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Waking Up in the 1930s

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Posted on Sep 2, 2010
AP / Mark Lennihan

Job applicants snake through a rope line in New York.

By Howie Stier

(Page 2)

“We have an increasing demand, and a variable supply … and we’re not meeting demand right now,” says Darren Hoffman, communication director of the L.A. Regional Food Bank, a warehouse complex in South-Central so cavernous a squadron of Blackhawk helicopters could maneuver in it. The food bank is the wellspring for more than 575 food pantries, like that of the Sylmar church, throughout L.A. County. The past 24 months has seen a huge jump in demand.

“The Food Bank distributed 54 million pounds of food in 2009. From July 2009 to July 2010 we’ve seen an increase amounting to 34 percent over that,” says Hoffman. Two years ago the same number of pantries needed 34 million pounds to feed clients. So who is driving the demand? “People who earned 50 to 70 thousand dollars a year. Now they’ve depleted savings, gone through the 401(k).”

Meanwhile, Beverly Hills gears up for a four-day festival of wine and gourmet food, hawking tickets that run at $149 for a day of sampling.

In July of 1932, then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Douglas MacArthur led armor, cavalry and infantry against hungry Americans—veterans of the Great War—ending the Bonus Army march on Washington, D.C., at bayonet point. Today his doll-like, pigeon-shit-patinaed sculpture stands in his eponymous L.A. park, a showpiece of the city long fallen into a hangout for the down-and-out, where at dawn each day the general again faces ranks of hungry Americans.

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“I just didn’t know, I didn’t know you had to do this shit for food stamps,” a bewildered black man in his early 20s grumbles after being handed a shovel by a parks worker. He has arrived at 6 a.m. to put in his hours for the state’s workfare program, which demands that able-bodied recipients without children labor to maintain their benefits. But this is no shovel-ready job. “This is bullshit, I could be out looking for work,” he continues, leaning on his shovel. It actually is the make-work that soldiers in garrison are given to keep them from fighting each other.

The new food-stamp recipient is counseled by an older man who has been on welfare the past two years. “Tell them you’re homeless, you sleep on a friend’s couch. Then you can get relief. That’s $200 a month. Tell your [aid] worker you deserve a check.”

The men fan out, flanking the general’s statue, and as the sun rises higher they find shade. After a couple of hours, a parks worker drives by in a golf cart and explains, “When the park is clean, you can go shopping, go to McDonald’s—just come back in the afternoon to sign out, and bring back the vest.”

Jennifer Williams is 32 and smiles broadly, radiating energy as she bounces among the shoppers in the Hollywood women’s boutique where she works selling the type of gear Jessica Simpson wears on magazine covers, where women who just seem to have money are taking advantage of the store’s deep retail discounts. Williams appears to be in her element, offering help or a glass of wine (this is Hollywood) to shoppers. But after ringing up a sale, she turns stone-cold serious, the smile vanishes. “I wake up and feel like I’ve failed,” she says.

Williams spent the past 10 years working her way up in the core industry of this creative capital: film production. She’s been making 5 a.m. call times, putting in the grunt work that propels a career in production, meeting people and building a reputation for getting things done. She found her niche in production coordinating, producing TV commercials—the first thing to go when the credit dried up.

Williams says she feels “like when someone in a relationship cheats on you and you look inward and blame yourself—what did I do, what can I do?” Her dream was a modest, accessible one: to be a production manager in the producer’s union, where one can earn a scale of $500 to $750 in a day of shooting. She’s “day-playing” for TV, filling spots when someone with a job can’t make it. Two days a week if she’s lucky—but not in her slot as a coordinator, instead starting at the bottom as a production assistant.

“People who produce commercials for television have a nice life, they can take in $20,000 in a few weeks of shooting and go on to other projects, or vacation,” she says wistfully. Taking the part-time sales position was the first step to realizing the production work might not come back. “I hope things change; I don’t want to give up on my dream yet.”

“The ’30s was a time when people had very little and there was nothing to hide behind … it was a glorious non-bullshit time,” wrote Charles Bukowski, the poet and author who grew up in Los Angeles during the Depression, and who was moved by the image of the unemployed men, the fathers of classmates, killing the day sitting on the porches of east Hollywood.

Today, in his old neighborhood, he’d find the unemployed, mostly young creative types who came to L.A. to work in TV and film, filling the cafes, the ubiquitous shops emblematic of L.A. culture. Noon and you can’t find an open table in any of them. But the coffee shop-goers don’t come here to socialize, to discuss politics or movies, or even to have coffee. These are offices for those without a reason to be in an office, where they sit silently, staring at laptop screens, poring over Craigslist job offerings, firing off résumés into cyberspace, pecking away at pipe-dream projects. And they are filled with hope and unable to share the poet’s sensibility and embrace of a non-bullshit time.


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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

If we don’t radically change the way we live we won’t be living much at all—-except in a bad sort of primitivism.  We need to live in a more frugal sort of way. Remove all the excess from our life. A drastic but possible way to get out of this with our civilization intact. Bad times they are a comin.

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By REDHORSE, September 10, 2010 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

Of course KULU.

      The self-serving self-interestd short term fix and visionless denial of the new World reality is what has made American politicians irrelevant to “We the people—”. Dinosaurs doomed to extinction by their own corruption they are unable to act with the vision necessary to face coming GCC, World populatuion explosion and failure of natural resources.

      When it’s over, somewhere in the windblown rubble of an abandoned city, their will be a picture of Bill Clinton, giving the thumbs-up sign, face distorted, by his trademark maudlin insincere verge-of-tears smirk.

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By kulu, September 9, 2010 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

Lafayette,

I could not agree more with your comment of 6 September @ 12:00pm.
The present system, followed by the Anglophile countries and often forced upon the poorer countries, is insane from both a moral & practical point of view.

From a practical point of view (looking at it from the elite’s perspective) the very markets that many of them depend upon to enrich themselves are being destroyed by the ever decreasing purchasing power the masses have to enable them to consume the products that provide the profits that they seek to maximize. The provision of unaffordable loans that allowed Americans to continue consuming beyond their means could never provide much more than a short term extension to this level of consumption.

Of course corrupting the governments to co-opt even more resources from the middle and lower classes and future generations to extend this honeymoon in the form of bailouts, inflated money supply etc can also only provide a further short term extension to the process.

Its a matter of when and not if the sh*t is going to hit the fan.

But there is another looming problem that needs seriously to be addressed if we as a civilization are to climb out of the pot before it is brought to the boil: we have to stop extracting more from the environment that it is able to replenish.

For example in Australia we are engaged in a frenzy of exploitation of our natural resource wealth and the worlds atmospheric and marine sink for our waste.

Fixing the inequitable economic systems may help slow the environmental exploitation process but is not enough to stop or reverse it.

Your thought Lafayette… anyone?

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/7981334/No-defence-left-against-double-dip-recession-says-Nouriel-Roubini.html

Roubini talking about how the USA can’t take another financial hit after 2008. Yet we are cruising right for that same iceberg again.[This is what I see the uber-rich oligarchs here have planned and they will use it to finish the job of taking over.] To give us a choice. A wasteland of starving neo-savages, or running water, cars, TV and electricity but in a place of no Bill of Rights and severe regimentation. Most will take it in a heart beat. Who wouldn’t?

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By Night-Gaunt, September 7, 2010 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

If the Dominionists get their way we’ll be one big happy corporate flock. Except maybe there might be some racial separation into homelands. We will live in a world not unlike our own except there will be no Bill of Rights and Leviticus will be the law, corporations will have everything we should want and the wars of liberation will be of souls (and resources) to entice their god back to earth. To fill that empty golden throne they will prominent display as they work to make the earth harmonious for “his” return. The elites always thought they were blessed, because they have the wealth and the power so it must be right? They think so.

The rich will have all the protection they can pay for but we won’t.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

Phil Gramm said:

“When I am on Wall Street and I realize that that’s the very nerve center of American capitalism and I realize what capitalism has done for the working people of America, to me that’s a holy place…”

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

I know whites ( majority / master race ) who are either hurting due to no prospects or working 3 jobs or 2 jobs and double shifts…

I know very wealthy pigmented people ( non-white / inferiors ) which haven’t batted an eye since the economic flinch… they’ve become even more ridiculously wealthy.

And I know all colors and white / clear which are simply riding out the storm in fear and trembling as planned, clinging on to their jobs or trades or whatever.

2030 huh?  Will we be around by then?

Farmland value is on the rise ( super markets will be first to go unless they become state sponsored / non-profits ).

Would it be Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome?

Would it be a feudal world splintered by four new empires?

Or would it be more of the same, one world empire with all roads leading to Wall Street?

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By Night-Gaunt, September 7, 2010 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

There are still food lines, though the food pantries are seriously low. Too many of them have clients that were originally givers. They just don’t report it like they did in the 1930’s. You will never see one talked about at a movie theater or DVD.

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By Leefeller, September 7, 2010 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

The line looks like one I saw at the Creationist Museum waiting for the Dinosaur ride, but I cannot tell if the people waiting in line have their mouths open, so it may be worse may even be a line from Disney Land, waiting to get on the…..“Its a small, small world ride”

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By rico, suave, September 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

So the photo wasn’t really of a bread line, but of a job applicants’ line.

Class? Can anyone give me a better example of hyperbole?

Oh, and class. Remember that in an economic downturn, only the poor, children and minorities suffer.

So the photo really wasn’t even of a job application line. It was an airline ticket counter where rich white people were queueing up for tickets to St Maartens.

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By ofersince72, September 7, 2010 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt

I believe it is indeed to late, for this reason
you won’t have to endure my multible posts anymore.
I tried,  they won. later!

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By Night-Gaunt, September 7, 2010 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

It would be good if all of humanity had a brief glimpse of 2030. Rather like from that now canceled TV show “Flash Forward” just might galvanize humanity to stop what we are doing before it is too late. Which it just may be.

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By gowen, September 7, 2010 at 3:05 am Link to this comment

Imagine waking up in the 2030s?

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By Night-Gaunt, September 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

Getting rid of the USSR was primary and they found elements they liked in the III Reich as an ally. Or Axis. They liked how the Germans set up their society and their economy. Would it have been inconceivable that the Fascist Americans joined in the battle to end the Communist menace? I would say so. [But only if they would have won.] It may have prompted the Japanese to attack the Russians instead of us. [They were deciding which way to go before settling upon us.]

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By Leefeller, September 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

Well done Redhorse, your comment brings this to mind;  the depression then as now, may provide insight to the people of Main Street USA, what is happening to them, is choreographed to bring them down to being on par or close to equal with many of the suffering peoples in the world, such as those suffering in Pakistan, Africa and the other long list of places, where the haves and have not’s are separated by unfathomable differences!

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By REDHORSE, September 6, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

I worked for a man, now long dead, who survived the 30’s depression and WWII. He told many stories of a poverty stricken America, chain gangs, home and farm foreclosures, police murder, corruption and black market crime. He spoke of God fearing men and women, who in order to survive, did things that violated every moral fiber in their being. Terrible secrets carried them to their graves.

    In the last scene of Steinbecks GRAPES OF WRATH, a young woman trapped by a flood, who has just allowed her stillborn child to float away on the waters, feeds a starving man from her breast.

    If human potential, dignity and worth no longer hold moral currency in America, what does?

    Human damage!! Damage to the soul, body and mind. Broken lives and a stolen future. This is the reality the MSM hides. The victims Beck paints as “the enemy”. Those ground to dust between the wheels of fascist police state economic policy and organized black market crime. The invisible inhabitants of the moral vacuum the Christian Right refuses to see. All expressed, in the heartless zombie sneer, etched in blood, on Bush, Boehner, Cheneys, Rubins and Clintons faces. May God damn the traitors.

    As Art is a reflection of life and human aspiration, likewise politics. True, I urge destruction of the Republican Party through continued support of the worthless Democratic, and strangely, pray our President might still stand for us. Yet, I accept that Washington is dead. It does not reflect the will of the People and is dangerous to the People, their Children and new American Destiny. They are people of the lie, and thus have become irrelevant. Their damnation, as in the damnation of all tyrants, is that they have justified this travesty in the name of God.

    Thanks for the reality check and the history refresher. I dig you guys when you ride the pulse. If you ain’t mad, you ain’t right.

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By truedigger3, September 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Night-Gaunt, September 6 at 3:29 pm

Night-Gaunt wrote:
“It isn’t surprising that some of them like Ford, IBM and the bank of the Bushs continued to deal directly with the III Reich. (They wanted to ally with them had they succeeded) our history would have been very different.”
___________________________________________________

Night-Gaunt,

Those people you talked about, didn’t want the III Reich and its Fascism to triumph, but they wanted to arm and finance the III Reich, knowing that Fascism is fiercely anti communism, and that a strong and powerful Germany will eventually attack the Soviet Union.
They predicted that it will be gigantic struggle between two fierce enemies that will leave them both devastated and almost bled to death, then it will be very easy to deliver the mortal blow to the victor of the two and the US and the Brits would have got rid of two formidable adversaries almost free of charge.
Hitler knew the trick and tried to beat the allies to the punch by signing a pact with Stalin.
The allies plan didn’t work exacly as was initially planned and the rest is history.

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By truedigger3, September 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Lafayette, September 6 at 7:14 am


Lafayette wrote:
“The administration made the political bet that it was better to get universal coverage than nothing at all. Perhaps a Public Option can come at some later date, they thought? “
_____________________________________________________

Lafayette,

You make the fundemental error, assuming that BO&Co; are sincere and they REALLY wanted a public option.
In REALITY they didn’t. They put it there for make-belief bullshitting, knowing damn well that it will not pass.
BO&Co; are under the complete command and control of the Corporatocracy and Wall St.
From the very beginning BO&Co; agreed to the requests of the Medical/Insurance/pharma complex and the bill was written at that time,  after that, all the discussions and haggling were nothing but theatrics and make-belief bullshitting to mislead the public.
That infamous bill is nothing but a give away to the Medical/Insurance/pharma complex and the same problems that are plaguing the healthcare system is still there, for example runnaway costs, are still there and are getting worse.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 6, 2010 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

But I am talking about millionaire, and now billionaire clubs who control vast swaths of wealth and property on this planet. Once they are everywhere you won’t be able to boycott them unless you form your own independent networks and get your own raw materials or manufacturing base. They are ubiquitous and want to be universal. Under many names but the same owners.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 6, 2010 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Conspiracy theory or fact, good ole boys clubs do exist folks, have existed and have furthered their own agenda, much like we do in our own minds, if you have a business or if you join club _______ ( whatever your social associations ).... yet these particularly special like minds, have throughout history as books like Think & Grow Rich illustrate, these minds move forward in unity, much like any other movement of people… only obviously not touted from the rooftops, for kicking back and watching the slaves in the field unwittingly toil to serve you is quite a kick… has been for centuries.  Read about it!

Today’s tool is mystical, its imaginative.. and in truth, it doesn’t exist!  The carrot is that video game, or porn, or your own island.  Only the idea is real… or believed in I should say, which makes the ‘idea’ real in our minds, thus justifying our daily routines.

We are enslaved by choice…. because the ‘free’ choice has been mapped out of our very comprehension.

We have accepted the slavery of one man over another, man worshiping man and things created, instead of the Creator.

Christ came to refocus our attentions… although externally we resemble the decaying world as we see it, yet the choice to NOT sell one’s very soul, mind and heart to it was made available… though our bodies have been somehow lawfully and legally bought and sold among ruthless men ( the Cains, Nimrods and such ).. our minds our still our own, no matter how deep the world attempts to infiltrate and seduce it.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 6, 2010 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

NO just “The Fraternity” as they called themselves at that time. IBM, Ford Motor Co., GE etc some of the richest most powerful corporations and families. If they had chose someone other than Maj-General Smedley Butler (who was a loyal American) to lead their proposed “million veteran army armed by ITT) which FDR had no idea. Unfortunately he did nothing to them. It isn’t surprising that some of them like Ford, IBM and the bank of the Bushs continued to deal directly with the III Reich. (They wanted to ally with them had they succeeded) our history would have been very different. <i>“Piffle”<?/i> it isn’t. It happened. But true I can’t prove directly that they abandoned all plans afterward. But the fact that FDR failed to dissolve their corporations, put the families up on treason charges, or affect in any way their empires left them to consider other means to get the same thing. Even if wouldn’t happen in their life times. Google the “business coup” and you will find it to be true. I’d say mine is the logic supposition and aduction of present contretemps and what they still want.

I am only going by what I have seen, especially how from 1980 onward our Republic has gone on a downward spiral with considerable help. Much is conjecture but it does look like the richest among us found another way to take over. Otherwise we are up shit creek anyway when we collapse and there will be no organized group to pick up the pieces (even a fascist one) and the USA will be out of the running.

The rich have wealth now all they need is direct power. Our Republic, even functioning in an inverted totalitarian way, still is cumbersome and complex because they are still playing at us having a republic. Which is for them most inefficient.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 6, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, well said sir!

A model of taxation on and benefiting a society does work… ( exorbitant rates and chicanery in code do not ) and I wonder what era did America resemble the most harmonious balance of state / people’s will, equitable taxation without overreaching or supporting any one group? 

Oh wait, was that a myth too?  Or did, at one time, the steel worker, coal miner or ice-cream man actually have a chance to be free from the dubious trick of feeding the oligarchs from cradle to grave?

Yes, the oligarchs have tightened the noose further on the people of the planet. 

When will their names, whereabouts and ambitions be publicly dealt with? 

When will the ensuing crimes stemming from their unbridled appetite be held to account, starting with them and their near cohorts, and not low-office dupes or the common man being the ‘crazed’ patriot or American or awake and aware person, scapegoated in media for the masses to feed on, ignorantly?

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By Lafayette, September 6, 2010 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

{NG: My assessment is that the oligarchs who almost took over our country in 1934, came to the conclusion that the general conditions of that time should be recreated to benefit their own machinations generate a fascist empire from our Republic.}

Conspiracy theories are very easy to advance and extremely difficult to prove.

Are there any substantiations of the perpetrators? The Free Masons. The Rotarians? The “400”. The AMA ;^)

All piffle - when we feel abused and impotent the human spirit seeks wildly its nemesis. Real or imagined ... usually imagined.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 6, 2010 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Actually just by reading the stories, whether true or myth, he promoted paying the hated tax to the Romans. He was against usury (charging money to lend money) and was a rebel that tended to stay in the background unknown to the Romans. (Why else would he have to be pointed out if he weren’t so common in appearance?) His crime was a nationalist one, of what we would call a terrorist if it is against us or our allies, and a freedom fighter if he was working for us.

The 1930’s were full of problems, not just financial. The mid west was a dust bowl desert, due to a shift in the two gulf stream air currents, radicals and paramilitary and revolutionary groups were springing up all over (from the old KKK to the Black Legion and other “patriotic” groups like the Steuben Society & Minute Men arming and demanding swift change) like our militias of today. Cities and states are coming close to defaulting or closing up shop. How many cities are cutting back on such things as Libraries, police and fire dept.s? Even during the height of the Great Depression they did not close libraries.

My assessment is that the oligarchs who almost took over our country in 1934, came to the conclusion that the general conditions of that time should be recreated to benefit their own machinations generate a fascist empire from our Republic. It seems to be working.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 6, 2010 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

Christ came to distinguish God from Money.. for the people had confused the two serving Cesar, bowing to Cesar and paying homage to Cesar ( the guy who thought he was god ).

Empire, the mass ‘think’ and purpose of corrupt men had perverted the truth and changed the real thing for this fugazi we think is life.. this smoke and mirrors, up is down life.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 6, 2010 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

Nothing has changed, those who believe themselves to be kings and queens because of pedigree, pounds or plastic purchases do whatever it takes to make others believe that baloney too… and further serve them.

Nothing has changed, only the names, faces, tools and distractions… yet we are still subject to an object ( idea / faith in money ) that is used as the tool of enslavement because of ignorance ( no historical perspective or idea of memory beyond income / wealth and the human heart condition ).

Lafayette mentioning the barter system is spot-on, for money is that medium of exchange in barter… but the barter, equal weights and measures and faith in one another’s labor and intentions FAILS when greedy and dark souled men are at the helm of fiat currency, allowed to manipulate the rates, measures and the ungodly ‘interest’ on principle… folks have been doomed for over 2000 years under this empirical system… and the US was another attempt of escaping these people’s warped hearts and minds.

I suppose the Christ appeared at just the right point in time when Rome’s Machine had perfected ‘empire’ and ‘absolute rule’ and ‘dominance of man’ .. .

He appeared at that specific time to identify this invisible, manipulative and deceptive Machine of empire building, the capturing of the free people and bringing them into the new idea of ‘city life’ by giving up their real worldly wealth ( homes, fields, animals… their livelihoods and inheritance ), for counterfeit money and a debt system / mouse wheel deception… to be herded together en-mass like animals, fed, tendered, cropped and chopped.

This mass cohesion was built by Rome, propagating the human specie by someone and a select few dark souls believing to be more special than anyone else to benefit themselves and their own…

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 6, 2010 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Lafayette, I’m highly impressed at your dissertation- well written and as objectively written as possible.  Whether you partially copy and pasted from other sources I find irrelevant, for you’ve brought clarity to this commentary, mentioning HISTORY, which sadly so few remember, know and / or understand.

From my words, what would you categorize me as? 

Left, Right or Center or at five o’clock to that straight line everyone seems to slide back and forth on, depending on the hype and distraction of the day or where yesterday’s adversary slid to?

For depending on the given issue, I may lean pinko, pure commie, pure capitalist, more government, no government, why ask / why tell / isn’t it obvious?, welfare for all, welfare for none.. just depends on the argument, the words and mindsets and points of view involved, and if all bets are on the table at that given time… and my words change depending on where the other is in their perspective…

That’s why I try ( operative word is ‘try’ ) to simplify points as:

The vast ignorant and docile masses, ignorant of their essence and their real value as originators of thought, effort, work, dreams and ambition… these very prized creations are completely ignorant and purposely fooled to NOT SEE the vestibule that money and economy is to an equitable symbiosis for all involved… instead of the enigma, enslavement tool and MACHINE it has been used as and is NOT clearly perceived to be by the public at-large / its very subjects.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 6, 2010 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

8 million unemployed

15 million underemployed

Average wait time to get any kind of a job is over 6 months. They automatically stop counting you at 6 months and claim “you have stopped looking for work” as you scramble to get anything. Usually a part time, temporary poorly paying job with no benefits. In a “right to work” state (right to fire) you have no protections at all.

The elites or oligarchs aren’t finished with us yet. They want us to be a plantation with racial separation and no rights beyond whatever they want to give us.

The so called Communist “real left” was destroyed some time ago then the FBI remade it staffed by their own to “catch” any the show up for real.

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By bpawk, September 6, 2010 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

felicity and others:

I think a concerted organized effort will maximize the effect at rousing the politicians, media and the world to the plight of what the American people think about what’s happening to them in their country. Nobody (not even Fox news) can ignore 8 million plus people descending on washington - what about Ralph Nader et al for organizing the event - this needs to be an organized effort not a handful of people. If people are silent it means they are complicit.

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By felicity, September 6, 2010 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

bpawk - You’ve got it.  When Nam was the American war
of ‘choice’ small bands of protesters (probably never
more than 10) armed with their homemade signs saying
things like “get out of Vietnam” “stop the war” etc.
stood daily outside the fence surrounding the White
House.

Their presence drove Johnson nuts and eventually
drove Nixon nuts (granted, a pretty short drive.)
Presidents, after all, get very uncomfortable when
someone visually tells them that not only are their
policies idiotic, they’re shit-heads to boot. 
Deflating the over-inflated works wonders.

So, for those of you who live in DC and have time on
your hands (maybe because you’re out of work) may I
suggest that you “drive Obama nuts.” Write your signs
- any pertinent subject will do - hold them high and
do so daily.

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By Lafayette, September 6, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

CENTRISM

{Having demolished the real left, Americans will always volley between the lesser of the two evils}

That’s OK, if you mean the communist “real left”. History has proven the fallacy of Marxian ideology. People may be created equal, but human diversity (in abilities, skills, competencies and luck) in any economy will assure that some are paid more for their labor than others.

What America has not done is given sufficient consideration to “centrist” Social Democrats that understand perfectly well this principle: Capitalism is a cash-cow for any modern economy. The challenge is to assure that the milk is more fairly distributed. (Which means an end to the present distribution that has 45% of the financial wealth our GDP generates going to only 1% of the population.

That’s not only unfair but insanely immoral.

Note that I did not say “equally distributed”. Therein lies the challenge—far, far beyond the witless commentary of the Rabid Right that paints socialism a Communist red with hammer and sickle.

Which is just peddling fear to the masses in order to obtain power.

POST SCRIPTUM

For a good idea of the notion of political “centrism”, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrism

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By Lafayette, September 6, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

CENTRISM

{Having demolished the real left, Americans will always volley between the lesser of the two evils}

That’s OK, if you mean the communist “real left”. History has proven the fallacy of Marxian ideology. People may be created equal, but human diversity (in abilities, skills, competencies and luck) in any economy will assure that some are paid more for their labor than others.

What America has not done is given sufficient consideration to “centrist” Social Democrats that understand perfectly well this principle: Capitalism is a cash-cow for any modern economy. The challenge is to assure that the milk is more fairly distributed. (Which means an end to the present distribution that has 45% of the financial wealth that our GDP generates going to only 1% of the population.)

That’s not only unfair but insanely immoral.

Note that I did not say “equally distributed”. Therein lies the challenge—far, far beyond the witless commentary of the Rabid Right that paints socialism a Communist red with hammer and sickle.

Which is just peddling fear to the masses in order to obtain power.

POST SCRIPTUM

For a good idea of the notion of political “centrism”, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrism

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By bpawk, September 6, 2010 at 3:18 am Link to this comment

Having demolished the real left, Americans will always volley between the lesser of the two evils - but note both are still evil - dems and repubs just play against each other - you have to protest - that’s all you have - can you imagine what the world would think if 8 million unemployed (the number now more since the onset of the depression) marched on washington! What are you waiting for?

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By Lafayette, September 6, 2010 at 3:14 am Link to this comment

NAIVENESS

{LH: Now somebody else rules by the bayonet; that’s all.}

Civics teaches us that ours is a nation of laws and that we elect lawmakers. If we elect lawmakers people based upon the colour of their skin, their religion or, Much Worse, their ability to be manipulated by BigMoney, then we deserve what we get as regards the legislation passed.

And what we get is a clichéd reflection of ourselves.

An example: Is the recent palliative Health Care bill any lesson to you as a good example? In order to get it passed, BO&Co; caved in to the pressures of both certain House Blue Dogs and a Troglodyte Senate that would exercise the Super-Majority rule (buy filibustering) to make sure the law came to its own natural death at the end of the legislative session. (Which is tantamount to a “denial of democracy”, since no vote is taken.)

The administration made the political bet that it was better to get universal coverage than nothing at all. Perhaps a Public Option can come at some later date, they thought? But if the Republicans persist and win both Chambers of Congress, as is apparently the case, then you can forget two consequences:
* A public option that makes Health Care affordable, since it (should) mandate the prices of HC-practitioners. This is necessary in what is, fundamentally, a rent-seeking oligopolistic market. And,
* Any real improvement to our chronic debt, because the skyrocketing cost of Corporate Health Care Insurance is subsidized, in part, by the Treasury (by law, since I don’t know when). Which is tantamount to Corporate Welfare and why Insurance Companies go berserk (when the Public Option comes up for debate) and floods Capitol Hill with its lobbyist wolf-pack.

An this is just one example of many that can be told about the manipulation of the budget by one Vested Interest or another over the years. Want to talk about the myriad examples as regards the M-I-C over apst decades? Have you got six months to read them all?

POST SCRIPTUM

The economist Joseph Stiglitz, also a “pinko”, calculates that the total cost of the Middle-east Wars (plural) is about three trillion dollars.

Imagine how much Health Care that could have bought. And we are still fighting those wars because of a Democrat administration? Right, me arse. (Vietnam went through how many different administrations? We can blame both sides of the political divide on that one. Once a war gets started it is almost Mission Impossible to end it without total surrender of one of the sides.)

And the ONLY alternative, in a bona fide democracy, is for the citizens to wise-up to the political manipulations that go on right under their noses.

Don’t blame the lawmakers. Blame the politically ignorant who vote for the lawmakers. Blame those who gob the populist blather from the Rabid Right.

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By Lafayette, September 6, 2010 at 2:06 am Link to this comment

{Cher Bonaparte:  ... for a more equitable state structure supporting citizens stemming from the lower strata of society is needed.}

Yes, this should be the mainstream mentality of America. Why it isn’t, since it once was (we called, I think, the Great Society), is a good question. I’ve asked myself often, “What ever happened to the social wave of collective sympathy that brought about Johnson’s Great Society?” Is the US no longer capable of that collective compassion? Apparently not.

And the only answer that history offers is the drastic lowering of total taxation levels brought about in the era of Reckless Ronnie. Which has fostered this current mentality, “I’ve got mine and F-U!”

Sociologists have classified nations loosely into a gamut that ranges from Highly Collective to Highly Individualist. In the Highly Collective category we find the totalitarian states like North Korea and China. In the Highly Individualist countries we find the US, the UK (and, strangely, most of the Anglophone nations). After the demise of aristocratic monarchism in Europe, these countries began the awkward march towards collective values.

The process was more socioeconomic than political. Meaning a change in mentality away from the Individualism personified by monarchic nations throughout European history.

America entered the process very late in the game. It’s rebellion against the English crown installed the notion of Property Rights in an unexploited land-mass. In Europe, the overthrow of monarchies did break up large land holdings, but there was no great availability of new land-mass to which to migrate.

Europe has a modern sense of Property Rights, sometimes it goes further than the American notion. For instance, in France, your photo-image is your property and cannot be used without your authorization. So much for the “pooparazzi”—they’ve all fled to Hollywood.

My point: Property Rights engraved in granite the notion that what we own we do so by our own merit. Which is a comforting thought, but without a shred of foundational evidence. How’s that?

Here’s how: Do show us one millionaire who made his/her money on a Robinson Crusoe deserted island. The accumulation of wealth can only occur in a socioeconomic collective (a community, a city, the state, the nation). And why? Because of an economic rule called the Division of Labor.

When mankind stopped being nomadic hunters and settled into place (to become agricultural farmers) it discovered that, by every one of them doing different kinds of work, they produced on the whole more than if they all did the same kind of work (for instance, hunting). The produce was larger than their individual needs and so they bartered the excess.

This bartering produced individual wealth, which led to the European land-wars (to control farm output in an era we now call the Agricultural Age). This age also brought about the great immigration from a land-constrained Europe (where owning land was not easily done) to land-unconstrained America, where property rights flourished in an almost unlimited landmass.

End of story and conclusion:
*Americans still labor under the notion that property is limitless. Thus the notion of “individual success” prevails in America because property is the very first element of personal wealth (in the form of a home).
*Europeans have become more orientated toward the collective rights; such as the sharing of the GDP-pie by means of taxation and redistribution (employing Public Services). Is health care as important a human right as property rights? Some think so—after all what is the purpose of owning a home if you cannot enjoy it due to illness or, worse, death? Is education a basic right if the lack of it condemns one to poverty?

These are important questions and Europe has done more to respond to them than the US.

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By LocalHero, September 6, 2010 at 1:50 am Link to this comment

Vote this, vote that. All this talk on here about voting down through the centuries is absolute nonsense. So, you throw everybody out and install a new regime. What’s changed? Now somebody else rules by the bayonet; that’s all.

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By ofersince72, September 5, 2010 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

Da bandstas, da war profiteers, da war contractors,
da health care insurance industry , da CEOs of BP , will
thank you and not look at your Democrat vote as a
wasted vote, however

the crippled, lame, orphans, widows, widowers of
Afghan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yeaman and other places will
for sure believe ur Dem vote was a waste for them

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm Link to this comment

ofersince72, that what I was eluding to in my last post… which folks seemingly ignore like they do their chattel existence and futility in arguing and debating each other over banal issues… instead of focusing on firing the shysters in Congress.

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By ofersince72, September 5, 2010 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

You guys “keep holdin da line” for the Democrats.

I will keep laughing at how rediculous you are for doing
this….the politics of fear workin on ya.

the General Electric / Murdock   scam workin well.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 5, 2010 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, September 5 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

Unlike in the past the access of third parties to the media automatically doesn’t happen. It is run by the Democrats/Republicans. No other party is on the same level nor can they. It was made to be that way now. Recently. Normally as parties ran out of steam a usurper party had the chance to take over. No more. So if this happened during the time of the Whigs, they would never have died out or absorbed into another because they would have been protected. That is a fact.
**********************

That is an absurd contention. The Democrats should then have died in 1865. They didn’t.  They should then have died again in 1896. They didn’t.  The Republicans should have died in 1932. They didn’t.

This idea that “The Media” controls everything is just stupid. Even if they tried to control the Internet, they couldn’t.

The Whigs died because they were incompetent and under-funded.  Just like today, the Republican Party arose because it was backed by the new industrialist class, that, under the Post-Civil War GOP admins, made fabulous fortunes—Rockefeller, Carnegie, Frick, Pullman, the railroads—and they ALL funded that 3rd party, the “new” Republican Party.

Nothing’s changed. You sound like a kid who says “Hey, c’mon Mom, Dad.  Things are different now than when you were growing up. This is 2010!” (and before it was “This is the 21st Century”, before that “This is the 90’s”.  Or, when I was 15 “This is the 70’s!”)

All that’s changed is that YOU, rather than some mid-19th century shnook, are in the middle of it.

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By jesusfreak, September 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a load of liberal nonsense!

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By Night-Gaunt, September 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Unlike in the past the access of third parties to the media automatically doesn’t happen. It is run by the Democrats/Republicans. No other party is on the same level nor can they. It was made to be that way now. Recently. Normally as parties ran out of steam a usurper party had the chance to take over. No more. So if this happened during the time of the Whigs, they would never have died out or absorbed into another because they would have been protected. That is a fact.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 5, 2010 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

N-G:

Because you believe it’s a conspiracy to keep third parties out, you are doomed to never understanding how to bring a third party in.

The two party system isn’t a conspiracy—it’s the arithmetic result of our original constitutional form of government.  If we had a system where a party getting 10% of the vote of 30% of the vote got 10 or 30% of the seats in the House, 3rd parties would be normal, not extraordinary.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

One of the major problems we face Kulu is that the crypto-fascists have infiltrated the only allowed parties in our duopoly. Think of mummies hermetically sealed in glass cases, all the other parties are left out because they aren’t in the case and therefor don’t have the equal rank, therefor no chance of winning. It doesn’t matter if both sides continue the same way in the circular path, any other party is left out. So even though both parties are pass their prime they will stay. Such is our damaged system, sclerotic and unmoving.

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By kulu, September 5, 2010 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

Ah Lafayette, if only Obama and the Democrats would stop acting like Republicans they might be worth a vote. As it is it is a lose, lose situation.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 5, 2010 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

What is defeating in this debate is people’s failure to see our elected representatives as out for themselves first and foremost, as any one of us would be.

History shows a master race using minstrels to further propagate their influence. 

Napolean did what the people wanted in his time, the ‘right thing’ and triumphed, yet was blinded by the wealth and nomenclature of royalty and going down in history ( the very thing he defeated )... so he thought he was something special like the royals he temporarily defeated and then the populace was once again wrangled and harnessed… bound yet again.

Unless you are a part of the ‘party’ you have no say in it, you simply work for ‘it.’

You can vote and hopefully they’ll throw you a bone.

Why are we choosing sides? 

We are all on the same side, and we’ve been confused to think otherwise.

We’re at the behest of financiers and their minstrels.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 5, 2010 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

A faster track under the Republicans than the Democrats but we are still on the same road.

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By Leefeller, September 5, 2010 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

ITW,

“So how come the GOP is betting they’ll win the House and have a long shot at the Senate?”

Applicate your comments, but my false impression still remains to be,  the differences between the two parties are still a manipulated, directed and choreographed illusion, for right now the Democrats show an ever so slight slant to Main Street. How many in Congress emulate Hilliary Clintons statement during the campaign,...... I voted for it but hoped it wouldn’t pass or was it the other way around.

It seems to me, Main Street has been a dead end street for sometime now, just seems to be a shorter street under the Republicans!

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By Inherit The Wind, September 5, 2010 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

50gigs:

I WISH we had them on the run. We SHOULD have them on the run and should have been chasing them outta town since November of 2006.  Waffling, hesitancy, refusal to enforce party discipline has dissipated much of that.

As for parties changing over many times in our history: That’s flatly a false and mistaken impression.
1) First there were the Federalists and the Democratic Republicans (called the Republicans but now called the Democrats).
2) When the Federalists collapsed they were replaced by a conservative party called the Whigs.
3) The Whigs were replaced by a party backed by the industrialists and manufacturers in the late 1850’s: The Republican Party.

These remain the two parties of the nation, for 154 years now.  Changes HAVE occurred, but only within these two parties.  The Republican Party was the anti-slavery and anti-segregation party, even up through 1965 when key GOP support was needed by LBJ.

But the success of the Civil Rights Movement and the active courtship of the GOP moved the old Dixiecrats with their racism and classism right into the GOP.

Blacks moved from almost being exclusively GOP voters after the Civil War to being almost exclusively Dem voters since Reagan.  Hispanics are next.

In theory, the Dems should be kicking the GOPers’ butts all over the place on EVERY ISSUE. Why? Because to anyone of any sanity the GOP is WRONG and lying or inane on all of them, like the economy, Iraq, Iran, immigration (!), racism, etc.

So how come the GOP is betting they’ll win the House and have a long shot at the Senate?

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By felicity, September 5, 2010 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

And I’ve got a front-row seat in an LA community
inhabited by rich people, the movers-shakers-
profiteers who created this economic mess and have no
intention of doing anything that might cut into their
outrageously lavish life-styles, which, translated,
means that economic conditions are not going to
change as long as they’re calling the shots.

America is now being ruled and run by economic
royalists.  When she was being ruled by British
royalty, we staged a revolution. It’s not too late to
stage another one.

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By Leefeller, September 5, 2010 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Fifty Gigs, it is my contention, the only differences between the two parties is how they present their horse and pony show at any given moment, it seems as history may show, those differences between the two parties have swapped coats over time, Abraham Lincoln stated as much about the two drunks fighting on the street!

I suspect the two parties are bought and paid for by special interests, just follow the money!  All illusions for main streets sake.  The parties may be changing coats before our eyes right now, after all we saw the Democrats voting for a non war under Republican majority and then we see a Democratic majority doing nothing, but freting! The only changed one may have seen were thew words to the Obama slogan which pumped the people full of hope and change, just another ruse while main street is steered; I prefer manipulated; into worrying about real important life and death issues like Gay marriage! Seems more than enough divisive flack issues can be brought to the forefront for the ignorant masses to funnel their focus on, well with thanks to the mass media!

Any changes in the system seem as baby steps, so when the Republicans gain majority they will be easily be stepping backwards again.  Seems a plan to me! ......Me the cynic!

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 5, 2010 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

Good stuff FiftyGigs:

“The problem is a conservative movement that has taken over the Republican Party, and is committed to the principle that lying, cheating, and stealing (from the middle class) is all justified by the need to subjugate and rule the riff-raff through a power base of select elites.

The noise you’re hearing is due to a simple truth: we have them on the run. We have a President attentive and sympathetic to our fundamental interests and values. We have Democratic representatives who only need the support of our votes to acquire the power to combat those opposing our interests.”

I like also how you name individuals, which is what VOTING folks should be focused on, not party affiliation… which is another smoke screen propaganda technique ( the more we use words like democratic / republican / left / right / etc… those words give you images and make a person decide from ‘A’ or ‘B’ without considering ‘C’ ‘D’ or ‘none of the above because they’re in collusion.’

Men and women who will serve public offices and their constituency / bosses MUST be put to the fire when they burn the public, and these good-ole boys clubs need to be brought into the light, period!

Pastors misleading their flock?  Unfortunate but true, and this is because THEY too haven’t identified ‘the machine’.... like we happen to be discussing…. they are busy helping bring people to Christ ( at least I hope that’s what they’re focused on ).

Lafayette, what if those men you mentioned were to gather themselves together, along with Marc Faber and Peter Schiff as their economist and FED Chair, respectively… and who would be the sheriff to bring all these shysters and hucksters to justice… someone with bite and teeth!?

Well heck, we might just have some folks with OUR best interests working for US for a change… which WE put there!!!!

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 5, 2010 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

Lafayette, I’m glad you mentioned Socialism creeping in, which is what I’ve recognized in perusing recent history or suppose it to be by definition… but is that absolutely horrid and wrong folks?

Haven’t some euro region countries gradually evolve to a more progressive society, focused more on fostering and nurting it’s people-centric civilization and not focused on expansion / exterior growth?  Can this semblance be accused to be socialism? 

Why does that word have a ‘bad’ tone connected to it, like another ism- Communism, or Catholicism ( please don’t take offense ).

Lafayette describes precisely the society’s natural ‘demand’ ( as in how market demand drives price ), not just ‘desire’ or wanting unlimited nanny-state benefits, for a more equitable state structure supporting citizens stemming from the lower strata of society is needed.

Q: Has there been any state-run agency / entity / business model which has well served the public from any point in history, in any country, which worked better than its privatized / for-profit model?  In the US, ever?

Serious question folks!

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By FiftyGigs, September 5, 2010 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind: Your comments are among those I enjoy reading, and agree with a lot of the time. They also make me think. This one was a doozie… lol…

“Democrats, selling their souls for power, have moved steadily right-ward under the impression that the only way to fend off the racist fascists is to be more like old-style Republicans”

That’s the propaganda being told, the current story being sold. I’m not sure I believe it. Think about the formulation here: Tea Party blowing off moderate Republicans equals… Democratic weakness???

Wouldn’t the Democratic Party—especially a “rightward drifting” one, as we are told—be AMASSING support from disaffected Republican moderates? Why is that interpretation being suppressed?

Oh, because disaffected moderate Republicans couldn’t possibly ever (neeee-ver!) vote for Democrats, proving further just how awful Democrats are! Hummm… Why are we being sold a story that basically claims we are weak?

“But how do you achieve Congressional or Senatorial seats as a 3rd party?”

This portion of your comment seems to read as dissatisfaction with the labeling. Parties have transformed many times in American history, sometimes changing names, but I know you’re not a shallow thinker, just wanting a party with a different name for the sake of having a party with a different name.

Look, we have some figures in the Democratic Party who are and can be incredibly trans-formative. I remember speeches by a young Joe Biden that were brilliant. He’s the same guy now. Al Franken is inhumanly sensible. Anthony Weiner, OMG. John Sarbanes, Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean. Alan Grayson is a freaking genius!

Don’t tell me a progressive movement has to start from scratch.

“Only the religious right has managed to do that, mustering both money and foot-soldiers to get out their vote.”

The religious right forms part of a political strategy similar to labor unions on the left. In the case of the former, the “target market” are people in churches the Sunday before Tuesday’s election. There’s a lot of them. They’re vulnerable and receptive to propaganda. Your clergyman wouldn’t deceive you.

Sadly, he does.

Feed the sheep a message about how Republicans are “on their side”—sure some Republican’s (only some, maybe one) are degenerate perverts with no sense of God, but, but, but, liberals are worse because the radio talk show hosts say so, listen for yourself—and voila. You have a voting bloc.

Contrary to the intense propaganda you and I and everyone else is being fed these days, I hate to break it to you, but…

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS NOT THE PROBLEM.

The problem is a conservative movement that has taken over the Republican Party, and is committed to the principle that lying, cheating, and stealing (from the middle class) is all justified by the need to subjugate and rule the riff-raff through a power base of select elites.

The noise you’re hearing is due to a simple truth: we have them on the run. We have a President attentive and sympathetic to our fundamental interests and values. We have Democratic representatives who only need the support of our votes to acquire the power to combat those opposing our interests.

Indifference, ambivalence are Republican conservative values.

Yours?

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By Lafayette, September 5, 2010 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

{: Idealists talk about a 3rd party.  I’d love to see one be successful from the Left, but I’m a realist. }

The count me as an Idealist.

I have opined for quite some time a Social Democrat Party in the European fashion. The creation of one would threaten the present Dems, perhaps forcing the Blue Dogs to where they should be ... Right into the arms of the Republicans. (Which would open up a Center-Right current in that party.)

It would push the Dems Left, but that is where they should be. National elections in modern democracies are decided in the Center—with the Left leaning Right and vice-versa, both trying to take enough from the Center to win. One does not win elections on the Extremities. (Somebody cue a brain-dead Palin.)

What you claim to be “selling out” is not partisan. It is across all parties and all social classes. This began with the lowering of higher-end tax rates, prompting generalized cupidity. America is now paying for its deviation from the principle of Income Fairness, in which perhaps once progressives cherished a belief, but no longer.

The corruption of Congress is widespread, most it of due to selfish financial consideration. Unfortunately, we are chasing political tails blaming one another for the failure of our economy to provide economic fairness. The Left is right to insist it is in the form of more Public Services, the Right is wrong to think that “free markets bring universal economic equity”. The latter has been proven dead wrong, if one considers the facts of Income Distribution in America today.

Immigrants won acceptance and equal opportunity as have blacks. But what is lacking is the most important of all societal values, that of Income Fairness. Meaning this: Knowing that the “deck is not stacked against you” from the very beginning. Or a “level playing field”, or whatever flashy-phrase suffices.

At the heart of all of them is more fairness to citizens as the core value of the nation. That means some very simple but basic Public Service measures:
*Like a Health Care Public Option that accepts all patients regardless of sex, race or religion AND previous maladies for all illnesses. With coverage at the very least of 80% of all costs and private insurance for the remainder.
*Or the ability to obtain the skills/talents necessary (in this Brave New Competitive World) to assure durable employment by means of an post-secondary educational system that is as inexpensive as possible.

Both of these policy examples have been at the heart of Social Democrat Party principles in Europe since WW2.

And as regards both, the US is in some other universe. Americans have not suffered enough, yet, to understand that reforms that offer them more Public Services are an absolutely necessity. Markets cannot provide all services equitably that a country may need.

Perhaps they think such is Creeping Socialism, the Devil’s Handmaiden? Yep, must be that ...

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 5, 2010 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

Inherit My Wind…. I know I make broad strokes with my words sometimes… effect and gut reaction from others I like to see.. while instigating folks to think, not just agree with me, for I ‘think’ I know it all, but know I may just know only my name.

But hey, this country is BETTER than any other Roman / Greek attempt so far… THE BEST…. in regards to civilization and getting society to ‘function’ and be on the same page for the most part.

Some folks wish NOT to be indoctrinated into such a system which only benefits the smart money and siphons everyone else…

What is each individual American worth according to the bond which market’s our existence?  $1M USD?

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By Inherit The Wind, September 5, 2010 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

No, Lafayette, I know exactly what my question is.  You are only partly right: How do we save our republican form of democracy?

We already know that the last patriotic defenders of republican democracy in the Republican party have either been driven out of that party, have succumbed, or teeter on the razor’s edge.

That last are solely because Maine and New Hampshire are still mainly old-style Republican states who have little if anything in common with the White racists who have slowly taken over the party since Nixon courted them in 1968.

Meanwhile, Democrats, selling their souls for power, have moved steadily right-ward under the impression that the only way to fend off the racist fascists is to be more like old-style Republicans—and when it fails, move even FURTHER right.

Idealists talk about a 3rd party.  I’d love to see one be successful from the Left, but I’m a realist.  Our system is set up for 2 parties.  Every race is local, whether it’s village board of ed, Congress, or even Senatorial. This fundamentally strengthens 2 parties and weakens 3rd parties, especially if they try to go national too soon.

Under our Constitution, to be effective, a 3rd party needs to start regionally.  But how do you achieve Congressional or Senatorial seats as a 3rd party?  You MUST ally with either the Dims or Re-thugs. So, unless you have a sustainable movement, you run out of steam.

In European and other parliamentary systems, if you come in 3rd in votes nationally, you get a portion of the seats in the parliament.  So if you can muster a 25% minority vote, you’ll get 25% of the seats.  But in our system, anything less than a plurality gets you zippo.  So, to be able to contest each seat at local, state and national levels takes decades of sustainable effort.  Only the religious right has managed to do that, mustering both money and foot-soldiers to get out their vote.

And now we are paying for it.

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By Lafayette, September 5, 2010 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

LA-LA-LAND ON THE POTOMAC

{Mon cher Bonaparte: Have there been free men in America since its inception?!?!?}

Of course. This sort of statement is made by someone exaggerating matters and who has never lived in a totalitarian state. Get a job in China, see for yourself.

We are all indeed free in America. But if we have the shambles of republican democracy in LaLaLand on the Potomac, it is whose fault?

For the answer, look in the mirror—we elected them, so we pay the consequences.

POST SCRIPTUM

You are disgusted with the way the Reps have stonewalled to neuter the Public Health option in the Health Care legislation? OK, take it out on the Dems. Go ahead, shoot yourself in the foot.

But don’t come back to bitch-in-a-blog after you have spent 24 hours in an ER, waiting for a doctor.

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By Lafayette, September 5, 2010 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

REPUBLICAN DEMOCRACY?

{ITW: The Dims will spin their wheels and waffle between wottlewedo and sounding the old songs that were tired in the 80’s.}

Your real question is, “What should we do about republican democracy”. (Small “r”, it’s important since a republic is a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives.)

When republican democracy was first innovated, the principle cause was because of the large expanse of the nation. Democracy, except at the town level, could not function on direct representation of the citizenry. So constituencies were made and representatives elected to the nation’s capital.

I suspect what the founding fathers were thinking, but certainly did not say, is that “smarter people” would be selected for republican government. History tells us that, at first, there was sentiment for requiring all Senators to demonstrate a certain minimum wealth in order to run for that Chamber of Congress. The intent was to counterbalance the inherent populism of the House of Representatives. This never became law since its apparent motive is to encrust one class of citizenry in the Senate.

But has that not happened? At last count, the number of millionaire Senators was not less than 40%. Do you really think they are concerned about how much the train in from the cheaper suburbs cost the average worker in a large city? I doubt it greatly.

In fact, it has occurred that Vested Interests have learned how to manipulate the legislative vote in Congress indirectly by funding elections.

Case in point: Why was it that Obama was obliged to make a deal with BigPharma and the AMA to NOT intervene in the Health Care debate. Because he had decided that the Public Option would not pass—so they stepped aside. The Private Insurance companies, whose Top Managers make BigMegabuck earnings, however spent $400M via media adverts and lobbyists to influence the legislation.

This is democracy? Not by any figment of an imagination. It is, rather, the corruption of republican democracy.

POST SCRIPTUM: Sucker

And who’s the sucker in this sad story? The Body Politic (i.e., you, the tax payer): 
* Because the American Treasury subsidizes the corporate HC-schemes (aka Corporate Welfare) that companies purchase form private insurance companies at a noncompetitive cost, and
* Because these subsidies do not cover total corporate HC-insurance costs, companies factor the additional costs into their the prices of their goods and services that we consume. 

Total Health Care costs twice as much in America (to you) and French Health Care costs in France (to me). That is, it is $7250 per American versus 3200 per French person. And France, I can assure you, has an HC Public Option—a National Health Service—that is perhaps the finest in the world. [Of course, French doctors do not earn on average $162K per year like their American counterparts, but two-thirds less. (NB: That average compensation comes directly from the BLS.)]

QED, sucker ...

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By Kit Foulds, September 5, 2010 at 12:20 am Link to this comment
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Overly written. Boring….

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 4, 2010 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment

Oligarchy from Wikipedia:

An oligarchy (from Greek ?????????, oligarkhía[1]) is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, or military control.

The word oligarchy is from the Greek words “??????” (olígos), “a few”[2] and the verb “????” (archo), “to rule, to govern, to command”.[3]  Such states are often controlled by politically powerful families whose children are heavily conditioned and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy.

Oligarchies have been tyrannical throughout history, being completely reliant on public servitude to exist.

Although Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy, oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be connected by bloodlines as in a monarchy.

Some city-states from ancient Greece were oligarchies.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 4, 2010 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, September 4 at 8:15 pm

This will make EVERYTHING worse, so Obama is replaced by a Sarah Palin, then she’ll declare martial law and our little 230 year experiment will be over, and China will replace as the dominant economy.

It could be any of them including Obama could do if the war with Iran is carried out because our economy would collapse. China isn’t ready to take over, Japan could still do it or the EU if we get passed a world wide Depression.

And we’ll become a right-wing English-speaking version of Venezuela.

I would say more like the Taiwan or Singapore model than a right wing version of Venezuela.

I guess I’m just not real optimistic these days.

It is difficult for me to be considering the long planning an huge expenditures our ultra-rich adversaries have put in over the decades to put us into this bad position.

Napolean DoneHisPart,
Have there been free men in America since its inception?!?!?

Yes they are the oligarchs who are always the freest of the free in any culture.

Part of the problem for us, REDHORSE is that both parities have been infected with the crypto-fascist virus, the Repubs are just totally overwhelmed by it but they lurk and rule against us just the same. It has been done on purpose to give us no way out.

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By Obbop, September 4, 2010 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment
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The elites of every country tend to do well unless they are deposed or lose a war with another elite group but even then the losing elite(s) will often continue living an opulent life style.

The elite class of every country/religion/cult/any type of social organization lives well and works less by skimming from the labors of the common classes.

Maybe elite classes are inevitable.

It’s a shame elites are so willing to use tactics such as brainwashing then up to murdering masses of common folks so as to enable them to maintain the status quo that is so beneficial to those elites.

I admit that some groups of elites are kinder than others.

Sure can’t compare American elites with the acts of Idi Amin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc.

But, the USA’s elite class HAS murdered common Americans to maintain the status quo. Just look in the history books. Even women and children have died at the hands of jack-booted thugs, representatives of the elite class, to ensure that wealth and power remained in the hands of the elites.

Please, my fellow citizens. All I wish is that you attempt to cast off the years of indoctrination, the brainwashing all of us undergo to convince us that the way things are is correct, proper and as it should be.

From schooling to the mass media to general culture…we are constantly bombarded that the present status quo is the only RIGHT way to handle things.

Educate yourselves!!! Do not let the self-centered greedy elite class do your thinking for you.

Do not let the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world implant the elite’s propaganda inside you. Those folks are merely shills for the elite class!!!

I remain convinced that the greatest threat to our freedoms is our own elite class; more of a threat than all foreign terrorists combined.

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By REDHORSE, September 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

Bitter but practical medicine THOMASG. TY. The collision of inner and outer reality are indeed where the political rubber burns the road. Having your ass on fire as opposed to having an opinion about it are two very separate things. And, the
unifying factor that drives people to unite and act is commonality of experience. Yours is a good question. Where’s the line?

    I’m saying, that events beyond the control of the dangerous thugs in D.C., has already pulled the peoples of the entire planet across an ecothreshold, which is already dictating the terms of our survival. The World is on fire. We must all learn this new politic, and its’ language, if there is to be a human future. Shock, indignation and whine about the greed driven obfuscation of irrelevant D.C. baboons is not it.

    BPAWK picked at a serious scab. What about Nader? Most modern advance in product and consumer safety only happened because of him. Nader walks the talk, no question. When, in America, did it become criminal to be a humanist?

    The citizens of other modern nations have health care, education, social security, secure homes, sane immigration and drug law, economic freedom and only incarcerate the violent and incorrigible. We have a police state with people begging in the streets. Why?

    You know why!!

    Our Constitution and Bill of Rights supercedes the Patriot Act no matter what fascist fearmongers and their press minions shout, no matter how many of us they murder, no matter how many they lock inside their secret prisons. It is who we are. They, on the other hand have chosen the LIE as a way of life, and in doing so, become irrelevant to American destiny.

    Yes, they are dark, immoral and dangerous. They deserve our pity. They do not deserve our recognition. Join the light—HOLD THE LINE!! VOTE DEMOCRATIC!! WIPE OUT THE REPUBLITHUGS!!

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 4, 2010 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

Either way you slice the pie ( 2/90 / 20/80 ), you still have quite an imbalance… now I wonder if some stats ( you can have allot of fun with variables running statistics and such, so anyone outcome is usually never a stand alone number, other than total deaths / total births for example ).... I wonder if some stats tell only part of the story.

Where are the stats showing how much income real estate property and commercial property is owned / mortgaged by non U.S. residents / entities?

Anyone ever read Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith?

How ‘by design’ rents are fixed at highest tolerances as wages are priced at their lowest tolerances… or else the public would ‘actually’ do something instead of continuing to stuff themselves on Cesar’ bread ( luxurious fluffs ) and still pay exorbitant amounts to simply lay their heads NOT on solid ground.

Is the ‘free’ man he who owns his own business / service / expertise and contracts directly with his clientele… and chooses when to work and with whom? 

Or is the ‘free’ man the job keeper, looking to be let out to pasture for a few weeks at a time a year?  Obediently arising every morning, 5 out of 7 days, one third of his waking hour?

Have their been free men in America since its inception?!?!?

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By Inherit The Wind, September 4, 2010 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

So what’s gonna happen?  Isn’t it obvious?
The Dims will spin their wheels and waffle between wottlewedo and sounding the old songs that were tired in the 80’s.
The GOPers will prostrate themselves before the ultimate Re-Thugs, the Tea-baggers.
Fox Noise will keep sounding the horn that Americans don’t like Washington.
The Progressives will look down their noses and sniff and say THEY are too good to participate in this sham.
The Tea-baggers will win the House and possibly the Senate and then threaten to impeach Obama if he doesn’t sign exactly the bills they want him to sign.

He’ll sign them and they’ll impeach him anyway, and these new bills will just be the same f***in’ things that got us into this mess:
More deregulation of businesses
Lower taxes for the wealthiest
Draconian cuts to programs for the neediest

This will make EVERYTHING worse, so Obama is replaced by a Sarah Palin, then she’ll declare martial law and our little 230 year experiment will be over, and China will replace as the dominant economy.

And we’ll become a right-wing English-speaking version of Venezuela.

I guess I’m just not real optimistic these days.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 4, 2010 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

So long as folks keep working for a fake carrot as opposed to planting a real one for themselves… then the chattel en-mass will exist in their numbed existence… for the next 50 years… unless folks wake up to the chattel system and ‘fire’ our handlers… or remove them, whichever they prefer.

And yes, you may be referring to folks who have their own and stay in their either suburban / rural / yuppie bubble… these are only the higher priced and more valued chattel… the house slaves if you will… yet they only get 2 to 4 weeks out to pasture a year like the rest.

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By Lafayette, September 4, 2010 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

{NG: ... in total it is the top 10% that own 75% of the USA’s wealth plus much of the world’s available wealth.}

Actually, it is the top 20% who own 75% of the nation’s net worth (or wealth). Of those numbers, in fact, 6.4% of households obtain a third of all income generated by the American economy—and there are about 117M households in the US.

As a pie-chart, the household income distribution would look like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/66/Income_America.png (Constructed from Census Bureau information.)

On that chart, all that is blue and light-blue is above an annual household income of $60K per year. The average household income in America is around $60.5K.

Let’s remember that to obtain Net Worth, one first needs Income.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

In this depression there isn’t room for all of us to be working and being able to earn enough just the pay the bills. Savings are in the negative not since the Great Depression. So I think your ideas might have been relevant 50 years ago but not now.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 4, 2010 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

We all have our filthy minds in common.. and we all have our up and down days… yet I’ve pondered if just maybe the ‘system’ keeps the masses from further polluting themselves with the trappings and vestiges of the aristocracy… for what good would ALL people be greedy, selfish, unloving and unforgiving?

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By Night-Gaunt, September 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

True, but in total it is the top 10% that own 75% of the USA’s wealth plus much of the world’s available wealth. You have no more in common with the 8% than the top two percent.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 4, 2010 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

The sifting of the masses via economic depravity once again-

“Capital must protect itself in every possible way.. Debts must be collected, mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible. When, through process of law, the common people lose their homes, they will become more docile and more easily governed…we can secure for ourselves that which has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished.”—American’s Banker Association.

The populace ( 98% of the population NOT super wealthy ) is the chattel the 2% ( your handlers ) sift in order to NOT have to work….

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By ThomasG, September 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

What does the eternal recurrence of the same, the recurrence of the script of the 1930’s in the 21st Century, really mean to the American Common Populace, as true American Patriots that have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all, as tropes, while they are homeless, hungry, and unemployed.

Since the American Common Populace can experience life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all, as homeless, hungry, and unemployed vagrants; what is the need of improvement in the living conditions of such true American Patriots?

What is a true American Patriot patriotic to?

Is a true American Patriot patriotic to propaganda that serves the Class and Cultural Interests of others, rather than their own Class and Cultural Interests?—- And, can life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all be achieved in service to the self serving Class and Cultural Propaganda of the American Aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class?——the answer is that the American Common Populace is patriotic to self serving Class and Cultural Propaganda of others that is contrary to Class and Cultural best interests of the American Common Populace, and until the American Common Populace develops sufficient objective awareness to serve their OWN best Class and Cultural Interests apart from the self serving interests of the American Aristocracy and Professional Middle Class, it is fitting that the American Common Populace be true American Patriots that are homeless, hungry, and unemployed vagrants, until they are sufficiently homeless, hungry, and unemployed as vagrants long enough to realize that it is NOT patriotic, and it is NOT the American Dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all to be a homeless, hungry, and unemployed vagrant.

If the American Common Populace want objective life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all, instead of subjective tropes for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all as true American Patriots, patriotic to someone elses best interests; the American Common Populace will have to quit drinking the Kool-Aid of the American Aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class and learn to be true American Patriots to their OWN Class and Cultural Interests and the interests of their OWN life, liberty, and the pursuit of their OWN happiness with freedom and justice for all, rather than to continue to be dependent upon the self serving American Aristocracy and Professional Middle Class who will continue to serve their own Class and Cultural Interests without regard for the Class and Cultural interests of the American Common Populace.

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By bpawk, September 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

While none of the comments here are willing to admit they abandoned the left (Ralph Nader et al standing up for civil liberties, workers rights, consumer safety, corporate watchdogs, etc.) you only have Obama as your left wing now and he’s not much of one, so you have no real movement to rally round except for Obama. You have painted yourselves into a corner between centre-right (Clinton, Obama) or right (Reagan, Bush). You should have kept the third party alive so you could at least let the other two parties see there’s other alternatives to them (even the Blacks say Obama treats them as if they have nowhere else to go). What will happen in the next few years is that you will lose your reserve currency, have enormous debt of which the govt will chip away at your old age benefits to pay for it, and a lot of the middle class will go into lower class status. The military will be also be decreased which will end your world power status with China being the #1 country of might. It’s a sad future that is going to be played out. If you guys try now to protest, the Patriot Act will crush you for your dissent (not to mention some people will not want to step on Obama’s toes just yet). Good luck!

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By REDHORSE, September 4, 2010 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

LAFAYETTE/NIGHT-GAUNT: Thanks for taking the time! Great posts.

    Perhaps SLUMLORD (and I appreciate the dose of reality), it’s not that the present “is or isn’t” like the 30’s Depression, but the common thread of elitist fascist manipulation of the American Destiny, for personal financial gain, in opposition to the success of American Constitutional Democracy, and it’s promise of “—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—”. In both instances, the American economy was gutted and social institutions destroyed, along with the lives, potential and future of “We the people—”. D.C. is controlled by profligate megalomaniacal narcissistic sick in the head #@cks. Wake up!!

    Here it is, again.

    New technological communication, has enabled a jump in world consciousness, that is demanding revaluation of all social/economic/political/religious systems. Exponential explosion of population, GCC and imminent failure of natural ecosystems, combined with the reality of possible human extinction, has changed the imperative. The new reality is extant. The D.C. corporate/fascists have proven themselves traitorous, visionless, impotent, inept and corrupt.

    I suggest, that though still dangerous to the lives of our children and families, they are irrelevant to our survival as a people, and the survival of our Constitutional Ideals of Freedom and Liberty.

      Let me paraphrase C.G. Jung. “—A man who doesn’t know his own history, or comprehend the forces at work in his own time, doesn’t know who he is.—-”  Do YOU remember YOU? I hear it in your voices and glimpse it in the streets. A major shift in POWER has come. The future is ours. Not theirs.

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By mikey, September 4, 2010 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If there was a real difference in the two parties, we
wouldn’t be where we are today. At some point,
perhaps after JFK was killed, the democratic party
folded into the republican party.

We have no “left” left.

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By Lafayette, September 4, 2010 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

{RT: The correct quotation is: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.}


And, pray tell, what is the difference between the above and what I said, aside from the words?

Stop nitpicking and keep to the debate. It is difficult in this forum to distinguish the wheat from the chaff ...

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By Tobysgirl, September 4, 2010 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

People in the 1930s had some sense of community. (Yes, I am well aware there was a strong fascist movement in the 1930s, which I believe morphed into the hysterical anti-Communist movement of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, hmmmm.)

A man from Kentucky rode rafts down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers during this era, and noted that he saw a definite change in people’s attitudes after WWII. Prior to that, people shared what they had. Afterward, they began to subscribe to bourgeois values, which meant holding on to anything and everything, becoming more individualistic and self-absorbed. If anyone wants to wonder why people today cannot seem to organize into anything resembling a coherent group opposing the Democrats and Republicans, the roots may lie in societal attitudes changing in the 1940s.

And stop blaming people for being jobless and/or homeless! Lack of compassion seems to be one of our defining characteristics, which might just explain why we have no health care, no free education, little public housing, no public transportation, ... I’m so sick of American nastiness. It’s not the greedy bankers and CEOs who are to blame for stealing our resources, it’s some poor slob who used up his savings paying for COBRA!

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By REDHORSE, September 4, 2010 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

FIFTYGIGS: I agree w/you but get the “bah humbug” every time I make the suggestion. I just don’t buy the gripe that the VOTE doesn’t matter. The “what difference does it make” is that the VOTE makes a “difference”.

        My view: In response to the Cheney/Bush goose steppers and their fascists minions American VOTERS turned over the House of Reps/Senate and the White House. We were betrayed both times. Sure, it’s tough—but that’s politics. I say, just keep wipin’ the Republithugs out. VOTE Democratic while we either reform the Democratic Party or build a new one. The “poor dying cockroach-do with me as you will” whine doesn’t fly. VOTE DEMOCRATIC—WIPE OUT THE REPUBLITHUGS-HOLD THE LINE!!

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By FiftyGigs, September 4, 2010 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

“Possibly Appalachia has just grown much larger.”

That’s a great comment! I like that grin

I think part of the frustration that liberals and “progressives” feel over this administration is due to the fact that they want and expect so much more, and perhaps they don’t appreciate the extent to which the country is in a real, honest-too-goodness crisis.

An honest-to-goodness crisis isn’t just bad newspaper headlines or fuzzy statistics about vague conditions pertaining to “someone else”. It isn’t even about about proposals that “fall short”.

Before you give up and concede to conservative propagandists that the President is inept and progressivism impotent, consider the alternative possibility:

That a smart President is not inept. That, under decades of conservatism, our nation has deteriorated to the point where we have fewer and fewer options for fixing conservative ineptitude.

Sure, sure, Democrats are as bad about this stuff as Republicans, yeah, yeah. I read the Republican propagandists too. That’s not the point. The point is which party is more likely to represent you?

The party that supports Star Wars defense systems and an increasing military budget they know we can’t afford? Or the party that realizes the military budget must be pared back, but is only missing YOUR SUPPORT to give it the power to pull out of a certain crash?

If you give up, you will suffer the rest of your life. But if you fight now, you might win everything you want within just a few years. Seriously.

The fact is WE HOLD POWER NOW. Just not enough of it.

So get more.

Vote.

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By gary, September 3, 2010 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GODISTWADDLE…SEEING YOUR HAT I GUESS THAT CAPITOLISM IS GOING WELL FOR YOU

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By Chris Namon, September 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

1930s. Yes. Woo Howie!

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By GoyToy, September 3, 2010 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

Our democracy, such as it is/was, was a great and glorious experiment. Start getting used to the idea of fascism.

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By igloo, September 3, 2010 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment
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Folks, expect neo-fascism to grow as social unrest spreads. After all, Wall Street will support it and the government wants law and order. Fiddling with the money supply will not resolve this crisis, nor old Keynesian tricks. There needs to be a fundamental re-think of this economy and bold steps to bring industry and manufacturing back into the US. I am not sure the current crop of Wall-Street bred economists will have any answers.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

One of the major impediments that the oligarchs saw that was different from the 1930’s, when they last tried to make us fascist, was a middle class that grew out of the New Deal which they despise up to this day. So in the 1970’s for the first time (after 150 years) the wages stopped rising. Even though the labor continued and even climbed! The workers wanted more money but instead of being paid more, they had them lend the money—-with interest. So much better for the banks and later the companies did it in house!!

Then sending jobs overseas for cheaper rates (and less quality) happened along with inshore where workers had special work visas that allow them to work here for low wages and are restricted from moving on to other better work. On the lower end illegal immigration also assaulted the worker by under cutting wages more by being employed for many jobs, including those they would kill to do completed the equation to gut our middle class and weaken that part of our economy and the polity too.

By Lafayette, September 3 at 7:27 am
How Robert Rubin could convince Bill Clinton to sign into law the demise of the Glass-Steagal Act is a wonder. Perhaps he was gobbling the same myopic idiocy as Greenberg at the time? (The one that goes, “Free markets are self-correcting”. Yeah, right!)

Clinton is a right winger with a “D” after his name so it is no surprise to me. Shouldn’t be to you or anyone.

It is worse than the 1930’s because they didn’t have a middle class to fall nor having their jobs shipped off overseas to the lowest bidder.

To slumlord, September 3 at 8:23 am

Violent crime is up, you will find the mention of lack of work to be a motivating factor. Also we haven’t had any protests against food shortages just yet. It will and they will. Also our gov’t has weapons now that will keep you alive even as you are feeling intense pain. Don’t even need to shoot you now. Just imagine the oligarchs being able to control and incapacitate thousands with a touch of a button. Welcome to some of the “gizmos” that will make the 1930’s look like a safe haven. I forgot that much of this will be in private hands including soldiers “augmenting” the National Guard who is too busy fighting wars or calamities from fires to floods in this country alone.

The 1930’s was also a time of unrest and wars and civil wars in action or rumored to be about to start. It can still happen here especially with the impending water and food shortages which could set off mass protests & even violence. Something the oligarchs have planned for and are waiting for but they have planned many ways to end the hated Republic whether by a whimper or an explosion they are going to win unless we can stop them but that takes organization and allies in and outside the gov’t to do so. Is there anybody out there doing it?

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By slumlord, September 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

lol! typical hypocritical, condescending and douchey retort of the forum era. totally missing ‘my’ point but instead writing a book on ‘your’ point peppered with ‘see stupids.’

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By Jason Schwartz, September 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a great little article and quite worthy of the Steinbeck quote. All technical analysis aside, it’s just a colorful and poetic observation of our time.
Thanks Howie

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By gary, September 3, 2010 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

boo hoo

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By gerard, September 3, 2010 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Thank you, LaFayette!  Please keep posting. You’re qualified, and much needed as a Truthdig regular.

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By BobZ, September 3, 2010 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

As bad a president as Richard Nixon was, he was the last of the “keynesian’ era
presidents who held very practical views of real economies and what made
them tick. They knew first hand the free market captitalism was not a self
correcting mechanism and that left to its ownd devices could topple an
economy. As we moved further fromt the Great Depression, the horror of that
time became a distant memory. Starting with Jimmy Carter, the Milton Friedman
school of economics started to take hold, along with the constant cry from
Republican’s to deregulate markets, and lower taxes. Carter bought into this
thinking, and it accelerated under Reagan who not only pushed harder for
deregulation and the emasculation of unions, but would not even enforce the
existing business regulations in place. Bush I kept “Reagonics” in place even
though he once called it “vodoo economics”, and Clinton gave our economy the
coup de grace by presiding over the elimination of the Glass-Steagal Act. Bank
lobbyists alone spent over a hundred million dollars to get rid of Glass-Steagal.
In the 1990’s, CEO compensation became more dependent on their stock
options and they quickly learned that employee layoffs drove up their salaries.
As of last week this is still true. No layoff policies which stood at 90% at the
start of the decade, were gone by decade end. The first decade of the 21st
Century began the era of employee “givebacks” starting with private industry
and working its way through the public sector. Now we are seeing the rise of
temporary workers who don’t even get benefits. Our manufactuing base is 10%
of what it was 20 years ago. We are now a low paid service economy, with
pockets of high tech in key cities like San Francisco and Boston, and a financial
sector in New York. The rest of the country is turning into a vaste wasteland of
shuttered stores and vacant factories. Neither Democrats nor Republican’s have
the wherewithal to force the economic structural changes that will be required.
Tax policy and stimulus programs cannot gain the necessary traction because
American’s are fearful - the job security of the last half of the 20th century is
now a memory, and we have all gotten the message of the “you are on your
own” mantra, so consumers are not spending and are saving much more. Now
we have a reactionary response from many American’s in the form of the Tea
Party movement created by Dick Armey who saw how fear could be used to
manipulate public thinking. They don’t have an coherent answers except to be
against deficits and tax increases two mutually exclusive policies. They are
silent on answers to our economic dilemmas except to do the equivalent of
rearranging the deck chairs. Obama has economic advisors in place who have
no intent of rethinking current economic policy. They are wed to Wall Street type
thinking and incapable of thinking outside the box. The current recession we
are in will not end until we develop a new economic blueprint for America that
will give American’s renewed faith in their futures.

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By Gmonst, September 3, 2010 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Nice posts Lafayette, I enjoyed reading them.

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By acudoc, September 3, 2010 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

I ask readers of TruthDig to google “Hugo Salinas Price Gold as the Generator of Jobs” for a very lucid exposition of the present economic predicament.

We have to strike at the root: money creation through debt.

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By RobertTrent, September 3, 2010 at 10:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lafayette,
The quotation of Santayana is oft-repeated but incorrect.

The correct quotation is: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

—George Santayana 1863-1952: The Life of Reason (1905)

Those who misquote George Santayana are doomed to paraphrase him smile

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By Lafayette, September 3, 2010 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

{I will not vote until lobbyists are banned from the Halls of Congress, which means I may never vote? }

This sort of negativism is exactly what the Republicans want. Low turn-out favors their candidates, just as higher turnouts favor Democrat candidates.

So, if you want the hurt to continue then you have chosen the right inaction.

The Republicans have shown, since Reckless Ronnie, that they are inept at economic management. Which is why they adopted the simplistic dogma that “markets take care of themselves and need no government interference”—which means, by inference, so do economies.

No, that is not the way that markets work. If a recession is due to lack of market oversight of human error, then only market regulatory agencies can avoid that economic cataclysms recur. The Republicans have shown their ignorance of this truth by neutering as much of the Obama legislation as they possibly could.

If they get the Oval Office, they will neuter the oversight agencies precisely as Lead-head did during his administration. And we’ll have a FEMA-like Response when the next Economic Katrina arrives ...

Mark my words, Republicans and their insidious Free-Enterprise dogma are a menace to the nation’s future and the economic well-being of our children.

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By Moonlighter, September 3, 2010 at 8:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Howie sounds like a denizen of many of those quasi-office coffee shops.  I do
not think they are ubiquitous in East Hollywood, however.  There are a few.  I
avoid them like typhoid.  Any unemployed folks out there chasing a dream or
“pecking away on a pipe-dream” project like Howie is on his journalism, may
want to note that you can get a pound of coffee for the same price as a cuppa
in one of those coffee shops.  Then you can work at home.  I’m a vet and I still
wouldn’t pay $2.50 for a cocktail.  Get a bottle and a friend and stay home and
listen to the radio.  Or take a flask to a free concert.  Or hit the Waffle on Sunset
where they have bottomless cocktails for $12.00 if you want to splurge. 

Regarding the California economy, there is no recovery.  Nor is there any
preparation for a recovery.  If you have not noticed, the politicians are just
trying to muddle through this the same as you are. 

Have a good one, folks.  Stay out of those coffee houses.  But if you hit the
Lotto do want to go, I hear Intellegentsia at Sunset Junction has a wonderful
$8.00 latte.  And don’t forget to tip.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, September 3, 2010 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

GLUTTONS FOR PUNISHMENT

{Obama squandered the opportunity and there is no FDR on the horizon. }

If you feel better pointing the finger of blame at someone, that’s your business. But your accusation just does not make sense.

We were in this mess long before Obama took office in January of 2009. The Toxic Waste problem became a visible threat in 2007 and its consequence of almost bringing Wall Street to its knees happened in late 2008.

I keep wondering, as an economist, why some people think that Presidents can wave magic wands and make the hurt go away. Abra-Cadabra—with a bit of Stimulus Spending and all is right. This economic recession has been in the making for quite some time - as I tried to demonstrate in a previous post. Necessarily, therefore, it will take a while to recover as well.

It became a Perfect Storm with TARP having been voted in October 2008. From WikiP: {Originally expected to cost the U.S. Government $356 billion, the most recent estimates of the cost, as of April 12, 2010, is down to $89 billion, which is 42% less than the taxpayers’ cost of the Savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s. 

The cost of that crisis amounted to 3.2% of GDP during the Reagan/Bush era, while the GDP percentage of the current crisis’ cost is estimated at less than 1%.  While it was once feared the government would be holding companies like GM, AIG and Citigroup for several years, those companies are preparing to buy back the Treasury’s stake and emerge from TARP within a year}

Government reaction to such a crisis can only go so far. If the US has not yet started creating jobs in numbers that are sufficient, it has stopped losing jobs in droves. And few economists see a double-dip in the near future.

All is not a bed of roses, that’s for sure. But neither is this anything like the long, hard road from 1929 to 1939 when a do-nothing policy was discarded and replaced by FDR’s Alphabet Soup Agency funding to employ Americans in restructuring projects. (And who is to know how the recovery would have evolved if WW2 had not begun in 1940?)

Which is pretty much the same that this present administration has done and wants to continue. But just who is throwing the monkey-wrench into the works? The Republicans, with their Deficit Hawk reluctance to spend.

And, lest we forget, the last time around (the S&L crisis) was on their watch as well. So, if you are a real glutton for punishment, vote Republican in November.

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By Leefeller, September 3, 2010 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

Now I do not know if it is like the 1930]s now, it seems hard times are here where I live.  Possibly Appalachia has just grown much larger?

Hope and change have a new meaning, compared to the one promoted by Obama during the campaign, me thinks some special people got their hopes granted with the new changes, surly not I!

In the end it seems my lobby of one, which used to be middle class seems way to poor or unorganized to promote or influence simple hopes of the regular person on the street. If one believes voting makes a difference, the deluded should vote. I will not vote until lobbyists are banned from the Halls of Congress, which means I may never vote?

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By RdV, September 3, 2010 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

It’s gonna be worse.
Obama squandered the opportunity and there is no FDR on the horizon. Those who would loot everything to feather their own nest and strut like the entitled class are anticipating return to controlling the Government they are always complaining about.
What we have now is a Depression with no shared sacrifice since Obama defers to and bails out the priviliged class he aspires to be a member of—- at the expense of the citizens who are blamed for their victimization..

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By Lafayette, September 3, 2010 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

MYOPIA 101

{SL: why do people keep insisting ‘its like the 1930s’ man}

You are myopic because you are looking at the outward appearance of an economy and not its factual state.

A good measure of Income Unfairness is a Gini Coefficient, which indicates the distribution of income (meaning also wealth) in a nation. The higher the coefficient, the more exists that fact that income and wealth are concentrated at the top of the Social Classification.

Look here at the Gini Coefficient (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient ) and its historical evolution; Note that the Census Bureau estimates the coefficient at 45 in 1929, at about the point it is today—and one of the worst in the developed world.

We can take solace in the fact that China is just as bad and Brazil and Mexico even worse. This comparison is nothing of which to be proud. Look again at the major European countries and how they have much fairer Gini Coefficients. How do they arrive at that achievement?

By means of a very difficult balancing act. That is, to find the balance between too much income taxation and too little. To much taxation kills tax revenues as people are incited to avoid taxes (or even cheat). Too little taxation and there are insufficient means to deliver decent Public Services. The first and foremost of which, in Europe, is a decent Public Health Care Option and free Education up to post-secondary schooling.

Some economists insist that high taxation does not demotivate entrepreneurs. If you have got 20 megabucks, then what more pleasure or enjoyment can be brought to you or your family by having 200 megabucks? Or is one looking for the thrill of being able to tell Bill Gates “I’ve got more money than you!”. BFD.

No, when Reagan brought down the marginal taxation rates he lit the bonfire of our vanities. We became vain with our outward appearance of wealth—which, of course, we justify by our “hard work”.

Worse yet, in America’s competitive society, we have established as a social attribute/value the “goodness of wealth”. Thus, be skewing income distribution upwards we are deliberately harming the poorer classes. How’s this?

Progressive taxation was innovated because people felt that the partial redistribution of wealth (by means of taxing and spending) helped maintain an harmonious society. The poor did not turn to crime and delinquency in order to “get even”. And for as long as the economic escalator was moving upward, people believed that they were bettering themselves and their families.

In fact, the poor and the lower middle-class were getting the crumbs off the table as the rich scoffed the cherry, the icing and the cake off the top. Don’t believe this statement? Then confront yourself with the facts before voting blindly in the November mid-terms by going here:  http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

The research found on that page is some of the most poignant for showing the large unfairness of income and wealth in America.

If you have information to the contrary, as well researched, then do let us know here.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, September 3, 2010 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

MYOPIA 101

{SL: why do people keep insisting ‘its like the 1930s’ man}

You are myopic because you are looking at the outward appearance of an economy and not its factual state.

A good measure of Income Unfairness is a Gini Coefficient, which indicates the distribution of income (meaning also wealth) in a nation. The higher the coefficient, the more exists that fact that income and wealth are concentrated at the top of the Social Classification.

Look here at the Gini Coefficient (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient ) and its historical evolution; Note that the Census Bureau estimates the coefficient at 45, at about the point it is today—and one of the worst in the developed world.

We can take solace in the fact that China is just as bad and Brazil and Mexico even worse. This comparison is nothing of which to be proud. Look again at the major European countries and how they have much fairer Gini Coefficients. How do they arrive at that achievement.

By means of a very difficult balancing act. That is, to find the balance between too much income taxation and too little. To much taxation kills tax revenues as people are incited to avoid taxes (or even cheat). Too little taxation and there are insufficient means to deliver decent Public Services. The first and foremost of which, in Europe, is a decent Public Health Care Option and free Education up to post-secondary schooling.

Some economists insist that high taxation does not demotivate entrepreneurs. If you have got 20 megabucks, then what more pleasure or enjoyment can be brought to you or your family by having 200 megabucks? Or is one looking for the thrill of being able to tell Bill Gates “I’ve got more money than you!”. BFD.

No, when Reagan brought down the marginal taxation rates he lit the bonfire of our vanities. We became vain with our outward appearance of wealth—which, of course, we justify by our “hard work”.

Worse yet, in America’s competitive society, we have established as a social attribute/value the “goodness of wealth”. Thus, be skewing income distribution upwards we are deliberately harming the poorer classes. How’s this?

Progressive taxation was innovated because people felt that the partial redistribution of wealth (by means of taxing and spending) helped maintain an harmonious society. The poor did not turn to crime and delinquency in order to “get even”. And for as long as the economic escalator was moving upward, people believed that they were bettering themselves and their families.

In fact, the poor and the lower middle-class were getting the crumbs off the table as the rich scoffed the cherry, the icing and the cake off the top. Don’t believe this statement? Then confront yourself with the facts before voting blindly in the November mid-terms by going here:  http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

The research found on that page is some of the most poignant for showing the large unfairness of income and wealth in America.

If you have information to the contrary, as well researched, then do let us know here. You can always try ...

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