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Payback at the Polls

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Posted on Nov 3, 2010
AP / Ann Heisenfelt

Members of Tea Party Patriots celebrate at an election night party in Washington as televised returns show Republicans gaining a majority in the House of Representatives.


Q & A - Live Chat with Robert Scheer


A live Q & A session related to this column took place on November 04, 2010 at 11:00 am PT.

Click here to view the transcript.


By Robert Scheer

 
Let’s not shoot the messenger. Yes, the tea party victors are a mixed bag espousing often contradictory and at times weird positions, the source of their funding is questionable and their proposed solutions are vague and at times downright nutty. But they represent the most significant political response to the economic pain that has traumatized swaths of the nation at a time when so-called progressives have been reduced to abject impotence by their deference to a Democratic president. 


Barack Obama deserved the rebuke he received at the polls for a failed economic policy that consisted of throwing trillions at Wall Street but getting nothing in return. His amen chorus in the media is quick to blame everyone but the president for his sharp reversal of fortunes. But it is not the fault of tea party Republicans that they responded to the rage out there over lost jobs and homes while the president remained indifferent to the many who are suffering. 


At a time when, as a Washington Post poll reported last week, 53 percent of Americans fear they can’t make next month’s mortgage or rent payment, the president chirped inanely to Jon Stewart that his top economics adviser, Lawrence Summers, who was paid $8 million by Wall Street firms while advising candidate Obama, had done a “heckuva job” in helping avoid another Great Depression. What kind of consolation is that for the 50 million Americans who have lost their homes or are struggling to pay off mortgages that are “underwater”? The banks have been made whole by the Fed, providing virtually interest-free money while purchasing trillions of dollars of the banks’ toxic assets. Yet the financial industry response has been what Paul Volcker has called a “liquidity trap”—denying loans for business investment or the refinancing necessary to keep people in their homes.


Instead of meeting that crisis head-on with a temporary moratorium on housing foreclosures, as more than half of those surveyed by the Post wanted, the president summarily turned down that sensible proposal. Instead he attempted to shift the focus to his tepid health care reform and was surprised that many voters didn’t think he did them a favor by locking them into insurance programs not governed by cost controls. Health care reform was viewed by many voters with the same disdain with which they reacted to the underfunded and unfocused stimulus program. Neither seems relevant to turning around an economy that a huge majority feels is getting worse, according to Election Day exit polls.


That is a problem that is not obvious to the power elites whom the leaders of both political parties serve or to the high-paid media pundits who cheer them on. The tea party revolt, ragged as it is, fed on a massive populist outrage that so-called progressives had failed to respond to because of their allegiance to Obama. As a result the Democrats squandered the hopes of their base, which rewarded the party with a paltry turnout at polling stations.

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But it now remains for the tea party victors to prove that they are a viable alternative, or by the next election they too will find that their base of support has evaporated. This should be of great concern to the libertarian wing of that movement, which scored a considerable victory and a much-enhanced national presence with Rand Paul’s Senate victory in Kentucky. Will he stick to his promise to hold the Federal Reserve accountable and oppose the continuing favors to Wall Street that he has blasted as “a transfer of wealth from those who have earned to those who have squandered”?


The tea party is now in the awkward position previously occupied by the Obama hope crusade of having to deliver and will suffer a similar political fate if it fails to deal with the economic crisis. In particular, the Republicans who will control the House, thanks to the tea party, must come up with proposals to solve the housing crisis or they will stand exposed as political opportunists who intend to exploit rather than deal with the economic anxiety felt not only by their base but much of the country.


Some Democratic leaders will urge Obama to follow President Bill Clinton’s lead after his party’s electoral reversal in the 1994 election and move even further to the right to strengthen his prospects for re-election. It was that opportunistic shift by Clinton that led to his signing off on the radical deregulation of the financial industry that caused the economic meltdown. If Obama follows such advice it will spell further disaster for the nation.

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

 

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 ardee, November 9, 2010 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

kulu, November 8 at 6:59 pm

Your suggestion actually mirrors that of Michael Moore’s, who advocates such as well as taking over the grassroots Democratic Clubs.

I would note that the real power, decision making, and, even more importantly, the dispersion of campaign funding and such so necessary to elections these days makes voting against the wishes of the DNC rather like political suicide.

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By kulu, November 8, 2010 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

Ardee,

I wasn’t thinking about a top down coup in the Democratic party but one where the progressive caucus, who now have more power within the D’s than they had before due to the routing of the Blue Dogs, were to vote as a block without compromising their principles. They have nothing to lose unless they have also sold out to the corporate powers.

Having said that, I personally would vote for the Green Party even if it were pitted against someone like Kucinich because I will always vote for my own values first which Nader represents. Kucinich is second best.

Alan Grayson gave an interesting interview on Democracy Now on Friday November 5 which is worth listening to.

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By garth, November 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

War on Cliches

What is spending if it’s not out of control?  Who likes to chintz?

What are policies if they are not tired and out of the past?

Why tax if you can’t spend it?

A flim-flam insurance company was foisted on a company where I worked, and they did a presentation that looked and sounded like a neo-Christian evangelical hullabaloo.

The presenter asked what would we do if we knew the world was coming to an end and we had only 30 minutes to live (Endtimes, maybe)?

I think they expected everyone to say, “Balance the budget!”  Everyone stayed silent, looking at our watches or at the clock on the wall.

If we bought the insurance for what was a high premium, we would’ve been SOL because the company went belly-up six months later.  If only the world ended when they projected it would.

Another big lie is the one that says making the rich pay their fair share would hurt small business.

David Cay Johnston repudiated this lie on DemocracyNow! about a month ago.  The salaries of small businees owners comes out of profit.  They decide what they are going to take.  So, if the tax starts at $250,000 they can decide to take $249,999 and sink that last buck into capital investment.

One start for payback, is to stop believing anything put forth in the media.  Most American now are crazy.  They are ripe for the next turn of events decided upon by the Obama’s and the McConnells and the Boehners.

Last night Obama gave a hint.  He said he wants to tackle entitlement spending (read: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) but the McConnels and the Boehners (sounds like the Hatfields and McCoys) are agin’ it. 

WHAAAA?

Obama is going to deliver those programs to the slaughter and he’ll say he’s compromising, doing the responsible thing; while the Republicans will say they are fighting for their grandchildren.  And it must be done. 

Sure, the Social Security recipient can vote in the next election.  It’ll be a choice between Alphonse and Gaston.  Soon the Social Security Suckers of the Sows Teats will be dead, as Alan Simpson described Social Security, and it will be lunch at the Capitol Diner together, again.  And peace will settle on our sainted beltway.

The two party system with an occasional foray by a third party candidate seems to be not working.

Abolish the Government as it says in the ‘Constipititution’.

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By ardee, November 8, 2010 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

REDHORSE, November 7 at 10:02 pm

I wish you had included a link to that post. As it is Salmon season I am only here on an infrequent basis and for only a few moments at a time and will be through December.

As to the building of a Third Party; Throughout history it has been the few , the dedicated who have caused great changes to occur. In the main, the majority have stayed on the sidelines until momentum sweeps them up. Activism is not a sport everyone can play.

The bricks thrown at Hedges are easily dismissed, I think. Some object to real emotion, some are so loyal to the status quo that any attempt to reach them not only falls on deaf ears but pushes a button and causes an almost violent reaction. Truth does that to those used to lies.

kulu, November 8 at 10:52 am

The system is certainly stacked against the growth of a third party, but because something is difficult doesn’t make it unnecessary.

If you have ever been a member of a grassroots Democratic Party organization you would not suggest the possibility of a coup. It is a top down organization , one in which orders come from above and money is funneled upwards. The Democrats, no more or less than their counterparts, are corrupted by corporate funding and obeisant to the wishes of those who write the big checks.

Perhaps, as third party politics grows, they will see a reason to move back to the left, but , as ever, the leaders follow. In this case they follow the money.

I believe you misinterpret the cause and effect of the Tea Party movement. In my opinion it is a puppet on a string, used and financed by the extreme right and the Republican Party. It is populated by those who run on adrenaline and testosterone and wouldn’t know an issue if it hit them in the head.

Folks who gobble up medicare, social security, sit in those motorized wheel chairs they got at no cost to themselves railing against government entitlements are not pathfinders or trail blazers..They do, however, illustrate an important point; that power does indeed reside in the people.

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By kulu, November 8, 2010 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

mdgr Nov 3 11.23pm

Great idea but a 3rd party would be faced with very great hurdles in contesting elections in many states. Might it not be better for them to stage a coup and takeover the Democratic Party? This is in a way what the Tea Party is doing with the Republicans is it not?

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By REDHORSE, November 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

ARDEE/GERARD: The “unless we organize”-“where is the Third Party”-“we need leadership” plea though often heard here, I suspect, falls for the most part on deaf ears.

    I presented a simple outline on another thread which anyone could follow to create a simple civic forum/platform for community action that would begin to build the Local muscle to support National action. It was promptly dismissed. Perhaps, the strength of our individual personal conviction and concern makes us take TRUTHDIG too seriously. I’m amazed at the anger expressed toward Hedges that he doesn’t lead and provide solution when most wouldn’t follow if he did. I pointed out elsewhere that Boehner shows up for the fight every day. If individual Americans refuse to organize and volunteer 2 hours a week for something as vital as Campaign Finance Reform (thats 20 volunteers per city X 2 hours = 40 hours political activism per week or 2080 hours per year per city) we’re done for.

    I also suggested a TRUTHDIG action forum in each area supported by Sheer and Hedges providing speaker engagements for fund raising support. REALITY: This is for the most part, a forum of opinion not action. Though I’m sure many here are active members in political organizations, most aren’t and though they love to talk, will do absolute zero beyond that.

    I enjoy the posts here. Many lend light and fact to complex issues and work to provide links to information, individuals and organizations in action. I really appreciate insight into National finance because I don’t know a lot about it. (I still believe we shouldn’t forget-despite the betrayal-the unity we felt when we elected President O.) Bottom line: This is a good forum but it is obvious that the only person you can rely on to answer a call to action is yourself.

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By ardee, November 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment


“Obama was never allowed to introduce the health care system he wanted because the Republicans and their blue dog puppets wouldn’t let him.”

Diamond
We generally agree, if not always on the specifics then on the overall trendings but here I must take exception….This turning of a phrase seemingly exempts Obama from blame to no purpose other than a continuing belief that he could “save us all” if only we gave him a chance. When did you hear him offer his opinion of what said care should look like?

Had Obama come out foursquare for single payer, or for a really decent health care plan that dealt with our outrageously expensive current dilemma, and was defeated in the Legislature, I could concede that point. But, and from the first, he made deals with Big Pharama, accepted money from the very Insurance Industry he said he was going to regulate or curb the excesses within and made no real attempt to oversee the health care bill through Congress, preferring to stay on the sidelines instead of acting Presidential and lead. In fact, the same could be said of his entire two years in office.

I take the time to post in opposition to your seemingly innocuous turn of phrase because I think it extends the myth that a solution to this nation’s myriad problems have single source; the belief that a hero is needed and that hero may be found within the current system and especially within the Democratic Party.

Obama ran on the three quarters of a billion dollars he raised from the very folks who create our problems, from the first installed a cabinet that sought to extend the policies of his predecessor and owed allegiance to the financial community, and has, by and large, either led us in a continuance of Bush 43 or refused to lead at all. All the makings of a one term president.

I believe in our system of government, but I also believe that it has been usurped by corporate money and thus answers only to that money. Both parties are guilty of this, not just elements within them. I believe that the electorate has the ultimate power to make changes and, sadly, are asleep or far too easily distracted by adrenaline filled appeals to their own worst interests. Perhaps the way to change lies through a real worsening of conditions for all of us not zillionaires…..then folks will, through hardship and desperation, rise up and make the changes we need. Hopefully in a nonviolent fashion.

Can you say, President Boehner?

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By samosamo, November 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

****************


By REDHORSE, November 4 at 6:37 pm


I know what you mean. Those invading europeans
have certainly taken advantage of that situation
to take what they want and the result is miscreant
stewards who at this point use worthless and/or
dangerous technology to even more grind people
into repression and austerity. But that has always
been the way of europeans against any other
tribes or nations before the invasion. Check out
the roman catholic ‘doctrine of discovery’, and
especially and insidious piece of ‘authorization’ to
so that.

And now with 7,000,000,000 people on earth,
these devious charlatans will continue to
suppress more people. But they will do it with
their usual tactic of doublespeak, euphemistic
language and ‘do as I say not as I do’ mandates.

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By gerard, November 7, 2010 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

Until we ordinary citizens, in massive numbers, find an effective non-violent way to get corporate money out of elections and stop the economy’s dependence on financial manipulation and on the military/ industrial complex, every election is bound to be a repeat of the midterm fiasco.

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By garth, November 6, 2010 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

“But that’s like being the smartest snail in the garden.” Re Romney

With an LOL, I have to agree again. 

I was thinking of the tired old expression that uses doorknobs.

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By Neil, November 6, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When in two years time the Republicans reveal it’s “business as usual” and the “tea party” is strangely quiet we’ll know what we always knew; the ‘tea party’ is a fraud, incompetence and outrage are only a matter of “the other” and where your party sits.

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By basho, November 6, 2010 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

“There are four ways to contain health care costs:”

imo there are other ways

1. change your eating habits.
2. reject the fast food culture.
3. reject gene manipulated foods
3. walk instead of drive.
4. ride a bicycle.
5. clean up the water system.

in other words, take some responsibility for your own health and well being.

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By Marshall, November 5, 2010 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

“small borrowers who, I guess, hoodwinked the poor banks into loaning them
money to buy houses they couldn’t afford.”

The definition of sub-prime is the riskiest consumer loans, which I believe were
partially influenced by legislation that mandated riskier lending by banks and
Fannie/Freddie.

“the crash ACTUALLY BEGAN in 2006 with the collapse of the sub-prime
market, while the GOP still controlled both Houses of Congress, the Supreme
Court and, of course, the White House.”

True.  The GOP had never reversed legislation originally passed under their
Congress and Clinton (Summers, et. al.) which laid the groundwork for the
crash.  That’s if you agree with Scheer.

“Even then the best of the pundits warned that it was only the tip of the
iceberg, that it would spread to the standard mortgage market as well.”

I recall hearing on NPR an informed pundit saw limited damage from even a
complete sub-prime collapse due to its small size in comparison to the
conventional market - obviously later proven wrong.  I think very very few saw
this coming, though hindsight is 20-20.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Garth…

And those are Romney’s GOOD points…you haven’t even told us the bad stuff!!!!!  smile

And he’s STILL the best of the 4!  But that’s like being the smartest snail in the garden.

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By diamond, November 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

“There are four ways to contain health care costs:
by reducing payments to providers and suppliers;
by rationing services;
by having consumers pay a greater share; and
by giving providers incentives to be more efficient.”

This is a flat out lie.”

Where I live we’ve had a national health care system paid for by the taxpayers since the seventies. They don’t seem to have trouble containing costs and it works so well that any government that ever tried to remove it would lose the next election in a landslide.

Obama was never allowed to introduce the health care system he wanted because the Republicans and their blue dog puppets wouldn’t let him. They’ve all been bought by the private health insurance mafia and the Republicans think having a decent health care system is ‘Marxism’. Why you’re fretting over a problem that only exists in your mind when the Republicans are about to shut your government down is beyond me. The real problem is the trillions spent on war and weapons of war to fight a phantom enemy because the Pentagon and the CIA have no interest in moving into a post Cold War world. They intend to go on milking the US taxpayer for money for weapons and wars while infrastructure falls apart and the economy is on life support. If you want to see the cause of all your woes you’re looking in the wrong place. It’s not the economy stupid: it’s the military industrial complex and their media wing and their political party - the Republicans.

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By garth, November 5, 2010 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

“It’s scary that Mitt Romney is the only one among the 4 that even resembles a sane person.”
————————————————————-

We had 4 years of Romney here in MA.  He chose not to run for a second term because of a foreseen illness.  He knew we were sick of him.  And a defeat for Governor would not be a good entre to the 2008 Republican primaries.

Sick of him!  He never missed an opportunity to plunk his face, coifed hair an all, in front of a news camera.

His candy-apple responses to questions in Republican Primary debates (Oh, My!) made it clear to most Americans that this guy is a fraud.

He’s for the wars, yet he has 4 or 5 sons of the fighting age who chose not to enlist.

He graduated from Harvard Business School, bought Staples, the office supply business, shifted the debt to the company then laid off a lot of workers to make Staples profitable.  Then he sold it. 

He repeated that game till he reached between $50 to $100 million in personal wealth then decided to follow his father’s footsteps.

To give you an idea of the hubris of this creep, he proudly says that the Romneys are so ambitious that if were to he drown in a river, they’d find his body upstream.

Now that I think of it, the first four in the survey might be the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse.

I like your rendition of Christie as a slob.  He rivals Dick Armey in that regard.

May sanity prevail.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Question 1:  Who would I support for President in 2012?

1.  Mitt Romney
2.  Mike Huckabee
3.  Newt Gingrich
4.  Sarah Palin
5.  Barack Obama

I selected 5. Barack Obama.

The software broke from the survey and said, “If I’d like to stop receiving these surveys, call 888-yada, yada, yada.
******************

ROFLMAO!

This is such a twisting and warping of sampling science it’s humorous—except it’s very likely one of them WILL replace Barack Obama in 2013.  It’s scary that Mitt Romney is the only one among the 4 that even resembles a sane person.  Rumors are flying that Chris Christie, the slob currently serving as governor of my state, may emerge as a front runner.

One thing: Only one Speaker of the House has ever been elected President—James K. Polk, and he kept every campaign promise he made, and didn’t run for a 2nd term.  IOW, Speaker is an even worse position to run for President than being a sitting Senator.

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By garth, November 5, 2010 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

I am Land Line Lubber.

I just got a robo call from I guess the Romney Group and they wanted me to answer ‘several’ questions about the 2012 election.

Question 1:  Who would I support for President in 2012?

1.  Mitt Romney
2.  Mike Huckabee
3.  Newt Gingrich
4.  Sarah Palin
5.  Barack Obama

I selected 5. Barack Obama. 

The software broke from the survey and said, “If I’d like to stop receiving these surveys, call 888-yada, yada, yada.

What a hoot.  For the time being anyway.

One of the famous experts in organizational behaviour, I’ve momentarily forgotten his name, observed that workers perform better when management pays attention to their needs as workers. 

The Republicans are turning this model upside down and they are catering to the ignorance, fears and craziness of the electorate.  I can’t imagine anyone worse as President than any of the first four they listed.

The Republican’s victims who are going along with this survey and the attention to their likes and dislikes are in for a rude awakening.  The vote in 2012 most likely will be Bad or Worse.

Obama is no great shakes.  In fact he is tantamount to a disaster.  But as Randy Newman wrote in song in the 70s about Lester Maddox the racist governor of Georgia, “He may be fool, but he’s our fool.”

Besides will still have 70 Progressive Democrats in the House.  That should stand for something.

Maybe Feingold will come out and challenge Obama in 2012.  I’d vote for him.  I’d support him.  Now that I have plenty of time.

It pains me to agree with ITW and Diamond. (J\K) But I must.  A little learning from what ITW wrote (I’m talking about myself) is alays reassuring.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 5, 2010 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

As much as it gives me the runs to agree with Diamond over FF, I must.

It’s a myth that the crash was caused by investors borrowing on the margin, a myth put out by the banks and an investment houses that, after 1929 didn’t want to accept responsibility for crashing the American economy.

They have repeated this by putting out the lie that the crash was caused by Barney Frank and lots of irresponsible small borrowers who, I guess, hoodwinked the poor banks into loaning them money to buy houses they couldn’t afford.

The idea of selling loans as a fixed rate of return isn’t necessarily a bad one, unless you are bundling BAD loans and loans likely to crash with only minor changes in the economy. 

Right-wingers like to forget that the crash ACTUALLY BEGAN in 2006 with the collapse of the sub-prime market, while the GOP still controlled both Houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and, of course, the White House.  Even then the best of the pundits warned that it was only the tip of the iceberg, that it would spread to the standard mortgage market as well.

But it’s just SO much easier to blame Barney Frank, isn’t it?

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By diamond, November 5, 2010 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

The only fact that matters is, the government has been manipulating the financial system since 1863. “It’s been one manipulation after the other, each one leading to another “crisis”. The National Bank Act was responsible for all of the subsequent Panics up to 1907. The Federal Reserve Act was supposed to end the Panics. it did. It also created the Great Depression, by allowing, or facilitating the banks to be able to loan to people to buy stocks on margin.

The Glass Stegall Act created the FDIC and the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee). Both are fraudulent institutions.”

Baloney, Fat Freddy. None of that has a scintilla of truth in it. It’s babble. The Glass Stegall Act did what I said it did. Only an economist of the Ayn Rand, open slather school of thought would deny it. The cause of the Great Depression and the cause of the Global Financial Crisis are one and the same: banks and other lenders speculating on debt because all forms of regulation were thrown out the window, including the Glass Stegall Act. Derivatives in other words. Hedge funds in other words. Ponzi schemes in other words. Roosevelt didn’t act on his own, he had very good economic advisers and he made the changes they suggested. They diagnosed the problem and he legislated to fix it. If this disaster is not to occur again on a regular basis something like Glass Stegall will have to be put in place. But of course it’s so much more enjoyable to believe that all government is evil and all government is fraudulent. The ravings of a paranoiac is not economics.

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By PhreedomPhan, November 5, 2010 at 1:00 am Link to this comment

Where have you been, Calabashe?  We’ve had one party rule for at least 80 years.  Every October the members all put on Halloween costumes that make them look different to the public.  In the spirit of the season, they trick us and treat themselves.

Click on “America’s Ruling Party - The Council on Foreign Relations” in the Table of Contents in my americasenemies blog.  A group whose membership has been about 15 ten thousandths of 1% of the population has dominated every administration at least since FDR. Is it any wonder why “change” = “no change?”

http://phreedomphan-americasenemies.blogspot.com/

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By Calabashe, November 5, 2010 at 12:41 am Link to this comment

Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Apparent, Jon Boehner have announced that the top priority of the people’s business will be to destroy President Obama.

Guessing the 112th Congress will be less productive than the 111th. America deserves the government it elects. After all 1 party rule works - in China.

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By RayLan, November 4, 2010 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

“The non-reform of health care was/is essentially a windfall for insurers”
So true - a token reform - to placate the ‘liberals’ and not get the corporations mad (heaven forbid)

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By the worm, November 4, 2010 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

Here’s an example of what the White House didnt learn from the election.

The White House’s Director of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, in the
NYT November 3 2010 tells us:

“There are four ways to contain health care costs:
by reducing payments to providers and suppliers;
by rationing services;
by having consumers pay a greater share; and
by giving providers incentives to be more efficient.”

This is a flat out lie.

The non-reform of health care was/is essentially a windfall for insurers, with
hundreds of thousands of new “customers” (if a ‘mandated customer’ is a
“customer”), with premiums subsidized or paid for directly by taxpayers, and
with 20% of the premium available to insurers to use for what ever they want.

That’s right: Insurers only need to spend 80% of the premium paid by you and
by me directly or through our taxes on health care for you and for me. The rest
they can spend any way they want, including bonuses, sitting on Boards to raise
rates and decide who gets covered and who doesn’t, contributions to
‘sympathetic’ candidates – those who will let them keep even more of your and
my money.

A savings of 15% or more can be achieved through a government-administered
plan like Medicare - for everyone. (And by the way, a CBS/New York Times poll
June 2009 showed that 72% of Americans favored this approach.)

The quickest and easiest and sane way to save is move to a single payer system.
Advocates for such a system were blocked from speaking by Senator Max
Baucus last year; but the facts are the facts.

When the President of the United States allows his White House Director of
Management and Budget to lie about such a fundamental reality, it reflects very
poorly on the President and his leadership.

President Obama does not need people working for him who lie to the
American people. Whether it’s “Heck of a Job Timmy” or Orszag, people are
tired of being lied to.

If President Obama does not have the courage to stop his own staff from lying
to the American people, he is no leader.

I do not know who the President’s Director of OMB is supposed to be appealing
to with this pile of pooh - perhaps, the ignorant and un-informed, but they’ve
been wrapped up by the opposition. How in the world is the White House
supposed to win back voters, when it cant even tell the truth in Section A of the
New York Times. Please, this is the kind of thing that just turns people’s
stomachs.

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By FiftyGigs, November 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

“... 53 percent of Americans fear they can’t make next month’s mortgage or rent payment, the president chirped inanely to Jon Stewart that his top economics adviser, Lawrence Summers ... [helped] avoid another Great Depression.”

My sister is one of those. She’s irresponsible, spent recklessly, and now expects somebody to pay her bills. Scheer is siding with her. I’ll side with an adult, like the President.

Scheer is phony.

On GRIT Radio, Scheer launched into his book promo song-and-dance about his time as a reporter during the Clinton administration when all the regulation was being undone.

Know what he was doing, this stalwart bulwark against the travesty of government? He was running around writing pieces about how government officials couldn’t explain what the legislation meant.

Very helpful.

Laura Flanders caught him. “And the media?” she asked. To which Scheer senselessly babbled that the media was becoming a bank or something, totally missing the point.

The legislation was not secret. It isn’t now. It’s printed in black and white for any journalist to see. Complex? Maybe, but you know not every Harvard and Yale graduate works for Wall Street.

Is there some law prohibiting journalists from talking to people who can explain things, who can answer their questions?

Even here, even now, revealing his wanton disregard for producing anything instructive, Scheer smears. Period. Oh, and simplifies a complex story down to an inane word “heckuva”.

Like that means something.

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By Marshall, November 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

By tedmurphy41, November 3 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

“what I cannot understand, for the life of me, is how the general public re-elected
GOP candidates, whose party got America into such a mess in the first place.”

I think Sheer would tell you that they didn’t; both parties did.  In particular, Clinton
signed off on Summers and Reuben sponsored commodities legislation that made
this possible.  Since the Dem half of the cause has failed to fix it so far (Obama
hiring the very guys responsible for the bad legislation in the first place), the
public has no real choice but to give the other party a chance at redemption. 
Hopefully they succeed but that may be a long shot.

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By REDHORSE, November 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

For almost five decades I’ve watched America descend into the abyss of fascist control. Civil liberties, social systems and industry gutted, wages stolen, families, lives and futures destroyed. The World statistics that reflect our fall into barbarism appear on this site regularly.

    We are a Nation and a People betrayed and destroyed by greed, lies and the machinations of real estare agents and corrupt financiers. For what? So they could have another yacht, a few more mansions and a larger serving staff? And, who allowed it? If you dare, look into the hellpuppet Boehners eyes.

    When I logged on this morning my sorrow was so deep I wept.

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By garth, November 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

Blackspeare, November 4 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment


“Does anyone have a handle on what happens in 2014 when the HCR law requires everyone to have health insurance? How will this be enforced—-via a person’s income tax return?? As I understand it, if the insurance premium exceeds a certain percentage of your income then the Feds will subsidize that difference——how will this work?? What happens if you lose your job and can’t afford the insurance premium——will the feds pick up the whole tab??”

A recent case in MA should the way.  A man with a family of a wife and two children working for a small company couldn’t afford his health premium, $900 a month.

He was fined $2000 by the courts.


Fat Freddy,

“Christ. Read the Bill. Stop listening to the biased media. Read it for yourself, or at least skim it.”

Did you ever hear of tongue-in-cheek? 

But sooner or later we’ll all become familiar with the bill and it’s side doors and traps.  It’s a fait accompli.  What they did in the last election they can certainly do again in the Congress.

Instead of TBTF it will be Too Big To Bail.  That’s when they got us by the balls and the short hairs.

As far a reading the bill, will do, Senor.

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By S. Barksdale, November 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Robert Scheer has made much good sense here for all who’re willing to digest it.  He is absolutely correct about Obama and Summers, a man who should never had such a position as financial advisor to the president.  The president himself should have had more foresight than to continue feeding a cow who refused to produce milk.

I am an independant voter and have voted both ways. Now, I am sorry and I fear that the right wing has gained the power to extend and keep the wars going indeterminately.  Coupled with the banking scams that could only sink America.

Mr. Scheer cited Obama’s mention of the great depression and there is mention of it amongst the commentors.  Obviously, those in power aren’t considering the impact of another one; the chaos and madness that would become America.  I wouldn’t hazard a guess at the number of people inhabiting our country presently but indeed, it is many more million than when the first great depression struck.  Each and every one would need food and shelter.  How many people know how to hunt and fish?  How long would these resources last?

It is mentioned also that we need a new way of thinking.  This is probably the most profound statement I’ve read in months.  A few years ago I visited a new doctor.  When going over my statement I was quite shocked with his remark about my education.  “Ah, a BA in philisophy, the dead study.” 

In my humble opinion, philosophy or “the dead study” should be resurected immediately.  We’ve had religions and the holy books, every belief and disbelief imaginable.  What has it reaped us?  Hatred amongst men, wars,wars and more wars of blood and horror.  Indeed, we need a different way of thinking.  Philosophy should be introduced in some form as soon as a child enters school.  Not only would he/she learn to look at the world in a different light but one another as well.

Only in the buildings we call school will we develop a logical way of thinking.  Let us get a campaign rolling to do just that.

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By Blackspeare, November 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Does anyone have a handle on what happens in 2014 when the HCR law requires everyone to have health insurance? How will this be enforced—-via a person’s income tax return?? As I understand it, if the insurance premium exceeds a certain percentage of your income then the Feds will subsidize that difference——how will this work?? What happens if you lose your job and can’t afford the insurance premium——will the feds pick up the whole tab??

Thanks

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By gerard, November 4, 2010 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

Christian96:  You have done your best according to your [resent belief system.  Nobody can do more.  Suggestion:
  Read books in addition to the Bible.  A lot has happened since it was translated, retranslated and compiled, re-compiled.  Human life has changed a great deal and is still changing.  New ideas are desperately needed and the human spirit is starving to be fed, but it is going to take more than testaments and doctrines,“old” or “new”. 
  “Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and it shall be opened to you.”

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By Fat Freddy, November 4, 2010 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

And the reform Wall Street bill is to be weakened.

There’s nothing to weaken. Out of the 2,000+ pages, all but about 20 pages on derivatives trading, are complete bullshit. It actually reinforces TBTF, doesn’t address the GSEs, and it creates the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, headed by Elizabeth Warren, and housed under the Federal Reserve (more power to the Fed). What we need is a Resolution Trust Authority headed by Bill Black to break up the zombie banks, and sell off their assets at “fire sale” prices, to cover their liabilities, not Elizabeth Warren to send them to bed without their supper.

Christ. Read the Bill. Stop listening to the biased media. Read it for yourself, or at least skim it.

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By basho, November 4, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

payback at the polls??

here it is.

gold up 34.70 +2.37% (1383.50)
silver up .84 cents (25.86)
$$ down .56 cents (75.74)

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By garth, November 4, 2010 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Dick Armey appeared on C-SPAN this morning, gloating.

It was easy to see that he had experince in handling those who disagree with him by his reaction to a caller from Georgia who brought up Enron and Phil Gramm and his wife’s role in that debacle.

He told a person who called about Social Security that in 5 years they’ll be doing means testing, and retirees will be asked to submit some sort of statement of wealth.  He never mentioned the fact that his group is pushing that agenda.

Now, with the Blue Dogs reduced in number by half and the Progressives having only lost four members. it might be a perfect opportunity for the real proponents of a Constitutional democracy to solidify and clarify their positions.

Things can turn on a dime.  I noticed the Tea Party and the Republican losers still garnered around 40% of the vote.  They were subjected to slogans, easy answers, hate and ridiclue.  Hate and ridicule are always easy to sell here.

If some sort of political educational-psychotherapy bump with reality could bring some of those sloganeering know-nothings back to the fold, the 72% of Americans who favor Single Payer, an end to criminal wars, and a green energy approach to climate change might become the force to contend with.

The Blue Dogs learned a lesson Harry Truman said about 60 years ago:  “Given the choice between a real Republican and a fake one, the people will pick the Real Republican.”

Deval won here in MA along with the rest of the Democratic Congressmen.  Two of the referendums put forth by Republicans were defeated.  The tax on liquor was thrown out.  So big likker won.  (Stay on this side of the state line and get bombed at your pleasure.  We won’t need any roads plowed this winter, anyway. Right?  We don’t need no teachers.  We don’t need no stinkin’ teachers.)

I am waiting for the argument for cutting taxes.  They actually argue that if you lower taxes, revenues go up. 

And the reform Wall Street bill is to be weakened.  I guess that is their form of tea.  Weak tea, no tea bag. 

The tea party, though, like George W. Bush has piqued the interest in politics of people like me, people who took too much for granted for too long.

I can’t believe so many Americans have gone so crazy in such a short period of time.

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By Fat Freddy, November 4, 2010 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

diamond

Buying on margin. Do you know what that means? Then you know what caused the 1929 Crash.

The only fact that matters is, the government has been manipulating the financial system since 1863. It’s been one manipulation after the other, each one leading to another “crisis”. The National Bank Act was responsible for all of the subsequent Panics up to 1907. The Federal Reserve Act was supposed to end the Panics. it did. It also created the Great Depression, by allowing, or facilitating the banks to be able to loan to people to buy stocks on margin.

The Glass Stegall Act created the FDIC and the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee). Both are fraudulent institutions.

There is no ideology here, only governmental control and manipulation of our financial system. Some overt, and some covert. Read the National Bank Act of 1863 and 1865. Read the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. There’s no conspiracy theory, only fact. The fact is, the banks own the Federal Reserve. The Federal; Reserve is the ultimate regulator. How can you expect an institution to protect people’s interests, when it is owned by the banks that it is supposed to be protecting the people from??????????

Please answer that question, and I’ll shut up.

Another fact is, our currency is based on debt. There are no assets like gold or silver or even wheat to back up a dollar. It is only a claim on somebody else’s debt. That is a fact. So, if a significant amount of people pay off their debt, or a significant number of people default on their debt, there will be a monetary crisis. FACT!

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By maxwell, November 4, 2010 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama had an opportunity to bury the Ratpublican Party for a generation or so, if he had only sided with Main Street over Wall Street.  But instead he brought in Summers, Geithner and resuscitated the Republicans.  Why?  Perhaps,

1. He’s an idiot, who never understood his job was more than just oratory.
2. He’s actually a Republican, tell me what else, aside from his oratory, is truly Democratic or for the ordinary people.
3. He’s simply an employee who does and says what he his told to say, an orator hired by the PTB.  The elitist PTB.

His failure is just mind boggling.  We needed a FDR, instead we got Bush lite.

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By Ralph Kramden, November 4, 2010 at 10:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I fret: Obama and his democrats have shown themselves to be spineless. I do fear the lesson they will learn from the drubbing is to become even more corporate. Obama (he looks like Alfred E. Newman, does’nt he?)is in love with those “smart financiers” who are so busniss savyy. That these smart criminals led the Titanic into an iceberg never enters his vision. There is an element of treason in what these criminals did.
What does the “Are you a human?” refer to? Please explain. Does it have to do with machines?

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By Go Right Young Man, November 4, 2010 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

Maani, - “I’m not buying the suggestion by the MSM that this was an “earthquake” election.”

-

That’s one way of looking at the situation.  On the other hand there is another way to look on recent electoral events…..

The GOP picked up seats in the Senate, took control of the House, took governorships in 4 battle ground states* and retained every GOP governor in the nation. - Due to reapportionment rules it’s highly unlikely democrats can regain the House before 2020.

Moderate and independent voters lurched toward the right by a whopping and historic 24 pts.

This election was a tremendous loss to a liberal agenda and democrats in general.  Calling this election an earthquake is putting it lightly.

-

*Ohio, Ohio, Ohio!

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By Go Right Young Man, November 4, 2010 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

Arabian Sinbad,

The real losers this election cycle is the Hamburgler and the Happy Meal.

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By RayLan, November 4, 2010 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

christian96
Where did you get the idea that this is a Christian nation?- by Christian, I mean of course people who follow the Gospel.

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By ardee, November 4, 2010 at 5:33 am Link to this comment

christian96, November 4 at 6:42 am

Please close the door on your way out. Thanks much and bye….

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By Lafayette, November 4, 2010 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

YES, THE TEA PARTY IS OVER

The tea party is now in the awkward position previously occupied by the Obama hope crusade of having to deliver and will suffer a similar political fate if it fails to deal with the economic crisis.

The political irony of the midterms is that the Replicants will benefit most from the rise out of the doldrums of the American economy. And yet, they will have done nothing whatsoever to benefit from that outcome. All post-war recessions of any consequence have take 4/5 years to be overcome, that is, return to the Employment Rates that prevailed beforehand. This recession will follow the same pattern and recover slowly over the next two years.

Which means that Unemployment Rates will be back to “normal” by 2012, four years after the downward spiral started in 2008. But, what is meant by “normal”. In the past, the US has benefited from Incompressible Unemployment Rates of 3 to 4%. Meaning, regardless of a heady economy, roaring on all pistons, we cannot reduce the unemployment rate beyond its incompressible level.

Given the present transitioning from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, our Incompressible Rate of Unemployment may have risen to 5 or 6%, meaning an additional 1 or 2% of Americans without jobs that ordinarily should have found work. We have not prepared ourselves sufficiently for the Information Age – meaning this: the performance of our education system is less than adequate. We are graduating dunces who cannot be absorbed by the New Economy and we are failing to convey High School graduates into postsecondary education/training that is acutely necessary.

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By Lafayette, November 4, 2010 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

MESMERIZED BY MONEY

RL … when all along the downturn is not because of government spending or the deficit, it’s because of the spending of the private sector, corporate and individual. the run away unethical manipulations of unregulated Wall Street and nobody has done anything about it.

Yes, we’ve made an amalgam of “what’s wrong with the US” and it is not clear, in the minds of the body-politic, just what the hell has gone wrong. It’s like wanting to find a smoking gun to prosecute the culprit.

I discern nonetheless two or three major currents over the past thirty years that have led us into this impasse:
•  Industry and commerce have been chasing their tails down the Marginal Cost curve by means of market consolidation and vertical integration. Bigger is supposedly better. Bigger often means, however, reduced competition, meaning higher prices as companies seek market rents due to insufficient competition. The prices of goods/services are high in the US and they will remain high because of the lack of competition. And, those areas where competition cannot be introduced – such as Public Services (which should include Health Care – merit government oversight, which has gone lax or non-existent.
•  Reagan opened Pandora’s Box of Ills 30 years ago when he drastically reduced both marginal income and capital gains taxes. Corporations went on a profit binge that allowed hallucinatory salaries – and in Finance prompted deeply unwise speculation (that brought us the Great Recession). Our own inbred greed has been at the root of the Income Unfairness that reigns in the US and has given rise to the one of the most unjust economies of any developed nation.
•  The American public is woefully unaware of how much government (meaning both Congress and the Executive branches) does interfere with markets. K-street in Washington is where many of the lobbyists reside, these insects who manipulate politicians to their ends by means of corporate donations and other perquisites. Nothing much will change for as long as corporate money is an integral part of the American electoral equation.

There are other factors that are to blame but I suggest the three above are the principle ones that have done the most damage to a system that is wonderfully democratic when it is properly managed. Unfortunately we have strayed very far from that ideal.

America is far too fixated on money as a cultural attribute of success. There are other characteristics of our life-style that are far, far more important – but, as a nation, we remain Mesmerized by Money.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” (Pogo, by Walt Kelly)

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By christian96, November 4, 2010 at 2:42 am Link to this comment

I just spent over an hour typing Christian ways to
solve our problems in America.  They will never be
solved by man and his elections.  After I clicked
the “submit” button my comments were erased.  So
I’ll leave you to solve your problems with your
thoughts and elections. Mark 6:11 reads, “And
whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you,
when you depart thence, shake off the dust under
your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I
say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom
and Gomorrha in the day of judgment than for that
city.”  Good-bye truthdig.  I shake off the dust
of my feet against you.

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By mdgr, November 4, 2010 at 1:35 am Link to this comment

Flummox,

Thank you for your thoughts. What is needed is already at hand—all the elements, in fact, including Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck lurking in the wings—and with luck, I think that we can utilize the situation to our advantage.

We shall see.

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By Flummox, November 4, 2010 at 12:50 am Link to this comment

mdgr,

That was a beautiful, if quite unlikely, idea that I would like to see unfold in my lifetime.

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By God of Wrath, November 4, 2010 at 12:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Did I hear a Mr. Freddy claim that liberal policy cause bad schools and low incomes? That’s a pretty extravagant claim, I’d like you to prove it, and not with specious reasoning. I want to see a reasonable argument and facts. I’ll say up front I don’t think you can. I’ve been listening to arguments like that for a long time and all I’ve ever heard are what sound like rational arguments at first, but the more you listen the more you realize they are built on the fog of ideological presumption.

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By diamond, November 4, 2010 at 12:26 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy you know as well as I do that it’s easy to cherry pick facts that can prove whatever your ideology or prejudices tell you are THE FACTS. But the truth of the matter is that all of this has happened before - in 1929. It’s not as if we don’t already know that derivatives are a Ponzi scheme: the very same Ponzi scheme that led to the collapse of Wall Street and the Great Depression. What caused that debacle was that the banks lent money and then speculated on their debt, selling it on until it was more myth than fact. Roosevelt separated the trading banks and the investment banks and passed the Glass Stegall act which meant that no investment bank could be a trading bank and no trading bank could be an investment bank. This way the debt and the speculation were kept separate and, in fact, much of the spiralling, out of control debt in the American economy can be traced to the overturning of the Glass Stegall act- but that’s not the whole story.

At the same time as the pigs got their snouts back in the debt and speculation trough there was the Reaganite/Thatcher push to destroy the unions and get rid of manufacturing by sending those jobs offshore where people work for 5 cents a day. This killed two birds with one stone - it got rid of unions and it lowered industries’ wage costs to undreamed of depths. This put American workers in the situation where they had to compete with people who earned 5 cents a day and of course they couldn’t. So their jobs now belonged to someone in Sri Lanka or the Phillipines and no one worried about manufacturing things and selling them any more. Except for weapons, of course. That business was booming (pardon the pun) and still is.

In the meantime the big talk was ‘financialization’. This was something that was meant to take the place of what made America in the first place - making things and selling them. There would be no more of that, instead there would be derivatives and other Ponzi schemes which were nothing more than a house of cards that existed mainly in cyberspace. A Ponzi scheme is like a game of musical chairs but the trouble is, the music always stops eventually and then it’s just a question of how many people don’t have chairs. In 2008 a lot of people didn’t have chairs and panic started. Deja vu. Anyone who claims Obama had anything to do with this is a liar. Anyone who claims he didn’t have to bail out the banks, Wall Street and the economy is a fool. I suggest if you want some facts on what happened in 2008 you google ‘1929 collapse of Wall Street’ and also check out what happened in Iceland. The Icelandic situation is very instructive and chock full of those facts you love so much - though you might not love these. John Kenneth Galbraith has written a superb book on the crash of 1929 and he made a very telling remark: that every time his book is about to go out of print there’s another crash and it gets reprinted. Meaning that the lessons of the Great Depression are still unlearned. Which is why John Bonehead is talking about cutting costs, something you never, ever do in the present situation. That’s why Roosevelt didn’t cut costs, he spent on infrastructure instead. Taking economic advice from the Republicans is like asking a prostitute for lessons on chastity. The Republicans are hypocrites of the worst kind because the fact is, they don’t mind spending money on wars - only on the people who pay for the wars and also pay their salaries.

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By Maani, November 3, 2010 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment

I’m not buying the suggestion by the MSM that this was an “earthquake” election.  Balderdash.  In fact, it could have been much, much worse.  Indeed, despite the pundits, the election showed a “weak tea” party, and proved that buying elections with personal money is not as easy as one thinks (Mike Bloomberg aside…)

Consider.

Re governors races, it is true that Brewer won in Arizona, Rick Perry kept Texas, and Nikki Haley took SC (the only real shocker).  But Brown defeated Whitman in CA, Hickenlooper beat Tancredo in CO, Patrick kept MA, and, of course, Cuomo whupped Paladino in NY.  And other races that GOP/TP candidates were expected to win are still too close to call: Florida (Sink), Illinois (Quinn), Minnesota (Dayton), and Rhode Island (Chafee) - though the Dems listed are ahead at the moment in most of them.

Re Senate races, the GOP/TP could not even pick up the 10 seats that most pundits and polls said they would; they only picked up six.  But even here there was good news.  Murkowski is leading in the Alaska election (!), Boxer beat Fiorina, Bennet is leading in CO, Blumenthal beat McMahon in CT, Coons beat O’Donnell in DE, and, of course, Reid beat back Angle in NV.  As well, Mikulski (MD), Schumer (NY), Gillibrand (NY), and Leahy (VT) all kept their seats. (Feingold’s loss was the only shocker in this category.)

The GOP was going to win back the House no matter what; that was a given.  But in all other ways, this election was as much a repudiation of personal money (Whitman, Fiorina, McMahon - who spent almost half a BILLION dollars between them) and extremist ideology (O’Donnell, Paladino, Miller et al) as it was a “heads-up” for Obama and the Dems.

As others have noted, the question now is how the newbies will comport themselves.  If things get better in the next two years, they will have made a point or two (though they will also be able to take credit for policies already in place when they got there…).  However, if things do not improve fairly dramatically in two years (particularly re jobs and the economy), then many on the right and many independents will realize they were sold a bad bill of goods, and the GOP/TP will be roundly defeated in 2012 - no matter how much secret money Rove et al pour into the elections.

Peace.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 3, 2010 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment

Arabian Sinbad, November 4 at 2:15 am Link to this comment

And the winners are:

1. Big suspicious money;
2. Lobbyists who are big friends of John Boehner;
3. TV Networks which received four billion dollars for negative and misleading political advertisements.
4. Bipartisan ugly politics which will further paralyze the nation and lead to further crises.

And the losers are:

1. True democracy;
2. The average citizens.

3. You and me
4. Our children

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By Arabian Sinbad, November 3, 2010 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

And the winners are:

1. Big suspicious money;
2. Lobbyists who are big friends of John Boehner;
3. TV Networks which received four billion dollars for negative and misleading political advertisements.
4. Bipartisan ugly politics which will further paralyze the nation and lead to further crises.

And the losers are:

1. True democracy;
2. The average citizens.

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By Patrick Griffin, November 3, 2010 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem with 3rd parties is it is made structurally impossible by the voting system itself. I am from Ireland and I only wish (even though Ireland has plenty of it’s own problems) that people here including the Left could see what a system that is not rigged to be only the province of 2 parties is capable of.

Not to go on too long but the 1st great improvement would be “2nd preference votes” or what use to be called here “instant run-off voting”. Howard Dean was pushing this at the time of his run for President and it is seriously needed. The other thing they have there is districts that typically elect between 2 to 5 representatives (depending on size) Just having these 2 features would make an enormous difference but in the system we have here 3rd (or 4th or 5th) parties CANNOT GET TRACTION. IMO this is the elephant in the room as far as electoral politics goes. Speaking of Howard Dean, he is the perfect guy to challenge Obama for 2012

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By RayLan, November 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment

The Reps won’t save us. Americans have a chronic resistance to taking responsibility for their condition and behavior. Blame the Dems they voted for, blame the Reps they voted for - when all along the downturn is not because of government spending or the deficit, it’s because of the spending of the private sector, corporate and individual. the run away unethical manipulations of unregulated Wall Street and nobody has done anything about it.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment

Gerard,

I am not in disagreement with much of your argument. Obviously, when I talk of integrating various pieces of the personality and also its emotional core, I am not keeping my finger pressed on the “rage” button. One the other hand, rage is an undercurrent now, and it is self-defeating to dismiss it as invidious or suggest it is road rage. Anger also carries a message, and it also can tell us who and what we are. Our culture acts it out rather than makes the roots of it conscious, and therein is a big problem.

But no, I do not which to veer off on this again. It doesn’t speak to the post I just made, and I believe that post needs to be considered on its own merit. Truthdig serves mainly as a “safety valve” for people, meaning people usually sound-off before taking anything in.

My post wasn’t a sound-off or a venting. It was, I believe, a road map on how to get from where we are now to someplace rather better. If that subject isn’t at all interesting to you, my goodness.

If you want to talk philosophy, that’s fine, but I am not going to follow you down on that right now. I do wish you well, however, and maybe we can meet-up later.

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By BobZ, November 3, 2010 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

The Tea Party has no coherent message and their elected representatives will be
miserable failures in the Congress. Obama did bring the economy back from the
brink and removed much of the fear from the financial markets to the extent they
have come back 50% from their lows. Jobs have not come back totally but the
bleeding has stopped. Business will start hiring again since the economy is
starting to recover nicely. But where Obama did go wrong is in poorly managing
expectations. In 2008 the entire world economy almost went under. His economic
advisors knew this and they should have given American’s the cold hard truth on
inaugaration day. In two years the country will be a lot better off and we will all be
fed up with John Boehner and we can then throw the GOP out once again.

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By gerard, November 3, 2010 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:  Do you think rage should be the (one and only, or primary) premise or motivator of any new political action? And that if enough people get enraged enough their subsequent actions will be somehow sanctified by a (righteous?) anger? 
  And by the way, why do you bring religion into this discussion at all? That surprises me. Is it because most successful past nonviolent actions have come out of some religious faith?  It’s an interesting point, but at the same time it needs to be said that nonviolent action does not require any specific formal religious commitment. 
  It does, however, rely basically on a deep, wholehearted belief that killing is wrong, counterproductive and unnecessary, and therefore that one refuses to use violence, and by not using it encourages others to restrain themselves. It is a method of resistance by nonresistance that, rather than the automatic response of violence, calls for a new, more humane reaction from opposition. 
I feel that at this point you need to explain a bit further how you see rage playing out in the realities of political confrontations that are likely to come in the future.
  My premise is that rage should be fully admitted and recognized as one of several motivators (not excluding rational elements like making a bad situation better).  But rage as a primary or sole motivator for action, recognized or unrecognized, sets the stage for violence, and violence sets the stage for more violence, ultimately for injuring and killing, albeit in the name of some noble goal (which might have been attained without killing if violence had been fully realized and recognized for what it is—an urge which easily overpowers reason, especially in group/crowd situations.  That’s not a “religion” but a fact. I wish it were better understood.  If it isn’t understood, the emotions incipient in movements like the Tea Party are easy to coopt, manipulate and direct toward disaster.  And those who are manipulated are “innocent” in this aspect: that they never know what hits them.
  (I didn’t want to get into this again, but so little is understood about it that people need to discuss it. Sorry.)

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

Flummox,

This was a gold mine. Your third link was of particular relevance, noting that Senator Feingold also lost. Thank you for this.

The bottom line, however, is that much of the dead weight—for which Rahm Emanuel sold his soul—is essentially gone and the progressive caucus is virtually undiminished.

Now, I have a little proposal. It’s strategic, however, and as finely honed as a surgical scalpel.

As a hypothetical, what would it net the progressive cause if many of that same caucus publicly resigned their Democratic-Vichy-linked affiliation, especially now that President Obama has vowed to make nice with the Republican Party even more than her already has?

They have just been re-elected, so their election isn’t immediately at stake. If they resigned from the Democratic Party in the next few months and endorsed the creation of an emergent third party made up of lefties and indies, wouldn’t that suddenly give the new party a HUGE amount of gravitas and influence?

Not unlike the Tea Party, except for the money.

To coin a phrase, these defectors could assume the mantle of “thought leaders” over their Congressional delegation, unhampered by the Obama and the Dems.

They could also help articulate and channel the rage of the left, as well as the indies who simply didn’t vote or who voted Dem but felt slightly nauseous doing so.

It would be good for their egos, good for that third party (no longer marginal with many of the Progressive Caucus behind it) and good for the country.

It would be very, very bad for the remaining Democrats, but they’re known to be impotent anyway. I see a real possibility of the influence of the third party’s influence ascending in direct proportion to Vichy’s precipitous decline.

At this point, big money would begin to follow. The reason why is because of the threat of the Tea Party in 2012. That may please business in the short term—they’re generally greedy, true—but not every captain of industry is stupid.

Remember, it is to no one’s advantage (with the exception of Murdoch and the Koch Brothers) to give Palin or Secretary of Defense Limbaud the nuclear codes, and people like Bill Gates, Buffett and Soros know that all too well.

Strategically speaking, I believe that this can provide an “engine” through which we may be able to do what is necessary between now and 2012.

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By Lloyd English, November 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do you really think this is about Obama or any other
president.  Obama is no different than the average
home owner who is defaulting on loans they cannot
afford to pay.  The government is “borrowing” the
money to pay the governments (people’s) “debt”.  A
debt the government and the people of the country
cannot afford.  No matter how much you scream and
protest and vote for new fall guys the problem will
not go away until you follow the money and find out
who you are indebted to and why.
The Federal Reserve loans the government money and
it is privately owned. That is where change needs to
happen first.  All the rest of this is just dancing
around the fire.  Grab a bucket and some water and
put out the flames before it is too late.

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By ger, November 3, 2010 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What if Hillary had won..how would things be different now? Do you all
think that she might have taken the wind out of the ‘tea baggers’  sails?
Was Obama chosen to take the ‘fall’ for Bush/Cheney? (Hillary would have
been more difficult) Isn’t this all just a big chess game and certain people
behind the scenes (where power always likes to be) are the master
puppeteers? Maybe we’ve all been taken for a ride..

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By garth, November 3, 2010 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

All those phony securities based on liar loans were classified AAA so the Pension funds could buy them.  I saw a figure of the amount that was in 401ks and pension funds in the 80s and it was alarmingly large.  I knew then someone is going to go after it.  I just never thought they’d be so blatant.

Moody and the others classified them as AAA.  The rating agencies are contolled by investment banks.  Does anyone expect anyone to believe that this was just a set of circumstances?

I don’t think so.  Most people are just too tired or too dispirited to do anything about it.  Or they’re too stupid to believe it.

We wuz robbed.

I dream of the day when millions of American workers who lost 100s of thousands of dollars each march on Wall Street, surround the banks, their CEOs gated communities, confiscate their yachts, take away their passports and yell,

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.

and you don’t piss into the wind.

You don’t fuck around with other peoples’ money

and you don’t mess around with slim.

Lemme tell you something, honey, it may sound funny, but we’ve come to get our money back.

It might go down as just another example of the power of money like the Kennedy assassination, or the 9/11 coverup, but someone, sometime will have the guts and the smarts and the wherewithal to turn the whole thing inside out. 

That’s the day of reckoning.

And they can replay the tape of Gerald Ford saying, “The national nightmare is over.”


Let’s hang ‘em and then let us pray.

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By Amon Drool, November 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

mdgr…i still can’t get over your ‘Pelosi with her Botox Face is emblematic of the Democratic Party’s utter disconnect from its emotional core.’

dude, i’m gonna try to stay on your good side wink

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By Fat Freddy, November 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

diamond

I would suggest you learn a few facts, before you make accusations like that.

http://home.comcast.net/~lcmgroupe/2010/Article-Extend_Pretend-Accounting_Driven.htm

These facts are all very well documented on the pages of the FDIC, The Federal Reserve, and FASB websites. Be sure to read the complete series by Mr Long, and try to keep up.

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By diamond, November 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

‘Reality seems to be that people couldn’t wait to hand the keys back to the folks that wrecked the car.’

You’re right Kerryrose. And no one should imagine that Scheer is a lefty. He’s not left and he’s not liberal, he’s a libertarian and as such he believes any government intervention whatsoever is evil in and of itself, regardless of the circumstances. His own intelligence would tell him that Obama bailed Wall Street out, not because he is in league with them but because he had to. Not to have pumped that money in would have led to the complete collapse of the American economy, followed by the global economy. But Scheer’s libertarian ideology tells him that government intervention in the economy is bad, even if the alternative was much worse. You think it’s bad now but that’s only because you don’t know just how bad it would have been if the Obama administration hadn’t acted.

And the pigs that overturned the trough are back in control of the house. Ain’t democracy grand? Things are as bad as they could be, at least until the same idiots elect President Palin, ably assisted in their lunacy by Scheer and Truthdig. To blame Obama for any of it just betrays Scheer’s libertarian obsession and his refusal to simply assess the facts and live with the real economic situation instead of following his fantastical, silver bullet ideology and blaming Obama for what the Republicans did.

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By Amon Drool, November 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette: “...TARP was necessary to prevent the total shutdown of an economy based upon credit to function.”

i suggest u google something like ‘dean baker TARP commercial paper’.  baker points out that at the time (2008) the Fed had the the power to buy short-term commercial paper from solvent institutions that were in need of credit.  an economy based on credit could have been kept afloat through this mechanism.

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By Fat Freddy, November 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

WriterOnTheStorm

Sorry, wrong link.
Here’s the right one.

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By Flummox, November 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

kerryrose,

I didn’t say that the election was “anger that Obama was not more progressive”. Actually I was implying the reverse: the election was not anger that Obama was too progressive, the beltway bubblehead spin. I don’t even have to listen to the teevee bloviation, it’s always the liberal’s fault and the Democrats need to move more to the right, that’s what they say about everything.

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By TAO Walker, November 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

“Don’t think twice….it’s just another day in paradise.”  How’s that workin’-out for ya, tame Sisters and Brothers?

Want “CHANGE”?  Do something different, for-a-change.  Come together, where you are, in aid of our Mother Earth. 

Want to get free from the smothering shroud of your incredibly shrinking “individual” “self”?  Take care of each other….where you are.

Want to get well?  Clean-up the fucking mess you’ve all made, and are CONtinuing to make, in our Living Arrangement.

Want a little peace-and-quiet?  Quit y’r bitchin’.

Want not to be afraid?  Eliminate resorting-to the rule of fear in your Personal behavior.

Want a viable way through the horrors of your mostly “self”-inflicted predicament?  Try The Tiyoshpaye Way.

HokaHey!

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By Fat Freddy, November 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

WriterOnTheStorm

Well, perhaps you should tell that to Benjamin Franklin about his vision of a Utopian society. Sorry, I should have provided the full quote. I thought that was well known. My bad.

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By kerryrose, November 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

Flummox

Feingold is gone!!!

Sadness. Wishful thinking would interpret this as anger that Obama was not more progressive

BUT

Reality seems to be that people couldn’t wait to hand the keys back to the folks that wrecked the car.

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By Wounded and Dangerous, November 3, 2010 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

de profundis clamavi commenting previously, seems to have a pretty good grip on the situation. What he says is what we can expect to experience.

It just goes to show that no amount of griping is going to amount to anything at all. The system has the American taxpayer ( if he has a job ) by the balls and it ain’t letting go.

What to do?  Revolution perhaps?  Not much support there I do not think. Apathy? Keep on voting back and forth and just accept one’s fate? What is a good citizen supposed to do?

Who caused this mess anyhow? Is it really the Federal Reserve and the banks that it serves? Could things be that simple?  Identifying the problem, I mean? Did they cause all of the jobs to be shipped overseas and the incessant wars as well? Maybe and maybe not. But, they did aid the banks in the current crisis; they didn’t bother to regulate them. But, then neither did the politicians who created the environment under which they operate.

But, we would have to add that America was in trouble even before the current fiancial crisis hit the scene; the bankers and their greed only made things worse; their ability to get their own way only allowed the population to realize how vulnerable and what easy prey they were; they were made to pay for someone else’s mistakes. Certainly unfair. Not if you are a banker though because it is what you expect to happen when you have the control that you have.

I don’t know if holding the Fed responsible is going to solve the whole problem, but it just might be a good place to start. It would be a good place because it would reveal just how rotten the system is and why the citizens will always be the losers unless the rules of the game are changed. Actually, the rules of the game are probably ok just the way they are. There is just no enforcement that is all. The rule of law is not applied equally and I think a lot could be accomplished by focusing on this aspect of the problem.

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By Matzpen, November 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Democrats lost because from jobs and union card-check, known as the Employee Free Choice Act, to ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to refusing to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA, the Democrats haven’t delivered the goods and have spurned their base.
http://sherrytalksback.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/barbarians-inside-the-gates-what-now/

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By garth, November 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

Monscieur Lafayette:

You say,

“But most importantly, given the extreme circumstance of the moment (the seizure of the American Credit Mechanism in September, 2008), TARP was necessary to prevent the total shutdown of an economy based upon credit to function.”

That has been repeated so often that I wonder if it is conventional wisdom or the BIG LIE. 

I guess the BIG LIE.

A crime was committed.  A colossal crime.  That’s what happened.  So for anyone to ascribe to the idea that bailing out the criminals and allow them to get their tentacles more entwined with our economy is aiding an abetting.

I was going to enter a post of reconciliation, but when I read that I shouted (to myself) fuck ‘em.  Hang ‘em all.

Get our fuckin’ money back or get their hides!

A nice pair of winter gloves. Call ‘em, Blankfeins, or a Dimon coat.  Let’s get ghoulish.  Maybe they won’t forget that in their lore.


The chapter will be called the Great Mistake of 2008!

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By Fat Freddy, November 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

I believe that government is the best apparatus to take on these problems because it can be so much more efficient and effective because of the size and scope of these problems. 

While I would tend to agree that the government could provide a “backstop”, and handle large scale emergency situations, but seriously, are you telling me that government programs, in general, are effective and efficient? The Red Cross is far more effective and efficient than any government program. Habitat for Humanity has much better results than HUD. But these charities have to “compete” with government programs. I think if our taxes voluntarily went to organizations like these, there would be far less suffering. The entire Welfare system is a trap that promotes and encourages poverty. It is exacerbated by bad schools and a failed War on Drugs.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, November 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy,

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner…”

Pretty sure that in your system the lamb gets eaten too, only the wolves don’t have
to feel guilty about it because the lamb blames himself for his laziness and
irresponsibility.

If we are going to indulge in fantasy, we should at least agree that the primary
condition of any abstract utopian system should be one in which the lamb is not
the object of the wolf’s nourishment. Unless, of course, you are fantasizing solely
about a utopia for predators.

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By Flummox, November 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

mdgr,

Yes, in this article there is a list of the blue dogs that lost seats: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/03/blue-dog-coalition-gop-wave-elections_n_778087.html

here is as list of progressive caucus members:

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

The progs that lost were Alan Grayson, John Hall and Phil Hare (I guess there were only actually three) I got them here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-dolan/buck-up-progressives-we-w_b_778274.html

I don’t know if you call Huffington post solid and reliable, but all losses can be crosschecked elsewhere. I think NYTimes has an interactive map.

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By morongobill, November 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Mr. Scheer for your imo right on analysis of the election results.

I lay the blame squarely at the feet of our “teacher-in-chief” who I feel learned a lesson that he needs to out-republican the repub’s.

On a personal note I am filled with glee that Reid the father barely won and his son, who I call the woodchipper, was trounced in the Nevada guv’s race.

My reason for feeling this way can be found on today’s post at my blog.
http://morongobillsbackporch.blogspot.com/2010/11/dust-is-settling-election-is-over-and.html

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By Lafayette, November 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

Barack Obama deserved the rebuke he received at the polls for a failed economic policy that consisted of throwing trillions at Wall Street but getting nothing in return.

This is the sort of journalistic license that serves ill its author. It is emotional claptrap and not the least bit orientated in fact.

Obama did not throw billions at Wall Steet. Leadhead did—the TARP legislation was rammed through Congress by Paulson, signed into law by Lead-head and mostly spent during the closing day’s of Lead-head’s tenure.

Furthermore, it has been paid back to the Treasury with interest – a tidy sum.

But most importantly, given the extreme circumstance of the moment (the seizure of the American Credit Mechanism in September, 2008), TARP was necessary to prevent the total shutdown of an economy based upon credit to function. Would it be better to have punished banks only to see unemployment rise to rates unseen since the Great Depression? Like around 20 or 30%?

Of course not.

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By Fat Freddy, November 3, 2010 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Gmonst

How about laws against murder, theft, driving drunk?

Are you serious, or are you just testing me? OK I’ll bite. Those activities have been deemed “criminal”. Murder is an act of force, or coercion. If you would like a simple list, here: Protection of life liberty, and property, and the prohibition of fraud, robbery, trespass, and misrepresentation. That’s not too complicated, is it? How many people has the government murdered and robbed? Taxation is theft by coercion. While some tax may be necessary, Sales and Use taxes are much more fair, and require far less coercion, if any, than income and property taxes.

Libertarianism is “selfish”. Why? because we don’t want to force people to do anything against their will? Coercion is immoral and unethical, regardless of intent, and you don’t need religion to show that. Besides, name me one person that isn’t “selfish”? Mother Theresa? Ghandi? Clara Barton? Find me 635 people like them for Congress. How many people in government are “selfish”?

Are you going to ask me about “children’s rights” next?

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By christian96, November 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

I just finished playing back FOX news comments
following President Obama’s speech.  A blue eyed
blonde named Monica made the following statement,
“Pres. Obama BLEW(my background in Freudian Psychology kind of got the best of me. Blew? Was
their a Bill Clinton unconscious reaction controlling
her ID?  I’m drifting.) She said, “Pres. Obama blew
the 1st year of his presidency on a health care bill
that MOST Americans did not want and could not afford.”  How did she know what most Americans
wanted?  I’m not bragging but I have a doctoral
degree and know very little about the health care
bill and would guess MOST Americans also know very
little about the bill.  Then, why would she make
the statement? (A) She’s ignorant, (B) She is getting
a kick-back from the insurance corporations, (C)
She is being payed very well by FOX to make the
statement, (D) She loves having her pretty face on
television, or (E) All the above.  Not a bad looking
chick.  I’d like to take her to dinner and have
an indepth discourse about life in general and
Pres. Obama’s healthcare bill in specific.  Then,
perhaps, I would know more about why she made the
statement.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

Flummox,

I appreciate your post. I also agree that the numbers are critical in terms of drawing inference. It is well-known that Rahm Emanuel did what was necessary to bring the Blue Dogs on board. Not to be excessively paranoid, it probably reflected the Obama Administration’s deeper strategy, which even now is to back anti-progressive legislation while pretending to be a progressive. We now see that will be his strategy going forward as well.

We need to have more than hearsay on this, however. Do you have specific names of both progressive and Blue Dog Senators and Representatives that lost yesterday? Can you post them here, or better yet, post a link to a solid and reliable source that has listed them?

Thanks in advance.

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By garth, November 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Fat Freddy to the link to that WSJ article.  I don’t have a response but was very good reading.

Interpretation from words on a page might be the historians weak point.  I kind of wish I were a fly on the wall when thes historians talk about their areas od expertise.

A groups of abotu 10 well known historians were invited to the WH to talk and dine with The Barack.  The names included Douglas Brinkley, Robert Caro, Garry Wills, H. W. Brands.  Garry Wills, talking out of school, later pointed out, The Barack wanted to know their opinions on how the American people would react to a continuation of the wars in Afgahnistan and Iraq.
I think it was two fold.  Since guessing is allowed when a bunch of ass-kissers gather around the ass to be kissed. 

It had nothing to do with War.  The Barack is going to take the big step down the spiral staircase and kill the socail programs started by Roosevelt and continued by Johnson.

George Frasier, a great newspaper columinist of the 60s and 70s sais the when he graduated from Harvard he went to work for some leech in NYC who wanted to be around educated young men that would provide him with a second hand education without all the reading.  In other word, suck off the kid from Harrvard.

The Barack is now entering a dottering age prematurely, of a passive seeker of wisdom to get an OK for what he’s about to unleash on the working people of the United States.

He and the media will call it compromise.

The prepubescent Republicans will call it victory.

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By Flummox, November 3, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

In correct, Kerryrose, you have the story wrong. Wherever you heard that all of the progressives were thrown out gave you a false impression. In fact, the reverse is true—mostly blue dogs were kicked out. In fact, they lost half of their caucus. But the progressive caucus only lost four seats, that’s 5% of their members. Loosing so many of the Democrats who support non-progressive policies sounds like a pretty strong rebuke of Obama’s non-progressive policies to me, and certainly not the reverse.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

And to WriterOnTheStorm, I would say:


Exactly.


Obama didn’t just exempt us from Catharsis. He turned us over to the Furies.

Very mythic, with that same ring of inevitability.

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By Gmonst, November 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

On the positive side, at least progressives, liberals and the like can stop the illusion of having power, and go back to fighting the man.

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By Gmonst, November 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy Wrote:

I reject anything that requires the sacrifice of individual freedom and choice for the greater good of the group (collectivism). I believe people should be held to their responsibilities without being coerced (forced)

How about laws against murder, theft, driving drunk?  Where do you draw the line between what is allowed and not allowed in a society?  How do you hold individuals to their responsibilities without coercion? There always has to be a give and take between individual and collective.  Its that way in our families, communities, and societies.

This is what have always disliked about libertarian ideals.  I like a lot of the ideas and principles of libertarianism, especially the social freedom aspect, but it has always come across cold when it comes to caring about fellow members of society.  It has a certain selfishness to it.  I know that one can talk about doctors giving price breaks to the poor voluntarily or citizens taking it upon themselves to help the homeless and downtrodden, but it doesn’t really happen that way.  I believe that government is the best apparatus to take on these problems because it can be so much more efficient and effective because of the size and scope of these problems.  The goals of aiding the common welfare by using tax revenue is consistent with the intent of the constitution.

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By de profundis clamavi, November 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

Look on the bright side. Blanche Lincoln lost her senate seat. What’s that show? That however much a Democrat acts like a Republican, it’s still not enough to guarantee re-election. She might as well have voted in accordance with her principles, if she’s got any. Let’s hope Obama gets the message, but don’t hold your breath.

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By mdgr, November 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

To Amon Drool, Felicity and Gerard:


First off, I agree with each of you in principle, but the Devil’s in the details.


To Gerard, I would say:


Let’s not make violence or non-violence the premise of any new religion. Jon Stewart just asked us to get along and be sane and mannerly. The problem is that sanity arises from having integrated and owned our feelings, not by regarding any of them as “off-limits.” We needn’t act-out, true. But the problem with the Dems is that they have rarely had the courage to act on any of their feelings.


Pelosi with her Botox Face is emblematic of the Democratic Party’s utter disconnect from its emotional core. Same with Reid, with his predictably passive-aggressive mood swings. It is time now to get in touch with our rage, not just with some cerebral-intimations of anger.


It is IMO opinion way too early to begin talking about tactics, about civil disobedience or Gandhi.


To Felicity, I would say the following:


You are right. The MSM is very predictable and, as such, it can be more than discouraging. But is it possible in this instance to use it to our advantage?

To each thing there is a season, and this is the time, I think, for Democrats not to vent anger so much on the R’s or the Tea Party people, but at their own Vichy-entrenched party.


My guess is that the MSM itself would happily agree to be the carriers of that message since it would ostensibly serve their corporate masters. The thing is, however, is that if the MSM works to further destroy the Democratic Party, it will only augment the vacuum created in this election cycle.


That’s why centrists like Thomas Friedman (MSM to the core) is promoting the noting of a third party that is committed to the “glorious center.” He fears a third party from the left. I am guessing that by skillfully playing this game of triangulation, it may be possible not just to get one going but by 2012, to see it attain enormous stature.


I say that because by 2012, the Tea Party (Plain, Beck, Limbaud) may be within arm’s length of attaining the presidency. That’s what their strategists are counting on, and as it was in Weimar, so may it be here. The Dem’s will be perceived as impotent for a LONG time, I think. That suggests that many Americans who are now relatively apolitical may be clamoring for another viable option in two years. The historical dynamics are present though I wouldn’t hold my breath and suggest that it is probable. 


Lastly, to Amon Drool:


Agree, but there is nothing other than precedent and funding pointing to a two-party solution. Also, I should say that we mustn’t play this game as if we’re going to lose. We have to approach 2012 as if we HAVE to win because if we don’t, there is absolutely nothing left. The stakes are that high, and it’s that serious.

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By gerard, November 3, 2010 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

FELICITY:  Re: the media.
  An “inside job” might be done with this, maybe, in addition to a consistent frontal attack from “the public” on who “owns” the public airwaves.  This latter is (sporadically, I guess) the bailiwick of liberal media orgs, electronic media and Fairness and Accuracy, IndeMedia, FreeSpeechRadio etc. ???
  As to the “inside job” it would, in my opinion, require some sophisticated nudging from some “big shots” on the “liberal” side with media connections (Soros, Donahue, Hollywood Left, Nader, Huffington, Colbert, Moyers - you get the idea.
  It is my belief that Murdoch cannot long continue to dominate the field. (I learned one thing in Japan:  “One hundred percent is unstable.”)
  A combined attack on the FCC from lots of ordinaries and a few media elites (particularly since the excesses of the midterm media mercenaries) now stands a chance of success.
  Problem is, we need to do everything at once and few seem to really see the opportunities and want to exert the energy to try.  That’s maddening.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, November 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

Scheer misses another salient point: failure to deliver catharsis from the Bush
years. True, it was the UberNancy who took impeachment “off the table”, but
Obama was correctly blamed for letting it all end there, precisely when many
were yearning for some recognition of the damage Bush had done to the
constitution and to the office of President.

But like most presidents before him, Obama opted to let by-gones be, no doubt
with more than a little self interest as motivation. After all, if Bush could be
excoriated ex-post facto, it might set a precedent from which he himself would
not be exempt.

So while disappointment applies for permanent resident status in team blue,
team red gloats and spews smug revival-tent platitudes about getting their
country back. And WriterOnTheStorm, who doesn’t believe in salvation through
politics, will watch in wonder, knowing that the stage is already being set for the
next inevitable heartbreak.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, November 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The wall street crowd got to Obama on day one the same way they did Clinton.  They made him believe that he had to serve their interests in order to survive.  Hopefully he learned something last night.

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By Fat Freddy, November 3, 2010 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

So, the Republicans “won”. Does it really make any difference? Arguably, the two most principled members of Congress are Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. They are on opposite sides of the aisle, but have come together to work on a few basic issues.

1) Ending the wars (Peace)
2) Auditing the Federal Reserve (Transparency in banking)
3) Repealing the Patriot Act (Restoring civil liberties)

These are three very basic issues which most Americans can agree on. But yet they are treated like ugly stepchildren by their respective parties, and portrayed as extremists or wackos by the news media. As a result, they have gained very little ground on these three very basic issues. So, I ask you again, does it really matter if Republicans or Democrats are elected?

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By Fat Freddy, November 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

felicity

would you agree that there’s a difference
between capitalism and democratic capitalism

I would argue that there is a difference between market entrepreneurship and political entrepreneurship. The former being preferable.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704380504575530332139071998.html

The “problem” with free market Capitalism is, it is “unstable”. I hear people on CNBC say we need “stability” in the markets. I would argue that we need integrity in the markets. We need markets that are not manipulated by the collusion of government and finance. For ultimately, it is the interference of government that causes even greater instability in the long run. Currently, the “best” investors are those that can accurately predict what the government and Federal Reserve are going to do. So, a company like JP Morgan, whose CEO, Jamie Dimon, is a Board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, gets a “heads up”. So, of course, the shareholders, and Board of Directors will not do anything to challenge Mr Dimon. Then there’s the integrity of the economic indicators like CPI, GDP and even unemployment, published by the Fed. The formula for CPI has been changed so many times, it’s mind boggling. It’s all external manipulations that are designed to provide stability in something that is inherently unstable, most times, creating more harm than good.

would you argue that the Democratic
ethos of social obligations, economic security, and
industrial democracy (not industrial autocracy) is a
bad idea?

Not sure exactly what you mean, but I believe in the individual responsibilities of social obligations. I reject anything that requires the sacrifice of individual freedom and choice for the greater good of the group (collectivism). I believe people should be held to their responsibilities without being coerced (forced). However, I believe in Freedom of Speech, and that individuals can and should be ridiculed, publicly, for not meeting their individual responsibilities, or praised for doing what is necessary. I believe that we individuals have become reliant on the government to take care of the poor and underprivileged for us, alleviating us of our responsibilities. That is where true charity ends. True charity provides humility and increases character and provides a great amount of personal satisfaction.

I don’t know if something like “economic security” is possible. If it is, it is the responsibility of the individual.

Industrial democracy, or anarcho-syndicalism, I believe, is not practical. There is a reason for the current separation of ownership, management and labor. It arose from necessity, not necessarily design. The owners set the long term goals, the management takes care of the day-to-day operations, and the labor performs the actual production. Any mix of these three would cause an even greater bureaucracy within the company, perhaps even greater than the government itself. Any type of unionization is highly collectivist. Individual choice is always preferable, in my opinion. We can choose to be members of a group that combine to pursue a common interest. However, when that group requires, or demands the sacrifice of individuals for the greater good, you have collectivism, even if the leaders of that group are democratically elected. (Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner…) Collectivism leads to Totalitarianism, however well intentioned the goals may be. Totalitarianism creates mistrust, misgivings, resentments and even anger within the group.

I’m not saying free market Capitalism is perfect, but freedom of the individual is always preferable to collectivist coercion, and with personal freedom comes personal responsibility, in my opinion.

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By garth, November 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

This election should awaken every Anerican voter of good conscience that it’s not a sweep that is important.  It’s the key election districts to look at.  In otra mot, their goal is to defeat the Reps, Sens, Governors who most challenge the status quo.

Case in point, Joe Manchin is for turning all those mountain top sites (mountain top removal) into a carbon waste-dump for the Wall Street schemers.  He won re-election.  Grayson in Fl did not.

To emphasize the point, I saw Feingold’s testimony before the Obama’s Deficit Commission.  He highlighted the cost of the Afgan-Iraq wars as a first place to look for deficit reduction.  I don’t think his gravitas went over well with the Administration.  We need war, war and more war.

Here’s to Feingold.  I’d vote and support his campaign for the Presidency.  Wholeheartedly.

BTW Social Security adds nothing to the Deficit.  It’s our money.  I paid into it, you paid into it.  After they screwed us with their Wall Street fiasco of 2008 with their raiding the Pension funds, I’ll be damned if I let them tell me I’m sucking from a sows teat, as Alan Simpson said recently.

Time to stop crying.  Time to make them cry, a la John ‘The Tan Man’ Boehner’.

We have nothing to fear but a weepy Speaker of the Hosue.

Continuing with the original thought, Grayson and Kuster in the House spoke out of turn and probably would have won in normal circumstance.

Elections are now left to the wacko ads, the dumbed-down electorate, and in the cases where they can’t select the candidate they make the vote counters arithmetically illiterate.

Voter fraud is bullshit.  Stealing elections is the way to go.  Thugs like the dead Supreme Court Justice, I’ve forgotten his name so soon, went to NM to inimidate the Mexican-Americans.  And Roberts.  He leaves a video trail of his idelogical support of Bush in one of the halls of the 2000 election in FL.  I SAW IT.

How much is too much to take?

I haven’t mentioned Obama’s name.  He’s irrelevant.  But thanks for comming, Barack.  Let me shovel you off to someone who wants to listen to you.

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politicky's avatar

By politicky, November 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

I have no sympathy for Tea Party losers

they are loud and ugly, welcome to RedState America
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO66Z3Fj7ME

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By Amon Drool, November 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

i’m originally from an area of northern minnesota called the Iron Range.  in the 1880’s, deposits aplenty of iron ore were found there.  to fill all the mining jobs, immigrants flooded in from scandanavian northern europe and slavic southeastern europe.  these immigrants were largely of peasant background…some idea of communalism had been ingrained in them in their struggle to survive.  during the first 30 years of the 20th century, they continually attempted to form labor unions to ease the 6 day a week, 10 to 12 hour/day grind.  they were rebuffed by pinkertons and the US ‘supreme’ court.  eventually they just gave up the fight and hoped to save enough money so they could move back to the ‘old’ country and buy some land.

wall street foolishness in the 1920’s led to the great depression, which led to the New Deal and roosevelt giving labor a seat at the table.  iron rangers never forgot this and always sent dems to washington with 70-30 margins.  the current dem, jim obestar, went along with DLC dems and voted for TARP and buyer-mandated health insurance.  last night, for the first time in 80 years, a repub was elected to the US House from northern minnesota’s 8th district.
_________________

mdgr…i do agree with you that we better form a progressive 3rd party.  but i think it even more of a necessity that we redesign our ‘democratic’ system into a multi-party system.  face it, progressives are too diverse to come up with a program that would have mass appeal.  but in a multi-party system, we could form coalitions with those of the lbertarian bent on key issues like imperial overstretch, TBTF bank bailouts and foolish drug ‘wars’.  now, how we bring about a more democratic (small d), representative redesign is a whole ‘nother matter, but it’s becoming apparent to a whole lot of people that we just can’t keep on going on with the present political duopoly.

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By felicity, November 3, 2010 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

gerard - your comment on social security reminded me
of what I’ve previously written, (that if the tax cuts
for the 2% were allowed to lapse, social security
would be funded for the next 75 years.) 


If this kind of information - and there’s a ton of it
out here on all sorts of subjects that Main Street
would have no problem ‘getting’ - was being dispensed
regularly by the media, I think a ‘grass-roots’
movement to reform DC would be a slam-dunk. 

But there’s that perennial sticky-wicket:  The media
aren’t about to ‘dispense’ any information that would
cut into the huge profits they realize during every
so-called election cycle - like the ‘manna from
heaven’ that comes their way from the thousands of ads
politicians buy.  Obviously, step one would be to take
back what we already own, the air waves, requiring the
medium to ‘give’ candidates access to them without
charge.  It’s not rocket science.

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By gerard, November 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Another proposed focus, even more deserving than campaign financinc reform, but not so “advantaged” as to timing:

Reconstitute the demand for ending war and the domination of militarism. Strong side-focus on much better care of returning vets. Appeal to families with soldiers dead and alive in present forces and on what bases where. Work with vets directly. News from ... personal stories etc.  Emotional appeal of sympathy, compassionate care, after-service what is happening now? (stop the suicides!) etc. etc. 

Strengthen argument using patriotic point of view—false patriotism of continuing war policies after they have become counterproductive. False patriotism of torture (close Guantanamo etc.).  False patriotism of depending on weapons manufacture and sale (incl. black market, drugs, “contractors without contracts, bribery etc.) as undemocratic and inhumane. Incidiousness of helping other people kill other people. Sneaky unfairness of “drones.”

Education on peaceful alternatives and war as out-dated, as having worked itself out of a job, as a dinosaur etc. What could be done with even a small part of the war money. 

Develop a “spirit of the future” vision of broad cross-class, cross-race, cross-nation appeal.
  .Bring up questions like:  “What are the real human results of widespreading citizen-surveillance, the “prison-industrial complex” etc. How democratic is ...?  Making democratic choices.  Who is doing that now?  Who could be doing it better?  Worse? A kind of “global emotional cooling” along with

Yet another focus—world ecology.  But—enough for now.  Lots to do, lots of ways to do it. If you don’t want to do this, do that.  Freedom of choice, but if you don’t choose one or another, you are locking the door to your own self-made prison cell.

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By myxzptlk, November 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scheer makes many excellent points that explain much, but not all of the causes of yesterday’s election results.

One important omission is Obama’s failure to ratchet down 2 Republican wars that are a big part of the deficit problem that Republicans are now blaming on Obama.

But it’s this part that bothers me the most:

“It was that opportunistic shift by Clinton that led to his signing off on the radical deregulation of the financial industry that caused the economic meltdown. If Obama follows such advice it will spell further disaster for the nation”

Obama, like Clinton, has governed as a moderate Conservative, not a Progressive.  He has proven that his inclination is to concede to right-wing pressures, and he now faces even more pressure to move further to the right.  His obsession with “bipartisanship” has set the stage for a return to the disastrous policies that caused the current financial crisis. 

But a generation’s worth of domestic output has already been extracted by the great vampire squid.  Another attempt to extract even more will result in systemic collapse.

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de profundis clamavi's avatar

By de profundis clamavi, November 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

American politics is an endless multiple choice test where we are repeatedly forced to choose between two unsatisfactory alternatives. Either: A. Republican or B. Democratic. The candidates chosen by this blunt system must satisfy moneyed and entrenched interests in Wall Street, Washington, the Pentagon and the “mainstream” media that they do not threaten the status quo. One way or another, the status quo needs to change significantly or else this country is going to end up looking more like South America than Europe. Under the status quo, which favors the interests of the financial elite and the military, a tiny minority of Americans have steadily been getting richer and more powerful for about the last three decades, while the vast majority are going nowhere and more than half are actually getting poorer. Successive governments fail to change this, and so voters switch answers from “A” to “B”, get angry when little progress is made, and switch back again after another election cycle or two. Now the “American People” have elected another gridlock government. No significant policy decisions whatsoever will be made for the next two years, while the country continues to wage endless war and maintain over 700 useless foreign military bases, more industrial jobs and technological know-how are sent overseas, more young people are forced into debt to go to college in the hope of finding decent jobs in an economy that has discarded them before they even get started, more families will lose their homes to mortgage foreclosure, more bridges will collapse, more neighborhood schools and parks will close and a few more billionaires whose business careers produce nothing in America but poverty and inequality will build, furnish, buy and sell a few more billion dollar holiday homes and yachts and tell us we should all be grateful to them for the few jobs thereby made available to the servant class to build and staff them. Will Democrats and Republicans “reach out and find common ground?” They already have, for the past 40 years, and their common ground is that if you’re not a Wall Street billionaire, you don’t matter. All the rancor between Republicans and Democrats is just for show. It’s like Nabisco waging an advertising war against General Mills (if they havent’ merged already). The Wall Street banks own the federal government. The Wall Street banks make lots of money by financing the American military and gutting the American economy. The Republican and Democratic parties compete to win the support of the Wall Street banks. Every couple of years, Wall Street supports a re-branding and a different ad campaign. New box, same old $#^+ inside. Wake up and smell the coffee.

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By gerard, November 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

Not rage for the sake of rage, but an outlet for rage.  Better yet, a focus for organizing that will make the goal “irresistable.” Without reasonalb goals, rage quickly disintegrates into violence.

“Now we know what doesn’t work.”  Or, what does work—that is, pour money from the coffers of the rich into the politics of the rich.

Campaign financing reform as a first focus for organizing?  How could that focus be made “irresistable”? What would attract lots of people (from various constituencies) to it?

Is campaign finance reform more “viable” since the midterms?  Yes, because more people than at any other time had a chance to see the preponderance of ads favoring candidates who were “bought” and “sold” in the ads. A kind of human trafficking

Tools?  Information (or lack) regarding how much to whom for what, plus secrecy as counter-democratic, plus “follow the money” into legislation or lack of legislation. Get information and get it out in every possible way. Don’t just let the midterms drop out of sight; use them: (“You remember how that happened ...... and after that .... happened?  Well, here’s why ... (dirty ads, misconstructioins, no way to fight against it .. unfair, etc.) There will be plenty of evidence.  Don’t sell democracy down the river, etc. )

Obviously the left needs to come to grips with getting organized—something they still show no signs of wanting to do.  No leadership plus little actual planning talk. Getting unions, progressive ngos, progressive churches and interracial orgs together.  Working from the grassroots up.

Now is the time for .... reconstituting a democratic, pro-working stiff organization that, once coping with one issue will have experience to cope with the next—for example, next save social security which will likely be the absolutely most vital issue for the future—that, and maintaining and improving universal health insurance.

Onward!

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