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AdLib On April - 11 - 2011

Especially in the old days of movie making, when an actress was as tall or taller than her leading man, a trench might be dug for her to stand or walk in so that on camera, she could look up at him and he could look down at her. The very intentionally pro-corporate/wealthy way Republicans have approached the budget issue is not so dissimilar.

With regards to the nation’s budget, The Republican Party has pressed upon the consciousness of this nation that the only way for the country to look tall again to all of us, is to dig trenches under all of its people…except the wealthiest of course.

As we all know from taking care of our own lives, there is a binary aspect to one’s budget….there is the amount one receives and the amount one expends. If we are having trouble making ends meet, we seek to both reduce our expenses and find ways to increase how much money we can bring in.

Republicans have instead presented to the public and MSM a false, one-sided meme that has been cemented in for some reason, despite it clearly being fraudulent. That is, the only way to balance a budget is by cutting what is spent. They have whitewashed out of the picture the just-as-critical factor of increasing revenue. They’ve accomplished this through unceasing, multiple directions of attack.

1. Convince the Public That Government is Bad

The only entity that stands between corporate domination of the people of the United States and a legitimate democracy…is our government.  The consistent, decades-long campaign by Republicans to attack our government as “evil” and “bad” (even when they’ve been in control of all branches!) has an end game. Destroy the public’s power by creating both distrust and apathy towards the government that protects it. That reduces support and voter turnout which makes buying candidates and votes (through campaign ads and propaganda) far easier. It also does another very important thing, it puts the public in a position to cheer the weakening of their own government.

After all, such a corrupt and inept behemoth that does nothing right except take our money from us, should be smothered in its crib as the Republicans say, right?

2. Convince The Public That Only By Cutting Spending on Those Who Aren’t Wealthy,  We Will All Be Wealthier.

The declarations by Republicans that around 50% of the nation doesn’t even pay income tax and the wealthy pay so much of it, the endless moaning about how high the corporate tax rates are in the US, the attacks on the unemployed as lazy, on teachers and all other public employees as greedy, on the elderly as eating up too much of our money through Medicare and Social Security and on and on while always saying that the wealthy and corporations that hold the lion’s share of wealth in this nation should have more.

They have all their ridiculous and unsubstantiated, even disproven talking points which have been hammered into the public consciousness such as, trickle down, calling the wealthy Plutocracy “Job Creators” (it does have a better ring than “Fascist Overlords”), insisting that tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs as does getting rid of government regulation and oversight (despite history proving the opposite). It’s a well thought out line of propaganda which is in fact saying, “Give those who are above you more of your wealth and labor and one day, it will all come back to you and you’ll be a millionaire too!”

Americans are terribly gullible. Ask anyone who bought a ticket to see Charlie Sheen perform live. They want so desperately to believe that they will indeed be millionaires one day,  in fact, they buy lottery tickets that have a 1 in 195,249,054 chance of winning a jackpot (these are the actual odds of the Powerball lottery, meaning, if everyone in America, men, women and children, bought lottery tickets in Powerball…only one person out of the entire population of the United States is likely to win…but it could be you so buy your ticket now!).

Americans are still clapping for Tinkerbell as adults and those who are the most powerful and cynical, those who have invested billions over time in marketing to understand how best to manipulate Americans into buying products and politicians, know this and use this against them. This is how such a ridiculous proposition, that giving tax breaks to billionaire corporations who pay $0 in taxes, who have sent millions of jobs out of the country, who force those remaining employees to do twice as much work as they used to without their pay increasing, will give the other 99.5% of Americans all the wealth and happiness they’re looking for. Now, all of this is  incorporated into the budgeting that the Republicans are doing under the guise of “being more fiscally responsible”.  The destruction of the middle class and destroying the quality of life for a majority of the nation, in order to increase the wealth of the wealthy, is apparently “fiscally responsible”.

What I think the people of the United States should do is stand up to demand both fiscal and moral responsibility. We should demand that if the poor and middle class are going to be forced to sacrifice profoundly to put the nation on a solid economic footing, it’s high time for the wealthy to make just as severe a sacrifice. We have participated in this farce long enough, accepting that there is only one side to the coin, only the side of cutting expenses and not the side of increasing revenue.

There is a great deal of hardship that the cuts in the 2011 budget will impose on many Americans but those making $1 million dollars or more each year won’t experience any of that. What sacrifice is being asked of them? We simply can’t allow  this Orwellian bullshit to go on without being called out for what it is. No, the wealthier getting wealthier does not make the poor wealthier or even the middle class. It just makes the wealthy wealthier and they are doing so by looting our taxes and cutting the services and safety nets we need. This makes no sense and though the loons in the Tea Party are oblivious to how they’re being used, average Americans should be urged to recognize this.

Which brings me to the budget negotiations ahead for 2012. Pres. Obama and the Dems have made a lot of compromises to get this 2011 budget passed, some were very severe. However, IMO, instead of focusing on what was done, those who care about their fellow Americans and the future of their nation should tell our President and Congress members, “Okay, now we can say we have made painful sacrifices for millions of Americans who are not well off. Now we need to stand tough on raising revenues from those who are very well off in a way that is just as painful to them.”

Either the point of all of this is for ALL of us in this nation to sacrifice for the betterment of the whole or it is for those who are not wealthy to sacrifice to keep those that are wealthy in the lifestyle to which they have come accustomed and ask if they want a foot massage and their grapes peeled.

I think that Pres. Obama and the Dems in Congress have the high ground now to demand tax increases and closed loopholes for the wealthy, to save this nation. I think that needs to be their strategy now. The Republican’s desire to kill Medicare won’t be permitted but the other severe cuts the Republicans have in mind for 99% of the nation can’t be permitted either. Yes, the Republicans will refuse to vote for tax increases but the sky won’t fall if the 2012 budget isn’t passed this year (we just passed the budget for this year with nearly half of it already gone by!).

If this means they’re going to threaten to vote against raising the debt ceiling, so be it. That will be solely on their heads then if the US and world economy worsen because it isn’t raised. The bottom line is, if we decide to go along with the Republicans on slowly poisoning our nation to death because if we don’t, they’re threatening to push it off a cliff, what’s the difference in the end? Either way we’re dead. The only way we survive is to push them into a corner and force them to either concede or ultimately expose themselves beyond any doubt as the danger they are to the nation and the world and how unfit they are to hold power.

With the fear of the Repubs blocking the increase of the debt ceiling assuaged, Obama and the Dems can turn to them and say, “Make my day.” Look how the Repubs buckled at the prospect of the government shutdown, they knew it would destroy them in 2012. Well…how would it look to them to have the world economy tanking because of them and them alone?  I don’t think they’ll do it. Do they really believe that they could win in 2012 after causing the global economy to be thrown into turmoil? And even if they did, the rest of us rational folk know that 2012 would become a Dem landslide if that happened and then Obama and a Dem Congress could have to opportunity to reverse damage done in the previous two years by the Repubs.

The only way to deal with a bully is through strength. The Repubs got to have this recent budget fight on their own terms and they are expecting the next ones to be that way too. What Obama and the Dems should do is deny them this, stand up to them and say, “You want the majority of Americans to take another massive hit? No, we demand the wealthy take their turn sacrificing now.”

Face off with them on this issue, fighting for 99% of Americans and let the Repubs fight for the 1%. Define them and the election in 2012 now, this is about oppressing and taking from the American people to make the wealthy wealthier and more powerful or it’s about the wealthy making just as profound a sacrifice as the majority of the nation to save its future.

In other words, we’ve had enough of digging ditches under our feet to make the economy around us look bigger. Instead, it’s time to raise up the people and the economy with them.

 

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

157 Responses so far.

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  1. choicelady says:

    If we begin with the premise that the President has to message better, I think we make a mistake. I don’t recall Bush bothering much. But Congress and the RNC and the allies on the religious and neo-con right -- those were his barking dogs. Obama needs the same.

    That is why two GREAT things just happened. Yes, Obama laid down his line in the sand. And it was GOOD. Even better -- Debbie Wasserman Shultz became tapped to head DNC. Now there’s a woman who never EVER is afraid to speak truth to Tea Baggers!

    I remain deeply worried though about the MSM and certainly about the “new media” who have a hard on about showing the president in the worst possible light. Or at least to make him seem indifferent. They are lazy on one hand (facts? Duh?) and snide at minimum on the other.

    And then there is the massive political illiteracy in America. It is wonderful to believe as Lincoln wrote that you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time…but PT Barnum knew you’d never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. More and more MY money is on old Phineas.

    I just went through two board meeting with well educated and intelligent people whose comprehension of how things work OUGHT to have at least reflected reality, you’d think. Nope. Lots of pontificating about stuff -- most of it pinned on erroneous postulates. If you make policy starting with faulty assumptions, guess what you get? Duh.

    Yesterday Adonai made an assumption about the cuts in Medicare cutting into services. He read things others put up for him to see, realized he’d been fed a lotta bull pucky, and began rethinking the issue.

    Adonai -- you are my poster person for being a wise and responsible citizen!!!!

    I’m not sure how and why people get wedded to ideas that they won’t reconsider, to utterly idiotic notions that defy good sense, but will it make ANY difference if Beck is off the airwaves since there are so many others out there reinforcing the “get taller by standing in a hole” principle?

    We can hope for a far more assertive voice from the White House and the Dems -- but is anyone getting the same message if they get it from MSM? And then -- is anyone actually listening? The Three Monkeys are now See No Truth, Hear No Truth, Speak No Truth.

    Not because the WH doesn’t have a good message but because I fear it no longer matters if it DOES that I worry Obama could walk on water, end all hunger and poverty, and engage world peace -- and people would still be whining it took too long, somebody got something they did not, and now you can’t get rich making guns.

    America. The nation of opportunity now turned nation of self-appointed victims. Sigh.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      yeah, this is a real problem. We have become a dumbed down audience that goes for the quick and easily digestible. Information, entertainment, politics, “news” have all merged into one big industry, controlled by the same giant conglomerates.

      We have become a country of Entertained Consumers, rather than Informed Citizens, taught to look down on nuance and go for the quick and easily digestible.
      Totally OT, but if we were to do a survey of films up until the 70s, and then from the blockbuster age onwards, I think it would be interesting to see how many titles for both eras consisted of just one word.
      Jaws, Splash, Hook, Up, Tangled, Saw, Alien, Enchanted, Seven, Insomnia, Scream etc, etc….don’t think, people, just watch!!!

    • Chernynkaya says:

      C’lady, of course I am also deeply concerned! Today I posted an article that basically says what we know about messaging--and it’s pretty depressing. But it can be done--the Republics have proven that (with a big assist from poor education.)

      But what I’ve become more and more worried about is how in love Americans are with bombast uber alles. Bill Clinton famously said that during times of uncertainty Americans prefer wrong and strong over right and weak. Bush proved that adage. And now I see Trump rising in the polls. He won’t win, but watching him (and Gov. Christie is another example) of how loud mouths are popular with the know-nothing crowd. I see what would be appealing to many folks. He knows nothing but says it with conviction and stupid but PLAIN talk. He’s the tough guy, the bully, and pipsqueak people love that crap.

      So I am increasingly worried about Obama. Yes, he carries a big stick but he also talks too softly for some. As I mentioned the other day, I have been trying to analyze why I too get frustrated with the President about messaging. I tentatively concluded that it’s because Republics scare me. When scared I am not rational, and I want the President to blast the Reeps to kingdom come, verbally if not literally. Rationally, I understand all the reasons for not doing that. But again, people like me are scared of the creeping Plutocracy, Dominionism, the threats to our safety nets. We sometimes need to feel viscerally that the guy with the big stick will bash those who threaten us. That’s why yesterday was so cathartic--Obama set his jaw and, though quietly, thoroughly trounced the Republics. I sincerely think he needs to do that more, and I expect he will once the campaign gets under way. Not often, but once in a while. He and WE would really benefit.

  2. funksands says:

    Ad, I think the President is playing a very sophisticated, high-stakes game on several fronts. Sometimes well, sometimes badly.

    The big problem is that for the vast majority of Americans, they don’t have the time or energy to perceive, understand or appreciate that effort.

    I’ve said it before. The administration’s marketing sucks.

    • agrippa says:

      Marketing?

      maybe.

      Who is listening? The “news media” is not; they have been seinfelded to death. They are useless.

      If you go by blogs, the left wing and the right wing both hate him equally. The left calls him a “corporatist sell out” in the pay of Wall Street; the right wing says that he is a “socialist”. Those insults describe them; they do not describe Obama.

      So, Obama needs an ad campaign. What is the brand? What are the demographics for this marketing? I am not being a smart aleck, as I see the necessity. Everything else is advertised, why not a president?

    • jkkFL says:

      funk- marketing and PR will destroy this man unless he gets that part of his act together.
      People have moved way far from ‘trust’ in this country.
      Issues like this result in going back and doing damage control, which Will bite him in the butt.

      • funksands says:

        jkk -- Agreed. Do you think this derives from what “many” (sorry) say is an extremely small, insular decision-making group around the President?

        • jkkFL says:

          No, I don’t think so- they all have business backgrounds and know the value of messaging..
          Unless- they are planning some mind-boggling mega-shot across the GOP’s bow..they just aren’t using good marketing/advertising principles.
          Worked in advertising for several years- the message is everything; whether you like it or not.

          *edit* ‘YES we can’ and ‘Change you can Believe in…’
          Masterpieces in marketing..

          • Buddy McCue says:

            We have something in common. I have also worked in advertising in my past, although I’m not terribly proud of it.

            I developed lots of point-of-purchase advertising for various companies. When Taco Bell introduced flan to its menu in the Miami area, I designed all the graphics that were used to try to sell it to the public there. If you went into a Taco Bell there, you might have seen my designs in the form of the on-the-counter advertisements, the stuff hanging from the ceiling, the menu stickers, and the window graphics.

            Actually, I don’t ever want to work in advertising again.

    • Buddy McCue says:

      Yeah, you’re right. They suck at marketing.

      So I have mixed feelings about it. The science of marketing is disgusting in itself. It is the manufacture of consent. It is perception management. It is the manipulation of the minds of a people who SHOULD be free to think what they want to think.

      So when the administration demonstrates a lack of ability of these skills… what am I to think?

      It means that they tend to lose in the contest for public opinion. It means that they tend to lose in negotiations of public policy. It means they tend to lose in the battles for the hearts and minds of the American People.

      But Obama can keep the moral high ground. To turn Matthew 16:26 around, what does it profit a man to gain his soul and forfeit the entire world?

      • funksands says:

        Buddy, I’m kiiiind of with you. Marketing can be about shaping perception. Sometimes it can simply impart awareness. There is a big difference between what is essentially a public service annoucement and political ad.

        The President, with the biggest marketing “budget” there is can and should use it to inform his employers better about what is going on in our government. (again even after the fact) He is the only person uniquely able to do so.

        • Buddy McCue says:

          Well, like I say, I have mixed feelings about it.

          I guess it comes down to this: how much do we trust the general populace to make the right decisions?

          I am in full support of the idea that a democracy depends upon a well-informed citizenry, but there’s more to it than that. If there are good and informative public service announcements that give the people what they need to know to make rational decisions in choosing their leaders, is that enough?

          In this day and age, market research has become a glittering gem of science. Psychological tactics have become a fine art form. Marketers know how to appeal to the deep emotional core of the “admass” (as they call us,) to get public opinion to be what they want and need it to be. And now, neuromarketing is being developed, which should increase the return on investment to an untold degree.

          Simply giving the people the facts, as a political strategy, depends on an act of faith. It depends on the faith in people to use their critical thinking skills to see through the BS, to make the best decisions by using their reasoning skills.

          I’d LIKE to believe that most people are capable of that, I really would. I don’t want to think of people as sheep; that would be dehumanizing and deeply disrespectful.

          • Truth says:

            “In this day and age, market research has become a glittering gem of science. Psychological tactics have become a fine art form. Marketers know how to appeal to the deep emotional core of the “admass” (as they call us,) to get public opinion to be what they want and need it to be. And now, neuromarketing is being developed, which should increase the return on investment to an untold degree.”

            I SO wished you would write an article about that, Buddy. I’d like to know more about this subject.

        • funksands says:

          And NO a weekly radio address doesn’t cut it in the least.

      • jkkFL says:

        Buddy- it may be against your personal principles; but if the other side is using it and winning, you aren’t going to beat them by taking the high road.
        Sorry, but morality has been eliminated from the equation.

        • Buddy McCue says:

          When the day comes that morality can be eliminated from the equation, that will be the day that I am ready for the grave.

          Morality is all we have left.

          • jkkFL says:

            K- sorry Buddy, but this is where we disagree.
            Find any morality in the GOP platform, their campaign funding, their behind the scenes deals to privatize, their deals with the Supreme court re: Citizen’s united..
            Show me where they are taking the high road.
            Nice guys DO finish last in politics..

    • BigDogMom says:

      funk, with you on that, it really sucks, was just watching cable news while eating lunch, every channel has the President losing the budget battle, conceding it to the Republicans.

      How does one knock on doors for him when the message is not out there to back up you up?

    • AdLib says:

      I agree, he is playing chess. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes the other player cheats.

      Right now, I think you’re right, most Americans are in the dark about much of Obama’s accomplishments. However, as the 2012 campaign begins in earnest and Obama is back on the campaign trail, delivering electrifying speeches in front of energized crowds, I think all that’s gone on will be in a big spotlight.

      He will have an enormous bully pulpit in 2012, the MSM will have to cover his campaign and speeches at least to some degree and the imbalance that Fox and the MSM creates.

      That’s what I call a marketing department!

  3. AdLib says:

    For those who are unhappy with Obama for the cuts he agreed to and the way he negotiated, this article makes the case that Obama in fact outsmarted the Repubs on a great deal of those cuts and didn’t make many of those the Repubs had wanted:

    The historic $38 billion in budget cuts resulting from at-times hostile bargaining between Congress and the Obama White House were accomplished in large part by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.

    Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs — Pell grants for college students, health research and “Race to the Top” aid for public schools, among others — from Republican knives, according to new details of the legislation released Tuesday morning.

    Republicans also gave up politically treacherous cuts to the Agriculture Department’s food inspection program.

    The details of the agreement reached late Friday night just ahead of a deadline for a partial government shutdown reveal a lot of one-time savings and cuts that officially “score” as cuts to pay for spending elsewhere, but often have little to no actual impact on the deficit.

    As a result of that sleight of hand, Obama was able to reverse many of the cuts passed by House Republicans in February when the chamber approved a bill slashing this year’s budget by more than $60 billion. In doing so, the White House protected favorites like the Head Start early learning program, while maintaining the maximum Pell grant of $5,550 and funding for Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative that provides grants to better-performing schools. Food aid to the poor was preserved, as were housing subsidies.

    Instead, the cuts that actually will make it into law are far tamer, including cuts to earmarks, unspent census money, leftover federal construction funding, and $2.5 billion from the most recent renewal of highway programs that can’t be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation. Another $3.5 billion comes from unused bonus money for states that enroll more uninsured children in a program providing health care to children of lower-income families.

    Still, Obama and his Democratic allies accepted $600 million in cuts to community health centers programs, $414 million in cuts to grants for state and local police departments, and a $1.6 billion reduction in the Environmental Protection Agency budget, almost $1 billion of which would come from grants for clean water and other projects by local governments and Indian tribes. Community development block grants, a favorite with mayors of both political parties, take a $950 million cut.

    The National Institutes of Health, which fund critical medical research, would absorb a $260 million cut, less than 1 percent of the NIH budget, instead of the $1.6 billion cut sought by House Republicans. Family planning programs would bear a 5 percent cut rather than being completely eliminated.

    Homeland security programs would have to take their first-ever cut, though much of the 2 percent decrease comes from a $786 million cut to first responder grants to state and local governments. The IRS would see its budget frozen but be spared the 5 percent cut sought by House Republicans.

    About $10 billion of the cuts already have been enacted as the price for keeping the government open as negotiations progressed; lawmakers tipped their hand regarding another $10 billion or so when the House passed a spending bill last week that ran aground in the Senate.

    For instance, the spending measure reaps $350 million by cutting a one-year program enacted in 2009 for dairy farmers then suffering from low milk prices. Another $650 million comes by not repeating a one-time infusion into highway programs passed that same year. And just last Friday, Congress approved Obama’s $1 billion request for high-speed rail grants — crediting itself with $1.5 billion in savings relative to last year.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110412/ap_on_re_us/us_spending_showdown_details

    So, there are some unpleasant cuts but to be fair, consider all that he negotiated out of being cut and yet can claim to be a deficit cutter. Now, if he turns to taxing the wealthy as the next necessary step, he is on pretty strong ground.

    EDIT: Just saw this article in the L.A. Times as well:

    President Obama will call for shrinking the nation’s long-term deficits by raising taxes on wealthier Americans and requiring them to pay more into Social Security, drawing a barbed contrast with a Republican plan to save money by deeply slashing Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic spending.

    Obama will offer some spending cuts, including trims to the Pentagon’s budget, but his speech Wednesday is likely to provide Americans with a vivid choice between higher taxes or fewer benefits, issues that will color the national debate straight through the 2012 election.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama-spending-20110412,0,2255928.story

  4. PatsyT says:

    Rev. Al Sharpton has said,
    “We did not elect a messiah we elected a President”
    I will add … We did not elect a King or a Dictator either,
    but we may have elected a Magician.
    Poor Boehner.

    *edit* From the Bob Cesca Blog

    This is what responsible budget cutting looks like if the other party in the room is going to force you into it by adopting a scorched-earth policy of hostage-taking.

    I can only imagine that Tea Party Nation will shit after they read the details of the bill. The Republicans got nothing they wanted. Literally nothing.

    If the Tea Party didn’t like John Boehner before, now they will really love him. He put President Obama in the position of being able to go on television in front of the entire country and claim credit for the biggest spending cut in history and Boehner got screwed in the process. I really can’t overstate the brilliance in that.

    http://www.bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2011/04/the_cavein_that.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    • escribacat says:

      Patsy, I love the last line of this:
      “I would advise against jumping to conclusions before fully reviewing the details of any proposal.”

    • AdLib says:

      Now that’s what I’m talking about!

      The meme that Obama is weak and a bad negotiator has been so repeated that even genuine supporters have been affected by it but as you describe through your quotes, when all is said and done I think Obama will actually be shown to have been a smart and savvy negotiator who came away with a deal more on his terms than on Boehner’s and the Repubs.

      • KQuark says:

        I don’t know why progressive can’t understand why tea baggers are furious. I know progressives are crying bloody murder but these cuts were more or less cosmetic in the 2011 budget.

        I know tomorrow both sides are going to cry bloody murder again because the president will roll out a moderate plan tomorrow but that’s what the country is.

      • PatsyT says:

        President Obama is the only Adult in the Room
        but also the Only Parent in the room.
        It’s as if the kid has forgotten that they are very allergic to chocolate.
        They went to a party and had to eat that chocolate cake like everyone else.
        (Tax cuts = Chocolate)
        The parent arrives after getting the call
        “Hi, your child seems to be having a allergic reaction,
        can you come early to pick him up.”
        The parent arrives to see the child has blow up like a hot air balloon and
        can’t stop itching at every part of their body and of course, tears galore.

        So the Parent has to say…
        I did tell you not to eat the Chocolate cake,
        did you forget what happened the last time?
        So they are on their way to the emergency room the child crying all the way.
        The Parent has to keep his cool and remember patience.
        Rubbing it in now won’t help.
        Benadryl will.

        It seems this country HAS to go through these things
        in order to be convinced that they do not work.
        Trickle down only dries up
        Tax cuts for the “job creators” do very little if anything at all.
        If they would just listen to the Parent to begin with
        and not fight and cheat and go behind their back it would benefit them!

        Parenting is the toughest job out there.
        But Cheese Cake is really great!

        95ojk9.jpg

    • jkkFL says:

      I sure hope you’re right!

    • BigDogMom says:

      Patsy,

      The problem I have with the President is not the cuts, it’s the way he went about negotiating them…he looks weak in my eyes by following the GOP “Let’s Gut the Government” meme.

      He would have more credibility with me if he came out with his own “meme”, such as JOBS, just as he did with health care. Right now I see it as “if you can’t beat them, join them” type of attitude, which shows a sign of weakness to me.

      Cher, put it brilliantly on a post down below on what I and many others are feeling right now:

      I just feel in my bones that if the President came out swinging against at least the most extreme policies of the Right at this moment, the floodgates would open and people would tsunami their asses.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Thank you for the shoutout, BDM!

      • PatsyT says:

        “Tsunami their asses” Excellent Cher!
        I’ll join that!
        I think our President is being crafty with Speaker Boehner.
        Boehner has been totally TPartied boxed in a corner but Our President has room to maneuver.
        So let see what happens.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Patsy, I am definitely waiting to pass judgment. I have gone off half-cocked before. I think it is somewhat telling that I--a pretty ardent Obama supporter--is nervously awaiting the facts. It means that there is a niggling worry that might be unfounded, yet there it is. And I don’t consider myself cynical. I will have to go back and re-examine where my wariness comes from: from Obama’s past actions, or from what the Left has made me worry about. (And thanks!)

  5. escribacat says:

    You make a strong point, Adlib. I agree — enough with the damn tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires and free ride for corporations. These people may create jobs, but most of them are overseas anyway, so screw ‘em!! I’d love to see tax levels return at least to pre-Bush or pre-Reagan levels. Whether the president and the dems are going to be making that happen — well, I’m not holding my breath. I don’t know why they haven’t done it before. Maybe it is simply true that rightwingers are just more fanatical than the left and so the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

    I suppose there are a couple of valid arguments against raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations: if we tax ‘em too badly, they’ll just move their headquarters to the Caymen Islands or some other tax shelter. Plus, they’ll pass their new “expenses” on to the consumer. In this new age of the internet, if a company exists in a hostile tax environment, it’s a lot easier now to move. Probably easier for big corporations than little ones. So raising taxes will nail small and mid-level companies and the big guys will still get off scott free. Same goes for wealthy people.

    I did see the AP article that came out last night (there’s an RSS stream of it here on PPOV as I write this), saying that Obama managed to rescue his favorite programs (including a favorite of mine, AmeriCorp, which was on the Republican chopping block). I admit I haven’t been following this real closely and reading a lot about it, but this whole budget thing smacks of Kabuki Theater to me. Were there huge cuts or not? This AP article is the first article I’ve seen that describes more than a few sketchy notes about what was cut were made. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. Was it? Hell if I know. Like Cher, I am a Keynesian and think that cutting in a time of recession is a stupid move. I don’t understand why the president jumped on the “debt” bandwagon from the “jobs” bandwagon, which is where I think he belongs.

    Unfortunately, the pattern that seems pretty clear to me is that the Republicans are better at Kabuki and ratfecking than Democrats. They seem to win the media wars, over and over. The fact that most people aren’t particularly watching is perhaps, at this point, a good thing.

    In fact, I am starting to see the entire issue differently now. I think the problem should be attacked from the other side. If I were put in charge of fixing this problem and had magical powers, the first thing I’d do is re-instate the Fairness Doctrine and clip the cloven wings of Fox News. Fox clearly lies at the root of rightwing power in this country. They are the ones who convince folks that Obama is the anti-Christ and Boehner is here to save them from the horrid government. They are the ones controlling the message. They lie and lie and lie and they do it well. They must be stopped!

    • AdLib says:

      Hey Escribacat! I would suggest that there really aren’t any legitimate arguments against raising taxes on the wealthy.

      jkkFL did an excellent job below exploding that Repub myth.

      On top of that, GE and Exxon and many other major corporations pay $0 income tax already. Time for them and others to pay their fair share.

      As the article above describes, I think Obama did pretty well in this Kabuki performance and has the high ground now to demand tax increases.

      The Repubs want to claim it could hurt the economy? They were willing to hurt the economy just to kill Planned Parenthood and may be willing to do so again by fighting against raising the deficit ceiling as extortion for getting the political and social destruction they want in the 2012 budget.

      They have zero credibility on this, let alone that Bush lost jobs in his presidency with all the tax cuts for the wealthy he gave out, there is no factual evidence to support their claims. Jobs and wealth were not created then or in any time because of tax cuts for the wealthy.

      I want this debate and I want Obama to have it with the Repubs. Expose them as the lying corporate puppets they are and how they are at war against the American People on behalf of the wealthy.

      This is the battle we want in 2012, the Repubs as the tools of the wealthy who want more and Obama and the Dems on the side of 99% of Americans who at the very least, want fairly shared sacrifice and at most want a more just economic balance between the wealthy and everyone else.

    • Truth says:

      e’cat, agreed with the Fairness Doctrine, but it’s not only Fox, but corporate media at large in my opinion. Of course Fox Lies lowers the standard of what is acceptable or not considerably, so it may be a good thing to clip them first.

      Ah the outrage it would create! Imagine -- “free speech” getting muzzled…! As if lying and free speech were the same.

    • jkkFL says:

      e’cat,
      What corporation is going to move their money offshore? They’re all gone already.
      If the wealthy get taxed more, where will they go? Most European countries already tax far higher than the US.
      Who will they hurt if they leave the US? Are we benefiting from their wealth in any way?
      ‘Pick your battles’ is a favorite saying in my family, and it’s time we start picking Our battles right where you drew the lines!

  6. Truth says:

    Whats, I don’t know what the Dems are going to do. American Democrats are truly a bit beyond my comprehension. The first thing I read in the AP article concerning new negotiations though was that tax increase for those who earn above 250’000 will be on the table.
    Anyhow, as I’ve said, I reacted to your first, brief statement. (You did add quite a bit later, yes, that is 3/4 of the comment :D , which I don’t reply to now. Instead I lay out a few of my opinions)

    Concerning Dems, for example I think they should have proudly argued with enacting health care before the midterms. Instead, they did their best to hide that fact. This is incomprehensible to me!
    I dare to say: had they followed Obama’s lead on this they would not have lost the midterms.
    However, the entire political situation must have something to do with the lousy American media too. As I state time and again, there is no “democracy” known to me which allows their media to lie excessively on a daily basis, as is the case in America. No wonder that democracy is eroding from within! Sure enough warped “information” is a massive part of the whole problem. Moreover that problem is vastly -- and I mean VASTLY -- underestimated by Americans.

    Anyhow, now that the midterms are lost and the President made it abundantly clear, as expected, that he took away from the loss that Americans want him to be more bipartisan, not less, it doesn’t make much sense to hope he suddenly develops into an attacker of the Republicans. Therefore I don’t expect AdLibs take come to pass in the exact same way he suggests. Yet I still think tax increases ARE on the table, and I don’t think the President lets them go so easily. Hopefully he doesn’t let go of them at all! After all he must understand that there is economically no way around them, although again for reasons incomprehensible to Europeans, too many Americans are crazy for tax cuts. They are so gullible as to vote for the Party which promises tax cuts to them, (and especially to the richest), although the result of the previous tax cuts (and the unpaid for wars) is a very unhealthy economy.

    It is not that Europeans are happy to pay a lot of taxes, but they seem to have an understanding that those are needed to keep the infrastructure and the social systems intact. They also seem to understand that society is based on giving and taking, not only taking. The rugged American individualist pulling-out-by-the own-bootstraps-thing goes only so far -- as they can use the highways, electricity grids etc the community has paid for.

    So yes, there is a lot of incomprehensible stuff around, and I don’t see why the President should be responsible for each and every one of them.

    Moreover: what would have been America’s alternative to President Obama? It is not that there was so much choice. There was Hillary Clinton, and then McCain with, as unbelievable as it sounds, Palin, one old man’s heartbeat away from the nuke button. I shudder to think how the world would look like if those two were in office now.
    Hillary Clinton would have pretty much the same fate than Obama -- it would have been never good enough whatever she would do. And her husband would NOT be seen as favorably as today if she really were in office. He is accepted by the rethugs now because neither she nor he is in office. (Moreover, memory seems to be short with many as to how Clinton has been treated when he was in office)
    So, anyhow, this is what would have been your alternative, not some magically appearing super progressive. As much as I personally may regret it, it is very doubtful that one such would have been elected to the highest office in the first place.

    To end this for now, I’m interested debating you because I find it amazing how I agree with you so much on the more important things, that is art and spirituality, but mostly not on politics. That makes me curious to find out if and where we find common ground here.

    • AdLib says:

      Let’s see what Obama proposes tomorrow night, I don’t think we’ll see anything about removing the tax cuts for those below $250k.

      As for the Dems running away from HCR in the 2010 elections, I agree completely, it was cowardly to not fight the disinformation and instead hide. Instead of having hundreds of voices countering the Koch/Bagger propaganda, there was only silence. Cowardly and as the results showed, not a quality that helps win re-election.

      I do disagree that Obama has to be an attacker to stand firm on tax increases for the wealthy. He can and will draw the distinctions to the public of his taxing the wealthy vs. destroying Medicare to help balance the budget.

      I fully understand the discouragement some here feel towards Obama and the Dems, concerned that they will cave to the Repubs again but I think the upcoming elections and the Repub extremism are elements that make conceding to them in a big way very unlikely.

      My question to those who may think Obama and the Dems may concede to the Repubs on taxing the wealthy and privatizing Medicare, is, what do you think he’s thinking he will have left to run on to be re-elected, if not he and the Dems standing up for fairness and working Americans?

      • Truth says:

        AdLib, you’re right on the money. I think he is very much positioning himself for reelection -- and playing the rethugs as good as he can -- see your post above, how he makes them feel they got a huge victory while he’s offering as little as possible.
        He is even clever enough not to let them know that he outwitted them again! ;)

        Thanks for sharing your insights, they are greatly appreciated.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      I find that discrepancy interesting too, Truth. And in fact, what you write above, I agree with and agree with….

      UNTIL you pull out the argument via apologia for Obama, what would have been the alternative? See, that just stops me dead in my tracks. I just don’t go for the “but it would be so much worse” argument as anything I should be cheering for. I have never NOT criticized a president, to tell you very honestly. And I am not going to stop criticizing this one. I didn’t imagine a super progressive alternative, but I desire one. For that, there should be implications that I

      -“didn’t get a pony?”
      -- am perhaps racist?

      Not only me, but really smart people like Naomi Klein, Paul Krugman, Keith Olbermann, Dennis Kucinich, etc. etc. They DARE to criticize the president and all of a sudden they are personae non grata? This I just don’t understand. Frankly, it seems like cheerleading to me.
      Respectfully,
      wts

      • Truth says:

        Whatsie, I am more disappointed in Krugmann et al than in Obama. What could they do to SUPPORT his presidency? But then after all, they want to keep their jobs.
        Kucinich ousted himself with his olive pit and his call for impeachment recently. Herewith he’s a self-made persona non -grata….

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Truth, we have a very different perspective on both those people. It is not Paul Krugman’s “job”, nor his responsibility, to support the president. It is his calling to write from his own perspective, as an economist, about what will benefit, or not benefit, the nation. If he had been given any position of economic advisor to the president, he would not be forced into the position of sniper that you perceive. But, as we all know, the president looks to Wall Street for his economic advice.
          Ditto Kucinich. As the most staunchly progressive rival among the Democratic candidates, had he been invited into the “team of rivals” by the new administration, his views would not be coming, as it were, from a man in the wilderness, and would not appear to you like sniping.
          Had this administration been more inclusionary toward progressive persons and viewpoints from the beginning, AT LEAST as inclusionary as it has been towards business interests, I feel that not so many folks like the ones I mention would end up being thrown under the bus by the “support the president at all costs” crowd, of which (honestly) I consider you to be a member.

          • whatsthatsound says:

            Indeed, Truth, I am neither a racist nor a pony craver. However, if you really held my feet to the fire, you may get me to grudgingly confess to a slight prejudice against pony-getters. ;)
            btw, what’s your background, Truth? Are you Indian, or living there as an expatriate, as I am in Japan?

          • Truth says:

            Possible that he should have included at least Krugmann. But then Obama positioned himself as a centrist from the beginning -- and was called a socialist etc anyway by the RW propaganda machine. So what do I know what the smart move would have been?
            I know one thing though: Obama is a pretty good politician, and I am not. I have a set of ideas which I may find good, but never see the light of day. He on the other hand is able to implement quite a bit under these very difficult circumstances. I could never have achieved that, and I don’t think many of the armchair Presidents could have. Criticizing is easy, creating is hard, as you certainly know from your own work.
            And I don’t think Obama went against his core principles implementing all that he has done. However I DO think the “weak leader”, “spineless” and “bad negotiator” meme has gotten hold -- especially amongst the Left. And honestly I fear that you jumped on that band wagon too.

            Moreover I think I take the stance of extreme Obama supporter as a counterweight to what I’m seeing. There are enough people criticizing the President and I simply don’t see yielding that any good results. Disagree: fine, but then go grassroots and organize some movement from the bottom to push him to the direction you want. Constant bickering won’t cut it.

            • Truth says:

              Whats :D -- you were consistent, true. And so far I never said you might be a racist, nor that you hold him to a higher standard, nor that you’re disappointed because you didn’t get the pony. In fact, these thoughts (or rather: memes) never even crossed my mind.

              As of now I conclude that even on this issue we have more in common than not and I’m looking forward to further debates when the occasion arises.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Hi Truth,
              I got that you weren’t specifically referring to
              me. As I wrote before, I have never in my adult life NOT criticized the standing president. I was too young to really educate myself about Carter’s policies, and that was a while ago. But from Reagan onward, I have bitched, groaned and moaned. :)
              I realize it hasn’t done any good, but at least I’ve been consistent. ;)So if anyone wants to try to argue with me that I am perhaps racist, and holding this president to a higher standard, etc., that pov goes absolutely nowhere with me.

            • Truth says:

              Whats, of course everyone can engage in any discussion without being actively engaged in the process. To a certain degree this is good and necessary. Yet my point is, what is the use of a million or more people commenting on a coach’s decision? Does it change the game?

              I was talking about the trend I see and my conclusions what would be the solution -- not about you in particular.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Truth, I make no mention of what role I play politically, if any. I think it isn’t necessary to participate in a debate like this only if one can demonstrate that they are out there, walking the talk. In fact, I find the whole idea somewhat ludicrous. Not everyone who criticizes a movie needs to direct a film, and not everyone who criticizes a professional coach’s decision needs to be coaching their high school football team. Not everyone who criticizes my essays here needs to write their own or take drawing lessons.
              In all cases (other than my own), we are talking about professional people who campaigned for their positions, and now have it to do as a full time job. I have my own job to do; I think I can engage in a political discussion without revealing how much or little of my free time I devote to grassroots activism.

      • AdLib says:

        Please do keep criticizing the president. The “Obamabot” label seems to be casually applied to anyone who has anything positive to say about him. To me, the true proof that people think for themselves is that they can criticize and praise the same politician depending on what that politician has done.

        I have found some Repubs literally with their jaws hanging down when I criticize Obama for something or other Dems, even call some of them awful.

        They don’t understand that, their concept of being a Republican is like being a Packers fan, you love them no matter what.

        The problem is that this kind of binary thinking has become so common in practice in politics and too often applied at the first sight of praise or criticism.

        We can hold two thoughts and more in our heads at one time around here.

      • escribacat says:

        Whats--I think you nailed it, actually. I’m also one of the dreaded Obamabots and I do think, at least in my case, it IS cheerleading. To me, letting Republicans into office is the worst thing that can happen. I know a lot of people don’t see any difference, but I see huge differences. They’re not as huge as I want them to be, but huge enough. There is such an overwhelming chorus of criticism against the president, I usually just don’t see the point in adding to it. I’m much more concerned about the “REAL bad guys,” not the “not good enough guys.” Sure, he’s not good enough, but who is?

      • Truth says:

        Ah whats! -- we’re getting close to the issue where we disagree -- good.

        The question with the alternative is not an apology though. I truly wonder about all that bickering, when there really was and is nobody even remotely better than Obama.

        The question to me is: how much does it help to criticize him, especially if public figures do? Does every move of his have to be dismantled, because he should have done this and that and the opposite?
        Is it not enough that the Republicans talk lousy about him? The John Steinbeck quote that someone recently posted here comes to mind. —--something: we even have the right to destroy him.
        I hope I re-find that quote.

        ***Edit: I found it. And sadly, it rings very true for me as an outsider.

        “The President must be greater than anyone else, but not better than anyone else. We subject him and his family to close and constant scrutiny and denounce them for things that we ourselves do every day. A Presidential slip of the tongue, a slight error in judgment — social, political, or ethical — can raise a storm of protest.

        We give the President more work than a man can do, more responsibility than a man should take, more pressure than a man can bear. We abuse him often and rarely praise him. We wear him out, use him up, eat him up. And with all this, Americans have a love for the President that goes beyond loyalty or party nationality; he is ours, and we exercise the right to destroy him.”

        John Steinbeck – America and Americans (1966)

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Truth, I am not sure I agree with your assertion that there is no one “remotely better”. What I agree with about that is that in the current American political paradign, it is not remotely possible that someone better ( a relative and subjective term, obviously) would get elected.

        • Buddy McCue says:

          That really is a good quote. I haven’t heard that one.

          There’s a whole lot of truth to that.

        • AdLib says:

          That is a wonderful quote, Truth! Thanks for that!

          I do think criticism in general is constructive and healthy but looking at someone under a microscope and criticizing every hair that’s out of place serves no purpose.

          I think WTS’ criticisms are absolutely fair, even though I don’t completely agree with them.

          But those criticizing him for the superficial things and projecting all kinds of negative things on him simply because they are dissatisfied with him, are petty and not worth receiving attention.

  7. BigDogMom says:

    I think that Pres. Obama and the Dems in Congress have the high ground now to demand tax increases and closed loopholes for the wealthy, to save this nation. I think that needs to be their strategy now.

    Would have, could have, should have…Yes, we all know what he should do, but will he do it? History has shown us that he backs down at every negotiation with the Republicans. His negotiation skills leave little to be desired in my opinion, they ask for $33 billion, he gives them #38.5 billion in cuts…but oh, Planned Parenthood was on the line everyone says…He should have nipped that in the bud first thing by saying, “we’ll take it to the American people” like Bidden had said. That threat should have been used earlier on, the last thing the Republicans wanted was a shut down, because they know they would have been blamed for it…but what does the President do? Gives them more.

    Everyone keeps saying that he is this great strategist, that he is the ultimate chess player, I just don’t see it anymore. The President and everyone can sugar coat it all they want, a shit deal is a shit deal.

    Last night Rachel Maddow used the analogy of her giving into her dogs demands every time the dogs whimpers to the President giving in to the Republicans demands every time they whimper. He has trained them well, they know that if they pull out of their ass the most heinous thing that they can do to the American people as a threat, the President will give into their demands just to shut them up.

    I’d say that we all should demand that the President do stand up to them this time, but doubt that that would make a difference, it never has before.

    I would love to be wrong on this one, but not holding my breath.

    Rachel Maddow’s show last night:

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/04/12/6457022-more-like-a-whimper-than-a-whine

    • AdLib says:

      It’s important to view things as holistically as possible. We can’t neglect the Nov 2010 election results when looking at the way Obama is handling things.

      He did fight the odds and though it’s not everything most of us would like it to be, he did pass HCR. And how did many independents and some Dems respond? By voting out Dems from power in the House or not voting for Dems.

      He has a political calculation to make, to continue as President and do what he can to press forward for Americans, he has to get votes from that Indie middle that wants cuts.

      If Obama shunned them completely, he couldn’t get re-elected on Progressive votes alone.

      So, what does he do? Reject all social cuts, end up with no budget passed since Repubs wouldn’t agree to one otherwise then in 2012, set up Huckabee to win the Presidency? Where will we be on cuts then with a Repub Congress? I think we have to look long term on this. Cuts can be reversed in the future but only if Dems can regain a majority and retain the WH. The political ramifications do need to be part of Obama and the Dems’ calculations.

      This is not a good situation but it seems to be bad right now vs. worse later and in such a choice, which would we really want to get?

      This is why I say, as WTS referred to, this is a time to leverage the cuts agreed to by Obama and Dems into tax increases on the wealthy. Such revenues could greatly reduce the deficit and free up more funds for the programs that are being cut.

      They’ve touched the necessary base to gain Indie support in 2012, now they can and should pivot to serve the majority and insist on shared sacrifice from millionaires and billionaires.

    • jkkFL says:

      BDM- I’m right there with you!
      I’m sick of listening to that dog whine too!
      Someone has to be the adult here, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out who will show up.
      There is much talk about bullying in society these days- it’s ridiculous to watch the President allow himself to be bullied by the GOP.
      I’m beyond ready for him to stand up and draw that line.

      • BigDogMom says:

        jkk, my husband has now taken to calling the President “The Cave-man” for his caving in to the Republicans demands all the time…Weds. speEch will be more “CUTS”

        Wonder when he is going to stop listening to the “Republican Propaganda Machine” and realize that “we” mandated JOBS not CUTS!

        • jkkFL says:

          Personally- if he caves again- I’m looking for a good candidate for President..

          • BigDogMom says:

            jkk, we have no choice but to vote for Obama, if we split the ticket the Republicans win, if we primary him, the Republicans win, we are stuck between a hard place and a rock.

            The only thing that I pray is that the Republicans have over played their hand so much so, that we can primary congressional and senate seats and get “real progressives” in there, in a majority, to re-vamp our unequal laws.

            • jkkFL says:

              @BDM- well if he uses that as his rationale, I’m not so sure he can pull it off.
              Lurking in the back of my mind is a dubya III
              waiting for the party to implode.

            • BigDogMom says:

              jkk, agree, if we primary him, do you think he’ll wake up? No, he’s going for the Indie and moderate Republicans vote right now…knowing damn well that in the end all of us will vote for him anyway.

            • jkkFL says:

              Oh I will vote, but I’m starting to wonder if there might not be a primary challenge after all. I really think Obama’s base is slipping- depending on where he goes in the next few weeks..

    • Buddy McCue says:

      President Obama likes to find the “middle ground” in all negotiations.

      Ordinarily, this is a virtue. Ordinarily, this is the characteristic of a true gentleman. But in the present circumstances, this trait can be easily used against him.

      Here’s a cartoon illustrating the budget battle, starring the President as the superhero “MiddleMan:”
      http://s3.credoaction.com.s3.amazonaws.com/comics/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/TMW2011-04-06colorlowres.jpg

      • BigDogMom says:

        Morning Buddy, finding middle ground is all fine and good, but when you concede to your negotiating partner even before he comes back with a counter offer to me is not “middle ground”, to me it’s bad negotiating skills.

        Paul Krugman sums it up perfectly:

        But if you ask me, I’d say that the nation wants — and more important, the nation needs — a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand. And that’s not what we’re seeing.

        The President is losing the messaging battle, along with the negotiating battle…he is perceived by the left, center and right as “wishy washy”, this is not a good thing to be thought of as a President.

        Standing for something, stating it to the American people with conviction, but still be willing to get all sides to agree is what is needed….but I don’t see that happening in the near future.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        How can you not love Tom Tomorrow?

  8. Daedalus says:

    First, thank you for this contribution and your herculean efforts at establishing this blogsite. Your avatar is exactly the way I feel about the direction our country has taken (and, thus, the world that surrounds me here in the United States). However, I still feel you are a bit too optimistic.

    As a person with a science background, I’ve developed a profound respect for inductive reasoning. In a nutshell, induction (as opposed to deduction) gives precedence to observation and prediction. As a result, I consider “trickle down” supply side economics to be proven nonsense.

    However, apparently not only have Americans lost all respect for inductive logic, they are equally unconcerned about glaring deductive inconsistencies and seem to have an infinite ability to accept any drivel they are fed as a matter of faith. In fact, they will probably make perfect slaves.

    • AdLib says:

      Cheers Daedalus and welcome to The Planet!

      There are times when I become quite disappointed in Americans as a group. The lack of vision past what they want today, their gullibility to buy into whatever meme is broadcast most successfully regardless of it’s truth, their use of voting to “get even” or express emotions.

      But…they did elect an African American man named Barack Hussein Obama as their president.

      They may disappoint a lot but they are also capable of change, in fact, too capable sometimes.

      Very nice to have another person with a scientific background here (you need to meet KQuark). Looking at this situation in a scientific way, as pressure increases upon an object, it typically forces change upon that object.

      As we’ve seen in the Middle East, there is a limit to how much pressure a populace is willing to endure before acting out to remove it. I think that’s human nature and whether it’s near term or far term, there will be a majority in America acting to end the attacks and oppression of corporate America.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Hey BDM,
      The money quote from that Rachel Maddow segment was,
      “Your ancestors have to have been very, very good people in their lifetimes, for you, in your lifetime to have earned the luck of being the political opponent of the Republicans this year”.

      I love her.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Whoops, sorry, this was meant as a reply to BDM’s comment.

        • BigDogMom says:

          WTS, that’s OK, clicked on the side bar and came right to it! The mircle of the Planet! :lol:

          My question, along with millions of others, “But will the President and the Dems do anything with it?”

          The Dems have been handed a gift by the far right Tea Party and so far they have failed to do anything with it.

          Sorry to sound like Debbie Downer, getting a little frustrated by all of this…time to take a long walk with my furry four legged creature, who like Rachel’s dog, whines to be let in…

          • whatsthatsound says:

            Well, see, cynical person that I am, that’s why I referred to it as “the money quote”. Because Rachel says it not triumphantly, but dripping with sarcasm because of how things turned out. She is scathing, and rightly so, I feel.

  9. Buddy McCue says:

    Love the article. The “digging a trench” metaphor is spot-on.

    Unfortunately, I can’t really imagine the Democrats demanding that the wealthy start sharing some of the sacrifice. I can’t imagine them playing tough with the plutocrats, closing their tax loopholes and ending corporate subsidies. It’s easier to imagine a boulder rising up off the ground like a soap bubble.

    After all, it takes beaucoup bucks to get into office, and then to be re-elected. Get tough with the rich, and the rich can see to it that you lose your seat, particularly now that unlimited anonymous funds can legally be used for this purpose.

    How many people are willing to get tough with their own paymasters?

    • AdLib says:

      Hey Buddy, your doubts are justified but I would refer back to Kes’ observation that once you take away everything from people, they have nothing to lose by rebelling.

      Americans have been sacrificing quite a bit along the way, having to put up with the corporate plutocracy masquerading as a tea party having undue influence on harming our democracy and future.

      But if the Dems in Congress and Obama were to go along with the nihilist agenda of Repubs, Americans would have nothing left to lose by throwing out Dems through primaries.

      Personally, though I too have been disappointed by some of Obama’s decisions, I don’t think the President who used so much of his political capital to pass the long sought health care reform bill, will turn around and be the President who killed Medicare.

      Also, it’s clear from the Bush Tax Cut conflict, Obama is positioned to use taxing the wealthy as a campaign issue in his 2012 re-election campaign. He’s not going to give that up.

      I think the dynamics are different on this right now, the Dems and Obama have conceded serious cuts to their constituency while the Repub constituency swims in money. The stark contrast is inescapable and will only come into greater relief as the cuts take hold.

      I am a cautious about trusting in Dems to stand immovably for principle but in this case, the stakes seem too high to do anything other than that.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      I agree with you, Buddy. Sadly, it seems to me that Adlib’s optimistic recommendations for what the administration and Democrats in Congress “should” do is not all that different from what they should have been doing all along.
      There is a business term which I don’t like, because it is one of those MBA tricks of turning nouns into verbs, but it is called “leveraging”

      The Obama administration “should” have:
      -- leveraged its landslide victory into a push to bring folks like Kucinich, et al., into its so-called “Team of Rivals”, instead of just Wall Street insiders. With a REAL Team of Rivals, more progressive policies regarding the Middle East Wars, Gitmo, energy policy and making the rich pay their fair share could have been spearheaded from the get go. Two years later, the midterms would have unfolded differently.

      -- leveraged the Wall Street bailout to shrink financial behemoths, curtail obscene bonuses, and channel funds directly into Main Street/small business needs, instead of waiting for the “trickle down” dependent on the largesse of Wall Street, which used its “helplessness” to hold the administration and the rest of the country hostage. The economy would have recovered more quickly and fairly, and, as above, two years later the midterms would have unfolded differently.

      -- leveraged the GM fiasco to insist upon greener engines, smaller cars, and a new generation of automotive engineering that would not only improve the economy, but would also help, in at least some way, to preserve the rapidly slipping away health of our environment

      -- leveraged the disaster in the Gulf to further push an environmental agenda that would give hope to the future for finally weaning ourselves off oil dependency, the need to pour blood and treasure into the Middle East, and again, help keep the planet breathing

      and so on and so on.

      Ending the corporatocracy just frankly doesn’t seem to be the Democratic endgame in this day and age. Waiting for this administration to grow stones in its second term seems a bit like that play by Samuel Beckett to me, but I would LOOVE to be wrong.

      • jkkFL says:

        Leveraging is the key.. it’s how the rich got richer- and how the people were leveraged out of the game.

      • AdLib says:

        Agree with you on most of the above though I do think the clenching of the corporate fist around the people and our democracy necessarily creates pressure to escape it.

        The greater the inequity, the greater the probability for a rising up by the people to remove it.

        I think the problem is that too many Americans aren’t feeling oppressed enough, even though they should be. Unfortunately, it isn’t typical for Americans to think ahead and respond at the beginning of trouble. They apparently need intense suffering to nudge them out from under their Snuggies and push back against those inflicting it.

        History, including recent history, shows again and again that tyrants will oppress the people of a nation increasingly and that eventually results in their loss of power (or their heads!).

        Things are bad now but they can get a lot worse. What I think our job should be is making the case to whoever we can reach that acting now to oppose the forces trying to oppress the people will save having to do this the harder way.

        Obama is speaking tomorrow to state that taxes on the wealthy must increase to address the deficit, I think we should communicate our strong support for this to him and all of our Congressional reps and keep it up!

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Adlib:

          Things are bad now but they can get a lot worse. What I think our job should be is making the case to whoever we can reach that acting now to oppose the forces trying to oppress the people will save having to do this the harder way.

          YES! This is the big challenge. I sometimes think that highlighting all the rancid policies of the Right will mobilize the rest of us to rise up against them, but then I sometimes think that instead of doing that it only creates demoralization.

          I am just beginning to have an inkling why that should be. One would think showing how absolutely morally corrupt the Reeps are would activate us--as it does for those involved in the US Uncut demonstrations, but for many others it doesn’t. I’m trying to figure out why not. It might have something to do with feeling overwhelmed but it also might be because there is no one in power to help us channel our anger. We feel impotent at the very moment we need to get out there! Nothing cures apathy like action, but of course that’s chicken/egg stuff. I just feel in my bones that if the President came out swinging against at least the most extreme policies of the Right at this moment, the floodgates would open and people would tsumani their asses. ( I remember how delighted I was when Obama criticized the Citizens’ United decision at the SOTU address!)And that doesn’t mean that it negates the bottom-up nature of political action. Obama doesn’t need to lead us to demonstrations, but rather just needs to approve of them in even one statement. It would energize the movement, IMO. It would encourage us at a time when so many are feeling dismay.

          And I know that it is of the most importance to get the Indies aboard for 2012, but I think most of them could get behind the fight for fairness. That’s a basic instinct in us--it’s a winning campaign, at least according to all the polls I’ve seen. I am nit asking for Obama to take over our resistance to the Right--that’s not his job, it’s ours. But he could and should let us know HE is behind US. I believe he truly is, but others don’t. Why not simply say so?

          • BigDogMom says:

            I’m trying to figure out why not. It might have something to do with feeling overwhelmed but it also might be because there is no one in power to help us channel our anger. We feel impotent at the very moment we need to get out there! Nothing cures apathy like action, but of course that’s chicken/egg stuff. I just feel in my bones that if the President came out swinging against at least the most extreme policies of the Right at this moment, the floodgates would open and people would tsunami their asses.

            Cher, you hit the proverbial nail on the head with this statement once again! YES, it would be nice to know that he is behind US…

            I really don’t need a damn pony, too much work to clean up after them…but would be really nice if he even acknowledged our existence!

      • Buddy McCue says:

        Whatsthatsound -- Yes, “leveraging” is a somewhat distasteful term, but a good one to describe the political possibilities you’re talking about.

        Such missed opportunities those were!

        President Obama and his cabinet aren’t unintelligent; surely they must have recognized these possibilities. They just decided not to act on them for some reason.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Hey Buddy,
          just as sad as the missed opportunities are the seized opportunities that the reactionary forces used.

          They leveraged the financial meltdown to grab all the rewards and pass off the risks to the American people.

          They leveraged the needs of struggling Americans, for health insurance and unemployment benefits, to create giveaways to the insurance companies and extend the Bush tax cuts.

          They leveraged a small and disparate group of Tea Partiers to back the administration into a corner with threats of a shutdown.

          Leveraging is a distasteful term, but even more distasteful is how it has been applied.

      • Truth says:

        Whats, that sounds it should have been totally easy for them to do so. “Ending the corporatocracy” is after all REALLY nothing but a cakewalk. There are practically no forces working against that…
        And surely it becomes that much easier with Republicans whose only goal was to make the President fail.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          also, Truth, let me note that it goes without saying that with this as your argument, you hold as little hope as either I or Buddy do in terms of seeing the administration and Congress act the way Adlib is recommending. Just too many forces working against that happening too, I guess?

          • Truth says:

            No whats, of course I don’t agree with you on this issue, no change in that so far. Also I had replied to your original comment, where there were no suggestions yet as to how to go about. This is not to say that I agree with your suggestions, but at least you outline a path, and that gives your comment a different weight than when you just state the goal. (I reacted mainly to that.)

            Yet since I’m currently engaged in other chores (and couldn’t resist to reply to you while quickly peeping in on The Planet) we have to leave it at that for the time being -- we’ll sure get an opportunity to discuss these issues further at one point.

            • Truth says:

              Whats, I reply above since my comment became rather lengthy.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Oh, Truth, I realize that I added quite a lot to that comment through editing, so didn’t take into account that your comment was to my briefest comment. Understood.
              I understand that we don’t see eye to eye on this, of course. But I do hope we revisit the subject, because I would like to know how you can hold what to me seem like opposing viewpoints, namely:

              You state that the forces arrayed against the Obama administration and the Dems in Congress are very powerful, yet you imagine that nevertheless there is hope that they will do as Adlib recommends in the article, and force a fight with the Republicans on the issue of spreading the sacrifice around.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          I say nothing whatsoever about it being a cakewalk, Truth. Something as big as this needs to be done through a series of steps, some bold, some less so, but all responsive to the opportunities that present themselves along the way. This is an administration that seems unable to seize historical trends and thus gets caught up in the results of not doing so. Blame THE NEW Congress! That new Congress is there, lets remember, partly because of dissatisfaction with the current administration. Well Then, BLAME the Voters!
          Anything, ANYTHING, but hold the administration remotely to account.

  10. Chernynkaya says:

    Well, AdLib, it’s important to remind myself just how purely venal and yes, I’ll say it, actually evil, the Right is. There is really no such thing as “no difference.” Only a determinedly ignorant lazyass fool would deny that. Usually, I don’t focus too much on the Goopers but now they have pushed my nose in their dog shite and it’s unavoidable. They reek. And it’s important to remember what they want to do to us, because it is easy for me to become depressed at the meager response to the Ryan budget plan from my Party so far. This is no ordinary Repub budget; it spells out clearly the total destruction of the economy, and programs the Dem Party is based on. To act as if this is business as usual -is just another small-government budget--is, in my mind, dangerous and depressing.

    I am upset tonight after spending too much time reading. And one of the speculations I read is that tomorrow, President Obama will, in his speech on the deficit, announce that “everything” is on the table--including cuts to Medicare (per AP for one). If that is the case, I can’t tell you how despondent that’ll make me. If that demoralizes a loyalist like me, I worry about 2012. Not that people will vote Reep, but that they won’t turn out. And that would be a certified disaster.

    • AdLib says:

      I completely understand. However, I would suggest not to take Obama’s words about everything being on the table too far.

      That is a smart thing to say before a negotiation if one wants to appear reasonable.

      Would Obama agree to destroy Medicare by privatizing it? Let’s look at what he spent his political capital on, trying to reign in private control over health care.

      Everything else aside, would he really believe that after all he went through on helping citizens with regular healthcare, that it would be a wise move to undermine that historic accomplishment by signing the death warrant of Medicare by handing it all over to the very same corporations?

      I just don’t see it. So, hang in there, the theatrics and positioning of those about to negotiate are not identical to their intentions.

      After all, consider that the Repubs positioned themselves as representing the will of the American People in this budget debate and instead their positions were the antithesis of what the majority of Americans want.

  11. ADONAI says:

    The government isn’t evil. There’s just far too much of it. Maybe their methods are dubious, but, like the Republicans, I’d cut a big chunk of the government away too.

    As far as the “debate” on the budget deficit and our debt, private and public, neither side is telling the truth. Neither side is as forthcoming as they need to be.

    I’ve listened to the economic policy of the Right AND the Left for a long time now and, in my opinion, both sides offer a slow bleed policy. Maybe Democrats will go further to help people, but they won’t go all the way because they need those people’s votes too. Not a lot of people are going to vote to raise their taxes.

    No one is going to “win” the economic argument until we actually start having it.

    • bito says:

      ADONAI

      I’d cut a big chunk of the government away too

      isn’t that the question “what big chunk” should be cut? The Sate Department and their USAID programs got cut in the compromise the other night because there are some that think it’s a a huge amount of the country’s expenditures. It’s 2/3 of one penny of every tax dollar and it gets cut. There are more members in musical bands of the armed services than there are people in the State Department, yet DOD costs 28 cents of every tax dollar and they suffered the huge cut of 1 billion dollars. Are cuts made with any logic or simply ideology?

      BTW, is there anything in the constitution about military bands? That question needs to be asked sometime to a TeaParty Patriot supporter, ya think? Maybe we need to go back to the founding father’s time and only have fife and drums. ;-)

    • AdLib says:

      I understand your perspective on the parties but it is a stretch in this case to try and make both equivalent.

      One party wants to enforce a right wing corporatist and religious agenda on all Americans, taking away health services from the poor and women, taking higher learning out of the hands of the poor and minorities, eliminate the EPA, destroy any chance of health care for all, damage public schools from being able to successfully educate children, the list goes on and on.

      To make your case, please list the specifics of an equivalent, socially destructive agenda that Dems are supporting.

      I would suggest that many situations don’t really fit in the box of, “Both parties are just as bad,”, because it is an assertion that can be easily and factually be disproven.

      There is one party that has a publicly illustrated agenda to increase economic inequality and make this nation into a plutocracy ruling over an impoverished and unrepresented majority.

      Comparing that to Dems not cutting spending or the size of government enough, it’s difficult to see an equivalence.

      • ADONAI says:

        AdLib -- I’m not comparing the two Parties ideology or routine tactics, just their unwillingness to go all the way.

        Both sides are trapped by their own machinations. They have pushed the American people into an area that will be hard to talk them away from.

        I put that blame on both Parties. And you miss my point. My beef isn’t so much with what Dems ARE supporting, though they have caved to some pretty shitty issues, but more for what they won’t support.

        Higher taxes on the middle class not just the rich, bans on off shore drilling, the end of the wars(they still vote to fund it and Obama ordered it expanded so you can’t really say they already do), legal gay marriage(halfhearted at best), the end of affirmative action and hate crime laws, end of the drug war(both sides make millions from it and everyone loves them for it, why change?), free, FREE health care, and… do you see where I’m going with this?

        I don’t support the Democratic Party. Not because I believe they are evil or purposely working against my best interests but because their ideology is not mine. That is all.

  12. funksands says:

    Ad: Great post. I think creeping normalcy has gone for so long, that too many workers have forgotten how things used to be:

    1950: 39 billion in total federal receipts

    Income Tax Corporate Tax* Employment Tax*
    39.9% 45.6% 7.6%

    2008: 2.5 trillion in total federal receipts

    Income Tax Corporate Tax* Employment Tax*
    45.4% 28.7% 27.9%

    This shift has resulted in a transfer of nearly 3 trillion dollars from the paychecks of workers into the pockets of corporatio­­­ns. And that is a NON-inlfat­­­ion adjusted number. For example, the 39 billion in revenue today would be worth 349.

    http://www­­­.jct.gov­/­p­ublica­ti­on­s.ht­ml?­fun­c=­star­tdow­­n&id=­3719

    • AdLib says:

      But as all Repubs know, math, like the truth, has a liberal bias.

      Well illustrated, Funksands. And add to your figures that the wealthy have all kinds of tax shelters and benefits other Americans don’t have which allows them to pay far less than the percentages you list.

      The US tax system is a fraud perpetrated upon Americans, allowing the wealthy and corporations to moan about how much they pay when in fact companies like GE with billions in profits, pay no taxes and instead get a gift of millions or more of our taxes! This is perverse and unsustainable.

      The sad thing is, even with all of the cuts that could be made to everything in the budget including Medicare and SS, the wealthy and corps would still bankrupt the nation anyway.

      This needs to be looked at holistically, in decades instead of one year at a time. The greed and power of the wealthy to get laws passed that benefit them needs to be extrapolated out to it’s eventual conclusion. That is, if not stopped, corporations will devour the wealth of this country in any scenario.

      The solution to the deficit can only be found by reigning in the power and corruption of corporations and the wealthy behind them. Everything else is just a temporary delay of the collapse of our democratic society.

      • funksands says:

        Ad, the winning message of the Dems is very simple. There is significant political danger to it, and it will draw every malovolent corporate dollar into every national election. But I think the time is ripe for that fight:

        Bring our jobs home.

        We are going to do what every other country on earth does. We are going to incentivize domestic domiciling of both production and headquarters here in the US by ending the tax incentives to ship jobs to other countries.

        This would bring some jobs home (not all, there are legitimate reasons for outsourcing), fill state and local tax coffers, lower unemployment, reduce our deficit and start chipping away at our debt.

        It makes sense and its patriotic.

        This however will bring hell’s fury from the Right and subversion from some in the Middle. A bill to repatriate offshore corporate profits at a 5.7% one-time only rate got filibustered by the GOP and slammed by the Chamber of Commerce, GE, Microsoft, et.al.

        But the people, the apathetic people, would finally have something to rally around. Study after study shows a spike of 10-15% in turnout when there is a minimum wage bill intiative on the ballot. What would Bring Jobs Home to Your Town turn out?

        It seems too simple. Poke holes in it please.

  13. kesmarn says:

    The bottom line is, if we decide to go along with the Republicans on slowly poisoning our nation to death because if we don’t, they’re threatening to push it off a cliff, what’s the difference in the end? Either way we’re dead.

    Well put as always, AdLib. In two sentences, you nailed it.

    I have to wonder if the Repubs realize that one of the most dangerous things you can do is place people in the situation in which they finally have nothing left to lose. Because that is a very liberating place to be. If you’re one of the oppressed.

    • AdLib says:

      Cheers Kes!

      And your point is well made and proven throughout history (and across the Middle East right now).

      As I mentioned below, I don’t think they spend much time considering what the blowback will be from robbing and oppressing the majority in a nation. They just gorge themselves on everything they can devour today and assume that their wealth and power will protect them from whatever happens in the future.

      What we need to do is make them see that it won’t.

      • Khirad says:

        Besides, they can always jet off with their spoils should the rabble rise up. Who ever said they were nationalists? Hell, Mubarak was at least patriotic. I doubt these guys care what soil they die on as long as they’re in a compound with a helipad and gold leaf caviar pizza.

  14. bito says:

    Just wondering AdLib, is there any correlation between the “rich” paying more taxes have anything to do with their income? And when I rent a jet to fly to a gathering, can I write that off as a business expense? Instead of buying groceries and cooking, should I just go to a restaurant and use that as a write off? I got fined by the SEC, is that another write off as a “cost of doing business?” Is it better to have my corporation pay 100% of my HC, and pension to wite off or should I use that on my personal return?
    One last question, when setting up trust funds and foundations, how much can I deduct.
    Sorry to bother you, perhaps I should ask my on staff of CPA’s and tax lawyers (and is that a write off?)
    Thank You for your time, (is that deductible for both of us?)

    bito

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong believer in this “shared sacrifice” thing, but c’mon, how much should I sacrifice?

    • AdLib says:

      As your Business Manager, I would recommend only sacrificing the amount we can write off then receive back in the form of tax credits.

      I mean, if we’re going to sacrifice, okay but it shouldn’t cost us anything.

    • kesmarn says:

      Goodness, b’ito! Are you still renting jets and going to restaurants to dine? That’s so 2010.

      This is the year to own your own corporate jet and hire a live in chef! Those little items will never be cheaper than they are right now. This recession has allowed the achiever class to afford levels of luxury they could only dream of before.

      A big thank you hug to St. Ronnie Reagan for getting the ball rolling on the Era of the Plutocrat.

      :wink:

      • bito says:

        Of course Buffy, I am doing all those things! I just posed them for “others” to understand the struggles and plight that this ‘shared sacrifice’ thingy has placed on “us.” Imagine, the lawyers told me I have to pay minimum wage, unemployment insurance and workers comp (Oh wait, I can write those off, foolish me.)

        • PatsyT says:

          Bito I mean Biff, Do you write off your own personal army?
          You know security detail and all.
          Is this a repeat story? Has anyone posted this today?

          In February, ThinkProgress broke a story revealing that attorneys for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had communicated with a set of military contractors — HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies — to develop tactics for sabotaging and spying on the Chamber’s progressive critics. The Chamber attorneys and the security firms discussed targeting ChamberWatch, the SEIU, MoveOn, ThinkProgress, and other groups. The proposals details efforts to steal private computer information, spy on the families of the Chamber’s critics, and plant false documents within organizations opposed to the Chamber’s agenda.

          http://thinkprogress.org/2011/04/11/chamberleaks-more-plans/

          • Chernynkaya says:

            Guys, there’s hope:

            NSA Security Firm HBGary faces Congressional probe

            The Daily Planet Vol 37 (ahem!)

            http://www.scmagazineus.com/hbgary-faces-congressional-probe/article/199098/
            “A subcommittee consisting of 19 members of the U.S. Congress is seeking to launch an investigation into the activities of security firm HBGary Federal following revelations that the company, together with two other security firms, Berico Technologies and Palantir Technologies, may have conspired to sabotage opponents.”

            • PatsyT says:

              Cher, I figured this had to have come up somewhere here. ;-) That Think Progress piece came out yesterday so that is why I asked if it a repeat. Anyway, why isn’t the MSM all over this? James Okeefe comes up with a totally bogus video and it gets 24/7 airplay. They have serious facts here! Watergate? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller ……

            • AuntieChrist says:

              I, personally, hope to see heads roll.

              …and I don’t speak metaphorically.

          • bito says:

            Patsy, Beyond k’es, Holy Shit! Should we be really surprised though? Thanks for the link.
            I’m off to read it.

            • kesmarn says:

              Good for Dem. Hank Johnson for investigating, Patsy, but you have to wonder if this will go anywhere. I hope so, but…

              About 5 years ago a friend of mine said she had serious issues with companies like Blackwater/Xe. She referred to them as “shadow armies” and felt that they could be a serious threat to democracy, due to the fact that they were outside the regulations that might restrain our regular military. I thought she was a little “out there.”

              I realize how naive I was now.

            • PatsyT says:

              Kes, did you read that whole thing? I am not surprised but nevertheless I am Shocked!
              They mention the BradBlog on there !

        • kesmarn says:

          And very soon, Biff, you won’t have to pay those unfortunate Social Security benefits, unemployment and workers comp! Won’t that be a happy day? When our beloved Tea Party gets rid of all those nasty entitlements?

          Don’t forget to buy more stock in those private health insurance companies, too, Biff. That patriotic Paul Ryan is going to funnel oodles of taxpayer dollars to them after he makes traditional Medicare and Medicaid go bye-bye. You’ll make a killing. In more ways than one.

          Isn’t it a shame that that horrible Mr. Roosevelt ever gave the rabble the notion that they were entitled to do anything besides work hard for starvation wages? It’s irritating to have to “claw back” all those programs that they’ve become far too attached too now.

          That’s what happens when you coddle the parasite class. Tsk.

          • bito says:

            Buffy, I never understood that “entitled” thingy either. Just because those people payed into a fund, they think they are entitled to a return on their investments? I lost millions once on an investment, but my tax attorney worked it out where I made money, on top of that, he got me a government subsidy!
            WooHoo!
            Now where is that chef? I’m ready for the third course and not a servant around to be seen!

            • PatsyT says:

              Hey, Ralph has to make a living doing something,
              every job he has ever had has been shipped overseas.

              Even the fork lift operator job is now being done ala remote control by a
              10 year old kid in Vietnam.

              With so many regulations being eliminated, now anyone can be a professional Chef!
              Bone Appititey !

            • kesmarn says:

              I have a funny feeling about that chef, Biff…

              He didn’t look too chef-ish to me. Are you sure the agency send the right man?

              And how many chefs are named “Ralph” and drive a Hemi?

              I’m starting to get a bit queasy…. urp!


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