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From a recent 188-page report by the World Health Organization come these ghastly and appalling factoids:

 

  • Suicide rates rose 40% in the first six months of 2011 alone.
  • Murder has doubled.
  • 9,100 doctors in Greece, roughly one out of every seven, have been laid off.

Joining those doctors in joblessness are 27.6% of the entire Greek labor force.  By comparison, in the depths of the Great Depression, unemployment in the United States peaked at a lower percentage than that.  Among Greek young adults under 25 years old, unemployment reached an abominable 64.9% in May.  (Yet the unemployment rate in Greece was as low as 7% as recently as 2008.)

I'm sure that my Tea Party friends will blame universal healthcare, paid sick leave and "generous" unemployment benefits for this catastrophe.  "If we simply stopped helping people, then they wouldn't need our help," they would say.  You can see where that "logic" leads.  The dead need no help whatsoever, except possibly burial. Sort of like this:  "The Republican healthcare plan: Don't Get Sick.  And if you do get sick, Die Quickly."]

Maybe you think that I'm kidding about what my Tea Party friends would do.  I'm not.  A few years ago here in Florida, we had a children's health insurance program called KidCare, with a waiting list of over 100,000.  The Tea Party Republicans didn't like that.  So they eliminated the waiting list.

But back to Greece.  A lot of people blame Greek government debt for the current suffering.  According to the Central Intelligence Agency, that most authoritative of all conceivable sources, Greek government debt stands at 160% of GDP, which seems like a lot.  But Japanese government debt stands at 215% of GDP, and the unemployment rate in Japan is only 4%.

Moreover, Spain's unemployment rate is virtually as high as Greece's, but Spain's government debt stands at only 85% of GDP.  That's less debt than Singapore's, and Singapore's unemployment rate is 1.8%.

So we cannot properly attribute the catastrophe in Greece to labor protection, nor can we attribute it to government borrowing.  What is the cause, then?  The World Health Organization has the answer: austerity.  "Austerity" is a bloodless term for gross economic mismanagement, animated by heartlessness.  That robotic cut-cut-cut mentality that deprives us of jobs, of public services, of safety, of health, of infrastructure, of help for the needy, and – ultimately -- of our economic equilibrium and the ability to survive.  The mentality that ushers in, and welcomes, a vicious war of all against all.  Austerity is destroying an entire country, right before our eyes.

Or, as the World Health Organization put it: "These adverse trends in Greece pose a warning to other countries undergoing significant fiscal austerity, including Spain, Ireland and Italy.  It also suggests that ways need to be found for cash-strapped governments to consolidate finances without undermining much-needed investments in health."

In America, we have a rich and powerful lobby that has the same prescription for every economic malady: austerity.  Cut-cut-cut.  Cut Social Security and Medicare.  Cut teacher and police and firefighter jobs.  Cut health care.  Cut pay and cut pensions.  It all boils down to that one ugly word: austerity.  And austerity always brings disarray, disaster, decay and death.

People often ask me my position on various issues.  Well, I'm for certain things, and I'm against others.  But on one issue, I'm very consistent.  I'm against pain and suffering.  Especially avoidable pain and suffering.  And therefore, I'm against austerity.  It begins with seemingly innocuous budget cuts.  It then leads inexorably to the destruction of countless lives.

Why am I telling you about Greece?  In 1935, Sinclair Lewis wrote a book called "It Can't Happen Here."  But it can.  And it's up to us to prevent it.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

"The horror!  The horror!"
-- The last words of Col. Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1899).

Originally posted to Alan Grayson on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:18 AM PST.

Also republished by Money and Public Purpose and In Support of Labor and Unions.

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    •  And how's about we aim at the right targets. (61+ / 0-)

      Remember who the real enemy is....

      We've been hit repeatedly with tax giveaways to the .01%. Internal damage:
      The list is short and sweet:

      -- Reagan's two tax giveaways mainly helped the top 2%.
      -- Clinton halved the capital gains tax from 30% to 15%.
      -- Clinton signed the "carry interest" abomination that converts fees from investment advisor contracts over to capital gains for tax purposes.
      -- Bush had two tax rate giveaways that mainly helped the top 2%.
      That's more than half of the income redistribution. There is one more 800-pounder:
      -- The Fed is giving away $85,000,000,000 a month to the big banks.

      That's with very low interest rates, after inflation a zero rate. "Quantitative easing." (You own or operate a big bank ??? Neither do I.)

      External damage:

      -- China has 350,000,000 "Long Distance Commuters." These are adults who have been forced by changes to  pricing policies for staples to leave their families and go to virtual prisons to keep everyone fed.
      -- They get between $1.50 and $3.50 an hour. You thought the Cultural Revolution was bad? I'd call what is happening now "slavery."
      -- These 700,000,000 busy hands are applied at the coastal export platforms. Families be damned. Communities be damned. Quality of life... from Hell.
      -- Local projects, infrastructure, education are slighted. So of course China has a remarkable competitive advantage in world manufacturing markets.
      Similar situation to England during the first Industrial Revolution. The bottom third lived like dogs.

      Apparently the Democratic Party is shy about tax giveaways and about the impact of those 350,000,000 Long Distance Commuters.

      Also, while we're at it for the 800-pound gorillas, why did Democrats just save the Republican Party from Teabagger suicide ?

      -- The Bircher Wing of the GOP is committed to vastly unpopular government shutdowns.
      -- The loons have been promising to make every budget milepost a voter-screwing disaster.
      The GOP was looking to set to ride teabagger theatrics to a 40- or 50-seat loss in the House come 2014.

      So WTF? Democrats save these holes from cratering with the 2-year budget deal and get nothing for their constituents. No unemployment benefits. No rise to the minimum wage. No reductions to the military and intel. Nothing for reproductive protections. Nothing to limit NSA. Nothing to tighten restraints on the JPMC/Goldmans of the world. Nothing to halt or reverse the giveaways. Upward redistribution continues apace.

      Remember who the real enemy is................

    •  Alan Grayson! (17+ / 0-)

      Every Progressive American's real representative in the U.S.Congress. Unfortunately, he is very rare, and way too quiet!

      My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

      by NM Ray on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 01:41:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some will claim that I'm being too harsh here... (42+ / 0-)

      ...but facts are facts, no matter how hard the spin:

      Six years ago at the height of his presidential campaign, Senator Obama gave several moving, florid and passionate speeches during the height of this country's financial collapse. His words empathized with the working people who still had employment and those who were out of work. He passionately spoke of hunger and cold and the housing crisis. He articulated what a majority of America's working middle class were thinking: we were being financially, morally and politically betrayed by trans-national corporations and the shills they plugged into our government. Candidate Obama emphatically promised to do something about it if we elected him to office. We did our part and put him there. And then he proceeded to do something about it, all right.

      Here's a very short list of what President Obama has "done" for the Middle Class:

      1 - It took him less than 3 months to find a Wall Street tool in the person of Timothy Geithner to drive the financial industry bailouts, loan the Big Three auto makers truck loads of cash and ignore the fact that almost 20% of America's real estate was financially under water with no assistance from anyone.

      2- After waffling back and forth for over one year trying to find a compromise with neocons who let it be known from the start that they would not compromise on anything a black man in the White House asked, this president finally got a castrated version of a republican health care bill put on his desk for his signature. Just prior to that blessed event, one of his staunch allies in government - Diane Feinstein - was quoted in a response to the possibility of floating a single-payer health care plan: "Don't waste my time." And so the President complied with that request.

      3- He enthusiastically engaged members of South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and other countries in the Far East to develop a "Pan Pacific" free trade agreement that suspiciously mirrors the same kind of sellout agreements that sent better than three quarters of America's clothing, shoe and light industry jobs to South American countries.

      4- He bet the farm and lost when the idea of a sequester in order to attempt to achieve a compromise - AGAIN - with neocons on a budget plan backfired and resulted in the loss of unemployment benefits, women and children special assistance and elderly care.

      5- And, as a key indicator of his thought processes and where his future inclinations for the vision of the country were taking his decision making, he had the unmitigated gall to nominate Larry Summers to the Head Fed... the same guy who was a rabid defender of market deregulation and free-range bankers who use mortgage money and real estate value to bet on the ponies.

      Given all that, how badly were we swindled this time? There's a couple ways of looking at it: on one hand, had Romney won the election, we'd all probably have to buy Rosetta Stone software in order to learn Chinese in order to qualify for employment. However, it's absolutely clear that this country is in no position to tolerate one more corporatized administration - no matter what side of the aisle they purport to belong.

      We need a whole Congress full of Alan Graysons to put back together what 30 years of conservative intellectual syphilis has destroyed... but that's obviously impossible. There's much talk of a Hillary presidency, but voting for a novelty candidate who is merely another side of the same tarnished old coin is a dangerous move... and if her husband's track record is any indication of her leadership inclinations, this country would be relegated to a third world economy with no other means to pay for its own defense except to tax the remnants of the Middle Class out of existence while her friends in The Hamptons light their cigars with $100 bills.

      Obama probably meant well - but so did my daughter when she was 3 years old and tried to cut her own hair with scissors. And now his populist rhetoric has returned, right on time, one year before another election cycle. Time to stock up on a few more cases of Rolaids.

      •  I remember years ago (20+ / 0-)

        reading "The Shock Doctrine", and wondering vaguely if it could happen here - while not really believing it could.

        But it did.

        •  Well, what do you know... (9+ / 0-)

          I figured someone would beat me to it. I wanted to give a heads-up to Rep. Grayson, since from reading the diary it seemed apparent that he hadn't had a chance to read Naomi Klein's seminal work. I think he would really appreciate the book and referral.

          It's been happening here for a while, now. It's just more insidious. The old Chicago School of economics cult--no matter how often their theories are disproven and don't pan out, Democrats and Republicans alike keep going back to the well. There's a quote about that, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

          As detrimental as the sequester, balanced budget amendment, and lack of additional stimulus programs has been here, it doesn't come close to the suffering in Greece and other places that have undergone mandated austerity measures, which always seem to end up doing more harm than good.

        •  Why Would You Think It Wouldn't Happen Here? (10+ / 0-)

          Unlike so many Americans, I knew exactly what kind of shit was being pulled in foreign countries ever since we rigged elections if Italy and Greece in the late 40's, through numerous coups in Latin America and elsewhere right up until the 2000's when we were plum out of countries to pillage. Finally, they'd caught on to us.

          As it turned out, all that was just practice runs for the biggest "bust out" (the Mafia's term for this rip-off technique) of all- America. From Katrina forward, "The Disaster Doctrine" will be what's employed everywhere it's possible. The sell off at fire sale prices is just getting going. As more and more cities have to BK out of not having a tax base any more, their assets will go on the block.

          As more and more attacks of increasing viciousness are launched on public facilities and institutions like the schools, they'll eventually be taken over and "privatized" by politically connected companies. If pukes aren't stopped, in the states they control, using tax cuts, they'll run up state deficits so huge that the RW noise machine will start demanding more sell offs of States' property. Particularly sell offs that involve "lease back" provisions on State Buildings will be favored by private equity firms which will sprout up like mad to suck up all the assets that'll be going on the block.

          And then the biggies come, again, if they're not stopped and get control of Congress and the White House again, they're likely to run deficits so high that they'll have their rich cronies lining up to buy Federal property. The Federal Gov't. owns over half the real property in this country. The wealthy salivate over it and the mineral rights that go along with it. Once they're done all this, they'll be in position to have the ultimate fascist nation. It's not a marriage of Corporations and Government, nope, much more than that. It will be the outright ownership of the nation and once that happens, the wealthy will have whatever government they want. One that doesn't govern them but does us in spades, no doubt.

          This is what I've seen coming for many years now. If they are not stopped, it will happen just as I described.

          "We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world - bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are whores for power and oil with hate and fear in our hearts" - Hunter S. Thompson

          by Dave925 on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 08:26:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What must be repeated (4+ / 0-)

            over and over again until it finally sinks in to all of us is that they aren't "anti-government". They just don't want a government that serves and enables all of us to pursue happiness. They want it to serve them but encumber and oppress those not in their exclusive club.

            liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

            by RockyMtnLib on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 08:19:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  It's a book title. nt (0+ / 0-)
          •  The logical conclusion of such a sell out of all (0+ / 0-)

            federal property to the 1% would be to replace the Federal Income Tax with a stiff head tax with the death penalty for failure to pay--that would be a great excuse to exterminate the poor for the crime of POVERTY!  The rich would probably reserve the right to commute some death penalty sentences to life at hard labor so they could keep a few for doing their scut work.

      •  Well, the substance of your analysis (0+ / 0-)

        isn't necessarily too harsh, given the facts, but your description of Obama's health care legislation as "castrated".... you might want to revisit your use of this particular analogy, with this particular President.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 01:13:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  When legislation is signed into law... (6+ / 0-)

          ...that gives the institutions who stand to lose the most from its implementation a 4 year deferment before the major provisions kick in - and during those 4 years, 192,000 preventable deaths (that's the 48,000 fatalities per year who were unable to afford the care they needed to prevent their deaths) happened - just to give the insurance industry some lead time to "ramp up", I am fully confident  that I chose my words exactly.

          If some foreign entity had been responsible for 192,000 preventable deaths on American soil, there would be cries from the rooftops to turn that country into a sea of radioactive green glass. But not a f---ing peep from this administration or anyone else in government. Why? Because, god forbid, we should piss off some insurance company boardrooms and freak out investors.

          The law was castrated by both the neocons and the DINOs - it offered no immediate relief for the people who needed it the most.

          I don't give a damn what color or gender the occupant of a public office happens to be. If the results of their performance is bad, it's not "black" bad, "white" bad, "male" bad or "female" bad - IT'S BAD. All too often, many Progressives waste their energies looking for meaningless details around them while the big picture gets buried in their pursuit of hostile trivia.

          •  About this: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Elizabeth 44
            I don't give a damn what color or gender the occupant of a public office happens to be. If the results of their performance is bad, it's not "black" bad, "white" bad, "male" bad or "female" bad - IT'S BAD. All too often, many Progressives waste their energies looking for meaningless details around them while the big picture gets buried in their pursuit of hostile trivia.
            Well, that's your prerogative, to think like that, I suppose. But I've got to tell you, if you think that the legacy of lynching of black men is "trivia" -- because it's that harrowing legacy that you invoke when you cite the "castration" in relation to a black President -- then you will probably wind up alienating a good chunk of those folks that you'd like to convince on this topic. Because many people do not experience these histories of brutal oppression as "trivial."

            I've been among those who have been repeatedly critical of President Obama, particularly on the compromises inherent in the ACA. But I find myself repeatedly frustrated at the basic indifference of many progressives towards the fact of President Obama's racial identity, and the complexities it must raise for any progressive worth the name in assessing his legacy or his performance.

            President Obama faces a basic refusal, among a sizeable constituency of conservatives, to recognize the legitimacy of his office. We're not talking heated policy disagreements here; we're talking about a fundamental refusal to acknowledge the fact that President Obama occupies the Oval Office through the legitimate instrument of the electoral franchise, and that he has every right to be there and to implement policy.

            In that context of basic, overriding racist contempt, it shouldn't be surprising that President Obama has moved more cautiously than someone else might have, and that he has embraced the Grand Bargain and its politics of compromise. It also shouldn't be surprising, in that connection, that the first African American President in American history should turn out not to be a progressive firebrand.

            And in that context, any progressive worthy of the name must attend to the complete, three-dimensional picture of what "progressive" means. It is not a situation where race, gender, and sexuality are "peripheral" or "trivial" side issues that can be jettisoned to get to some pure politics of socioeconomic disparities, shorn of all troubling distractions.

            In any event, I need no primer in the reality of "death by spreadsheet." But legislation doesn't originate from any lone author. An entire Beltway of cynical hacks got together to ensure that the ACA legislation should have the particular shape that it does.

            Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

            by Dale on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 04:05:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Since I'm ex-military from another era (6+ / 0-)

              that was trained to assess the performance of someone according to their rank's requirements and salute the uniform instead of the person inside it, I guess that in my mind I just don't get the connection you infer to a lousy, poorly implemented law that was toothless by design and intent and

              the legacy of lynching of black men
              associated with castration. You DO understand that the term is conventionally applied to the emasculation of a thing as well as a person, no?

              If every single act that Obama has done or will do in the future in his position as CIC and the standard bearer of his party has to be assessed through the filter of race, it's horribly clear that to me that nobody on either side of the issue has made any progress since 1964

              . Which is a sickening thought.
      •  Critique of Obama is incomplete without estimating (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chrisculpepper, jqb

        what McCain and Romney would have done.  Those were the choices. Remember when left wingers claimed that Gore was not different from Bush II?
        Bush proved that wrong when he torpedoed the world effort on Global Warming in his first year.  Not to mention starting a "war of choice" in Iraq, giving huge additional tax breaks to his class.  Look at his court appointments.  Still claim no difference with Gore?
          Personally, I am very very glad we have Obama and not McCain or Romney. No new wars and gradual ending of the Bush II wars.  Reasonable appointments to courts, etc.  Limits on ability of health insurance corporations to put profit over health care, increasing % or US population with health care, etc.

      •  economic suicide (0+ / 0-)

        Very well put. Please send this essay to Wisconsin and Michigan. Can't understand why they don't get it. We used to have so much respect for these two states.

      •  Some of what you say is true (0+ / 0-)

        But let me help you with some of the statements.
        #1.  Geitner was just another drone for Wall Street.  Problem is, would a noninsider done any better.  An Academic just didn't know the inside network.  I'd like to see Robert Reich give it a try.

        #2. Feinstein was simply stating a political reality: a single payer system would never get through the House.  The Right owed their souls to the Insurance industry.  I woud love to see a Single payer system and I will soon.  I go on Medicare in 2014.

        #3. Japan and SE Asia was happy to sell their stuff to us, but not accept ours with trade barriers.  This made it a 2 way exchange.

        #4  Agree, but it did start pairing down Defense.  Maybe that is why the Right was eager to find a budget?

        I can't agree more that more Grayson's is needed.  He is the Congressman from an adjoining district, we've had only losers and lap dogs who nod their heads at whatever the TP tells him.  Best keep him in Orlando, and for us to find our own Grayson.

    •  Awesome. I Understood US Banks (0+ / 0-)

      created the economic snafu in Greece, where they 'loaned' them huge amounts of money, then like an ARM cranked up the interest payments until they went broke.
      They were doing it here too, like a County borrowing to build a 1.5 billion dollar sewer upgrade that bankrupted them too.

  •  Scroogeonomics (78+ / 0-)

    When did "afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable" become default public policy?  

    I was looking at Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address earlier for another purpose, thinking that Lincoln was almost the only famous American politician who directly confronted American national guilt and the consequences thereof.  One line is resonant to our current austerian bent:

    The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh."
    Woe, indeed.

    We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

    by Dallasdoc on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:26:34 AM PST

      •  About the time the hollowing out of the middle (19+ / 0-)

        class began.... question is, will it continue?

        Salon:

        President Obama just gave a speech highlighting inequality as “the defining challenge of our time.” If he signs a budget deal that knocks federal employees once again, he will have contributed to the continued hollowing out of the middle class, which after all is one of the biggest causes of inequality. If you cannot secure the promise of a decent living and an honest retirement even by working for the government, then there’s little hope that we can arrest this growing split between the ultra-rich and everybody else.

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

        by divineorder on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:02:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  middle classes are aberrations, (21+ / 0-)

          not the norm. Historically, serfdom is the norm.

          As a society grows, the wealth is usually concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. Naturally the more wealth the 1% acquire, the more power they have to acquire it. So eventually you end up with most of the wealth among a very few people.

          When large middle classes were created, it was usually by accident, and concurrent with huge changes in availability of natural resources and/or technology.

          Maintaining a middle class is difficult, it is an unstable equilibrium. Without enlightened policies, middle classes collapse and things tend back towards serfdom.

          With the end of the Industrial Revolution and the climate crisis, we are clearly facing a fundamental paradigm shift in our economic system. The postwar economic consensus that held until the 1970s is not coming back.

          It remains to be seen whether a middle class can be reconstituted in the new economic system. If we did manage it, it would be an achievement without precedent in human history. Because we've almost never deliberately willed and designed the creation of a middle class, but always sort of stumbled into it by accident.

          "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

          by limpidglass on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:26:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe the presence of thousands of trained (4+ / 0-)

            And armed veterans, many of whom were drafted, prompted the 1 percent to hold off on their plans to return to the nineteenth century.  Now that we have a professional army, separated politically and socially from the rest of the citizenry, they feel that the threat from the middle class of non veterans is easy pickings.  The existence of the draft helped end the nam war, and we need one to end the open ended march to more death, destruction and empire.

            Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

            by StrayCat on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 06:06:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Reinstatement of the draft is not enough (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RockyMtnLib, Angie in WA State

              To accomplish your stated objective, which is deterence of war through guaranteed personal pain to those capable of stopping war, a draft would have to selectively choose the progeny of the 1% to be the main supply of cannon fodder. The likelyhood of that happening is next to zero.

              As we saw in the Vietnam War (into which I was drafted), the fortunate sons of wealth and power were safely removed from the pool of unwilling victims. As an example, consider George W. Bush (the lesser). He got a slot into what was called a "Champagne Unit" of the Texas Air National Guard. At that time there was a waiting list of hundreds of men who wanted to get into the TANG, but little W was chosen, even though he scored 25 out of 100 on the entrance exam, which was the lowest possible score to be eligible. Once safely out of harms way, W didn't even bother with little things like showing up, but even that was not enough to dislodge him from his refuge. The example of GWBII is what makes the draft a weak tool against the oligarchs who want to wage war.

              Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 400ppm. That is "Climate Cluster Chaos". (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

              by Zinman on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 08:39:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And this obvious injustice that led to the death (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Zinman

                And disability of thousands of less well off Americans is, IMHO, the catalyst that finally turned the American public against the war.

                Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                by StrayCat on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 05:46:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  great comment (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            divineorder, JVolvo

            It does take thoughtful policies to ensure a middle class. I feel lucky to have lived through one in the last century, and I am sorry it won't last into the end of my life. The middle class is a very comfortable place to be.

            I am doubtful my young adult son will continue to live in the atomized middle class he grew up in, and maybe that's not a bad thing. He is built for communal living. I wonder if he will be afford to children, and I doubt it. That's a shame.

            I don't have much hope we will again deliberately create and sustain a middle class -- we (1% rulers) lack the will. If a Dem president and senate can't shore up the New Deal, there seems little hope. It was nice while it lasted! And I do feel privileged to have lived through it.

        •  The Professor In Chief gave a speech ... (10+ / 0-)

          and a fine and eloquent speech it was, to be sure -- it almost always IS.

          And he said some of the right things -- he almost always does.

          But lets face it: he spent all his political capital on a legislative legacy to "save employer-provided health insurance"  ... and, to be fair ... "keep the  AHIP'z profit margins "decent" --- at least on paper.

          So ... now he makes speeches.  And the MSM reports them, mostly.  You can even find the whole text if you Google hard enough ...

          But in the end:  "What can he do ?  After all, he's ONLY the President!"  

          The Serenity Prayer -- it's not just for alcoholics anymore.

    •  The contrast with Japan and Singapore is powerful! (35+ / 0-)

      Every progressive should arm themselves with these figures.

      I hope Democratic pundits will use them on TV every time a conservative argues for austerity. (In fact, the moderators should challenge the conservatives with these facts too!)

      High debt does not cause high unemployment:

          Greece's Debt: 160% of GDP; Unemployment: 27.6%
          Japan's Debt:  215% of GDP;  Unemployment: 4%
          Singapore Debt: 160+%; Unemployment 1.8%

      The right likes to scream "Greece!" in their calls for austerity, but the hard facts show the prescription is wrong!

      I wish everyone had the facts!

      Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

      by Happy Days on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:11:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What is the USA's debt/GDP ratio? (0+ / 0-)

        (for means of comparison?)

        "...on the (catch a) human network. Cisco."

        by hoplite9 on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 03:03:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's right around 100% (6+ / 0-)

          which sounds bad, but really isn't that big a deal. Consider that "fiscally responsible" Germany has a debt to GDP ratio of about 80%.

          "The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities" - Adam Smith

          by Jesse Douglas on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 03:22:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            outragedinSF, hoplite9, Bronx59, cris0000
            which sounds bad, but really isn't that big a deal. Consider that "fiscally responsible" Germany has a debt to GDP ratio of about 80%.
            Germany is running a massive private sector trade surplus.

            The US is running a massive trade deficit.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 06:18:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's a policy choice (8+ / 0-)

              Germany has made positive balance of trade a national priority. It didn't "just happen" and is not some inexplicable phenomenon: the German (and many other Northern European) people chose to embrace the concept of National Strategic Priorities to pretty much all of day-to-day society, not just defense and security as we have in the post-Civil Rights era.

              They know it means somewhat lower rewards for the "most successful" and for the most part higher effective tax impact on most people, but these are also the same people who in light of the 70s oil shock determined that very long investment in solar and wind energy generation - even as it would cost more than importing more traditional energy from abroad - was consistent with their long term consensus vision of National Strategic Priorities.

              Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

              by Egalitare on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 06:52:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nonsense (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk

                Germany has made it a national priority to have a internationally competitive industry. Not a trade surplus.

                And even with that objective it fails in so many ways. German IT, German semiconductors, German software, German electronics - all stuff you either never heard of or which is firmly placed on your "has been" list, with a few rare exceptions (SAP comes to mind).

              •  Germany also invested in the well being of its (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gandydancer, Egalitare

                people.  I used to work with some refugees from Bosnia.  They first went to Germany before coming to the US.  Some of them missed Germany because there they had healthcare.  I also worked with a woman born in Thailand.  She is now a US citizen, but also still has family in Thailand.  Her husband has a muscle disease that causes weakness.  They have no health insurance.  It is cheaper for her and her husband to fly to Thailand once or twice a year for him to see a doctor there than it is here.  Our nation has lost its humanity, its caring for the sick, the poor, the unfortunate among us.  Other countries seem to be able to do it.  There is no reason we can't. Those in charge lack the will and the public at large doesn't seem to care until it impacts them.

        •  100%. (0+ / 0-)

          "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

          by happy camper on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 03:50:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Greece is just an awful comparison all around (7+ / 0-)

        As a member of the EU, Greece has no control over its own monetary policy. On the other hand, the US controls not only its own policy but the global reserve currency.

        Greece should serve as a warning against not only austerity but against the "self-correcting market." It is barred from using monetary policy by rule, and barred from fiscal policy by the draconian conditions that Germany (and to a lesser extent France) has attached to bailout money. With its economy completely freed from the burden of government intervention, conservative logic says that Greece should be thriving. Reality, however, says otherwise.

        "The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities" - Adam Smith

        by Jesse Douglas on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 03:48:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Global reserve is kind of BS (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bronx59, cris0000

          There is no such thing as a global reserve currency. There are just currencies that rise and fall with respect to each other.

          It is true that the US can use monetary policy up to a point. After that point the results are the same as Greece.

          Greece and the US both rely on imports of physical stuff. In exchange for imports, you must provide exports of physical stuff in exchange. If that doesn't happen or creditors get the idea it is unlikely to happen in the future, the results will be the same as Greece.

          All nations are accountable for their financial policies. And accountability is something the market does regardless of the wishes of governments and central banks. If you fight the market you will lose every time.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 05:58:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But having the biggest military in the pond... (0+ / 0-)

            ... sure helps.

            •  Our own military leaders tell us that renewable (0+ / 0-)

              energy will do more for our national security than what our military can do with weapons.  I heartily agree with them on that point.  US Navy expects algal biodiesel by Algae Systems to become cost-competitive with petroleum in 2016 at about $10/gallon.  If our too big to fail fossil fuel firms can be persuaded to mass produce algal biodiesel that will be a physical good we can sell to the rest of the world to reduce our trade deficit.

          •  Ignorant comment. Greece can run out of Euros. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JVolvo, Jesse Douglas

            The US can not.

            China intentionally keeps it's currency bellow the dollar.  If China were unhappy with the fact that when they exchange real labor and resources for bits of paper - as well as domestic jobs and tech transfers - they'd change their trade policy.

            And of course the dollar is the world reserve currency:  oil is traded in dollars.

            Mexico and Asian countries learned what it meant to fall short of dollar reserves.

          •  "Creditors" - China gets paid in full when they (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JVolvo

            give us stuff.

            The sell us stuff, we pay in dollars.

            Now China has dollars with which they can buy anything denominated in dollars:  Real estate, American made cars and other imports, or T Bonds.

            You have your world upside down.

            China is not our bank.

            China has 2 accounts at the Fed Reserve, a reserve (checking account) and a securities (savings) account.

            When they sell us stuff, we pay in dollars.

            Their dollars are deposited in their reserve account.

            When they invest in a Treasury Bond, their reserve account is marked down and the securities account is marked up.

            When their T Bond matures, their securities account is marked down, and their reserve account is marked up.

            T Bonds merely change the composition of assets held.  They do not add assets.

            Except in terms of the interest paid.

            T Bonds tend to pay a higher interest than interest paid on reserves.

            We could stop issuing T Bonds tomorrow.  They no longer serve any function other than sequestering dollars and providing a safe investment for those who already have dollars.

            And the Fed uses them to target interest rates.

            But we could merely pay interest on reserves to do the same thing.

          •  Japan has never thought the US would export (0+ / 0-)

            more stuff to them than they have exported to us.

            That wasn't the deal when we bailed them out and built them up after WWII, and promised to be a net importer for their exports.

            Not every country can be a net exporter.

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
          Greece should serve as a warning against not only austerity but against the "self-correcting market."
          How so?

          Greece spent itself into massive debt and collapsed when it became apparent that Greece will not be able to pay its bills.

          That's exactly how the free market works.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 06:54:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Euro countries have a monetary union, without (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JVolvo

            transfer payments.

            The US, on the other hand, has transfer payments.

            What does the free market have to do with poor design structures within the Euro countries?

            Compared to America's better design?

        •  Sorry? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk

          if Greece's economy actually was what you claim, internal inflation would already have run it course, impoverished the citizens and thus made Greece competitive again.

          But a huge list of laws and arcane regulations prevent that and many other self-correcting market mechanisms from working. (and don't claim I argued for them - I just note that this refutes your argument).

          Also troublesome is that Greece - despite one of the highest rates of government employees to citizens - still lacks essential infrastructure of a modern industry nation, and its eclective mix of widespread incompetence and corruption have so far successfully blocked any attempt to remedy this.

      •  Greece is a currency USER, the US is an ISSUER (0+ / 0-)

        Greece rent the Euro, it gave up it's ability to issue it's own currency, and in effect uses a foreign currency.

        Or, is in the position of America's individual states, minus transfer payments.

        The US, in contrast creates dollars out of thin air, owes all it's obligations out  of thin air.

        How large should the deficit be?

        Large enough to buy all idle capacity in the real economy.

        Not larger than the real economy's capacity, cuz then you'd get inflation.

        The total deficit is accounting marks keeping track of how many dollars are in the private sector.  Graphically, it looks like this:

        http://ftalphaville.ft.com/...

        Domestic private incomes = Public spending, minus our foreign trade deficit.

        Here's a nice intro to our fiat monetary reality:

        http://heteconomist.com/...

  •  Thank you (35+ / 0-)

    for your continued clear-headed insight and fearless descriptions of what is going on. We need more of you, who are not afraid to (politically) bust people in the mouth.

    And thanks a million for refusing to apologize for your comments about the Tea Party and the KKK. It's about damn time one of us made harsh, damning words of people like that and stood by them.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:32:25 AM PST

  •  It's not the lobbies or the tea partiers, it's the (41+ / 0-)

    rich, the banksters, the corporate state.  They use lobbies and the tea partiers for their agendas.  That's why it's the same everywhere.  The central banks need to be taken down and public banking instituted everywhere.  Abolish the IMF, the World Bank, the BIS, the Federal Reserve, etc., and replace it all with public banking.  We can never have anything resembling democracy while paying interest to private rich people and allowing them to control our monetary policies.  

    "It is easier to pass through the eye of a needle then it is to be an honest politician."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:36:14 AM PST

  •  Can't happen here. (12+ / 0-)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:37:29 AM PST

    •  Seriously, What Other European Example? (0+ / 0-)

      From a historical perspective, what could go wrong with one group of European countries imposing severe austerity on another European country?  I'm wondering when the charismatic leader steps up to the plate and starts assigning blame and demanding retribution against the targets of the blame.  Add a wardrobe of shoulder epaulets and a military cap for effect, or better still, let's match the times and make it a black ballistic nylon outfit.

      •  "Imposing austerity" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep

        What a load.

        Greece physically can't pay its bills. That's its problem. If it could, there would be no imposition of anything.

        No one is forced to give anyone else money, or bail anyone out.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 09:36:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Euro Zone lacks transfer payments. (0+ / 0-)

          If the US didn't have transfer payments, then Alabama, for instance, would be in constant debt to California.

          And BTW, the banks who lent money to Greece   ARE  getting bailed out.

          Since you seem to sometimes make a distinction between money and real resources, and recognize that money can't create real resources, why are you in favor of starving a people when food is plentiful?

          Cuz they lack a money token????

          •  Re (0+ / 0-)
            If the US didn't have transfer payments, then Alabama, for instance, would be in constant debt to California.
            False again. A state can always cut its budget, or raise taxes, to prevent deficit spending. It's painful, but doing the right thing often is.

            There is no law of physics that says that governments with weak economies will always be in debt to those with strong ones.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:31:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So, you think you can have all states be net (0+ / 0-)

              exporters at the same time?

              How does that work, pray tell?

              And why would you advocate Alabama not getting computers from California when California can make enough computers for all?

              Cuz Alabama doesn't have enough money tokens????

              •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                How does that work, pray tell?
                It works by everyone not spending more than they make. If you force yourself to be net neutral, and so does everyone else, then there is no net flow of money.
                And why would you advocate Alabama not getting computers from California when California can make enough computers for all?
                If Alabama doesn't make something of equivalent value to exchange for the computers, absolutely. Why would California make computers for nothing in return? Fun?

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 05:26:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So California has jobs making computers. (0+ / 0-)

                  You really are hung up over money as opposed to real wealth.

                •  The goal of an economy is not to pile up money (0+ / 0-)

                  tokens, but to increase the living standards of people.

                  Since Alabama is actually part of the same nation as California, the goal of CA is to increase the living standards of all people in the US.

                  Having jobs making computers to export to AL increases the living standards of Californians, and computers increase the living standards of Alabamians.

                  Why do you worry more about tokens of accounting than about real stuff?

                  •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                    Since Alabama is actually part of the same nation as California, the goal of CA is to increase the living standards of all people in the US.

                    Having jobs making computers to export to AL increases the living standards of Californians, and computers increase the living standards of Alabamians.

                    Giving free stuff away increases your standard of living, huh?

                    That's the epitome of monetarist nonsense.

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 07:46:02 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If you're hungry and I give you food, hasn't (0+ / 0-)

                      you living standard increased?

                      This isn't rocket science.

                      And you haven't addressed why free food doesn't raise you living standards.

                      I'd be interest to hear how it doesn't.

                      And by the way, when CA sends a transfer payment to AL, and AL buys CA's computers, those dollars end up back in CA, right?

                      You seem to not realize that money is accounting.

                      You seem to think it's something else.

  •  I'm curious... (21+ / 0-)

    ...how this opposition to austerity in Greece that you express here meshes with a yes vote for the recent budget before Congress, the budget that maintains sequestration, cuts long-term unemployed off at the knees, asks military families to take more of a hit on their benefits.

  •  Praise the great lord of Austerity, and (14+ / 0-)

    screw the people

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:53:42 AM PST

  •  But, WHY austerity? (20+ / 0-)

    Those who promote austerity do so because they believe that the U. S. government is broke. There is no money available for ANY purpose. They also (fervently) believe that the resulting U. S. government debt will eventually destroy America. They are a little vague about about precisely how the debt will accomplish the destruction of America.

    Therefore, I think this is the number one problem we are dealing with. All Republicans and most Democrats do not understand money and "debt" and therefore are making decisions based on this ignorance.

    The U.S. government can "print" money to solve all our problems, restricted only by our nation's resources. We are wealthy. Somalia also has no money for infrastructure. The U.S. has no money for infrastructure. The difference between us and Somalia is we COULD do many things with our country's resources. Somalia is poor and cannot.

  •  Invaluable diary, thanks. nt (3+ / 0-)

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:18:34 AM PST

  •  Well, the countries that gave up their (15+ / 0-)

    sovereign currencies to join the euro zone are now beginning to experience what the several United States have been experiencing since the end of the Civil War. While it is convenient to have a single currency (it deprives the money changers of employment), when that currency is rationed to regulate or control certain populations, it inhibits trade and exchange and, in combination with the exclusive use (private property) of natural resources, becomes deadly. While the euro zone is somewhat different in having handed the management of the currency over to a central bank, the U.S. Congress has done almost the same thing in setting up the Federal Reserve and requiring all dollars to be first laundered through the banks and lent back to the Treasury before they are distributed to the populace.
    What Congress has done to immunize itself from being accountable is set up several layers of middlemen to take a cut before the populace gets to use its currency.
    Why should currency cost anything over and above the cost of producing it and keeping track of it?

    Perhaps some members of Congress are sincerely ignorant, but the fact of the matter is that dollars are a utility and taxes are nothing more than a mechanism to recycle them back through the Treasury. Instead, because the dollars are not being recycled, the Treasury keeps issuing more, the Fed distributes them to the banks and then the financiers play with them on Wall Street, having no material effect on the ground. We've got a virtual economy that does virtually nothing. We are feeding a cadre of sublime cannibals, whose appetite will never be satisfied because nothing is real, except the deprivation visited on the people who can't engage in trade and exchange because they lack the currency.
    In a sense, these people are in a similar situation to people lack literacy skills. One can't trade and the other can't communicate.
    Greece is the cradle of democracy. What Greece's experience tells us is that democracy does not run on automatic; it must be carefully tended. The predators have to be kept in check.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:18:51 AM PST

    •  Members of Congress are not ignorant. Except for (13+ / 0-)

      the few like Hon. Grayson, Warren, Lee, Sanders, and others, by and large Congress is a cesspool of corruption, its members being paid by the moneyed elite to do their  bidding.

      •  Since the money comes from Congress, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador

        the direction of influence is more likely the reverse of what you propose.
        Think of attack dogs. Who's in charge? The dogs or the people who feed them?

        Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

        by hannah on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:04:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Politicians do the bidding of corporations while (7+ / 0-)

          in office as payback for unlimited campaign contributions and in the expectation of highly lucrative jobs after they leave office. W are talking about a pay-to-play legalized bribery system. The system is rotten to its very core.

          •  Yes, but the legislators initiate the process. (0+ / 0-)

            It's not just a matter of them being relatively easy to replace. It's a matter of that being how the influence flows.

            Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

            by hannah on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:28:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure what you are arguing. Here's my (5+ / 0-)

              argument:

              Through a process that took shape beginning in the 1970, spearheaded by the Powell Memo and the new "Business Activist" movement, the moneyed elite set about capturing our government institutions.  They did so with strategies that included the capturing of the mainstream media to turn it into a propaganda machine in order to manipulate the public, and by targeting the entire political class with hard-to-reject enticements, including huge campaign contributions and their ability to sell their influence to the higher bidder (because of the revolving door of influence-peddling corruption).

              Since then, the system has been deteriorating, reaching the depravity we have today (which BTW is going to continue to get worst day by day), where now we see a frantic dash to grab as much as possible as fast as possible, an utterly depraved ethos of self-enrichment, the public and our future be damn.

              •  If you want to have a Deus in Machina, (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ray Pensador, melo, Skyye

                there's no shaking your conviction.
                If there is to be popular government, there is only one group that will realize less influence and that's Congress, those entrusted with managing the currency. The currency itself is worthless, except as an instrument of deprivation. Since the only group worth depriving of anything are the people, who govern, and they are the ones who have suffered wholesale deprivation, I'm inclined to connect the two.
                People are poor when they have no land and no money to purchase their sustenance.
                Also, material assets are actually a real burden. The vagaries of nature deteriorate them, if they are not constantly maintained and upgraded. So, the acquisition and accumulation of material assets is practically limited. Not, unfortunately, the acquisition of figments of the imagination. How many dollars can be accumulated is without limit, but, again, they are worthless unless they are spent.
                Also limitless is the lust for power and that is what our petty potentates can achieve by imposing austerity. While having a fortune deliminated in dollars is virtually meaningless, not having dollars for necessities is deadly.

                Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

                by hannah on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 03:58:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Let me ask you a very simple question: (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  goodpractice, BruceMcF, unfangus

                  Now finally I recognize your argument.  I've been having this debate with Libertarians for decades now... The narrative I follow is that moneyed interests pay off politicians to do their bidding.  I argue that together, the moneyed elite (the rich, coporatist cartels, the Wall Street racketeering criminal cartel) and their puppet (paid off) politicians make up the American ruling elite which is day by day resembling a Kleptocracy.

                  To this day, I have never been able to get one kernel of acknowledgement from any Libertarian with whom I've have this debate throughout the years that business interests engage in this dynamics.  They have a firm, unmovable point of view that all the blame is to be placed on the government functionaries, and they more often than not absolve "business" from any blame, totally and completely.

                  Is that your angle?  If so, then I understand our inability to see eye to eye on this issue.  Remember, I'm saying that they are both to blame; that there is a paymaster/payee corrupt relationship.

                  Should I understand that you reject that point of view?

                  •  Indeed, a sincere libertarian would be at ... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ray Pensador, Bluehawk, Calamity Jean

                    ... risk of recognizing that large publicly traded corporations are rather privately-elected governments than the libertarian idea of an entrepreneurial business firm, and so reigning in government power would perforce have to start with these privately-elected governments.

                    Of course, since the so-called "Libertarian" propaganda mills are funded by these privately-elected governments, they will refrain from coming within a hundred yards of this observation.

                    Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

                    by BruceMcF on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 05:37:57 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Individual corruption can occur anywhere. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    high uintas, Paddy999, Skyye

                    The parable of the unjust steward described it two thousand years ago. In essence, a corrupt public official is one who gets paid from the public purse and then hires himself out to a special interest. But, the group I am focusing on especially is Congress, elected officials who are hired to manage the public purse, but dole out benefits to special friends and deprive others of their entitlements--all in the interest of keeping themselves in office.
                    The reason this extortionist behavior is not well recognized is because the practitioners are triangulators. They have henchmen to do their dirty work, not unlike a Mafia don, and the bribes they extort are funneled through third parties (aka PACs).
                    Fact is that Congress legislates to benefit or disadvantage commercial and industrial enterprise. More recently, Congress has discovered the art of not legislating or legislating ineffectually to serve some special interest. Threats are much more difficult to trace than bribes.

                    What's the point of withholding reproductive care from poor women? It satisfies the religious nuts even as it is impossible to enforce. What's the point of the vaginal probes? It advantages a new segment of the medical appliance industry. What's the point of x-ray inspection by the TSA? It provides a guaranteed market for the equipment makers.
                    U.S. enterprise has always been dependent on public corporations for support. That's what the free market is about -- taking free goods to market for a profit. The mantra that government should stay out of business is part of a grand deception. What should we call:

                    patent rights
                    water rights
                    mining rights
                    logging rights
                    grazing rights
                    landing rights
                    copy rights
                    etc?

                    Yes, they are both to blame, but I'd argue that the impetus originates with the Congress.

                    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

                    by hannah on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 05:53:20 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Final question: So does that mean you hold (0+ / 0-)

                      Libertarian views?  I don't mean to put you on the spot; I know you could be a registered Democrat as well.

                      I just want to confirm whether I'm having this debate with a Libertarian.

                      •  Sorry, I'm on the train and had to go to sleep (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Whatithink, Skyye

                        since it was way past my bedtime.
                        Anyway, no I'm not a libertarian. The dfference between public and private corporations lies mainly in membership in one being by purcahse and the other by residence. Also, the private corps are authorized by the public and not sufficiently limited to ensure the carry out the functions for which they are initially organized. The practical purpose of corporations is to protect individual participants from liability for error (inevitable), but, to compensate, the duties and responsibilities ought to be closely specified in their authorizing charter (as they are in the Constitution) and then, if they fail, they need to be dissolved, as have over three hundred banks, by the way.
                        Public corporations, since the federal one has the power to create currency and the state and local ones can tax have no reason to go bankrupt. If they do, it's because the necessary resources have been rationed or withheld (e.g. Detroit) in the interest of letting banksters take an inordinate cut of every dollar spent.
                        Our financial class has not been properly regulated. While the founders did not follow the example of the Dutch and let bankers control the currency, the Congress has been handing that duty off to the banks in exchange for playing enforcer to ensure the electeds' longevity in office.
                        Look at the record:

                        The corps monetary contributions to campaign war chests are actually minor, mere tokens of fealty really. What's important are the votes of the workers and debtors they control. If they don't vote right, they don't work and they don't eat (put food on their families) and they lose their shelter.
                        Voters have not been voting right for about two decades. Clinton was a fluke, as a result of a three-way split. Then he proved himself sufficient beholden to the money bags that he got to hold on. Gore and Bush, in retrospect, were six of one half dozen of the other. Lieberman might well have been worse than Cheney. The invasion of Iraq had been prepared for. The Pentagon wanted permanent military bases in the easterm hemisphere to facilitate satellite communications (the shape of the earth introduces delays and inaccuracies that seem almost impossible to overcome. Iraq has lots of wide open spaces that nobody seemed to be using (when inspected from the air), so they envisioned 14 permanent military installations. As it turned out, the people who owned the millions of sheep that graze in the desert resented having their land fenced and that's what prompted the resistance. (They did not care about the oil since it's inedible). How do I know this? Deduction. Also, I could find no other explanation for why the water wells in far west al Anbar provice (in the middle of nowhere), were targeted for destruction in the first wave of the invasion, leaving the sheep without water.
                        If you had been reading hannah for the last ten years, you would know all of the above and not need to ask whether she's a libertarian. I've been an activist for over forty years, having first held elected office in 1974. I believe the big changes which prompted a backlash by our public servants occurred quite inadvertently in 1971, when Nixon severed the bands of gold and 18 year olds got the vote. Much went unnoticed because of the distraction of Vietnam and then the removal of Nixon. Woodward and Bernstein were told to "follow the money," but I don't think the marked bills in the wallets of the burglars were meant. More likely, the bankers and the powers that be on Capitol Hill were upset and Nixon had to be removed some other way, assassination having worn out its welcome. Consider that both Nixon and McGovern supported a guaranteed income in 1972. Dollars direct from the Treasury to individuals, cut out the middlemen -- vide Medicare, Social Security and Unemployment Compensation. It's hard to engineer economic catastrophes when the people have direct access to their dollars. The ACA is the last straw. There is desperation on Capitol Hill. The medical industry, in 2012, was up to $2.7 trillion dollars. Compare that to the one trillion discretionary expenditures Congress actually controls. They have just about managed to privatize themselves right out of influence and their henchmen, the banks, have had their funnel of funds, insurance companies, significantly restricted.
                        Insurance reform was the objective for a former community organizer. ACORN had revealed that dollars could not be freed up by targeting the banks with the CRA, because the banks relied on insurance companies (home, fire, liability, flood, wind, mortgage) to be THEIR enforcers.
                        If it can't be insured, real estate can't be bought because banks won't lend. Red-lining also relies on triangulation.

                        One good thing about the internet is that one does not have to repeat everything. You can find just about everything I've written, but the KOS comments, at Hannah Blog
                        If it is down, it may well be because the boys in the Army Signal Corps have overloaded the server. LOL
                        I don't keep track of visitors, but the server does, especially when the visitors cause problems.

                        Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

                        by hannah on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 01:35:34 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

        •  the money doesn't come from Congress, (5+ / 0-)

          Congress has virtually abandoned its responsibility to create and distribute money to the Federal Reserve.

          It is now the Fed which now does the majority of money creation and distribution under the guise of quantitative easing. They hand it straight to a few large banks, no questions asked. The Fed is completely insulated from democratic process, and they operate for the benefit of their patrons, the banks.

          Congress is perfectly willing to keep cutting the budget until they have fully abdicated their responsibilities of money creation/distribution in the public interest. This is what Grover Norquist referred to as shrinking the federal government until it can be drowned in a bathtub.

          Then there will be no public money creation at all. The Fed will control the printing press and use it entirely for the benefit of the bankers. No longer will they even have to "loan" the Treasury money. There will be no Treasury.

          Then we can truly have a government of the 1%, by the 1%, and for the 1%.

          "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

          by limpidglass on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:39:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not quite. Our money supply is made up of 2 (0+ / 0-)

            things:  Currency, which only The Treasury and The Fed create, and private banks credit/debt, which circulates as money.

            Private banks create loans out of thin air, and loans create deposits (money).

            The Fed Reserve issues  RESERVES to settle private bank payments.

            Fed issued reserves do not circulate outside of banks.  Fed issued reserves are inter-bank payment clearing tools.

            The Treasury, on the other hand, spends dollars into the economy as a whole.

            Only dollars spent by Congress are the private sector's net financial assets.

            Dollars make up about 3% of our money supply.

            The rest if private bank credit/debt.

            Even banks need dollars.

          •  Should say, even banks need cash. (0+ / 0-)
  •  my family lives in Greece and the austerity is (21+ / 0-)

    increasingly destructive. My son says month by month it continues to worsen. There is just no hope in the horizon.

    Their police force of 90 reduced by 2/3, so now 30 police on the whole island. One ambulance now, the only health clinic open part-time, schoolteachers salaries again reduced, taxes and fees up, business's struggling. There is even a board that works with landlords for businesses to get their rents reduced where possible. Their business is struggling to survive and life is harsh.

    Yes, it could happen here. Something we all must take stock of and then take actions as we watch what is happening in DC.

    Greece struggles to meet lenders demands

    http://www.reuters.com/...

    For our fallen solders who come home from Afghanistan in a coffin to Dover, "God bless the cause for which they died."

    by allenjo on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:25:19 AM PST

  •  Greece is the canary in the coal mine (13+ / 0-)

    Or a trial run.

    I hope Greece bails out of the EU and pulls itself up by its bootstraps by printing is own money and not paying it's "debt".

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

    by Shockwave on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:30:07 AM PST

  •  Greece got taken, plain and simple. (5+ / 0-)

    They're the people who bought too much home for their income and got screwed by a predatory lender(s). They have got to make a hard decision here, because 'slow death' doesn't seen to be working.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:34:35 AM PST

  •  Austerity is not even a real economic thoery. (20+ / 0-)

    There's no evidence on paper or in reality to back up austerity.

    Pure and simple, its the overlords of finance trying to stamp out "socialism." Just like they have been doing here. Its a fraud.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:44:37 AM PST

  •  Let's translate. Austerity is French for looting. (18+ / 0-)

    It's the rich scumfuck Wall Street banksters and members of the CEO class taking all the money and running when the economy isn't performing well, leaving the 99% with crumbs.

    •  I am thinking that austerity is the rich's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi

      panic mode. They are terrified this is the end of the road. The only way for them to win is to rig the system. I remember in grade school learning how Ford wanted his employees to be able to afford the car they made. It got me thinking...capitalism only works if people have money to buy. It also must be a never ending increase in profits. If growth, especially in publicly traded companies, is to be continuous, someone must buy their goods or the cost of production must decrease. First came the decrease in purchasing power after decades of crushing the middle class culminating in the housing bust so less people could buy their goods. So they moved on with a decrease in production costs to make a profit by offshoring jobs to third world countries. After this increase flatlined, and the middle class had all but disappeared, they had nowhere else to turn to make ever increasing profits and panicked. They HAD to rig the game and funnel money on the backend via Congress and the Fed which is the austerity you are seeing now if they are to still 'make' more money. If Congress won't print money, and the rich don't really want them to because their profits are worth less, then there is only a finite amount of money to go around. So how do they shift the money from us to them?? There is no one to buy their goods, certainly not us, or their third world indentured servants who make their stuff,  so they must take from Peter to pay Paul. Well, guess what? We are Peter and as they will need an ever increasing amount of profits, austerity will only get worse until we have a peasant class and our overlords unless we stop it! If we can't or won't stop it, I hope I live long enough to see if they will eat their own. Hopefully tho, Congress grows a large middle finger between now and then, but it may be when they are kicked out of the 'club' that you will see things actually change.

  •  Those countries would not have been forced to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk

    implement austerity measures if they had not promised things they could not afford to pay for in the future.   There is a lesson to be learned there and, if the lesson is not learned here soon, it can happen here.

    “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

    by SpamNunn on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:49:16 AM PST

    •  No. The U.S. cannot willingly (9+ / 0-)

      experience what Greece is going through. Greece cannot print their own money, so they are trapped by the interest rates the predatory banks are charging them. THEIR money supply is limited to what Euros they can get. They can only get Euros from the banks by borrowing more.

      Now, the U.S. congress may decide to subject us to Greece like austerity (sequester), but we are not really beholden to the banks.

      •  Oops. No. The U.S. can only (6+ / 0-)

        experience what Greece is going through willingly, on purpose. Greece cannot print their own money, so they are trapped by the interest rates the predatory banks are charging them. THEIR money supply is limited to what Euros they can get. They can only get Euros from the banks by borrowing more.

        Now, the U.S. congress may decide to subject us to Greece like austerity (sequester), but we are not really beholden to the banks.

        •  US politicians are beholden to the big banks (0+ / 0-)

          if they wish reelections or comfortable retirements.

          And if by any remote chance they can't be controlled by bribes, there is the threat of blowing up the economy on their watch.

        •  Wrong on facts I am afraid (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          melo, FG, thestructureguy

          The Greeks get low rates from the IMF and the European Central Bank (effectively from other countries, mainly Germany) rather than having to go to the money market. As part of that, they are required to take notice of the "Troika" of the EU, IMF and European Central Bank. Their measures were repeatedly blocked in Parliament which has in effect led to a worsening situation.

          Ireland, which did impose austerity measures has now turned around with some growth, if fragile and heavily dependent on trade with the UK. It will come out of the rescue package in the new year.

          Ireland was forced to accept a three-year 85bn-euro bailout programme in 2010 to help pay its bills when borrowing on the financial markets became far too expensive.

          But (finance minister) Mr Noonan said Ireland's borrowing rates on the capital markets were now significantly below the unsustainable levels of three years ago.

          Government fund-raising on the capital markets earlier this year means Ireland can leave the bailout with more than 22bn euros in cash. Mr Noonan said that the country could cut its total debt from a peak of 124% of gross domestic product this year to 116 in 2014 using its cash buffer.

          The Irish recovery should be helped by the improvement in the UK economy which has just had the highest growth in the G8. The UK has also had austerity measures necessary after the last government left the country broke and in almost as bad a situation as Greece in terms of national debt/GDP ratio. Despite that, spending on health and education was protected and we increased foreign aid to 0.7% of GDP. "Old age", national retirement pensions, have been increased by more than inflation with a significant increase for many of the poorer planned to come in (at the same time the qualifying age, which was already increased by previous governments, will have to go up further for those in their 20s and 30s) There is also major spending on infrastructure like "Crossrail", a huge project to build a new line across central London, mostly in deep tunnels, and out into the suburbs.

          Greece. Spain and Ireland are very different cases - migration from Spain and Ireland to other parts of the EU and abroad tends to increase much more than in Greece. Spain and Ireland had far more education and health infrastructure so the Greeks were starting from a fairly low base to cut.  

          Unfortunately the USA is very much in the same position as Greece in terms of public provision and high tax avoidance by the very rich. However it could take a leaf out of the book of the UK where spending on the armed forces has been cut drastically.  

          We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

          by Lib Dem FoP on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 01:32:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Greece does not create it's own currency out (0+ / 0-)

            of thin air.

            The US does.

            Greece can run out of Euros.

            The US can not.

            Greece is a price taker when it comes to the interest they must pay on their money.

            The US is a money monopolist, and is a price setter - The Fed sets interest rates.

            Greece and the US are as much alike as your household is like national finance.

            You do not create dollars out of thin air to provide a nation with it's incomes:

            http://ftalphaville.ft.com/...

            The US Fed Gov is not a currency  USER, like both you and Greece are.

            The Fed gov merely   ISSUES  a national currency.

            A nice summary of our fiat monetary system:

            http://heteconomist.com/...

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
          Now, the U.S. congress may decide to subject us to Greece like austerity (sequester), but we are not really beholden to the banks.
          We are beholden to foreign lenders just like Greece is.

          Your currency system is irrelevant.

          What is relevant is your import and export ratio of real goods. Other countries aren't going to keep sending us real goods if they don't expect to get equal or greater real goods sent back their way in return, now or in the future.

          If foreigners lose faith in your ability or desire to pay your bills, they will stop sending you stuff like oil, cars, medicine, integrated electronics, etc. That's austerity just like Greece is experiencing. And the government is powerless to do anything about it. You can't force foreigners to send you stuff.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 07:11:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  China doesn't want our stuff. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil
          •  Greece must get their Euros from someone, just (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil

            like you.

            The US creates dollars out of thin air.

            China must first earn dollars.

            Just like you.

            When you work and get paid, you are paid in full.  Nothing more is owed.

            When China gives us stuff and gets paid in dollars, they too are paid in full.

            Once you have dollars, you can buy anything with them.

            Same with China.

            Including investing in T Bonds.

            Really, Sparhawk, you continue to simply ignore the obvious.

            How come?

            •  I can't even begin to deconstruct the cluelessness (0+ / 0-)

              ... of you and all the other monetarist free lunchers who think resources can be magically whisked into existence and that foreigners will continue to send us shit forever in exchange for worthless overprinted dollars.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 09:41:45 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  China too is on fiat. Same with the rest of the (0+ / 0-)

                world.

                I'm not a "monetarist".

                "Free lunch"  --  money is just an accounting, of course accounting is free.

                What did Japan get in return for US money?

                It got domestic jobs and tech transfers.  Those things payed for their domestic infrastructure.

                Same with China.

                It's you who are clueless.

                Resources can not be magically wisked into existence.

                That's the point:  You need to think in real terms.  It's you who keep confusing accounting with real stuff.

              •  Again: China gets dollars when they give us real (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil

                stuff.

                Then, they can buy real stuff with their dollars.

                They can buy American businesses and real estate.  And are beginning to do so at an ever increasing rate.

                Just because they're not importing more American cars than they export stuff to us doesn't mean they don't get stuff in return:  They get whatever they choose to get with their dollars  --  anything under the sun which is denominated in dollars.

                Right?

                They have chosen to buy lots of T Bonds -- so their currency stays weaker relative to dollars.  So....  their imports stay cheaper relative to our domestically produced stuff.

                Why do they prefer exporting to consuming what they produce?

                Lots of reasons.

                But it's their choice.  You might at least try to understand why   THEY  choose to buy T Bonds rather than American real estate.

    •  It is happening here! DETROIT! (0+ / 0-)

      "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy

      by Paddy999 on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 07:58:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The US creates dollars out of thin air. Greece (0+ / 0-)

      does not.  It gave up it's monetary sovereignty when it decided to rent the Euro.

      The total US deficit  =  how many dollars are being saved in the private sector to a penny.

      http://ftalphaville.ft.com/...

      Here's a nice summary of our fiat monetary system:

      http://heteconomist.com/...

  •  Nation states are in the way of corporate states. (6+ / 0-)

    Playing on dissatisfaction with public policy is the casus for getting people to turn on public policy - ALL of it.

    Thus, corporate-funded astroturfroots called the Tea Party.

    •  Terminology (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      The goal isn't to establish corporate states.  The goal is to establish feudal baronies.  Then all those corporations are going to be dead people.

      •  Re: To-may-toes, To-MAH-toes territory (0+ / 0-)

        Distributed means of power supply and production won't quite let that prediction happen.

        Nor will such changes in how things are powered and manufactured keep your prediction from happening, because of the ability to control information - and perception of same - will become even more centralized.

        To be economically emancipated will require absolute loss of privacy in the info-sphere. And what you, as a consumer, wish to consume and what you, as a 3D-printing part-time producer of goods, wish to manufacture will not only be closely monitored but closely shepherded along.

        We won't be enslaved so much as brainwashed on an ongoing basis.

        In point of fact, the future will seamlessly mesh with the present in this respect....and those parts of it that don't jibe with official reality will be difficult to discern in any non-approved fashion.

        George Orwell's telescreens will be inside our heads, just like they are today... only the software will be much better and we will gladly pay more for upgrades to stay even more attuned, more enmeshed more enthralled to an officially sanctioned reality.

        It will only resemble a feudal order in the most superficial of fashions.

        It will be much, much worse.

  •  Banks control it all/money,guns,drugs, oil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    ht to Claudius Bombarnac who posted this video in another diary

    A look at the International Banking Cartel led by the Bank for International Settlement (in Basel, Switzerland) known as the bank of central banks (58 central banks) and The US Federal reserve System.
    ------

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    For our fallen solders who come home from Afghanistan in a coffin to Dover, "God bless the cause for which they died."

    by allenjo on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:19:23 PM PST

  •  We can start by.. (17+ / 0-)

    ..getting rid of this "Trans Pacific Partnership" deal. It's NAFTA on steroids.

    Speaking of which, we need to get rid of NAFTA, CAFTA, and the various trade agreements we have with other countries and start fresh from a perspective of what's good for the COUNTRY and not what's good for business.

    Corporations are NOT the country.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:30:21 PM PST

    •  . (0+ / 0-)

      and those 'trade' agreements have less to do with actual trade than they do with IP protections for corporations.  

      "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 Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 04:09:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm all for austerity (5+ / 0-)

    I say we give the Walton heirs an austere budget of $200 a week to live on and we use the rest of their wealth to solve our social problems.

  •  Austerity -- It's what's for dinner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem

    and we must all embrace the suck.

    Well, not the Wall Street bankers -- they love austerity for the little people: more vintage champagne for their holidays.

  •  Austerity hawks who personally sacrifice... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, Radical Faith, aliasalias

    ...nothing are the ones who stand back and declare that others must suffer--a lot--to repair the economic damage done by the irrationally exuberant bankers wielding 'new' financial 'tools'.

    While banks get rewarded time after time for things like "systemic fraud" and laundering drug money and helping terrorists--...

    ...the banks victims:  The taxpayers, former homeowners, average citizens are told:  "Embrace the Suck".  

    The victims of bank fraud and malfeasance are told this by rich leaders whose lack of diligent oversight and lax regulation allowed  the banks to run amok.  Those leaders who endorsed and continue to approve hugely expensive wars but who simultaneously cut taxes scold taxpayers on "fiscal responsibility".

    Those wealthy and powerful people who demand austerity  won't have any personal experience with the sacrifice or austerity that they tell the rest of us we must "embrace".

  •  Well, how ELSE are we going to afford bailouts? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies

    I mean we need to give lots and lots of money to people who already have lots and lots of money.

    Because... you know.  Jobs.  Or something.  I forget what the excuse for making the rich richer is this year.

    /snark

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

    by detroitmechworks on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:51:44 PM PST

  •  Thanks for bringing this back to everyone's (4+ / 0-)

    attention. Shit is about to get real here in Italy, too, in which a bizarre new group called the "Forconi" (Pitchforks) is starting to raise hell all over the place, from Turin all the way down to Sicily.  They started as a group of protesters from agriculture and trucking, but far-right groups that (have lost many of their more moderate leaders in the last few years) are starting to join them.  One of the leaders said that he was inspired by the current Hungarian government and suggested (perhaps predictably) that the problem with Italy is that it is being run by a small group of Jewish bankers.  

    Oh, they also said they're going to "march on Rome" this Wednesday.  Last time that happened, they didn't leave the place for 20 years...

  •  Thanks Alan for being clear about the severity (0+ / 0-)

    of this economic crisis for all of us.

  •  Comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    You've identified the problem, but I'm not sure you've identified the motivation of the people behind austerity chic.  Not the top line EU bureaucrats who implement it: they're doing this because that's what they're being paid to do by corporate Europe.  And corporate Europe is doing it because the "austerians" will take care of their chief honchos even though these policies are very bad for business.  (And a company that dissents will suddenly have a "crisis" and get acquired.  Remember that corporations are people, my friend, and some people need a strong daddy to discipline them.)

    All of "austerity economics" is a morality play.  Catch a right wing politician in a relaxed moment and they will blame the world's problems on affluent people spoiling their kids.  (Union workers with middle class living standards in Western countries are an affront to most cultural conservatives, and they are very upfront about it: I was informed by a suitably right wing member of my family that global warming is the consequence of blue collar workers with cars and air conditioning.)  But to modern conservatives, everything is a morality play and the ideal social blueprint is a "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" version of the middle ages, only they don't think it's satire.

  •  Sorry I missed you today (0+ / 0-)

    at the Villages with David , running against Nugent in the 11th district.   I was sick and missed the event.. Sorry.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 01:24:10 PM PST

  •  In reality, my experience with republicans when (8+ / 0-)

    they get sick is for them to think their meager "wealth" will be enough to cover expenses. When that fails -- and for most voting republicans it always does-- they'll just think they have to go into a little debt which they'll pay it off through hard work and determination as usual. But once they realize their sickness has actually led to extreme debt and physical debilitation, they start to turn to the good will of friends and neighbors, and when that turns out to be little more than a financial 'band-aide', they start complaining how unfair the system is to THEM, and demanding as much from the government as they can get. And when that turns out to be very little because they always voted for representatives that prevented the government from offering such aide, they usually die from lack of adequate treatment, bitter, in debt, and cursing liberals.

    So "Let'em die!" is often a self-fulfilling prophesy.


    "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 Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 01:28:10 PM PST

  •  With friends like these . . . (6+ / 0-)

    "I'm sure that my Tea Party friends . . . "

    Not to nitpick an excellent article, but I don't have an Tea Party friends anymore.  And that's by choice.  I wish no one harm, but I'm done trying to respect the other guy's point of view when the "other guy" is a hysterical narcissist with a death wish.
    I'm 57 years old, and lately I've been thinking about all the time and money I've spent seeking advice from motivational speakers and self-help gurus.  I've decided to, for once, follow their advice (I'm paraphrasing here):  "Avoid COMPLETELY  every single selfish, negative, lazy, dishonest, hysterical, abusive, exploitative, judgmental, self-destructive, narcissistic, dogmatic, koolaid-drinking person that you encounter in this life.  Unless they're family, in which case just do the best that you can."

    "One of the boss' hangers-on sometimes comes to call, at times you least expect. Tryin' to bully you, strongarm you, inspire you with fear--it has the opposite effect."--Bob Dylan, "Floater"

    by oldmaestro on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 01:31:46 PM PST

    •  Should read more like this... (0+ / 0-)
      Avoid COMPLETELY  every single DO NOT ELECT or RE-ELECT ANY selfish, negative, lazy, dishonest, hysterical, abusive, exploitative, judgmental, self-destructive, narcissistic, dogmatic, koolaid-drinking person that you find campaigning for office. encounter in this life

      America's LAST HOPE: vote the GOP OUT in 2014 elections. MAKE them LOSE the House Majority and reduce their numbers in the Senate. Democrats move America forward - Republicans take us backward and are KILLING OUR NATION!

      by dagnome on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 01:48:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank God for your work. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    Mr. Grayson, you speak for the people and for the nation.
    I sense no narrow interest in you, only a person who wishes to govern and make policy for all.
    We are the American people.
    We are governable.
    We participate in elections, even when we are discouraged from doing so.
    We have done our part.
    Now it is the government's turn to do its part.
    Govern the country.
    Solve its problems.
    Do not point to the debt and say you will do something tomorrow.
    The debt that is owed to the people of this country is far greater than any debt they owe to any banker.
    The moneyed class tells us that we lack confidence.
    Give us a basis for confidence, and then you'll see it.
    These are simple truths you know and Elizabeth Warren know.
    Why is it that knowledge like yours is so rare among those who have chosen to govern?

  •  A war of all aginst all. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, Nisi Prius, Calamity Jean

    You've pegged the endgame when the looting of our public society is done.  Social cohesion and common betterment seems to be a detestable thing to the wealthy and their political enablers.

    Yet I can hear vomitous drivel from some of my neighbors who are filled with hate thinking that the relief the poor are getting is a theft from their pockets.

  •  Easy: DIVIDE AND CONQUER! (0+ / 0-)

    That is ALL the GOP has been doing!!!

  •  Unfortunately Congressman, (0+ / 0-)

    a large percentage of your fellow "democrats" in congress are more less deaf/dumb to progressive legislation and they have ZERO plan to improve our economy and create jobs.

    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 03:00:32 PM PST

  •  absolutely right, but from the title (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    I thought you were going to say:

    1.  Elect Ronald Reagan
    2. Introduce Reaganomics
    3. Wait 30 years and success!  The middle class is gone and the money is all off-shored, never to return.

  •  When will we realize that the 1% don't care? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Another Grizzle

    We know what's happening with Greece.  Everyone knows austerity doesn't work.  But all of the arguments that austerity is bad for countries will fall on deaf ears, because the 1% do not care about stable societies, or helping the poor, or anything other than profit maximization for themselves.  This is not about two philosophies competing to see which will build a better nation.  It's about one that wants to build a better nations and one which wants to strip-mine nations for profit, the future be damned, and it's this latter that gets cloaked and obfuscated by the GOP-owned and directed media.  The only way the 1% will change course is if they think that they can't build the walls of their estates high enough to keep out the rabble once they get pushed too far and start to turn vicious.  Then it's another scattering of crumbs and circuses until things stabilize, and the looting can start anew.  

    Odds and ends about life in Japan: 1971wolfie.wordpress.com

    by Hatrax on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 03:57:00 PM PST

  •  Austerity for all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    but the people at the top never works and it creates massive anger.  The constant little cuts begin to sting when they keep coming over and over again.  When a majority of the population can no longer compensate for the cuts and instead go without heat, food, healthcare, jobs, income, and basically are striped of life's resources, then what?  Where are the people to go?  They are trapped.  Even trapped animals become agitated.

    I have neigbors whom have family living in Greece and they are trying to help them.  They say it is horrible living in Greece, their families are only getting heat like once a day, if that.  

    Austerity doesn't work well, neither does policies that create austerity.  And if governments refuse to change policies or do not put austerity on themselves then tensions rise and eventually changes have to be made.  

    And austerity doesn't work especially if your waiting for the wealthy to help out with jobs or to bring industry to your economy because that kind of wealthy mentality no longer exists in this world of globalization.  

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 04:05:27 PM PST

  •  . (0+ / 0-)

    "I'm against pain and suffering.  Especially avoidable pain and suffering.  And therefore, I'm against austerity"

    On this, Mr Grayson, we are on the same page.  Aside from the historical fact that austerity has never solved root monetary/economic problems.  Iceland has actually punished bankers (not severely enough in my estimation) and have gotten, from what I understand, some real economic growth.... funny that... punishing financial crimes of 'responsible' criminals actually changes things.

    However, I see little to no trend in the political system to correct what is truly ailing this nation.... like so many other nations that have followed the same corrupt practices answering only the calls of the monied interests that caused the conditions instead of the needs of the people.

    "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 Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 04:31:59 PM PST

    •  Only a few bankers got punished. (0+ / 0-)

      And only one high-ranking one. For the same sort of stuff that the US punishes bankers for - outright fraud (e.g., Bernie Madoff and the like).

      In Iceland, just like in the US, it's perfectly legal to wilfully destroy the global economy to enrich yourself.

      Oh, and we did get significant austerity. And with our new right-wing government, we're pointlessly getting even more.

      Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

      by Rei on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 01:46:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Austerity (0+ / 0-)

    I would think that even austerity is not bad cause what happens in our world today is that: Greed and its associated sister heartlesness is what mismanages the economic market and send all of us down the toilet.

    Knowledge + Understanding = Wisdom. Creator of the following cartoons: The Kenne-Max Show: http://florinmilea.blogspot.com/ Dottie the Billboard Cat: http://florin-milea.blogspot.com/ Philo-sophique: http://mileaflorin.blogspot.com/

    by Florin Milea on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 04:38:00 PM PST

  •  You sir have truly matured as a representative.... (0+ / 0-)

    You had all the right ideas at first but didn't know how to apply them, but you have gotten over that to become our strongest progressive representative in the House.

    Thank you for your hard work and true dedication!

    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function [Albert A. Bartlett]

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 05:00:58 PM PST

  •  How did they/we get to "austerity?" (4+ / 0-)

    As near as I can figure out, the same Cretinous Congress Critters who are "poutraged" over government spending (except for the horrific sums spent on illegally and unconstitutionally sending drones to bomb inside other countries with whom we are not at war, and occupy countries who did NOT invite us to occupy, or "train" their troops or buy munitions for them from Russia), are the same ones who scream to cut, cut, cut, cut, cut spending on taxpayer-funded programs like Social Security and Medicare...., and then vote and promote forcing us to buy services from insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical corporations who wrote the legislation forcing such a situation (Medicare Part D which came with the stipulation "buy corporate prescription insurance or else," all of Obamacare which comes with "buy corporate health care insurance or pay a fine of $1000").

    These are the same cretins who advocate giving government contracts to the private sector, such as Booz Allen Hamilton which was contracted to do work for the NSA (Snowden didn't work directly for the US government; he worked for a corporation.)  Virtually every department within the government has hired corporations to do their work (at hugely inflated prices, of course, and that includes the mercenaries hired by DoD & the Pentagon and at embassies throughout the world).

    Corporations, meanwhile, are getting tax breaks and/or pay zero in taxes, and they send their profits to offshore accounts.  Any manufacturing they invest in is done overseas in poor countries where they hire employees who work for pennies compared to what Americans expect to earn in the private sector.

    Anyone spot the trend?  Almost all of our government is now in the hands of corporations, and many of our Cretinous Congress Critters (even Democrats) are urging investing in the private sector and/or Casino Wall Street to make up for the shortage in the Social Security & Medicare funds they propose cutting... or, outright stealing (Soc Sec, remember is the only department with a surplus now and more expected in the future, and Casino Wall Street wants to get their grubby little fingers on that surplus).  Wall Street, meanwhile, gains money left and right and sends their money through shady bank deals to wherever they want their money sent and it "somehow, magically" does not find its way back to the hands of US citizens to be spent here in the US.  It's written off as a tax loss.

    Deregulation started long ago.  It gained notoriety under St. Ronnie of RayGun..., but Bill Clinton is the one who signed Gramm-Leach-Bliley which repealed Glass-Steagall, and that was the path to bailing out institutions "too big to fail."  Financial FUBARs really are bipartisan SNAFUs since it's continuing under Obama with the for-profit medical insurance scam which will shortly give insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical corporations record-setting profits (and executive bonuses of record proportions).  Really, just look at how investment firms and insurance companies have been littering the air waves online and via network television in the last few months.  Can't get away from them at every commercial break, even on Hulu or on the network web sites that replay shows online (I turned off my TV a while back and do all my TV watching online now).

    Every time I hear "invest in Casino Wall Street to acquire money for your retirement, or to supplement Social Security" my heart sinks.  It doesn't work that way.  Remember Enron and companies like that which have crashed?  Remember Stock Market Crashes from the past?  Bye-bye "retirement money!"

    What's happening in Greece could easily happen in the US.  All we have to do is be lemmings who listen to our Cretinous Congress Critters who are getting their money from banking and corporations and lobbyists of one sort or another, or listen to the PR campaigns of various insurance corporations, and "voila!"  Bye-bye "retirement money!"  Hello to what little might be left in Social Security once those clowns get done stealing (errr, "borrowing") from the surplus Social Security Trust Fund....

    Social Security and Medicare are funds We The People pay into throughout our working years - and Medicare through death, since it's withheld before the remainder gets deposited in our bank accounts.  That is OUR money..., NOT money that needs to be turned over to Casino Wall Street or corporations of one kind or another because certain Cretinous Congress Critters, corporations, and investment brokers call it "free welfare money/aka "entitlements.""

    Social Security (a not-for-profit insurance program) and Medicare (a not-for-profit single payer medical insurance program) are our EARNED BENEFITS that we pay for long before we are entitled to apply for and use those funds..., sort of like we pay for group for-profit insurance in the private sector (forced on us by law when we license a car, or buy a home, or buy Obamacare for-profit corporate health insurance, for instance).  Except, of course, the private sector for-profit insurance programs can take our money and cancel our policies at will.

    So..., fuck "austerity" and the profit-mongering corporations and banks and stock markets they rode in on... and three cheers for not-for-profit single-payer programs that can't exclude anyone, especially those who need them most.

    I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
     ~ Thomas Jefferson, 1816
    The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
         — Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 29, 1938, message to Congress
    Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.
    -- Benito Mussolini

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 05:07:28 PM PST

  •  Greece should never have been part of the Euro (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013, FG

    in the first place, but 'figures' were 'massaged' amidst the general euphoria surrounding the wonderful new currency.

    And we are where we are now.

    The Greeks were sold a load of old b****s.

    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

    by Bollox Ref on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 05:14:50 PM PST

  •  Banks used to be extremely traditional (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    and conservative entities (in the best sense of the word), because they knew their investments were not protected.

    Somehow today, all investors - especially banks - seem to think their bets should be covered no matter what risks they take.

    No.

    No investor should be protected from anything but outright fraud.  There is no reason why any government should bail out anyone but a national bank.

  •  Grayson to US Senate? Nelson v. Crist for Fl-Gov? (0+ / 0-)

    Great series of improvements would be:

    Grayson replacing Florida's Incumbent centrist Democratic US Senator
    after
    Nelson replacing Republican Party refugee Charlie Crist as Democratic nominee in 2014 Florida Governor's race (this replacement does not appear totally impossible, according to this month-old report).
    In addition to the spot-on substance and tactical cleverness of Grayson's positions, he adds value through his blunt rejection of the polite (at least by Democrats) etiquette of the insiders' club.

    The national stage needs more people expressing Progressive outrage. Women who do so are damned as "shrill". Blacks who do so are even more marginalized by stereotypes.

    Grayson should continue to embrace the profile of an "angry Jewish lawyer" (who knew how to beat plutocrats in court), as more and more voters are "mad as hell and not going to take it any more".
  •  I can think of something I'd like to cut. (0+ / 0-)

    But none of us would be that lucky.

    Keep up the fight Congressman, we are standing with you.

  •  "Italy hit by wave of Pitchfork Protests..." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias

    as austerity unites disparate groups"

    ...in an angry show of opposition to austerity policies and the government.

    ...Demonstrations point to frustration with traditional politics, with minister warning parliament of a country in 'spiral of rebellion'...

    and

    Austerity Strikes Cause Spain Air Travel Chaos.

    ...This strike is the latest in a long series of angry street protests over tough austerity policy put in place by the centre-right government to reduce its public deficit and increase the efficiency of its economy to receive rescue loans..
    Economists Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth studied European budget cutting over a 90 year period and found that the relationship between austerity and social unrest...
    ...(riots, attempted revolutions, and even assassinations) is pretty clear.

    Not only that, but the size of the cuts bear a close relationship to the volume of social unrest....

    With every additional percentage point of GDP in spending cuts, the risk of unrest increases...

  •  So glad you're back in office, Alan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    and providing the contrast to so many other Dems who are unable to speak as honestly as you do.

    Thank you, Sir, for being true to the creed.

    2013 Petties Blog Awards winner for Funniest Pet Blog

    by Gottlieb on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 07:27:33 PM PST

  •  THANKS FOR BEING A VOICE (0+ / 0-)

    of reason. We all need it.

  •  Budget (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thestructureguy

    Why did you just vote for the budget that provides no relief for the 1.3 million members of the long-term unemployed and normalizes austerity levels of government investment?

  •  The tactics of downgrading and degeneration (0+ / 0-)

    The Greek government, as an authentic representative of the neoliberal dictatorship in Greece, deliberately destruct public benefits and services

    http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/...

  •  Latest info: (0+ / 0-)

    A secret deal between the Greek government and troika for unlimited massive layoffs!

    http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/...

  •  German role in promoting austerity? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    Congressman, what is your view of Germany's role in the destruction of Greek society? also, what do you know about Goldman Sachs' part in setting up the bond structure that led to the initial financial crisis in Greece?

    I hzave my own views, but I would appreciate yours.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 08:34:20 AM PST

  •  This must be your best diary yet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013

    thanks for contributing.  I only wish I lived in your district so I could vote for you.

    BTW, you seem to have an awful lot of teabagger friends.  I'm guessing in this instance "friends" is an euphemism?

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 10:02:56 AM PST

  •  Dear Alan Grayson, it pains me to say,... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk

    ... but you are an idiot.

    Yes, Japan can get away with 215% GDP debt. That is, because the huge majority of its debtors are its own citizens.  And the jury is still out on the question if it can go on that way forever.

    But, Japan or not, the Euro Crisis started because Greece could not get away with its debt level. They were at the end of their rope, nobody would lend them any more money.

    THAT is what happens if you exhaust your credit.

    Now the smartypants economists around here will probably pop up and say "uh... bad Euro ... Greece could have inflationed its way out the Crisis, if it weren't for the Euro".  But even that would not have helped, since in that case most of Greek debt would have been in a hard currency eventually. People don't lend you real money in exchange for paper you can print as much as you want of.

    So, austerity is not a choice policy. It is a last option, when all others are exhausted. It is what happens when your resources are short and you can not afford the lifestyle you used to have.

    This is hard. This sucks. And it's necessary.

    Oh, and, yes, it can happen here, too. That's the one thing the GOP is right about, broken clock and all.

    It can happen here, too.

    You can't live on borrowed money forever.

    •  Wow, you have absolutely no idea how our (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bleeding blue

      modern monetary system functions.  There is no such thing as the USA borrowing the US dollar.  That is gold standard thinking that has been over since 1971.  Issuing T-bonds is nothing at like taking out a mortgage.  Greece uses a foreign currency and so they can run out of it, just like a state like Illinois, The US dollar comes from us, the US Govt, and we can't ever run out.

      MMT = Reality

      "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

      by Auburn Parks on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 02:05:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  smoke and mirrors (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        In the end money is only a stand-in for resources. This one fundamental fact has not been changed by any monetary system, modern or not. Anybody who tells you otherwise is trying to trick you.

        You can't eat money.

        A fiscal deficit means the government uses more resources than it is given by its citizens.

        A trade deficit means the US imports more goods than it exports. It also roughly implies that it consumes more goods than it produces.

        In both cases those goods have to come from somewhere. This somewhere are people, in the second case in foreign nations, that give you those goods based on promises to be compensated in kind later.

        When you ignore austerity, you plan to break those promises.  When you do that, people will sooner or later notice. At this time they will stop giving you goods you don't plan to ever pay for, and your nice house of cards comes crashing down.

        Thats what happened to Greece, and that is what will happen to the US if it continues its course.

        •  Yes money is a claim on real wealth, thats why its (0+ / 0-)

          valuable (and you can pay taxes with it).

          You can buy food with money to eat (Wrong)

          A fiscal deficit means the Govt creates and spends more financial wealth for the private sector than it collects from the private sector. (Wrong)

          Yes these two lines are true.

          Yes, people work to get dollars which are claims on real goods and services.

          You pay for the goods at the exact moment you buy them, so I'm not sure what you are talking about with that. If people want to stop selling us goods and services in exchange for US dollars, then we will have more jobs domestically (and higher prices and wages).

          None of this is what happened to Greece, you are very badly misinformed brother.

          MMT = Reality

          "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

          by Auburn Parks on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 02:32:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Only a small fraction of US debt is held (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, bleeding blue

      by other than US citizens or institutions.  

      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

      by Calamity Jean on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 02:05:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Give'em hell, Alan! NT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FlamingoGrrl, Anna Wise

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 07:59:41 AM PST

  •  We're next. Or at least not far down the list. (0+ / 0-)

    When they own the information, they can bend it all they want. -- John Mayer

    by S M Tenneshaw on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 10:57:57 AM PST

  •  Please add the words "in Greece" to the first line (0+ / 0-)

    I was confused about the bullet points after the first sentence of this column, didn't realize they were statistics about Greece until the next paragraph.

    Please add the words "in Greece" to the first sentence.  A confused reader is often one that will not continue to read, and the column is too important to miss!

    Everything is part of a system. Some people believe that system is science, some believe it is G-d. I believe science is part of G-d's system.

    by Anna Wise on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 12:50:43 PM PST

  •  Austerity is voluntarily going backwards! (0+ / 0-)

    The austerity people look back at the Gilded Age of the 1890s and say it wasn't so bad, we didn't need any public welfare programs then, etc.

    Objectively, it WAS a bad time, but the DIRECTION of change for the average American was UP; too slowly for many, but better than before the Industrial Revolution.  But to go BACK to that economy, from THIS one, is going DOWN, not up!

    Similarly, the Middle Ages were an improvement over the Dark Ages, but they were actually the beginning of the RE-INVENTION of the Greco-Roman technology and infrastructure that had been ABANDONED with the fall of Rome.  And no one from the 1600s would want to go back to the 1300s.

    Conservatives accuse liberals of wanting to "spread the misery around" by taking from the many with a little to give to the few with nothing; they forget that the few with a great deal could help the few out of poverty, AND prevent driving the MANY in the middle class INTO poverty, if they WANTED to.  But they do not seem to care even whether enough people can afford to BUY what they make (overseas) to keep them in business; they just keep extending credit to keep the buying going on.  Eventually everything will collapse, but as long as they are the ones with the promissory notes of the masses, they plan to own and run everything.

  •  All it takes (0+ / 0-)

    is to elect conservatives to office.  In a sane world they would be decorating gibbets.

  •  Good going Alan (0+ / 0-)

    The fate of America's experiment with having a Democratic style government is now falling to the same forces the Summarians, the Greeks, The Romans... all the Empires before fell to - the creation of an empire requires taking other peoples' lands (Hawaii for example) either by force of arms or by purchase for financial gains by a few. We fight enemies like Germany and Japan, spending vast wealth and then more rebuilding and assimilating those countries under our sphere. BUT when there is no more violent threat we are tricked into creating enemies. That assures continued financial gain for a few. (Iraq). Unfortunately to continue fake threats and arms sales there has to be government corruption AND there will be a complete ignorance of real threats (9-11) since there is no money to be made if the jihadists are taken over - they don't have an economy to assimilate. THe help for the poor and the sick is not a considerationAT ALL for those at the top - poor people take time and money with no quarterly profit, and just as George III mis-judged the colonists (mostly poor) the present governing bodies also mis-judge the rage we are growing toward our "elected bodies".

  •  The other day at the office-- (0+ / 0-)

    Someone asked me why Obamacare was not a big deal in FL.  I explained to four interested faces that the Midterms are coming, and this year, it is more important to vote in-between Prez Elections than ever before.

    Alan Grayson is one of Florida's finest.  I am proud of him and the work he is doing to point out the disparity in this country.

    We are running an Economy for Investors Only, and the hell with everyone else.  If you are making $9.00 or $10.00 an hour, deal with it.   That is the other side's Mantra.

  •  Austerity is class warfare (0+ / 0-)

    REP ALAN GRAYSON D FL is spot on with his warnings about the damage government fiscal austerity causes to the social fabric and the economy of a nation. We already have different parts of our society fighting each other over the scraps of government funding available after sequestration, and these fights will only get uglier, and potentially violent, if fiscal conservatives are able to force even more budget cuts of social safety net, "entitlement" and economic stimulus programs. With high unemployment and underemployment, stagnant wages and loss of employment benefits along with a decaying national infrastructure our nation is being set up for the collapse of middle class America, and the forces pushing this agenda will be ready to impose a plutocracy (the 1%) to control the lower classes (the 99%). What a sad state of affairs for a country that used to be the envy of the world. The fat lady isn't singing a funeral dirge for our Republic yet, but listen, you can hear her warming up. The real question is, will the American people let her take the stage and sing, or will we stop bitching and start a new revolution?

  •  This is Economic Warfare, not Class warfare. (0+ / 0-)

    Not until you have the workers begging for jobs will the Kings be satisfied.
    Ancient Europe depended on Serfs to do the everyday labor in the fields, quarries and other menial jobs.  This is where we are destined if we do not stop the slide.
    The Right has passed a budget (to their liking) in the hopes people will forget about the past 6 years.  You want to be a victim of their principles?  If not, get out and vote!  If you are one of the millions who have had roadblocks and intimidation thrown up, request an Absentee ballot and get your voice heard.

  •  Read The Creature from Jekyll Island (0+ / 0-)

    It explains the origin of the Federal Reserve in 1919 or so.  The Govt with Wilson in attendance (a banker) drafted what is now the Federal Reserve and how the Government abandoned control of its own monetary policy.

    Also, do some research on Executive Order EO111110.  Kennedy had the final EO on his desk when he went to Dallas.  Johnson ignored it and it was never signed.  The EO would have placed monetary policy with Treasury and would be based on a Silver Standard,  Banks would lose their Goose the lays their Golden Eggs.

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