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Posted on Dec 9, 2008
Bush and Paulson
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

President Bush shakes hands with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson at the Treasury Department after the House passed the $700-billion financial bailout bill on Oct. 3.

By Robert Scheer

Let the record show that it was George W. Bush, the rich Texas Republican, who brought socialism to America, so don’t blame it on that African-American Chicago Democrat community organizer who made it into the White House. The government takeover of the banking and automobile industries not only happened on President Bush’s watch, it was also the deregulatory mania of this president’s family, beginning with his father, which took this country into such starkly unfamiliar territory.

What a betrayal of free-market capitalism. And who would have thought that it would be the candidates backed by conservative pundits Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh who made it possible? You actually could trace the destruction of corporate capitalism to the much-ballyhooed “Reagan Revolution” of the movie actor who got his main training for the presidency as a huckster for General Electric, where he honed the message of “getting government off our backs.” The revolution of unfettered corporate capitalism led to an era of unfettered corporate greed, which sowed the seeds of its own destruction.

True, the Democrats deserve much blame. The Wall Street runaway wouldn’t have happened if President Bill Clinton hadn’t cheered it on. The Great Triangulator provided seamless continuity between the administrations of the two Bushes in systematically dismantling the proven regulatory system, introduced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that saved capitalism from itself during the Great Depression. The danger with the incoming Democratic president is that Barack Obama has turned to some of the Clinton alums, most prominently former Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, to get us out of the mess that the Clinton administration worked mightily to create.

At least in the auto bailout there is some talk from the Democrats that the failed corporate leaders must be fired as a condition of salvaging their corporate entities—and stock options. Both political parties are tougher in the auto bailout than they were in the Wall Street rescue, but what do you expect when leadership on this issue is coming from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson? Like Robert Rubin, Clinton’s first treasury secretary and now Obama confident, Paulson came to government service immediately after heading up Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street powerhouse at the epicenter of the banking collapse. For the key practitioners of America’s brave new game of corporate socialism, failure has its own lush reward.

It’s enough to drive one back to the invisible hand of Adam Smith. Personally, I would rather we took our chances these days with letting the corporations sink or swim on their own without government interference. If tough love was good enough for troubled families cut off the public dole by Clinton’s welfare reform, which summarily ended the federal poverty program, why have a poverty program for troubled corporations?

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Forget saving the auto companies; let them become Japanese- or South Korean-owned, but sweeten the deal with U.S. government guarantees of extended unemployment insurance, health care, retirement plan protection and job retraining for laid-off autoworkers. Be generous on the worker end, and figure out ways to reclaim the big bucks from the banking and auto moguls who ripped off the American dream. The only reason the moguls are not going to jail for their shenanigans is that they got their supplicants in Congress from both parties to rewrite the laws to legalize activities that should have been judged as crimes.

If we are to have an expansion of government on this scale, we should start with extending health coverage to all Americans rather than with government bureaucrats micromanaging auto companies. Government-insured health care works. All the doctors I see want me to be on Medicare, and not one of them is eager to deal with the medical insurance provided to me as a retiree after 30 years of employment by the Los Angeles Times—insurance now threatened by my once-proud capitalist employer seeking bankruptcy protection. A protection, incidentally, that a bipartisan congressional majority made much more difficult for individuals to use when we get in personal financial trouble.

With the exception of my years as an undergraduate, when I sorted mail late into the night at the post office near Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal, I have never been on the public payroll. Thanks to the Reagan Revolution, and its endgame of socialism for the rich, we all may end up on the public dole, scrambling for droppings from a too heavily laden nationalized table. Socialism for the rich is not the way to go.

Robert Scheer is author of a new book, “The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America.”

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By beeline, June 18, 2010 at 4:39 am Link to this comment

One thing that might help the auto industry is if the car rental companies expended their fleets again. This would also help me when I come to hire a car as there might be some at the lot.

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By Ham-Archy, December 14, 2008 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

Louise:
You seem to be quite fond of words.
Go figure this:
http://books.google.com/books?id=bl0k_ZjcWZ8C

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By Louise, December 14, 2008 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

“Socialism for the rich is not the way to go.”

You are being to kind Scheer. What we have here is WELFARE for the rich! Going on since Reagan first introduced a plan to destroy government. A growing monster sucking the life out of the nation and giving us instead, RICH WELFARE RATS!

So forget everything you thought you knew about government and welfare and socialism and put it in a context everybody can understand. Something for nothing. Going on the public dole. Not because you’re helpless but because you can! That’s exactly what’s happened. The rich get richer and even when the rich screw up and prove they don’t deserve to be rich, they stand in line knowing they will get their WELFARE!

And the rest of us? Well we can all go straight to Hell!

Re-visit the Senate “debate” last Thursday. The message, it’s far more important for this particular batch of repubs to win political points - destroy the UNIONS - than it is to worry about a few million jobs lost. If that doesn’t prove once and for all what they really think of the folks who vote for them NOTHING will! Right now, we need to stop the bleeding! We can figure out who the slasher was once the patient’s stabilized!

Visit history re-done. We find it has been decided Hoover is to blame for “Great Depression, part one.” He was unwilling to use government intervention, preferring instead to gamble on collapse. Favoring Capitalist greed, he really believed the “markets” would correct themselves. Well they didn’t, because they couldn’t!

So this time it was decided to go the other way. We wont let the “markets correct themselves” at the risk of collapse. That way we’ll head off Great Depression part two. But that doesn’t seem to be working either.

Could that be because the REAL underlying cause is not identified?

Going back further, Coolidge led the move to do away with the Progressive policies of reforming and regulating the economy. He cut taxes on Corporations to the bone, while Congress voted almost no money to allow the Government to enforce anti-trust laws created to keep a handle on corporate excess. Laws designed to encourage competition in industry. But the corporations were allowed to gobble up industry anyway.

Then, along with the emergence of advertising as big business, creating a “must have” mind-set in the consumer, came the new installment plan. Credit had always been used by farmers and business, as a matter of necessity. But allowing people to have what they couldn’t afford because of credit was new.

Corporate excess funded by government “welfare” fed by corporate advertising sending masses of people to buy stuff they didn’t need and couldn’t afford, on credit.

Nobody ever factored in what would happen if the huge corporations, buried in debt, failed. Nobody ever factored in what would happen if unpaid debt could lead to bank failures. And nobody ever factored in what would happen if those who had savings lost their savings when those banks failed.

Nobody!

Lessons lost. Lessons never learned.

We can trace this pattern of behavior all the way back to the Revolutionary War, with hickup recoveries from time to time when we went to war. Which forced government controls on the economy, but space forbids. So at the risk of throwing all of you into cardiac arrest, it isn’t Bush and it isn’t Obama and it most certainly isn’t Socialism!

It’s a Centuries Old American Tradition of GREED and government guaranteed WELFARE FOR THE RICH! A tradition historically supported by the poor.

Go figure?

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By dihey, December 14, 2008 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer you have truly a weird conception of “Socialism”. What is happening in our country today has as much to do with “Socialism” as selling SUV’s has to do with preventing “Global Warming”. I recommend that you read more from Marx, Engels, and Lenin’s writings.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 14, 2008 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

What I don’t like about you, Folk, is your incredible arrogance that only YOU understand Marxism.  Just where do you think that “production” comes from?  I didn’t invent these slogans, Marxists produced them. I first read Marx when I was 14 years old.  By the time I was 16 its obvious contradictions and obvious inability to work—and the apologism for it was blatant.  To a Marxist, failures of Capitalism are due to Capitalism’s inherent contradictions.  The failures of Marxism are always due to Capitalism torpedoing Marxism, never Marxism’s inherent contradictions.

Once you start with a blind, biased view, you cannot see ANYTHING clearly, like a medieval theologian who saw every flower’s color as predicted by the New Testament.

The reason you won’t name countries LESS racist than the US is that you cannot.  Germany? They just FINALLY have started accepting native borns of Turkish descent as full citizens and elected the first Turkish-German to the Bundestag.  France? Don’t make me laugh!  Italy? My father was in a hospital in Italy and the ONLY translator was a Black woman—the doctor ignored her and insisted on speaking directly to my mom—in Italian and pigeon English.  Britain? They don’t even PRETEND to not be racist?  Russia? Japan?  These nations have ALWAYS put ethnic Russians and Japanese as first.  The Arab world? If you aren’t Moslem AND Arab you are a 2nd or 3rd class citizen, if you are even ALLOWED to be a citizen.  Africa? Haven’t you been watching the news?  Central Africa has exploded into a deadly race war that has cost as much as FIVE MILLION LIVES!  Just because it’s Black on Black doesn’t mean it isn’t racist—it is.

Ask the Aborigines how THEY are treated in Australia.  Ask any Brazilian how the Portuguese respond to them. What about Mugabe?  China? Wow! Racism is institutionalized there!  To that Chinese they are The Kingdom in the Middle of the World and everybody else are: Northern Barbarians, Western Barbarians, Eastern Barbarians (their word for Japanese) and Southern Barbarians, to this very day.  Cubans are resented by other Latinos for their arrogance and presumption of being “better” than the rest.  Turks hate Arabs, and especially hate Palestinians.  Many Turks believe you cannot be a “true” Turk unless you are Moslem—despite the Greek Orthodox Church still being centered in Istanbul.

Etc, etc.  Racism is everywhere. Everywhere, like a plague on all humanity.

My question on who is less racist than the USA isn’t silly at all.  It’s a question you cannot answer, that’s why you won’t.  That’s what’s silly—pretending we are the most racist and nobody else is.

You, Folk, are deliberately blind to anything that contradicts your Marxist talking points that you parrot like Sean Hannity parrots RNC talking points, regardless of whether they make sense or not.

Your arrogance is only eclipsed by your colossal ignorance and close-mindedness.

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By Folktruther, December 13, 2008 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment

What I like about you, Inherit, is that you are a sincere intellectual primitive like myself.  But you simply don’t understand marxist theory.  “Form each according to his ability to each according to his need’ is not a socialist slogan.  You understand its distortion in American ideology. 

‘Each according to their need’  is the aim when after a period of historical time communism has been reached and there is such abundance that production is no longer a serious problem.  Every psseudo-marxist power system has maintained ‘each according to his ability, to each according to their WORK.’
No serious marxist takes these childish distortions seriously.
While I think of it, your notion of the ‘dictatorship of the prolitariat’ is the usual childish distortion by American ideology.  It is an inital coercion by the working class that seized power over the previous capitalist class, the dictatorship of a majority over a minority, on the way historically to a classless society.

But Marx was wrong in many historical predictions, just as he was right in many.  The historial problem now is to generalize from capitalist power to all forms of power, a generalization from Europe and the West to a world historical view.  Such a holistic people theory would subvert the Western worldview that has legitimated capitalist Democracy, and the White Man, the past few centuries.

The notion that every other country is more racist than the US is too silly to even discuss.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 13, 2008 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

Folk,

No, I’m not dumb. I simply refuse to spend time studying a system that is clearly and fundamentally based on highly flawed and incorrect assumptions.  If the first idea is “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” you immediately establish a society where the currency of value is need, not productivity.  Therefore, productive people are, in this fundamental assumption, slaves to the world.  And consumers are beggers—he who has the greater need gets the production of the slaves.  This is why Soviet leaders got cars and daschas while the people were malnourished…the leaders determined their “need” for a dascha was greater than a peasant’s need for sufficient food and education.

All socialist systems struggle with this, even Cuba.

The ONLY valid Socialist assumption is that society is more realistically divided horizontally, by economic strata, then vertically, by racial, regional and ethnic strata.  And is more easily understood that way.  Many apparent racial and ethnic problems become clearer and solvable by viewing them horizontally.

I do not, nor would I deny that racism is a still a serious problem in the USA.  However, I defy you to find me ONE NATION that isn’t far, far worse.  Even in lovely Canada, there are troubles between Anglos and French, and Anglos and Asians.  In South America, there is now, finally ONE leader of a nation who is descended (mostly) from Native Americans—Evo Morales.  Go ahead.  Find me a nation that doesn’t struggle with racism and you’ll have a totally homgeneous society.

So, to give a new twist to the old joke: We have the most racist nation in the world—except for all the other nations.

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By Folktruther, December 13, 2008 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

Inherit-When it comes to socialism or marxism-and I say this with all due respect—you are as dumb as a doorknob.  Your idea of socialism appears to be derived from the editorial pages of the Wall St Journal.  It has not yet reached the point where it is possible to critique it.

You are constrained by American ideology to the point that your grotesque caracatures are simply comic book illustrations, and you can’t be taken seriously.  But serious criticism of marxism is essential to generalize it, especially its ignoring in classical theory of the importance of racism and ethnism in the power process. 

In the US, the White ruling class has allied with the White population, especially White males, to cross class boundaries in promoting its policies.  Since the US traditionally has been a highly racist countires, racism has been the ideological glue holding the rightwing power structure together.

This is why Zionist racism is so effective in the US.  It conflates with the traditional racism with which the American people have been indoctrinated.  This racism against dark-skinned Muslims powers the War On Terrorism.

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By Pecosite, December 13, 2008 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As we all know—i.e., those of us who think critically—that the fundamental problem with the U.S. today lies with human nature.  But in addition, despite the sappy, simplistic rhetoric surrounding the founding of the country, a simple fact remains; that the constitution is a flawed document.  Flawed because the people who wrote it were, for the most part, wealthy white male land-owners.  It carries the thread of elitism that allows public office to be sold to the highest bidder, K Street to manipulate the system, and corporate capitalism to steal from the real producers of wealth, workers who make things.  Unfortunately, matters will get worse before they get better, for the most part because most people do not understand what economics really is—but then, so-called economists don’t either.

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By Ham-Archy, December 13, 2008 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

I was thankful for Folktruthers post because I didn’t clearly see Arwin’s point other than our ‘Representative’ government represents whatever get’s them elected. Such a ‘loyalty’! His point does not seem to me that a system of limited (non-traitorous) checks and balances exists, which is the function of a ‘loyal opposition’. In fact just the opposite.
Another ironic analogy would be that it’s kind of like a relay race, only with two battons, the ‘good guy’ batton, and the ‘bad guy’ batton. And around and around the track they go with the Rebublicans in the East bleachers, and the Democrats in the west bleachers.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 13, 2008 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

[Folktruther, December 13 at 1:40 am #

That’s a penetrating insight, Arwin, that both parties rely on the opposition of the other to hold them up, like two drunks leaning against each other to keep from falling.  All a party need do, then, is to devise legislation in a way that the other party will vote against it, thus appeasing their base while keeping the support of their money and media backers.

This is a reverse triangulation; instead of passing desired legislation with the support of the other party, courting its defeat with their opposition, while gaining credit with their base for trying.

I learn more from TD commenters than I do from TD articles.
******************************************

Astonishing. But, not really considering you continually espouse a Marxist or neo-Marxist POV which, historically, meant one party rule, a dictatorship of the Proletariat.  In lieu of an outside reality check, Lenin advocated “ruthless self-criticism”—kind of like going to confession, only publicly.  Of course this never work.

Still, that FT would never have considered the concept of the “loyal opposition” and its history down the ages isn’t surprising.  That he’s muddled it up isn’t surprising either.  All a two-party system is, is an institutionalized opposition to try to keep the ruling party running straight and true.

Ours has failed in that one side, the Democrats, have gone spineless for the last several years, and the other, the Republicans, have been totally intransigent during that time.  Wasn’t it funny to hear Darth Cheney attack the Shelby faction in the Senate for risking putting us into another Hoover Depression?

Will FT get the irony—-or not?  Stay tuned…

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By Maani, December 13, 2008 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Shark Girl:

Superb post.  Sorry to hear you’re homeless.  Just out of curiosity, what state do you live in?

Peace.

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By Folktruther, December 13, 2008 at 2:40 am Link to this comment

That’s a penetrating insight, Arwin, that both parties rely on the opposition of the other to hold them up, like two drunks leaning against each other to keep from falling.  All a party need do, then, is to devise legislation in a way that the other party will vote against it, thus appeasing their base while keeping the support of their money and media backers.

This is a reverse triangulation; instead of passing desired legislation with the support of the other party, courting its defeat with their opposition, while gaining credit with their base for trying.

I learn more from TD commenters than I do from TD articles.

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By Sam Thornton, December 12, 2008 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

If what Bush ‘n Friends are engaged in is socialism, it most resembles a rump version of that peculiar brand invented in Mussolini’s Italy and perfected in 1930’s Germany, National Socialism, but without the social benefits. Shoveling mountains of public cash at private interests and calling it anything other than kleptocracy seems just a wee disingenuous.

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By SteveL, December 12, 2008 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Here is one more bit of “Socialism” that should be introduced.  Instead of the current pension plans and deferred compensation screams just have an employer sponsored program where employees are bought savings bonds instead.  That the money would be safe and in their name where ever they went.

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By titanbite, December 12, 2008 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

I find the authors proposal ironic.By suggesting Republicans introduced socialism as the “new institution” this would indicate that there was an existing form of government that was replaced and/or rejected or perhaps simply ignored.I personally find the later to fit best.In my opinion “socialism” was not the Republican’s goal.No,infact I’m inclined to think “favoritism” is the simple answer and if I’ve learned anything about Bush republicans simple is as simple does they don’t care much for complicated schemes.That having been said the question for me is,what governing system are we living by?I feel that on an increasing scale we Americans are being forced onto a “Capitolistic” system of rule those who have capitol have the rule.Unfortunatly day by day it would appear that the working classes are loosing the “battle at the bank”.Less and less goes to the working families savings while more and more are going into debt which in turn lessens thier ability to participate in the capitolistic system.It’s quite simple if one does not possess capitol or funds that can be used to make more money one will find themselves basically at the mercy of those who do,one must survive but is only surviving truly a Democracy? I beg to differ.The Bushites have accomplished exactly what they set out to do.Place themselves in position to recieve what the taxpayers would have no choice but to give them.The situation that the American people find themselves today is exactly what the neo-con idealogs were seeking.Destroying our economy while placing themselves and thier cronies into positions of favor financially.In doing so the institutions put into place by progressives like roosevelt would be dismantled.Social Security,foodstamps,public education would all fall to the wayside and so will the poverty stricken who rely on them you know the elderly and the disabled and the children who are our future.As you know this has been a Republican dream for some time,like since thier inception.Replaced by mandated military budgets and trade deals chuck full of corporate goodies and cheap labor.I recall hearing our current President make the notorious claim “I hate government"I guess he ment it.Unfortunatly the government he hated was our democracy so those who voted for him allowed him to change it.So how ya likin’em now let’s go get a beer with’em what a guy.

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By Milo, December 12, 2008 at 11:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

American Congress is like a never-ending game of baseball with the Democrats playing the Republicans.  The luxury boxes are being occupied by the owners, the corporations, and the military brass.  The few who vote are in the cheap seats.
The issues, for example, bail out, the destuction of labor unions, health care, jobs, wars, and last but not least, imperialism are the innings.
It rains only on the cheap seats and ticket prices are going up.

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SharkGirl's avatar

By SharkGirl, December 12, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

I blame both parties, equally.  When Democrats and Republican presidents (and those running the race) are both members of Skull & Bones and other “elite” organizations, it’s hard to separate them into parties.  They, to me, are all of the same party.  Anti-American.

Politics is not about “we the people” and anyone who thinks it is, is just not able to read between the lines and think on their own.

The politicians have personal and political interest in corporate wealth.  It’s the corporations that fund their campaigns.  It’s the corporations who demand the earmarks and line the pockets of the politicians and their families and friends.

Corporations don’t care what party a politician belongs to.  They are only after those will bow down to them.  That’s not hard to find in Congress, in cities, in counties and in state government. 

We the people are just pawns that punch their time clocks and do their grunt work. 

The only thing that separates America from the rest of the world is that Americans are still under the impression that their vote counts.

Their votes are overthrown by activist judges, who also have a commercial interest in the same corporations who control Congress.  I learned that the hard way, and am homeless because of it.

Everything I thought about our Constitution was wiped out from underneath me, and I dug to learn who owns the media, the courts and Congress.

There are no party lines to cross.  They are one in the same. 

Next up?  Martial Law?  After all…the pawns might unite and they can’t let that happen.

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By Arwin DeBuschere, December 12, 2008 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you call this socialism, then I suggest that this is as far as it will go.  Take Universal Health Care, socialized medicine.  This issue is somewhat to the Democrats as abortion is to the Republicans. The Democrats can count on the Republicans to keep them from passing a meanigful health care bill, all the while maintaining the support of the liberal\progressive base and avoid facing the backlash of the insurance companies. 
The Republicans, on the other hand, can rely on the Democrats to kill any abortion bill and, thereby, saving the Republicans party from complete destruction. 
The Democrats can wring their hands and decry the opposition and still keep their gravy.  The Republicans can sanctimoniously point their fingers and maintain the support of their base, the religious right.
Keep in mind that the only thing that concerns the elected is to stay in office, nothing else.

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By AT, December 12, 2008 at 4:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What about Fidel? Walker Bush is retiring into a wealthy community that bans non-whites except as servants.“But I sit across Condie Rice everyday”

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By Expat, December 12, 2008 at 3:47 am Link to this comment

Bush isn’t a native Texan, Mr. Scheer.

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By Shift, December 11, 2008 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

Ham-Archy, Indian Trust relates to the Federal Government leasing Native American lands, supposedly on behalf of Native Americans.  Oil and gas companies, mining companies, timber companies and cattle companies have leased Indian lands from the U.S. Government at less than market rates.  The funds from these leases are supposed to be divided fractionally among the Native Peoples who own the land.  Those payments have been insufficient relative to the actual dollars collected from the leases.  Payments have been well below what has been collected for over one hundred years.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Native Peoples to collect the shortages estimated to be as much as one hundred billion dollars.  The Government has not kept adequate records and has purposefully destroyed others, thereby denying Native Peoples the funds due to them.  This qualifies as genocide under the United Nations definitions, and this is just one example.  Now, Native Peoples did not choose to live under continuing genocidal government policies and have suffered greatly under those policies. The one hundred million Native People who perished under genocidal policies did not choose to do so.  These policies are being forced upon them at the point of a gun.

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By Ham-Archy, December 11, 2008 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

Shift: Well, I checked out your link. I am not quite sure what in this article, or comment section it relates to. Also, I find it hard to associate genocide exclusively with native americans as the genocide continues unabated. However it is easy to see the Imperialist elite as agent provacatuer of said genocide. In fact it is hard to see what else in recent history could be. I could also play the underdog and relish in my oppressor’s retribution as poetic justice, simply because I am not one the elite. But it wouldn’t be as easy without race as an instigating factor. I am more inclined to advocate for an end to ALL oppression. It seems that as communication between all people get wider, and better that it is not hopeless. Also, I am not christian, I am Quaker. BTW what is your tribe?

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By Ham-Archy, December 11, 2008 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

Shift: No…. I’m speaking about the idea that you can bring up most any human action you like and attribute it to ‘Human Nature’ and it wouldn’t likely be very far from the truth. But that it is much less likely true that men’s actions are NOT attributable to human nature.
So that means that I am stating that it is my opinion that human nature is boundless. You may look upon someone’s nature as savage, but to exclude it from ‘human nature’ is pretty well prejudiced.

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By Glendon Wayne, December 11, 2008 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pass the Turkey Pray for War

The business of war is booming
brave buttered futures are looming

The market’s self corrective hand
knows war’s bread is spread hand to hand
to the greed is God and God is good gangsters who own the land
the plutocrat pushers our mushroom masters of small change
as might gangs up on right
and negative equity rains down on the needy
while the gobble up creed and the gusher of plunder
collapses the umbrella of red ink
a subsidiary of nuclear Inc.
who play Christmas Carols
for pre-emptive peace and good will and joy to the world

So say grace and pass the turkey…

The business of war is booming
brave buttered futures are looming
for….
greed is good… fraud is better… and war is best
to grease our master’s hands
those of the meltdown plutocrats and their puppets
like goofy cartoon dogs and demoted planets
but mostly…. demented dogma
like market rule
while the hand dives into the public purse
for a billion grand
hush… that’s the market corrective hand!

Did we say grace?
Pass the turkey and pray for war.

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By Shift, December 11, 2008 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Ham-Archy, you must be speaking about the institutionalization of American Genocide and it’s continuance.  Clearly Euro/Americans have CHOSEN to continue to enrich themselves at the expense of Native American lives, land, money and resources.  It’s easy to ignore.  NPR and PBS will not bring it up, the corporate media will not address it, nor will ordinary citizens when presented with a chance such as this:  http://www.indiantrust.com  Yes genocide too is a choice and American’s have chosen to continue it.  The land you are standing on is likely yours by broken treaty.  Onward Christian soldiers, I guess…

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By jr., December 11, 2008 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let u.s. remember about bush’s appointment of a war czar that the word is another title given to DICTATORS.

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By daodeyao, December 11, 2008 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

What a pity that such a shallow-thinking, word/meaning spinner like Scheer is able to publish his obfuscating misinformation while the excellent and thoughtful writers are relegated to the comments section.

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By Ham-Archy, December 11, 2008 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

The observations of TAO Walker remimd me of a debate I had with an economics student. He insisted that people do not CHOSE poverty and violence. That it was factors of social pressure that put them in those conditions.
I explained to him that I definitely have a choice. I can make very good money in engineering, but then I am miserable. That my nature drives me to the total anarchy of performance art and living on the road in constant party mode and that only social pressure eventualy forces me back to the factory.
He just couldn’t accept that. In his mind it could not be a truth, and something must be terribly wrong with my thinking.
However, I would never contend that people do not CHOSE the comfort and security of institutionalization. However nightmarish it seems to me, some people do not seem to have the capacity to function without it.

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By TAO Walker, December 11, 2008 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

Expat is too kind, but is right in suggesting most domesticaed people are too caught-up in panic-mode now to “hear” anything not blasting from the fear-mongering bull(shit)horns in the hands of their exploiters and tormentors.  That this pitiful condition is “by-design” is a fact too fraught with frightening implications for it to be “thinkable” by those still hoping and praying for some “savior” to deliver them from the naturally inevitable consequences of their own damned folly.

But the “info” is at least “out-there” now, and might from-time-to-time find a receptive Human consciousness in which to “lodge.”  So us old Savages will go on launching these ephemeral messages-in-bottles while we can.  It is, ironically, both the least and the most we can do in these conditions.

Meantime, as Shift reminds us, it’s ALL gonna come out in The WASH anyway….washte.

Hokahey!

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By Ham-Archy, December 11, 2008 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Alan8 Absolutely! But in fact we need to be prepared to follow through. For a large portion of those to whom this is a great concern the Unions could be instrumental. There needs to be a new focus in their functioning, I believe, but the orginization and structure needed is there, already capable of bringing about change.

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/389507/labor_victory_in_chicago

Still much of the change needed is the rejection of consumerism, which is the life blood of industrialism, which is a dying tool of capitalism. ( yeah, isms are so trite but are the only suffix that seems to work)
TAO Walkers post illustrates this, though the game show format made it difficult for me.
A very excellent presentation of this point, if you haven’t seen it, is Annie Leonard’s ‘Story of STUFF’

http://www.storyofstuff.com/

For those of you who do not understand Adnihilo’s post. READ IT UNTIL YOU DO. However many times it takes. Look up the terms, and the names if you are not familiar with them.
This is probably the most important point made on this post, as concerns the issue so poorly understood by Mr. Sheer.

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By whitebeard, December 11, 2008 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Well, maybe National Socialism, or Fascism, but it isn’t socialism and it damn sure isn’t Marxism. Marx was a much better human being than any of the slugs associated with what you call our new “Socialism.” Democracy, my ass.

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By dr wu, December 11, 2008 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

Nixon welcomed China;Bush welcomes Marx.

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By Alan8, December 11, 2008 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I see many divergent opinions on what the problems are.  They have in common the recognition that the Republicans AND Democrats are responsible, and are not acting in the interest of citizens.

The solution is to build an alternative to these corporate-funded parties.

This is a productive course of action we can take in self defense against the wealthy and their corporate/fascist philosophy.

I’ll say it again: WE NEED AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE CORPORATE-FUNDED PARTIES!

This needs to be discussed.

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By Adnihilo, December 11, 2008 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

When will ‘neolibs [Neoliberal and NeoLibertarian] authors stop falsely blaming ‘socialism’ for the economic crisis in America caused by corporatism? Rather than referencing the now $8 Trillion in corporate bailouts as some awkward economic ideology called ‘socialism for the rich’, just call it what it is, CORPORATISM, which is the economic policy of FASCISM!

There’s no such thing as socialism in a capitalist driven economy! Fascism is a totalitarian [authoritarian] system of government that bases its economy on capitalism. These bail outs are an intentional Bush-GOP fascist economic government coup transferring unprecedented power to the Executive Branch by placing vast amounts of public funds in the form of our tax dollars into the hands of the global corporate banking elite. That is not a Socialist or Communist left economic ideology, but a fascist right economic ideology called corporatism. The economic policy of Fascism IS Corporatism which is also the preeminent defining characteristic of Fascism.

The Bush-GOP government’s now $8 trillion dollars in corporate bail outs takes US taxpayer dollars and invests it into a growing list of financial corporations that went bankrupt from corruption caused by bipartisan [primarily republican] government deregulation of corporate greed increasing for decades now since the Reagan-GOP administration. For these bailouts to be a form of communism [authoritarian socialism] or socialism the US government would need to be fully intent on owning, controlling and/or creating [not just hold for transfer, or sale] financial corporations and their assets in perpetuity. The sole intent by Bush-GOP and government is only to free up, or ‘nationalize’ public funds in the form of US tax dollars for use by the financial or banking industry.

These bailouts fully adopt the very same economic policies of corporatism embraced by Italian and German Fascist governments back in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Famous Italian historian Gaetano Salvemini identified corporatism as an economic policy of fascism in 1936 that makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because “the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise. Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social.”
http://www.reference.com/browse/Fascism?jss=1

Since the author mentions him, do note in his capitalist manifesto, ‘The Wealth of Nations’, that even Adam Smith doubted capitalism would actually work in the real world, or in reality, essentially because of the greed inherent to the capitalist system modeled after mercantilism…. Nonetheless, our Founding Fathers chose it because they represented, or were the wealthy elite…

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By Shift, December 11, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

Expat, you are right.  People are frozen in fear and unable to act because to them there are no paths open. So the path they eventually walk is the one given to them by economic collapse, hardship, hunger, and despair, the three sisters of Capitalism’s under-belly.
Winners and losers it would seem, yes?  Yet, there is another force at work beyond the control of the winners that is bearing down upon them, quietly and unseen, and it is a game changer.

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By Frank Goodman, Sr., December 11, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

RE: KCW, December 10 at 11:36 am

“We socialize risk but privatize profit.”

What is wrong with that? Insurance is a form of socialism of risk. Social Security is socialism of risk. So is “Saving for a rainy day Capitalism.”

Spread the risk, but individualize the profit. Let education pay, first the educated, then the rest of us ignorant fools. Pay the rich doctors to render opinions we ordinary citizens are prohibited from applying to anyone more distant than 18 year old daughters. Medical care now costs every American citizen about $27 per day. Food costs the ordinary eater only about $10 per day. Most of that goes to overpaid doctors, drug company stock holders, and capitalist insurance companies set up to spread the risk.

Government can spread the risk and allow the individual to benefit from better health care and longer life expectancy. Is anyone hungry?

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By uglyfemale, December 11, 2008 at 8:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

bail out the investment banks/ hedge fund speculators on Wall Street; we just replenished their losses gambling on the derivatives market.  Why didn’t Paulson follow the model by Gordon Brown, ie., voting rights at banks, seats on boards, dividend payments (on preferred stock) to taxpayers, slash executive compensation, and a REQUIREMENT THAT BANKS LEND FUNDS TO HOMEOWNERS/SMALL BUSINESSES, not hoard it or use it to buy out competitors?

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By Expat, December 11, 2008 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

@ TAO Walker, December 10 at 12:59 pm;

You’re a genuine teacher; but you don’t have attentive students.  They’re all wrapped up in their fear and panic and don’t know to just stop and listen to the birds and the wind and the life around them.  They don’t know how to turn off the machine that only really exists in their minds.  They think they need all of the stuff, but never question the emptyness.  Pity, it’s such a beautiful world.

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By mud, December 10, 2008 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

Yes KCW - We socialize risk but privatize profit.

We give up all authority but keep all responsibility.

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By Maani, December 10, 2008 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

Bob:

“The government takeover of the banking and automobile industries not only happened on President Bush’s watch, it was also the deregulatory mania of this president’s family, beginning with his father, which took this country into such starkly unfamiliar territory.”

I’m surprised at you!  You know your history better than that!  Or are you a revisionist?  “Deregulation mania” began under Carter, continued under Reagan, continued under Bush I, continued under Clinton, and continued under Bush II.  There is plenty of blame to go around, so why lay it at the feet of Bush I?

Perhaps you need a remedial history lesson.

Peace.

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By Shift, December 10, 2008 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

If education is no cure for greed, and religion can accommodate it, what is left to stop it?

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By dihey, December 10, 2008 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Wake up from your eternal slumber Truthdig! The headline is Governor Blagojarovich. Really! No joke!

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By willywonka, December 10, 2008 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The largest corruption scandle in american history and this site is unable to take its attention of Bush for a few days. WTF?

You posted one article yet there is a ton of information found in the indictment. Enough to keep you busy for years. WTF?

I think you scared that something might be found that incriminates your president. He was a part of the machine and has his dirty little fingers all over this.

WTF? Your worse than MSM. At least their not too biased to cover the REAL Truth. Your a fake, an imposter one who promotes the corruption by failing to act on it.

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By TAO Walker, December 10, 2008 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

How about playing a little game here.  “It’s a loose affiliation….” of CASH(-less, because that’s “the-wave-of-the-future,” after all)CAB, and (TRIPLE, because it is the ‘extremis’ the domesticated peoples are all IN now)DOUBLE JEOPARDY.  Accepting the answers gets exponentially harder as we go along. 

              *  *  *  *

So let’s get started.  For a chance to “get to the next level,” the ANSWER is:  They’re the poster-children ‘du jour’ for the “failed business model.”

The QUESTION is:  WHO are “the big three” Detroit carmakers?

                #  #  #

Now, for “a breath of fresh air,” the ANSWER is:  It is the ‘numero uno’ example of a failed social model.

The QUESTION is:  WHY is the homo-phagic auto-erotic auto-immune-diseased automobile-driven CULTurally and congenitally autistic allamericandreammachine?

                #  #  #

Next, for “a shot at the big-time,” the ANSWER is:  It’s the major modern marvel of a catastrophically- failed ecological model.

The QUESTION is:  WHEN exactly did we sign-up for this acutely consumptive self-destructing contraption of a “global economic system”?

                #  #  #

With time running-out, and for “all the marbles,” the ANSWER is:  It is the absolute Mother-fucker of all failed models.

The QUESTION is:  WHAT in The World is “civilization”?

                #  #  #

Finally, for “your money or your life,” the ANSWER is:  Our Lakotah Cousins call it the Tiyoshpaye Way.

The QUESTION is:  WHERE in Hell is the EXIT?!

              *  *  *  *

Game over….

HokaHey!

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By Ham-Archy, December 10, 2008 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

Tim Kelley, felicity, GoldenT, MAR;
EXACT-A-MUNDO!
I resent Mr. Scheer’s use of the term Socialism to describe an elitist CRIME!
BLITHERING! That’s all this article is.

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By KCW, December 10, 2008 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

It’s socialism for sure, but in a form that’s enough to make a grown Marxist cry.  We socialize risk but privatize profit.

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By Capt. A., December 10, 2008 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America, (its puking-dog democracy, its citizens and government) relish restoring Marxian planks (below) to full implementation, showing the world just how right they are and that more than 70-years of this rule by degree in the U.S.S.R., can be rectified to “work” IF ONLY several more centuries of this “people-control” system is instigated.  Collectivistic apologists the world over NEVER fail to keep trying their “people-control techniques!”  Noted in the comments below, Gore Vidal was cited…  Mr. Vidal also once quipped, apropos in an interview that readily applies to a great part and parcel of the world today, as well as to America: “Americans will NOT get what they want but they will surely get exactly what they deserve.” 
Bring it on baby! The seething conundrum is about to begin!

A brief review of the inexorable trek from capitalism to socialism to communism:

Manifesto of the Communist Party
By Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, 1848

In most advanced countries, the following will be generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in he hands of the state.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.

***********

“The one thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn.” ~ Voltaire (Not Churchill!)
ALL “isms” are stupidisms.  It is fascinating to observe that men, minus a handful, DO NOT want their freedom and liberty. Subjugation, allegiance to fealty from birth to death is prevalent. “Anyone who needs to be persuaded to be free, doesn’t deserve to be.” ~ L. Neil Smith

Capt. A.
Lugano, Switzerland

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By GregB, December 10, 2008 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t think that Bush brought Socialism to America. In Socialism the State takes a bigger roll in caring for and managing the people. By nationalizing whole sectors of the economy that help the elite but ignore the needs of the masses Bush has brought Communism (as it has been practiced in the world) to America. Moreover, they’ve made us a debtor nation to a Communist country. Maybe historians are right in that China does not conquer, but rather, assimilates.

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By Carl Olson, December 10, 2008 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

The votes to impoverish the public by $1+ trillion for big banks were heavily weighted toward the majority Democratic Party.  Senators Obama, Biden, and Clinton voted for it.

In the House, the first vote was terrific from both parties to kill it.  In California, the first vote was 19 Yes-14 No in favor for the Democrats, and 10 Yes-9 No for Republicans.

However, when the second House vote was taken—with the added pork barrel added, no Republican changed a vote, but seven Democrats switched from No to Yes.  If we want to re-educate anyone, it would be aimed at Representatives Baca, Lee, Schiff, Solis, Thompson, Watson, and Woolsey.

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By GW=MCHammered, December 10, 2008 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And how we got here… the 1958 interview between Mike Wallace and Aldous Huxley on his book, ‘Brave New World.’

Huxley was a prophet of the destruction of democracy: Make ‘the ruled’ love their slavery thru technology, media propaganda, prescription medications, politician merchandising, targeting adults and especially children with psychological subliminal projection - desensitization - persuasion beyond reason - advertisement branding that bypasses rational conscious choice. The wrong people will use these powers to gain power.

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/20081209_aldous_huxley_1958_brave_new_world_just_around_the_corner

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By Inherit The Wind, December 10, 2008 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, December 10 at 9:15 am #

Inherit’s recommendations seem quite realistic and solve the economic problem, in the unlikely event that the powerstructure would allow Obama to acheive them.  It just shows what Inherit could have accomplished if he were not humiliated by a camp director when he was twelve years old, fixating him intellecutally at that level.
***************************************************

Actually, I was 10.  And it taught me to distrust authority.  It also taught me that so-called “progressives” (like you) frequently get locked in to tunnel vision and are so narrow-minded they can look through a keyhole with both eyes. Plus, that they are frequently no different that the far right-wing-nuts in terms of form and structure.  Only the content is different.

The American auto industry began committing suicide long ago.  “Planned Obsolescence” was coined in the ‘60’s to describe Detroit.  Then they suppressed the Wankel engine. The rotor seals would only last 10-15,000 miles, which was no good.  Then they came up with 500,000 mile seals.  But THAT was no good either.  They didn’t want cars with very light engines that ran for half a million miles.

Then they missed the FIRST gas crisis.  Then they missed Japan’s automation, and AT&T;‘s quality control. I once had an 81 Citation and I found the SAME bad design elements on a rented ‘91 something or other. 

They missed Japan’s and Europe’s pushing ergonomics and handling and control.  They missed on infinitely variable transmissions (Honda is making a motorcycle with that).

Today, a Detroit car strikes one as being un-reliable, gas-guzzling, tinny, bad-riding, bad-handling with inferior components (like the audio systems).  Who wants a car that’s in the shop more than your own garage?

What do they push? Bigger and bigger trucks.  SUVs the size of aircraft carriers.  Hummers. Navigators. F-150s, 1500s Yech!

Detroit has been dodging the bullets that resulted from bad mgt and design using trucks and rental car fleets to hide the rot.  When was last time you saw a Lincoln Towncar that didn’t have limo plates or wasn’t being driven by a little old man or woman?  If you did, call 9/11 cuz it was probably stolen!

Japan, Korea, Europe: Car makers have visions of the future.  Detroit? Visions of the past!

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By Eric L. Prentis, December 10, 2008 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

The Treasury Department’s use of TARP and the Federal Reserve have one real goal, shovel as much money as possible to the financial ruling class with few strings attached, the taxpayers be damned. The system is rigged in favor of the plutocracy, the US is corrupt and has no moral compass.

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By Folktruther, December 10, 2008 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Scheer’s article maintains the usual mainstream distortion of what socialism is.  It is real democracy applied to the economy as we as the politial system.  It is systematiclly distorted in the mainstream learned and mass media and conceived as the worst thing that could happen to people.  It is certainly the worst thing that could happen to the US power structure who control the media.

there is now a coalesing in the US population of the right wing distrust of government with the left wing emphasis on the power of the working population.  A new ideology is forming historically which is more general and holistic than moarxism, the major world progressive ideology in the 20th century.  Marxism was largely ideologically repressed in the US.

Instead of focusing theretically on capitalist power, the emergin theory focuses on all forms of power.  In my opinion, and Freud’s as well, the identification with power is a biological-cultural attribute that supercedes class power.

Marx’s view of socialism was confined to Europe and the West, and thus was restricted by the Western truth tradition.  With the globalization of capitalism, an extension is historically possible to a world class struggle, the national ruling classes now forming a world ruling class.  This extension to allthe people of the earth requires a new way to maintain the power of the world population over their world institutions.

Gore Vidal recommends city-states, Ketchem dividing the US up into regions, and Anarcissie cooperatives. It’s hard to know what the coming century will bring.  I hope the 21st century is less violent than the 20th century, but it doesn’t look that way now.

          ***

Inherit’s recommendations seem quite realistic and solve the economic problem, in the unlikely event that the powerstructure would allow Obama to acheive them.  It just shows what Inherit could have accomplished if he were not humiliated by a camp director when he was twelve years old, fixating him intellecutally at that level.

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By MAR, December 10, 2008 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

Mr. Scheeer does not know what socialism is about.  It is supposed to be for the people, not the rich and powerful.  I believe a closer description to what is going on is “corporate welfare” otherwise known as facism.

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By Jon, December 10, 2008 at 9:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Congress and BushCo have enabled and then overseen the preposterous looting and bankrupting of America.

It happened in broad daylight, no Congressional oversight or regulation, at all. 

Congress along with the banks, WS and corporations is purposely waging war against Americans but its a financial war—-drain the money, give it to the elite, and then let the people starve.  No pensions, no 401K’s.

If Congress can hand 8.2 trillion to the banks and WS, and do so in the space of less than a month, why are people being laid off, and where is help for them?

As for Obama’s role—his Robert Rubin worked with Paulson on the Citigroup bailout, but have you seen any of Obama’s people implement such a FAST and huge bailout for ordinary working Americans?

No, Obama’s team has done zero for working Americans, and this is how it will be after Jan 20 too—it’s fine to say we will install broadband everywhere, but we all know what this means:  Verizon, Cisco, and others will get the billions of dollars, and when it trickles down, workers will see minimum wage—so the rich will still get richer.

This past eight years has been one huge scam and a war waged against American working people, and don’t hope for better after Jan 20.  Robert Rubin will not be meeting on weekends to help us.

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By RdV, December 10, 2008 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Bravo.

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By GoldenT, December 10, 2008 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

You really do err to call any of this reaction to the breakdown crisis of the global financial system “socialism.” Rather, it is fascist from beginning to end. Bailouts only solidify the severe economic regimentation a fascist arrangement by definition institutes. And now with the bankruptcy of the U.S. Treasury virtually assured, we find ourselves in a real pickle because all that remains are ideas, and on both the so-called left and right, toward the greatest idea of all—the U.S. Constitution—there’s scarcely a soul with a clue about how all the power we need to declare bankruptcy and start fresh awaits a Congress no longer led by Wall Street Democrats like Her Worthlessness Pelosi…

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By mud, December 10, 2008 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

Socialism in the form of lavish and liberal gifts for the wealthiest elite few.

But Serfdom, impoverishment, groveling, fear and loathing for all the rest of us sorry suckers.

And W rides off into the sunset a free, respected, rich man. Good work George.

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By felicity, December 10, 2008 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Wait a frickin minute: Socialism is a system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution of capital, land, etc. in THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE.

Bailing out the rich, advantageous for only the rich, profitable for only the rich is hardly socialism.  Seems to me that the ‘community as a whole’ is being harmed, dis-benefited if you will, bankrupted as its much needed dollars are benefitting a very small group, the mega-rich.

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By G.Anderson, December 10, 2008 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

We’ve always had socialism for the corporations, though they didn’t call it that.

The only fly in the ointment will be the 1%er’s who are likely to stir up trouble in order to maintain their hold on America’s institutions.

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By Frank Staheli, December 10, 2008 at 8:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ll have to do some more research to see whether Ronald Reagan touted the corporate greed that has recently taken hold in America.  Corporations as we know them today are definitely not as “free market” as we think they are.

One thing for sure is that Bush is a rabid socialist.  He probably meets the definition of fascist with his advocacy of incestuous relationships among government and the financial and auto industries.

We can only hope that President Obama will turn this around.

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By Tim Kelly, December 10, 2008 at 8:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Scheer is mistaken - the government take-over is fascism, not socialism.  Is it not a surprise Bush brought the U.S. fascism.

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By Sheldon Lichter, December 10, 2008 at 7:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gads — I don’t even have to read this article.  The hypocrisy of what is so blithely called “idealism” is palpable.  It was true back when “communism” was the Satan, and it’s true again, now that “socialism” is the Satan.  When it comes to loss of money in the bank account (or stocks and bonds portfolio, etc.) all that “idealism,” as usual, goes right out the window.  Welcome to the trough, ye swine!  Here you are, contrite with hat in hand.  But don’t think that anyone believes that YOU’VE CHANGED.  We’d better get smart.  Balance of powers, or regulation, is the only way for the human species, civilized.

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By Paul_GA, December 10, 2008 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

How I wish the Repubs had brought laissez-faire capitalism (a la the Austrian School) to America! But it looks as though we’ll have to wait for the present mercantilist/imperialist system to collapse before such a halcyon day arrives.

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By Purple Girl, December 10, 2008 at 6:22 am Link to this comment

Why should the CEO of any Corp earn more than the president of the US? they certianly do not handle nor manage as much as that position requires,domestically or internationally.
‘Socialism’ is not just assuring every person has access to basic necessities, but the assurance that all matters be viewed through the Optic of ‘The common good’.
Our Corps,esp operating world wide, have Not been held to the standard of American ideology, lest of course to thsoe of ‘Socialism’
We’ve been pushed (and Highjcked) from a Free market doctrine to a Corp Doctrine. There are moral, ethic and economic responsiblities to heading such a Co. ,esp on such grand and interwined scales.
There are many CEO’s (past & present) who have not only betrayed Americans, but have committed Crimes against Humantiy as a whole.They must be Prosecuted for their blatant disregard toward sth every entities which created them, sustain them and keep them viable through cunsumption. WE do Not work for the Corps, the Corps work for Humanity.Otherwise these Multinational conglomerates are due for Extinction. Considering the Mish mash of Corps like Citigroup, ‘7 headed Beast’ is an appropiate analogy- they should have been forced to sell off those various industries and Co’s they have devoured to become this Lumbering ‘JAVA’,  which was ‘too big to fail’...Too big, then lop a few Pounds off!!!

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By nrobi, December 10, 2008 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

Re: Fadel, The irony is not lost on you. Yes! Republicans have brought corporate welfare/socialism to the forefront of American politics.
We now have the topsy-turvy world reality of welfare for the rich and for the poor, nada, zip, zilch and of course bupkus.
In this “Alice-in-Wonderland,” world of the corporate rescue system, those who created the mess, get their money back and more, while the middle class and poor get what the rich have always thought we should get, nothing.
The rich get richer and the poor are allowed to suffer the consequences of the richest mistakes.
How do the rich justify the kind of system that gives money to thieve and thugs, while people are losing their homes and in the future will be starving and homeless?  There is no justification for the kind of mess and socialistic capitalism that has been espoused by the presidents of the last 30 years.
What we-the poor and ever weakening middle class-are faced with is the choice between a government that does not care about us, and corporate thugs and thieves that are out for the blood of all of us.
Should the “bail-out” continue, we will be faced with
a revolution of the highest order, the people will throw out the wealthy and heartless and go to true socialism, where the people are taken care of and the wealthy are left to fend for themselves. In creating the kind of mess that we now have, the Wall Street Thugs and Corporate Thieves, have set the stage for the kind of revolution that has started in South America. The kind where the poor are not left in the dirt, struggling for scraps and bits of leftovers, but the kind of government that will look out for their interests ahead and above those who created this economic crisis.
Should we the people, fail in this attempt, Amerikka will come into existence, an authoritarian, fascist state that will control every aspect of our lives, for the chance at a few scraps of happiness and bread.
It is a sad harbinger of things to come, when the most wealthy and money-flush of our country cry, because they lose a few million dollars, while the ever-shrinking middle class and poor are left to fend
for themselves in a heartless and cruel world not of our making.
Long Live the Amerikkan Corporatocracy!  Long Live the Amerikkan Corporate Welfare System!
People of Amerikka, you have been shoved to the back of the bus, you no longer matter to the lackeys of the Corporate Welfare System. Who are these people you ask? Of course, I am speaking of Congress and The Courts. No longer do we the people, matter one whit to them, we are the flotsam and jetsam, of the world, who have no voice in our government and will not be listened to even if we did.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 10, 2008 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

If you store gasoline safely, you won’t have to put out a gasoline fire, which is what we are doing.

I agree with about 90% of Sheer’s art (unusual for me). Now we are arguing is it better to put out the banks’ gasoline fires, the investment banks’ gasoline fires, or the automakers’ gasoline fires?

It’s not the wrong answer, it’s the wrong QUESTION!  The ONLY gasoline fire we should have put out was the homeowners’ extended mortgage fire.  It should have been a simple process: Determine which homeowners about to default or in default could actually afford to pay for a FAIR mortgage (ie, no balloons, no interest-only, no only-rising ARMs without ceilings, no pre-payment penalties, etc).  THOSE people who could have afforded a fair, ethical mortgage should be bailed out AND allowed to force a penalty-free renegotiation.  Those that should NEVER have been granted a mortgage should be given bridge loans and grants to get them into housing their income can afford, whether owned or rented.

The other question that’s not being asked (much less answered) is what regulation needs to be put BACK in place to control these outlandish excesses, of gambling with the wealth of other peoples’ lives when the odds are 30:1 against the bettor.

Finally, the automakers need to ONLY get money that is a short term bridge LOAN that must be paid back. In return, ALL dividends and corporate bonuses MUST be suspended, especially if they want union concessions.  MOST of the corporate leadership must be fired without “golden parachutes”.  40 years of learning NOTHING has sunk what was once the biggest corporation in the world: General Motors.  The mistakes need to stop NOW.

Oh: And CitiBank shouldn’t get one dime as long as it’s still paying the NY Mets $400 million to name the new ball park that replaces Shea Stadium.

I don’t like Socialism one bit, but I HATE boardroom socialism—Bush Socialism.

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By Paolo, December 10, 2008 at 5:13 am Link to this comment

Robert Scheer is always interesting because he is about half to two thirds right on most issues. As a libertarian, I have to at least honor his sincerity.

I suppose if you had to choose between socialism for the rich (corporate subsidies, professional licensing scams, favorable legislation to eliminate competition, guaranteed loans, etc.) and socialism for the poor (welfare programs, mainly), you could argue either way as to which is the more harmful.

Libertarians argue that you should not have to choose between two forms of poison.

Scheer takes the correct and honorable position that failing companies should be allowed to fail. You don’t just have the right to succeed in a free society; you also have the right to fail. If you eliminate failure, then you reward failure, which leads to more of the same.

If the auto makers are forced into bankruptcy, they don’t just vanish into thin air. Their physical assets still have considerable market value, which will then be bought up at bargain prices (the best aspect of a depression is that prices fall, allowing the economy to get back on track). The buyers—likely Toyota and others—will bring back those businesses with better management.

Freedom’s the answer. So what’s your question?

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By Fadel Abdallah, December 10, 2008 at 3:41 am Link to this comment

“Republicans bring socialism to America”?! This cannot be true unless taken derogatorily as an irony!

However, I wish it was true that socialism is embraced by America as the only happy medium between extreme, heartless capitalism and extreme godless communism. Economic socialism properly understood and implemented might be the only viable long-term solution for the greed and corruption that are ingrained in the capitalist system!

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