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Chris Hedges on Health Care, War and the New Racism

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Posted on Aug 20, 2009
Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Chris Hedges talks about the illusion of health care reform, the war in Afghanistan and what he calls the "new racism" in the age of Obama.

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By KDelphi, September 2, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

In case you havent seen it on other threads, I am SO sorry, Sep….really. I wish I knew what to say to comfort you. You seem like such a kind person.

I am glad that you have a spouse, another son and your horses. lean havily on them and dont worry about replying here, unless you feel like it. My “personal ” on here , has me able to recieve personal messages, if you feel like it…

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By Sepharad, September 2, 2009 at 12:45 am Link to this comment

KDelphi, will have to pick this up much later. Our daughter died unexpectedly and I’m unable to think.

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By KDelphi, August 31, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Sepharad—Gawd, I wish I knew the answer to that.


There seem to be little tidbits of favorite issues that each of these semi-parties cling to (hatred of Nader, completely “free mkt”—which ends up behaving like Social Darwinism). To be honest, I dont know. Socialism seem to best represent the unrepresented classes to me, considering that “class” is a ceoncept that most people in this country are loathe to admit even exists.

Either someone smarter than me will figure it out, or we will be a Third World country. Sorry, not feeling very optimistic today..

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By Sepharad, August 30, 2009 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, I agree that unifying the socialist/green/populist/nader parties to work, and there are some Libertarians I’ve been able to relate to—just not that many; they have some pretty retrograde cliques, but not all are like that. The people I’m most comfortable with are populists and socialists though have no problem with greens—focus a bit too narrow for a national party—most of the Nader people, though the man himself can be a bit of a prima donna. So where do we start?

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By JenniferBedingfield, August 24, 2009 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Except for “Purple Girl”, excellent comments from everyone. If more people would not be afraid to vote for candidates on the issues rather than by party, we would have a totally government where diverse ideas would actually get their hearings in Washington.

“Purple Girl”, your Obamabot response is totally laughable. Just like the rest of the Obamabots I’ve come across on Alternet, your Nader bashing shows just how desperate you are to defend Obama’s wrongful actions of copying Dubya ! Just what is Obama doing to help Michigan out never mind the country?

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By tahitifp, August 24, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

aJanard:

I agree about having an Indie party, and I’ve been an Indie all my life.  Bernie Sanders is a good example of one. 

I still think the progressives should split off and becoming Indies would be a great idea if they would do that rather than just be another splinter that goes nowhere.

The duopoly is rigged so that a third party has little to no chance, so how would we approach that?  I love the idea of IRV, yet that seems to be unpopular with our congresscritters as well.

A third party’s time has come and that seems to be evident with more and more people disliking the bi-polar war party we now have.

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By herewegoagain, August 24, 2009 at 8:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

tahitifp: “IMO the progressives in the dem party need to split off and form another party.”

I definitely consider myself a progressive, but I’m getting tired of this business of highly adversarial parties. I’ve checked out many of the different parties, and every one of them had at least one, usually more policy standpoints I would never be able to support. I think a growing number of voters feel the same way, clearly evidenced by the Democrats and Republicans’ declining membership. (Neither party represents anything close to a majority of American voters, yet they pretty much own the political infrastructure in this country.)

It’s worth point out that these people dropping out of the major parties don’t seem to be flocking in numbers to any of the third parties, either. Rather, we’re making a point of not being affiliated with any party by registering as “Independent.” I would actually like to see more Independent politicians elected to office. They typically are beholden to no one, which is key to legislating with the public good foremost in mind.

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By AFriend, August 24, 2009 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

bogi666,

“AFriend, have you ever lived or traveled elsewhere” Do you have a passport? Just how is it that you draw your conclusions from? Glenn Beck, a deranged psycho, obviously manic depressive”

—-

Yes. Yes. And no.

Interesting how you appear to harangue me for making assumptions while apparently making assumptions about me.

Interesting.

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By KDelphi, August 22, 2009 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

ClubOrlov’s latest with ‘Hunger Insurance” (new opportunities for investors!)

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=28495039&postID=1146782731152925228&page=1

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By Folktruther, August 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

What we need politically we are not going to get in the near future since an ideology, program and cadre takes an historical period to amass.  I suggest in the meantime a Collapse Party, inspired by the noted Collapse Specialist Dimitry Orlov. 

Orlov is an optomistic and good natured sort who was born in the Soviet Union and was an eye witness to the Soviet Collapse.  He has maintained that there is a Collapse Gap between the Soviets and the US, the US being much less prepared for collapse than the Soviets were.  He has therefore, as leader of ClubOrlov, set about on a course of Collapse Preparedness. 

Orlov is clearly one of those capible of thinking outside the Dem box.  I am thinking of applying for admisssion to the Collapsitarian Admissions Committee.  I suggest you consider it too.

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By tahitifp, August 22, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

IMO the progressives in the dem party need to split off and form another party.  Then, if the Naderites, Greens etc are smart enuf and sick enuf of this mess, they can unite and be a formidable force.  I’ve been saying this since Obama and Clinton were fighting it out…....that we absolutely need a third and even fourth party.  Now, how to do that, when the system is rigged against that very thing?  People can’t even get on the ballots in many states.

So who’s going to change the system from within?  The repugs many dems like it the way it is…a one bi-polar war party.

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By KDelphi, August 22, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Excellent, and explains very well why it is NOT appropriate for people who know better to go with the “lesser of two evils”!

Alot of good comments, too…

Yes, they should post the type for those who have dial-up. I like the podcast, as reading small type is sometimes hard

Listening to podcast:

You sure as hell arent going to get school reform (not in the right direction) with Arne Duncan and No Child’s Behind Left. Has anyone else seem the doc about DC schools, on (I think) pbs? To blame those kids is ridiculous. NCLB and charter schools seem to be causing re-segregation around here and other places…its a bad plan. People that would complain about a little tax increase for health care slay me when they get angry if I bitch about paying for charter and religious schools and the biggest item ever in our budget (no Pay Go there!!) the WARS. How about Pay Go for banks, charter schools and the military budget?

Purple Girl -I am not a Naderite, but to blame the loss of elections (2 of them??) on Nader is just not admitting the truth—the Dems count on liberals , thinking, where else will they go and then sell us out when they get in office. Kerry was a crappy candidate and Gore won the popular vote. How is that Nader’s fault? Just like it isnt about Obama, its not about Nader either—its about US! Save your anger for those that are in power, doing nothing for progressives.

If voting could really change things,  it would be illegal (from Cyrano’s Journal—I forget who said it)http://www.bestcyrano.org/

Night Guant—You have Obama pegged.
NorCalNative—I see what you are suggesting, but I would worry about not being able to vote for an obscure candidate in the primaries—maybe it just makes me feel better, though….
Sepharad—I think that it could work. There are certainly people in Socialist parties in the uS (especially Socialist Worker and others) who would be very happy to vote for a progressive Peoples’ candidate.
C.CurtisDillon—Yes, I think that rebelliion of the progressive caucuses of the House could be amazingly helpful. In fact, with the Blue Dogs grabbing so much media attention and acting like the “gawds of the House” it may be about the only chance we have left. Everything that the Dems have done has been so watered down, as to be totally ineffective.

The Senate is unbelievably disappointing….

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, August 22, 2009 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

I have traveled and lived in many places around the world.  Residing right now in Eastern Europe.  From this vantage point, US looks pretty good but that isn’t saying much.  Eastern Europe is a disaster.  However, my travels have convinced me there are many countries better than America.  If you measure quality by how the country treats it’s citizens, you can pick almost any country in Europe as being much better.  The only draw of America is the chance (and this is shrinking quickly) to have a good idea and find success.  That is what draws immigrants.  But once they arrive, many are disappointed by what they find.

The fallacy of America is that everyone wants to devote their lives to a great idea and get rich.  Most Americans don’t have this desire.  They want to work hard at a regular job and earn enough to buy what they need.  America no longer provides this path.  You either want to be the next Bill Gates or you are worthless and lazy.  That is wrong.  BG and all the other success stories would have failed were it not for all those who worked for them and fleshed out their dream.  Not everyone can be a huge success and America needs to make room for those who have other dreams.  Unfortunately, neither political party seems to recognize this need.

On another topic, voting for Nader is more a protest against the unacceptable candidates the 2 majors offered.  It is a way of telling both that you disagree with their positions and candidates.  Of course no one expected Ralph to win and if he did, it would have been a disaster.  How would he have gotten anything through Congress?

The reality of politics in America isn’t all that different from FDR’s time.  He had a great deal of opposition to his legislative agenda from within the Dems.  Same with LBJ.  The difference was their ability to grab the party by the throat and demand conformance.  This is something Obama does not possess.  And I don’t really think the administration believes in reform nearly as much as most progressives.  The Dems are center-RIGHT meaning they tend to look and act more like Repubs.  They take progressives as a given and therefore are not beholden to us.  We won’t vote for the Repubs so they can ignore us.  A new party might get their attention but I think the rebellion by the progressive house Dems is the thing that will scare Obama the most right now.  If they start agitating for a more progressive agenda, Obama will have to listen.  If he doesn’t, a new party could woo these progressive elements away and that might be interesting.  A viable 3rd party is not always a guarantee of Repub dominance.  They still need a majority (>50) of votes to do any damage.  Right now they are very weak in many states so a strong, 3rd party challenge might garner enough votes to even overwhelm a Democratic candidate.  This is an excellent time to start such a movement as both parties are experiencing significant blowback.

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By bogi666, August 22, 2009 at 2:15 am Link to this comment

AFriend, have you ever lived or traveled elsewhere” Do you have a passport? Just how is it that you draw your conclusions from? Glenn Beck, a deranged psycho, obviously manic depressive”

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By MeHere, August 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,

I agree that the Greens and Nader together would make a more significant progressive force. I have not been able to find out yet why exactly they can’t get together.  I’m not too acquainted with the current Socialist party and other groups but perhaps they could be part of that populist force too. I have tried to understand Libertarians but I have failed and, for some reason, they frighten me.  But we must be patient.  A significant progressive force, in a society like this, may take a long time to develop. But I believe it is important not to abandon the Greens, Nader, and others just because “they cannot win.”  They are the only groups that have consistently offered a sensible path to follow without the baggage of fraud and injustice the two leading parties carry with them.  One simple thing we can do is to refuse to buy what the Dems and Reps try to sell us over and over.

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By tahitifp, August 21, 2009 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

Where’s the hard copy?  I can’t find it anywhere.

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By Ivan hentschel, August 21, 2009 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Per Night-Gaunt.

“Obama is just the latest face of the banality of evil.”

Thank you. The best and most concise explanation of this conundrum of ironies I have seen yet. Bravo.

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By Sepharad, August 21, 2009 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

MeHere—I dislike the ipodcasts too.

NorCalNative—On other threads I’ve posted that in order to win, the green, socialist, independent and any populist group that emerges should combine into one big party. Their differences are not that significant (except possibly Libertarians, who don’t want government taking anything over), and if those of us who no longer trust the Dems but don’t want Repubs would vote for the unified umbrella party—could call it Populist or People’s party—they might actually win. As long as we’re so broken into little groups we get to have a voice but will never be The Decider.

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By Scipio Africanus, August 21, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Hedges is right…just take a look at the Bull Moose Party from early in the last century. Never came to power, profoundly influenced the passage of major reforms we took for granted for too long.

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By NorCalNative, August 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges complaints about the duopoly are valid and worth discussion.  It’s obvious that our de facto two-party system prohibits representative government and leaves progressives NO REAL choices.

While I support the ideals of Nader, splitting the vote tends to increase the chances of a Republican White House.  Voting for third-party candidates might be intellectually honest AND THE RIGHT THING to do, it’s also a likely recipe for losing an election.

The Democratic Party sees progressives as someone already in their pocket and to be taken for granted.  What if there was a way to put Democratic Party officials on notice without throwing the White House to the party that HATES government?

Imagine Democratic officials watching Democratic Party registrations decline dramatically in a short period of time.  I think that might get their attention.

Here’s how to go about doing just that.  CHANGE YOUR REGISTRATION FROM DEMOCRATIC TO “DECLINE-TO-STATE.”

In the general election you get the same ballot as everyone else.  You can still vote Democratic in the election, but “decline-to-state” tells Democrats they have to work for your vote.  If the progressive wing did this in mass numbers IT JUST MIGHT have a positive impact on progressive ideals like health care reform with a strong public option, or single-payer.

Leaving the party through apathy and disgust, and/or voting for your ideal third party both feed into the hands of conservatives and corporations.

Please don’t confuse “decline-to-state” with the Independent Party.  They ARE NOT the same thing. 

The only downside to a “decline-to-state” registration is you might not be able to get a primary ballot.  Historically the two main parties and the Independent Party allow for “decline-to-state” voters to vote in their primaries. But, if they don’t allow it, a simple change of registration is all that is required.

Just make sure you change your registration MORE THAN 15 DAYS in advance of the election.  If you don’t like what the Democratic Party is doing and you’ll never vote Republican, decline-to-state is an option.  I know if I was a party official and saw a sudden and dramatic decline in registration it would sure get my attention.

Our system is broken and because of it, Democracy is a MYTH!  The Max Baucus and Rahm Emanuel wing that hearts blue dogs equals the status quo ante.

Radical change is what we voted for and what this country needs.  NOT incremental realpolitik tinkering!

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By Mark A. Goldman, August 21, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

Nader was the only logical choice.  To ask what has he done for you lately is a ridiculous question given that he has never given up trying to serve.  He gave Americans the opportunity to have a great president.  He can’t be faulted for not winning.  He was excluded from legitimate media coverage and the debates.  He did all he could do to try to serve and make a difference.  If people weren’t smart enough vote for him so that he could represent their interests how is that his fault?  The case he made and the issues he talked about were better than any other candidate.  If Americans aren’t intested in their own freedom, well… we’re just going to have to wait for things to get bad enough for them to do something about it.

http://www.gpln.com/commentary.htm

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By MeHere, August 21, 2009 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

I find podcasts very annoying and impractical.  I’d like to have a version we could read .... please?

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By Night-Gaunt, August 21, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

It is spelled Zimbabwe Ron Hansing and it is spelled Nader, PurpleGirl.

Nader is a public advocate, we just don’t hear all of what he and his people do but it doesn’t invalidate anything about him if he fails against a gigantic foe. Does it? He wasn’t a “spoiler” unless you believe we should just have two “choices” and no more. What are you a conservative? They don’t like change, even if it is better for them.

As that late great social anthropologist George Carlin said about voting. It concerned those who vote for the craptacular candidate and get them. He considered anyone who did doesn’t have the right to complain about it. Those who did not waste their vote on the popular, but bad candidate had every right to complain about the anti-freedom asshole your vote put there.

Obama is just the latest face of the banality of evil. It comes in a business suit with a smiling face and engaging personality and still sells you down the river Styx following on the heels of the previous evil administration going back unbroken to a similar false avuncular president Reagan. Just making a few cosmetic alterations while the substance is till poison to the republic. The fascist strain continues to march on. Not just in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But threatens us as well, whether with a dangerous flu outbreak next year to water shortages and racial violence brought on by climate change, such is in the offing that will all need to be controlled. These are very interesting times. Just like before World War I & II, also our last Civil War I.

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By AFriend, August 21, 2009 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

bogi666 and snowie,

I believe the pessimism the two of you share is misguided and misplaced. The United States is nothing like what you each see and describe.

If your respective lives are so horrible you should be more active in changing your circumstances. You’ll each find a great deal of help if you help yourselves.

The United States is one of the best nations on earth.

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By Mark A. Goldman, August 21, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

The point is that it is not a matter of putting pressure on the Democrats; the point is that they have betrayed their constituents and ought to be abandoned.  Spend time finding honorable people to vote for who are not a member of a major political party.  If you don’t vote for what you believe in, you will not get what you want.  And if you vote for people who are Democrats or Repubicans, even if they say what you want to hear, it is important to understand that there is no way that they will be in a position to do what they say they want to do because they are part of a machine that doesn’t work that way.

http://www.gpln.com

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By ron hansing, August 21, 2009 at 7:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If the health care proposal by congress is such a good deal, than ask this question. Do you want congress a bill that they voted down an amendment that they will not be part of the plan.

Also, want to cut 25% off health care immediately, insist on radical tort reform… such as “no fault”, workman comp and/or compulsive abritation.

There is not one word in the four bills about tort reform. Defensive medicine is real. Get over it. the health care proposals will be uncontrolled spending, resulting in marked inflation, in which the poor will suffer the most. They will get free health care that will be rationed, but a gallon of milk will cost 20 dollars. Say it ain’t so, Joe? It happened in 1975-1979 when we had 50% inflation.

The Weimar Republic had inflation in 1923, 4.1 trillion marks equal one dollar. the same thing in Zimbazway, ten trillion equals one dollar.

The winners,the super corporations, lawyers, hospitals, and insurance co. and the losers, the people.

Congress has and will continue to sell out the people.

We threw out the repubicans in 2006, and we will throw out the democrats in 2010.

Ron Hansing

ron hansing.

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By Peacedragon, August 21, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

Chris,

I hope your switch to podcast is not permanent. If so, could you post a print
version so us dial uppies could read them?

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By Purple Girl, August 21, 2009 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

Please tell me ONE thing Nadar has done for this country since the mandatory Seatbelt and Covair era?
What wave of political influence has he lead? Against Reaganomics, Star Wars, Dergulation,Desert Strom? Is he the face we associate with even Global Warming?
Nadar has done nothing but played the spoiler in two elections- handing the’wins’ to the Repugs, by blowing smoke up th e asses of the Far Left?? This poser hasn’t even run for any other public office. Ya gotta start somewhere Ralphy boy! Apparently in Nadars mind the President weilds unfettered powers- Why run for US House since they have no influence over Legislation?
Nadar had a nich,providing a valueable public service regarding consumer rights,until he got the idea he’d rather be “King Ralph” armed with Charm potions, I guess.
Are you so deluded that you think that Ralphy could have orchestrated a Reconcilation between the Left & Right. Under Ralphy we would be out of Iraq and Afghanistan? The economy would be resurrected? We’d already have Single payer healthcare- Are you an absolute idiot?
Heres where the rubber meets the road in the “Progressives”. It is oxymoronic to call yourself an “Progressive” if you dismiss every advancement forward as useless. We life long liberal dems are starting to view this segment of our party as the ‘Wand Wishers’. Nadar typifies these ‘wanders’ mindset and stradegies for every issue- ‘It’s all or nothing’.Nothing less than President, Single payer, “Marriage” license. This segement of the Left are guaranteed to ‘lose’ because they are unrealistic about how progress works- in stages, steps- Not leaps and bounds. 
Date line Jan 21,2009 “All Troops and contractors are departing Afghanistan and Iraq”. “Congress enacts Single payer immmediately”,“All energy is provided by Solar and Wind”, “Millions of Gay couple across the country are taking their prenuptials or Induction oaths today”, “First Openly Gay, Transvesite is named Sec of Defense”.For those on the Far Left this is not just fanciful thinking- it was an expectation.

I didn’t Realize Old Ralphy boy was capable of magic! I’d have guessed my candidate more likely since he does have similar traits of an elf.
My ‘Left’ Candidate not only had thd Balls,but the ability to introduce Articles of Impeachment for various high crimes against Both W & Cheney. He was able to VOTE Against the Wars, because he was in a public office with that kind of elected clout.
Your “Lefty” is nothing more than an impotent Red Herring.
I’ll Grant you, Nadar has been a personality in the national discourse for decades- Lot a Good that’s done US.He couldn’t even redirect or interject into the national psyche for the last 3+ decades. How do expect him to be able to change National policies, after decades of full indoctrination into this Neo con mentality?
Nadar would have been a Lame Duck from Jan 20,2009. As would admittedly, Kucinich.
Frankly I found humor and disappointment in both Sarah Palin fans and Nadar Groupies- what show, what “connection”, what ‘truths’....What absolute Hype.
Nadar lost, his faithfuls have to get over that like US Kucinchers,Clintonites and McCainers. But that does not mean the quest for progress is.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, August 21, 2009 at 6:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Speaking of healthy eating:
http://www.slate.com/id/2224862/

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By godistwaddle, August 21, 2009 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

Obama bailed the banks, perhaps saving capitalism, a vile system that deserved to die or save itself.  Dems, like Repubs, are right wing tools, doing the bidding of the plutocrats.  But, in 3 1/2 years, we’ll have another fake election and everybody will think it matters.

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By bogi666, August 21, 2009 at 2:52 am Link to this comment

Snowie, good comments. The world has become too complicated for a gullible and ignorant American public whom have been forged into NARCISSISTIC-CONSUMERIST-GLUTTONS. The schools have been engineered into factories turning out consumers and obedient drone employees.Schools are seemingly forbidden to teach civics and citizenship. Bush chastised American schools for not teaching math and science, subjects which he never bothered to learn.

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By Snowie, August 20, 2009 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

Health care reform??? Just more lies. Don’t believe it! 50 million without access.

But they deserve no better. The idiots believe and support warring and killing over 1 million people in M.E. in last few years. They do not deserve any sympathy. They sure bitch when it comes to their money and health care though.

I have had it with this country and its disgusting citizens. For eight years tried to tell the idiots around me the country was going bankrupt and was scoffed at. Now, many of these same people who scoffed are losing all their pensions, healthcare, jobs. I have no sympathy for them anymore. They still think its all going to be back on track soon.

HA! that is joke. The dollar is sinking and will soon lose its reserve status. When that happens…everything will shut down….and just wait and see what happens when all those ships stop sending all the ‘goodies’....watch the shelves empty out….then Americans are going to get a whiff of what they spread around the world

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By LostHills, August 20, 2009 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

He could turn the Whitehouse into a farmers cooperative and get Gates and Betrayus some overalls and a couple hoes so they could do something productive for people. Would that be “socialism?”

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By BlueEagle, August 20, 2009 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

I love this picture! If only we saw more of Mr. Obama eating healthy food. I just wish the sign behind him said “Local” and “Organic”.

This picture IS the health care solution! Great job Obama!

Perhaps we could get one of him working in the family garden at the White House.

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