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Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Community Organizer We Elected President?

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Posted on Nov 18, 2009
AP / Alex Brandon

When did our beloved Chicago organizer become a golfer who shills for the banking industry?

By Robert Scheer

What’s up with Barack Obama? The candidate for change once promised to take on the powerful banking interests but is now doing their bidding. Finally, a leading Democrat, in this case Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, has a good idea for monitoring the Wall Street fat cats who all but destroyed the American economy, and the Obama administration condemns it. 

Dodd wants to take supervisory power from the Federal Reserve, which is controlled by the banks it pretends to monitor, and put it in the hands of a new independent agency. That makes sense given the Fed’s abject failure to properly monitor the financial sector over the past decade as that industry got drunk on greed. As Dodd’s spokeswoman Kirstin Brost put it: “The Federal Reserve flat out failed at supervising the largest, most complex firms.” But White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee frets that taking power from the Fed would cause financial industry “nervousness.” Isn’t that the whole point of government regulation—to make the bandits look over their shoulders before they launch their next destructive scam?

Not so in the view of Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin, who blithely insists that the Fed “is the best agency equipped for the task of supervising the largest, most complex firms,” despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. There is some irony in the fact that the largest of those complex firms got to be “too big to fail” because of the radical deregulatory legislation that Wolin drafted during his previous incarnation as the Treasury Department’s general counsel in the Clinton administration. Wolin is now deputy to Timothy Geithner, who as head of the New York Fed in the five years preceding the banking meltdown looked the other way as the disaster began to unfold.

Why is Barack Obama allowing these retreads from the Clinton era who went on to great riches on Wall Street to set economic policy for his administration? The fatal hallmark of this president’s financial policy is that it is being designed by the very people whose previous legislative efforts created the mess that enriched them while impoverishing the nation, and they now want more of the same. 

In the Clinton years, Wolin was general counsel to then-Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, the key architect of the radical deregulation that caused the recent banking collapse. Summers went off to work for hedge funds and banks that paid him $15 million in 2008 while he was advising Obama. Meanwhile, Wolin became general counsel for Hartford Insurance Corp., which had to be bailed out by the taxpayers because it took advantage of the radical deregulation that he helped write into law.

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Wolin, Geithner and Summers were all protégés of Robert Rubin, who, as Clinton’s treasury secretary, was the grand author of the strategy of freeing Wall Street firms from their Depression-era constraints. It was Wolin who, at Rubin’s behest, became a key force in drafting the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which ended the barrier between investment and commercial banks and insurance companies, thus permitting the new financial behemoths to become too big to fail. Two stunning examples of such giants that had to be rescued with public funds are Citigroup bank, where Rubin went to “earn” $120 million after leaving the Clinton White House, and the Hartford Insurance Co., where Wolin landed after he left Treasury.

Both Citigroup and Hartford would not have gotten into trouble were it not for the enabling legislation that the three Clinton officials pushed through while they were in power. But even with that law, had Geithner been on the case protecting the public interest while head of the New York Fed, much of the damage could have been avoided.

Thanks to the legislation that Wolin helped write, the limits preventing mergers between insurance companies and banks imposed during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency was reversed. Hartford got into banking, and as The Washington Times observed in a scathing editorial, “Hartford … rushed to buy regulated savings and loans just so they could call themselves banks and qualify for government TARP funds.” Wolin collected his millions while the taxpayers were obliged to cover Hartford’s losses. 

It is depressing for a columnist who had great hopes for Obama to be forced by the facts to credit editors at the right-wing Washington Times for getting it right when they opined: “Revolving doors between industry and the administration and fat-cat political contributors getting bailed out at taxpayer expense sound like business as usual. This certainly isn’t change we can believe in.” Please, Mr. President, say it ain’t so.

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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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, November 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

What we need is both legislation and presidential directives that will outlaw the American Populace from being subjected to the “moral hazard” of privatized capitalism on a continuing cyclical basis, as has been the case with privatized capitalism since the advent of privatized capitalism.

What the American people and the United States needs as a nation are financially strong banks FREE of toxic capital that can be used to provide credit to enable markets for discounted toxic capital, that will in turn revitalize the American Economy, rather than nothing more than to enrich a few private capitalists by recapitalizing their toxic capital at the expense of the American Populace and force the American Populace to make payments in support of the revenue stream of toxic capital from which they do not receive benefit as has been done so far with the 2008-2009 bailout money.

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By ardee, November 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

if either on of us were to publicly state our views about Reverend Wright’s comments, neither one of us would have any chance of being elected to any political office, let alone President of the United States.

“If nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve…...”

One cannot serve two masters, truth and the state of politics in this nation are diametrically opposed.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 28, 2009 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

Ardee

Obama is a politician. To expect his comments not to be politically motivated is, unfortunately, asking too much.

As to “our” comments regarding Reverend Wright’s comments (Yours being more to the point, and showing more character,) if either on of us were to publicly state our views about Reverend Wright’s comments, neither one of us would have any chance of being elected to any political office, let alone President of the United States.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 27, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Upon hearing some of Rev. Wright‘s speeches I found myself agreeing with what he was saying! But then Obama‘s reasons for going were showing as a liability to his campaign so he dropped Wright without hesitation as any hollow politician would.

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By ardee, November 27, 2009 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

Regarding Obama’s response to Reverend Wright’s comments; I would agree there is a very strong appearance of dishonesty. Reverend Wright’s comments were inflammatory, extreme, and totally unacceptable to the vast majority of the American People.

Obama’s responses to the criticisms of Wright’s sermons were, in my opinion, simply politically motivated. My opinion of what Wright said is that he was exactly on the mark.

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By DHFabian, November 27, 2009 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

My problem with the Rev. Wright issue is the way that the media took bits and pieces of his sermons out of context. Granted, he didn’t handle media exposure very well, but before and after his “15 minutes of fame,” his sermons appear to have been entirely consistent with Scripture. It’s worth noting here that Christ’s teachings in themselves would be subject to severe conservative criticism in the US today; consider his radical social message when he stated that “It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.” His advocacy for the poor, in which he repeatedly makes it clear that we have a moral responsibility to provide for the poor, is simply unacceptable in our post-welfare-reform America.

To listen to a sermon does not necessarily mean to agree with it.  As a Christian, I can say that I’ve
often had to swallow my impulse to argue when listening to a sermon.  Sermons are simply interpretations of Scripture. What makes sermons valuable isn’t that they tell you what to think, but that they make you think.

President Obama has a long history of actually listening to those with whom he doesn’t agree.  That’s simply smart. The more you listen to those with whom you disagree, the broader your perspective of the issue becomes.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 26, 2009 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

Starfish

I would agree that Bill Clinton came under immediate media scrutiny, when it looked as though he might be successful in his bid to win the Democratic Primary. There was “Trooper Gate,” involving Jennifer Flowers, and other allegations of scandal while he was Governor of Arkansas. I would agree that the media was irresponsible in it’s coverage of these allegations.

The Reverend Wright issue was perhaps the one issue that threatened Obama’s primary bid the most.

That issue did receive significant media coverage.

Regarding Obama’s response to Reverend Wright’s comments; I would agree there is a very strong appearance of dishonesty. Reverend Wright’s comments were inflammatory, extreme, and totally unacceptable to the vast majority of the American People. I’m wondering if those comments were representative of his sermons, or if those comments were just two comments he made, out of frustration and anger, during the ten year period that Obama attended his church. I also wonder if Obama had 100% attendance at Reverend Wright’s church, and if Reverend Wright’s comments were more restrained when Obama was present. I don’t know.

Regarding the comments themselves, I’ll be disingenuous, and not comment (It’s a character flaw,) but considering all the death, destruction, and injustice that has occurred over the years, perhaps the anger and frustration become more understandable, but I do recognize that Mr. Wright’s comments were, inflammatory, extreme, and totally unacceptable to the vast majority of the American People.

I would suppose that there are people who claim Obama is “Lincoln, Kennedy and FDR all rolled into one,” but I don’t think the Mainstream Media has made that claim.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 26, 2009 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

DHFabian


Maybe pronouncements was an inappropriate word. Clinton was a Democratic politician, and as a politician, I’m sure that he did make pronouncements to appeal to Democrats. Democrats being on the left side of the isle, I would suppose that many would consider those pronouncements as being leftist.

I agree with all you other comments.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 26, 2009 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

DHFabian

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By starfish, November 26, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ:

Obama’s pronouncements—during the campaign (but not now that he’s been elected)—were decidedly to the left of President Clinton’s (as you label them) “leftist pronouncements”, yet the media people loved and covered up for Obama. The media people savaged Bill Clinton from the day he announced he would run for the presidency. But Obama (in spite of evidence to the contrary) they still claim is Lincoln, Kennedy and FDR all rolled into one.

As for Clinton’s “behavior” having been the cause of the media’s dislike of Clinton, I hardly think Clinton’s “behavior” was worse than Obama’s claiming he never heard his minister (the Rev. Wright) say a racist word or an anti-American word in all the 20 years Obama sat in that church listening to Wright. As for “character flaws,” I think that persistently lying to the American people to get votes—as Obama did —was a pretty bad character flaw.

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By DHFabian, November 25, 2009 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, what were Clinton’s “leftist pronouncements” or his leftist political affiliations? I really don’t remember either.

On the “affiliations” part, a couple members of Clinton’s cabinet did mildly argue a bit against Clinton’s decision to wipe out New Deal policies. Their ideas were solidly middle-of-the-road, not leftist by any means. I’m honestly at a loss when it comes to remembering any of his “leftist pronouncements”.

Remember, Clinton was a politician who marketed himself to youth; that was purely a business decision. What Clinton actually did was to pull today’s progressives well to the right (of progressives of any other generation) by taking the central issues (i.e., economic disparities, etc.) off the table. Clinton taught a generation to make decisions by NOT putting issues into context; in doing so, we lost sight of how the policies that impact one segment of society actually impact all of us. This is entirely consistent with conservative YOYO ideology. We will be paying the price for that for many years to come.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

Johncp

We’re beating a dead horse here. It’s clear that you have great admiration for the Clintons and you would like the realities to support your admiration. I’ll respond one more time in an effort to make my position clear, but I think there are more important, current issues, that we need to focus on.

You continue to infer that I am unaware of realities we have agreed upon. I have long been aware of, what I consider to be, the institutional bias in the media, and I have presented what I hope are fairly cogent arguments to support that contention.  I am certain that Bill Clinton, because of his somewhat leftist pronouncements and because of his political affiliations, was destined to be the victim of media criticism. I believe that that criticism would have ranged from subtle, to blatant, depending on the degree of animosity or uncertainty held by the corporate commentator. I also believe that Clinton made himself vulnerable to the “fierce antagonism” you describe, because of his own behavior. I believe that the media circus that resulted was harmful to our society, and harmful to the hopes and aspirations of people who have/had a progressive agenda, and that his behaviors did in fact demonstrate character flaws. Character flaws that were in fact harmful to our nation.

You state:

“……To remind those that had already been exposed to Clinton-hating condidtioning, such as yorself, to further manipulation, to the point of mental exhaustion.  “See, there, Clinton and Monica.”

I deny being a Clinton hater and I have already described my experience of being a Clinton supporter, but I would like to point out that conditioning is the result of environmental stimuli; such as stimuli pertaining to the old fashioned concepts of lack of fidelity and dishonesty. Perhaps I’m being too hard on Clinton, given that his actions were “commonplace” as you say. I would argue that “Commonplace” seems to be a to common within our society. Regarding “routine sex acts” I won’t comment except to say that even “routine sex acts” are considered infidelity by many, when they are practiced outside the confines of marriage.

Regarding your comment about the hypocrisy from the right regarding this issue; I am in complete agreement, and I have commented at length about the Right’s hypocrisy regarding this issue. This issue of hypocrisy is a difficult one, I haven’t been guilty of the infidelity described, but being human, I can understand why people might suspect me of hypocrisy. It’s all a question of values I suppose. Behavior does have consequences though, which opens up another issue, that being the issue of reckless stupidity,

You state:

“It’s a mystery how and why you expected Clinton’s politics to be anything but “neo-liberal,” when you know perfectly well, that no other politics could squeeze by, with the American corporatocracy breathing down the necks of American presidents.”
 
The problem you state is a real one. Call me idealistic, but I keep hoping that someday we’ll elect a President that won’t be bothered by the Corporatocracy breathing down his neck.

You state:

“Considering his looks at the time, his background, etc., how can we speak of “character flaws?”  The man was merely taking advantage of rewards laid out before him, which would have been available to him, considering his appeal, his stature, a jovial and winning personality, his education, etc., even had he none of the dizzying and fast increasing political power he obtained early on, and whihch is, by itself, so captivating to women.”

I’m wondering if he’s worthy of all this adulation.

(More Below)

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By JDmysticDJ, November 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

johncp (continued)

You conclude:

“Cut the guy some slack.”

I would have cut him some slack, if he’d been eligible to run against Bush in 2000.

This debate began with a discussion regarding whether Hillary would have been preferable to Obama. Unless Kucinich or some other real progressive, challenges Obama in 2012. I’ll stick by my appraisal that Obama may be our only hope for progressive change, however futile that hope may seem. “Hope Springs Eternal”

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By garth, November 24, 2009 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

Lets see:

45,00 die each year from not having health insurance.

unemployment is about 17%

upwards of 6,000 US military dead in Iraq and Afghanistan

30,000 more to go to Afghanistan (to be announced)

About million Iraqis and Afghanis dead.

And you people are complaining about not using the appropriate language as dictated by the Wellesley Women’s Book Club. 
It’s no wonder to me now how some bare knuckle Republicans can simply snub their noses at the Constitution and at the “Wonderful People” and just take over this country. Soon, if not already, they’ll own it lock, stock and barrel. 
All I can say is save yourselves.  These Democrats/Republicans are not worth it.

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By KDelphi, November 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

So Obama is going to “get the job done” in Af-Pak—-so macho, so familiar, so stupid…35,000 more “troops” will just keep us in this murdurous game and just result in more death….Rep Obey’s idea of “taxing the rich” to pay for it will never pass..they might not donate as much to their campaigns if they voted for that—but this is what he said he was going to do.

Didnt you Obama supporters hear him? I want a CHOICE ( so important in the USA!!)but all we get is Brand Obama or Brand Ridcilulous GOP.

I wish I could remind myself not to be disappointed when Obama tows the line again..its just hard to get used to so many young people supporting a person in these deadly pursuits…a draft would probably change that, but Dems are certainly not going to draft potential contributors and foot people,,,just keep unemployment high and we’ll pretend its all voluntter for “fridom”

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By KDelphi, November 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for link, Jay. That helps to explain why so many Obama supporters seem to hate Nader (not that I agree with him all of the time, but , if he could defeat Dodd, we could have a diehard advocate in the senate) I think that Nader’s “uncle tom” comments were racist and I think he shouldve used a different term, like SELL OUT…

I like this quote from the Harper’s article:

“I recall a remark made by Studs Terkel in 1980, about the liberal Republican John Anderson, who was running as an independent against Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter: “People are so tired of dealing with two-foot midgets, you give them someone two foot four and they start proclaiming him a giant”.. In the unstinting and unanimous adulation of Barack Obama today, one wonders if a similar dynamic might be at work.”

I think we can say, yes, now, definately.

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By truedigger3, November 24, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

garth wrote:
““In a sociological/anthropological vein, stereotypes have existed, do exist and probably always will.  Only the lily white, neo-liberals want to say, “Ta ta.  Enough of that now.””
___________________________________________________

Of course streotypes were,are and will be around for the foreeable future.
But are these stereotypes correct and is it fair and wise to evaluate and judge people only according to them, or give these stereotypes any attention at all??!!

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By Jay Taber, November 24, 2009 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

Three years ago this month, Harper’s magazine did an expose http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/11/0081275 on how Obama sold his soul to Wall Street in order to advance his ambitious political career. One year ago this month, Ralph Nader—Obama’s former employer—remarked in no uncertain terms that Obama was an opportunist, plain and simple. The fact that America’s number one public interest advocate recognized this flaw in the rising star of the Democratic Party gave some of us pause, but for others it required a year of multiple betrayals before they understood he was Goldman’s golden boy.

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By garth, November 24, 2009 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

To rephrase a poem written by Charles Bukowski entitled, “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” you don’t know what war is.  And make no mistake about it we are at war. They hope to wear us down.
David Boies, the attorney who represented Gore in the Supreme Court trial, Gore v. Bush, said later in an interview that we will continue to lose because those people are willing to do anything.  These people are mad, and they are leading us down what seems like a primrose path to hardship and war that might just end this whole experiment.
In a sociological/anthropological vein, stereotypes have existed, do exist and probably always will.  Only the lily white, neo-liberals want to say, “Ta ta.  Enough of that now.”

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By truedigger3, November 24, 2009 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

garth wrote:

“Barack Obama’s father was from the Luo tribe in Kenya.  The Kenyan’s stereotype the Luos as tall, lanky and lazy.
Now, if one takes a look at Obama’s administrative thrust into health care reform, and its lack of impetus, and his refusal to the push the most cogent issue, (single payer), is there any doubt that Obama might be just plain lazy.”
_________________________________________________

In addition to your deplorable stereotyping and prejudice, you are displaying a complete lack of awareness of the health care “reform” shenanigans.
Obama’s lack of impetus and his dispicable performance in the health care “reform” issues is not because he is ‘tall lanky and lazy” but because he is in bed with the insurance/pharma/medical industrial complex and is doing what they want and ask for and the current law is writen by and agreed upon by that cabal.

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By ardee, November 24, 2009 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

garth, November 23 at 8:58 pm #

Barack Obama’s father was from the Luo tribe in Kenya.  The Kenyan’s stereotype the Luos as tall, lanky and lazy.
Now, if one takes a look at Obama’s administrative thrust into health care reform, and its lack of impetus, and his refusal to the push the most cogent issue, (single payer), is there any doubt that Obama might be just plain lazy.

Is there any doubt that this poster skirts perilously close to racial stereotyping? My goodness this forum becomes home to some very, very smelly types….

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By johncp, November 23, 2009 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ
I can find little to agree with in your comments.  Media are little more than mouthpieces for corporate greed and corruption.  Your notion that mainstream media did not have a fierce antagonism against Clinton, which sought to destroy him, and not just his politics, leaves me dumbfounded.  Consider just one desperate, obsessive attack on Clinton from CNN (not FOX, by the way), namely, the mindless repetetiveness with which CNN people were instructed to show the now notorious clip of Clinton in a large crowd, where he simply and innocently hugs Monica.  There were days when this clip was shown at least a hundred times on CNN, often repeated immediately after being shown once, at any time of day, with mind numbing regularity.  Why?  To remind those that had already been exposed to Clinton-hating condidtioning, such as yorself, to further manipulation, to the point of mental exhaustion.  “See, there, Clinton and Monica.”

Neither Clinton’s “sexual antics,” or his lies were anything but commonplace; his lies were certainly not blatant, and were largely, perfectly understandable, efforts to keep hidden, “private and consensual” sexual conduct.  “Blatant” lies, is merely the take you wish to put on them, thereby denying a process you’re in the very act of continuing.  His sexual antics, especially now, with recent revelations of sexual misconduct by a whole slew of republicans, not to mention those right-wingers that prosecuted Clinton during the “impeachment” so called, that were found to have committed equally or worse sexual misbehaviors, even as they hounded Clinton over the trivia he’d engaged in, takes hypocrisy to new and amazing levels.  Clinton’s mild and routine sex acts, did not result in the vicious media criticism directed at him, the vicious media criticism, which came first, blew Clintons actions into serious misdeeds in the minds of a vulnerable and morally obtuse public.

It’s a mystery how and why you expected Clinton’s politics to be anything but “neo-liberal,” when you know perfectly well, that no other politics could squeeze by, with the American corporatocracy breathing down the necks of American presidents.  Considering his looks at the time, his background, etc., how can we speak of “character flaws?”  The man was merely taking advantage of rewards laid out before him, which would have been available to him, considering his appeal, his stature, a jovial and winning personality, his education, etc., even had he none of the dizzying and fast increasing political power he obtained early on, and whihch is, by itself, so captivating to women.  Cut the guy some slack.

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By garth, November 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

Barack Obama’s father was from the Luo tribe in Kenya.  The Kenyan’s stereotype the Luos as tall, lanky and lazy.
Now, if one takes a look at Obama’s administrative thrust into health care reform, and its lack of impetus, and his refusal to the push the most cogent issue, (single payer), is there any doubt that Obama might be just plain lazy.
Anyone can try to play golf and after a few coaching sessions, anyone coul give a speech.  Our bozo for the next three years might be nothing more than an acorn that has not fallen far from the tree.
To use a worn-out phrase that used to annoy me, “I hear you,” DHFabian.
One example that comes to mind is Bolivia.  When Bechtel raised the water rates of the indigenous people to the point where they couldn’t afford it, they said, “Enough is enough.”  They took to the streets. 
There might be a possibility where enough people, a critical mass, comes to the awakening that we can’t put up with this shit anymore.  “I don’t give a shit what happens, I can’t take it.”

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By JDmysticDJ, November 23, 2009 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

Johncp
You ascribe to yourself the ability to read my mind and offer my opinions.

“In your analysis, media are blameless bystanders, merely, unbiasedly reporting the news.”

No where in my comments have I offered the above “analysis.”

I have offered the following analysis in other comments: Because the vast majority of Main Stream Media organizations are owned by Multi-National Corporations, and because Corporations are bureaucratic organizations, the Main Stream Media will be biased in favor of corporations. I also commented that the Main Stream Media voiced little criticism, or analysis, of Bill Clinton’s neoliberal economic policies. I also commented that I don’t recall the “Hate the Clintons attitude” In the Main Stream Media you describe, although I’m sure this “Hate the Clintons attitude” was evident on Fox News programs, as well as criticisms of Barack Obama, but that’s to be expected, given Fox News’s political perspective.

Again you misrepresent my comments.

“Then, you tell us that Clinton couldn’t “keep it in his pants,” once more, as if this “behavior” of Clinton’s has some substantive meaning and explains the attacks against him; as if his sexual antics, are unique.”

I did suggest that his blatant lies to the American people, and his “sexual antics” resulted in substantial media criticism, and may have had a substantial impact on U.S. political life. Whether Bill Clinton’s behavior has/had “substantial meaning” when examining his character, depends on an individuals moral and ethical perspective. However, I intentionally offered examples to show that Clinton’s “sexual antics” were not “unique.”

You suggest that I just didn’t like him.

“You just don’t like the guy.  Maybe the reason why media aren’t blamed in the causation of your distaste for Clinton, is that you disliked him before media went on its rampage against him.”

Actually, I did like him before his neoliberal economic policies, and what I considered his character flaws, became evident. In 1992, after working long overtime hours of intensive labor, I walked a number of miles in order to vote for him.

You conclude:

“Finally, you both seem unwilling or unable to expalin the patently obvious: why if the Clintons could be faulted so decisively for their personal misconduct and political mischief, are they both so hugely popular and powerful with the Amercian public and voter?”

Here’s my explanation. I would argue that Bill Clinton’s popularity at the close of his final term resulted from: The, political leanings of the American public, a reaction to the hypocrital and costly attempt by the right to destroy him, and the moral imperatives of the American public.

As to the Clinton’s currently being,

“… hugely popular and powerful with the Amercian public and voter?”

I would argue that the results of the 2008 Democratic primary indicate that you are overstating the Clinton’s popularity.

I realize that you will continue to blame the media for Hilary’s loss, as if a Corporate owned media preferred Barack Obama, in spite of his public pronouncements before the election, and that some on this thread will suggest that Obama’s primary win was the result of a sinister plot, (Ignoring the fact that Obama’s primary campaign was funded primarily by the American public) and that the American public’s enthusiasm for him, and his stated goals (sadly, mostly unfulfilled) had nothing to do with his primary victory.

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By DHFabian, November 22, 2009 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

garth: You wrote, “The American middle class is overworked, tired and scared about the future, and now, they’re flat broke and deeply in debt.”  This describes the poor.  And the “working class” (generally considered somewhere between impoverished and middle class, respected as “hard working Americans” until the day they lose their jobs, at which point they become the worthless lazy poor). That covers most of us. I think such a realization would be pretty scary to the rich, giving them the incentive to ensure that we draw very sharp (if illusory) class divisions between the currently-employed and formerly-employed.  Maybe this is why the middle class turned their backs on the poorest, and probably still consider themselves middle class until they actually lose their jobs, homes and sometimes their families. Divide and conquer. Now, if those who still have jobs and homes joined up with those who have already been pushed out of our economic system (rather than look down on them with disdain), that would be a powerful movement (as we saw in the ‘30s and ‘60s)!

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By truedigger3, November 22, 2009 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

garth wrote:
“I envisioned me and my friend, Walter ...
“To hell with the handkerchief,” I’d say scornfully. I’d take one last drag on a cigarette and snapped it away. Then, with that faint, fleeting smile playing about my lips, I’d face the firing squad; erect and motionless, proud and disdainful. Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.”
_____________________________________________________

garth,

What the hell this halucinations and drivel you are writting.
Are you Okay with your faculties intact or you took too many drags from cigarettes loaded with pyote and miscaline??
Wake up man!!!

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By gerard, November 22, 2009 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

Doing nothing is probably better than doing the wrong thing in the wrong way.  Just a feeling I have, but—as long as we have the wit to see ourselves as calmly facing the firing squad with a smile, having flipped aside our last cigarette, we are sane and will not create havoc in trying to bring about the changes needed.  It is when we are dead serious, as in the God-told me-I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong frame of mind that irrevocable damage is done.
  Nonviolent action is not widely understood but beginnings have been made, and on balance it has brought changes in situations that violence would have likely prevented or postponed.
  Violence is counterproductive:  Bring the troops home. Violence is painful:  Feed, clothe and shelter the homeless.  Violence is sorrowful:  Make peace.
(Note:  All evidence indicates that peace is something you have to make; it doesn’t just happen, or break out or get itself declared.  Due to lack of experience, we aren’t very good at it—but we could learn.)

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By garth, November 22, 2009 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

Part of the problem of what to do about the mess we’re in was described by Dr. Richard Wolff, Professor Emeritus of economics at UMASS in a presentation he did at Smith College last November.  The American middle class is overworked, tired and scared about the future, and now, they’re flat broke and deeply in debt.  Wages have stayed flat or have decreased since 1970, and it doesn’t look like the old campaign slogan, “a good job with good wages” will have any meaning of substance for quite a while to come.
To me Americans seem to be passive-agressive narcissists who are beset with schadenfraude and live by the saying, No good deed goes unpunished.  Status and prestige are still powerful motivators among young, educated professionals and those who need to have someone or something to look down on.  They’ve got theirs and they’re afraid that unemployment, poverty, neediness is not only unbecoming, it’s catchy.

Fabian says:

Right now, we’re at a unique point where both the Left and the Right, and most in between, are fed up with “America as we got it.” We’re working longer for less, paying ever-increasing prices, and there is no longer a safety net for most who lose their jobs. We’ve fallen behind many other nations in so many areas. Money that should have gone into human needs, education and infrastructure went into corporate welfare instead. Conditions for most Americans have been on a fast downhill slide.

What do we do from here? Sorry, but country-club protests, with chartered buses, permits and designated protest zones during scheduled hours aren’t going to do the trick.

So—what do we do from here? Will this be the first generation that does nothing?
———————————————————————
That’s a very good question.  Will we sit idly by and say, “Oh, well, what’s on tv?
A few items that seemed to get people hot enough under the collar to act were:  immigration (Remember the protests in LA a few years ago.), Gay marriage, Cable rates increase (Rep Markey had to call a special hearing), and Roger Clemons taking performance enhancing drugs (Waxman couldn’t get to gavel fast enough).  I dismiss the tea bagggers as a paid for demonstration,  Hell, if someone paid my way to DC and threw in a little pocket money, I’d have to think about joining in.

I see Fabian’s point about looking past the differences and finding common ground, which, I think, is economic survival. 

One of the strengths of the right-wing campaign that came out in the 2004 election was their willingness to try to appeal to any and all voters.  A cashier from Nevada was out of work, the Republican campaigner said, for everyone to hear, “Well, come on down to campaign headquarters and I’ll see what I can do about putting you to work in the campaign with pay.”
Democrats would say in effect, “If you are not my ideological twin, then you are too stupid for me to bother with.”
At one point after the fight for “Medicare For All” was jettisoned, I felt angry enough to yearn for a revolution and harkened to Winston Churchill’s urging to the English people during the German invasion to “If you must die, then take a few of them with you.”
I envisioned me and my friend, Walter ...
“To hell with the handkerchief,” I’d say scornfully. I’d take one last drag on a cigarette and snapped it away. Then, with that faint, fleeting smile playing about my lips, I’d face the firing squad; erect and motionless, proud and disdainful. Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.

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By johncp, November 22, 2009 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

Well, putting style aside, I’m moved to say a couple of things here.  Perhaps the Right kept attacking Clinton because they sensed in him, and subsequently in his wife, a dangerous temperament, an attitude of defiance, that threatened to break out at any moment; not unlike what they saw in John and Robert.  That’s one of the reasons I still regret Hillary’s loss.  You’ve already made it clear, or rather gave the game away, when you said that anyone that achieves high public and elected office is “compelled” to an indebtedness toward those that paid his way.  So how futile to rail against the “corporate whores,” in goverment, they’re more or less, nearly, all obliged to sell their wares.  I believe that, if we do, we’ll begin to see light at the end of the tunnel by unexpected means.  For now, it looks clear, that the corporate bosses have all but completely grasped the game of staying farther and farther ahead of anything and anyone that might have stopped them.  We’ll have to look elswhere.

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By DHFabian, November 21, 2009 at 11:58 pm Link to this comment

There are some… well, creative comments here.  But in whole, we see a collection of intelligent comments from people who do grasp the issues. 

Yet, we seem paralyzed, like deer in the headlights. Granted, much has been done over the past 30+ years to pit Americans against each other on a full range of excuses, from eating meat to smoking.I think we need to get over the idea that everyone needs to march to the beat of the same drum, and start uniting on the urgent issues that effect all of us.

That said, consider what has happened since Reagan, as the nation’s wealth began pouring into the bank accounts of the few, and tell me why we aren’t marching en masse on Washington, regardless of our differences. We watched as policies damaged and impoverished the country, most of us understand the dynamics involved, yet we can’t seem to get beyond staring at the headlights.

Movements can’t move without leaders.  We don’t seem to have any.  We can’t even seem to organize against expanding a war that the great majority opposes! We’ve seen corporations grow wildly rich by wiping out unions and slashing wages.  When our country is at a point of such great economic need, US corporations spit in our faces, packed up and moved our jobs to foreign countries—at our expense! 

Right now, we’re at a unique point where both the Left and the Right, and most in between, are fed up with “America as we got it.” We’re working longer for less, paying ever-increasing prices, and there is no longer a safety net for most who lose their jobs. We’ve fallen behind many other nations in so many areas. Money that should have gone into human needs, education and infrastructure went into corporate welfare instead. Conditions for most Americans have been on a fast downhill slide.

What do we do from here? Sorry, but country-club protests, with chartered buses, permits and designated protest zones during scheduled hours aren’t going to do the trick.

So—what do we do from here? Will this be the first generation that does nothing?

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By johncp, November 21, 2009 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ
Consider these remarks made by Fabian:
“The reality of campaign financing and out of control corporate power ensures that anyone who makes it into elected office will be indebted to big business.

That remark is followed by another of those mysteries I’m talking about.

“I have no idea why conservatives rallied against president Clinton after he did so much for them.”  Why indeed? 

First Fabian tells us that Clinton’s very ascension to elected office makes him indebted to big business.  Then Fabian scolds him for that indebtedness.  Finally he says he can’t figure out why conservatives jumped on Clinton in spite of his having done so much for them, which, to follow his logic, he was compelled to do for them.

In your analysis, media are blameless bystanders, merely, unbiasedly reporting the news.  Nafta is mentioned, inevtably.  I thought we’d established that “...those who make it to elected office will be indebted to big business(?)”  Then, you tell us that Clinton couldn’t “keep it in his pants,” once more, as if this “behavior” of Clinton’s has some substantive meaning and explains the attacks against him; as if his sexual antics, are unique. 

You just don’t like the guy.  Maybe the reason why media aren’t blamed in the causation of your distaste for Clinton, is that you disliked him before media went on its rampage against him.

Finally, you both seem unwilling or unable to expalin the patently obvious: why if the Clintons could be faulted so decisively for their personal misconduct and political mischief, are they both so hugely popular and powerful with the Amercian public and voter?

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By JDmysticDJ, November 21, 2009 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

Ardee
The argument you make is a good one on first analysis.

Let me start with your close.
 
“How then will change ever occur?”

Change will occur when the Democrats are swept out of office and Pro-War Neocon influenced, or controlled, Conservatives are returned to power. Or, the change will come when politicians in Washington slowly and painfully change their minds about our insane policies in that part of the world. Do you see that change coming from the right side of the Isle?

I lived through the Viet Nam era. The war lasted for ten horrible years. Millions died and many more suffered because of that war. In 1968, well meaning, and justifiably angry left leaning Yippies effectively destroyed the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The result of that destruction was that the pro- war “Law and order” Candidate Richard Nixon was narrowly elected to be the President of the United States. He pursued the war with extreme prejudice, for another 6 years.

You state:

“Why on earth refrain from expounding on ones principles, especially when they are being so sorely violated? Violations which, by the by, are resulting in the deaths of tens, nay hundreds, of thousands of innocents. Or the mortgaging of our children’s future to reward crooks and liars in business?”

I completely agree with all your points. It will be the act of “expounding on ones principles” that will bring about the needed change in thought in Washington. One may expound on ones principles without destroying the only real hope for change in Washington.

You further state:

“So, voting is, for you, a contest in which you must pick the winner rather than one in which your conscience and your political beliefs force you to support that candidate who best speaks to your own unique vision for this nation.”

If you have read my comments on the issues raised, you must have misinterpreted them.

“So, voting is, for you, a contest in which you must pick the winner rather than…..”

Where did that come from? I preferred Kucinich, even Harkin, but they were both out of the race very early on. I supported Obama in the latter stages of the primary because he best spoke to my vision for this nation. I voted for Obama to be the President of the United States. Did I have any other choice?

I am adamantly opposed to political expedience. I have been very critical of Obama for that very reason, as I stated in an earlier comment we should hold Obama’s feet to the fire, not throw him into the fire. It’s called political reality. Given what occurred after the 2000 election, I’m wondering if people of principle, who voted for Nader, regret their vote.

I’ve learned recently that there is also a difference between expounding ones principles and vitriolic and counter productive, personal attack. People on this thread have accused Obama of being every evil just short of being the anti-Christ. He’s been horribly wrong, but those who contribute to his destruction, should know that the alternative will be worse.

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By robinhoodstfrancis, November 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think the mystery of Obama’s subservience is much of a conspiracy mystery involving some kind of “manchurian killer” scenario.  Recall, by contrast, that Ralph Nader attended Harvard Law.  At some point in his student days he went to class in bed slippers.
  On the other hand, consider another contrast like Ray Anderson of Interface.  He had an awakening in 1994 to environmental realities after reading Paul Hawken.  He came to realize that his company’s actions have been unsustainable and vastly destructive.  Also consider the psychology experiments like Milgram’s and the Stanford Prison experiment.  Put them all together, and you get a situation in which his law school, corporate, and senate experiences molded him into the a neoliberal smooth talking democrat, like Clinton and Kerry. 
    Also, the Center for Responsive Politics has come out with a report on the almost 50% of Congresspeople who are not exactly struggling with living wage issues:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29235.html

    Nope, like Kennedy used to say, in the final analysis, I think the evidence is clear, that Ralph Nader’s early work and Juliet Schor’s current work with consumers, and William Greider and Betsy Bowmans’ writing about shareholder activism, the only way to get someone like Obama to be someone like Kucinich means using consumer choice to direct purchasing power, consumer choice, and social entrepreneurship.  Taking a look at Amnesty International and Oxfams’ Control Arms campaign is probably a good way to pull a Gandhiesque move on Cheney, the Carlyle Group, and Halliburton, and eventually to get us out of Iraq.  Riding a bicycle couldn’t hurt either.

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By garth, November 21, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power spelled it out last March in a presentation he made in a little church in Florida.
We have become the major exporter of Military Security.  To ensure this market contiues to its logical end, Empire, the Ruling Class has to ensure endless war and occupations.  The Military Industrial complex has merged into one entity, the Military Complex.
Sears is now offering a line of military uniforms for children.  Arne Duncan, Obama’s Secretary of Education, is a long time supporter of charter schools.  The Army and the Air Force are now sponsoring three charter schools in Duncan’s hometown, Chicago. In lower class areas. Students have the option of Mickey D’s or the military.  The Army slogan, “Be All You Can Be,” ironically means exactly that.  That is all you can be, a uniformed young recruit.  They’ll make sausage out you later in Afghanistan or Iraq or who knows where.
Jobs that left are not coming back and the new green economy without a Free Market Catch-22 will not happen unless the people organize, rise up and make demands on those elected to represent us. 
It doesn’t make any sense to talk about Obama’s Presidency anymore, the whole thing is charade.

One peculiarity about this whole Obama trick has come to mind.  Obama went to Columbia from Occidental after his sophomore year.  He spent two years at Columbia yet there is no recollection of him by any of his supposed classmates.  Obama said he kept a low profile.  Then he shows up in Chicago where he works as a “Community Organizer.”  Then he shows up in Cambridge and attends Harvard Law.  I have it from reliable sources that Harvard Law likes its applicants to be recent college graduates, the twenty-somethings, young minds that can be molded.  The B-school, on the other hand, prefers its applicants to be older, more mature with some worldly experience.
Another coincidence, Timothy Geithner and Obama are both children whose parents worked for the Ford Foundation.  Perhaps that’s how Obama was selected to be the President, a tibute to his mother who taught Southeast Asian women about the western mode of debt with her campaign for micro-loans.
Geithner, as William Black points out, was moved up because he is one of those “Sharks,” a category of management defined by Jack Welch of the GE.  To paraphrase William Black, they are managers who will do and say anything no matter how absurd, nasty and distasteful it is.  Sociopaths who can do it with a straight face, and still sleep at night.

I would’ve voted for Kucinich, but he didn’t stick around long enough.  I do not want to throw away my vote by not voting. I agree with Ardee, vote with your conscience not just for a winner.

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By ThomasG, November 21, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

When your only choice is bad and worse, then you pick bad, because bad is the best possible choice.

The problem is that we need better choices and the Primary Election Process is the only way to get better choices.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 21, 2009 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

Johncp

My comment about Hilary being a “….conniving little weasel…” was way over the top and I do regret the “little Weasel” part of it, but it wasn’t the media that caused me to make it, unless you consider the media’s broadcasting her comments and reporting her actions during the campaign as evidence of media bias. Among those actions were her ignoring Democratic Party rulings regarding the ineligibility of Michigan and Florida in the primary race, (Which went a long way to putting her “25% ahead of her competitors” as you keep saying), her campaign deviously bringing race into the campaign, and her attempt to thwart the real will of the people, at the campaign’s close, by lobbying Super Delegates.
 
It wasn’t the media that caused Bill Clinton to sign NAFTA or to continue the Neoliberal policies of Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Greenspan. I didn’t invent the term “Republican Light,” and as far as I know the term wasn’t invented by the Main Stream Media either, but the term does describe Clinton and his policies. Most of Bill Clinton’s problems with the Media related to questions about his personal behavior, and his blatant lies regarding that behavior. Many believe that the 2000 election was “Stolen.” I believe that that theft would have been much more difficult if it hadn’t been for all the negative publicity Democrats received because of Bill Clinton’s behavior. Perhaps the media would have focused more on the behavior of Newt Gingrich and Henry Hyde if Clinton would have kept it in his pants. (Clinton’s similarities to the Republicans just keep popping up don’t they?) Perhaps I’m being unfair to the Republicans. John Edwards’s adulterous behavior was nearly as reprehensible as Newt Gingrich’s was.

Regarding my “blistering attack” on the Democrats; I mentioned four, and I stated that I would have preferred two of them to Obama. The intent of my comment was not to attack the Democrats, but to point out that Progressive options are limited, and that attacks on Obama are counter productive and that even though these attacks are justified from the Progressive perspective, they could have disastrous consequences for the Progressive agenda, and even more importantly, for our nation and the world.

You state:

“I scarcely have the writing or investigational skills necessary to see this through, but I still intend to search out and identify the source of this ‘hate the Clintons’ bias.”

As I said, I don’t recall noticing, during the campaign, the media bias you are so adamant about, but I would suggest that the “source” of this “hate the Clintons bias” is the Clintons themselves. Unfortunately, politics gets nasty, as my previous comments attest to (Much to my regret,) but political issues are far reaching, and sometimes in the course of history, they become of the utmost importance, which leads to heated debate and excessive emotions. I think that “Hate” is too strong a word, and that most of the criticisms directed at the Clintons come from a lack of respect for the Clintons.  I believe this lack of respect is a lack of respect that they have earned.

Odd as it may seem, I would still prefer Bill or Hillary to any Conservative candidate. After all, Hilary and Bill are only quasi Neocons.

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By ardee, November 21, 2009 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, November 20 at 6:42 pm #

What is it they say about Democrats? Some thing about Democrats forming a “Circular firing squad.” Progressives need to cut Obama some slack.

Why on earth refrain from expounding on ones principles, especially when they are being so sorely violated? Violations which , by the by, are resulting in the deaths of tens, nay hundreds, of thousands of innocents. Or the mortgaging of our children’s future to reward crooks and liars in business?

I voted for Obama. I would have preferred Kucinich, but Kucinich didn’t have any real chance of being the candidate. I would have supported Tom Harkin, because of his long history of advocating for economic justice, and his working class, straight ahead honesty.  He didn’t have a chance either.

So, voting is, for you, a contest in which you must pick the winner rather than one in which your conscience and your political beliefs force you to support that candidate who best speaks to your own unique vision for this nation.

How then will change ever occur?

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By DHFabian, November 20, 2009 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The reality of campaign financing and out-of-control corporate power ensures that anyone who makes it into elected office will be indebted to Big Business. This could change only if the people make it change, and I think it’s pretty clear by now that we aren’t inclined to do much of anything.

The Clintons were never exactly shy about being loyal corporatists, and no Republican achieved so much for the uber-capitalist-state agenda as the Clintons. While taking an ax to the New Deal policies that made the US so prosperous after WWll, he moved the public dollars that would have been used for human needs funding (in the US) into covering the costs of continued annual tax relief for the richest. Hillary Clinton’s work to end welfare began well before Bill Clinton became president.

I have no idea why conservatives railed against President Clinton after he did so much for them. He cut their taxes, and created workfare for super- cheap labor to help crush unions and pull down workers’ wages, etc.  Both Clintons adhered to a solidly neoconservative agenda.

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By robinhoodstfrancis, November 20, 2009 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

johncp said,

“...the source of this “hate the Clintons” bias.  I continue to believe it’s the unending contempt that corporate, conservative media have heaped on the Clintons that has earned this public defensiveness for and against them, that many feel, blindly, reflexively (because it’s media-conditioned)....”

    The skepticism or derogatory treatment of the Clintons as “corporate, conservative media-conditioning,” especially the right-wing kind, deserves serious attention, but some important issues and questions go deeper.  For instance, why don’t most corporations support Kucinich’s message?  Why do corporate lobbyists make it so hard for Obama to follow through on his platform? 
    Obama’s Financial Consumer Protection Agency, might do some good things if Congress has backbone against hordes of corporate lobbyists.  Not likely, like a few other issues any of us might name.  Anyone care to allege that corporations have not extended their control over his, and Democratic congressional, decisions with increasing nefariousness?  See Scheer above.
    That means actions that are not being done in the public interest, but for restricted, members-only corporate shareholder profit.  That’s anti-democratic, not in the public interest, and actually has been hurting people in the economy in the past and creating conditions for crashes in the future.
    Why don’t most corporations, and most Americans, support a Democratic candidate with backbone like Kucinich? 
    See Michael Moore’s movies like Roger and Me, or see it again, and check out companies like Equal Exchange in Massachussetts and ACIPCO in Alabama, then look at Tuft University’s Institute for Global Development and Environment and the University Network for Social Entrepreneurship for starters.   
    Then I recommend checking out William Greider’s article The Soul of Capitalism and his book by the same name, along with books by Marjorie Kelly, David Korten, and others.  Ultimately, however, big business corporations are not the driving force of America’s greatness.  Robber barons have been able to browbeat and manipulate American markets and politics thanks to a history of small businesses, democratic governance structures, and universities and the educational system.  They’re currently undermining much of these.  Businesses need to serve a democratic culture of healthy and diverse markets in American communities, not profit for members-only investors. 
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn’t forget some of those basics when he lead the way to some common sense regulations and law enforcement.  Some called him a traitor to his class, however.  Now, have those types disappeared from the Democratic party itself?  Scheer’s article makes the answer pretty clear.  They are not just right-wing conservatives.  They are actually also part of the Democratic party itself. 
    This means that while Obama, not unlike the Clintons, has a different attitude than Bush, he and Congress, like Clinton before him, are still giving a lot away to big corporations and their lobbyists.  Kucinich comes from the state of Ohio, where the National Center for Employee Ownership has its HQ at a university. 
    Moreover, if we look at progressive cities all over the country, we can still see the kind of society America could really be.  I think it actually would look a lot more like Europe, or the World Social Forum, or anywhere around the world where small businesses create jobs responsibly for people.
    Seattle’s outgoing mayor Nickels helped create the Mayors’ Agreement for Climate Change,  WRI and the EPA have Corporate Green Power Groups, and Green America has the Business Green Pages.  Now that’s what I’m talking about.  So, what’s it going to take to get people to support corporations who wouldn’t have held Clinton, Gore, or Kerry, and now Congress and Obama, back?

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By johncp, November 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ
Your remarks seem, probably for convenience’s sake, to equate all the dem candidates in the 2000 nomination contest for your blistering attack.  But they were far from equal in the voter’s minds.  Perhaps you can explain why, after decades of national familiarity, this “conniving little weasel,” to use your affectionate terms, was throughout nearly the entire nearly year long campaingn for the nomination, ahead of all her competitors, by at least 25%?  This included Obama, with his 4X6 plaque with the single word CHANGE on it, which he carried around in his pocket.  Every candidate had had a chance to make their position clear, ad infinitum.  I still insist, that media ruined Hillary’s chances for the nomination, ably assisted by Goldman-Sachs and their near million dollar contribution to Obama’s campaign, as well as nearly all the other fat cats, anxious to see Hillary lose.  Why?  There’s something wrong with a view that argues that the Clintons are “republican lite,” when rebublican media, are leading the charge against them.  If Hillary was destined to lose the nomination, it’s hard to see how else it could have happened.  In spite of the favor the American voter continued to reveal for Hillary and her husband, above all other candidates, your remarks, in spite of the fact that you see all of these many politicians as a bunch of corporate whores, seem to reserve special vitriol and contempt for the Clintons.  You charge the Clintons with being closet “republican,” which makes the nearly maniacal and relentless media attack against them all the more mysterious.  I scarcely have the writing or investigational skills necessary to see this through, but I still intend to search out and identify the source of this “hate the Clintons” bias.  I continue to believe it’s the unending contempt that corporate, conservative media have heaped on the Clintons that has earned this public defensiveness for and against them, that many feel, blindly, reflexively (because it’s media-conditioned), this in spite of simultanteously admiring them for what are unarguably their political skills, and extraordinary stamina and perseverence in the face of this relentless media slander. The mere mention of the Clinton name, makes people uneasy, even if they support Bill and Hillary.  Could it be because vermin like Chris Matthews and his ilk, have maintained a relentless offensive against them, that can’t help but have rubbed off, however unconsicously, onto many unsuspecting democrats and leftists?  I have not seen the likes of it in my entire lifetime.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 20, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

What is it they say about Democrats? Some thing about Democrats forming a “Circular firing squad.” Progressives need to cut Obama some slack.
They’re called golf shoes not “saddle shoes.” I like the idea of having someone who is “Hip” in the White House.  Obama may not fit everyone’s definition of hip, but if there were a “Grand Hipster of American Politics,” is there anyone on the Hill that would fit that definition better than Obama? Is Obama a “phony”? Is Obama a “yuppie”? Oh Yeah, but we are what we are. If a person works in an office, they become a white collar worker. If that person goes out on the line for a while, that person will become a blue collar worker. If that person goes to college for a while, that person will become an academic. It’s called Classical Conditioning and we are all subject to it.
I voted for Obama. I would have preferred Kucinich, but Kucinich didn’t have any real chance of being the candidate. I would have supported Tom Harkin, because of his long history of advocating for economic justice, and his working class, straight ahead honesty.  He didn’t have a chance either. Edwards talked the talk, but I was suspicious that his apparent support of the downtrodden was a political ploy, and I felt there was something vaguely sneaky about him. I also thought he suffered from a Dukakis like syndrome.  What about Hilary? Hilary was the darling of the DLC and her primary base seems to have been feminists with a very narrow progressive agenda. Hillary was recently asked if she was planning to run for president. She responded by saying, “I’m very happy now pursuing U.S. interests and promoting U.S. values around the world.” I hate that. If that isn’t an example of a chauvinistic quasi Neocon mentality, I don’t know what is. During the primary campaign she was asked if she thought Obama was a Muslim. She replied smarmily, “I don’t think so.”  Let me take my place in the “Circular firing squad” by saying that I think she is a conniving little weasel and Neoliberal elitist. (Actually I don’t think she’s a Democrat, I think she is “Republican Light” like her husband was.) “Behind every great NAFTA Plan [sic] there is a woman” Furthermore, she seems to believe in U.S. hegemony without a qualm. What about McCain/Palin? I’d rather have Hilary. What about Ron Paul? I think he’s a heartless little Ideologue. Are there any other Republicans worth voting for? Not for me.
Did anyone hear Kucinich’s comment from the floor of the House regarding the House’s version of the Health Care Bill. He said, “Is this the best we can do”? “IS THIS THE BEST WE CAN DO”?
Perhaps Obama is the best we can do. Call me a fool, but during the Campaign, I hoped that Obama’s pronouncements regarding Afghanistan were a ruse. If a certifiably Progressive anti-war candidate were to challenge Obama in 2012, I would support that candidate. I am very, very disappointed with Obama, as many Progressives are. The decisions he’s made that have caused disappointment are too numerous to list here, but I’m concerned that all this vocal criticism of Obama by progressives, could possibly lead to a return to power by Conservatives. I noticed during the Tea Bagger craziness that some of the Tea Bagger criticisms of Obama seemed to mirror criticisms voiced by Progressives. I wondered where they got these talking points from. Arguably, the political reality of U.S. politics is that, uninformed Independents elect our political leaders. Hopefully this vocal criticism of Obama by Progressives won’t influence independents to vote for Conservatives, or reduce voter turnout. We need to hold Obama’s feet to the fire. Not throw him into the fire.

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By liecatcher, November 20, 2009 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

To garth, November 20 at 1:22 pm

Hey Garth: the short answer to:

“My question is: Who is selecting our Presidents?

The past Presidents from Jimmy Carter on bear a
strange resemblance to

each other with respect to their policies,
paricularly economic and foreign

intervention, which are not so favorable to us, the
US Citizen.”

is the Bilderberg Group.

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By robinhoodstfrancis, November 20, 2009 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Garth asked, “Who is selecting our Presidents?  They all bear suspicious similarities.”

    Combining the insights of Sociologist C.W. Mills and social scientist Vance Packard, I’d give the simple answer, the masses hypnotized by corporate “elites’” ideologies.  It’s basically the corporate executives and the investor aristocracy.  JP Morgan et al lobbied to repeal Glass-STeagall by Gramm-Leech-Bliley, and Obama even gave it critical thought in his campaign, “Shareholder say in CEO pay!”
    The masses have to start asking the question, “Hey, how come economic liberty doesn’t exactly let me buy all kinds of brands of soda or software?”  “Economic efficiency” is a propaganda and monopolistic ideology, masquerading as “science.”  Consumer purchasing power and social entrepreneurs are the real key to changing politics.  How can Obama steer clear, if most people can’t see through World Series commercials for Coca Cola, Exxon , and Bank of America to economic democracy by health food store, car pooling, and community banks?

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By robinhoodstfrancis, November 20, 2009 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Garth asked, “Who is selecting our Presidents?  They all bear suspicious similarities.”

    Combining the insights of Sociologist C.W. Mills and social scientist Vance Packard, I’d give the simple answer, the masses hypnotized by corporate “elites’” ideologies.  It’s basically the corporate executives and the investor aristocracy.  JP Morgan et al lobbied to repeal Glass-STeagall by Gramm-Leech-Bliley, and Obama even gave it critical thought in his campaign, “Shareholder say in CEO pay!”
    The masses have to start asking the question, “Hey, how come economic liberty doesn’t exactly let me buy all kinds of brands of soda or software?”  “Economic efficiency” is a propaganda and monopolistic ideology, masquerading as “science.”  Consumer purchasing power and social entrepreneurs are the real key to changing politics.  How can Obama steer clear, if most people can’t see through World Series commercials for Coca Cola, Exxon , and Bank of America to economic democracy by health food store, car pooling, and community banks? 

Turn it around for a little mental exercise.  Anybody that offends the corporate elites too much, what kind of campaign would be built against them?  Back in the early 1990s, Ross Perot stepped into the fray and took the wind out of the Republicans sails which gave Clinton clear sailing, Ralph Nader got blamed for a configuration like that in 2000, and now Barack Obama shot like superman passed Hillary and everybody.  The Republicans have tried to destroy “socialist” ACORN, in the meantime, and label Obama as a red.
   
    basic I don’t think the answer is that simple.  You really need to read some sociology to get clear that we’re talking about individuals in different social circles.

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By Learning, November 20, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks for detailing some of the powers behind the throne. Until Americans know who is pulling the strings of our politicians we will not get our country back.

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By Amon Drool, November 20, 2009 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

johncp…glad to see my irrational ‘hate’ of clinton got u amused…we all need a good laff now and then.  we seem to have reached the point of talking past each other pretty quickly.  if u wanna keep being a clinton groupie, go ahead…knock yerself out…it really doesn’t matter

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By garth, November 20, 2009 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

The only reasonable speculation that Hillary would have made a better President than Barack Obama is based on the evidence that she and Bill were brought to the table of the ruling class by means of the patronage of the Harrimans, the Averill Harriman clan.  Since then both Harrimans have died leaving Hillary beholding to no one in that circle.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, a rent arrival to cornucopia of greed, has to kiss the asses of so many feed-bag-holders that he doesn’t how long to hold the kiss nor how far to go.
We are subject to the ruling class of the super wealthy investor elite and they have control of the US Government, and we have no recourse.
A few months ago the local cable access tv was showing an old tribute to a Harvard Law professor. All the time of this tribute, which was done at the plaza between the Science building and Harvard Yard, the person holding the camera could not take the camera’s eye off, none other than, Barack Obama.  Obama had been recently selected for the Harvard Law Review, a questionable selection at best, and he was the emcee of this tribute to the Harvard Law professor, yet the camera remained focussed on him.
My question is: Who is selecting our Presidents?  The past Presidents from Jimmy Carter on bear a strange resemblance to each other with respect to their policies, paricularly economic and foreign intervention, which are not so favorable to us, the US Citizen.

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By starfish, November 20, 2009 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

I would bet the house that, given the chance, the American public would choose Bill Clinton as president over Barack Obama.

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By truedigger3, November 20, 2009 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

Johncp wrote about the Clintons”
“You judge the Clinton’s only by reference to their pasts.  But what inspires and revitalizes their political standing and futures, is that the vast numbers of their followers and admirers, sense something in them, rarely if ever found in other political figures.  Namely, that there in this remarkable couple, a determination to rise above themselves, their shortcomings, their weaknesses. “
___________________________________________________

What an eloquent statement but unfortunatly empty one and meaningless.
Keep dreaming and fantasizing and building castles on sand.!!

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, November 20, 2009 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 20 at 10:30 am #

“Bush, to his credit, stuck to his principals no matter how bad they were…”

This is a correct statement despite the fact that you inadvertently chose the homophone of principle.  Bush did indeed stick by his principals.  And those CEOs thank him.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 20, 2009 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

A P.S. to my post:

In my opinion, Hillary is the better of the two Clintons.  She is smarter and has a much better moral character than her hedonistic husband.  I suspect she might have been a better candidate and president than Obama just because she is more principled.  I can’t imagine her remaining silent during the whole health care debate.  It would have been interesting to see how she did in that job ... at least the fireworks would have been more entertaining!

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 20, 2009 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

Likening Obama to Clinton points out that they were/are both quite plastic in their willingness to do whatever was/is needed to achieve political success.  Clinton pushed the Democratic party hard to the center in his desire to attract corporate money and to broaden the party’s electoral base.  Having to deal with conservative Democrats (an oxymoron until Clinton came along) is a legacy of this move.  Obama is doing the same thing.  The health care “bill” (more a joke than real change) is the result of Obama caving to the same conservative forces.  Bush, to his credit, stuck to his principals no matter how bad they were and was able to strong arm congress into passing pretty much all of his agenda.  Obama hasn’t demonstrated any ability to do the same with his comrades in the congress.  Thus the comparison to Clinton and not Bush.

As for bashing Clinton, I will continue to hold forth that he was nearly as bad for this country as was Bush II.  Bubba signed some of the most damaging of the financial deregulation bills which lead directly to our present economic collapse.  He also made major changes in welfare and “don’t ask, don’t tell” among other things.  Clinton presented himself as a liberal but his legislative agenda is decidedly conservative.  He may have been more likable than Bush but that doesn’t change the fundamental truth of his culpability in much of the disaster we presently face.

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By johncp, November 20, 2009 at 5:29 am Link to this comment

Truedigger
I failed to point out, in my last post, that your remark, that “we’re not talking about Clinton here,” was an absurdity.  In the very post to which I responded immediately before your own, by C. Dillon, he made reference to his notion, that Obama was more alike to a Clinton II than to a Bush III.  Clinton continues to pop up in virtually every serious post, and gets the same damning remarks, as if his blunders, his mistakes, are in some mysterious way unique.  There’s nothing unique about them.

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By johncp, November 20, 2009 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

No TRUEDIGGER
Your efforts to cut Clinton down to size, are not OKAY!!!

They reveal the same exaggeration, the same “hate the Clintons” obsessiveness not seen against any other president.  Of course he made these blunders, and you’ve provided further detail regarding them.  But I contrast the accuracy of your denunciations, with the intensity of your hatred for this man, and his wife.  It’s all out of proportion.  That you can’t see this disproportion, when you engage in similar examinations of the records of other presidents, is the worst part of your problem

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By johncp, November 20, 2009 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

C. Curtis Dillon
What a fine essay you’ve written.  Nevertheless, I certainly hope your dismal view of American’s future falls short of it’s worst outcomes. 

I see in your post, another example of a problem you seem to have that’s shared by many other authors to this list, revealed in large part by your laughable, your ludicrous effort to make any comparison between Obama and Bill Clinton.  You judge the Clinton’s only by reference to their pasts.  But what inspires and revitalizes their political standing and futures, is that the vast numbers of their followers and admirers, sense something in them, rarely if ever found in other political figures.  Namely, that there in this remarkable couple, a determination to rise above themselves, their shortcomings, their weaknesses.  We made a serious mistake when we cast Hillary aside for this sadly empty suit; this Obama.

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By truedigger3, November 20, 2009 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

johncp,

We are not talking about the Clintons here. Knock it off!!!
All presidents starting with Carter till Obama have imlemented and are implementing the same scripted policies and were and are rolling on the same tracks.
These policies are favouring the interests of big money/corporations against the interests and the needs of the common folks and you can see that in the current health care “reform” fiasco and bailing out the banks and leaving the common folks suffering without any real help.
Just a reminder! Your beloved Bill Clinton shoved NAFTA and GATT down our throat after he campaigned against them!. He signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act that put the foundation for the current economic debacle. He deregulated the telecommunication industries resulting in the concentration of the Media in few powerful corporations.  He “reformed” wellfare. He bombed Yugoslavia to kingdom come and continued for eight years one of the cruelist embargo in history against Iraq that resulted in the death of about half a million Iraqi children from starvation and lack of drugs.  OKAY??!!!

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By ardee, November 20, 2009 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

C.Curtis.Dillon, November 20 at 8:23 am

One may cheer instead of forecasting such bleak or dire consequences of the USA no longer “being number one”. There are a raft of nation that never pursued such a goal yet whose citizens live comfortable lives , quite happy with such as universal health care , made possible because they do not need the infrastructure necessary to a world power.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 20, 2009 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

Has the metaphorical ship of state passed the point of no return?

Someone may correct me but I don’t think any country, once beyond a certain point of decay, has ever been able to right itself and correct the inevitable end point.  That doesn’t mean America will disappear ... some form of government and community will continue but the essence of the country will be gone.  England still exists but no one will argue that they remain a world power approaching what they were in the past.  The same with other former powers.  They die or decay and may, at some later point, rise again in another form.  Such as Germany after 2 disastrous world wars.

The reason for our decay is inertia.  You see it all around you.  Political inertia, cultural inertia, business inertia ... they take on a life of their own and cannot be redirected.  Much of the right’s rhetoric and structure is built on a nostalgia for a past that, quite frankly, never existed.  We have lost our industrial base and will never get it back.  We cannot prosper on the casino that is Wall Street.  We need real jobs for all our people ... blue collar, white collar and professionals.  We need a solid social fabric that is not based on us vs. them or on the distortions of the religious right.  We need a robust and basically honest political system which can deal with our problems and not just kick them down the road time after time.  But I doubt we will get any of these things in time to fix the shipwreck happening all around us.

Unfortunately, the entire discussion we have in this thread is about Obama and what he can/will do (or promised to do) for us.  Well, he will do essentially nothing because that is not in his character.  He is a “pleaser” who wants to make everyone happy and winds up making no one happy.  He is already running for re-election in the financial sense and wants to keep all his funding sources happy.  He is a politician which means he is essentially a whore who is available for hire to the highest bidder.  But that is not a description of him ... just his profession.  He understands that his actions today have little impact on his prospects in 3 years as the typical American has the attention span of an ADD child.  In many ways, he is Clinton II, not Bush III.

I have written several times about self-delusion and how insidious it is.  Far too many of us believe that a few minor tweaks will fix the economy, a few adjustments will correct our social ills and a slight change in business tactics will bring jobs back.  We will not see the America I grew up in ... ever.  We will not see the American dream for a long time (if ever).  My only hope is the shipwreck that is America doesn’t take the world down with it.  That the final spasms of our “democracy” are as quiet as the demise of the USSR in the 90s.

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By johncp, November 20, 2009 at 12:01 am Link to this comment

Amon Drool
Once more, you give yourself away, the temptation to persist in your mindless and snide digs at the Clinton’s, is an irrepressible habit, isn’t it?  Like calling Clinton “slick,” a verbal knife in Clinton’s back, if ever there was one.  Yet, I defy you to set about defining the word slick, as you’re using it against Clinton, and come away with a convincing argument, that you’ve managed to direct that term only at Clinton, so that it doesn’t end up applying to all, or nearly all other politicians.  But, really, talking about “Nafta,” is a cherry-picking sham, inasmuch as every president, somewhere in his tenure made similar or worse mistakes.  And faulting a president for the purely “judicious” and absurdly insignificant remark he made in denying that he “inhaled,” hardly helps your case. Irrationally hating Clinton, especially at this point, when so many on the vulgar and creepy Right have had to admit their staggering deceit and hypocrisy in hounding him, is insipid and laughable.

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By DHFabian, November 19, 2009 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There won’t be change until enough people are poor and desperate enough to force change. There can be no Progressive leadership whatsoever as long as US Progressives fail to recognize the impact of both the corporate and social policies that have brought us to this point—and like the conservative sector, today’s Progressive media, etc., doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of anyone worse off than working poor.

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By Amon Drool, November 19, 2009 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

scheer’s “Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Community Organizer We Elected President?” was cross-posted over at Common Dreams.

common dreams commenter rvwalker posts in reply: “Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Radical Editor From Ramparts Magazine, Mr. Scheer?”

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By gerard, November 19, 2009 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

I’d like to think that most of the people carping online here are right wingers masking as “lefties” to make their negative comments because I don’t want to have to admit that “liberals” are so stupid as to do the work of the right wingers for them—which is what just may be happening.
  Besides, this isn’t the most insightful column Scheer ever wrote.  Example: (quoting from the Washington Times) ““Revolving doors between industry and the administration and fat-cat political contributors getting bailed out at taxpayer expense sound like business as usual. This certainly isn’t change we can believe in.” Please, Mr. President, say it ain’t so.” Like Sheer was surprised!  It’s been going on for years, perhaps not so blatantly, but we’ve all known it.  Why would it suddenly change as if by magic? It’s been decades since the government showed any real interest in poor people and it will likely take years to change the pattern. The “average” American—that would be the majority,—fearful, biased, uninformed, prejudiced, misled—would scream “Socialism” if it were seriously proposed.

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By liecatcher, November 19, 2009 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

NONE ARE SO BLIND AS HE WHO REFUSES TO SEE


From DEMOCRACY NOW interview:

ROBERT SCHEER :”...And that goes for the Fed, which
is supposed to be a government agency.”

Hey ROBERT SCHEER: Get real !  The FED is a private
criminal cartel owned &

operated by GOVERNMENT SACHS banksters.

  ROBERT SCHEER:”... And the reason I wrote that
column is they’ve also captured the President.

And, you know, I voted for this president. I even
contributed money that I didn’t have to his campaign.

You know, I still feel great that he’s the President.
You know, I’m biased.

I like the guy, you know. I like everything about
him.”

Hey ROBERT SCHEER: Even love at first sight becomes
reality after the mask is removed,even if you

helped pay for that mask.

ROBERT SCHEER: Because they think—they like business
as usual.

I mean, they are for Wall Street going its own way.

They haven’t learned the lesson that capitalism
uncontrolled is capitalism destroyed.

Hey ROBERT SCHEER: that should be:

capitalism uncontrolled is DEMOCRACY destroyed,&

FASCISM installed.

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By sulphurdunn, November 19, 2009 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The following top twenty bank contributors to the presidential campaigns of B.Obama and J. McCain were:

Obama: 1. Goldman Sachs 3. Citigroup 4.JP Morgan Chase 9. UBS AG 14. Morgan Stanley.

McCain: 1. Merrill Lynch 2. Citigroup 3. Morgan Stanley 4. Goldman Sachs 5. J.P Morgan Chase 8. Wachovia 9. UBS AG 10. Credit Suisse 13. Bank America 15.  bank Rome LLP !9. Bear Sterns 20.  Lehman Bros.

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By Amon Drool, November 19, 2009 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

johncp…my distaste for the clintons doesn’t stem from any indoctrination by “conservative media whores.”  i was raised in a working class mining town.  slick’s pushing for nafta didn’t sit very well with me.  i was around for the sixties.  slick’s ‘i smoked, but i didn’t inhale’ just indicated to me that the guy would sink to any depth if he thought it would bring him the brass ring of the presidency.

i don’t feel the need to offer a substantive list of the reasons why i feel antipathy for the clintons.  they’re smart and ambitious, but there’s something about ‘em that just doesn’t ring true to me.  and i’ll continue to disagree with u about hillary’s enabling iraq vote; i’d venture to say that 20% of all people who vote in Democratic primaries are strongly anti-war.  in a tight race, this makes all the difference in the world.

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By racetoinfinity, November 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

@dianab - I know the corporatocracy is not new.  Thanks for the reply to my comment, but you didn’t really add anything new—that I hadn’t said, or—that wasn’t already being generally discussed in the article or comments cloud.  But nice to talk to you.

I like to point out the sell-outs (and yes it’s prorbably 93% of them), so new people can catch on, and it makes me feel better to express the truth.  Yes I know during the campaign, he promised to be more progressive (despite what some have said).

I’m not naive enough to believe that presidents (with rare exceptions) start out innocent and untainted by the establishment or at least unmindful of its power and perhaps threats.

I like what Kay Johnson said in her comment - that she didn’t vote for him because of the following three things he did:

1) Obama’s FISA vote—giving immunity to the telecoms; continuing surveillance
2) Obama’s consistent rhetoric and intent to escalate the war in Afghanistan
3) Obama’s support of the bank bailout

There were other jarring signs, obvious, as when his campaign winked to the Canadians that they weren’t REALLY serious about reforming NAFTA, but just had to SAY that to the base.

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By truedigger3, November 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

Re:By watchstop, November 19 at 5:17 pm #

You have to know that in addition to the “known!” TARP money given to the big banks from the treasury, the banks have a discount window at the FED where they borrowed “unknown” huge amounts of money at 0% interest.
So,  most likely it is the classic case of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul!!
Most of the money the big banks got was not putback to productive use in the economy, but some of it was used to gobble weaker regional banks. So, the too big to fail got even bigger!! Go figure.
Another part of the money was used to speculate in commodities like gold and oil which resulted in the current increase in gas prices which is in realities a masked tax on the common folks for the benefit of the big banks.
The big banks also used the money they borrowed from the fed at 0% interest to buy treasury bonds that pay 3% to 4% interest!!!.
That might partly explains why the REAL economy, regardless of Wall St. wild run, is still stagnant.
There is a lot of smoke and mirrors and very skillful bullshitting going on and who knows what is really going on and what will happen?? Let hope for the best!

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By KDelphi, November 19, 2009 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

“..I am surprised and baffled that some so called progressives who are now frustrated and disappointed by Obama had expressed admiration for Ron Paul and declared their intention to vote for him in the next election????!!!!!
Ron Paul is very dangerous man and he is against everything a true progressive stands for…”

Im with you, truedigger3—I listened to alot of Paulibertarians for awhile, just so tired of the neoliberal MESS…but, then, I told one of them they were wrong about something (a few things)and gave evidence! AUUGH! RUN! Dont get shot by disagreeing with a Paul fan! Thats why they will remain fringe.Yeah, I thought the Hillary/Obama argument was over. She probably wouldnt have been much better, but probably nor worse, either.

What is this shit that Obaam is “being blackmailed”??!! How stupid—he is doing exactly what he said he was going to do, minus a few half-true promises. Exactly what he wants to do—he was at 70% when he took office—couldve done almost anything. Instead did bank bailouts and useless stimulus bills. STOP giving him excuses—its demeaning.

BTYW—he will NOT be a one term president—the GOP will put up a real asshole and Dems will terrify everyone with what will happen if “they” (Palin, Gingrich/whoever) wins…they will scream at yu about not voting third (or other) party, blah, blah, blah. He will be a totally lame duck and blame it on having lost the Dem majority

I dont “like Hillary”—I am just disappointed in Obama, and, since I expected nothing, that is saying alot. sorry sp is awful—just too much to correct it..

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By johncp, November 19, 2009 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

AMON DROOL
“My girl, Hillary,” couldn’t “triangulate,” herself…”  If these comments don’t drip with contempt for Mrs. Clinton, I don’t know what does.
Neither Hillary nor Bill “triangulated,” anymore than any other high official.  I still say, you don’t know why you dislike the lady; “not knowing why,” a better solution to the problem Hillary haters have, than facing the humiliation that attends acknowledging that they inherited this distaste from the vilest bunch of creeps on earth: conservative media whores.

Apparently you didn’t follow the campaign for the nomination very carefully.  Hillary was far from needing to “triangulate” herself out of her vote allowing Bush to proceed with his insanity, a vote she made, with numerous qualifications and demands, all of which the Imbecile in Chief, ignored.  If you had been paying attention, you’d have noticed, that Hillary retained a never less than 25% lead over “all” her competitors, througout the campaign, in the face of her war vote, and this was with the same voters, you seem to think, suddenly abandoned her for Obama.  Late in the race, media went full force for Obama, delegates mysteriously changed their votes, Goldman-Saches (and a bunch of other big shots) contriubted millions to Obama’s campaign, Hillary published a website entitled Hillary Hub which included a long list of the staggering lies Obama was telling about her, and on and on.  In spite of this herculean push for the Messiah, Obama wasn’t even able to win the popular vote against Hillary, so suspicious of his vile lies had the voting public already become. 

Obama’s vaunted “brilliance,” and “oratorical genius,” are embarrassingly exaggerated.  Without a script, the man is a mediocrity, just as you would expect from a poseur that had obtained high office by dishonorable though barely legitimate means, just as his predecessor had done.  People on this list are, on balance, glad it wasn’t McCain/Palin.  But I’m beginning to wonder if we might not have been better off with those miscreants; our outrage and opposition against a McCain administration, would have been at a feverish and untrammeled pitch, considering that we, at least, would not have a situation where furious and frustrated Obama supporters, mostly continue to suppress their embarrassment, stubbornly and desperately supporting him, thereby giving him the barely necessary cover, to continue his insane and confused policies, rather than admit that things have gone dangerously wrong.

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By watchstop, November 19, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

It appears Morgan Stanley announced last June
that it had repaid ten billion “in TARP capital,” including “an attractive return for taxpayers.”

http://www.morganstanley.com/about/press/articles/580e1eb2-54f3-11de-96f6-3f25a44c9933.html

Is this true?  Does anyone know the amount of the “attractive return?”  Did the other firms receiving TARP money repay the government?

I’d appreciate any additional and/or correctional details that others would provide to help in understanding what has happened in the past year.  And why so much is still going badly in the economy.

—Martin Fass

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By Night-Gaunt, November 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

We won’t be moving left at all just further and further into the red territory of fascism as we go. Once the rest of the economy finishes collapsing it will be over for the Republic. So it must not collapse but to do that too big to fail means too big to exist.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, November 19, 2009 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

Boy!!  That christian96 sure wears a lot of hats.  She’s a biblical scholar, a mental health counselor, an apologist for hate crimes, a closet homosexual, a schadenfreude vampire, and a fraud.  But most of all, she’s a TROLL!

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By Hulk2008, November 19, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

The country will lurch left and right and back and forth like the old ‘65 Bug I used to have with a bad suspension. 

Unfortunately, the lack of ANY competent “repairman” will eventually toss it, and us, into the ditch of history. Our beloved Constitution has a built in set of devices that automatically prevent any significant corrections - especially ones attempted in a time of crisis. 

Our community-organizer-in-Chief has run into a set of communities that are too disparate upon which to apply any organization.  And he is fresh out of volunteers or anybody who remotely wants to help fix things. 

It’s a noisy Greek chorus kibitzing on the play - totally disinterested in the plot.

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By garth, November 19, 2009 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

It is no longer about who is President.  Sheer demonstrates in his appearance on DemocracyNow!, it’s about clamor.  He ranted on about the Wall Street ogres double time and the piss poor performance of the U.S. Congress.  He really meant himself, the supposed independent wing of journalism. 
Later they covered the lame bills by Dodd, and the votes against the bills to limit the credit card to 15% max charges. 
It all points to one thing—there are people out there, men and women of good will (not Sheer) who have the information.  Those who will write and stand the test.  Is what they say true?  Will it work out as they say?
Of course, if you are rich, then this might seem foolish, but time and circumstance have a peculiar way of getting each and every one of us.

I’ll leave it to you to figure it out.

Put your money in U.S. Treasuries or in State Bonds, to escape the tax, but by no means listen to these liars with the same gullibilit.

This is all semi-bullshit.

Give up on Obama.  Don’t waste your time.

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By starfish, November 19, 2009 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

It seems Obama told CNN’s Ed Henry that he “might” not run for re-election.

We can only hope.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, November 19, 2009 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

The photo accompanying this article tells you everything you need to know about the rancid Obama, right down to those twerpy saddle shoes.  A phony, a yuppie, who thinks of himself as The Grand Hipster of American Politics.

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By robinhoodstfrancis, November 19, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

Sorry that Mr. Scheer had such high hopes.  While many of us did, I left most of my hopes as I learned about Clinton during Bush.  NAFTA, for example.  Then, Al Gore bought an even bigger home worth millions.  No word of any help to the common folks by funding small businesses. 
    Now, however, I’m clear that it’s time to get clear on the Wizard behind the curtain.  Michael Moore’s latest film is kind of the ram’s horn.  They say, “It’s the economy, stupid.”  Well, It’s the corporate business model, folks.  Whole Foods and Ben and Jerry’s are only the whiff of the real deal, but they are the whiff in the right direction.     
    Those of you who have seen Moore’s film, recall the middle part about the good companies.  They’re employee-owned.  We all have the chance to do something to shift society’s rudder.  Ultimately, all the big corporate lobbyist money comes from nobody else but you and me, and all of us folks. 
    Like some have been saying, Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple.  Well, they also gathered grains on the sabbath, and JC healed, too, against the rules.  To probe deeper on Moore’s subject, see William Greider’s book on the Soul of Capitalism, Derber’s Corporation Nation, and Betsy Bowman’s writings about the cure for globalization.
Cornell West’s Democracy Matters doesn’t look bad, either.  If there is no food cooperative near you, check out FoodCoop500.coop and check out the video.  See also Ralph Nader’s article on Credit Unions.  Then check out Green America’s Green Festival or Green Business pages. 
  One way or another, as you and we get into the spirit, we need to get started starting our own businesses and using our purchasing power and entrepreneurship.  Look at the Dave Matthews Band and Indigo Girls buying wind power, at least. 
    Somebody’s mentioned Kucinich, and I know Conyers and Feingold are others among the stalwart Dems, but as someone also mentioned, Obama is clearly not employed by NYPIRG anymore.  Many of us might wish he was an ACORN agent.  Me?  I’m a Green Party agent in the Dems.  Moore, Greider, and Bowman are part of a movement that works through a combination of the likes of the World Social Forum, Horatio Alger, Charlie Chaplin, Oprah Winfrey and so on.  Jesus taught in Luke 12 that “material possessions are not your true worth” and in Matt 23 that justice should not be forgotten.  Obama’s sold his soul, but Michelle still has hers, and so do many of us.  If you study the history of the social rights movements, you can see how possible change is.  As for those World Series and Superbowl commercials, they are funny, all right.  You know, we’re going to need all the soul power we can muster.  As the Rev Billy says, Changealeuah!

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By Nick, November 19, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@french 62:

“One termer” yeah you know the only thing that worries me is then who we get next. If Obama was the good cop because he wasn’t for openly religious war, what if we get the bad cop next?
– – – – – – 
Also has anyone heard the senate version of the healrth bill I heard it was 31 million people but I thought I also heard MANDATORY???

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By Gmonst, November 19, 2009 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

By johncp,

GMONST

What I get from your post, is that you dislike Hillary, but you don’t know why, so you manufacture silly pronouncements for us, such as that Hillary “...would have been more hawkish…”  How anyone could say that, after seeing how hawkish Obama “actually” is, compared to what he told us during the campaign, is a complete mystery, but certainly a laughable one.

Well you like Hillary and thats fine.  You pulled a nice political style, out-of-context and slightly tweaked quote.  The complete sentence stated:
“I also still feel he was a better choice than Clinton, but she would probably have been pretty similar, perhaps a bit more hawkish on the war front.” 

I didn’t express anything near hate for Hillary in that sentence, the only one in which I mentioned her.  Perhaps and a bit are not very strong words.  I still think what she said during the campaign indicated that she would have been a bit more hawkish in war matters, and otherwise very similar to Obama. I didn’t vote for Hillary for a number of reasons, none of which had anything to do with her gender.

On the issue of war, Obama is really not doing anything other than what he said he was going to do. I keep getting the impression that people were projecting a lot of desires onto the man that didn’t really jive with his records as words.

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By Maxim, November 19, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Brussels 19th Nov 09
In the 2nd paragraph of an otherwise excellent article, Mr Scheer mentioned :” Austan Goolsbee..would cause INDUSTRY nervousness”. In this case the word “industry” lost its initial meaning and we should rather say: “the clanish Round Table of Robber Barons”.
General comment: this is a very good paper but I fear it’s already too late. Look at the President’s personal advisers or key people in this administration. They are a duplicate of the Bush-Cheney team, itself largely inherited from the Clinton administration. They are the same guys who we find back in so-called “confidential” organizations such as the Bilderberg group or, more visible, the AIPAC and a myriad of associated NOG’s (with more glitz “think thanks”, “Strategy Institutes” and the likes)all with the same objectives i.e. the indivisible tandem of power and money (both fit well together). Firstly for their own personal profit and secundly to possibly influence the US Foreign Affairs policy in turn motivated by the same “power and money”, but this time “power” reinforced by some bombs when deemed (too often) necessary. We are heading straight-on into a second crash which will be worse than the first and recent one.
Maxim

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By Gmonst, November 19, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

By johncp,

GMONST

What I get from your post, is that you dislike Hillary, but you don’t know why, so you manufacture silly pronouncements for us, such as that Hillary “...would have been more hawkish…”  How anyone could say that, after seeing how hawkish Obama “actually” is, compared to what he told us during the campaign, is a complete mystery, but certainly a laughable one.

Well you like Hillary and thats fine.  You pulled a nice political style soundbite, out-of-context quote.  The complete sentence stated:
“I also still feel he was a better choice than Clinton, but she would probably have been pretty similar, perhaps a bit more hawkish on the war front.” 

I didn’t express anything near hate for Hillary in that sentence, the only one in which I mentioned her.  Perhaps and a bit are not very strong words.  I still think what she said during the campaign indicated that she would have been a bit more hawkish in war matters, and otherwise very similar to Obama. I didn’t vote for Hillary for a number of reasons, none of which had anything to do with her gender.

On the issue of war, Obama is really not doing anything other than what he said he was going to do. I keep getting the impression that people were projecting a lot of desires onto the man that didn’t really jive with his record or words.

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By Nick, November 19, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“By starfish, November 19 at 11:22 am #

Hillary has had a lifetime of serious accomplishment; Obama has not.

Underlings are underlings and are subject to the policy judgments of their bosses.

Obama had no executive experience prior to becoming president, and we can now see the sad (and scary) result of that lack.”

Is this B vs H debate really going on?

Running Harvard law review, being a senator and community organizer gave him the right papers. Who was Hillary but the sinker on universal healthcare, as a wife who at the time could have raised a lot of money for the needy. Senator of NY who started off saying being asked what her position as on the Cuban 5 was “I’ll have to ask my Latino advisors,” get your own brain Hill. Ultimately though they are both underlings, just like Bill with his creation of the WTO, NAFTA and first nation trading status for China (which may have been the biggest mistake, as we look at what we can lose).
——————————————————————

“By truedigger3, November 19 at 11:19 am #

I am surprised and baffled that some so called progressives who are now frustrated and disappointed by Obama had expressed admiration for Ron Paul and declared their intention to vote for him in the next election????!!!!!”

I think it is just that “progressives” have focused on social issues: race, gender, orientation while losing power to regressives through the financial sector, oil and war. As the environment, our food supply are coming into Ron Paul is an obvious finger pointing character and first step to thinking about it. The only hope for democracy is public campaign financing, with limits and many televised debates. Which at worst gets us “Got wood?” I hope.

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By starfish, November 19, 2009 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

“truedigger3”

—what is that you call “her executive experience”.???—

You show me where I wrote about Hillary’s executive experience.

I will state that she at least had White House experience and was a close political partner of her husband, the president.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 19, 2009 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Just a bit on Babylon—remember that great tower they were building? How god (whose ever) got angry and scared of what Humanity is doing and created many languages and stopped the construction that would have “reached to heaven” and the gods abode. Just a story to explain how the world was at that time. It isn’t history but myth! So will it happen if we ever build the “space elevator” which will reach to the edge of space? [Last year 2008 they succeeded in extruding carbon nano-tubes to any length.]

As for Hillary Clinton she was touting her foreign experience as being with the president on his trips abroad. Not the same thing. She was as inexperienced as Obama in this area. And a confabulist too! [Rather like Baron Munchhausen and his recollection embellishments.] I would submit she is a right winger too and we would be in the same position now in most areas.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 19, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

PRIDE OF MAN

Prophecy?..History Lesson?..Political Commentary?

“Shout a warning to the nations that the sword of god is raised
On Babylon that mighty city rich in treasure wide in fame
It shall cause thy towers to fall and make it be a pyre of flame
Oh God the pride of man broken in the dust again

Thou that dwell on many waters rich in treasure wide in fame
Bow unto a god of gold thy pride of might shall be thy shame
Oh God the pride of man broken in the dust again”

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By truedigger3, November 19, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Christian96,

Take your theological “research” in a long hike and Get Lost.
We are not discussing theology and sectarian division in this thread.!!!

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By truedigger3, November 19, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

starfish wrote:
“Hillary has had a lifetime of serious acomplishment; Obama has not.”
____________________________________________________

What is her “lifetime of serious accomplishment” and what is that you call “her executive experience”.???
You don’t get it don’t you??!!! As I said, you want REAL CHANGE then change the play and the script.
Continuously changing of the lead actors will get you nothing new except maybe sometimes better acting.
Cappish!!!

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By JDmysticDJ, November 19, 2009 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

Hilary’s latest sound bite

“I’m happy now, advancing U.S. interests and values”

Nuff said.

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By christian96, November 19, 2009 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

Bogi666—-I am reading a book presently titled
“Counterfeit Christianity.”  The author makes a
good case for the Catholic Church being the harlot
discussed in Rev. 17 & 18.  He, then, refers to
contemporary protestant churches as false daughters
of the Catholic Church.  Constantine and the
Catholic Church established Christmas which was
founded on pagan worship of the Queen of Heaven.
No where in the Bible are we told to worship the
day Christ was born. The day of his birth is not
known.  The only place in the Bible where I can find
someone worshipping a birthday is when John the
Baptist lost his head during the drunken birthday
party of King Herod.  Christmas is for Satan.  It’s
odd that “Satan” and “Santa” have the same letters.
Then, the Catholic Church established Easter.  No
where in the Bible are people instructed to celebrate
Easter.  The only place in the Bible where Easter
is mentioned is a mistranslation.  The word is
“Passover.”  The original Christian Church is much
different than what exists today.  Jesus and his
disciples kept Passover and the rest of the Festivals, which the Catholic Church changed to
Christmas and Easter.  Jesus kept the commandments
and dietary laws.  The Catholic Church did away with
dietary laws.  I don’t understand why the Protestant
Churches followed the Pagan practices of the Catholic
Churdch.  Why didn’t they return to the Saturday
Sabbath, dietary laws, and keeping of the Festivals?
I am not finished with the book but it does present
some interesting ideas about most extant Christian
Churches.

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By NYCartist, November 19, 2009 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

GREAT interview this morning with Robert Scheer on DemocracyNow http://www.democracynow.org

I voted for Obama.  But I/we’d been warned, by folks such as Paul Street, historian, who’d been watching, writing about Obama.  Paul Street’s “Perverted Priorities:one year later” on Obama is excellent summary: in 2 places:
http://www.blackagendareport.com  (on p.2, reverse order from
  present
http://www.Zcommunications.org/znet (a couple of weeks ago on Znet)

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By starfish, November 19, 2009 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

“Hillary as president wouldn’t had made a whit of difference.” ??

Are you for real?

Hillary has had a lifetime of serious accomplishment; Obama has not.

Anyone with half a brain could have examined her record of accomplishment and would have noticed Obama had done nothing for anyone but himself.

Underlings are underlings and are subject to the policy judgments of their bosses. With Obama, it seems he has no ability to direct anything and therefore relies on his underlings to make the decisions.

Obama had no executive experience prior to becoming president, and we can now see the sad (and scary) result of that lack.

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By truedigger3, November 19, 2009 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

I am surprised and baffled that some so called progressives who are now frustrated and disappointed by Obama had expressed admiration for Ron Paul and declared their intention to vote for him in the next election????!!!!!
Ron Paul is very dangerous man and he is against everything a true progressive stands for.
His rabid call for a VERY small government and freedom from regulations and taxation is nothing but a call for big money/business to run amock and ride rough shod on the average folks who will fall victim to its greed and exploitation without any recourse to or any help from the government.
He is against Medicare and Social Security and he is against any government programs to help the needy and down trodden.
He is against freedom of choice for women and he has a very obvious religious theocratic flavor.
He is against wars which is good but he is isolationist which is very bad with all the common problems facing ALL the earth inhabitants right now.

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By bogi666, November 19, 2009 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

Christian96, I’ve also email President Obushama without a reply. I don’t understand.As far as the Tower[s] of Babel, the harlots are the pretend christian preachers with their false doctrines like; the rapture, I’m not responsible god told me to do it and/or Satan made me do it. The appeal of the pretend christians is “I’m not responsible…....” The fact that it is institutionalized in government, churches, business is what give it the illusion of legitimacy.

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By truedigger3, November 19, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

I cann’t believe it that some people are posting and saying Hillary would have been better president.
Hillary as president wouldn’t had made a whit of difference. Obama is surrounded by Clinton people including her??!!
Obama, Bush, Clinton etc etc are all acting the same role in the same play called BIG MONEY/BUSINESS. If you want REAL CHANGE, then change the play and change the script.

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By Rabbit, November 19, 2009 at 5:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When was the last time any Dem did what they promised?
The honest one are so few that you can count them on one hand. How many time do we need to be stabbed in the back by Democrats before we stop voting for them?
Are we going to be held hostage by them forever because they’re slightly to the left of republicans?
I won’t vote for them again. They’ve played us for suckers.
Rabbit

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By Amon Drool, November 19, 2009 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

johncp…what’s with all the heavy breathing about obama?  all candidates propose some degree of change.  obama made his intentions clear thru words and actions.  his private speech to well-heeled SF wine ‘n cheesers early on in the campaign, his throwing of wright under the bus, his early advocacy of a ‘surge’in afghan, his placating aipac address, his fisa vote, his call for an increased defense budget, his no vote on a proposal to rein in usurious interest charges, his bailout vote…if your eyes were open and u considered yourself a progressive, alarm bells had to be going off.  i really can’t see how he lied about anything. 

and, u know, if your girl hillary had voted no on the senate proposal that gave bush a greenlight to invade iraq, the dem nomination woulda been hers.  she just couldn’t triangulate herself outa that vote…and she suffered the consequences for not doing the right thing.

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By ardee, November 19, 2009 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

johncp, November 19 at 1:40 am

You make a cogent argument but….

“Hillary would have made a better president; certainly less of a bullshitter, more decisive, more professional, better able to deal with the elites that we all know run our government. “

Considering the nature of our sick and perverted system of governance our continued belief that any one individual is the answer to the ills that beset us is simply a futile and wrong headed assumption I fear.

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By johncp, November 19, 2009 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

RACETOINFINITY

I suspect you’re falling into a pattern that has beocome established with the ongoing appearance of these very flawed presidents. Describiing Clinton as one protecting the interests of rich folk has no informational value whatsoever.  They all protect the intersts of the super-rich.  As far as high public officals are concerned, suggesting that they’re in the pocket of corporations or various elites, is like saying that they’re wearing conservative suits.  Or they shave before they come to work.  What distinguishes Obama from the rest of his predecessors, is that he “promised change.”  He promised to throw the bums out, to remake govenment, etc.  Hillary wasn’t making such pronouncements, anymore than any of the presidential candidates and successful presidents, that came before her, had made such promises.  Interestingly he was making such promises, while, he was apparently propped up in a successful campaign.  As it is, Obama barely won the presidency, but would have lost it by a wide margin, had he spoke honestly about his prospects and the realities of govenmental power.  He lied to his supporters, he lied about virtually everything, and lied in such a dastartdly fashion that there’s no doubt that he told these numerous lies simply to wrest control of the campaign from Hillary, who was till then, walking away with the nonimation.  There can be argument about the precise extent of these lies, but this very deceit forever disqualifies him for the presidency.

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By dianab, November 19, 2009 at 3:30 am Link to this comment

montanawildhack:

Not that it matters a whole heck of a lot, but Timothy Geithner is not Jewish!  His background is German and he was raised as an Episcopalian.  But why mention people’s religion or ethnicity at all?  Seems a bit anti-Semitic, n’est-ce pas?

Otherwise I’ve nothing substantive to add to what’s been said already.  To say the least, I’m terribly disappointed in our President, but am grateful that we don’t have McCain and Palin.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 19, 2009 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

A metaphorical ship of state is sinking and the crew will be going down with it. The Navigator changes course by a few degrees, when what’s needed is a 180 degree change in course and a run for safe harbor.

Is TAO Walker’s analysis correct? Has the ship already passed the point of no return?

What will it take before the crew rises in mutiny?  Perhaps when the gunnels are overflowing the crew will take action, but by then it will be too late.

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