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Does the 2012 Presidential Election Matter?

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Matt Stoller is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.  You can follow him on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller

If you picked up a newspaper in DC this week, it would have been hard to avoid noticing that a bizarre and irrelevant spat is consuming much of the insider political media and top political officials.  Earlier this week, a corporate lobbyist named Hilary Rosen tweeted a vague insult at GOP Presidential nominee wife Ann Romney.  Rosen said that Romney had never worked a day in her life, and so could not credibly speak to the economic concerns of women.  The Republicans demanded an apology.  Rosen refused.  Obama advisors like David Axelrod and Jim Messina then weighed in on Romney’s side.  Eventually, Rosen caved to the pressure and apologized.  This is why.

By the end of Thursday, the most prominent voices in Washington had weighed in, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the first lady, Michelle Obama, and the president himself, who said that there is “no tougher job than being a mom” and that anyone who thinks otherwise “needs to rethink their statement.”

Just what is going on?  How did one mildly annoying tweet from a corporate lobbyist who isn’t working on a political campaign come to dominate the electoral coverage for days for the office of the most powerful political position in the world?

Political scientist Tom Ferguson has noted that there are always two elections at work concurrently in America, a public election that voters see, and a hidden election where funders operate in shifting coalitions to pull the levers of power.  In this case, it’s the very triviality that is on display that speaks to what is going.  Rosen, a corporate lobbyist who represents or has represented copyright interests, for-profit colleges, and BP, is fighting with David Axelrod, who has made money from the nuclear industry, and Anna Romney, who rides expensive horses bought by her husband’s private equity millions.  This is staged kabuki between powerful millionaires, none of whom can credibly speak from recent experience on economic struggles.

The 2012 election, in other words, is at this point a completely empty enterprise, bereft of substance, or integrity.  This is new to our era, reminiscent of the late 19th century electoral landscape which was dominated by policy consensus around corruption and plutocracy while electoral contests were organized around “bloody shirt” smear campaigns.  Populism intruded briefly, but there’s a reason that time period was known as the time of the robber barons.  It’s increasingly analogous to our time.

In 2003-2004, a large Democratic field and George Bush bitterly debated questions of war and peace.  In 2007-2008, both parties saw significant debate between multiple candidates in which they argued about a whole set of questions, from war to civil liberties to the financial crisis.  The financial crisis was probably determinative in 2008, with the lead seesawing between the two candidates until John McCain “suspended” his campaign.  There was a substantive amount of deceit, of course, in previous contests, and it’s true that many of the promises were not real.  But at least the candidates had to debate in a way in which their words had to bear some resemblance to the world in which voters resided.  But this time, there is literally no relationship between the reality of the policy questions and the political debate.

Yesterday, I pointed out that income inequality under Obama is actually worse than it was under Bush, and that the trend of increasingly inequality has accelerated.  One might think that the Presidential race would be the time to debate, even if it’s only in some sort of fake manner, questions about these kinds of problems.  Wouldn’t the Republicans be able to succeed, even cynically and dishonestly, by highlighting policy failures leading to this?

For instance, at the same time as the Rosen spat occurred, this week we also saw a report from the Inspector General of TARP that Tim Geithner’s Treasury Department has simply not implemented a $7 billion program intended to help families hardest hit by foreclosures.   That could have been a scandal of sorts, with the Republicans attacking the administration for incompetence and the administration making arguments about its economic stewardship.  The major problem facing our economic structure is the collapse of the housing finance system, with 96% of mortgages at this point backed explicit by government.  Yet, no debate, nothing.  It’s millionaire kabuki.  There are now murders happening around the foreclosure crisis.  Nothing.  No pressure from the left, or the right.

Major policy initiatives, such as the JOBS Act eliminating accounting requirements for companies using public equity markets, are now bipartisan, beyond debate.  AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka is apparently “personally outraged” by that bill, but he can’t help but argue how Barack Obama is the President for the middle class.  The Democratic campaign will center in at least some part on tax justice and economic fairness, with the Republicans decrying class warfare.  Yet, the data on inequality betrays that this narrative is completely disconnected from substance, from reality.  Without an debate over the policies that led to this endpoint, it’s hard to figure out whether the 2012 election matters.  Since Obama is still taken seriously when he promises to redress inequality immediately after signing the JOBS Act, this debate can’t happen.

Politics can matter, though it doesn’t always.  Sometimes it matters a lot – FDR was an important President, because he was able to use the policy space opened up by the depression.  He did not have to be the nominee, but he was.  Richard Nixon pursued different policies than Hubert Humphrey, and Jimmy Carter was a different policy animal than Ronald Reagan or Ted Kennedy.  Sometimes that difference is meaningful, but not structural.  Huey Long as Senator pushed through deposit insurance. Rep. Alan Grayson was able to insert a Federal Reserve audit in Dodd-Frank, which somewhat opened up the central bank to the public.  Senator Howard Metzenbaum and Jesse Helms were personally responsible for an killing enormous amount of legislation.  This year, renowned foreclosure fighter Lisa Epstein is running for Clerk of the Court in Palm Beach County, a position with a surprising amount of power.  Were she to win, she would be able to join other people in similar positions, like Jeff Thigpen in North Carolina, John O’Brien in Massachusetts and Curtis Hertel in Michigan, and change the contours of the foreclosure crisis in her locality.

This is not to say that politics is the only route to social change, it certainly is not.  And this is not a “your vote matters” argument.  It doesn’t always matter.  Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.  What is striking is how little pressure is coming from the populace, towards the political elites in both parties.  The Republicans have a bitter class divide within their party, but they have quickly clamped down on the populists in their midst.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama can give stump-speeches on his support for the middle class with a straight face.  Until this dynamic changes, and someone or something forces a real debate that reconnects substance and politics, our American decline will continue.  Until then, the debates in DC will happen behind closed doors among powerful interests, and the public will only witness a fierce kabuki performance over Hilary Rosen’s tweets.

UPDATE: Rosen’s original comment was on CNN, the dispute was largely carried out over Twitter.  And yes, this is the dumbest correction of all time.

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278 comments

  1. Llyod Crumudgeon

    Theatrics for the oligarchs, meanwhile jobless claims rise. The show will continue. You can catch the violin scene from the Titanic film in 3D now, check it out now, the realism is breathtaking.

  2. Mike M

    Yes, it will make a big difference when Supreme Court nominations come up. Otherwise, yeah, they’re all owned.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      So you think it matters who makes the Supreme Court appointments when one candidate publicly supports the Bush doctrine and assassinating U.S. citizens and a Republican considering the Senate is composed of people who like Joe Lieberman? Considering what I think 0bama, he will go the Harriet Myers route and appoint friends, so I suppose its better than picking a theocrat. JFK did, but at least he had someone with a certain amount of credibility to appoint.

    2. lambert strether

      Since there’s no rule of law, why does the Court matter?

      * * *

      If I had may way, I’d roll back every Supreme Court decision since Roberts was approved by the Senate. Scalia crafted the non-precedential “Good for one time only” decision in Bush v. Gore so that a President who would pick judges ideologically aligned with Scalia was appointed. Roberts was the first of those judges. Think of “Bush v. Gore” as a poisonous tree, and every decision since, including Citizens United, as the fruit of it.

    3. Biafra babies unite

      You lost the supreme court to corruption and autocracy long ago. 6-3 is no worse for you than 5-4. If you want to do something about the supreme court we have to stop wrangling over which pigs get to be in the sty, and build a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) to hold the court accountable. The government has set up a phony NHRI to pretend to comply with the Paris Principles. But actual compliance with the Paris Principles is the way to call bullshit when the court goes berserk. When Scalito blows off the UDHR and says that illiterate masses are fine by him, or when the so-called court institutionalizes inhuman or degrading sexual humiliation, or when it grants human rights to criminal organizations. The judiciary is rotten. To stop further collapse you need external scaffolding.

      The justice department is rotten too: it’s a crime syndicate based on extortion and NKVD-style Kompromat. You can’t get it under control without the help of the outside world. You get that by acceding to CCPR Protocol One, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr-one.htm .

      The state-violence apparat is out of control and at war with its own people. To have any hope of getting it under control you have to sign and ratify http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/criminalcourt.htm , and write chapter VII of https://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/ into law.

      The state as a whole is a kleptocracy. You can’t touch that without the help of the outside world, and you get that help by acceding to the CESCR, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cescr.htm , and by writing Articles 18 and 19 of The Convention Against Corruption into domestic law.

      This is not some unheard-of thing. This is standard procedure when states go off the rails. We’re going to have to tear this state up by the roots. The world will help.

      1. FrankDrakman

        NHRI?

        Sorry, my friend, just cast your eyes northward a touch. We’ve had so-called “Human Rights Commissions” in Canada for almost three decades, and they’ve morphed into kangaroo courts for the Thought Police. One (expletive deleted) “lawyer” and former HRC member in Ottawa has made a tidy business for himself by bringing suits against, for example, a priest who wrote in his parish newsletter that homosexuality was a sin. Complainants have all their fees paid for them; respondents have to pay their own lawyers; this (expletive deleted) collects the “damages”. He goes so far as to troll on particular websites, waiting for someone to respond with an over-the-line comment, and then brings in an action against the “hate speech”.

        HRC’s – the original cure that’s worse than the disease.

      2. biafra babies unite

        The provincial HRCs have a US-type restrictive interpretation of domestic human rights, that is, human rights begin and end with non-discrimination. That Canada castrated the concept proves nothing in particular about the Paris Principles. No doubt the USG would likely try the same thing, which suggest that the best way to implement an NHRI here would be as an NGO.

    4. Jane Doe

      There are no economic liberals or better yet leftists on the court. Obama will never nominate any. So if you are discussing economic issues, that ship has sailed. On civil liberties, civil rights and social issues, the ship has also likely sailed.

      1. Neo-Realist

        I’m not one to say that Obama is a leftist, but considering the composition of Congress, he would be hard pressed to nominate an economic leftist or a civil rights maverick even if he really wanted to.

        1. Soullite522@msn.com

          This is a BS argument. You can count on one hand the number of SC nominees that have been turned down in the last 30 years. And there is simply no way that Republicans would be able to take down a second nominee after they took down the first one. All Obama would have to do is keep nominating leftists and you could get one on the court.

  3. briansays

    i would trade obama for comfortable democratic margins in both the house and senate to deal with a president romney

    the policy results would not be any worse and could be better

    1. Historicaecon

      Romney himself might not be the issue. The problem with Republicans is not the candidates themselves but all bizarre ideologues they bring with them to the halls of power. Obama v. Romney, for me, is almost a wash at this point. But if the choice is a Federal Agencies run by Republicans or Democrats, I’ll go with Dem every time. They’re just better at it. Heck of a job, Brownie.

  4. Tom Crowl

    Solution:

    Support a meaningful capability for ISSUE-BASED direct citizen lobbying…

    (Which is actually closer to our ‘decision process’ as hunter-gatherers.)

    The ability to click a link in an email and contribute even 25 cents very easily for or against a policy or piece of legislation WILL accomplish what you suggest.

    I’d add that I’ve been at this since 2007, received patent for the capability, had my house stolen by Wells Fargo, now live in my sister’s living room and eventually would appreciate a chance to advance this capability… or find out why it shouldn’t be.

    1. Skippy

      Hi Tom,

      Tell your sister I said good on you and please keep you chin up, OK.

      Skippy… they don’t want any fixes, they only want control. If your ideals are contrary to that…

  5. jsmith

    “What is striking is how little pressure is coming from the populace, towards the political elites in both parties.”

    Gee, were we all surprised at the people of the USSR when they didn’t rise up?

    HELLO!!!

    Seriously, Mr. Stoller and fellow think tankers, if you want any of us to NOT believe that you’re engaging in these political discussions just to keep the more engaged portions of the populace mollified, then let’s cut the crap, shall we?

    Since 2003, the United States of America has been a fascist, imperial force waging aggressive war and committing an untold number of war crimes against the people of the world.

    That is a fact.

    Secondly, since at least 2000-1, the United States of America has no longer been a democracy.

    Instead, utilizing a propaganda apparatus earlier totalitarian regimes could have never dreamed of, a domestic police force armed with the most advanced surveillance and crowd control weapons the world has ever seen and a political class that is to a person answerable only to their business overlords, the United States of America in 2012 stands as a shining manifestation of the new “inverted” totalitarianism.

    For those who aren’t familiar with the term, inverted totalitarianism is like totalitarian systems of the past with one vital difference. Unlike how in past regimes, politics trumped the economy – e.g., the Nazis, Stalin -, with inverted totalitarianism, the economy trumps politics. Thus, no matter who’s nominally in charge the real power lies with the money-men and the economic system that favors the elite is ALWAYS preserved.

    We see this in the US.

    We see this in the EU.

    For further reading on inverted totalitarianism I suggest reading Sheldon Wolin.

    So, Mr. Stoller, given all of the above and the people’s increasing awareness of all of the above, when you pose silly questions such as “Does the Presidential Election of 2012 matter?”, you shouldn’t be surprised when a large part of your audience either stares at you mutely as if you’re a mad man or laughs in your face.

    I don’t mean to sound harsh but at this point in 2012 and you’re STILL asking us if elections matter?!!!

    Really?!

    Cue all of the people who will now call me a defeatist, admonishing me to keep working within the system – a system which can’t even rid itself of war criminals and white collar con men who have literally destroyed the lives of millions and millions of people.

    1. MontanaMaven

      Sheldon Wolin’s “Democracy Inc: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism” is a very important book. The term “managed democracy” appears in John Taylor Gatto’s fascinating and well written and a bit more accessible book “The Underground History of American Education” which is available online. http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm

      Turns out ancient “Sparta” used managed democracy aka farce aka elites as wire pulling puppeteers. This won out over the Athenian experiment in real democracy where all leadership positions were filled by lottery. Sewage chief, general, mayor, all were picked from the citizenry by lottery. “Professionals existed but did not make key decisions; they were only technicians, never well regarded because prevailing opinion held that technicians had enslaved their own minds.”

      And on schools: “The idea of schooling free men in anything would have revolted Athenians. Forced training was for slaves. Among free men, learning was self-discipline, not the gift of experts. “

    2. Nathanael

      Educated people always spend decades being surprised that the people are NOT rebelling — then when the people do rebel, they are also surprised.

      It’s hard to predict the timing on revolutions.

      All I can say is that Machiavelli was right: leave people’s “land and wives” alone — by which he meant, leave them their food and housing (land gave both at the time) and don’t interfere in their bedrooms / home lives — and a ruler can get away with practically anything else. But interfere with those, and people get upset. We seem to have a strange crop of rulers who are unwilling to abide by these instructions.

      Another way of viewing it is “bread and circuses”. Fail to provide the bread, and people get upset….

      Either an elite group will make it into power who will provide the basic food, housing, and shelter, and get out of people’s bedrooms, or it won’t and we’ll have a revolution. I can’t predict which and I can’t predict the timing.

      1. kevinearick

        they broke the cardinal rule, assuming they had a technology advantage, but the technology advantage rests in DNA, hence the rule, and the recycling of empires.

    3. Waking Up

      jsmith: I agree with you that we probably are living in an inverted totalitarianism system. Certainly we lost the “Republic” and “Democracy” and now that the system we have is so corrupted, working “within” it is also not the solution. The financial and powerful elite are also very aware, hence, all the legislation to take away citizens rights, spying on citizens, the right of the President “to make a person disappear”, etc. etc. However, before jumping all over Matt Stoller, ask yourself…what percentage of adults in the United States truly recognize that we no longer have even a semblance of a “democracy” anymore, say nothing about recognition of “inverted totalitarianism”. Matt Stoller appears to be one of the “good guys” who is seeking the truth. Your comments on inverted totalitarianism will resonate with people if you continue giving examples as you did. Get that message out. Bring further awareness. Also, include ideas on how we as a country can deal with inverted totalitarianism.

      1. jsmith

        Let’s start with the concept of “good guys” as concerns people in our government and the media.

        And this is a point that is not so far afield as it might seem at first, so bear with me – I’m going “there”.

        I mentioned a number of events that occurred during the turn of the millennium as seminal in our understanding of how we have arrived at where we are today – the “selection” of 2000 and the Iraq war of aggression in 2003.

        The one event I didn’t mention and which really speaks to the concept of “good guys” is, of course, 9/11.

        While the “selection”, Iraq and other events definitely had a media speculators on both sides of the aisle 9/11 did not.

        No one and I mean NO ONE in a position anywhere even near the halls of power – or reporting on them – even dared to mention/speculate that what we were saw unfold with our own eyes did not make sense and could not have happened the way we were told it did.

        Even people who are seemingly “good guys”, even the most sacrosanct and popular of the left’s leading thinkers/writers – Chomsky, Cockburn, Hedges, Goodman etc – have consistently over the course of 10+ years helped shut down any conversation and/or analysis of that day and with it any consideration of the concerns of the millions of Americans who believe that we were told happened on that day was a bunch of lies.

        Again, these “good people” don’t say, “Oh maybe we should investigate again…” or “Hmmm, maybe you have a point something wasn’t quite right about that day…”

        No.

        To a person, they repeat the official story and mock those who disagree, ever moving the “conversation” forward so as to not look backward at “ancient” history no matter how relevant it still is today.

        As we all know, the 9/11 event was seminal in launching most everything our current totalitarian system wanted and to boot it showed that the US propaganda apparatus and its dissemination capabilities were now so powerful that our leaders felt no qualms about telling us to our faces that what we saw – defying both science and common sense – was not the truth.

        Unfortunately, this has been the MO of our elite for nearly half a century.

        Although I won’t go as far as Walter Wit Man and say that the JFK assassination was a hoax, I will say that the Zapruder film was, that our only documented footage of that other seminal day was a forgery made to convey a certain narrative and conceal another.

        Here’s a link to one website (there are many) with some interesting info on the above:

        http://assassinationscience.com/johncostella/jfk/intro/index.html

        I bring this up just to raise the question: how “good” are our “good guys”?

        If they can’t be bothered talking about the investigation and examination of seminal events in our country’s history, then are they really “good”?

        If they can’t be bothered with ditching the entire elite narrative that they hew to – one that paints an increasingly blatant and false picture of the world – then are they really “good”?

        In the face of what we are witnessing/living through, I’ve come to believe that ANY talk/analysis that does not directly state that we are living in a fascist/kleptocratic/inverted totalitarian society only helps further the narrative that we are not living in such a country.

        And this is exactly what our leaders want us to believe.

        If people are to be considered “good”, then they really need to start consistently describing the reality we now find ourselves in and not – even unwittingly – continue to carry water for the criminals who have installed themselves at the foremost heights of our society.

        1. René

          “Again, these “good people” don’t say, “Oh maybe we should investigate again…” or “Hmmm, maybe you have a point something wasn’t quite right about that day…”

          No.

          To a person, they repeat the official story and mock those who disagree, ever moving the “conversation” forward so as to not look backward at “ancient” history no matter how relevant it still is today.

          I bring this up just to raise the question: how “good” are our “good guys”?

          If they can’t be bothered talking about the investigation and examination of seminal events in our country’s history, then are they really “good”?

          If they can’t be bothered with ditching the entire elite narrative that they hew to – one that paints an increasingly blatant and false picture of the world – then are they really “good”?”

        2. Walter Wit Man

          Re Zapruder, I agree it most likely worthless because it appears to be doctored. Only, I don’t think they could doctor it the way they can today, so we can still get some information.

          What’s interesting is how long it took to show us the film.

          First, a few days after the “assassination”, Dan Rather sees the video and falsely claims Kennedy jerked forward, rather than backward, as the film really showed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiSoxFHyjGY

          Then in 1975 the film is first shown on Geraldo Rivera’s ‘Good Night America’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL7wis_Figo (kind of a long discussion before they show it around 5:00).

          I don’t know if I buy the theory as explained in your link.

          Btw, the link I shared yesterday has a link to the youtube movie “The Great Zapruder Film Hoax”, which appears to make the same argument that your link does: http://letsrollforums.com/showpost.php?p=223324&postcount=212

          The other link in that post has a good discussion of Zapruder film.

          1. jsmith

            Agreed, I wasn’t weighing in on which Zapruder hoax – or 9/11 – theory was correct.

            I mainly wanted to highlight that in both cases our discussions have been severely hampered and hindered by the very people we (many of us, at least) trust to bring us information/analysis about many other aspects of our societal lives.

            If these “good gatekeepers” will not even stoop to help the members of the society they live in make sense of the images they are shown, how can and why should they be trusted to help us understand ideas and other aspects of our culture?

            They are in effect calling us all liars to our faces and telling us that what we have seen cannot be trusted.

            Further that if we have questions, they cannot and should not be asked.

        3. Waking Up

          I agree that we need to have serious investigations and discussions in this country about our past, especially in regards to:

          1. 9/11 – not only about the science behind the collapse of the buildings. Also, who may have truly been involved, what if anything was covered up, who if anyone was protected and why, and why was the propaganda at the time so blatantly pushing for “war” as the solution and those who would suggest otherwise as being “unpatriotic”. Until we face this issue as a nation head on, we continue to collapse.

          2. Wars – What have we as a nation gained through endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or through killing people in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and anywhere else that we deem a “terrorist” MIGHT be located. How many people realize that it wasn’t former President Reagan’s belligerent attitude towards Russia which brought about their collapse, it was the 10 year war between Afghanistan and Russia. Believe it or not, there was a time when many people, not all, but many people in the world viewed the United States as an arbiter of justice and mediator for humanitarian solutions. That is lost, possibly forever now. What does that mean for our countries future?

          3. Bank bailouts – Our government through deregulation of the financial institutions, invited fraud into the lives of every American. How was this dealt with? By propping up the banks with taxpayer funding, and congressional “investigations” in which those most responsible at the banks were allowed to justify their actions without actual justice. It was all theater along with a President who said they are savvy businessmen who didn’t break the law. The fraud and “rule of law” has been so corrupted that I truly think it will also bring about the collapse of our country.

          So, yes, we need to have serious conversations in this country. Maybe the “good” people will have an epiphany and get those conversations started.

        4. Walter Wit Man

          Here’s the best version (the most pixels), according to James Fetzer (http://jamesfetzer.blogspot.com/2011/03/did-zapruder-film-zapruder-film.html): http://www.assassinationresearch.com/zfilm/?

          Check out frame 307 to 310 or so compared to the Oliver Stone frame from the let’s roll link. Stone’s version definitely differs from the “Costella” version, but you can still see a bulge on Kennedy’s face where the squib is. You don’t see the black dot that is present in Stone’s version.

          But these appear to show something on Kennedy’s face before the shot. What is it?

          Actually, at 312, you can see the blob and Jackie’s hand is right next to it.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            I guess it’s not the “most pixels”, I guess that’s the “MPI” version.

            Anyway, it’s thoroughly confusing. I need to watch the hoax film a bit more, and the James Fetzer is associated with that, but I don’t know if he buys the theory that actors recreated the events, if people are arguing that.

            I think part of the issue is that the camera that was used had sprockets on the side and the image went beyond the normal frame, therefore maybe they “painted” over the original film, and then refilmed it using the same type of camera. I guess it would be like using VHS cameras to record a movie in the movie theater? I need to do some more research into this area as I’m not satisfied I have seen any authoritative analysis.

          2. nonclassical

            Garrison discusses doctored video in his book, which I recommend. Saw the digitally cleaned up video 1990′s while living in Germany..obvious conspiracy..triangulated. But later 1970′s commission noted conspiracy also, but never chased into-intel.

            Check out “RFK Must Die”…RFK’s big mistake may have been to let it be known he would reopen investigation into JFK assassination, if elected…

            Since JFK-RFK-Malcolm-King, 911 is latest conspiracy…no definitions perhaps, but obviously a cover-up…911 Commission Report carries not one minute of witness testimony…for very small detail. Paul Thompson’s, “The Terror Timeline” was used by families of 911 victims, and contains important detail-international media reports leading up to, and beyond.

            Check out-follow “Buzzy” Krongard-CIA, banking, involved IRan-Contra, shows up at Deutche Bank prior to 911, where someone placed millions $$$ of “puts” on United and American
            prior to 911…follow him from CIA to banking, to Blackwater…his brother bushcheney comptroller…

        5. Minh

          Google search result for “Dan Rather 911″ contradicts your statement No one and I mean NO ONE in a position anywhere even near the halls of power – or reporting on them – even dared to mention/speculate that what we were saw unfold with our own eyes did not make sense and could not have happened the way we were told it did.

          Here is what he said “Amazing, incredible, pick your word. For the third time today, it’s reminiscent of those pictures we’ve all seen too much on television before, where a building was deliberately destroyed by well placed dynamite to knock it down.”
          CBS News anchor Dan Rather commenting on the collapse of Building 7 – September 11, 2001 at approx 5:30pm EST.

          It’s amazing that even after such comment of Dan Rather, the people in charge of the media machine was able to divert the attention of the general public from the obvious nature of the collapse of those 3 buildings of 9/11.

          It’s also worth mention the use of anthrax in 9/18/2001, just one week after 9/11 against the media people and congress members.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            That’s one of the tactics though. You have one of your men, in this case Rather, who tells the truth right off the bat, but then will later of course accept the official story and steer everyone away from his initial comment.

            On 9/11, the guy that helped film/fake the image of the FBI agent leaning over a car as the second “plane” hit the building, was on tevee that night and he said something to the effect of “it looked like really bad CGI.”

            That’s because it really was bad CGI.

  6. ambrit

    Mr Stoller;
    We here at the ground level in the Deep South can testify to the truth of your observation. There are growing signs of the creeping Degentrification of the American ‘middle’ class, not to mention the ‘working’ class. Begging has become more visible. We personally have had people come to our door, this in a mixed lower middle class neigbhorhood, begging outright. Not your usual scammers, but newly destitute, plainly uncomfortable and scared people.
    So, the ‘elites’ think Kabuki will do, do they? They obviously haven’t read their history. The Feudal period they so obviously yearn for also had a lot of pesky Peasant Revolts. Where’s your Culture and Leisure when a howling mob is burning down the Chateau around your ears?
    I’m becoming increasingly convinced that this years Democratic Convention in Charlotte will give giudance as to where all this is going. Watch this space as they used to say.

    1. Nathanael

      You realize what our elites do not.

      Why don’t they realize it? They’re in a mental bubble. “Richistan” documents the bubble. The same happened to the noblemen at Versailles, or even the Chinese rulers who spent too much of their time in the Forbidden City.

    2. Morzer

      “The Feudal period they so obviously yearn for also had a lot of pesky Peasant Revolts.”

      Not that many – and none of them were successful. Sorry, but bad history and vengeful feelings don’t add up to a hill of beans in politics or economics.

      1. Roland

        True that most of the revolts failed (in France and Russia, before their ancien regimes were finally toppled, there were sometimes dozens of local revolts each year which required troops to suppress).

        But even the failed revolts still have a very significant effect. They force the elite to hideously over-invest in defending themselves. They stunt the lives and creativity of the elites. They force the elites to limit and stupefy themselves. The elites win against the peasants, but culturally sterilize themselves in the process.

        Also, in a fashion similar to the Roman Empire, the growth of the security sector can lead to a situation in which one soldier looks at another and says, “Hey, these elite guys are nothing without us. Why don’t we just take them out and rule the peasants ourselves? Eliinate the middleman!”

    1. Christophe

      Amen. Exactly how hard is it to write in a name? Since most of the populace is literate, the difficulty must come either from escaping conformity or questioning authority. What’s the worst that could happen following the herd?

      Taken to their ghastly extremes, those weaknesses can lead to one’s own annihilation. But we’re not there yet. Are we?

    2. jonboinAR

      Vote for exactly whom you would most like to see elected president, even if the only vote they receive is yours.

  7. Stella Bora

    It is astonishing to see the breathtaking amount of lies that are coming out of DC, fast and furious. Put all the tanks output, editorials from the press, blog entries, put ‘em in a blender and forget about it. The housing crisis should be opening some eyes, it is breathtaking. For it is your wealthier neighbors who are putting you through hell, it is they who will steal your rights, or worse.

  8. Woodrow Wilson

    When “Obamney” is elected, the only change I’ll see is things will cost more, my pay won’t reflect inflation, and there will be more taxes/fees sure to come, throw in more shredding of The U.S. Constitution for good measure.

    Thanks.

  9. rps

    Once upon a time the middle class signified a one-income earner to live the american dream of suburbia, single-family dwelling, two cars, and summer vacations. Working class was defined as two incomes necessary to meet daily expenses. Today, middle-class is defined as two-income earners necessary to meet financial costs of family and home. The truth is the middle class is a nearly extinct species due to many factors including de-unionization, financialization, and tax reduction of the robber barons. World War II and Eisenhower’s top tax rate at 90% created the middle class. In other words the wealth was spread around rather than sitting in offshore tax havens.
    Obama’s job is to tout the middle-class illusory iconography to the masses. A fairytale indeed. The current standard of living demands a two income family to meet basic necessities. The vast majority of americans are working class one paycheck away from poverty.

    1. lambert strether

      The problem with “middle class” as a formulation is that it’s never quite clear what it’s in the middle of. And it has the connotation of throwing a lot of people — perhaps the “lower” classes, or the “working” classes — under the bus. That would make “middle class” a vicious and Social Darwinist formulation when you think about it operationally, and no doubt that’s why people like Elizabeth Warren are running on it, and why The Droner latched onto it.

      Rather than “saving the middle class,” I’d rather be thinking about how to ensure every citizen the sort of life that common decency would demand: Basic Maslow’s heirarchy stuff like food, shelter, health care, education, dignity in old age. A society as rich in material and human resources as this society should be able to afford that.

      So, one can only ask why it doesn’t. Formulating our social problems as “middle class” problem is, I would argue, obfuscation…

      1. F. Beard

        I’d rather be thinking about how to ensure every citizen the sort of life that common decency would demand: Basic Maslow’s heirarchy stuff like food, shelter, health care, education, dignity in old age. lambert strether

        Aren’t those things the natural consequence of a just society? So what injustices are preventing that outcome?

      2. Joe Rebholz

        “I’d rather be thinking about how to ensure every citizen the sort of life that common decency would demand: Basic Maslow’s heirarchy stuff like food, shelter, health care, education, dignity in old age.”

        So this is the revolution we need: Change our economic-political system so that the goal, the purpose of the system is to ensure every human the sort of life that common decency would demand. The present system goal — which is to allow and encourage individuals to get as much money and property as possible — must be rejected. And as more and more humans have sufficient food, shelter, health care, education, then greater and greater amounts of human capital will be created that would allow this process to continue until almost every human had all of Maslow’s list satisfied and we could likely do all this within the constraints of the earth’s limited resources.

        1. Nathanael

          Of course, the idea of a system which ensures everyone gets the basic necessities of life — right-wingers will call that “SOCIALISM”!

          Because that is actually what socialism, in its most generic form, is.

          I think capitalist socialism seems to be one of the more effective forms of socialism (see Sweden). But here, we have people brainwashing everyone to oppose “socialism”.

        2. They didn't leave me a choice

          To live within earths limited resources would also require moving to a degrowth economy. Something that is flat out impossible as long as interest keeps driving people to desperation trying to monetize every last resource left on this planet to pay their interest. We must come to face the twin facts of a) we can no longer have a growing economy and b) that the obsession with jobs is a red herring.

          Growing economy by default requires stripmining ever increasing amounts of earths bounty and human society and jobs are just a means, not an end to themselves. In a just and proper society all basic needs (shelter, food, water) for people must be covered automatically and only luxuries should have to be worked for. In addition to making sure that what the planet provides are more equitably shared between all, it would also make sure that there are no more people in a state of absolute desperation who would do anything to get their next meal, thus lowering crime and labour exploitation.

          The best way right now to achieve that would be to simply have a stipend of 1000$ for all citizens every month to cover the basic needs. A flat rate to all would also mean that it’s equitable, because for a rich person 1000$ is a drop in an ocean, but for someone who is at the end of their rope it could mean the difference between life and death. While the stipend would not by itself require massive bureaucracy, due to having an extremely simple format, some level of miscellaneous legislation might be necessary, for example by completely forbidding garnering by lenders from this sum to make sure the money actually goes where it’s intended to go.

          It’s pretty clear at this point that most of the “jobs” that we have are mostly make-believe, manufacturing is so efficient that you need only a small fraction of the population for it, or agriculture to actually produce everything we really need. Most of the rest of the “economy” is just a mirage that we’ve built to pretend that the system can always continue expanding. The moment we kill the desperate need to make a living, most of that fake economy will probably evaporate and only the jobs that were truly necessary, aka, ones where employers can shell out enough money to make it worthwhile, will survive.

      3. Jim Sterling

        Yeah, it creeps me out when people say “won’t somebody think of the suffering middle class, who are being destroyed!?” Going back to being working class isn’t destruction, and if you don’t like it, why was it okay to treat the working class majority like that before?

        1. Waking Up

          In order to perpetuate the myth of the “American Dream”, you must have a “middle class”. Otherwise, people will be very aware that their chances of going from “working class” to financially wealth off are very, very small.

        2. LucyLulu

          It isn’t just that the dreams of success need to be maintained. You also need a strong middle class for an economy to flourish. The middle class are your consumers, as the working class’ income is devoted for the most part to paying for necessities. The middle class also provides the largest portion of the tax base to run government, which the ‘no new taxes’, non-domestic job creating 1%’ers would do well not to forget.

  10. lambert strether

    Thanks for explaining Rosen; I wasn’t paying attention. Of course 2012 doesn’t matter. 2016 might matter, especially if people put any energy (time, money) into preparing for it, instead of throwing it away on Obomney or Robama.

    Then again, putting on my tinfoil hat, my scenario is a “government of national unity” to “put aside partisan division” to deal with “the current crisis.” And rest assured, the appropriate crisis will be allowed to happen, or made to happen.

    Oh, and who said “politice,” “electoral politics,” and “party politics” were identical to each other?

    1. LucyLulu

      The background to this is the “war on women” that Democrats claim that Republicans are waging. Republicans claim that Democrats are making it up, it has no more validity than there being a “war on caterpillars”. That is the standard Republican strategy, to deny a problem exists. There is no racism, the race card or race-baiting is being employed. If income inequality or unfair taxes are claimed, they claim democrats are waging class-warfare.

      So, while Republicans are passing draconian legislation governing abortion rights, invasive testing, defunding women’s healthcare and repealing equal pay legislation, they claim they aren’t targeting women. Female members of their own party seem to feel differently however. Female voters are defecting in large numbers to Obama, last I heard he held a 19 point lead among women.

      Unfortunately, while the Democrats may say they support these policies, their actions say otherwise. The Bush tax cuts on the rich were not allowed to expire. Women still only make 77 cents on the dollar and are under-represented in positions of power. Cases like Trayvon Martin are common, except most don’t receive any publicity, and minorities are being incarcerated at alarming rates for non-violent and victimless crimes. I recall when working in a jail in Florida having black inmates who were there for not paying alimony. Non-compliant white exes might have wages garnished but jail time? Never going to happen…..

  11. b.

    “Does the 2012 Presidential Election Matter?”

    Excellent question. The article proceeds to irrelevant observations about irrelevant events.

    Did the 2004 election matter? Would this world be different if Kerry had governed with a Congressional majority beginning in 2004, not 2006?

    Did the 2006 election matter?

    This is like the Maxine Waters “debate” writ large. Did Maxine Waters matter? Never mind her 20 years of incumbency, accomplishments or flaws. Did it matter? Did Barney Frank matter?

    If you for a second believe that the “Change!” aspect of the Obama Fraud Campaign of 2008 was in any way relevant, or even instrumental, to his election, then your answer should really be “No”.

    We are where we are because of the people we elect, and we keep electing the people that run. Change – any citzen action that matters – has to take a step back and start at the act of voting, and how [else] it could be used to bring about the change that is not offered. Even rejecting all incumbents is not enough – we have reached a point at which rejecting even the candidates just by virtue of their ambition, by virtue of having been financed and promoted, is no longer sufficient. Change means “None of the above”. That is the electoral will that matters, and the questions are – are we there yet, and how do we express such a consensus beyond doubt and pretense? The burden on the voter – those that vote, and those that do not – is to find a way to deny a mandate that is neither deserved nor given.

    Do elections matter? Not if we do not find a way to make them work.

    1. Carla

      Within a “two-party” structure that is a front for oligarchy, voting does not matter at all. The republicrats are united against the kind of structural change that could give birth to an actual democracy.

      The problem is systemic; it has nothing to do with the individuals who are “elected.” We really should say selected. Good, bright, well-intentioned candidates sometimes do gain office; in the current system they are unable to be effective. So they inevitably become part of the corrupt system, because that’s all there is.

      I’m supporting Jill Stein for president and Occupy as a so-far non-copted, nonpartisan source of hope and constructive activism. We are the 99% !

      1. Nathanael

        The 2000 *selection* mattered. But it did prove that voting didn’t matter, what with the election being stolen and all.

    2. diptherio

      “We are where we are because of the people we elect, and we keep electing the people that run.”

      The whole, to vote or not to vote issue has always seemed like a catch-22 to me. If you didn’t vote you can’t complain because you didn’t participate; if you did vote you can’t complain because you put your two-cents in. Of course, if only millionaire plutocrats are allowed to run because they are the only ones who can command the requisite resources, then regardless of the final outcome of the election, the decision has been made in advance and not in a democratic manner.

      National elections, and probably most state elections too, will be de-facto frauds until the monopoly on candidacy by the wealthy is somehow broken. Sure, you can make a protest vote for “Mike Check”, but who’s paying attention to that? Nobody. Supposing “Mike Check” were to win the 2012 elections, or that massive numbers of voters decided to boycott the election, we’d still end up with Obamney.

      In our present system of “which puppet would you like to vote for,” the act of voting is largely meaningless, at best, since the candidate have been well-vetted in advance to ensure their acceptability by the money-elite. At worst it is lending the appearance of legitimacy to an illegitimate system. Year after year, from both parties, all we hear is, “you have to vote for candidate X, because at least he’d be better than candidate Y,” but somehow we never get anyone who we can vote for because they are actually good. Yea, we get to vote for the least bad plutocrat!

      Do you prefer Mao or Mussolini? What, you’re not voting, well then you can’t complain can you.

      I don’t have any solutions, other than focusing on community and neighborhood politics, places where regular people can still get involved and make a difference, but we need to figure something out ASAP, otherwise it will be the endless cycle of lesser-of-two-evils, both brought to you by your corporate masters. I have hopes that Occupy might come up with some practical, outside-the-box solutions, but honestly, we haven’t heard any yet.

      1. Nathanael

        Approval voting eliminates an awful lot of the problems with our election structure per se.

        The problem of media access is another, more important problem.

        1. LC

          I am fond of approval voting as well.

          Especially since we don’t get to select our representatives, at least let us approve of which ones we’ll accept.

    1. Kakko

      Interesting that you say that, and sad, too. When my parents listened to the debates in the 50′s and early 60′s, they honestly believed that both candidates had honest stances, but decided to vote for one over the other.

      Sadly, these days, few care enough to vote, and fewer still trust the candidate they vote for. Representitive government fails when the electorate are ignorant and apathetic.

      I would have loved a 2008 debate between Kucinich and Paul, but that would never happen. The media, who benefits from the apathy and ignorance of the electorate, pushes the candidates that fit their narrative, their agenda. We are left to choose between hypocrites and egomaniacs, when we are lucky.

  12. rps

    “Democracy isn’t mankind’s last word, any more than slavery was, or feudalism was, or monarchy was. The best form of government is one that is dying, because it means it’s giving away to something else.” Gustave Flaubert

  13. Dave of Maryland

    Elect Mitt and the day after the election he turns into Scott Walker. Remember him?

    It’s not that the two parties are corrupt, but that the government itself has captured them. Federal and state governments have captured the Democratic and Republican parties. The parties work for the government, the government works for itself, so of course they will be boot-licking toadies to whomever gives them the most money. What else is there in the world, but money? By definition the government already has all the power. Corporations want the government’s power, the government wants the corporation’s money. Yin and yang.

    Elect Mitt and he turns into Scott Walker. Which is to say he shoves Obama out of the canoe that had been drifting towards the falls, and actively rows to get there all the faster. Elect Mitt and the world comes to a rapid climax. Ready for the Wisconsin Experience?

    1. Defian

      I think we need to analyze the situation before making an assessment and determine whether what this man, Walker, is right or wrong.

      Is his duty to support the majority of the population in Wisconsin? I think we agree that yes, it is.

      Do the majority of people in Wisconsin work for unions? I think we agree that no, most do not work for unions.

      Do the majority of people in Wisconsin benefit from the unions’ bloated salaries and pensions? I think we both agree that no, however, the Wisconsinites will sure foot the bill when it comes due.

      I think Walker is doing what’s best for the majority in Wisconsin and the right, responsible thing to do.

      1. diptherio

        “Do the majority of people in Wisconsin benefit from the unions’ bloated salaries and pensions?”

        HAHAHAHAHA! Whew, that’s a good one. Yeah, I hear some of those unionized teachers and firefighters are making as much as $50,000/year…plus benefits! The nerve…

        “We should not let them force us to elect either. Perhaps electing a write-in made up candidate “Freedom” will make them think about the work they’ve been doing so far.”

        HAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, I’m sure if ‘Freedom’ takes the 2012 elections our corrupt officials will take notice and get their acts together and start working for the people…NOT! You might have a future in fantasy-fiction writing, however.

        1. Defiant

          Right right right – thanks for the compliment. I love the way you forget to include that 25k benefit piece raising total salary to +75k. Makes me want to cry.

          Irrespective of salary, I think we should be asking a more logical question that you seem to convinienty ignore? Can tax payers support the salaries and benefits. If the answer is yes, than by all mean, keep the salaries and benefits intact.

          However, if the answer is no, than either unions have to drop their salaries/benefit to a level that can be supported or taxes have to be raised to meet the expenses. Why don’t you advise on your your choice?

          I’m sure you’ve heard ot the The Kaukauna School District, which by increasing their contributions to health costs, and slashing benefit costs went from a deficit to a surplus overnight. If you care about the course of the nation, this should make you happy.

          1. F. Beard

            Can tax payers support the salaries and benefits. Defiant

            They could during the boom.

            So the question you should ask yourself if why we still haven’t cured the boom-bust cycle after hundreds of years?

          2. Nathanael

            The answer is yes, taxpayers can easily support the salaries and benefits of public employees in Wisconsin.

            Health care? Well, the way for taxpayers to avoid the endles price increases on that is to CUT OUT THE MIDDLEMEN by establishing single-payer. Wisconsin could do that. The province of Alberta did that many decades ago, and the rest of Canada ended up copying it.

          3. Nathanael

            Oh, and by the way? The public employees’ unions are pretty much all for single-payer. It would remove “health care benefits” from their contracts, but they’re all for it, because it would save money for the state overall, and simplify their lives.

          4. Waking Up

            In 2011, the union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union–was 11.8 percent. That means 88.2 percent of wage and salary workers do not belong to unions. Yet, it still amazes me how some people want to blame unions (who want to give workers fair wages and benefits) as the problem. It shows a lack of historical perspective on the role of unions to actually improve working conditions. Why do you think there has been such a fight by the corporations and financial elites to destroy unions? They want you to join the race to the bottom. It means most people will have to work harder for less, providing the 1% with greater profits and assets. The problem is that many in union leadership have now been captured by the financial elites instead of fighting for the workers. But, the concept of union organization where the employees unite is still good for not just that group, but everyone else who benefits. Stop the race to the bottom.

          5. Defiant

            I totally missed your response earlier.

            This seems to be a common response for union members, look – the rich did that, Wall Street did blahh.. Conviniently diverting attention away.

            We are not talking about wall street. We are talking about tax payers and we are talking about government deficits. The rich nor wall streets are causing government deficits, but unions are.

            But we seem to ignore because these are “working people”. if you want to call someone making 75k a working person, by all means do. Irrespective what anyone wants to call them, the tax payer is responsible for the benefits. Perhaps rewording this will work.

            - Tax payer wants a teacher to teach.

            - Teacher wants 75k a year. Politician agrees because the union will vote for him/her the coming election.

            - Tax payer can only afford 55k a year. 20k is deficit.

            - Tax payer has no clue as to what deficit means, so nobody cares. Prices and taxes seem like they havent changed.

            - Taxes are eventually go up, tax payer becomes angry and asking why. The politician will say it’s because of deficits for us providing all the services we do

            - Tax payer has no choice but accept higher taxes. Tax payer now votes out politician and asks for a balanced budget.

            The issue is many local and state government are hiding the monster to tax payers. They are running huge deficits and have not increased taxes because they are getting loans/bailouts (devaluation of currency) from the Federal government. Should those stop, hell will break lose. And stop they will.

            I will say it again, we are all confortable with any solution as long as it does not impact us personally. Unions (like the rich) are bullies that extort politicians for votes. Politicians sell tax payers down the river because they have no clue as to what an unbalanced budget means, and probably don’t care – as long as they do not have to pay. But it will become a different story when they have to pay.

            It’s not just the fact that unions are extortionists, it’s a matter of what can be and cannot be paid. Just like you cannot get 200 dollars woth of groceries for 100 dollars, these pensions will not be paid.

      2. RanDomino

        Wisconsin is a Social Democracy which has a principle of respect for all people; unilateral attacks are not tolerated (particularly the news story that was carried on the front page of every paper in the state right next to the announcement that collective bargaining would be teriminated- “Walker: National Guard ‘ready’ for labor unrest”. Anyone who knows a little history knows what that sounds like. Wisconsin people do not appreciate threats.). It had far less to do with unions or collective bargaining than it had to do with basic human principles which Wisconsinites cherish.

        1. Defiant

          RanDomino,

          With regards to the following statement “It had far less to do with unions or collective bargaining than it had to do with basic human principles which Wisconsinites cherish.”

          Note that the headline was put out by a newspaper, not Walker. Also note that most people in Wisconsin are non-union workers. The basic human principle you refer to should account for most of Wisconsin citizens, not for just a selected few union members.

          The fact that some these “teachers” use children (that don’t know any better) as shields to push for their own benefit should give us a clear understanding of their character. Perhaps they should also bring banners showing how much the deficit will grow and how much higher taxes will go if they get their will. I’m sure parents will support their requests.

          Given that collective bargaining does not support the majority, but a minority of union-working people, and as such should be abolished.

          1. F. Beard

            Given that collective bargaining does not support the majority, but a minority of union-working people, and as such should be abolished. Defiant

            That’s a fascist, not a libertarian goal.

            Why shouldn’t people be allowed to organize and collectively negotiate?

        2. Defiant

          RanDomino,

          People should be allowed to organize and collective bargain. However, i hope we agree, the law should be unbiased and it should represent the population.

          So yes, you can organize and collective bargain, but the law should be impartial and represent the tax payer as well as the collective bargaining. If anything, the law should represent the tax payer, who allows the state to operate. Meaning, collective bargaining should neither be a right nor privilege and by no means the law.

          Union members are a minority, tax payers are the majority. This is a fact, not an opinion.

          1. Nathanael

            It’s also an irrelevance. You should look up the numerous ways in which Scott Walker refused to follow Wisconsin’s legislative process.

            Then look up his record of lawbreaking in Milwaukee. Pay attention to the “John Doe” investigation. Walker’s aides, apart from campaigning on government time, were also distributing child pornography and stealing money designated for charity, and the investigation hasn’t even gotten to the top yet…

            How about the attempt to eviscerate environmental law and Native rights in order to put cash in the pocket of a mining company?

            Oh, and as for fairness — he didn’t even pretend. His bill banning collective bargaining made special exemptions for “favored” groups (police and firefighters). They were smart enough to see through this obvious attempt at bribery.

            Then you have to listen to the “Fake Koch Brother” call, where Walker explained that he considered committing false-flag attacks in order to have an excuse to assault the peaceful protestors….

            Walker is no Tommy Thompson. Walker is clearly a corrupt politician who was clearly wrong from start to finish.

      3. Hugh

        Typical anti-worker BS. Strong unions protect workers’ rights and win for them good wages and benefits. These gains are not enjoyed by union members. They raise the floor for wages and benefits in general. Ever wonder why business loves so-called Right to Work laws? It’s because they weaken unions and make slashing worker wages and benefits easy. We have seen the anti-union dynamic play out for more than 30 years and with it we have seen wages go flat, benefits reduced, and jobs offshored.

        The reason public unions are now under the gun from corporatist is because public unions are the last bastion of the union movement. Something over a 1/3 of public workers are unionized, lots of police, firefighters, and teachers and they account for just over half of those currently in unions. So our looting elites are targeting them.

        It always comes back to this. When our elites want to wage a war, give a big tax cut to themselves, or bail themselves out, the money is always there, trillion upon trillion upon trillion. But when it comes to the rest of us whether it access to healthcare, an affordable education, a good job, a retirement you can live on, or infrastructure that isn’t falling apart, then all of a sudden the money disappears. If wealth inequality were not so extreme in this country, we could easily afford to pay good wages and extend benefits not just to teachers but to anyone who wanted a job. It is typical splitting that you get in class war to set public unionized employees apart and attack what few benefits they have left when the real question is why every employee in the country isn’t getting those same benefits or something comparable.

        1. F. Beard

          …when the real question is why every employee in the country isn’t getting those same benefits or something comparable. Hugh

          Correct. And the answer is that the workers are not the co-owners of business as they would be without the existence of the government backed/enforced counterfeiting cartel, the banking system, by which their own stolen purchasing power has been used against them.

        2. Defiant

          Wow….

          The folks that I would have least expected such a statement would have been from these boards, quite honestly.

          Are we saying it’s wrong when bank CEOs make millions compare to non-executives, yet it is right for unions to make excellent salaries when compared to their non-union peers. Not only that, we think banks are thieves that steal from the poor, but it’s ok for unions to bully our politicians for the benefit of the few members.

          This is truly amazing and I have no words to describe my feelings and thoughts!!!!

          Guys/Girls, either something is right or it is wrong. There is no gray here.

          1. F. Beard

            There is no gray here. Defiant

            There isn’t. Workers, including public service workers, have a perfect right to organize and collectively bargain. End of story.

          2. Hugh

            Corporations and/or government have vastly more power than individual workers. Unions are a way of redressing that power imbalance. When unions get better wages for their members, it helps non-union workers too because it raises the floor for wages generally. And if those non-union workers want to form a union or join one, we should make that as easy as possible for them. It is not that union workers are so privileged. It is that everyone else has become so unprivileged. The solution is not to take from them what little they have managed to keep but to add back to the rest of us what we have lost.

          3. Defiant

            Hugh,

            There is not more left for the rest of us, the government is already running on deficits. What the unions have done is sleep in bed with politicians and buy their votes.

            The same that applies to wealth companies lobbying for their profits applies to unions. They are nothing but extortionists.

            It is wrong for corporations to buy politicians and it is wrong for unions to do the same.

          4. F. Beard

            The same that applies to wealth companies lobbying for their profits applies to unions. Defiant

            Not so. The bankers misuse government to be rich while if the unions do so it is to survive.

            Plus, the misuse of government started with the banks and should end there first. Then the need for unions should “wither away” over time.

          5. jonboinAR

            @Defiant:
            You’re attempting to apply wage arbitrage like a multinational corp. moving its factories to a third world “developing” country. Instead of advocating for increasing the pay of the rest of us stiffs so they were closer to union wages, letting the union wages and benefits set the standard for the other wage earners, you’re saying that what the union members make is unfair to the majority of workers. The unions, the last potent unions, the government worker’s, need to be destroyed so that we can all languish into “peonitude” together, the historical norm. This is either idiocy, lifestyle suicide, if you’re a working stiff as I am, or another devilish ploy if you’re a member of the 1%, so you-all can esconce yourselves as superior beings as the 1% have historically done, practically a separate and superior species, the rest of us somewhat like cattle.

            Well, !#@$%@ that, buddy! It was unions that gave me the chance for some leisure in my existence, the labor movement and a little government help, a sprinkling of socialism, if you like. I’m here to protect them.

            Also, if you really are an actual interested citizen, and not a paid troll (I can’t tell which you are), could you please stop spamming the board with 99 posts a day? Every thread’s becoming Defiant’s opinion, the responses, then Defiant’s responses to the responses. It’s got it all tied up with a repetition of neo-liberal viewpoint vs progressive, no new or other interesting ideas discussed. Just cut it down some? I mean this respectfully. Thanks.

    2. Defiant

      Please note that I am not supporting, nor will vote for Romney. Romney and Obama are one and the same and I am glad to see that most, at least on these boards, agree with this assessment.

      We should not let them force us to elect either. Perhaps electing a write-in made up candidate “Freedom” will make them think about the work they’ve been doing so far.

      1. Nathanael

        Actually, I think Romney and Obama are different. Both will give fairly similar results, but Romney is even dumber than Obama. And that’s not good, because that’s the sort of thing which leads to war in Iran.

        But I’m not in a swing state, so my Presidential vote doesn’t matter!

        1. Tertium Squid

          A third party vote is never wasted. It shows the establishment that you find the duopoly unacceptable.

    3. Dan of Boyds

      Corporations have captured the Federal and state governments that have captured the Democratic and Republican parties.

      1. Defiant

        Dan,

        Perhaps you are right.. But we, as citizens, vote for public officials to enforce the rule of law, not corporations. Corporations are analogous of individuals like me and you. If allowed to take advantage of a situation, many will take advange, like some individuals would.

        We can sit here and argue of whether someone is guilty or not, but we dont have the power to enfore the laws. Our elected officials do.

        Our responsibility is to make sure that our voices are heard. Perhaps diptherio sees it as a joke to write-in “Freedom” as a candidate, I see it as a stand against corruption, as voicing my concern with the officials we’ve elected, as a statement that we will not continue to elect officials because we are simply given 2 choices.

      1. Strangely Enough

        Hmmm… Obama acted like he gave a damn, and Reagan acted like he was awake.

        That’s a tough call.

  14. Jean

    300M++ Americans … large numbers of them every day make statements I find foolish, on a daily basis. And then one day, one of those many unknowns, one Hilary Rosen, makes a foolish comment, and voila … big American-style dust storm. Cue up Ann Romney, the President, First Lady. According to my morning paper, Rosen was acting as a CNN paid analyst when she gave everyone her opinion of Ann Romney’s work history. Best I can tell, Hilary Rosen speaks for Hilary Rosen.

    So tell me again why I care about Hilary Rosen’s views. And this impacts my voting decisions how? Rather mysterious.

    Our national political stage features, to quote David Brooks, bad reality TV, neither instructive or entertaining. Just plain dumb.

    1. jonboinAR

      Isn’t his point the fact that her remark made a splash at all an indication that the candidates are promoting nothing that is interesting?

  15. EmilianoZ

    Putting inequality back into the political discourse was supposed to be the crowning achievement of OWS. Apparently despite the return of spring they haven’t succeeded in recapturing the spotlight. Our apathy is a bottomless pit, as is the 1%’s greed.

    1. F. Beard

      Putting inequality back into the political discourse was supposed to be the crowning achievement of OWS EmilianoZ

      Inequality is not considered relevant by many in the US if it is perceived as just inequality. But the system is not just therefore the inequality is not either should be the message of OWS.

      Liberals and Progressives should have been fighting banking long before now based on the fact that “credit” creation is a form of counterfeiting that steals from everyone but especially from the poor.

    2. lambert strether

      Well, “the discourse” isn’t “the political discourse” (where politics is defined as electoral politics. That bastion of unreality will be the very last to fall, I think.

      1. Nathanael

        It will indeed be the last to fall, just as it was at Versailles and the court of the Russian Tsars.

    1. F. Beard

      Yes, because a new government has to stop the insane micromanagement of the economy. Anthony B. Sanders

      Too late. Now it is the duty of government to undo the damage its support of the banks has caused.

      Some brand new fiat should help do the trick IF it is given to the victims of the counterfeiting cartel – the entire population – and IF further counterfeiting is banned.

  16. Hugh

    I think one of the most important things for us all is to unlearn the economic and political history we were taught of the last 40 years. It isn’t just this election cycle that is bereft of substance and meaning. The last 9 Presidential elections going back to 1976 and to the beginning of the construction of the present kleptocracy have been nothing but elite exercises in atmospherics to razzle and dazzle the rubes into thinking they really had a choice. Indeed if you add in Vietnam, then you could push the timeline back to 1964. That probably was the last time an election presented a real choice and made a real difference.

    Since and including 1976, we, the electorate, the 99%, the hoi polloi have only been given by the elites the choice between corporatist A and corporatist B. We can be robbed blind and see our rights trashed by a Democrat or a Republican. That has been our choice for decades. The only difference I can see is that in recent years our elites make less and less pretense about even bothering with substance. Why should they? They have stolen almost everything and taken away every right. And we of the 99% have let them and done nothing.

    1. jonboinAR

      Yeah, it’s wierd to think that Presidency-wise, Carter started it all off. Of course, he was a southern Democrat, and the south has that feudal-nostalgia thing going on. I see it all around me. The higher status members in my community are treated with A LOT of respect. They loves they stratification ’round here. There seems to be a comfort in it, oddly. And no one is allowed to go hungry.

  17. abelenkpe

    2012 matters if you care about preserving some semblance of civil rights for women and minorities and who gets nominated to the supreme court over the next four years. We really should be concentrating more on congressional and local elections though.

    1. Defiant

      Perhaps moving these rallies from NYC, other states to Washington will give them a nice signal. We can blame whatever we want on Wall Street, but we are not the law enforcers, Washington is.

      We’ve been gathering in the wrong places. Let’s move these rallies to washington and I can bet you they will change.

    2. Soullite522@msn.com

      Nobody else has any right, why should they be special?

      Really, if they won’t stand in solidarity with us, then why should we even care about them? Minorities seem happy with Obama – the black community clearly only ever wanted to be screwed over by one of their own, and now that they are, you don’t hear a peep out of them. And ‘women’… I’m not one. If you won’t stand up to your candidates – if you’re only going to make noise when your own issues are on the line – then I have no reason to care about them.

      Sorry, but that’s just the way the world works. Stop complaining that other people refuse to vote in YOUR interest. Make it in THEIR interest or you’re just wasting your time.

  18. VietnamVet

    The 2012 election will be about desperate horse wives or 911 taped screams; anything, other than the corruption, foreclosures, joblessness and forever wars that define America today.

  19. Walter Wit Man

    If everyone agrees there is no tougher job than being a mother than why doesn’t the U.S. provide PAID FAMILY LEAVE for new mothers? It’s a crime we don’t. What a way to ensure further poverty as well. There is no more important time for both child and mother and it would probably SAVE money if we paid for mothers, at least, to get a stipend for the first 6 months of motherhood, at least.

    Also, how about universal day care?

    How about supporting our public schools?

    How about socialized medicine or single payer health care to make sure there aren’t millions of children that have difficulty getting access to health care?

    How about subsidized after school programs?

    These fascist jerks hate children.

    1. Defiant

      Walter,

      Personally, I would benefit greatly from all the items that you mention here. I would be thrilled to be worry free – as the lyon king says. But I know full well, that there is never a free lunch – either by taxation or inflation.

      I think it’s easier to dream about a land where everything is free, than implementing a solution and pay for it. Perhaps starting with making sure that our representatives are enforcing the laws is a start, but rooting for solutions that are of personal gain is definately not the answer.

      Let’s not forget that the following quote did not come from a right winger, it came from one of the best US presidents we’ve ever had (JFK) – a Democrat. “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Could it be that JFK foresaw today’s issues back in the 1960s? It sure looks like it.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Ha. See my comment re JFK below. I once admired Kennedy. I had a poster of him on my wall as a kid.

        But now I suspect that he created the modern Democratic party in his image. I suspect Kennedy was/is a fascist too. He built up the myth of the Democratic party standing up for the common person, and for civil rights, etc.

        So I suspect you are right. He foresaw the issues facing us today–but I believe he was more concerned with manufacturing the consent of the people to our current fascist government. The secret fascist government was already in power under Kennedy, and Kennedy came from an elite family involved in the Hollywood, booze both illegal and legal, gambling, and secret government and espionage.

        1. Defiant

          Thanks Walter,

          I suspect that when you say “suspect” you not referring to the man you knew and saw as a model on your wall as a kid, but that you are now referring to the statement I included.

          Can you elaborate on your opinion on JFKs statement and it’s meaning?

          1. Walter Wit Man

            I once admired the statement. Now I see it as bullshit mindfucking.

            Our government should serve us, not us it.

          2. Defiant

            Unfortunatly, the nation begins with us, the 100%. If there is no 100% (300+ million), there is no United States.

            Secondly, we, the 100% elect our representatives. We also have the right to non-violent protests and voice our rights.

            The government, as you say, should be there to serve us, and if not, we have the right to replace those representatives. As a matter of fact, if there is enough of us protesting a representative, we can most likely remove them from office. So we are the power, we chose what to allow and what not to allow.

            Individually, however, we all contribute to the nation whether we are rich, middle class, poor, a private employee or a public one. Finanlly, we can sure contribute a piece to the nation by being responsible concerned and informed citizens and by contributing as much as we can without asking in return.

            How can we ask for change if we also want to take and provide nothing in return. Is that not what the same “evil” wall street, wealthy and politicians are doing?

      2. F. Beard

        But I know full well, that there is never a free lunch – Defiant

        Many lunches are being destroyed now as the temporary money (so-called “credit”) that helped to create them goes back to nothing.

        But according to you preventing destruction is the same thing as a free lunch?

      3. Walter Wit Man

        To respond to your first point about no free lunches . . . .

        As I learned from people on this blog, the U.S. need not tax or sell bonds to “raise” money to spend on such things like paid maternity/paternity leave.

        The myth JFK helped create actually helps put this in context. (hint: JFK may have staged his execution to convince people like you that we have to operate in the straight jacket of taxing/spending).

        In fact, JFK hinted that he would return to the era of the U.S. printing greenbacks and would attempt to reign in the Federal Reserve (not to mention smashing the CIA into a “thousand pieces”). He issues an Executive Order on this subject. Some argue that JFK was killed for this reason, along with a couple other similar issues (e.g. wanting to withdraw from Vietnam, his “wimpy” Cuban polices, etc.).

        Then he was killed, supposedly by people in the secret government (goes one major theory), that did not want those things to happen, like the private bankers’ grip on our currency being loosened.

        What I am beginning to suspect though, is that the Kennedy assassination was faked. The message is clear = no matter how much Americans want liberal things, like the end to the Vietnam war, we can’t get them because our best hope will be shot in the head. Oh well, there is still a glimmer of hope we can elect another hero like JFK to slowly chip away . . . . is the message the fascists want to send. Like Obama.

        1. Defiant

          Wow.. Thanks for your thought. The fact that we are so apart on our believes tells me alot about the course of the nation.

          In regards to raising money – can you tell me of anyone/anywhere that raised money without first producing something and selling it for a price? This might be a bit of a hard task because there is no way to do it.

          Sure – JFK could have staged his death, as well as many other things could have happened. Perhaps if we can answer the why it would help. You are right, JFK was involved in those things and did issue the Executive Order before he was killed.

          I am not sure why he was killed and by whom, but I have no evidence that it was faked, neither does anyone else.

          It does strike me odd that an American society of doers has turned into a society of me me me… I find it odd that although we are the 99%, we want things to be “free” and not only that, we think this is right and ethical. How can we make a change in our politicians, our “elites” if we are so disconnected from reality?

          Do you think the elites, wall Street and DC will give us their best for “free”. We need to start re-thinking our approach, obviously standing in NYC while our politicians look the other way will surely not help.

          I agree that there has been corruption and that we need to re-shift the focus.

          My suggestion is that:

          - We start by looking in the mirror and change that first.

          - Than let’s ask our government to enforce the laws and enforce them equaly for all, rich, middle class, poor.

          - Than let’s monitor to make sure that our elected officials are doing as asked, and if not, let’s kick them out of office and replace them for someone that will.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            How do you know there is no evidence? Have you examined it to determine there is no evidence?

            There is indeed a lot of evidence. Compelling evidence, in fact (like a video of a cop appearing to spray fake blood in the car where JFK was sitting, among many others). There is more evidence for this theory than other theories, and the factual discrepancies are explained better under this theory. As a long time amateur JFK ‘assassination’ researcher, I now am probably about 75% certain this theory is correct.

            The motive is the weakest part. Although there are indeed motives, see here: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/03/links-3192012.html#comment-667119

            Also, you want to know what entity can spend money without first “raising” it? Try a sovereign like the U.S. Plus, I listed one above. Greenbacks. Let’s go back to it. Let’s start another Greenback party.

          2. Defiant

            I thought you would mention that.

            Why don’t we remove ourselves from the theory and refer to the fact.

            1) Can you make money without providing a good/service/labor?

            2) Without considering credit cards, can you spend more money than you make?

            3) Would you lend if you knew you were not going to get paid interest?

            4) Would you lend if you knew you were not going to get paid back?

            5) Would you provide rent for free if you owned an apartment?

            5) Would you give your items for free if you owned a farm?

            I can, however, refer a good economics books that can clarify /value/capital/price/trade/interest much more efficiently than I can and can provide clear evidence as to why money does not grow on trees and does not come from unicorns. Irving Fisher, Elementary principles of economics.

          3. F. Beard

            1) Can you make money without providing a good/service/labor? Defiant

            Yes, that’s what monetarily sovereign nations do.

            You’re bleeding from head-to-toe but persist with you pious clichés as if the rest of us have never heard them!

            You do realize that you’re propagating banker propaganda except bankers would probably blush to utter such self-serving hypocrisy?

          4. Defiant

            Walter,

            Am I the one supporting the bank objectives – or am I the one asking for a stop to the free loading and asking for action to stop those irresponsible actions.

            I am not here to defend neither the rich, nor the banker, neither the middle class, nor the poor, neither the unions nor the free loaders. I am here to be un-bias and to call for action to stop the looting of America. Our differences are obvious, someone is asking for more while the other asks for a different cource for the nation.

            Let’s stop dreaming of rainbows and free candy corn and start acting today. They will not respect us until we respect ourselves.

          5. Walter Wit Man

            It’s a crime the United State of America doesn’t require or provide paid maternity leave. We rip mother and child apart weeks after birth (especially the lower classes) in order to serve our capitalist masters.

            A society that is as rich as ours has no excuse for waging trillion dollar wars but condemning new mothers to a slave like existence. It’s terrible for the children too.

            I don’t see Michelle or Ann demanding that America stand up for mothers. If they did, they would demand that we join the civilized world and allow baby and mother to bond during the first 6 months, at least, rather than ripping the two apart to better to make sure our fascist masters aren’t deprived of the mother’s labor.

          6. amanasleep

            @ Defiant:
            “I can, however, refer a good economics books that can clarify /value/capital/price/trade/interest much more efficiently than I can and can provide clear evidence as to why money does not grow on trees and does not come from unicorns. Irving Fisher, Elementary principles of economics.”

            Your ignorance knows no bounds. Irving Fisher believed almost the exact opposite of what you do. He is one of the principal architects of Demand-side economic analysis of credit bubbles, which is the opposite of the supply-side Austrian claptrap you peddle. Citing Fisher to support supply-side theories is like citing Ghandi to support increasing the defense budget.

            Here’s Fisher on the Great Depression:

            “Unless some counteracting cause comes along to prevent the fall in the price level, such a depression as that of 1929-33 (namely when the more the debtors pay the more they owe) tends to continue, going deeper, in a vicious spiral, for many years. There is then no tendency of the boat to stop tipping until it has capsized. Ultimately, of course, but only after almost universal bankruptcy, the indebtedness must cease to grow greater and begin to grow less. Then comes recovery and a tendency for a new boom-depression sequence. This is the so-called “natural” way out of a depression, via needless and cruel bankruptcy, unemployment, and starvation.

            On the other hand, if the foregoing analysis is correct, it is always economically possible to stop or prevent such a depression simply by reflating the price level up to the average level at which outstanding debts were contracted by existing debtors and assumed by existing creditors, and then maintaining that level unchanged.”

          7. F. Beard

            This is the so-called “natural” way out of a depression, via needless and cruel bankruptcy, unemployment, and starvation. Irvin Fischer via amanasleep

            That’s what you and your Austrian buddies are rooting for.

          8. amanasleep

            @F. Beard:

            Agreed. This is what they want. Many of them want this outcome because they are psychologically invested in a social darwinian/Malthusian, where the first law is limited resources and the second is survival of the fittest and righteous elevation of whomever they think should be elite by any means necessary.

            But I feel that only the most wicked can truly believe this with a full understanding of the consequences. Not sure how the rest justify it. Could be that immense ignorance and willfull blindness to the plight of your fellows does the rest.

          9. F. Beard

            Not sure how the rest justify it. amanasleep

            Just as the boom exalts borrowers, the bust exalts savers but at a tremendous cost which often includes, ironically, the savers’ jobs!

          10. F. Beard

            and righteous elevation of whomever they think should be elite by any means necessary. amanasleep

            Except usury from one’s fellow countrymen and the use of counterfeit money (so-called “credit”) is not righteous.

          11. Defiant

            Walter,

            Although if you read the book you will easily note how Fisher trashes Marxism, I will provide some quotes from Fisher. Please be careful who you listen to (apparently some of us have an agenda) and refer to the following google book and you will find the below: http://books.google.com/books?id=5V9MAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=irving+fisher&hl=en&sa=X&ei=AYqIT_ezHoSmgweovIW2CQ&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAQ#v=snippet&q=increasing%20money&f=false

            Here is what Fisher said:

            “M(actual money) V(Velocity of money) + M’(deposits) V’(avg velocity) = P(avg price)T(units sold) | this mechanism makes it clear the fact that the average price increases with the increase of money or bank deposits and with the velocities of their circulation, and decreases with the increase in the volume of trade. The introduction of M’ tends to raise prices.”

            “The socialist idea that interest is robbery. Why should not the laborer who planted the tree receive the dollars for his work? The answer is that he may receive it, provided he will wait 25 years for it!”

            “We conclude, therefore, that equality of wealth is an unstable condition and, even when established, would not endure, because of unequal forces of thrift, ability, industry, luck and fraud.”

            Fisher was clearly a free market capitalist and clearly an anti-Marxist. Site the source of this reflating argument please.

          12. F. Beard

            Although if you read the book you will easily note how Fisher trashes Marxism, Defiant

            Being anti-fascist is not the same thing as being a Marxist, now is it?

            So why do you drag that red-herring across the trail?

          13. Defiant

            Refute the statements quoted from Fisher’s book. The man clearly did not believe in printing money out of thin air and it’s proven on the quotes I provided.

          14. F. Beard

            and it’s proven on the quotes I provided. Defiant

            No, it’s not. It might be inferred that Fischer was against “loans creating deposits” but that says nothing about sovereign creation of legal tender nor about using such legal tender to reflate the economy.

          15. Defiant

            The book does not infer such a thing, although it clearly state that the process is a normal course of an economic activity (loans vs deposits).

            Fisher goes on to state:
            “if we increase the number of dollars, whether by renaming coins, by cutting them in two, duplicating them, or by other means, prices will increase in the same proportion.”

            “In the end, then, the doubling of society’s money will mean a doubling (1) of the money in circulation (2) of the money in the banks, and (3) of the deposits based on this money. In short time it will also mean a doubling of prices…” – this means that paying people will not do anything to aliviate our sorrows – but can definately mean a collapse of the currency. If I were a good gambler, the chances of betting for the solution, I hope you too, would be ZERO.

            Let’s go on:
            “If reserves are low, banks will raise the rate of interest to protect their reserves. If the reserves are abundant, the bank will lower the rate of interest in order to get rid of some reserves” – so banks are binded by their reserves – but the Fed has created an issue.

            If we can agree on the above items, than the issue we are faced is not related to the capitalist system nor the free markets, it is human intervention. If banks are aware of the risk with having insufficient reserves (insolvency), than they would not chew more than they can bite – UNLESS, they knew that somebody would bail them out. So it all boils down to one simple word – “accountability”. By the Central bank and our government bailing out the banks through the 80s and 90s they have created the issue as banks expect a bailout.

            The resolution is not complex nor sophisticated, the system works, intervention does not – a free market system works so long as humans do not get their hands involved.

            Fisher was in my opinion, the economist of all times.

          16. F. Beard

            The resolution is not complex nor sophisticated, the system works, intervention does not – a free market system works so long as humans do not get their hands involved. Defiant

            Too late for that.

            Government intervention caused the problem so it is only justice that government intervention reverse it.

            Why do you crave a deflationary spiral when it is not necessary? Steve Keen who understands money far better than you recommends a universal bailout. He is correct and you aren’t.

          17. Defiant

            I think our purpose is the same, restoring our economy our contry to stability and growth and more benefits for society as a whole.

            Steve Keen is a great mind but I think he fails to see the issue from all angles.

            Yes, the Fed is the root cause of the issue for attempting to manage interest rates (as stated by Fisher – a free market is efficient at setting them), but the resolution cannot be to do more of what got us into the issue, bailing out companies and individuals. I do believe that this will not only NOT resolve the issue, it will complete destroying the little bit that’s left.

            The Federal reserve set a precedent of bailouts and banks overextended themselves knowing that the Fed would bail them out.

            I think Keen fails to see the human/psychological issue in all of this. Just like the banks, a bailout today (will not only destroy the value of the currency thereby not helping at all), it will create a precedence for another bailout a couple of years down the line as individuals expect another bailout.

          18. F. Beard

            it will create a precedence for another bailout a couple of years down the line as individuals expect another bailout. Defiant

            With fundamental reform including the abolition of “credit” creation and the allowance of non-usury based money forms such as common stock, why would another bailout be necessary? But if it is, then so what? Debt forgiveness is to occur every 7 years according to Deuteronomy 15.

          19. Defiant

            In included part of Fisher’s explanation of what would happen if the money was doubled. In other words, by giving individuals money, the prices will rise to a level where the money given would mean ZERO; The net gain is ZERO, nada, silch.

            Why would you do this when we are 100% sure this will not have any positive?

            I think we both see where the resolution lies. It is not by attempting to make everyone rich. The answer is to remove the Fed, let the market set the rate of interest, have our representatives enforce the law and if they don’t, show up in DC to make sure they do. Nobody gets a bailout – neither the banks, nor me, and if you make a bad bet, than you fail and lose your investment. The government should guarantee deposits 100%.

            This is the solution and does not involve manipulating anything.

          20. Waking Up

            “Defiant states “In regards to raising money – can you tell me of anyone/anywhere that raised money without first producing something and selling it for a price? This might be a bit of a hard task because there is no way to do it.”

            Have you considered a Hedge Fund Manager.

            Or, how about those executives who give as Matt Taibbi stated “pre-prospectus” presentations to investors using PowerPoint and other tools in which they will not be held liable for misrepresentations.” Did they “produce” anything in order to raise money?

          21. Defiant

            Good question.. and an industry that I am very familiar with…

            You are right, they produced nothing, but just like a con artist (Fisher did mention fraud) they rob investors of their money.

            Investing is about making decisions, which means reading alot of material. I, as a retail investor, am forced to read multiple sites (mainly blogs) to get an idea of where to put my investments. Once upon a time I even listened to some of these, so called, professionals when they came out on MSNBC or Bloomberg. In the end, If I lost my money I should not be refunded an iota of it. I ultimately made the bad call, and am liable for making that bad call. If I had made money, I would not have shared with anyone, just like I should not share the losses with them either.

            The investor is the ultimate decision maker. These fund managers have a conflict of interest (they are glorified salesman). They stand to lose when you do not invest your money (commission), so they will always ask you to buy. They stand to lose when you don’t buy (they sell stocks).

            So again, the government is there and should enforcing the rule of law accross the board, whether I am rich, middle class, poor, union, etc… It’s one thing to have one new industry commit a crime, it’s another to have the same industry commit crimes over crimes while our government looks the other way.

          22. F. Beard

            In other words, by giving individuals money, the prices will rise to a level where the money given would mean ZERO; The net gain is ZERO, nada, silch. Defiant

            Suppose all credit creation was suddenly banned, what would happen to the money supply?

            Ans: The total money supply (bank reserves + credit) would shrink month by month as existing credit was paid off with no new credit to replace it.

            So if the Federal Government decided to send equal bailout checks of new fiat to the entire population that totaled the amount of credit that was being repaid in a given period then THERE WOULD BE NO CHANGE IN THE TOTAL MONEY SUPPLY and hence small chance of price inflation.

            So you see, there is a non-inflationary way to bailout the entire population.

            So how come your Austrian buddies don’t suggest this?

          23. F. Beard

            Steve Keen says approximatively the same thing though he is not radical enough (yet) to propose a total ban on credit creation. Instead, Keen calls for leverage restrictions.

          24. Defiant

            Fisher’s solution is not to stop credit creation. The Fed tries to look into the future by setting the rate of money they “believe” is appropriate. We all know humans are terrible at looking into the future. Incorrect rates will cause maket inbalances, as explained by Fisher.

            The market is efficient at deciding how much money should be created, borrowers will decide if they need to borrow and banks will decide when lending is needed. The banks will stop lending when their reserves are low, and there is no escaping bankrupcy via bailouts if there is no fed to bail them out.

            Ending the Fed means ending fractional reserve lending, which has led to a faster expansion of the money supply vs GDP growth.

            This is why ending the Fed is the most important item this generation will take. Our kids and grandkids will either remember us as cowards for allowing the destruction of their future, or as brave Americans for standing up for it. I don’t think it’s an argument that when we debate these items we are not just talking for ourselves but looking out for those who depend on us.

            I will ask – whether you believe in Fisher or Keen, that we shift the focus where merited. Let’s not be blind sighted by false promises designed to confuse the cause of the issue, let’s shift the movements to DC and the face of our president, our congress, our Fed where they belong.

          25. F. Beard

            Ending the Fed means ending fractional reserve lending, which has led to a faster expansion of the money supply vs GDP growth. Defiant

            Ending the Fed is necessary but not sufficient to end fractional reserve lending which is more correctly labeled as “credit creation.”

          26. Defiant

            Beard,

            I missed some details out of the original answer. Note my statement about the Fed setting a precedence in the 80s and 90s with regards to bailing out failed banks. We all remember how LTCM was bailed out after a bad bet. This set a precedence for future bailouts and banks responded by taking risks without regards to reserves.

            Let’s again refer to the following:
            “M(actual money)V(Velocity of money) + M’(deposits) V’(avg velocity) = P(avg price)T(units sold) | this mechanism makes it clear the fact that the average price increases with the increase of money or bank deposits and with the velocities of their circulation, and decreases with the increase in the volume of trade. The introduction of M’ tends to raise prices.”

            The above should clarify why it’s useless to pay off people, but I think most of us ignore the fact that money is useless if we dont regard it as such and that the trust in that money is more important than anything else. If I cannot trust the government for holding the value of the currency, why would I keep my wealth on that currency.

            Not only that, as stated on my previous post, the Fed and so is everyone else, is terrible at predicting the future and how much the interest and how much credit is needed.

            So not only are we not achieving anything, we are destroying the only thing keeping the currency alive, trust that a buck today will be worth a buck (or close to it) tomorrow. If the Fed’s manipulation is the cause of the issue, how can the solution be to issue payments to individuals (manipulation of money supply) while stopping the issuance of credit (more manipulation of the money supply)?

            I guarantee that the group making the decisions will not only make mistakes (we have prove this does not work with Fed), they will destroy the currency, as stated on my previous posts.

            If after ensuring our government is enforcing the laws accross the boad, removing the Fed, fractional reserve prices are falling, than let them fall to where they may. At the same time and to help tax payers balance sheets, our government should end collective bargaining, re-negotiate pensions, institute right to work laws accross the nation.

            This is looking at the issue in the eye and taking action to resolve the issue.

          27. F. Beard

            You don’t get it:

            1) An increase in the money supply does not necessarily mean a rise in prices since velocity and aggregate output also matter.

            2) I show you a way to bailout the entire population WITHOUT an increase in the total money supply but even that is not good enough for you.

            You are heart set on a Depression, it seems. That makes you a masochist or a sadist or both. You are certainly not interested in justice.

          28. Defiant

            I disagree that your solution does not result in inflation, I guarantee it will.

            If manipulating the money supply was so easy, than why did we have the collapse we did in 2008 and why is the Fed scared to death right now?

            The Fed knows we are now caught in a bind, the more manipulation there is, the less effect it has. The Banks are now solvent, but are unwilling to lend. Slowly, but surely, nature is taking hole and will force it’s hand.

            Irrespective of whether you or me are right, nor the Fed nor the government will fight the banks nor the rich to defend the poor. The banks will become solvent and the rich will stay rich. The little bit left of the middle class has been used to bail out the banks, now we are asking for them to bailout the poor in exchange for a collapse.

            Note that the rich will not bailout the poor (Buffett is a bold face liar), they will likely be tipped off if such a thing were to happen and would jump ship way ahead of the collapse.

            So again I ask, are we ready to strip whatever is left of the middle class or are we ready to make our representatives resposible, remove the Fed, and start recovery.

          29. F. Beard

            I disagree that your solution does not result in inflation, I guarantee it will. Defiant

            How???

            P = MV/Q

            Shall the velocity of money, V, drastically increase or aggregate output, Q, drastically decrease?

            And even if they did, the bailout payments could be reduced to compensate.

          30. F. Beard

            So again I ask, are we ready to strip whatever is left of the middle class or are we ready to make our representatives resposible, remove the Fed, and start recovery. Defiant

            Eliminating the Fed without a massive bailout of the population would be massively deflationary as banks became even more afraid to lend. The repayment of existing loans would drastically shrink the money supply.

            What you fail to understand is that eliminating “fractional reserve lending” REQUIRES the replacement of “credit” with legal tender to prevent MASSIVE destruction of the money supply.

          31. Defiant

            Agree that there will be drops in prices… But this is not necesarily a bad thing…

            There are some items that can be done to aliviate the deflationary spiral. From my standpoint, it should not be to hand out “free” checks.

            One item that we are not accounting for is the fact that each remaining dollar will gain much more value, offsetting much of the loses in the quantity of money supply. It’s inflation in reverse if you will. On the way up currency loses value, but you will have more currency, on the way down the currency gains value, but you will have less of it.

            Throw in a strong currency (I know you will not like it); such as gold, followed by strong government currency policies, and embrace the free markets. The existing huge government should be re-structure from the ground up.

          32. jonboinAR

            @Defiant:
            You said: “So not only are we not achieving anything, we are destroying the only thing keeping the currency alive, trust that a buck today will be worth a buck (or close to it) tomorrow. If the Fed’s manipulation is the cause of the issue, how can the solution be to issue payments to individuals (manipulation of money supply) while stopping the issuance of credit (more manipulation of the money supply)?”

            The problem with credit (usury) is that it gradually concentrates all of the wealth to the creditors. We seem to be in a late stage of that. The Bible, as F. Beard points out, has a reset for that in the form of a “Jubilee”. F. Beard is attempting a jubilee, bringing back the wealth to the 99% in a non-disruptive or inflationary manner. I applaud his intentions, although I’m not economically educated enough to comment much on his proposals. I will say, that as you point out, the government metering out the credit shrinkage is bound to be inaccurate, if the idea, the theory is right, we can probably live with the inaccuracy.

  20. Hugh

    I should also note that the primary weapon of class war is distraction. Rosen’s comment in itself meant nothing but it was amplified for various reasons. First, our elites wanted to smother the issue of class difference. Ann Romney hasn’t worked a day of her adult life because she married into a rich family. Yes, she had a big family but that was their choice and she and her husband had far more resources to make easy the raising of such a family than 99% of Americans could ever dream of. But wrapping Ann Romney up in the sanctity of motherhood and conflating her life with those of ordinary Americans were ways of punishing anyone, who however inadvertently raised the issue of class difference. Second, Romney has been polling terribly among women and the whole motherhood shtick allowed him the opportunity to beat his breast on behalf of women.

    It is all BS of course. Romney, Obama, Democrats, Republicans, elite looters all.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Yeah, it’s obviously a concocted drama.

      And the Demobots get all pissy because the same tweets from the right-wingers don’t get nearly the same scrutiny. They get to say the Democrats like Michelle Obama are ruining life for kids these days because she wants to take away their happy meals, or something, and they never have to apologize. So these dramas usually help reinforce a right-wing frame on issues.

      Furthermore, these dramas are part of a larger project to build up our leaders as normal caring human beings rather than the immoral fascist servants they are.

      This project to build up the cult of the presidency, and the cult of the politician in general, may have began with the staged assassination of President Kennedy and the building of the myth of Camelot, for instance.

      Anyway, whether or not there was a conscious plan to create dramas like these to build up the cult of the presidency, these dramas are definitely concocted as distraction.

  21. Guy_Fawkes

    Frankly, when a “Keating 5″ Senator received the Presidential nomination, I knew the U.S. had sunk to a new low. The choice was obvious.

    Since 2008, the “choice” has kicked 11 million homeowners to the curb…..and now we see that the two choices are two sides to the same coin. We made a “choice” but the result is exactly the same…..only we don’t have a white trash Alaskan family inhabiting the VP mansion. Big whoop.

    1. Synopticist

      There’s one, and only one, senior poltician the world over, who’s come out in favour of direct NATO involvement in Syria.

      Do you know who it is?

          1. Walter Wit Man

            McCain? Yeah, he said that, standing next to Joe Lieberman who is also arguing the same position:

            “The senators have led the call for more action in Syria, including supplying arms to the opposition and air strikes. The Obama administration has opposed supplying arms to the rebels, warning that it could cause further militarization.

            McCain and Lieberman said that the international community is “failing the people of Syria” by only providing humanitarian aid. While they acknowledged that the Obama administration was now providing communications equipment to the opposition, they said, “that doesn’t do much against tanks.”

            http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/220787-mccain-lieberman-visit-syrian-refugee-camp

            And oh, don’t worry, the attack on Syria is a bipartisan effort, and Obama and Clinton have already started the military assault on Syria. It’s on. Yet another country the fascist Democrat party will destroy (along with their pals like McCain and Graham). First the bloodthirsty Dems supported the rape of Libya (Ghadaffi was not the only one raped by knife), now they are moving on to Syria and Iran.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            You’re peddling the standard ‘good cop’, ‘bad cop’ routine.

            Obama and Clinton are working WITH McCain and Lieberman to crack Syria open.

            In fact, it’s worse than that, if you’ve donated money to MoveOn or Avaaz, you may have donated money to terrorist activities in Syria.

            http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/03/avaaz-sponsoring-fake-reporting-from-syria.html

            So not only are progressive Democrats guilty of supporting war criminal fascists, but they may even be directly funding these criminal attacks on the Syrian people!

          3. Synopticist

            Liebermans’a a fruitbat and Isreal firster who got ejected from the dems. Mcain was nearly president. There’s a big difference.

          4. tom allen

            Lieberman was elected Vice-President in 2000, before the Supreme Court took it away from him. So … not that big a difference, really.

            And do really want to argue that Lieberman is a bigger fruitbat than McCain? Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

  22. Economystic

    As eye-on-the-ball patriot used to say in this space: Stay Awake! (or words to that effect)
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/12/moveons-99-percent-spring-obama-and-the-dems-march-in-lock-step/
    [snip]
    n this case, the co-option of the Occupy Movement has occurred in a classic fashion developed by MoveOn.org and its network of liberal foundation funded, Democratic Party allies. All claim to be “responsible progressives working for fundamental social change,” yet the reality is far more mendacious.

    MoveOn.org directed networks, such as The 99 Spring, excel at the creation of dog and pony shows, pageantry, and theatrical performances to co-opt the imagery, language, and ideas of a movement, including the very idea of direct action itself.

    In this case, it’s the Occupy movement, showing the servile mainstream media, as well as the so-called “left” media (with which it shares the same funding streams) that The 99 Spring is the organized, more professional, and more responsible heir to the Occupy movement, with a suave spokesman, too: Van Jones, head of theRebuild the Dream “movement.”

    For a group like MoveOn.org, the existence of an on-the-ground social justice movement, after all, is perfect — it relies on movements of this sort to co-opt for its own purposes: electing Democrats.

    This all fits and coalesces nicely into what was discussed in Matt Bai’s 2007 best-selling book “The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics,” when in November 2006 –Mario Cuomo, former Governor of New York — after the 2006 elections, told an exclusive group of 100Democracy Alliance millionaire funders the following about how to win elections in 2008 (and by extension, co-opt social movements):

    “You seize the biggest idea you can, the biggest idea you can understand. And this is what moves elections. Now it’s 2006 and we’re all rejoicing. Why? Because of Iraq. A GIFT. A gift to the Democrats. A lot of whom voted for the war anyway. If Iraq is not an issue, then what issues do we have to talk about?”

    Clearly, “the gift” this time around for the block for MoveOn.org and Friends is the Occupy movement and the concept (as opposed to the actualization) of economic justice.

    Thus, The 99 Spring is a sly way to list-build, and by extension, fund-raise, always at the forefront of the mind of Democratic Party fundraisers, who share a close, revolving-door relationship with MoveOn.org.

    1. Skippy

      i lost my ball… sigh…

      i on the ball patriot says:
      December 12, 2009 at 12:36 pm

      David said; “Well if we’re all deceivers except certain saintly individuals who mean Yes for Yes and No for No, then maybe the question is, how can we deceive the bankers? How can we put some force behind our deception.

      First, there are no “saintly individuals” any where on the planet. All organisms must cannibalize other organisms in order to survive and sustain life. Organisms enter into either; voluntary alliances of deception with other organisms, or; involuntary alliances of deception with other organisms. ‘Saintly’ is a tool of dominance word, an expression of language, it can be used to form voluntary alliances or involuntary alliances. Deception always leads perception. It is a dog eat dog world. The best one can hope for is to lessen the peaks of the range of deception and perception and balance the spread throughout the range. It is not a matter of putting force behind our deceptions, rather it is a matter of putting force behind (heightening) our perceptions so as to regulate the spread. Evolution is the ultimate arbiter.

      “I agree with you, deception is the human condition. And I’m just trying to be practical. Can we beat them at their game? After all if they have more assets at risk, they should be the more vulnerable.”

      Yes, the bankers have more assets at risk gained through their greater deception. That is a plus for change as their greed and greater share of the pie awakens more of those that have been deceived and now find themselves with a lesser share of the pie. The way then to beat them at their game is to expose — through perception — the deceptions in their game. The degree of force that you then use ‘to beat them’ will be dependent upon your individual powers of perception, your sphere of influence, and your assessment of whether or not you are getting your present and future needs met (real or imagined) sufficient to sustain your life in the fashion you desire.

      My perceptions tell me that, first, the wealthy ruling elite are engaged in a far greater sphere of influence deception than most realize, and second, that they have a far greater understanding and command of the use of deception than the masses that they deceive, and third, all of our abilities to get needs met are threatened. They have used the ploy of divisiveness in the masses well and it functions for them as a firewall or buffer that dissipates energy that might otherwise go to revealing their primary deceptions. Hurdle one is to expose that intentional divisiveness and form alliances of common interest. That is why I chastise Taibbi and DownSouth for ragging on the Tea Baggers as “idiots” and “stupid”. This is class warfare. Have against have not.

      Being practical requires that the depth of the deceptions are fully understood and met with creative force in kind. For instance, take civility and respect as an example. Just as the government has been hijacked by the wealthy ruling elite, civility and respect, by extension, has been similarly hijacked by the wealthy ruling elite. They have uncivilly and disrespectfully hijacked the government, yet they maintain the civil and respectful illusion of decorum of that government so that those who have been deceived will be civil and respectful towards them.

      Well, fuck them all! They are scum bags undeserving of that civility and respect.

      Being uncivil in kind towards them is an incremental and peaceful remedial measure that can be used to seek equilibrium. Shunning, shaming, and boycotting, the wealthy elite, and their government and law enforcement pawns that exist as a product of deception, is a legitimate incremental turning of the screw of remedial balance. It will serve to turn the tables and divide them and force them to take a position.

      Similarly by perceiving the battle of ‘vanilla greed’ against ‘pernicious greed’ at the top of the chain, and constantly drawing attention to it will serve to divide those at the top. It will also serve to draw attention to the aggregate generational corruption that has brought us to this stage. Looking at the past five hundred years of history and how well the concept of enslaving usury has blossomed and become entrenched through the same repetitive deceptive process of hijacking government and media shills.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      Skippy… The Maw

      The rule of law,
      Is a rich man’s scam,
      Like arsenic in a jar,
      Posing as jam,

      Tasty on your toast,
      So easy to get down,
      You barely notice,
      As the poison goes to town,

      And rots your gut,
      And melts your soul,
      And kills your spirit,
      And drops you in the hole,

      Fuck the lawyers!
      Fuck the scam rule of law!
      Fuck the crooked cops!
      That make up the maw,

      Of the rule of law,
      The rich man’s scam,
      Like arsenic in a jar,
      Posing as jam …

      The law is the maw,
      Of the greed ridden beast,
      You think that it nourishes you,
      But you are the feast …

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      PS. How does it go… Red ball on roof… half covered by winters snow…. spring times lament… to a small boy.

  23. MIWill

    “Ma, the oval office ain’t flushing again.”

    “Jiggle your handle.”

    “I tried jiggling the handle, but it ain’t workin’”

    “No, I said jiggle your handle, it’s all that you got.”

  24. Synopticist

    Oh for goodness sake will you lot grow up a bit. You didn’t get your dream Obama. Well boohoo.

    You WILL get your nightmare Romney though. He WILL give heaps of money to the 1%, and he WILL take a cleaver to social programmes. Kiss your meagre safety net goodbye if he wins.

    1. Synopticist

      And if you wanted a leftist president willing to fight at knifepoint, you should have voted Clinton.
      Obama was always the more rightwing candidate.

    2. Hugh

      Party tribalism is sort of passé around here. If you look at what Obama has done in office, he is governing to the right of George Bush. He not only embraced Bush’s policies but he expanded on them. He has made attacks on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that Republicans can only dream about.

      Nearly three quarters of Americans say the country is on the wrong track and guess what? it is going to stay on the wrong track as long as there are party tribalists who continue to say we should keep voting for Tweedledum over Tweedledee even though we stay on the same wrong track either way.

      Romney is Obama. Obama is Romney. One of them may grate on you less than the other, but in substance they are the same. Until we all understand this, nothing can change, and we will be condemned to make the same mistakes that got us where we are over and over again.

      1. Synopticist

        Hugh,
        I know naked capitalism doesn’t do party loyalty, but you have one party thats 100% owned by Wall Street, and another thats 50% owned by Wall Street, but that paradoxically has a strong trades union influence as well, and cares about the middle and working class.

        They’re not as bad as each other. One choice sucks, the other f*cking stinks to high heaven.

        “Tweedledum and Tweedledee”?
        Ralph Nader, 2000. Because there’s no difference between Gore and Bush on the enviroment, right? Theyre both as bad as each other. So lets vote Green in Florida.

        “…and we will be condemned to make the same mistakes that got us where we are over and over again.” Maybe you will.

        1. Hugh

          Gore’s VP was Joseph Lieberman. Gore was VP in the Clinton Administration under which wealth inequality accelerated, derivatives were deregulated, Glass-Steagall was ditched, the dot com bubble was blown and burst, and the one in housing begun.

          I think most here, including me, have bought into lesser evilism at some point or other, but the truth behind lesser evilism is not that evil is slowed it is rather that greater evil is enabled. Kleptocracy with its wealth inequality and class war, the trashing of the Constitution and the construction of the surveillance state, imperial wars, rampant corporatism, none of this has slowed under Obama. Indeed Obama has bought into this agenda, expanded it, and worst of all, legitimized, institutionalized, and normalized it by making it completely bipartisan.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            I’ve frequently pointed to your link as the most awakening place to strip the wool from one’s eyes to the much greater danger of lesser-evilism.

            http://obamascandalslist.blogspot.com/2009/10/table-of-contents.html

            The astonishing thing is that so few have realized that Obama has gone MUCH farther than Bush to promote militarism, war crimes and fraud; shred the constitution and basic human rights; enable and reward financial crimes, enact more rigged trade SHAFTA schemes; bailout Wall Street and health insurance rackets; support coups in Latin America and expand the drug war, etc., precisely and only because he wears blue tribe colors. Romney could never have achieved anything close to Obama’s regressions, precisely because the sheep-pen liberals would be too alert, not blinded by color or stars in their eyes.

            And this is why the 2012 [s]election really does matters — and why real democracy cannot be tolerated — because Obama is the only one who can possibly delivery the Holy Grail, Social Security, to his investors. This will be their generational triumph and Obama is their perfect Trojan Horse to invade the citadel by stealth and deceit.

            As no lover of moneychangers, Pharisees, or other politicians, said a couple of millennia ago: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

            A wolf in sheep’s clothing can slaughter a whole lot of sheep before the well-fattened, docile liberals have even the faintest clue what’s really going on. Witness the last three years of horror.

            Another great article one the camouflaged danger of Obama is one Klassy posted yesterday:

            http://blackagendareport.com/content/why-barack-obama-more-effective-evil

        2. Aquifer

          Sorry, but anybody who is still pulling out that Nader cost Gore canard, after it has been so thoroughly debunked so many times in so many venues is clearly shilling for the Dems – that was put into motion when Nader began to attract attention and when he actually got on the radar screen – they were downright shrill – “can’t win” and “spoiler” – are memes plastered across the foreheads of any third party that challenges the duopoly. They are deadly and all too effective killers of political dissent and any one who spreads them is carrying water for TPTB – they are just BS, plain and simple. Once we allow that it is the Dems and Reps who are “spoiling” our politics, and that ANY candidate “can win” if they get enough votes – we will be on our way to doing something decent with our politics we haven’t done in decades …

          So guess what – we DO have a hell of a lot better choice, and if enough of us support her, she CAN win!

          http://www.jillstein.org/

    3. Guy_Fawkes

      Interesting that you feel “growing up” is not holding a politician’s feet to the fire….and keeping them honest.

      I’m sorry, if that is your definition, I am glad to be immature then.

      1. Synopticist

        I’m not claiming Obama’s a great guy. he’s way too rightwing, and he wasa total pussy when he really had a chance to stick it to Wall Street. Recently he seems to have discovered some balls, but it may be too little too late. I can’t say i’m disappointed, because I never expected much from him anyway.

        But the Republicans reaaly are something else. I read all about politics the world over, and nothing compares to them. The mendacity and decietfulness of the American right has no rival anywhere on the globe. Even here in the UK, with a overwhelmimgly rightwing, Murdoch dominated press, the lies and distortions coming from the Romney campaign and Rep machine seem shocking. They just wouldn’t get away with it anywhere else.

        The results of the next presidentail election are crucial. What happens in the States effects everywhere. If it turns out that a leveraged buyout guy, who built his victory on money and lies, can become the most powerful man in the world, in this day and age, there’ll be no stopping the 1%.

          1. Synopticist

            Go ahead and show your moral superiority by persuading lots of lefties not to vote if that makes you feel better.

            I live in a country where poor people don’t die from treatable illnesses because they can’t afford healthcare. You have may do if your lesser evil gets back in.

          2. Synopticist

            Go ahead and demonstrate your moral superiority by not voting.

            But remember, I live in a country, and a continent, where poor people don’t die from treatable illnesses because they can’t afford a doctor. Thats not a luxury you enjoy, yet.

          3. JTFaraday

            “Shut up.”

            Well, congratulations to you on your self control if you read that entire thread and only now said “Shut up.”

            Myself, I had to skip it. Over and out.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          I don’t know if you’re an Obama shill or an honest truth seeker, but please read my response to Hugh above, about the much greater dangers of lesser-evilism, especially WRT Social Security, which I believe Obama has been hired to target in earnest after his re[s]election in November:

          http://obamascandalslist.blogspot.com/2009/10/table-of-contents.html

          That link is Hugh’s table of contents, which connects to detailed, documented chronologies of Obama’s many deceptions, broken pledges, betrayals, and crimes.

          See also The Black Agenda Report, which is doing its best to counter color-blind blindness, both black and blue, by testing and exposing the rotten fruits of this administration.

          http://blackagendareport.com/content/why-barack-obama-more-effective-evil

  25. F Libertarians!

    “What is striking is how little pressure is coming from the populace, towards the political elites in both parties.”

    That’s because everyone is too busy playing with their f’ing smartphones even though those smartphones are sold by companies that are shipping American jobs overseas and exploiting cheap labor and lax environmental laws abroad. Too many Americans are too damned autistic and self-absorbed to even take the time to examine the facts and care about the crisis that is gripping this country and the world.

    1. Nathanael

      Actually, autistic people are *more* likely to examine the facts (once they notice that there is a world outside their heads and learn to communicate). It’s people very very far from the autism spectrum who are least likely to examine the facts, even though they may be more likely to care.

  26. F. Beard

    Huey Long as Senator pushed through deposit insurance. Matt Stoller

    My opinion of Huey just went down. Yes, the depositors should have been made whole (they weren’t, were they?) but the government has no business insuring gamblers, which the banks are.

  27. MLS

    Just my $0.02, but we’re still nearly 5 months from election day, and the examples Mr. Stoller cited above such as McCain suspending his campaign happened in the final weeks. If we’re still getting these type of ridiculous spats in October, I think he’s got a better case.

    Notwithstanding his broader point that this is more about political posturing and scoring “gotcha” points by both teams. I believe his absolutely correct on this, though the reasons why are debatable. He says there is little pressure on the elites from the masses, but I am not sure this is so. Whatever your political disposition, one can’t deny that the Tea Party and OWS movements (for lack of a better word) have had an impact on the political landscape. Theatrics like this could be one way for politicians to get people to choose sides again and forget all about how everyone in Congress is bought and paid for.

    1. Nalu Girl

      MLS, your comment about being five months from election brings to mind something that I find very serious, early voting. I NEVER send in an early ballot and here’s why. A few years ago in Arizona we had something called alt-fuel, where people were given rebates to convert their vehicles to propane. Long story short, some greed heads were buying huge SUVs with video screens and all kinds of goodies and installing a small propane tank, then getting half or more of their money refunded by the state. As it turned out, the Mesa state Republican rep who pushed this boondoggle through had friends ( and major contributors) in the conversion business. He had been the overwhelming front runner up until then, but was beaten by an ASU professor with.no money who campaigned door to door. My point is that many of the people who had early-voted for him wanted to know if they could get their votes back. But they couldn’t. So, early voting is not such a good thing, I think, especially since TPTB love it so.

  28. Waking Up

    Matt: if we had more politicians, pundits or even those intimately involved with the political process with your ability to cut through the B.S. and speak the truth, maybe we could actually change the political landscape. As it is, “millionaire kabuki” is exactly what we are seeing.

    Now that both the Republican and Democratic parties both represent the interests of millionaires, they can no longer have meaningful debates. The “debate” between Obama and Romney will come down to much ado about nothing in the end. They will be similar to the Republican primary “debates”. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if BOTH parties try to highlight groups such as the Tea party who call President Obama a “socialist” or racist names just to take the message away from reality and what is happening. In 2008, that message (which conservatives THOUGHT would be a negative) may have resonated with people who truly wanted to believe that President Obama MIGHT have socialist tendencies and help the citizens in this country. We now have almost four years of policies which reflect that he instead places his major millionaire campaign contributors and corporate interests above that of citizens. So, that message will not resonate in 2012 with those who believe in the “common good”. It is truly sad to watch what is happening to this country.

    P.S. If you needed another example that Obama pushes the conservative message, the “no tougher job than being a mom” meme is part of that. Notice the “working” woman was reprimanded. Conservatives (regardless of political party), have pushed that message in order to get women back into the home, pregnant, and with fewer life choices for decades now.

    1. F. Beard

      Morality used to be an inversion of selfishness. Schofield

      That was a perverse definition akin to wearing hair-shirts or self-flagellation. No wonder it can be successfully reversed!

      But the weakness of the neo-cons is that they support unjust means of being selfish. That is morally indefensible.

  29. kevinearick

    New Empire Same as the Old Empire

    So, housewives don’t work, don’t understand economics, and have nothing to contribute, according to the make-work crisis managers. Mrs. Romney is much more important to the solution than Mr. Romney.

    The insiders print money with the Facebook derivative, all insiders require free money, and hope to print it again with the Facebook purchase of Instagram, on the promise of drawing intelligent kids into the black hole of the fixed lottery ponzi economy, which has no demographic currency remaining. QE simply moves the liability pointers, 0 on the number line, to avoid recognition, increasing penalties and interest on the back end, which is quickly becoming the front end, because intelligent kids will not bite.

    AGS is correct in the requirement for global markets, but he is incorrect in assuming that their current structure may be severed from IT, which itself is dependent upon its root in the Family Law Information System, legacy control over new family formation, upon which all empires are dependent, placing the current empire iteration in a catch-22 situation. Careful who you try to place in a catch-22; you never know who holds the key to the empire’s future.

    During the investment half-cycle, union/corporate labor superintendents are the lowest superintendants on the labor demand curve. They evacuate and are replaced by corporate superintendents to begin the consumption half-cycle. All labor superintendents above that level must be developed before swapping the polarity back.

    Intelligent kids will not work for corporate, because corporate superintendents must twist all developments to suit the existing status quo. They will only work for small business, beyond the empire’s reach, where their ideas may be fully developed, instead of short-circuited. Because females are now interested in participating, these kids require 20hr/wk jobs that pay more than their basic living expenses when combined in marriage, with kids, to prime the demographic currency pump.

    From the perspective of labor, the economy is a system of unique participants delivering a distribution, so labor superintendents take whoever comes to the door first, to assess their skills and enable their mobility in the network, to get them where they need to go as quickly as possible. Corporate superintendents do the opposite. They place kids in a waiting pool, to churn them into the efficient droids required for corporate existence, certifying them in credit event horizons accordingly.

    Your objective is not survival; that’s the empire’s game. You want your community back up and running, to prosper, as quickly as possible, to take advantage of currency migration. Take a look at Renaissance and WWII business development in the US. The problem with the WWIII scenario is that the perspective participants have been issuing war bonds all along, to build bridges and cities to nowhere, swapping investment with government economic activity consumption. The point of Syria is Turkey, Iran, and Israel, the re-pricing of government currency as reflected in the relative price of oil, with PM as the transition.

    The slaves and the masters all have the same teenager mentality, where their development was arrested in school. The only difference between them is birth. The empire must dismantle Family Law, but it cannot, which is why it is in suspended animation, running on automatic. The President is a figure-head.

    Bernanke is an order of magnitude smarter than Greenspan, but not as smart as the intelligent kids, and he has the empire on his back. Always set aside surplus for the unexpected, which is always the difference, between time and money. Income is misdirection.

    Once you have two points on a line at your position, expect the third. The empire cannot help itself.

  30. Sam Scrantch

    The US badly needs a makeover – American soft power must go hard left, not this wretched idiocy celebrating militarism. US reputation is broken world wide. Sarkozy:’…when
    one offshore country guaranteed 700 times its GDP, are we in the market economy or in a madhouse?’ Military Industrial Bedlam!

  31. K Ackermann

    I wonder if Mitt will try to get Obama to publically agree that corporations are people, too, my friend.

    The candidates are increasing their distance from reality at a hyperbolic rate.

    George H.W. Bush didn’t have a clue how much a dozen eggs cost.

    John McCain was stumped when asked how many houses he owned.

    We should skip these sneaky questions and maybe try some basic skill questions:

    Hey Mitt: How many doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class?

    Or crisis management…

    Hey Barack: A limo runs over a guy as he’s leaving the unemployment office, and the man is stuck under the car. A banker jumps out of the limo, bends down, and yells at the man for holding up traffic. When he bent down, you noticed one of his dollars falls out of his pocket and starts to blow away.

    Do you…
    1) Pull the man out from under the car, allowing the banker to make his appointment on time
    2) delay the banker a moment by first chasing the dollar to give to him.
    3) Pull the man out from under the car, and check his pockets for a dollar to give to the banker

    This is not a muliple choice question: you only get one choice.

    1. Defiant

      Ackermann,

      Excellent analogy but I think you are missing one more question.

      4) Grab the dollar before blowing away, pull the man (tax payer) out of the bankers way kicking him unconscious while checking his pockets for a few more bucks left to give to your government friends (class), give a dollar to the banker. All in a days work.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      “I wonder if Mitt will try to get Obama to publically agree that corporations are people, too, my friend.”

      Don’t forget the smart-ass rich prick smirk that accompanies that statement.

      You nailed it.

      Bush was good at this stuff too. Goading Democrats with crap like this. Then the Dems have to play the good losers and ‘reluctantly’ admit that corporations are indeed people.

  32. Aquifer

    “The 2012 election, in other words, is at this point a completely empty enterprise, bereft of substance, or integrity……What is striking is how little pressure is coming from the populace, towards the political elites in both parties ….. Nothing.  No pressure from the left, or the right …..What is striking is how little pressure is coming from the populace, towards the political elites in both parties. ….. Until this dynamic changes, and someone or something forces a real debate that reconnects substance and politics, our American decline will continue.”

    Gosh, Matt, do you think you have made your point – things is terrible and nobody, NOBODY, is speaking out! Other than the fact that this is a croc and a crock – methinks thou doth protest too much. Why are YOU doing nothing to bring about this “real debate” by raising a clamor to make sure that 3rd party candidates are heard? There IS a substantive debate – it is just that these folks don’t have the megaphone that your guys do and you, and so many other “prog” bloggers, e,g Scheer, etc are quite content to keep it from them.

    I have suspected for some time, and each succeeding post i have seen from you strengthens that impression, that you are pissed as hell at the DLC wing of the party (if for no other reason than what it did to your former boss) and will embarrass it for all the right reasons whenever you can, but you are still a died in the wool Dem living in a fairyworld of being able to “fix” this thoroughly decrepit,, corrupt party and you want to make sure that progs really do feel, when push comes to shove, they have nowhere else to go. It’s not about principle but about party – as it was for Kucinich when he folded on healthcare.

    The only critique you recognized from the “outside” was RP! And now that he is gone, “nobody” is making a peep. Apparently anyone outside of the duoploy is “nobody”.

    I know i will get flak for this here – but it is folks like you writing stuff like this that keeps us where we are – in the mud, and sinking fast …

    Do you REALLY want a debate, or do you just want to whine some more? Get this lady some more press, and you WILL get a debate – but she just might upset your Dem applecart, and we can’t have that, now can we?

    http://www.jillstein.org/

    1. McLean War Profiteer

      There are a number of ways to derail or co-opt social justice movements. Delegitimize resistance and protest of financial elites in the public sphere through the use of blogs, or websites that are basically owned and operated by corporate agents. Money remains the best seducer, no offense to Stoller’s boss, but considerable time was spent hustling – sorry, that’s what being in Congress means. The most important deception to maintain is that of credibilitity: “hey I’m all about progressive values, fundamental change” The opposite is true upon closer scrutiny. But Fronts work very hard at staying hidden.

  33. Soullite522@msn.com

    Why is everyone (including the author) acting like there’s some call to actually vote here? This post is Elite Theory all the way.

    I’ve read it three times, and it pretty clearly argues that we shouldn’t bother. That might not be the argument the OP was trying to make, but that’s the argument he’s laid down: that there are times when voting matters, and this isn’t one of them.

    I wholeheartedly agree.

    1. jonboinAR

      No, There are no times when it’s not okay to vote. That’s how we ended up with the Bush tax cuts extended to the rich. OTOH, vote for whomever you would like to see elected. It sends a different, more positive message than the not-voting one of apathy.
      http://www.jillstein.org/

  34. Runninge A. Fowle

    Excellent comments by jsmith, Walter Wit Man, Hugh and others. Also I agree that Sheldon Wolin’s “Democracy Incorporated” is an important book that deserves a wider audience.

    “Inverted totalitarianism reverses things. It is all politics all of the time but a politics largely untempered by the political. Party squabbles are occasionally on public display, and there is a frantic and continuous politics among factions of the party, interest groups, competing corporate powers, and rival media concerns. And there is, of course, the culminating moment of national elections when the attention of the nation is required to make a choice of personalities rather than a choice between alternatives. What is absent is the political, the commitment to finding where the common good lies amidst the welter of well-financed, highly organized, single-minded interests rabidly seeking governmental favors and overwhelming the practices of representative government and public administration by a sea of cash.”

    Sheldon S. Wolin, “Democracy Incorporated” p. 66

    1. Tom

      What does Sheldon Wolin, or people who agree with his views, suggest we do to make the most difference we reasonably can?

      I’m interested in making a difference. I don’t need another outlet for expressing disabling cynicism. Believe me, I’m disgusted with matters. But I’m also not sure what the practical political point of Matt Stoller’s post is.

  35. mac

    POLITICAL PARTIES..Those are the problem, a candidate has to conform to the things the “GANG” wants to support. When people are elected to the House or Senate they are part of A “GANG” and must follow the leaders or like members of street gangs who fail to follow the dictates of the “leaders” they get beaten up.
    The “gangs” put out a brand they claim to represent and many folks just support and vote for the gang with no idea what they are doing or will do.
    Presidents and candidates must follow the “gang” or they get no support and the wannabes will not work for them.

    Indeed POLITICAL PARTIES are the problem.

    1. Defiant

      Althouh I don’t necesarily agree with some of their positions, much better than Robama.

  36. 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th column

    You hear a lot of vote this way, no, that way, no, the other way, no, let’s vote in some ingenious way that nobody ever thought of before, which will somehow cause the authorities to give a shit. No. Not gonna vote. Gonna throw nuts and bolts in the works every day to fuck up America little by little, more and more until I get what I want. Gonna wake up every morning and say, How can I throw some sand in the gears of bullshit crapshit America today? Allen West, you inbred mental defective war criminal, you gonna be nostalgic for the days of fiendish commies, you have no idea.

  37. Joe Corall

    The vast majority of questions we see presented to candidates are asked by the three major media organizations. These same media outlets are the ones covering the excruciating minutiae we see in the daily news cycle. If you’re watching a television show that only talks about random happenstances, reality TV, celebrity escapades — and totally avoid covering trends in political policy, or discuss the ideals of our policy makers; why would you expect to suddenly see them ask difficult questions to the presidential contenders?

    The only way I can see this lack of genuine debate/discussion in the public arena changing is by introducing new, fresh figures into the these facades we’ve been calling campaigns.

    The fact that we haven’t seen a 3rd party candidate in the presidential debates since Ross Perot in 1992 (when he received 18% of the vote) should be seen as criminal — as close to denying your right to vote they can get without actually blocking the polls. Yet we see very little public outcry…

    A worthwhile debate will only happen if more candidates are in the discussion PERIOD; and by more candidates I mean only those who are not financed by a major corporation(s).

    A Super PAC free candidate will be the only type of presidential contender willing to speak about the issues relevant to most people – because they will be fighting for votes, not $$$. Why this type of thinking isn’t in the political discourse I can’t seem to grasp – can someone please remind me the definition of insanity – doesn’t it go something like “trying the same thing over and over, and expecting different results”…

    And, I agree with many of the posts above me — http://jillstein.org is a wonderful place to start.

    1. Defiant

      Joe,

      Excellent point and I think most will agree with your assessment. However, it’s sad to note that our society has gone from a society of doers and take-charge individuals to a nation of me me me me..

      I think it’s important to start with looking at ourselves in the mirror. How can we ask for change from our leaders, or corporations, our neighbors if we are not willing to sacrifise in return. There is ZERO sense of responsibility.

      As an aside, the media has done a wonderful job at distorting what we watch on TV, that people have lost a sense of what is real from what is fantasy, what’s important from what is useless. Look at the most watched shows for a sneak peak (is American idol on tonight?).

      The following mentality is prevelant in our society:
      - It was the Fed, the banker, and the rich’s fault.
      - The government should give me free school, housing, transportation, food, medical costs, a yearly bonus, etc
      - Just keep printing, it got us into this mess and will surely get us out. (if you are an alcoholic, drink yourself sober)
      - It’s the bank’s fault I took out 10 credit cards and 5 mortgages I could not pay back.
      - Deficits are good as the public sector needs to pick up slack for the private sector
      - The tax payer will not have to pay for any deficits.
      - It’s bad for corporations to lobby the government, but it’s ok for unions to do it.
      - We can afford to run deficits for ever.
      - We can bail out every single American..
      - The mother of them all – Money grows on trees and comes from flying unicorns.

      1. Joe Corall

        I do sympathize with your dismay of the “me-me-me” attitude – which does seem to pervade some people’s way of thinking. But I have to disagree with your assessment that part of society has devolved into this mentality overtime. I would argue this is how it has always been.

        I believe the world we live in, with the infinite power instant communication affords us, is providing everyone with what I call “societal introspection”. Being exposed to events around the world the instant they happen, literally at the speed of light – is giving us all the ability to see human nature for what it really is, in all its forms. That, coupled with the digitization of information- giving everyone access to the ideas of the world’s most profound thinkers, past and present, available at our fingertips – provides us with enormous potential.

        It’s a shock what all we’re discovering – we are beginning to realize on a massive scale what exactly it is that’s human nature. Leaving Plato’s cave, to see the light — if you will… But I think only by realizing what exactly it is that ALL of US are capable of, both good and evil, will we be able to make anything better…

        1. Defiant

          Joe,

          Perhaps it’s a schock to some, but rather a reality to others. Or perhaps others act as being shocked, when they know reality and the expect the outcomes.

          One thing is certain, people have a different view of themselves versus government and religion. We are certain that we cannot spend more than our salaries and available credit. We cannot give 90% of our salaries to a poor neighbor. We cannot make money from a newspaper sitting on the floor. We cannot make food from nothing. We can’t fly.

          Although I trust that we are all aware of the government capabilities, some seem to think that the items listed above are only limited to ourselves. So it seems it’s us, and our government & god. You see, the mentality is our government is almost like god, they can create things from nothing like money, food, education, health care, housing and so many others I can’t list them here. We can probably also bail out the world and everyone will be happy.

          Although we have multiple references accross history to learn from, we’ve learnt from none. The multiple crisis of the last 100 years have been in veign, this time – it will be different. Not only did we go too deep, we will be better off and because of a new government “innovation” we will do it all for free.

          I believe this marks the top of an era, and if history serves us right, it won’t be pretty.

      2. Skippy

        Defiant,

        You leave out the most glaring fact. People are not born into a vacuum, they are groomed from birth by their masters… full stop. Dump trucks of empirical evidence upon request.

        Skippy… Americans, more than any other country, have from birth, been instructed to consume for pleasure. Of which, the time horizon of fashion, is closing in on a singularity. This has been Americas biggest export since WWII (had a go after WWI but it blew up in their face thingy)… conspicuous consumption for creating ever increasing electrons of price flow (bottle neck extraction points of peoples toil) which can be converted to value (critical components of the system) by the BSD of capital. And capitals only goal in life is more mass, its a matter of survival, hence the Darwin thingy… cough… the Herbert Spencer reality… were soaking in it.

        1. Defiant

          Nothing I can argue with there.. Hopefully we stick the neck and swim out before we drown.

          I think another item of importance is that all these “free” thingies have a string attached and are not really free. In the end, the masters, as you say, will demand more power to provide those “free things” and we will gladly sit back and not even question it because we want “free thingies”.

          It’s already starting to happen, nobody cares even asking because America’s Next Top Model is on right now. Look at the patriot and job acts.

          1. Skippy

            If I grok you correctly, I agree.

            *Insurance* is a poor substitute for proper risk management, expansion of unintended consequences, um… life rafts tied to a sinking ship and an anathema to innovation / discovery that furthers humanity’s and all life a future ?

            Skippy… your response, if you choose, will be interesting methinks.

          2. Defiant

            Skippy,

            Agree with you on the insurance part… So it seems that when us humans attempt to manage tomorrow, today, it never ends well. For some odd reason these hands tend to favor close friends and the more mistakes they make, the more intervention needed to hide their mistakes and then it becomes a self destruction loop. These hands will attempt so many things, that when we near the end, the populus will see them close to being from the heavens. It will appear as if these hands can achieve things not thought possible. Although both the issue and the solution seem as clear as water, by now our neighbors will be recommending solutions that would have made us laugh a few years prior. They wont let it happen people will chant. They can do it all!!!!

            It sure seems weird that we lost freedom for the sake of security, we lost the economy for the sake of growth, and now we are losing jobs for the sake of job creation. Ironic won’t you think?

            I guess you can always say you didn’t see it coming…

          3. Defiant

            Skippy,

            Forgot to mention one critical item. Aparrantly, one of the children mis-behaved and instead of addressing the issue, more candy and a bigger allowence was given. The other children quickly noted this and jumped in the party. Needless to say, all the children are now useless, fat, and irresponsible with zero sense of accountability. They only take and dont give.

            You would think that the adults around them would be looking to re-enforce some kind of order. You would be wrong, they also want to jump in and live happily ever after.

          4. skippy

            It is kinda like Dick Cheney, moving around with an entourage of donors and medical staff. At first its just life threatening replacement, but, after a bit, its just so he can have that *new* *invigorated* feeling.

            Mean while, the rest of his generation are passing away in accordance of the laws of the universe.

            Skippy… any way, the fact beard sees NO down side to his pet plan is a dead giveaway, come on, every plan has negatives. The fact that they will not discuss this… means the conversation is not in good faith, and for all his proclamations of ethics / morals, its no better than than the previous.

          5. Aquifer

            “Aparrantly, one of the children mis-behaved and instead of addressing the issue, more candy and a bigger allowence was given.”

            Ah, you must be referring to the banks …

          6. Aquifer

            skippy

            “*Insurance* is a poor substitute for proper risk management …an anathema to innovation / discovery that furthers humanity’s and all life a future ?”

            Hmmm – agree, no substitute for risk management, but no insurance not only leaves one vulnerable to a point of being totally risk averse, which also, IMO, is anathema to innovation and discovery – why would you “dare” innovate or discover when that means entering the unknown where, by definition, your risk increases, when you have no safety net – but also leaves you prey to the vicissitudes of life that no one can completely manage for? Seems to me that part of risk “management” is having some sort of insurance. It is always good to learn to swim – but in the vast sea, it is good to have a life jacket as well …

            Defiant

            “Agree with you on the insurance part… So it seems that when us humans attempt to manage tomorrow, today, it never ends well.”

            Insurance is not about managing tomorrow – it is about recognizing that we cannot manage tomorrow and needing a “back up” when life, or someone else, gives us a knee in the nether parts. As they say, life is what happens while we are planning for it …

    2. Defiant

      Apologies, did not see Jil’s video.

      The New Deal did not get us out of the depression, the war did.

      The suggested solutions are non-sense and as way from reality as Americal Idol is. Everyone has job, everyone is rich, unions roam free, deficit dont matter. All benefit with zero effort.

      This lady exemplefies the issues I stated above. The American people need to be told the truth, not this Takuna Matata story. This is actually worst than Obama’s line not only because they are fantasy, it cant be done and Jill knows it. Why she choses to look into that camera and lie to us in the eye is beyond incoprehensible.

      One day one candidate will come along and look at the American people in the eye and tell them we are bankrupt and there is no easy way to fix it.

      1. F. Beard

        The New Deal did not get us out of the depression, the war did. Defiant

        LOL! So deficit spending for destruction works but not to bailout the population?!

        Listen to yourself, man!

        1. Defiant

          You decide for yourself!

          began 1933 ended 1936 – New Deal
          began 1939 ended 1945 – WWII
          ~1940 through 1942 – Great depression ended

          These are facts and are out there for anyone to see.

          Now in regards to the below statement:
          “So deficit spending for destruction works but not to bailout the population?!”

          Deficit spending, for the sake of spending, did not work as clearly seen by the New Deal being passed in 1933 and ending in 1936 (history already told us it doesn’t work) – our debt to GDP went from approximately 180% of GDP in 1929 to 300% when the New Deal was passed in 1933. Reference: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Total-US-Debt-As-A-Percentage-Of-GDP.jpg

          The economy did not recover until the war was already underway in 1940-1942. The economy recovered because there was real DEMAND for war equipment (no fake jobs), and real DEMAND for rebuilding efforts to restore the capacity destruction in Europe.

          Further, capital, as well as gold, and corporations flowed from Europe to the US as it was seen as a safer environment (economic, political, social), as the US was not destroyed during the war.

          It is unfortunate, by the way, that this is what ended that crisis. Given some of the proposed solutions, I hope we don’t end with the same solution as in 1940.

          1. jonboinAR

            @Defiant
            You said:
            “The economy did not recover until the war was already underway in 1940-1942. The economy recovered because there was real DEMAND for war equipment (no fake jobs), and real DEMAND for rebuilding efforts to restore the capacity destruction in Europe.”

            I’m sorry. That is complete BS. The war spending busted us out because it was HUGE. It disregarded fiscal limitations. That’s all. There wasn’t a speck of more “real” demand in it, not the slightest trace, except in some minds.

        2. Defiant

          BTW,

          I didn’t even include employment figures on that so let’s take a look at those.

          Unemployment rose from 5% in 1930 to 12.5% in 1933 to 22% in 1935 (2 years into the new deal??).

          Government deficits are a clear destruction of jobs, the solution is a scam that only sounds good until you think about it.

        3. F. Beard

          The economy recovered because there was real DEMAND for war equipment (no fake jobs), and real DEMAND for rebuilding efforts to restore the capacity destruction in Europe. Defiant

          I’m not talking about fake jobs; I’m talking about real money given to the population as restitution for the banking system. Real jobs would then result as people spent the money on they desired.

          1. Defiant

            Beard,

            We debated this already. Demand for war goods as well as to rebuild the destroyed capacity in Europe will create jobs as a result of wealth/capital/trade creation.

            Giving money away will cause prices to rise by the same amount, netting zero gain. Trying to size how much credit has been removed from the sytem and replacing with “free money” will likely have the same result as we are seeing right now (imbalances everywhere). Intervention does not work.

            I’m not sure which other way to explain, but like I said, Fisher does an excellent job of explaining. I’m not sure how Keen cannot see this through all the years of research.

          2. F. Beard

            Giving money away will cause prices to rise by the same amount, netting zero gain. Defiant

            You keep saying that like some kinda of mantra and I keep refuting it with simple mathematics.

            But if all money creation is bad then should gold mining be banned under a gold standard?

          3. F. Beard

            I’m not sure which other way to explain, Defiant

            Save your breath. I once believed as you do. It is you who has some learning to do.

            Your Austrian buddies have been wrong with their hyper-inflation calls because they don’t understand money and banking. They have become even more of a laughing stock.

          4. Defiant

            Hyperinflation???

            Either I’ve mis-stated my position or it has been mis-understood. I’ve been following Mish since 2005.

            We are in a deflationary period with the system as it stands, not inflationary at all. Although the Fed has attempted to “grow” and inflate it’s way out of this corner, there is no way it can do it. I hope I’ve been clear with that.

            However, the proposed solution of putting air in the balloon in one side (give people money) while the balloon deflates on the other side seems like a dangerous proposition and it’s guaranteed to fail. We know a free system will work but it’s just too hard to keep our hands off the pot…. When will learn our lesson…

            My learning is continuous, and I do not have an agenda.. I stand to benefit from the solution you propose, yet I oppose it, I stand to lose from my solution, yet I support it. Let the system work, it will be painful initially, but better days are ahead… Let’s take our pill today…

          5. F. Beard

            We know a free system will work but it’s just too hard to keep our hands off the pot…. Defiant

            Because it is unjust, is why! And dangerous too. Want another Hitler on your conscience?

            When will learn our lesson… Defiant

            What lesson? To ignore justice? Hopefully never.

            “Guaranteed to fail?!” Justice is guaranteed to fail?! Do you believe that?

            But whatever you want, we will not have the cruel solution the Austrians desire. So the choices are probably the relatively clean solution Steve Keen proposes or a dangerous muddle through.

            And note the solution I propose would end FRL. So where is Mish’s plan to end FRL? Hmmm? Too busy trying to abolish the right to collectively bargain, is he, to give it much thought?

          6. Defiant

            Beard,

            It seems me and you agree on the issue, deflationary period. The solution is obviously different, but that’s ok, it’s a matter of being a bit patiend and waiting for outcomes.

            Some countries around the world are already going through this deflationary excercise. Had Greece not spend the money it was given, it would be in much better shape than today. But no no no, unions and government beurocrats thought they would fight the hand of god and spend their way out of this.

            Greece will have the chance to issue it’s OWN and SOVERIGN currency. Let’s wait patiently and see how that goes. Spain is also up on deck, let’s also see how the bailout money will be squandered away in useless government “programs”..

            So it may seem as if people like me and Mish want the worst for people, yet it is the exact opposite and the “free” solutions are nothing but a final attempt to steal the little that’s left. Americans are not foolish and will learn from Greece and Spain, believe me….

          7. Defiant

            Also note that most of our commoditiest trade on free market systems already. Have you seen any “Hitler” related issues with those?

          8. Defiant

            With regards to your collective barganing item.

            Some are against banking corruption but be for union corruption? What is that called again?????

            I will give you a hint…it starts with an H….

            Either you are for what you call justice or you are not…

          9. F. Beard

            I will give you a hint…it starts with an H…. Defiant

            Not at all. Banking is inherently evil while collective bargaining, unless it operates under government privilege, is not.

          10. F. Beard

            So it may seem as if people like me and Mish want the worst for people, Defiant

            The both of you ignore justice in favor of a “solution” that assumes we have had a totally free market in private money creation when the reverse is true; we have had a government backed/enforced counterfeiting cartel that has cheated both savers AND BORROWERS.

            And here’s your problem. Neither Mish nor yourself can plead ignorance anymore of a just solution. Steve Keen and myself have arrived at one independently. Too bad for the Austrians that they did not.

          11. Defiant

            Grece, Spain, Portugal, Italy will tell who is right and who is wrong. Let’s not accomodate the story to fit our agenda. Let history decide.

          12. skippy

            @beard,

            Full monetary sovereignty to the individual? With Citizens United in effect or international issuers et al.

            Skippy… The Corporate – Multinational take over would be complete under those conditions, methinks.

          13. F. Beard

            Full monetary sovereignty to the individual? skippy

            After the universal bailout no one would have full monetary sovereignty. Private money would only be good for private debts assuming people would accept it. Government money would only be legal tender for government debts though people could choose to use it for private debts too, if they wished.

          14. skippy

            @Beard,

            Are you talking about *free banking* or not?

            Skippy… you seem to bounce all over the place, yet when people challenge or attempt to gain a more granular description of your opines, you sling accusations. See conversation with MLTPB.

          15. F. Beard

            Are you talking about *free banking* or not? skippy

            No. Banks would not be allowed to create “credit”. Demand deposits would have to be 100% liquid at all times. If a bank violated this then the officers would be arrested for counterfeiting.

            As for MLTPB, you are disingenuous. So long as his questions were even partly serious, I answered him. When it became clear he was just mocking, I quit wasting time on him. What a poor example you picked!

          16. Defiant

            Beard,

            Look at every single post of mines and you will find a coherent and straight forward story with no bounding around.

            Why can’t Greece and Spain be monetary sovereigns??

          17. F. Beard

            Why can’t Greece and Spain be monetary sovereigns?? Defiant

            They could be but they are not.

          18. Defiant

            Please look at my statement closely again:

            “Grece, Spain, Portugal, Italy WILL tell who is right and who is wrong. Let’s not accomodate the story to fit our agenda. Let history decide.”

            There is no way out for the EU, something will give and my gut tells me Greece defaults and issues it’s own currency. This would make it a sovereign, am I correct?

          19. skippy

            What does credit creation have to do with free banking?

            Hell change, Bank to Company / Private entity / Banknote to Common Stock, and you end up with the same out look.

            Personally I find that you play fast and loose with a lot of wordings and meanings, sales man like.

            Any way, will America still be a monetarily sovereign if they can not maintain a currency monopoly by effective control of competing currencies. Cough… China – Asian pac.

            Skippy… MLTPB asked questions which required granularity, your accused him of lack of creativity rather than answer. In my book, you could not flesh out the answers, a failing on your part not his. They were bloody simple too IMO.

          20. F. Beard

            They were bloody idiotic questions! And I don’t have to flesh out all the details to know something is possible.

            Plus there is no need. If someone wants to use fiat for all debts then so he may! And if the fiat is well managed instead of used to bailout the filthy counterfeiters then most people would be content to use fiat for all debts.

            But there is also a danger that well meaning bureaucrats would wreck the value of fiat on stupid projects like the Soviets did. In that case, genuine private currencies would protect the private sector from that stupidity much as “hard currencies” did in the Soviet Union but not very well since only the Nomenclature had access to them.

            Yes, corporations could issue money but who would accept it unless it gave good value? Private money would be useless for the payment of taxes. The workers, if they were wise, would insist on equity. And why not? They would be debt-free and many of them would have a nice chunk of savings too from the universal bailout. Their bargaining power would be strong vis a vis the corporations.

            And heck, if that is not adequate, then nationalize all the corporations and distribute their common stock equally to the entire population. Why not? What does it matter who owns a corporation as far as its operations go?

          21. skippy

            There are no stupid questions, seeking knowledge is virtuous… right{?}, too gain insight, especially if it is of another s thoughts (we all don’t think alike thingy).

            Soviets? Beard are you red baiting, the final defense of a gawd head / unfettered capitalist? Which segways into… meaning bureaucrats would wreck the value of fiat on stupid projects…beard. Skip here… you know you could replace bureaucrats with company officer or the fact that the two are so interchangeable these days.

            “Yes, corporations could issue money but who would accept it unless it gave good value?”… beard.

            Skip here… Value being, store of wealth, no reduction of its initial trading value (when in history has that ever happened)? Monsanto, Wall Mart, et al would be perfect corporation’s in that line of thinking…eh. And how do they meet those conditions, um…. monopoly’s, complete adherence to the profit only thinking (all fair in love and war thingy), unbridled consumption of finite resources with out proper reclamation (if its even possible), subjugation of populations, etc.

            Skippy… “And heck, if that is not adequate, then nationalize all the corporations and distribute their common stock equally to the entire population. Why not? What does it matter who owns a corporation as far as its operations go?”… beard.

            WOW straight off the deep end. How about making banks utility’s and carefully move forward, trying not to shock the already fragile state of things, world wide.

            Skippy… you do know there are counter party’s and the trust thing… eh.

      2. Aquifer

        “The New Deal did not get us out of the depression, the war did.”

        Ah, so instead of creating our own demand for rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and transforming our economy from a consumer one to a producer one of food and technology needed to become self sufficient – a far more monumental, worthwhile and “demanding” task than fighting a war, let’s just have another war and hope that it “demands” enough to get us out of this rut. Wow! sounds like a plan! Problem – how big do you want this war to be? Will you volunteer your kids as cannon fodder – or PTSD cripples, or would you rather get them a regular job? Is it better to make bombshells or solar cells?

        “The suggested solutions are non-sense and as way from reality as Americal Idol is. Everyone has job, everyone is rich, unions roam free, deficit dont matter. All benefit with zero effort.”

        You really do want to insist that we must allow the bottom to drop out, do our 40 years in the desert, hair shirts and all, before we are allowed to think about how to climb out of this hole – all must suffer “appropriately” for the sins of a few, so that we might be purified and achieve the proper level of moral rectitude before we “deserve” to be healed .. Thank god there are folks who have more concern for folks really hurting than you apparently do. How many more, of all ages, must fall through the cracks before you will give a damn?

        Reality? Folks are choking on it – how much more “reality” do you want to shove down folk’s throats before you will feel they have suffered enough to suit you? Want to waterboard them with “reality” juice?

        You think this won’t take any effort? What, are you kidding?
        “(U)nions roam free” really gives you away, apparently corporations roaming free is a MUCH better solution …

        “The American people need to be told the truth, not this Takuna Matata story. This is actually worst than Obama’s line not only because they are fantasy, it cant be done and Jill knows it. Why she choses to look into that camera and lie to us in the eye is beyond incoprehensible.”

        Ah,yes, the truth according to HMS Defiant; she is the only candidate out there telling the truth, who even has any respect for it. What’s the problem, that she threatens the power base of the elite who of course are the only ones who have always benefited from the cleansing austerity you seem to prefer? It can’t be done? Or are you afraid it can be and you don’t want it to be? Old Chinese saying – “man who says it can’t be done should get out of way of (wo)man doing it”

        Worse than Obama’s line? And what is that, exactly? The one where he is “a socialist”?

        Lie to us? Man, you really are getting shrill. Ah yes, well i guess that’s a good sign – we are beyond the “first they ignore you” stage – some where around the “then they laugh at you”, methinks you should have stopped there, but going to the “then they insult and belittle you” makes me think we are making real progress here …,

        “One day one candidate will come along and look at the American people in the eye and tell them we are bankrupt and there is no easy way to fix it.”

        Other than the fact that a nation with a sovereign currency can’t really go bankrupt, what would you like your candidate to say, after “there is no easy way to fix it” – I think i have an idea, but let’s hear it – after all a candidacy that has nothing more to say after that isn’t worth much, now is it?

        Your over the top, rather “incoprehensible” reaction, which is in no way responsive to a person who has offered an analysis of our problems, that resonates with many, and some reasoned solutions to them, says more about you, , methinks, than about her …

        The woman thinks large, which is what we so much need in a leader – as we have suffered far too long under small minded men – perhaps we can agree on that, at least …

  38. cwaltz

    I could give 2 figs about candidate a or candidate b but I will say that I am glad that Rosen apologized. It is incredibly diheartening to go to liberal sites and see the choice of a woman staying home as “freeloading” as if women taking care of human beings that came with absolutely no intruction manual whatsoever was so darn easy. And while Ann Romney may have indeed have had help many of the years she stayed at home (although if you are to believe her bio, she and Romney lived rather frugally with at least their first child) most women who stay at home are raising children while cooking, cleaning, and doing tons of mundane but necessary chores that in reality if they were undone by themselves would cost their household income. I’m a proud feminist and I proudly support each and every woman and their choices. I am proud of the women who each and every day choose to leave their homes and contribute to their workspaces and juggle household responsibilities. I am equally as proud of the women who sacrifice a career track and choose to spend their time and resources creating a home for their families. Both are personal and noble choices. And it totally floors me that any group that claims to support women would claim a statement saying otherwise is “no big deal.”

    1. Defiant

      I sure don’t see staying home as a free loader. Taking care of a family is no easy task and is considered more than a job in my opinion.

      1. Praedor

        It is less work than “taking care of the family” AND holding down a job.

        Simple fact.

        1. cwaltz

          Try again. Speaking as a female who has done both there is no such thing as “harder”, only different. My time in the workforce was difficult because multitasking my daily workspace tasks with running a household(even with the aid of a spouse) was difficult. I was never able to give either task my full attention because I constantly had to balance the two. However, the pros of the experience was I was compensated for my time and as such I could HIRE someone to watch after my children until I came home or to cook our meals. I got to socialize more. As a stay at home mother I have sacrificed an income and a career trajectory(were I to go back to work today I would be compensated lower due to the fact that I left the work sector). I don’t get to socialize with adults the same amount I did in the workspace. I clearly (as evidenced by Rosen’s commentary and your own) do not get the respect given to me that my peers that do work get. I do however get the satisfaction of knowing that my full attention is being given to what I consider the most important job I will ever undertake. Our household is a larger one so there is always something or someone who needs my time and attention. I am blessed that I can give it without being torn.

          I would suggest you re-think or actually speak with women who have experienced both rather than draw erroneous conclusions based on faulty logic. Each woman may have a different temperment that pulls her in a specific direction. Each household may have different sizes and needs. Suggesting that a woman who makes a choice to juggle two is somehow making a more difficult choice is totally ignoring that people are not one size fits all and as such neither are the circumstances they would encounter.

  39. pelham

    The thrust and particulars of what you’re saying here sound about right to me. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t necessarily undersell the very specific implication of what Hilary Rosen said.

    Conservatives and others are constantly on the lookout for a feminist agenda that they view as threatening but also as slap-in-the-face insulting to their belief that a woman’s highest possible calling is in the home. Liberals generally do a pretty good job hiding this, so the issue typically remains on a low boil.

    Rosen, however, let slip this condescending and infuriating notion with her statement about Ann Romney. Rosen’s prominence as a member of the tribe was sufficient to cause the whole issue to quickly boil over — putting in the shade even Rush Limbaugh’s recent gaffe.

    So, yes, there is a lot of millionaire kabuki going on here. But the Rosen comment and the veritable mile-long coal train of insulting, detestable assumptions degrading to both conservatives and traditionalists that goes with it is not nothing.

  40. Praedor

    Sorry, but the idea of apologizing for STATING THE TRUTH is rubbish! Rosen is right, the “momma grizzlies” are wrong. Simple logic. If it is such “hard work” for a stay-at-home mother to raise the kids then what do you say to the woman (MOST women) who not only raises the kids BUT ALSO HOLDS DOWN A PAYING JOB?! SHE is doing much MORE work than the stay-at-home chick. In addition, Mrs Romney has NEVER wanted or struggled a day in her priviledged life. She has had, and continues to have, a BIG sugardaddy to suck off of. Let’s see how she handles rearing kids AND holding down a job!

    If staying at home to raise the kids is hard work, then raising the kids AND holding down a job is MUCH harder. Ipso facto.

    1. cwaltz

      Opinions aren’t facts. While Ms. Rosen is certainly entitled to believe raising children is easy and not “real work” there are millions of women who would beg to differ. Suggesting they are somehow wrong for that opinion is a serious strawman.

  41. RLB

    I believe that the election does not matter but, somehow the voting process matters – even if only to the people voting.

    I have read this entire rant.

    I would like to suggest that all of you watch the movie Thrive with Foster Gamble

    http://www.thrivemovement.com/home

    I think you can tie it in nicely and maybe there is another idea of how we can get ourselves back where we belong.

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