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Posted on Feb 18, 2009
White House / Paul Morse / Pete Souza

By Robert Scheer

The Republican-engineered controversy around the stimulus is a phony.

The stimulus package that President Obama signed into law Tuesday is a modest effort, actually too modest, at arresting the free fall of the American economy. It’s just not that expensive in light of the dimensions of the economic crisis, most of it is quite conservatively aimed at tax cuts for a suffering public and bailouts for beleaguered state programs, and it pales in comparison with the trillions wasted on the bloated military budget during the Bush years. 

Furthermore, it is obscene that the Republicans who created this mess dare question the cost of a stimulus package directed at meeting a crisis that their radical deregulation of the financial markets created. While it is true that too many Democrats went along with the Republican deregulatory zealots, it is the prime legacy of the GOP going back to the Reagan Revolution that has been called into question. 

The decisive deregulation that opened the door for the Wall Street swindlers was pushed through Congress by then-Sen. Phil Gramm, a Texas Republican. He was rabidly backed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., whose support of deregulation dates back to his interventions on behalf of the savings and loan hustlers whose shenanigans foreshadowed the current Wall Street scandals. Yet McCain now faults Obama for acting boldly to deal with a similar but far larger mess. It is a tribute to Obama’s leadership that he was able to get a much-needed bill passed in record time, thereby giving the millions of Americans now hurting a shot at recovery.

Key Republican governors, from Florida to California, know this, which is why they and many other governors who actually must address the needs of constituents have rallied to the president’s side. “It really is a matter of perspective,” Florida’s Republican Gov. Charlie Crist noted recently after appearing with Obama in support of the stimulus plan, because it “helps us meet the needs of the people in a very difficult economic time.” 

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Congressional Republicans, with the exception of that embarrassingly shrunken contingent of three moderates, will rue their legacy of deep indifference at a time of true national emergency, one that makes George W. Bush’s far more costly war on terror now seem an absurdly irrelevant exercise. The financial impact on Wall Street from al-Qaida’s 9/11 attacks is small compared with the damage done by the bankers whom the Bush administration coddled and who laid waste to the entire financial system.

The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy combined with the trillions wasted on unnecessary military spending dwarf the costs of the Obama stimulus package. The money wasted in Iraq, a misguided nation-building effort that had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was supported uncritically by the same Republicans who now heap such scorn on efforts to rebuild our own nation.

They draw the line at a stimulus bill that funnels $135 billion directly to the bankrupted state governments to help pay for Medicaid, education and infrastructure. Yet they cannot account for the far larger sums wasted in their support of the terminally corrupt governments of Iraq and Afghanistan. It was just peachy to run up immense deficits pursuing irrational foreign adventures, but efforts to create jobs at home are viewed through a lens of criticism.

Bill Clinton said in a CNN interview: “I find it amazing that the Republicans, who doubled the debt of the country in eight years and produced no new jobs doing it, [and] gave us an economic record that was totally bereft of any productive result, are now criticizing him [Obama] for spending money.”

The irony is that the congressional Republicans, who at the end of the Bush presidency authored the much more expensive banking bailout that eventually will throw trillions at Wall Street, oppose a much smaller stimulus package that comes to the assistance of ordinary Americans. While approving of $125 billion in payouts to AIG and tens of billions more to each of the top banks, they question spending far smaller amounts to aid the victims of bankers’ greed; $2 billion to redevelop abandoned and foreclosed homes, $2.1 billion for Head Start programs for poor kids, $1.2 billion to construct and repair veterans hospitals and cemeteries and a miserly $555 million to help defense employees sell their homes.

The only valid criticism to be made of the stimulus bill that Obama signed Tuesday with deserved pride of authorship is that it is too small for the enormous problem at hand. But if it had been up to the Republicans, we wouldn’t be doing anything at all.

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


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



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By TAO Walker, February 28, 2009 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

Professor Dropout suggests the critical need now is to come-to-grips with “....the deep-seated global economic paradigm….causing all our social problems in the first place.”  This old Savage suggests respectfully it’s way too late already for any more of that useless kind of half-assed surface-scratching.  Rather, it is the even deeper-seated and long pre-existing drivers of that “global economic paradigm” itself, with all its awful effects, that must be ferreted-out, faced, and addressed by ALL of us to mutually beneficial effect….if the “dire” consequences so many see coming are to be met in a Way that offers any real chance for more than a handful of Human Beings to live through them.

From here in Indian Country we see the eCONomy the Professor refers-to as having finally emerged as just the CONtrolling super-strucure of the “civilization” our tormentors’ve employed to reduce so much of Humanity to the degraded CONdition of domesticated “individuals.”  The “social problems” many decry are themselves merely symptoms of a systemic malady which so-far remains mostly invisible-to, even unsuspectd-by its sufferers.

The “money-power elite” mean to protect their own “investment property” as long as possible from the severe erosion already devastating the material “living standards” of their captive subject/citizens.  They believe they have in-place all the necessary ideological/institutional/electro-mechanical apparatus required to do that effectively.  They’re confident it’ll work as intended to propagate and perpetuate the rule-of-fear that “individuals” are by-design so susceptible-to….explaining the great lengths gone-to over ten millennia to disrupt and dismantle the natural Human FORM, our Lakotah Cousins call it the Tiyoshpaye Way, into its easily preyed-upon and altogether artifactual “individual” CONstituents.

No amount of papered-professional-expert tinkering, however well-intentioned (which almost none of it is, anyhow), with the machinery of for-profit CONfinement and “value-added” abuse will suffice to remedy the degrading and degenerative effects it has already had on its hapless atomized inmates….Human and “other.”  Even as it collapses it will go-on wreaking its programmed havoc upon all who remain trapped inside it. 

The two-legged livestock might still, however, re-acquire the natural immunity us surviving free wild Peoples’ve always enjoyed….from the crippling effects of the damned thing’s seductive “comforts” and “CONveniences.”  They will
naturally recover that as they re-ORGAN-ize their otherwise shit-outta-luck “selfs” into the Living Communities mentioned above.

Professor Dropout and other contributors here have only to keep digging beneath the layers of industrial-strength bullshit they’ve already penetrated.  The truth that’ll finally set them free, and wild, is just under the fraying surface of illusion they’ve been so long LOST! in.

HokaHey!

Report this

By Professor Dropout, February 24, 2009 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

Truthdigger - Thanks for the appreciation! Sorry for the long winded response to Louise.

Hear, Hear, KDelphi. I admire your level-headedness! I really need some lessons in keeping my cool.

Louise - I too am sorry about your losses and if I was over-zealous in my response.

Report this

By KDelphi, February 24, 2009 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

Louise—“Hoffer was a man who by some contemporary measures might have been called a social failure. Who, through the benefit of his life and his life’s experience found a way to lay out what is missing in, well for starters the republican and/or democrat so-called conservative, the self-serving politician and the folks who see their way as the only way. In other words folks, who once having taken a position are so afraid of being wrong, they will fight tooth and nail to rationalize not being right. Even if to do so, might ultimately prevent any change that might benefit them. A lack of self-esteem that leads to a rigidity that leads to a form of paralysis. And certainly to a level of pessimism that attempts to throw roadblocks in front of anyone who has self-esteem.”

Frighteningly ironic.

From what source did you get the idea that disagreeing with the dominant paradigm is a matter of “self-esteem”?? It really gets tired and silly,watching people diagnosing people online. You either dont have the credentials, or, if you do, you do not respect them enough to be professional about it.

“the popularity of the “mass” movement to find fault with, and condemn Obama and his choices at every opportunity, is a reflection of adolescent insecurity ... “lacking in necessary self-esteem, and prone to joining mass movements as a form of compensation.”

Are you submitting that, besides neo-cons and Blue Dogs, that there is an actual MASS MOVEMNT to ‘find fault with Pres. Obama”?? I would submit that the opposite is actually the case! What are you talking about? Fox News?

I have credited Pres. Obama with several things, but, his most rabid supporters never seem to see it. If you say anything in criticism AT ALL, you are ostracized. I dont miind that, but, the fact that you always have to get so personal about it, shows how emotinally imbedded YOU are with the idea of our brilliant Pres.

HOw can you have voted for someone so entrenched in the duopoly political system and be “tired of bad govt”?? YOure just tired of the GOP (and Blue Dogs, if you hate gOP—they are the same). So am I. More so than I am tired othe Dems. But, that does not make the Democrats right.

I am sorry about your personal losses—i can assure you that we all have them. We just disagree as to the “solutions” , and, as to whether we have to put up with things as they are. Why cant you just let it be a disagreement? Why does it always have to become personal , or about race, to Pres. Obama’s supportesr (SOME of them). And, why are you so ANGRY that some disagree with you?

I better be careful—I may be getting perilously close to psychoanalyzing…and that is a stupid thing to do , through a glorified word processor.

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By truedigger3, February 24, 2009 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

proffessor dropout,

Thank you very much for your time and sharing with
us your illuminating and informative thinking.

Report this

By Professor Dropout, February 23, 2009 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

Part 3:
Really? First of all, I reject your linear representation of political ideology as archaic and ultimately useless; it is perpetuated by those of us who “believe” in the sanctity of our two-party duopoly, a duopoly that interestingly speaks quite often about “bi-partisanship”, as if becoming more provincial and inward-looking holds the solution to a rapidly collapsing society. I would at least employ a two-dimensional Cartesian mapping of ideology with the aim of examining both social and economic ideologies side by side for the sake of accuracy.
Further, how many on the extreme left or extreme right voted for Obama? Where are your sources? How is this relevant? With further regard to this passage I have to ask: If they were so “fed-up” as you put it, then why didn’t they vote for a Nader or Kucinich? The reality is that many Obama supporters are motivated by selfishness (fear perhaps?) whereas true progressives are not. Obama supporters during the “active phase” of his mass “hope” movement, largely drawn from the newly disenfranchised and shrinking middle class, waited until crisis affected them before they acted in the interests of anyone beyond themselves. It is shameful how the working poor, who are traditionally the pawns of the politically powerful, were co-opted into this rhetorical miasma. Is this admirable and forward thinking? I have good reason to believe that Obama will not help the poor in any history-altering way, any more than Clinton, the Bushes or Reagan did while in office.
Again, you wrote:
“You may chose to see Obama’s election as a benign mass movement, giving those prone to joining movements an outlet for their insecurities. I suggest the facts prove you wrong. Extreme left, left, middle, a thousand shades of middle, right and extreme right elected Obama. Not because of a need for belonging to a mass movement, but because they were fed up with bad government!”

I wrote one short paragraph to you, and you inferred all of the rest without reading the book I suggested.
I don’t see Obama’s election as a benign mass movement. I think that the election of a black corporate democrat, who ran solely on a remarkably insubstantial and rhetoric laden platform and on the cusp of a US-sourced world-wide global economic depression, is going undermine race relations in this country, especially if he is unsuccessful or dishonest along the way. Further, it will ultimately detract from our future collective ability to engage in any fruitful discourse on this deep-seated global economic paradigm that is causing the bulk of our social problems to begin with. In short, Obama and his race will be used as a fall-guy by the unscrupulous among us, mark my words. This is due to our refusal to conduct due diligence with regard to vetting our political representatives.

Your interpretation of Hoffer’s book is lame, to say the least, though considering you think you are clever enough to interpret it without having read it speaks volumes about your reliance on orthodoxical structures (Wikipedia, mainstream news outlets) to inform your worldview. That coupled with your previous posts truly illuminates your particularly rabid brand of faux-progressive cerebral lassitude. IMHO, Freethinking is extra-orthodoxical.
VTY,
Nick
BTW - Open dialogue & criticism of public figures is not what Hoffer had in mind when he was busy defining “mass movement”. Also, is what sense of the word “trial” do you mean? Trial as in what the Obama administration refuses to put any members of the criminal Bush administration on? How about Gramm, Rubin, Greenspan or Volcker ? Oh wait, some of those were/are Clinton and Obama cabinet members as well.. Hmmm….

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By Professor Dropout, February 23, 2009 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

Pat 2:
Historically, when the great unwashed speak of hope, it is too late for measured change. We are now courting the harbinger of a potentially bloody revolution; continually dismiss the forward thinking among us as alarmists and discount their suggestions of progress, balance and measured response as unachievable, until it is too late for measured response.  This is what all of our infallible economists said about maverick and free-thinker Nouriel Roubini, until our recent economic collapse, that is, born of individual selfishness and unchecked greed. Contrary to what you are suggesting, most of these free thinkers on this board have been fed-up with people being killed due to the post 9-11 bloodlust, which was drummed up using propaganda and threatening appeals to nationalism by our so-called leadership. All of this was done to garner support for two separate wars built on lies and greed, both of which Obama voted for.
You wrote:
“Hoffer was among the first to recognize the central importance of self-esteem to psychological well-being. While most writers focus on the benefits of positive self-esteem, Hoffer focused on the consequences of a lack of self-esteem. Concerned about the rise of totalitarian governments, like those of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, he tried to find the roots of that madness in human psychology. He postulated that fanaticism and self-righteousness are rooted in self-hatred, self-doubt, and insecurity.”
- Again, if you are going to lift passages from the Wikipedia article on Eric Hoffer, please alert the reader to the source, as it will and should, affect your credibility.
Contrary to your stolen passage from the Wikipedia article about him, Hoffer *was not* one of the first to recognize the role of self-esteem in psychological well-being, specifically by illuminating the consequences of self-esteem deficits.
Dr. Boris Sidis, a contemporary of pragmatist philosopher/psychologist William James (whom Sidis named his genius son after) and one of the first PhD’s from Harvard, wrote extensively on the topic, with regard to its effect on both the individual and society. Sidis postulated links between self-esteem deficits in the individual and mass movements and their associated orthodoxies, militaristic thinking, political fanaticism, hostility towards free-thinking, propensity towards violence, etc… A decent example of these concepts are laid out in his work “Philistine and Genius” published in 1917, around the time when an adolescent Hoffer regained his vision and started reading again.
Social commentary made by Albert Einstein as early as the 1920’s echo Dr. Sidis’ sentiments. This commentary can be found in Einstein’s “Ideas and Opinions”, or for the scientifically timid “The World As I See It”.

You wrote:
“Extreme left, left, middle, a thousand shades of middle, right and extreme right elected Obama. Not because of a need for belonging to a mass movement, but because they were fed up with bad government!”

Report this

By Professor Dropout, February 23, 2009 at 11:07 pm Link to this comment

Louise -

Part 1: I recommended a much nuanced and ultimately philosophical book for you to read, which you obviously didn’t, as a quick google search using your post as input data shows.  Apparently, you lifted entire passages from the Wikipedia article on Eric Hoffer and from elsewhere on the web. Wikipedia articles are, in my experience, fallible.
Why would you do this? Perhaps you have little faith in critical thinking, and feel that you don’t need to upgrade your belief systems. Maybe you are just old, tired and selfish. Maybe you’re just scared.
That being said, I was under the impression that you would be objective enough to not skew Hoffer’s ideas to fit your own ‘beliefs’ (as is so often the case with conservatives) as you call them, when referencing Hoffer’s book “The True Believer”.
It should be noted that you “believe” that you have a fairly well-developed sense of self-esteem, but your time spent on here and the nature of your arguments here would suggest otherwise, that perhaps you may feel that you have ‘missed the boat’, so to speak. Further, you *believe* that Obama is “an honest man”. His chameleon rhetoric over the course of his presidential campaign, coupled with his less than admirable voting record, would suggest to the critical mind that he is not, at the very least, what he claims to be.
So how did you arrive at these beliefs of yours? Was it through inference to the best explanation using the very facts that we on here are discussing? Clearly, not.
You also wrote:
“So I have to ask, what is your point. I could turn my back on an honest mans effort to help the society around him, feel OK about it and simply focus on myself.”
Really, you have to ask what my point is, even after having ::ahem:: read Hoffer’s book? May I suggest a vision quest, and then perhaps a re-read?
This shows me that you employed your piecemeal interpretation of Hoffer’s overarching thesis without regard for the fact that you have fallen victim to a rhetoric-laden/corporate-funded mass movement built on nothing more than the pre-revolutionary rallying cry of *hope*. Many of the comments critical of Obama on this site come from free thinkers (as Hoffer was); people who have consistently stayed informed, voted and lived their conscience on behalf of not only themselves, but on behalf of the suffering, believing that the voiceless and downtrodden among us are worth being heard and what’s more deserve to finally thrive.  There was no fanatical mass movement, no talk of coups or violent revolution and no willingness to die for the cause (the latter being one of the defining criteria of the “True Believer” according to Hoffer). There was only a desire for progress and a tacit admission that we do not have all of the answers, but we should still pursue them, a thesis I think a young Hoffer would have stood behind.

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By truedigger3, February 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Louise wrote:
“his cabinet choices reflect a group of people with a fairly high level of self-esteem.”
_____________________________________________________

louise,

On what clue did you base that rediculous conclusion.
You didn’t answer my question asking you why you
keep putting words in other people mouthes?,
words that they never said ?!!
You are hopelessly brain-washed and deluded. I am
will not waste my time and energy with you anymore .
Confine your posts to “buzzflash” where you belong
with the rest of the the DLC Democrats.
OVER AND OUT!!!

Report this

By Louise, February 23, 2009 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Hoffer was among the first to recognize the central importance of self-esteem to psychological well-being. While most writers focus on the benefits of positive self-esteem, Hoffer focused on the consequences of a lack of self-esteem. Concerned about the rise of totalitarian governments, like those of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, he tried to find the roots of that madness in human psychology. He postulated that fanaticism and self-righteousness are rooted in self-hatred, self-doubt, and insecurity.

There ya go! Thanks Nick wink

Hoffer was a man who by some contemporary measures might have been called a social failure. Who, through the benefit of his life and his life’s experience found a way to lay out what is missing in, well for starters the republican and/or democrat so-called conservative, the self-serving politician and the folks who see their way as the only way. In other words folks, who once having taken a position are so afraid of being wrong, they will fight tooth and nail to rationalize not being right. Even if to do so, might ultimately prevent any change that might benefit them. A lack of self-esteem that leads to a rigidity that leads to a form of paralysis. And certainly to a level of pessimism that attempts to throw roadblocks in front of anyone who has self-esteem.

So I have to ask, what is your point. I could turn my back on an honest mans effort to help the society around him, feel OK about it and simply focus on myself. But somehow myself wont let me do that. I cant say I would relish being homeless, [been there, done that] or seeing those I care about suffer, [been there, done that] or bury a child or two who fell because of a deep-seated desire to make their country better and safer, [been there, done that] I could so intensely focus on what’s wrong that I could never see any possibility for anything ever being done right. I could so intensely focus on what’s wrong with a person that no matter what that person might do, he must be wrong, because I have chosen to believe he can never be right. What do you call that? Self confidence? I think not. Sticking your neck out and trying to right a wrong takes self-confidence. A healthy and well developed self-esteem.

As Hoffer describes in The True Believer, he believed a passionate obsession with the outside world or with the private lives of other people is merely a craven attempt to compensate for a lack of meaning in one’s own life. So I suggest the passionate obsession with Geithners failures and Obama’s imperfections [seen here in abundance] is a craven attempt to compensate for a lack of meaning in one’s own life.

You may chose to see Obama’s election as a benign mass movement, giving those prone to joining movements an outlet for their insecurities. I suggest the facts prove you wrong. Extreme left, left, middle, a thousand shades of middle, right and extreme right elected Obama. Not because of a need for belonging to a mass movement, but because they were fed up with bad government!

Now I, believing I have a fairly well developed sense of self-esteem, HOPE Obama can LEAD us to some sort of recovery from ALL those REALLY BAD years of REALLY BAD government. I think he and his cabinet choices reflect a group of people with a fairly high level of self-esteem. In fact the only CLEAR example of someone lacking in self-esteem was Gregg Judd who apparently afraid to buck his party, withdrew his nomination!

I suggest the popularity of the “mass” movement to find fault with, and condemn Obama and his choices at every opportunity, is a reflection of adolescent insecurity ... “lacking in necessary self-esteem, and prone to joining mass movements as a form of compensation.”

It is correct to challenge those who hold our lives in their hands. It is incorrect to find guilt and condemn without a FAIR trial. I’m still waiting on the outcome of the trial.

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By Bertil, February 23, 2009 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

With the stimulus plan, the infrastructure money will build up the highways to get them ready for sale in some privatization scheme involving foreign corporations.  Bill Weld the ex-governor of Massachusetts was around the State House last year starting the negotiations here.  The highways will be sold.
The money for schools will prepare the structures for sale to privatized chartered schools and, perhaps, elderly housing.
What is going on right now is a negotiation with those foreign entities that hold warrants on the “toxic paper” that was pushed by the American financial institutions. They do have legal standing. Note that European banks are being nationalized while American banks are not.  This leaves the tear in our coat unfixed so that the City of London and Wall Street financiers can continue to reach in and loot the American taxpayers.
This plan will continue until the Iraqi oil fields have been turned over to American hands and Afghanistanis have knuckled under to accept western domination.  Sixty per-cent of the world’s energy is in that area. 
The US military is there to guarantee that the ones who hold all that bad debt (some estimates say it’s as high as a quadrillion dollars) will be repayed and the US will come out the other end as the dominant player.
Our leaders will drag out the old argument of practicality: Well, no matter how we got here, we’re here now and we have to deal with that.  Taxes will go up; fees will nickle and dime us to death, and entitlements, we’ll be told, are just unaffordable.
Americans will be flayed.
Obama was sold to the electorate as Luke Skywalker, instead, he turns out to be Luke Warm.  We are being lulled into our usual torpor, concerned only with non-issues, side-issues, or American celebrity.

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By KDelphi, February 23, 2009 at 1:19 am Link to this comment

Now, if we could only get someone to charge Greenspan and seize his assets…what if I steal millions fro a bank, and, just ‘admit I’m wrong”?? Not enough. F*ck him.

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By Rodger, February 22, 2009 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

The Republicans have shown that we can be sun out of our memory. These politicians do not to care about the damage their lies cause us. These people should be held up to the same standards we hold ourselves and other professionals to. Do a lousy job and risk being sued for malpractice! A contractor does a bad job on my house, I can sue. A doctor removes my kidney instead of my appendix, his malpractice insurance pays. A president and his buddies ruin our economy and retire rich. Doesn’t seem fair. How about some truth or consequences!

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By Johnd, February 22, 2009 at 6:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nobody really knows what to do about the U.S. economy in general.  More money is going out than coming in and has been for generations. Even Clinton’s balanced budget was an unsustainable shell game if one looks at the particulars.  We are borrowing money to deal with a problem that started from borrowing money.  It’s easy [and unproductive] to blame whomever we want because the entire govt was complicit in some way in the mess we’re now in.  This, I believe is a better issue to be focusing on: Is there a way for the U.S. to once again build/manufacture/produce something that [at least part of] the rest of the world would want to buy?  I bet there is, and i bet if we put our heads together we can can start to rebuild a sustainable economy.

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By Nick, February 21, 2009 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Louise -

Please read Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer” and then come back and reassess your comments.

Nick

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By Inherit The Wind, February 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

It is rare for me to agree with Robert Scheer, but even rarer for me to agree with him 100%

Garfunkle is typical of the problem we face. 
For 40 years the GOP has worked to consistently for less controls and lower taxes—on corporations. 
For 28 years they have been in a position, almost continuously, to make it happen.
For the last 8 years they have accelerated it as fast as possible.

Now that the system they built, the checks they removed, and the deficits they created have caused the whole system to implode, like the first implosion of an atomic bomb that’s followed by the catastrophic explosion that we all await and are trying to avoid.

Garfunkle, like all Republicans, has eagerly cheered the steps that brought this about but now that it’s here, run like hell and lie like hell to try to avoid responsibility for their actions—and, as usual, try to blame Democrats.

Only one man involved in this has said something like “Everything I have believed for the last 40 years has just been proven wrong.”  He was the ONLY one to accept responsibility.  Who was that? Alan Greenspan.  Him alone.

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By truedigger3, February 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

louise,

Again you put words I didn’t say in my mouth.
I am not hoping for Obama to fail.  I am only
expressing my disappointment for his cabinet
appointees and continuing most of Bush policies both demostic and foreign with minor cosmotic modifications.
Now, instead of talking about banking re-regulation
or repealing of Bush’s obscene tax cuts that
benefited mostly the super-rich, Obama is talking
now about reforming “entitlements”. He is talking
about Social Security and calling it “entitlement” where the correct word is retirement program.
Entitlement means something really is not deserved!!
Reform is euphemism for cutting benefits for people who need it the most especially after the devastation of their retirement funds by the stock
market.

Please read the posts carefully and don’t jump to
conclusions!!

Report this

By whyzowl1, February 21, 2009 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

Louise,

Nothing could more effectively drain all hope from the human heart than reading all of these comments in reply to Robert Scheer’s column at one sitting—which I just finished doing. May Gawd help us, because we’re obviously not going to be of much help to ourselves if this collection of ignorant and confused opinions, in fact, accurately reflects the level of collective understanding to be found within the American polity.

The essence of your argument in support of Mr. Geithner’s last-minute-switcheroo plan seems to be that “something”—even the wrong thing—“is better than nothing.” Personally, I don’t believe that throwing more good money after bad is in any way a “solution” for what ails us, or that it even represents “a step in the right direction.” It’s just a bad idea that can’t work in either the short or long runs.

I agree with Nouriel Roubini, and a growing chorus of other more mainstream economists, that Geithner’s public/private “bad bank” proposal won’t work to revive the economy, nor will yet more direct recapitalization of the banks (as in the rejiggered TARP plan), because both fail to address the root of the problem. Only nationalization and triage of the failed behemoth banks, and a write down of the fraudulent, toxic debts they issued, holds forth the promise of long term recovery.

President Obama is well aware of this reality, and openly acknowledged it in an interview with, I believe, ABC. Of course, he then firmly stated that we won’t be doing “that” (nationalization), because it’s not “the American way.” Apparently the “American way” is to wallow in a horrific depression for a decade or more with our heads all the way up our asses, because “our” first principle is that the rich cannot be inconvienced to the slightest degree. God forbid that they should take a loss when their latest scam blows up in their stupid faces! That would truly be “unAmerican!”

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By Odles of noodles, February 21, 2009 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Truedigger

Being in disagreement with any of the many Obamists on this board is like being anti-Nazi in 1929 Germany.

The wolves leap out and attempt assault you. not your ideas, you personally.

If you don’t care for the Obama (empty-suit) line, then you must be one of three things.

A member of the KKK
or
A fundementalist xtian
or
A rightwing dittohead follower of Rush the slush.

I’m no fan of Rupert Murdoch, or the New York Post, but the first volley was fired at them.  Disagree with Obama and the Democratic Congress and the troops go out to declare you racist. The next step is sending out the believers at night to smash all the opposition windows.

Like the owners of this site everyone believes in free speech….as long as it is not opposed to the company line.

How, pray tell, is this “change” from the Bush dogma?

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By Louise, February 21, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

truedigger3,

Hope. Such an unpleasant four letter word.
Hope. Something to be reviled and discouraged.
Hope. The antethisis of the sky is falling.
Hope. How dare anyone express such a word when they should be looking for a cave to hide in.
Hope. An unnecessary and disqualifying feeling that discourages those who have none.

Hope. The desire for something better.

The nerve of those who hope! Can’t they see there is no hope?

Hope: desire, anticipation, trust

Now that is really outrageous! How dare someone desire an alternative to where we are! How dare someone anticipate working towards a solution! How dare someone trust such a thing is even possible!

But then, since HOPE can be both positive and negative, I guess in some cases it can be outrageous.

I hope the Obama Adminstration’s actions slow down Bush’s run-away-train.

You hope they don’t.

I hope efforts still to come, will stop it!

You hope that wont happen.

I hope Geithner putting the breaks on a bad plan and developing a better plan will put the banking industry on a sound footing.

You hope Geithner will fail.

I hope people will stop reacting to negative nay-sayers and fault-finders and take a hand in their own recovery.

You hope the negative nay-sayers and fault-finders will drive the train right over the cliff.

That is the only possible conclusion I can come to. Since with all your fault-finding, just like the Green Party you offer no constructive alternatives to avoid Bush’s train wreck!

So yes, I have hope. And I reject fear. And I reject the do-nothing attitudes of those who seek only to find something wrong.

I make no apologies for having hope. I even have hope for you and all the other hopeless. wink

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By Bertil, February 21, 2009 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

We are being set up.  On the supposed left, we have Obama and his over educated elitists manipulating us into thinking that a measley $7 or $800 billion in government programs and tax cuts is going to start a growth cycle in the economy.  While the Republicans on the supposed right are acting like a bunch of mean-spirited ideologues who have nothing better to do than to watch the desperation grow in their constituents.
For the aid to the homeless, a local city of 90,000 just received $ 1.7 million to be divvied up among 8 non-profit organizations.  That’s a little more than $ 200,000 per group.  I can only imagine the lack of good that that money is going to do.
With all of our history, with all the politicians, with all action groups, the best that the Americans can come up with is, “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
It’s getting painfully obvious that this government ought to abolished.  Throw a fence up enclosing the Capitol building, the White House, the Supreme Court and K Street and give everyone inside 25 to life.  Disperse the government throughout the country.  For example, move the Department of Agriculture to Nebraska, Iowa, or Kansas.  Move the Department of Transportaion to Oklahoma City.  Move the State department to New York City.  Kevin Phillips suggested this idea in one of his books.

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By mike kohr, February 21, 2009 at 5:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Notice to all fiscal conservatives:


When Reagan took office in 1981 the National debt was $930 Billion.  When Bush II left office it had exploded to $10.8 TRILLION!

Clinton balanced the yearly budget after 3 years and paid DOWN the debt by approx. $587 billion.  That means $10.4 Trillion of today’s debt, or 96%,  has been racked up by the last three Republican presidents.

Reagan,  Bush and Bush accomplished the impossible,  they ran up unimaginable debt,  destroyed our economy and killed our jobs,  all at once.

Obama promised change and he has delivered it. He has gotten the Republicans to remember that they like to talk about fiscal resonsiblity.

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By truedigger3, February 20, 2009 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

louise,

You keep accusing me of being a Republican although
all my writings say that I am a populist left
of center and definitely not a partisan for
any party. I voted for Cynthia McKinney.
I dislike intensely CNBC and Rush Limbaugh, they are
all hacks for Wall St. and big corporations.
But this mass of useless blob between your ears associates any criticism of Obama as partisan.
Can you stop for while and try to introspect?, but y you can not. It seems to me you are brain-washed and too invested in so much “hope” that you are afraid to
face the reality.!!
BTW, Geithner and Summers are part of the team that got us in this mess. Now the foxes are guarding the hen house!! Funny Ha!!!

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By Louise, February 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi,

“Louise—I dont undertand your argument at all…”

Maybe that’s because there is no argument. Just a link to some info that maybe you weren’t aware.
Just the facts.
How uncomfortable.

truedigger3,

I don’t know who died and put you in charge of the economy. I don’t know why you weren’t saving it when the republicans were destroying it. I don’t know why you hate Obama and Geithner. I don’t know why you repeat and repeat every babble that comes out of Rush. Or every scream that comes out of CNBC, the network OWNED by the very bankers and brokers you claim to hate. I don’t know why you don’t know, we know, people like you who spread fear and hatred are the people responsible for the panic rippling through the country. I don’t know why you would rather do nothing than try something that might help. I don’t know why you are so afraid and angry. I just don’t know. I don’t even care. However I will make one observation.

Don’t look now, but your zippers open and your stupid’s hanging out!

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By TAO Walker, February 20, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

“Individualize” Humans, and they’re easy prey.  Even in large groups they’ll have little or no real capacity to act concertedly to mutual benefit….have a hard time accepting there even is such a thing anymore.  Surely it must be evident by-now that all the “resources” our tormentors and their coopted two-legged tools’ve poured into destroying our natural organic form (the Living Communities some of us surviving Savages call Tiyposhpayes) was to a specific purpose.

So now, finally, domesticated “individuals” everywhere are getting an up-close-and-personal look at the NOTHIN’ Ron Reagan so much enjoyed boasting “You ain’t….seen, yet.”  The plutoligarchy is “playing for keeps,” while their subject/citizens remain suckers for industrial-strength kid-stuff of every imaginable kind. 

“The eCONomy”?  Are they joking?!  The writing’s on The Wall, Sisters and Brothers….but then Dick and Jane can hardly read their own writing anymore.

HokaHey!

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By Odles of noodles, February 20, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That smell comming from Washington can no longer be blamed on the Republicans. It is a good idea for Democratic partisans to attempt to deflect, because when this bill comes due, it’s a humdinger when interest is included.

Every bit of the almost trillion dollar “stimulus package” must be borrowed. We don’t have the cash on hand. AND this is only the begining. We’ve already heard noises about more for the homeowners, auto companies, banks, and on and on. Once you head down this road, there is no useful brake.

So we sell our grandchildren into slavery and don’t get even 48 hours to read the bill.

Obviously the fault of the Republicans.

The great part is no one even knows if this is going to work. We just start a big money barnfire and see if it warms everyone.

Politicians with their ability to raise their own pay, to take Vacations at our expense, to spend a trillion dollars by passing a bill no one read prior to signing is a poor way to run a railroad.

Blame the Republicans if you want, it’s no skin off my nose…. but here’s a fact. there is enough blame to go around, if it were dirt it would bury all of Washington and the political class.

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By truedigger3, February 20, 2009 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

louise,

The Washington post’s bullshit you use as a proof of “Geithner’s integrity??!!”, is just nothing but the usual MSM bullshitting.
Although it is obvious, you are nothing but a partisan hack, I thought you are smarter than to quote from the Washington Post as a proof of your point of view.
Louise, please confine your writing to “buzzflash” where you belong in the company of the rest of the DLC corporate Democrats.

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By KDelphi, February 20, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

Louise—I dont undertand your argument at all…

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By Folktruther, February 20, 2009 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Louise, for your continual defense of Geither and the other Obama neoliberals.  The Obamanite DUPES (Democrats Under Presidential Enchantment) are proud of you.  As the other Obamanations mount up in producing war, neo-liberalism and a militarized police state, your sophisticaed arguments will be sorely needed by them.

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By Louise, February 20, 2009 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

A little bit of info for those who want to know. Might even help those who think they know, all there is to know. This informative article lays out the possibility that Geithner was prepared to come across as unprepared, before he would do something that in the end might be the worst possible something to do. What do we call that? Integrity?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/16/AR2009021601180.html?hpid=topnews

“Just days before Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner was scheduled to lay out his much-anticipated plan to deal with the toxic assets imperiling the financial system, he and his team made a sudden about-face.”

“Geithner had come to the conclusion that the strategies he and his team had spent weeks working on were too expensive, too complex and too risky for taxpayers.”

“They needed an alternative and found it in a previously considered initiative to pair private investments and public loans to try to buy the risky assets and take them off the books of banks. There was one problem: They didn’t have enough time to work out many details or consult with others before the plan was supposed to be unveiled.”

“The sharp course change was one of the key reasons why Geithner’s plan—his first major policy initiative as Treasury secretary—landed with such a thud. Lawmakers, investors and analysts expressed dismay over the lack of specifics. Markets tanked, and fresh doubts arose about the hand now steering the country’s financial policy.”

~~~

And of course all the know-it-alls defined what he said as not at all what he said. Proving it’s not always a good idea to assume, even if you are doing the right thing, most will understand, or care.

I suspect no matter what Geithner said, says or does, the Obama bashers will pretty much hold to their talking points. But for those who honestly care, there is much more to the story.

Agreed, the stimulus may be too small, but at least it is, which is a heck of a lot more than you can say for any positive action by the repubs, or the Obama bashers. Positive is not in their vocabulary!

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By The Old Hooligan, February 20, 2009 at 4:12 am Link to this comment

The Official Motto of the Republican Party ought to be (with all due apologies to “Pee-Wee Herman” creator Paul Reubens):

“I know you are, but what am I?” Riiight…

I’m reminded of nothing so much as a bunch of overaged, spoiled brats, who’ve just had their two favorite playtoys yanked forcibly from their grubby little hands:

Congress, and the Oval Office.

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By TAO Walker, February 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Everybody is talking about “the eCONomy,” but nobody seems willing or able to say exactly what the damned thing actually IS.  The domesticated people trapped in it just seem to take-it-for-granted as “the” CONtext in which their increasingly miserable half-lives must of-necessity be spent….subject absolutely to “the law of diminishing returns.”  Deep-down everybody KNOWS it’s all just make-believe….right?

Of course “government” gets pretty much the same ignorance-based treatment.  So does “human nature,” for that matter.  There is a presumption of general understanding (of these and other common notions) which is exposed everyday, in actual circumstances and events, attitudes and behaviors, as being completely divorced from any genuine grasp of just how Life Herownself does Her Song ‘n’ Dance.

Then there’s the ultimate in arrogant stupidity, trying to subject Nature to the same set of self-centered, half-baked, dead-end abstractions of motive and method serving so well to CONfine our tame Sisters and Brothers to the smothering virtual world-o’-hurt that is (here in these latter days), coincidentally(?), precisely aligned with the ideological/institutional/technological “razor-wire” defining the boundaries of “the eCONomy.”  The captive peoples might do well to remember that “the lowest common denominator” is Zero….and to consider carefully TOGETHER all the evidence these days indicating just what it is, exactly, their tormentors’ two-legged tools are trying so CONspiratorially to reduce them all to….NOTHING!

In “the eCONomy,” as the great P.T. Barnum reminded us all, “You pays your money (AND your life) and you takes your chances.”  In the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth we’re given our chances and we pay only our respect and our precious attention.

Give Free and Wild a try….for a real CHANGE!

HokaHey!

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By P. T., February 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

“‘If it had been up to the Republicans’ maybe we would be doing even more for them [the corporation class] . . . “


Prole, if you were right the Republicans would have put forward an even bigger plan rather than trying to sink Obama’s.  Maybe they were just trying to increase the masses’ misery to accelerate the revolution, which without the reformers would otherwise be just around the corner.  wink

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By Blackspeare, February 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

As the old saying goes, “you ain’t seen nuttin yet!”  Not wildly talk about, but all around us is the specter of deflation hovers over the US economy as well as the world.  Deflation negatively affects business as well as workers as prices drop, goods become scarce and more people lose their jobs.  The only people who benefit from deflation are those people on fixed incomes normally retirees who aren’t usually big spenders and the added value of money is a plus for them.  The stimulus package, in spite of the rhetoric, is designed to thwart deflation and huge sums will be spent in that regard.  But watch out for on the other end, awaiting the US economy, is an inflationary period the likes we haven’t seen.  However, putting lots of money into the economy, interest rates rise, prices rise, but business will recover and so will unemployment.  An inflationary period is not particularly bad for business or the worker who will stay even with pay raises as money is pumped into the system.  On the other hand, disaster awaits those on fixed incomes for, as prices rise, they have no resources——their income will not match inflation.  If Obama is a one term president it will be because of this one group of voters.

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By peterjkraus, February 19, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Hm. According to the posts to this excellent, insightful article, a strong minority of posters believes Econ 101 is kind of like Jesus 101: an imaginary someone will come down and make everything right. Obama seems to be incapable of that, according to them, the Democrats can’t do it either, and the Saviour (a Republican, from what it sounds like), is still AWOL.
Spend money to make money, folks. THAT’S Econ 101.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, February 19, 2009 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Too good to miss .....

“Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time, and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.”

~ President Andrew Jackson 1832

Thus begins the article at .....

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig9/quinn10.html

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By Hope Less, February 19, 2009 at 5:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The only valid criticism to be made of the stimulus bill that Obama signed Tuesday with deserved pride of authorship is that it is too small for the enormous problem at hand.”

Too small, is a modest way of saying totally ineffectual—let’s place the tiniest band-aid, on a patient who is hemorrhaging to death.  We currently might be experiencing the end of huckster capitalism; which means that in order to prevent a total financial collapse followed by civil unrest, we must nationalize healthcare; place a moratorium on foreclosures, cause a cessation in unemployment—federal job creation; nationalization of all energy resources; disbandment of the “Wall Street oligarchy” responsible for the collapse, and who brazenly continue to pursue their policies of corruption.

So of course, under Obama, nothing CAN really change; he’s beholden to the financial folk who made his Air Force One dreams come true.

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By prole, February 19, 2009 at 1:30 am Link to this comment

More partisan pandering from Democratic Party spear carrier Scheer. If “The Republican-engineered controversy around the stimulus is a phony” then so too is “The stimulus package that President Obama signed into law Tuesday”. Not only is it massively expensive, which makes it too easy to gloss over given “the dimensions of the economic crisis”, but as might be expected from a corporate caddy like Obama “most of it is quite conservatively aimed.” Which of course was why Obama was annoited in the first place, to sell quite conservative economic and foreign policies to a restive public and preempt any more radical alternatives. The economy was on the skids, the occupation in Iraq was going badly, so it was the Democrats turn to take the helm for a spell. The ship of state tacks slightly port or starboard depending on the political winds that are blowing but it always maintains a steady course of corporate subservience. About a third of the package goes to tax cuts, evenly divided between personal and business taxes, which can be expected to be mainly used to offset current debts and have little or no stimulative effect whatsoever. Much of the infrastucture pork barrel goes for highway and affiliated construction projects rather than to more socially and enviornmentally concious mass transit. Another big indirect public subsidy for the oil and auto giants. Only about a tenth of the program is actually aimed at direct social programs like extended unemployment benefits or heating fuel subsidies, etc. So Republican opponents can have it both ways, in the unlikely event this conservative stimulus program works, their votes weren’t ever going to be enough to stop it anyway and if it doesn’t work they can take rhetorical credit. The main objective for both allied sides is to maintain the phoney two-party imperial system and the illusion of democracy that goes with it. The only partisanship is to see which business party can serve corporate interests best. So perhaps “it is obscene that the Republicans who created this mess dare question the cost of a stimulus package directed at meeting” the urgent needs of their corporate constituents. And “While it is true that too many Democrats went along with the Republican deregulatory zealots” - we can conveniently skip over that in the interest of maintaing the polite fiction that there really is more than a dime’s worth of difference between them. It’s equally “obscene” that Scheer and his Washington Post bedfellows should always be so eager to beat the drums of partisanship in promoting the phoney two-party duopoly and it’s unifying corporate agenda. “The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy combined with the trillions wasted on unnecessary military spending” will now be further dwarfed by “the costs of the Obama stimulus package.”  “The money wasted in Iraq” - a pre-meditated nation-destroying “effort that had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was supported uncritically by the same Republicans” ...and Democrats like Biden, Emanuel, Hillary, et.al. “who now heap” even more money - and misery - on imperial aggression in Afghanistan and on military aid to Israel and much more. Oh, yes “It wass just peachy to run up immense deficits pursuing irrational foreign adventures” - so ‘peachy” in fact, that they plan on doing even more of it. But since they’re Democrats, in the honorable tradition of partisanship, these efforts in decimating foreign lands and efforts at home in bailing out corporate venality should never be “viewed through a lens of criticism.” “The only valid criticism to be made of the stimulus bill that Obama signed Tuesday with” deceitful pride of Larry Summers’ authorship is “that it is too small for the enormous” greed of the corporate class that motivated it. “If it had been up to the Republicans” maybe we would be doing even more for them, but Obama is no slouch when it comes to serving their insidious interests, either.

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By Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, February 19, 2009 at 1:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nice one Bob, but the Dems can be blamed for moving to the right and supporting failed Republican policies.  I will say that Obama seems to be doing more in his first 100 days that Bush did all 8 years.  The man has stamina that I hope can be kept up.

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By Shift, February 18, 2009 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

This depression is a DEMAND problem, people have no money to buy things.  So supplying the banks and corporations with bailout money will do little if anything to assist the economy, and probably make it worse. The banks have been given ten trillion and the people have been given less than one trillion for job creation.  The corporate and bank bailouts are a sham and highlight the incestuous corrupt relationship between Congress and American business.  In their crooked attempt to save themselves, they are instead dooming themselves.  Do what you can to protect yourselves and your families from the coming shocks.

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By ApprxAm, February 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

Well, Bob, I don’t think the ultra-right-winger will suffer much.  All they have to do is invoke “GOD” or the blacks in the districts and they’ll be back.

What’s lost to me since the current economic crisis is the lack of a National Usury Law prohibiting the villainous interest rates heaped on the borrowers of America.

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By Shift, February 18, 2009 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

American businessmen are treasonous:

http://www.republicbroadcasting.org/index.php?cmd=news.article&articleID=3374

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By Hope Less, February 18, 2009 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The only valid criticism to be made of the stimulus bill that Obama signed Tuesday with deserved pride of authorship is that it is too small for the enormous problem at hand.”

Too small, is a modest way of saying totally ineffectual—let’s place the tiniest band-aid, on a patient who is hemorrhaging to death.  We currently might be experiencing the end of huckster capitalism; which means that in order to prevent a total financial collapse followed by civil unrest, we must nationalize healthcare; place a moratorium on foreclosures, cause a cessation in unemployment—federal job creation; nationalization of all energy resources; disbandment of the “Wall Street oligarchy” responsible for the collapse, and who brazenly still continue to pursue their policies of corruption.

So of course, under Obama, nothing CAN really change; he’s beholden to the financial folk who made his Air Force One dreams come true.

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By Justin, February 18, 2009 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One small question.  How in the world will we pay ALL of this money back??!!  Stimulus and bailout included!  And now, ANOTHER bailout is being conjured up!  This is madness.  We have paper money people!  Paper!  Not backed by anything!  The Federal Reserve just prints it out of thin air on a printing press!  What does this cause??  Inflation!  What does inflation cause?  Higher prices and more debt.  The Federal Reserve is a privately owned bank that is as federal as Federal Express!  We pay interest on this fiat paper money!  These politicians are destroying the dollar!  It’s like you have a few Mickey Mantle rookie cards and it’s worth A LOT of money, but you have millions of Mickey Mantle rookie cards, and it’s not worth squat.

It’s not about conservative or liberal, it’s about Freedom and the Constitution.  These politicians are rich, elite, corrupt criminals.  ALL of them!  We have the RIGHT under the 10th Amendment which states “Powers not delegated to the federal government nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states and the people”.  This Amendement is highly abused.  The Feds have no right under the Constitution to impose these HUGE spending and bailout bills.  HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY THIS BACK?!  Someone give me a good answer. 

We are taxed and taxed and regulated and regulated!  I’m a middle class citizen, and I’ve WORKED for everything that I have.  EVERYTHING!  I do not ask for anything from anybody, including the government because that is basically someone else’s tax dollars paying my way.  That is theft! 

Government works through force.  If you don’t pay your taxes they take everything away from you, but it’s A-OK for them to give you an IOU on your state tax return.  Oh that’s just fine and dandy, because the state is above the law baby. 

The Democrats and Republicans do differ, but only in the way that they go about stripping our rights and our freedoms away from us.  One does it through the fear of so called “terrorists” and the others do it through “saving the environment” or for the “good of all”. 

Taxation without representation!  We are back at square one!  We are not RULED by anyone!  We rule ourselves!  My last ruler was King George III of England.

“One who gives up liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security”—-Benjamin Franklin.

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By mlb, February 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

I don’t believe that it’s indifference on the part of the Republicans.  I think they voted against the bill because they expect it to fail, and hope to gain from it politically when it does, with rants along the lines of: “Those liberals did what they always do - spend, spend, spend!  They’ve thrown your hard earned money away.  Just look at the horrible mess we’re in now, and it’s all their fault!”

I’m afraid they’re right about the bill.  My (admittedly ignorant) sense is that the worldwide momentum in the downward direction is much too great to be stopped.  But I also think that politically, the joke’s on the Republicans.  As the economy continues to worsen and Americans become increasingly angry, most all of us will know full well that Wall St. and the deregulation nitwits like John McCain are the main culprits.  Americans will come to despise the corporate elite far more than they do now, and the GOP, which has most openly identified itself with Big Business, will go down.  Conversely, most will see that even if Obama fails, at least he’s trying.

I won’t be surprised if the country moves much further to the Left, just as it did the last time the bankers screwed us.

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By truedigger3, February 18, 2009 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

mill,

You are cofusing oranges and apples.
The package pushed by Bush was a BAIL-OUT package for the failed banks ONLY.
The package just passed in the Congress was a
STIMULUS package for the WHOLE economy to be followed
by another BAIL-OUT package for the failed banks ONLY.

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By mill, February 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

It amazes me still when some people - like some posters here - suggest there’s no difference between democratics and republicans.  Have you noticed no difference at all in the priorities of the Republican Congresses (from Newt Gingrich to the re-take in 2006) versus the Democratic Congresses?  Would a Republican-lead Congress have done ANYTHING about consumers in a stimulus package?  The one pushed through Congress by Republican George W handed cash cart-blanc to the bankers who f-cked up their companies and our economy ....  The one pushed through by Democrat Barack O at least moves in the right direction. 

It is nonsense in the real world that you get the same governance and results from Republicans versus Democrats .. and people who suggest that really are not paying close enough attention

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By ocjim, February 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

First of all, no more pictures of Bush with his everpresent frat-boy smirk…in fact, no more Bush.

Obama must know that the stimulus package is a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed. We are talking massive layoffs, and the need for trillions in infrastructure spending, unemployment benefits, health care, and state government aid.

The infrastructure spending was miniscule while ineffective tax cuts appeased Republicans who were AWOL anyway.

Ignore the misanthropic Republicans and get serious.

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By Spiritgirl, February 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

Mr Scheer, while agreeing with you - I have to say you were just a bit too kind.  Both the Republicans (that have controlled Congress for the last 15 years) and their Democratic collaborators have done this to the American people.  Both spurred on by the delusional thinking of Ronald “government is bad” Reagan.  Of course what is neglected in the debates - while the Republicans were happily cutting the domestic budget, they were increasing the Pentagon budget for “weapons” that are both expensive and don’t work!

But as long as BIG BUSINESS contributors are happy - those Congressman/women are just too happy to oblige!  Why make this government work (and equalize the playing field for the masses) if you’re planning on nuking the world, and destroying it anyway!

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By truedigger3, February 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

Robert Scheer wrote:
“The decisive deregulation that opened the door for the Wall Street swindlers was pushed through Congress by then-Sen. Phil Gramm, a Texas Republican. He was rabidly backed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.”
_____________________________________________________

Mr. Scheer,

That is only part of the truth but is not the whole truth.
You forgot to mention that bill was supported
enthusiastically by Robert Rubin,  secretary of treasury in the Clinton administration and was
signed by Bill Clinton.
There is no REAL difference between the Republicans
and the Democrats. It is all theatrics,  posturing
and make-belief bullshitting.
Both of them agree on the continuous shifting of the
nation wealth to the super-rich and impoverishing the
middle class and the poor.

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By Paul_GA, February 18, 2009 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

You’re certainly right, MMadden; and if they stand fast against Obama and things keep sliding into the Pit, they’ll also lose seats in 2010. But there’s not much else they can do, is there, but stonewall and hope for the best while fearing the worst?

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By mmadden, February 18, 2009 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

There is no reason for the Republicans to help the President to succeed. If he does then even more Republicans will be voted out of office. So they will stonewall and pout in the corner while the country goes into the abyss.

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By KDelphi, February 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

felicity—I think that it sounds pretty likely…but I still will continue to criticize Dems, when I disagree with them.(The Dems voted with them almost consistently) GOP—I almost always disagree with. I think that the Bush, Rove & Co. did intend to drain the middle and working classes..both parties are too indebted to the banking industry.

But, hell Lindsay Graham (being sarcastic, I think) is calling for nationalizing the banks…??? I would agree, but, probably for very different reasons than for what I would do it for! I detest Graham, btw…


BTW—I read “Bush’s Brain”—-scary stuff, eh?

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By felicity, February 18, 2009 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

Thanks, Mike K. nothing like a few ‘facts’ to put the lie to the economic brilliance of Republican dogma. 

That said, I never should have read “Bush’s Brain” or ‘How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential’ because I see Rove’s Machiavellian influence in all things Republican. 

It’s not off the wall that once the Bush presidency began to seriously tank - thus threatening the rapid demise of his Party, a Rove no-no - the same got to work on Plan B. Tank the whole bloody country, hope to god a democratic president gets stuck with the mess and then work it so the entire debacle was the fault of Democrats.

Sounds nutty, but Rove early-on advertised that his ‘mission’ was, by destroying the Democratic Party, to make political America a one-party system, Republican. (We should all keep that in mind when we’re dissing our fellow Democrats.)

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By KDelphi, February 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

There are also too many tax cuts…but, largely, I would agree…if Dems had not been so “naive”(Is that the word??), they wouldnt have allowed GOP to insert “amendments”, and, then vote against the Bill (bait and switch) It also needs to be larger, ala Krugman, if this is how we are going to deal with the situation that we supposedly “got ourselves into”.

It also does nothing to address what is wrong with our financial sector, the “banking industry”, nor affordable housing. But, they say that there is “more to come”.

I sgree with dr wu on Alaska and the Deep South—-I heard a neo-con say, on the old Bill Press show, after Bush II “won” (lol)the first time (actually, stolen twice): “If we fight the Civil War again, we would win this time.” Press, in a rare moment of eloquence, said, “We wouldnt even fire a shot. Just go.”.

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By samosamo, February 18, 2009 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

By wildflower, February 18 at 8:59 am
***Obscene? You’re too kind, Robert. The Republican deregulatory zealots ****

Wildflower, you are too kind. Because as apt and justified as your description is, it also defines those top dogs, those men behind the curtains. The ultra rich, the old money rich, the bilderbergs, those fantastically enriched criminals that have been feasting at money troughs of the world. And I would assume because of this catastrophic mess we live in they might be considered as making their move for everything. We will sure enough see before too much longer.

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By dr wu, February 18, 2009 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

Republicans only spend money for war and tax cuts for the rich—everything else is forbidden—

Their mantra—Markets works, government don’t.

some mantra.

I say let them secede. Give them the south and Alaska. There they can form their backward monarchy based on off-shore drilling, toxic peanuts, oil, anti-abortionism and attacking Darwin and Gynecologists. Let them go! Don’t send in the calvary. Good God, let them go!

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Eric L. Prentis's avatar

By Eric L. Prentis, February 18, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

Neocon Republicans can get away with the absurdity of criticizing the $787 billion dollar stimulus package because large corporations own the main stream media to support their compliant lackeys.

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By Taoseno, February 18, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

John Dean’s research and analysis on conservatives (mostly Republicans) explains why they are the way they are and think the way they think. I wonder if many of them ever do any introspection and don’t like what they see. I, for one, don’t understand people who think and act the way most of them do. I have come to truly dislike them, individually and collectively. I’d like to see them go into hibernation for the next eight years. We don’t need them!

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By P. T., February 18, 2009 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

Right-wing Republicans are still fighting the ideological battles of the 1930s.  They have never liked John Maynard Keynes’s solution to the type of problem we now confront.  However, today’s Republicans, unlike past ones, are not concerned with balanced budgets.  In fact, they cut taxes for the rich and increase military spending every chance they get.  They just don’t like domestic spending.

The oddness of it all is that doing nothing is expensive.  Remaining mired in recession costs money.  There is the lost production and the unemployment benefits, food stamps, etc.  We are in a “you can pay me now or you can pay me later” moment.  The Republicans will not concede that reality.

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By wildflower, February 18, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Obscene? You’re too kind, Robert. The Republican deregulatory zealots who created this mess are nothing more than a sick, perverse, self-aggrandizing group of greedy con men that have no conscience and no interest in the welfare of this country – or any country for that matter - and the squawks we are now hearing only demonstrate how low a con man will go.

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By mike kohr, February 18, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

A HISTORY OF RECESSION IN THE UNITED STATES 1950 TO 2008
Written by:  mike kohr 2/12/2008
There is a pattern here that is plain to all but the most partisan. Ten of the last eleven recessions have occurred under the direction of Republican economic policy. And history does repeat itself.  Look at the three greatest slowdowns in US economic history, 1929*, 1982, 2008, all three were attributed to poor economic and tight credit policy, all three featured deregulation and lack of oversight of the financial markets, and all three were presided over by a Republican President.

Recession/Depression of 2008   George W. Bush(R) Greatest downturn since 1929,  blamed on lack of regulation of financial markets and collapse of credit markets

Recession of 2001   George W. Bush(R) Began in April of 2001, marked the beginning of greatest deficit spending in all of recorded human history

Recession of 1990-1991   George H.W. Bush(R) Deregulation of Savings and Loan industry led to a collapse and panic, which led to election of Bill Clinton, who produced the greatest increase in jobs and wealth in all of recorded human history

Recession of 1981-1982   Ronald Reagan(R) At the time, the most severe contraction of economy since the Great Depression, massive deficit spending/deregulation of markets, and tight fiscal policy in an effort to kill inflation were blamed for this downturn **

Recession of 1980 2nd & 3rd quarters   Jimmy Carter (D) Shortest and least severe slow down, generally attributed to Iranian Revolution and increase in oil prices, led to the election of Ronald Reagan

Recession of 1973-1975   Richard M Nixon(R) OPEC’s increase in oil prices and massive spending in the escalation of war in Vietnam led to stagflation, the second economic crash of Nixon’s administration

Recession of 1969-1970   Richard M. Nixon(R) Credited to Nixon’s escalation of and massive spending in Vietnam War and OPEC’s increase in price of oil

Recession of 1960 -1961   Dwight D. Eisenhower(R) Noted for high unemployment, low GDP, high inflation JFK ended the recession by stimulating the economy 10 days after taking office

Recession of 1957-1958   Dwight D. Eisenhower(R) Eisenhower achieved the dubious distinction of achieving a second economic downturn on his watch, a record later matched by Richard M. Nixon, and George W. Bush

Recession of 1953   Dwight D. Eisenhower(R) Increased outlays to National defense and restrictive credit policies blamed for this downturn
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

*The Great Depression of 1929   Herbert Hoover(R) Lasted for 10 years, blamed on Hoover’s economic policy and lack of regulation of financial markets
** “The Reagan Recession” which ran from the 4th quarter of 1981 thru the 1st quarter of 1982 is often categorized as starting under Carter’s watch during the 2nd & 3rd quarters of 1980.  By the end of the 3rd quarter of 1980 that brief recession had rebounded. Starting in the 4th quarter of 1980, 3 of the next 4 quarters produced increased GDP.  Reagan’s tight fiscal policy and massive deficit spending contracted the economy again in late 1981, producing unemployment of 10.8% and prime interest rates that hovered between 15% and 20.5%

http://recession.org/history
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions
http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/rec1980.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_the_United_States#Deregulation:_1974.E2.80.931992

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By Victor, February 18, 2009 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

I was stunned to read the contents of this article.  I believe the author to be either ignorant or unethical (I do not believe both qualities to be required, but possibly they are.)  In either case, he is very dangerous.

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By Tom Semioli, February 18, 2009 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“While it is true that too many Democrats went along with the Republican deregulatory zealots, it is the prime legacy of the GOP going back to the Reagan Revolution that has been called into question.”

Which proves that the destruction of the US economy was indeed a bi-partisan effort.

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By samosamo, February 18, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

“The sharpness of the global slowdown has alarmed economists, who see no obvious engine for recovery.”

I know that if this article I found on msnbc, they will print depressing news once in a while, which I am going to paste the link:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29252158/

is realistic, then this ‘see no obvious engine for recovery’ is surely reason enough to stop giving money out to any corporate traitors. Why keep them alive while we die? This is not making sense unless it is considered that this is a way of changing the american government into an oligarchy. Obama really needs to step forward and let these businesses fail or leave the country. And it is time for all those corporations and people that made out like the evil, crooked bandits that they are, should be made to participate heavily in coping with this disaster, if the don’t the corporations should be seized and those individuals accounts should be frozen.
A very bad trend comes to my mind according a recent post here a TD about adm. blair warning about unrest and how meet that threat. What’s going on here is that it appears highly likely that the people are being pushed even harder to become ‘disorderly’ so that action can be taken. Combine that with the jailings of teenagers for unruly behavior at our new corporate enterprise, private prisons then it can make sense that something is amiss and it won’t be pretty or the people’s fault.

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By bogi666, February 18, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

O’bama was going to be attacked by Repubicans no matter what he did and for that reason he should have had a bigger stimulus package because it wouldn’t have cost him any political capital. The fact that he capitulated to the Repubican and betrayed his constituency actually has cost him political capital to those who may support him. In all likelihood he will have to come back for more stimulus funding although if his program shows positive results it may play into his hand because the Repubicans will oppose him no matter what.Also, the Repubs have returned to their shouting, whining, name calling, arrogance and hubris which they used in the 90’s. thereby debasing the dignity of the congress, not that they have much to debase.

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Chris Bieber's avatar

By Chris Bieber, February 18, 2009 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

yet…still…again…tired old shilling for socialism..and Quixotic jousting at imaginary strawman ‘free market’

The “free market” has NEVER existed in America…it does exist in the RHETORIC of “Conservatives”...

“Conservative” Ronald Reagan PROMISED to abolish the SOVIET Dept of Education as being “unConstitutional”..not to make it ‘better” or “cheaper” or “conservative”...but alas…his rhetoric was just that..his first budget DOUBLED the DoEd budget and centralized education in Moscow er DC.

And the GOP…running for DECADES on the RHETORIC…
and despite the MSM and your smoke of LESS GOVERNMENT and LESS LAWS..especially the last 8 years! the Federal Register is INCHES AND INCHES thick…Government is now the MAJOR employer of Americans..and MSM, The Annointed One and His Court and you think that US is a “free market” and that Rockefeller stooge lackey puppet Bush the Younger deregulated our country…right…along with the “free market” Repugs and Fabian…now outright Socialist Democrats…

cmon….we are marching towards a brave new world of hope and change….and we will FINALLY win the war against EastAsia….we’ve always been fighting them..

oh and another thing…“good” money…

PRIVATE “Federal” Reserve fiat currency printing press legal tender..printing billions…..and our country legally indentured servants of NY and Brussels and Berlin..

“good” money STOLEN from the fruits of productive people..Redistributed by “good” government gunbacked theives…to those more deserving…

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By Ivan Hentschel, February 18, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is one of the clearest aticles you have put up in some time. Good work.

In a sense, Republicans seem to see the current state of the US as a fruit upside-down cake. Or they see everything in a mirror, which makes everything backwards. The substance of the cake is at the bottom, but the conservatives always want to eat the sweet stuff first. They love low hanging fruit (or in this case the upper-most layer)because it is the most immediately fattening and can be had without much effort.

As far as the mirror analogy goes, they do seem to read America’s priorities backwards, but in the main, I think these guys (and gals) are wandering through a house of mirrors, where the thin is fat and the fat is thin. They are making the country into a side show.

With their help, I think we have thrown just enough funding at the economic crisis to prove it won’t work.

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By ProTester, February 18, 2009 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is the mantra of the American majority:
“I feel pretty bad about decisions I’ve made in life, but at least I am not a ___Fill in the blank___!”

a. Mime
b. French person
c. Intellectual Elitists
d. Liberal
e. Democrat

As long as one is on the attack, there is no need for self examination.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, February 18, 2009 at 7:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scheer is part of the problem, not part of the solution.  His half witted analysis and cheer leading does nothing to improve the situation or even the discussion of the situation.

The democrats have one credo ... spend money, they can be counted on to recommend spending money to solve any problem.

The republicans have one credo ... cut taxes, the can be counted on to recommend cutting taxes to solve any problem.

The demos passed the ‘stimulus bill’, i.e., they spent money. The bill does absolutely nothing to address the criminal fraud in the banking industry that got the world economies into this mess.  It is probably irrelevant to solving the problems that include the current financial crisis and the decades long industrialization of the US.

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By KISS, February 18, 2009 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

The truth is that a strong offense is the best defense, hence, the repugs are screaming to drown out the anguish cries of the devastated. “contingent of three moderates” who in turn also tricked the stimulus bill to be watered down. Bush along with the repug congress are the one’s to blame for this fiscal mess. The dimmos may not be bright but they are mostly guiltless this trip.
McCain was right on the money…like whammo you knock down one vociferous repug and another pops up.

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By Nora66, February 18, 2009 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

Thanks for a terrific column. The GOP, most notably those in the House and the Senate are utterly bankrupt. It is now up to the republican governors across the country to take a stand and join with the democrats in doing all that is possible to restore our economy asap. It’s high time, that the GOP faces up to the truth of their destructive policies, which in essence have done little for the common good while simultaneously filling the already bloated coffers of the rich.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, February 18, 2009 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

When their other King George was unable to keep US subserviant, they spent the next 233 yrs destroying US from the inside- out.
Ironic- or poetic- that it was another George who finally laid our Free market Democracy to waste. From this perspective things make more sense. “W” seized the rights and priviledges accorded Kings away from the average citizenship.Granted Liberties to those who shared his family Crest (Logo)- Oil. Pushed the socio economic stratedgy called ‘Trickle Down to it’s logical conclusion-A feudalistic caste System, destroying the power and wealth of the middle class. Brazenly proclaimed ‘Nation Building’ as a foreign policy, while assuring those he colonized wee so devastated that they had no choice but to submit and seek our financial and political control, most notably over their most precious resource.
One need only follow the Cheney/Rummy et al Bread crumbs from Nixons declaration “when the President does it, it is not Illegal”, to W & Cheney’s “So What” (“so”).
Yes W & Dick committed War Crimes, even committed Crimes against Humanity, But neither would have been possible if they had not first committed the Act of Treason. Cheney has been actively working as a ‘king maker’ for decades. But considering his proteges, it is far more appropriate to call them ‘manchurian candidates’.
Who now does not see the clinical paranoia of Nixon. Who now thinks it only takes a few years to develop Alzheimers to the point ot total care (actually can take decades).so who can doubt Ronny’s honest response “I can’t tell you what I had for Breakfast” during the Iran Contra investigations. could there be any doubt either that Ronny also knew nothing about the aid and boots provided to Bin ladens ‘Afghani Freedom Fighters’ of the ‘80’s, the supply of Anthrax sent over to Saddam.And which Agency would have participated in such covert operations, the one HW headed. Why was HW so against W naming Cheney as his VP- concerned his son would be dragged into similar treasonous acts?
Now consider the McCain. Not only his part in the S&L Scandal of the late ‘80’s but his membership to the group who literally provided Boots to the fledgling AQ- which he referred to AGAIN as the ‘Afghani Freedom Fighters’ during his debate with Obama, Feudian slip? Reflect on the fact that McCain could not remember facts whispered in his ear just one day prior (whos training Whom?, Sunni’s or Shia).who could have missed the numerous mental glitches and disorientation of McCain on the campaign trail? who hasn’t heard of his impulsive abusive outbursts- impulse control is difficult for those in the midst of dementia.
Cheney & Rumsfeld (and their minions)have decades of high crimes they deserve to be prosectued for. But the underlying, most agregious and prime mover to the other charges is Treason, Undermining the Office of the Presidency for 4 decades.
Step aside Benedict Arnold, there is a few new ‘Greatest American Traitors’pushing you Far down the historical list.
Cheney makes most Red Blooded American Skin crawl- because Our Blood is Boiling!would it not be a bit of poetic justice to dispense with this “Royalist” in the same manner the Monarchy had Done with William Wallace? Being an American of Scotch Irish Decent, I can think of nothing more appropriate for a Red Coat.Hell We even have a Golden Gate!

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By csavage, February 18, 2009 at 6:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes…thanks for saying what the media collaborators refuse to bring up. The Repubs have no problem spending 10 trillion in Iraq-off budget and courtesy of the Chinese-but can’t spend it domestically. But, I don’t give the American people credit for remembering the legacy of Reagan, Gramm and Greenspan in 2 years, That’s why liberals need to keep bringing it up. My recent fav is the Repubs claiming WW2 brought the US out of the depression. That may be true but all that war materiel was bought by the government-not private citizens-and constituted a big investment in the domestic economy, much like FDRs investment in infrastructure. Also of note, China, Germany, Japan, and others have increased spending on domestic infrastructure as a way to bail out their economies. It seems as if the worldwide opinion counters the GOP’s legislators

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By Shemp65, February 18, 2009 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

Thanks Robert for saying what the MSM is not saying… it has confounded me for weeks now that no one is calling the Republicans out for quickly throwing $350 billion to Wall Street without any oversight built in, yet they argue about helping out our own infrastructure and victims of the deregulation mess.

I find it interesting that the Beltway Republicans can be so out of touch that even their counterparts in the state houses have to distance themselves. Americans have a long memory, and I think this bailout debacle will cost the House and Senate Republicans even more in the 2010 elections.

Thanks for saying what others refuse to say!

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