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Live Chat: Robert Scheer on the Election

Posted on Nov 4, 2010

(Page 2)

Anderson: OK. On that note, we’ll shift to a question from Andre, who says: Hey, Bob. Big fan. I would love to know if you think Obama’s actions and moderate Republican policies are part of a strategy to facilitate re-election in 2012.

Scheer: Well, obviously, it’s a strategy. It’s an opportunistic strategy. It won’t work. First of all, he is not a moderate Republican. We are insulting moderate Republicans when we say that. I mean, moderate Republicans believe in doing something to help the economy long-term. Even Nelson Rockefeller was a moderate Republican, and a rich guy, and he would have understood you’ve got to do something to help people stay in their homes. You’ve got to bring some relief to the people suffering out there, because if you don’t solve the housing problem, you don’t get consumption back and you don’t get jobs back. And this administration has been totally indifferent to the needs of people being forced out of their homes.

The Washington Post poll on the Monday before the election—the Washington Post poll said 53 percent of Americans are worried about being able to make their mortgage payment next month or their rent payment. Fifty-three percent of Americans wonder about whether they’re going to be able to make next month’s mortgage payment or rent payment, and you don’t understand we have a crisis? And over 50 percent of the people polled by the Washington Post said they want a moratorium on foreclosures, and this president says no, he can’t do it, because geniuses like Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers who created this mess when they were working for Clinton now tell us it would spook Wall Street? And we’re supposed to be grateful that these idiots that almost got us into the Great Depression now tell us they’ve saved us from the Great Depression, so all is forgiven? Is this like somebody who keeps pounding you over the head and then he only pounds you every few minutes and you’re grateful? I mean, this is nuts!

And, you know, I have no sympathy at all for this view that … first of all, I don’t think it’s going to help him get re-elected. I think it’s a shovel in this election, but it’s an absolutely disastrous course. You can’t fool the American people. They know when they’re hurting, they know when there aren’t jobs there. They know when the economy stinks, and it does—it’s in the toilet. And this guy acts as if everything’s hunky dory. And let me tell you, there’s a real problem in this country, because the people who comment—the pundits, the politicians, the people in power—they’re all doing well. Even tenured professors, you know, people who have worked for the big government bureaucracy—they can call themselves liberals and Democrats—they’re not feeling this pain. There may be members of their family feeling this pain, you know, but they’re not feeling it. They can pay their bills. But for a very large number of Americans, I would argue a majority of Americans, they are hurting. Their unemployment checks are going to run out, they don’t know how they’re going to pay their bills, the jobs are not coming back. And the ones who have jobs, many of them, are working way below their skill set.

You know, we’ve had this terrific series by Howie Stier—great writer—on the lost generation, people losing their jobs and not being able to get them back. And we’re talking about people who work in high-skilled jobs, in the movie industry and everything else, not being able to get it. So we’ve got a lot of pain out there. And the problem is that most of the people commenting on it are not feeling the pain. And I would recommend reading those stories that Howie did. I mean, they really are compelling—the kind of people showing up at food banks and … that are suffering. And you know, we always want to think it’s the “other,” it’s the losers, it’s the people who signed the wrong mortgages, it’s the people who didn’t really want to work—that’s garbage. Everyone who owns a house is hurting. Everyone. Because it doesn’t matter whether you have your house totally paid for. It doesn’t matter whether you made every single payment. The fact is, the value of your home, which is probably your nest egg, probably the basis of your retirement, has gone down drastically.

You know, you can tell, just driving here in a very prosperous area of Los Angeles, you see one “for sale” sign after another. You go to Riverside, Calif., go to the south of Florida, places that I’ve been, you go to the whole state of Arizona, and Nevada, and you’ll see this disaster. And those people, when they feel poor, they don’t buy. And when they don’t buy, jobs aren’t created, and that’s the problem we have. And the Fed keeps going deeper and deeper into debt. I mean, my goodness. And one day you say OK, we’re going to buy $600 billion more of treasuries, and then you wonder why the debt goes up? And, you know, there’s no attention to the heart of the problem, which is the people who got swindled by the banks into loan contracts they couldn’t understand, couldn’t afford, should never have made in the first place. And it was because of the securitization of mortgage debt allowed by Clinton, and this guy is still bouncing around merrily like he’s a wonderful character and has no responsibility and is even popular? Why, ’cause he has a good smile? Well, a good smile, as Barack Obama has learned, has not cut it in the long run.

Anderson: We are full of energy on this Thursday morning.

Scheer: We are. I’m really upset. This election really bothers me, because first of all, most of my progressive friends are angry with the tea party. I’m not angry with the tea party. The tea party tapped into a very legitimate rage. As I said in my column, what, are you going to blame these people? Yeah, sure, some of them are exploiting it; some of them are not well intentioned, some of the funding is suspect. But the fact is they’ve tapped into this rage out there, a justifiable rage, in a way that the so-called progressives have not. And so I’m angry with my own fellow progressives and liberals. I think we’ve missed the boat on this. And I do think what the tea party represents ultimately is quite dangerous. You end up blaming the immigrants, you end up blaming poor people trying to stay in their homes, you end up blaming foreigners. And we see the prescription when a society fails. And if we go into another recession or a deeper recession double dip, if we have 10 years of stagnation, as many people are expecting … I think the expectations in this country are very high, and if people are hurting for that period of time, they’ll turn to extreme right-wing solutions which can be very, very dangerous to our society.


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By eir, November 8, 2010 at 1:18 am Link to this comment

Gonewest, Here’s an interesting little story from Jeff Steinberg of LaRouche PAC:

“Beginning in early 1998, Clinton and Rubin launched an international campaign to formulate a “new global financial architecture.” A combination of G-7 advanced sector and G-15 emerging economy nations formed the G-22, to study alternatives to the current, unregulated global system. Representatives of the 22 nations met in Washington, D.C. in the Spring of 1998, and established a series of ongoing working groups, to come up with plans for a new, more regulated international financial system.

These moves by Clinton and Rubin stood in stark opposition to the Greenspan-JP Morgan-Sandy Weill drive to bust up the last vestiges of restrictive bank regulation in the U.S.A.

When, in Sept. 1998, President Clinton traveled to New York City, to deliver a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, pressing for a “new global financial architecture” with far greater regulation and restriction of shortterm capital flows, all hell broke loose. Clinton was targeted for impeachment. Wall Street Democrats, led by Vice President Al Gore and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Ct.), joined with Britain’s Daily Telegraph propaganda mill, to press for Clinton’s resignation. The House of Representatives voted a bill of impeachment.

The issue was never the Monica Lewinsky affair. The issue was President Clinton’s publicly announced commitment to overhaul the global financial system, to the detriment of speculators.

And the punishment was swift. From the time that President Clinton delivered his statement of intent to overhaul the global financial architecture at the CFR in late September, to the time that the House of Representatives voted for his impeachment, took less than 90 days. The City of London’s demands for Clinton’s scalp over his threat to reregulate the global financial system—in cooperation with developing sector countries that had been viciously looted by speculators—was delivered.

There was never a serious question about the outcome of the impeachment trial of President Clinton in the U.S. Senate. The Democratic majority was never about to vote up the articles of impeachment, despite the Gore-Lieberman efforts to seize the Oval Office. On Feb. 12, 1999, the Senate acquitted Clinton.

But the die had already been cast, and the drive for the repeal of Glass-Steagall benefited enormously from the Clinton impeachment distraction, which killed off any efforts at the new global financial architecture. On May 12, 1999, Robert Rubin resigned as Treasury Secretary, effective July 1 of that year. His replacement, Larry Summers, was fanatically committed to “Sandy’s law,” repealing Glass-Steagall. On Nov. 4, 1999, both the House and the Senate passed the Glass-Steagall repeal. A broken and distracted President Clinton signed it into law days later.”

In essence, Monica Lewinsky was a treasure that would prove to be worth trillions to the financial oligarchs.
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By bernard mauge, November 7, 2010 at 1:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the whole thing about the president reaching out to the republicans first once he rode to power and again after his recent humiliating defeat is nothing more than the obvious reality of uniparty politics in America. There is no ideological divide between the two, just two entities reaching out to corporate power and money. With 96% reelection rate, the soviet communist party was 94%, we are living in a strange form of democracy where pretty soon riot police will escort us to the mall and make sure we spend it all on maxed out credit cards. Freedom to drown in your own debt poisoned by toxic food and toxic medias. And you call this demcracy! The middle class reminds me of the well off jews sent to the extermination camps. They were allowed to travel first class waited on respectfully until the trains reached their final destination. And then they saw the dogs, the hudge lights and they kew.

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By Gonewest, November 6, 2010 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You would lay Gramm-Leach-Bliley at Clinton’s feet? 

That bill passed 90-8 in the Senate and 362-57 in the House.

In the Senate 98% of the Republicans and 84% of Democrats voted yea.  In the House 98% of the Republicans and 75% of the Democrats voted yea.

Or are you suggesting Clinton should have vetoed that bill?

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, November 6, 2010 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With access to a gold mine like Lyndon Larouche why would Dr Vaknin waste his time psychoanalyzing Barack Obama?  He fails to show how anything he says about narcissism applies to Obama.  Incidentally, Vaknin used the first person pronoun about two thousand nine hundred times in a one hour interview.  Physician, heal thyself.

To anyone who wants to understand Obama I would recommend THE BRIDGE, by David Remnick.  He doesn’t psychologize but from the way he presents Obama in a thousand different circumstances and in many different environments, one can easily draw one’s own conclusions about his personal psychology.

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By eir, November 6, 2010 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

“And this guy—I’m really confused by Obama, because I watched his press conference; the guy is incredibly appealing, he has all the right moves, you know, he’s logical, he’s smart. I wonder, where is his soul? You know, where is his feeling? Is he in touch with this? Did he learn anything as a community organizer in Chicago—which was really a brief time in his life, you know. I mean, Honolulu doesn’t have that kind of visible poverty, but it does have poor people. And, you know, is he in touch at all with the reality of the American experience now, which is quite painful for many people? They’re scared.”

This analysis of Obama by Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of the best seller, Malignant Self-Love, is illuminating, and I would imagine would be especially so for people who find his type of personality confusing.  It’s fascinating:

Dr. Sam Vaknin on Obama’s Narcissism

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By SoTexGuy, November 5, 2010 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

The ‘making nice with crocodiles’ remark is priceless.. and poignant.


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By smitty8, November 5, 2010 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Excellent and important article, although I
think RS is clearly wrong when he says, “You
can’t fool the American people.” A central
problem is how easy it is for Fox, Clinton,
Obama, et al,  to do just that, as confirmed
by the vote and such things as the perception
of the 2000 page insurance company sponsored
Obama health scheme as “socialized medicine.”

Instead of an energized left capitalizing on
the anger out there, we get the right doing
the same thing, to their advantage and to the
detriment of the suckers. And what do us
liberals get - insipid, boring, non-newsworthy
“marches” such as the two recently in DC. I
was at the first and felt like I had heard the
same speeches, delivered in the same tired
fashion 40 years ago. No wonder it was
relegated to the bottom of page 18 in the NY

The challenge to the left is to try to stop
doing what does not work - to wake up and look
around at what DOES work and to try to stop
doing the same old thing and expecting
different results.

It is especially sad how many pathetic
liberals continue to blame Nader for Gore’s
loss when it was Gore and his advisors who
chose to pander to the middle/right, including
picking the ‘stick-in-your-eye’ Joe Lieberman
for a running mate, rather that respecting the
importance of Nader’s message and seeking his
support. Gore ran a weak, tepid, cautious
campaign rejecting the support of Nader’s
ideas which, as history proves, were

If Obama had shown real leadership, fulfilling
his promise of ‘hope’ instead of betraying his
base and foolishly thinking that he could make
nice with crocodiles he should have been able
to make real change or to see Republicans take
the hit for blocking it. What to do now? Major
opportunity was lost. Now we are faced with
coping. If only the left would get together
and speak with one voice where we agree
instead of dividing into factions over
disagreement of details.

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By DavidByron, November 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

He says he was wrong and Nader / Hedges were right but then goes right on and disagrees with them again and for the same reasons and to the same effect.  Doesn’t he get tired of being wrong?

As for US feminism they are basically just right wingers these days and Obama moved the SC to the right like every single other president in living memory.

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By BarbieQue, November 5, 2010 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

A Most excellent read. It takes a real giant to not only change ones thinking but apologize as Mr. Scheer did to Nader and Hedges.

I would, respectfully, like to add regarding the following:

“...The tea party movement is wrong, in that they talk about big government, but they don’t attack the big military, which is at Cold War levels…”

The (real) Tea Parties earliest roots are from the Ron Paul campaign, the money bombs, the blimp (oh the back and forth that went on about that on those forums…yeesh) the massive response to every internet poll (hannity still hasn’t closed his right eye fully).

One of the reasons Ron Paul had such massive support was because all he talked about was shrinking government and bringing our Soldiers home and getting out of everywhere we’re in. Which no one but Mike Gravel was doing, maybe Kucinich a bit but not enough to make a crowd send blimps up over cities.

The current day tea party has been corrupted by the likes of that dufus Glennnnnnn Beck and that sly lying sob Huckleberry Finn.

But: The Roots were as anti war as it gets

Tea Party Roots:

please note the date

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, November 5, 2010 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

Excellent analysis by Mr. Scheer.  If I could have asked him one question, it would have been why it is that so many self-styled progressives—himself included—continue to view the so-called Democratic Party as some sort of vehicle for desirable change in this country?  Yes, the more local you become, the more plausible that perspective appears; however, at the highest levels, nationally, the Dems have never delivered.  Never.  Even during the Sixties, it was only the real fear of complete social breakdown that drove the legislative victories we saw.  And we are so far from that level or perspective now, that I can’t see chasing the Dems as anything other than analogous to what Obama did by stuffing his cabinet full of the very characters who manufactured our current disaster. 

In short, the Democratic Party is to progress what Geithner, Rubin, and the lot were to Obama’s policies.  It makes no sense to try relieving your headache by pickup up a pistol and putting it to your head.  That’s what the Dem Party—along with its close relation, the GOP—is:  a loaded gun that won’t solve anything for us.

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By eir, November 5, 2010 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

No Bob, “choice” trumps everything else in the world.  It was voted on by the Committee of Over-Privileged, Self-Absorbed People (CO-PS-AP).  Right now, they’re taking up the fight for “Nerdy Apple Bottom.”  You can suggest they take up the cause for addressing imminent hyper-inflation and economic collapse but they don’t see how this concerns them, anyway they’ve got a full calendar.  Await further instructions.

Had to break your balls (ovaries for Ruth Marcus) on this, otherwise good post. 

Dignified and graceful of you to apologize to Nader.

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By SoTexGuy, November 5, 2010 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Take note Mr. Chris Hedges! Having been widely and officially recognized as a most prominent prophet, among prophets and prognosticators and even a few souls in the wilds of Texas .. be very wary!

Congregations and mobs (and political movements) are historically harsh with their prophets and leaders when they aren’t quickly gratified and then go looking for someone to blame!

Luck to you good sir!

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