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Tansy_Gold's Journal
Posted by Tansy_Gold in Latest Breaking News
Fri Nov 11th 2011, 09:19 AM
As too many commenters have written on the various videos of "The Universal Soldier," the song is all about personal responsibility. If there are no soldiers, there can be no war.

But this morning it's about, imho, another war, and that war is being fought here, without guns. It's the war against honor and integrity all in the name of WINNING.

I am not a pacifist to the point that I think it's honorable to do nothing in defense when attacked. I believe deadly force is even justified in defense.

But I am absolutely sickened at this Penn State horror even while I look at it as just -- JUST -- another symptom of a society gone insane with greed. The insane greed to win win win at all costs. A society that has complete demonized "the other" in virtually every situation. Herman Cain seems to see all women as "the other" and ripe for his conquest. Police departments everywhere see OWS as just a bunch of targets. Ditto with the drones. "They're brown people." "They're black people." "They're Indians (choose which continent)." "They're women." "They're poor." "They're not like us."

Joe Paterno is 84 years old. He should have happily retired years ago and enjoyed his life. Instead, as far as I can see, everything to him was about winning. WINNING. Defeating someone else, even in a game. And it looks like the whole game got out of control. Penn State administrators lost sight of their mission because it was all about winning. All about getting tv contracts and the money that comes to winners. WIN = $$$, and the more wins, the more $$$, and no matter what you have to do win, do it. So they asked Paterno to retire at one point and he growled at them and refused and they backed down. And they knew Sandusky was a pedophile but they didn't really do much to stop him because they wanted to win and maybe revealing what was going on with Sandusky might cost them $$$ or make them lose. Mike McQueary played with Sandusky's kids and worked for Paterno and was so brainwashed apparently into a culture of authoritarianism that this massive former quarterback DID NOTHING -- NOTHING to stop what he suspected was the rape of a 10 year old boy. Instead, like the good little soldier in the war to win, McQueary called his daddy. And they waited until the next day to tell Paterno and when nothing happened to Sandusky, McQueary said nothing more. He has hidden for almost a decade behind the shield of "required notification" that he did the absolute minimum that was required of him and therefore he's absolved.

Jon Corzine claims to be a Democrat, and yet he appears to have presided over a massive theft of his clients' money. Jon Corzine is a winner, a rich man, a former governor who survived a horrendous car crash that should have killed him. He's a fucking thief, and we will never know how many lives he and his soul-brothers Bernie Madoff and Andy Fastow and Alan Stanford and John Thain and the ongoing list of Wall Street mobsters have destroyed. Because Barack Obama wanted us all to look forward, not back, and so the forward we looked into when the boooshies and the traders and the Joe Cassanos and the Bernankes and the Norquists and all the rest of em got off with not even a scolding was a future just like the past only worse.

I've always considered 11 to be a kind of lucky number for me, though I'm not particularly superstitious. Today, though, it seems kind of a bummer. From that hopeful Armistice Day when the war to end all wars was ended, things haven't always gotten better. There are still wars, the Handsome Johnnys are still dying, still coming home maimed and psychologically impaired, and they're coming home to a home deteriorating before their eyes.

And I don't know what to do about it.

Tansy Gold
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Posted by Tansy_Gold in Editorials & Other Articles
Tue Nov 08th 2011, 09:28 AM
"young" and are now contributing nothing to their own maintenance.

You'd think the "elderly" were all a bunch of senile old whiners begging to be accommodated in luxury during their "golden" years and demanding that the "young" sacrifice themselves to keep the old geezers going.

How many of those geezers helped put those kids through school and college, taught them to drive, gave them cars, helped them out when they were just starting?
How many of them would gladly, eagerly do so again if they could?

I'm really fucking sorry that the Wall Street bastards made it tough for you, dkf, but I guess people like you won't be happy until everyone over 50 who isn't productive (by your standards) just jumps over a cliff and takes themselves out of your misery. It's almost as if you're blaming us for the problem!

You're a prime example of the kind of divide this "research" is aiming to create. Instead of recognizing that we're all in this together, we're all responsible for each other, you'd throw out the social security that a lot of us worked our asses off for so you and your ilk can buy the latest cool new electronic device made in China by the people who took your jobs away from you. And I'm not talking about Chinese workers -- I'm talking about the CEOs who are the ones who REALLY stole your jobs, the CEOs and the stockholders and the government that allowed it all to happen.

what's your breaking point? I don't know. I guess the breaking point of us seniors -- I just turned 63, fyi -- is now and we should just die so you don't have anything to worry about. Never mind that our deaths won't bring back your jobs.

You've fallen for the scapegoating propaganda of the right. Rather than look at the real villains, you look for anyone convenient to blame and the right wing has provided you with a perfect target for your anger: old folks.

Just remember, one of these days, maybe, you'll be "old," too, and I hope no one comes along who is as eager to push you onto an ice floe (if there are any left) as you seem to be with your elders.

Edited to add, because I forgot part of my point -- You think the young are in "worse shape" than the elderly. How many young people do you see in nursing homes, alone, without friends or family to help out? How many young people starve to death or freeze to death because they can't pay the bills? How many young people have prescription drug bills that run into the hundreds and hundreds of dollars every month? You think Medicare and Medicaid cover every cent of that? Ha! how little you know.

and remember too that many of these seniors have been productive all their lives and now their value as contributors to the social fabric has been tossed aside as useless and valueless. They don't have the opportunities to change careers, to examine their future. And frankly, it sticks in my craw that young people, who have their youth and their health and their opportunities and their choices all ahead of them would whine and piss and moan because their parents and grandparents are only asking to have what they earned.

"Seniors" aren't asking to be kept in luxury. Many of us worked damn hard for what we have, and it's not that we're asking for more -- we're just asking to be able to hang onto what we acquired AND help the next generation do a little better. We aren't your enemy, dkf, but we sure won't be your friends if you keep whining and blaming us for the troubles that are affecting us all.


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Posted by Tansy_Gold in Editorials & Other Articles
Fri Sep 30th 2011, 06:47 PM /

And were not (just) talking about ignorant politicians. This stuff has been coming from the European Central Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Bank for International Settlements.

I dont fully understand it. But a large part of it, it seems obvious, is the intense desire to see economics as a morality play of sin and punishment, where the sinners are, of course, workers and governments, not the bankers. Pain is not an unfortunate consequence of policies, its what is supposed to happen.

How obsessive are these people? So obsessive that when the financial doom they predict fails to materialize, they consider this a bad thing: punishment must be administered, so what are the markets waiting for?

. . . . .

Just to reiterate a point Ive made before, none of this reflects actual economic theory. Throughout this crisis, people like Adam Posen and yours truly have been basing our arguments on standard textbook macroeconomics, whereas the Very Serious People have been making up stories on the fly to justify their calls for pain.


In the never humble opinion of one Tansy Gold, Dr. Krugman's little blog essay has completely missed the point.

1. If the economy were healthy, it wouldn't need any artificial stimulus. If it needs a stimulus, that means it's not healthy. Your mission, Dr. K, is to determine why it's not healthy. When was it last healthy and what has changed since then to make it unhealthy? More important, who benefits from its unhealthiness and what, if anything, did those beneficiaries have to do with making it unhealthy in the first place?

2. Some of the commenters on the blog got it right -- the wealthy DO NOT WANT a healthy economy. It is in their best interest to maintain the status quo and make it even more quoer if they can.

3. As long as the wealthy control the government and the media, they will keep the proletariat ignorant of anything that will challenge the status quo. That means gutting public education and replacing it with indoctrination.

America may not be a "christian" nation in terms of constitutional language, but much of the cultural fabric is rooted in a particular brand of christianity that favors the wealthy, and especially favors those who do not work for their wealth. Think of The Lilies of the Field, both the parable and the movie. This brand of christianity also promotes a distinct double standard, because wealth, especially unearned wealth, is considered a sign of God's grace, so that the poor are considered lacking in goodness/godliness as well as lacking in monetary value. Indeed, it is a brand of christianity that looks upon work as sin, or at least the wages of sin, pun intended. The poor, and especially the working poor, are that way because God wants them to be poor and far be it from the saintly, blessed Rich to change God's divine plan.

This is still a massively church-going nation, unlike our cousins in Europe. Remember when the Soviets were labeled "godless" commies? If the truth got out about communism and/or socialism, American people might actually be attracted to it. There's really nothing frighening in it at all. Communism is much more in keeping with the actual/alleged teachings of Jesus, but the capitalists couldn't allow that to be known, so the Communists became godless, and that's what made them evil. And the propaganda worked.

Paul, you really should read more Kevin Phillips. Then you'd know why economics really is a morality tale, that poverty is caused by sin, and all the moral hazard falls on the poor.

Your dear friend,

Tansy Gold

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Posted by Tansy_Gold in General Discussion
Sat Apr 02nd 2011, 10:13 AM
And you don't need my permission.

This is an exercise in "what if?" and it should be treated that way. I think it's interesting that some of the people who have given the current President well over two years and voiced not a peep of complaint are demanding that *I*, a mere candidate who has not seen her name written in on a single ballot, must provide concrete answers for every problem in my first annoucement.

The implication, as I infer it, is that since Obama couldn't do anything, no one could have. No one on earth. Not a single soul could possibly have changed anything. Now, that to me is a very defeatest attitude, rather akin to WE'RE DOOOOOOOMED!!!!! (some people apparently have never read Douglas Adams and don't understand that whole thing about infinite alternatives or whatever it was.)

First of all, we don't know if Obama even tried to do anything. We certainly didn't see him put on his comfy shoes and walk with the workers. (Yes, yes, I know some of them said they didn't want him there, but do we know if that's an honest answer or covering his ass?) We know he backtracked and backtracked and backtracked on HCR with single payer or a public option or Medicare-for-all. We know these things. We know Gitmo is still open, troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rich are still getting fabulous tax breaks, etc., etc., etc.

Second of all, I think that putting all our hopes on one person, ignoring that person's failings, and then making excuses for that person's failings (even though those failings don't exist) is all counter-productive. My intention is to initiate a dialogue on these issues, the kind of dialogue that, if a real candidate were expressing them, would generate action on the part of the real candidates.

The real person behind Tansy Gold is not going to run for real office. That takes money, which she doesn't have. It would mean leaving her home where she's comfortable. It would mean exposing skeletons that should rest in peace in her closet. It would mean a real campaign that would cost her her temper, because she really has no patience whatsofuckingever with stupidity and/or rightwing bullshit. Tansy Gold is a comfortable and convenient surrogate.

For those who don't like the idea, hey, folks, just tune out! Put me on ignore so you don't have to be bothered by my threads and posts and journal. But be warned: If you make personal attacks, I will alert on you. The alert button is my very good friend.

Disclaimer right up front:

I do not personally know any DUers; I have spoken on the phone once or twice with one DUer, and several times with another who hasn't posted here in years. I correspond by private email with I think three DUers, none of whom I have ever met. I do not know, nor have I ever been, a moderator on DU. I used to post -- as Tansy Gold -- on another discussion board where I am still registered but I do not post there any longer and probably never will.


Tansy Gold

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Posted by Tansy_Gold in General Discussion
Fri Apr 01st 2011, 09:05 AM
I figured April 1st was as good a day as any to make the official announcement.

Tansy Gold is running for President of the United States.

Mine is going to be a unique campaign because it will cost absolutely nothing. I will have no campaign staff, no campaign budget, no bumper stickers or buttons, probably not even a website, although I think I do own the domain name I will accept no campaign contributions from anyone at all, and be beholden to no one BUT THE PUBLIC after I'm elected. I will not make any personal campaign appearances or ads. If the news media want to interview me, they'll have to do it by phone or email or something; I'm not leaving home even to drive to a tv or radio studio.

My campaign is kind of modeled on those of the late comedian Pat Paulsen, except he did much more real campaigning than I will do.

After all, Pat Paulsen was a real person. Tansy Gold is a DU persona, just a name in cyberspace with a real person pulling the keyboard strings as it were.

The real person behind Tansy Gold is not running for President.

I've laughed and joked about this for several years, especially over in the daily Stock Market Watch thread, and I figure now is the time to put my lack of money where my fingers are and actually do it.

There will be nothing "coordinated" about this campaign, because that might mean having to file paperwork and statements and so on. This is just me and my keyboard -- and the issues. Anybody else who wants to run for any other office is free to do so. We can debate issues here, get our threads locked if they become too contentious, put each other on ignore, send alerts, whatever. (And yes, I'm quite aware that the mods and admins may choose to yank this thread and even tombstone me. That is always their option.)

But this campaign IS going to be about the issues, everything from closing Gitmo (haven't we heard that before?) to corporate tax rates to minimum wage to clean air to logging in national forests to abortion to school prayer to unions to hedge funds to health care to whatever you want to debate.

Would you, if you had the choice, vote for a candidate who promised, if elected, to work and not pre-emptively compromise with the GOP and DINOs in Congress on:

1. An immediate cease-fire and structured withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Pakistan, accountability from military "contractors," and a major reduction in the Pentagon budget?

2. Without qualifications or hedges, a true single-payer health plan for the United States and promises to work toward a Medicare-for-all program regardless how loud the insurance companies scream?

3. EVERY woman's right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term, including the right to obtain an abortion covered by her health care plan, including a single-payer, Medicare-for-all plan, based solely on discussions between her and her doctor?

4. A fair and equitable income tax structure that treats income from wages, salaries, and small business profits as earned income subject to a lower tax rate than unearned income derived from investments and inheritances?

5. American workers' jobs, benefits, and safety ahead of corporate profits?

6. Innovations within the public education system that would keep our schools truly public and accountable but free of corporate manipulation and undue influence?

7. Research and investment in viable renewable energy programs to lessen everyone's dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear power?

8. Appointment of cabinet members and administration staff and advisers who have liberal and progressive records and experience, rather than corporate-friendly stooges?

9. Nomination of federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, whose records indicate they favor justice for all over privileges for a few?

10. No nonsense, no lies, a transparent and WYSIWYG Presidency?

I'm from Chicago, and though I've always been a White Sox fan, the Cubs' fan's perennial "Wait 'til next year!" is more than familiar. Well, it's next year now. Baseball season has started, and so has the campaign season. Let's play ball.

Tansy Gold, 2012
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Posted by Tansy_Gold in Editorials & Other Articles
Wed Nov 24th 2010, 02:24 PM
In response to a comment in another thread in which the poster stated that there is no Left, that Obama doesn't owe it anything, that it never did anything anyway, I sat down and wrote this, somewhat in the style of the old "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" essay. Because in some, maybe many, respects, the Left is a bit like Santa -- it's more present in spirit than in the flesh.

So yes, Virginia, there is indeed a Left in America, a rational sensible Left. I'm not talking about the wild-eyed hippie anarchists portrayed by the establishment media in the 60s and 70s. Nor am I talking about an organized movement or party. The American Left is less organized than the Tea Partiers, and it probably gets less media attention, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

This American Left is more mature than its 60s ancestor, but some of the people who were part of that 60s grassroots movement are still Leftists today. Some of them were supporters of Eugene McCarthy or George McGovern or Bobby Kennedy who survived the disappointments of those campaigns without losing all of their idealism. Some of them were followers of Dr. King or Jesse Jackson, and they knew that racism is one of the symptoms of the sickness of classism.

Many on the Left were radicalized by what's called Second Wave feminism, that notion of women being real people, too. They know that freedom to choose when and if to have a child is essential to being a real person, not just part of one (a uterus) or a pre-determined specific kind of one (a mother).

Is there a Left platform? No, not really. But if there were, it would pretty much look like the platform contained in two documents written in the late 18th Century and ratified by the young states in 1789. We call one the Constitution, and the other the Bill of Rights.

And because the Left is sometimes today equated with a 20th Century movement called Progressivism, the Left acknowledges that the Constitution and its amendments are an attempt to progress from a well-intentioned start toward a more perfect finish. The Left understands that the world isn't perfect yet, but that only means we have to work to make it so. We can't rest on our laurels, nor can we give up just because the struggle is daunting.

So yes, Virginia, there is a Left. It may not be a formal organization, and it may not be a large organization, but it's still here, still alive and kicking.

Now, you may ask, Virginia, has the Left ever done anything?

And that's a perfectly valid question, Virginia. Since the Left isn't really a political party like the Democrats or the Republicans, it's difficult to see what the Left does. So let's go back to that platform thing, because I think it will help you understand better what the Left does.

The Left is more about ideas and ideals and less about party, Virginia. The Left stands for civil rights, the idea that's embodied in that "all men are created equal" statement. Not just men, of course, even though men were the only ones who had any chance of having a vote back when the Constitution was being framed. The Left recognizes that the Constitution was created with an eye to the future. That's what Amendments are for bringing the Constitution up to date with the changing of public attitudes and even the changing of public knowledge. So the Left supports a living, flexible, perfectable Constitution rather than a carved-in-stone immutable document that might have been great in 1789 but just doesn't meet all the needs of folks in the 21st century.

So the Left stands for civil rights for EVERYONE, Virginia. Not just for men with property but all men, and all women, regardless of the color of their skin, regardless of their wealth or lack thereof, regardless of their religion, regardless of their sexual orientation. All people.

All people. For some people that's a difficult concept to accept. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, for example, who thinks the Constitution and its amendments don't apply to women. Apparently he doesn't think women are people.

Do you begin to see where this is going, Virginia? Most of the changes to the Constitution and its supporting body of federal law over the past 220 years or so have been made by people who promoted ideas of progress. Everything from abolishing chattel slavery to giving women the right to vote to regulating television and the Internet to highway and airline safety to the federal income tax and Social Security that's what the Left has done.

Now, you're quite right to question whether everything that's been done should fall under the heading progressive or Left. Some things certainly haven't. That Patriot Act thing sure wasn't. But people on the Left are aware of that and they're working to change it. The Left believes in change, believes it's essential to the political health of the nation.

It was the Left that brought out the horrors of the war in Vietnam and encouraged the public pressure that eventually brought that shameful war to an end. It was and is the Left that has exposed many of the worst environmental disasters, from Love Canal to Prince William Sound to Grand Isle, Louisiana.

The Left stands for human rights, environmental rights, for peace and sustainability, for fairness and equality of opportunity. And part of that fairness thing is that the Left stands for an equitable distribution of a society's wealth. The Left believes that people who work for a living and that's mos t of us, Virginia should be adequately compensated for our labor. And yes, that means those who make their money through other means like betting on the stock market or through inheritance should pay higher taxes.

Some people don't like to hear that. As soon as they hear "higher taxes," they shout "That's socialism!" as if it were some horrible disease that would kill us like a plague.

But while taxes can be used to redistribute wealth, they are also used to provide the many many public services we've come to depend on: public schools, public roads, fire and police and other emergency services, parks and libraries. The Left knows socialism isn't a bad thing at all, and in fact it's very much a part of what we think of as our American way of life.

In many respects, Virginia, it was those beliefs in the fundamental principles of the great American experiment that put the Left, without any formal organization, staunchly behind the nomination and then the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States.

During the official and unofficial campaigning that went on before the 2008 Democratic primary elections, two candidates emerged as front runners. Early on, Hillary Clinton appeared poised to take the nomination as the first woman candidate of a major political party. But Barack Obama challenged her, and the question soon became would the Democrats nominate a Black man or a woman? Either candidate offered that tantalizing "first" appeal, and either would have fit that "change" model of the Left's platform. But ultimately, the majority on the Left threw their support behind Obama, not because he was necessarily more progressive or more liberal or more "left," but because, at least in part, Hillary Clinton represented ties to an administration that was LESS progressive, LESS liberal, LESS "left."

So when people try to tell you, Virginia, that there is no Left in America or that if there is, it's never done anything, you just tell them that there is indeed a Left in America, and it was that Left that put Barack Obama in the White House. Without a Left, there would have been no abolition movement, no votes for women, no civil rights movement, no Voting Rights Act, no Peace Corps. In short, Virginia, without the Left there would have been no Barack Obama to become President Barack Obama!

But you also asked about the future, Virginia. You asked what the Left can do to make the future better for your generation and for generations to come.

Well, for one thing, Virginia, the Left needs to continue to make itself heard. That's not always easy to do. The Left, because it's not very well organized, doesn't have the focused energy of the right. The Left doesn't have its own media presence and media voices, though it's trying. One thing the Left does have is Barack Obama.

Stop laughing, Virginia!

Oh, it's true. As President, he hasn't exactly lived up to all the promises he made as a candidate, and it's very true that many on the Left are more than a little bit disappointed with him. And that disappointment comes partly from our own impatience. We had our hopes built up during the 2008 campaign that this time we not only had a candidate who could win not like McGovern and even Dukakis but also a President who would fulfill the promises of the campaign. Real hope for real change was what we saw in candidate Obama.

Now, two years after the election victory, a lot of those promises are waiting to be kept. The war has drawn down in Iraq, or at least it's not on the front pages any more, but the fighting has escalated in Afghanistan. The promised withdrawal has been moved out. The gay rights issues of repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a policy of the Clinton era which hindered Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency and of same-sex marriage have not been addressed satisfactorily. The economy remains in a shambles with high unemployment and higher underemployment. Wall Street continues its bankster ways, taking taxpayer bailout money and giving it to executives who already have more than they can spend in a lifetime. The BP oil catastrophe has not been resolved. Global warming is still not being addressed. Mine safety. Health care. Taxes. So many issues and so few resolutions.

As a result, many on the Left are disappointed, disillusioned, and even angry. And they point to specific issues where they feel their interests were ignored and where the administration of Barack Obama gave in to the interests and wishes of the Right. The Left cites the appointments of many many conservative Democrats or even Republicans to the Obama cabinet and other high-level advisory posts.

Most of all, however, the Left complains that Obama has seemed more interested in stubbornly pursuing a strategy of "bipartisanship" even though no one on the other side seems willing to join him. The Right wants everything their way or not at all, and the Left sees Obama moving further and further and further away from the ideals they believed he held as deeply as they did.

They see, too, that the recent losses for the Democratic party in the 2010 elections were a sign not that the Obama administration failed because it moved too far to the left but that its constant movement toward the right led to its failures. It's not only that they didn't get enough votes from the center or even the center-right, but they lost votes from the Left.

You see, Virginia, most voters aren't students of politics. They may pay some attention to the issues that affect them directly, like Social Security or unemployment benefits or health care, but they don't study the positions of the various candidates in detail and they don't connect the issues to the candidates to the parties to the power struggles. It's understandable, then, that most voters cast their ballots in a more emotion-driven decision than a rational consideration of whether their vote will really effect the desired results. Many voters in 2010 probably voted for "change" because they weren't happy with the current situation on various issues, whether on taxes or the economy or jobs or the wars or whatever. But many of them probably didn't understand that while "progress" always implies "change," change alone is not always progressive.

That's why the current situation with regard to criticism of President Obama's policies is hard for some people to understand. Some people, even some on the Left, see the President as not just a person but as the embodiment of their own personal hopes and dreams. They have identified with his campaign slogans and even with the expectations they had for his presidency. And so it's difficult, emotionally difficult, for them to admit he has flaws and that his Administration has not lived up to its campaign promises.

They see criticism of him as criticism of themselves, for having put their faith in him. And even though some of them consider themselves Democrats or Progressives or even part of "the Left," they are less concerned with issues and more concerned with personality. They don't want to admit that there is much in the Obama administration that is not at all liberal or progressive or Left.

The real problem, Virginia, is that President Obama himself seems more concerned about appeasing the Right than with doing what is right. His policies have not broadly benefited working people as much as they have benefited corporations and wealthy people. And so those of us on the Left are vocal about our complaints, not because we want President Obama to fail, but because we want his right-leaning policies to fail. We want him to move further to the Left, not further to the right.

We on the Left are less likely to get caught up in the cult of a personality; our focus is on ideas, ideals, and issues. We want our ideas to succeed, and we would like President Obama to implement policies that promote progressive ideals. If he is willing to try to do that, then we will be behind him 200 percent, Virginia. And we will probably even vote for him rather than for a Republican challenger, because we know he cannot possibly be as bad as they are.

But not being as bad as the Republicans isn't good enough for us. We want our president to be more than just not George Bush or not John McCain or not Sarah Palin. We want a president who is an active, vocal advocate for the original living ideals of the United States. If we get a president who is anything less than that, then we will let him know. That is our right, Virginia, and that is our Left.

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Posted by Tansy_Gold in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Nov 03rd 2010, 12:16 PM
it's long and convoluted, so pay attention.

What happened in Florida is a textbook case of Democratic party failure.

The Democratic party has never adopted a clear cohesive ideology. We're the big tent and that means we let just about everyone in without demanding any kind of ideological purity from them. And that's probably a good thing.

But it also means that the Democratic party lacks a certain unity. Yeah, PUMA and all that. The fact is, the Dems don't have what the GOP has.

So when Charlie Crist entered the race and looked like he might win, Dems faced a dilemma: Support the potential winner Crist even though he's a former puke and unknown quantity as an I, or support the real Democrat Kendrick Meek who really didn't have a chance. That dilemma, and the desire for victory, entered the dialogue here on DU, too. The rules (ideology) are no support for non-Dems running against Dems, but that rule was waived for the chance to back a winner.

So what happened? Well, it looks like Meek lost because the Dems abandoned him for a "winner," and Meek stood firm on more or less non-existent party principles. They both lost.

The same thing happened in 2004, when the Dems insisted on going through the formalities of the primary campaign. They stood firm rather than broker a deal -- which would probably have led to a Kerry-Edwards ticket anyway -- that would have allowed their ticket to campaign much longer than waiting until the convention. (They did start a little early, but then Kerry turned out to be a wimp after all.)

And to a certain extent, it happened again in 2008 with whole Hillary/Obama thing. We're STILL getting fall-out from that, with the sniping continuing to this day on DU against anyone who might have supported Hillary being labeled a PUMA or an Obama-hater or a puke-supporter. There are DUers who demand the same kind of absolute party loyalty that the pukes demand. The problem is, the pukes have an ideology that matches that demand. The Dems don't.

The Dems, because they embrace so many varieties of Democrat, don't really know where to draw the line. The pukes do. They know where their line is, and because the Dems won't stand firm, the pukes are able to keep moving that line further and further to the right.

Unless and until the Dems define themselves, they will be vulnerable to being defined by others, and others will define them as out.

The pukes, in good authoritarian style, comprise two distinct classes -- the followers and the leaders. The followers expect their leaders to lead, and they follow wherever those leaders lead. They are comfortable with strong leaders telling them what to do and how to think.

Dems aren't like that. So what the Dem leadership has to do -- and has so far failed to do with any success -- is develop a strategy for paying attention to their own followers more than the followers of the puke leaders. Dems need to find leaders who are real Dems. And Dems have to go after the voters, not on the political level but on the personal level. On the level of popular culture and daily life.

The Democratic party isn't doing this at all. Is it capable of doing so? Yes, of course. But it will mean living within its own skin, its own identity, and I think too many Dems are afraid of that. They've been made to be afraid by the pukes, and the pukes, like all abusers, like to blame the victims.

The Dems need to stop being victims. They had the chance in Obama's election; they could have escaped the abuse and gained psychological independence from the bullies. They didn't, and some of us knew this as soon as Obama began assembling a transition team and a cabinet that 1.) glorified the very policies that had created the problems and 2.) left a lot of people vulnerable to the puke strategy.

Would Arizona and Kansas have been subjected to such horrors as Brewer and Quayle and Brownback if Obama hadn't plucked Napolitano and Sibelius away? (And I'm not letting Janet or Kathleen off the hook for leaving, either.)

For being a chess player, Obama has not seemed able to look beyond the current move. He and the Dems failed to understand that yes, sometimes people will be so disgusted with one candidate that they will vote for a candidate they know has no chance of winning even though that vote will ultimately put the very worst person in office. No one seems to have effectively countered that mindset. No one seems to be strategizing how to make the Democratic platform and party more attractive to the Green party voters who often hurt themselves as well as the Dems.

Rather than chasing after the moderate pukes, the Dems have never seriously courted the left, which is growing larger and larger as the Dems move further and further to the right. The fact that Harry Reid is still talking about compromise and working together with the puks is all the evidence we need.

Tansy Gold

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Posted by Tansy_Gold in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Nov 02nd 2010, 09:39 PM
I am pointing out that Obama hasn't stood up to the Republicans when he had a solid majority in both houses of congress. I'm not really hopeful -- pun intended -- that he's going to suddenly do so now. Okay?

I am not now and I have not been campaigning against the Democrats. I voted for every fucking Democrat I could find on my ballot in Apache Junction, Arizona this morning. There were offices where there were no Democrats running.

I am a registered Democrat -- even though my politics lean further to the left than that.

And I am fucking sick and tired of every single criticism of the President being greeted with this same lame-ass crap -- "Oh, you're supporting the Republicans!" "Oh, you really wanted McCain to win."

No, god fucking damn it, I did not want McCain to win. I did not want Giuliani to win, or Huckabee or Romney or Palin or O'Donnell or Paul or any of the other right wing lunatics who are out there.

But President Barack Obama has shown me too damn little eagerness to stand up to the relatively moderate Republicans he's had to deal with the past 21+ months, and I don't hold out much hope that he's suddenly going to wake up and realize he's lost the biggest portion of his support. The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives PASSED a lot of his legislation. The Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate couldn't seem to budge much. Even some of the Democratic Senators sat on legislation and nominations.

Now he's got to deal with John Boehner calling the shots and setting the agenda. Now he's got to deal with (the distinct possibility of) Rand Paul filibustering EVERYTHING. Every. Fucking. Thing.

I want the god damned Democrats to GOVERN, and I want them to do it as Democrats, not as wimps. And when I think they are or are going to wimp out, I think I have a right to say so.

But I guess that's not good enough for you, is it? You wany my blind and absolute and unquestioning and uncritical loyalty and praise, don't you? Is your own faith in Obama so fragile that it can't stand up to a little honest and sincere and LOYAL criticism?

Then I'm sorry, I'm truly sorry. And if this post gets pulled, well, at least this time I'll know to save a copy of it beforehand.

Tansy Gold, Not Tombstoned Yet
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Posted by Tansy_Gold in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Nov 02nd 2010, 08:33 PM
You have to wrap your head around that concept, and sometimes it's difficult, but you have to remember that




They do not care about anything. They do not care about jobs. They do not care about health care for the masses. They do not care about the environment. They do not care about public education. They do not care about fairness.

What all of you -- and I deliberately exclude myself -- need to do is read, or reread, Atlas Shrugged. Read it and understand it, and you will know then that They Do Not Care.

They want the failure. They want the destruction. They will happily leave us all like Eddie Willers, sobbing on the train tracks in the middle of the Arizona desert.

They want this, because they don't care.

Rand Paul doesn't give a fat rat's ass about congressional gridlock. He'd welcome it. He's work hard to create it. And he would pay no attention to anyone who tells him otherwise. Not John Boehner. Not Mitch McConnell. Not Ron Paul.

Read Atlas Shrugged. Understand that the followers of Ayn Rand, like the followers of Tim LaHaye, want to see the end of everything. They want the collapse, the economic apocalypse, when they will (they believe) emerge victorious over the rubble. . . .and the rabble.

Can they be stopped? Yes, they can, but not by spineless blue dems and dinos and unrepentent compromisers who kiss every rightwing ass they can find.

Rand Paul is rightwing evil personified. He is worse than Christine O'Donnell because he put himself into a state where he could win. She never had a chance, but he did.

Sharron Angle is evil, too, and she could very well join Rand Paul in the senate and make life hell for all of us, but at least she has some respectable opposition.

No one listens to me. I'm just this fruitcake old bat out here in the Arizona desert who rants on DU under a familiar pseudonym and who occasionally adds a pic of her "I.T.Y.S." rubber stamp. The problem with the Dems loss is that it was predictable, not because of the individual races they lost but because of the political strategy they embraced. They kept moving to the center, which meant they kept moving to the right, and eventually what was the center was to their left, and they had lost all sense of who they were and what they stood for. They were in hostile territory, lost and without a fucking clue. They attracted too many into their elected ranks who were more like the old enemy -- while the enemy kept moving in more and more and more familiar territory.

The Dems did this to themselves, and I'll go on record as saying, not for the first time, that Barack Obama lacks the spine to take the party back to its liberal FDR/LBJ platform. If Obama fails to grow some backbone he WILL LOSE in 2012, either through a primary challenge or through a loss to whichever fascist the "GOP" puts up. Palin? Paul? Could be. Could be. But Obama and the Dems will not achieve victory by becoming more like the enemy or compromising more and more with the enemy.

Oh, and by the way, it should be noted that the disparaging remarks posted on DU earlier about Kentuckians who marry their cousins need to be examined very closely. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt were cousins, too.

Tansy Gold, who does care
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Posted by Tansy_Gold in General Discussion: Presidency
Mon Sep 27th 2010, 08:43 AM
obstructive Dems. I don't see too many people on DU singing the praises of Boehner and McConnell or Ben Nelson.

We do praise and encourage and support Dems who aren't walk-off mats, like Grayson and Weiner and Feingold.

But y'know, I for one get tired of being labelled an Obama hater just because a.) I supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries; and/or b.) I've dared to criticize the Obama administration's policies of compromise compromise compromise and move closer closer closer to the right.

None of us who have complained from the far left have ever said we wanted A Garden of Eden as of 1/21/09. None of us. Not one.

What we did want, and expected based on the campaign we had listened to and participated in, was something that more resembled a true Democratic Party administration than a George W. Bush administration.

I could probably pull out the posts I and others were making here on DU in the early weeks and months of the Obama administration where we talked about the "middle class tax cuts" that had been so touted during the campaign. And as I recall, we were all told that it was too much of a legislative nightmare to try to actually PASS new TAX CUTS, and the Obama strategy was just to let the Bush tax cuts expire on the wealthy. Well, folks, how's that going now? Where's the bully pulpit on tax cuts for the middle class?

I think it's telling that people like Todd Henderson, the U of C law prof dared to whine on his blog about how poor he and his pediatric oncologist wife are. with their $100,000 tax burden, kids in private schools, $500,000 mortgage, school loans, etc. It's here on DU somewhere for those of you who want to look it up. The point is, someone like Prof. Henderson actually feels put upon, actually feels entitled to the mantle of poverty, and if the Obama White House hasn't effected enough change in 20 months to change Henderson's perspective, then the Obama White House hasn't done enough.

There's a huge difference between "building a leftist/progressive Garden of Eden" and doing nothing. and it seems that every time someone on the left criticizes the Administration, they're accused of demanding ponies and Utopia. That's bullshit. But it's especially bullshit because so much of Obama's campaign was built on promises -- maybe subtle, maybe nuanced, maybe protectively parsed -- of moving in the direction of that Utopia.

Back in November '08, when I raised my criticisms of the appointment of Geithner and Summers, I was jumped on because I hadn't given Obama a chance. He wasn't even sworn in yet, for cryin' out loud, and I had dared to complain! I was a hater, I was a PUMA, I was all kinds of things.

Well, goddess damn it, I wasn't. And we see how well liked Geithner and Summers and Rubin have been. We've seen how well their policies and strategies have worked. They've fucked things up. The stock market is bubbling like mad, the rich are getting richer, the recession is over and recovery is upon us, but the jobs keep disappearing, the working classes are still suffering.

I didn't expect miracles. I expected hard work. I expected standing on principles. I expected honesty and integrity and not whining and excuse making.

Did Obama -- and Biden -- not expect that the pukes would be lined up against them like this was some game of Red Rover? I knew it. You knew it, too, didn't you? We knew there would be no compromising from the Party of Palin and Profits. We expected that Obama and his administration would be the champions of the working classes, not of the wealthy. Oh, to be sure, we understood his connections to the DLC and the corporate funders and all that. But didn't he speak differently in the campaign? Didn't he offer us hope for something better than what we had in 2008?

But if we were swayed by his campaign rhetoric to believe what he said, that he truly stood for hope and change, and then we dared to hold him to that promise -- are we somehow wrong? Are we somehow less honest with ourselves and with our fellow humans than those who persist in viewing the administration as perfect and struggling against insurmountable odds? Are they to be judged by the rhetoric or by the results?

How long are we expected to wait for results? I believe there were posts in my 11/24/08 thread about how different my song would be in six months, when Obama had fixed all the problems. Funny thing is, I never expected them to be fixed in six months. In fact, I didn't expect everything to be fixed in six years. I fucking know how long it's taken this country to go down the shitter. I've been here, been voting long enough to know what it was like in the 60s and the 70s and the 80s. I know it's not ever going to be perfect, and I know one man (or woman) can't do it alone.

But far too often in the last 22 and a half months, I've seen the Obama administration moving in what I think of as the "wrong" direction. Less progressive, not more. Less supportive of the working classes, not more. Less supportive of peace, more funding for war. Less supportive of education, more supportive of corporations. Less supportive of the environment, more supportive of corporations. Less supportive of justice, more supportive of inequality.

And while, as my subject line suggests, we supporters HAVE blamed the pukes and HAVE blamed the obstructionist Dems, we've watched as the Obama administration appeases those we know to be the enemy of the progress we expected. Were we supposed to blindly support the man regardless what policies his adminsitration followed? Was that the rule we were supposed to follow? Or were we supposed to stand up for Democratic principles and hold EVERYONE's feet to the fire if they strayed from the path?

Sometimes I think some people just wandered down a different path and got lost. Maybe they were following the wrong leader.

Tansy Gold

(edited to fix faulty syntax but I'm not going to proof read this any more. Off the top of my head, here it is.)
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Posted by Tansy_Gold in Latest Breaking News
Thu Sep 23rd 2010, 08:42 AM
I was thinkin' about this last night, and the more I think about it, the more I believe there will be a crash and it will be so sudden and so catastrophic and so truly unforeseen in its suddenness that even the SMW regulars and denizens will be taken by surprise.

There is something we aren't seeing, something that is making the whole Ponzi scheme defy gravity.

Oh, I could be totally wrong, in every aspect of my thinking.

But there's something in my gut that tells me the whole scenario isn't quite right.

Do I still believe TPTB are siphoning as much of the wealth of nations into their hot little hands? Of course. Do I still believe TPTB don't give a rat's ass about the working people who create that wealth? Of course. Do I still believe there are sufficient noodle-heads to elect more of the rightwing batshit crazies into office so that obscene absurdities like this scheme/scam of Paul "give EVERYTHING to the rich!" Ryan will become the law of the land? Yes, I do.

None of which makes sense. Oh, I suppose it does in a Bob Altemeyer-style analysis, but I still have this gut feeling that something else is at work. And it's something so secret and so powerful that it's also very very vulnerable.

I think it's struggling right now. It has pulled off some massive wealth-shifts over the past few years via not only the real estate and commercial real estate bubbles, but through TARP and the various industry and banking bail-outs.

As the BF said the other night, China has to be congratulated on their masterful take-over of the U.S. economy. They've served their masters well, whoever those masters are, because they've devastated our country without firing a shot. They've demonstrated how sublimely and supremely powerful economic destruction can wrought with a smile and a handshake and an appeal to the simple ugly greed of the targeted victim.

But these empires always over-reach. Rome did. Baghdad did. Spain and France and Britain did. Germany did, and Russia (USSR) did. The U.S. certainly has, but has China also?

Maybe, maybe not. But again, I think there's something out there, some unknown unknown (to coin a phrase ha ha ha) that's poised to do some serious and somewhat unexpected damage. And we won't know what it is/was until afterward.

Or it could be I'm just not getting enough sleep.

Tansy Gold, anticipating the first arts & crafts show of the season on Saturday and I'M NOT READY!!
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Posted by Tansy_Gold in Latest Breaking News
Tue Sep 14th 2010, 09:55 AM
This is NOT a classroom exercise, Mr. Obama. This is not a rhetorical moment.

It is real life and it's time to fucking DO SOMETHING. Grow a pair. Make the appointment and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised!

I mean, come on. What's the worst that can happen? A floor fight in the Senate? Is that the absolute worst?

Or is the worst that can happen some personal slight, some emotional ouchie that needs a special band-aid?

This country is DYING, Mr. Obama. DYING by inches, by a thousand, a million, a billion, a trillion tiny cuts. While you dither over a recess appointment, how many people will lose their homes? Their jobs? Their dignity?

Make the goddess damned appointment, sir, and have done with it.

Tansy Gold, NTY
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Posted by Tansy_Gold in Latest Breaking News
Wed Sep 01st 2010, 09:43 PM
And while the income/wealth gap may be mathematically equal to or greater than what existed in pre-1789 France, I don't think we have the masses of desperately poor who truly have nothing left to lose. . . . yet. I know I certainly am not that poor, at least not yet.

As long as there is a safety net of some kind -- TANF, SS, SSI, food stamps, friends and relatives with some income/shelter -- They can keep Us under control, and still do what they want with us. oh, maybe not you and I as individuals, Demeter, but the masses are far from rising up.

We like to compare the USA to a third world country, and in some aspects that's probably not too far from accurate. But are we at the point of Pakistan, where seasonal floods leave thousands dead and millions homeless? No. Even with the devastation of Katrina, it was bureaucratic bungling (some of which was probably intentional and most of which was just sheer arrogance) that caused the problems, not a lack of resources. We still throw away tons of edible food every day. We do not have thousands dying of easily preventable or curable diseases.

The more accurate comparison is to call us a second-world country. We aren't at the top any more, except in terms of some mathematical models of GDP or the size of our military budget, etc. In terms of social justice, we've slipped very far.

A decade ago, when I was finishing up my BA, I took an honors seminar class titled "The Just Society" at ASU-West Campus, taught by Dr. Janet Burke, then associate/assistant dean of the University Honors College. Among our texts for the course was Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto. Though normally Burke encouraged class discussion on most of the readings, for this she started with a derisive introduction, saying in effect that we almost really didn't need to read this because it was so obviously and patently absurd. A few of us, mostly the "mature" students (age 40+), attempted to challenge her, but she interrupted us and squelched any meaningful discussion. Those who supported her were, of course, allowed to voice THEIR opinions freely.

Later in the semester, we read Zola's 19th C novel of French coal miners, "Germinal," which could be translated to the mines of West Virginia today. Burke was actually able to defend the inhumanity of the mine owners, who exactly like their 21st C counterpart Don Blankenship cared nothing that the miners and their families died and starved and suffered, so long as the coal came out. Had Dr. Burke been simply arguing as devil's advocate to prompt our discussion, that might have been one thing. But I for one came away from those two particular "lessons" with a very different view: namely, that "The Just Society" implied a capitalist, patriarchal society and that part of "justice" was that some would be, shall we say, more equal than others.

We still see this attitude, more than enough of it on DU and even a little bit occasionally on SMW/WEE. The internalization of a capitalist ideology by the vast majority of the American population serves as a very effective stoplight on the highway to revolution. But the truth is that we haven't reached a point of societal collapse, and until we do, there will be misery and troubles, but there will not be masses even hitting the roads. Not yet, at least.

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Posted by Tansy_Gold in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Jul 07th 2010, 03:02 PM
Quite the opposite in fact.

But if you are talking about reviving the American economy, as opposed to the global economy, then these are considerations that have to be taken.

As far as buying materials for infrastructure jobs, please remember that much of the "buy American" rhetoric was removed from the stimulus bill at the request of our trading "partners" like Canada, who threatened to take the US to court over it.

Raw materials, however, are only one part of the equation. What the wages are spent on also has to be taken into account. If most of our consumer goods are imported, that money flies right out of "the economy."

Remember too that the reference to The Consumer's pre-emininent position in the American economy should not be taken as some kind of exception, but rather it should be looked upon as the rule in a healthy economy. Consumer goods and services SHOULD be the backbone of an economy, not financial services that are merely numbers on paper that serve to transfer earned wealth to the idle, and not military expeditions.

I make no apology for my socialist stance, so don't expect me to defend "free market capitalism" or investors' profits. Nor should you expect me to support asinine and counterproductive legislative nightmares like Arizona's SB 1070. But don't expect me to support the rights of Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, or any other nationality's oligarchs to enslave the workers whose production provides Americans with cheap consumer goods and American "investors" with obscene profits.

Tansy Gold
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Posted by Tansy_Gold in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Jul 05th 2010, 03:23 PM
Are the economic elites. They can be dems or pukes, it doesn't matter. Their objective is to amass and then protect their own wealth, and with it their own political power. Many of them hold elective office or have been appointed to positions of power and/or influence. Virtually all of them have their own -- and their class's -- best interests at heart, and couldn't care less if they tried about the rest of us. Judge them not on their words or their campaign promises but on WHAT THEY DO AFTER THEY ARE IN POWER.

Look, the 'founding fathers' of the American republic were not working class folks, and even they had little interest in protecting the welfare of the working classes. They were liberals in the sense that they weren't monarchists, but their intent was to maintain THEIR control in THEIR colonies/states. Their class consciousness was built into the constitution as they wrote it -- slaves were 3/5 of a person but not really even a human being with "inalienable rights." Neither were women, and Abigail Adams knew that much full well.

And they have maintained their control of the government pretty much throughout the subsequent 234 years or whatever it is.

Unlike the European nation-states which evolved an effective working class politics (aka "socialism" ), the US never had that kind of revolution. Our "revolution" was one of elites vs. other elites. We had to fight a dreadful bloody war just to get rid of chattel slavery, which in many European countries had long been abolished by legislative (parliamentary) action. And after we got "rid" of chattel slavery, we -- "we" meaning the national government -- "compromised" with the former slaveholders to such an extent that it took another century -- 1865 end of Civil War to 1964 Civil Rights Act (which itsself was a full decade after "separate but equal" was abolished in Brown) -- to completely legislate much of the discriminatory residue of chattel slavery. And yet almost another half century has passed and we are still battling not just individual racism but institutionalized racism, and sexism, and agism, and half a dozen others.

Why is that? Because it is to the lasting economic benefit of the elites to do so.

I mean, seriously, there are people here on DU who will DEFEND the complete abolition of the estate tax because they believe dead people shouldn't be taxed and their heirs should be able to inherit unearned fortunes without hindrance. That is the extent to which the worship of individual wealth over the commonwealth -- words do have meaning, you know -- has taken us. "What's the Matter with Kansas?" is really what's the matter with far too many of us.

In terms of economics, Krugman is as much a protector of the elites as anyone. He advocates increasing the stimulus, deficits be damned, but the stimulus he advocates does almost NOTHING beyond funneling government funds into the hands of the already wealthy. Yes, if there were public works projects, infrastructure spending, that would provide "jobs" for a certain portion of the unemployed, and that would keep the "stimulus" money circulating in the US economy, but only for a very limited time. As long as the consumer goods are produced elsewhere, and under conditions little different from ante-bellum chattel slavery, and in a corporate structure that provides vast profits to the wealthy, THE STIMULUS WON'T WORK.

People here on DU were carrying on about a year ago about how wonderful the stimulus was and all the jobs it had created. I pointed out then that many of the jobs weren't created at all -- they were state and local jobs, usually in law enforcement, public works, and education, that had been SAVED by the stimulus. But what, I asked, would happen in another year when the stimulus funds had been used up, the wages had been spent on cheap crap from China, and no new jobs were created?

I was routinely crucified for being an Obama hater.

But here we are now 18 months or so into the Dem administration, and what's happening? Cities in California are laying off their entire police forces and contracting with private security companies. Teachers are being laid off just about everywhere. AND NO SUBSTANTIVE NUMBER OF NEW JOBS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR HAS BEEN CREATED WITH THE STIMULUS FUNDS, WHICH HAVE NOW JUST ABOUT RUN OUT.

And the "leading economist" keep saying the increasing jobless numbers are "unexpected" and the rise in foreclosures is "unexpected" and the decline in net wages if "unexpected." Bullshit.

The home buyer tax credits only worked for a little while. The cash for clunkers allowed Bill the cat-killer Frist to buy a new car. People who couldn't afford the payments on a new car didn't buy one; the program benefited those who already could afford new cars -- or in the case of the home buyer credit, those who could afford mortgage payments -- but neither program did much for the overall economy.

Health care reform will help a few people who didn't have health care at all before HCR. It will not help everyone and it will not help right away even those it's going to help eventually. It will, however, provide great windfalls for the elites who either work for insurance companies or hold stock in them. Those are the people who will benefit most and first.

Financial reform is probably going to be the same kind of operation. The banks and investment houses and hedge funds and private equity firms will be protected from losses or costs, but the retirees and the homeowners and the student borrowers will get little if anything in terms of benefits. And the taxpayers will foot the bill for the defaults, the markdowns, the losses.

Social security is already a bit of a joke. In some ways, it's been improved over the years, but in other ways it hasn't, and the ways in which it hasn't been improved are ways that benefit and protect the elites.

1. Benefits are calculated on what an individual has paid into the system. Those who have never made very much will not get much out of social security when they retire. Many low-wage workers are therefore not able to "retire" in the sense that most of us think of retirement. They will often continue to work well past the normal retirement age of 65 or 67 or 70, because they cannot live on what social security pays them. That means they will continue to PAY INTO the system longer than they will benefit from it.

2. Those who continue to work after starting to collect social security still have to pay FICA taxes on their earnings, and if they make above a certain level, they also have to pay taxes on their social security benefits. This impacts the low-wage, low-SS beneficiaries much more than the upper earners.

3. The cap on FICA-applicable earnings means that lower-income people pay taxes into the system on virtually all of their earnings. The high-income people only pay on (roughly) the first $100,000. That means the percentage of their income that they pay into social security can be markedly lower than what a $30,000 administrative assistant pays.

4. There are two blocks of workers who have been moved out of the traditional payroll tax format. As more people are laid off traditional wage- or salary-earning jobs and re-enter the workforce either as truly self-employed individuals -OR- are hired by existing companies on an "independent contractor" basis, they are hit up for double the standard FICA tax. In other words, if you are laid off your job and take up selling Mary Kay cosmetics, you will pay the standard employee share of FICA taxes on your net earnings AND you will pay the standard employer's share as well. More and more companies, to cut down on their tax liability and boost their profits, and looking to make what used to be "employees" into "independent contractors." Now, do you think this arrangement benefits the companies/corporations more, or the employees/contractors? (The self-employed used to pay only 75% of the employee/employer contribution; they now pay 100%.)

Do you begin to see where this is all going? Maybe, maybe not. There are those who honestly and sincerely believe that with a president, house, and senate all in the hands of the Democratic party that progressive legislation is virtually guaranteed. In fact, with a Democratic president and both houses of congress, virtually NO progressive legislation has been passed. The health care reform package is NOT progressive. It isn't even remotely socialistic. The financial reforms under discussion are not progressive. They are not working-/middle-class friendly. The bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not resulted in massive reversal of the trend in home foreclosures. Virtually no new private sector jobs are being created.

Unless and until the Obama administration is willing to stand up to the financial elites -- the banksters and the investors, the private equity firms, the for-profit charter school operators, the outsourcing manufactruing corporations, etc., etc., etc. -- there will be no economic turn around. Unless and until the JOBS are brought back to this country, the economy will continue to slide, and the money will continue to consolidate in the hands of fewer and fewer and fewer elites.

I wore red white and blue yesterday to get a discount on my coffee at my favorite coffee shop, but not in celebration of July 4, 1776. Mine was far more in solidarity with the sans-culottes of 14 Juillet 1789. The US still has something of a middle class. We do not have a monarchy quite as out of touch as the ancien regime of France. But the current administration, which seems far more concerned with appeasing the whims and ideology of the elites of the opposition than with taking care of the needs of its own constituency, is moving much closer to the disparity -- and the callous indifference to that disparity -- that led from the Bastille to the Guillotine.

Do not think that it cannot happen here. Remember that they do not care. They do not care.


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