The voter fraud issue, etc.etc. And one from afar in time, the Sand Creek Treaty?.....

Someone help me out here, because I’m just an old Heathen Savage with more sense than knowledge, but name me one treaty or deal that has been honored YET?

In the “perfect world” we were given by the Great Spirit, we HAD free land to walk upon. Free water to drink, everything any human being would need. I think it was the alleged treaties, that mucked all the perfectness up in this world. And now, aren’t they so perfected and performed in this magic called treaty?

Leave me out of the treaties & deals. This free spirited Heathen holds all my deals w/a hand shake & a close look in one’s eyes. The windowto the Spirit, where all truth lies.

The Valley of Tomorrow only seems laden with more bloodshed and violence, more lies & deception and more so called treaties! Hope to see some of you anyway… on the other side.

To a Better Day,

HokeHey!

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, May 24, 2007 at 8:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

POINT BLANK…..

O.K. FOR THE CEO TO MAKE UMPTEEN GILLION DOLLARS ON THE BOOKS AND ALL HE CAN STEAL OTHERWISE,BUT NOT O.K. FOR THE WORKER, WHO ACTUALLY PRODUCES THE PRODUCT THAT PRODUCES THE UG DOLLARS, TO MAKE A DECENT LIVING AND HAVE HEALTHCARE AND BE ABLE TO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE?

The moving of production to countries who will tolerate no labor law because they are run by thugs who have the same dream of slave labor to provide their rich life by working long hours, being paid almost nothing, no safe working conditions, no health care, and an early death, to be easily replaced because of the high birth rate promoted both by governments and religion.

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By Peter RV, May 24, 2007 at 7:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now that “Democrats” have “caved in” to “Republicans” on Iraq troop withdrawal,are there any doubts left that we have only one Party which is nothing else than the AIPAC Party, the one that wants as many wars and bloodshed as it takes to make Israel secure?
This fact makes all these discussions here trivial, reminding only of that medieval controversy of “how many angels can dance together on the top of a needle”.
Since you can’t see what this war is doing to this Country of ours, folks, you absolutely don’t deserve to win and much less to receive the votes of us who are anti-War.
It is time to make a new Party, one that is dedicated to re-building our shattered Nation.

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By Skruff, May 24, 2007 at 6:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

72220 by TAO Walker on 5/23 at 11:47 pm says:

“You might even get the benefits of some Native guidance.”

You said a mouthful!  Ferr land to walk upon, free water to drink, and the death penalty for betraying “the people”

Lets make a treaty to last as long as the grass grows, and as long as the rivers flow.

(appoligies to Peter LaFarge)

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By TAO Walker, May 24, 2007 at 12:47 am Link to this comment

By the time (if ever) Lefty’s “28th Amendment” (#72132) got adopted, the forces it sought to rein-in would’ve long since engineered a way around it….probably by rendering the government apparatus as irrelevant to their purposes and operations by then as it is instrumental to them now.  In fact, it looks like this process is already in-train, even without some highly improbable “wall of separation” even theoretically on the horizon.  Why else the rush to “outsource” and “privatize” government functions?

Credit Lefty with wanting sincerely to buy a little time to make the drastic adjustments “the situation” demands.  All indications are there simply isn’t any to be had, at any price….especially if all it would go for is some more futile tinkering-around with the mega-machinery of exploitation and slaughter.

There is something loose in this world that is actively anti-Life.  “Civilization” is the means by which it intends to eradicate Her here.  The “process” has no other purpose or function, despite what so many of the tame two-leggeds who are its victim/perpetrators want so desperately to believe about it. 

Are Lefty and others here who seem to wish to salvage the allamerican pirate-ship-of-state willing to bet their own and their children’s and grandchildren’s lives that the “reward” for any “success” in that endeavor will be anything but more and more and more of the same ruthless exploitation to which they’re being more and more and more brazenly subjected even now?  Nobody here in Indian Country would wager a wooden nickel on that hopeless proposition….nevermind our future generations.

There comes a time every junkie must either give-up their drug-of-choice or go down with it into terminal oblivion.  For the domesticated peoples here on Earth, that time is now.  Trying to come-up with some less lethal substitute is bound to be nothing but another exercise in F-U-tility.

On the other hand, any honest effort will gain some breathing room for whoever will keep-on keepin’ on with it.  You might even get the benefits of some Native guidance.

HokaHey!

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By Freedomfinder, May 23, 2007 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

She is the DEVIL!!!

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, May 23, 2007 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

AFL-CIO site…....
 
 
The nation’s economy has nearly 79,000 fewer private-sector jobs than when President George W. Bush took office.

During the last full month before Bush took office in January 2001, the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent. In March 2005, the official U.S. unemployment rate was 5.2 percent—representing 7.7 million unemployed workers. The manufacturing sector has lost nearly 3 million manufacturing jobs since January 2001.

What’s more, the 7.7 million officially unemployed represents only about 57 percent of all U.S. workers—approximately 13.6 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—who are either unemployed, underemployed in part-time jobs out of economic necessity or who have become so discouraged that they have given up looking for work.

After the official end of the last recession in March 1991, the nation embarked on nine straight years of solid job growth. But although this recession officially ended in November 2001, jobs are coming back only slowly, economists say, because companies are sending well-paying manufacturing—and now white-collar—jobs to countries with few, if any, protections for workers and the environment. And these jobs probably aren’t coming back anytime soon unless the Bush administration, Big Business and their congressional allies reform the trade and tax policies that encourage employers to send jobs offshore.

Since 2000, corporations have shipped more than 525,000 white-collar overseas, according to the AFL-CIO department of professional employees.  Some estimates say up to 14 million middle-class jobs could be exported out of America in the next 10 years.

Accountants, software engineers—even X-ray technicians—are losing their jobs as corporations look for low-wage workers in countries such as India and China.

At the same time, 3 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since the Bush took office, many of them because corporations have shipped them to countries such as China, which is creating a booming manufacturing industry on the backs of its poorly-paid workers.

Meanwhile, the jobs being created in the United States often are low-wage jobs that don’t offer health coverage or ensure retirement security. Nearly one-quarter of the nation’s workers labor in jobs that generally pay less than the $8.85 hourly wage the U.S. government says it takes to keep a family of four out of poverty. Sixty percent of such workers are women, and many are people of color.

ME…...

THIS IS NOT DEM VERSUS REP. THIS HAS BEEN PLANNED AND IMPLEMENTED THROUGH BOTH DEM AND REP ADMINISTRATIONS.

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By TAO Walker, May 23, 2007 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment

The “Democrats’ Faustian Bargain” (noted so critically here) is nothing but a penny-ante side-bet, compared with the toxic deal the civilized nations have made with those devilish “angels” who sold them all this counterfeit bill-of-goods in the first place.  Now the inevitably destructive effects of “the money power” are everywhere undeniable and inescapable.  So much so that every article and comment on this site traces directly, via this-that-or-another “problem area,” to the presence and operations of “the global financial system,” and from there to the plutoligarchy that owns and runs it, and from there to the greedy “gods” these degenerate “elites” worship so damned foolishly.

Our domesticated sisters and brothers are unlikely even to hear, much less heed, the words of this free wild Indian, but here are a few well-chosen ones anyway.
 
    -You cannot be both “civilized” and free.

    -You cannot keep both your “comforts” and your essential humanity.

    -You cannot survive in the Natural Living Arrangement as “individuals.”

    -You cannot destroy Mother Earth, but you can destroy (and are right now destroying) yourownselves.

    -You cannot think, buy, shoot, vote, invent, legislate, pray, con, or even work your way out of your by-now mostly self-inflicted predicament (Those are, after all, the main means by which you’ve gotten so deeply into it.).

    -You cannot count-on some “divine” or other-worldly intervention to “save” you (Right now those particular orders-of-being won’t touch this place with a ten parsec pole, so to speak.).

What might you do (if you could muster-up and bring-to-bear a sufficiency of your essential human nature) to extricate one another from the death-trap you so stupidly glorify as your “finest achievement”? 

    -You might rid yourselves of all the idiotic “isms” to which you’ve become so abjectly subject….including the most insane and pernicious of all, “individualism.”

    -You might throw-off, finally, this ten-thousand-year rule-of-fear (now metasticized once again into one of its periodic reigns-of-terror) under which you’ve all suffered so uselessly.

    -You might find once again in each other, and in all our relations here, instead of “resources” to be exploited and “enemies” to be warred-on and “markets” to be captured, the living ground apart from which your personal being is not only meaningless but impossible.

    -You might, altogether (but never by yourselves), emerge from your long captivity, and the imminent collapse of its institutional and electro-mechanical machinery, a wiser, stronger, better people than you were when first caught-up in its seductive illusions.   

    -You might re-discover those innate human talents and abilities ruthlessly suppressed by your tormentors because such ineffable and free-ranging phenomena are fatal to their own self-serving and ultimately dead-end designs. 

    -You might find in your very humanity a “ticket” to limitless circles in The Great Hoop of Life Herownself, now off-limits to you because of the condition your condition is in, as “carriers” of civilization, currently quarantined.

So what’s your druthers?  For this old heathen savage and all the free wild natural peoples it’s pretty much a “no-brainer.”  For those who’re still slap-happily confined to the contraption, though, it might be anybody’s guess….“Deal?  Or No Deal?”

HokaHey!

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By cann4ing, May 23, 2007 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

Amazing!  As America’s manufacturing base fled first south and then overseas thanks to NAFTA and the WTO in a never ending quest for cheap foreign labor, as what was left of American labor was Wal-Mart-ized, as increasing numbers of Americans find they can’t make ends meet and have leveraged their finances to the hilt, as the gap between rich and poor has grown to levels that have not existed since the Gilded Age of the Robber Barons, as the numbers who have fallen below the poverty line has swollen from 21 million to 33 million, as the number of Americans without health insurance has gone from 40 million to 47 million in just the past seven years, as the housing bubble bursts and more and more family homes are foreclosed, as the price at the pump (and oil industry profits) has more than trippled in the past six years, as U.S. pharmaceutical companies charge between 3 - 4 times the rate in the U.S. that they charge for the identical prescription drugs in Canada, Ronald “Marshall” Reagan tells us, “It’s always morning in America.”  The economy is thriving, Marshall claims.  The total numbers who are working keeps going up!

Again, Marshall, I ask, please give us the name of the planet you are living on.  I am sure there are a lot of people who would like to move there.  You surely are not talking about the USA 2007!

As you play this numbers game Marshall, consider: During the period of the Ante Bellum South, there was a form of full employment amongst the slaves.  The were all working.  Unless you were one of the slave owners, however, I doubt that you would see that statistic as evidence of a thriving economy.  Certainly not if you were one of the slaves.

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By Nitro, May 23, 2007 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Ernest Canning (#71968) Double Amen to that brother and in agreement with LeeFeller, double very good commenting.

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By Leefeller, May 23, 2007 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

#71968 by Ernest Canning on 5/23 at 7:56 am

Great post Ernest Canning, very, very powerful.

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By cann4ing, May 23, 2007 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”  Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“The greatest challenge we face is the growing gap between the rich and poor people on earth.”  Pres. Jimmy Carter.

“More than anything else, I want to see the United States remain a country where someone can get rich.”  Pres. Ronald Reagan.

The gap between the laissez faire myth of Reaganomics and reality is as stark as the growing gap between the present wealthiest one percent of America and everyone else where, by 1999, the net worth of just three individuals, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Warren Buffet, was larger than the gross domestic product of the world’s 41 poorest nations and their 550 million people.  In today’s upside-down America, ostensibly “public” institutions have been increasingly perverted into tools of wealth disparity, as wealth has devised one scheme after another to insure that, from the perspective of the working and middle classes, things will only get worse. 

30 years ago, at $1.3 million, the average annual CEO compensation was 39 times that of the average worker.  Today, at $37.5 million, it is over a thousand times that of the average worker, who experienced a ten percent loss in real wages during the same 30 years.  During the past 25 years the number of Americans below the poverty line swelled from 21 million to 33 million.

“America,” Bill Moyers observes, “has already become perhaps the harshest and most unforgiving society among the industrial democracies, and life is about to get even harder for the unlucky as the administration reckons to shift the tax burden even further away from the wealthy towards wage earners.”

That, Mr. Marshall, is the true meaning of Reaganomics.

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By Verne Arnold, May 23, 2007 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

Re: #71769 by Marshall on 5/22 at 12:09 pm

You must not have liked my answer.  This administration has no defence; it is corrupt beyond understanding and there is no, I repeat NO, defense of it.  It defies all logic and reason…period!!!!

Stay with your “beliefs”, but try to understand the word “belief”!  It might scare the hell out of you!!!

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By Marshall, May 23, 2007 at 3:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Ernest Canning - Virtually every one of your assertions is just plain wrong and I’ll be happy to back that statement up with links to prove it, but not in this post.  You’ve obviously been swallowing that book you mentioned without bothering to verify any of its claims.

To Skruff - I certainly give you credit for the most reasoned reply, even if you’re changing the subject (from govt. revenue to citizen welfare)  and presenting several opinions as fact mixed with a wrong assertion or two:

“The key here is not tax revenues, but the index of three economic indicators which tell folks how US citizens are faring, rather than how the government is doing. “

The reason that govt. is doing better after the tax cuts is precisely BECAUSE the citizenry is doing better.  As to tax distribution; the wealthy are paying more tax than ever before in history, and the poor are paying less tax than ever before.  In fact, many poor pay no tax at all and receive additional money from the govt.

“one is the employment rate which needs to increase yearly, to conform to incoming workers.  This is not the “unemployment rate but the rate at which companies are hiring.”

If companies rate of hiring were below the number of workers entering the workforce, then by definition, the unemployment rate would increase.  It has not - and since it’s a percentage, it’s based on the size of the workforce.

“This means the next indicator, average hourly wage paid is going to remain flat also. “

But it hasn’t.  Average weekly earnings, after subtraction of CPI-W, increased 1.6% from March 2006 to March 2007… ie. real wages increased.

“the third is cost of necessary goods. We are not talking about the phony government “inflation figures” here. we are talking about stuff you really buy. Gas rent, groceries, and enviornmental leveling (cooling in Florida, heating in Maine) The cost of goods has increased 25% since the World Trade Center fell.”

You’ll need to be more specific about which CPI you’re referrring to.  But I’m not sure how you’d blame high gas prices on our government (other than discouraging new refinery construction as happened during the nineties).  So when you remove the things that we have no control over, inflation has been rather tame.

The bottom line is that we live in a strong economy with low unemployment and an upwardly mobile middle class.  Once again; if this weren’t true, the economy would be a major Democratic campaign plank… but it’s not.

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By cann4ing, May 22, 2007 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

What planet is Marshall from?

The fact is that there has been a drastic rise in the federal deficit under the Bush regime, thanks to massive tax cuts for the wealthy at the same time defense spending and corporate give-aways have depleted the federal treasury.  There was a similar spike in the deficit (albeit, not as sharp) during the Reagan/Bush I regimes, temporarily abated by the relatively fiscally responsible Clinton presidency.

Thanks to Reaganomics—now Bush-a-nomics—the US has gone from the world’s largest creditor nation to the world’s largest debtor nation.  While the oft-untaxed incomes of the wealthiest one percent have risen sharply, the real earnings of the rest of America—measured against inflation—has fallen, drastically.

The only thing that has increased under Reaganomics is the percentage of the government tax revenue that is being paid by the middle and working classes, whose middle-class wage jobs were lost to outsourcing, courtesy of the conspiracy between Reagan-Bush and Bill Clinton that brought us NAFTA and the WTO. 

More jobs—only if you consider part time at Wal-Mart to the tune of $11,000 a year a “job.”

Marshall, you would do well to read “The Global Class War,” by Jeff Faux.

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By Leefeller, May 22, 2007 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

Marshall, I Leefeller said I was not really knowlegable of economics, not you.
My point of view, was the the Trickle down theory is in question.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, May 22, 2007 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is what Reaganomics and all the ´nomics for my and your lifetimes has been about….

The top 1 percent of Americans are now receiving the largest share of national income since the pre-Great Depression year 1928. The top 10 percent get 48.5 percent of total income, an obscene rate of inequality.

According to Princeton University professor Peter Singer, the top 0.01 of taxpayers or 14,000 Americans earn an average of $12,775,000 with total earnings of $184 billion. The rest of the 0.1 percent, or 129,600 individuals, now have an average income of just over $2 million. And the top 0.5 or 575,900 have an average income of $623,000.

Prof. Singer calculates that if the folks in the top 10 percent donated between 10-30 percent of their income, it would raise $404 billion, an amount that would eliminate half of global poverty. And they wouldn’t be left to scrimp on their sumptuous lifestyles.

What should we make of these iniquitous numbers? I can’t quarrel with Adam Smith, the oft misquoted and misunderstood moral philosopher and economist, who wrote in his monumental book The Wealth of Nations,

“Whenever there is great property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred of the poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many

From Gary Olson´article at Z NET May 1, 2007, The Rich Are Different.

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By Skruff, May 22, 2007 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment
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#71629 by Marshall on 5/22 at 12:09 am

“...Reaganomics doesn’t work, then please do explain the direct correlation between Bush’s tax cuts and increased tax revenue… I’ll wait here.” 


Thanks for waiting. In point of fact, it is not all that clear that tax revenue has increased beyond the percapita rate of January 2000. we’ve added 10 million people since then, and our multi-nationals (that everyone loves to hate) ExxonMobil, and Wally world have increased their profits by 2/5ths.

The key here is not tax revenues, but the index of three economic indicators which tell folks how US citizens are faring, rather than how the government is doing. 

one is the employment rate which needs to increase yearly, to conform to incoming workers.  This is not the “unemployment rate but the rate at which companies are hiring.  Onshore employment is flat and has been since 2001 this is not to say we have not added jobs, it means that when compared to incoming potential employees, it is barly keeping pace.  This means the next indicator, average hourly wage paid is going to remain flat also.  If companies don’t need the help, they are not going to pay more for it. the third is cost of necessary goods. We are not talking about the phony government “inflation figures” here. we are talking about stuff you really buy. Gas rent, groceries, and enviornmental leveling (cooling in Florida, heating in Maine) The cost of goods has increased 25% since the World Trade Center fell. stagnant wages, scarce hourly wage jobs, and higher prices equals a pretty decent pain in most folks.  Everything we buy here in Eastern Maine arrives via diesel.

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By Marshall, May 22, 2007 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment
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To Leefeller who said “I do not claim to know or be knowledgeable in economics.  It seems to me that most economists seem to be in disagreement about their own subject.”

While economic theory is always up for disagreement, the facts of why govt. tax receipts have increased is well known because, believe me, the govt. knows where its income comes from.  More people are paying income tax than ever before because more people are working (earning income) than in the past and at higher paying jobs.  Corporations are also paying more taxes on investments, etc…

None of this is in dispute. So draw what conclusions you’d like… but it doesn’t take an economist to see the correlation between tax cuts and job growth.

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By Nitro, May 22, 2007 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

This is almost better than watching cartoons! I missed something the first time I read this article and comments…

Now I can’t tell for sure cause you can’t see the whole picture… But doesn’t Bill have his hands in Hillary’s pants? Sure looks like it to me! And Chelsea must be saying, “way to go dad, see you haven’t lost your TOUCH!” And Hillary must be saying, “Bill, mines bigger than yours now, so about those donations…” And the look on Bill’s red face says,“Damn girl, it is bigger than mine!”

Wally World & Reagonnomics… Along with all the other outsourced American jobs and “trickle down effects, can be dealt with. It’s called “Consumer Power” I think. If we want our “Good Jobs” back, the NAFTA agreement only helped the rich and famous again, and stuck it in the back pocket of the American People again!

Just quit patronizing the big CORPORATES, and demand American made products. I just love going to Wally World, loading up my cart full, then go to the check out and as each item is picked up to put on the big rolling black belt, I stop and say, “Ooops. Sorry. I don’t patronize any country that will not balance the Fair Trade Agreement, and will only buy American.”

It’s more than worth the humor to watch the manager have to come and check out the disturbance. But since Wally World supports sweat shop and child labor practices, and minimum wage for their FELLOW AMERICANS, and gives them “after clocking out chores’” I’m sure someone will have to put all the FOREIGN products, back on the shelf. I wonder how long it would take Wally to figure it out and take his ass to some country he supports the sweat shop labor tactics, and watch his warehouses start backing up?

And what about buying FOOD PRODUCTS from China? What’s this all about? I thought we were feeding the world? Besides, since they PISS on our food while it’s growing, I for one would sure like to have the opportunity to PISS on whatever we send to them first!

Someone make a bumper sticker or windowsticker that shows some little boy PISSING on China like the Ford, Chevy, Dodge stickers.

To a Better Day…

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By Leefeller, May 22, 2007 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Marshall on 5/22 at 12:09 am I do not claim to know or be knowledgeable in economics.  It seems to me that most economists seem to be in disagreement about their own subject,  hit and miss and more like the weather guys. ;Economics is theory not science.  I know this is elementary, but when you talk about the Reagen trickle down theory, I have a feeling that is all it is a theory.  The results from Regenomics could be the same only a cycle like the electronics boom?

My concern is Congress will always follow the Corporate money while the people are fed tidbits. The Blood for oil war in Iraq is a prime example. 

Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich and Now Paul on the Republican side are the only ones that address the truth or some of it anyway.  The rest of the candidates seem to be in the pockets of big money and Hillary is reaching deep from the top of the pack.

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By Walter Appling, May 22, 2007 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So what’s new?  The political whores have been doing it for decades.

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By Marshall, May 22, 2007 at 1:09 am Link to this comment
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To DennisD who said “I do know that spending more than you take in doesn’t lower your debt no matter how you add it up. I thought all the Reaganomics scholars were back in their padded cells.”

Well if they are, that padding was paid for by the growing tax receipts of their state/federal governments in recent years.  If Reaganomics doesn’t work, then please do explain the direct correlation between Bush’s tax cuts and increased tax revenue…  I’ll wait here.

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By DennisD, May 21, 2007 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment
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“In their mad race for money, the front-running Democratic presidential candidates might be selling themselves to the devil”.

MIGHT BE - Who the hell is kidding who anymore, this is the best government any corporation can buy. Replacing one party with the other is meaningless - the FOR SALE never leaves the Congress, White House or Supreme Court.
By the way Marshall even though I went to school way before the new math. I do know that spending more than you take in doesn’t lower your debt no matter how you add it up. I thought all the Reaganomics scholars were back in their padded cells. It sounds like the thought of the peoples own tax dollars being spent to benefit them instead of some corporate interest upsets you to no end. I’d say your Republican brainwashing was a complete success.

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By cann4ing, May 21, 2007 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

News flash, Mr. Boyarsky!  If the “Devil” in this case is the multi-national corporatocracy, the so-called “front-running” Democrats sold themselves themselves to the Devil long ago.

As revealed at length by Jeff Faux in “The Global Class War,” this sell-out occurred when President Clinton joined with Reagan and Bush I in ramming through NAFTA and the WTO on the “fast track.”  Both became tools through which America’s economic elite were about to outsource this nation’s manufacturing base in a never-ending search for cheap foreign labor and lax foreign laws that permit them to carry out environmental degredation without risk of economic accountability.

Perhaps there is no company in the world has benefited more from this economic betrayal of American labor than the company where Hillary Clinton had once sat on the board of directors.  Before 1991 Wal-Mart did not have a single store outside the continental U.S.  By 2003, thanks to NAFTA and the WTO, Wal-Mart, with its 4,400 stores had become the world’s largest corporation.  It is the largest retailer in Mexico and Canada.  In 2005 alone, it had plans to open 76 more stores within the U.S.  It’s “always low prices” translates “always huge profits”—$7 billion/year; profits that have placed five members of the Walton family amongst the world’s top ten richest people, with a combined personal worth in excess of $100 billion.  This enormous wealth is punctuated by poverty level wages for Wal-Mart’s employees, the more fortunate of whom receive $15,000/year for full time work.  But for 70% of the Wal-Mart workforce, the company defines “full-time” as 28 hours/week—$11,000/year.

The Scrooges at Wal-Mart are not satisfied with simply paying minimum wage.  At home, they devised an “off-the-clock” scheme in which employees are instructed to clock out, then assigned extra tasks for which they receive no compensation.  Abroad, the company is aligned with sweatshop labor so as to lead Jim Hightower to conclude that Wal-Mart “is now the world’s most powerful private force for lowering labor standards and stifling middle-class aspirations of workers everywhere.”

Unless massive numbers of Democrats awaken, and right soon, to reject the corporatist charletons (Obama, Clinton and Edwards) and to select the only candidate who truly represents their interest with no strings attached—Dennis Kucinich—the Wal-Mart model may well represent what the future holds in store for American labor.

Note:  While Sen. Gravel, like Kucinich, has directly challenged the military-industrial complex, Kucinich is the “only” candidate who is advocating a repeal of NAFTA and the WTO.

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By andie w, May 21, 2007 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While the system may have been flawed from the beginning, elections are becoming more and more superficial and greed driven.  Not only are back room deals made to generate huge campaign contributions, but we never actually hear where candidates stand on issues that aren’t popular media talking points or supported by key interest groups.  Relevant issues, that have gained international support, like the fight against global poverty, are completely ignored in this election process.  I would like to hear about where the candidates stand on supporting the Millennium Development Goals and remedying the $19 billion annual shortfall needed to end extreme poverty.  But I don’t have thousands of dollars to contribute to a campaign; I only have one vote…which doesn’t mean much anymore.

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By felicity, May 21, 2007 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

We’re about the only country left on the planet which still has a presidential system of government.  Why you ask?  Because it’s a flawed system and not repairable and the rest of the world gets that it’s flawed and not worth repairing.

To continue to deny that our system is CERTAINLY not set-up according to the law of quid pro quo, is to be tilting at windmills. Big money gets big clout.  Big anything gets big clout. The office holder must play by that rule.  Our revered FLOUNDERING fathers set it up that way.

It’s when those nine black-robed floundering fustian founts of god-like wisdom, they who must be obeyed, got in the act and declared that money equals speech that it really hit the fan.

Gd may have written the Bible -?- but Gd did not writethe Constitution.  Jefferson said to chuck in thirty years; he knew of what he spake.

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By rage, May 21, 2007 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This party is already nothing short of being Republican lite. There is simply so little difference between them and the other side of the aisle. There is no black or white, just varying hues of gray. The devil already owns their souls, willing to return more than half of them because the duplicity is way too much for satan to even endure. No one wants to have to shore up strong under public criticism and potential party ostricization for coming out solid on a single issue. All actions betray bitterly the lukewarm rhetoric these acts are intended to demonstrate. All these bought-n-bossed cowards make me want to puke. They are all guilty of murdering liberty, freedom, and the democratic process for which our forefathers gave their lives.

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By Jeanine Molloff, May 21, 2007 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
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Here’s a revolutionary idea: what if the winning candidate who promised all these things to the monied classes—commit to a one-term administration(covertly)while reneging on promises made or inferred—to the money men?!  Their response will be—you’ll never get a second term!  Who cares!  Most of what needs to begin can be accomplished in one term!  Work to REPEAL THE FOLLOWING: PATRIOT I & II, MILITARY COMMISSIONS, WARNER AUTHORIZATION, ANIMAL TERRORISM BILL, CHANGES MADE TO THE POSSE COMITATUS ACT, TELECOMMUNICATIONS BILL OF 1996, AND THE WAR DECLARATION INVOLVING OUR TROOPS IN IRAQ.  FURTHERMORE, USE THE ALTERNATIVE MEDIA TO SKEWER THE OPPOSITION, AND MAKE THE SO-CALLED MAINSTREAM MEDIA FOLLOW THE STORY.  BRING THE STORY TO THE PEOPLE, BUT USE YOUR OWN SECURITY.  YOUR LIFE WILL BE THREATENED, BUT IT WILL BE WORTH IT.  ALSO INFORM THE PUBLIC—THAT ANY ‘LAW’ (ESPECIALLY UNJUST ONES), CAN BE REPEALED, AND HAVE THE PUBLIC PRESSURE THE DO-NOTHING CONGRESS.  IT’S A FANTASY, I KNOW—BUT SUCH A GREAT ONE!  OUT BOTH CORPORATE PARTIES; THE REPUBLICRATS AND THE DEMOPUBLICANS FOR THE SELLOUT PHONIES THEY ARE.  THEIR PROMISES ARE LIKE PELOSI’S BOTOX OVERDOSED FACE—SMOOTH BUT LACKING ANY DEPTH OF PURPOSE.  TIME TO RECLAIM OUR RIGHTS!

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By Verne Arnold, May 21, 2007 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Re #71358 by Marshall on 5/20 at 10:00 pm

Yes I do have stocks.  When I put those ahead of my personal values then I’ll join the republican party and they can have my soul…for a price!

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By Skruff, May 21, 2007 at 7:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Communists did it first.  They took a economic idology and made it into a political system. 

Now in these United States we NEVER had a “democracy” a “democracy is a system where every citizen votes on every issue.  We live in a republic.

We elect folks to do our bidding. Here in New England we call them “employees” they are SUPPOSED to work for us, but in looking at the failure of communism, our workers decided to call our system a “Democracy” rather than a “capitalistic republic” which is in truth what we’ve become.

You may have all the “justice” you can afford.

It is not fault of the opportunistic folks who run for the money, it is our fault for looking at their hair, $2,000.00 suits, and listening to their glib, regional-accent-removed words without seeing the true face of greedy charlatans.

At this point I see only two nationally known figures worthy of my vote. Two is better than the zero number of candidates locally, here in Maine.

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By Bert, May 21, 2007 at 1:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think there should be higher standards for holding public office than simply being wealthy enough to participate in the patronage fan-dance that has been our political system, well, for decades, now. Money can’t buy happiness, but it does sort of put you in charge if you have enough of it, and that’s where you need to stop, and think about checks and balances, and representative government, and all of that. Do you want to see President Gates? Well, he’s trying to set US immigration policies by pressuring the work visa thing, and he’s just one corporate type that wants to reshape the country, and there’s a whole laundry list of em, everyone from the defense companies that want your tax money for that bigger, better, faster death machine, to the giveaway bandits, spiritual kin of Matthew Lesko(yes, That Guy that you saw all the time on TV), I’d like to see a presidential candidate that had things like a balanced federal budget and full public transparency pretty high on their proposed ‘to do’ list. How about a factually savvy if not terribly photogenic candidate, someone that could independently operate a calculator or speak coherently on a given topic without incurring personal embarassment or debilitating injury. That’d be something, someone that wasn’t a product of a high-dollar focus group, the favorite of a lobbying enterprise that wants to puppetize their chosen candidate as a tool for their enterprise. This kind of speaks to our national heritage, the concept of independence. You can’t well be objective as to a policy issue if the people that put you in office basically paid your way because they wanted you to promote policy friendly to their economic interests.
That’s a Big Problem with our current administration,
and it could well be that it will take the introduction of the Independent Party, or equivalent, to break free of the DNC/GOP good politician/bad politician business-as-usual vaudeville routine that we’ve been seeing over the last several administrations, including Clinton’s. Personally, I don’t want to see either Bill or Hillary in the white house anymore, they had their fun, their friends made their money, and they’d like to continue on in that vein, whereas a lot of people these days mainly feel that it’s overdue to be cauterized. 9 trillion in red ink isn’t going to pay itself off, and you certainly won’t see any draconian budget policy changes with any of the current crop of high-dollar candidates. Both DNC and GOP can fairly be said to be the Rich People’s Party,
they cater to the wealthy, simply put because they know that’s where the money comes from. But, are we content to have runaway patronage continue to be our form of government, or are some reforms in order? I think many people feel that reform would help a lot, but which candidate would present such reforms? Hmmm….eenie, meenie, miney, mo…..

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By kevin99999, May 21, 2007 at 12:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is not much difference between Republicans and Democrats. They both feed from the same trough. We make a mistake of thinking that we are living in a democracy. Yes, we do have elections but thats about it. Largely, corporations dictate who get elected. They own all institutions of government.

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By GW=MCHammered, May 21, 2007 at 12:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

re: Indigent Riter’s
FETUS ANNOUNCES PRESIDENTIAL BID!

Here at the Warshington Prone we pride ourselves in accuracy. However, recent dog-in-heat firings, er, we mean necessary staff changes, resulted in all our editors voluntarily leaving. To remain competitive in the modern marketplace, we outsourced editing responsibilities to East India. Unfortunately, all our Indian editors recently ate Chinese food, then mysteriously became ill, resulting in the following editorial errors now corrected in parenthesis:

“Say something dammit!(”)
“Proud as a well-hung bull in the doggie (dogie or dogy) pen.”

We regret any inconvenience this may or may not have cost our readers. Hey, at least we managed to publish it in English!

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By Marshall, May 20, 2007 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks for so many responses to my earlier comment about the Republican approach to the economy.  Unfortunately, some people’s facts got mixed up so here are my responses by name:

Human Power - “Why do you think we had record deficits under Reagan and Bush but balanced budgets under Clinton?”

Two words: Internet Bubble.  Unless you think Clinton invented the Internet, there’s no question that the ballooning tax receipts due to frenzied speculation led to a false economy that began to collapse just as Clinton was leaving office.  It would have been even worse had not Clinton’s Republican congress reigned in bloated budgets submitted by the white house.

SamSnedegar - The main reason that “less money means more” is quite simple: lower taxes means more jobs means more people/companies paying tax.  This is a FACT - the Bush tax cuts INCREASED fed. tax revenue.  It’s not magic, just something the Dems don’t get.  FYI - National debt as a percentage of GDP is actually LOWER than at many times in the past.  Debt, as a single number, is almost meaningless; it’s how it stacks up to the national income that matters.

Verne Arnold - Please see my note to Human Power above.  And as to “what this administration got right”... the economy speaks for itself (“got stocks?”).  Which is, once again, why you hear nothing but deafening silence from Dem candidates about the economy.  Yup - that whining you’re not hearing is called silence.

Forkboy - That’s quite an in depth analysis.  But it contains a few flaws:  1) It’s no argument for raising taxes.  2) All of the things you outlined actually happen.  And your scenario of a single tax refund, spent on a surround system, times the number of workers in the US, is simplisitic.  The fact is that taxes got cut, unemployment dropped, and the economy expanded.  There are all sorts of reasons this happens, but I think we’re beyond the point of denying that it does.

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 20, 2007 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

#71294 by Nitro on 5/20 at 2:09 pm: “...Maybe they should have a special desk at their campaign events that would allow contributors to crawl under the desk to get their licks in… I mean make their political contributions…..’

It works the other way around, Nitro. Once they are elected, its the politician who has to run around crawling and licking and “performing”...... that’s the problem!

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By Peter RV, May 20, 2007 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Democrats might be be selling their soul to the Devil? They already did that and whatsmore the Republicans did it too, and to - the same Devil.
  Boyarsky seems unable to identify Him even though He has already clinched the purchase of both of our main political formations.
  His name is - A I P A C !
  In fact, our two cute “parties” are simply two branches of of the same -AIPAC Party.Does anyone stil have doubts about this? This Devil’s Party means business, which is War ,and unless we can form an anti-Devil Party ( easily identifiable as Anti-War) we will be paving our way to Hell, and very soon.
  The Third Party is indispensable and there are plenty of excellent candidates to lead it:
  Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Mike Gravel, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich. All honest patriotic Americans defenders of our Constitution, without secret agendas and forked tongues.
There must be enough of us who are thoroughly disgusted by now,of our imperial hubris, our conquests, our shameless lies,our killings and tortures, our agressions, our fears and paranoia, and our phony Christianism,- to elect one of these decent men to reverse our course to catastrophy.
Let’s mind our own American business and make our Country a decent place to live first,and let us leave others live their own way.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, May 20, 2007 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment
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May have sold out?
Folks that was done years ago. It is worth the effort to try and understand the role of money in our political life. An article by Richard C. Cook, retired fed analyst, 21 years with the U.S. Dept of the Treasury…..MONETARY REFORM AND HOW A NATIONAL MONETARY SYSTEM SHOULD WORK…..which begins…

WHERE MONEY COMES FROM

When setting out to study monetary principles, we must realize how little we know of the real facts of monetary history. Economics is an extremely limited discipline rife with untested assumptions and unchallengeable dogmas. Its most pernicious doctrine is the assertion that there is something called “the market,” where there is an “invisible hand” that makes everything work out the way it is supposed to.

Actually, an economy functions according to the principles according to which it is designed and regulated. If it is designed to funnel wealth into the hands of the monetary controllers, then that is what the “market” and the “invisible hand” will do. If it is designed to foster “the general welfare,” as it should according to the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, then the “market” and the “invisible hand” will tend in that direction.

Unfortunately, we march today to the tune of the monetary elite, so they are the ones who reap the profits and the benefits. They are the ones on whom the “invisible hand” lavishes the wealth of the world….....is very informative about money and how our system presently works.

If you think anyone can have any hope of being elected to anything above dog-catcher without declaring fealty to the powerful money men who control, you are living in a fairy land.

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By Nitro, May 20, 2007 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

Political candidates selling their souls to the devil? They have had that practice being policy for how long already?

Maybe they should have a special desk at their campaign events that would allow contributors to crawl under the desk to get their licks in… I mean make their political contributions.

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 20, 2007 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

“In their mad race for money .......You don’t raise $100,000 at an event on charm alone…...”

This, of course, is NOT democracy! Its more like being “sold down the river” for the voters and younger citizens whose needs and freedoms and rights are ignored. In other words, it is a permissive system of corruption.

The wants and desires of the usual money elite are furthered and fostered and thus there is a two-headed monster (the main parties) in everlasting existence feeding off the thereby enslaved electorate. It is corrupt in essence at the outset.

Freedom depends on voting for politicians who only ever tell the TRUTH! With so many silver tongues and hollow promises, it is only by their actions that you will know them. But, then, what is it that we want when we still vote for liars and seducers?

Are we ourselves not asking for our dreams and illusions to be catered to and pandered to as much as those wealthy business interests when we vote for fake policies? We really all must be a lot more honest with ourselves first ot we will never understand the value of what it is which has so often been cleverly takne from us!!!

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By Forkboy, May 20, 2007 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Regarding #71168 by Marshall on 5/19 at 9:29 pm

I won’t argue the points of your comment.  You believe you have a grasp of how trickle-down economics has made our economy stronger during the Republican years of late.  But let us look more closely at the tax-cuts-raise-revenue idea (first, and as others have pointed out, how is it that Republican tax-cuts always lead to horrendous debts if they are so effective at generating revenue?)

Let’s perform a brief thought experiment regarding the economy. Let’s assume tax cuts are passed and that folks get back bigger refunds or pass less in taxes to begin with.  They now have the addition $x to do what with?  As I understand economic theory there are four choices:

1)  Spend it in the consumer marketplace (which is what the idea of tax-cuts-generates-revenue is based upon) on consumer goods, thus generating sales tax revenues, more employment (and thus more income taxes), etc.  However, this isn’t the only option available and in today’s age of importation of most consumer goods the net effect of purchasing that home entertainment system is spread amongst companies headquartered around the globe and NOT just in the US.

2) Save it.  Stick it into one’s savings account or a CD.  Stick it into a place that offers short-term rates and where it can be taken back if needed without much penalty.  Sure, money in the bank provides banks more backing to offer others loans which can lead to economic growth.  But clearly the potential for economic growth (and thus the generation of more tax revenue as necessary for the tax-cuts to work) is subtle and less effective.

3)  Pay off debt(s).  This does nothing to stimulate the economy and help generate revenues.  Paying off a debt means that goods and/or services were previously consumed, which may have helped the economy at that time, but does nothing at the time the debt is paid off.

4)  Invest.  Stocks, bonds, hedge funds, you name it.  Okay, this may be viewed as helping build the economy as it offers companies capital by which they can invest into their companies.  But does this guarantee growth?  I think not.  As a matter-of-fact I would go so far as to say it is really quite ineffective unless one is spending that tax refund on some stocks in an IPO.  Consider:  once a company issues stock and receives money for it’s issuance it’s only the owner of the stock that may generate revenue from it’s sale (assuming the stock has increased in value in the marketplace).  The company got it’s money when it first sold the stock, but it doesn’t receive anything more in the future.  Of course, this is a rather simplistic view of the entire investments culture, but this view does stand on it’s own with merit.

So, as you can clearly see, the money anyone might receive back in an increased tax refund (or see in their paycheck thanks to lower income taxes) can be used in a variety of ways, but only one of the four really stimulates the economy in the way that trickle-down economic theory dictates must happen for it to be effective. 

In a day and age when Americans bought goods and services that were created and performed by fellow Americans one might have made an argument that trickle-down theory would work.  However, when I run out and buy that home entertainment system with my tax refund who really is helped?  The Japanese company which designs and engineers the large-screen t.v., 7.1 surround sound receiver and speakers.  The Chinese firm and employees who actually manufacture these items.  The South Korean firm whose boat transports the products to our shores.  Oh, then American companies, the freight forwarder and the retail store get a cut as well.  But even here we see that much of the stimulation of my tax refund winds up offshore.

Sorry, I really do not believe that trickle-down is a sound economic theory.  And nor did Bush Sr.

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By GW=MCHammered, May 20, 2007 at 11:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

(satire ahead)

FETUS ANNOUNCES PRESIDENTIAL BID!
By Indigent Riter
Warshington Prone Staff Writer
Sunday, May 32, 2008

In the spirited race to ever outrun the competition, a fetus announced today his or her presidential run in 2044.

“I was texting my friend at the Warshington Prone when I musta fell asleep with the cell phone on my tummy,” says Jenna Bush the expectant mother.

Barbara, the pregnant mom’s twin sister, explained, “Ever since Jenna got knocked-up, she blacks out after just six drinks! She’s really unfun anymore.”

The gurglie-voiced little Republican declared from the womb the simple but undeniable need for campaign funds, “It’s about the Haves and the Have-Mores, stupid!”

Not to be outdone, Chelsea Clinton countered, “I wanted a baby but all my stupid boyfriends dumped me!” Personally I think Jenna’s a ventriloquist.”  Ms. Clinton raised a cell phone to a liquid-filled test tube, “Say something dammit!

Grandpa-to-be, President GW Bush expressed himself as, “Proud as a well-hung bull in the doggie pen.” Then he finished with, “Besides, they can’t draft a presidential candidate, heh-heh… Can they?”

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By Verne Arnold, May 20, 2007 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Re #71238 by Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD on 5/20 at 8:02 am

Definitely food for thought…I could agree with that.  But…

Nobody has mentioned the ever present…Electoral College.  The spoilers…

Is it possible we could actually elect a third party candidate and the electoral college would give the election away to…somebody else…then where is our “representative democracy’?

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By Rickinsf, May 20, 2007 at 9:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think that’s Chelsea in the background.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, May 20, 2007 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Verne and KISS, I agree with both of you.  But, I can park my ass on my worn-out office chair, sit in front of the computer for a few hours and let the puss pass through my finger tips onto the keyboard and then, accepting that I’m no Michael Moore, feel a little better after"words.”  Then again, when you think of it, except for a few isolated changes like WalMart discontinuing the sale of ammo (which made no difference to the people at VT), in this huge and hugely complicated world moving with unimaginable inertia 180 degrees away from the needs of regular people, even Moore, action patriot that he is, isn’t having that great an effect.  Go ahead, use less gasoline and tell all your Chinese friends to do the same. World wealth is now so lop-sided in favor of huge, multi national companies that they’ve rewritten economy rules—in their favor—and it won’t make a shred of difference to you and me, except possibly make things worse, unless, of course, we’d all like to go back about 100 years, and that might not be too outrageous an idea.

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By Verne Arnold, May 20, 2007 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

Addendum; I am not happy with any of the “parties” at this point in time ...but…let’s stick to the facts and thus reality.  There is no candidate from either party that is likely to be nominated that I would vote for…I am sick to death of being given the lesser of two evils as a choice…whose fault is that?  It’s the fault of the American sheep who at some point have lost or given up their own minds and thus their independence!  Your leaders are the result of your choices…it’s that simple.  If you don’t like it then choose differently…it’s that simple. 

This forum is worthless if it doesn’t prompt honest debate and action, as in ACTION!!!!

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By Verne Arnold, May 20, 2007 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

Re #71168 by Marshall on 5/19 at 9:29 pm


Do you remember; Bill Clinton left the US with a 200+ billion dollar surplus, which your lovely republicans squandered!  You need to get a grip on reality…what do you think is going on now?  Are you in La La land? At this point in time there is no, I repeat NO defence of this present administration…they have indeed gotten everything wrong in every sense of the word wrong!!!
Your argument is based on propaganda and illusion and is nothing more than a party line.  This admin. is in fact towing a Fascist line and that’s by Musollini’s own definition.  Check it out and get the facts.  Corporatism rules!

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By KISS, May 20, 2007 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

The commentaries are almost as sad as the shenanigans of the Dimmos and repugs. What I read here is the cry of the pitiful. Yes, the war is criminal, but we people, must be take some of the blame, we were led astray by 9/11 and fell for the BS. We cry and moan over corporate control of our elected….just don’t buy anything but the necessities and corporate will be quickly undone. Always vote against the incumbent.Demand term limits for every elected official. Make your car go another two years and cut your gas consumption by 1/2. There is much we can do to change ” Politics as Usual” but it starts with us.

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By SamSnedegar, May 20, 2007 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

poor Marshall is still laboring under the propaganda delusion that less money means more . . . and probably the one which says that putting more dirt in the sky is a clean sky initiative, and the one which says “no child left behind” means leaving most of the children behind.

In about two months our supposed national debt will cross the nine TRILLION dollar mark. The result of the Bushitter/GOP tax cuts is that we have gone about 3.3 TRILLION dollars MORE in debt (by their incompetent calculation) since the Bushitter gang of thugs took office in 2001.

Right. Tax cuts produce more revenue . . . wonderful. Here is the Ross Perot method: when you spend more than you take in, you go into debt. No matter how you slice the pie, you can’t possibly take in more by taking in less, so the ONLY way you can decrease your debt is by SPENDING less AND paying it down with the surplus generated thusly.

But it is the same tired old crap: Kennedy was a fool to fall for it, and so have been hundreds or maybe thousands of others. If something is “trickling down” on you, I suggest it is probably yellow and smelly; you ought to move.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, May 20, 2007 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Verily I say unto you, “The meek shall inherit the earth, but only after it’s been suckest dry by both powerful republicans and democrats.”  Verily I continue, “Believe on someone thou cans’t see, for thou mayst psychist thyself into thinking things are better than theyst really are.”

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By James Yell, May 20, 2007 at 6:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My observation has been that as politicians start coming to the forefront, they all begin to waffle on the truley important issues, such as a war that should never have been launched against a nation that had not ever been a real threat to the country. The only explaination for this is MONEY from corporations that have turned Internationalism into a code word for business avoiding paying taxes, draining wealth out of one country and hiding it in another. But, what can we say about a population privileged to live in a country of laws, balance and protections of a Bill of Rights, passively accepting that an incompetent Administration and a bought Congress and corrupted judiciary is just business as usual? American Democracy is dead.

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By Davian, May 20, 2007 at 1:43 am Link to this comment

Please, enough with delusions of meaningful differences between parties in which we’re forced to distinguish between bad and really bad.

Please, waste no more time with such horse race coverage, and demand political coverage that facilitates real, urgently needed change.

Please, while there is still a memory of our battered Constitution.

Please, demand and produce meaningful coverage that goes beyond pedestrian People magazine fare.

Please.

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By human power, May 20, 2007 at 12:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Marshall,
Under crazy Reagan we had unemployment so high that the feds changed the calculation to exclude those who had been unemployed for more than six months. Under this system, if everyone loses their job today, we will have 0% unemployment in six months!
Furthermore, the Laffer curve has been totally debunked both in theory and in practice. Why do you think we had record deficits under Reagan and Bush but balanced budgets under Clinton?
Get out of the bubble and experience reality.

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By THOMAS BILLIS, May 19, 2007 at 11:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The good thing in the midst of all the serious articles in Truthdig a little light comedy.No one gives money without wanting something besides good government in return.The only redeeming feature of the Democrats is that the people that give to them are slightly less scary than the ones who give to Republicans.All that means is that they will be slightly less corrupt.

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By Marshall, May 19, 2007 at 10:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“But the Democrats, as heirs to progressive politics, have an obligation to tackle the country’s social and economic problems.”

What’s so interesting is that it’s the Republicans that brought us our current state of low unemployment, low interest rates, high home ownership, upward mobility, and increased real wages.  This is because the Democrat solution for economic problems is to increase taxes to fund increased social spending, ignoring the fact that lower taxes INCREASES govt. tax receipts and boosts the economy; the best way to improve the lot of everyone.

It used to be “it’s the economy, stupid”.  Now - all the Dems have to run on is the war, so they’ll milk it for all its worth.

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By Christopher Robin, May 19, 2007 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is what I fear,any possible solution to health care or any other problem will be run through the filter of the financial groups affected first.

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By Hammo, May 19, 2007 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

More and more indicators seem to point to the need for third-party and independent candidates.

Both the Dems and Repubs are showing significant problems in dealing honestly and honorably with the important issues we face.

For more on this, see:

“A much-needed new path for 2008: Time for independent and third-party candidates to emerge, transcend and unite?”

PopulistAmerica.com  
Populist Party of America

http://www.populistamerica.com/a_much_needed_new_path_for_2008

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By CJ, May 19, 2007 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hate to have to say it again, but what Boyarsky points to is yet one more symptom of a defunct, actually-never-worked-very-well complex. (Revolutionary militia never DID get paid, did they?) We see where McCain-Feingold has led—nowhere. (Congress seems to possess an infinite capacity for cosmetic legislation, thereby just about guaranteeing re-election of themselves. The whole point has become to appear to do something while never actually affecting the status quo. Indeed, appearances have become everything, as the Post-Modernists say of “spectacle.”) In a capitalist democracy, money is essential, vast quantities of the fetishized stuff. The entire system is geared to the accumulation of cash and property. Attendant ideology consists of promises of delivery of goods, usually spoken of as “equal opportunity,” a phrase that might be emblazoned above the entrance to any Vegas Casino. Except that in the case of those casinos, most of us know odds are in favor of the house. We seem not to know as much about odds regarding that other House, which, obviously, has long been a source of winnings for those who’ve made entry. Not least due to awarding of selves annual pay raise, meaning giving themselves our money. This is legal. 

The “pursuit of happiness” largely means the pursuit of property, apparently. The Constitution, a seriously flawed document, embodies in legal form the rights of property (power, thus privilege, to those who possess the most), far more so than human rights. It made perfect sense that the Court ruled that any candidate for office should be allowed to spend as much of their own cash as they like in the pursuit of office. The Court could not have ruled otherwise given the Constitution as foundation of American law.

There’re are rumors Bloomberg might join in the campaign fun. His stash puts to shame even that of Romney. I personally don’t mind all this nonsense, just so long as people don’t continue to talk hypocritically of democracy or anything resembling democracy.

Yes, yes, it’s true that Americans, unlike citizens of, say, Saudi Arabia, can post our thoughts here without too much fear of repercussion—so far; but only exactly so long as what we say makes no difference. While elites in most of the rest of world seem stuck on a citizen even voicing dissent, America has moved far beyond blatant censorship to something much more subtle; namely, to recognition that allowing people to dissent serves elite interests even better, by means of a kind of delusion. The motto might go something like this: Let them fume, let them vent, let them rant and rave, even let them actively protest from time to time in the streets, just so long as they don’t get too uppity.

That vast quantities of money are part and parcel of running for public office is hardly surprising, though Boyarsky’s account is at once both ironic and revealing, though irony and revelation to which most Americans seem blind. Perhaps that is because he writes without intending irony and without revealing all that much after all. At least not much we didn’t already know or could have guessed. It’s all just “bidness” as usual.

Before long, we will all (most anyway, pending correct address, etc.) attend to voting booths whereat we are periodically allowed to select from among already personally wealthy, meretricious elites, who, as they require yet more, and regardless of party affiliation, always find sponsorship to be had from even wealthier business, media/entertainment and arts, and sports elites, most of whom, not satisfied with expropriation of most everything already and in staunch faith in their deservedness, would see those who perform actual labor reduced from existing wage-slavery to out-and-out serfdom. Welcome to neo-Feudalism, documented and undocumented alike.

This goes way beyond Dr. Faust, who had the good sense and taste (thanks to Mick and Keith) not to run for public office. Wow, my word to submit is “material.” Exactly.

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By Verne Arnold, May 19, 2007 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

TAO Walker…where are you?  I miss your wry wit.

It’s very hard to disagree with this read.

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By G. Anderson, May 19, 2007 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Democrats must feel at this point, that because of what Bush has done the Republicans have no chance at the White house.

Unfortunately they are wrong. I am a Democrat, and have been for my entire political life.

B. Webster has hit the nail on the head..

“As far as I am concerned Their only goal is to replace the Republican has heads of the Empire. When has an election changed the lives of ordinary people?”

The political system in this country is a failure, if all we have is a choice between Republicans controlled by the corporate plutocracy, and Democrats controlled by the corporate plutocracy….

Then perhaps it’s time for a third party, that would give American’s a choice, and finally a second party.

Millions of American’s understand that a Hillary Clinton presidencey would just be a continuation of the corporate regime we’ve had under Bush.

More war, more excuses, more gutting of the middle, while the Corporations are free to pillage the country side in the name of profit. With the way paved by the lefts dearest illusions, just as Bush’s way was paved by the rights.

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By JohnDWoodSr, May 19, 2007 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

Hillary is nothing but George Bush in drag. A democratic neocon so sold out to her campaign donors that any Dem with a social conscience is going to be badly screwed, again. She’s a money-grubbing warmonger just like Bush.If she buys her way into the nomination, this country will sink even farther under the outhouse.

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By QuyTran, May 19, 2007 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Where’s Monica ?

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