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On July 24 2013, President Obama gave a 40 minute interview to the New York Times at Knox college in Galesburg, Illinois. The Times reported on certain segments of the interview throughout the latter part of the week and released the full transcript yesterday.  The interview provides a window into the President's thinking on issues such as the economy, the environment, the GOP House, and, notably, the issue of income inequality and its impact on the country. Parts of the interview concerning the Keystone XL Pipeline were addressed in Meteor Blades' post yesterday.

But the President's most remarked upon statements, as taken from a various newspaper and media outlets who reported on the interview, were his conclusions about the corrosive effects of burgeoning income inequality in this country and its consequences to Americans.  From the Times' synopsis:


Obama Says Income Gap Is Fraying U.S. Social Fabric

In a week when he tried to focus attention on the struggles of the middle class, President Obama said in an interview that he was worried that years of widening income inequality and the lingering effects of the financial crisis had frayed the country’s social fabric and undermined Americans’ belief in opportunity.

“If the economy is growing, everybody feels invested,” President Obama said in an interview last week in Galesburg, Ill. “Everybody feels as if we’re rolling in the same direction.

Upward mobility, Mr. Obama said in a 40-minute interview with The New York Times, “was part and parcel of who we were as Americans.”

“And that’s what’s been eroding over the last 20, 30 years, well before the financial crisis,” he added.

“If we don’t do anything, then growth will be slower than it should be. Unemployment will not go down as fast as it should. Income inequality will continue to rise,” he said. “That’s not a future that we should accept.”

"Frayed the country's social fabric and undermined Americans' belief in opportunity."

Could anything be more serious than that? Can anyone think of another event or circumstance in American history that "frayed the country's social fabric and undermined Americans' belief in opportunity?"

The President is saying that income inequality is killing what it means to be American.

The President's full statement vis a vis income inequality issues:

And the work [Robert Putnam]’s doing right now has to do with this issue of inequality. And it applies to a city like Galesburg, where 30 years ago, anybody in this town who wanted to find a job, they could go get a job. They could go get it at the Maytag plant. They could go get it with the railroad. It might be hard work, it might be tough work, but they could buy a house with it.

The kids here all went to the same school -- the banker’s kid and the guy working at the Maytag plant’s going to the same school. They've got the same social support. College is affordable for all of them. They don't have to take out $100,000 of debt to do it. And there was a sense of not upward mobility in the abstract; it was part and parcel of who we were as Americans. And that’s what’s been eroding over the last 20, 30 years, well before the financial crisis.

Now, the financial crisis made things a lot worse. And so I had to spend the first four years in my presidency getting us back to ground level. We had to make sure the banking system wasn't collapsing. We had to make sure the auto industry didn't collapse. We had to make sure that we put people back to work short term and boosted demand until the markets got going and consumers got more confident and housing started to recover.

And so here we are, having dealt with this massive crisis, but those trends -- that erosion of what a Galesburg or a [Port]* Clinton, Ohio, where Bob Putnam lived -- those trends have continued.

And that’s what people sense. That's why people are anxious. That's why people are frustrated. That's what they talk to me about and that's what they write to me about: “I'm doing okay right now, but what I've seen over the last 20 years and what I learned profoundly during this crisis is that the ground under my feet just isn't as secure, and that the work I'm doing may not be rewarded.” And everything that I am proposing and everything I will be proposing over the next three years goes right at that issue. And if that’s not what Washington’s talking about, then we will be missing the boat.

And racial tensions won’t get better; they may get worse, because people will feel as if they’ve got to compete with some other group to get scraps from a shrinking pot. If the economy is growing, everybody feels invested. Everybody feels as if we're rolling in the same direction. And so a lot of the other issues that we’re talking about -- whether it’s climate change or immigration, or how we manage our trade relations -- all those are eased if we’ve got our economic act together.

But that’s not what we talk about. And it's true that Congress moves at such a glacial pace these days that sometimes if you start a bill like immigration and you're thinking this should be done by now, it seems to take a year of folks just sitting around spinning their wheels, that can be frustrating. But we should be able to attend to some of these other issues even as we’re staying focused on this central issue. That’s at least what I’m going to be doing.

Obama's remarks were made in the context of a discussion about Robert Putnam,  a political scientist and professor of public policy at Harvard.  Putnam, the author of Bowling Alone, The Collapse and Revival of American Community, has argued that class now trumps race in determining social mobility:
"Relatively speaking, racial differences controlling for class are decreasing while class differences controlling for race are increasing in America," he said. "Non-white folks with a college education are looking more and more like white folks with a college education and white folks who haven't gotten beyond high school are looking more and more like nonwhite folks who haven't finished high school."
Whether or not you believe in the effectiveness of the President's efforts to address the growing disparity of wealth in this country or the increasing impossibility of the middle class' achieving financial security in the face of increased health care costs, child care costs, education and food costs, and wage stagnation, the injection of income inequality into the national conversation is a singular development in and of itself.  If nothing else, it shows that the President recognizes the importance of the issue and the need to emphasize it to the American people.  

While that may not seem particularly noteworthy to us, we who have lived, breathed, mapped and debated the issue to exhaustion,  the American public is coming late to the party.  And why would it be otherwise? The average American doesn't spend his time glued to a political website or the editorial page of the New York Times. When he looks at all, the average American looks to his elected Representative, assuming he knows who that is (a big assumption). But by and large he'll glance at the headlines of his local newspaper for his information. The headlines are usually dominated by what the President says or does.

Income inequality? Wealth disparity? Bill Clinton never touched it. George W. Bush would not have known what it was, and when Dick Cheney explained it to him he would not have cared.  Mitt Romney would have fled from it like a scalded dog.

Good luck hearing those words from a Republican Congressman if you happen to live in his district.  Talk radio won't go near it. In fact, Rush Limbaugh's very purpose for existence is to divert as many Americans from that issue as possible.

It seems pretty obvious that the only thing that brought the issue to the forefront of this country's consciousness at all was the Occupy movement.  Mention that to anyone who suggests that movement failed to achieve anything.  Mention the fact that the President of the United States in effect is saying it's the most serious issue facing the country in recent memory.

That's progress, of a sort. But there is also a big problem.  

As evidenced in a poll conducted by the Times in April, Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the problem but are skeptical of our government's ability to do anything about it.

Our research suggests that merely talking more about inequality is unlikely to change Americans’ policy preferences. Americans are already aware of inequality and are troubled by it. Proponents of greater redistribution can probably save their breath pointing out that inequality is a problem. Instead, they face what seems to be a much more difficult task: convincing them that their government is up to the task of addressing it.
The corporations and special interests that keep Republican Congressmen afloat through their gerrymandered districts are very much aware that the more cynical the public's feelings about government, the easier the task of maintaining the status quo.   Their means of obstruction by saying "no" to everything the President proposes is an end unto itself.  They want the average voter to throw up his hands and walk away in disgust. It makes their job so much easier.

Finally, although the President's making the issue a centerpiece of his second term is a good start, as pointed out by Christopher Flavelle, writing for Bloomberg news, there is much, much more work to be done:

After noting the decline of unions at the start of his speech, the president failed to mention them again. He argued, correctly, that a secure retirement is a cornerstone of being middle class -- but said not a word about the share of private-sector workers in defined-benefit plans, which fell from 38 percent to 20 percent between 1980 and 2008, or how federal policy might address that shift.

One explanation for Obama's unsatisfying proposals is that inequality is partly the result of underlying changes in the economy, as the chairman of the president's own Council of Economic Advisers pointed out earlier this year. Another is that inequality is a product of cultural changes as well as of government policy.

The increased social acceptability of conspicuous consumption; the growing antipathy toward government; the decline of the social compact between employers and workers; the segregation of communities by income; the declining exposure of the average person to unions; the shifting focus toward other areas of social consciousness, including environmentalism and gay rights -- each could be seen as both cause and effect of the economic changes the president bemoaned.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Class trumps race? (33+ / 0-)

    I don't think we're there yet but we're working on it.  

    Think of McDonald's, it's in every community.  The CEO takes down over $100M a year while the workers make less than $9/hr.

    Seem fair?  

    Unfortunately, it does to the CEO and his peers.

    •  Unfortunately, the economic ruling class sees (22+ / 0-)

      slavery as a valid economic model.  It may not be as blatant as "official" slavery, but the results are the same.  Many work and live in substandard conditions for the excessive benefit of the few.

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:00:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not exactly "slavery" but "peonage" (25+ / 0-)

        Slavery due to being in debt and having to work to avoid ruination. Work at anything versus not working at all.

        Nitpick over - totally agree with your perspective.

        •  "Right to work" is code for ... (8+ / 0-)

          ... "peonage." No nitpick here, that's exactly the right word.  

          I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

          by Tortmaster on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:01:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  As long as we're nitpicking... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder, ahumbleopinion

          Slavery would require them to at least keep their employees fed and healthy.

          The 1% and their GOP supporters want to return to "indentured servitude".  This keeps employees completely dependent on their jobs just to survive.  I just read an article about a 20 yr MacDonalds employee who was making $8.25/hr, and wasn't even getting 40 hrs a week.

          Probably to no-one's surprise, it's the same model that big companies like WalMart and Staples use on their suppliers to get the lowest possible cost on goods.  If 1300 people die in a factory collapse, well that's just the cost of doing business.  

          It's also the model used by human traffickers, where at least it's largely agreed to be wrong.

          I'd also argue it's used to a slightly lesser degree by the credit card companies.  People who can only afford to make the minimum payment quickly become indentured by their crushing debt load.

          •  Actully when there was slavery in the South (0+ / 0-)

            The slaves were often expected to farm to feed themselves, and build their housing out of whatever they could scrounge up.

            So, really, owners were not expected to keep the slaves fed and healthy. Some were fairly decent, for slave owners, and did so, but there was no expectation that they would.

            The house slaves were generally taken care of, to keep the owners healthy and to look better. They also were more likely to be related to the owners, being the offspring of the white male owners with  black slave girls/women, so they got better treatment.

            Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

            by splashy on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 11:04:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  yes, but so do the working class (0+ / 0-)

        and that is the problem for the working class

        i grew up working class.  the entire approach to work is to find someone to work for.  then you rely on them to provide you with work to do.  you treat them as your betters.  you grumble about how they think they are better than you.  but you put up with it, because you don't want to be responsible for providing your own work.  that's terrifying.

        i know it's going to be blasphemy for me to say this here, but the working class are just as much to blame for the income inequality gap and the business class.  yes, they get taken advantage of by the business class, but it's not like they can't do anything about it.  they just won't.  they could become business class themselves, but they don't want to do that.  they want to be the cog in the machine.  they don't want to have to be responsible for the whole machine.  

        oh, but, no, no, everyone can't become business class.  there's too much competition.  bullshit.  it happens all the time.  it's called small business and it used to be the backbone of this country.  until all the working class decided that they could have more shit if they bought from the big corporations instead of the slightly more expensive local businesses.  and now here we are.  with a massive gap between the working class and the business class and it's as much the working class' fault as the business class.  

        Americans are fucking greedy.  that's the bottom line.  yeah, we have to buy and sell shit to have an economy, but we don't have to own EVERYTHING.  and it's from top to bottom in this country.  and yes, it was the business class who played the pipe, but we all fucking followed to the edge of the economic cliff.

        •  You are talking about personality types (0+ / 0-)

          Some people just aren't temperamentally suited to start businesses. They can't handle it. They need security or they can't function. They can't help who they are, so putting them down for not being able to cope with starting a business isn't helping.

          Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

          by splashy on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 11:07:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Over $20 billion in TARP funds, set aside for... (22+ / 0-)

      ...homeowner mortgage relief, is still unspent, as I read this. (ProPublica tells us it's around $28 billion, actually. And, that was AFTER our government cut the original subsidy in HALF.) Tim Geithner, under the President's watch, acknowledges direct responsibility for that, allowing the matter to languish during his entire watch.

      The entire mortgage "relief" effort was a giveaway to the Wall Street. Period! (It's one of the biggest travesties of our era. Historians will put this in the President's lap, too. It belongs there.)

      The government was MASSIVELY behind the effort to disrupt and undermine the Occupy Wall Street protests. Nowadays, if you do protest (non-violently) you're flagged by the feds, accordingly.

      These two facts are ignored in this "discussion," as the President focuses upon these matters many days (actually years) late and many dollars short. And...still...very few details...just a bunch of political rhetoric as Wall Street, fully-supported by this administration, becomes more unbridled by the day.

      You know, the argument of "better late than never" would flush, were it not for the government's position with regard to the international trade agreements on the table, which will only make matters far, far worse than they are now with regard to the subjects covered in this post.

      So, the President might be saying all the right things right now, but the inconvenient truth is that the administration's actions--behind the scenes, when it matters--move in the diametrically opposite direction.

      This is my "nice" way of stating this all just more political rhetoric. And, it's brutally insincere rhetoric, given these greater salient facts, at that.

      The administration OWNS the reality that economic inequality has grown significantly on its watch. It enabled that to happen. And, it's efforts underneath this rhetoric tell us that ABSO-FREAKIN'-LUTELY NOTHING HAS CHANGED in that regard, no matter what compassionate niceties we may hear coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, today.

      That's THE WAY IT IS.

      (The fact that Larry Summers and Tim Geithner are still idolized at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue simply further supports virtually EVERYTHING I'm stating above.)

      Same bullshit, different day.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:45:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know. I read this article and shook (15+ / 0-)

        my head in disbelief.

        Whether or not you believe in the effectiveness of the President's efforts to address the growing disparity of wealth in this country or the increasing impossibility of the middle class' achieving financial security in the face of increased health care costs, child care costs, education and food costs, and wage stagnation, the injection of income inequality into the national conversation is a remarkable development in and of itself.  If nothing else, it shows that the President recognizes the importance of the issue and the need to emphasize it to the American people.  
        His efforts have been very effective in widening the income gap; that is why we came unglued when he filled his cabinet with Wall Street insiders. And there is nothing remarkable about Obama making empty statements or speeches when he wants to change the national conversation.

        The proof is always in his actions, not his rhetoric... and the fact that he's considering appointing Larry Summers to head the Federal Reserve outweighs any statement he makes.

        •  i was just about to make that point when I saw (0+ / 0-)

          your comment.

          It is wonderful of President Obama to bring up the widening income gap and lack of opportunity for the bottom 90% of the nation.

          However, until he dumps a lot of the "1% is all that matters" club out of his own cabinet, his words don't mean a lot to me. Penny Pritzker? Disgusting. Jack Lew? Disgusting.

          Don't tell me what you believe. Show me what you do and I'll know what you believe.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:39:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The middle class just needs to stiffen it's (7+ / 0-)

        upper lip bobswern.  Yahoo Finance:

        It’s true that it has gotten harder to earn a good living. But it’s also true that opportunity still exists for those determined to find it. Forget government programs: The best way to really strengthen the middle class might be to instill an ironclad will to succeed, no matter what it takes.

        http://finance.yahoo.com/...

      •  Yeah, yeah, Obama is the devil. Got it, bobswern. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sviscusi
        •  The "devil's in the details," Anton... (4+ / 0-)

          ...you're a little confused in your quest for positivism. In your world, being "positive" means ignoring reality. That's not positivism. That's fantasy. Have a great Sunday!

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 12:46:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Obama is becoming rather famous for saying the (0+ / 0-)

          right words - wonderful words - and taking the opposite actions.

          Today, he wishes to address the income gap and growing inequality.  But, still today, his own cabinet and sub-cabinet appointees are of the "make the rich richer" ilk.  Until he appoints people to posts who actually care about addressing the income gap and growing inequality and pushing legislation doing the same, I'll not waste much time putting much "hope" in his "leadership."

          He's done precisely the opposite of his words over and over.  Just recently he was pushing "strengthening retirement stability and security" all the while that he is ALSO pushing the Grand Compromise to reduce SS benefits.

          The man needs a mirror, badly.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:44:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  With income gaps come power gaps (26+ / 0-)

    and with a power gap comes racism, crude naked rude capitalism, profiteering, exploitation, frustration, anger and civil wars ... and terrorism.

    with corporations being people, we have some people with so much power, you really can deduct all the ills of this society based on the power gap citizens are oppressed with.

    OK, I am going gardening, just doesn't make sense to walk in those speeches. They change nothing.

    "Im Land der Schatten ist die Wahrheit eine Lüge"

    by mimi on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:16:08 AM PDT

    •  I am tired of Obama's fucking speeches... (39+ / 0-)

      The guy is in his 5th year as the world's most powerful man...and the best he does is toss a few sentiments to the NYT about a persisting policy problem nearly the entire country knows is crippling our economy.

      How about lighting a fire under those lawmakers who saved your ass on the NSA amendment and getting some legislation moving through congress?

      And before some knucklehead cries "But...but...Republicans in the House!!!", SPARE ME. Let them get on record how they want to keep the poor in poverty. That strategy worked wonders in 2012, what do you think Mitt Romney?

      Let's get working on actual solutions instead of just talking...because with all due respect, Mr. President, your fucking "talk" is of no fucking use anymore.

      Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

      by Love Me Slender on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:09:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your comment is a rhetorical pass the buck. (10+ / 0-)

        You offer no solutions. You're just the cranky old man on the porch complaining about the gubment.

        Back when the netroots was truly influential (I don't know about anymore) we did all the opposition research. We were the ones we were waiting for. We didn't have Obama, or even a branch or chamber in our favor.

        Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change -- George Monbiot.

        by Nulwee on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:17:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  First of all, I am not a "cranky old man"... (29+ / 0-)

          ...interesting how you jumped to that 100% inaccurate conclusion.

          Obama is THE influential politician in a city (D.C) that is wholly unpopular. He has enjoyed approval ratings near 50% for nearly his entire presidency while congress has been somewhere in the low teens. If this public policy problem is to be addressed, we MUST have our chief party representative leading the charge.

          And with all due respect, if he is unwilling to engage on this issue politically in a meaningful fashion (as he did when the House was about to begin to put the brakes on his domestic spying), then he just doesn't fucking want to. He has no more elections to win...nothing more to lose.

          Instead of making excuses, perhaps you should get fighting to the increase minimum wage (or how about this...A LIVING WAGE?) instead of falsely calling critics "cranky old men"?

          Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

          by Love Me Slender on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:23:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Look up the word metaphor (9+ / 0-)

            It's a better use of your time than yelling at PBO to get off your lawn.

            •  Deflecting again...please proceed, Quicklund. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens, Mr Robert, divineorder

              Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

              by Love Me Slender on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:28:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Its that Quicklund's forte, after all. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Love Me Slender
                Deflecting again....

                Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

                by divineorder on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:02:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You want solutions? Some easy ones for Obama (7+ / 0-)

                include: Prosecute Wall Street criminals. Force the financial regulators to regulate. Appoint people who understand and are willing to take on the problem. Admit that HAMP was always intended to benefit the banks. Admit that the 50 state mortgage settlement was a give away and get of jail free card to the banks. Admit that ACA was written for the benefit of private insurance companies and that the best option in terms of health care and cost, Medicare for all, was something he lobbied against.

                It has become obvious to everyone that Obama has spent 5 years ignoring the economic plight of the vast majority in this country. When he speaks to these issues, such as the destructiveness if income inequality, he has absolutely no credibility. There is much, much that Obama controls and could have done by now or still could do. He won't.

                After watching Obama for years I would say this is just another in a long line or Obama speeches intended to convey that he "feels your pain" by acknowledging the obvious. What is also obvious is, as Chris Dodd famously said, the Banks own Washington and they own Obama. He is still chasing his grand bargain, working to fulfill Pete Peterson's dreams with more budget cuts and chained CPI. In virtually every instance as presient Obama has gone opposite what is best economically for the vast majority and chosen instead to serve the rich. In short, for Obama to offer any real solutions he will have to confront that he has been wrong on virtually every economic front.

                Taking on these economic problems requires a big man, someone who not only understand the scale of the problems and the stakes for the country, but someone who is willing to fight to correct the. Teddy Roosevelt was willing to fight to bust the trusts, FDR was willing to "welcome their hatred" to help those with the least. Not only is Obama not a fighter, Obama is not a big enough man to own up to the scale of his misjudgments and mistakes. The rich have benefited tremendously under Obama, by design. Too big to fail banks are even bigger under Obama, by design. And unless Obama starts using what he personally as president controls to confront the problems and the vested interests his words are not just meaningless, but they but another round of self-serving statements designed to temper outrage by admitting the obvious, deflect from having any personal responsibility for the problems, and at the same time continue down the same path.

          •  Are You A Mimic? (0+ / 0-)

            It's just that you sounded like a cranky old man in the comment referred to.

            What in the H do polling results measuring popularity have to do with passing laws when the opposition is determined to stop you?

            Do not bring up when the Democrats supposedly held a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. There were 59 Democrats, and Joe Lieberman, who was quite bitter over getting primaried by the Democrats in 2008.

            I have issues with the President's stand on some issues, but not total condemnation, considering the alternatives available at the time of the elections in 2008 and 2012.

            If anyone is a real cranky old man, that would be me, since I'm 71 yo.

             

            "Somehow, one of our nation’s two great parties has become infected by an almost pathological meanspiritedness..." -Paul Krugman

            by paz3 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 12:44:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  it is not our job to offer solutions (25+ / 0-)

          but we can, we really can and they have been repeated ad infinitum.  so i won't repeat them here.

          in fact, there is a solution in the post below: use the bully pulpit, twist some arms.

          i, too, am not moved by obama's words.  too many words, too little action.  he describes the foundation of the middle class being a secure retirement and simultaneously wants to cut ssi when it should be increased.  

          one of obama's most lasting legacies with the young is that they will no longer believe that what a politician says might have the least to do with how he governs.

          personally, i wouldn't care if he won a single battle if he put up a good fight.  but in reality, what he wants to fight for is the opposite of what i want done.  and even that is fine, had he been upfront about it from the get go.

          summers for federal reserve.  sheesh.  

        •  Your comments aren't going to work (16+ / 0-)

          The economy continues to be bad, American voters are really, really tired of it and they're smart enough to know Obama has some ability to change that.

          Instead of attacking fellow Dems, let's find a way to convince Obama to do all he can to fix the problem.

          "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

          by Betty Pinson on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:06:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Horse shit. (24+ / 0-)

          Even with the bold type, you still claim:

          You offer no solutions. You're just the cranky old man on the porch complaining about the gubment.
          Here it is again, since your knee-jerk reaction was to launch an attack on the Obama critic instead of addressing the criticism:
          How about lighting a fire under those lawmakers who saved your ass on the NSA amendment and getting some legislation moving through congress?
          Here's a specific one for you: How about making sure Democrats are seen as the protectors of Social Security by not advocating cuts in Social Security?

          Here's another one: How about advocating popular polices like higher taxes on the rich so that Democrats can kick Republican ass in the next elections instead of advocating Republican policies like chained CPI?

          Here's another one: How about Obama stop advocating policies that would, in his own words, put him in the mainstream if the 1980s Republican Party—the very policies that started the growth of the income gap that Obama whines about now?

          And how about you personally stop being sucked in by Obama's charming line of bullshit?

          Barack Obama: From Nobel Laureate to excusing torture, to drone strikes, to violating the privacy of every person on earth. On the other hand, there's always Lily Ledbetter.

          by expatjourno on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:10:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  We're still doing the opposition research (31+ / 0-)

          Unfortunately the opposition being researched includes leaders of both parties.

          This is Obama's M.O.:  he gives a pretty-sounding speech about something that makes him sound like a progressive, acknowledging big problems in society, and promises to work on fixing it.  Then he drops the subject and does pretty much the opposite of what he talks about.  We've been watching him do it since 2008, and it never changes.  A few bones get thrown to the base on issues that have little or nothing to do with changing the economic power structure, when those bones have to be thrown.  It's really no different than what Republicans do, except they are more dedicated both to their economic masters and they're more willing to toss social-issues bones to their base.

          I'm sure naming Larry Freaking Summers to head the Fed will do wonders for income inequality.  How about tossing banksters in jail and breaking up the big banks?  How about joining the call to increase the minimum wage to a living wage, and supporting state efforts to put initiatives on the ballot?  How about supporting union rights, and speaking out against robbing Detroit retirees of their pensions so they can build a new hockey stadium?  How about telling Max Baucus to knock off his efforts to secretly give away corporate tax breaks?  How about stopping the "free trade" expansion that's driving our labor markets down to third-world standards?

          I can't even bear to listen to this man's speeches anymore.  They raise my blood pressure as much as George Bush's used to.  And that's not my fault, except to the extent that I'm paying attention to what's going on.

          We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

          by Dallasdoc on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:34:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The President has done more to advance Progressive (0+ / 0-)

            causes than you who derive delight in typing vilifying comments about him on a daily basis.

            I wonder, just exactly what have this small anti-Obama corner of Daily Kos done for average people in the five years since you have been typing condescending words at Obama? Is there any resulting policy solution to your politics here beyond Obama is bad?

            And by the way, while I'm at this, is there any politician that you wholeheartedly support, today in circa 2013, who has done more for everyday average people than this President?

            I won't hold my breath for time after time if there's one thing that has been abundantly clear from reading the small coterie of anti-Obama posters, it is the fact that they are always against Obama, that is clear, but what have they done to implement policy that impacts the lives of the vast majority of people in this country?

            Many of you love to criticize OFA, but at least OFA organize and get behind policy and push to make legislation, but what have the anti-Obama faction done in the last five years beyond showing how much you all despised the President? And, according to some of you, despise him more than Bush.

            •  He's the freaking president (14+ / 0-)

              Of course he's done more to advance progressive causes than we have, damn little that he's done.  It's his job.  He's also done a lot more to advance corporatist causes, starting with Wall Street's.  His free trade policy is the opposite of progressive, and his health care triumph is a big fat giveaway to inefficient and corrosive private health insurers.  

              Comparing a president's accomplishments to voters' is nonsense.  Comparing a president's accomplishments and failures to what could have been is a much more pertinent activity, but OFA fans aren't so pleased with his report card when that's done.

              We all got behind the public option -- what good did that do us, since the president had already sold us out while making faint noises of support?  We all scream about chained-CPI, but he keeps bringing it up.  Many of us are outraged about NSA overreaches the president supports and permits, but we're given un-American bullshit from those defending it.  OFA is despised because it supports the president's conservative policies, not just progressive ones.

              We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

              by Dallasdoc on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:50:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So? No one is stopping you from running, right? (0+ / 0-)

                You can get up and say oh he's the President. Well, yeah, Have you ever gotten up beyond the confines of your computer which you use to type criticisms at this man day after day after day and ran for public office?

                You are one of those individuals who cosigned a comment which spoke of despising this President more than Bush. And you are talking about progressive policies?? Give me a break.

                And in terms of OFA, they are doing far more than getting online and throwing invectives at this  man. You don't have to even run for public office, they have mobilized behind policy and gotten legislation passed, and what have you done again?

                •  <Eyeroll> (8+ / 0-)

                  So if I don't run for office I can't criticize?  Really, you guys are reduced to pulling that old chestnut out of storage?

                  You have no idea what I do besides this blog, so don't make any assumptions.  OFA is a tool for the president's policies, and the president's policies need opposing as well as supporting.  OFA doesn't make that distinction, does it?  Have you ever heard of the veal pen?  Look it up.

                  We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

                  by Dallasdoc on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:32:59 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Your eyeroll has no significance, the crticism (0+ / 0-)

                    coming from you and your cohorts have been personal in terms of this President foe some time now, where many of you have called the President a "sellout" and even "evil" so yes, if it is personal, the question is, what have you done to better the lives of the people in your community that could even compare to this man.

                    And I will say this, when looking at this President, who has passed a healthcare law that millions are already benefiting from, has allowed women to receive contraceptive care, who has allowed millions of people the opportunity to attend college, due to the expanding of the Pell Grant program, and has raised fuel efficiency standards in vehicles, which helps the environment, it is incomprehensible for anyone to say they despise him more than George W. Bush and then claim that they are Democrats, let alone Progressives....  

                    Go ahead and roll your eyes now.....

            •  Well I should hope he's done more than I have (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dallasdoc, YucatanMan, Dave925

              He's only the most powerful person on the planet.

              But why should I expect too much of him, eh? After all, I didn't rein in those banks - why should I expect him to?

              We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

              by denise b on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 03:08:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  None of the "progressive causes" he has (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dallasdoc

              advanced have done crap to address the severe economic issues of this nation.

              Hell, even George W. Bush mailed taxpayers money to every last household in the USA.  That was a hell of a lot more economic stimulus than Obama has done.  All of his efforts have been directed toward funneling public money to Wall Streeters who are already rich.

              So he advanced a couple civil rights issues, but you know what?  You cannot eat those? They don't put a roof over your head.  A lousy economy -- full of money -- but all being directed to the already rich does nothing to help civil rights.  Hard to enjoy them while you're starving or homeless or being foreclosed upon.

              While at it: Foreclosures. He didn't even appoint people to manage his weak foreclosure program who supported the program.  Piles of money lie in government hands (or the banks') years after beginning the program.  Yet homeowners continue to be cheating by dishonest banks and he does nothing to push even that weak program into higher gear.

              It's really an appalling economic record. He hasn't even used the tools he has very well (or at all), let alone pushing for more and better tools.

              All he can do is keep saying, "It will be a long recovery."  Sure as hell will, Mr. President, since you are such little help!

              "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

              by YucatanMan on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:03:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  . (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jackl, Dallasdoc, YucatanMan

            "can't bear to listen to this man's speeches anymore"

            Same here.  I have seen begging on every corner on a 1.5 mile stretch of road that gets to the highway in the city I work in which supposedly has some of the lowest unemployment in the country.  I saw the begging in the south american 3rd world country I was in a month ago and the couple of other times I  have been to these different countries in the past couple years.  In Japan in two different cities for about 3 weeks ... never saw even one person begging or panhandling for food or money.  But apparently I have no idea what my lying eyes are telling me and am just a BO basher because I have nothing better to do.  

            Income inequality:
            http://billmoyers.com/...

            $300 billion trade deficit with China in 2012.  "Shatters record".... it wasn't mentioned that it was the largest trade deficit that 1 nation had with another in all of history:
            http://americanmanufacturing.org/...

            "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

            by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 12:32:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  They won't have to. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        unfangus, eagleray
        And before some knucklehead cries "But...but...Republicans in the House!!!", SPARE ME. Let them get on record how they want to keep the poor in poverty.
        One of the things the majority party in the House has the power to do is decide what gets to the floor at all for a vote.

        At most, you might get a few Republicans to have to "get on record" on a bill in committee, but they're in gerrymandered districts composed of people who have already demonstrated their willingness to vote for people who have been duped into seeing the poor as the Other, so it won't really make any difference.

        You're not going to see a full floor vote on anything even remotely progressive that could pass, because the Republican leadership won't let it get to a floor vote at all unless they know they can vote it down in an attempt to embarrass the Democrats.

        No individual Republican, and particularly no individual Republican in a swing district, would have to "go on record" on any bill addressing poverty from a progressive perspective.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:21:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh but, Summers will clean it all up as Fed Chair. (25+ / 0-)

        I am tired of Obama's speeches too.  So much so that I don't even listen to his empty words anymore.  

        After eight years of Reagan, I tied a big black bow on the post of my curbside mailbox with the promise that it would remain until we had a Democrat in the While House.   People thought family had died.   When Clinton got elected, I dragged my husband to our mailbox and had a ribbon cutting ceremony.  Finally a Democrat in the White House to really bring morning to America.  Instead we got NAFTA, banking deregulation, and Rubinites.   Then came baby the horror of Bush I.   The arrival of baby Bush II had me in shock and tears.   While I didn't buy Obama or his rhetoric, I knew I didn't want Clinton II,  so I backed him because he wasn't McCain or nuts.   Today, I pay as much attention to Obama as I did Bush; and I'm back to the idea of tying a black bow on the post of my curbside mailbox  with a renewed promise that it will remain until we have a Democrat in the White House.

        What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Warren/Spitzer 2016

        by dkmich on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:35:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  well, I don't agree with your expressions, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heavy Mettle, Matt Z, Satya1

        his speeches are not  "fucking", okay? They just seem to be more and more shallow for lots of folks. But shouting obscenities around out of sensationalized frustration sounds as shallow, just more off-putting, imo.

        "Im Land der Schatten ist die Wahrheit eine Lüge"

        by mimi on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:44:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is all some folks have (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DoctorWho, barleystraw

          There are sites where there are thoughtful criticism of Obama's policies and actions - and very much well worth reading, but seldom do we read that at DK.  DK is so full of gratuitous, angry, irrational bashing that it is losing its power to inform.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:54:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't agree with that either, you can find (0+ / 0-)

            very good analysis here and I don't see why I should bash this site as long as it has so many good authors and honest people writing and speaking their mind.

            "Im Land der Schatten ist die Wahrheit eine Lüge"

            by mimi on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 12:45:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Welcome to... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Satya1

            Daily Kos Lake

            or

            Fire Dog Kos

            Obama haterz, why not start your own group here?

            j/k - And I do not approve of, or accept, a lot of the President's positions on matters, but despite how despicable the teabaggers and those they elect can be, they are still citizens, and, bless him for this, the President seems to see himself as the President of the US, all of the US. Unlike his predecessor.

            "Somehow, one of our nation’s two great parties has become infected by an almost pathological meanspiritedness..." -Paul Krugman

            by paz3 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 01:31:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  OK...I'll go with shallow instead of "fucking"... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, divineorder, VTCC73

          I'm happy to cede the point in that instance :)

          Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

          by Love Me Slender on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:33:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  "The president doesn't matter (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scott5js, dizzydean, divineorder

        Forget the president. Not totally, of course. The president matters. But not as much as you think. Not as much as you've been led to believe. The centrality of the executive is something of a convenient fiction in American politics. Convenient for the media, which can tell the story of national affairs by following a single character. Convenient for the party that holds the White House, which can outsource the messy work of constructing an agenda to one actor. Convenient for the party that does not hold the White House, which can create an agenda out of simple opposition. And convenient for voters, who can understand politics through the actions of a discrete player and offload their dissatisfaction onto the failures of a hapless individual."

        "Executive leadership is important, of course, but the continual failure of our presidents should be lesson enough that it is not sufficient. The executive is but one actor in a sprawling drama. Consider this: Comprehensive health reform has been attempted or considered by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. It cannot be that they were all dunces, or weaklings, or incapable legislative tacticians."

        http://prospect.org/...

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:40:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm tired of all roads leads to the NSA. It is an (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Satya1, scott5js, DoctorWho, sviscusi, Moravan

        issue that should be addressed and dealt with but everything does not lead to the NSA. You're tired of Obama's speeches until you criticize him for not giving speeches and using his "bully pulpit".

        Yes he has been in office for five years and if the reckless Republicans hadn't sabotaged him at every instance and wrecked the economy, we would have gotten much further than where we are now.

        The President did ask for a raise in the minimum wage in the State of the Union, and guess who has stopped him? You would think some of you Obama critics would rail at the Republicans for once. To the critics here, the Republicans are an occasional nuisance, but it's Obama who won't get things working..

        And before some knucklehead cries "But...but...Republicans in the House!!!", SPARE ME. Let them get on record how they want to keep the poor in poverty. That strategy worked wonders in 2012, what do you think Mitt Romney?
        The above statement is exactly my point. You have an individual railing at the President with expletives, yet showing irritation at the thought of mentioning the Republicans.

        This is just criticism of Barack Obama himself, which has nothing to do with the reality of what is really stopping this country from moving forward. Oh, Let's not talk about people burning down your house, just focus on why we can't come up with a plan to make fire obsolete. Let's cheese-it on blaming Republicans for killing the minimum wage increase and blame the guy who is proposing to raise the minimum raise. Beyond ludicrous.

        •  Tell me, NedSparks, how did Reagan manage to... (6+ / 0-)

          ...push through so many of his economic policies with a Democratic-controlled congress standing in his way?

          He had BALLS...and PRINCIPLES. Now perhaps they were the wrong principles, but it would be nice if we had a president who fought for what he claimed to believe when he was campaigning instead of paying lip service to the suffering that is happening in the streets day after day.

          It would also be nice if some people here stopped making excuses for his failures to act...yes...that would be very nice, but it will never happen...because, you know...OBAMA!

          Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

          by Love Me Slender on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:36:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are you kidding me? I'll tell you why Reagan (0+ / 0-)

            managed to push through so many of his economic policies with a Democratic-controlled Congress.....

            The Tea Party controlled Republicans that have obstructed and sabotaged the progress of the nation in order to destroy Barack Obama are racist economic terrorist!

            Are you comparing Democrats to these individuals????

            Your question exposes the level to which you understand what's really going on here.

            These people have, almost 40 times, voted to kill a healthcare law that is already benefiting millions of people for heaven's sake. Are you really serious?

            sigh.... Carry on....

            •  And today's GOP consists of sackless, spineless... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jackl, Dallasdoc

              ...turds. The RW nuts Clinton did battle with were far more difficult to pound than this batch of peewees.

              Obama should be ashamed that he isn't taking them to the woodshed. This is the most weakened and unpopular congress in my lifetime. It would take little effort for Obama to pound useful policies into their bills...if only he had the will or desire to do it.

              As I said in another comment, Obama uses his power when he sees fit...which is to maintain his power and control those around him, not help the poverty-stricken climb their way out of the hole they are in.

              And FWI...there have always been racist saboteurs in congress. Clinton fought against the entire Texas delegation (DeLay, Dick Armey...just to name a couple)...plus Newt Gingrich and a gaggle of Southern Repubs in the senate. You mean to tell me Obama can't whip Boehner and Cantor in a political scrap?

              Your excuses are boring the shit out of me...as is your inability to embrace principle instead of worship for Obama.

              Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

              by Love Me Slender on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:30:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Barack Obama has faced more fillibuster and (0+ / 0-)

                obstructionism of his policies than Clinton or any other President in history, this is a fact. You're just jabbering away, nonsensically.

                OK, I call your bluff, tell me, since you have all the answers, how would you force people to vote for your policies, when they have sworn and in some cases have been paid by special groups, such as the NRA or Tea Party, which is a Dick Army, Koch brothers group, to vote against you and do everything possible to block you?

                You have people voting against a gun bill that even their constituents were in favor of. How would you force them again?? What is your grand strategy? Inquiring minds want to know.

                I hope you don't say the President should use his "bully pulpit", because you just said you're tired of speeches.... Tell me, what is your big bright idea????

                •  Deflecting again...truth hurt much? (0+ / 0-)

                  Combating the GOP is really very simple: Keep taking your case directly to the American people..you know, the people who are suffering right now?

                  Reagan did this..relentlessly...and he pounded our party to a pulp in the 80s.

                  He had the will; Obama does not....simple as that.

                  Are you really as clueless as you appear? All signs point to yes.

                  Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

                  by Love Me Slender on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 04:46:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What a bunch of hipocritical nonsense! You just (0+ / 0-)

                    claimed that you are tired of hearing the President speak. Now you're saying a solution to ending of Republican obstructionism is for the President to take his case to the American people?????

                    You stood up and shouted how much you are tired of hearing the man speak and now you're claiming he should speak his case to the American People??? What are you talking about??Is he gonna do this through sign language???

                    Secondly, he tried this during the fight for the gun control bill! He got up and took his case to the American People, and the people who were directly affected by gun violence, and what happened??? The gun lobby bought the congress critters.

                    You.have.absolutely. no. idea. what. you're. talking.about!

              •  Additional Factors Not Listed (0+ / 0-)
                The RW nuts Clinton did battle with were far more difficult to pound than this batch of peewees.
                1. Peewees are much harder to "pound" because they can just, with no conscience, hold their hands over their ears and say, "I can't hear you!!!"
                2. Peewees can, with no conscience, vote against the President because of their lack of fear of electoral defeat.

                Are you just bitter because Democrats in Congress got out-manuevered and outspent recently?

                "Somehow, one of our nation’s two great parties has become infected by an almost pathological meanspiritedness..." -Paul Krugman

                by paz3 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 01:47:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Things Have Changed In 20+ Years (0+ / 0-)
            Tell me, NedSparks, how did Reagan manage to push through so many of his economic policies with a Democratic-controlled congress standing in his way?
            Back in those days, the sense of the Congress was that a President winning by a large margin deserved a certain amount of deferral. Have you missed that?

            The Republican Party's base (and thus who gets elected) has changed considerably since then, have you missed that?

            Then there is citizens united.

            "Somehow, one of our nation’s two great parties has become infected by an almost pathological meanspiritedness..." -Paul Krugman

            by paz3 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 01:37:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly, what's the BIG PLAN, aside from (7+ / 0-)

        assigning Larry Summers?

        What a fake FAKE FAKE FAKE FRACKING disappointment!

        Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

        by Einsteinia on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:44:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think the nearly 1M people working in the (7+ / 0-)

        FOR PROFIT snoop industry -- that we're all paying for instead of schools and bridges -- is the only job stimulus plan that is really working.

        How sad is that.

        Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

        by Einsteinia on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:58:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obama's words (20+ / 0-)

    it depends on what the meaning of 'is', is..
    and how many artful ways one can be "disingenuous" ...

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012
    Growth of Income Inequality Is Worse Under Obama than Bush

    "It depends what the meaning of 'is', is"
    Platform of the Neo-Democratic Party
    Speaking out of one side of their mouth for the little guy, their nominal constituency, and the other for the plutocracy, their real constituency.

    by Sanctimonious on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:27:05 AM PDT

    •  In all fairness, Obama IS dealing with (19+ / 0-)

      End-Stage Reaganism™ plus the pervasive, monolithic obstruction of the GOP.

      He should have abandoned the Mr Rogers routine in the first year of his first term.

      Still waiting for the gloves to be taken off and thrown away.

      •  In all fairness, Obama says his policies would... (14+ / 0-)

        ...put him in the mainstream of the 1980s Republican Party.

        Barack Obama: From Nobel Laureate to excusing torture, to drone strikes, to violating the privacy of every person on earth. On the other hand, there's always Lily Ledbetter.

        by expatjourno on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:11:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And who was President then? (9+ / 0-)

          Makes me gag.  The "great communicator" vs. the "great prevaricator".

          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

          by Deward Hastings on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:28:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There is what I call the Responsible Serious Adult (4+ / 0-)

          in him that is very pervasive.

          Again, I'd like the gloves to come of and for him to treat the GOP in a manner as he has been treated by them.

          •  +1 (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, Mr Robert, Dallasdoc, YucatanMan

            I'd like to rec your comment, but someone decided I shouldn't be able to rate comments (but nothing should happen to the pro-Obama people who committed ratings abuse against me, of course).

            Barack Obama: From Nobel Laureate to excusing torture, to drone strikes, to violating the privacy of every person on earth. On the other hand, there's always Lily Ledbetter.

            by expatjourno on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:48:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Or treat them the way he treats progressives (7+ / 0-)

            Who he has belittled/blamed for his problems because they disagree with him on his policies, approach and/or lack of fight, but are politically aware/engaged and voted for him.

            Apparently verbal dissent and criticism from those particular group of individuals is frowned upon by this administration and avid supporters of his.

            Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. We are the 99%-OWS.

            by emal on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:37:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  it pains me to recognize Obama's shortcomings too (7+ / 0-)

              I remember getting up at 3:30 AM to get down on the Mall with a million other ecstatic supporters for his historic inauguration.

              The high hopes...the exalted pride we all felt.

              And now here we are.

              I get no pleasure out of looking in this mirror.

              •  When you think of how much better he could... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dallasdoc, barleystraw, YucatanMan

                ...have made the country. What a positive difference he could have made for 300 million people. What a positive difference he could have made for the world on foreign policy. What a positive difference he could have made on climate change.

                The wind was at his back. Republicans had been trounced again and were as popular as gonorrhea.

                Instead, what? Lily Ledbetter, which, after all, only gave women more time to sue for discrimination, Romneycare—a Heritage foundation concoction—and reluctant, long overdue DADT repeal only after a majority of conservatives finally favored it.

                What a tragic waste it was that he was ever nominated, a man whose whole agenda has been to serve the 1% and maintain the status quo.

                These were important years. It is a tragedy that Obama was president during them. A man who exerted no positive leadership on any of the defining issues of our time.

                A tragic, tragic waste from which I doubt the country will ever recover. At best, he will be succeeded by another servant of the 1% like Hillary Clinton who will continue to erode the middle class and at worst by a Republican lunatic who will destroy the country outright.

                Such a waste.

                Barack Obama: From Nobel Laureate to excusing torture, to drone strikes, to violating the privacy of every person on earth. On the other hand, there's always Lily Ledbetter.

                by expatjourno on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 01:10:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Part of the problem is he seems to buy into (7+ / 0-)

        Reaganism, when instead, from the start, he should have been treating the republicans as the enemies of the middle class they are.

        Once he started going on about how he was everyone's president, I knew he was in trouble. A lot of those people he tried to work with were actually out to destroy him. The very proposals they offered were meant to make his presidency a failure.

        He was gullible, he was naive, and now he just seems like a man in mental turmoil struggling with the ugly reality of America's sordid culture (of both class-ism and racism) and economics.

        "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

        by Pescadero Bill on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:23:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Republicanism is the flavor of the entire govt (5+ / 0-)

          system, despite the "Repub/Democrat" set up.

          Most of the policies are mean-spirited in their interpretation and that reeks of republicans, not to give dems a pass.

          Kabuki, flavored with reaganism is a way to sum it all up.

          it;s why nothing can get done correctly, why "if it's bad for people it's a go" and "if it's good for people, forget it" prevails.

        •  He doesn't buy into Reaganism jesus (0+ / 0-)

          Christ. The guy is the only person trying to have a rational discussion in a room full of crazies which now includes some of the base aparently. He CAN'T be fully progressive because he simply does not have that much power. Why is it so hard to understand that there are three branches that have to be dealt with. Let's Obama DID go full progressive, THEN what? Exactly what would have happened other than progressives would feel better. Would the Supreme Court have become less activist? Would the House have become less gerrymandered and the Senate less obstructed by Republicans?

          He's one frickin' dude, one branch. How about we spend some energy on changing the other two.

          If I knew it was going to be that kind of party, I'd have stuck my ---- in the mashed potatoes! - Paul's Boutique

          by DoctorWho on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:40:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I was waiting for this also.... (10+ / 0-)

        but it's not going to happen.  There are 300 million people in our country, many who are completely qualified to get us out of this mess, but in D.C. it's an exclusive Merry Go Round.  People get on for a while, look important giving speeches about why things can't get done for main street, then they get off to get a lobbying job or work on Wall Street.  There are very few who don't succumb to the lure of $$$.   Studies done show that empathy drops as income rises.  I believe it.  Obama never speaks of poverty...like it doesn't exist.  I find that appalling and shocking.  

  •  And all the FOX watchers living in trailer parks (8+ / 0-)

    (if they're lucky), as they eat a delicious meal of cat food or road kill, will only say; "Obama's a socialist who wants to re-distribute wealth away from the JOB CREATORS and give it to lazy 'urban dwellers' and illegal aliens!"

    Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave. - Roy Batty

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:34:46 AM PDT

    •  The bottom end of the income ladder (8+ / 0-)

      doesn't generally buy the whole "we've got to feed the capitalists first" line, but the middle class frequently does, and a Republican strategy for the past 30 years or more has been to pit the middle class against the poor.

      If we really want to reverse the trend towards more and more inequality, the solution is simple: more progressive taxation. Like, you know, we used to have, in the good old days Obama is talking about. Or what most other developed nations have now.

    •  How does that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, Willa Rogers, jackl, YucatanMan

      mitigate or excuse the horrible policy and direction that this administration clearly advocates? We won in 2008 because more people said enough this has gone to far. The Dems.blew off their majority and empowered the ever present 25-30% of fox teabagger crazies. The Dems sucked at being the loyal opposition and they suck at being the majority with power.

      Blaming and mocking the Repub voters who are pig ignorant, ass backward, fearful, bigoted, haters does not make what this administration is implementing any better. Perhaps if the Dems fought for the people instead of implementing the same inequitable economic policies marketed as 'the way forward' the Republican maniacs would not be in a position to obstruct. Hard to see how this lame excuses the Third Way corporate Democratic economic agenda.            

  •  Congress Needs To Raise The Minimum Wage (12+ / 0-)

    I wish the President could do an executive order raising the minimum wage.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:39:51 AM PDT

  •  Well (16+ / 0-)
    The President is saying that income inequality is killing what it means to be American.
    Obama has been saying a lot of things, but doing very little.    Except for mostly promoting the same promoting the same policies with Bush at many levels.  
  •  What A Load Of Crap (29+ / 0-)
    And it applies to a city like Galesburg, where 30 years ago, anybody in this town who wanted to find a job, they could go get a job. They could go get it at the Maytag plant.
    Do you know where those Maytag jobs went? They went to Mexico.

    Do you know why those jobs went to Mexico? NAFTA

    Do you know why Barack Obama hasn't said NAFTA since 2008? Because if the president has to use the term NAFTA it screws up all of his nifty talking points about 'free trade' and 'comprehensive immigration reform'.

    You can't have higher wages and low low prices in the same time and space ... sure you can implement wage and price controls, try it, I don't think you'll like the result.

    I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

    by superscalar on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:53:00 AM PDT

  •  He's doing this to detract from the NSA fiasco (14+ / 0-)

    He thinks he can say "middle class" and "income inequality" as buzz words and the left will just follow like the pied piper.  People have been saying this since 2009 and he wasn't talking about income inequality then.

    It's true our social fabric will fray, but guess what, nothing we can really do about that now with the policies we have in place.  I want to see if Obama puts Summers in.  Then we'll see what he REALLY thinks of income inequality.

    "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

    by sujigu on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:54:11 AM PDT

  •  I find the minimization of the President's (9+ / 0-)

    re-election disturbing in this diary.  Why would one insist on dismissing his hard work?  I know I don't.

  •  Nice to see he's suddenly aware of this (22+ / 0-)

        Now, will he abandon the neoliberal economics that has contributed so heavily to this situation?

        Seriously doubt it.

    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:01:43 AM PDT

    •  It would be much worse if GOPer were in the WH (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dartagnan, scott5js

      "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

      by MartyM on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:06:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What a terrific argument in support of Obama's... (15+ / 0-)

        ...NOTHINGNESS on this issue for nearly 5 years now.

        I am so fucking tired of the excuse-making centered on "Well Republicans would be worse...DUHHHHHH...".

        No shit...but we expected better than the disgrace that is Obama's refusal to tackle the central issue ailing our economy. It hits upon our standard of living and the value of labor to a country that sorely needs both to improve.

        Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

        by Love Me Slender on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:13:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is all they have (5+ / 0-)

          We are better than Republicans

          That and a crappy healthcare bill that helps some people.

          Some people have short memories

          by lenzy1000 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:06:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "crappy healthcare bill that helps some people"? (0+ / 0-)

            Reince Priebus, you're not fooling anyone.

            •  Sorry not Priebus (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shaharazade, Dallasdoc

              I was thinking of campaign Obama

              It is a crappy bill even by Obama's own standards and he must still think it is crappy because he is delaying parts of it. But not to worry we all know they will fix it later.

              Some people have short memories

              by lenzy1000 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:24:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That clip didn't say the ACA is a crappy bill. You (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sviscusi

                making stuff up. He was against mandates, so? He changed his mind. What he did say is that his plan cut down on cost, and this is what the bill does.

                By the way, you call the bill crappy. You want to go and tell the millions of people who can finally gain access to healthcare that it's a crappy bill?

                You want to tell millions of people who wont have to face a cap on their healthcare cost that it's a crappy bill?

                You want to tell the millions of people who will finally be able to gain access to healthcare that it's a crappy bill?

                Yeah, that's a statement people like Reince Priebus and the Tea Parrty congress would love.

            •  You could care less about those left out, (4+ / 0-)

              those  MILLIONS ?  Millions. Face it, the law is a failure for many.

              There is a better way, but we won't be hearing Obama pursuing it.  Based on results, he's too busy doing the bidding of the 1%.

              PNHP Article of Interest

              How Much Could Medicare for All Save You?

              By Rich Smith
              The Motley Fool, July 21, 2013

              SNIP

              The government put a key piece of Obamacare back on the shelf last week, when it announced that companies employing more than 50 workers will have an extra year to begin offering health insurance without facing fines.

              Whether you consider this good news or bad news probably depends on whether you were a fan or a foe of the Affordable Care Act in the first place.

              But could it be that the ACA isn't really needed at all?Could an alternative idea -- "Medicare for all" -- actually do a better job of controlling medical costs, and making health care affordable for Americans? SNIP

              Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

              by divineorder on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:43:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So what will you say when the employer mandate is (0+ / 0-)

                placed back on schedule for 2015? That Obama is no longer doing the bidding of the 1%?

                Your argument is full of holes. The administration say they will put the mandate in place in 2015.

                By the way, why do you care? Aren't you one of those people who is against the plan to begin with as well as the mandate?

                You folk try every means possible to criticize this man, and with all you have been doing for the past 5 years, the President was reelected soundly and is as popular as always.

                I think that's a fail.

                •   You are absolutely right! (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  denise b, Dallasdoc

                  And he is already virtually dismantling it himself with the recent ACA waiver.  Standby for more of the same...

                  But hey, I am looking

                  FORWARD.
                  Obamacare was touted as being a start.

                  Heh.  Well, here's the next step -- HR 676 .

                  H.R.676
                  Latest Title: Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act
                  Sponsor: Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-13] (introduced 2/13/2013)      Cosponsors (45)
                  New York City Labor Council endorses H.R. 676
                  By Kay Tillow
                  Single Payer News, July 21, 2013

                  The Executive Board of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, unanimously approved a resolution supporting H.R. 676, national single-payer health care legislation, sponsored by Congressman John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.

                  NYC CLC President Vincent Alvarez calls this resolution “Labor’s way of standing up for the health and well-being of working men and women and their families,” noting “The national legislation is a true means of controlling ever-increasing health care costs, while ensuring that Americans get the medical care they so desperately need.”

                  In the resolution, the Council notes that almost every union is forced to battle and sacrifice to sustain health care benefits for members. The Council also notes that while the United States spends twice as much of our GDP on health care as other developed nations, we remain the only industrialized country without universal health care coverage.

                  Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

                  by divineorder on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 02:43:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Obama has called for raising wages many times (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          unfangus

          "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

          by MartyM on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:16:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He called for? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, Mr Robert, Dallasdoc

            So what the hell has stopped him from making concrete proposals?  Not just talking about them.  Or calling for them as if he's a powerless bystander in Washington.  

            Along the same lines, what the hell stopping him from proposing a new "Voting Rights Act"?  A real concrete proposal to overcome his being "deeply disappointed" in the SC's gutting.  

            Obama calls for something:  Big fucking deal.  Obama calls for a lot of things.  

          •  Perhaps he could twist a few arms...you know, like (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, Mr Robert, divineorder

            ...he did for the NSA amendment to the defense authorization bill?

            Oh that's right...with this issue, we're only talking about people being able to eat and maintain a minimum standard of decent living. It's far more important to use his power to invade privacy and control others.

            Fucking sickening.

            Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

            by Love Me Slender on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:43:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Economically speaking, would it? (11+ / 0-)

          There is no question that America would be vastly worse off with a Republican in the White House when it comes to social issues or racial/ethnic equality issues.

          But when it comes to economic issues, Obama has done virtually nothing to reverse Bush-era trends. He had to be dragged kicking and screaming into something as basic as letting the Bush tax cuts expire -- and even then, he compromised most of it away. He wants to go farther than Bush on dismembering Social Security (chained CPI, anyone?). He has done nothing to stem the outsourcing that has crippled the American working class.

          One speech won't change any of that.

        "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

        by Buzzer on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:17:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes it would be worse. Clearly your privileged (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          unfangus, sviscusi

          status (or just general dumbness)  allows you to ask that question.

          Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

          by TomP on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:24:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Makes for a great ralling cry (9+ / 0-)

              "We Don't Suck As Much As The Republicans Do!"

               It works so well at winning elections.

            "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

            by Buzzer on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:29:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  What a convenient cop-out... (12+ / 0-)

            It could be worse, so accept the fact that it is still really bad.

            The working class is drowning in poverty and debt trying to make ends meet, but it could be worse.

            It is truly sad to see how far activism has fallen and what we are willing to accept as normal circa 2013.

            Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

            by Love Me Slender on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:32:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Only stupid, privileged people expect progress (8+ / 0-)

            on income equality. The brilliant and the salt of the earth are deeply thankful to an electioneering genius who is as guiltless as he is impotent in the face of the numerous tragic trends of the last few decades.

            Because the poor really do prefer the circus!

            "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." President Barack Obama

            by quagmiremonkey on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:05:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  In what way? (5+ / 0-)

            Can you be specific?

            After all, even Romney was decrying the poverty rates and high unemployment rate.

            The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

            by dfarrah on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:42:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Why do say (6+ / 0-)

            people who want and voted for democratic economic justice have privileged status? Because they are not yet homeless or in poverty? We are all citizens in this country and to have the right to earn a decent living, access to affordable medical care and food does not mean you have a privileged status.

            What is with this garbage I keep hearing about the 'privileged' have no right to demand a equitable economy and the common good of the people. This is one lame taking point as poor people and minorities  are by far the ones who are suffering the most under this horribly cruel unjust economic Third Way economy. How bizarre to call any one who objects to this casino economy that is being implemented by a Democratic administration dumb of privileged.

            I think your suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and can no longer see that there are 'two America's' and the one that's represented by this administration isn't the poor, the minorities, the workers or any ordinary people. The sociopathic arrogant privileged who were told we need sacrifice for so they can grow more profit and create wealth and more more poverty is who this administration works for.

            Eat your peas TomP and consider yourself privileged to sacrifice for the likes of Goldman Sachs, Boos Allen Hamilton, because they need to stay profitable in the casino NWO of the real privileged. Jeeze talk about supporting anti-pragmatic, ass backward anti-democratic politics. How in the hell does this inequitable economy and the resulting societal disintegration make any of us privileged  or unqualified to speak out against it? It certainly doesn't help the really poor to not stand up.                    

        •  one thing we will NEVER hear from a GOPer.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder

          advocating raising wages for worker bees, but Obama has mentioned it several times.

          "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

          by MartyM on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:17:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah - talk, talk, talk (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, MartyM, Mr Robert

            but "somehow" nothing is ever DONE.

            "Put not your trust in princes" - or Presidents either.

            If we want change, we're going to have to get out at the grassroots level and WORK for it. Weed out every Republican from every office, starting small and local and moving upward. It's going to be a horrendous, thankless task, it's going to take decades, and we'd just better hope that we have time enough to get it done.

            If it's
            Not your body,
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            And it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:28:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  My father used to tell me "hings could always (6+ / 0-)

        be worse"

        To which I reply "I could be face down in a ditch being eaten by fire ants and things could still be worse".

        He quit saying that to me....

        •  Sure they could be worse in that situation... (0+ / 0-)

          The person who put you in that position could be smugly happy about it instead of earnestly apologetic.

          /snark

          I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

          by detroitmechworks on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:30:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  There is a tipping point as to disgust (14+ / 0-)

    and apathy. The Republicans are overplaying it overtly now. As to class, it wasn't always about money, it was about how people treated each other and generally it works that the better you treat people, the more successful you become. We have turned that on its head. Hidden fees and taxes and the poor service and monopolistic behavior have lulled many to an inured state aided by a lazy captured trad med.

    Republicans now stand for shoddy workmanship, ugly speech and dishonest dealings. They are exploitative. the government on all levels stifles debate in favor of complicated unreadable legislation and sneaky dealings. The Democrats enable it.

    Pretty soon America is waking up. News of people protesting all over the world bleeds through on FB. The utter mendacity of laws and the attempts to unravel our safety nets and bad dealings all around by the moneyed set is becoming more transparent. Something will have to give. Milk is $4/gallon, so is a decent loaf of bread. Sour cream is over $2 pint. People are doing all the "right" things and not getting ahead or being ground up in the gears.

    •  Most Americans still don't care (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CrissieP, on the cusp, scott5js

         This is where the power structure's exploitation of race comes in.

         If you offer a white working-class American one of two deals: (a) you get two meals a day and your black neighbor gets one, or (b) you both get three meals a day, the white working-class American will almost always choose (a).

        Until we fix THAT problem, we're not getting anywhere.

      "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

      by Buzzer on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:10:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is the realities (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, divineorder, No Exit, jackl

      that you pointed out and then there is perception.

      Right or wrong I perceive President Obama as capitulating to the monied interests. Primarily because of his appointments, which I believe speaks the loudest.

      Perhaps I was expecting too much and my hopes and dreams were not grounded in reality. I am a hardcore liberal and perhaps that puts me at odds with the president. Honestly though, I expected him to use his bully pulpit to a larger and greater extent. So maybe, just maybe I was putting too much on the president.

      I also square plenty of blame on the democratic house and senate as being far too weak when dealing with the republicans.

      The long and short of it is this. I am just a simple American. I am not poverty stricken, but I am knocking on its door. I hear the president, but at this late stage, I'm just not feeling it.

      I know the republicans have fought this president and his policies since day one making his presidency difficult, if not damn near impossible.
      So then why Mr. President do you seemingly at every turn want to work with republicans, when it has been proved they are against you every step of the way?

      Maybe it's just me. Perhaps I expected more than what this president could actually deliver. I am hoping for more of a change that really addresses the plight of the poor and the hollowing out of the middle class.

      I don't know all the ins and outs of Washington politics and the realities assigned. All I know is that I feel short-changed somehow and that the status quo is in full swing.

      Just my two cents FWIW and my perception at the ground level.

      "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

      by wxorknot on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:45:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do corporations really need to raise U.S. wages? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, jackl

    I mean - aren't they already making a bundle in the global economy?
    Employees making LOW wages seem to be low on their list of priorities.

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:04:08 AM PDT

  •  take the next step (12+ / 0-)

    i mean i appreciate the speech but truly we really do know about the inequality problem. what we don' t have is a plan to fix it.  our politicians admit that de-industrialization has created much of this problem.  great ... now take the next logical step.  begging the corporations to bring jobs back won't help.  instead, allow workers to use the abandoned factories for free and re-industrilize by creating employee owed cooperatives.  the government's role would be to use eminent dowin to cease the property and extending low interest loans to the workers.  unions can get involved as well by teaching the workers how to organize and run a business.  this model can work.  it has already been done in Latin America.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:11:59 AM PDT

  •  This is good. It matters when (7+ / 0-)

    the President talks about it.  Many Americans don 't get it yet because they believe the Haratio Alger stories still.  I think Putnam is incorrect about race and class, but that does not matter.  Obama described the last 30 plus years to people still in denial.  While I think Occupy helped,  both Obama and Edward were talking about economic inequalityin 2007.  I don 't attribute Obama 's speech or comments to Occupy.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:13:52 AM PDT

  •  Excellent post (15+ / 0-)

    Having a president who gets this is crucial. Getting legislation through this Congress is the challenge. But laying out these issues moves the electorate in our direction. That's why the rhetoric matters.

  •  We used to be the "land of opportunity"... (6+ / 0-)

    ...but now other countries seem to have passed us;

    The upward mobility gap;

    We think of America as a land of opportunity, but other countries appear to offer more upward mobility. Children born into poverty in Canada, Britain, Germany or France have a statistically better chance of reaching the top than poor kids do in the United States.

    What's gone wrong? Thanks to globalization, the economy is producing high-income jobs for the educated and low-income jobs for the uneducated — but few middle-income jobs for workers with high school diplomas. Thanks to the decline of public schools, it's harder for poor kids to get a good education. And Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam argues that thanks partly to the rise of two-income households, intermarriage between rich and poor has declined, choking off another historical upward path for the underprivileged.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:32:52 AM PDT

  •  This last paragraph is very important (8+ / 0-)
    The increased social acceptability of conspicuous consumption; the growing antipathy toward government; the decline of the social compact between employers and workers; the segregation of communities by income; the declining exposure of the average person to unions; the shifting focus toward other areas of social consciousness, including environmentalism and gay rights -- each could be seen as both cause and effect of the economic changes the president bemoaned.
    It doesn't matter who the president is, if these social issues continue unabated.  I'd also add the effect of the War on Drugs and the prison-industrial complex to the list as well.  

    So what to do?  Good diary, but I think we need more actionable stuff.  I have my list (state-by-state gerrymander reform, take back SCOTUS by winning 2016, end the filibuster, get campaign finance reform) that is structural in nature, but what else can be done?  

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:34:10 AM PDT

  •  Secret trade deals that undermine wages (11+ / 0-)

    make the income gap worse.    I certainly hope his passion for reducing the income gap makes him reconsider his push to force destructive trade agreements.

    Walk the talk.

    "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

    by Betty Pinson on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:49:16 AM PDT

  •  He's good at the speech thing (5+ / 0-)

    But it's the follow up that I am interested in.

    It sounds too much like other speeches where he blames congress for his own lack of effective leadership.

    Not to say that the Republicans aren't batshit crazy, but...

  •  Get back to me when he walks the talk. (11+ / 0-)

    Barack Obama: From Nobel Laureate to excusing torture, to drone strikes, to violating the privacy of every person on earth. On the other hand, there's always Lily Ledbetter.

    by expatjourno on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:57:43 AM PDT

  •  Meh, sounds like more of his (5+ / 0-)

    inexplicable Reagan Worse.

    I'm not going to hold my breathe waiting for him to actually do anything that actually helps to solve rather than make this worse, at least!

  •  Wouldn't this be a good speech (11+ / 0-)

    ...for Obama to talk about how awful for the economy the TPP would be? Why no mention?

     

    ‘Shock and awe’ globalization

    Everything that the public knows about the TPP so far has come from various leaks, and if the final agreement looks anything like the negotiating text, the implications would be far reaching, affecting everything from the cost of medicines to internet freedoms by broadening international copyright and intellectual property rights legislation in line with US law.
    Make no mistake – the TPP is a neoliberal wish list that would empower corporations to skirt national laws and courts, while directly challenging health, environmental and other public interest policies. What makes the TPP so alarming is that it aims to create judicial authorities higher than national governments, in the form of extra-judicial tribunals overseen by the World Bank and UN. If multinationals feel that existing government policy has hindered their expected future profits, national governments would be obliged to dole out compensation with taxpayer dollars. If the TPP were to be passed into law, it would:

        create incentives for corporations to offshore millions of jobs & encourage bottom-of-the-barrel low wage conditions in participating countries
        prohibit bans on risky financial instruments, speculation, and derivatives; countries would be banned from enacting capital controls and banks would enjoy significantly less regulatory oversight
        impose strict intellectual property legislation that would undermine access to the internet and digital file-sharing, as well as stymie the product of generic medicines that may violate US patents
        lower food safety regulations and flood markets with those products, empowering corporations to decrease environmental and health safeguards
        make signatory countries accountable to international tribunals, giving corporations the ability to demand compensation for any expected future profits that are hindered by existing national laws.

    Like NAFTA, which dismantled the US manufacturing base and led to thousands of job losses, the TPP promotes offshoring through incentives for corporations, leading to wages being driven down and heightened inequality. Pharmaceutical giants would be allowed to increase drug prices and limit consumers’ access to cheaper generic drugs, which is bad news for many of the developing countries taking part.

    Somehow, the TPP does not sound like a boon for the middle class.

    Yet not a peep.

  •  His words show his awareness (6+ / 0-)

    And full understanding of the problem.  And now that he says these things publicly, of how exactly the corporate political ruling class elites have waged classwar and even rigged the game of democracy in this country, just what is he going to do about it?

    They have been waging class since forever. The majority of People on the losing side of this War have felt the impacts long before he openly admitted it in this speech. There is political capture and regulatory capture..he knows this....govt of, for, by the wealthy corporate political elite. How many millionaires in congress...that's not an accident, it's by design.

    But by him allowing many of the same failed trickle down economic policies  to continue or disgusing them under a new name, or accepting compromise with things such as the sequester which gave John Boehner 98% of what the GOP wanted, he does not show me he is fighting the status quo.

    Neither does openly advocating/proposing imho snake oil Grand Bargains, or using the same GOP narrative and hair on fire terms of propaganda  about the "debt", "tax cuts", and "economic stimulus"  when proposing your own economic agenda...imho, it reveals a level of complicity and dishonesty.

    It's not always what he says, it's what he does, it's who he appoints, it's who he surrounds himself with, it's who he has as advisors,it's  who he talks to regarding these issues, who has his ear, who he allows to the table....and ultimately ...it's what economic policies or proposal he pushes forward and as we have seen more importantly just what amount of compromise he is willing to accept. It's the Lack of fire with I welcome their hatred type of speeches and ACTIONS. We have seen him fight and twist arms when he wants something...hello NSA.

    He can use populist rhetoric to rally the public and push forward say a truly progressive approach (The Peoples Budget) and agenda against the plutocrats, or not. He can do what Elizabeth Warren has done ..talk the talk but also walk the talk with her action. But so far, from most of what we have seen he has a history of siding with the status quo. ..hello NSA, banksters.

    When you know you're in a downward trajectory as most commoners are in this country, it's not helpful to "win" by just slowing down that downward trajectory...it's a low bar to be less worse than the GOP, and not something to brag about.

    Time to Lead, or get out of the way and let others who want to, do it.

    Paraphrasing MeteorBlades, don't just tell me, show me Mr. President....it's what you do!

    Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. We are the 99%-OWS.

    by emal on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:17:46 AM PDT

  •  A critique of the rhetoric (12+ / 0-)

    By Michael Hudson, here:Obama’s Master Class in Demagogy 101

    As with most political speeches, the devil is in the details and the prescription does not match the rhetoric. The prescription will be more privatization at the expense to the public trust. The prescription will be more supply side trickle down austerity based economics. The lip service to income inequality is just that. There is no prescription for economic justice coming from this White House.

    Most great fortunes in history have been carved out of the public domain. That was the case with America’s colonial land grants, and the railroad land grants after the Civil War. The great question facing Europe as well as America today is whether infrastructure will be provided at a low price – which can best be achieved by public investment – or at a high price as rent-extracting owners turn roads into toll roads, bridges into toll bridges, and so on throughout the economy. This is the looming Wall Street plan, using today’s downturn as an opportunity to cloak a vast new monopoly grab as a “solution” to the economic problem rather than looming as a new threat to price American labor and industry out of global markets.

    [...]

    I think that Obama’s speech yesterday is seeking to “foam the runway” for this plan. One need merely look at what the City of London’s Public-Private Partnership has done to that nation’s transportation system to see a peep into what would be a dysfunctional future for this country. The plan would be for the government to guarantee returns (against cost overruns or losses), passing all losses on to “taxpayers.”

    This is essentially what the President proposes to do with mortgages that are still underwater. “I’ve asked Congress to pass a good, bipartisan idea – one that was championed by Mitt Romney’s economic advisor – to give every homeowner the chance to refinance their mortgage and save thousands of dollars a year.” Under this plan the government will absorb the loss – the writedown – that otherwise would be borne by the banks and other mortgage holders. Taxpayers will foot the bill to pay Wall Street. This is the basic model for Obama’s infrastructure plan to be unveiled in the next few weeks.

    So what we have in the President’s Knox College speech is an exercise in political stealth. In essence, his message is: “I know how unfair society is. Trust me.” It was what Charles Keating said to his S&L depositors. Iit worked for Bill Clinton. The more clearly a candidate can vocalize peoples’ desires for prosperity, upward mobility and deterrence of wrongdoing, the better they seem likely to legislate a solution. As the famous quip attributed to George Burns, Groucho Marx and others puts it: “The secret of life is sincerity and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

    Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top. ~Edward Abbey

    by cosmic debris on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:22:29 AM PDT

  •  Who could have predicted this? (6+ / 0-)

    A diary detailing an undeniable bit of good news, the comment s section would be flooded with the cries of Obama Sucks!.

    •  You spoke too soon (0+ / 0-)

      One of this site's most virulent Obama haters had to rain on the parade below.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:54:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OMG! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        reginahny

        A single post was made in support of the President. It's as if the 40 days and 40 nights of Obama sucks never happened.

        BTW, where did that poster go wrong?

        Do you like the Tea Party?

        Are the Zimmerman supporters right and there is no racism in America?

        Are you pro-wealth disparity?

        Is the minimum wage too high?

        I am just trying to find what is objectionable, besides the mere act of daring to suggest PBO has a batting average somewhere north of .000.

        •  Every ounce of energy you or anyone else (5+ / 0-)

          puts into proving that Obama is better than he actually is, is an ounce of energy wasted, that could be put to actually useful use, like pushing him to be better than he is, for which there is VAST room, not just theoretically, but actually. The man clearly has the sort of character that needs to be pushed to do good things. He is not a self-starter, and profoundly risk-averse.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:14:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Or uh maybe putting that energy to winning (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            reginahny

            2014 so that uh you know we can get the House or whatever. But I think it's hilarious you are literally saying don't waste energy supporting the president, but with no clarification of what 'pushing' means. If 'pushing' means pissing all over anything he says and does well that's one way I suppose.

            If pushing means winning the House and keeping the Senate I don't know that might be more effective. But that's just crazy talk.

            If I knew it was going to be that kind of party, I'd have stuck my ---- in the mashed potatoes! - Paul's Boutique

            by DoctorWho on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:57:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I know, huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sviscusi

      I've cut down smoking by more than half, cut down trips into the comments sections by more than half.

      After having read comments section to MB's XL pipeline diary this morning, and now this one....I'm raising that bar

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:13:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why does he support cuts to Social Security, then? (6+ / 0-)

    And one more thing.

    Why did the President allow the FICA tax cut to lapse?  That cost working and middle-class households about 120B a year.

    He could have proposed legislation that would have increased the Earned Income Tax Credit by 2,500 per year, per worker, to compensate for the FICA tax hike.  But he didn't.

    We know that inequality is a problem.  

    Yet, during his term, so far, median wages are down by 6%.

    No President (i think) has ever presided over a decrease in the median wage during his tenure.

    President Obama would be the first.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:49:24 AM PDT

  •  Great--now what does he plan to DO about it? (8+ / 0-)

    Or, more pretty words unaccompanied by meaningful action, which tends to be inconveniently difficult, painful and risky? It's like he's speaking in the third person, as an outsider, wishing that someone would do something about it, when as president he is the historically prime initiator of structural change in the US. Not the only one, but the primary one. It's not like we wouldn't have his back if he did. Sorry, but we need more than words from a president.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:53:10 AM PDT

  •  I've been paying close attention to what (4+ / 0-)

    the President has been saying this week. I think he has hit the nail on the head over the course of this month, from the Zimmerman ruling to the effectiveness of Obamacare to the budget issues and now to income inequality.

    Income inequality is killing the country right now. The tea party is impeding progress because they represent a segment of society that rejects our cultural diversity and skews to an older by-gone era.  They don't want to make adjustments for a younger generation that is culturally and racially different from them.  That's why Obama wants a grand bargain.  He wants to lock the all Americans (including the tea party crowd) into a new social contract that creates a climate for the current and next generation to prosper.  

    We also need an Occupy type campaign targeted at minimum wage employers. The wages that min wage employees get paid are plainly disgraceful.  If people in that demographic were being paid a living wage, the entire economy would prosper.  It makes economic and moral sense to lift wages.  Trade-offs can be made to ease any burden on employers whose businesses survive at the margins, but large min wage employers are not suffering at all and can afford to go the route of Costco.

    Alternative rock with something to say. Check out Global Shakedown's latest album, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes/Amazon, or stream it at http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown.

    by khyber900 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:01:06 AM PDT

  •  You don't say, Mr. President. (4+ / 0-)
    although the President's making the issue a centerpiece of his second term
    It should have been the centerpiece of his first term.  Specifically, the first 2 years.  

    At this point, Obama's "plans" are nothing but talk.  His time for change came and went.  

    Regardless of the fantasies of taking back the House in 2014, it's over.  

     

  •  Hmmmmm. I see dangerous seeds. (5+ / 0-)

    "If the economy is growing, everybody feels invested. Everybody feels as if we're rolling in the same direction. And so a lot of the other issues that we’re talking about -- whether it’s climate change or immigration, or how we manage our trade relations -- all those are eased if we’ve got our economic act together."

    Is this prepping us for how awesome the TPP would be for the middle class?

    That's going to be one hell of a sales pitch.

    "We should remember that today’s world presents not only dangers, but opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership."

    Yes, He Did: Obama Plugged Trans-Pacific Partnership While Touting ‘Middle Class’ Growth

    http://inthesetimes.com/...

  •  Using the bully pulpit for whatever it's worth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dartagnan

    is this president's greatest power to thwart everything the Rethugs have been doing to this country for decades.  It's also their worst nightmare, because speaking clearly and educating the public is one of the many great assets this president carries into office.

    So grateful he's not letting them just shut down his presidency and it's power for the people.

    Thank you, Mr. President!

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:37:56 AM PDT

  •  It's nice Obama mentioned income inequality (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, 3goldens

    but further down he still supports austerity.  So apparently he's still booked on the SS Neolib.

  •  This makes Obama "obsessed" w/inc inequality (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Dartagnan

    according to Charlie Rose.  And I don't think Rose meant "obsessed" in a good way (from the perspective of the struggling poor & middle class.)    

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:59:29 AM PDT

  •  I'm a HUGE supporter of President Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Dartagnan

    ....but now is the time to use his Executive power to get
    things done. Congress is a no show and pleading to the
    public to put pressure on them may have worked in the
    past but at present it produces nada.

    Partnering with those in the Private Sector who are willing
    to have some input in moving the country forward is the
    way to go.  

    Infrastructure...engage with as many companies who are willing to invest and let's get the ball rolling.

    Poverty...Mayor Bloomberg has invested his own resources toward the most under privileged young adults who need a fresh start.   There's an opportunity to  put the focus squarely on that segment of society on a bipartisan basis.

    President Obama could call a summit of his Billionaire supporters,  lay out his agenda and get actual commitments from them on targeted areas where they could make a difference.

    In the Entertainment Industry, there is no shortage of folks who want to engage in building communities. Reach out to them.. Give them an Action Plan and use the Community Organizing skills that served him so well in his early years. Put them to use!

    Sports, especially the athletes in the NBA, if he asks them to jump, their response will be 'HOW HIGH' no pun intended.
    They have his back.  

    President Obama has the support, he has to know how to use the resources.

    He has already stated the obvious with his speeches. Now is the time to make it happen with what he has to work with.  Let's make it happen PBO!

    .

    Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by destiny1 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:05:37 AM PDT

  •  Good post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reginahny, Dartagnan

    It's good to be reminded that the president understands the struggles of ordinary Americans--he lived it, worked around it, etc.  If only we had a Congress that didn't want to give all of America's wealth to a few thousand people.

    It's also too bad that so many people here bristle at the thought of saying anything positive about the president.

  •  I am (0+ / 0-)

    glad he talked about it and will give him full credit for doing so. I could and should quibble as there has been a fuck-ton of shortcomings in his Economic Policies, but this is great. I'd like to see him do a speech about it, have the Senate force votes on it, and really fight hard for this if he truly believes it.

    "Been made accomplice to all that I promised I would never fucking be!" Propaghandi

    by Yang Guang on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:26:13 AM PDT

    •  (Edit) (0+ / 0-)

      I mention the Senate because I know the House is a lost cause right now. I know about the Filibuster, so you don't have to remind me.

      "Been made accomplice to all that I promised I would never fucking be!" Propaghandi

      by Yang Guang on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:35:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a bucket o piss worth more than those words (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:35:48 AM PDT

  •  Talking about economic inequity (5+ / 0-)

    while implementing the policy and direction of unfettered, deregulated 'free market' capitalism  (wealth creation)  is kind of insulting to ordinary people. Yes the Republicans are worse and they are obstructing and clogging up the legislative branches so that the Democrat's are apparently powerless to get anything done. What concerns me is the direction of the corporate new Dems. 'way forward'.  

    The thing is his interview with the NYT is just empty rhetoric. They realize that a lot people are aware that they cannot afford to pay for the most basic needs in this globalized market economy. This administration's direction, intent, actions, appointees, and policy, are not at all connected to the words of President Obama in the NYT. While most people are not political junkies they are not this stupid. Look at congress's approval rating. 'You don't have to be a weatherman to see which way the wind blows'.

    Too bad that in theory the Dems sing a equality song but in reality the economy inequality is a feature not a bug.  They don't call this disaster capitalism for nothing. This administration is working hard to create the 'inevitable' neoliberal corporate NWO.

    Ordinary working people everywhere are just a profit loss and fodder for the multinational pillagers. The disconnect from what the president says and the reality we are forced to live under is absurd. I might have to live in this nightmare NWO but I sure as hell don't believe that the Dems are fighting for a more equal economy.

    Upward mobility? That's not what people care about they care about feeding their family, keeping a roof over their heads, educating their kids and being able to earn a livable wage. Please spare us your concern about the inequitable economy you and your Third Way administration have created and implemented and tout as the way forward.  

    Waving around the Horatia Alger myth at a beleaguered people and at the same time articulating accurately the roots of the problem in our society is beyond arrogant it's insult to injury. At this point all we're getting is PR marketing speeches that are selling nothing but more misery for people and killing the planet, all for the growth of empty wealth creation.  

    'That's why I'm richer then you'  Jamie Dimon

    'We don't disparage wealth creation in America.' Barack Obama

       

  •  I think the most interesting things about the (0+ / 0-)

    graph are the pronounced dips for the one percent in 1987 and 2000-2001.  Two stock market crashes...For everyone else, it's a pretty steady upward trend.
    Maybe because they went through those downturns they feel entitled to the huge and unvarying upswing since 2002.  At whose expense?

  •  This is part of that cynicism: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, 3goldens
    The corporations and special interests that keep Republican Congressmen afloat through their gerrymandered districts are very much aware that the more cynical the public's feelings about government, the easier the task of maintaining the status quo.
    We should just fess up and admit that they keep the Pelosi's afloat too. It's honest and it's the sunlight required to allow us to get past that cynicism.

    And it's not corruption, IMO. It's just business. The problem with America today is that government takes care of business at the expense of our people.

    That's the problem and once we start to articulate that then we can start to break through the cynicism and have some power as a People.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:23:46 AM PDT

  •  It is tearing this country apart (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Dartagnan

    However, the mainstream media in this country gives very little attention to the two biggest problems facing our country: the undue influence of money in politics, and the massive income gap between the top 1% and the bottom 99%.

    My parents made me a Democrat. Scott Walker made me a progressive.

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 01:45:15 PM PDT

  •  how about (0+ / 0-)

    changing the neo-liberal trade policies, hasn't been attempted in 20 years, formalized or not ...  the $300 billion trade deficit with China in 2012,  which is a world record in all of history, I would think would raise some eyebrows that something isn't working ....  guess not.

    "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 01:46:43 PM PDT

  •  The 1% is eating out our substance. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dartagnan

    See Declaration of Independence.

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes

    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 04:16:11 PM PDT

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