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The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?

Posted by Bob Slayton 
The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 26, 2011 12:28AM
Here are a few of the stories you may have missed this week in the news if you weren;t paying attention...

Obama Goes All Out for Dirty Banker Deal

A power play is underway in the foreclosure arena, according to the New York Times.

On the one side is Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, who is conducting his own investigation into the era of securitizations – the practice of chopping up assets like mortgages and converting them into saleable securities – that led up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

On the other side is the Obama administration, the banks, and all the other state attorneys general.

This second camp has cooked up a deal that would allow the banks to walk away with just a seriously discounted fine from a generation of fraud that led to millions of people losing their homes.

The idea behind this federally-guided “settlement” is to concentrate and centralize all the legal exposure accrued by this generation of grotesque banker corruption in one place, put one single price tag on it that everyone can live with, and then stuff the details into a titanium canister before shooting it into deep space.

This is all about protecting the banks from future enforcement actions on both the civil and criminal sides. The plan is to provide year-after-year, repeat-offending banks like Bank of America with cost certainty, so that they know exactly how much they’ll have to pay in fines (trust me, it will end up being a tiny fraction of what they made off the fraudulent practices) and will also get to know for sure that there are no more criminal investigations in the pipeline.

This deal will also submarine efforts by both defrauded investors in MBS and unfairly foreclosed-upon homeowners and borrowers to obtain any kind of relief in the civil court system. The AGs initially talked about $20 billion as a settlement number, money that would “toward loan modifications and possibly counseling for homeowners,” as Gretchen Morgenson reported the other day.

The banks, however, apparently “balked” at paying that sum, and no doubt it will end up being a lesser amount when the deal is finally done.

To give you an indication of how absurdly small a number even $20 billion is relative to the sums of money the banks made unloading worthless crap subprime assets on foreigners, pension funds and other unsuspecting suckers around the world, consider this: in 2008 alone, the state pension fund of Florida, all by itself, lost more than three times that amount ($62 billion) thanks in significant part to investments in these deadly MBS.

So this deal being cooked up is the ultimate Papal indulgence. By the time that $20 billion (if it even ends up being that high) gets divvied up between all the major players, the broadest and most destructive fraud scheme in American history, one that makes the S&L crisis look like a cheap liquor store holdup, will be safely reduced to a single painful but eminently survivable one-time line item for all the major perpetrators.

But Schneiderman, who earlier this year launched an investigation into the securitization practices of Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and other companies, is screwing up this whole arrangement. Until he lies down, the banks don’t have a deal. They need the certainty of having all 50 states and the federal government on board, or else it’s not worth paying anybody off. To quote the immortal Tony Montana, “How do I know you’re the last cop I’m gonna have to grease?” They need all the dirty cops on board, or else the whole enterprise is FUBAR.

In addition to the global settlement, Schneiderman is also blocking an individual $8.5 billion settlement for Countrywide investors. He has sued to stop that deal, claiming it could “compromise investors’ claims in exchange for a payment representing a fraction of the losses.”

If Schneiderman thinks $8.5 billion is an insufficient, fractional payoff just for defrauded Countrywide investors, then you can imagine how bad a $20 billion settlement for the entire industry would be for the victims.

In that particular Countrywide settlement deal, it looks like Bank of New York Mellon, the New York Fed, Pimco and other players negotiated on behalf of defrauded investors. They told the Times they were happy with the deal, but investors outside the talks told Gretchen they weren’t happy with the settlement.

Schneiderman apparently listened to those voices instead of the Mellon-Fed-BofA crowd, which infuriated the insiders who struck the actual deal. In a remarkable quote given to the Times, Kathryn Wylde, the Fed board member who ostensibly represents the public, said the following about Schneiderman:

It is of concern to the industry that instead of trying to facilitate resolving these issues, you seem to be throwing a wrench into it. Wall Street is our Main Street — love ’em or hate ’em. They are important and we have to make sure we are doing everything we can to support them unless they are doing something indefensible.

This, again, is coming not from a Bank of America attorney, but from the person on the Fed board who is supposedly representing the public!

This quote leads one to wonder just what Wylde would consider “indefensible,” given that stealing is pretty much the worst thing that a bank can do — and these banks just finished the longest and most orgiastic campaign of stealing in the history of money. Is Wylde waiting for Goldman and Citi to blow up a skyscraper? Dump dioxin into an orphanage? It’s really an incredible quote.

The banks are going to claim that all they’re guilty of is bad paperwork. But while the banks are indeed being investigated for "paperwork" offenses like mass tax evasion (by failing to pay fees associated with mortgage registrations and deed transfers) and mass perjury (a la the “robo-signing” practices), their real crime, the one Schneiderman is interested in, is even more serious.

The issue goes beyond fraudulent paperwork to an intentional, far-reaching theft scheme designed to take junk subprime loans and disguise them as AAA-rated investments. The banks lent money to corrupt companies like Countrywide, who made masses of bad loans and immediately sold them back to the banks.

The banks in turn hid the crappiness of these loans via certain poorly-understood nuances in the securitization process – this is almost certainly where Scheniderman’s investigators are doing their digging – before hawking the resultant securities as AAA-rated gold to fools in places like the Florida state pension fund.

They did this for years, systematically, working hand in hand in a wink-nudge arrangement with clearly criminal enterprises like Countrywide and New Century. The victims were millions of investors worldwide (like the pensioners who saw their funds drop in value) and hundreds of thousands of individual homeowners, who were often sold trick loans and hustled into foreclosure when unexpected rate hikes kicked in.

In a larger sense, even the (often irresponsible) people who simply bought more house than they could afford were victims of this scam. That's because in many of these cases, credit simply would not have been available to those people had the banks not first discovered a way to raise vast sums of money dumping crap loans on an unsuspecting market.

In other words: if Bank of America hadn’t found a way to sell worthless subprime loans as AAA paper to the Chinese and the Scandavians in May, you can be sure that it wouldn’t be going back to Countrywide in June to lend out more money for more subprime loans.

And Countrywide, in turn, wouldn’t then have been sending masses of reps out into the ghettoes to offer juicy home loans to undocumented immigrants and refis to confused old ladies on social security.

This is as bad as white-collar crime gets. But to Wylde, it doesn’t rise to the level of being “indefensible.” Until they do something worse than this, we apparently should support the banks, and make sure they don’t have to pay more than a fraction of what they made off of this kind of crime.

What is most amazing about Wylde’s quote is the clear implication that even a law enforcement official like Schneiderman should view it as his job to “do everything we can to support” Wall Street. That would be astonishing interpretation of what a prosecutor's duties are, were it not for the fact that 49 other Attorneys General apparently agree with her.

In Schneiderman we have at least one honest investigator who doesn’t agree, which is to his great credit. But everyone else is on Wylde’s side now. The Times story claims that HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and various Justice Department officials have been leaning on the New York AG to cave, which tells you that reining in this last rogue cop is now an urgent priority for Barack Obama.

Why? My theory is that the Obama administration is trying to secure its 2012 campaign war chest with this settlement deal. If Barry can make this foreclosure thing go away for the banks, you can bet he’ll win the contributions battle against the Republicans next summer.

Which is good for him, I guess. But it seems to me that it might be time to wonder if is this the most disappointing president we’ve ever had.

Strike 1

Here is another story relating to the banks & the bailouts... Remember when Obama stood up to millions of Americans and decided against our wishes, to bail out the banks and not the people? Well actually he did set up the " Making Home Affordable Foreclosure Prevention Program" And let's see how well that has been doing...

In the mean time, the crisis of unemployment - and particularly the long-term nature of the unemployment - calls for a major upgrading of current Obama administration efforts to help the nearly 11 million homeowners who are "underwater" on their mortgages, meaning their properties are worth less than the amount they owe. The Obama administration's Making Home Affordable Foreclosure Prevention Program has fallen short of expectations. When it was announced in 2009, the goal was to arrange three million to four million loan modifications by the end of 2012, but only 609,000 have been achieved so far. However, the program was primarily meant for homeowners with risky mortgages; but the bigger crisis now emerging is with unemployed or underemployed homeowners. One new federal program, the Hardest Hit Fund, will provide $7.6 billion so that some states can administer their own programs for struggling homeowners. Of that, 70 percent will be directed to unemployed homeowners, but so far, only $455 million has been spent. Such programs could draw on the $46 billion of bailout funds the US Treasury has been allocated and be greatly scaled up.

Strike 2
And here are 2 more stories which you may not have heard about this week...both concerning Obama and promises made while campaigning for president in 2008...
Bring our Troops Home....

War: Too Big to Fail

A pair of vitally important news reports were lost recently amid a blizzard of stories about the gyrating stock market and a rogue East Coast earthquake. The first came from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who announced that a deal had been struck to keep US forces in Iraq beyond the oft-publicized December 31st withdrawal deadline and into 2012, contrary to Mr. Obama's promises. Not long after, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki came forward to say hold on, wait a minute, nothing along these lines has been agreed upon as yet, and negotiations are still ongoing.

Got that? Negotiations are still ongoing, which in all likelihood means that, sometime before December 31st, a deal will be struck between Al-Maliki and the US to keep American forces right where they've been for the last three thousand days. In fact, Panetta let it be known that the Pentagon is already laying plans to do exactly that. Panetta made sure to draw a line between "combat forces," which he claims will be withdrawn, and "training forces," which appear poised to remain into the foreseeable future. This will come as a great comfort to the troops who will not be coming home, as insurgent leaders have made it clear that any American on Iraqi soil after the withdrawal deadline will live life with a bullseye taped to their back...but who won't live long, if the insurgents have anything to say about it.

A few days after this announcement came a report from the UK Telegraph that is nothing short of staggering:

America and Afghanistan are close to signing a strategic pact which would allow thousands of United States troops to remain in the country until at least 2024, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The agreement would allow not only military trainers to stay to build up the Afghan army and police, but also American special forces soldiers and air power to remain.

Both Afghan and American officials said that they hoped to sign the pact before the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in December. Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai agreed last week to escalate the negotiations and their national security advisers will meet in Washington in September.


More than twelve years from now.

Seven congressional elections and three presidential elections from now.

I will be 52 years old before any consideration is given to withdrawing American military forces from Afghanistan, according to the elements of this "strategic pact."

America's war in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, more than ten years ago. America's war in Iraq began on March 20, 2003, almost nine years ago. Toss in the six months we have been engaged in the Libyan conflict, and what you have is the United States at war for a combined total of nineteen years...and now, according to reports, the Iraq withdrawal deadline has become thoroughly elastic, and the Afghanistan withdrawal timeline is about to be punted so far over the horizon as to become thoroughly meaningless.

Back when George W. Bush was in office, plenty of people were aware of how rich his family, friends and allies were getting off these conflicts. Dick Cheney's Halliburton, KBR, the Bush-affiliated Carlyle Group, Blackwater/Xe and many others were raking in the cash thanks to a harshly simple economic algorithm: every day of these wars, every ration eaten, every uniform donned, every bullet fired, every bomb dropped, every missile launched, every helicopter shot down, and every body bag filled translates directly into extreme profits for someone.

Mr. Bush is gone now, but that algorithm remains ruthlessly in place. War-oriented companies like DynCorp, Washington Group International, Aegis Defense Services, URS Corporation, BAE Systems, Renco, CACI, Bechtel, General Dynamics, General Electric, and Titan, along with oil giants like ExxonMobil and Chevron, have profited to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars off these conflicts, and are poised to continue doing so well into the future.

Think about that.

Nineteen combined total years of war, amounting to approximately seven thousand consecutive days of profiteering off the blood, bone and flesh of soldiers and civilians.

We have heard much about the idea that certain financial institutions are "too big to fail," and thus have been bailed out of the economic disaster zone they themselves helped to create, with little or no punishment for the perpetrators in the aftermath. While there can be no doubt that the actions of these essentially criminal enterprises have done great and lasting damage to the American economy, scant notice has been paid to the unimaginable expenditures we have thrown into a decade of largely fruitless warfare, and the brutal cost levied against the American people - most especially the soldiers and civilians who have borne the brunt of combat - all of which means obscene profit for a select few who you nor I will ever meet.

War profiteering is nothing new. The Roman who invented the gladius forged the weapon that carved out a lasting empire, and probably died a very wealthy man. Here in 21st century America, however, the empire is crumbling not for lack of our war-making abilities, but because war-making appears to be the only healthy industry left in our economy. We are collapsing not despite war, but because of it. We are eating ourselves, and if the powerful ones behind Mr. Obama and Mr. Panetta get their way, we will be continuing to do so for years to come.

War in America is too big to fail, it seems.

In this, we forge our common doom.

So much for withdrawl of ALL our troops from Iraq & Afganistan as promised.. Strike 3 & 4..

And Obama is the lesser of 2 evils, think how much worse it could be if McCain had won and not Obama....
And speaking of elections, another is coming just around the corner. And after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision which allows corporations to give unlimited ammounts of money to whatever candidate who will kiss their asses the most, it appears Obama is worried, and rightly so, because things could get a helluva lot worse before they get any better....look at the other candidates and be afraid, be very afraid... "for the times, they are a changing"
Republicans, Democrats.... they all need funding to win a election, and we all know where they will get all this money from.... CORPORATIONS... because as the Supreme Court says... "Corporations are people too...and deserve the same rights as people", but they do not have the same responcibilities, and can;t be held accountable.... try suing one and see.
It appears that both political parties are kissing the same asses in attempts of funding their Presidential Campaigns... We the people are not represented in Washington DC anymore.
It is long past time for "Change we can Believe in"

Just thought I would pass these stories on for those who might have missed them
Any thoughts or suggestions?
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 26, 2011 04:19PM
At this point in time I honestly don't believe that anyone could get Washington to work for the betterment of the common person. That is the real disappointment. If Obama passed a 24 karat gold brick out of his behind every hour on the hour, certain ones would scoff and say they aren't shiny enough. Even though I'll more than likely be voting for him come 2012, I know that it will be more of the same. I honestly believe that Obama does want the best for the middle class and poor people, but the fact is, those with the real power in this country like things the way they are. During his campaign I think he was very naive, like everyone who voted for him, myself included. The fact is that the current regime, motivated by greed and power, is dug in deep.

The president isn't the one to be blamed for this. What is truly "disappointing" is the average, "I hate politics", American, who can't be bothered with democratic responsibility. How many people know who their Congressional representative is? Or even the senators for their respective state, let alone how laws are actually made. Who among us actually participated in the 2010 midterm elections? As long as we have a docile, preoccupied populace that would rather vote for the next American Idol than the people who control their lives and the lives of their children and children's children, we will have more of same.

The corporate hogs on Wall Street gorged themselves until the very floor upon which they stood buckled and collapsed under their feet. Is that the presidents fault? In my opinion, no. Sure, certain people were taken advantage of by slick, fast talking, greedy loan agents, but the fact is, people participated. I hate to sound callous, but had most "victims" of sub-prime loan schemes applied some simple arithmetic and common sense, they (we) wouldn't be in this situation. Corporations couldn't exist as they do if common people made better decisions on a daily basis; we are all responsible to a degree. At this point, given the state of things, I'm sad to say that justice isn't an option. If we punish the Bankers, we punish our selves. And I mean the global "our selves" as this is obviously a world financial crisis. All we can do is learn from it.

My overall point is that people need to get active. We can't just go to polls and vote for the president, we need to elect a better congress too. We also need to be careful about who we spend our money with. For example, if you don't agree with US jobs being shipped overseas, stop supporting corporations that do that. It's a hard thing to do, yes, but that type of thing is precisely what we need to do.

Thanks for posting Mr. Slayton. RASpect everytime.
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 26, 2011 05:29PM
Agree on all points, Lionheart. Well said.
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 26, 2011 06:38PM
During his campaign I think he was very naive, like everyone who voted for him, myself included. The fact is that the current regime, motivated by greed and power, is dug in deep.

The president isn't the one to be blamed for this.

Two VERY true statements, although i vary somewhat with my analysis of the second one...
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 26, 2011 11:37PM
Mr. Slayton: Your post is a little too long for me to read right now, but I'll come back to it.

Mr. Lionheart: the problems are so systemic it's hard to know where to start (or where to go). I think the education system (or what it has become) is partly to blame, and needs a complete overhaul in terms of curriculum. I'm not sure what you mean by "if we punish the bankers, we punish ourselves", care to clarify?
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 27, 2011 03:17PM
Mr. Slayton, imagine life here with Rick Perry as president.

That's all I need to say.
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 27, 2011 03:55PM
Thank you, sir.

@Reggabe: I meant that, given it's current state, it would have an extremely negative effect on the (global) economy if we mandated the banks to even come close to making good on the money they finagled from the middle class. Our country runs on credit which is becoming more and more difficult to obtain because the banks can't sell the loans they write. If the Bankers are prosecuted for intentionally allowing the economy to destabilize and profiing from it, it would be a horrible look for our country. Consequentially, it's highly probable that Interest rates would go up and you'd have the opposite effect from 6 years ago with regard to the average person's ability to get a substantial loan. Businesses can't run, real estate can't run education can't run, construction can't run, but X-amount a blood would ah certainly run...

I agree that education needs to be a main focus. However, it's hard for me to say that our government is wholly responsible for our poor academic standing as a nation. I blame Playstation, Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, Jersy Shore etc. Again, it reflects people's choices as parents. There are some outstanding teachers who truly care about education, but if parents don't, or aren't capable of making it a priority at home, they might as well have recess all day at school. The government can do a lot better compensating teachers and providing better resources. I honestly feel like were on the right track reforming education but have a long way to go.

My new political philosophy, right or wrong, is to make the best choices I can as a citizen and be active. I try to align my actions with my beliefs and if I don't like something I speak up. i don't know if anyone is really listening but....

I started here : [writerep.house.gov]

We can't sleep on the congressional elections anymore. We need to elect more appropriate congressman and hold their feet to the fire.
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 27, 2011 04:23PM
Rick Perry will complete our transformation to a third world country. The idea that he could be our president is disgusting.

But here's the real problem. We like to think here that we are the bastion of 'freedom' and that democracy is some great end that the world should aspire to. What the United States really is, is the largest producer of war and war machines in the world. Our industries and government spend more time and effort and money building weapons to kill others than any other country on earth, by quite far. We hold up the flag of 'democracy' like its some goal that once achieved leads you to the promised land. What a farce. We have a wealthy population that does not want to pay taxes, feels no responsibility to those who have less, and seems to have no idea how to govern the country and keep the economy on an even keel because they are too busy soaking the masses. We have a poor population that has become addicted to unsustainable government hand outs, and the divide between the wealthy and the poor is greater than ever. Our education system is poor, what was once the middle of the political spectrum is now called the left by the republicans, and the old left has been labeled 'liberal', a very positive word which has been vilified. What was once conservative is now deemed the middle by those ultra conservative 'tea party' members, who seem to care so little about facts and research. Why should they, their people just change the story to fit the end they want. Even the name of their party is a lie. The tea partiers of the eighteenth century are rolling in their graves. These new guys aren't worried about representation, they want to kill all taxation.

Rick Perry? He'd make a great south american despot. Lets hope we don't find out.

I'm actually not disappointed with Obama's performance at all, because i had very low expectations from the beginning. There are only two things that i want my President to do, and Obama has well fulfilled both of these tasks. The first, and i feel the most important, and this is one we will suffer with for years because of the criminal appointments of GW Bush, is appointing well qualified humans to the Supreme Court. Obama has done well with this. The second is providing leadership. Obama has also done a great job with this. He is a symbol for those like him to aspire to. He always comports himself in a dignified manner, and he has avoided embarrassing moments like GW and the 'mission accomplished' party. He has cajoled the congress to do their job, made suggestions when they haven't. Are there a long list of things we all wished he had accomplished? Hell yes. Whats hard to hold in your mind is the small things Obama has done to reverse eight years of damage done by the Bush administration. Don't forget, every week we were hearing about some aggregious selling out or giving away of our national heritage, pollution in parks, carrying guns everywhere you want, signing statements that contradicted the law they were on....it went on and on and on. Appointing industry slugs to the boards that were supposed to regulate them. Moving political appointees into permanent federal jobs so they couldn't be replaced. It takes far longer to straighten this crap out than it does to screw it up in the first place.

And our economy still sucks. Well, after the number of years it took before we had that credit crisis and everything fell 40%, its going to take a lot longer to fix it. It didn't matter who was elected, there is no fixing the economy in two years. The fact that they aren't calling this a depression yet is because of the money that the government spent, the lowering of interest rates, and that the banking system has stayed fairly intact. We have traded higher deficits for a lot of middle income and lower income suffering. Yes, there is still suffering and the unemployment rate is high. Yes, spending needs to be cut and taxes must be raised somewhat in order to balance things. But all these things would be worse without the action that the government took. Its going to take another five years to recover from this. Look at how the country recovered after the great depression. Took a long time. Throwing out the current administration would be a huge mistake.

I tried not to add to this thread but the mention of the devil, er, rick perry, did it to me. If you think this is the most disappointing presidency ever, i think you will change your mind if whichever republican is nominated becomes the president.

Love that reggae!
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 27, 2011 04:23PM
I agree that education needs to be a main focus. However, it's hard for me to say that our government is wholly responsible for our poor academic standing as a nation. I blame Playstation, Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, Jersy Shore etc. Again, it reflects people's choices as parents. There are some outstanding teachers who truly care about education, but if parents don't, or aren't capable of making it a priority at home, they might as well have recess all day at school. The government can do a lot better compensating teachers and providing better resources. I honestly feel like were on the right track reforming education but have a long way to go.


Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 27, 2011 11:51PM
Thanks for all the comments everyone. Apathy & ignorance abouds in this country. It's nice to see & hear some constructive thoughts on this board. Last night we went to see Cindy Sheehan @ The Vet's Hall here in town & to listen to her speak about Democrats & Republicans, about Obama & Bush & all the others... she spoke of how disenfranchised people are today... about how both political parties are run by the same Corporations & how we need a new political party for the people in this country, not two for the corporations. In essence, how Obama is just a Bush of a different color.. I mean no disrespect when I say this. It was a very interesting evening... and it definately makes you think.
I understand when some say imagine how things would be under Perry, or McCain, but it still is the difference between a duchebag and a turd, as they say on "Southpark", and from what I've seen since the election, it is not that much difference at all actually.

Today I read a couple articles I thought I would pass on, more food for thought for some of you... Here is the first article...Dr. King Weeps From His Grave

THE Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was to be dedicated on the National Mall on Sunday — exactly 56 years after the murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi and 48 years after the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (Because of Hurricane Irene, the ceremony has been postponed.)

These events constitute major milestones in the turbulent history of race and democracy in America, and the undeniable success of the civil rights movement — culminating in the election of Barack Obama in 2008 — warrants our attention and elation. Yet the prophetic words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel still haunt us: “The whole future of America depends on the impact and influence of Dr. King.”

Rabbi Heschel spoke those words during the last years of King’s life, when 72 percent of whites and 55 percent of blacks disapproved of King’s opposition to the Vietnam War and his efforts to eradicate poverty in America. King’s dream of a more democratic America had become, in his words, “a nightmare,” owing to the persistence of “racism, poverty, militarism and materialism.” He called America a “sick society.” On the Sunday after his assassination, in 1968, he was to have preached a sermon titled “Why America May Go to Hell.”

King did not think that America ought to go to hell, but rather that it might go to hell owing to its economic injustice, cultural decay and political paralysis. He was not an American Gibbon, chronicling the decline and fall of the American empire, but a courageous and visionary Christian blues man, fighting with style and love in the face of the four catastrophes he identified.

Militarism is an imperial catastrophe that has produced a military-industrial complex and national security state and warped the country’s priorities and stature (as with the immoral drones, dropping bombs on innocent civilians). Materialism is a spiritual catastrophe, promoted by a corporate media multiplex and a culture industry that have hardened the hearts of hard-core consumers and coarsened the consciences of would-be citizens. Clever gimmicks of mass distraction yield a cheap soulcraft of addicted and self-medicated narcissists.

Racism is a moral catastrophe, most graphically seen in the prison industrial complex and targeted police surveillance in black and brown ghettos rendered invisible in public discourse. Arbitrary uses of the law — in the name of the “war” on drugs — have produced, in the legal scholar Michelle Alexander’s apt phrase, a new Jim Crow of mass incarceration. And poverty is an economic catastrophe, inseparable from the power of greedy oligarchs and avaricious plutocrats indifferent to the misery of poor children, elderly citizens and working people.

The age of Obama has fallen tragically short of fulfilling King’s prophetic legacy. Instead of articulating a radical democratic vision and fighting for homeowners, workers and poor people in the form of mortgage relief, jobs and investment in education, infrastructure and housing, the administration gave us bailouts for banks, record profits for Wall Street and giant budget cuts on the backs of the vulnerable.

As the talk show host Tavis Smiley and I have said in our national tour against poverty, the recent budget deal is only the latest phase of a 30-year, top-down, one-sided war against the poor and working people in the name of a morally bankrupt policy of deregulating markets, lowering taxes and cutting spending for those already socially neglected and economically abandoned. Our two main political parties, each beholden to big money, offer merely alternative versions of oligarchic rule.

The absence of a King-worthy narrative to reinvigorate poor and working people has enabled right-wing populists to seize the moment with credible claims about government corruption and ridiculous claims about tax cuts’ stimulating growth. This right-wing threat is a catastrophic response to King’s four catastrophes; its agenda would lead to hellish conditions for most Americans.

King weeps from his grave. He never confused substance with symbolism. He never conflated a flesh and blood sacrifice with a stone and mortar edifice. We rightly celebrate his substance and sacrifice because he loved us all so deeply. Let us not remain satisfied with symbolism because we too often fear the challenge he embraced. Our greatest writer, Herman Melville, who spent his life in love with America even as he was our most fierce critic of the myth of American exceptionalism, noted, “Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges; hence the conclusion of such a narration is apt to be less finished than an architectural finial.”

King’s response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a re-evaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.

In concrete terms, this means support for progressive politicians like Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Mark Ridley-Thomas, a Los Angeles County supervisor; extensive community and media organizing; civil disobedience; and life and death confrontations with the powers that be. Like King, we need to put on our cemetery clothes and be coffin-ready for the next great democratic battle.

The next article has mention of Bob Marley & Mental Slavery... and speaks of how to oppose the corporate powers that be...
Three Things That Must Happen for Us to Rise Up and Defeat the Corporatocracy

Most Americans oppose rule by the corporatocracy but don't have the tools to fight back. Here are three things we need to create a real people's movement.

Transforming the United States into something closer to a democracy requires: 1) knowledge of how we are getting screwed; 2) pragmatic tactics, strategies, and solutions; and 3) the “energy to do battle.”

The majority of Americans oppose the corporatocracy (rule by giant corporations, the extremely wealthy elite,

and corporate-collaborator government officials); however, many of us have given up hope that this tyranny can be defeated. Among those of us who continue to be politically engaged, many focus on only one of the requirements—knowledge of how we are getting screwed. And this singular focus can result in helplessness. It is the two other requirements that can empower, energize, and activate Team Democracy— a team that is currently at the bottom of the standings in the American Political League.

1. Knowledge of How We are Getting Screwed

Harriet Tubman conducted multiple missions as an Underground Railroad conductor, and she also participated in the Union Army’s Combahee River raid that freed more than 700 slaves. Looking back on her career as a freedom fighter, Tubman noted, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” While awareness of the truth of corporatocracy oppression is by itself not sufficient to win freedom and justice, it is absolutely necessary.

We are ruled by so many “industrial complexes”—military, financial, energy, food, pharmaceutical, prison, and so on—that it is almost impossible to stay on top of every way we are getting screwed. The good news is that—either through independent media or our basic common sense—polls show that the majority of Americans know enough about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Wall Street bailouts, and other corporate welfare to oppose these corporatocracy policies. In the case of the military-industrial complex, most Iraq War polls and Afghanistan War polls show that the majority of Americans know enough to oppose these wars. And when Americans were asked in a CBS New /New York Times survey in January 2011 which of three programs—the military, Medicare or Social Security—to cut so as to deal with the deficit, fully 55 percent chose the military, while only 21 percent chose Medicare and 13 percent chose Social Security.

In the words of Leonard Cohen, “Everybody knows that the deal is rotten.” Well, maybe not everybody, but damn near everybody.

But what doesn’t everybody know?

2. Pragmatic Tactics, Strategies and Solutions

In addition to awareness of economic and social injustices created by corporatocracy rule, it is also necessary to have knowledge of strategies and tactics that oppressed people have historically used to overcome tyranny and to gain their fair share of power.

Even before the Democratic-Republican bipartisan educational policies (such as “no child left behind” and “race to the top”) that cut back on civics being taught in schools, few Americans were exposed in their schooling to “street-smart civics”—tactics and strategies that oppressed peoples have historically utilized to gain power.

For a comprehensive guide of tactics and strategies that have been effective transforming regimes more oppressive than the current US one, read political theorist and sociologist Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy, which includes nearly 200 “Methods of Nonviolent Actions.” Among Sharp’s 49 “Methods of Economic Noncooperation,” he lists over 20 different kinds of strikes. And among his 38 “Methods of Political Noncooperation,” he lists 10 tactics of “citizens’ noncooperation with government,” nine “citizens’ alternatives to obedience,” and seven “actions by government personnel.” Yes, nothing was more powerful in ending the Vietnam War and saving American and Vietnamese lives than the brave actions by critically thinking US soldiers who refused to cooperate with the US military establishment. Check out David Zeigler’s documentary Sir! No Sir! for details.

For a quick history lesson on “the nature of disruptive power” in the United States and the use of disruptive tactics in fomenting the American Revolution, the abolitionist movement, the labor movement, and other democratic movements, check out sociologist Frances Fox Piven’s Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America. Piven describes how “ordinary people exercise power in American politics mainly at those extraordinary moments when they rise up in anger and hope, defy the rules that ordinarily govern their daily lives, and, by doing so, disrupt the workings of the institutions in which they are enmeshed.” In the midst of the Great Depression when US unemployment was over 25 percent, working people conducted an exceptional number of large labor strikes, including the Flint, Michigan sit-down strike, which began at the end of 1936 when auto workers occupied a General Motors factory so as to earn recognition for the United Auto Workers union as a bargaining agent. That famous victory was preceded and inspired by other less well-known major battles fought and won by working people. Check out the intelligent tactics (and guts and solidarity) in the 1934 Minneapolis Truckers Strike.

For an example of “the nature of creative power” that scared the hell out of—and almost triumphed—over the moneyed elite, read The Populist Moment by historian Lawrence Goodwyn. The Populist movement, the late-19th-century farmers’ insurgency, according to Goodwyn, was the largest democratic movement in American history. These Populists and their major organization, commonly called the “Alliance,” created worker cooperatives that resulted in empowering economic self-sufficiency. They came close to successfully transforming a good part of the United States into something a lot closer to a democracy. As Goodwyn notes, “Their efforts, halting and disjointed at first, gathered form and force until they grew into a coordinated mass movement that stretched across the American continent ... Millions of people came to believe fervently that the wholesale overhauling of their society was going to happen in their lifetimes.”

In Get Up, Stand Up, I include the section “Winning the Battle: Solutions, Strategies, and Tactics.” However, a major point of the book is that, currently in the United States, even more ignored than street-smart strategies and tactics is the issue of morale, which is necessary for implementing these strategies and tactics. So, I also have a section “Energy to Do Battle: Liberation Psychology, Individual Self-Respect, and Collective Self-Confidence.”

3. The Energy to Do Battle

The elite’s money—and the influence it buys—is an extremely powerful weapon. So it is understandable that so many people who are defeated and demoralized focus on their lack of money rather than on their lack of morale. However, we must keep in mind that in war, especially in a class war when one’s side lacks financial resources, morale becomes even more crucial.

Activists routinely become frustrated when truths about lies, victimization and oppression don’t set people free to take action. But having worked with abused people for more than 25 years, it doesn’t surprise me to see that when we as individuals or a society eat crap for too long, we become psychologically too weak to take action. There are a great many Americans who have been so worn down by decades of personal and political defeats, financial struggles, social isolation and daily interaction with impersonal and inhuman institutions that they no longer have the energy for political actions.

Other observers of subjugated societies have recognized this phenomenon of subjugation resulting in demoralization and fatalism. Paulo Freire, the Brazilian educator and author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and Ignacio Martin-Baró, the El Salvadoran social psychologist and popularizer of “liberation psychology,” understood this psychological phenomenon. So did Bob Marley, the poet laureate of oppressed people around the world. Many Americans are embarrassed to accept that we, too, after years of domestic corporatocracy subjugation, have developed what Marley called “mental slavery.” Unless we acknowledge that reality, we won’t begin to heal from what I call “battered people’s syndrome” and “corporatocracy abuse” and to, as Marley urges, “emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”

Whether one’s abuser is a spouse or the corporatocracy, there are parallels when it comes to how one can maintain enough strength to be able to free oneself when the opportunity presents itself—and then heal and attain even greater strength. This difficult process requires honesty that one is in an abusive relationship. One should not be ashamed of having previously believed in corporatocracy lies; and it also helps to forgive and have compassion for those who continue to believe them. The liars we face are often quite good at lying. It helps to have a sense of humor about one’s predicament, to nurture respectful relationships, and to take advantage of a lucky opportunity—often created by the abuser’s arrogance— when it presents itself.

For democratic movements to have enough energy to get off the ground, certain psychological and cultural building blocks are required. Goodwyn, from his study of the Populists in the United States, Solidarity in Poland, and other democratic movements, concluded that “individual self-respect” and “collective self-confidence” constitute the cultural building blocks of mass democratic politics. Without individual self-respect, people do not believe that they are worthy of power or capable of utilizing power wisely, and they accept as their role being a subject of power. Without collective self-confidence, people do not believe they can succeed in wresting power away from their rulers. There are “democracy battlefields” —in our schools, workplace and elsewhere—where such respect and confidence can be regained every day.

No democratic movement succeeds without determination, courage, and solidarity, but modern social scientists routinely ignore such nonquantifiable important variables, and so those trained only in universities and not on the streets can, as Martin-Baró pointed out, “become blind to the most important meanings of human existence.” Great scientists recognize just how important nonquantifable variables are in certain areas of life. A sign hanging in Albert Einstein’s office at Princeton stated: not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

The battle against the corporatocracy needs critical thinking, which results in seeing some ugly truths about reality. This critical thinking is absolutely necessary. Without it, one is more likely to engage in tactics that can make matters worse. But critical thinking also means the ability to think critically about one’s pessimism—realizing that pessimism can cripple the will and destroy motivation. A critical thinker recognizes how negativism can cause inaction, which results in maintaining the status quo. Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937), an Italian political theorist and Marxist activist who was imprisoned by Mussolini, talked about “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will” —a phrase that has inspired many critical thinkers, including Noam Chomsky.

Can one have hope without being an insipid Pollyanna? Until shortly before it occurred, the collapse of the Soviet empire seemed an impossibility to most Americans, who saw only mass resignation within the Soviet Union and its sphere of control. But the shipyard workers in Gdansk, Poland, did not see their Soviet and Communist Party rulers as the all-powerful forces that Americans did. And so Polish workers’ Solidarity, by simply refusing to go away, provided a strong dose of morale across Eastern Europe at the same time other historical events weakened the Soviet empire.

Today in Iceland, citizens have refused to acquiesce to the demands of global financial institutions, simply refusing to be taxed for the mistakes of the financial elite that caused their nation’s recent financial meltdown. In a March 2010 referendum in Iceland, 93 percent voted against repayment of the debt, and Icelandic citizens have been drafting a new constitution that would free their country from the power of international finance (this constitution will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections). Yes, participatory democracy is still possible.

The lesson from the 2011 Arab spring in and other periods of history is that tyrannical and dehumanizing institutions are often more fragile than they appear, and with time, luck, morale, and our ability to seize the moment, damn near anything is possible. We never really know until it happens whether or not we are living in that time when historical variables are creating opportunities for seemingly impossible change. Thus, we must prepare ourselves by battling each day in all our activities to regain individual self-respect, collective self-confidence, determination, courage, and solidarity

The third artice I am including, not only speaks of Wikileaks, ( I know, I've posted many articles about them before) but also about the corporate Powers that be, and again this all ties into what Cindy Sheehan spoke about last night. I strongly urge anyone who has the chance to see & hear her, to do so.,...

http://www.truth-out.org/new-wikileaks-cables-show-us-diplomats-promote-genetically-engineered-crops-worldwide/1314303978]New WikiLeaks Cables Show US Diplomats Promote Genetically Engineered Crops Worldwide[/url]

Dozens of United States diplomatic cables released in the latest WikiLeaks dump on Wednesday reveal new details of the US effort to push foreign governments to approve genetically engineered (GE) crops and promote the worldwide interests of agribusiness giants like Monsanto and DuPont.

The cables further confirm previous Truthout reports on the diplomatic pressure the US has put on Spain and France, two countries with powerful anti-GE crop movements, to speed up their biotech approval process and quell anti-GE sentiment within the European Union (EU).

Several cables describe "biotechnology outreach programs" in countries across the globe, including African, Asian and South American countries where Western biotech agriculture had yet to gain a foothold. In some cables (such as this 2010 cable from Morocco) US diplomats ask the State Department for funds to send US biotech experts and trade industry representatives to target countries for discussions with high-profile politicians and agricultural officials.

Truthout recently reported on front groups supported by the US government, philanthropic foundations and companies like Monsanto that are working to introduce pro-biotechnology policy initiatives and GE crops in developing African countries, and several cables released this week confirm that American diplomats have promoted biotech agriculture to countries like Tunisia, South Africa and Mozambique.

Cables detail US efforts to influence the biotech policies of developed countries such as Egypt and Turkey, but France continues to stand out as a high-profile target.

In a 2007 cable, the US embassy in Paris reported on a meeting among US diplomats and representatives from Monsanto, DuPont and Dow-Agro-sciences. The companies were concerned about a movement of French farmers, who were vandalizing GE crop farms at the time, and suggested diplomatic angles for speeding up EU approvals of GE Crops.

In 2008 cable describing a "rancorous" debate within the French Parliament over proposed biotech legislation, Craig Stapleton, the former US ambassador to France under the Bush administration, included an update on MON-810, a Monsanto corn variety banned in France.

Stapleton wrote that French officials "expect retaliation via the World Trade Organization" for upholding the ban on MON-810 and stalling the French GE crop approval process. "There is nothing to be gained in France from delaying retaliation," Stapleton wrote.

Tough regulations and bans on GE crops can deal hefty blows to US exports. About 94 percent of soybeans, 72 percent of corn and 73 percent of the cotton grown in the US now use GE-tolerate herbicides like Monsanto's Roundup, according to the US Agriculture Department.

A 2007 cable, for example, reports that the French ban on MON-810 could cost the US $30 million to $50 million in exports.

In a 2007 cable obtained by Truthout in January, Stapleton threatened "moving to retaliate" against France for banning MON-810. Several other European countries, including Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria, have also placed bans on MON-810 in recent years. MON-810 is engineered to excrete the Bt toxin, which kills some insect pests.

Just some food for thought. It is easy to be depressed about the world today & to think how little we can change anything as individuals. Knowledge is power, but we need action as well if we want to see change in our time... change for the better, change for the future generations who will have to live on this planet after we are gone.. All 3 of these articles seem to tie into one another and I felt needed to be shared.
Wikileaks doesn't embarrass our government, but it does embarrass the corporations that run our government.....
Free Bradley Manning!
NUF "Politricks"

Sorry these posts are so long winded, and thanks for taking the time to read & respond...
Much Respect
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 28, 2011 12:23AM
Why do we invest so much power and expectations in the President? There are three branches of government, not one.

Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
August 28, 2011 10:22PM
All the articles posted here, are attempts to show that it is not just the president at fault, but where the fault lies in actuality,,, with "we the people" and with the powers that be. The real power in this country and around the world today. is the corporations. Believe me, I do not blame Obama for everything that is wrong in this country today... what is wrong in this country today has taken decades to achieve. All I am hoping for is to shed some light on all the ignorance that abounds. What is happening today, not just in America, but around the world, has been in the works for decades. Corporations are changing their compensation for work that employees do.... their bottom line. In attempts to improve their profits. They do not care about the consequenses, or who and what is affected.
Here are a couple more articles to that point...
Capitalism's New Era\

"Karl Marx got it right, at some point capitalism can destroy itself," said Mr. Roubini, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "We thought markets worked. They're not working."

The world economy is in shambles and about to get worse, according to even mainstream economists. How bad is anybody's guess. Some things, however, are certain: the recovery that politicians have been promising for years existed only in their heads. The reality of the situation is now apparent to millions of people across the globe, who, before, clung to the empty promises of economic recovery. This newfound consciousness will inevitably find expression in the political realm and, more importantly, the streets.

A key aspect of this sudden mass awareness is in response to high unemployment and the deeply unpopular measures that politicians are forcing upon working people, both byproducts of the Great Recession. Politicians are blaming "the markets" for demanding austerity measures, but "markets" are simply places where wealthy people invest their money. To guarantee a profitable return on their money these investors demand that labor laws be squashed and social programs be eliminated, all over the world.

Spain, for example, is one of many countries having austerity measures forced down their throats. Reuters reports:

"Analysts see the shaking up of the country's inflexible labor laws [laws that protect workers] and the easing of hiring and firing [so older, activist, or slower workers can be fired] as vital to restoring the country's competitiveness. The labor reforms are crucial. They will help to restore growth [profits] in the long term. Growth is the only way out of these adverse fiscal trends,' said Luigi Speranza, analyst at BNP Paribas." [May 27, 2010]

To summarize, creating new laws that enable Spanish corporations to work their workers harder will be better for profits.

Greece faces a similar austerity plan, according to The Guardian UK:

"Tax increases, spending cuts and wage reductions and a sweeping privatisation programme have led to violent protests in Greece, with many arguing that the International Monetary Fund and European Union have demanded too high a price for their financial support." [August 2, 2011]

In the United States, these policies find expression in the attack against public-sector unions and the targeting of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for cuts, while mass unemployment is allowed to act as a very efficient way to lower wages for all workers.

Politicians have made it clear that economic growth, especially corporate profits, will increase in response to these anti-worker policies. They are only partially right. Corporate profits in fact have been on the rise, but the austerity measures have been responsible for the depressed economies throughout Europe and the US. When workers' wages are lowered and social programs are decimated, working people and the poor are left with little money for any purchases other than the bare necessities. Without consumer demand for their products, corporations curtail operations even more. This global dynamic has been decades in the making, with the recession having finally forced the issue into the forefront.

The Reagan and Thatcher administrations were the first Western representatives during the post-World War II era of this now dominant trend, which aimed at pushing back the social programs and wages won by the labor movements. Their policies were in response to the lower corporate growth rates that began in the 1970s and continue to this day. Now, all of Europe is suffering because banks and corporations demand a more profit-friendly business environment: universal health care and education programs are in jeopardy, plus wages and other benefits are under attack.

For the wealthy and corporations this is a life-and-death struggle. The Great Recession has already bankrupted the banks and corporations who were not fit enough to survive under a crumbling market economy. The existing companies are thus forced to squeeze more work for less pay out of their workers, since labor is the most flexible cost of any business. Pushing labor costs down - and by extension cutting social programs - is thus the priority of the corporations and their paid-for politicians across the globe, since the global economy is tightly connected and they all play by the vicious rules of the market. In fact, the intensity with which the corporate elite is pursuing these policies is a reflection of their negative outlook for the global economy.

This constitutes a new era in global capitalism, one that mimics the market economy of past generations. The 2008 recession was not a temporary phenomenon, but the ushering in of a new period in which the corporate elite attempt to restructure social relations, meaning that past assumptions regarding wages and social programs must be destroyed, as a new, more profitable equilibrium is sought between the corporate elite and working people.

Implied in this nation-by-nation restructuring is a restriction of democracy, since these anti-worker policies negatively affect the vast majority of the population. The riots in London are an expression of this, as are the mass demonstrations throughout Europe as well as the Middle East. In the United States, democracy is circumvented via the so-called Super Congress, whose duty it is to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Austerity programs throughout Europe are being implemented against the wishes of the general working populations.

Also included in this attack on working people is the corporate elite's doubled efforts to divert the working-class anger toward fake populist movements - like the Tea Party in the US - or against minorities, such as Muslims and immigrants in the US.

This will require that working people stay focused on who exactly is attacking them, while focusing on measures that can serve as alternatives to what the corporate elite are forcefully implementing.

The most immediate and important demand of working people must be taxing the rich and corporations, since social programs need to be funded and expanded and a massive jobs program with a strong green component is desperately overdue. It's not by coincidence that taxing the rich is rarely used in austerity plans; and when, on rare occasions, the rich are taxed, it's at low levels with high publicity, so the angry public will think the illusion of "shared sacrifice" is a reality.

For example, in the US, President Obama is again calling to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich (after allowing them to continue less than a year ago). It is doubtful that the Bush tax cuts will be ended, but if they were, it would be insufficient. Working people must demand that taxes on the rich be raised to at least pre-Reagan levels (70 percent), while President Eisenhower levels would be best (90 percent). Over the decades, the tax burden has shifted dramatically, causing wealth to accumulate into the bank accounts of the top 1 percent of the population, the same people who are now demanding that social programs be destroyed so that their investments are secured and their corporate profits remain high.

Since illusions of an economic recovery have now been shattered, it's up to working people to demand that their labor unions and community groups unite to tax the rich and corporations in order to finance a massive jobs program. Fortunately, the AFL-CIO is organizing actions for the first week of October to demand jobs and oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Many within the labor movement are calling for massive demonstrations across the country for October 1. It will take these types of actions to unite working people to fight for a positive solution to the economic crisis.

Understand the Right's Attack on Social Security

You hear over and over that Social Security is "in trouble" or that we "can't afford it." This is as far from true as can be, and the idea behind this is to convince people to just give up on defending the program and let the haters have their way. The people who hate Social Security the most are the ones who say they want to make these changes to "save" it.

Well Bernie Sanders loves the program and has introduced a bill that actually will save it.

The Haters

Conservatives have hated Social Security from the start, because it is a program that demonstrates once and for all the value of progressive governance. Social Security is as clear an example of We, the People watching out for and taking care of each other as there ever was. It has made a huge difference n the lives of older people, and their/our families. It works, is cost-effective and requires minimal overhead to keep it going. So they hate it.

A very recent example of conservative hatred for Social Security came from Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who said, that We, the People helping each other makes us weak,

"These programs actually weakened us as a people. ... All of a sudden, for an increasing number of people in our nation, it was no longer necessary to worry about saving for security because that was the government’s job."

Substitute the words "We, the People" or "each other" for "government" in Rubio's statement and you'll get the point: people don't have to worry so much because we're taking care of each other. He says that makes us weak. Yikes!

Decades Of Attacks

For decades conservatives who hate Social Security have been using every trick in the book to turn people against the program. Over and over you hear, "It's a Ponzi scheme." "It won't be there for you." This latest attack is that it "makes us weak." And of course the old classic: "Social Security is broke."

The "it's going broke" and "won't be there for you" attack strategy goes back to a 1983 Cato Institute Journal document, "Achieving a Leninist Strategy" by Stuart Butler of Cato and Peter Germanis of the Heritage Foundation. The document is still available at Cato, and select quotes are available at Plotting Privatization? from Z Magazine. If you have time it is worth reading the entire document (in particular the section "Weakening the Opposition"winking smiley to more fully understand the strategy that has been unfolding in the years since. But if you can't, the following quotes give you an idea:

"Lenin recognized that fundamental change is contingent upon ... its success in isolating and weakening its opponents. ... we would do well to draw a few lessons from the Leninist strategy."

" construct ... a coalition that will ... reap benefits from the IRA-based private system ... but also the banks, insurance companies, and other institutions that will gain from providing such plans to the public."

"The first element consists of a campaign to achieve small legislative changes that embellish the present IRA system, making it in practice a small-scale private Social Security system.

"The second main element ... involves what one might crudely call guerrilla warfare against both the current Social Security system and the coalition that supports it."

"The banking industry and other business groups that can benefit from expanded IRAs ..." "... the strategy must be to propose moving to a private Social Security system in such a way as to ... neutralize ... the coalition that supports the existing system."

"The next Social Security crisis may be further away than many people believe. ... it could be many years before the conditions are such that a radical reform of Social Security is possible. But then, as Lenin well knew, to be a successful revolutionary, one must also be patient and consistently plan for real reform."

Here is what to take away from this: Every time you hear that "Social Security is going broke" you are hearing a manufactured propaganda point that is part of a decades-old strategy. Every time you hear that "Social Security is a Ponzi scheme" you are hearing that strategy in operation. Every time you hear that "Social Security won't be there for me anyway" " you are witnessing that strategy unfold.

The Problem

The Social Security program is entirely self-funded, separate from the way that the government taxes and spends for other programs. People set aside money in their working years, they get a monthly amount when they retire. (The program also has other benefits including disability benefits, survivors funds and others.) Social Security does not contribute to the deficit in any way.

You never hear that the huge, vast, bloated, enormous, mammoth military budget is "going broke" or "won't be there for you." But year after year you hear that Social Security is "in trouble."

Currently the program has built up a huge trust fund -- over $2.5 trillion. This is invested in US Treasury Bonds, and is earning interest. But there are projections that this trust fund will be depleted in approx. 2037, and if this happens the program will have to cut payouts by as much as 25%. (Hey. when does the military budget Trust Fund run down?)

One big reason for this shortfall is that the last time the programs was comprehensively adjusted (1983, Greenspan Commission) certain economic growth and income projections were used to decide how much "payroll tax" to take out of people's paychecks. They increased the amount taken out of paychecks, and set up an increasing "cap" on the income that would be taxed. Right now 6.2% (temporarily reduced to 4.2%) is taken out of paychecks, and employers kick in another 6.2%, on income up to a "cap" of $106,800. There is no "payroll tax" on amounts above that "cap."

But something changed between 1983 and now: almost all the income gains have gone to a few at the very top. Instead of people who mostly were under that "cap" getting raises, thereby increasing the amount they pay into the fund, the raises went to people who already pass that amount, so the increased income is not contributing to the program. So that money that was calculated would go into the Social Security Trust Fund instead went to the top few. As a result the program is no longer bringing in enough money to keep the trust fund fully-funded past 2037.

Sen. Sanders' Solution

Senator Bernie Sanders is introducing a bill to the Senate to fix this, once and for all. In simple terms, this bill will start taxing income above $250,000 a year to cover this Social Security shortfall. So instead of just "raising the cap" it lets that cap stay, and then takes it off again on income above $250,000. In effect it means there will be a gap between the current top income that is taxed, and $250K.

Get the money from where the money went: So because much of the real Social Security problem is that so much income is now going to just a few at the top, this gets the money to fix the problem from those top-level incomes.

Here is Sanders, talking about his bill:

“When [Social Security] was developed, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, poverty among seniors is too high, but that number is ten percent. Social Security has done exactly what it was designed to do!”

As you can see from these articles, this situation we are in today has not happened overnight, but has been in the making for decades.. ever so slowly building. Just exactly as planned so many decades ago. Only coming to fruitation today.
My intent is to show the corporate control of governments today.... Which the Supreme courts "Citizens United" decision has made a major impact on. As the next article will show...

Lines Blur Between Candidates and PACs With Unlimited Cash

One night last month, Mitt Romney strode into a dining room above Central Park that was packed with dozens of his wealthiest supporters, gathered there by a group of former campaign aides, to talk about his bid for the White House.

The event was not a fund-raiser for Mr. Romney’s campaign, however, but for Restore Our Future, a political action committee founded by his allies. And only when Mr. Romney left the room did one of the group’s officials stand up to brief the donors on their plans: to raise and spend millions of dollars in unrestricted campaign donations — something presidential candidates are forbidden to do themselves — to help elect Mr. Romney president.

Mr. Romney’s appearance underscored the increasingly blurry line between presidential candidates and the so-called Super PACs that have proliferated since a 2010Supreme Court ruling allowed independent groups to raise unlimited amounts to promote candidates.

Most of this year’s presidential candidates are now backed by one or more dedicated Super PACs. Unlike the broad-based independent groups backing multiple candidates that flooded last year’s Congressional elections with negative advertising — playing a role similar to that of traditional party committees — the new groups are each dedicated to the election of a single candidate.

The groups are typically founded by the candidates’ former aides, financed by the candidates’ top donors and implicitly blessed by the candidates themselves. And they are quickly beginning to rival the candidates’ own money operations in size and scope, setting off a fund-raising arms race that is changing the way presidential campaigns are financed and executed.

Restore Our Future is run by three veterans of Mr. Romney’s 2008 campaign team. They were recently joined by a fund-raiser who left Mr. Romney’s 2012 team, according to a report by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity. Restore Our Future raised more than $12 million during the first half of the year — more than any actual Republican candidate except Mr. Romney himself.

A pair of aides to President Obama started Priorities USA, the leading Democratic Super PAC, just two months after they left their jobs at the White House in February. And two weeks ago, a onetime consultant to Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota took over Citizens for a Working America, a previously existing Super PAC, with plans to focus solely on electing Ms. Bachmann president.

On Thursday, Thomas E. Muir, an executive at the Huntsman Corporation, filed papers to form Our Destiny PAC, a Super PAC devoted to electing Jon M. Huntsman Jr., a former Utah governor and the son of the corporation’s founder.

Make Us Great Again, a Super PAC founded late last month, is backed by Mike Toomey, a prominent lobbyist in Austin, Tex., who is a former chief of staff to Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Mr. Toomey also owns a private New Hampshire island with Dave Carney, the top strategist for Mr. Perry’s nascent presidential campaign.

Federal Election Commission guidelines adopted in the wake of the Supreme Court decision prohibit independent groups from coordinating expenditures with their favored presidential candidates and limit how much candidates can directly help raise for the groups. And during Mr. Romney’s brief appearance before current and prospective donors to Restore Our Future, he made no appeal for money, according to participants.

Gail Gitcho, a Romney spokeswoman, declined to comment on the event, saying only that “any activity done by our campaign is done within the letter and the spirit of the law.”

In a statement, Jason Miller, a spokesman for Make Us Great Again, said the group would abide carefully by all federal restrictions.

“There is an absolute firewall between Make Us Great Again and the campaign, and there is no communication between the two regarding activities, plans or projects,” Mr. Miller said. “Everybody involved with our efforts, including Mike Toomey, is very careful about this.”

But some advocates for tighter campaign regulation say existing rules on independent groups did not anticipate the emergence of Super PACs so closely tied to a single candidate, leaving so much room to maneuver that the independent groups are able to act as surrogates for the candidates.

“There’s not a big difference between these candidate-specific Super PACs and candidate campaign committees,” said Paul S. Ryan, associate legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. “I think it’s a joke. What they are doing is abiding by the very meager restrictions on coordinations on expenditures and solicitations. But that leaves a wide swath of activities that can be fully coordinated under present law.”

Increasingly, the new Super PACs are taking on tasks that in previous years were handled by — and paid for — the candidates themselves. But instead of using money raised in the $2,500 increments that federal law imposes on candidates, the Super PACs can accept donations of unlimited amounts. (The groups must disclose their donors, though some Super PACs, including Priorities USA and the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads, have affiliated nonprofit arms that do not have to disclose donors.)

Last month, before Mr. Perry even announced his candidacy, a Super PAC called Americans for Rick Perry spent just under $200,000 to organize a write-in campaign on his behalf for the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, more money than was spent by some of the declared Republican candidates. More than half of the group’s money through the end of June came from Harold C. Simmons, a Dallas billionaire who is among Mr. Perry’s top all-time donors.

Another group, Jobs for Iowa, one of at least a half-dozen pro-Perry Super PACs now up and running, spent tens of thousands of dollars on advertisements in the state in early August, describing Mr. Perry as a “better option” for president.

Anticipating that Mr. Perry will have enough resources of his own to survive the early round of primaries and caucuses in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Americans for Rick Perry now plans to focus on recruiting supporters and building a social-media apparatus in the second round of 2012 primary states, according to Bob Schuman, a consultant involved with the group.

“What we’re trying to do is look down the line from the campaign’s standpoint and say, what can we do that they would like to but don’t have the time or resources to do?” Mr. Schuman said.

Privately, political operatives on both sides of the political divide said that the new Super PACs were likely to be the chief vehicle for negative advertisements against rivals, leaving each group’s favored candidate free to campaign more positively.

One Super PAC, Keep Conservatives United, ran advertisements in Iowa attacking Mr. Perry and promoting Mrs. Bachmann, who ultimately won the straw poll.

Bob Harris, a North Carolina political consultant who founded Keep Conservatives United, said he hoped to raise enough money to run television advertisements in South Carolina, a state where Mr. Perry and Mrs. Bachmann are expected to compete aggressively next year.

Early fund-raising suggests that the new groups are relying on a handful of wealthy donors capable of writing five-, six- and even seven-figure checks. According to a study published last week by the Center for Responsive Politics, more than 80 percent of money raised by Republican-leaning Super PACs this year came from just 35 donors.

Democratic-leaning Super PACs relied on an even smaller group, with more than 80 percent of contributions coming from just 23 donors.

“What took thousands of individual donations to make significant political advertisements in 2008 can now just take one phone call,” said Spencer MacColl, the study’s author.

The 2012 race is already being widely viewed as a laboratory for political operatives, some of whom say that Super PACs founded to support individual candidates may soon become a feature of Senate and even House races if they are used successfully — and without legal headaches — by allies of the presidential candidates.

“It’s Christmas for consultants,” said one Republican operative, who requested anonymity to speak frankly about the enthusiasm among fellow consultants for the groups. “People are just starting to get it. It’s completely unlimited. And it’s going to change everything.”

I am not blaming the president, but the whole system. Of how presidents & other officials become elected. The system is flawed, but it did not become this way overnight. I have tried for decades to do things the ways we are supposed to... I have voted in EVERY election, I make phone calls to my representatives and senators, I have even called the president on many occasions voicing my opinions, signing petitions.... But it never seems to make any difference. Even when I join the vast majority of Americans who do not want things to happen as in the bail outs of the banks, the decision to go to war, the pleas to end the wars, the attempts to hold the president to his campaign promises re; single payer health care rather than the health care he put into place which only will profit the corporate powers that be. I have tried for decades to change the system, hopefully for the better of all... but to no avail.
Elections have become rigged, voting machines owned by corporations are being used from coast to coast, election fraud become rampant. Corporations control the elected officials not only in this country but around the world.
And all I am attempting to do is to shed some light on the corruptness in governments today. Not just in the USA but around the world and it is all due to the multi national corporations and their attempt to maximize profits at the expense of everything and everyone else. People are revolting worldwide, due to job loss, lower wages, and the high cost of living. The planet we all must live on is warming due to the use of fossil fuels, yet there is little or no effort to change the way things are... where is the change to alternative energy that Obama promised when running for office? Maybe he was ignorant.... maybe he thought he could make a difference.. once upon a time.... but today we should all see the way things really are and who runs things.... And we should also see the need for a third political party, one for "we the people" and not just the two already here for the corporations who control this world we all live in.
I know things could be worse if Rick Perry were to be elected, or if McCain was, or Sarah Palin... but it seems to be a choice of the lesser of two evils and not the best choice for the office, or for the country they represent. Take a look at this next article, as much as we need to change our dependance on fossil fuels,. it looks like the Obama administration is set to OK the XL Pipeline from Alberta to Texas... why, because if we don;t use this fuel, someone else will... Never mind the damage this could cause in the long run, or if there were any leaks, this pipeline will happen, and why, because the corporations say so... no matter what "we the people" want.
Check this article out..

Obama administration backs oil pipeline from Alberta to Texas

The Obama administration has given an important approval to a controversial pipeline that will pump oil from the tar sands of Alberta to the Texas coast.

In a blow to campaigners, who have spent the last week at a sit-in at the White House, the State Department said the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline would not cause significant damage to the environment.

The State Department in its report said the project – which would pipe more than 700,000 barrels a day of tar sands crude to Texas refineries – would not increase greenhouse gas emissions. It also downplayed the risks of an accident from piping highly corrosive tar sands crude across prime American farmland.

Campaigners accused the State Department of consistently overlooking the potential risks of the pipeline.

"The State Department… failed to acknowledge the true extent of the project's threats to the climate, to drinking water and to the health of people who would breathe polluted air from refineries processing the dirty tar sands oil," Friends of the Earth said in a statement.

But Kerri-Ann Jones, the assistant secretary of state, rejected the charges. She argued that other government agencies had still to sign off on the project.

"This is not the rubber stamp for this project," Jones told reporters, adding that the pipeline would not lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, claiming Alberta was going to produce the crude anyway.

"The sense we have is that the oil sands would be developed and there is not going to be any change in greenhouse gas emissions with the pipeline or without the pipeline because these oil sands will be developed anyway," she said.

Jones said that the State Department review had addressed some safety concerns, directing TransCanada, the pipeline operator, to bury the pipeline deeper.

The State Department will hold a series of public meetings on the pipeline next month and into October.

But with Friday's decision the pipeline is now expected to come on line in 2013.

Over the last three years, the pipeline has become a central focus of environmentalist concerns, and Friday's decision was rendered at the midpoint of a two-week sit-in at the White House against the project which has seen more than 100 arrested.

But the Canadian government and oil companies with a stake in tar sands production fought back with an intense lobbying effort.

Environmental campaigners argued the pipeline would encourage production of Alberta tar sands, which imposes a far heavier carbon footprint than other oils.

There was also opposition from homeowners along the Keystone's proposed route through South Dakota, Nebraska, and Texas.

They warned the highly corrosive nature of tar sands oil put the pipeline increased the risk of accidents, and damage to important sources of groundwater.

Bill McKibben, who helped organise the protests at the White House, said the approval from the State Department had been expected. The secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, indicated last year that she favoured the pipeline.

"Everyone has known exactly what they would say all along. And everyone knows that they've valiantly ignored the elephant in the room - the fact that this would go a long ways towards opening up the world's second-largest pool of carbon," he wrote in an email.

However, McKibben held out hope that Obama - who still has final authority over the project - might step in to stop the pipeline.

My posts are a attempt to enlighten, to shed some light, to end ignorance and hopefully apathy. It is time for a change, a change we can all believe in.
The problem is not with the presidents, but with the system, and "we the people", and it needs to change. Or no matter who gets elected, things will only get worse for all unless we stand up and make the change ourselves. Ignorance abounds and with knowledge comes power.. we all need to empower ourselves to make the change we need happen. Too many believe they have no say, or no belief in their ability to make change happen. Which is why we are where we are today.
Only you can make a better tomorrow, for yourself and for your children...... we owe it to generations to come, those who are yet to be.... what will our legacy be? Who is really to blame here?
I am not disappointed in the corporations, they are just trying to maximize profits which is their job... but what disappoints me the most, is the ignorance and the apathy of "we the people" and our inability to make change happen....
Thanks so much for all your comments
Much Respect

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/2011 10:30PM by Bob Slayton.
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 01, 2011 01:17AM
I spoke of Cindy Sheehan speaking here in town, well KMUD has the audio if anyone is interested in listening... here is the linkCindy Sheehan on KMUD
It is broken down to 4 parts. I hope you can take the time to listen.

I am not sure what I am trying to accomplish with these posts.... I do know that they do belong, and should be talked about on a reggae message board, as reggae music is a music of oppression. Listen to Bob Marley and Peter Tosh and see what first brought me to listen to reggae music. Remember the "One Love Peace Concert", and remember when Bob Marley, after just being shot, got up and made it to the festival to take part in what he believed to be a very important event. The bringing together of the two political parties in Jamaica at the time, in the attempt to make a positive change happen.

I agree with others when they say education is the key, but there needs to be more than just education. More than just knowling that something is wrong... There needs to be change. The act of getting up and standing up for your rights.

We are living in a serious time... the consequences to the apathy in this country is unacceptable. The divide and conqueror strategy that has been in place in this country for decades needs to end. We need to come together for the common good. Not just for the common good of the people, but for the planet itself. "We the people" are the caretakers of this planet, and we are the ones who need to make the changes necessary when it comes to decisions of what is best for this planet that we must all co-exist on together. Not the corporations who's goals are based on bottom lines and profits and what is best for the corporation. Not politicians who need the corporate support, or at least the corporate dollars, to run for office.

How can we expect politicans to make the hard choices necessary when it comes to the enviroment, to pollution, to doing what is right for the people of this planet, when they are indepted to corporations to get themselves elected?

Corporations do not care about what is best for the planet, or not for what is best for the future generations who will have to live here. What kind of world are we leaving them? What will be our legacy? This is up to you.
In the words of Crosby Stills Nash & Young... "We can change the world, it's dieing, to get better"
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 01, 2011 03:43AM
Bob;great thread,great responses. Now put down the coffee!
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 01, 2011 06:47AM
Reggae music and politics is related...now watch this video for enlightenment...get educated

Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 01, 2011 07:54PM
Good stuff Bob! Douchebags and turds they all are !
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 01, 2011 09:05PM
Vote Perry!! The next "Reagan"
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 02, 2011 07:09AM
Right on Bob
Lots of valuable info posted
We must stop supporting Democraps empty words with our votes, Obama included.
He cleverly allowed us to project onto him our hopes and aspirations for the future then cynically belittling and sneering at the core of his supporters. He stoked that rush we want from believing in someone to lead us from this bondage. Seductive fairy tales to young and old

The political system dun broke. Agree with Cindy Sheehan sentiments about Obama being Bush lite. Both parties are so wedded to corporate money that polls mean little to them and demonstrations less for poititricians are so removed from working people. Both parties traveling the path laid out by the military industry controllers, banksters, energy barons, pharmacide vampires, chemical poisoners. The democrats give an occasional appearance of stepping on the brakes to slow down the corporate train while the republicans are trying to jam the greed accelerator full throttle while squashing poor people, workers, and those who think they're middle class.

We're in a co-dependent situation. Don't be afraid of the Perrys and Bachmanns to keep you in line. Take a stand of conscience for your beliefs and support a candidate who reflects our hopes as Obama falsely suggested a Democrat might. When our voting strategy is always voting for the lesser of two evils aren't we acknowledging our support of the evil? Not anymore

Vital lessons taught in our precious reggae point to the wicked Babylon were living and trying to make a more humane home for all life
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 04, 2011 10:27PM
Here is another article about the two party system...
Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult

Barbara Stanwyck: "We're both rotten!"

Fred MacMurray: "Yeah - only you're a little more rotten." -"Double Indemnity" (1944)

Those lines of dialogue from a classic film noir sum up the state of the two political parties in contemporary America. Both parties are rotten - how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot. The main reason the Democrats' health care bill will be a budget buster once it fully phases in is the Democrats' rank capitulation to corporate interests - no single-payer system, in order to mollify the insurers; and no negotiation of drug prices, a craven surrender to Big Pharma.

But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.

To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.

It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill. A couple of months ago, I retired; but I could see as early as last November that the Republican Party would use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine legislative procedure that has been used 87 times since the end of World War II, in order to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis. Then, they would use that fiscal crisis to get what they wanted, by literally holding the US and global economies as hostages.

The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-related travel - how prudent is that? - in order to strong arm some union-busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.

Everyone knows that in a hostage situation, the reckless and amoral actor has the negotiating upper hand over the cautious and responsible actor because the latter is actually concerned about the life of the hostage, while the former does not care. This fact, which ought to be obvious, has nevertheless caused confusion among the professional pundit class, which is mostly still stuck in the Bob Dole era in terms of its orientation. For instance, Ezra Klein wrote of his puzzlement over the fact that while House Republicans essentially won the debt ceiling fight, enough of them were sufficiently dissatisfied that they might still scuttle the deal. Of course they might - the attitude of many freshman Republicans to national default was "bring it on!"

It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant.

In his "Manual of Parliamentary Practice," Thomas Jefferson wrote that it is less important that every rule and custom of a legislature be absolutely justifiable in a theoretical sense, than that they should be generally acknowledged and honored by all parties. These include unwritten rules, customs and courtesies that lubricate the legislative machinery and keep governance a relatively civilized procedure. The US Senate has more complex procedural rules than any other legislative body in the world; many of these rules are contradictory, and on any given day, the Senate parliamentarian may issue a ruling that contradicts earlier rulings on analogous cases.

The only thing that can keep the Senate functioning is collegiality and good faith. During periods of political consensus, for instance, the World War II and early post-war eras, the Senate was a "high functioning" institution: filibusters were rare and the body was legislatively productive. Now, one can no more picture the current Senate producing the original Medicare Act than the old Supreme Soviet having legislated the Bill of Rights.

Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.

John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:

"Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today's Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery."

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.

A deeply cynical tactic, to be sure, but a psychologically insightful one that plays on the weaknesses both of the voting public and the news media. There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters' confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that "they are all crooks," and that "government is no good," further leading them to think, "a plague on both your houses" and "the parties are like two kids in a school yard." This ill-informed public cynicism, in its turn, further intensifies the long-term decline in public trust in government that has been taking place since the early 1960s - a distrust that has been stoked by Republican rhetoric at every turn ("Government is the problem," declared Ronald Reagan in 1980).

The media are also complicit in this phenomenon. Ever since the bifurcation of electronic media into a more or less respectable "hard news" segment and a rabidly ideological talk radio and cable TV political propaganda arm, the "respectable" media have been terrified of any criticism for perceived bias. Hence, they hew to the practice of false evenhandedness. Paul Krugman has skewered this tactic as being the "centrist cop-out." "I joked long ago," he says, "that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read 'Views Differ on Shape of Planet.'"

Inside-the-Beltway wise guy Chris Cillizza merely proves Krugman right in his Washington Post analysis of "winners and losers" in the debt ceiling impasse. He wrote that the institution of Congress was a big loser in the fracas, which is, of course, correct, but then he opined: "Lawmakers - bless their hearts - seem entirely unaware of just how bad they looked during this fight and will almost certainly spend the next few weeks (or months) congratulating themselves on their tremendous magnanimity." Note how the pundit's ironic deprecation falls like the rain on the just and unjust alike, on those who precipitated the needless crisis and those who despaired of it. He seems oblivious that one side - or a sizable faction of one side - has deliberately attempted to damage the reputation of Congress to achieve its political objectives.

This constant drizzle of "there the two parties go again!" stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends. The United States has nearly the lowest voter participation among Western democracies; this, again, is a consequence of the decline of trust in government institutions - if government is a racket and both parties are the same, why vote? And if the uninvolved middle declines to vote, it increases the electoral clout of a minority that is constantly being whipped into a lather by three hours daily of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. There were only 44 million Republican voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, but they effectively canceled the political results of the election of President Obama by 69 million voters.

This tactic of inducing public distrust of government is not only cynical, it is schizophrenic. For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document. This is not to say that there is not some theoretical limit to the size or intrusiveness of government; I would be the first to say there are such limits, both fiscal and Constitutional. But most Republican officeholders seem strangely uninterested in the effective repeal of Fourth Amendment protections by the Patriot Act, the weakening of habeas corpus and self-incrimination protections in the public hysteria following 9/11 or the unpalatable fact that the United States has the largest incarcerated population of any country on earth. If anything, they would probably opt for more incarcerated persons, as imprisonment is a profit center for the prison privatization industry, which is itself a growth center for political contributions to these same politicians.[1] Instead, they prefer to rail against those government programs that actually help people. And when a program is too popular to attack directly, like Medicare or Social Security, they prefer to undermine it by feigning an agonized concern about the deficit. That concern, as we shall see, is largely fictitious.

Undermining Americans' belief in their own institutions of self-government remains a prime GOP electoral strategy. But if this technique falls short of producing Karl Rove's dream of 30 years of unchallengeable one-party rule (as all such techniques always fall short of achieving the angry and embittered true believer's New Jerusalem), there are other even less savory techniques upon which to fall back. Ever since Republicans captured the majority in a number of state legislatures last November, they have systematically attempted to make it more difficult to vote: by onerous voter ID requirements (in Wisconsin, Republicans have legislated photo IDs while simultaneously shutting Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices in Democratic constituencies while at the same time lengthening the hours of operation of DMV offices in GOP constituencies); by narrowing registration periods; and by residency requirements that may disenfranchise university students.

This legislative assault is moving in a diametrically opposed direction to 200 years of American history, when the arrow of progress pointed toward more political participation by more citizens. Republicans are among the most shrill in self-righteously lecturing other countries about the wonders of democracy; exporting democracy (albeit at the barrel of a gun) to the Middle East was a signature policy of the Bush administration. But domestically, they don't want those people voting.

You can probably guess who those people are. Above all, anyone not likely to vote Republican. As Sarah Palin would imply, the people who are not Real Americans. Racial minorities. Immigrants. Muslims. Gays. Intellectuals. Basically, anyone who doesn't look, think, or talk like the GOP base. This must account, at least to some degree, for their extraordinarily vitriolic hatred of President Obama. I have joked in the past that the main administration policy that Republicans object to is Obama's policy of being black.[2] Among the GOP base, there is constant harping about somebody else, some "other," who is deliberately, assiduously and with malice aforethought subverting the Good, the True and the Beautiful: Subversives. Commies. Socialists. Ragheads. Secular humanists. Blacks. Fags. Feminazis. The list may change with the political needs of the moment, but they always seem to need a scapegoat to hate and fear.

It is not clear to me how many GOP officeholders believe this reactionary and paranoid claptrap. I would bet that most do not. But they cynically feed the worst instincts of their fearful and angry low-information political base with a nod and a wink. During the disgraceful circus of the "birther" issue, Republican politicians subtly stoked the fires of paranoia by being suggestively equivocal - "I take the president at his word" - while never unambiguously slapping down the myth. John Huntsman was the first major GOP figure forthrightly to refute the birther calumny - albeit after release of the birth certificate.

I do not mean to place too much emphasis on racial animus in the GOP. While it surely exists, it is also a fact that Republicans think that no Democratic president could conceivably be legitimate. Republicans also regarded Bill Clinton as somehow, in some manner, twice fraudulently elected (well do I remember the elaborate conspiracy theories that Republicans traded among themselves). Had it been Hillary Clinton, rather than Barack Obama, who had been elected in 2008, I am certain we would now be hearing, in lieu of the birther myths, conspiracy theories about Vince Foster's alleged murder.

The reader may think that I am attributing Svengali-like powers to GOP operatives able to manipulate a zombie base to do their bidding. It is more complicated than that. Historical circumstances produced the raw material: the deindustrialization and financialization of America since about 1970 has spawned an increasingly downscale white middle class - without job security (or even without jobs), with pensions and health benefits evaporating and with their principal asset deflating in the collapse of the housing bubble. Their fears are not imaginary; their standard of living is shrinking.

What do the Democrats offer these people? Essentially nothing. Democratic Leadership Council-style "centrist" Democrats were among the biggest promoters of disastrous trade deals in the 1990s that outsourced jobs abroad: NAFTA, World Trade Organization, permanent most-favored-nation status for China. At the same time, the identity politics/lifestyle wing of the Democratic Party was seen as a too illegal immigrant-friendly by downscaled and outsourced whites.[3]

While Democrats temporized, or even dismissed the fears of the white working class as racist or nativist, Republicans went to work. To be sure, the business wing of the Republican Party consists of the most energetic outsourcers, wage cutters and hirers of sub-minimum wage immigrant labor to be found anywhere on the globe. But the faux-populist wing of the party, knowing the mental compartmentalization that occurs in most low-information voters, played on the fears of that same white working class to focus their anger on scapegoats that do no damage to corporations' bottom lines: instead of raising the minimum wage, let's build a wall on the Southern border (then hire a defense contractor to incompetently manage it). Instead of predatory bankers, it's evil Muslims. Or evil gays. Or evil abortionists.

How do they manage to do this? Because Democrats ceded the field. Above all, they do not understand language. Their initiatives are posed in impenetrable policy-speak: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The what? - can anyone even remember it? No wonder the pejorative "Obamacare" won out. Contrast that with the Republicans' Patriot Act. You're a patriot, aren't you? Does anyone at the GED level have a clue what a Stimulus Bill is supposed to be? Why didn't the White House call it the Jobs Bill and keep pounding on that theme?

You know that Social Security and Medicare are in jeopardy when even Democrats refer to them as entitlements. "Entitlement" has a negative sound in colloquial English: somebody who is "entitled" selfishly claims something he doesn't really deserve. Why not call them "earned benefits," which is what they are because we all contribute payroll taxes to fund them? That would never occur to the Democrats. Republicans don't make that mistake; they are relentlessly on message: it is never the "estate tax," it is the "death tax." Heaven forbid that the Walton family should give up one penny of its $86-billion fortune. All of that lucre is necessary to ensure that unions be kept out of Wal-Mart, that women employees not be promoted and that politicians be kept on a short leash.

It was not always thus. It would have been hard to find an uneducated farmer during the depression of the 1890s who did not have a very accurate idea about exactly which economic interests were shafting him. An unemployed worker in a breadline in 1932 would have felt little gratitude to the Rockefellers or the Mellons. But that is not the case in the present economic crisis. After a riot of unbridled greed such as the world has not seen since the conquistadors' looting expeditions and after an unprecedented broad and rapid transfer of wealth upward by Wall Street and its corporate satellites, where is the popular anger directed, at least as depicted in the media? At "Washington spending" - which has increased primarily to provide unemployment compensation, food stamps and Medicaid to those economically damaged by the previous decade's corporate saturnalia. Or the popular rage is harmlessly diverted against pseudo-issues: death panels, birtherism, gay marriage, abortion, and so on, none of which stands to dent the corporate bottom line in the slightest.

Thus far, I have concentrated on Republican tactics, rather than Republican beliefs, but the tactics themselves are important indicators of an absolutist, authoritarian mindset that is increasingly hostile to the democratic values of reason, compromise and conciliation. Rather, this mindset seeks polarizing division (Karl Rove has been very explicit that this is his principal campaign strategy), conflict and the crushing of opposition.

As for what they really believe, the Republican Party of 2011 believes in three principal tenets I have laid out below. The rest of their platform one may safely dismiss as window dressing:

1. The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors. The party has built a whole catechism on the protection and further enrichment of America's plutocracy. Their caterwauling about deficit and debt is so much eyewash to con the public. Whatever else President Obama has accomplished (and many of his purported accomplishments are highly suspect), his $4-trillion deficit reduction package did perform the useful service of smoking out Republican hypocrisy. The GOP refused, because it could not abide so much as a one-tenth of one percent increase on the tax rates of the Walton family or the Koch brothers, much less a repeal of the carried interest rule that permits billionaire hedge fund managers to pay income tax at a lower effective rate than cops or nurses. Republicans finally settled on a deal that had far less deficit reduction - and even less spending reduction! - than Obama's offer, because of their iron resolution to protect at all costs our society's overclass.

Republicans have attempted to camouflage their amorous solicitude for billionaires with a fog of misleading rhetoric. John Boehner is fond of saying, "we won't raise anyone's taxes," as if the take-home pay of an Olive Garden waitress were inextricably bound up with whether Warren Buffett pays his capital gains as ordinary income or at a lower rate. Another chestnut is that millionaires and billionaires are "job creators." US corporations have just had their most profitable quarters in history; Apple, for one, is sitting on $76 billion in cash, more than the GDP of most countries. So, where are the jobs?

Another smokescreen is the "small business" meme, since standing up for Mom's and Pop's corner store is politically more attractive than to be seen shilling for a megacorporation. Raising taxes on the wealthy will kill small business' ability to hire; that is the GOP dirge every time Bernie Sanders or some Democrat offers an amendment to increase taxes on incomes above $1 million. But the number of small businesses that have a net annual income over a million dollars is de minimis, if not by definition impossible (as they would no longer be small businesses). And as data from the Center for Economic and Policy Research have shown, small businesses account for only 7.2 percent of total US employment, a significantly smaller share of total employment than in most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

Likewise, Republicans have assiduously spread the myth that Americans are conspicuously overtaxed. But compared to other OECD countries, the effective rates of US taxation are among the lowest. In particular, they point to the top corporate income rate of 35 percent as being confiscatory Bolshevism. But again, the effective rate is much lower. Did GE pay 35 percent on 2010 profits of $14 billion? No, it paid zero.

When pressed, Republicans make up misleading statistics to "prove" that the America's fiscal burden is being borne by the rich and the rest of us are just freeloaders who don't appreciate that fact. "Half of Americans don't pay taxes" is a perennial meme. But what they leave out is that that statement refers to federal income taxes. There are millions of people who don't pay income taxes, but do contribute payroll taxes - among the most regressive forms of taxation. But according to GOP fiscal theology, payroll taxes don't count. Somehow, they have convinced themselves that since payroll taxes go into trust funds, they're not real taxes. Likewise, state and local sales taxes apparently don't count, although their effect on a poor person buying necessities like foodstuffs is far more regressive than on a millionaire.

All of these half truths and outright lies have seeped into popular culture via the corporate-owned business press. Just listen to CNBC for a few hours and you will hear most of them in one form or another. More important politically, Republicans' myths about taxation have been internalized by millions of economically downscale "values voters," who may have been attracted to the GOP for other reasons (which I will explain later), but who now accept this misinformation as dogma.

And when misinformation isn't enough to sustain popular support for the GOP's agenda, concealment is needed. One fairly innocuous provision in the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill requires public companies to make a more transparent disclosure of CEO compensation, including bonuses. Note that it would not limit the compensation, only require full disclosure. Republicans are hell-bent on repealing this provision. Of course; it would not serve Wall Street interests if the public took an unhealthy interest in the disparity of their own incomes as against that of a bank CEO. As Spencer Bachus, the Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, says, "In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks."

2. They worship at the altar of Mars. While the me-too Democrats have set a horrible example of keeping up with the Joneses with respect to waging wars, they can never match GOP stalwarts such as John McCain or Lindsey Graham in their sheer, libidinous enthusiasm for invading other countries. McCain wanted to mix it up with Russia - a nuclear-armed state - during the latter's conflict with Georgia in 2008 (remember? - "we are all Georgians now," a slogan that did not, fortunately, catch on), while Graham has been persistently agitating for attacks on Iran and intervention in Syria. And these are not fringe elements of the party; they are the leading "defense experts," who always get tapped for the Sunday talk shows. About a month before Republicans began holding a gun to the head of the credit markets to get trillions of dollars of cuts, these same Republicans passed a defense appropriations bill that increased spending by $17 billion over the prior year's defense appropriation. To borrow Chris Hedges' formulation, war is the force that gives meaning to their lives.

A cynic might conclude that this militaristic enthusiasm is no more complicated than the fact that Pentagon contractors spread a lot of bribery money around Capitol Hill. That is true, but there is more to it than that. It is not necessarily even the fact that members of Congress feel they are protecting constituents' jobs. The wildly uneven concentration of defense contracts and military bases nationally means that some areas, like Washington, DC, and San Diego, are heavily dependent on Department of Defense (DOD) spending. But there are many more areas of the country whose net balance is negative: the citizenry pays more in taxes to support the Pentagon than it receives back in local contracts.

And the economic justification for Pentagon spending is even more fallacious when one considers that the $700 billion annual DOD budget creates comparatively few jobs. The days of Rosie the Riveter are long gone; most weapons projects now require very little touch labor. Instead, a disproportionate share is siphoned off into high-cost research and development (from which the civilian economy benefits little); exorbitant management expenditures, overhead and out-and-out padding; and, of course, the money that flows back into the coffers of political campaigns. A million dollars appropriated for highway construction would create two to three times as many jobs as a million dollars appropriated for Pentagon weapons procurement, so the jobs argument is ultimately specious.

Take away the cash nexus and there still remains a psychological predisposition toward war and militarism on the part of the GOP. This undoubtedly arises from a neurotic need to demonstrate toughness and dovetails perfectly with the belligerent tough-guy pose one constantly hears on right-wing talk radio. Militarism springs from the same psychological deficit that requires an endless series of enemies, both foreign and domestic.

The results of the last decade of unbridled militarism and the Democrats' cowardly refusal to reverse it[4], have been disastrous both strategically and fiscally. It has made the United States less prosperous, less secure and less free. Unfortunately, the militarism and the promiscuous intervention it gives rise to are only likely to abate when the Treasury is exhausted, just as it happened to the Dutch Republic and the British Empire.

3. Give me that old time religion. Pandering to fundamentalism is a full-time vocation in the GOP. Beginning in the 1970s, religious cranks ceased simply to be a minor public nuisance in this country and grew into the major element of the Republican rank and file. Pat Robertson's strong showing in the 1988 Iowa Caucus signaled the gradual merger of politics and religion in the party. The results are all around us: if the American people poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution versus creationism, scriptural inerrancy, the existence of angels and demons, and so forth, that result is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public sphere by the Republican Party and the consequent normalizing of formerly reactionary or quaint beliefs. Also around us is a prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science; it is this group that defines "low-information voter" - or, perhaps, "misinformation voter."

The Constitution to the contrary notwithstanding, there is now a de facto religious test for the presidency: major candidates are encouraged (or coerced) to "share their feelings" about their "faith" in a revelatory speech; or, some televangelist like Rick Warren dragoons the candidates (as he did with Obama and McCain in 2008) to debate the finer points of Christology, with Warren himself, of course, as the arbiter. Politicized religion is also the sheet anchor of the culture wars. But how did the whole toxic stew of GOP beliefs - economic royalism, militarism and culture wars cum fundamentalism - come completely to displace an erstwhile civilized Eisenhower Republicanism?

It is my view that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism (which is a subset of the decline of rational problem solving in America) may have been the key ingredient of the takeover of the Republican Party. For politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes - at least in the minds of followers - all three of the GOP's main tenets.

Televangelists have long espoused the health-and-wealth/name-it-and-claim it gospel. If you are wealthy, it is a sign of God's favor. If not, too bad! But don't forget to tithe in any case. This rationale may explain why some economically downscale whites defend the prerogatives of billionaires.

The GOP's fascination with war is also connected with the fundamentalist mindset. The Old Testament abounds in tales of slaughter - God ordering the killing of the Midianite male infants and enslavement of the balance of the population, the divinely-inspired genocide of the Canaanites, the slaying of various miscreants with the jawbone of an ass - and since American religious fundamentalist seem to prefer the Old Testament to the New (particularly that portion of the New Testament known as the Sermon on the Mount), it is but a short step to approving war as a divinely inspired mission. This sort of thinking has led, inexorably, to such phenomena as Jerry Falwell once writing that God is Pro-War.

It is the apocalyptic frame of reference of fundamentalists, their belief in an imminent Armageddon, that psychologically conditions them to steer this country into conflict, not only on foreign fields (some evangelicals thought Saddam was the Antichrist and therefore a suitable target for cruise missiles), but also in the realm of domestic political controversy. It is hardly surprising that the most adamant proponent of the view that there was no debt ceiling problem was Michele Bachmann, the darling of the fundamentalist right. What does it matter, anyway, if the country defaults? - we shall presently abide in the bosom of the Lord.

Some liberal writers have opined that the different socio-economic perspectives separating the "business" wing of the GOP and the religious right make it an unstable coalition that could crack. I am not so sure. There is no fundamental disagreement on which direction the two factions want to take the country, merely how far in that direction they want to take it. The plutocrats would drag us back to the Gilded Age, the theocrats to the Salem witch trials. In any case, those consummate plutocrats, the Koch brothers, are pumping large sums of money into Michele Bachman's presidential campaign, so one ought not make too much of a potential plutocrat-theocrat split.

Thus, the modern GOP; it hardly seems conceivable that a Republican could have written the following:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." (That was President Eisenhower, writing to his brother Edgar in 1954.)

It is this broad and ever-widening gulf between the traditional Republicanism of an Eisenhower and the quasi-totalitarian cult of a Michele Bachmann that impelled my departure from Capitol Hill. It is not in my pragmatic nature to make a heroic gesture of self-immolation, or to make lurid revelations of personal martyrdom in the manner of David Brock. And I will leave a more detailed dissection of failed Republican economic policies to my fellow apostate Bruce Bartlett.

I left because I was appalled at the headlong rush of Republicans, like Gadarene swine, to embrace policies that are deeply damaging to this country's future; and contemptuous of the feckless, craven incompetence of Democrats in their half-hearted attempts to stop them. And, in truth, I left as an act of rational self-interest. Having gutted private-sector pensions and health benefits as a result of their embrace of outsourcing, union busting and "shareholder value," the GOP now thinks it is only fair that public-sector workers give up their pensions and benefits, too. Hence the intensification of the GOP's decades-long campaign of scorn against government workers. Under the circumstances, it is simply safer to be a current retiree rather than a prospective one.

If you think Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand-worshipping colleagues aren't after your Social Security and Medicare, I am here to disabuse you of your naiveté.[5] They will move heaven and earth to force through tax cuts that will so starve the government of revenue that they will be "forced" to make "hard choices" - and that doesn't mean repealing those very same tax cuts, it means cutting the benefits for which you worked.

During the week that this piece was written, the debt ceiling fiasco reached its conclusion. The economy was already weak, but the GOP's disgraceful game of chicken roiled the markets even further. Foreigners could hardly believe it: Americans' own crazy political actions were destabilizing the safe-haven status of the dollar. Accordingly, during that same week, over one trillion dollars worth of assets evaporated on financial markets. Russia and China have stepped up their advocating that the dollar be replaced as the global reserve currency - a move as consequential and disastrous for US interests as any that can be imagined.

If Republicans have perfected a new form of politics that is successful electorally at the same time that it unleashes major policy disasters, it means twilight both for the democratic process and America's status as the world's leading power.


[1] I am not exaggerating for effect. A law passed in 2010 by the Arizona legislature mandating arrest and incarceration of suspected illegal aliens was actually drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative business front group that drafts "model" legislation on behalf of its corporate sponsors. The draft legislation in question was written for the private prison lobby, which sensed a growth opportunity in imprisoning more people.

[2] I am not a supporter of Obama and object to a number of his foreign and domestic policies. But when he took office amid the greatest financial collapse in 80 years, I wanted him to succeed, so that the country I served did not fail. But already in 2009, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, declared that his greatest legislative priority was - jobs for Americans? Rescuing the financial system? Solving the housing collapse? - no, none of those things. His top priority was to ensure that Obama should be a one-term president. Evidently Senator McConnell hates Obama more than he loves his country. Note that the mainstream media have lately been hailing McConnell as "the adult in the room," presumably because he is less visibly unstable than the Tea Party freshmen

[3] This is not a venue for immigrant bashing. It remains a fact that outsourcing jobs overseas, while insourcing sub-minimum wage immigrant labor, will exert downward pressure on US wages. The consequence will be popular anger, and failure to address that anger will result in a downward wage spiral and a breech of the social compact, not to mention a rise in nativism and other reactionary impulses. It does no good to claim that these economic consequences are an inevitable result of globalization; Germany has somehow managed to maintain a high-wage economy and a vigorous industrial base.

[4] The cowardice is not merely political. During the past ten years, I have observed that Democrats are actually growing afraid of Republicans. In a quirky and flawed, but insightful, little book, "Democracy and Populism: Fear and Hatred," John Lukacs concludes that the left fears, the right hates.

[5] The GOP cult of Ayn Rand is both revealing and mystifying. On the one hand, Rand's tough guy, every-man-for-himself posturing is a natural fit because it puts a philosophical gloss on the latent sociopathy so prevalent among the hard right. On the other, Rand exclaimed at every opportunity that she was a militant atheist who felt nothing but contempt for Christianity. Apparently, the ignorance of most fundamentalist "values voters" means that GOP candidates who enthuse over Rand at the same time they thump their Bibles never have to explain this stark contradiction. And I imagine a Democratic officeholder would have a harder time explaining why he named his offspring "Marx" than a GOP incumbent would in rationalizing naming his kid "Rand."
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 04, 2011 10:54PM
Returning to our first story, about Obama & the Banks and being held accountable for their actions, whihc lead to the housing/mortgage crisis. Millions loosing homes, jobs, life savings etc... It looks like the Attorney general of NY, who would be in charge of the legality of the banks actions, has been removed from the process of holding the banks accountable.. here is the story
Get Out of the Way of Eric Schneiderman!

Meet Eric Schneiderman - he's our best shot at making sure banksters pay for the crimes they committed on Wall Street - crimes that have led to millions of Americans losing their jobs, homes, and livelihoods. Crimes that SO FAR - have gone unpunished. Earlier this week - Schneiderman - who is New York's Attorney General - was kicked off a panel of state officials from around the country who are working with the Obama administration to come up with a one-time settlement for banksters to pay up for their crimes. Once that settlement gets paid - then everything else gets swept under the rug - no further lawsuits - no jail time - no nothing - the crime of the century gets forgiven. The number being floated around is a $25 billion fine - to be shared by ALL the big banks on Wall Street. In other words - pocket change for banksters. But Schneiderman doesn't like the idea - that's why he was kicked off.

As Attorney General of New York - and thus the lead police chief of Wall Street - Schneiderman has the power to bring whatever investigations he wants against banksters - and he plans to do just that. He's already launched investigations into Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America. And he wants Wall Street held FULLY accountable for the damage they caused - and not just a slap on the hand. So why is the Obama Administration NOT on Schneiderman's side? And how much longer will the American people put up the banksters skirting the law?

Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 05, 2011 10:32PM
Mr. Slayton: Thank you so much for these posts and dilligently trying to keep the masses informed to what is really going on. You are truly one of the "awake" ones. Unfortunately, you are preaching to the choir in my case. I have been connecting the dots for a long time now, and have a pretty good perspective of "the big picture", but am not nearly as articulate as you at relating this material in a collective manner. when I try to relate this stuff to less-informed folks, my head starts to spin because i don't even know where to start and I basically give up. So yes apathy is applied to my case.
You agree that education is key, but also think we need critical action. Well, I think we need critical mass first, and we're nowhere near that, although more and more are waking up every day. Seems like the majority of this nation are already brain dead, or just don't give a F#$%, and content to live out their lives without concern for future generations or the planet. Then there are people that DO care, but still cling to old methods of problem-solving that have proved to be hopeless. so many people still believe in "the system", and that we can get out of this mess. Well, as others above said, the system is broke, and we can't change the system from within a broken system. So then what....revolution? I would love for a revolution, but if it started today, it would be messy, ugly, and bloody. From my perspective, the revolution will need to be spiritual, and that is what I've been focusing my energy on these days. They say "Real change begins within", and I'm believing that more and more every day.
Keep up the good work Bob, your efforts are not in vain, hold the faith. Bless yourself.

"Be the change you wish to see in this world".
"We are the ones we've been waiting for".
"If the people lead, the leaders will follow".
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 08, 2011 01:19PM
I NOTICED HOW in the Republican debate @ the Reagan Library the considerable applause from the audience regarding the number of executions in Texas under Perry. These people like executions....
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 08, 2011 01:24PM
not only 'death penalty' executions, but also military executions.. in the form of unneeded wars. wars based on lies, deception, and false-flag undertakings..
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 08, 2011 02:45PM
they are not alone. For the most part humanity feels people guilty of murder should be killed. This is an interesting way of thinking but it is none the less true.
Re: The Most Disappointing Presidency EVER?
September 08, 2011 03:16PM
they are not alone. For the most part humanity feels people guilty of murder should be killed. This is an interesting way of thinking but it is none the less true.

and as you know.. many black men have been falsely accused and falsely convicted..

unless 100% guilty with no funny prosecution business at play, then ok.. but outside of that ease off the injection..
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