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Slam the Door on Compromise

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Posted on Feb 9, 2009
Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

By Eugene Robinson

    Bipartisanship is safe and effective, when used as directed. In the present circumstance, however—dire economic crisis, hardheaded Republicans, time running out—bipartisanship is doing more harm than good. President Obama and the Democratic majorities in Congress can no longer afford to let comity defeat common sense.

    An additional 600,000 Americans lost their jobs last month. If the loyal opposition chooses to obstruct economic recovery, those who hold power are obliged to use it.

    Begin with the most fundamental question: Does the U.S. economy desperately need a massive stimulus, or not? There are economists who doubt it’s possible for the government to effectively stimulate an economy of such size and complexity. Those economists, however, are in the minority.

    The most respected economic wise men and women of both parties believe a huge stimulus is needed quickly to keep a dire economic situation from sinking into catastrophe. Even most of the Republican senators who’ve been working so hard to sabotage the Democrats’ stimulus package acknowledge that the nation needs one, just not this stimulus. Their position is either ignorant or disingenuous, and in either case has been given far more consideration than it merits.

    Normally, it would be insane to spend upward of $800 billion so fast. Given the hole we’re in, however, it’s insane not to.

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    Nobody said it would be easy to spend so much money in so little time. Obama’s plan was criticized by some Democrats for including a heavy component of tax cuts; that’s the Republican prescription that helped get us into these desperate straits, and voters made clear in November that it’s time to try something else. But Obama and his economic team found that there were only so many “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects to fund, and while straightforward government spending packs a bigger stimulative punch, tax cuts would help to some degree. So, from the beginning, the plan accommodated Republican ideology.

    The House of Representatives loaded up the bill like a Christmas tree, as powerful Democrats found room for their pet projects. This was a good thing, not an outrage. Hundreds of millions of dollars for contraceptives? To the extent that those condoms or birth-control pills are made in the U.S. and sold in U.S. drug stores, that spending would be stimulative in more ways than one.

    One of the most effective items in the House bill was $79 billion to be transferred to state governments, which are hurting; in California, our most populous state, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is ordering furloughs of state workers. Any dollar given to the states will fly out the door by sundown. That $79 billion would have instant impact.

    But in the Senate, the ad hoc “gang” of moderate Republicans (all three of them) and conservative Democrats cut those state funds to $39 billion. It’s wrong to see this as the normal give-and-take of legislative sausage-making, the usual trek down a well-worn path toward the golden compromise that everyone can live with. This is not, repeat not, a time for compromise. Meeting in the middle, which the Senate sees as its role in our democracy, renders the whole exercise potentially useless. If we don’t get enough money into the economy, and if we don’t do it soon, we risk wasting a king’s ransom on a stimulus that’s too puny to stimulate.

    This is not an issue where the answer is to be found in the “middle.” This isn’t a matter of left, right and center; it’s a matter of yes or no: Does the federal government try to get the economy moving again, or not? This will sound ridiculous, but the fact is that the details of Obama’s plan don’t matter that much. If anything, many economists believe, the government needs to spend even more than Obama proposes.

    Republicans are using this debate as a branding opportunity, positioning themselves as careful stewards of the public purse. This is absurd, given their record when they were in charge. It’s also cynical. They know that some kind of stimulus will get passed anyway. If it works, they’ll claim their principled intransigence made the plan better; if it doesn’t, they’ll say “I told you so.”

    Obama and the Democrats have public opinion on their side and the wolf at the door. Republicans need to get out of the way—or get run over.
   
    Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.
   
    © 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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By Sepharad, March 4, 2009 at 9:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

prgill—I agree with most of what you say. The settlers are a disgrace, and Livni had said she would remove them even if it took a civil war to do it. Unfortunately she did not get enough popular support to form a government in the past election, which I see as a reaction of both fear and anger, neither helpful to Israelis nor Palestinians.  If the U.S. can be a fair moderator and perceived as such by both sides—considerably more likely under this administration than the previous, as with Clinton being quite firm about the need for a viable second state for the Palestinians—there may yet be hope.
But it’s complicated. The wall is defensive in that it has reduced the number of suicide bomber attacks by 80%, but also destructive in that its presence is hampering the viability of the same second state that is the only just solution as well as increasing the resentment of the Palestinians who, between ‘67 and ‘93, used to move in and out of Israel without restrictions for purposes of work and business. (Parts of the wall have been removed as the Israeli Supreme Court, petitioned by Palestinians, agreed that in these cases it unduly caused hardship—cutting orchards and fields in half, separating people from the village in which part of their family lived, etc.

Another factor is the Sunni-Shiia conflict that will probably have to be settled before the greater Arab community is ready to normalize relations with Israel.

Justice and fairness absolutely have to be present in any settlement between Arabs and Jews. Past wrongs wrought in other places and times can’t be laid at the door of the Palestinians by the Israelis, just as wrongs inherent in their situation caused by colonial powers’ folly in mindlessly hacking up the Ottoman Empire with no regard to makeup of populations and their brother Arabs (the Mufti of Jerusalem’s involvement with the Germans in WWII as well as inciting violence against Jews in Palestine post-WWI and, in the ‘48 war, urging Arabs to leave their lands while Arab armies wiped out the Jews (the better to grab as much desirable land for himself as possible in the absence of both Jews and Palestinians who were on it) can’t be laid at the door of the Israelis by the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the last 60 years have taken on narratives of their own by both sides and, aggravated by the advent of extreme religiosity on both sides, have entwined themselves into a Gordian knot that so far seems nearly impossible to break.

You’re also right that Israel is losing the p.r. war.

I would be delighted if there could be sufficient stability for the two cultures to live side by side in economic cooperation, perhaps even a Mediterranean commercial union, for the sake of those living in the Middle East but also for my own sake because other areas of history and literature are of much greater interest to me. Have lately been trying to allocate more time to pursue these other areas, which I enjoy. E.g., the connection between the Reconquista and the conquistadors who took the New World; Native American histories; and points at which all of these met. It’s always a great relief to be approach a subject that I love in which I and mine are not so emotionally invested.

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By prgill, March 4, 2009 at 1:59 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, thank-you for the detailed history.

The problem of justice and fairness dogs the Israeli people who are now repaying the world in kind for two millenia of exclusion. We are far from the pastoral life and nomadic ways of the patriarch Abraham who paid without question, a high price for a burial site for Sarah (Genesis 23).

Certainly the Hebrew people are entitled to a homeland and to exchange their nomadic existence for settled and more sedentary ways. Certainly that homeland would have been and should be Canaan. And, given Middle Eastern practices, it is hard to imagine how Jews might have negociated a homeland in any other way.

All of that said, it is hard to imagine today how a two-state solution is possible given the immorality of settlement activity, including the “wall of shame”. These actions are hardly “defensive” and are perceived around the world (and especially in the Mediterranean neighborhood) as consolidation under military occupation of colonial gain.

We have all been exposed at one time or another to the deep values of the Hebrew peoples. Many of us share these. What is harder to understand and accept is the apparent contradiction of “defensive” Zionism.

I no longer concern myself with the “Palestinian problem” because the struggle has been defined as a struggle for the survival of the Israeli people. I do not question this but the problem will have to be settled between Jews and Arabs.

America should avoid taking sides in what is essentially a local negociation. We should take a stand for fairness and moderation, as we have for the most part.  (The notable exceptions are, of course, when military-industrial and geo-political considerations have gotten the better of our leadership.)

We are sixty-plus years beyond the 1948 partitioning agreement and Israel is losing the public relations contest. In this part of the world Zionism and indeed, the very word Zion, represents a heavy burden on Euro-Mediterranean relations.

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By Sepharad, March 3, 2009 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

prgill—Varian Fry’s story is exceptionally interesting. (Was pleased and surprised when some years ago Hollywood put out “Varian’s War” with John Hurt and did such a good job of it.) One of the most interesting aspects was that he had to get Eleanor Roosevelt’s blessing and velvet pressure to extract Jews but limit them to noted artists and musicians and intellectuals—and even then the State Department threw up more obstacles than they pulled down. Mr. Fry, recognized by the state of Israel as a Righteous Gentile and war hero, was in many ways penalized by his caste and class at home, which has always seemed to me not only disappointing but also at odds with America’s best values, which Mr. Fry certainly embodied. The people he did rescue—including Chagall and his wife Bella, Hanna Arendt, Leon Feuchtwanger—were certainly treasures. But Fry himself was unhappy that they were so limited in the number the U.S. would accept. He turned away so many people, and each time I believe it broke his heart to do so.

I would like to be a truthdig contributor, but disagree with so much of what many commenters believe about Israel that am not sure I’d be welcome. Politically I’m a progressive liberal, but am also a secular non-hardline Zionist (believe in two-state solution, belong to Peace Now as do many of my relatives in Israel) and have great respect for Arabic and Persian cultural achievements as well as a number of Islamic friends—but do believe that Israel has a right to exist based on its historical ties to the region (and that the way things are developing politically and economically in the world, there might indeed be a time when Jews again will need a country where the government will not turn them away). This does not mean that I agree with every policy of the Israeli government—e.g., am very sorry Tzipi Livni was not able to form a centrist-left government but I hope that Netanyahu will be less intolerant and volatile than he has been in the past. He is already softening his rhetoric against a two-state solution after just one meeting with Hillary! So there’s always hope.

I’m in the U.S. because my great-grandfather (whose father came to Palestine/Eretz Israel from Romania c. 1828) told his sons that he wanted one of them to migrate to America and start a life there to guarantee the family line would continue either there or here—and because my great-grandmother gave up the soft life in Dresden to marry a red-haired Zionist boy who eventually brought her here. I wanted to be a journalist ever since someone printed a letter to the editor I’d written. (Always liked writing stories and tried to draw horses before I ever saw one, according to my mother anyway. Exploring on horseback is husband’s and my idea of a paradise.) Distracted from journalism by civil rights, registered voters down south then became sr. researcher to work on passage of FoI Act for a number of years. After that a little newspaper work, a little communications work for State Bar of CA (mostly explaining to journalists what the board was actually doing behind all the jargon), then husband and I did magazines for various SF-based groups, then our own mag on California history until son was diagnosed with cancer. At various times among all that, I’d actively advocate for Israel however I could whenever she was in a scrape (‘67, ‘73, ‘84, ‘02 and now). Some people on the truthdig thread believe I must have loyalties to Israel first and the U.S. second, but that’s not true. Usually speak up when one or the other countries is doing something that seems wrong. And I can recognize anti-Semitism when it is the basis for anti-Israel speech, just as I can understand that everyone who is opposed to Israel is not an anti-Semite. This isn’t the kind of profile that would be welcomed on truthdig as a contributor—but I enjoy commenting and the back-and-forth.

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By prgill, February 28, 2009 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, you should register with the Truthdig site as a contributor.

You would certainly be considered a third-generation beneficiary of Varian Fry. (There are lots of on-line references to him and his work, put up, no doubt, by grateful friends and descendants.)

Varian Fry set up and operated the Emergency Rescue Committee, at great risk to himself and his network of supporters. Many distinguished Americans, and artists who later became famous made their way to the U.S. courtesy of the ERC. Fry is honored by both the French and American communities.

The U.S. Consulate General in Marseille (the oldest, continuously function CG in France, and second oldest after Tangiers—I think) is located at number 1, Place Varian Fry.

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By Sepharad, February 27, 2009 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

prgill—Some of my grandmother’s luckier relatives—most of them were unlucky—exited Europe in a hurry through Marseilles and I grew up on stories about the place, mostly how glad they were to be there, how beautiful the sea was, how great the fish tasted etc. I’m actually mostly Ashkenaz with a musical and poetic mother: in Hebrew, “Sepharad” means “Al Andalus” as well as “Tree of Life.” We’ve been trying to figure how to live near Mediterranean, either in Israel or southern Spain, but husband would have to work very weird hours as most biomed research is in the U.S. (I’m an ex-activist ex-journalist now writer/historian so hours don’t matter.) My closest woman friend in this country is a Sephardi with a Shakespearean name and SHE is the poet.

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By prgill, February 27, 2009 at 2:29 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, (there is something poetical about the name Sepharad, a poetry that somehow does not translate with the Ashkenaz) I live in the south of France (near Marseille) where I have an run advertising and public relations business and follow economic and political developments in the West Mediterranean.

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By Sepharad, February 26, 2009 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

prgill—Where are you on the far shores of the Mediterranean and what are you doing? Mediterranean is a huge sea and has always appealed to me. (As a kid I could hardly wait to grow up and ride my horse all the way around it.) Some of its shores are more troubled than others. If you are on one of the troubled ones (even if you’re not) hope you will keep in touch with truthdig. Would bring a broader view to us, which is important as everything looks different from a different perspective.

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By prgill, February 21, 2009 at 1:07 am Link to this comment

It is Saturday morning on the far shores of the Mediterranean Sea. I have just read the equivalent of several sermons (17000+ words) on subjects ranging from

- group ethics (TAO Walker’s discourse on The Council Circle, 2/20),

- a mother’s unfathomable love (Sepharad’s moving testimony of her life experience, 02/19),

- listening for the Tao (developed in the exchange between Amon Drool, Cyrena, Anarcisse and Tao Walker),

I can now start my day. Thank-you.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 20, 2009 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

TAO Walker:
‘The rough translation anarccissie offers might more accurately read:  “The way that can be SPOKEN is not the Eternal Way. ...’

That’s in the next line:
“The way that can be gone is not the eternal way;
the name that can be named is not the eternal name.”
“Eternal” here also means “constant, everyday” because for the Chinese, or at least those who wrote the classics, the eternal was (obviously) here and now as well as there and then and over the hill.  (We say, “From here to eternity” when singing the Whiffenpoof Song or naming ponderous and important novels and movies of yesteryear; that would be a very short trip for Lao Tzu.)

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By Amon Drool, February 20, 2009 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

tao…i reacted with my gut to your post of 2/19—3:56pm.  maybe i should have came up with a more thoughtful response..or maybe not.

i initially engaged u on this thread when i noticed your posts of late had become constantly dismissive of electro-mechanical contraptions.  both anarcissie and i pointed out to u that u did seem to enjoy using one of those contraptions…the computer/internet.  we had a couple back and forths in which we both got in our say.  i decided ok…enuf…and attempted to ease out of our conversation with my post of 2/19..3:03pm.  i thought what i said to u in that post was gentlemanly and respectful and i hoped u would take it that way.  i was surprised when u began to nit-pick about my use of the phrase peace of mind.  and i initially thought (rightly or wrongly) that your “if the shoe fits” comment was aimed at me, since as far as i know, i’m the only TDer to object to being referred to as tame and domesticated.  like i said, the intent of my 1rst post of 2/19 was to ease out of our conversation in gentlemanly fashion.  i felt your response to be ungracious…like someone who just had to get in the last word.  thus my gut response “He Talks All The Way.”

hey, tao, i’m glad you’re here at truthdig.  if i again engage u in conversation, i’ll do my best to keep it respectful.  and, hell, i don’t even care anymore if u call me tame and domesticated…..smile

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By TAO Walker, February 20, 2009 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Among our People it is understood and agreed that we don’t get-up from a council circle until each Person in it has let us all know she or he has said all they have to say about whatever it is we’ve sat-down together to consider.  That would be seen as very bad manners.  Here at ‘truthdig’ we get together, in-effect, to consider, in essence, the Human condition….and various aspects of it present in events and circumstances as raised by authors of articles and commenters on those articles.

The overwhelming ‘subject du jour’ seems to be “the eCONomy” and what is happening to both the thing itself and to all those among the domesticated peoples caught-up in its tightening toils.  This Old Man offers an honest view of that from where us surviving free wild Human Beings see it.  Presumably others here, including Amon Drool, for example, are here on the same basis of sincere good-faith….presumed, that is, until someone decides to demonstrate otherwise.

Taking one’s “eye” off the subject-at-hand, and reverting to the juvenile habit of going-after others in the circle personally (usually over something quite trivial) is generally an indicator that whoever does it has nothing more that’s pertinent to contribute to our councils.  One reason us Indians, when in-council, refrain from using ego-centric references (like “I”, “me”, “mine”), and don’t “address” each other directly (by-name or as “you”) but rather stick carefully to what another Person has said about what we’re all there looking-at, is that it helps to avoid having our discussions degenerate into name-calling and other kinds of immature (and not helpful) back-and-forth.  This has “worked” wonderfully for us since….well, “Time Immemorial,” as some put it.

Most of our tame Sisters and Brothers have not grown-up in the Way of the Council Circle.  Two minutes watching talking-heads on TV is enough to reveal how few among ‘em are getting to grow-up at all, in the toxic CONditions to which they’re subject.  That aside, though, nothing good or worthwhile can be expected to come from noise-fests where “individuals” are more interested in “scoring points” with “talking points” than arriving TOGETHER at some improved and mutually beneficial understanding of whatever of common concern is supposedly under their consideration.

If that is too much “talk” for anyone here, they should please feel free to skip past it.  They might also have the common courtesy, though, to spare the rest of us more of their lame attempts to “derail” our conversations into the incidentals and irrelevancies of “personality.”  Isn’t that what “My Space” and “Facebook” are for?

He Walks All The Way has said what he has to say about that.

HokaHey!

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By cyrena, February 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

•  “….factor-in domestication itself as perhaps the leading cause of Human casualities in tsunamis and earthquakes….and other similarly natural occurrences that can be devastating to penned-up “populations.”  One of its effects is to render the captives increasingly insensitive to the precursors (and there inevitably are some) to these natural events….and often unable to respond sensibly even to what they “see” coming, like hurricanes, f’r instance. “

BEAUTIFUL Tao, simply beautiful! I
Indeed there are ALWAYS ‘precursors’ to these natural occurrences that can be so devastating to penned-up populations, and I suppose, (though I hadn’t thought of it in that dynamic) that this penned-up condition is what has led to the decreasing ability to RECOGNIZE those precursors and get the hell out of the way!!

Once we lose the capability for communicating with our own environment, we don’t recognize the precursors to ANY disasters, including those of the non-natural, man-made/manipulated variety; like the crash of the economy.  By the time the mostly domesticated ‘see it coming’, they don’t have a way to respond sensibly, because they’re penned-up, and never had a back-up and/or escape route, because of course they didn’t recognize any of the precursors. Left without any options, the domesticated panic and become more and more desperate as they FINALLY ‘see’ it coming, and there ain’t no where to run, and/or not enough time to do it in.

All of this could have been avoided if they’d stayed in closer communication with their environment, ALL of the environment. Being penned-up in a domesticated system means those skills/sensitivities that should come ‘naturally’ are atrophied by disuse. 

Domestication leads to really bad eyesight. Seems to cause hearing problems as well. Can’t ‘read’ ‘see’ or ‘hear’ anything…smoke signals, wind signals, cloud signals, bird signals, tracks,(of ANY species)and on and on.

Glad I’ve survived the worst of the domestication, but it’s definitely required constant vigilance to sustain/maintain the survival status or the continued Walk.

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By Sepharad, February 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tao Walker, You are absolutely right that the “masters” are tired of prolonging peoples’ lives with expensive drugs—won’t bore you with the angles the insurance companies and single-pay proponents are devising to get around exactly that because I’d bet you already know them. But I would argue with the slight hint of why-bother keeping livestock operation anything but profitable. It depends. Our son was only 14 when diagnosed with cancer and we considered saving him worth selling our house, folding our history magazine we’d worked on and loved for 15 years, and husband quickly inventing another business that paid enough to help son and kept him in the scientific biomed research that interests him anyway. We never thought twice about it. During the six months kid was in hospital (where I slept on a cot), neighbors took turns providing husband with dinner, and when kid was given week off to recover from the treatments, people we ride horses with took him and me back and forth to the city as necessary. When they had troubles we do whatever they need too. All of it was unquestionably worth it: he was 14, just beginning life, and now he’s 26, a musician, taxi driver, good friend to his friends, definitely an asset to the universe.

When one of our older mares developed a slow-acting cancer, I asked vet how long he could keep her out of pain, as she still seemed to enjoy sun on her face and being saddled and ridden just a little bit. He said “You keep her happy, and I’ll tell you when I can’t keep her out of pain.” So that’s what we did for nearly two years, though the rides she was capable of were shorter and shorter, and toward the end I was just getting up on her five minutes or so and walking down the dirt road a bit, while she looked this way and that, studied a snake crossing the road or grazed or ate a fallen apple, whatever. One day vet said he couldn’t keep the pain at bay anyore, so a neighbor brought over his bulldozer and dug a deep hole in the orchard where I told him she liked to graze. Vet picked her up and laid her down, head in my lap, I fed her an apple and thanked her for being such a good horse, then he gave her a shot and she was gone. (Her son is husband’s longtime trail horse, and he still grazes above Melly’s place.)

So for myself, I think I’ll follow same pattern as we did for Melly. I don’t need to be kept out of pain—cheap pills for that—just to remain functional enough to get on a horse, cook dinner, amuse husband, read books and enjoy everything I can. Husband is not retiring so we can pay for the medicine (when you work for yourself nobody will lay you off as long as somebody will still pay one way or another for what you’re offering), and we move around a lot so he nevertheless gets to ride places he’s never been. I’m not as quarrelsome as I am on truthdig in real life, so husband is happy with this arrangement and so am I. When I can’t ride anymore I’ll reassess, but he thinks conversation and other things would still be worth living for so I guess I’m in for the long haul. If it becomes impossible for whatever reason then it’s impossible. 

Don’t like insurance companies making decisions whether people live or die but expect it will come to that if it already hasn’t.

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By Amon Drool, February 19, 2009 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

tao… u say your name translates literally into english as:  He Walks All The Way.  r u sure it’s not:  He Talks All The Way

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By TAO Walker, February 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

If the Homo Domesticus “shoe” doesn’t fit Amon Drool then s/he certainly needn’t wear it.  Irritation, though, is often a sign of some chink in the armor of one’s “peace of mind.”

What this old Savage enjoys is more on the order of the dynamic imbalance that comes from calm clarity and not being subject to the “global” gangsters’ rule-of-fear. “Peace-of-mind,” on the other hand, is just as likely to come out of a bottle or a needle or a creed, and often not even the first fix is “free.”

“TDers,” while not singled-out for being “tame,” mostly include their own “self” in the “civilized individual” category….often proudly.  Having swallowed the koolaid of “superiority,” however, it isn’t surprising that being lumped-in with other domesticated animals (and plants) doesn’t sit well with ‘em.

But if, by actual definition, the shoe fits…..

HokaHey!

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By Amon Drool, February 19, 2009 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

tao…it’s been nice talkin’ wit ya.  i suppose one of the reasons i got into conversation with u was my irritation at your constant chiding of TD’ers as being tame, domesticated, penned up.  Amon here ain’t exactly a wildman, but he doesn’t feel all that tame or domesticated.  your tiyoshpayes way seems to have given u commendable peace of mind.  i don’t have a name for the way i’ve lived, but, i too, have relative peace of mind…there is more than one way to skin a cat.  HokaHey!

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By TAO Walker, February 19, 2009 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

The rough translation anarccissie offers might more accurately read:  “The way that can be SPOKEN is not the Eternal Way.”  We do, however, each according to our given nature, MOVE with/in/as The Way.  Fish swim The Way.  Birds fly The Way.  Us Two-leggeds are among those who WALK The Way.  “No brag (or blame), just fact.”

Anyhow, this Old Man’s given name translates literally into English as:  He Walks All The Way.

HokaHey!

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By TAO Walker, February 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

Amon Drool might factor-in domestication itself as perhaps the leading cause of Human casualities in tsunamis and earthquakes….and other similarly natural occurrences that can be devastating to penned-up “populations.”  One of its effects is to render the captives increasingly insensitive to the precursors (and there inevitably are some) to these natural events….and often unable to respond sensibly even to what they “see” coming, like hurricanes, f’r instance.  The fisher-folk clear across the Indian Ocean saw that wave coming in plenty of time to get to-sea and out of harm’s way.  They live everyday in communion with the elements that sustain them, attending conscientiously to their rythms and changes. 

Meantime, their tame Sisters and Brothers, taught (ironically?) to virtually “deify” “civilization,” suffered the predictable consequences of relying too much on ideological/institutional/electro-mechanical systems all predicated on the idiotic notion that a tiny part of the Living Universe can somehow corral and CONtrol Her in all Her immeasurable entirety.  Besides, to recognize the Tao of Nature is in no way to deify Her, since deities are themselves only one Kind among Her numberless expressions. 

The only “price-of-admission” to HER Song ‘n’ Dance is our sentient respect and undivided attention.  The domesticated peoples, on-the-other-hand, taxpayers/subjects/consumers/voters/tourists/believers/sinners/movie-goers/sports-fans/etc., etc. all, “enjoy” their false comforts and crippling CONveniences at the cost, ultimately, of their very Humanity.  Of course many are pursuaded it’s something they’ll be well-rid-of anyhow, it being (in their own severely limited experience of it) a flawed and “fallen” estate, at best.

To be a “missionary,” as anarcissie no-doubt knows, is to prosyletize and attempt to propagate some belief-system or another….not necessarily of a “religious” variety, either.  This old Indian is only here offering to our tame two-legged relatives a view of their captive CONdition (which they’re welcome to take-or-leave as it pleases them) made intentionally unavailable to those inside the apparatus CONfining them.  It’s no good pretending, though, that they aren’t horribly handicapped (“benighted”?) by that machinery and its ruthlessly exploitative operations….including (as noted above) being largely deaf-and-blind-to and otherwise cut-off-from the promptings of our Mother Earth and Her Natural Children, All Our Relations.

The fear of “ANARCHY,” as hippy pam reminds us, is but one of the make-believe “bars” on the virtual cage imprisoning the domesticated peoples.  That bogie is exposed for the empty threat it’s always been by anarcissie’s precise prescription for Preventive Medicine.

The ills Sepharad says “science and technology” are enabling people to go-on-living a little longer in-spite-of, are themselves largely the by-products of the same globe-girdling (in the same sense as tree-girdling) “process” pretending to “cure” them.  If your going to run a “profitable” livestock operation, you’ll have to include some veterinary expenses in your “overhead”....more-and-more-and-more of them every “crop,” in fact, until the animals you’re abusing can’t stand enough of it anymore to make them worth keeping half-alive.

There is CONsiderable evidence your tormentors and their two-legged tools are about at that point with “....your huddled masses.”

HokaHey!

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By Anarcissie, February 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

I see my nice Chinese characters have become question marks.  No Unicode-16 around here, I guess!  Anyway, they were the first line of the Tao Te Ching, and mean something vaguely like “The way that can be walked is not the Eternal Way.”  I was teasing TAO Walker about his name a little.

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By Sepharad, February 18, 2009 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anarcissie and Tao Walker,

I look forward to both of your posts because you are both the most realistic and truthful (and playful, a real and rare virtue) among the posters—even I, someone who does not trust easily, find myself trusting what you say—and yet there you each are, at opposite poles. Maybe not so opposite after all, though. “Get along” and “get out of the way” are precise and useful injunctions in a variety of situations, not just anarchy, and underrated in many tribal situations though I think most members of my own dwindling tribe of human beings, the Israelites, would also appreciate those maxims as much as Tao’s ancestors with with whom they have much in common—outnumbered roughly a million to one in a sea of people who would like you to seque out stage left and die.

Tao, in my own way I’ve spent large parts of my life in the disconnected-from-modern mode (in between intense periods of engagement against some of the worse idiocies of modern culture in the days that I’ve lived), and still do around the edges, slipping from view around the next mountain when possible and staying gone for as long as possible. A lot of what exists—and in this I include the Internet—could sink to the bottom of the ocean and never be missed. We’d be better for it. But other things—primarily medical science and books that can be printed without being carved into stone, letter by painful letter, would indeed be a great loss.  Otherwise the ways of the Lakota, the Bedouin, are the best—as long as you or your loved ones do not get really sick or need glasses. My horse has more sense of how to live and organize a community than most politicians and many truthdig posters.  It’s hard straddling the worlds. Science and an intuitive chemotherapy doctor saved our youngest son’s life from a previously incurable, painful cancer—he was the first survivor.

Given my own diseases, I would too would die without high-tech drugs and excellent doctors. If I had to trade that for my horse, however, I would die too because moving from place to place like wind has always been that important to me. (When I lived in a city and had no horse of my own, I rode my bike a dozen miles up the Mississippi River and just sat with it, thinking and watching.)

Anarcissie, I think you’d do fine without the Internet and maybe even do something completely incredible—mathematically, or in whatever field you are in—that you don’t have time for now. Exchanging opinions and having conversation can take place anywhere, and possibly not exchanging and conversing so frequently would increase the quality of output; more time to learn and think. Anyway, as long as I keep up with truthdig, I hope you keep wasting time posting because you’re sharp and imaginative and cut right through the b.s.

(I tend to pay attention to the world around me when something very wrong is happening—our impending financial and social crisis, or everytime Israel is in trouble. In between, when life at large is no more screwed up than usual in the great world, I do my research and writing but always, more and more, get away with my husband and sometimes friends on our horses but truthfully the less company on horses the better. Most people talk too much, think too little. It annoys me and irritates my horse. Husband is different; he thinks a lot and can talk a lot but knows enough to shut up while exploring places we’ve never been so his horse appreciates him too.)

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By Anarcissie, February 18, 2009 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

hippy pam:
... A few of us know “the old ways” and will take to the “strongholds” and do our best to survive….It will be a question of shoot first and ask questions later. . .

Actually, the first rule of anarchy is “Get along,” and the second is “Get out of the way.”  The bully-boys will not last long in the real jungle.

TAO Walker:
Anarcissie might look at what does get “posted” here, and see that it’s all even more ephemeral than “Smoke Signals” anyhow.  Besides, the internet is just another prothsesis grafted onto our domesticated Sisters and Brothers who’ve forgotten how to communicate over “time” and “distance” without electro-mechanical assistance.  So this old Indian goes to them where they are, in a manner they can recognize, with information that can be transmitted by this method only very approximately, at best….since it isn’t likely we’ll be meeting them soon in a Sweat Lodge or at a SunDance Sing.

I sure wouldn’t count on that.  “The tao, like water, goes everywhere,” and so does the Internet, into the most improbable corners.  But you seem to be having a good time here, so if it takes a little illusion about being a missionary to the benighted, be my guest.  There is something to be said for the missionary position.

And don’t forget—? ? ? ? ? ? ?.

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By hippy pam, February 18, 2009 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

Tao Walker….
  How many will die when the “shit hits the fan”? and this country and economy hit bottom???
    A few of us know “the old ways” and will take to the “strongholds” and do our best to survive….It will be a question of shoot first and ask questions later…And “skills” such as making meat-preserving food-protection from those who want what you got-etc…
    These are skills the “common urban dweller” does not have…So there will be ANARCHY…
  ARE YOU REALLY READY FOR IT??????

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By Amon Drool, February 18, 2009 at 12:14 am Link to this comment

tao…u assume that i think the dynamism of modernity is going to a place i’ll be glad to get to…well, wrong assumption.  i’m not exactly sure what i mean by modernity. it would probably equate to the world-view that emerged from the renaissance with its emphasis on the empirical and scientific, which in turn has lead to the electro-mechanicl CONtraptions that u disdain.  all i’m saying is that this world view has been unleashed and it’s a part of us now. (well, most of us)

and, of course, we humans,as a species, have to get more in balance with nature if we want to survive.  but let’s not deify nature…i’m sure earthquake and tsunami victims wouldn’t.

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By TAO Walker, February 17, 2009 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie might look at what does get “posted” here, and see that it’s all even more ephemeral than “Smoke Signals” anyhow.  Besides, the internet is just another prothsesis grafted onto our domesticated Sisters and Brothers who’ve forgotten how to communicate over “time” and “distance” without electro-mechanical assistance.  So this old Indian goes to them where they are, in a manner they can recognize, with information that can be transmitted by this method only very approximately, at best….since it isn’t likely we’ll be meeting them soon in a Sweat Lodge or at a SunDance Sing.

Amon Drool says “....the dynamism of modernity is rolling along,” and assumes evidently it is going someplace s/he will be glad enough to get to, eventually.  The very same thing is true of the back-end of a train wreck, at least in that moment before it catches-up with the front-end already piled-up and stopped dead….or an airliner in a death-spiral, right up to the instant it hits the ground.

As essentially helpless “passengers,” those aboard this CONglomeration of CONtraptions have no way to tell what its overall CONdition might be.  Us surviving free wild Human Beings are NOT along for that ride, so we are in a “position” to see where it’s headed, at what relative velocity, and what the consequences of its “arrival” are most likely to be.

As for the “baggage,” certainly we’ll salvage whatever might help us fulfill our organic responsibilities within the Living Arrangement of our Mother earth.  We will do this, however, as Living Communities, Tiyoshpayes, rather than as random gangs of “civilized individuals” trying to perpetuate some kind of movie-spawned dystopia.

If it’s the ultimate in cheap thrills you’re after, though, by-all-means keep your seat on the technocrat express.  We’ll catch you later anyway.

HokaHey!

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By Amon Drool, February 15, 2009 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

tao…u seem to enjoy using one of the “electro-mechanical” devices of modernity…the computer.

i’m sure a return to the lakota ways would put us—the human species—in a more easily survivable situation.  but survival in itself can’t be an ultimate value…u wouldn’t be ending your posts with hokah hey if it were.

the train has left the station.  the dynamism of modernity is rolling along.  i find electric guitars, space-exploring satellites and computers all kinda trippy.  don’t u?  our modern way of life has put us on a tightrope and lakota wisdom may help us get our balance.  but, we ain’t going back.  and even even if our State apparatus did crumble, we’d be more likely living in a “road warrior” world than a lakota one.

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By Anarcissie, February 15, 2009 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

TAO Walker:
‘It’s true, as Sepharad suggests, that “modern” domesticated people will have some hurdles to get-over on their Way back to free wild Natural Living.  The most difficult of these barriers won’t be found in the ideological/institutional/electro-mechanical enforcement apparatus arrayed against them, either.  It’ll be in the crippling fetters which are their own self-centered attitudes and CONvictions.

FIRST get loose from the “civilization” CONtraption…’

But then how are we going to get on the Internet to post things on Truthdig?

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By TAO Walker, February 14, 2009 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

It’s true, as Sepharad suggests, that “modern” domesticated people will have some hurdles to get-over on their Way back to free wild Natural Living.  The most difficult of these barriers won’t be found in the ideological/institutional/electro-mechanical enforcement apparatus arrayed against them, either.  It’ll be in the crippling fetters which are their own self-centered attitudes and CONvictions.

FIRST get loose from the “civilization” CONtraption.  Then you will be free, finally, to adapt community usages and practices to whatever physical conditions that you find each other needing actually to engage in mutually beneficial ways.  Looking for “guarantees” that what you find will be to your “individual” liking is just another assinine and bound-to-be-futile attempt to, as Eugene Robinson hints in his Geithner article, drive “the cart before the horse.”

Our Mother Earth isn’t just doing a little tidying-up here.  She’s “Burning down The-House” the tormentors built, with slave labor, and freeing all those domesticated Children whether they like it or not….and some of ‘em sure as hell won’t, at first.

She’s kept a few of us Natives around, though, to help our use-to-be-tame Sisters and Brothers to get used to Living again in their Natural condidtion.  We sure they’ll be glad they did. 

HokaHey!

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By purplewolf, February 13, 2009 at 1:55 am Link to this comment

Cyrena, good comment on the schools/churches. First though, they should tax the churches say at 50% or higher. Didn’t the clergy people take a vow of poverty anyway, and especially since they want to dwivel into the political arena. But I do believe it will be hard to turn the church’s downtime over to teaching time, other than taking us back to the dark ages of ignorance and repression?

Remember GOD forbid Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge, he wanted to keep them “dumbed down” just as this country seems to he running to at breakneck speed.

Spiritual people inspire me, religious people scare me.

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By Sepharad, February 13, 2009 at 12:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tao Walker—That’s an idea worth considering. Riding along the Rio Grande I see all those empty cliff dwellings and (in imagination only) the communal gardens on the mesa tops, the corn planted down below so ditches from the Rio Grande could irrigate them. Squashes and corn and some hot little peppers with only rare hits of meat kept a whole civilization going. They knew their place, they trusted each other to follow the gods and the law governing nature and hence their well-being. They also believed in magic, and gods, and witches. (Well some did anyway. All the women and children believed that the masked dancers were gods but when boys came of age they were shocked when the men told them it was they who put on the masks and danced.) Most impressive was their war songs, which seem completely devoid of bravado, almost reluctant, unlike the Lakota or Apache. When Pueblo men had to interfere with, say, the Navajo their songs were along the lines of “we’re unlucky we are men, you are lucky you are women, you stay home while we go bother the Navajo.” Today the Rio Grande can’t be drunk by people, even horses can have only a little, so people forming any sort of community now would have to have another water source. Even tap water here tastes so mineraly that the horses wouldn’t drink it for two days.

All those confiscated mansions and second homes etc could be refitted for communal life, and the pueblos are still here. But, do you think 21st century people could learn to be content with the same roles and the customs that kept the women at home while the men hunt and fish at will? day after day? Or we could build kibbutz-style housing.

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By cyrena, February 12, 2009 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

Inherit,

I have to admit that I don’t like a whole bunch of this plan either.

ONE good thing though, came from the cuts. The ‘stimulus’ for more nukes was cut, at least according to an email I just received from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Peace Action West.

Dear Cyrena,

Congratulations. You just saved taxpayers $1 billion in nuclear weapons pork.

I just got word that, with your help, we eliminated $1 billion in wasteful spending for the nuclear weapons complex from the economic stimulus bill. Thousands of you wrote and called your senators, and even sent letters to the editor. Thank you for an amazing victory!

The final economic stimulus bill now contains no money for nuclear weapons activities at the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the nuclear weapons complex. But the fact that senators tucked $1 billion into the stimulus plan for nuclear weapons infrastructure in the first place shows the importance of continuing to push for real progress towards a nuclear weapons free world.

Our momentum is real, and the opportunity for change unprecedented. Will you join our campaign for a nuclear weapons free world with your message to the president today?

President Obama has taken the issue to heart, pledging to “set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it” by working with Russia to reduce both our stockpiles and opposing new nuclear weapons development. But Obama is sure to face opposition, including from some members of Congress and his own Defense Secretary Robert Gates [1], who continues to support these relics of the Cold War, and is even advocating for new nuclear weapons.”

It goes on, but this is the gist of it.

Then, I received another one from an organization I’ve been working with for about 5 years now, specifically in terms of affordable health care and pharmaceuticals.

Dear Cyrena,

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans want a choice to join Medicare at any age, and are willing to pay for it! That’s the finding of a new poll by Consumer Watchdog circulating around Washington, DC today.

Please take a moment to encourage the president to “open Medicare.” A new New Deal could be at hand if President Obama understands the public is behind a Medicare expansion.

I recently wrote a commentary in the Los Angeles Times about why Americans should not have to be 65 years old or disabled to enjoy Medicare’s benefits. The policy arguments are nearly indisputable, but the public’s will needs to be felt inside the beltway.

Times are tough and Americans deserve the security of knowing that they will have health care coverage even if they lose their jobs. Obama-Care will soon be debated on Capitol Hill. Please take a moment to ask the president to make Medicare as big as Americans want it to be.

You can find American Public Radio’s coverage of today’s poll here.

Thanks for all that you do,

Jamie Court

Consumer Watchdog is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer protection organization. Your contributions are tax-deductible.”

So, there seems to be some optimism in the American public about these minor details, which aren’t so minor to most of us.

The cut to State funding is probably the worst for most states, certainly my own. I’m still pretty distressed over the cut to more school construction as well. Maybe we could just turn ALL currently standing CHURCHES into schools. That would be cheaper than building them from the ground up, and we kill two birds with one stone. Get rid of these houses that worship invisible characters, and let them start worshiping some knowledge of REAL things. Things that might just improve our society.

Religion hasn’t.

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By Anarcissie, February 12, 2009 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:
‘Obama’s campaign rhetoric, Anarcissie, gave us no reason to suspect that he would just continue Bushite policies. ...’

I read some of his position papers.  His positions were hardly distinguishable from Clinton’s.  Both of them were distinct from Bush in avoiding at least the appearance of being enthusiastic about the radical expansion of imperialist aggression and other such violent exuberance promoted by Bush and company, but they certainly proposed to continue the basic policies of world domination established in the 1940s.  Of course, Obama allowed himself to be portrayed as anti-war and anti-imperialist, so I am not surprised that some people are disappointed.  Had they read the small print, though, they would have been prepared.

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By Folktruther, February 12, 2009 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

Obama’s campaign rhetoric, Anarcissie, gave us no reason to suspect that he would just continue Bushite policies.  I thought he would mean well feebly.

There IS ruling class agreement on what is to be done.  More Zionist War on Terrorism, more war, neoliberalism, more policestatism.  Zionism serves the same function in US imperialism that the German mercenaries did in the Roman Emperor’s military.  Nothing can be done against their interests.

Which means that nothing can be done unless a progrressive partisan force is developed to do it.  In which case ther may well be another false flag Terrorist attack and martial law.  But the resistence to it will have already been developed, which will shorten the endgame. Which, I agree, will not be a happy time.

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By TAO Walker, February 12, 2009 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

For the “bravest and freest and richest (domesticated) people on the planet,” shouldn’t the question Anarcissie poses and someone else seconds be:  WHY do we pay “the rent?”?

“Shared housing,” anyone?  Hell, even “american” Indians are resident experts at that.  Us surviving free wild ones, though, can still teach them a trick or two.

HokaHey!

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By Sepharad, February 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anarcissie—Suspect you’re right but hope you’re wrong.

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By Sepharad, February 12, 2009 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit—Great post. We all needed reminding that, as you stated (and before you Che Guevara and many others in so many words), “Politics is the art of the possible.” I’ve been on TDig so long I was in danger of forgetting that (though results of Israeli elections would’ve reminded me if you hadn’t.)

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By Anarcissie, February 12, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:
‘The solution to the economic, military and policestate problem is partisan.  It is necessary to mobilize progressives to fight eoconomic inequality, war and a police state.  Just as Roosevelt went to the left to castigate “malfactors of great wealth.”

But Obama has made himself the prisoner of Elite Centralists…. ‘

Sepharad:
’... There is more than enough infrastructure renew/repair to keep many people now losing their jobs working at something that will in turn create jobs.

To repeat my bandaid idea: confiscate all mansions and assets of overpaid CEOs and white collar criminals….’

I think Mr. O is cognizant of the fact that while there is a lot of dissatisfaction, fear and anger, there is no public or ruling-class agreement as to what ought to be done.  Mr. O’s campaign rhetoric gave no reason to believe he would approach the country’s financial and economic problems with anything radical or novel, and this is in accord with the citizenry, half of whom want to go back to the 1930s and the other half to the 1920s, both eras now being pretty much lost in the haze of selective idealization.  So we are currently seeing what we should have expected.

I predict, then, that the present administration will muddle along with blockheads like Summers and Geithner until things get much, much worse, at which point some sort of political mojo may bubble up from the restive masses and make structural realignments possible.  This would resemble the actual 1930s, but unfortunately not the 1930’s of the United States.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 12, 2009 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

All those people who can’t see a diff between Obama and the bushnuts aren’t looking.

First of all, Paulsen just did what Bush always does when there’s a big chunk of public money: Gave it to his friends with no controls (and denied it to his enemies, like Lehman).

Second, all but 3 Republicans want a stimulus package that is:
Cut taxes to 0 for the richest Americans and corporations.
Then cut taxes to < 0 by subsidizing them.
Cut taxes by 15% to the upper middle class.
Cut all the programs for the poor and working classes.
Make a lot of noise about how “Trickle-down” is gonna work THIS TIME.
Make a lot of noise about how the unemployed are just “slackers” and we don’t have to care about them.
Sing “God Bless America” as loud as they can.

Third: Infrastructure rebuilding is both a good SHORT term and LONG term stimulation to the economy. In the short term it creates jobs that puts money into peoples’ hands, that they then spend on food, rent, clothing, vehicles, etc.  In the long-term it allows business growth.

I live and work in North and Central NJ—a VERY prosperous state and the most-milked of all the 50—for every dollar we send Washington, $0.61 gets spent here BY Washington. (Compare to GOP-Land Mississippi: for every $ they send to DC, THEY get $2.02!!!!!!!!!)  I’m seeing businesses close all over, and not just Circuit City and Linens ‘n’ Things.  A competitor to our firm sold out to an Indian firm….and they moved ALL the jobs to India, leaving a long-time colleague on the street—she had worked here, at our company, for over 10 years.  This was 3 days ago.

Do I like EVERYTHING about this plan? Hell, no!  Do I think it’s the best plan? Of course not!  Do I think it’s possible to get a better plan that WILL PASS?  Probably not.

Politics is the art of the possible.

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By wildflower, February 12, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Re Don Knutsen’s Post: “. . . a big part of the republican party’s plans behind closed doors, with D. Cheney was to drain the revenue of the country to the point that there would be no money left for any of the social programs that define a civilized society. They have become a traitorous organization in the guise of a political party. They speak with one voice, and it’s certainly not a patriotic one.”

There does appear to be some truth in what you say. In fact, when you reflect upon what has occurred during the past eight years it’s almost like the Republican Party has been conducting some kind of undeclared war on the U.S.

It seems to me that they’ve pretty much undermined our country in every direction possible - our Bill of Rights, our system of checks and balances, our laws, our system of justice, our economy, our educational system, our credibility as a nation,  and, last but not least, the general welfare of “we the people.”

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By Folktruther, February 12, 2009 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

The solution to the economic, military and policestate problem is partisan.  It is necessary to mobilize progressives to fight eoconomic inequality, war and a police state.  Just as Roosevelt went to the left to castigate “malfactors of great wealth.”

But Obama has made himself the prisoner of Elite Centralists, Bi-partisans,  who are rightwingers when viewed from the population prospective.  He CAN’T go to the left now without a massive revolt from the DUPES, Democrats Under Presidental Enchantment Society.  It is not support of Obama that is needed but OPPOSITION to his policies.  This is currently incrreasing.

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By hippy pam, February 12, 2009 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

truthdigger3….The only way out is to throw any and all crooks out of office….the NO PARTY SYSTEM….The BEST MAN FOR THE JOB system…..but it ain’t gonna happen…....

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By truedigger3, February 12, 2009 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

hippy pam,

Currently there is no difference between the Democrats and Republicans. Both of them are bought by and beholden to big Money/Business.
The Democrats are in control of the congress for more than two yeras and now they control both the white house and congress and the senate. Did they do anything about Bush’s obscene tax cuts for the super-rich.
Do you hear anything now about any plan to repeal these tax cuts??!!  Do you like the current plans
to bail-out Wall St. bankers at the expense of everyone and everthing else.??!!
The only way is a third populist party. Forget about
the Democrats.

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By hippy pam, February 12, 2009 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

re:are we not taxpayers…..jason…...
America had to fund local Militias in order to defend against the British and French….So local governments held meetings and asked local business people that were sympathetic to freedoms cause if they would set aside monies to equip and field local militias for defense.It was called a tax….That “mandate” was also meant to become obsolete when there was no longer a need for it….I.E.when we were free….

Unfortunatly….Those rich businessmen decided to keep the law on the books while shifting the responsibility of payments to the working people…

Jason….The republicans ARE THE RICH BUSINESSOWNERS….AND MOST CORPORATIONS GET OBSCENLY LARGE TAX BREAKS while the democratic working class-upon whose backs rest support of the rich and the poor-continue to lose jobs and benefits…..Please read your history….You most likely believe Native American deserve losing their country because they didn’t have guns when the white-eyes invaded Turtle Island….

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By Sepharad, February 12, 2009 at 12:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anarcissie is right: problem as machine falls apart is how to pay the rent.

It’s a little late for “Ich bin ein Keynesian.”

There is more than enough infrastructure renew/repair to keep many people now losing their jobs working at something that will in turn create jobs.

To repeat my bandaid idea: confiscate all mansions and assets of overpaid CEOs and white collar criminals like Bernie Madoff and homes the banks have foreclosed on, just the way the government is empowered to confiscate assets of drug dealers, and hire some unemployed workers who are good at systems organization to figure out a way to get these assets into the hands of those families hurting the worst and capable of getting back on their feet with a boost, then when they do recycle the asset to the next in line.

Anyone who participated in the Obama campaign (I didn’t) should contact his people as high up food chain as possible and say if he wants a second term to toughen up on the Republicans and keep his promises or at least his principles.

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By FiftyGigs, February 11, 2009 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

I agree that the Republican Party has obviously chosen to put party above country.

Obama has shown by his current road-trip, however, that they (Republicans) really are digging themselves into a deeper hole. The best Republicans can hope for is economic disaster whereupon they intend to campaign on the premise that “I voted for the other plan.”

That’s a pretty weak appeal to voter who wants to throw all the bums out.

While Republicans claim victory at having voted as a block against the President, they have to have noticed also that their high-profile victory was high-profile. Everybody knows Obama tried bipartisanship. Now, he’s out in the Republican’s voting districts fighting for their constituency, while they dial in to Rush Limbaugh to get their daily talking points.

Who’s connecting with voters?

The Republicans are sliding further into irrelevance, but the interesting thing is that they’re doing it very, very publicly thanks to their own promotion.

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By Shift, February 11, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

Here is a fine reason to end bipartisanship:

http://www.truthout.org/021009M

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By mjt01, February 11, 2009 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

It is all too clear that the Democrats nave neither the will nor the ability to govern. Positions are taken, then immediately surrendered to the neoconservatives. For the past two years the Democrats had a majority in both the House and the Senate, but they have been unable, or unwilling, to use that majority to promote any kind of Democratic agenda. All the Democrats have done is speak of “keeping their powder dry” for when it was really important. I guess nothing of importance has happened in the last two years, because the Democrats have not been willing to take on the Republicans at any point.

The Democrats have earned the appellation “Wussies auxiliary of the neoconservative party.” It is unfortunate that the US population has to pay the price for their constant cowardice.

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By KPinSEA, February 11, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

“Bipartisanship is safe and effective, when used as directed. In the present circumstance, however—dire economic crisis, hardheaded Republicans, time running out—bipartisanship is doing more harm than good.”

No solution to this problem will be effective if it lacks the support to be implemented.  President Obama did not win 70/30, and his personal style of governing isn’t to pretend that he did.

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By don knutsen, February 11, 2009 at 9:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I do believe that a big part of the republican party’s plans behind closed doors, with D. Cheney was to drain the revenue of the country to the point that there would be no money left for any of the social programs that define a civilized society. They have become a traitorous organization in the guise of a political party. They speak with one voice, and its certainly not a patriotic one. If you are trying to afford to send your kids to college, don’t look to the republican party for any help. If your trying to keep your home facing foreclosure, don’t expect any help from the republicans. If your interested in reclaimiing atleast some of the credibility our nation had in the world , don’t expect any positive results from the party that has done so much to crap all over our reputation. The limp wristed democrats have little to brag about, but I would say that a majority of the republican party both in congress, and in the street, have alot of explaining to do to the rest of us…especially our kids and their future. Sit back and think anout it, and how you would define a traitorous organization.

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By Gerard, February 11, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What will it take to bring the republicans into the twenty first century?
They are stuck with preconceptions based on false or regressive ideologies that, to quote president Obama «got us into this situation in the first place»
Why do they always vote against the proposed stimulus program?
If they think they are that competent in economy, why did they not prevent this financial crisis instead ef repeatedly saying, during eight years,  that the fundamentals were sound?

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By Anarcissie, February 11, 2009 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

TAO Walker:
’... So what’s a poor proletarian to do?  This old Indian recommends getting out of the shell-game altogether, coming together where people actually live and breathe, and helping each other through the shitstorm Barack Obama keeps warning-about but doesn’t dare actually describe….and this dildo of a “stimulus package” will do absolutely nothing even to delay, nevermind offering a way to somehow avoid it. ...’

This is all very well and in principle I agree with it.  The problem is paying the rent.

The American people have been on their knees before the great conundrum-machine of late capitalism.  The justification for putting them there was that the great machine turned out stuff and more stuff.  But then one day, not long ago, the masters of the machine said, “Oh, shit, the machine’s broken.  Well, I guess you people will just have to do without.”  Did some of them stand up?  Not yet; they brought in a new bunch of mechanics, who are looking more and more like the old set of mechanics.

I figure it will take a year or so before the light starts to dawn.  Meanwhile, we’ve got to pay the rent.  Got any ideas?

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By The Old Hooligan, February 11, 2009 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

I propose a simple test. Let’s take the voting records of every Democrat and every Republican that has ever held office in Washington, D.C., and feed those records through a Super Computer like the Cray XMP-1.

That will once and for all tell us which Party has always been on the side of the poor, the working class, and every other American NOT born with the proverbial “silver spoon” lodged firmly in their mouths.

Somebody has been lying to the American People all these years. This test would forever call out and brand the liars for what they really are and who they really represent and work for on Capitol Hill.

It can be done, and the sooner this “I’m really on YOUR side” charade by you-know-who is exposed for the naked lie that it is and always has been, the better.

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By dihey, February 11, 2009 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Cyrena: The Gallup poll shows that a majority of people support the “stimulus plan”. Yes, but 54% is “paperthin” in my book. Given the fickle nature of our voting public that is even dangerously thin.

Mr. Obama’s stint in Elkhart/Indiana was pure demagoguery. If he had been honest he would have told the RV (among the world’s biggest anti-green gas-guzzlers!) workers: “you jobs will not return soon, if ever even if my plan passes the Congress” which is what Mr. McCain might have told them.

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By Purple Girl, February 11, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

Repugs agian claiming ‘They Know How’, Jus tlike McCain’s claim he knew how to catch Bin Laden. If so why have they done neither. If Repugs know how to fix the eocnomy, create Jobs then why have they refused for the last 8 years? Why have did they not push through a stimulus package while they still controlled congress? Only took them a Week to push through the Bank Bailout embezzlement bill.If Tax cuts stimulated spending, created jobs and at the same time Reduced the Deficit 9they incurred), why hasn’t it worked YET!
Repugs typically Circular Illogic aimed at destroying an eocnomic Superpower. When you have lost hours at work, lost your job, Lost your home- you’ve already been pushed down a tax bracket or two, thus required to pay less taxes. If the pool of citizens is reduced, fewer people are contributing to the tax base- thus the deficit grows. As more require Unemployment, and gov’t provided services, the deficit increases. If jobs continue to be depleted, ther is no way to refill the hole. Thus Tax breaks are the least effective and most counterproductive method of stablizing and rejuvinating an economy. Need not be a Einstein or ‘Guru’ to figure that out. So logic dictates the Repugs are TRYING to destroy US by any and all means possible.Add to that 2 absolutely Unnecessay Wars,30 yrs of starvation from ‘Trickle Down’, disasterously skewed Trade policies and continuous attacks upon all Labor. and Voila’ you have a third world economy with desperate workers who’ll work for any crumb the Corps feel like throwing them. I call that TREASON.
Repugs conveniently forget the reason the REvolutionary war was waged, not just taxes..But taxation WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. No difference between a Family Crest and a Logo when the PEOPLEs interest and welfare are being ignored.Reason Repug party still dons it’s RED- Modern Day Red Coats.

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By Quinty, February 11, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

“But Obama and his economic team found that there were only so many “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects to fund,”

I’m puzzled by this remark. According to the professional society of structural engineers our national infrastructure requires about 2.2 trillion dollars in work.

Obama has apologized for his approach to adding tax cuts to the stimulus, admitting it was wrong to offer them in a conciliatory, hopeful manner. But I think Robinson is correct. The Republicans are thinking about their political future, reestablishing themselves. And the last thing they want is for the Democrats to look good.

Listening to some Republican members of Congress speak you would think they had never heard of John Maynard Keynes. And, at least some, they probably haven’t.

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By oldog, February 11, 2009 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

President Obama,

Be confident, the vast majority of thinking Americans are with you. The fear mongers and sensationalist’ only sway a small percentage of people who would believe the moon is made of green cheese if they heard it on TV.

Everyone realizes that 60% of tax cuts actually go to large corporations and wealthy investors. Our current crop of movers and shakers have shown (look at the 1st TARP) that they only care about themselves.

I find it ludicrous that bankers claim their ‘superstars’ are the only ones smart enough to understand these new ‘complex derivatives and credit-default swaps’ and then turn around and say that none of them could see this crash coming. Anyone who lives over ten years as an adult remembers that markets, prices, and income goes down as well as up.

People made these new financial instruments as complicated as possible so no one would notice their Ponzi style makeup until after the originator had collected his fees and passed the time bomb off.

This was no mistake, this was fraud and some people should be going to jail. Just follow the money: Who profited?

But that is congress’ job, not Obama’s. We need the president to be leading us into the 21st century. And we all, Democrats and Republicans and Independents need to realize that the election is over. Let’s get on with the business of building a vibrant economy.

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By curiousgeezer, February 11, 2009 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

Why respond or reason with anyone from the Rush/Fox crowd? They certainly never listened to anyone on the left, and never will! Grassroot involvement is a good start to repairing the damage done by these hate mongering greedy characters! They are destroying themselves very nicely without our help! Why waste time trying to convince anyone who thinks like a Republican of anything decent?

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By cyrena, February 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

By FiftyGigs, February 10 at 4:48 pm #

Jason: “He does not have public opinion on his side. If he did, he would not be out there trying to sell it.”

That’s very logical, but not correct. Gallup is reporting that the majority of people support the stimulus plan, as well as the general approach of spending on infrastructure instead of cutting taxes.

~~~

Actually, it’s not even logical. Political Science 101/US Govnt:

The primary job of the President is to sell his ideas or the mechanisms of his agenda to the American People.

That’s his job if he wants to get anything done.

That’s the same job for ANY US president. Most Americans (especially younger or underexposed ones) don’t really understand that, especially after being bullied by 8 years of the Dick Bush regime, who simply shoved whatever they wanted up or down our respective orifices, regardless of what the Constitution says.

So it’s perfectly logical for President Obama to take ownership of his own plan, and present/sell it to us based on the fact that he believes it’s critical. And for anybody willing to look around, you’d notice that it IS critical.

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By Ribald, February 10, 2009 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s very unfortunate that the economic crisis has, and will continue to, stirred up the ideological spirit that has been bestowed on the common man by his oppressors. We suffer and fight each other for the sake of ideology, because reality is too confusing for us to be honest. Macroeconomics is horrendously complex and it doesn’t help anyone to make up a simplified view that validates our preconceived notions.

  Working together doesn’t mean marching in lockstep. Likewise, disagreement is more than merely saying the opposite of what the “other” side says. If we stop acting like children and think, there can be a reasoned consensus. Otherwise, none of our knowledge or experience will help us understand or react to our predicament.

  An economy, after all, is built on the choices of individuals. If we’re largely a nation of narrow-minded imbeciles, there’s not much to hope for but the benevolence of those who are capable of cooperation and reasoned action.

  Frankly, I’m quite certain that our level of discourse, let alone our collective social action, will never rise above the current drivel and become something capable of opposing the massive corruption and incompetence that has driven society to this precipice. We’re too easily outsmarted, it seems.

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By truedigger3, February 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

I read many posts in this thread calling for investigations of the Bush administration
and having trials.
And I say, please stop wasting time and energy. This
will never happen because the Democrats and Repulicans are partners in crime and in everything else including the current economic disaster.
All the effort right now is concentrated on trying to
save Wall Street banks’ share holders at te expense
of everyone and everthing else.
All the efforts regardless of the theatrics and “compromises” or lack of it are directed to helping the super-rich to keep their wealth at the
expense of everybody else.

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By FiftyGigs, February 10, 2009 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment

Jason: “He does not have public opinion on his side. If he did, he would not be out there trying to sell it.”

That’s very logical, but not correct. Gallup is reporting that the majority of people support the stimulus plan, as well as the general approach of spending on infrastructure instead of cutting taxes.

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By Big B, February 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

I love the new republican line, “well, we may have been f-ups, but you guys were too!”

Yea, that’ll get the job done!

Does anybody remember the 2 elections that W and his criminal cabal stole? for a long time after both, the repug company line was always, “you guys lost, get over it!”

Well repug fans out their in TV land, get the fuck over it. Hey, I’m a liberal. imagine how pissed off I am right now.

Think about the real numbers. Unemployment, counting all who are jobless, is over 15%. Mix that in with tha fact that over half of america is working for less than they did 10 years ago and you get to the crux of the problem. Also, the true GDP has not grown in over 2 decades. Why? Well it’s classic americana! We didn’t like the numbers, so we changed how we read them. Count service jobs productivity the same as manufacturing, and of course, stop subtracting the inflation rate and walla! GDP grows!

A huge spending program ain’t gonna get it done, people. We cannot afford to give money away to a failed banking system. We, the people, need to take it over, just as we need to take over all utilities, healthcare, and secondary education. Sorry, conservatives, repug and dimmo alike. But your ideas and policies are now, and always have been, an abject failure. Constant rebuilding cycles in between wars have led us to quagmire we find ourselves in today. We can’t even rebuild ourselves anymore, because we don’t make anything anymore. How can we outsource our economic recovery?

Yesiree folks, the same old tired ideas are not going to cut this time. Let’s face it, their only ideas are to print more money, throw it around, and hope people and businesses will somehow start to borrow alot of money again, so they can, of course try to pay off their already bloated debt. Borrow your way out of a debt crisis, Holy Crap, why didn’t I think of that!

It’s time to try a little mix of socialism and capitalism. Because, well, let’s face it, we’ve tried the alternative, and it ain’t working.

WWIII might pull us out of this thing! Oh wait, we’ve tried that to.

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By hippy pam, February 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

America has a BIG PROBLEM….President Obama has a BIG PROBLEM…....
That BIG PROBLEM is REPUBLICAN INTERFERENCE….

Rebublicans-THIS NOTE IS TO YOU!!
GO LAY DOWN-SHUT UP-GET OUT OF THE WAY-
And LET THE MAN WHO WON THE VOTE DO HIS JOB!!!!!

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By TAO Walker, February 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

The looming “catastrophe” we’re hearing so much about these days might be just a scare-tactic, as some here and elsewhere are suggesting.  So-far, though, it is being trotted-out in the shape of a cardboard-cutout with two dimensions….Wall Street (actually locatable on NYC maps) and the semi-mythical “Main Street” (located nostalgically in the manipulated memories and captive imaginations of theamericanpeople, who are in all their atomized “individuality” mere figments of “Mad Men” marketing).  So it is in-a-sense really only one-dimensional, which might offer a clue about where all that made-up-out-of-thin-air “money” will of-necessity and by-design end up.

On the other hand, there does seem to be among the “huddled masses” a genuine apprehension that their lives are in the grip of something over which they haven’t the slightest CONtrol, and that there truly IS some likely-to-be-world-shattering CONflation of circumstances and events even now descending upon their hapless and helpless “selfs.”  Meantime, the professional pols and pundits play pinball with the “common” peoples’ psyches, on a “playing field” tilted so far in-favor of the plutoligarchy it must occasionally be embarassing to pretend there can be any “reasonable” doubt at-all about the final SCORE.

So what’s a poor proletarian to do?  This old Indian recommends getting out of the shell-game altogether, coming together where people actually live and breathe, and helping each other through the shitstorm Barack Obama keeps warning-about but doesn’t dare actually describe….and this dildo of a “stimulus package” will do absolutely nothing even to delay, nevermind offering a way to somehow avoid it.

The one reliable bit of information in all the media-abetted official smoke-screening and papered professional expert mirror-flashing is that these are CONditions never before encountered by the domesticated peoples and their ruthless task-masters.  They are, one-and-all, LOST!

Us surviving free wild Human Beings know exactly where and when we are in the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.  Any time and place our tame Sisters and Brothers get tired of thrashing-around like headless chickens, we’ll be glad to help you back into the Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself.

Hell, you don’t even need a ticket….just pay Her your sincere respects and precious attention.

HokaHey!

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By KDelphi, February 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Amon Drool— “it’s a difficult situation, but methinks the tack to take would be to tease apart the taliban from al qaeda and then give them voice in a coalition gov’t”

Yes, I wonder why no one will even look at that! They are not one in the same, as many USAns seem to think…

Jason!! The GOP had its 6 yrs of massive spending. You ignore the role that neo-con (and neo-liberals) had in getting us where we are. If some of it is catch up for programs you guys cut—tough. There was an election you see, thats how it works…

This is not the plan I wouldve written. The GOP would fight any bill, that any Dem majority bring up at any time. They did it wiith Carter and Clinton.

So you think that if your GOP and Dem “representatives” had been allowed “input”, it wouldve have all been pointed, stimulating programs? Like what? If your big corp fails maybe they just cant make it in a ‘free mkt economy”... We’ve done tax cuts, over and over and over and over…you just want cuts for big corp. samo/samo

You already give them a piece of your ass everyday. Why do you want to give them more?

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By M.B.S.S., February 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

i like proles breathless rant style

adds a little to the atmospherics & intensity

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By Jason!!, February 10, 2009 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

He does not have public opinion on his side. If he did, he would not be out there trying to sell it.

So cyrena, why is it that no district being represented by a republican has a say in this?

Are we not equal taxpayers?

Have we no right to representaion?

Seems Thomas Jefferon warned of something like this….

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By Folktruther, February 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Prole, you stobborn bastard, skip a line every once in a while. Do it for the American people.

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By Amon Drool, February 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

prole…you’re a guy with something to say.  do u realize how imposing you huge block posts look to someone?  i’m sure many skip over them just because of the concentration level one needs to sustain to get thru them.  all u gotta do is hit the enter key a few times…give us a break.

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By cyrena, February 10, 2009 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

“Republicans are using this debate as a branding opportunity, positioning themselves as careful stewards of the public purse. This is absurd, given their record when they were in charge. It’s also cynical. They know that some kind of stimulus will get passed anyway. If it works, they’ll claim their principled intransigence made the plan better; if it doesn’t, they’ll say “I told you so.”

  Obama and the Democrats have public opinion on their side and the wolf at the door. Republicans need to get out of the way—or get run over.”

I love it!!! My sentiments exactly. I’m fine with running them over too.

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By Jason!!, February 10, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

No. I want the spending bill tied directly to stimulus and have specific targets with measurable goals. I want the sillyness out and I don’t want to pay for someone’s new jet. I want my representative to scrutinize every single line looking for waste or fraud loop holes. If they dont, ill vote against them next time around.

You see they way this works is we elect citizens to office. They are supposed to represent our needs and ensure our concerns are being addressed.

Party politics should not matter at this point but you are letting Reid, Obama, Pelosi and their elitist clan get away with it. They are inventing an issue.

Every constituent has a stake in this spending bill. Therefore, every constituent chosen representative counts as well. None of the Democrat leaders have any right to hog tie the process to block others out. Who knows, you might be one of those having your rights revoked at this very moment. Blind eye huh.

A handful of people crafted this bill and we still dont know everything in it. Those that will steal from this don’t care what party you’re a member of. They are still going to steal from you. Sucka.

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By Anarcissie, February 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

Jason!!: ’... Pelosi, Reid and Obama instigated a political fight to justify why they are cutting huge portions of the population from input….’

From output, you mean.  I think most people are well aware that the ruling class, and hence the government, pay little attention to their desires and thoughts.  They were just hoping to get something from the state besides the usual back of the hand.  Tough luck this time around….

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By prole, February 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

Eugene Robinson always stays true to his vocation as Democratic Party press agent. “Bipartisanship is safe and effective, when used as directed”! Indeed??!! Only a Washington Post liberal could propound such macabre canards. Ask Palestinians, or Iraqis or Iranians or Vietnamese or Guatemalans or countless others just how “safe and effective” America bipartisanship is, sometime when you’re more interested in digging for the truth than in turning a corny phrase or pimping for the dreadful Democrats. “President Obama and the Democratic majorities in Congress can no longer afford to let” corporate comity defeat common sense – but that’s what they get paid for, just like Robinson. “If the loyal opposition chooses to obstruct economic recovery, those who hold power are obliged to use it” in the best interests of their corporate paymasters; the “loyal” majority must ride to their rescue.  “Begin with the most fundamental question”, whose interests do the “loyal” business parties serve? “Does the U.S. economy desperately need a massive” bailout of the venal financial sector and subsidies to inefficient industries and porkbarrel giveaways or not? “There are economists who doubt it’s possible for the government to effectively stimulate an economy of such size and complexity” in the public’s interest using the approach of corporate waterboys like Obama, Summers, Geithner, et.al. “Those economists, however, are in the minority” i.e. not Democratic or Republican corporate sycophants. “The most respected economic wise men and women of both parties [hilarious oxymoron] believe a huge stimulus is needed quickly to keep a dire economic situation from sinking” many more vested interests and wealthy investors. These party hacks are obviously neither very “wise” nor “respected”. “Normally, it would be insane to spend upward of $800 billion so fast. Given the hole” they’ve gotten us in, it’s even more insane – and unaccountable. “Nobody said it would be easy to spend so much money in so little time” – unless of course, you gave it directly to those who need it most, at the bottom of the social pyramid. Go ahead, send them a check instead of Goldman Sachs, see how fast they spend it. “But Obama and his economic team found that there were only so many ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects to fund, and while straightforward government spending packs a bigger stimulative punch, tax cuts would help to some degree. So, from the beginning, the plan accommodated Republican ideology” - and that ladies and gentlemen is what the whole decrepit two-party sham is made for and what Barack the Obama was invented for. Not to accommodate socialist ideology but to accommodate Republican ideology – just like a Washington Post liberal. “This will sound ridiculous [at least there’s something here to agree with], but the fact is that the details of Obama’s plan don’t matter that much” – at least, not if you’re a true believer in Obamessiah like Robinson. “Obama and the Democrats have” Robinson and the Post on their side. The public “need to get out of the way—or get run over.”

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By purplewolf, February 10, 2009 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

Jason are you a cheerleader for the repugs like Bush was a cheerleader in college? Yes we should hold everyone in office accountable for this mess, but by holding only those in office right now fails to hold the real culprits accountable for this mess that they have created during the last 8 years. Where the hell is Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfield, Chertoff, Gonzales and the rest of this bunch of crooks and why did you not include them in the group you want held accountable? They are far more guilty of this chaos as they were engineered this for the last 8 years.


As to the person commenting on Clinton and WTO, so why did you not mention that NAFTA was being pushed from the days of Ronny Reagan and Bush I well before Clinton.

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By Jason!!, February 10, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

Your stuck in hyper emotional electioneering politics mode. The election is over and those we chose to represent us are in office.

Obama, Reid and Pelosi are short selling the American public by blocking input from our chosen representatives as though we have no say. You heard him say last night many times “me”. What HE needs to do and what HE wants to happen. He forgets us.

This is a democracy and our representatives have a duty to scrutinize it. This is not king obama land.

Pelosi, Reid and Obama instigated a political fight to justify why they are cutting huge portions of the population from input so they can rush a bill through.  This is what you have bought into. This is what you have been manipulated to think. It’s not about party lines.

Some of you morons are probably represented by one of those democrats or republicans. Yet your willing to give up your input because Pelosi says you should. You’re a fool and deserve what you get when you end up paying for some stalwart’s new jet.

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By Folktruther, February 10, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

The historical function of both wings of the DemGop bloc is to increase the power inequality between the powerful and the population in the US and in the world. The Gops do this fairly openly, increasing the tax cuts and giving tax payer money to the rich, and Obama does it with pseudo-progressive rhetoric.
So Obama wants Gop support for his efforts to show his neoliberal and militaristic backers.

So a third of the stimulus is tax cuts, and food stamps and other population support has been discarded, along with 16 billion dollars to the frantic state govenemtns.  In accoding with both wings real motto: power to the powerful.  Make the population as powerless as possible.

The Gops do with with rhetoric of the right, Obama does it with rhetoric of the mainstream left: Hope n Change.  He has stated a number of times in publich that he is goint to cut Entitlements: the money owed the population for their paying social security and medicare.  And he has just spent a large portion of his politicl capital kow-towing to the right. Making the stimulus increasingly ineffective.

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By M.B.S.S., February 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

khouston your rhetoric hurts my eyes.  who give a flip about the GDP?  so what the GDP shows rising efficiency from the american worker but all that means is they are making us work longer for less.  yes i am talking about that “evil” corp. you work for.

feck the gross domestic product.  GROWTH GROWTH GROWTH is unsustainable.  you have to feed the machine to infinity and beyond.

i dont think the idea is to duct tape the monster so it can self cannibalize a little bit longer so you can keep making some money.

the idea is to let it all fall apart.  because the machine is built on blood, and pain, and oppression.

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By M.B.S.S., February 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

these fools like robinson dont get it.  obama is not compromising.  he is getting what he wants.  he wants those tax cuts and believes in those tax cuts.

if obama expected any good faith on the part of the republican side then he is truly naive.  but that is neither here nor there.  the main thing is not to pretend that if the president had his druthers that the bill would exclude tax cuts.

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By Amon Drool, February 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

democracy now! had a strong show today.  economist james galbraith, while agreeing with the need for a stimulus, pointed out in the long-run its benefits would be lost if the banking mess is not cleaned up.  he sees geithner as a big problem in this regard.  does barackstar have the stuff to turn on the largely insolvent big banks and hand the mess to sheil bair?  stay tuned…

the other segment of democracy now concerned afghanistan.  barackstar seems to be following the dictum of the slickster:  “it’s better to be wrong and strong than be right and weak.”  it’s a difficult situation, but methinks the tack to take would be to tease apart the taliban from al qaeda and then give them voice in a coalition gov’t.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

Excuse me for being blunt about this. The whole Obama economic rescue scheme will fail miserably. Why? Two words: Timothy Geithner.
If President Obama believes that Geithner has wisdom, then he is not the smart guy he is touted up to be.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-k-black/the-audacity-of-dopes_b_165637.html

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By Jason!!, February 10, 2009 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Inherent in the Wind,

What are you – a democrat cheerleader or something? Operative of some type. Hello… Election is over.

There are plenty of Democratic failures we can point to throughout its history just as Republicans. Everyone in office right now should be held accountable. Obama trying to scapegoat the situation is despicable and the last thing I want to see is bs squabbling and finger pointing. He was full of excuses last night and is trying to force people into his package.

Forget that. I have a republican and a democrat representative and both need to be at the table representing my local situation. Neither has had ANY input and odds are, neither has yours so why should anyone support it? Its full of spending on new experiments. Experiments are what got us here.

Personally, I would like everyone who signed onto the mortgage lending bill to be fined and imprisoned. I don’t care the party. If this bill passes and it tanks the economy, they too should be tarred and feathered along with all the cheerleaders.

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By Anarcissie, February 10, 2009 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

I think part of the problem here has been that we actually have become a Third World country.  The ways this fact was hidden included, among other things, increased debt, increased deficits, and the inflation of credit money.

The problem with the Stimulus, as with the Great Bailout, is that simply handing money around does not appear likely to solve the underlying problems.  If you don’t produce anything real you don’t have anything real, regardless of how much currency is printed.  But I think things will have to get much worse before this is recognized.

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By don knutsen, February 10, 2009 at 11:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shut out the republicans untill they grab a clue…that is what needs to happen. This same republican party that has steadfastly cheered behind George Bush these past 8 years, and actually worked against the american people since atleast 1994 in all they did. Who cares what they think at this point ? If the dem.s have enough votes to pass legislation without them then great. Screw them…and all they stand for, because their ideas have been shown to only be in the interests of big buisness, period. Every single time legislation has been brought to the floor in the interests of the middle class they have voted in favor of big buisness instead. What good are they if they all speak the same line…why do we need hundreds if the same outcome could come from one ? This republican party hasn’t the capacity to make decisions based on individual decision making. Thats not allowed in the party that bows to Rush Limbaugh’s hateful rhetoric, that goosestepped behind the bug exterminator Delay for years and the old toad Hassert in the house. That enabled one disasterous decision after the other by this past administration. They , in their hatred of any regulation, in their incompetance to not want any kind of oversite for years, be it in Wall Street or Iraq…Its they who got us here, maybe some of them in time will begin to wake-up and follow. But they certainly are not capable of leading us out of the mess they have brought us. Untill the current republicans in Congress are voted out by the people, and replaced by individuals who understand again the principals this country was founded on, they should be treated as the pariahs they are.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 10, 2009 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

“Houston, We have a problem!”

You can’t get away from the fact that every time the GOP instituted massive tax cuts we immediately went into a deficit.  RR had a GOP Senate for 6 years—so it wasn’t Democratic irresponsible spending.  Dumbya had GOP Congress for 6 years, a GOP Sen for 4 years and a tame Congress and Senate the rest of the time.  Again, the deficits are from Republicans.  It’s just that blindingly simple.  Tax cuts don’t raise revenue no matter HOW many back flips you do about GDP. (Yeah, what ever happened to GNP??? Didn’t give the results GOPers wanted?)

It’s just another attempt by the Right to obfuscate and avoid the obvious responsibility for the economic and political mess we are in.

Like blaming Barney Frank for his actions in 1999—when the House was solidly GOP.  BS. Pure BS.
Deregulation and tax cuts were ALWAYS Republican ideas that Clinton reluctantly signed on to TO GET THINGS DONE!

If the GOP had their way (and they did through Jan 19) you see what happens.  All regs are dropped. Most taxes on the richest are dropped. When everything crashes, in lieu of actually DOING something, you raid the treasury and the future for those rich banks while there’s still something to raid.

Then when EVERYTHING collapses and the people, 4 years too late FINALLY turn it over to the competent, you blame THOSE folks for taking drastic and draconian measures to fix YOUR messes.

In fact, the GOP plan was to do less than Hoover.  Protect the rich and let the country go into a major depression.  Now the official unemployment rate is nearly 8%, but that doesn’t count those DROPPED from the rolls for being unemployed too long.  With them, unemployment is really 10-11%. In the Depression, it hit 33%.  And, if we follow the GOPers’ plan, it will get there again.

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By wildflower, February 10, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

When you think about it, Eugene, the Republicans have never really been careful stewards of the public purse. They do, however, seem to excel at stealing from the public purse - take Dick Cheney, for example.

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By P. T., February 10, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

The Congressional Budget Office calculates demand will be short $2.9 trillion over the next three years.  So $800 billion is not enough.  Not enough means more unemployment and lost production.  President Obama is likely going to have to come back to Congress in the future for more money.

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By KDelphi, February 10, 2009 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Jason!!-As I said, I would skip the tax cuts—it did nothing before, it will do nothing now. My family had to sell the family house with 6 acres of land, for about a third of what it was worth. Everyone is being hurt by it. Some didnt even buy a house during this mess. There are discussions and disagreements as to who is to blame, but, if we dont regulate Wall St, this will happen again and again like the S&L “crisis”.

Be glad you are not homeless.

This bill is not going to help me, personally , at all, I dont think. But, that doesnt mean I want everyone else to tank. A lack of concern about the plight of others is another hallmark of “gone too far” capitalism. Without work, evveryone’s taxes will go up, as we have no tax base. (Or we can drop education and Head Start and COBRA and health care and become a Third World country—-maybe we will anyway)Kids, elderly, disabled and those dependent on social services (more and more as COBRA and unemployment run out)  need this help to the states to survive.I think that the Dems should put the money to the states back in the bill.

“So what happens when the 90% get tired of getting screwed? They default and walk away as many are already discussing. That will cause a third wave, congress will have played their last card and things will get worse because they are focused on all the wrong things. They have to go back to the root cause and work from there.”

I have been wishing for this for a long time, although we would probably disagree sa to what they shoudl be focused on… I am not sure we would be on the same side at all. I wish for the day we rid ourselves of the dupopoly. But, I would like to be rid of unregulated capiatalism most of all.

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By Jason!!, February 10, 2009 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

KDelphi,
My situation is simple. Democrats enabled experimental loans ran up the home prices here far too high. Unfortunately, I bought at the high end and shortly after, those that should never have bought, defaulted on their loans. My home is now worth half of what I paid and I will be stuck with it for a long time.

Over 90% of the population is employed and we are throwing trillions to create short term, low quality jobs for less than 10 %. Great but what does that do for the millions like me? Those jobs are not going to cause resurgence in home prices. No – we will still be stuck with a huge debt we can’t recover from. Taxes will actually increase making it harder for me to pay this bs loan but at least I will have a new road to leave on.

So what happens when the 90% get tired of getting screwed? They default and walk away as many are already discussing. That will cause a third wave, congress will have played their last card and things will get worse because they are focused on all the wrong things. They have to go back to the root cause and work from there.

Throwing a bone in the form of a $1000 tax cut is a joke and it’s insulting after what they caused and it will do nothing to stabilize home prices.

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By Jason!!, February 10, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

Hey Purplewolf,

What history book are you reading? No matter, its wrong.

Example: Since 1933, the House of Representatives was primarily controlled by Democrats. Only four Republicans served as leader during the last 76 years! Similar stats for the Senate.


The Democrats have held on to power for a very long time. Perhaps you should buy a real history book because mee thinks you are trying to pass off some propaganda here. ;p

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By KDelphi, February 10, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

I think that condoms and birth control could help the economy immensely! Fewer unwanted kids and STDs! After years of cuts from neo-cons, its needed!

Cutting money to states right now, even as they try to expand COBRA to Medicaid is a bad idea. Cuts to education building funds will stop construction jobs from being created and, cuts to Head Start are just COLD.

khouston—if you are still hanging on for dear life, you are doing much better than the millions laid off.

The Congresional Budget Office says that the number one cause of out huge deficit is the Bush tax cuts. Really. CEOS could cut upper mgmt. bonuses rather than cut jobs—-join a Union. I think that it should be enforced by law—if you are making above a certain salary, you have to cut your own bonuses before you lay anyone off. They dont put up with this crap in more advanced countries. Speaking of France, prgioll, within 48 hrs of the French bank bailout, the CEOS were fired!

Jason!!—there are still the individual and family tax cuts—it will (not) come out of your paycheck, the way I understand it, rather than the useless $500-1000 one time check. I think we need fewer tax cuts, but, ...do you relize how many people would be thrilled to have a job right now, at all? “been in control of Congress for so long?”“?? Dems have only been in charge since 2006, Jason!! The GOP are the ones who spent us into this hole.(with Dem enabling)

http://www.cbpp.org/1-31-07tax.htm

Extending the Bush tax cuts, would cost $4.4 trillion, by 2018!! Rich people need to start paying their taxes. Its’ patrtiotic! And for those in favor of the ‘war on terrorism”—join the military.

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By tropicgirl, February 10, 2009 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Gene—

I really enjoy your opinions but this time it seems a little like nutty talk.

But, I will make you a deal. While you are out banging the drum for the Pelosi-Reid-Obama “stimulus” bill, can you please give a little equal time to asking the question, WHERE DID ALL THE JOBS GO? Here are some reasons why the stimulus will not solve the job problem and most Americans know this at heart and have been asking for years.

1.  EVEN IF an American company came up with a $5000 electric car and everyone wanted one, eventually the company would be bought out, jobs would be outsourced and profits would be sent offshore. Nothing would remain because of the trade laws. So its NOT a lack of innovation in America that is the problem. Its the Clinton trade laws.

2.  EVEN IF every shovel-ready project were funded, the jobs would not necessarily go to Americans. The reason we know this is because lawmakers refuse to mandate a simple method to hold them accountable to giving jobs to people authorized to work. E-verify which has 99% instant success. Anyone driving by a road project can guess exactly what is going on there. Even the US government uses undocumented workers and will continue to do so. This information is readily accessible.

3.  EVEN IF you taught a roomful of college students (I do) a valuable technical skill, and other trades, you go to class every day knowing there are NO JOBS FOR THEM. It makes you want to cry. Its NOT the lack of education accessibility or desire for it.

4.  OFFSHORING, HB-1 VISAS, UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS, OUTSOURCING may be good for individual corporations but its killing American workers. Now its killing the CORPORATIONS, in turn, because we cannot any longer afford or want their goods, from houses to stocks to cars.

5.  And what did the corporations do with all the money they saved from outsourcing, etc? They paid themselves excessive salaries, cheated their investors, wasted money, did not innovate for the future and did not put money away for hard times, or even VALUE SOLVENCY.

Unless Obama and the Democrats understand that the ultimate war will be between Americans and the WTO and other trade deals and policies, corporations will have TO OUTSOURCE THEIR CUSTOMERS FROM NOW ON ALONG WITH THEIR WORKFORCE. In otherwords, you get your workforce from wherever you want, now get your customers somewhere else. This is what people mean when they say the market will correct itself, in a way. But it’s violent for us and very violent for them.

The one thing the WTO still has no control over is our election process and Washington better remember that because there is a huge America First movement growing. I think Americans will be willing to back who will fight for their jobs against groups like the WTO. Is Obama? Seems not at this point.

And its NOT between Democrats and Republicans, believe me. Its between the Neo’s and the grassroots on both sides.

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By godistwaddle, February 10, 2009 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Compromise reveals two things about a Democrat:

1.  He has no principles.
2.  He has failed to learn from Munich—you CAN NOT compromise with fascists.

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By purplewolf, February 10, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

If you go back in history of how the repugs have run this country, they always have put America into a hole and it is always the Democrats that come along and dig America back out and if we are lucky, we have a surplus when they leave office. Then the repugs get back in, latelyby lying and cheating to the people-keep repeating the same lies over until the people are brainwashed to reality and then get America in massive debt. Ronald Reagan put America into the largest debt with his star wars defense b.s. among other hare-brained ideas and then along came George. Who out did Ronny several times over. And yet these repugs have the gall to claim they are the only ones who are responsible when handling the finances of this country. I don’t think so and history proves they are not.

Of course the repugs will do everything to go against the best interest of the country and the people, it always has. Look at the witch hunt against Clinton. So what if he had sex, Bush lied us into a war and in my book is a serial killer by proxy. But you didn’t see a Ken Starr type harassing G.W.and Cheney for 8 years. There should have been a special investigator on Bush and Cheney’s tail the whole time as they have actually committed real crimes against all of humanity, where as Bill only cheated on his wife. While the rich got richer under the last administration, the middle class and poor fell further behind.

As for taxes. When income tax was set up in this country, it was the corporations that make a profit that were to be taxed, the working people were NOT to pay income tax at all. However, through underhanded manipulation through the years, big business turned the tax debt over onto the working people, something that was never intended in the beginning. Over 2/3 of the corporations pay no income tax, that’s over 67%, and yet make huge profits at the expense of the working class. And all the deregulation of the last 8 years hasn’t helped either.

Repugs never learn that you cannot keep cutting taxes for the richest-monies that pay for services-and spend more than you take in. Any idiot knows that.

I do not hold any hope of the repugs ever getting their heads out of their backsides and actually look at what they have done to create this mess and become a constructive part of solving the economic disaster they have made. That would be asking for to much.

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By coloradokarl, February 10, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Personally, I think a little “Fiscal Darwinism” would do all the small and large government agencies of our Country a world of good. Homeland Security has bloated our municipalities to unsustainable levels. Attrition of tenured positions through early retirement would do much for the apathy that invades local, state and national governments. The Senate and House Republicans are rolling the dice towards 2010 this long shot has a possible HUGE payoff. Betting against the well being of the people of our Great Nation (The House) is a losers bet of desperation. Only time will tell this out come. I suggest a twelve step program for these power addicts. REPUBLICANS ANONYMOUS

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By khouston, February 10, 2009 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

From Jason…

“They are the ones that pushed these experimental loans that caused this mess in the first place.”  I wasn’t going to go there but you brought it up…. :D Good job, that’s one point that is NEVER made in media. People really don’t want to know about it.  But blame the banks too and their greedy behaviors.  The took it and ran and look where it got us. Those of those who are remaining to be good creditors by the hair of our chinny chin chins are being punished by these same banks with CC interest rate adjustments that amount to usury.  The way it goes is they do it in some vaguely written letter that is jumbled together with junk mail from them.  So what is our high and mighty congressional Dems and Repubs saying about this. NADA. Instead they are looking to drive the floor down on Mortgage loans even more.  I hate to admit but neither side is very impressive right now.  The both make my stomach hurt and just think most of them are in this game for LIFE cause we let them.

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By Jason!!, February 10, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

“…Wasteful spending, that is exactly what we need.” Barak Obama Feb 9, 2009

The majority of Americans will not see a direct stimulus from this bill as I read it. Sure there are indirect impacts but nothing provides any direct relief to me or the 90% of Americans currently employed. Unfortunately, those that fall under the same category take on the majority risk of the proposal and that is why we need careful review and compromise. Did you learn nothing from the war?

We enter the era of Obama fear mongering and his speech last night was his “weapons of mass destruction”. Aside from sounding like a rambling fool and making GW sound like a genius he obviously lacks any leadership and turns to what he knows best – Chicago style politics with a touch of street talk. That “ginned up” comment was a real classy face for the rest of the world. An epic failure if you ask me.

GW inherited a recession from Clinton but you never heard him complain to the media about it. I expected the same level of class from Obama. Instead, he loaded up the propaganda and revisionist history by trying to blame this on a congressional minority. He hunted for excuses and scapegoats. Shameful is what it is.

How exactly does the Dem leadership escape blame when they have been in control of congress for so long? They are the ones that pushed these experimental loans that caused this mess in the first place.

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By khouston, February 10, 2009 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

Government revenues SHOULD be used to pay for those services not pay for wars and in a sense the the revenues haven’t for a long time.  You do know that our Government has been issuing out T-Bills to finance those dirty little wars don’t you?  Listen, I agree the safety nets should be there. But you have to admit that our Government does an exceptionally wonderful job in living beyond its means.  Seriously, their budget is over 1 Trillion dollars….. I feel like, if they were so wonderful in the economics senses they could figure out to run and mind their own business before they come out trying to tell us how to run ours.  The best thing they could do is stay out of the way because they haven’t done anything in a long time to inspire my confidence in them. AND its getting worse.  Also, if you didn’t know the US was founded as a Republic, the goverment’s PROPER role in our society was supposed to be to secure the rights of its people and give us the freedom and ability to make a living for ourselves. Incessant meddling over the years has chipped away at that to the point where as some others have sagely pointed out, we are no longer a Republic yet a very badly run Democracy leaning towards and Oligarchy.

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By mjt01, February 10, 2009 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

“What are you going to do to fulfill your ideals expressed on the campaign trail? Or are you going to submit, like most presidents, just . . . try to carry out your promises that have no meaning except for how many people gave you money?”

Helen Thomas to Barack Obama

Obama has already answered this by his continuing submission to the neocons.

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By prgill, February 10, 2009 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

khouston, I don’t agree that the issue is or should be “government revenues”. Government revenues are only necessary to the extent we need to pay for services provided, including a safety-net for the less fortunate.

Because we have been living beyond our means (in the fullest sense of the expression), pouring our wealth into a bad bet on energy security and imperialistic war, we do not have many choices, at least not insofar as meaningful social reform is concerned: national health care, public support for the arts, higher education reform, improved criminal justice, the list is very long.

To my way of thinking, the real issues are “fixing what is broken” and taking a good, hard look at who we are as a people. What will it take to restore confidence in the men and women who serve the public interest?

Government revenues? I don’t think so. Everything in good time.

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By khouston, February 10, 2009 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

Inherit the wind.. I see you diligently ignored a few things as all Liberals do (see you assumed I was a Republican now I am returning the favor)

1.  Hauser’s Law.  Its a flat line constant. 19.5 percent of the GDP is 19.5 percent. When it rises the government makes more more money. Period.

2. Who else besides the government does a rising GDP help?  Well, those of us who work for those evil corporations.  As much as you would be loathe to admit it, those corporations are the lifeblood of this country. Most of us work for one.  From you comments I can assume that you probably don’t work for a Private Company (publicly traded).  And if you do then you should probably double check what would be good for your individual situation.  Corporations are for better or worse profit driven.  Its a market model as they have to be responsible to their shareholders.. Yes those that own stock. And these days just about anyone in a mutual fund is a shareholder.

THEY WILL CUT COSTS WHEN THEIR REVENUE GOES DOWN. As they are doing now. Unfortunately, the most expedient way to do this is to cut jobs.  Washington will not help the bulk of these companies as they have fooled people like you into believing that corporations can magically make money without the rest of us contributing by being the consumers that we are.

As far as the AMT goes, I notice that you did not mention the fact that congress has been passing yearly “patches” to help those affected persons.

Since you say there the “sweet spot” for the Laffer curve is a mystery then tell me how do we stimulate the economy in a way such that the GDP will rise and with it government revenues?

As far this stimulus plan goes, I wholeheartedly agree with the writer. Forget bipartisanship, the Demos have the Senate so they should vote. The don’t need Repub approval to get with what they want.  As far as a Filibuster goes, I haven’t publicly heard of any Repub threatening to do it.  Obama knows its a bad bill and he doesn’t want the Demos to take the full blame for the fallout it will induce.  The Demos don’t need anyone’s permission at this point to do as they please.  I wish they would just Man-Up and do it.

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