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Thursday, October 27, 2016

By now, you’ve surely heard of the Texas drunken-driving case that has sparked national outrage — angering victims, upsetting psychologists and sending Twitter into overdrive. A 16-year-old who killed four people while intoxicated was sentenced to 10 years’ probation and treatment in a tony rehab facility.

As unusual as that example of mercy may be, it was the rationale offered by a defense expert that drove observers into a frenzy. A psychologist hired by defense attorneys told the court that the young man’s tragically irresponsible actions were the fault of his rich parents, who didn’t rear him with sufficient discipline. As a consequence, G. Dick Miller said, the teenager suffered from “affluenza” and didn’t know right from wrong. (Many other psychologists have disagreed vociferously, saying there is no such diagnosis.)

It’s hard to stomach that notion, especially since Judge Jean Boyd of the Fort Worth Juvenile Court seems to have swallowed it whole. I can’t imagine how bitter and resentful — not to mention mystified — the victims’ families must be.

But Boyd might have unintentionally done us a favor by opening the door to a dank, dark room that we have worked too hard to keep closed. She has let out the putrid aromas of economic inequality, which we have long ignored. Wealthy people, the judge’s sentence reminds us, have huge advantages over ordinary folk, despite an American mythology about equal opportunity. And the opportunity gap is growing as inequality cleaves the country into haves and have-nots.

The very terms “wage gap” and “disappearing middle class” have become clichés in Washington, often muttered by pandering politicians and comfortable journalists who have little real understanding of the effect that income inequality has had on the lives of ordinary Americans. But the fallout is real enough.

Since the 1970s, the wages of working-class Americans — those without college degrees — have stagnated and fallen further and further behind. Meanwhile, the wealthy have only become more prosperous.

  • FT66

    I am Puzzled why the writer of this article (Cynthia Tucker), has written this sentence: “President Obama’s children are virtually assured a bright future, while millions of their cohort among the working classes are not”.
    For god’s sake, are millions children of working classes their parents are all Presidents? OR are President Obama’s kids the only ever kids of any President who ever been in power? Why is this writer always after the current President? She also recently wrote :
    Pres. Obama must take his lumps and leave! Why all this hatred?

    • mah101

      The statement is clear and self evident. The Obama girls will likely never face mpoverishment or poor acces to education, good employment, or opportunity. Many in their generation cannot say that, and the author asserts it is socioeconomic class that is the leading factor behind this opportunity gap.

      I don’t think we need to look for bias and bad intent in every statement.

      • Independent1

        Agreed, but I’m not certain I agree with Cynthia’s use of the word “assured”: there are many examples of children who have seemingly been born with a golden spoon in their mouth; not only money but name recognition, which should have given them an advantage in life; who have totally squandered all they were given and made disasters of their lives. President Obama’s daughters still need to keep level heads and do their best in life in order to make the most of the advantage in life that money and name recognition will have given them.

        • mah101

          True, there are no guarantees and there are many examples of kids with all the advantages going off the rails. However, they have rails off which to go… Many do not.

          • Canistercook

            Perhaps that is because responsible parenthood did not lay the rails.

        • Allan Richardson

          I see that you are referring to the “Miley Cyrus” or “Paris Hilton” scenario. It is certainly a tragic moral lesson that these and other “trust fund children” have learned, but Cynthia’s point is borne out by such examples of “rich trash,” not rebutted. After all, except for the rare chance of their taking an overdose, being murdered, or being caught in such a violent crime that they go to prison for a very long time (despite having access to the best lawyers money can buy), they have SO MUCH MONEY that they will always have a way to start a new “business” (renting out the use of their names to a REAL entrepreneur for a fragrance or handbag), or get paid for getting their names in magazines, etc. The Kardashians, Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton and the like, despite having gone through several rehabs, divorces, short jail terms, etc. are STILL famous and therefore STILL rich. And if, God forbid, the Obama girls get into such troubles after they grow up, the only career that would be denied them would be politics (and even that is not totally ruled out these days), and they would still have comfortable careers and comfortable retirement years.

          By contrast, those who start out with little can no longer expect to have a reasonable chance of building personal wealth to the point of starting a profitable, growing business. The odds were against the poor even in the “good old days,” as evidenced by the fact that there were only a few Carnegies and Rockefellers, rather than millions of them. But today the next Rockefeller faces not only business competition but rigging of legal entry requirements by the existing ones (and also, to be fair, reasonable and necessary regulations to protect the public safety and the environment, which make it hard for a barnstormer with a personal airplane, for example, to start up an airline). As for jobs, college degrees are required for even lower paying jobs now … jobs that do not pay enough to pay back college loans. A permanent address is required for any job except “off the books” cash-paid labor, which makes things almost hopeless for the homeless, and a good credit rating is now needed to return to the white collar (or even blue collar, in some companies) employment that many homeowners lost a few years ago, causing them to lose their homes. In other words, if you need to earn money to pay back your bills, you cannot get a job to earn that money until you have already paid back your bills.

          So this was her point: unless a wealthy heir or heiress screws up BIG TIME, there are no serious consequences in terms of finance or comfort in life, while a poor man or woman has almost the same odds against succeeding by hard work and determination (outside of criminal activity) as against winning a lottery. And yet, the few public assets available to help offset these multiple disabilities are being taken away to keep the “freeloaders” from using them: food assistance to keep children from starving at home, free school lunches to keep them from starving at school, Head Start centers to get their brains ready for first grade, public libraries in accessible sites for poor children using public transit, open at suitable hours, public transit itself, Pell grants, reduced tuition at state colleges, etc. etc. etc.

          Thankfully, there are many private charities that provide such services, but contrary to conservative dogma, all of them put together are like bailing out the Titanic with spoons. And their available funds are drying up just when they are needed, since the most generous donors, middle class people (not the wealthy; there are no longer as many tax advantages for them to donate, and when they do, they donate to get their names on second- and third-priority charities such as art museums, in preference to helping poor kids eat enough to do their schoolwork), are themselves becoming eligible to receive assistance. The only institution that has the financial CLOUT to make a dent in these problems is a government willing to tax the people who (unwittingly in many cases) CAUSE the problems enough to help the people who SUFFER from them.

      • FT66

        I disagree. Why did she point out the President’s kids? How many kids besides them who will never face any hardship because their parents are well off? Pointing at President’s kids to my opinion is Cherry-picking. These kids are not living a free life at all like any other kids do.They can’t go anywhere they want. They can’t enjoy their teens age. Every and each person is keeping an eye on them and it affects them psychologically and this will go on until they are adults and beyond.

        • mah101

          FT, there is nothing in the article to suggest that the author was doing anything more than picking a prominent example to illustrate the point. However, there is nothing in the article to address your points either, so I can just offer my opinion that I think that is reading a bit too much into it.

          • FT66

            I do not know whether you have kids. If you do, you know how it feels if anyone starts to talk about them if it is not a compliment.

          • mah101

            Understood and appreciated, FT

          • FT66

            Thank you mah101.I also appreciate your understanding. Kids always hurt a lot.

          • mah101

            Lets hope that that isn’t the case in the coming new year. Best, FT

          • FT66

            You too mah101.

          • Susan Dean

            Thank you both, FT66 and mah101, for the civility of this exchange. It is a fine example of the way to resolve disagreements.

          • FT66

            How nice you are Susan Dean, your words are very touching.

          • daniel bostdorf

            I cant agree more given some of the malarky that gets posted at NM lately….at least NM editors are ridding this site of the trolls.

          • FT66

            Agreed. I think some who come here at NM think we are here for a fight. That is not the meaning of it. We are here for a genuine discussion, giving to each other our opinion/views. Of course there might be disagreement. No one with the right thinking should take what he/she thinks is 100% right and unchangeable without considering other’s opinion, weigh it out and come out with the last conclusion.

          • daniel bostdorf

            Perfectly stated. I am 100% for the “free exchange of ideas” as long as the exchange is civil and not bullying or name calling.

            I encourage responsible ideas from all perspectives to be posted here. Non “right wing propaganda” that is backed with real facts not regurgitated Karl Rove “talking points” from paid off faux pundits and faux news sources.

          • Canistercook

            We all have biases but there are some that don’t think they have and call the ‘other side’ stupid or ignorant rather than addressing their opinions.

        • stcroixcarp

          Nobody enjoys their teen age any more. Children are sexualized in our culture by age ten. Just watch the Disney chicks who are marketed with make-up and dance moves to 8-12 year old girls. What happens next for these kids is to become Miley Cyrus or Brittany Spears. Being a teen sucks! And there is no adulthood to grow into.

          • daniel bostdorf

            What does your post have to do with income inequality? It is off
            topic…This isn’t anything about “Children are sexualized” or anything else.

            Getting back on track…here is the fundemental point:
            Ms. Tucker: “Since the 1970s, the wages of working-class Americans — those without college degrees — have stagnated and fallen further and further behind. Meanwhile, the wealthy have only become more prosperous……This is a complex problem with no easy answers, but we could make a
            start toward solutions by looking squarely at the issue and refusing to call it by other names. Here are a few things it’s not: indolence, racism, the failure of the welfare state.”

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            The failure of the welfare state is the result of it not being fully funded and meeting its goals using good education and community involvement.

            The US does everything half-hearted, half-way and never fully implements anything. Mostly lip service, smoke n mirrors.

            Feed the people just a little bit to keep them pacified so they don’t revolt! Lower their education so they can’t think. Get them addicted to drugs and alcohol to keep them numb to their own pain.

            This is how the rich, the well-placed and connected maintain power and control over the masses.

            Eventually, this torture become intolerable and the masses rise up and overthrow their masters. That is the fate of the US sooner or later like any country that has a wide gap between the rich and poor.

          • Canistercook

            I agree, let’s overfeed them and give them more alcohol and drugs and let them sit on the couch and watch some liberal station and they will all die young. Trouble is we will be taxed for the ACA to keep them alive on machines! Sounds like we have a solution to the great Division!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            There is a case right now where a girl is brain dead but the family wants to keep her machines.

            Yea, our taxes are probably being used to keep her alive too.

            The most humane thing to do is let her go.

          • Canistercook

            Expect the taxpayers or family’s employer is picking up most of the bill but letting her go is something at least I can agree with you on. All races have ‘stupid’ people and in sadness they look for miracles unfortunately.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            The term Brain Dead means there is only Brain Stem activity, autonomic functions. The patient may seem like they are responding to outside stimuli. But, they’re not.

            The main brain that makes us human is mush. Even god can’t bring her back. And, IF anything can improve, the girl will be on the public dole forever basically being a veggie.

            What the hell kind of existence is that?

            Let her go……………

          • FT66

            Forget about those kids of their kind. They need our prayers. I’m talking about teens age like starting learning how to drive. President’s girls might miss this privilege and learn it later on their twenties.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            What’s this got to do with inequality? Nuttin………..

            If you want to really concern yourself about programming kids, consider our american need for sports figures. Most of the kids that worship these sports figures will never become them no matter what they do. But, marketing firms, stadiums, sports teams makes millions of our money. And, this don’t filter down either.

            As far as Disney though, at least a lot of these kids go and become stars and major actors, singers later in life.

    • Canistercook

      Most children of responsible parents are assured a bright future and while many single mothers raise successful children a two parent household does seem to produce more successful offspring.

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, IF you are on the lower end of the economic spectrum, your chances of ever achieving even middle class status will never succeed.

    The rules and policies of the Elite are set against you. Starting your own business is nearly impossible. Getting a good education is nearly impossible as well considering if you’re working, you’re going to have little time to study, let alone stay awake long enough in class to fully absorb what is being taught. Some people can achieve doing this. Most can’t simply because after work, you’re just too tired.

    The only real solution is when you are in school, do whatever it takes to get good grades and hopefully win a scholarship to pay for college later on. Or the other alternative is to go into the military and make it a career for 20 years, IF you don’t get killed or injured in the process.

    By around 25 or so, if you aren’t climbing the economic ladder, you will have much more trouble and you are more than likely going to fail.

    Then too, if you’re lucky, you can win the lottery. Then you can get the hell out of the US tell everyone to go straight to hell………………….

    • Independent1

      It’s sad that our country has digressed to all that; isn’t it???

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Sad? Yes it is.

    • Canistercook

      I never felt anyone else was responsible for my failures so perhaps that is why I succeeded! I no longer have to cut out cardboard to cover the holes in my soles or avoid puddles, or need my topcoat on my bed to keep warm at night!
      Moreover nor do my offspring!

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Congrats to you and your family:)

        But, there are way too many more who aren’t as fortunate.

        Today more than any other time I can remember, education is the key to everything.

        Have a nice evening:)

        • Canistercook

          Left school at 14, but worked nights and weekends. Opportunity knocked and I answered the door!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            We in our neighborhood have a kid that is around 13 or so. We hire him to do yard work from time to time. Very hard worker.

            He even gets Blisters, believe it or not:) We believe he’s going to go places as he gets older. Rather unusual sort of kid. Loves to work, highly unusual for his age and these days.

          • Canistercook

            Good. My kids worked weekends at a local Sizzler on weekends. Unfortunately one bought a bike with his earnings that was stolen. Hard lesson!

  • elw

    I agree that the economic inequities in this Country is larger than race and that people from wealthy families, regardless of their skin color, have a much easier time of “getting ahead” than their poorer counterparts, whether they deserve it or not. What bothers me is the “deserve it or not” part of the equation. The same questions come up for me each time I read an article about the growing inequity issue in this Country. I question how many creative, intelligent minds out there are being lost because of the lack of money for education and the opportunities to get the use those talent for the good of all? How many potential physicians never have access to resources to become one? How many potential researchers with the ability to discover the next antibiotic, cure for cancer or the key to genetic diseases will never get the chance to use those talents? Is this Country’s future going to fall into the hands of inept leaders who like GW Bush who take us into unnecessary wars and push us into failed economic policies, are our courts going to be manned by individuals that carelessly make decision like “corporations are people” without thinking about the impact of the decision; and how long are the greater majority of people going to put up with “rich” children getting away with murder, elected officials who make laws that hurt more than help and knowing that their children will have a harder time than they did. This Country was built on a strong Middle Class and it will not last long when that is gone. It makes you wonder if the media was not owned by the filthy rich if this subject would not be filling the airwaves instead of each little glitch of the implementation of the ACA.

    • charleo1

      I think you’ve gotten to the heart of the matter, when you ask, “How many
      intelligent minds are out there, being lost because of the lack of money…?”
      I think the answer is, tragically a lot of potential is currently being lost. And,
      not so much for the lack of money, but the political will to invest in our youth
      is something we used to believe in, universally. But, we’ve gotten away from
      that. Maybe due to this running battle between the Left Right factions, about
      public Vs,. private education. Or, some may feel it’s cheaper to just import
      educated, and skilled labor. Their governments train, or pay for education
      abroad, for those students showing the most potential in a particular field.
      Whatever the reason, it’s contributing to the lack of upward mobility. And
      is another factor in the widening income gap. It has always been the reality, the kids with loaded parents got the breaks. But, we haven’t always thought
      they were the smartest, because their Daddy, and Mommy were the richest.
      That’s what’s new. This wrongheaded assumption the rich are not just rich.
      But are mysteriously better than the rest of us. Better looking, they come
      from better families, they are more worldly, and capable, than the rest of
      us. The worship of the financially endowed. That’s what’s new. Take Mitt
      Romney! (Please!) He presented himself as this brilliant businessman. And
      Barack Obama, as a know nothing, Community Organizer. Mitt’s Father,
      a former CEO of a major car company, who once was Governor of MI.
      My point being, who had the harder climb? Who had to have the most wits,
      more capable of thinking on one’s feet. Which of these two men beat the
      longer odds, to become successful? Which of these two intelligent men
      would necessarily know more about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps?
      And how unbelievably stupid would Mitt Romney need to be, not to be successful at some point? And, my bone to pick with these Willard Mitt
      Romneys, or those, George W. Bushes, born on third base, as they say.
      Their privileged status, and huge egos have convinced them they’ve hit the
      triple. Are the very ones that seem most likely to pull a ladder they’ve
      never really had to climb. Up, and out of reach of all but those they deem
      worthy of ever ascending it. We need much less of that in our lives.

      • elw

        Yes we need to find a way that good minds do not get thrown out because of how much money their birth family has, the color of their skin or because they dare to be different. Let’s face it, in todays world Abe Lincoln would never have had the opportunity to become President. Even worse, we have lost the basic premises that this Country was established on and are getting more and more like the Countries that the early immigrants were running from.

        • Michael Kollmorgen

          There has been for quite some time a major exudes of educated people in the sciences OUT of the US.

          They are locating to places in the world where education is honored and are achieving major advances in science.

          The US has lost that scientific edge long ago.

          • elw

            Sadly you are right, but don’t say it too loud. You might cause a few heart attacks in the Conservative Right. They still think we are number 1 in everything.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            “They still think we are number 1 in everything.”

            Romans felt that way too before Rome fell.

            You know, history has a funny way of repeating itself. And, of course, good ole USA never learns from anyone’s mistakes, including our own.

            We’re doomed.

          • elw

            Maybe not, they seem to be cutting their own throat with their stupidity. Don’t give up yet.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I hope your right.

            IF polls are any indication of how a party is heading……

            Did you know, right now, the Republican Party believes 10% less in evolution as to being compared to last year. This trend reflects that the right is gaining more power within the party and making them seem even more barbaric than they are already by the public at large.

            Fine with me:)

          • elw

            They also have less members so the increase in percentage may partly be a result of the number of people they are losing. No matter what happens to the Republican Party, there will always be a small percentage of people that are ignorant and easily believe everything and follow the leader (good or bad); in the long run, minority philosophies lose, because except for brief moments in history they never have a big enough percentage to hold the winning position.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            2014 is going to tell whether or not the Public takes any of this truly to heart.

            We need to take the Republican Party down to obscurity where they have no power what so ever.

          • elw

            I agree on both points, Hey, have a great New Years and a great new year.

          • Canistercook

            Detroit already did that!

          • Canistercook

            Well evolution sure created a big difference between a new human infant and a baby elephant!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            That is certainly true.

            However, don’t discount the intelligence of lesser beings such as animals.

            We’re just starting to find out many new traits these animals have that we either ignored or just didn’t know about.

            Humans might be on the pinnacle of being most evolved. But, we’re certainly not the smartest.

            Just imagine what we could accomplish if we could use the full capacity of our brains. We only use roughly about, what, 10% of our brains?

            We could accomplish so much more – only IF!

          • Canistercook

            Guess you know a lot of Conservatives. I can’t find any that think we are number 1.

          • elw

            Really, I guess you have missed the many comments about how we have the best medical care in the world and how are education system is tops in the world that come from the Right.

          • Canistercook

            Wonder where you get your statistics?

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            It’s a wrong headed belief which comes from their view about the US using the term Exceptionalism.

            In another words, we can’t do no wrong and we are destined to do what we do. And that view has gotten the US in lots of hot water over the years.

        • Canistercook

          Perhaps then we need to take another look at our Teacher’s Unions as the country grew well when kids had less schooling than now!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I tend to agree with you on this point.

            I also put a large blame on Parents themselves. There used to be corporal punishment too. They didn’t have permanent damage either from a swat with a paddle. And, back then, parents didn’t sue a school system for every little thing. Hell, most of the time, you got sent home with a note saying the school paddled your kid, once the parent read that, you got it again. Those were the days when a parent was a parent and the schools did what they were supposed to do.

            This crazy condition today in our educational system, I put full blame on the liberal left. Long story though!

        • Canistercook

          And Obama would never have become President if he was not half black – he had no experience. It’s time to look harder at their past achievements. Running the USA is like running a BIG business – the ‘biggest’. Skin color or sex is not important – their background and experience is!

          • elw

            Really, so what past achievement did George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan have?

          • Canistercook

            Probably not enough but a heck of a lot more than Obama or Clinton. Both Reagan and Bush had governed big states as a learning process, and Reagan was very active as an exec in the Actor’s union.
            Don’t know what Bush did before being a governor. Would sure help insure intelligent voters if the media would tell us but most of them are too biased. Romney was by far the best choice but the media used Baine Company affiliation to destroy him, even though it was no different to any other American Company.. Many voters are too tie-hard devoted to their ‘party’ which is why I am an Independent. I wish Diane Feinstein would run on the Demo ticket. I would vote for her – she is smart.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Romney destroyed himself by backing rape-approving (or at least not condemning them) candidates.

            And, being the Bishop of the Mormon Church where they approve of marrying off young girls to old men in secret didn’t help either. The only cult worse than the Morons church is Scientology.

            I can’t blame Romney for running. IF nothing else, he is at least quite photogenic, sort of reminds me of the Marlboro Man. I blame the larger amount of Christianity backing him to the hilt and going against nearly every single thing Christianity stood for.

          • Canistercook

            I am not a Mormon in fact I am an Agnostic, but I have been fortunate enough and liberal enough to go with my relatives to Catholic, Protestant and Mormon church services. I found their congregations to be nice but quite different. All seemed family oriented. My friend and neighbor is the Bishop of the Mormon church near my home. They do stress strong family ties but do not support young marriages which is why they send their young off on Missionary work. Like other groups they have ‘sects’ that break away like pedophile Priests and disobey laws, but their church DOES NOT support them.
            I find it sad that so many people in our country are so misinformed and have formed these kind of biased opinions of other groups and either don’t know or choose to believe the facts about them. Mormons are achievers, resulting a lot from the fact that they learn to handle the negatives of life while on their Mission but they are law abiding strong family groups that follow their faith like other groups. You would do well if you could ‘cure’ your biases and attend one of their services – you might get to meet and know a lot of ‘NICE’ law abiding Americans.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I never said you were a Mormon.

            As far as the Mormon church, what their official public policy is versus what is done privately is two different thing. But, they aren’t the only ones. ALL church, all religions do that at least as far as western religions go.

            I am also Agnostic, very close to being Atheist. I will never attend a church service. I am sure there are many who are nice people. But, I have refused to be indoctrinated into any one specific western religion.

            IF I were to choose any specific religion to belong to, it would be either Buddhism or Taoism which I do practice in one way or the other, on and off for many years.

            You don’t need to go to a church to meet people nor be a law abiding citizen. You don’t really even need to belong to any religion to believe in a god.

          • Canistercook

            Yes you don’t need to belong to a religion but it helps you understand it and what it stands for, and gets you to know your neighbors. Many Japanese practiced your choice of religions and thought they had a God heading their country! All religions give homage to a ‘superior power’ and perhaps there is one – we just don’t know. What I feel is important is learning, listening to others and not being dogmatic and discounting others beliefs. Right now I am concerned about the future of our country being run by someone with little or no experience, who is buying his friends with promises of taking from the ‘rich’ and giving to the poor without providing an economy or structure that will continue to make any of us ‘rich’. We have gone through the eras of a “chicken in every pot’ and a ‘house for every family’ which has resulted in most of the country becoming poorer and relying on government handouts. Not a good prognosis! We have too many ‘degreed’ experts and not enough production workers which is why so many illegals come – they need money with no handouts where they come from so they will work!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            You’re wrong about the Japanese.

            A large portion of Japan believed in Shinto, which helped create a Emperor God and was only practiced in Japan. After the defeat of Japan, the Shinto religion basically became null and void, since the Emperor had to admit to the people that he was no god.

            A lot of the Japanese believe in Buddhism which does not have a god as a central entity/deity. Taoism is rarely seen outside of China. Buddhism is an outgrowth of Taoism which started way over 5000 years ago.

            If you know what Ying and Yang mean, you have a basic idea what Taoism is about – balance.

          • Canistercook

            Admit I don’t know a lot about or fully understand Asian religions but I do know something about the Mormon religion which exists in my own country. Just wish you did. They are very good people and their faith is no better nor worse than any other in our country, but because they are a smaller sect and many are located in one area we get biased misinformation about them. Just wonder if they would make fun of Jews, Catholics or Islamics the way they did on stage with the “Book of Mormon”. But the Mormons have handled it extremely well unlike perhaps the Muslims! They are a proud, strong family group of fellow Americans.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I never said there weren’t good people within the Mormon faith. I’m sure there are as there are in all religions.

            But, the Mormon Church has a horrid history about it that most people would consider the faith a cult. And, to me, any faith that practices a lot of their beliefs shrouded in secrecy is a cult. I mean, Guards around their main church isn’t very conductive towards public understanding.

            But, in any faith, its leaders is what screws it up. Even Islam is a good religion – some of the cleanest people I ever met, at least here in the states. Its leaders screwed that up big time in the Middle East. I wish I could remember the title of a book I read long ago, something about the “Weaver of Men” and had to do with Islam. Quite beautiful.

            As with all western religions though, I take the dogma with a great deal of Salt.

          • Canistercook

            Don;t know what you mean by it’s ‘horrid’ history! At one time they rejected blacks as did many in the U.S.A. and they accepted commune type marriages as does some countries and people still. But it has changed all that and abides by our laws. It has never fawned terrorists like the Islamic or Catholic groups of Ireland and gone around blowing innocent people up When there are hate groups that produce terrorists and one has a beautiful church one should protect it as they do you say.. I believe all ‘faiths; are ‘cults’ just some are bigger than others. But as long as they come in peace and contribute something to a civilized society I respect them.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            You have a point well taken.

            At least they don’t go around blowing up people and churches like the Caths and Prots did in Ireland.

            And, they don’t spawn terrorist groups like the Muslims do.

            THAT WE KNOW OF!

            I respect religious people only to a point. I tolerate, that’s all. I consider people like this to be weak-willed and play the blame game looking for excuses and looking to find scapegoats (they usually find lots of them) for their own problems.

            I could tell you of several people I personally know who are like this. But, it would take an essay and I really don’t have the space to do it.

            In a nutshell, I consider all religions just as I do politics to be entities who seek to control and manipulate the masses. It’s all a mind control game! I think it was Marx(?) that said religion is the Opiate of the Masses. He was right.

            You do know, politics and religion are really one and same. They just go about doing their thing differently, but have same goal.

            BTW, just to mention, Iraq is starting to fall apart again – big time. I predicted it would long ago. Does this mean, our country is going to “find a reason” to go back there (we haven’t truly left yet), build our military back up there and get our guys killed, AGAIN? Afganestan will be the same in another few years.

            What makes the US think we can change centuries old religious fighting in just a few years? We can’t!

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        The wealthy have always worshiped their status.

        The biggest change I’ve seen is many in the lower middle class are worshiping the rich believing the rich are righteous and can do no wrong.

        If this is the result of lowering the educational level of Americans, they’re doing a wonderful job.

    • Bryan Blake

      I would only point out that historically this country has been built upon the backs of the working poor. Working in conditions that are only once again beginning to manifest in our country and are quite common throughout the cheap/slave labor countries now the backbone of our new world economy. The “great” American capitalist such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan, Vanderbilt and others were ruthless toward their competition and in particular extremely ruthless toward those on their payrolls. The anti-labor atrocities and conflicts of that time and well into the 20th century are thoroughly documented. But they are unknown to the vast majority of Americans – especially to the very people whose work is exploited the most by the modern “free-market capitalists”. But it appears that a “new labor movement” may be taking root among the very sort of low wage workers that sparked the gilded age revolution in the relationship between capital and labor. What is not being said in the “lip service” of the DLCcrats and the GOP is that labor unions are essential to the growth and prosperity of the middle class. It is negotiation that produces good paying jobs that not only benefit workers but also make the capitalist class a lot more money. Taxing the rich and ultra-rich on their new found wealth at a increased rate will resolve the phony deficit problems and allow us to begin to restore our infrastructure, rebuild our educational system and the many other areas neglected by four decades of Republican policies.

      Only for a few brief decades was this country built by the labor of the middle class. A large and vibrant middle class has only existed in this country from the 1940s through the 1970s. With the election of President Reagan the demise of the middle class and the labor unions began and has accelerated into its destruction we are shuffling through today. If you are not a union member become one even if your employer does not allow it. Your dues can support the growth in union shops and the political activity of the union. I am disabled and cannot work. So I occasionally contribute to the political activity of a couple of large unions during election cycles.

      • charleo1

        Well, “Comrade Blake.” Your Socialist, Government funded education is evident! And, just what are they teaching nowadays, in place of the long and often bloody struggle of labor to form unions, and to collectively bargain for better wages, and safer working conditions? How is the outlawing of child labor explained. Or, the breaking up of those monopolistic behemoths, like Standard Oil. That crushed competition, set it’s own prices, and had the ability to cripple the economy. And in the wrong hands, colluding with other giant monopolies, such as the railroads, could control, or even bring down the U.S. government itself. For in those days, Congress in their collective clutches, granted their every wish. With Marx predictions of a worker revolution, and the fall of Capitalism ultimately proven wrong, only because he judged the formation of labor unions, and the establishment of worker’s Rights in such a system, impossible without one. I haven’t been in a 7th grade Civics class in a very long time. So, maybe they no longer teach this. Perhaps they teach only that Teddy Roosevelt charged up San Juan Hill, was elected President, and is now dead. So, while all of this has an undeniable familiarity to me. Many are strangely, inexplicably, unaware.
        Nothing in today’s headlines sparks a memory. Perhaps, because there is no memory to spark. No recollection of just how the 40 hr. week came to be, or the misery that preceded it. And worse, no idea, or concern whatsoever, this could all be visited on the vast majority of us again.

        • Bryan Blake

          Here in the Libertarian Republic of Texas they don’t even bother. The State Board of Education just cuts and disregards historical events and facts in order to fashion textbooks which convey their right wind script. The goal of the SBOE is to provide a “dumbed-down education”. The SBOE has been controlled by the right wind evangelical Christians for a couple of generations and they have steadily replaced history, science, government (civics) with their own worldview. Texas students not only receive an inferior education but are taught out-right lies a.k.a. right wind propaganda. The last time I was a substitute teacher in high school was a number of years ago when I could still work part time. As I looked through an American history textbook I was struck with the disconnect of the text from the history that I learned from elementary through postgraduate. All the events you refer to were either not there, misstated or the narratives were downright false. This year push-back stopped the SBOE from adopting science textbooks that incorporated the teaching of creationism, intelligent design and relegated The Theory of Evolution to their definition of “theory”.

          These people are the true defenders of the privilege of birth. Public education should only produce piss ants suitable for low wage jobs and at the end of the day being entertained by reality TV and video games. Furthermore, they ignore the words of Jesus when he said give away all you own and come follow me. They glorify the rich and hide behind the virtual temple walls that would still make Jesus look upon them as piss ants!

        • Sand_Cat

          The last I heard, the Rand people at least were claiming all the abuses you mention were ended when they became unprofitable rather than as the result of those who fought to end them.
          Not to disparage the heroes who fought, but the Randians may not be all wrong.

          • charleo1

            These people claim a lot of things. The only reason, outside
            of mental derangement, or moral depravity, to work people like animals. and pay them only enough to keep them alive, is the profit that is gained from doing so. The only thing preventing them from doing so again in this Country, is the law, enforced by the government. Not surprising then, they hate the government. People who believe the Randians are either fools, or stand to reap the profits from their lies.
            We, need only look at how these smiley faced, U.S. corporations are treating their workers in counties where
            a totalitarian, or Communist government, without a Constitution, or a Bill of Rights, or worker safety regulations,
            are treating their workers there. As proof of exactly the treatment we’d get here. Or, check out how polluted their
            countries are becoming, to find out how poisoned the air, and water would become here, before they would cut their profits and self enforce some environmental restraints.
            The fact is, freedom, and Liberty, are to be protected.
            The responsibilities that accompany them, often need enforcement, or everyone winds up with neither.

        • Canistercook

          Guess we do have unionized teachers don’t we. And unionized media with journalists that graduated from schools with unionized

          • charleo1

            Yes, we also have unionized actors, directors, and stage
            crews. We also have unionized football, basketball, and
            baseball. There are, unionized Federal Workers, Police, Fire, and trade unions. We can see the decline of the Middle Class pay, and benefits, directly correlates with the decline of union membership in the private sector. I consider there to be no bigger fool, than the average, work a day, American, that trumpets the demise of the labor unions as some big victory for freedom. While considering their own gains, and salary in the workplace, sacrosanct, or purely the results of their own good looks, or talent. That the biggest lie in a Capitalistic system is that a boss GIVES out a raise, or GIVES out a promotion, because the worker works real hard, or stands there with his hat in his hand, begging. If the last 40 years have proven anything, they’ve proven, the biggest secret is no one GIVES anyone, anything in this Country. If workers want a share of the wealth they are creating, in a Capitalist system they must TAKE IT! Without unions, Capitalism becomes for the vast majority a real life game of Monopoly, and workers don’t get a seat at the table, or a roll of the dice. It’s just that simple.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I totally agree.

          • Canistercook

            Wonder why the country is falling in power than rising!
            Wonder why GM and Detroit went bankrupt!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Part of the problem was that outsourcing of our wealth and jobs to China, Mexico, Vietnam and other places didn’t help a bit. Also turning our economy into a “service-based” economy will never make up for the lost income that good manufacturing jobs paid.

            GM’s problem was partly their own fault. Too many inferior cars where quality wasn’t important and too expensive. Problem is, these rice-burners are getting just as expensive lately.

            Detroit was because they lost their manufacturing tax base, like a lot of other rust-belt cities did.

            Much of this has to do with the Unions demanding higher and higher wages and fringe packages where it just wasn’t justified as compared to the rest of the american work force.

          • Canistercook

            What you overlooked was that China, Vietnam and Mexico were buying our products, Deere Tractors, 747’s, I-pads and Starbucks coffee, etc., etc.
            So many think it is a one-way street. It isn’t which is why we must continue to compete if we are to sustain our living standards. Our Government unions are pricing us out of the market!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Oh, I never consider something like this one way at all. It’s a mix.

            However, when people talk about competing with a country, say like China, Vietnam, it’s like comparing apples with oranges.

            There is no way the average american work would be able to lower their wages down the level they are paid over there and still expect to live “our” current living standards. In order to completely compete with them on a total level playing field, we’d also have to live as they do, eat as they do and live our lives as they live theirs AND get paid as much as they do there.

            That is totally impossible.

            So, in any way you want to look at it, the US looses as long as we rely on global competition for our survival. Of course, we could reduce our wages to the level they pay over there and live 3+ families in a household, work from the front of your home, cardboard shacks. Yea, we’d compete then.

            Believe it or not, not too long ago, the US virtually was self-sustaining. We didn’t need hardly a dam thing from any of these countries for our economic survival.

          • Canistercook

            Guess having been China I would not mind eating and living as they do now. Pretty good and safe place to live. They are well paid and happy and mostly honest people. You are 40 years behind with their living standards.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            For me, or for that matter anyone, who would be transplanted into their culture, it would be tough going.

            It’s called Culture Shock.

            I admit, it would be interesting to live in China or any other country in the Orient. I’ve often thought living in Japan would be fantastic. I love the Oriental way of thinking and behaving. It’s totally different than our culture.

            Though being 65 this June, adapting to their culture would be hard to do. That sort of thing is a young mans game. If I had to live my life over I might do something like that. I thought about it seriously at one time 40 years ago, along with moving to Canada (hate cold though), Mexico, South America, parts of the Netherlands.

            I like their Us, the group psychology, rather than the Me, Me psychology we have here.

          • Canistercook

            Something has gone terribly wrong in America since the 60’s and I am not sure how to fix it. Johnson’s War on Poverty sure seems to have made it worse – hence Detroit. I was impressed with how the Japanese (who drink a lot of saki) can take their drunk co-workers to the subway station and leave them sleeping there until they wake and are sober enough to take the train home. They KNOW they won’t get rolled or attacked. A very safe society as is China from that issue. I guess I feel somewhat of a Fascist in a leftists society in that I am beginning to believe we need ‘labor camps’ to replace our expensive prisons and to require all young people between 18 to 25 if they are not in a full time job or full time college or apprenticeships to do two years of ‘service’ to the country which would help both society and them. Cities like Detroit, Chicago and Oakland might then improve! But it is not easy to think this way or expound these theories in a society that is leaning further to the left.and now is attacking it’s Corporations and it’s Rich – many of whom are it’s standard of living creators and contribute a lot to our society. Having risen from what might be described as ‘poor’ to ‘middle class’ I appreciate the opportunities America afforded me, but I am concerned about her loss of productivity and blaming it on the very people who once created it.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Well, I don’t want to stick my neck out too far and get my head chopped off. What the hell………..

            To a large degree, I blame liberalization of family values and of our educational system for the majority of our problems.

            As far as me being a hard left winger, I do feel america has gone too far to the left when it concerns family and children.

            Father is no longer the main bread winner as he is supposed to be. Mother is no longer a mother. Kids do what they want, when they want and parents can’t do a thing about it and neither can the schools.

            The “child” now has more rights than the adults who support and care for them. For evidence of this, just try to spank your kid for doing something wrong. That child could potentially put you in jail on phony child abuse charges for making them behave. And, the schools, especially their counselors, will do whatever they can to make sure you do go.

            In our schools today, boys are no longer boys and girls are becoming maschinized. I believe there is a conspiracy going on that is being covertly perpetrated by the Women’s Liberation Movement to bring this sort of thing on. Studies constantly show, in our schools today, boys are more subject to being “medicated” than girls for so-call behavioral problems.

            These problems started after the soldiers came back from WW2 and started raising families.

            In this area, I am staunchly conservative.

      • elw

        The corporate right is against anything the gives worker more power, for that reason alone I support unions. The dirty little secret corporate American does not want anyone to remember is that when the working masses unite they have more power than the money grabbing corporations. Corporations cannot exist without people who are willing to work for them and million of people who are willing to buy their products. I contribute by not buying anything I really do not need and getting second hand, if possible, when I do need. I am learning to grow my own vegetables and work each day to find ways to not give them my money. If everyone supported Unions by not buying at store work against them, unions would soon have their power back. I also think the ACA will start to give workers more choices about where they can work, I know that many people stay on jobs just for the health coverage. It will be interesting to see how the ACA affects that as the years move ahead.

        • Canistercook

          A Corporation is a ‘Union of Investors’ who produce jobs and goods as did Henry Ford and it benefited the people, including the investors and the workers!

          • elw

            So Investors are allow to form unions but worker are not? My Grandfather worked for Henry Ford, he talked to him everyday. Henry Ford knew the name of every one who worked for him. There is no comparing Henry Ford to todays Corporations who consider workers as something they own rather than individuals human beings and which puts its personal profit first.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Yes, Ford was a great man.

            However, the workplace became so oppressive, the workers finally had to form unions, strike, etc.

            Ford even hired spies to spy on the workers. As he got older he became extremely paranoid and more repressive.

            By the time of his death, he was thoroughly hated by nearly everyone that worked for him.

          • elw

            My grandfather worked for him during the period that he was up and coming. Family stories say that Ford begged him to invest in his factory. My grandfather had other ideas of what he wanted out of life so refused, or so the family story goes. My grandfather died right before I was born. I am a firm believer that money corrupts and changes people – even money earned legally and through hard work. I have several family members that demonstrate that quite well.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I also have some former relatives, now dead, who were quite well to do. Yes, they all worked their butts off, but wealth changed them over time and not in a good way either.

            They weren’t corrupted, but attitudes and perceptions changed them dramatically from being peace-loving to pure bastards.

            In other areas of the “family”, there was always some sort of fight going on over someone’s car, or new home. The relatives could never get along with each other and all died hating each others guts.

            Mom, Dad and I escaped most of it because we lived 60 miles away. But, not completely! Dads side of the family was just as bad and right near by.

            Wealth and/or lack of it can ruin an entire family. Thankfully, that sort of crap stops with me. I won’t be carrying on that tradition to a new generation because I won’t be making any.

          • elw

            Yep, I agree and exactly why I retired far enough away from that part of my family to make “getting together” work. Wealth or lack of it can only ruin a family when your relationship with money become more important than your relationships with people.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Actually, I advise anyone to move as far away as possible from family members.

            This is especially true when you’re just starting out in life. You don’t need all that additional emotional baggage.

          • elw

            I think that is why so many young people are so happy to go away for college.

          • Canistercook

            I feel very fortunate in having all my family members near me. I see them as an asset not an ’emotional liability’ even when we have many different opinions on things.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            There are many families that get along very well. But, my experience has been that most don’t.

            This is probably the #1 reason why we have so many problems in our society. A kid grows up in a dysfunctional family and he carries that trait for the rest of their lives, perpetuating that same beliefs and behavior patterns generation through generation.

            Yes, staying around family can be emotionally draining and will be a major liability. It’s been proven out time and again.

          • Canistercook

            And some cavemen used to steal another’s kill if they could.
            That is why we seek to destroy corruption both right wing and left wing. But sure is hard to get balance reading some of these comments!.

          • Canistercook

            Had to or were coerced to? I wonder! At least they were ‘working’!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Yea, you are right. At least it was a job!

            I doubt the common worker was coerced to join the union.

            I read some real horror stories about Ford and his dealings. He started off with high noble ideals. But, later in life, he became extremely paranoid. This is what lead to a lot of problems in the company, repressive working conditions. Safety was a major issue also. This all lead to the unions gaining a foothold in it.

            I’ve always believed that if the company treats its employees fairly and pays well, there is no need for a union.

            Most of the companies I worked for in my career over the years, didn’t have a union. And, honestly, I don’t believe I needed to be in one either primarily because the companies I worked for was fairly decent. Believe me, I didn’t stay long at the ones that weren’t.

            But, times have really changed. 30 years ago, you could quit one job and work the next day at another. You can’t switch jobs as easily as I used to anymore.

          • Canistercook

            Unions have their value but I object when many government workers get to retire at 55 on high pensions over $30,000 a year and I get $12,000 at 65 and I am taxed to pay their pensions!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Well, that don’t bother me.

            I figure if they did their job for those 20+years and put up with all the crap involved with it, they deserve that retirement.

            The problem with the rest of us is that we weren’t lucky enough, weren’t in the right place at the right time, or didn’t kiss enough ass to get into a job like that.

            You know, not so many years ago, there was talk of working only until you hit 50 and you retire. There was also plans for working only 40 hours a week but 4 days a week. None of this ever came to pass though.

            In my own situation, I could not stay in a company very long to get a pension, sometimes due to being laid off all the time, or just wouldn’t tolerate the crap and quit. Also, I was never able to get into a real good company for the most part. It was my fault for the most part. And, I never really got a good education. I won’t deny it.

            Now, I’m 64, on disability retirement due to severe Arthritis for the past 2 years. I get a little pension, no biggie in any way. What I get though, I earned every single penny of it.

            No, I don’t feel jealous about these people in any way.

            Who knows, maybe in the next life our luck might change:)

          • Canistercook

            Then shouldn’t the SS go broke retiring the rest of us at 50?

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Those were concepts that was thrown around, probably 30 years ago.

            They didn’t have any real impact on anything. But, it would have been nice if they could have figured out how to do it and still maintain our living standards.

            It would have to be a complete radical change in how we look at money, etc.

          • Canistercook

            Those on the far left of the political side have difficulty understanding that ‘money’ has no real value. It was invented because it was simpler to tote around than a bucket of potatoes. So we gave a value to that bucket of potatoes and we expressed it in paper money. You still have to produce the bucket of potatoes to back it up! Higher pay (money) must result from higher production!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Sure, I agree, that higher pay must result from higher production, in most situations. But, I also include quality in the mix. Mass production is great. But, if the quality isn’t there, its junk.

            But, how much can you produce before everything you produce floods the market so much, what it would cost drops like a lead sinker because there is too much of it. There is a point where there is just too many widgets.

            I’ve always believed mass production can only do so much because money is not infinite. And, this is the limiting factor because a consumer can only buy so much.

          • Canistercook

            We have a market flooded with Chinese goods but potholes in our roads because most of our taxes go to government pay and pensions. What the left does not understand is that we now have a powerful government force overpaid and over-pensioned that along with the unionized media is brainwashing them. The USSR had the same problem and it collapsed under the weight. They are now recovering after changing their government. Hope we can re-educate enough people before it is too late. We need the ‘rich’ and the ‘corporations’ – they are the ones that fund and develop our economy.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            You are only partly right.

            Yes, corporations fund and develop business. But, if it weren’t for the worker working for them and buying their products, they would not be able to exist. You can pour all the money you want into a business, but if people don’t work for you or buy your product, you will fail. Even corporations can’t live in a bubble.

            And, I don’t like the comparison you made, comparing our economy to the communist Russians. We are two completely different economic systems.

            Actually, if it weren’t for the communist torturing people to get the people in line and IF greed and corruption didn’t set it, it might have been a much better system to live under.

            Our system is not that much better. There are many disadvantages to both systems. The only economic system I believe is fair and equitable for everyone is pure socialism IF it can be practiced correctly.

            But, even here, if corruption, greed and lust for power sets it, it will eventually fail just as any form of government has.

          • Canistercook

            Russian communism resulted in a huge government running everything, including health care like the IRS will be doing. Much of it has since been cut back and reduced and taken over by private enterprise and now they are prospering. I have visited Russia three times.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Yes, some in Russia is prospering. I’ll grant you that:)

            However, don’t be fooled, there now is way more poverty and latent corruption there than when there was communism.

            The 10% we use here for the wealthy is taken to an extreme in Russia.

            I’ve been hearing for quite some time that the majority of the citizens of Russia welcome capitalism with a very skeptical eye. At the same time though they are keeping a welcoming eye open for the return of communism.

            That’s how bad the extremes are in the income gap in that country.

            And please, keep in mind, we weren’t too far from turning communist or Nazist ourselves shortly before FDR put in place his new deal during the depression.

            The American Communist Party was holding massive demonstrations at that time. And the Nazis weren’t too far behind.

            During the Depression the United States was very close to turning either Communist or Nazi. In either direction the pendulum might have swung, it would have spelled the end of our democracy (whatever that means).

          • Canistercook

            Arthritis is painful disease, but I read that exercise and a good Specialist can help it. Luck and our own decisions plays an awful lot in how we end up. As a young worker in London I had an offer of two jobs – One with the Foreign Office in Africa and the other with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg where I met my spouse and we moved to the West Coast of America. Always wonder where I would be today if I had gone to Africa! I get $450 a month SS. Will help with my winter fuel bill I guess at 85! Be careful the left wing “The National” and the right wing “The Townhall” both are branwashing periodicals edited by young journalists whose main achievement was a B.A. in Journalism! Keeping informed and don’t believe everything you read and discount the ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ whipping boys and all their nonsense is not an easy task. America came out ahead in the sixties as a result of hard working responsible workers, rich and poor alike. Miners, cotton pickers, settlers, steel workers, ship builders, etc. They both rich and poor like the Chinese railway workers created a great nation. Let’s not ruin it.

          • Canistercook

            Who said Unions don’t have the right to form? Google for example, is VERY profitable, sans a Union, and like many Corporations is VERY good to it’s non union employees. We just need balance and right now it is the Government unions that are ‘out of balance’.. .

          • charleo1

            You’ve put the cart ahead of the horse, haven’t you?
            It’s the people that buy the products, who produce the
            jobs, that benefits the investors. That’s the reason Henry
            Ford paid each of his workers more than the going rate.
            Henry realized something very basic. Something so
            fundamental, it is amazing so many of today’s corporate
            CEOs, seem to have missed it altogether.. A union of
            investors, with workers of the highest skill, creating things
            of which there is great desire. Are at once of little use to
            anyone, if the, “Market,” (the market being those customers.)
            Which are the most important element. The rulers of every
            Capitalists ever born. If the market doesn’t posses both the desire, and the ability to buy. All else is superfluous. Investors lose their investment. Workers lose their jobs. Factories close, homes are foreclosed on, cars go back to the dealer, cities lose their tax base, and people leave town.

          • Canistercook

            You can’t buy it until someone makes or grows it!

          • charleo1

            Is there some reason for your aversion to acknowledging
            that consumer demand drives the market? That the market
            is the customer? That businesses exist for no other reason
            but to build, grow, or provide those services or products, which the customer needs, desires, and has the money to pay for? You may say, it can’t be bought, until someone makes, or grows it. While true, it’s not how a Capitalistic system works. A business may anticipate, may see a demand not being filled. Now, if they are correct, they are successful. If they are wrong however, they fail. And the determiner between those two possible outcomes, or any variation of them, rests ultimately with the consumer. That’s why economists refer to America as having a consumer based economy. Seventy percent of our economic growth is determined by the amount of goods, and services, that are bought by American consumers. It’s why solid wages are so important to job growth, business expansion, and a vital robust economy. And it’s also why low wages cause unemployment, and slow or no growth. And the likelihood of new businesses to either flourish, or fail, depends on the overall financial well being of the majority. Not whether the top 1% get a tax cut.

          • Canistercook

            Productivity drives the market. You cannot pay higher wages to people unless you have the INCOME. You don’t have the income unless you PRODUCE it. GM for example failed to do that. A farmer succeeds if he is able to grow and produce and those that do can hire people to help them. That is what provides jobs and the income to buy his produce.

          • charleo1

            Productivity does not drive the market. Productivity has to do with the effectiveness of productive effort in terms of the rate of output per unit of input. For example, since the amount of time required to produce one unit, or widget, is reflected as part of the costs, if all other factors remain equal, a widget produced in less time, may be sold for a cheaper price, or at an increase in profits. But, the number of widgets produced, is determined by the level of demand in the market for this particular widget. GM was hobbled by legacy costs, yes. But, they were also making an inferior product, and lost their share of the demand that was in contained in the market. Look, the market is the boss, not the manufacture. People don’t buy them just because they make them. Or make them quicker, or more productively.
            For the sake of example, let’s say in the year 2005, there was demand for 500,000 units. That’s the pie. That’s all the demand for new cars there was ever gonna be in 2005. GM is not the only car maker, so that pie will be divided among Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, etc. Being more efficient at producing a car is great. But efficiency does not, and cannot, increase the size of the pie. That is determined by the vitality of the general economy. GM could make 500,000 cars, and make them very efficiently, but some in the market are going to buy a Ford, or a Toyota. Can you see if productivity drove the market, everyone would turn out all the cars they could. Why don’t they? Because unless they sell them, to who? The consumer, Right? You say, well they can’t buy them if someone don’t make them. No, if someone don’t buy them, they will not be making them for very long. Did you not read or understand my clear explanation of how our economy is consumer based, and not manufacture based? I know they love to preach about how the wealthy investor is God in the Right Wing. As if they do everyone a big favor, and the least the rest of us can do in return, is buy whatever it is they
            make available. You know, build the elite class all up in people’s heads. But nothing’s changed. At the end of the day, all of them are ruled, and their bottom lines, and profits are all determined by that customer that walks in their stores, parts with their money, and buys something.

          • Canistercook

            Did you ever wonder where their ‘money’ came from tobegin with!

          • charleo1

            It’s wholly immaterial as to where the investor acquired the
            start up funds. They could be the proceeds garnered from
            another business, borrowed or inherited. But for the investment to be made at all, requires an assessment of risk, to the probability of reaping a reward, The information used to make these decisions is found in analyzing the particular market in which he hopes to sell his product. Yet again, another example of a market based, market driven, economy. To realize a return on any funds expended on research, development, market testing, and production. There must be sufficient sales in a timely enough manner, for the investor to realize an approiate return vs. no, or low risk options available to him as to where he might put his money. So, even to the extent he has funds available, every dollar of said funds were at one time generated by a sale to one market or another, that completed the business cycle. With each paying client, or customer, not only buying the product, but also each paying a sum beyond the costs incurred from everything that had went on from conception to delivery, and the final sale. The problem we, the U.S. has now, is not that the investor class doesn’t have the money to invest. It’s the poor investment climate that’s caused by too many potential customers, having too little funds to spend in the marketplace to increase the demand factor enough, that investors feel the risks outweigh the potential returns. But, again it all comes down to the condition of the market. Example: Say you were
            selling apples on the street corner. Would you sell more apples, if 2 out of 10, passing your corner had the money to buy, if they wanted. Or if 3 out of 10, passing your corner had
            the money to buy your apples?

          • Canistercook

            Strange but I see a heck of a lot of people in stores like Macy’s and Target etc., buying baskets full of imported junk and there are a heck of a lot of foreign cars around so money seems to be around but not American Producers!

          • charleo1

            So, you’re really going to tell me the wealthy aren’t investing,
            even though from your observations, there’s plenty of money?
            All right, I give up. You can lead a horse to water.

          • Canistercook

            All sensible people try to find a good way to invest any spare money but some are big spenders. Trouble is I see a Communistic type mentality growing among many and as it did in Russia I am afraid it will drive both the brains and the investment money out of the U.S. One of our rich Silicon Valley entrepreneurs has already split to Singapore. Wonder how many plan to follow? Both areas have good climates!.

          • Canistercook

            They are investing but not in America.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            The reason why that is happening is because the US has very lax import taxes as compared to a lot of other countries.

            And, the “american producers” are now in China trying to make a fast buck on their imported junk. Look at Harbor Freight, mostly Chinese Reverse Engineered former brand name knockoffs. Under heavy use, they don’t last a week.

            Even some of the Brand Name products that is made now in China and imported back here ain’t worth a fuck. I used to deal with that crap all the time when I operated my own Machine Shop.

          • Canistercook

            The reason for low import taxes is retaliation. We export a lot of things like 747’s so all countries use caution in raising import taxes. At least Obama understands that. Japanese production used to be known as Junk but no more! They improve while we smugly tell ourselves ‘we are the best’. I still hope America will wake up to the ‘real’ world and elect smarter people than Obama, Hillary and Jesse Jackson’s son. Take a look at Kerry or Dianne Feinstein! There are some smart Democrats out there, Clinton was one who united us rather than dividing us. He understood the investment world.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            IF Japan is any indication of what their progress is and will be in improving their products, China should follow the same path.

            Japan at one time shortly after WW2 was known for turning out lots of junk. No more though. I think China will follow the same path in the future.

            But, in the mean time, the US will fall further down the rabbit hole because of our arrogance and greed. Eventually, in a few generations, maybe sooner, I predict the US will be a Third World Country. The World will see to it. Just a matter of time.

            Problem is, people up north are not going to be able to live in cardboard shacks like they do in warm-climate countries. And, current building codes are not going to allow 3 families to a household either. Should be interesting to see how this is going to evolve. I’m glad I won’t be around to witness it.

            I’m also glad don’t plan on making a future generation that is going to inherit this mess we’re creating.

            Best advice, pack your family up, dogs, cats, the works. Move completely out of the country while you can. You’ll be most likely be forced to anyway because that’s the only way you’re going to survive.

            It’s already starting. The educated and truly enlightened at not staying here.

          • Canistercook

            No – don’t abandon the sinking ship – pump out the water and fix the hole. Demand that those that can and should contribute to our society contribute and act responsibly.
            Let’s get back to ‘fathers’ working to support the children they beget, or they should not beget them!
            Let’s take good care of those who are truly in need but ‘punish’ those that abuse their bodies or the system. Smokers, drinkers and overeaters for example should pay a higher premium for Obamacare! Let the truly ‘poor’ unemployed collect food stamps and welfare. My niece on unemployment is having a great time and not even trying to get a job She has a big bank account and lives at home. We have made it too easy for people to take government checks and it is ruining our economy. We have encouraged the ‘bad back disability’ my back aches too!, the ‘single parent’ with three children, the ‘unemployed’ that can’t find a job that pays enough to make it worthwhile to get out of bed in the morning the underground non-tax paying entrepreneur.
            I say let a fair IRS audit my 1040 but let’s audit better those that receive my taxes. I like to help the deserving needy but not the undeserving lazy greedy. For example “Why are birth control pills provided for free under Obamacare yet a deaf person not a hearing aid?” Something has gone terribly wrong in our political system. I just read that Democratic Gov Brown is getting a lot of financial support from Casinos and Hollywood. We need to be very careful to know how much brain washing that will buy. We are being ‘bought’ from all sides! Sure we need the rich to be taxed but overtaxing (50% of net income in California) and pouring it on to some of the lazy, irresponsible poor will not solve our problems but will only make it worse. The Democrats use the ‘richr as their whipping boy and the GOP uses the ‘welfare crowd’ and Hitler used the Jewish Bankers. It’s time to not allow anyone to use a ‘whipping boy’ on us! Just who and what is the ‘middle class’. Guess he or she is us Americans! Just hope America will fix the hole and realize how much they are being ‘brainwashed’. Just read “The National” or “The Townhall” and you will get a good brainwashing from both sides of the aisle!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I basically believe and agree with everything you stated.

            Those are all great “ideals”.

            But, I doubt anything even close to it will ever come to pass short of a full revolution. Honestly, this is all sort of like beating a dead horse. It isn’t going to happen.

            There way too many takers, losers, players on both sides of the isle. Too much corporate greed also. And, every single one of us is being played for a fool by both sides as well.

            I used to be like you, try to fix things. I’ve grown weary and old trying to do it, wound up in a nut house twice over worrying about other people’s problems. I’ve wasted my life trying to tell people the same as you believe.

            I’m not going to try and change society. Sometimes I think our society is not worth saving. In reflection, this country probably isn’t either.

            I’ve done my duty, worked my as off, paid my taxes. All I basically want to do now is become a Porch Monkey; collect my pension, get a beer and a shot every so often, have the basic necessities of life and hope I croke without a lot of pain.

            Being 64, and being perfectly honest about it, I don’t give a crap anymore! Let someone else put up with the bullshit.

            I’ve had it.

          • Canistercook

            Cheer up! From 65 you still have a lot of living still to do! I wish you did not put so much of the blame on Corporations though which like everything some are good and some are bad but many have made us a rich country. The Unions for example have a good purpose but many have gone on to destroy our shipbuilding, shoe, garment,steel, auto, etc. industries by pricing us out of the world markets. We got rich manufacturing affordable cars, Deere tractors, 747’s throughout the world, and our farmers exporting corn along with other products but our export market is drying up because we are not competing. We now have a heck of a lot of Social Worker graduates, lawyers, politicians, IRS workers, inspectors and too few affordable producers, There are two sides to everything and unless you address both sides with an open mind and realize there are those that give and those that take it is easy to develop biases. I am fortunate to have two great corporations in my back yard – Apple and Google both invented by two smart young ‘poor’ individuals like the guys that invented Hewlet Packard.. Many corporations provide a lot of good things to us, including jobs.
            What I wonder would better replace them. State owned companies like Russia? Fed X is doing better than the USPO! Right now the left wing has a war on corporations and unfortunately it is only resulting in less googles and apples for us. Many Corporations are formed by young entrepreneurs who contribute their brains and efforts to producing something and ask us, the workers, to invest in stock and their companies to support their effort -, not all are good but most are. So give a care for my grand- childrens sake and try to read both The National and the Townhall and realise both are trying to brain wash us for their benefit and there is a need to think beyond them both.
            We are being deliberately divided by them for their political power and too much power can be a destructive thing. The Nazi party in Gerrmany gave Hitler too much power! Something is sure going wrong in our country today and I blame it on the Media!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            I’ve found out long ago that when you give someone, even corporations a foot, they’ll take a mile.

            You can’t trust anyone to act responsibly. And, ethically is another entire ball of crap.

            Yes, Corporations in part, gave us our middle class. But, left unchecked and unregulated they become greedy and self-serving as like anything that is money-driven.

            How would you like it if your property becomes contaminated with pollution and you the property owner has no recourse for its repair or restoration as a result of your local company/corporation conducting business. Or, you become injured on the job through no fault of your own and you are left without a job as a result of their lack of oversight for your safety.

            Put yourself in their shoes then you’ll see that this all isn’t so black n white.

            I’ve worked in factories most of my adult life. Yes, you earn a living, sometimes really good wages. But, when it become repressive, dangerous, the company’s need for profit must take second place to worker safety, etc. Left to their own devices, companies could give a crap less about their workers. You are nothing more than an accounting figure in their equations.

            Yes, I will grant, there are some great corporations out here. And, they’re well known. Also there are more than enough bad companies that make the good ones seem small in number.

            Yes, I blame the media to a large degree too. I haven’t seen any actual “journalism” in years. Where’s all the hard-hitting journalist? What I do see is mostly commercialized, watered-down pieces.

            Oh hell, I feel great:) Why?, because I don’t give a crap. I don’t worry about other people’s problems like I used to.

            I am going through a few medical problems now though. I tore out my shoulder ligament probably around 8 months ago. To this day, I still don’t know how it happened. I’ll be getting surgery on the 24th to fix it. If I had to pay for it out of pocket, I couldn’t afford it. But, since I have Medicare and United my bill won’t be nearly as bad. The services the government is providing is what I earned over the years. It isn’t an entitlement.

            For a long time, I couldn’t even get prescriptions for needed other problems to get taken care of. I had to send a script to Canada to get my inhalers at 10% of what it would have cost me at the local drug store. Now that I am on Medicare and United, I’m being taken care of better than when I was working.

            My companion is now applying for extended Medicaid, partly provided by ACA. He’s qualified. This means, he will get the needed medical help and scripts he’s needed for 20 years he wasn’t able to get, or barely so. Yes, he worked his ass off. But, never made enough to afford a good healthcare plan. And, he’s a business owner to boot.

            Don’t you see there is something drastically wrong with this picture?

            What’s wrong is this country. It’s fucked up. What’s fucked up is that there is 10% of our population living off the backs of everyone else, call them corporations, the rich, politicians, the leechers, it don’t matter.

            What the real problem is, is Uncontrolled Capitalism. It must die as a economic model. And, I see nothing short of a full revolution to kill it.

            The next question must be: what will replace it? What safeguards will we put in place to prevent greed, corruption, lust for power to take hold again?

            Can it even be done? Basic human nature tells me it can’t.

            I’m sorry, but I see very little hope for the human race and this planet in general. We’re going to destroy everything over the mighty dollar bill.

            Do you know what the future holds for the human race and our planet? We’re all going to wind up just like in the movie Soylent Green.

            Laugh all you like. Think I’m a nut. But, all indicators point to this.

            Yes, we can alter that future. But, we’ll have to change the nature of how we look upon the value of human and our animal beings. We must put us AND them first among everything else. Put Money and Religion back into the Pandora’s Box where it came from.

            If we don’t, I say we are doomed!

    • Canistercook

      Funny I thought the ‘media’ was being warped by a bunch of college graduates who took ‘journalism’ in school – not Engineering or Agriculture!

      • elw

        Funny, but your wrong. What passes for news today is far from journalism and anything but news.

        • Canistercook

          Guess that is something we can agree on!

    • Canistercook

      I find it interesting that you blame Bush and the courts! I was born to a poorer lower class family in the U.K., left school at 14 and got a job working 5.5 days a week. Was lucky at least to have a 2-parent family even if they did fight over ‘lack of money’ a lot. I found that education (I call it the ‘school of hard knocks’) is all around us every day. Much of the media is the result of kids that graduate from colleges with a degree in journalism – not life or producing anything Read them as you would a comic book. Corporations, like Unions are groups of people who unite for a common purpose and are both invested in making money.

      The real sadness of our society today is that many have allowed the media’ right and left to brainwash them. Hence some are anti black and think most blacks want welfare, some blacks are being taught to blame ‘Whitey for all their failings. I blame it on VOTER STUPIDITY.

      Neither Bush nor Obama had a background that equipped them to run our country. Neither had run a big business before and the USA is a ‘big business. Our gross income depends on it. You forgot! Bush and the Democrats in Congress took us into two wars by the way!

      As Voters we need to look long and hard at who we vote for President.
      Democrat or Republican! Hitler used the Jews as his whipping boy and Obama has used the Rich and the Corporations. Both tactics paid off with popularity. Hopefully we can do better and Obama will be replaced with a smart, tactful, experienced person, Demo or GOP or ‘other’, and that person is certainly not Hillary! Democracy only works well when you have well informed, educated and unbiased voters. Otherwise a ‘good’ Dictatorship works better but a bad one worse!

      • elw

        How you compare Hitler’s treatment of the Jews to Presidents Obama’s policies towards Corporations and the Rich is beyond me. Last I heard none of Rich nor any of the Corporations have been herded into gas chambers or concentration camps. I find your comments insulting and ignorant. If you really think a good dictatorship is better than what we have in this Country – than I suggest you move. They are enough Countries out there with dictators that you should be able to find one you will be happier in.

        • Canistercook

          Not many countries with ‘good’ dictatorships are around as power is often abused. No Obama has not as yet put the Rich or Corporate heads in the gas chambers, but he is attacking them financially as did Hitler in the 1930’s. Fortunately they are still able to fight back at present but along with his ‘Occupy Wall Street’ group he is attacking them. Being a ‘white rich male’ in America today is almost as bad as being a rich Jew in Germany in the 1930’s. Acts against the ‘rich’ unpopulars started in Germany a long time before the camps and gas chambers were built. Unfortunately things ‘progressed’. Hopefully sane heads will prevail and our next Commander in Chief will have a background and experience in management, economics and tact and will bring the country back together and will respect the values once prevalent in America that brought it a high degree of prosperity. Right now it is in the ‘us and them stage’. I am still hopeful!

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            There were 2 great men who should have become President. One was Ross Perot and the other was Lee Iaccoca.

            You won’t ever see the likes of these men for a long long time again.

            Yes, our President should be steeped in business concepts with a solid track record of being in business. Yes, running the US is very much like running a business.

            Then too, this country was not meant to be created for the people. It was created to promote business, nothing more.

          • Canistercook

            And it’s people have enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world in the past thanks to it’s entrepreneurs, workers, homesteaders, farmers etc. But in the past it was not controlled and taxed to death. Don’t know how true it is but it was rumored those people trapped on the ice were scientists studying global warming!

  • Bryan Blake

    Ms. Tucker nailed it when she said the struggle is one of economic classes. Throughout human history this has been the very same struggle that has afflicted all great civilizations. Despite what “Economists” may say there has only been one economic system favored by those in power – Monarchical Capitalism. Human economies have always been under the control and to the benefit of those who hold the levers of power. Unfettered capitalism always produces inequality. If we look at the history of this country the capitalist elite have controlled our economy and nation except for a few decades. The Great Depression was the direct result of the very same economic and social policies that conservatives have implemented and are trying to further implement that will cement inequality in our economy and society.

    For the vast majority of my adult working life I was a small business owner. I am not anti capitalism. I just want our economic system to be regulated by rules that create a level playing field for all. One that allows us all to reap the most reward for our labor. Despite the distinction that the capitalist elite like to make their work is just as much labor as those on their payrolls. The history of capital versus labor has been very brutal, deadly and bloody. I fear if we continue on our present course that we will return to that very history. The cruelty of not extending benefits for the long term unemployed is the GIANT SIGNPOST that we have once again turned down that road. While the conservatives claim to be pro life they have no problem leaving the unemployed, the working poor, the elderly and the disabled without food and/or medical care. Their relentless assault on our New Deal Safety Net is both inhumane and human at the same time.

    It is long past time to abandon the political euphemisms and start using real language. The economy is always changing. But at this point in time our country’s jobs have been gutted. It is the working class that suffers. With 3 or 4 unemployed persons for every job we are in fact on the verge of Depression. The Capitalist class has no problem leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves. It is part of their economic gospel, standard operating procedure and blood stained history. The Great Recession clearly illustrates their total disregard for their fellow human beings. The banks and other capitalist were bailed out by We The People while millions lost their jobs, homes and retirement funds. We bailed them out while they still continue to shred our Safety Net.

    We need more Senators and Congresspersons who understand that this is a fight to our economic death as the oppressed class and to the real death and blood letting of We The People. Whether economic or political tyranny has a long history of success. It is our choice. Fight through our Constitutional political system now or suffer the consequences beyond the imagination of our relatively comfortable situation of today.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Exteremly well stated….I agree…

    • Canistercook

      Too few or too many rules! Bring water to the thirsty in the desert and make money – unfortunately some would bring ‘bad’ water if they could make more profit. Others would stop bringing water if the rules were too harsh and complicated. Hard to know where to draw the lines between too few and too many.

  • daniel bostdorf

    The problem throughout recorded history is accepting poverty as a normal human condition. That socio-economic injustice created by income disparity is normal. That we can’t understand that it is all about a LIVEABLE wage not a minimum wage.

    “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ……Nelson Mandela

    It is about the “haves” and “have nots” so eliquently written about in the TALE OF TWO CITIES by Victor Hugo—the basis for Les Miserables.

    • latebloomingrandma

      Tale of Two Cities was written by Charles Dickens, who was a master storyteller showing how destructive vast inequality can be to the human spirit. Hugo’s Les Mis. was just so heartbreaking in parts, demonstrating how “the streets” can just beat you down. I suspect many people are in this place in our country today.
      Certain Congresspersons need to put down the Ayn Rand and pick up Dickens.

      • daniel bostdorf

        yes—i appreciate the correction 🙂 I can’t agree with you more about Ayn Rand…

      • daniel bostdorf

        Pope Francis stated this: “idolatry of money” is connected to the denial of primacy of human person.

        So it is with Ayn Rand. Denying the basics in a person’s humanity.

        Ayn Rand teachings called Objectivism is based both in national-socialism (Neitche) and and Bolshevism (Russian) totalitarianism centered around a cult of a personality. Ayn Rand. She was a narcissist and a sociopath. Objectivism was and still is a cult, as are many other, non-religious groups.

        Rand Paul wishes he was Ayn Rand reincarnated.

        • charleo1

          Ironic then, Rand died happily collecting her Social Security.
          And not thrown out on the ice, as she recommended. It defies
          credulity, that we have Evangelical Christians, flirting with Hell And quoting an atheist, instead of Jesus Christ. One simply cannot make this stuff up!

          • daniel bostdorf

            Hypocrisy breeds contempt of the truth….

            “How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts!”–Ben Franklin…

            Tucker sums up income equality that Ayn Rand ignored while collecting social security: ” liberals often get it wrong, too — confusing rampant income inequality
            with racism. The legacy of racism has certainly contributed to the
            wealth gap between black and white Americans, but class is now a bigger
            factor in a child’s future than race.”

            It is about the “haves” and “have nots” of all races, creeds and color…..

          • charleo1

            I think that’s undoubtedly true. White folks can be, and are
            locked out on the wrong side of the door of opportunity. I’m
            reminded of the guy who bought a lemon of a used car from his fishing buddy. At their next meeting, he confronted his friend, and said, Well, you had to know about that transmission. Yet, you didn’t say a word! The used car salesman admitted as much. Then explained, if I didn’t screw my friends like I do everyone else, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror each morning. As to Liberals getting it wrong. The Left has been able to adopt minorities into it’s ranks, largely due to Consevatives abandoning them, politically speaking. Now, if you were to ask a Black person if they thought race relations had gotten better, they would probably say they have. If you ask them, if in their experience, racism in America was still part of the lack of opportunities to move up the economic ladder. I’m fairly sure they would answer in the affirmative. So, as a matter of taking care of one’s own political camp, Liberals need to be more sensitive to these issues. Added to the reality, prejudice is not nearly so dead in the minds of many minorities, as the White people, even Liberal White people, would like to think it is.

          • Canistercook

            Unfortunately we all have some basic prejudices but most of us think good, responsible people are an asset to society regardless of their race, Sadly if it looks like a worm it probably is a worm and wrongdoers if there are many of the same background seem to bring down their fellow man.

    • Canistercook

      Victor Hugo was a good author not a good Producer. Henry Ford produced, Mandela produced nothing.

      • daniel bostdorf

        Income Inequality Creates Huge Gaps In Opportunity.
        “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ……Nelson Mandela

  • daniel bostdorf

    The phrase “welfare state” is stigmatizing. IT has been
    co-opted by the extreme right wing of politics. The connotation is
    moocher, freeloader, lazy, etc…. The phrase needs to be replaced
    with the phrase “Opportunity State.” As with the phrase “minimum
    wage” that should be replaced with “liveable wage.”

    Poverty and income inequality is the root of all evil.

    Politics is the art of compromise AND semantics AND propaganda by all political
    spectrums. It is the role of the media, the 4th estate, to ensure
    facts are separated from propaganda, lies, and half truths.

    National memo and Joe Conason and affiliated contributors are doing just that…

    It is the responsibility of being a citizens to actively participate in society to eliminate poverty.

    I do not agree with this phrase: “this torture become intolerable and the
    masses rise up and overthrow their masters.”….

    We live in a cold war East German Police State society in the USA now. Snowden confirmed this….it will be impossible to overthrow the USA government by force. It will be overthrown either by the right wing fascists Teaparty/Koch brother controlled faction—-or it will be REFORMED by ordinary citizens through political MASS pressure—non violent civil disobedience pressure–as well as getting off our collective butts and voting in politicians who have a clear view that we need to create an OPPORTUNITY STATE….

    Quoting Peter Frase and Bashkar Sunkara from their article: ”
    The Welfare State of America: A manifesto on building social democracy in the age of austerity. :

    “The Left must not only defeat austerity and preserve the social safety
    net; it must do so in such a way that assembles the forces necessary
    for more fundamental transformations in the future….This vision should
    be premeditated. We can’t go back to the post-war golden age of the
    American welfare state, but we can build a system in the 21st century
    that embodies what people remember most from that era—an overriding
    sense of freedom. Freedom to give their children an education without
    rival…… Freedom from poverty, hunger and homelessness….Freedom to
    grow into old age with pensions, Social Security, and affordable and
    accessible healthcare. Freedom to leave an exploitative work environment
    and find another job. Freedom to organize with fellow workers for
    redress…..These memories are somewhat false ones: The welfare state
    has never been so universal. But the appeal of such a society, combined
    with the political strategy needed to make it a reality, will pave the
    way for the institution of a new set of economic and social rights to
    our bedrock political and civil rights.”

    Read more here:

  • sparky086

    My Uncle Nathan recently got a nearly new
    silver Ford Mustang Convertible by working parttime at home… go J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  • The Beech Bums

    Over the long term, all forms of collectivism depend upon plunder and require certain people to decide who gets what, when, and how.

  • Canistercook

    And our governments and politics have been influenced by similar journalists for many years. Of course many of these ‘journalists’ did not produce tractors, grow corn, slop the pigs etc., etc.,’ but they were able to influence us as they are today along with Hollywood’s idols!

  • Canistercook

    Wonder how far to the left The National leans and how far to the right the Townhall leans! We sure are becoming a divided country.

    • daniel bostdorf

      “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ……Nelson Mandela

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    I am a gay man, so gay marriage is extremely important to me and my companion.

    It’s not a matter of brainwashing. As citizens of this fucked up country, we should have had that right to marry, domestic partnership, whatever we want to call it, and receive all the benefits and responsibilities that it entails for many years past as consenting adults.

    As far as the trans goes, since they have no choice in who they are, they also should have those rights California now is granting.

    Anything that is against our liberties and our rights of equal access including equal protection is outright bigotry.

    We’re just the latest Scapegoats in a society that deems it necessary to create Scapegoats where they don’t exist. We are no different than any other group of people that has experienced discrimination and bigotry since this country’s founding days.

    And, I can point to any number of various groups throughout our nations history that has experienced it. Some groups experience less, some more. But, its all the same thing over and over again. If people can’t find a handy reason to hate or be fearful of someone, eventually, they’ll invent one out of thin air just to justify their own failings and fears.

    In a nutshell, a lot of people are COWARDS, afraid of their own shadows.

    This country LOVES TO HATE, plainly put. Anything that is not a WASP, or does not adhere to and within religious doctrine, is a different color, a different way of life is to be demonized and discriminated against.

    This is the way our country operates and has since the first day it was founded.

    And, finally, with my own situation, who the fuck has that right to dictate to me who I love? No one! As long as we are consenting adults, it is no ones fucking business who I take to bed and live my life with. And, that includes all the trappings of marriage.

    • Canistercook

      I agree that you should have all the ‘benefits’ that marriage bestows on others and so should all people have. The benefits for all should be changed to accommodate that right fairly.
      Two brothers or sisters who live together should also have that right. I Just believe ‘marriage’ should remain a union between a man and a woman. Just wonder how many ‘nuts’ will now claim they are transgenders and how many ‘straits’ will have problems with this law! There are two sides to everything.
      No you should not be Scapegoats – you should receive and be subject to the same laws as the rest of us. If any two individuals that ‘love’ one another are allowed to marry then ‘any’ two individuals should be allowed to marry, which means ‘any’, friends, sisters, brothers etc. Why should any two individuals, hetero or gay get privileges over others in taxes or benefits unless they have minor children to support? We need to change our laws!

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Well, now we get into an area that is sticky.

        Two brothers being married, two sisters being married, I don’t agree with. This reminds me of the Incest Laws we have on the books prohibiting marriage between brother and sister and between first cousins. This I doubt will ever be approved. But, since neither of these relationships can procreate and create kids with noses where they don’t belong, the issue might be mute anyway.

        This sort of issue panders to the bottom of the barrel thinking. And, unfortunately, I can think of a few more which is worse.

        The term Marriage is where this entire issue gets heated. Most people consider the term in relation to religion. It’s time people finally find out that Marriage is a state function, no longer a religious one. When the state mandated you have to have a Marriage Licence present at a marriage ceremony, that’s when religion lost absolute control over it.

        You can not become legally married in a church without a Marriage Licence being present. You can’t get the license later either. Even IF you can do it, the state will not recognize it and deny all benefits. And, the children that is produced later, will be called bastards (using a bad term for them).

        Therefore, that’s why you can get married in front of a judge, no religions need to be involved to say their hail and marrys.

        Personally, I don’t really give a crap what its called. But, I do care about the benefits that is granted along with its responsibilities. And, honestly, I don’t care about getting hitched in a church, in a courthouse would be fine with me.

        Why any self-respecting gay couple want to get married in any church that hates their guts is beyond me.

        Let the Church have their toys and believers. In another few centuries, the way they’re going they’ll be extinct.

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    Yes, I too believe Obamacare was poorly thought out. It should have included mandates that the medical companies reduce their prices way down so everyone could afford the premiums.

    They haven’t done a thing about that.

    That’s fine to produce kids for the workforce. But, if there’s no jobs what they goona do? McDs or Wallyworld? That might be fine for someone in high school just looking to make some spare change. But, they certainly aren’t career path jobs.

    I haven’t seen any apprenticeship jobs open in my former field for many many years. The Building Trades aren’t offering many anymore and neither are the Iron Workers.

    I agree, we need to start producing our own goods and products. Try telling that to Corporations that have outsourced most of our jobs. You know, they aren’t going to base any business here when they can reap way more profits importing it back here as junk. Even IF we gave them all sorts of tax breaks, we still couldn’t compete with a country that there average wage is only around $1 an hour and ours is $13 or so an hour. And, its foolish to think we can.

    Globalization is what is screwing our country up. We all were doing great before Nixon “opened up” China to corporate greed. And, we were still doing fairly good until NAFTA.

    The hell of it is, we all were doing pretty darn well and we didn’t need other countries to support our economy. And, when a country did buy from us, we didn’t need to buy a freaking thing from them.

    They came to us. We didn’t go to them.

    • Canistercook

      Unfortunately you are misinformed. We were globalized long before Nixon went to China. We got rich selling our products like cars, ships, shoes, garmentss and tractors all over the world. but now we have competition. I don’t know what the base wage in China is but it pays the rent in a good apartment, buys their food, and provides good schools for their children. It is not how much you earn but what what you earn buys for you in your economy. It’s folly to think we cannot compete – we must compete if we want to maintain our standard of living. Other countries have always supported our economy and we need to wake up to the real world of economics – which is why I favor an economics graduate for President and not a law graduate!