Sunday, 7/31/11, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

42 responses to “Sunday, 7/31/11, Public Square

  1. “We must address the root causes of the direction this country is headed, corporatism and militarism, through unity and mass acts of resistance. We will not email or elect ourselves out of this situation. That is why I am part of the October2011 Movement.”

    I urge others to join us at —

  2. “Medicare Is the Answer, Not the Problem. Both Democrats and Republicans are missing the point by putting the emphasis on controlling Medicare and Medicaid costs without effectively addressing the reasons for our rising health care costs. Rather than embracing the Republican rhetoric which blames our public insurances, Democrats would do well to call out the real reason for our health care spending crisis: our current fragmented and profit-driven model, and advocate for a national improved Medicare for all.”

    “Saturday will be Medicare’s 46th birthday. Who would have thought that a Democratic president would be so willing to cut both of our important social insurances, Medicare and Social Security, knowing that real people will suffer and lose their lives as a result?”

  3. We are long past the expiration date for denying that the Obama we now know— through his actions rather than his words —is anything other than the real Obama. We must come to grips with the fact that much of the rhetoric we heard during the campaign was fraudulent—or more charitably, that we heard only what we wanted to hear. How many ominous signals did we ignore during the campaign?

    • The choice of Joe Lieberman as his mentor in the Senate. And his campaign on behalf of Lieberman over the anti-war candidate Ned Lamont.

    • NAFTA. Obama professed to seeking changes in this trade law, but when he was about to give a speech in Ohio (a state devastated by NAFTA), Austin Goolsbee delivered a message to Michael Wilson, Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S., that his criticisms of the agreement should be considered campaign rhetoric, not to be taken too seriously.

    • Reagan as hero: “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.”

    • FISA. Though an Obama campaign statement declared, “Senator Obama is unequivocally opposed to retroactive immunity,” for telecom companies participating in Bush’s warrantless wiretappging, he still voted in the telecoms’ favor.

    • Safety net. Politico pointed out before inauguration that Obama echoed “Bush’s claim of an entitlement ‘crisis’, warning of ‘red ink as far as the eye can see’ in Social Security and Medicare. Obama promised that those programs would be a ‘central part’ of his plan to reduce the federal deficit.”

    Should liberals blame themselves, as so many are suggesting, for missing these red flags? How can we when so many were convinced of his sincerity? He is the most gifted orator in generations. He made us hear what he wanted us to hear. We so needed to find hope after eight dispiriting years under Bush that we had to believe—the alternative, that he was just another slick-talking politician, would have been nihilistic.

    We must stop making excuses for him and stop blaming ourselves for blindly supporting him. Rather, our fault lies in not holding him accountable and pushing back firmly when early in his presidency it was clear that he was not putting up even an appearance of fighting for the changes he promised.

    If memory serves, it was during a press conference in which he was defending himself against socialism charges that he astoundingly said: “In many places in the world, I would be considered a conservative.” This may be the most revealingly honest statement he has made, but it’s certainly not what his campaign was about.

    By continuing to absolve him, we are unable to move forward with any progressive policies or to demonstrate to Congressional Democrats that we still hold firm beliefs in justice and fairness. The madness of the Republicans has lowered the bar to such an extent that Obama’s capitulations seem sensible by comparison. In the 1930s, Dorothy Parker said, “Which is worse—the perpetrators of injustice or those who are blind to it?” Friends complained about Bush’s war mongering and civil rights abuses, declaring, “Not in my name, do you do this.” Now Obama is expanding these wars (note the Administration’s drive to convince Iraqis to let our troops remain beyond the signed deadline—and remember, ending the Iraq war was central to his campaign). He also is accelerating civil rights abuses, yet I hear not a word of criticism from these same friends. Our silence is surely leading to the death of liberalism—and of hope. What sort of moral compass allows us to condemn actions by one administration only to be silent (complicit?) when our own candidate commits them?

    We sit passively as Obama appears intent on proving that his hero, Ronald Reagan, was right: “Government IS the problem.” Progressives must not allow this to happen.

  4. The U.S. Is Not Drowning In Debt

    What neither side seems to recognize — or at least acknowledge — is that what matters about the debt isn’t the dollar amount per se, but how much it costs us to service it. And by that measure, the debt isn’t nearly as big a problem as it’s being made out to be.

    Yes, the federal debt has grown by nearly $3 trillion dollars in the past three years. And yes, the dollar amount of that debt is quite large (in excess of $14 trillion and headed toward $15 trillion should the ceiling be raised). But large numbers are not the problem. The U.S. has a large economy (slightly larger than that debt number). And, crucially, we have very low interest rates.

    Because of those low rates, the amount the U.S. government pays to service its debt is, relative to the size of the economy, less than it was paying throughout the boom years of the 1980s and 1990s and for most of the last decade. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that net interest on the debt (which is what the government pays to service it) would be $225 billion for fiscal year 2011. The latest figures put that a bit higher, so let’s call it $250 billion. That’s about 1.6% of American output, which is lower than at any point since the 1970s – except for 2003 through 2005, when it was closer to 1.4%.

    Under Ronald Reagan, the first George Bush, and Bill Clinton, payments on federal debt often got above 3% of GDP. Under Bush the second, payments were about where they are now. Yet suddenly, we are in a near collective hysteria.

    Read more:

  5. Lots of smoke Saturday, let’s cut right through it: In a phrase, President Obama appears to have cut a deal with the Republicans, on their terms, or about 98 percent of them. Democratic congressional leaders are trying to push back, but are up against it, with Harry Reid having pushed the cloture vote on his plan back from 1 a.m. Sunday to 12 hours later as he scrambles to try to find the votes to pass his version of a compromise. Jonathan Karl of ABC News is the first to report the Obama-GOP deal as fact, in this short piece that was posted at 10:39 pm Saturday night. If he’s right—and it smells like he is—it’s a bleak day for this presidency, and really in American history, as we’ve now embarked on a path that’s very likely to lead to huge cuts in entitlement programs, the domestic budget, and more or less everything every Democrat in Washington (except, apparently, one) wakes up to fight for every day.

    Reid said a very interesting thing in his late afternoon floor statement. There have been 72 debt-ceiling votes since 1962, he said, and never before had one been threatened by a filibuster (which requires that the majority find 60 votes) until Saturday. Both parties engaged in the usual posturing but had always agreed that a simple majority could raise the ceiling. Until Saturday. This tells us just what extremists these Republicans are. But McConnell knew he could get away with it, because few Americans even know what cloture is—and more importantly, because he predicted, apparently accurately, that this president would roll over. And so the GOP will have won, and won big. Obama can call this victory if he likes, and insofar as default will be avoided—sure. But if he thinks this is what his voters sent him to the White House to do, he needs a serious reality check.

    • Of course there will be a deal — none of these politicians can piss off the money they need for their reelection campaigns.

      To hell with Americans.

      I’m sure all politicians will declare victory. And you know what? We the people are who they won against — we lose, they all win.

    • prairie pond

      Does anyone seriously think Hillary would have been worse?

      Just askin’…

      • No! That’s like saying Pelosi is worse than Boehner. NOT! Pelosi is immensely more effective than Boehner!

        I suppose those who control our corpocracy knew Obama would be easier to control and manipulate.

      • WSClark

        I wouldn’t argue the point, pro or con, but the opposition to the President would have been just as vitriolic whether it was a white female Democrat or a black male Democrat in office.

        All that would change is the rhetoric.

        Why these fucking people think that somehow THEY have the all answers after THEY blew it so badly during the Republican administrations if beyond me.

        Think about this: Since 1980, when my hair was still dark and my body was still hard, we have had exactly ONE Democratic President before Obama. We are in a big fucking mess, most of which was generated over the last thirty years and during that time we have had just ONE Democratic President.

        And the Cons impeached HIM over a blow job.




  6. prairie pond

    As Maya says, when someone tells you who they are, believe them.

    Obama told me who he was when he got cozy with Donnie McClurkin, and later, Rick Warren. Then came Tim Geitner and Lawrence Summers.

    And it’s gone down hill from there. So, here we are.

    He was indeed a Manchurian candidate. Just not the way the repukes thought. It was anyone left of John McCain he was selling out.

  7. If the economy improves and the debt is reduced and maybe at some point we can get back to balanced budgets, then President Obama will have achieved what President Clinton gets credit for and President Bush (2) never attempted. I know the tea baggers will take credit (those hard-core righties say it wasn’t Clinton but Congress who deserves the credit for the surplus Clinton handed Bush).

    I remember well the GOP takes credit and never blame.

    But the voters who decide elections aren’t those hard-core righties and they give credit to Clinton and blame to Bush. Will they give credit to Obama? Especially after the media spectacle and his ‘cooperation’ (which I spell c a v i n g). He did take his fight to the people and made his desire to ‘save America from default’ very public.

    The other question would be — is it possible for the hard-core lefties to vote for Obama? I can see some staying home. If the GOP came up with a candidate whose head, with proper medication, doesn’t turn completely around on its axis they could point out Obama has no principles, no convictions, can’t be trusted. This is what the hard-core lefties already acknowledge. Remember to both extremes compromise is a dirty word.

  8. WSClark

    I guess I will take a slightly different tact on Obama and the Debt debate. I will be honest, I don’t like any of this. Personally, I think that it is stupid and beyond ridiculous that deficit debate is tied to debt debate.

    Deficits cause debt, but the deficits have already been generated, now we have to pay the debt.

    Back in March, President Obama insisted on a ‘clean increase’ in the debt ceiling. He should have drawn the line in the sand right then. He tried, but realistically, the Tea Cons were/are spoiling for a fight and they got the one they wanted.

    Those of us that tend to think in terms of logic and rationality have a difficult time understanding where some of these people are coming from. It is truly hard to wrap your mind around the concept that some folks don’t EVER want to see the debt ceiling raised, damn the consequences.

    Rational folk know you can’t do that. Rational folk also know that you can’t spread your sleeping bag out in the middle of I-35 and expect to get a good night’s sleep.

    Tea Cons are not rational. If they were, we would have a straight up vote on how much to raise the debt ceiling instead of whether to raise the ceiling and tying that increase to budget cuts.

  9. Remember when Sen. John McCain suspended his presidential campaign in order to help bring about a bipartisan emergency spending bill to rescue the global financial markets? If McCain were president today and had continued that policy as Obama did to pull us out of the Bush recession, would we be watching a media-induced hysteria campaign about the national debt? It’s fair to say no. How different do you suppose the debt would be in terms of actual figures? (Answer: see graphs here.)

  10. So the tea partiers are fine with whatever happens in America as long as there is a Republican president? Seems so, doesn’t it?

  11. WSClark

    I am starting to get beyond seriously pissed about this Debt Ceiling cluster-fuck.

    (Pardon the language, please.)

    The Tea Cons in the House are now whining that the proposed deal cuts too much from the Defense budget.

    Say what?

    The Tea Cons want to destroy Medicare, slash education, and child development programs, screw over Planned Parenthood, end WIC, cut food stamps, privatize SS, cut NPR, end EIC, slash funding for the elderly and disabled and cut other social programs, but they want to protect defense spending and low tax rates for the top earners.

    What’s next?

    Do they want to dig up Mother Teresa and rape her corpse?

    Who are these people?




    • Why would language bother anyone when you’re making perfectly rational sense?

      I don’t know who they are, I’m at a loss to comprehend that kind of greed.

      I think I heard they call themselves ‘compassionate.’

      • indypendent

        Remember when GWB tried to convince us he was a Compassionate Conservative?

        And look at the mess he created..

  12. Speaking of the desire for a Republican president, obliquely, of course:

    There seems to be a growing number who want the “14th Amendment” solution. I’ve indicated my belief as to why this isn’t a viable option (with apologies to President Clinton). If such action was taken, here is what I perceive the scenario which will play out to be:

    1) An application for injunction will be filed ASAP in the Federal District Court; a TRO (and perhaps an injunction) will be immediately issued.

    2) The President will apeal. Due to the gravity of the situation, the appropriate Court of Appeals will hear the case before the end of August.

    3) The losing party will immediately appeal to SCOTUS, which will accept it, and hold a hearing in September on an emergency basis. SCOTUS will issue its opinion (probably on a 9-0 basis) finding the action unconstitutional.

    4) Articles of Impeachment woll be drafted, considered and passed by mid-October, with the matter ripe for trial by the Senate before Christmas.

    5) The business of the country will be on hold; pressures on the President to resign immediately will grow to the point he has absolutely no other alternative. VP Biden becomes President; and the 2012 election will feature the first time a candidate sweeps all 60 states, w/the GOP achieving a super majority in the House, and winning all (or almost all) seats up for election in the Senate. For all practical purposes, the Democratic Party ceases to exist.

    That’s how I see it, and I’ve a feeling I’m not the only one.

  13. WSClark

    Before we all, Left and Right, crucify Barack Obama, let’s remember one thing:

    As President of the United States, Obama HAS to do the right thing – regardless of the cost to himself politically.

    Duh Cons and the Democrats and the pundits and talking heads and citizens and doofi and Tea Partiers and liberals and conservatives and Huff Post and Free Republic and Hannity and Maddow can all talk and posture and criticize and do whatever.

    At the end of the day, one man has to do the right thing and protect the integrity of the United States of America.

    There is no second choice, no alternative, no waiting until tomorrow or the next election.

    President Obama has to do the right thing for America.




    • Given the scenario 6176 describes perhaps we can understand more clearly why President Obama has said he wouldn’t use the 14th amendment remedy — because of exactly what you said, President Obama has to do the right thing for America.

    • indypendent

      I agree 100%

      I was reminded of how a certain president was forced (for the good of the country) to pardon Nixon knowing full well that his days were numbered politically.

      Gerald Ford was a decent and caring man (I liked his wife more than him, though). and I think he really did put country first in what was probably the hardest decision for him to make.

      But then, back in those days – our politicians were not as rabid and blood-thirsty as they seem to be today.

  14. You know this explains a lot to me. I couldn’t understand but it’s clear to me now that the Republicans are working to make sure they do as much damage as possible to President Obama and democrats. Americans are just collateral damage of no import to them. The Republicans have been paid well to carry out this plan and cement their corporate masters position.

    • They simply don’t understand that they’re f**king with our lives. Then again, even if they did know, they wouldn’t care.

      “I’ve got mine. Who cares about you?”

  15. WSClark

    Have I mentioned that I think Rachel Maddow is seriously hot? I was a bit disappointed to hear that she is a Lesbian. I had hope.

    Some men actually do like smart women.

    (Doesn’t hurt if they are good looking,too.)

    • I’m one who happily pleads guilty to liking smart people, no matter their sex. As for women, a physically attractive woman is much more attractive if she holds intellectual attraction, too. In fact, this position caused me to be called an intellectual snob by one of the most physically attractive women I’ve ever known, but when I figuratively knocked on the door, there was no one home.

    • Freebird1971

      Halle will be jealous

  16. Another change of pace. If interested in Linux, but don’t want to download the iso, burn a CD, install yourself, there are vendors who sell boxes with Linux installed. Article covers the top five.

    The first vendor listed seems to provide the greatest flexibility and lowest price.


    I find myself in total agreement with much of what is contained therein, especially finding a new crisis to create and using one syllable words…

  18. indypendent

    I just got home within the past hour and I am just now trying to catch up on all the news.

    I have not had a chance to really do any searching as to what is in this deal but I had heard that Obama wanted to extend that payroll tax holiday but the Republicans said no.

    If this is true – then aren’t these the folks that don’t want any taxes to be raised?

    If the payroll tax holiday is left to expire – then isn’t that raising my taxes from the current payroll tax?

    As for those defense spending cuts – the reason Republicans do not like those is because look at states like Virginia and Texas – these are very heavily dependent on the US military for their livelihood.

    But – hey – they need to put their big boy pants on and start sharing that sacrifice.

  19. indypendent

    This is one of the biggest reasons I do not like about this deal – exactly where is the authority for this new Super Congress legislative body located in the Constitution?

    I’ve hearrd this was the Boehner’s idea – is that true?

  20. indypendent

    Wicked brings up a very good question – do Republicans even know what they are doing to average Americans?

    I suspect they really do not care – because there is no shaming thesse people.

    Just look at Tea Party Republican Congressman Joe Walsh from Illinois. He is the one that loves to demonize Obama but it is reported that he is beign sued for unpaid child support in the amount of $117,000. And not just that – this guy is being sued by a former campaign worker for unpaid wages. This guy has had several tax liens against him for unpaid taxes. He had his condo foreclosed.

    But yet this guy has the gall to demonize Obama as a person who is fiscally irresponsible?

    The saddest part is this – since the story broke about Walsh’s personal financial difficulties – his Republican support has grown even stronger.

    I can remember a time when a person would be embarrasse to have all that negative stuff come out in public – but, as I said above – there is no shaming therse Republicans.

  21. indypendent

    Someone on some show this past week made the statement that the deep division of our government elected officials has gotten worse in the last few years.

    I think this started when Reagan gave the Evangelical Christians a place at the inner table at the Grand Old Party.

    Politics and religions should NEVER mix…….and now we are seeing the consequences of this unholy alliance. A monster has been created and nobody knows how to contain it.