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Obama’s Faux Populism Sounds Like Bill Clinton

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Posted on Jan 26, 2012
AP / Saul Loeb

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

By Robert Scheer

I’ll admit it: Listening to Barack Obama, I am ready to enlist in his campaign against the feed-the-rich Republicans ... until I recall that I once responded in the same way to Bill Clinton’s faux populism. And then I get angry because betrayal by the “good guys” for whom I have ended up voting has become the norm.

Yes, betrayal, because if Obama meant what he said in Tuesday’s State of the Union address about holding the financial industry responsible for its scams, why did he appoint the old Clinton crowd that had legalized those scams to the top economic posts in his administration? Why did he hire Timothy Geithner, who has turned the Treasury Department into a concierge service for Wall Street tycoons? 

Why hasn’t he pushed for a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, which Clinton’s deregulation reversed? Does the president really believe that the Dodd-Frank slap-on-the-wrist sellout represents “new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like this never happens again”? Can he name one single too-big-to-fail banking monstrosity that has been reduced in size on his watch instead of encouraged to grow ever larger by Treasury and Fed bailouts and interest-free money?

When Obama declared Tuesday evening “no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas,” wasn’t he aware that Jeffrey Immelt, the man he appointed to head his jobs council, is the most egregious offender? Immelt, the CEO of GE, heads a company with most of its workers employed in foreign countries, a corporation that makes 82 percent of its profit abroad and has paid no U.S. taxes in the past three years.

It was also a bit bizarre for Obama to celebrate Steve Jobs as a model entrepreneur when the manufacturing jobs that the late Apple CEO created are in the same China that elsewhere in his speech the president sought to scapegoat for America’s problems. Apple, in its latest report on the subject, takes pride in attempting to limit the company’s overseas suppliers to a maximum workweek of 60 hours for their horribly exploited employees. Isn’t it weird to be chauvinistically China baiting when that country carries much of our debt?

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I’m also getting tired of the exhortations to improve the nation’s schools, certainly a worthy endeavor, but this economic crisis is the result not of high school dropouts as Obama suggested, but rather the corruption of the best and brightest graduates of our elite academies. As Obama well knows from his own trajectory in the meritocracy, which took him from one of the most privileged schools in otherwise educationally depressed Hawaii to Harvard Law, the folks who concocted the mathematical formulas and wrote the laws justifying fraudulent collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps were his overachieving professors and classmates.

If he doesn’t know that, he should check out the record of Lawrence Summers, the man he picked to guide his economic program and who had been rewarded with the presidency of Harvard after having engineered Clinton’s deregulatory deal with Wall Street.

That is the real legacy of the Clinton years, and it is no surprise that GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich has been campaigning on his rightful share of it. The international trade agreements that exported good U.S. jobs, the radical financial deregulation that unleashed Wall Street greed, and the free market zealotry of then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was reappointed by Clinton, were all part of a deal Clinton made with Gingrich, House speaker at that time.

As Gingrich put it in the first Republican debate in South Carolina: “As speaker ... working with President Bill Clinton, we passed a very Reagan-like program, less regulation, lower taxes.” Even the 15 percent tax break that Mitt Romney exploited for his carryover private equity income was a result of the unholy Clinton-Gingrich alliance. Both principals of that alliance were pimps for the financial industry, and that includes Freddie Mac, the for-profit stock-traded housing agency that Clinton coddled while it stoked the Ponzi scheme in housing and that rewarded the former speaker with $1.6 million to $1.8 million in consulting fees.

There were, finally, some bold words in Obama’s speech about helping beleaguered homeowners, but they ring hollow given this administration’s efforts to broker a sweetheart deal between the leading banks and the state attorneys general that would see the banks fined only a pittance for their responsibility in the mortgage meltdown. Obama could have had success demanding mortgage relief if he had made that a condition for bailing out the banks. Now the banksters know he’s firing blanks, and they are placing their bets on their more reliable Republican allies to prevent any significant demand for helping homeowners with their underwater mortgages.

Of course, Romney, Obama’s most likely opponent in the general election, will never challenge the Wall Street hold on Washington, since he is the personification of the vulture capitalism that is the true cause of America’s decline. Obama should shine in comparison with his Republican challenger, but there is little in his State of the Union speech to suggest he will chart a much-needed new course in his second term.

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 Aquifer, February 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

Laf,

Read your doc - sounds pretty much like Stein’s program as outlined in her SOTU, check it out @

http://www.jillstein.org/

So, we’ve got a platform, got a candidate - working on the organization, can always use funding (non-corporate), so how about sending a check?

One thing you might want to change in your doc - you refer to a “public option” with regard to health care - that phrase was used to refer to a being able to, essentially, buy into Medicare, but was seen as existing in the same “market” as private plans - and was rejected by the insurance companies as a non starter - so of course Obama followed suit. If you want to get rid of the for profit private insurance companies, you will have to do something like single payer - everybody in, nobody out. Check out HR 676 (may have new number now) only 18 pages long (as opposed to the 2000+ of Obamacare)

The Dems are nowhere near your doc - but the Greens, at this point, are ..

oddsox,

There is no doubt that small business is often behind the 8 ball - with Big Business in charge of writing regs it is in their interest to make ‘em onerous for the little guy, but acceptable to the big guy, another way to “gain market share”.

Any time BB wants to bitch about stuff they always pull out the “not fair to SB!” routine, but they don’t give a shit about SB. SB, IMO has much more in common with labor than with BB, but that is another story. With things like single payer - you could get and keep good employees that don’t have to stick with bigger firms just because they need healthcare, and your workforce would be healthier and more secure ...

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By oddsox, February 1, 2012 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Hi Aquifer,

Please forgive my delayed response—I was busy yesterday paying my yearly state business licensing fees (read “taxes.”  Read, “in addition to the other fees, contributions, “mandated investments,” expenses, premiums and taxes that I already pay.”)

The fees are relatively small. 
Not so much that they’d prevent me from hiring someone if I needed to or otherwise could.
Not by themselves anyway.

The state just needs to provide services (like the ones you list, AQ) and has to balance its budget.
(unlike the Federal government.)
And the needs of the state will come first.
I’ll get paid later, I suppose.

Not complaining. 
Just paying my fair share, you know?

In this instance, my fair share doubled from what it was 3 years ago. 
Without regard to how my business was doing.
When I started this business, there were no state business licensing fees at all. 
Sometime ago, our legislature decided that wasn’t fair.

But hey—as Lafayette points out, so long as EVERYONE pays those fees, it’s same-same and we can just pass those costs on to the consumer.
There comes a point, of course, where the consumer will choose to buy less, defer purchases or seek substitutes for the goods and services we offer.

If I remember my Econ 101, the principle is called “price elasticity.”
You know, as in the higher prices you’re likely to be paying now—or will be soon—for food, gas and rent.

Anyway, I’d love to continue our discussion, but I need to get an early start today.

No free lunch, you know.

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By ardee, February 1, 2012 at 3:55 am Link to this comment

A pair a ducks…..as Groucho might note.

Lafayette exhorting the electorate to stump for progressive values is indeed a paradox of sorts. His rabid and single minded support for the Democratic Party, you know, the one that has silenced and emasculated its progressive wing, seems in juxtaposition to any call for a restoration of progressivism to that party’s platform or legislative efforts.

But, of course, as he will rather quickly note, any who disagree are just stupid.

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By Lafayette, February 1, 2012 at 12:59 am Link to this comment

ENOUGH OF THE VICTIMIZATION!

The first is true at this point, the second is true only as long as the first is.  There is, of course, motivation for the former to control the latter, that doesn’t mean it has to happen - that is up to us

Hear, hear!

Enough of the victimization! Get off your collective duffs and get out to militate for the government you want.  Let’s assume the responsibility for the governance that we, the sheeple, elect. Instead of pointing the finger of blame at BigBusiness or the entire political class. This latter is simply a reflection of ourselves as manifested in the poll-booths.

What does it take for reform to happen?  The grassroots of America must be convinced that progressive values are central to their desires for a better standard-of-living - for themselves and their families. How’s that? I’ve described them in this document here, which is my version from here in France. 

Now you add to it as you see fit. Then discuss it. Don’t wait for some mindless campaign publicity in the Fall to convince you of a candidate’s worthiness for your vote. The work must begin now.

Get your progressive caucus going- it’s not Rocket Science. It takes however the organizational will to do it.

What are progressive values? Look here. That page has a wealth of information regarding the Progressive Movement in the US, which reached its apex in the beginning of the 20th century. It got lost, however, in the demonization of autocratic communism in the pre-war years and socialism in the post-war years.

MY POINT

It’s time to get back to Basic Progressivism, if we want – as a nation – for the wealth (that our hard work contributes to produce) to be shared in a more egalitarian fashion. Meaning not equally but equitably. (There’s a big difference between the two! Let’s not make that mistake again.)

I gave examples in the document linked above. Now you build on it. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Just collect some like-minded people around you and motivate them to continue. It’s not only hard work but energetically good fun.

Get the buzz going – once started, it has a life of its own. Then encourage it to continue. The OWS movement of political indignation must coalesce around a platform for the reform of this nation to be triggered. Otherwise, it’s back to Business-As-Usual.

And we all should know by now what that means …

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By Aquifer, January 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

oddsox,

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities.”
—Abraham Lincoln

“Who DECIDES what the people “need to have done” and “cannot do better by themselves?”

We do ...  What do YOU think, if anything, falls into this category? Water? Sewer? Healthcare? Education? Infrastructure? Anything?

“Big Business has already co-opted Big Government for its own use.
Growing the LATTER only strengthens the FORMER.”

The first is true at this point, the second is true only as long as the first is.  There is, of course, motivation for the former to control the latter, that doesn’t mean it has to happen - that is up to us .... If you dismantle government, you will have removed the only POTENTIAL force the “little people” have to counteract the money power of Big Business ...

Rather funny that Friedman - the author of the shock doctrine economics that Klein talks about - should express concern for the “ordinary worker and consumer”

Just finished watching a documentary on water - pretty good illustration of what happens when gov’t lets private business take over what should be a municipal function ....

http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com/videos/socio-economics/a-world-without-water—-full-film.html

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By oddsox, January 31, 2012 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

my error to correct:

“Big Business has already co-opted Big Government for its own use.
Growing the LATTER only strengthens the FORMER.”

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By oddsox, January 31, 2012 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

Lafayette:
Your call for Bigger Government in order to regulate Big Business ignores what many TruthDig posters and you, yourself have noted: 
Big Business has already co-opted Big Government for its own use. 
Growing the former only strengthens the latter.

“One of the reasons I am in favor of less government is because when you have more government, industrialists take it over. And the two together form a coalition against the ordinary worker and the ordinary consumer.”
—Milton Friedman 1980.

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By oddsox, January 31, 2012 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities.”
—Abraham Lincoln

“I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.”
—President Obama at SOTU address (followed by unanimous standing ovation)

Note first, that Obama doesn’t quote Lincoln, he paraphrases. 
Note next, that an unanswered question remains after either statement: 
“Who DECIDES what the people “need to have done” and “cannot do better by themselves?”

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By Lafayette, January 31, 2012 at 4:58 am Link to this comment

TRIPPED UP

OS: —Low taxes, small government

You’ve put up a good wish-list but you tripped over this one.  Wanting smaller government is brainless. Why?

Because what should be the primary purpose of an economy? To bring about the well-being of all a nation’s citizens. On this measure, the “smaller government” falls flat on its face.

The well-being of a collective is measured in many attributes, but the most basic are Health Care and its ability to Educate its people. Nowhere has this been better demonstrated than in Europe, where both of theses Public Services are managed by a government ministry/department.  In both instances, when serious studies are made of these public sectors, the US comes up either at the bottom (Health Care) or has a mediocre rank somewhere in the Middle (Education).

Both Health Care and Tertiary Education are too expensive for too many people, so they go without. Which has a direct negative impact upon their standard of living. Why are they very important to economic development?

Because these are both “imperfect” markets where the rules of Supply and Demand do not necessarily translate into either the lowest cost or the easiest access for most of the population. And yet both are central elements in socioeconomic development. Societies do not develop well without both of these sectors running in optimum condition.

Nice list, nonetheless, which demonstrates some intelligent thinking. Very rare, admittedly, around here.

MY POINT

The country need such fundamental reform that, at first and at least, it needs very strong leadership from both its Congress and a PotUS. That means more government not less. And in a clever way - for instance, More Social Justice paid for by savings in less Military Spending.

Leave this country to be regulated by either the states individually or not at all by a Federal Government is a sure recipe for disaster. Which has already happened once because successive presidents neutered the oversight agencies – in order to pay back campaign distributions from BigBusiness. Do we want that to happen again?

BigGovernment is not the culprit. BigBusiness is - because it was left unfettered. The latter must be shown its rightful place in our economy - and that means not dominating it.

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By oddsox, January 30, 2012 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Aquifer, your write:
“The fact that (UCLA’s FDR Depression study) is one of your favorite pieces i think gives me a clue where you may be coming from, too ...”

No need for clues or guesses, AQ.
Here is from whence I come:

I’m for:
—Free Market (not Crony) Capitalism
—Fair competition (means a level field, not an even score)
—Helping SMALL business
—Taxing consumption, not labor
—Reversing Citizens United & corporate personhood…
—...then limiting campaign contributions to legal US citizens only.  No corporations, no unions, no PACs
—Breaking up the too-big-to-fails using anti-trust action
—Medical use marijuana only.  Grown with USDA oversight, distributed by medical professionals using FDA guidelines.
—Countering bias by reading/listening/watching widely.
—Peace through strength, short and quick applications of power when/where needed.
—Low debt & a strong dollar
—Low taxes, small government
—Compassion tempered with common sense
—Common Sense tempered with compassion

As you’ve mentioned, AQ, the devil’s in the details & we’ve been through a lot of them.
But, again, I appreciate & enjoy our civil discussions.

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By JEA, January 30, 2012 at 6:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m guessing that you trust Republicans MORE to fix this issue?

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By Aquifer, January 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

oddsox,

from your sitation (how do you like that, I think I just invented a new word!)

“By 1939 wages in protected industries remained 24 percent to 33 percent above where they should have been, based on 1929 figures”

What they “should” have been, or what they would have been. The use of the word “should” is always interesting - implies a value system is being inserted in there - the value in this case meaning “unfettered market forces” I presume

“Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped up enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.”

Well there’s a new twist - I thought the war time spending was what did it - so it was by gutting unions that we “recovered” - fascinating .....

“Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

I’m sure their “work” does show that - the rest of the piece demonstrates where they are coming from ....

The fact that this is one of your favorite pieces i think gives me a clue where you may be coming from, too ...
 
from your post,

“Remove that advantage and the high wages go too.  As we’ve seen.”

Yup - that was the purpose of the “free trade movement”  - break the back of labor by making it possible to manufacture abroad in countries with no minimum standards for anything,  no minimum wages, no bennies, and import the products back here with no penalties - splitting producers from consumers made us buyers without being able to be earners. Once domestic labor was no longer needed to produce the goods, their leverage was gone and employers started whacking them and haven’t ceased. Big Labor made a huge mistake when they failed to throw the bums out when they got on this “free trade kick” - the most obvious sign that the corps had taken over both parties. The problem with the Left, IMO, (actually one of a few problems we have) is that the “P” word (protectionism) still cannot be spoken in polite circles ...


Laf,

I agree that the health care “market” is not working - but I have my own take on why. Mainly because healthcare is not something that fits in a “market model” to begin with. It is something that everyone needs at some time or other, there is definitely asymmetry of information regarding what it entails or needs to entail, it is expensive enough that few individuals can afford it. Folks cannot shop around or bargain when they need it - in the middle of an MI, e.g. It is something most “developed” nations have understood as a service that society should provide its citizens as a “right”, not a commodity to be bought and sold on the market. It is only because we are consumed, so to speak, by the “market model of life” in this country that we haven’t gotten there yet ....

Private insurance companies do not provide healthcare - they are middlemen, and frankly entirely unnecessary in terms of any aspect of it except for services of processing claims. They suck enormous money out of the system, yet at the same time either do not have enough, or will not use their, bargaining power to lower the costs. They need to be eliminated. The system was set up to allow employers to attract employees - and the system now works to keep employees tied to jobs they hate or are getting to old and tired to work in - just to keep the increasingly paltry healthcare benefits the employers provide.

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By oddsox, January 29, 2012 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

Lafayette—re the 1st half of your last post:

My purpose in listing SUTA, FUTA, FICA, Medicare and Workman’s Comp was to illustrate the “taxes” that an employer pays on behalf of his employees. 
And then, when Aquifer asks for higher wages on top of all this, well—ok, but it’ll come at a price.

Call them “fees” “mandatory insurance,” “contributions” or just “expenses”—they all go into the cost of production.

You point out, “(these costs) should be recuperated in your pricing - with no negative effect in terms of competitiveness since all employers are obliged to pay.”

And this is true so long as the playing field remains level.  But the Chinese aren’t obliged to pay these costs, nor are the Mexicans.
Hence the outsourcing.

No free lunch.

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By oddsox, January 29, 2012 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

Lafayette, in your last post, you seem to be tripping all over yourself.

You write: “where markets are constrained in the Supply of a service, then it is the Suppliers who define the price. 
... which is why Health Care insurance is so damn expensive in the US.”

so far so good.

Then you criticize the notion that “competition always gets Supply and Demand right, so that the price is the most efficient.” 

Oh?

And call for “natural monopolies (like Windows) and ... oligopolies like Health Care (which) should not be left to unregulated “free markets” that maximize profit at the sake of lowest possible cost.” 

So, then, you LIKE
—fewer choices for consumers
—inefficiencies
—high costs?

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By oddsox, January 29, 2012 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Aquifer, re: the correlation between higher wages and higher unemployment, it’s simple supply and demand. 
That, and the immutable principle: there’s no free lunch.

Now I understand your counterpoint re: workers paid a wage that allows them to consume. 
The popular example is Henry Ford’s early-day assembly line workers. 
In 1914 he paid assembly workers $5/day ($112 in today’s dollars, $14/hour).
Later, Ford pioneered the 40-hour 5-day work week.
http://www.worklessparty.org/timework/ford.htm
This history would appear to support YOUR position.

Of course, Ford was no dummy, there were reasons for what he did.
In paying the higher wage, he created a huge DEMAND for jobs at his plant. 
He could then cherry pick the best workers, who dared not deliver less than their best at all times. 
Here’s how Ford himself put it:
“We have stopped thinking in terms of a minimum wage…We try to pay a man what he is worth and we are not inclined to keep a man who is not worth more than the minimum wage.”

The 40-hour work week was born of a similar strategy—to maximize efficiency.  By trial and error, Ford learned that his workers performed better when they were well rested and had some leisure time, as he explains in the piece linked above.

Of course, Henry Ford knew there was no free lunch:
“only low cost production can pay high wages.”

And that was his trump card, one that most businesses today do not have: a technological advantage that allowed for high output (the assembly line). 

Remove that advantage and the high wages go too. 
As we’ve seen.

As for the consequences of wage controls, here’s one of my favorite studies that is very relevant today.
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/FDR-s-Policies-Prolonged-Depression-5409.aspx

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By Lafayette, January 29, 2012 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

NOT SO “FREE” MARKETS

OS: Workman’s comp is insurance but it works like a tax, too, since it’s mandatory.

Yes, and so what?

The “tax” is equitable, since ALL employers pay it. It should be recuperated in your pricing - with no negative effect in terms of competitiveness since all employers are obliged to pay the tax - also known as a “contribution”. 

But a contribution to what? To health-care services that are just as important as, say, Homeland Security, National Defense, the firefighters, police, etc. All these are necessary Public Services and we pay taxes to support them.

(Where employers avoid the tax by employing illegal immigrants, then “three strikes and they are out”. That is, if caught three times employing illegal aliens, then they should go automatically to jail.)

Frankly, if ours were a National Health System, just like Homeland Security and the DoD – then there would be not so much controversy. But it isn’t it – because it evolved as a private service that each individual was responsible for obtaining. With time, employers offered a “group plan” purchased from the insurance industry.

We failed, however, to understand the nature of the market and how it would evolve. We did not understand that with oligopolies, where markets are constrained in the Supply of a service, then it is the Suppliers who define the price.

And which is why Health Care insurance is so damn expensive in the US.

We have made far too much of the notion that “competition always gets Supply and Demand right, so that the price is the most efficient”. Which is mind-boggling malarkey swallowed hook, line and sinker by far too many people.

Where “market-gaming” is allowed, instances abound where no such occurrence happens; meaning that some markets are natural monopolies (like Windows) and others are oligopolies (like Health Care). And where a service is a key social requirement – as is Health Care – it should not be left to unregulated “free markets” that maximize profit at the sake of lowest possible cost.

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By Psychobabbler, January 29, 2012 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

My favorite quote from the prep rally was “Anyone who thinks that America is in decline, doesn’t know what they are talking about!!!!!!!!!”

That’s pretty much just a slightly more sophisticated way of saying: U.S.A! U.S.A!

Reminds me of a Newsweek headline I saw today: “Why are Obamas critics so dumb?”

It all just proves my theory that life is just a popularity contest.

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By Aquifer, January 29, 2012 at 12:56 am Link to this comment

oddsox,

I guess I am not quite clear where you are coming from - as an employer, I suppose you would want to pay as little as you can get away with (reduce overhead) but as an employee you would benefit from the employer contribution toward retirement ...

From labor’s point of view, I would think this set-up is a good thing - a hell of a lot better than the 401K plans.

I am not in favor of means testing - and you pointed out the reasoning that turns it into “welfare” - when you put in and get nothing out, you can complain about “redistribution” and all the crap slung around that term. No I don’t see it as welfare, but i don’t want to provide rationale for anyone to be able to make a case that it is, and the way it is now, you can’t. I think that is why it has had such universal appeal, why it has long been the 3rd rail in politics - because it is seen as universal. It is a testament to how far right we have gone that a Dem Pres can offer to screw with its funding.

Don’t worry odssox, these guys will gut the payroll tax and SS with it - be careful what you ask for, for you will surely get it, and if not you, then your kids ....

Please provide some proof that higher wages leads to more unemployment - as a matter of fact it could be argued that insofar as those higher wages in people’s pockets leads to greater demand for “product” it could lead to more employment ....

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By oddsox, January 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Aquifer, yes, sho’nuff.
SUTA, FUTA, FICA, Medicare—I can tell you from my very limited personal experience as an employer, the employer pays it. 
So it works like a tax. 
It feels like a tax.
It’s gone like a tax.
Workman’s comp is insurance but it works like a tax, too, since it’s mandatory. 
And if I had to pay my employee’s health insurance, that would also be a tax to me, as an employer.

You ask, “do you actually think the employer would pay more if he didn’t have this “tax”?”

Honestly, no. I said as much a few posts ago if you care to go back and look. 
But maybe, to keep a good employee, maybe I would have. 
Or given a bonus. 
Bonuses are good. 
They’re not expected, so they’re appreciated more.
And they don’t have to be repeated. 
I think you get more bang for the buck as an employer if you give bonuses instead of raises when you can.

If that pisses off some TruthDiggers, remember:
1)I used to belong to a union and know where you’re coming from.
2)My experience as an employer is very limited.

Back to you, Aquifer—as the employEE, if you’re putting into Social Security and then don’t draw the same benes as your co-worker because of needs testing, then that difference was a tax on you.
I think we agree on that part, yes?
I don’t see that as welfare, though I’m sure many on the TeaParty site would. 
I’m a little surprised you see it that way.

So we’ll probably have needs testing and probably won’t replace payroll taxes with consumption taxes.  I’m not naive, it’s just a shame, that’s all.

You call for higher wages, and that’s great for the workers who get them. 
But it adds to the cost of production and leads to higher (and longer) unemployment. 
There’s no free lunch, there’s always a trade-off.

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By Aquifer, January 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

oddsox,

“Sho’ nuff is to the employer.?”

So, is this tax on the employer a tax on labor, or for the benefit of labor? Or do you actually think the employer would pay more if he didn’t have this “tax”?

“And if needs testing comes along, as it probably will (even some Repubs like Mitch Daniels are calling for it now) it’ll become a tax to those who don’t get full benes later.”

It is no surprise that Reps are proposing means testing, or that Dems are for that matter - again i would say that when you deviate from a social insurance system that says “everybody in, nobody out” you turn it into a welfare system subject to all the class issues we see being injected - the crack that will be prised wider and wider.

I know one can get bogged down in details, but the devil is always in the details ...

I hear you oddsox, but i can’t go there - I have that feeling about this that Dorgan had about the repeal of Glass Steagall (check out Moyer’s latest interviews on his site)....

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By oddsox, January 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

aquifer, you write:
“FICA is not a “tax”.”

Sho’ nuff is to the employer.
And if needs testing comes along, as it probably will (even some Repubs like Mitch Daniels are calling for it now) it’ll become a tax to those who don’t get full benes later.

you also write:
“I would have reversed the order (keeping benefits in line w/revenues). In your scenario, if revenue drops, so do benefits.” 
Well, no, when revenues drop, the rate is increased.
So benefits = revenues and revenues = benefits.
Potato, po-tah-to.
Revenue-neutral.

We aren’t in agreement on much right now, but I very much appreciate your civility, Aquifer.

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By Aquifer, January 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

Laf,

“The notion is nice, but unworkable due to the amounts involved. The above suggestion simply shifts the burden onto the Treasury and thus the taxpayer.

The French solution, which is a Universal National Health System (and similar to other NHSs in the EU), institutes both a payroll tax and a employer payment agreement. However, its key component is the fact that a government Health Ministry stipulates both practitioner-service and pharmaceutical pricing.”

So, what is the diff between the system in paragraph one and the one in paragraph two? Medicare in this country is financed through a payroll tax shared by employers and employees - isn’t that what you are describing in France?

And Medicare also sets fees for services

Please explain why it is not “workable” to simply expand the Medicare system to all here in US ...

Also, don’t think SarBox re-instituted Glass Steagall ...., if so why are all the critics, and i don’t mean us anonymous bloggers, still calling for its re-institution?
Why do you need a 2000 page bill (Dodd - Franks)to replace a 36 page one? I know print is bigger these days, but really ...

oddsox,

“Better to needs-test benefits instead.”

nope, that turns it into a welfare program, not an insurance one. Just about all health care programs are conceived as being self financing and dedicated. Leave the sales tax for financing other things - you are going to need it ...

“Keep benefits in line w/revenues (revenue-neutral).”

interesting way to put it - I would have reversed the order. In your scenario, if revenue drops, so do benefits.

FICA is not a “tax” - it is a premium paid for pension and med insurance policies, whose premiums are collected by the gov’t. with contributions from the folks who benefit from it. The fact that it is legislated does not, ipso facto make it a “tax”, the money does not go into the general fund to be “approriated” as Congress sees fit - I think it is important to keep it that way.

Splitting the funding source from the beneficiaries is a wedge that can be used to dismantle it - it was set up the way it was for a reason.

For a bit more on SS, check out

http://www.angrybearblog.com/2012/01/social-security-how-they-lie-to-us.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/Hzoh+(Angry+Bear)

Nope, can’t go there with you, oddsox - fix the wage issue and the progressive taxation issues first, then see where we are ...

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By radson, January 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ
I read that you have had your fill ,I concur it is no longer the same and has become mundane .

cheers

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By Memory Stick, January 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JDmysticDJ:

Pound Sand.

Your hero Obomba is unmasked. And if you think he’s doing a good job, you’re a republican.

Check out the facts:
http://democrats4paul.com/can-u-vote-4-more.html

A few samples, links to every article at the page above—

Obama Administration: US Forces Can Assassinate Americans

NYT: Obama Administration Pressuring NY AG To Accept Bank Settlement Instead Of Prosecuting

Feds threaten crackdown if medical-pot makeover becomes law

White House visitor logs riddled with holes

Obama’s John Yoo Moment—Cherry Picking Lawyers

Activists cry foul over FBI probe - WP

Emails Show White House Promotes Genetically Engineered Crops in Wildlife Refuges

Obama Broke Pledge to Force Banks to Help Homeowners

Obama’s tough budget cuts: money to help needy pay for heat… AND ON AND ON

If you can support those 49 things you deserve 4 more years of lying and drone bombing and being ripped off.

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By JDmysticDJ, January 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

I just checked in to see what condition truthdig’s condition is in. Same-old crap being spewed here by Scheer and his sicko-phantic [sic] followers.

The lack of political acuity on display here is painfully obvious. What can be achieved under current political realities is being achieved and what can not be achieved under current political realities is being advocated by Obama and the Democrats. What Obama and the Democrats need in order for further achievements to be achieved is for the American People to give their whole hearted support to Obama and the Democrats.

The many false statements offered here by Scheer and his sycophants are far too numerous to respond to individually, for example, “He along with my senators signed the recent defense authorization act 2012 which allows the police and military to arrest anyone—including US citizens without due process.” This stated comment is nothing but crap but apparently believed simply because many want to believe it because it serves the conspiratorial dialectic of whacked out dissidents; dissidents who would be voicing vehement dissent regardless of any and all circumstances, such see the world on a simplistic macro level with no consideration for the details of political reality. If such as these were ever to achieve political power they would attempt to dictate the details of policies according to their individual beliefs with no tolerance for other beliefs regardless of whether those espousing different beliefs were their allies or their enemies, but they will never achieve any semblance of political power because they will always be opposed to political power i.e. popular opinion.

dis•si•dent [ díssid?nt ]
 
1.  somebody who disagrees: somebody who publicly disagrees with an established political or religious system or organization

Synonyms: dissenter, rebel, nonconformist, protester, insurgent, mutineer, revolutionist, malcontent.


mal•con•tent [ málk?n tènt ]
 
1.  discontented person: somebody who is discontented or dissatisfied, especially somebody who seems continually or chronically discontented

2.  rebel: somebody who opposes the established social or political system

Synonyms: discontented, disgruntled, dissatisfied, unhappy, complaining, rebellious, grumbling

There is much to be discontented about and there always has been. The transition between primitive society and modern society has been fraught with struggle to make things better and “things” have gotten better thanks to those who have struggled to make “things” better. Recovering from regress requires a struggle to reverse that regress and to advance progress. The constant “grumbling” of malcontents directed at those struggling to make “things” better is nihilistic and counter productive. No tolerance for anything but an individual’s perception of a perfect world will accomplish nothing and only promotes dissidence and political chaos.


I am “unhappy” with current realities (Things) but it is clear to me that supporting those who have the potential for making “Things” better is preferable to affectively/effectively facilitating those who will make things worse and the grumbling of malcontents directed at the better does exactly that.


Scheer says nothing of value here in this article with the exception of, “Of course, Romney, Obama’s most likely opponent in the general election, will never challenge the Wall Street hold on Washington, since he is the personification of the vulture capitalism that is the true cause of America’s decline.


Scheer goes on to write, “Obama should shine in comparison with his Republican challenger, but there is little in his State of the Union speech to suggest he will chart a much-needed new course in his second term.

I suggest Scheer review Obama’s State of the Union Speech and examine what Obama actually said in that speech.

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By Night-Gaunt, January 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

I’d be happier if President Obama at least was more like Reagan who now would be called a “liberal” by the present Republican party.

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By oddsox, January 28, 2012 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Only time for a couple of your questions, Aquifer.

“How do you match (FICA/Medicare payments) with amount of sales, sales tax would fluctuate year in and year out as monies needed for fund would vary differently from way projected sales vary, would it not?”

We’d use the same people who estimate budgets now.  Smooth things out, run a modest surplus or deficit, revise rates every couple years.

—-

““Progressive tax w/exemptions for meds, groceries, housing & utilities.”

What does that mean? I understand the exemptions part - but how do you set up a “progressive” sales tax? The higher the price the higher the tax?”

No, same tax rate on taxable items.  But what do the poor and working poor spend most of their money on?  The items above, they’d be exempt, so as a % of total household budgets, the poor would pay less.
Sales taxes are also “nominally progressive.” 
What do I mean?
—I buy a used Ford and a new pair of jeans and celebrate the day with a six-pack at home with the wife. 
—My boss buys a new Lincoln, visits Chez Tres Belle then takes her husband to dine at Chateau Extravigante’. 
We’re both paying the same tax rate, but my boss pays much more in taxes.

We’d be putting a sales tax on 2nd homes and investment properties, too.  That would hit the real estate market pretty hard, though—might have to defer that revenue source for a while. 
Or create a lower rate, probably a better choice.

—-

You and many others have suggested removing the $106,800 income cap for FICA contributions.
That would raise revenues and make payroll taxes less regressive.
But that just legitimizes taxing labor all the more.
And that’s what’s fundamentally wrong here.
Better to needs-test benefits instead.

You’re getting bogged down in the details Aquifer, but it’s really simple:
Keep benefits in line w/revenues (revenue-neutral).
Tax consumption.
Not labor.

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By Lafayette, January 28, 2012 at 3:59 am Link to this comment

CANADIAN PHARMACEUTICAL PRICING

Americans should know about Health Care Pharmaceutical Pricing policy from their Canadian neighbor. After all, this is the closest example that Americans have of a regulated National Health Service. One which they might be keen to copy.

Hillary went north to learn about their system before she made her HC-proposal during her husband’s presidency. Which was shot out of the water by a massive lobbying effort by the AMA.

Here follows an abstract of a report to the OECD of pharmaceutical pricing policy in Canada’s NHS (found here):

ABSTRACT

This paper describes and assesses pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement policies in Canada, considering them in the context of the broader policy and market environment in which they operate, and investigating their role in contributing to Canadaís achievements in meeting a range of objectives relating to the pharmaceutical policy.

The federal government regulates prices of patented pharmaceutical products with the objective of protecting consumers against excessive prices. Regulation has very likely been responsible for bringing Canada’s prices for patented medicines roughly in line with European comparators. Prices of generic products, which are not regulated, are relatively high although high penetration of the Canadian market has been achieved.

All Canadians have coverage for drugs provided in hospitals through a publicly financed scheme that furnishes hospital and physician services free of charge to patients. Drugs dispensed outside the hospital setting are not included among the insured benefits guaranteed by the Canadian Health Act.

Consequently, two-thirds of the Canadian population, including most employees and their families, obtains such coverage through private health insurance, while most senior citizens, together with designated groups of vulnerable populations, are covered by provincial, territorial or federal plans. In most cases, patients share in the costs of reimbursed medicines through co-payments or co-insurance, sometimes after meeting a deductible. The lack of protection against the risk of catastrophic out-of-pocket spending for drugs remains an issue for a small part of the Canadian population, concentrated in the Atlantic Provinces.

Reflecting these coverage and reimbursement arrangements, 54% of drug expenditures are financed by private insurances and households. Drug expenditures have been increasing very rapidly in recent years. Formulary management, now facilitated by a government initiative to undertake common drug reviews, and the promotion of generic substitution have been the main levers used by public plans to improve the efficiency of drug expenditures. Private plans have historically covered all medicines authorised for sale in Canada, although this is changing in light of cost pressure.
Overall, new drugs are available in the Canadian market on a timely basis, but maintaining comprehensive availability and accessibility may be an emerging challenge. 

That’s how it should be done ...

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By Lafayette, January 28, 2012 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

FROTHING AT THE MOUTH

BO: The Health Insurance Pharma guaranteed massive profit act, Lobbyist-Frank, and the unnecessary “deal” to extend the give away to billionaires and convert them to the Obama tax cuts for the rich.

Glass-Stegall that protected the country from predatory capitalism for 70 years was 36 pages long, Lobbyist-Franks is 2600 pages. It needed to be bigger to have large enough loopholes to drive Mac Trucks through.

And bollocks to this vituperative rant. You’ve got your facts all wrong.

ABOUT BIG-PHARMA

The pharmaceutical agreement negotiated lower pharma-prices from suppliers. Prior to the agreement, existing non price-fixed market assured BigPharma its lucrative revenues. Obama reduced the total amount that they would receive.

It is only by perversity that one can attribute on the part of Obama an intent to increase their total revenues.

Besides, you cannot have lower market prices unless they are fixed. Know this - in France a Ministry of Health stipulates pharmaceutical prices. This is also true in the other EU countries with a National Health Service.

Which is the reason why pharmaceutical companies go to the US to make their hallucinatory profits. And why Americans seek to purchase from Canada, which has also a National Health Service that fixed pricing for patented medicines.

ABOUT GLASS-STEAGALL

As for Sarbanes-Oaxley, you are wrong again. The law exact exactly the same separation of Commercial from Investment Banking - by illegitimating and financial transfer from the latter to the former in order to obtain protection from the FDIC.

May I suggest you get your facts right before frothing at the mouth in this forum?

Nah ... never mind.

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By Lafayette, January 28, 2012 at 3:25 am Link to this comment

THE FRENCH NHS

If you want to take a burden from employers - institute single payer health care, Medicare for all.

The notion is nice, but unworkable due to the amounts involved. The above suggestion simply shifts the burden onto the Treasury and thus the taxpayer. Which is not the issue, since the taxpayers expect a Full Service government and they are not getting that - compared to other countries.

The French solution, which is a Universal National Health System (and similar to other NHSs in the EU), institutes both a payroll tax and a employer payment agreement. However, its key component is the fact that a government Health Ministry stipulates both practitioner-service and pharmaceutical pricing.

This is anathema in the US that detests “price fixing”, but in an oligopolistic market (where far too many patients are chasing far too few Health-Care Resources) will let the Suppliers fix the pricing. Which is why our Total Health Care Cost is twice that of, say, France - and a good many other EU countries. (See this comparative cost chart here  from the OECD.)

AMA lobbying leads the charge to keep HC-costs high for most Americans. But why should your Congressional Reprsentatives care how much you pay - they’ve got fine HC-coverage. They just walk over to Walter Reed hospital. Note that their HC insurance is NOT government paid, but the government does pick up as much as 75% of any billed cost from Walter Reed. (See the facts about Congressional HC-insurance from FactCheck.org here.)

So, what is the difference of that repayment amount and what YOU have to pay? What is the difference between that and the 30% I have to pay for all primary medical care here in France?  Five percent. (And top-up mutalized insurance costs an entire family here about $150 per month.)

And in the French universal NHS, any specialist intervention (urology, surgery, etc.) is paid entirely by the NHS – simply by verification by the GP of its necessity. France also has a purely private service, if one must have “only the best”.

In fact, the “garden variety” health-care is pretty damn good at state-run hospitals all over France. Which is why total cost is so much lower in the US, since these hospitals do not offer practitioners (nurses, orderlies, doctors) the very high salaries as in the US. (An American GP earns, on average, about $165K per annum, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – five times that of the mean household income. The French GP earns about 60% of that amount.)

I know of no American expats who, living in France, go back to the US for their health-care. They are Just Fine with the French variety.

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By allen, January 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

[Aquifer]
“So the answer, IMO is not to dismantle these solid programs but to increase workers wages - starting with the minimum wage ...”

Some questions:  (1)  How likely is it that legislators would agree to an increase in the minimum wage, especially if you accept the notion that businessmen and their lobbyists would probably strongly oppose anything that would cut into their profit margin or otherwise would represent a burden to their bottom line?  (2)  How high would the minimum wage have to rise in order to produce for the minimum-wage worker what is often referred to as “a living wage”?  (3)  If, against business opposition, the minimum wage were to be raised (to whatever level), would you not expect to see a further acceleration of the flight of US jobs to overseas locations where labor is cheap(er) and therefore less corrosive to corporate profits?

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By Aquifer, January 27, 2012 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

oddsox,

Part 2

If you want to take a burden from employers - institute single payer health care, Medicare for all.

I understand the appeal of “tax consumption not labor”, but the devil is always in the details and I also think that if you start piling everything into a “sales tax” - that will prove “unsustainable” in the sense of being “unacceptable” as well, not to mention all the other “exceptions” that will get carved out of it, besides the ones you mention.

Give workers a fairer share of the fruits of their labor (higher wages) a vis the share of the 1%, tax folks more “progressively” based on their ability to pay, which is what I would call “fair taxation” in a society we are all members of, and lets see where that takes us before we dismantle a system that has worked well, and, make no mistake, if you radically alter the funding mechanism, the system will be dismantled, as it is being now ....

I think you are opening a can of worms, odd sox, and i fear what will crawl out ... but, for what it is worth, i do think your sentiments, vis a vis working folks, are in the right place ...

As for an avatar - the last time i tried putting an aquifer in my computer, I shorted out the program (smile)

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By Aquifer, January 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

oddsox

part 1

“Since then, payroll taxes have skyrocketed—- no wonder we have high unemployment. They’ve been expanded to include Medicare and now make up over 40% of total federal tax receipts.”

Yeah, they have been expanded - but folks were doing OK as long as their wages were rising to reflect rising productivity - i.e. labor was sharing in the benefits instead of it all being hoarded by “capital”, as it is now. If the % has “risen” it is BECAUSE the amounts from the corps and higher incomes have fallen - corp taxes have been lowered and so many loopholes introduced that some corps (ala GE) pay nothing and get money back, capital gains “unearned” income pays a lower tax than “earned” (labor) income, and the individual income tax rates have reduced their progressivity enormously (90% highest marginal rate in Ike’s time)

“National sales tax rate designed to generate only enough revenues to pay current FICA/Medicare expenses.  No less, no more.”

Question -  how do you match that with amount of sales, sales tax would fluctuate year in and year out as monies needed for fund would vary differently from way projected sales vary, would it not?

“Progressive tax w/exemptions for meds, groceries, housing & utilities.”

What does that mean? I understand the exemptions part - but how do you set up a “progressive” sales tax? The higher the price the higher the tax?

We do need a carbon tax, where does that fit in? 

“1) We can’t expect the demand for labor to increase when we keep taxing the snot out of it.
2) Social Security is unsustainable in its current state.  A change is gonna come—better now than later.

The payroll tax is not “excessive”, IMO. And there have been studies done to show that raising the minimum wage does not adversely affect the labor pool - if companies need workers, they hire them, period. If they don’t need them, they don’t hire. Without a minimum wage there is is race to the bottom . Even China, for Pete’s sake, has recently raised its wage floor, so i understand. Folks aren’t getting paid enough - you can get rid of FICA, but that won’t compensate for abysmally low wages - you will have to deal with that, as you say, “sooner or later”, so let’s do it now.

As for SS “being unsustainable” - I think you have been reading the wrong folks - Dean Baker has done a lot of work in this area to debunk the “SS is broke” meme - and any new monies could be gotten from simply eliminating the cap on wages subject to the tax, which should have been done a long time ago.

Payroll taxes aren’t what is screwing the American worker, and in fact, as someone else pointed out, these aren’t strictly speaking “taxes” but monthly payments toward pension and medical insurance - and in any case, I wouldn’t squash ‘em ‘til you have another system in place and demonstrably functioning well - you need to work the bugs out before you trash a system that has been shown to work and could be easily tweaked ....

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By oddsox, January 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

balkau, “i did make a promise to my wife. i said to her that if she marries me she’d have tons of trouble.”

Well, that’s setting the bar pretty low, for openers.

How long have you been married? 
And you’ve gotten away with making only ONE promise to your wife?

(*wow, Man, you must be GOOD!*)

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By balkas, January 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

oddsox,
a promise implies a lot. in case of yours to mcfreeze your promise promises that you and mcfreeze would be alive until you’d act on
your promise.
the point i am making is that when one makes promises, one is fortelling future. and future is not ours to see.
even saying, I’‘l be back in a minute, is a prophecy or a promise; however, seldom made with malice in one’s heart or intent to
deceive.
but when it comes to both tacit and explicit promises made by priests and politicos, i evaluate them as conscious lies or uttered in
order to deceive deliberately.
iam not sure, but i venture to say that 90% of what priests, used car salesmen, politicos say represent promises.
now, let me give you at this time just one tacit or implicit promise. we can take any election but let’s take election for congress or
presidency. what do those elections promise? too much to list all of the promises these elections make.
one of them is that with new people in office, change for better is coming. another one is that US foreign policy would change and
not stay the same. and so on. one can easily uncover dozens if not hundreds:
politicians have heard us loud and clear and they will surely obey us, listen to us; come and visit us in mines, on fish boats; drink
coffee with us, chat with us, be one of us; hey, we are all americans, aren’t we?
if that would not be the case or expectation by voters, why bother voting if the elections did not carry nice promises with it?
if people would start evaluating ALL PROMISES AS LIES, and politicians keep on making them, one could tell them that we are sick of
it and to stop making them.
thus jesus, mohammed moses were also liars. this truth may or may not set you free—-i make no promises, i promise you nutting,
nutting, and more nutting.
i did make a promise to my wife. i said to her that if she marries me she’d have tons of trouble. what do you think happened? the
damn promise came true! thanks

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By oddsox, January 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Aquifer, you just gotta get an avatar all your own.

re: raising the minimum wage.  Ok, but doing that will cause layoffs at entry-level positions and will especially hurt youth workers.

Of course, if employers didn’t have to pay FICA/Medicare, they’d have more money to pay a better wage. 
Would they do so voluntarily?  Probably not.
But it makes for a nice seguey into more details on dumping payroll taxes in favor of a consumption tax.

Flashback to 1950.  Back then about 40%-45% of all federal revenues came from income taxes.  And they still do today—haven’t varied from that range in all the time, imagine that.
But in 1950 only about 10% came from payroll taxes.  A like 10% came from exise taxes. Corporate taxes made up most of the rest, about 30-35%.
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/numbers/revenue.cfm
see figure 2  

Since then, payroll taxes have skyrocketed—- no wonder we have high unemployment. 
They’ve been expanded to include Medicare and now make up over 40% of total federal tax receipts.
http://www.heritage.org/budgetchartbook/federal-revenue-sources

Too bad we didn’t raise exise taxes instead, which have shrunk to about 3% of the pie. 

What we need to do is flop that ratio between exise (consumption) taxes and payroll (labor) taxes.
Tax consumption, not labor.

You object that with our current payroll tax system, “folks (are) actually…investing in their own retirement and medical care - ie something they (have) a “right” to.” 
No problem.  That needn’t change. 
We’d keep our SSNs and there would still be a record of wages upon which to figure benefits. 
It’s the FUNDING SOURCE for those benefits that would change, that’s all.

—Revenue neutral: National sales tax rate designed to generate only enough revenues to pay current FICA/Medicare expenses.  No less, no more.
—Progressive tax w/exemptions for meds, groceries, housing & utilities.  This to replace our current regressive FICA payroll model that starts w/ the 1st dollar and stops at $106,800.

Many more details (why a Point of Purchase Sales Tax instead of a VAT), but that’s for another time.

The big points are:
1) We can’t expect the demand for labor to increase when we keep taxing the snot out of it.
2) Social Security is unsustainable in its current state.  A change is gonna come—better now than later.

Tax consumption.
Not labor.

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By that guy, January 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

scheer seems to criticize oreobama…

but you will notice,

not one word about foreign policies or wars everywhere fought with goyim American blood for he sole benefit of israel.

Now let’s see…  let’s connect the dots shall we?

is scheer a jew?  A dual citizen with ambiguous allegiance?

a progressive poseur to better mislead into the “democrap is better rethug idiocy”?

Now is sheer alone?  Hell no, the whole media, entertainment, finance, and politician industries (among others) are full of them at every level. (OK, i.e.  name me one hollywood actor or one CNN anchor or one goldman sachs big boss who isn’t a jew…  see, not that EZ).

how many world wars for (because of) this vermin?

Thank goodness the pendulum of history is swinging and you’ll see, the old tried and true methods will again become the accepted way to deal with this, but this time let’s solve the problem once and for all.

start with scheer.

stop reading the fifth column vermin.

PS to truthdig sure to censor as usual…  at least I’ll have one reader, the one I’m talking about, the one who’s gonna start looking over his shoulder.

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By oddsox, January 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

***ATTN: balkas, MrFreeze and Alada:***

balkas & MrFreeze:  I’ve been waiting to get you two on the same thread.
Balkas, you’ve written repeatedly (though strangely, not on this thread) “all promises are lies.” 
I’m now going to prove that wrong by keeping my promise to MrFreeze.

M’freeze, I did speak with that attorney friend of mine about OWS attorneys filing suit to reverse Citizens United and break up Too-Big-To-Fails.

Turns out that anti-trust legislation has to be presented to the Dept. of Justice through the US Attorney’s office. 
So a newly-minted law student off the street at OWS who had just passed the bar and wanted to make a name for himself wouldn’t be able to—unless he also worked for the US Attorney’s office.
I actually spoke to two attorneys on this, they concur. 

M’Freeze & Alada:
As for reversing Citizens United, my friend said it’d be necessary to do before eliminating corporate personhood, but would be very difficult through the courts.

Sad to say, it’ll probably take a Constitutional Amendment. 

Read this:
“If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

That’s the MAJORITY opinion summation on Citizens United vs. FEC, penned by Justice Kennedy.
On its face, it reads more like a LIBERAL interpretation of the 1st Amendment. 
But in this one case, we have the conservative justices in favor and liberal members dissenting because they know the consequences when applied in today’s context.
IMHO, they are erring on the side of caution here, but it’s an error nonetheless.

That said, that done, it’s unlikely we’ll get a reversal by stacking the Supreme Court one way or the other.

My attorney friend said the other avenue is to pursue by corporate proxy— pressure put upon companies (one-by-one) by their stockholders to refrain from making political contributions.
Same for unions (one-by-one) by their membership.
Sounds to me even more difficult than a Constitutional Amendment.

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By Aquifer, January 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

oddsox,

re consumption tax - need some details

At first blush, I tend to disagree. The reason it was set up that way in the first place was so that folks would actually be investing in their own retirement and medical care - ie something they had a “right” to instead of it being “welfare” subject to the whims of a “generous” or not so generous Congress via “appropriations”.

IMO it is a good model and worked fine for decades, folks had enough to be “middle class” and still provide for decent retirement and medical care in old age - the problem now is that workers wages are falling way behind.
So the answer, IMO is not to dismantle these solid programs but to increase workers wages - starting with the minimum wage ...

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By oddsox, January 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

BlueOkie, you write (and write, and write):
“5) Obama is defunding S.S. through his “middle class tax break” to facilitate its privitization.”

2% reduction on the employee side = spit in the ocean. 

We need to totally do away with payroll taxes (FICA/Medicare) and fund SS/Medicare under a consumption tax model. 
With payroll taxes (taxes upon labor) making up over 1/3 of all federal revenues (up from 10% in 1950), is it any wonder we have high unemployment?

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By Aquifer, January 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

Blueokie,

You are on a role today! Good “rant”, glad you feel better, so do i!

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By Blueokie, January 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

7)Voter Apathy.  In 2005 the DCCC said give us the House and we’ll end the wars by defunding them.  Immediately after being sworn in Bush 2 announced the surge and the Dems naturally caved instantly.  Then after being given the White House, the House, and a nominally filibuster proof Senate, the Dems set
out to pass every Republican corporate friendly legislation thought too far right in the last 25 years.  The Health Insurance Pharma guaranteed massive profit act, Lobbyist-Frank, and the unnecessary “deal” to extend the give away to billionaires and convert them to the Obama tax cuts for the rich.  Glass-Stegall
that protected the country from predatory capitalism for 70 years was 36 pages long, Lobbyist-Franks is 2600 pages. It needed to be bigger to have large enough loopholes to drive Mac Trucks through.  It wasn’t voter apathy, but Dims failure to deliver that kept people away.  Coke or Pepsi?  Same difference.

8)Voter ID.  How many times have you seen “liberals” agreeing with conservatives and moderates that Voter ID is necessary?  Its election fraud that’s the problem, not voter fraud.  Voter fraud is to keep the wrong people from voting for the wrong candidates.  In his well documented book “Stealing Democracy”  Spencer Overton looked at Ohio’s ‘00 and ‘04 elections and found
4 cases of voter fraud out of 9,078,728 votes, or 0.00004%.  Meaning your chances of suffering an election result marred by voter fraud are roughly the same as being struck by lightning, while observing a UFO, as you’re being eaten by a shark.  Voter ID?  Why don’t we just have everyone dip their fingers in purple ink like the Empire does in the conquered lands for the Empires approved candidates.

9)Obama is a war mongering Imperialist.  Given the chance in 2009 to reverse course in Afghanistan he did what any other Neo-Con would do and expanded the war.  He also expanded the war in Pakistan, Yemen, East Africa, Central Africa, and has 15,000 troops standing by to occupy the failing Libya.  Of
course not to mention his overt, trying to convert to covert, war with Iran.

10)In the NDAA Obama insisted on doing away with Habeus Corpus and Posse Comitatus.  He now insists that only on his say with no oversight, appeal. or explanation he is entitled to kill any American he deems necessary.

11)His Administration is a continuation of the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington, it is also far more secretive than Bush2.

Yes, this has been something of a rant, and yes, I feel better.  My point to the Dim/Obama worshipers/apologists is if this were a Brand (R) government instead of a Brand (D) you wouldn’t be crying about lack of support from “lefties” and reelection, the din from your gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts for impeachment would be deafening.

Grow up, face reality, get a clue.  Or at least get some cheese to go along with your whine (that should be easy for those of you living in “France).

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By Aquifer, January 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

Alada,

As oddsox pointed out, the damage is done, whether 5/4 or 9/0, and must be undone.

It may well take Const. amendment to undo it, although i understand there is an interesting case wending its way up from the Montana court that gets around some wording in Citizen’s United - so where are the Dems here? Jumping on the bandwagon to pursue such legislation? Stumping for that Con. amendment?

As far as who benefits from CU - both big corporate parties. Who is disadvantaged - indys, and that is precisely the way the duopoly wants it ...

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By Aquifer, January 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

Blueokie,

Great post!

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By Alada, January 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

Oddsox, I’m all for reversing Citizens United, etc. But having a supreme court more opposed to that than this one, or a party in power who is benefiting big time from that decision, is hardly the way to get there.

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By Aquifer, January 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

Rags,

“but every team that does has to understand that getting rid of the old regime may take a year or two, before new ideas can take a hold.”

No, it doesn’t take that long at all, if one is serious about it - he could have chosen an entirely different Cabinet from day one; there was/is no dearth of well qualified actually progressive candidates to fill the bill ...

Oceanna,

Bingo! I think we need to challenge the so-called “progressive” media to, as they say “s…. or get off the pot”. If they really want to help solve all the problems they keep complaining about, why don’t they present us with folks who are offering real alternatives. I think it is time to stop lionizing prog “gurus” unless they pony up, not just with prog solutions but with actual progs like Stein who would set them in motion ..

Til then, it will be up to us to be our own media and use every nook and cranny we can to spread the word ...

PS love your “avatar”

Laf,

“Or, did the Investment Banksters know that the Toxic Waste was worthless BEFORE they securitized it to the world?

Well actually i do believe there were some e-mails read aloud during Senate hearings that said basically precisely that. Then there have been some early wins by the AG of Nevada based on aggressive pursuit of the “evidence” ....
Now why would Obama pursue a deal whereby the banks are given “immunity from prosecution” if there was nothing that could be prosecuted? And push that deal ahead of what everyone acknowledges has been anything but a full investigation? The stuff is out there and they know it -

“Except perhaps one extraordinary man, called Ike, who purposefully warned us about the M-I-C in his parting speech to the nation. Did we listen? Nope …”

Well there was another extraordinary man who was doing it much more recently - Nader. Did we listen? Nope ... And now there is an extraordinary woman - Stein, who is doing it. Are you listening?

“We, the sheeple, put them into office. And, we can vote them out of office….....The choice is yours. (Consider how lucky you are to have that choice. So, why do most Americans make no use of it by staying away from the polls?)”

Well maybe because they 1)have been paying too much attention to those who would slap the “spoiler” or “can’t win” labels on those who would challenge TPTB, accepting TINA from those those powers and, seeing no substantive difference between the 2 major parties and rightly understanding that neither speaks for them, figure why bother to even show up ...


Faith,

“We need an honest man/woman without ties to big money.”

Boy, do I have a candidate for you ...  http://www.jillstein.org/ 


gerard,

“How can we help that number increase?”

Keep pluggin’ away ...

Alada,

“I could go on and on.

Yes, you could, but you would be wasting your time, IMO, because all of that stuff has been debunked over and over .....

i almost feel sorry for you - Obama has been soooo bad that you are left with this “stuff” to work with ...

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By Blueokie, January 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

It’s good to have Robert back after the few columns he “mailed” in during the holiday season.

I feel compelled to answer to the Democratic version of the Tea Baggers.

1) Nader did not cause Bush.  Gore was an incompetent candidate, he allowed that election to boil down to “Who would you rather have a beer with, the stiff, obtuse plutocrat, or the folksy, stupid plutocrat”.  He lost his home state, which
would have made Florida inconsequential.  He was incompetent in the approach he took to the recall (he actually won Florida, Nader voters were offset by Buchanan voters), he was incompetent in his case before SCOTUS making it
easier for the gang of five.  The Democratic lie that Nader caused Bush is as egregious as Obama being a Kenyan.

2) SCOTUS Any Senator can stop any Presidential appointee, as you always point out in your orgies of victimhood.  Was it a surprise to anyone what kind of Justice Thomas, Scalia, Alito, or Roberts (TWICE!) would be?  Most of those four were confirmed with Dems in control of the Senate.  At best it will be 5-4 into
the next few years, I guess the “close game” of 5-4 is more satisfying that 6-3 or 7-2.  Rest assured that your party would have no problem confirming Robert Bork if he were nominated next year by a Republican.  What did you know of the opinions of Eleana Kagan before she became a Justice?  The only thing I knew of her was that she was an ardent supporter of the Unitary Executive theory, President as Emperor.

3)Obama has raised more Wall Street money than the combined Republican field.  He is pushing hard for the Attorneys General of the states to settle their lawsuits against the big banks for less than pennies on the dollar and immunize them from any further investigation.  His new “Commission” will do nothing.

4)Article VI, U.S. Constitution - All Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.  We have ratified several treaties that make war crimes, crimes.  The failure to investigate war crimes makes those responsible culpable.  Obama gives a pass to U.S. war crimes.  Do you know who John Kirakaou is?  He is the sixth person to be charged under the WW I era espionage act.  Previous to Obama only three people were charged under this statute.  Recently a Marine Corps sergeant was given 3 months for slaughtering Iraqi civilians, Bradley Manning has been
tortured for over a year and denied his civil liberties by the Obama administration.  Under Obama, war crimes are not crimes, reporting war crimes is treason.  His failure to investigate war crimes, in fact, makes him a war criminal.

5) Obama is defunding S.S. through his “middle class tax break” to facilitate its privitization.  He keeps harping on the importance of that “$40 dollars a week is too much to take from the average American”.  Raise the minimum wage.  In 1968 the $1.60 minimum wage had the purchasing power of $9.86 in todays
dollars.  The answer seems easy enough, but his Wall Street patrons want the S.S. funds.

6) Blue Dogs.  The DCCC gave more money to get Blue Dogs elected in the last cycle than they did truly progressive candidates.  If you don’t like Blue Dogs, blame your party.

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By Aquifer, January 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Balkas,

“or maybe they do, but think they can work around it!?”

Until we can change it, we have to work around it - and yes, I do believe it can be done, but not by giving up trying - Are you familiar with the song “High Hopes” - check out the ram ....

“i don’t think he’d run again. it seems it is way to early to expect that anyone who’s not vetted by onepercent would win presidency this year or even in decades.”

The response to Nader by TPTB was out of all proportion to his “paltry” showing in the election of ‘00. The “system” you decry pulled out all the stops to nip that movement on the bud lickety split - introducing all sorts of toxic memes - “spoiler”, “can’t win”, necessity of choosing “lesser of 2 evils” etc. - into the conversation to shame/discourage folks from pursuing that course. The “system” doesn’t give a damn whether it is a Dem or a Rep, they are “substantially equivalent” in its eyes: what it sure as hell doesn’t want is an outside party that hasn’t been bought and paid for and that is what Nader represented. The test as to how well this strategy worked was ‘04 - and, sadly for us, it did - Nader got fewer votes. We chickened out, tucked our tails between our legs and abandoned a real choice. TPTB breathed a sigh of relief - they had neutered Nader. We do have a chance to correct that mistake - Stein, IMO, is a worthy successor to Nader.  If we keep chickening out we will make no progress ....

“who’s stopping us from making such choices?”

Balkas, you know the answer to that - we are ...

“i’ve done such work and it cost me money, to boot!”

Me, too! But, as you say there is more to be done, and as you point out the biggest battles need to be fought in the hearts and minds of (wo)men. Some of those battles are being fought here, as i think you well know ....

“but not piety of individuals nor pious people. we need them onside very badly.”

Thank you for that! I agree wholeheartedly ....

You mention education - i guess you are familiar with the song from the musical South Pacific, “You have to be taught ...”


John P

“by mentioning the same half dozen mistakes of judgement he made,”

sorry, John, i had to LOL at that one - that is sort of like saying, “Sheesh! why are you criticizing the surgeon for cutting the aorta,  making a hole in the colon and leaving a knife inside the patient, didn’t you notice how nicely he sewed up the skin?”

“when we’re not blaming Clinton, or our current sorry excuse for a president, Obama, we’re busy assuring one another, that the rich own, run, control, this nation.”

A little confusing - when it is often said that Obama was Clinton 2.0, basically importing all his chief advisors and even his wife, for Pete’s sake, into his administration, how can Clinton be the golden trumpet and Obama the tin horn?

“If Clinton was the best republican president we’ve ever had, why on earth did the republicans impeach him?

Simple - this whole charade for some time has not been about principles or even, basically, ideology, but about who is in power and who gets to hand out/get the perks. The Reps couldn’t get him on policy - for Pete’s sake he was playing out of their book! But they were mad as hell that he was stealing all that corporate money from their funders - he was being a better Rep than they were! Check out (rats, don’t have a citation, but i remember it well) the little ceremony when Harry Reid introduced Howard Dean as the replacement for Terry McAuliffe - the praise he gave for McAuliffe for enabling the Dems for the first time in a long time to be able to outspend the Reps - says it all in a nutshell ...

“Why did Fallwell call him the most liberal politician in the country? ”

Seriously, you are presenting Falwell as a legitimate definer of who is “liberal”?

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By peterjkraus, January 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

“Have you forgotten 2000 when you voted for Nader instead
of Gore that resulted in 8 years of Bush?”
Nope, and I’d do it again. Remember who Gore’s VP was?
THAT’S why so many of us voted for Nader. And are still
proud of it.

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By oddsox, January 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

Alada, you write: “...the 5 to 4 Citizen United decision that removed all financial limits on big biz impact in elections. Without Sotomayor, whom Obama chose, it would have been 6 to 3. How much worse do you want that to get?”

Was there a point spread involved here? 
6-3, 5-4, 9-0, all the same.

First reverse Citizens United.
Then reform campaign laws to limit contribuitons to living, breathing, legal US Citizens only.
With full transparency. 
No corporate contributions.
No union contributions.
No PACs.

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By Alada, January 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

C’mon now. You lefties who see no difference between Obama and a Republican president? Really? Have you forgotten 2000 when you voted for Nader instead of Gore that resulted in 8 years of Bush? I have my misgivings about Obama, but he’s a far cry better than Romney or whoever? Just think supreme court, think the 5 to 4 Citizen United decision that removed all financial limits on big biz impact in elections. Without Sotomayor, whom Obama chose, it would have been 6 to 3. How much worse do you want that to get? Think of the economic stimulus, such as it was which was about all he could get given the opposition to it. There’s general agreement among economists that the recession would have been worse without it. And how about the issue of taxes the rich pay? And if McCain had become president we’d still be in Iraq and without hope of getting out of Afghanistan at least within the next decade. I could go on and on.

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By A Bird in the Hand, January 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

AMEN and Thanks Alan:


Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

PS. Obama needs to be CHALLENGED in the primaries—- just as the pro-war LBJ was challenged in his own party until he had to withdraw from the ‘68 presidential campaign.
The PRIME reason that Obama needs ot be CHALLENGED is that he is covering up for and will not even whisper about the disguised corporate/financial/militarist (and media) EMPIRE that has ‘captured’ and now fully “Occupies” our former country by hiding behind the facade of the Empire’s modernized TWO-Party “Vichy” sham of faux-democratic and totally illegitimate government—- just as surely as the Nazi Empire tried to hide behind the facade of its crude single-party “Vichy” phony government in ‘captured’ and ‘occupied’ France c. 1940-44.
Challenge Obama not just because he lies smoothly for the Empire, but because if he continues as the political pawn and treasonous tool of this global “Vichy Empire” that we, and our children, and grand-children, will live only shortly to regret it.

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By dr wu, January 27, 2012 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

Scheer—right on!

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By gerard, January 27, 2012 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

Several people in this string said it, but for convenience I’ll quote Mr. Freeze:  We have made it perfectly clear that nurturing the success and fortunes of the wealthy is more important than the needs of regular Americans.”
  And the main way we have “made it clear” is to refuse to see what is happening from early on,  persisting with business as usual, which ultimately added up to deliberate, lazy ignorance—the ignorance of refusing to admit, or the ignorance of refusing to learn. That’s our responsibility.
  And on the other hand, there’s the responsibility of a few thousand people at the top who have no ambition except to be clever cream-skimmers at everybody else’s expense—in other words, moral beggars in suits.
  “The system” supports their efforts, and we have been afraid for decades to change the system. (What was all that rabid fracas over “communism,” “social-ism” and “disloyalty.”
  Was it (is it) really in our national interest to shun all possibly useful ideas and methods those systems advocate, even without examination or attempts to modify a capitalism that is obviously sick?  Are we locked in a one-way cage that provides no possibiity for modification or improvement?  Why is it that we must not even think about the most obvious possibilities of “reforming capitalism”?
  We have boxed ourselves into empire because capitalism without limits is by nature empire-building, and out of control when it means pillaging for resources, going to war for financial dominance and organizing an entire economic system to support profits even when it allows people to sicken and die?
  Call it something entirely different, (Peopleism, or Human Survivalism or something) but there are better ways to support democracy. We won’t find them till we look beyond the capitalism-as-we-know-it box. Our problem is at least partly a need for reformation. Some capitalists know this better than I do. How can we help that number increase?

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By balkas, January 27, 2012 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

is the idea that poverty is as a natural an event as cancer, floods, politics, abuse of money, ignorance,
trust, etc., a valid one and worth contemplating?
for aren’t we part of the same nature as everything else; thus, all we do also being part of the nature—
the only one we have.
poverty like a flood is a negative event. we being part of the multivalued nature with traits ranging from
extremely bad to extremely good, could combat flood, poverty, cancer, politics [as proctised in US] or
any undesirable event.
if we choose! who’s stopping us from making such choices? i don’t think i need to tell you also that.
let’s also note this fact: nature made all of us and it did the best it could for us! not enough, ey? well,
there is no more to be had; thus, perforce, we must be ok, else it would’t have made us.
so, no more belly aching that we are not ok and that we cannot have much better life than we’ve had.
thanks

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By balkas, January 27, 2012 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

lafayette,
“who’s to blame?” a good question if connected with also THE FIRST CAUSE for ills that befall us on intrapersonal, interpersonal,
interethnic, intereligious. intrareligious, interracial, interfamily, intrafamily levels.[damn it! the strife is everywhere]
the least one could do is at least to postulate THE FIRST CAUSE for what happens to us or what we do to one another.
for, obviously, nothing ever happens unless it is caused. only a few people postulate [demand it be accepted for time being as true]
or affirm the cause.
we put out fires [not poverty,of course]. but we also study cause[s] for fire. we treat cancer, but would love to find cause for all of
them.
we also wage wars, poverty, ignorance but we do not study [save a very few] causes for waging poverty, warfare, etc.
and if these phenomena, as i affirm, are indeed caused and sacerdotal, neonoble classes of people do not permit study of the causes
for that, what can we expect but worsenings for some and improvement for some others.
after all, this is going on for at least 7 millennia.
so back to the question, Whom to blame [and what to blame]? i blame organized religion, but not piety of individuals nor pious
people. we need them onside very badly. we are sunk unless we also get all or most of them onside.
and i blame the socalled onepercent, but never the 99%. we also cannot get far w.o. them. we and bears need them badly. they are
victims as well.
——
the moment child enters school in US—and elsewhere—its zest and joy for life, personhood is assaulted. some suffer its effects
forever.
schools in US are primitive tools for the dehumanization of humans. so easy, oh so easy to turn them against one another, make
them envious of one another, hateful of one another; fearful of teachers, moms, dads, et al, and accomplished by even just one
single method: just rate them like cattle and which ensures that some children [and very gifted in some ways] are left behind.
so much for the vow of no child left behind! thanks

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By faith, January 27, 2012 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

One of your best articles yet Mr. Scheer concerning economics (I continue to recall
your articles from LAT regarding our involvement in Iraq).  I hope that you will
consider an article addressing a new choice of presidential candidate other than
President Obama or anyone from from the republican party.  We need an honest
man/woman without ties to big money.

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By allen, January 27, 2012 at 10:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lafayette writes:

“Except perhaps one extraordinary man, called Ike, who purposefully warned us about the M-I-C in his parting speech to the nation.”

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the original draft of Eisenhower’s farewell address used the phrase “Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex.”  The President was persuaded by an aide to excise the “Congressional” element.

Not surprising that a man who had spent virtually his entire adult life as a military man would understand better than most how harmful for the nation’s continued wellbeing these elements could prove to be if not carefully monitored and managed.

Ike wasn’t the first to comment on this subject using similar terms.  Marine General Smedley Butler, who served during the early years of the 20th century and whose book is still in print, famously described war as a racket.

And, as some unknown campus radical said during the height of the Vietnam War, in a phrase that decorated buttons and T-shirts, “War is good business; invest your sons.”

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By Lafayette, January 27, 2012 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

THE CHOICE IS YOURS

balkas: obama has not betrayed the SYSTEM. not fulfilling promises is a part of that system.

Well put. After all, we know what it takes to elect a PotUS - lots ‘n lots of moolah. And that corporate management donates money to a campaign purely out of civic duty - with no trings attached - is probably a very naïve notion.

And yet, none of that is criminal if a law does not forbid it. So, please, shall we stop with the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the “system”?  That system was born and developed right under our eyes – and nobody decried it. Except perhaps one extraordinary man, called Ike, who purposefully warned us about the M-I-C in his parting speech to the nation. Did we listen? Nope …

So, who’s to blame, really? That question is pertinent. It is perhaps necessary but also woefully insufficient to blame “them bastards”. Who put them there? Who voted for them?

We, the sheeple, put them into office. And, we can vote them out of office. So, get off you duffs and militate. (Militate = to have a substantial affect upon an outcome) 

Or, remain as sheeple. The choice is yours. (Consider how lucky you are to have that choice. So, why do most Americans make no use of it by staying away from the polls?)

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By Lafayette, January 27, 2012 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

PROOF OF CRIME

PD: ….remember William K. Black he has some interesting things to say about Obama’s abetting of wall streets crimes…

Mon cher PD, a “crime” is something that can be proven in a court of law, not a blog. I see nothing in what Prof. Black says that indicates grounds for criminal activity on the part of the bankters, so do point it out to me.

Unfortunately, like a lot of soft-crimes in the US, the crime has to happen before our Fearless Leaders get together and come up with a law that will punish it. To wit, Sarbanes-Oxley ...

Now, if you can show me what law they transgressed post S-O, I will believe you. Prior S-O, forget it - too late.

I happen to think that the CRA triple-A ratings of sub-prime debt was fraudulent - but I’ve also yet to see any such indictments.

MY POINT

What the banksters did was mot certainly indecent and immoral. But, unfortunately, it was not against the law. And that is a statement coming from someone who has asked many times on many such forums why no one has been punished yet under the Truth In Lending Act of 1968.

So far, I have had NO responses to that question. American are so litigation-happy, why is there no lawyer looking for “customers” willing to go after those proposing them loans that have been foreclosed employing TILA?

I’d would be nice to see why the banksters and other loan-agents were NOT guilty of predatory pricing under that law. Or why no indictments of the CRAs has yet to evolve. Or, did the Investment Banksters know that the Toxic Waste was worthless BEFORE they securitized it to the world?

That makes for a lot of legal work ...

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By Oceanna, January 27, 2012 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

@ Michael Calvan, RN

I wish Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson would have some significant exposure on so-
called alternative media venues, but seriously doubt that will happen this
“selection” season.  It’s just not in their programing and editorial structure,
which is basically liberal Democrat.  I think the shift towards articles like
Scheer’s reflect recognition of the growing dissatisfaction with Obama, but not
the growing potentiality for a third party candidate. 

I think the editorial programming of Common Dreams—which relentlessly
bans commenters, especially those that bring up the censorship on their site—
and Truth Dig pretty much stay confined to what’s typically found on MSNBC in
respect to opinion that’s heavily skewered to the Democratic with occasional
challenges.  Likewise, the presentation of the news is in sync with the major
outlets while pretending not to be, but with sometimes an occasional foray
outside of it.

Again, thanks for bringing up censorship issues on the web from sites that
claim Democratic and progressive principles.

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By Rags, January 27, 2012 at 8:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You make it sound like Greenspan and his cronies have been around only since Clinton. In fact they’ve been entrenched since Ford, and have been a part of every President’s economic team since. It’s been a fun ride, but now the nonsense has got to stop. Hopefully these kinds of appointments only means that change is a slow process and radical change means too many steps back, but I feel you. Obama was giving the first of his re-election speeches on Tuesday. Hopefully in time, the usefulness of the group that got us here in the first place will faze out and new appointments can come in. It’s hardly as easy as changing a team’s head coach, but every team that does has to understand that getting rid of the old regime may take a year or two, before new ideas can take a hold.

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By Samson, January 27, 2012 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

A four-step plan for recovery and rebirth.

- Adopt the motto “Don’t get angry, get even”.
- Realize that these are not “the good guys”.
- Stop running a website that constantly pushes
their propaganda from their tame WaPo supporters.
- Stop VOTING for them!

I may have to live in the same robber-economy where
my management job that I once had has morphed into a
$10 an hour call center job, but at least I know I
didn’t vote for these SOB’s who are shafting me.  It
must really stink to know that you helped to elect
the very people who are ripping you off and
destroying your country.

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By john polifronio, January 27, 2012 at 7:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scheer is a fool, if he believes that the rich and powerful have ever not controlled the agenda in this country, as they do in every other country.  The absurdity of blaming Clinton for everything wrong in this country, or worse yet, attempting to compare Obama to Clinton, are notions as ludicrous as they are depressing.  Clinton is the most, or easily, one of the most honored politicians, by precisely those members of our society that all the Clinton haters here, claim, were hurt by Clinton, the middle and bottom classes.  Why is this the case?  It’s what our politicians do, in spite of the control exercised over them by the economic elites, that should get our attention.  As an example, Clinton is said to have created 22 or 23 million new jobs, during his tenure.  No other president has done this.  Clinton saw to it, that more Americans got job related health insurance, than any other president in history.  During Clinton’s presidency, we were essentially free of war.  Clinton oversaw, not simply a debt free national budget, but a surplus.  This and dozens of other achievements are attributable to his presidency.  But his opponents, Scheer, many people sending posts here, but, primarily the right wing, such as Newt, continue to defile his name by mentioning the same half dozen mistakes of judgement he made, pretending that you can find a president in our history, that has not made an equal or greater number of mistakes.  But, how many of them were mistakes?  Remember who we all essentially agree, are “running our country?”  Remember that, when we’re not blaming Clinton, or our current sorry excuse for a president, Obama, we’re busy assuring one another, that the rich own, run, control, this nation.  Assuming the president did not intentionally seek the destruction of his country and it’s people, much of what Clinton was perceived to have done wrong, aside from errors of judgement, is probably a consequence of having battles lost with those same people that we’ve all agreed, run this country.  Unless, you’re prepared to state that Clinton deliberately sought to tear our country down, what other conclusion can you draw?  Why these constant, idiotic, deceitful attacks against one our best presidents?  Another post here, mentioned that Clinton left office with a 71% approval rating and was tied with FDR as the most popular democratic president.  How can you reconcile these vicious attacks on him, such as Nader’s nonsensical attempt to suggest that Clinton was the “best republican president we ever had?”  Nader is a kindly old scholar, but if this remark against Clinton is any indicator, he’s a naive fool.  If Clinton was the best republican president we’ve ever had, why on earth did the republicans impeach him?  Why did Fallwell call him the most liberal politician in the country?  Unlike Obama, Clinton’s rhetoric was far more conservative than his “actions,” whereas with Obama, precisely the opposite is true.

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By balkas, January 27, 2012 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

obama has not betrayed the SYSTEM. not fulfilling promises is a part of that system.
people beat on bush and now on obama; their violation of constitution, US ideals, american dream, etc.
fact is, neither one of them got indicted for any law breaking. the final arbiter of who violates the
constitution is the SYSTEM; the constitution itself being a mere part of it.
and it clearly says that it will always be interpreted by the judiciary; which is of and for the system.
so, we circle and circle and circle around in any loop we choose and we always come back to the spot we
started circling from.
everything that happens in US is systemic.
and neither rocky anderson or jill stein seems to espy this fact!? or maybe they do, but think they can
work around it!?
—-
note also that nader only got some 500-600k ballots. and that must have been devastating for him and
people who worked so hard to get him elected. i don’t think he’d run again. it seems it is way to early to
expect that anyone who’s not vetted by onepercent would win presidency this year or even in decades.
that means hard, dogged work ahead for OWS. and one needs little or no money to get to work!
i’ve done such work and it cost me money, to boot! thanks

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By prisnersdilema, January 27, 2012 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

Laffy….remember William K. Black he has some interesting things to say about Obama’s
abetting of wall streets crimes…

http://neweconomicperspectives.blogspot.com/2011/09/william-black-why-nobody-went-
to-jail.html

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By Lafayette, January 27, 2012 at 4:01 am Link to this comment

CYNICAL MALAISE

El_Pi: He has done so much for Wall St and Big Money that he will easily get reelected.

We get a lot of this self-abuse by posters here.

Would you care to give some beef to your beef? Like some good, solid reasons substantiating your claim? Or are you just rabbiting the same cynical malaise that is viral in public blogs?

Thought so - you just want to bitch-in-a-blog. It’s good catharsis - but adds nada to the debate.

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By ardee, January 27, 2012 at 3:59 am Link to this comment

Palindromedary, January 26 at 5:29 pm

“A rose by any other name….”

I’ll bet you do not even realize the bigotry and ignorance you expressed in your post.

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By El_Pinguino, January 27, 2012 at 12:16 am Link to this comment

I was thinking Obama would be a one term Pres. With as many lies and let downs as he has dealt progressives… but then I go to thinking….

He has done so much for Wall St and Big Money that he will easily get reelected.

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By PeopleOVERgreed, January 27, 2012 at 12:15 am Link to this comment

I believe it was Lewis Black who said; “its like chosing between two bowls of shit, the difference is the smell”.

I would argue that wasting further oxygen on either political party invites way too much drama and accomplishes next to nothing. In this day and age of rent-a-candidate 1%er auctions. Sure one candidate is the lessor of two evils, but, whats the point.

I plan on wasting my vote on Americans elect. Then wait patiently for the American spring.

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By blogdog, January 26, 2012 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

again: clown car rolls till March - then ringmaster cracks his wip - big cat leaps
out, circles the ring and there’s your final act: BETRAYUS vs OBOMBER ...
i.e. Neocons vs Brzezynski faction

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By radson, January 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

Well Mr. Scheer your left with one hell of a choice ,a choice between basically brain dead Republicans with the exception of Ron Paul or one hell of a smooth talker and an expert in mendacious guile .Yes I agree
the bullshitter is good ;real good ! Lets have a brief look at the Republican Candidates and their impeccable understanding and logic of Current Affairs ,Newt thinks that the Palestinians are an ‘Invented People ’ ,the Mormon guy thinks it would be a good idea to send Aircraft Carriers to the Persian Gulf -really- where the hell you been lately Mitt ,and bomb Iran just for the hell of it and that other fella by the name of Santorum needs a basic High School knowledge of the world .Now why is the incumbent even vying for reelection ,is it some sort of a personal quest of his to redefine the definition of obfuscation and test the sanity of the Occupants of this Planet .Some may claim that the Keystone pipeline refusal was a major victory for the environmentalists and Newt called Obama ‘Stupid’ for having decided so ,well this so called victory is NOT a victory in any sense of the word .Why ? because since the outset the proposed pipeline was Redundant ,meaning that if it became unfeasible in the US due to environmental pressure ,which Bill Mckibben contested
will only become a fools victory if the pipeline is redirected to Kitimat BC with the so-called intention of supplying the Chinese in Canada’s supposedly excuse of diversifying their trade relationships .The environmental IMPACT will not be lessoned in any way Alberta’s hinterland will continue to be devastated and the consequences of green house gasses will propagate .Sopa and Pipa may sound like a victory to the internet users ,yet once again it is a shallow victory if ACTA is not reigned in ,once again the duopoly at play which basically describes the American Democratic system.So the question comes down to the Lesser of two evils argument -once again -.The Republican Party is at present promoting a bunch of retards ,with the exception of Ron Paul the Democrats are pursuing their run of the mill argument about the lesser of two evils and the incumbent is a master at the game .The options are dire indeed ,why vote for fools or evil to begin with ,the third party candidates are not even on the radar screen as we speak ,yet their voices should be heard and reasonable debates with regard to the state of the union and foreign policy should be center stage ,but of course that is not for public debate but a matter for the multinationals to decide.So folks you have a choice between a Donkey and an Elephant or NOT to vote -that is a choice nevertheless- or to support a third Party .I believe that exercising your electoral rights should be pursued and I also believe that the OWS movement will reemerge and play an important role in the up coming election campaign .Discuss the issues with your neighbors ,do not be afraid to talk to strangers and above all educate the children they are in essence our greatest hope.

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By Aquifer, January 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

“Listening to Barack Obama, I am ready to enlist in his campaign against the feed-the-rich Republicans ... until I recall that I once responded in the same way to Bill Clinton’s faux populism. And then I get angry because betrayal by the “good guys” for whom I have ended up voting has become the norm.”

Hmmm, you’re ready to go again, ‘til you remember Clinton, but you must have forgotten Clinton until after ‘08 when you voted for Obama, ‘cause if you had remembered Clinton in ‘08, you wouldn’t have voted for Obama in the first place, now would you?

So, it took you around 10 years to “remember” Clinton? Good grief, and i thought i was getting old ...

But this really does explain a lot - about Scheer and the myriad of others out there who complain about “betrayal” from the “good guys”. Betrayal means doing other than what one promises and if folks think Obama betrayed them it is because they weren’t paying attention to a) what the man actually said (e.g. Irag a stupid war, not a bad war, Afghan a good war) as opposed to what his ecstatic followers claimed he said b) who was funding him (Wall Street) c) who his advisers were (Rubin among them) d) what he voted for as Sen. (telecom immunity comes to mind). The red flags were waving all over the place, so if folks like Scheer feel “betrayed” well, what can you say ...

To me, what this suggests, among other things, is that when Mr. Scheer, and others like him, in the end advise us to go “lesser of 2 evils” (as they will and as we are already seeing here from others), we should remember that he freely admits he got “fooled” before and is actually tempted to be “fooled” again when he shouldn’t have been fooled in the first place. So let us not be fooled by him ...

If you actually want a good program and a good candidate, go for Jill Stein

http://www.jillstein.org/

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By Palindromedary, January 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

Jill Stein sounds like a great alternative to voting for Obama again. But what do we know about Jill Stein….I mean…how might she be amenable to AIPAC for instance? I’m sorry, but the name just rings out an alarm that I would not be comfortable with unless I knew she, or her husband, would not be controlled by AIPAC. Maybe she’s not even Jewish…I don’t know…but you don’t even have to be Jewish to have connections to AIPAC. I would not be happy with another politician that was in-tight with AIPAC.

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By oddsox, January 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

..that should be “down 21% from 2010.”

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By oddsox, January 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

ratings for SOTU address 37.75M average viewers,  down 12% from last year and down 21% from 2011.
(cable ratings only)

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By rondd5, January 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

....simply stated…the american model is a abject failure….none of these “parties” care about anything…other then themselves…

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By SarcastiCanuck, January 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In Obamas defence,I think if he gave the unvarnished truth about things,he would have been tarred and feathered at the podium.At least he didn’t promise a Holiday Inn on the moon by 2020 like Newt did.Now thats a freaking whopper boy,and his popularity is growing???So,who is the lesser of the 2 evils here…

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By mrfreeze, January 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Why must I repeat the following:

We have the government (e.g. President, Congress, SCOTUS) that we deserve.

Go right ahead and “not-believe-in” Obama or Gingrich or whomever. It doesn’t matter who sits his/her ass down in the Oval Office, WE have allowed the presidency to become noting but a tool of special interests. That’s why I asked earlier in this thread: Why are you all so surprised that this or any other president simply cannot be trusted to protect the interests of the American people? Answer:
We have made it perfectly clear that nurturing the success and fortunes of the wealthy is more important than the needs of regular Americans.

And for the record ardee - I don’t know where you got the idea that I support Obama. I’m not at all happy with him. This does not; however, lessen my utter revulsion for republicans, libertarians and the like.

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By litlpeep, January 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Thank heavens Mr. Scheer is writing about Obama the spineless, duplicitous, deceiving, talk-the-talk but never walk-the-walk crap load of Bu&%$hit!

Vote third party or the nation collapses beneath the radical incompetence of the bipartisan hack parade.

It is outrageous that so many on the “left” still drool over Obama
when he has practiced Rahm Emmanuel’s “%$ck the left” policies from the moment he was elected.

Dump the hollow self-image peddler.

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By balkas, January 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

i think that lots of commenters complexify simplicities and simplify complexities.
and only simplicities can be understood.
here’s one simplicity that personal and/or national supremacists always complexify: that americans CAN
OBTAIN BETTER governance.
but not, obviously, if 98% of americans so firmly espouse an ideology i call personal supremacism and if
they are blamed for accepting such an ideology.
the fact is [here we have another simplicity] US governance [system of rule] is founded on the bill of
rights and constitution; which in turn is founded on a THOUGHT that a person has the right to own
another.
and, one does not have to have any schooling whatever, to conclude that as long as you’re owned you’d
always obey your owner.
regarding national supremacism it is forever in a conflict with other nationalisms with other ideologies:
theocratic, socialist, communist, or an mixture of socialist and plutocratic THOUGHTS.

so, the task would be to wean americans of the supremacist ideology before change for better can be
obtained. and it takes lots of work and possibly decades or even centuries to wean off that THOUGHT
even 30% of US pop let alone 80% that is needed to get some changes.
so, forget about elections, politicians, clergy, ‘educators’, cia/fbi agents, bankers, generals, MSM,
judiciary, et al.
let them do their stuff in peace and with love and let them do your stuff in peace and love.
go to door to door and propagate. of course, it is not a waste of time educating people via internet;
however, it may not be enough. even OWS with VOWS may not be enough! thanks.

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By Night-Gaunt, January 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

President Obama sounds good now but didn’t he sound good back in 2007 on ward? So what? It is what he does that counts. Passive-aggressive he is. Passive for his buddies an aggressive if we voice our dislike of it. Just remember the 0.001% are the ones pulling the strings and controlling who the choices are in our elections. Any third party is kept out by the hurdles they must jump as high as mount Everest while the two headed Washington DC K st. party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the rich and fanatical.

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By prisnersdilema, January 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

Sorry…..But I can’t do it….I can’t believe in Mr. Obama no matter how much I want to.
As another poster said….the trust is gone…

Mr Obama, is good at using progressive ideology, to string progressives out on hope.
He sells hope just like a drug dealer sells Heroin. Waiting for you to runout so he can
jack up the price, or sweat you a little by taking the pink slip to your car..

What are you hoping for? That the suicidal right, will be voted into oblivion?  You should
know by now that it will never ever happen. And if it were, the right would feel justified in
using any means necessary to regain control of politics in this country.

We are in for a long life time political struggle against the corporations, get used to the
idea. Mr. Obama and his party are a part of the problem not the solution.

Don’t let yourself be conned again, because it’s easier to antheistisize your self with
hope, than face the painful decisions ahead.

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By Alan MacDonald, January 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Obama in his SOTU (or more accurately SOTE, State of the Empire) speech tried to smoothly prepare the American public about revising the American Dream downward—- all the way to being happy with the American Dream of them merely not being in a FEMA detention center under the NDAA ‘un-laws’ (Orwellian phrase best used to describe the NDAA equivalent of the Nazi Empire’s Enabling Acts”).

BTW, here’s a link to those Nazi Empire Enabling Acts, which like our current Empire’s NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) allowed for plenary power enforcement of unconstitutional executive (read dictatorial powers, beyond the legislature) to do just about anything to anyone in secret—- which Hitler took great advantage of:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enabling_Act_of_1933

Actually the Nazi Empire, and Hitler, were quite open and candid in making these Enabling Acts a brief and clearly understood set of “un-laws” (which you can easily read in the wikipedia English translation), whereas our current Empire, and Obama, hid the meat of their unconstitutional executive powers in some buried sections (10 - 21 thru 10 - 34) of the massive and quietly passed National Defense Act (which had to be passed for the military to continue to be paid and operate).

It was quite interesting that Obama in his SOTU (or as I would say, SOTE, State Of The Empire) speech, several times strongly pointed out that he would use his “Executive Powers” for several important issues to get around any stalling or disagreement in Congress (which is, after all, the American equivalent of the German Republic’s Reichstag—- which Hitler also circumvented with plenary, or executive, powers).

It was also quite interesting that in his SOTE speech that Obama focused on the need for increased “efficiency of government”—- a goal worth using his “Executive Powers” to achieve—- in what could be viewed as reprising the claims of another 20th century leader, Benito Mussolini, who was famous for promising to “make the trains run on time” and coincidentally was the one who coined the political philosophy of “fascism” (to achieve such executive powers to circumvent a slow legislative branch). BTW, he also later said that the term he coined as ‘fascism’, should really have been called “corporatism”.
Anyway, I’m certainly glad I haven’t been secretly picked-up without charges and am not in a FEMA detention center without access to lawyers or habeas corpus rights, under the NDAA “un-laws” yet—- how about you?

WOW, this really is the American Dream today.


Best luck and love to the Occupy Empire educational and revolutionary movement.

Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality
Over
Violent/Vichy
Empire,

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

PS. Obama needs to be CHALLENGED in the primaries—- just as the pro-war LBJ was challenged in his own party until he had to withdraw from the ‘68 presidential campaign.
The PRIME reason that Obama needs ot be CHALLENGED is that he is covering up for and will not even whisper about the disguised corporate/financial/militarist (and media) EMPIRE that has ‘captured’ and now fully “Occupies” our former country by hiding behind the facade of the Empire’s modernized TWO-Party “Vichy” sham of faux-democratic and totally illegitimate government—- just as surely as the Nazi Empire tried to hide behind the facade of its crude single-party “Vichy” phony government in ‘captured’ and ‘occupied’ France c. 1940-44.
Challenge Obama not just because he lies smoothly for the Empire, but because if he continues as the political pawn and treasonous tool of this global “Vichy Empire” that we, and our children, and grand-children, will live only shortly to regret it.

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By Donna Fritz, January 26, 2012 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

Excellent commentary (as usual) from Bob Scheer. I was there when he and others including Robert Reich spoke at Occupy L.A.

I encourage all of you to read A PEOPLE’S STATE OF THE UNION: A GREEN NEW DEAL FOR AMERICA, presented by Dr. Jill E. Stein, Green Party presidential candidate, January 2012.

Intro:

Good evening and thank you for this opportunity to talk with you tonight. We’re here to talk about the actual state of our nation, and how we can reclaim the promise of our democracy and the peaceful, just green future we deserve. We have heard President Obama deliver his State of the Union Address. And we heard the Republican response. Each claims to have the answer, and that the other was an obstacle to progress.

But the truth is both sides – despite the rhetoric – are responsible for the harsh policies driving our economy and our democracy into deep crisis. Simply put, they place the interests of Wall Street ahead of the needs of everyday people and the long term welfare of our nation.

So tonight, we are going to talk about the major problems that are not being solved by the political establishment. And we will focus on key game-changing solutions that have been kept off the table for too long.

Rest at http://www.jillstein.org/text_psou

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By Greg, January 26, 2012 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

`I accept Mr. Sheer’s born again anti-Clintonism with some skepticism,  but only
some.  The extent to which Clinton’s Presidency was one under siege cannot fairly
be forgotten. His bold progressive moves were treated with derision, the fact that
anything much was left of the country after Newt’s reign as speaker.  In 2000, the
country was in at least sound enough fiscal shape to undue some of the bad stuff
that had been passed, and a new era of sensible military spending had at least
taken baby steps. But the Naderites would have none of it, they insisted things
would have to get worse before they got better, and they fought hard to put W in
the White House.
        Clinton has quite a bit to answer for; but to view it outside of the
framework of Washington at the time is unfair, and self deluding.

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By Mary Ann Maikish, January 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama was never one of the good guys if you bothered to listen to what he was “not” saying during his campaign.  The only commitment he made was to end contracting out and he has never even addressed this issue.  Besides being a war monger during his presidency (antiwar was how he won the primary—so much for honesty) he has not put any brakes on the big corps and banks and has not put any penalties on them and those that created the crisis.  He has put the heads of these corps and banks in his administration and put the head of GE (Immelt) as head of his jobs creating group—this head of GE who was responsible for its fiasco and its bail out—he has replaced the Daley Machine(whose man he is) chiefs of staff—the last one a Daley—with a corp head who was involved in the crisis. He idolizes Reagan who started this mess with the concept of “trickle down economics”.  He along with my senators signed the recent defense authorization act 2012 which allows the police and military to arrest anyone—including US citizens without due process.  Does this sound like the behavior of a good guy??  Compared to him, Bill Clinton is a saint!!!

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By ardee, January 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

mrfreeze, January 26 at 12:17 pm

Your critique of critics leaves a lot of common sense behind, in my own opinion. But your prophesy is hollow as what you predict under GOP whoever has already appeared under your wonder boy.

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By smitty8, January 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Calls for a Third Party are SOOO
tiresome! In California we
already have about SEVEN parties
on the ballots and what good has
it done??? The only possible way
out would be to do what the
Republicans have so successfully
done - take over the party to
their own ends. This would not
be difficult if the left would
ever get together and speak with
one loud voice. In the meantime
Rocky Anderson has my support
until and unless something more
promising comes along.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, January 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I listened to Bill Moyers talking about Obama’s new best friend the day of the SOTU address so I knew everything he said Tuesday night was just election year rhetoric.
Go to alternet.org and scroll way down to the story of “How Big Money Bought our Democracy… Bill Moyers/Moyers & Company” near the bottom of the page.
There’s a video at the end of the story in which Moyers talks about Obama’s new friend.

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By ObamaisGof, January 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The vile Lafayette types are always here with Obama love and accusations of “repub trolls” for anyone who is against Obama. And then there is the even more despicable “If I don’t vote for Obama then a repub will get in and then Armageddon!!!” types. As others have said, vote Nader, Green or go home or at least admit you are a coward, not a “pragmatist”. Simple. Not easy but simple.

Otherwise, join the mainstream and stop bitching about the death of democracy.

And to the Einsteins who think mass democracy is paradise, Holy Athens destroyed itself because of its chaotic mass democracy, Republic Rome was never a true democracy and Julius Caesar brought more freedom to the lowest classes than any icon like Cicero (as did Napoleon in France). Point being that liberals are still clueless about long dead civilizations and even more clueless about our current one.

If Obama acted less democratically towards congress/the courts and more so to the electorate in pursuit of a populist agenda, a la Caesar and Napoleon then he would be my hero. Such a figure is the best we can try to get in a representative republic. As it stands he gives great speeches (like Cicero) and little more (like Cicero). Loved the SoftheU but fool me once shame on me, fool me twice . .

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By oddsox, January 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

@Michael Cavlan RN & TruthDig webmasters—
I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing some Anderson & Stein content here.

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By ohiolibgal, January 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

The Obama apologists are a dogged bunch but their chess/checkers theory is quite the reach and looks lamer each week.

I worked hard to elect the man because I believed his stirring words…the man can talk like no president since JFK.

Of course then he got elected and right off the bat he hires the foxes to guard the henhouse that is Wall Street. That was a clear early signal that a lot of what he said while running was BS.

He’s also locked more people away without due process than Dubya.

I’d go 3rd party in a heartbeat but if we do that we may throw the WH to a pervert/nut like Newt or a rich empty suit like Willard Romney. One more right wing freak on the Supreme Court and a 2nd party may be outlawed. That’s likely to force me to hold my nose and vote for Obama again. It sucks that we have to choose center right not so good to prevent just to the left, maybe, of old Adolph H.

The movements to get behind in the meantime are the occupiers and people like healthcare now. Maybe bit by bit more people will quit letting themselves be manipulated by Rush and the Murdoch empire….and we can get a real progresive in the WH with a liberal congress.

It will be a fight for the ages though, the Ruling Elite will fight tooth and nail to keep the middle class headed toward surfdom and the lower classes scrapping for pennies.

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By Textynn, January 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama’s first campaign was centered on saving people from the abusive Medical Health care industry.  It had been well researched and proven that this industry is nothing but a middle man parasite that is driving up the cost of health care so high that millions go without and hundreds of thousands die,and millions seriously impoverished to bankruptcy and homelessness. All this while simultaneously seriously eroding the quality of care for anyone who was getting it. 

Then, once elected, Obama just changed the law to mandate health care and essentially enslave Americans to the system that he was elected to get rid of or at least shove down off our throats.  Instead he has held us down so they can permanently mount us.

This is the same man that played us like drunk prom dates once.  Anyone believing a word he says is Officially among those “Fooled All the Time”.

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By Rafael Ravenet, January 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I choose to trust the word of our president- for if I do not and if the word is not kept, what hopes do we have for a just future? What hopes do we have when the highest office of the land- the office of a Jefferson, a Jackson and a Lincoln cannot speak truth to populace?

For this reason I choose to honor the Man’s words and then watch. 

In confirmation and verification perhaps a light of reliance on the truth will ignite throughout America.  Americans must unite under a banner of choosing what is best for Americans and the planet.  I can easily say what is best for America is likewise best for the planet. What is best for America is this:

We need to put the fast food and video games down and truly participate in our homes, our communities, our local economies, our nation and our state.  Unification and true solidarity with one voice and one will is a good start.

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By mrfreeze, January 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

I think a fundamental flaw in most “critics” is that they are insufferable “know-it-alls.” I suffer from this malady myself. I would like the world to be wrapped-up in a nice, simple package with a pink ribbon on top (kind of what Mitt Romney would have you believe he’s going to do). But that’s as far as I’m going to go with the string of angry (often pathetic) criticisms about Obama on this thread.

Allow me to summarize what’s been vomited down this page: “he’s a liar/murderer/thief/war monger/deceiver/incompetent/sellout….blah,blah,blah,blah,blah and on and on and on and on…..You’re all so boring and unoriginal.

Let me make this simple for you: There is no “grand proclimation” that requires a president to be honest, forthright or principled. Certainly there’s no golden rule demanding that they be populist (Americans have a penchant for electing exactly the opposite).

I guess, what I’m saying is: Why are you all so surprised? I don’t mean to sound as if I’m happy with him…far from it, but I’m also know that our government (including the office of president) is owned and controlled by special interests. Those special interests don’t care about us. But you all must agree, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN. We truly do have the government we deserve.

One final thought: If Mr. Obama is not re-elected this year, I can hardly wait to read the vile and disgusting things you’ll all be writing about Romney or Gingrich or (no….please…no Jebby boy). If you think Obama has been a failure, wait until the white, rich, privileged, plutocrats come to rape and pillage your country…....They’ll do it with a smile and they’ll do it in the name of “capitalism and democracy.”

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A Bird in the Hand's avatar

By A Bird in the Hand, January 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

My ‘salient point’ is: Obama is a lying asshole..

Lafayette: Democrats will make NO difference because like the Republicans..They could give a damn about any of us..That should be clear to you by now..

Of course you too could have the ‘mass amnesia’ that Albert talks about above..Or is it something else that causes you to continue to support this continuation of ‘Bush’ Tyranny???

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By Buffalo Bill, January 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Albert makes a salient point in an earlier point.  I think we need to just relax and accept the fact that we will never have a democracy in this country as long as an American empire exists.  The two mix like oil and water, and history proves this.  When Athens attempted to become an empire, its democracy disintegrated.  When Republican Rome became an empire, any and all democratic elements within its constitution disappeared.  Whatever democratic elements that remained from the French Revolution scattered to the wind with Napoleon.  And it took Britain losing India and its colonies in Africa before the U.K. finally had a one-person one vote franchise and socialized medicine.

So the choice we have in the coming election is this—vote for an incompetent lunatic Republican who will run the empire into the ground, or do we vote for Obama, a competent company man and manager of empire?  Voting for the Republican will lead to disaster and extreme hardship, perhaps even Armageddon, but we might finally get a democracy out of the ordeal in the end.  No empire, but an impoverished and traumatized democracy.  Voting for Obama kicks the can of reckoning down the road, preserves empire and the facade of affluence, and it guarantees we do not see democracy ever in our lifetime.  Tough choice.  I’m not sure how I will vote.  I’m leaning for the Republican bringing the whole damn house of cards down.  It will be exciting . . . . .

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By oakland steve, January 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

In the sea of stomach turning platitudes, the latest “progressive” stance that this phony community organizer has used to distinguish himself from the opposition—that of demanding the extension of the payroll tax cut to help working people—gets lost by all of the pundits on all the media. 

This insane measure, cutting the workers’ contributions to their own social security accounts, is the means by which the phony “social security is broke” argument will be given reality.  It is a tax cut that does nothing to affect general revenues, only the overall health of the social security system.  And the media, like the two parties and their minions, ignore (or don’t understand) the reality of this ploy.

Much as the newly enacted requirement for the USPS to pre-fund its retirement system health benefits 75 years in advance is eviscerating that institution, Social Security will be gutted by this actual underfunding.  This, after years of reactionary propaganda aimed at convincing the masses of undereducated citizens that there would be nothing left for them when they retire, will accomplish that goal, and this president and the party he leads are silent.

For those who fear Newt or Willard, keep this in mind:  if McCain had done the same things that Obama has done in the last 3 years, the democrats would have fought him tooth-and-nail over each of those issues…that they, in fact, embraced when advanced by their own leadership.

Obama is worse that either republican potential nominee because his rhetoric is that of the “fucking retards” so despised by his friend and chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel (congratulations Chicago!), while his politics are those of his opponents.  In short, his presidency adds insult to injury.

Vote Nader…Green…or stay home.

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