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AdLib On June - 15 - 2011

The GOP proudly fails the most basic intelligence test…which is no surprise to those who followed Sarah Palin’s recent bus tour (it was amusing when she struggled to enter the Gettysburg Address into her bus’ GPS so she could visit there).

With a square peg in hand that won’t fit into a round hole, the GOP’s logical conclusion is to grab a mallet and hammer the hell out of it until it fits.

Though they’re not big on history, it is helpful for the rest of us.

1. In 2000, when George W. Bush was awarded the presidency by the Supreme Court, there was a budget surplus left by a Democratic president.

2. For the following 8 years, Bush and a Republican Congress aggressively applied the GOP Trickle Down “theory” of big tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation.

3. In 2008, at the end of 8 years of Trickle Down, the US economy was destroyed, millions of jobs, homes and retirement savings were lost and 99% of Americans were worse off while the top 1% owned far more of the nation’s wealth than ever before in US history.

In 2011, the GOP is explaining that the only way to repair the destruction that Trickle Down caused to our economy, is by using Trickle Down economics.

Now, to Village Idiots, Bizarro Superman and Tea Partiers, this may seem like a sensible argument but to those of us who don’t try to put our underwear on by pulling it over our head, this is insane.

To illustrate, let us apply this reasoning in other cases.

If someone is obese, the solution to reversing their weight gain is for them to overeat.

If making a wrong turn in your car has taken you in the wrong direction, the way to reach your destination is to make another wrong turn.

If placing your hand over a flame has burned your hand, the best way to treat that burn is by placing your hand over the flame again.

It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. What’s interesting is that the main platform for the Republican Party is also the definition of insanity (but then wasn’t Newt, Bachmann, Santorum and Ron Paul running for their presidential nomination a bit of a tip off?).

Insanity does play well with the Republican base. In fact, they are addicted to it. If the Democrats aren’t creating universal health care to kill Grannies, they’re electing Kenyan socialists to hand over our government to Al Qaeda. It’s cavemen riding dinosaurs, Jesus hating gays, being pro-life but pro-death penalty, freedom of religion unless you’re not Christian, white people being oppressed by minorities and grass roots groups started up and financed by corporations.

Think of the bumper sticker possibilities:

“You don’t have to be crazy to vote Republican…but it helps.”

“My parents went to the Republican National Convention and all I got was this straight jacket.”

“Vote Republican, it’s time the patients took over the asylum!”

All of this aside, are the rich and powerful running the GOP really insane? The answer would appear to be “yes” but not insane in the way that’s described above.

They do suffer the psychosis that an unquenchable lust for power and greed would bring about. However, it is unlikely that they believe their own BS. They don’t think that their grabbing more of our national wealth will make US society or its overall economy better, they know it will result in the further oppression of most Americans and a degradation of their standard of living. Their goal is not an earnest desire to add jobs or make things better for Americans, it is getting what they want.

So, they count on the ADD of the American Voter, let two or four years go by after they put their hand over a flame and got burned and tell them that the flame will now magically heal their hand and like dumb yokels, they’ll put their hands right back into the flame.

This is how this elite sees the American people. As forgetful, ignorant domesticated animals that can be frightened, angered or tempted into serving them. They can pretend to throw the tennis ball and we’ll run around looking for it. They can dangle yarn in front of us and we’ll paw at it. They can assure us that the only reason things aren’t better for us is that they aren’t wealthy enough yet and we’ll buy into it. But will we?

Are the American People crazy enough to buy into this insanity despite its proven results? I don’t think so.

However, the GOP is counting on it, so much so that they’re considering which of the following they want as their official 2012 GOP theme song:

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."

132 Responses so far.

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  1. jjgravitas says:

    Good thoughts, AdLib. They say sunlight is the best disinfectant. It is up to all of us out there to shine as bright a light as possible on the stupid ideas of the republican party (of which there are many), the so-called “right”. While we’re at it, we need to force the Supreme Court to reverse their ruling that allowed unlimited campaign funds from corporations. How do we go about doing that?

  2. Chernynkaya says:

    Love it, AdLib! This is what I am struggling with these days: I keep reading poll numbers that tell us that the people asked by several pollster are really very strongly in line with what moderate and liberal Dem voters want.

    They want jobs and not deficit reduction.
    They want the EPA to regulate pollutants, want same sex marriage, women’s right to reproductive choice, want our social safety net to remain untouched. They like Obama and think his foreign policies are good. They know that he didn’t cause the recession. They say unions are good and should be strong. They say that the MSM focused too much on Anthony Weiner and not enough about the economy. And they say all of these things at the same time only 38% know which Party controls Congress and while most people don’t know much about government or history or much of anything else. Yet they know that the Republicans are extreme--or at least they don’t want their policies.

    Maybe polling is just a giant scam and a farce, but they do seem to be fairly reliable indicators of who will win an election, especially closer to the date of the election. And the polls I have cited are not about Party, not about deep knowledge, just about what people think is good or bad; about what they want. Obviously, there is a disconnect between what people say they want and how they vote--otherwise they wouldn’t even be a Republican Party according to the responses I’m seeing by pollsters. And that seems like another form of insanity, to quote Einstein about doing the same thing and expecting different results.

    I think that some of what’s at play here is that what we think we understand intuitively is at odds with what we have been told (and have accepted as true) over the years--that businesses create jobs, for instance, or that the wealthy are inherently smarter. Cognitive dissonance at its highest. Maybe it stems from Calvinism, or capitalist indoctrination, or from whatever but I know that very few people when asked will tell you that CUSTOMERS create jobs, or that most of the rich inherited their wealth and that most of those who didn’t attained their wealth through nefarious methods.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that most people prefer bromides and easy answers to thinking about the causes of, and the cures for, our economic situation--that’s why the status quo is so immensely difficult to shake. Same with climate change denial--people are invested in (and lazy) about confronting systemic change. Yet it happens. It happens when we are all forced by events to admit that “this ain’t working.” Economic collapse, tornadoes every week--even seeing that same sex couples are not perverts--these are the only things that seems to viscerally shake up peoples’ world views. If they don’t, it actually is pathology.

    I am actually starting to believe that most Americans are NOT crazy and stupid, despite 2010. But they are also not paying much attention to the cause and effect of what’s going on. I think if we have any chance of changing the basic assumptions of voters (and I mean the assumptions about who and what creates prosperity) we really must change the discussion to show how we can actually get what people say they want in the simplest terms over and over, until the insanity of cognitive dissonance is gone. (Hope that made any sense--guess I am still a bit foggy!)

    • Buddy McCue says:

      Makes sense to me!

    • funksands says:

      91% of voters under 30 did not vote in the mid-term election.

      26% voter turnout in the HOTLY contested Supreme Court position in Wisconsin and the 26th in New York are considered HUGE turnouts

      45% turnout to elect Barack Obama in the middle of the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression was considered “good”.

      The majority of Americans have tuned out and will not be aware or moved until everything breaks.

      • choicelady says:

        In 2003 when Arnold challenged then-governor Gray Davis is the recall, Arnold was elected with only 18% of the ELIGIBLE voters. It was 40-some percent of those who voted, but so many eligible were not even registered it was a piddling turn out and result.

        People don’t think their vote matters. That perception is changing given what happened in 2010, but since we have a 2-party, winner-take-all system, NOT voting is choosing be default, and it DOES matter. Even if it’s the lesser of two evils, why would we hand over the results to the GREATER of two evils?

        Suppose you have, as some here on the Planet do, a profoundly corrupt and indifferent set of parties. The only answer is to look at the control of the larger machinery. If your particular rep is a dud, but his/her election claims the overall control, that IS a significant reason to vote for said dud. We have to engage at the committee level to demand better candidates. In the meantime, VOTE for the control of the machinery even if the candidate makes you puke. Grassroots lobbying of said candidate while in office can turn that person -- not on every issue but often enough to make a difference.

        I do public policy and mobilization of grassroots activists in CA. Our folks range from very radical to pretty middle of the road. But they WORK the candidates. We’ve turned Blue Dogs into better representatives with better votes. If a bunch of people from mainline Protestant denominations can do this -- can articulate the issues well enough to advance a more humane and more moral democracy -- then anyone can. And must. My motto once again: democracy is NOT a spectator sport. If the Religious Right and their neo-con/Bagger allies can do this, WE can do this. And must.

      • ADONAI says:

        Then let it break.

        But I believe that many of these people will vote when someone gives them something worth voting for.

        Many people are comfortable choosing the lesser of two evils. Others recognize that it is still a vote for evil.

        America wasn’t built on the back of “competent legislation”. It was built on the backs of people who were quickly denied the rewards of the nation they had created.

        There is no “era of prosperity” in American history. Only occasional respites between recessions and the odd Depression. America watched their major economic competition burn to the ground in the 40’s and spent the next 3 decades selling them the means to rebuild. We spent all the money on ourselves, fucked up our credit system, and demanded lower taxes.

        We have entrenched ourselves in this system and it will be hard to get people to vote against it.

  3. Buddy McCue says:

    This is one of the simplest, clearest explanations of our country’s economic troubles that I’ve ever seen.

    Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich manages to explain it with 2 minutes and 15 seconds and a Sharpie pen.

    • choicelady says:

      Too bad he did not press these issues with Clinton who caved to the forces that rule us now. I have limited respect for Reich whose “prescriptions” under Clinton were without substance, just filled with rhetoric. If he was not willing to challenge the bulldozer grinding us down then, I’m not impressed with him now. That doesn’t make him wrong -- it just makes him opportunistic. Bah.

    • kesmarn says:

      I do like Robert Reich, Buddy, and he did a great job of keeping it simple. Isn’t it just a wee bit sad that he has to assure the audience right from the start that the vid will only last about 2 minutes?

      He’s totally aware of the American attention span, isn’t he?

      But that’s beside the point — which is that Reich nailed it! Thanks for posting!

  4. Khirad says:

    “I think Ronald Reagan was the best President of my lifetime.”

    That first song was so fitting, as I’m convinced Johnny Ramone had one.

    But, at least in a recent poll, most Americans still don’t blame Obama for the state of the economy, and his poll numbers remain fairly good considering.

    Maybe the American people aren’t forgetful after all?

  5. funksands says:

    “The GOP abandoned the myth of free markets long ago. The Democratic Party should follow suit.”

    James K. Galbraith

  6. KQuark says:

    As to what’s a better system private or public. Well I think a hybrid system is best but only if you redesign who holds the capital. In a real ownership society people should not only own their own property but the places in which they work. I think private is better when it comes to making products which I guess is pretty obvious.

    For essential services private is a disaster because it only makes them more expensive and less efficient.

    My vision of the next economic system is establishing a co-op model which would still be private for manufacturing and non-essential services. The big difference would be that people have a proportional ownership in that company based on their job. I’m in no way totally socialist because I do believe different jobs have different value to either an business or society. You don’t pay the janitor the same as a doctor even if both work as hard because their simply is more value in a doctor’s work. That’s where some more extreme socialist models have failed in the past.

    Either a utility model or publicly provided model should be used to deliver essential services. People don’t realize (of course Republicans do because it’s one of the best parts of ACA and they are trying to eliminate it) that the ACA establishes the first step of treating healthcare as a utility because it forces private insurers to allocate at least 80% of their premiums towards claims. This is too high a percentage but a start. Again most people don’t know but most of the Western world is not pure single payer. Germany has used this utility model for years where it uses private NGOs to distribute healthcare insurance. Another fact about the ACA that people don’t know about is that states have the option not only for single payer but to use non-profit NGOs which would in effect be closer to a public option. There is a kind of beauty in the ACA that you will never hear from the GOP that there is an incredible amount of choice in the law as long as states abide to a few very common sense guidelines. Like I said many times with a healthcare system it has to fit the culture of the country to work. Well in the US each state has it’s own culture to a great extent so this freedom in the ACA fits better as a first start to fix our healthcare system than force fitting any one model in every state. The way states handle their healthcare systems can for once give “blue states” a huge competitive advantage over “red states” for procuring the jobs of the future because they can provide much more cost effective healthcare as opposed to stubborn “red states” that want to keep their more clunky private healthcare models.

    That leads to my next prediction for the future of this country. Since the Cold Civil war will never end. The last best chance for it to end was with President Obama but the GOP just ramped it up even more. We are headed towards the Articles of Confederation and in the not so distant future this country will just be a confederation of states. Quality of life is already very different when you go from say California to Georgia but in a couple decades each state will seem like different countries. States are already crazily overreaching with making laws that violate the law of the land. The best example of this are the draconian anti-immigrant laws in states like GA, MS and AZ. Essential ever aspect of life will be vastly different from state to state.

    • choicelady says:

      Hi KQ -- you well know I totally support the cooperative ownership model. It is truly the Third Way that balances economic efficiencies with good income wrapped in the best decision making hands -- the people who work there. Bravo for that.

      As for the Balkanization of America -- would that be so awful? I am aware there are some things such as benefits and civil rights standards, single monetary system, and basic commerce and health standards for interstate products that all should be universal, but is it so dreadful if Georgia decides to be as conservative about its purely STATE policies as it chooses? If we embrace the cooperative model for workplaces, it might be essential to do so for states.

      I know, I know -- the very idea of letting creationism into Texas schoolbooks sticks in our craw. The idea of shutting down access to reproductive health makes us queasy. I get that. But people DO have different values. I don’t envy you living as a liberal in a Red state, but it may be essential to reflect the will of the majority that we let North Carolina be North Carolina and not a flimsy clone of California.

      I grew up, the daughter of Unitarian Democrats, living in Henry Hyde’s district west of Chicago. I got the hell OUT, and eventually so did they. (Never got over asking my mother -- what WERE you thinking?)

      But if we keep telling conservatives every move to make, then the push back is they get to do it to us if they get power. As in -- right now and what they are doing to our Constitution and our economy.

      If they love giving megabucks to billionaires and making granny pay for it -- well, let them. If we enforce the voting rights act to keep people’s access to the polls, we might well see a very different outcome in the next decade. People may be gullible, but they are not ETERNALLY stupid.

      For those of you stuck in the wrong state -- the feds should have generous moving allowances. Moving just for another job should be supplemented with moving for “mental health” reasons.

      More LOCAL control -- even if the local decisions make us puke -- might go a long way to having them keep their cotton pickin’ hands off the rest of us. That, in my humble opinion, is worth the trade.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        C’Lady--I absolutely adore you (sincerely), but I think you need to step away from that cultural relativism or whatever the heck is behind that “let the South be the South” thinking. Because I don’t think life works that way. For one thing, all those states would still vote for national offices and then WE would all have to live with the consequences of those creationist schools, or those Dominionist policies about the environment, to name just a couple.

        But more than that, people don’t just move! Yes, I know that makes sense, but their are things like family ties, friends--hell, even plain familiarity, that prevent people from leaving their states even if they despair of the majority community around them. And it presumes that there would be equal jobs elsewhere. I am all for democracy in allowing community values, but the Constitution was wisely made to trump those for a reason: that individual community standards and values can be stupid, short-sighted and downright hateful.

        • choicelady says:

          Hey Cher- I understand what you are saying, but is that not what we HAVE? Of course the elect conservative Christian wingnuts (e.g., Virginia Foxx and Sue Myrick) to Congress already. That won’t change. Since we already HAVE them, and they are fighting to be the majority not JUST in the House, I think there may be a need for a different way of dealing with them.

          Corey Robin’s article in The Nation, “Reclaiming the Politics of Freedom” makes the point that we need to use this perspective -- freedom -- to point out that it’s corporations that keep us strangled, not the government. I agree. That said, the issue of freedom is that it’s entirely relative -- the wingnuts think it’s about the right to free from responsibility to others and to walk their walk as they see fit.

          What I think will happen is a lessening of national tension if some of what local folks want local folks get. If they can control their own culture, majority rule, then who are we to say they cannot? It’s what WE demand for ourselves. We can gag all we want about fundies and Ayn Rand devotees, but it that’s what get the vote, then how can WE tell them NOT to? It’s already happening, but they are importing this AS IT NOW STANDS, into Congress, the Supreme Court decisions, etc.

          I think if conservative states have fewer directives from DC about cultural standards, they would be MORE accountable to their local people whom they are righteously screwing over. If they apply federal health reform as they see fit, it will do great harm. With enforcement of the voting rights act, I really DO think local people will throw them OUT. No need to move -- need regime change. But that is not up to us.

          Case in point. When South Dakota legislators moved to gut Roe v Wade, voters voted AGAINST it. I have no problem with what was done voluntarily -- pro-choice people moved into SD from all over the country and helped get out the word about consequences, and people listened and voted to overturn this draconian proposal. But no federal agency or court intervened. Thus the vote stood -- it was the will of the people to keep Roe alive. Great outcome. That’s what I mean. I think the same will occur with health care, attacks on public workers, etc. -- with these things being local people with local voices, it works a damned sight better than having the feds weigh in. I think the WI recall will be successful, WI will reverse course, and that all will have been done without federal intervention.

          Community standards are not universal. The conservatives see OUR values as “stupid, short-sighted, and downright hateful”. Obviously the nation cannot and will not allow them to bring back segregation and violate universal standards of citizen access.

          But if they believe they have NO say over their lives, then they will continue to unite nationally as they have done with the Tea Party. If they have more local authority, they will burn out much faster since the people whom they have screwed over will be much more likely to act against them next election. That will have a far greater impact than if we hammer on them from outside trying to control every breath they take.

          We can be clear about universal rights vs. local stupidity -- where universal rights are not threatened, local stupidity can be allowed to survive answerable to local people. I think that’s the only way to be respectful of differences AND the only way to keep them off OUR backs. Otherwise yes, I fear KQ and kes are correct -- that we might have a new Civil War. In fact, I think we already DO.

          Sometimes people DO have to have a house drop on them before they see the light. Giving states some leeway to screw up is already bearing fruit in the Midwest, and I have great hope it will make change from the bottom up that we have failed to make from the top down.

          And I freely admit I won’t be traveling through some states -- I already don’t. CA license plates in Alabama? Nope. Not doing that. But maybe in another decade it all might change there. One lives in some hope.

      • Khirad says:

        Unitarian Democrat.

        Boy, there’s a redundancy. 😆

      • KQuark says:

        I firmly believe a unified America would be better generally for all Americans. History shows we were a better country after the first Civil War and a better country all people considered after the Civil Rights movement.

        Of course that being said the BOA is the second best alternative. I know I’m waiting out the next election to make my move for that reason. If the country goes all red we’ll probably move up to New England. If President Obama wins a second term (other conditions as well) it’s probably Virginia or NC. Most people have no clue how differently Federal benefits like SS disability and Medicaid are dispensed in each state for example.

        • Khirad says:

          There’s always the Research Triangle and Asheville in North Carolina. I wouldn’t mind living in Charlottesville, either. Lovely town.

          • choicelady says:

            But remember, Khirad -- the folks around Asheville aided and abetted Eric Rudolph the Olympic and clinic bomber in his efforts to elude police. They thought him a hero.

            That said, NC has a Dem governor, one Dem Senator, and 7 out of 13 Representatives are Dems. So I think a comment I heard YEARS ago from a South Carolinian that NC was “the outer darkness” is probably not true. At least if you don’t live in Virginia Foxx’s district. That women is beyond comprehension in her nastiness.

    • kesmarn says:

      Whew…that’s a pretty depressing last paragraph, KQ, but the scary part is you may well be right.

      This would, in effect be the Balkanization of the U.S. How far off would it then be before states declared war on each other and — boom — there’s the answer to Lincoln’s question about whether a nation so conceived and so dedicated could long endure?

      Dystopian, to say the least. Imagine having to produce your papers every time you crossed a state line… groan…

      • KQuark says:

        Alas could it come of that? I would say anything is possible. I just don’t think you would get a block of states that could ever challenge the federal government. But there is no doubt the only outcome of our hyperpartisanship is a looser confederacy of states.

        The ironic part is we have seen with the election of Obama that a truly moderate Republican can put Humpty Dumpty back together again. The reason for this is sad but simple. The GOP would accept him (it would need to be a him too) and moderate Dems would accept him. That’s about 80% of Americans sans progressives that would be required to bring this country back together. Unfortunately like Reagan Americans would unify on bad policies.

        That’s a Catch 22 for KT.

      • choicelady says:

        kes -- I’m not sure war would be the result. I think the problems would be more strongly revealed in local control and more strongly retaliated against within states rather than between states. The perspective would turn inward to the people who are screwed vs the screwees. I doubt that Alabama would find any reason to go to war against Illinois if Illinois was not telling Alabama what to do. Alabama would have a much bigger problem -- all the people, middle class to dirt poor, they’d screwed over. That local (meaning Alabama only) focus would keep them plenty busy!

        If people were not distracted by the “hate the government” rhetoric, they MIGHT turn on the bastards who are holding THEM hostage to the rich and powerful.

        It might actually be this nation’s salvation.

        • kesmarn says:

          I wonder if the source of conflict might be resources, c’lady. States without fresh water. States that are drought-stricken dust bowls. State that were less able to generate electrical power. States without oil. Would they be inclined to pull the bazillion guns they’ve been accumulating and go take whatever territory they want/need?

          You’re right, though — it would be a day of reckoning for the screwers as they faced the wrath of the screwees. By then they’d have so many resources under their control, though, that they’d probably be able to buy the whole state of --say--New York and move there en masse, leaving the screwed to scrap it put amongst themselves…


        • SallyT says:

          Choicelady, I don’t think you would have war against states but I think you would see some real battles if all those dirt poor screwed over people started moving to states with better services, help, benefits and jobs for their citizens. All Alabama’s poor moving here to Oregon (which is probably to far but using as an example only) would sure tick off a lot here. We are strapped and trying to save as much as we can. We can’t save another state’s people, too. It would be like in “Grapes of Wrath” when the Californians got hostle against all those poor Okies from Oklahoma.

    • funksands says:

      KQ: Great post and you’ll really like this link


      • choicelady says:

        funk -- I have been working with various parts of that, especially the Ohio Center for Employee Ownership at Kent State. There are long standing alliances among these groups with such resources in Oakland, Boston, etc. as well as the National Cooperative Bank that provides capital.

        Over 11,000 businesses, some of them very big and interstate, are employee owned and managed. One of them is Southwest Airlines. So it’s not just your neighborhood coffeehouse anymore.

        US Steelworkers have allied with the enormous cooperative in Spain, Mondragon. That form of ownership is something I pressed for when I worked with USW back east, and I’m over the moon it’s catching on. Any day the steel workers do such a thing, we have had a seismic shift in thinking.

        Thanks for the link -- this Cleveland effort is phenomenal. Anyone wants to read more about the critical parts of worker ownership can check out Gar Alperovitz’s book, “America Beyond Capitalism”.

        Socialism, IMHO, has exactly the same problems that capitalism has -- disinterested and absent management. By shifting focus to the people who work -- those with the best understanding of their operation -- we qualitatively change the idea of remote authority and hierarchies that govern for the bottom line and NOT for the best interests of the people within the productive base, much less their communities. Corporatism, private or state, does not work half so well as local control and cooperation.

        I think this is the wave of the future.

        • funksands says:

          Choice, you and I will have to have a beer over this topic. Either real or virtual. I am keenly interested for a couple of reasons.

          And your comment about Socialist and Capitalist management couldn’t be more true.

          • choicelady says:

            Thanks Funk! Let’s rock. But I need wine not beer -- wheat intolerant, and wheat free beers are not worth drinking. If you’re OK with that, I’m ready to sit and talk hours on end!

      • KQuark says:

        Cheers green and high technology industry startups are perfect for coops. There is little capital requirements mostly because these industries are under automated and labor intensive. There actually is capital available for loans because it is such a growing industry. And finally thanks to the stimulus there are many tax credits and advantages for these companies.

        I said after the housing bubble burst that we needed a new bubble. A green technology investment bubble. Not all bubbles are the same. The high tech bubble under former President Clinton was really not that bad because it lead to new technologies and net growth in good jobs. We need the same thing with green technology. Of course every company is not going to be successful but the very fact that each of these companies will add some innovation to the industry as a whole is extremely positive.

        • funksands says:

          K, this origianally started as an employee-owned coop partnership between the city, private investors and the employees.

          Inner-city laundry services. It has been wildly succesful.

          • choicelady says:

            There is a lot more to it than just the laundry now!

            • choicelady says:

              funk -- replying above, not below. I’ve been working on employee ownership since the 80s, and it is THE alternative to centralized stupid management among MANY other things. It is the basis for sustainable self sufficiency, and nothing else matches it. I am watching this unfurl with VERY little fan fare, which is GOOD -- don’t let the megacorporations get wind of it just yet! I do fear that tired old socialists hate this -- it is part of the assault on microenterprise that has given local autonomy to millions. It’s screwed up in ONE country, so it’s “proof” you need BIG, state-run solutions. No. You need to find balance. Some things such as social security and health NEED state support since they are equally give to each person. But we need to understand how dangerous corporate management -- state or private -- is to the autonomy of communities, workers, businesses. Perfectly profitable endeavors are shuttered regularly in the interests of “the bigger picture” which is always about someone ELSE (capitalist of bureaucrat) and never about the people sacrificed.

              This IS the wave of the future. It’s been my drumbeat since the 1980s, and I have NO reason to turn back from it. It WORKS!

            • funksands says:

              Choice, for sure! It is really exciting. I don’t get excited about much, but this is really interesting. I can see real future in this type of structure.

  7. KQuark says:

    Absolutely 100% true AdLib.

    The #1 contributor to job growth is working people with money in their pockets. The reason is so simple and I guess that’s why people in this country don’t have a clue. Working people spend the money they get and that forces up demand for goods and services.

    Rich people are just going to invest in what makes them money which in many cases either goes out of the country or is just invested in capital that does not create jobs. It’s a chicken an egg situation because if demand does go up they will invest capital in manufacturing and services when they make a profit. But few business people have the old fashion entrepreneurial spirit anymore to invest in a product they think can foster demand when it’s so easy just to churn profits out of financial speculation.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      KQ, according to “Salary Wizard”, the average salary of a corporate CFO is $333,000.
      For R&D Directors, it’s $183,000.
      For HR Directors, it’s $141,000

      Apparently a company’s stock portfolio is equal to the worth of its people and its products. Bah!

      • KQuark says:

        Not surprised at all. I would infer another thing with those numbers for HR director. I bet a much higher percentage of HR directors are woman compared to your other two examples as well. But then again this fits your hypothesis because in corporate America woman are not seen as important as men anyway.

    • AdLib says:

      This goes to what I think was the huge mistake on addressing the mortgage issues resulting from the sub-prime collapse.

      Instead of loaning the banks money at zero interest which they held onto instead of providing more credit, that money could have gone to buy principle and rate reductions in mortgages and lower payments for all Americans while still providing profits from interest to banks.

      Lower mortgage payments would have resulted in more expendable money in the hands of Americans, stimulating spending and economic growth while keeping people in their homes which would have stemmed the fall of housing prices and provide additional net worth to Americans…as well as increase consumer confidence and support growth in the housing industry.

      If Americans had lobbyists fighting for their best interests like Wall Street does, the nation and our economy would probably be far better off today.

      • KQuark says:

        I agree but it would never happen in this country. It’s so contrary to American culture that most of the people’s head would explode. Believe me people will say it’s unfair for people who bought homes they can’t to get direct money from the government for their mistake. Therefor I don’t think this was just about the lobbyists.

        I always knew fixing the mortgage crisis would be the most difficult thing to do because like it or not it always had to go through the banks.

        The facts of TARP is also the biggest lie progressives use to attack capitalism. 99% of TARP has been paid back. I had to turn off Moore’s last movie because he omitted facts like these. The fact is a little over half of it was never allocated because when Obama became president he had the audacity to demand that banks pay it back.


  8. PocketWatch says:

    Hi guys….

    Sorry to have been absent for so long, but I’ve been busy looking for work and so on… I HAVE been lurking here from time to time to try and keep up.

    However, this is one of my favorite subjects.

    I have been asking questions about privatization and the notion that private industry can do things better than government (the stepchildren of “let’s piss on their heads and tell them it’s raining” economics)and have never gotten an answer. Maybe one of you smarter than me guys can give me one.

    Q1: Name one thing that was formerly a government function or effort that has been privatized -- local, state, or federal -- that is less expensive or more efficient. I have asked this question for 30 years and have yet to have anyone give me an example. Follow-up: Why, then, do we allow this to be a valid assumption in any discussion about the role of government?

    Q2: Name any company or organization you personally have worked for that wasn’t run by (at least in part) by fools and idiots. Name one organization that didn’t have institutional waste, fraud, theft, and abuse. Name one company you’ve worked for that everyone in the rank and file didn’t daily piss and moan about how stupid and foolish management was, and how it couldn’t be done better by your 10-year old nephew. Name one. Never got an answer on that one either. Same follow up: Why do we allow this notion of “private is better” into any discussion about government when it clearly is no better -- and in many ways worse -- than government, based on PERSONAL EXPERIENCE?

    So, I eagerly await someone -- anyone -- to answer the questions and give me long lists of privatized government functions all over the country that are by the numbers more efficient and cheaper than they were before. I’ll also be pleased to see extensive lists of companies that are efficient, smart, honest, well and intelligently run, and are profitable and with little or no personnel turnover.

    Meanwhile, I need to tend to my cricket farm…

    • funksands says:

      PW, great post.

      My favorite question is: “How are large multi-national corporations going to transact global business without being able to enforce contracts?”

      Who pays for the set-up and maintanence of the entire legal framework that establishes the very playing field that businesses operate on?

      Hell, State governments are the only entity that can CREATE a corporation.

      Somalia has free markets.

    • AdLib says:

      Hey PW, nice to see ya!

      Your sphinx-like questions are unanswerable because the entire justification for privatization is a lie.

      Now, if they were forced to tell the truth, the GOP would have to say, “It’s just a fraud intended to accelerate the corporate acquisition of the nation’s wealth. It will always make services more expensive because we have to add a profit on top of cost which is categorically not what government does. And the quality and scope of services will always deteriorate in order for us to deliver our only real mandate, increased quarterly profits. Sound like a good deal???”

      If only there was a way to spike the Corporate/GOP trough with truth serum.

      • PocketWatch says:

        And here’s a link to see the basis for the fact that tax cuts DO NOT PAY FOR THEMSELVES…


      • PocketWatch says:

        Hi AdLib…

        And yet the discussion points about privatization and deregulation (which regulations, BTW?) are totally unchallenged at all turns and are tacitly assumed to be true in every modern discussion of governmental roles. When are people going to ask these simple questions and demand answers in the form of actual examples?

        I have another one: When I was studying for my degree a few years back, I had courses in Economics. As a result, I happened to catch a Congressional hearing at which Alan Greenspan was testifying. The subject was taxation and tax breaks for the rich and for corporations.

        Amongst the answers, Greenspan admitted in clear language (which surprised me no end) that the Fed and he himself could not account for 20% of the tax money redistributed to the wealthy. In other words, for every dollar in tax breaks given, only 80 cents found its way back into the economy.

        Say what? So, according to the trickle upon us guru himself, we are netting a NEGATIVE 20% Return on Investment when applying such tax breaks. NICE! Now THERE’s a return every businessman in America can get behind! Why, we’d all be rich if we could lose 20 cents on the dollar! And these people claim to know everything about money and business, economics and investments?

        My tired patootie!

        • jkkFL says:

          PW- first you have to accept the fact that there is only one functional brain cell in DC; and it is being degraded by all who are trading it around.
          Hugs to you and to HRH Ms. Maggie!!
          Film of her on the weekend??!

    • KQuark says:

      Great to see you PW. The site missed your economic expertise.

    • agrippa says:

      You are correct. Well said

      Your post reminds me of : “ignorance is bliss”.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Nice to see you, PW. And you’re absolutely right. “Private Is Better” is a fantasy. In fact, it’s interesting to note that one of the main reasons that government organizations ARE so corrupt and mis-run is precisely BECAUSE of the influence of private industry and their lobbying efforts. So I’d say it’s less a matter of needing less government interference with industry as it is one of needing less INDUSTRY interference with GOVERNMENT!!

      • PocketWatch says:

        Hi wts…

        Additional follow up:

        What makes anyone think that government (which is a totally different critter than private enterprise) SHOULD be run “like a business?” The two have completely different functions and goals. Part B: Why, then, should we even be looking at “successful businessmen” as candidates for high office? They have NO EXPERIENCE in running government functions! NONE!

        We are a foolish bunch, we Americans…

        • whatsthatsound says:

          That’s true, it’s kind of arbitrary, isn’t it? Why not say that movie directors have the kind of experience necessary to run government functions? Steven Spielberg is the most successful movie director, so he should be running this country…uh, sure…..

          • PocketWatch says:

            wts -- Apparently, actors are better than directors when talking about political office. At least on the conservative side of things.

            My take has always been that actors are better at taking direction from their bosses and are better at reading their lines.

  9. Kalima says:

    Finding one of my favourite journalists again, is like finding that lost earring behind the sofa cushions after hunting in the wrong places for months. Michael Tomasky’s take on the GOP debate members, and the aftermath.


  10. AdLib, as usual some pretty good analogies here. The basic struggle in American society is the constant battle between the haves and the have nots. Our government has almost always supported the “haves.” The New Deal and The Great Society being the exceptions. Our current president does have regard for the “have nots,” but he still has to play ball with the “haves.”
    Yes, it is something of a phenomena that the right wing is so good at convincing people to vote against their own self interests. And they use pseudo-morality and a false sense of patriotism to do it. They paint pictures of morality and patriotism so large, that the real issues, the issues that will directly affect their constituent’s lives, never get any space on such a political canvas.

    • agrippa says:

      The GOP appeal is, mostly, to fear and anger.

      The GOP konws the correct buttons to push; and, the right words and phrases they need to push those buttons.

    • AdLib says:

      Yep Killgore, it is the broad strokes and simplistic scenarios presented to the public that work so effectively.

      What I recognized in the GOP debate though was that there is a very effective way to blow all of that up. Getting specific.

      When Ron Paul blabbered about we should be free from government and of course people will be taken care of but then, when asked again what would happen to a 5 year old child of illegal immigrants came to a hospital, would he be helped…Paul said “no”.

      That destroyed his argument…or would have if King hadn’t leaped away so quickly from that.

      We have to hammer on specifics and their BS house of cards will fall.

      • Without a doubt. What bothers me is that so many on the right do not listen to us. They are the minions of people like Rush Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, Coulter…et al. Willful ignorance is a difficult thing to overcome.

        • choicelady says:

          Hi KT -- I work every day with the Middle. I am under siege from the Right, especially the Religious Right. I have absolutely NO interest in discussing anything with them. They do not listen, and they do not heed what they occasionally hear.

          But we CAN and we MUST keep alive the messages for the Middle. Remind them that “Voodoo Economics” has failed over and over and over. Reagan’s Great Recession had unemployment up to 10.8 percent -- do they want that BACK? He had a major meltdown again in ’87. GHW Bush had the S&L crisis and slow growth. Only when Clinton raised tax rates and jump started the economy did we do decently. From 2001 on, we crashed and burned both spending like a drunken sailor AND getting nothing for the Middle for it. It went to the ueber rich, not to the rest of us.

          Trickle down? We call that drool, honey. We want more than a puddle of warm spit for the American public.

          Our mantra at rallies should be: PROVE IT! Prove that unfettered capitalism creates national wealth for everyone. Prove it creates even BAD jobs. Prove it works for the middle class -- sure they have some investments, but they can’t LIVE on them. Prove Wall Street makes life better for Main Street.

          PROVE it, don’t just SAY it.

          No more drool from trickle down economics.

  11. texliberal says:

    ” I am worried students will take their obedient place in society and look to become more successful cogs in the wheel- let the wheel spin around as it wants without taking a look at what they’re doing. I am concerned students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that’s handed down to them by the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.”

    Howard Zinn

    • SallyT says:

      I’m worried about the voting changes that will make it harder for college students to vote. Which state was it that said a student ID wasn’t proof enough to vote but your gun license was? Sounds like TX or was it AZ?

      • jkkFL says:

        Sally, I share your concern, FL has locked down voter registration at least as bad as WI, and although the ACLU has sued, I really don’t think it has a prayer..

    • AdLib says:

      What’s encouraging is how the youth vote turned out in 2008 and supported the less conventional candidate.

      There are a lot in that generation who get it and a lot who just don’t care, not so different from previous generations.

      • jkkFL says:

        But if the Red states block student votes, there is going to be a huge loss to the Dems. The legislature passed it after some Dumbo made a speech stating,” We want to make it harder to vote- we want people to Work for it if they want to vote!??”

        • SallyT says:

          JkkFL, you know, that might work against them, too. Many of those TeaParty people are old and don’t have photo ID’s (no driver license). You make it to hard and those Rednecks might not pass. (unless the gun license works) Not everybody in the RepubParty likes things to hard either.

      • texliberal says:

        I am concerned that the THUGS want to castrate and pollute public education. It has always been the single most important means of assimilating new immigrants and people of diverse cultures into the American melting pot. THUGS want us to become clans and tribes. A real recipe for conflict down the road.

        • AdLib says:

          A real concern, Tex. There is a concerted effort to undermine education for two reasons. Ignorance makes people more pliant to the educated AND education is where most money in states go to.

          If they can slash education, it frees up more money for them good ‘ol “job creators” to steal and keep.

        • SallyT says:

          That will be much easier if they privatize all college education. I hope that doesn’t happen, let alone all education.

      • Buddy McCue says:

        That really IS an encouraging thing.

        We shouldn’t overlook the value of the fresh young minds able to see beyond the old prejudices.

        • I agree, but they failed to follow through in 2010. Along with many older folks as well.

          • AdLib says:

            Unfortunately, that’s typical for off year elections. I think that when learning that the Repubs want to cut their grants, make their loans more expensive and destroy Medicare so it won’t be there for them, they’ll be a bit motivated.

            • I would certainly hope so. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why so many people don’t place the same emphasis on midterm elections as they do on presidential elections. I guess they don’t understand the workings between the three branches of government. Or at least, two of them.

  12. funksands says:

    You will never win over a Conservative voter by telling them they are wrong or what they believe is wrong or by providing tangible proof of their wrong-ness.

    You will only win them over with a more compelling vision than they already suscribe to.

    See: Tea Party.

  13. funksands says:

    AdLib, when the American public is hurting and vulnerable they are even MORE susceptible to half-baked economic and social theory.

    That’s why this particular point in our history is so interesting. There are many forks in the road ahead of us.

    Too many Americans are more than happy to double down on failed economic theories over and over again, because the alternative is to admit to themselves that their entire world-view that they have subscribed to their whole lives has been wrong. They’d go crazy.

    That’s what the right counts on, and what too often the middle (Dems) fall back on.

    • AdLib says:

      I don’t disagree, Funk, when people are voting out of emotion, fear or anger especially, they are too often easy to mislead.

      Americans are brainwashed from a young age to believe in quick and easy answers to things which is why we’ve been on a decline for quite a while.

      In the case of lockstep Repubs, you’re right that nothing, including the GOP Chariman personally firing them and taking away their house, car and retirement savings, would change their petrified minds from supporting the GOP.

      Yet, that’s not most Americans (maybe 30%)?

      As Obama and the rest of us learned in the HCR summer when the insane “kill granny” accusations were made, no matter how ridiculous an accusation is, never underestimate the public’s gullibility to believe it if it’s echoed frequently enough.

    • Buddy McCue says:

      It is better to suffer than to admit that one is wrong?

      Perhaps that truly is the governing philosophy of the Average American. It sounds like a philosophy based on pride. “Hubris” might not be too strong a word.

      • AdLib says:

        Buddy, I’d suggest that the actual choice these people think they are making is a sense of security over insecurity.

        As Funk mentions, knocking down a pillar of their belief system is scarier to such people than anything else. It becomes their all or nothing, giving up all they’ve believed about the way things are, that Repubs are the good guys and Trickle Down works and the Dems are always wrong…to choose to let go of that would be to them like choosing to stop believing in their religion.

        So, I don’t think their minds get past that issue to consider that they’re choosing suffering.

        It’s more about denial, clinging desperately to the security of reality being what they’ve always believed it to be.

        Such are the “macho” Repubs.

        • Buddy McCue says:

          Adlib -- yes, that rings true to me.

          “Certainty is Strength; Doubt is Weakness” seems to be the way this sort of thinking goes.

          It’s a tough thing to argue against, a tough thing to oppose. How does one sell the concept of doubt? Where’s the appeal?

          Sometimes I try to point out to people that there is no better way to maximize one’s chances of being wrong than by jumping to a solid conclusion and sticking by it no matter what. That it’s better to be more flexible in one’s beliefs, and to be able to change one’s mind as new evidence comes to light.

          To people unfamiliar with such ideas, it’s truly a tough sell.

          • AdLib says:

            Yep, to those who see insecurity as the scariest thing, it would fall on deaf ears.

            But to somewhat reasonable people, suggesting that doubt is a necessary ingredient to becoming smarter and wiser, discovering harder to find truths in life require a willingness to let go of misapprehensions, such explanations can be effective.

          • Buddy, there is a qreat quote by Herbert Spencer;

            “There is a bar against all knowledge, that bar being contempt without prior investigation.”

            This describes the majority of right wingers.

      • funksands says:

        Buddy, this was rhetorical right?

        When someone is given scads of empirical and historical evidence that is completely contrary to their belief, and it doesn’t change their thinking AT ALL?

        That is someone is who has built a wall that reason will never penetrate. Only disaster.

        • Buddy McCue says:

          funk -- I live in North Georgia. Most folks I know call Limbaugh “the news.”

          Those scads of evidence don’t have much effect around these parts. It’s hard NOT to see disaster coming.

          • funksands says:

            Buddy, it took the utter destruction of our economy and near destruction of our nation to create the New Deal and most of the regulations that currently provide the framewor and identity of our country today.

            The Great Depression makes 2008-2009 look like junior varsity.

            I think much of Europe has built pretty rational systems not because they are smarter, but because they have had everything destroyed because of their historical infatuation with fascism, militarism, and ultra-nationalism.

            I’m not convinced that Americans will figure it out until everything breaks again.

            If they do, it will be due to heroic efforts of regular folks in local communities and political figures with courage that I haven’t seen yet.

            • Abbyrose86 says:

              I tend to agree….until the bottom REALLY falls out and complete chaos takes over…MOST will not do anything to change the trajectory. Sad isn’t it?

              It’s like waiting for the car crash you see coming, and are powerless to stop it.

            • Buddy McCue says:

              I hope and pray for that kind of courage in people.

      • Caru says:


  14. Caru says:

    Insane, inane, irrelevant: The GOP presidential line-up.

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