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There was a time when it was possible to believe that our leaders cared about us and the common welfare. Especially if you ignored the sorry state of civil rights, economic and social inequalities and the war profiteering which was never far from the surface. I'm not saying that the rich and powerful ever honestly gave a rat's ass about the powerless, but they pretended to and we pretended to believe them. Those days are gone for anyone paying the slightest attention.

These days you'd have to be completely clueless to think it. Alas, a frightening percentage of our countrymen are just that.

In sum and all averaged out, it’s safe to say about 37 percent of Americans are just are not very bright. Or rather, quite shockingly dumb. Perhaps beyond reach. Perhaps beyond hope or redemption. Perhaps beyond caring about anything they have to say in the public sphere ever again. Sorry, Kansas.

Did you frown at that last paragraph? Was it a terribly elitist and unkind thing to say? Sort of. Probably. But I’m not sure it matters, because none of those people are reading this column right now, or any column for that matter, because reading anything even remotely complex or analytical is something only 42 percent of the population enjoy doing on a regular basis, which is why most TV shows, all reality shows, many major media blogs and all of Fox News is scripted for a 5th-grade education/attention span. OMG LOL kittens! 19 babies having a worse day than you. WTF is up with  Justin Timberlake’s hair?!?

Human Stupidity Is Destroying the World

There is a price to pay for destroying public education and the tab is coming due.
In the last few years, conversations have been growing like gathering storm clouds about the ways in which our universities are failing. There is talk about the poor educational outcomes apparent in our graduates, the out-of-control tuitions and crippling student loan debt. Attention is finally being paid to the enormous salaries for presidents and sports coaches, and the migrant worker status of the low-wage majority faculty. There are movements to control tuition, to forgive student debt, to create more powerful “assessment” tools, to offer “free” university materials online, to combat adjunct faculty exploitation. But each of these movements focuses on a narrow aspect of a much wider problem, and no amount of “fix” for these aspects individually will address the real reason that universities in America are dying.

How Higher Education in the US Was Destroyed in 5 Basic Steps

It's all about greed at the top. That's why the 1% have destroyed public education. That's why they start phony wars. That's why they're coming for our social security. Greed.
CEOs commonly make such incongruous assertions to protect profits after corporate-caused disasters. They’re driven by the same factor that is fundamental to the catastrophes – greed.

Nothing wrong with that, right? Not in a society that has converted greed from a vice to a virtue. Not in the place that inspired the book, “Greed is Good: The Capitalist Pig Guide to Investing.” Surely it’s no problem in the land where “Greed” has its own game show on Fox and where Ayn Rand, the “money-is-the-root-of-all- good” philosopher, reigns as Republican queen long after her death.

Greed Explains the Disasters and the Lying Afterwards

We can't house the homeless, feed the hungry, care for the sick and elderly, educate our children, provide full employment or a living wage, but we can waste trillions on the Military Industrial Complex and fight phony wars at the drop of a hat.

They're saying the tab for the unnecessary, immoral and unjustifiable Iraq war is going to come in at up to 6 Trillion when all the interest, etc is added up.

(Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

Why do we do these crazy, wasteful, hateful and self-destructive things? Greed. And it's not we, the American people, who are eaten up with greed, it's our 'leaders.'
The accounting of the financial cost of the nearly decade-long Iraq War will go on for years, but a recent analysis has shed light on the companies that made money off the war by providing support services as the privatization of what were former U.S. military operations rose to unprecedented levels.

Private or publicly listed firms received at least $138 billion of U.S. taxpayer money for government contracts for services that included providing private security, building infrastructure and feeding the troops.

Ten contractors received 52 percent of the funds, according to an analysis by the Financial Times that was published Tuesday.

The No. 1 recipient?

Houston-based energy-focused engineering and construction firm KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR), which was spun off from its parent, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL), in 2007.

Cheney's Halliburton Made $39.5 Billion on Iraq War

And even when the shameful truth becomes known to anyone who cares to read about it, we keep doing the same stupid shit. We keep letting the greedy bastards at the top push us around and divert our national treasure to feed the bank accounts of the war profiteers who have seized power in our long-suffering nation. And now they want to do it some more.
When we mark the grim 10-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq next Tuesday, most Americans will be reflecting on the enormous human, economic, and geopolitical costs that the disastrous war and occupation inflicted.

What they won't be doing is hoping for an anniversary gift from the people who got us into that war.

But Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and many of their Senate colleagues are busy wrapping up the perfect gift for a country who has been through everything: a new war of choice in the Middle East with Iran.

Senator Sessions recently addressed an audience on Capitol Hill at an event organized by affiliates of the Mujahedin-e Khalq, a radical Iranian exile group that was considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. until late last year. Sessions told the audience that, if President Obama took military action against Iran, "he would have great support in the Congress." He received not one but two standing ovations for his remarks. What he didn't mention was that military officials believe a war to end Iran's nuclear program would means "tens of years" of occupation and would make Iraq look like a cakewalk in comparison.

The Senate's 10-Year Iraq War Anniversary Gift: War With Iran

I, for one, am very unhappy with our so-called democratic leadership in Washington. All I see from them is a bunch of fast talk and fancy dancing as they proceed to carry water for the 1%, give free passes to war criminals and thieves, throw in with the republicans and give a big FU to the rest of us. If they follow through with their threats to cut SS or other entitlements, including bullshit stealth cuts like CPI, I will consider this point proven. If it were a republican president leading the assault on Social Security we'd be screaming bloody murder.

Bernie Sanders, not a democrat, is one of the few politicians still fighting for the American people (h/t CitizenOfEarth).

Right now, a billionaire like Mr. Peterson contributes the same exact amount of money into the Social Security trust fund as does someone making $110,000 because there is a cap on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax.  If we do, as candidate Barack Obama suggested, and lift that cap for all income above $250,000 a year, the Social Security problem is solved for the next 75 years and that is exactly what we should do.

Statement by Senator Bernard Sanders on Deficit Reduction

My only question is, why raise the cap to $250 thousand? Why not do away with the cap altogether? It's not like the hideously rich can't afford it. I am so sick of hearing about what billionaires can't afford while millions of little people like me sail into a future of desperation and hardship so the Donald can buy another gold-plated yacht.

We should also means test the payout. If you don't need it you don't get it, but you should still pay in. Consider it a tax on having a society to exploit. I'm sick and tired of hearing the rich piss and moan about the burden of great wealth. Fuck those over-privileged assholes.

[UPDATE: Some folks in the comments are saying that the above would make SS a welfare program thus opening it up to attack from the right. I don't know. Maybe so. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with welfare, but I'm willing to concede that I may not have this particular item completely thought through. I just think we need to do much more for the poor and way less for the rich.]

As our so-called leaders conspire to squeeze even more out of the poor and middle class, conditions for real Americans continue to deteriorate at an alarming pace.

ATLANTA — Statistics show one in six older Georgians go hungry and the waiting list for low-income seniors is getting longer and longer.

Officials with Meals on Wheels, the national home-delivered meals program, say the waiting list to help struggling seniors has reached a historic high.

Channel 2's Diana Davis talked to one man who said he waited more than a year to get help.

The local MOW prepares balanced meals for hundreds of Atlanta seniors. About 105,000 meals were delivered to seniors last year.

At this time last year, only a couple of dozen seniors were waiting to get on the program. Now more than 200 are waiting.

Updated: 5:06 p.m. Monday, March 25, 2013 | Posted: 5:00 p.m. Monday, March 25, 2013

Hungry seniors on rise in Georgia

Their solutions? Piss-test people on food stamps, outlaw feeding the hungry, raise the retirement age, imprison whistleblowers, cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, hound activists to their graves. You'll never hear them suggest piss-testing Congress or taxing the rich. You'll never hear them say that corporations should stop evading taxes.
It's a golden age for corporate profits. So why don't our biggest corporations pay more taxes?

16 Giant Corporations That Have Basically Stopped Paying Taxes -- While Also Cutting Jobs!

In the mean time, our politicians have borrowed stolen more money from the Social Security Trust Fund than they have borrowed from China.
"When Social Security has a cash-flow surplus (when more is coming in that being paid out) Social Security taxes are 'available' to pay for other programs."

The Republican report says: "Treasury should have $6.5 trillion in surplus FICA taxes but has only $2.6 trillion." This deficit exists because Republicans borrowed trillions in FICA taxes to offset tax cuts for the rich, and fund Bush's unnecessary wars.

Your Social Security Fund is owed this money back by its borrowers, the Republicans. We middle class are left holding an IOU, eg U.S. debt, the mega-rich got your money and spent it.

The GOP 'Borrowed' your SocialSecurity Money for their Wars

The republicans catch the blame for this and rightly so, it was their doing. But if we are to be honest we should all be asking, where were the democrats when all of this was going on?

The Social Security Trust Fund, money paid in by the working stiffs of this country, has been looted to the tune of four trillion dollars. The bill for this thievery is now coming due and our glorious leaders in their magnificent mendacity expect us to pay it.

Please watch this video. It is the truth from beginning to end. This is the bitter reality that we face - and we should not take it lying down.

This country is run by a scurrilous gang of thieves intent on stealing everything they can get away with. There are a lot of otherwise smart people stubbornly living in denial who insist on making excuses for these assholes. I am so done with that. We all need to be. We need to rise up and put the fear of the American people back into our pathetic 'leaders' before they steal the last vestiges of a just and democratic society, as they are busily preparing to do. Our rights are only truly ours when we stand and defend them.

In a recent diary, joanneleon wrote about Dick Durbin's new Social Security reform commission, which stinks a whole lot like the Simpson-Bowles Cat Food Commission.

These bastards are up to no good. And it's the 99% who will pay.

In another recent diary, accumbens wrote about the non-punishment for the rich and powerful in Citigroup in Violation of Money Laundering Laws - No Problemma.

What a sorry bunch of rat bastards. If you rank high enough in the 1% you can lie the country into war, commit war crimes, order helpless prisoners tortured to death, steal millions, billions and trillions and face no consequences whatsoever. The law no longer applies to the high and mighty. I am mystified as to why we keep putting up with this shit.

We are going to keep getting screwed until we do something about it. We need to bring back Occupy. In fact, we need to make Occupy look like a dress rehearsal. The park was just a spark (h/t allenjo).

The Powers That Be have gone too damned far, and they're not going to slow down for a minute – until we stop them.

“It is a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages.”

Martin Luther King...45 years ago!




"HandsOffMySS" Blogathon: March 25th thru March 29th, 2013
Diary Schedule - All Times Eastern Standard


Social security is a concept enshrined in Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security.

A limited form of the Social Security program began, during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term, as a measure to implement "social insurance" during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when poverty rates among senior citizens exceeded 50 percent.

Let your voice be heard.

Members of the Daily Kos group Social Security Defenders have organized this bogathon to promote the truth about the financial condition of the Social Security trust fund, and the impacts of various so called reforms and fixes.

Understanding how benefits are calculated, the History of Social Security, where the Wisconsin Idea came from, and how over the years changes have been made to Social Security, all increase awareness and hopefully improve the discussion.

  • Monday, March 25th

11:00am:Roger Fox
1:00 pm: Joan McCarter
3:00 pm: Roger Fox
5:00 pm: Jamess

  • Tuesday, March 26th

10:00 am: Roger Fox
11:00am: joanneleon
1:00 pm: joe shikspack
3:00 pm: Arshad Hasan DFA
5:00 pm: Roger Fox

  • Wednesday, March 27th

1:00 pm: teacherken
3:00 pm: priceman
5:00 pm: Bruce Webb

  • Thursday, March 28th

10:00 am:Roger Fox
11:00am: Jim Dean DFA
2:00 pm: BernardPliers
3:00 pm: One Pissed Off Liberal
5:00 pm: floridagal
6:00pm: Senaca Doane
  • Friday, March 29th

11:00 am: Economist Dean Baker
1:00 pm: VCLib
3:00 pm: Armando
5:00 pm: Liberal Thinking

Please remember to republish these diaries to your Daily Kos Groups.  You can also follow all postings by clicking this link for the Social Security Defenders Blogathon Group. Then, click 'Follow' and that will make all postings show up in 'My Stream' of your Daily Kos page.


Originally posted to Social Security Defenders on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Policy Zone.

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