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Week In The News: Protests Across The World

Budget battle from Washington to Wisconsin. A deadly attack on US agents in Mexico. Spreading protest in the Middle East. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Bahrain Protests (AP)

A Bahraini anti-government demonstrator lies injured on a stretcher as Bahraini anti-government demonstrators take him to hospital in Manama, Bahrain. (AP)

This week, protests keep rolling across the Middle East, in Libya, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain — where the state cracked down hard. Here at home, the President unveiled a new budget plan, and got an earful from GOP leaders demanding bigger, deeper cuts.

Thousands in Wisconsin turned out to protest a bill that would squeeze the ability of public employees to organize. And the killing of a U.S. federal agent in Mexico could mean a new escalation in the Drug War.

This hour our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Guests:

Margaret Talev, White House correspondent for McClatchy newspapers.

Jonathan Broder, senior defense and foreign policy editor for Congressional Quarterly.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

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  • Yar

    Week in the News, Kentucky Report.
    14 members of a group called Kentucky Rising spent the weekend in the Governors office in protest of his State of the Commonwealth address where he said “Get the EPA off our backs.” http://kentuckyrising.blogspot.com/
    A legislative committee passed a Joint Resolution that “declares the Commonwealth of Kentucky a sanctuary state from the overreaching regulatory power of the United States EPA.
    Like Wisconsin, KY has become extremely polarized over just about every issue. Coal, the budget, the environment, education. It seems everyone is channeling Howard Beale in Network: ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ A pandemic of unrest has infected our world. If we don’t start finding solutions, I fear a long hot violent summer. Unlike Egypt, hope is on the decline for many citizens. It doesn’t even look like the US debt ceiling will get raised without a national shutdown. We need to put youth to work doing something, they don’t need another summer unemployed in a place that can’t even fund social services or an adequate police force. States are in far worse shape than the Federal Government because they can’t print money.

    • Wm. James from Missouri

      Yar,

      When I read your post the phrase, “cant print money”, jumped out at me. Let these questions brew awhile in that active mind of yours, I would like to hear your thoughts. Lay the question on the table for now.

      What is the purpose of money ?

      What is the future of money ?

      In a world of plenty, would we ever need money ? Are we addicted ?

      Numismatics, Barter, Metal, Star Trek,…..

      Free associate.

      Dire Straits ,Pink Floyd, John Lennon ?

      • Yar

        Asking a philosopher what is money, is like prompting Roger Rabbit with ‘A Shave and a haircut…’ I know you are baiting me, and I can’t help myself.

        Money: a fiction, a curse, a drug, a promise, an addiction, an idol, a contract, an object, a marker of trade, a status symbol.

        Money is a distraction as well, We use money to trade work over time. It is difficult to store work, ( Matthew 6:19 Make no store of wealth for yourselves on earth, where it may be turned to dust by worms and weather, and where thieves may come in by force and take it away. ) We attempt to store work because we know there will come a time when we can’t earn our daily bread. We want to save for that time when we can rest on our laurels, or when we don’t have the ability to fight the good fight. I am intentionally being cliche, for money as a concept is overused, it is how we define status in our culture. And this is where we go off the rails. In reality most of us are able to work for about 7/8ths of our adult life. We have different abilities at different stages, and can trade brain for brawn as we age. Back to money as contract, many realize that the work they thought they were saving is ‘leaking value’ and that changed the whole idea of what money is. As a society started trying to find things or investments to store value, and the marketplace adapted with products, both real and imagined to meet our desires. This is where the human mind became weak in logic, and dopamine and serotonin take over. The basic human need for security; storing work, like storing fat, or any other survival trait is easily hijacked by others. MONEY CAN’T BUY YOU LOVE, but it allows an illusion. Just as we crave fat, salt, sweet, we also crave security. So the love of money becomes the root of all evil. When we are really just trying to fill the basic human need to store work, for a time we can’t fend for ourself.

        The solution, in my logic is to replace the insecurity of storing work in money for the security of storing work in community. Building a society that is prepared to take care of that 1/8 of life when we can’t make it on our own.
        But that is a difficult concept to get across to someone drunk on the concept of money.

        Sober up and I will talk about community.
        This is what is happening in Egypt, Wisconsin, in the Governors office in Kentucky by 14 protesters, and with over a thousand at I Love Mountains Day. Community is the security we desire, and we must learn how to live in it build it and protect it.

        Shave and a haircut… two bits.

        • Tina

          Yar, You are so on target! I do think that the Scandinavian countries have learned to “store work in community” (love your phrase, by the way — try to spread it around; I’ll help.). I don’t even think that we really have to re-invent the wheel.

          As I’ve said a lot lately, I’d really appreciate it very much if the parts of Capitalism, especially corporate capitalism, could be modified thru new laws that took equity (as in the opposite of inequity) and the environment into account. That’s why it was so interesting that Robt Reich & the other speaker were guests earlier this week. Yet, as I said, Social Democratic nations seem to have happy, productive, pre-natal to grave communities already. Here, the Republicans seem to think that trickle-down hadn’t already failed.

          I just heard another radio piece about WHY the Canadians did NOT suffer the housing bubble breakdown that the U.S.A. did. The factors to prevent it are absolutely known, and were kept in place thru regulation in Canada! (ATC, Feb. 18, unless it was Marketplace)

          I clicked on your cardinal photo and a mini-page showed up. I’m not sure if your comments there are also here, in this longer format. On the mini-page, you questioned whether our comments jeopardized this very site. You know, I hadn’t ever given that possibility a thought since I started listening in 2004 (I think), until these past two weeks, or so. Gulp!

          More optimistically, I cannot believe how many fabulous pieces of writing are on this site, some pragmatic, some satiric, others poignant, some brilliantly from the world of gallows humor! This country …. not only is she not listening to The People, she is not listening to her brilliant, insightful, forward-thinking citizens!

    • Joe Hill

      “We need to put youth to work doing something, they don’t need another summer unemployed in a place that can’t even fund social services or an adequate police force. ”

      You mean the private sector can’t find work for these young people?!! And you want the GOVERNMENT to do that?! You mean you want MORE government workers?!

      Keep the youth on the streets, raising holy hell, where they belong. And then we can ask those those unionized fire fighters to put out the fires, and the police officers–pretty please–to arrest them, and fill up more jails (privatized, of course). And then the young people will have a police record and can’t be employed. So they’ll be back on the streets raising holy hell.

      You get what you pay for, folks.

  • Michael

    Worth point out for what it’s worth,esp after 2 years has gone by. I would love to see a poll of the same people are how many get there news primary from Fox News.

    Wanna laugh or cry read the comments below the article, people claiming to be collage educated somehow still believe obama is not a U.S. citizen, even know one can’t be president if one was not born one.

    Half Of GOP Primary Voters Wrongly Say Obama Non-U.S. Born: Poll

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2011/02/15/133782676/obama-not-u-s-born-say-51-of-gop-primary-voters-poll

    • Michael

      “Worth pointing out for what it’s worth,esp after 2 years has gone by.”

      I would love to see a poll of the same people on how many get there news primary from Fox News.

      Is such a failure of journalism to inform the public?

    • Tina

      Michael, The thing I don’t understand about Faux News is this: IF the shows are scheduled ‘as news’, isn’t it fraud for them to fill those time slots with something that does not follow journalistic standards of fact-checking, etc. Or, has cable changed the game on that? I’d think that cable STILL uses public land for the laying down of the cable, so I’d think that a responsibility to the public would be required, like I’ve always understood is true for the public air waves.

      I KNOW that the shows that are scheduled during the hours programmed as “entertainment” can get away with stuff, but HOW is Faux News allowed to put forth false stuff.

      I do NOT watch Faux, so I’m not really the best person to ask what I just asked. IF Faux News is closer to telling the truth than Faux Entertainment, then HOW are the viewers of Faux not catching on to the difference between the two modes, ultimately dismissing the false facts (that lead to wacko opinions) heard in the entertainment hour?

  • Nick

    When is American going to have its revolution where they throw out the plutocracy that is ruining the country?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VDH4GYJMIUFU373W3XUQVD2V4E Patrick

      Start a Meetup group

    • WINSTON SMITH

      Actually, they are trying in Wisconsin where they are trying to rein in the monopolistic power of the public service unions that have held the public hostage for decades.

  • Nick from Massachusetts

    Should Congress end PBS funding???

    Our populace is already at a low point in intelligence, education, and common sense.

    Why not get rid of something that educates us?

    Then everyone can watch the sort-of-science shows and sort-of-history shows that debate whether the Holocaust ever happened or if we really did land on the Moon (those were actual shows).

    That is what people in America are into today – believing in Atlantis.

    • Zeno

      …and yet conservatives love Voice of America, and continue funding a US propaganda network.

      Here is the Ultra conservative Heritage Foundation bemoaning the lack of funding of VOA: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/08/the-sound-of-silence-the-decline-of-the-voice-of-america-in-eastern-europe-the-caucasus-and-central-asia#_ftnref12

    • Zeno

      …and there is something curious about Voice of America (VOA). It is now under the Broadcasting Board of Governors budget and even Google can no longer find any current info on its cost. I searched for 40 mins and only found that old article from Heritage.

      One year ago Google could find the budget information for VOA easily. I’m getting a little paranoid that some kind of data sanitation is being done. The BBG funding: http://www.radioworld.com/article/113966

      It is interesting that the old Heritage article states that VOA outsources it broadcasting to local entities. Meaning they are just giving our money away.

      At least NPR directly serves The American People, the VOA is just money wasted on US propaganda.

      • Michael

        We do the same in iraq with Al Hurrah, TV. Most Americans don’t know because of congressional prohibitions

        http://www.propublica.org/article/alhurra-bleeding-viewers-poll-finds-but-spending-is-up-529
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ph6ekODyTf0
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/01/alhurra-usfunded-middle-e_n_209813.html

        In 2008, it spent close to $100 million on a new three-hour morning show that began airing five days a week in March and hired 150 people in the Arab world to work on the show. It also plans to relaunch the station’s Web site. The Broadcasting Board of Governors has asked Congress to increase Alhurra’s funding from $110 million in 2009 to $113 million for 2010.

        Alhurra, US-Funded Middle East Propaganda Station, Watched By Only 0.5% Of Middle East Population

        • Zeno

          ..and I just read this morning that VOA spent $16 million moving one of its transmitters in Japan. When I started looking into VOA it became ever clearer that it is a strange kind of front company with a small building in VA (as I remember it), with funding that goes …somewhere???

          • Michael

            Hi Zeno,

            I found this (http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110218p2a00m0na016000c.html)

            Not sure if this is the same source that you were reading before.

            Coverage of the $16 million to relocate VOA — amounting to roughly 5.76 billion yen at the exchange rate at the time — was one of several secret agreements, alongside another pact committing Japan to cover the $4 million (about 1.44 billion yen) needed to restore former military lands to their original state.

            The Japanese government still denies the existence of any secret pact on shouldering the cost of relocating VOA, and the issue was not subject to an investigation on secret pacts whose results were announced in March last year.

          • Zeno

            Yep that’s the one. The deeper one looks into the VOA, the stranger it gets, like a fiduciary black hole.

    • William

      PBS/NPR will receive 4 billion over ten years. That is way too much waste and we need to cut back.

      • Tina

        How do you know that there is waste, let alone “way too much waste”? Thanks.

  • Beverly

    Looks like Republican’ts, (at least the inexperienced ones), have been paying very close attention to what’s happening in Egypt & the Middle East, thinking “Hmmm. . . this dictator stuff isn’t half bad; it’s easy to take away ALL rights from the middle & lower classes. I won’t allow abortions, or more than 1 child per MARRIED, heterosexual couple, will kill COUNTLESS AMERICAN JOBS, by firing countless teachers, firemen, & so many indespensible, suffering, dedicated workers.

    After all, nobody needs an education. Lack of education hasn’t hurt me any. I’m powerful & rich. I know how to eliminate all but the very richest Americans.

    We all know that teachers are overpaid, especially all who are single mothers. That’s why I’ll fire them, & make life as difficult as possible for them . . . & for everybody else who isn’t a milti-billionaire. It’s what they deserve for being poor. We’re squeezing ‘em out now at an accelerated rate. If they lose their homes, aren’t able to eat, or see a doctor . . . SO BE IT! No skin off my nose. I don’t owe them nuthin’.

    I called out the National Guard for a national emergency – the Democrats wouldn’t vote, & had to be forcibly brought back to me, to face the music. Haven’t decided yet if they’ll be shot in their sleep, have acid thrown in their faces, or have their arms & legs cut off. They all seem like so much fun, maybe we’ll try a few different things. They’ll never disobey ME again.”

    Hosni Mubarak
    Governor of Wisconsin

    • Tina

      Beverly!!!! &*%^&$%&^ !!!!!

      Bravo!
      Yah, Bravo!

  • Beverly

    Why was it that while they were campaigning, all we ever heard from them was that their top prioriy was job creation. Number two was reducing the deficit. They’ve been in office for 6 weeks now. Once they were elected, we heard no more about their “priorities”.

    They’re taking the food out of our mouths, so they can give to the fat cats, who are laughing at us all the way to the bank, & beyond.

    Now, it’s all about taking rights away from us. They’re really loving this tyranny thing. When told that they will be putting so many American families into even more dire straits, there were responses varying from, “SO?”, to, “So be it.” Why would we care about anybody who can’t give us millions? Let ‘em eat cake.

    How much longer will we be speeding in reverse? We’re already back to the 1930s, with Huey Long “governing”, (dictating to), the formerly smart people of Wisconsin. I really can’t feel sorry for them though, since they voted for him.

    When he took office, the Wisconsin budget was perfectly balanced. Now look at it. He has only been Governor for a few weeks. How could he possibly have screwed things up SO badly in such a short time? Please ask guests to discuss this at length, also how anyone could have voted for him.

    Iowa had had a surplus, was winning all kinds of awards, then a Republican governor took over. God help us! I don’t even want to know about what he’s doing to my very beloved, but now unrecognizable homeland. So sad.

    Please ask your guests to discuss the Iowa situation. Iowa is much too good, in every way, to be bulldozed by big money. How did this happen?

    “Bedford Falls hs become Pottersville”, almost overnight.

    I despair.

  • Beverly

    Sorry. “Dictating to” is an error. (Haste makes waste”, especially at this hour.)

    Good night.

    • Tina

      But, you’re on an insightful, imaginative, absolutely accurate roll!

      • Beverly

        Thank you, but I’m not so sure, especially when I’m overly tired, which is the case far too often.

        When I’m in that twilight, state, it’s very easy to forget that anyone else will be reading what I’m typing. It feels like I’m making a diary entry, or something, just to vent my spleen. Besides, typing when almost asleep, tends to get very silly & wacky.

        Thanks for the compliment.

  • Zing

    I love the sound of shrill liberal hate in the morning.

  • Mark from Acton

    Tom, please correct the lies about Social Security being a contributor to the deficit!

    This is the report of the Congressional Research Service from 10/12/2000:

    “Since 1984, Social Security has been generating surplus tax revenues. Under the intermediate assumptions of the 2009 Trustees’ Report, the trust fund balance is projected to continue to grow, peaking at $4.33 trillion (in nominal dollars) at the end of 2023, before being drawn down to pay for benefits and administrative expenses. The trustees project that the trust fund will continue to have a positive balance until 2037, allowing benefits scheduled under current law to be paid in full until that time. Afterward, the program would continue to operate using annual Social Security tax revenues, which would cover an estimated 76% of benefit payments scheduled under current law in 2037.”

    The report goes on to note that:

    “With respect to the program’s reliance on general revenues, it is important to note that the program is relying on revenues collected for Social Security purposes in previous years that were used by the federal government at the time for other (non-Social Security) spending needs.”

    Remember Al Gore’s “Lock Box” that never happened because of Bush’s friends on the Supreme Court? The first thing Bush did was raid the Social Security Trust Fund to give tax breaks to his campaign contributors.

    They have worked for years to create the impression that Social Security would not be there when we retire, in order to scare voters into approving its privatization. They have been trying to make it a self fulfilling prophecy and no one in the media is setting the record straight.

    I’m asking you, Tom: step up on this.

    • Tina

      And, Mark, to make matters even worse:

      WHY IN HEAVEN’S NAME IS PRESIDENT OBAMA NOT SAYING WHAT YOU JUST SAID about Social Security Funding? HE SHOULD BE ON A SOAP BOX POINTING OUT THE REPUBLICAN LIES AND REPLACING THEM WITH THE CORRECT INFORMATION. I do NOT understand WHERE this WIMPINESS COMES FROM. Does he believe that he should not waste his time, or even bother to try to slam a FOUL BALL out of the park — that it’s better to just keep his eye on his own game?

      If so, that is a tremendous mistake and really smacks of NARCISSISM on his part, because those prevarications are NOT just about HIM and HIS administration and HIS ability to accomplish HIS goals!!! Those lies are a FOULing of the American System based on the Rule of Law. Those lies are FRAUDULENT; that is to say that the Republicans often practice nothing short of fraud!! The President SHOULD be CALLING A FOUL A FOUL, A LIE A LIE, because the elected Congresspeople & Senators have a LEGAL OBLIGATION TO TELL THE TRUTH! I even think that, in some cases, the lies go far enough that impeachment of some Republican elected officials should be considered seriously.

      If the Republicans differ with the Democrats, including the President, on policy and/or budget, they still have NO RIGHT to try to WIN an argument by NOT TELLING THE TRUTH! Neither having different goals nor holding different political/economic philosophies requires lying to prevail. The Republicans are acting like the worst kids in the later elementary grades– just a little too old to cry when they don’t get their way, and just old enough to understand HOW to set up an intellectual argument to win a game, even using poor sportsmanship, if necessary. Instead, I say, better to be slow at developing than to lie; better to lose, even, or lose on that first try, rather than thinking oneself “clever” for tricking up the “game”. That the Republicans lie in lockstep is as astounding as that they lie at all!!!

      I am so disappointed in President Obama: he has NO Ethical Line in the Sand that he feels compelled to draw when it comes to pointing out the prevarications and mis-sourced references of the Republicans. Conciliatory compromises should ONLY be worked out with ethical equals (that is true internationally, as well). Sadly, he cannot be counted on to say that “Something is Ethically Wrong” within the Realm of the Daily Political Give and Take (in spite of his beautiful speeches!).

      I do NOT understand the President — HOW can he give speeches with such great, ethical tone, yet FAIL SO MISERABLY AT CALLING “FOUL”?! My only guess is that he does NOT want to be “bothered” tussling with the liars. As I said, this is a grave MISTAKE, because HE is NOT THE ONLY PERSON WHO IS BEING VIOLATED WHEN LIES ENTER THE POLITICAL DISCOURSE! These lies SOIL the debates; the lies BEFOUL the CONTRARY POV’s from the Democratic side, just by being in the same arena!!

      I DO understand what it feels like when someone IS consistent and communicative about Where They Draw the Line between Right and Wrong, between Fair & Unfair; between Equitable & Inequitable, between Truthful and Untruthful, between Service and Self-Serving — I have known people capable of that — they demonstrated for me WHAT BEDROCK LOOKS, SOUNDS, AND FEELS LIKE!! I am NOT talking about moral priggishness; I am talking about people who understand Truth-filled differences of opinion and the attendant, reciprocal work which must be done given those differences; people who do NOT resort to Dirty Tricks to try to win their game!

      Sadly, the President does not resort to underhanded tactics himself, but, by his refusal or inability to ANNOUNCE TO THE NATION AND TO THE WORLD that Lies, Untruths, and Half-truths have Entered the Arena, he helps the Republicans to defile the American System of the Rule of Law, and to undermine the American people themselves!

      Thanks!

  • Mark from Acton

    Cite for CRS report on Social Security solvency:

    http://hr.cch.com/news/uiss/101210a.asp

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Various members of congress are considering means testing social security. How about we means test congressional pay, medical insurance and their pensions. These people need a taste of the medicine they are considering for us and they need to lead by example.

    Put all members of congress on commission: if they don’t balance the budget they get no pay, retirement, healthcare.

    Force members of congress, Supreme Court Judges, the President and his staff and all federal government officials to buy healthcare the way most Americans do. Either that or give us the same healthcare they have now (Medicare for all).

    If Republicans really believe in giving more power to states, how about making states solely responsible for all the pay, expenses, retirement and healthcare of their elected officials in Washington.

  • Mark from Acton

    As state houses across the country erupt, let’s remind everyone why this happened.

    In Feb 2009 the Democrats did not have 60 votes in the Senate and Republicans promised to filibuster any stimulus bill they didn’t like. In order to get the magic (but not required by the Constitution) 60 votes, Obama had to accept the Nelson-Collins Amendment, which cut $100 billion from the bill, $40 billion of which was for aid to the states:

    “the Nelson-Collins amendment cuts $40 billion in aid to the states – immediate assistance to prevent service cuts and layoffs that would accelerate the vicious circle of job loss, consumer weakness, business cuts, and more layoffs”

    http://www.epi.org/analysis_and_opinion/entry/nelson-collins_amendment_gets_an_f/

    • Dave in CT

      And what did our white knight Dems do prior to 2009 with their filibuster proof majority? You can always find excuses in DC for maintenance of the status quo.

      • Tina

        Yes! They fouled up Big Time! AND, the President did NOT lead them away from shooting us all in the feet! As I said, above, conciliatory compromise should ONLY be with ethical equals! The President did NOT abide by that!

  • Dave in CT

    Party and Philosophy aside, I think what a vast majority of us could agree on and need, is to see harsh accountability to the whole elite class and corrupted economic sector that has taken us to this point.

    Obviously the corrupt and colluding are using our current crisis to further their stranglehold on the majority. Whether you see more or less liberty as the answer, can’t we start clamoring for prosecutions and massive “Take-backs” from that corrupt elite?

  • WINSTON SMITH

    I whole heartedly applaud the effort going on in Wisconsin to rein in the monopolistic power of the overpaid and underworked public “service” unions. For too long, unions have ridden the gravy train with rediculous pay increases, retirement programs, etc. that public sector unions have had to negotiate in order to be competitive with a global economic reality. Hopefully, the Democratic legislative members that have been bought and paid for and in the pocket of these out of touch unions will return to their jobs and vote on the bill. If the Republicans had pulled the same kind of shenanigan and shut down the government, the liberals would have been all over it.

    • WINSTON SMITH

      I meant that privat sector unions have had to negotiate in order to be completitive. Of course, that negotation only came when the auto companies were on their deathbed and the steel companies such as Bethlehem Steel had shut down in bankruptcy.

    • Cory

      My wife is a public librarian of 7 years who makes $12.15 per hour. After an oustanding performance review last year she received a fifteen cent raise. Her cost of living raise has been suspended for the past two years due to bad economy and a conservative village president. Her benefit package is quite good, and the village calculates that it increases her overall compensation to just over 40k/year. Is this the gravy train to which you refer? Is the .15 raise the rEdiculous pay increase you were talking about?

      You sound like a cookie-cutter conservative who doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about.

      Why does the “budget repair bill” proposed by our governor seek to eliminate the power of collective bargaining from govt unions? This isn’t fiscal responsibility, it is naked aggression against a constituency that seldom votes republican. Why does this proposed bill not apply to police or firefighter unions?

      Finally I would ask the last good paying job with benefits to please turn out the lights when you leave. We can’t increase the taxes on the super-wealthy in this country, but we sure can try to squeeze it out of teachers and librarians. Disgusting!

      Leftfield, WISCONSIN

      • Zeno

        I was watching a Boston TV news report last night that over 1000 of the State Troopers earn over $100,000 per year. I think your complaint should be within who is lionizing the funds allocated, and why some workers are close to minimum wage.

        I read the the starting salary for a State Police trooper in MA is $90,000!

        She should start training at the police academy and get on the dole.

        http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2009/02/11/umass_employees_top_list_of_highest_paid_state_workers/

        • Pancake Rankin

          State Troopers huh. How much would you pay Pallidin (Richard Boone cowboy show) if you needed help?

      • WINSTON SMITH

        I agree that at #12.15/hour you wife is not overpaid. I would have to know more about the benefit package to draw my own conclusion on whether or not it is excessive. But the average teacher makes $68K per year for 10 months of work. They have automatic grade increases each year (so that no one has to vote on the increase). And they hold the strike card in order to get the public to pay their ransom every time contracts are renegotiated. And one can read story after story of public sector workers in Bell California, Boston, NY , postal workers, etc. retiring at the age of 50 and getting $100+K per year as retirement, in many cases for longer than they actually worked!. And I agree that the police and firefighters unions scare monger and have a great deal of political power so that their unions are exempt from being held accountable the way other public sector workers are finally being held accountable. States cannot print money, and most of the states are bankrupt. State retirement accounts are underfunded. We must address this, and union wages and benefits are to a large degree out of whack with the private sector and what people in the private sector can afford to pay.

        • Edith

          Mr. Smith, you obviously have no idea how hard a teacher works during those ten months. A teacher’s job is not like an office job where you can just turn off at the end of the day. You have to plan classes, write exams, correct exams, correct term papers, all while you are at home after you have “finished” your work day. Often the classrooms are overcrowded and the resources for the students are lacking. While you are working you can’t just stop and check your email or step away from your desk to get a drink of water. The work is intense and requires full attention every hour of contact you have with students. Have you ever spent a lot of time with teenagers or children? More than twenty at a time? It’s exhausting work. Demanding work. These are the people who are with our children probably more hours of the day than a lot of us parents. These people teach our children to read, to write, to do math and science and they deserve our respect. They deserve our appreciation and support, and they deserve their summer vacation! I care about my kid and I care that his teacher makes a decent salary with benefits. The great majority of teachers I know care very much about their students, are passionate about their jobs and they go the extra mile to ensure that their students learn. Without dedicated teachers there are no doctors, there are no engineers or many of the other skilled professions that require EDUCATION.
          Attacking teachers just doesn’t make sense to me. Don’t you care about your kids and their future?

          • ThresherK

            Edith, you left out the part where he whined about teachers only working six hours a day! And they also get those great cafeteria meals!

            If teaching were the road to riches, why aren’t conservatives killing themselves to become grammar and HS teachers?

          • Pancake Rankin

            Try calling him Gregg- Winston is his “brand”. When you talk to a high heroin addict you are conversing with heroin. When you speak with a smoking smoker you are having social intercourse with big tobacco. When you debate a right wing zealot you are being cussed out by an oligarch. You can’t win, so ignore their posts. Their brain chemistry seeks only more of the addictive substance, like a corporation crushing lives to get more profit.

        • Edith

          Mr. Smith, you obviously have no idea how hard a teacher works during those ten months. A teacher’s job is not like an office job where you can just turn off at the end of the day. You have to plan classes, write exams, correct exams, correct term papers, all while you are at home after you have “finished” your work day. Often the classrooms are overcrowded and the resources for the students are lacking. While you are working you can’t just stop and check your email or step away from your desk to get a drink of water. The work is intense and requires full attention every hour of contact you have with students. Have you ever spent a lot of time with teenagers or children? More than twenty at a time? It’s exhausting work. Demanding work. These are the people who are with our children probably more hours of the day than a lot of us parents. These people teach our children to read, to write, to do math and science and they deserve our respect. They deserve our appreciation and support, and they deserve their summer vacation! I care about my kid and I care that his teacher makes a decent salary with benefits. The great majority of teachers I know care very much about their students, are passionate about their jobs and they go the extra mile to ensure that their students learn. Without dedicated teachers there are no doctors, there are no engineers or many of the other skilled professions that require EDUCATION.
          Attacking teachers just doesn’t make sense to me. Don’t you care about your kids and their future?

        • Tina

          Have you ever been a teacher? It takes decades before a teacher can even think about getting more than four-five hours sleep a night. Many teachers are scouring the stores and recycling centers for supplies while also paying for supplies to use in class. Most have to take summer-school courses (and often academic-year courses, as well) to keep up their certification. Most states do NOT give “permanent certification” now until after the teacher was worked for many, many decades. To even stay on that tract, they must constantly be upgrading their skills thru courses. Surely, you must know about all the other work requirements that teachers must fulfill. Most of the good teachers look forward to these demands because they know they will grow professionally; what makes all that extra work discouraging is when people who have no clue about what the teachers do, have negative opinions. I’ve not heard of any studies about student performance when the child comes from a household where the parents complain about teacher privilege constantly. There should be such a study! Talk about the possibility of self-fulfilling prophecies (that’s not quite the right phrase, but it’s close enough of 2:31 a.m.!). Finland is a country where the teaching profession is praised as one of the highest imaginable, up there with doctors!

          Thanks!

    • Pancake Rankin

      I’m sorry your personality was erased by Big Brother. I’m sorry your memory of that was flushed down the memory hole. It even happened to the big ruddy rubber god, Ronnie Raygun: memory totally blank (as early as 1960). This is real life and not a pulp dystopia novel. Go with your experiences and not your programming.

    • Beverly

      Why should they not be allowed retirement programs? They won’t get Social Security.

      The average pension is $19,000 per year, & 80% is employee contribution. What do you find so objectionable about it?

  • Zeno

    Defiant Crowds Demand Democracy in Bahrain : http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/18/defiant-crowds-demand-democracy-in-bahrain/?icid=main|classic|dl3|sec1_lnk3|202081

    How embarrassing for US Congress once again. First Egypt’s revolt constantly reveals the US gifting to the Dictator was also in part funds used as a back door subsidy to US arms manufacturers with a balance of conflict funding with Israel for the same purpose.

    Now our politicians have to explain why our government supports the government in Bahrain to get military docking for the highly expensive and pointless wars and “operations” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Pakistan.

    I guess its time for McCain to come out in favor of Bahrain’s ruling monarchy like he did with Mubarak on GMA, and then when Mubarak said he was on the side of the protesters.

    Remember that Congress is discussing cutting the budget for NPR today, and they are NOT discussing the cutting of Congress’s funding of multiple regimes in the mid-east for the proposes of protecting the assets and economy of the plutocracy. Shouldn’t the EU and Russia be spending their national wealth to control the mid-east.

    While Congress is discussing the budget, perhaps they should ask why they are funding over one trillion in borrowed Chinese money backed by the US taxpayers to fund all of the mid-east oligarchs, and the wars the are backdoor corruption to “contractors” and the US military industrial complex.

    • Dave in CT

      Did you see the NYTime headlines last night…to the effect of,

      “Blood fill the streets of Bahrain as Government kills peaceful protesters”

      next to,

      “US struggling with how to deal with friendly Government”

      I find their overnight online rough draft headlines often show the sick truths of our interventionist policies, before they polish them up for the morning consumption.

      • Zeno

        …yes of course. I would bet that in secret we are supplying the monarchy with intelligence and weapons to safeguard the regime in the name of national security, while the media in the US is being supplied with ambiguous propaganda that can be read either way. LOL

        Its all so bizarre… to the point of being like an episode of the Twilight Zone.

  • Darth

    When the unions are all gone, who will the come for next? Probably minamum wage laws and all those slugs living off the fat of the real people.

    • WINSTON SMITH

      Actually, Darth, you have some circular reasoning in your comment. The slugs are in fact the public sector unions, many of whom can retire after 20 years of employment at the age of 50 and then collect rediculous pensions for the next 40 years.

      • darth

        I am not a public service employee but I know a few. 20 yr pensions are not viable incomes. Many come without health benifits. It takes 25, 30 or 35 years for a good pension. But who needs a pension when we have Social Secuity. Right? Hey why don’t the Repubs and Teaparty types go after Social Secuity and leave no stone unturned.

      • Miller

        You must be talking about the uber-rich who supposedly represent the American public in Congress??? Talk about sucking at the Nation’s teat – sucking it dry more like it!

        • Michael

          LOL the same rich who often cheats on there tax’s, refused to pay for the 2 war going on, and feels that everyone should take it for the team(except themselves of course). But people like Winston or sold on the belief that if they such up to these people they throw enough scraps down to make them rich, without realizing that they have no reason to do so or do such.

    • Zeno

      One of the planks in the Tea Party platform is revocation of the minimum wage. But for some reason when they were campaigning they never mentioned it.

      • Nick

        Yes, from the Tea Party – the Party of “I got mine, and screw the rest of You” !

        Let’s start with their social security and medicaid first.

        What’s good for the goose is good for the Gander too.

    • Anonymous

      What industry has had increase in Union participation and increased employment in the US? None. This is because the Unions strangle the business and promote pushing jobs off shore by increasing the cost of hiring in the US.

      Do you really think Detroit is the future of the US? It is the most unionized city and it has destroyed the US car industry.

      • Joe Hill

        Do you like weekends? Or would you rather work 10 days straight or 70 hour work weeks? Thank the unions. Do like having a safer place to work–no grease on the floors, no fumes to breathe while you work, no faulty machinery needlessly chopping your fingers or hands off? Or how about lunch breaks and bathroom breaks? Thank the unions.

        Unions are workers who join together to protect their capital, which is the use of their bodies and minds, rented out for a set amount of time, at a certain price/wage, to employers who contract for that usage. Without those contracts, employers can do what they want. Companies want something–labor–for nothing. Unions are the pushback against treating workers as “human resources” to be used up and thrown out, like other “resources.” Unions are about treating workers as human beings who deserve respect for their work and their contributions to a company’s profits, and who want their families provided for through wage and benefit contracts in exchange for fair use of their labor.

        It seems as though who don’t join unions are now jealous of what union members have worked hard to protect and preserve.

        The pension benefits were in exchange for lower wages over many years, and union workers paid into those pensions! The pensions belong to the workers–pensions were devised to create future compensation for work done in the past, and that work needs to be paid for.

        Or are we now a country where what’s fair is only what’s fair for business and banks? Guess so.

        • ThresherK

          Joe (if that’s your real name), don’t you know that corporations and robber barons gave all those things up to little people out of the kindness of their hearts? I mean, it’s all over CNBC.

        • Anonymous

          I am not a union member, and I don’t work weekends, I don’t work 70 hr weeks or any of the other fear mongering issues you list. If someone suffers bodily injury on the job, the business is liable for the healthcare bill and unemployment and disability. This has nothing to do with unions.

          • geffe

            Red herring argument. It’s not about you.

          • Grady Lee Howard, Edison, NJ

            He has to have reasonable time off to babysit his “rich boss’s” kids and do the laundry at the big house. He’s a housedigger, not a fieldigger. Maybe he gets a cookie for writing lies on this blog?

  • Erin in Iowa City

    I think Wisconsin public servants (ironic?) should just walk out! The bill will inevitably pass. Workers, just walk out! If the budget cutters are okay having minimum wage teachers, garbage workers, water safety workers, fire fighters and police on their streets “SO BE IT” to quote the Republican majority! You get what you pay for! And if nothing else, public servants should be paid more and have better benefits just for having to listen to the complaints and villification FROM PEOPLE WHO USE THESE SERVICES!

    • Anonymous

      While watching the news coverage yesterday I learned the average teachers compensation in many Wisconsin cities is over $100k. I don’t think they have any right to complain about the state making them pay a little for their retirement, and a little for their healthcare coverage

      • Low-information warning

        You lost me at “While watching the news coverage yesterday”. We all know how much low-information media you consume.

      • Erin in Iowa City

        FOX is not “the news”. Try branching out.
        http://www.teachersalaryinfo.com/average-teacher-salary-wisconsin.html
        Your “fact” just isn’t true. Public employee wages are public record.

      • Cory

        The primary complaint is the loss of their union’s collective bargaining rights. They have voluntarily offered wage and benefit concessions.

  • Zeno

    I’m really getting tired of this half baked comment system. Tried to “Join” but Zeno is in use. Why does it ask me for my website? Not everyone has one, or even cares to. Join, Passwords, etc!

    I’m tired of “joining” or becoming a “member” of everything on the internet. I have a password list for all of the “joined” sites that must be over 200 sites, passwords, etc.

    Overall I like the format…But do I have to change my ID, or continue typing in my email address, ID, and the idiotic captcha?

    I’m getting tired of coercive adaptation.

    • Yar

      Zeno, I ran into the same thing. I created a different username and then merged my comments and I was able to change the name displayed as Yar even though my username is longer.
      It is a bug in the system but you can work around it.

      • Zeno

        Thanks Yar. That whole configuration thing is kinda messed up. So little information, and the web site thing is unnecessary but I had to put something in there. I hope http://www.Wbur.org doesn’t get upset.

        The icon loader and comment formatting must be why someone was saying the page took forever to load.

  • Nick from Massachusetts

    It’s time for Americans to turn the TV, get off the coach, and step onto the street and revolt against the Plutocracy that was created on the backs of the Middle Class and consequently ruined this great nation.

    Time to put Wall Street and all the suits in the Bowery.

    REVOLUTION !

    • Cory

      We will, but things aren’t quite bad enough to trump a full belly and cable tv. We are getting closer though.

  • Nick

    Nick from Massachusetts Today 01:59 AM

    Should Congress end PBS funding???

    Our populace is already at a low point in intelligence, education, and common sense.

    Why not get rid of something that educates us?

    Then everyone can watch the sort-of-science shows and sort-of-history shows that debate whether the Holocaust ever happened or if we really did land on the Moon (those were actual shows).

    That is what people in America are into today – believing in Atlantis.

    • Anonymous

      Yes PBS should be defunded. It is a waste of money because it is not unbiased as it is supposed to be and unlike when it was started, there are 100x the number of news outlets that people can get their news from.

      • Miller

        Who are all beholden to Corporate Media interests and they have our best interests at heart, right?? NOT!!!

        NPR is on the chopping lbock because it educates people about the TRUTH and corporate media doesn’t want the public to know what is being done behind our backs.

        You are a H-A-C-K

        • Gregg – Taylorsville, NC

          Thanks for the belly laugh!

  • Gary Trees

    I highly recommend the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, highly relevant. Topic: Is the Two Party System Making America Ungovernable? Audio is not available yet but the debate in it’s entirety is available at the website as streaming video.

    http://intelligencesquaredus.org/index.php/past-debates/america-divided-us-politics/

  • Michael

    Anyone remember this being reported on NPR?

    Alhurra was the subject of a joint investigation launched in June 2008 by ProPublica and CBS’ 60 Minutes [9]. The investigation [10] and a series [11] of ProPublica articles revealed serious staff problems, financial mismanagement and long-standing concerns inside the U.S. government and Congress regarding Alhurra’s content.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2006/feb/13/opinion/oe-lieven13

    Anyone recall any republican/Democrat congressman calling for cutting funding to Alhurra????? It;s been a whole week and I havn’t heard anything coming from the cut tax payer funding to media outlets such as Alhurra. A republican congressman on TOLN was saying something along the lines that if it can’t stand on it’s own than…… and Alhurra is only getting a .05% of the market far less than NPR in the U.S. and far less than any other station in the middle east.

    http://www.propublica.org/article/alhurra-bleeding-viewers-poll-finds-but-spending-is-up-529

    The limits of propaganda
    http://articles.latimes.com/2006/feb/13/opinion/oe-lieven13

  • Dave in CT

    If we really want to stop the race to the bottom, and without shame think that Americans, due to our historical choices to work hard, innovate, invest, sacrifice, organize a semblance of self-governance and liberty and opportunity to those willing to work, actually do deserve a decent, not obscene, standard of living, higher than other masses in the world who have not chosen to organize and sacrifice that way,

    and…

    If you are sickened that all the benefits of above choices/work/sacrifices have and are being given away under the banner of globalization…. for the benefit of Corporate captains who merely sell it all out in a matter of years…

    Then I thinks its time to stand up for a degree of isolationism, non-foreign interventionism, and national self-sufficiency. We have the resources to do it, and we not be ashamed to say so.

    I don’t believe that treating all we accomplished in our history, not all pretty, but alot of honest work too, is equivalent to everywhere else on earth, to be given away, in the false name of free trade.

    We don’t need to work at slave labor wages to survive.

    We can grow enough food, shelter and cloth ourselves, and we have the tech-based productivity to provide decent medical care and goods.

    We just need to dump the mentality that we are all beholden to corporate masters and must always accept their corrupt pyramid schemes and take the crumbs.

    We could have an honest economy producing our needs and creating valuable goods and services, to be traded freely amongst ourselves, fairly rewarding work and education and choices made by individuals.

    But our current State Capitalism mix of astoundingly complex legislative webs that subsidize corporations and war, create malinvestment bubbles, and, yes, create perverse effects on personal responsibility and work ethic, is far from that picture. It serves only to continue siphoning every cent of productivty to the elite, by corrupt means, and to mock our dreams of liberty and a modest, comfortable life, and our dignity.

    Down with the status quo.

    • Cory

      Bravo, Dave.

  • Michael

    What’s really sad is obama sucking up to these CEO’s(of course calling there private dinner/fundraisers) not fundraisers.

  • NPRjunky

    I’m expecting Tom to call out the Madison protestors for their dangerous lack of civility. Calling for a “Day of Rage” and referring to Gov. Walker as Mubarek and a dictator could incite the mentally less stable among this group, and I’m sure there are quite a few, to do something Tucson-esque. Right Tom? Or does all your vitriol one directional….

    • ThresherK

      But aren’t the Madison protesters, by and large, white? That’s gotta count for something to the Beltway Inbreds, as it never scared them when all those white Teabaggers packed weapons at their rallies.

  • Zeno

    The US Congress doesn’t want democracy in the mid-east, because you cannot bribe a country, but you can bribe a regime. How will Congress be able to continue to spread controlled war across the mid-east in the name of democracy and freedom if they already have those things?

    The Congressional war/weapon sales/oil machine is in jeopardy.

    • Zeno

      …also remember how despite intelligence reports from Iran that its mostly youthful culture was against the theocracy and actually liked America, the Bush administration wanted to bomb the country. It would have forced a stronger regime and aligned the bulk of the populace against the US. How sweet that would be..because then the funding would be committed to either sustain the regime or to destroy it.

      The old make and break funding response. Its much harder to find funding to bomb a democracy.

  • Jonathan Janik

    Regarding Bahrain, the U.S. and Iran … A democratic Bahrain even if it’s a Shiite-led government is a threat to a tyrannical regime in Iran because it will increase domestic demands in Iran to open up politically and to allow greater freedoms. Furthermore, democratic states do not go to war with democratic states a la Michael Doyle’s democratic peace theory… this is because of the values shared between democratic states, i.e. compromise and negotiation, and the burdens felt by a population that elects its leaders.

  • Anonymous

    Average MPS Teacher Compensation Tops $100k/year

    And they are protesting in the streets because they might have to pay $200 for healthcare insurance and put a little money in their retirement accounts from their pay check?

    http://maciverinstitute.com/2010/03/average-mps-teacher-compensation-tops-100kyear/

    • Low-information warning

      The MacIver Institute is a not a news service. It is not a member of the traditional media. It is a right wing educational “charitable” organization and it is gathering footage to advance its conservative, anti-worker agenda.

      I’ve never heard of the MacIver Institute. But I found out in two seconds at (http://www.onewisconsinnow.org/blog/2010/01/CHcQ.html).

      Try again. Don’t you have a cite from Jeff Gannon, Armstrong Williams, or “Karen Ryan”?

    • Arturo

      I just discovered that Wisconsin is not in the Midwest, but in the Middle East.

      Let’s keep it in perspective, workers in Wisconsin are protesting for their right to bargain labor conditions. Under the pretense of fighting the budget deficit, the Republicans and their corporate masters have initiated an assault to labor rights and the idea that the government serves the people.

      • NPRjunky

        Apparently the people serve the unions. State government workers have more than enough protections; collective bargaining is excessive and has only been kept in place because of unions’ campaign contributions to corrupt politicians.

        • Joe Hill

          Government workers and other union members have these protections because they banded together to protect them. Workers who didn’t want to join unions have took the risk that their private employers would maintain the pensions and other benefits promised to them, and in exchange, they also were paid at higher levels than those in the public sector. Now that private companies and corporations have reneged on pension contracts (Polaroid, Enron, etc., etc.), leaving employees in the lurch and facing a penniless retirement (except for Social Security!) the private employees are being pitted against union workers. More people should join unions to protect and demand workers’ rights. Don’t be fooled–the corporations are behind demantling government workers’ unions, because they want ALL unions abolished. Then we can all work for peanuts, like the Chinese and people in Thailand or Central America.

          • NPRjunky

            Most recent surveys show public workers make more than private for same level of job. Workers rights are already well protected. Unions are designed to enrich their administrators at the expense of their members, this is why we have seen countless corruption indictments of union officers. Union dues are now funding politician campaigns and astroturf PACs, all at the expense of their members. Unions negotiate uneconomic wage rates and then are surprised when plants close; who is served by that.

          • Joe Hill

            Public workers now make more money than private for same level of Job?! Could be–corporations have LOWERED wages for their employees–the ones who aren’t protected by the unions! Duh!

            Glad you mentioned Astroturf–I noticed that government jets flew over the SuperBowl crowds in the pre-game show. Those were government workers flying those planes. Who paid for that?

          • NRPjunky

            No actually private worker wages have gone up, but public have gone up even more! Thus the basis for Walker’s action if you read his speech.
            Yes, you’ve found one example of government waste, probably paid those guys overtime too. Fire them, and sell the planes for scrap.

        • Cory

          You are right. China has no unions, and look how well they are doing (fade to gentle banjo strum).

          • NPRjunky

            China’s all one big people’s union, so you make my point

  • Lee

    Question:

    I’m curious if anyone knows how many public service union members in Wisconsin voted for the Republicans this past November? A percentage of them must have. How will they feel if they get a cut in salary and benefits? How will they feel if they become unemployed?

    • ThresherK

      Actually, I believe the firefighter and police unions supported the current governor. But they are now standing with the teachers.

      • NPRjunky

        Actually the police support the gov’s efforts as reported on NPR this morning.

        • ThresherK

          Thanks for the tidbit–missed it. I guess that love affair between Republicans and our bravest and finest is over.

          Who has dibs to slap the next Republican to say “9/11″?

        • Gregg – Taylorsville, NC

          As do the voters who elected Walker.

          • NPRjunky

            The who? The wishes of the voters are of no import to this discussion.

    • NPRjunky

      Gee, I think they might feel like the rest of us! No matter how much you kiss your boss’ arse; if the company is losing money, your job/pay might be cut.

      • ThresherK

        Are you talking about Wisconsin?

        There are plenty of ways for the government to not “lose money”. But the first step is to stop pretending that government is to be run like a business.

        Businesses play accounting games, finagle profits from shuffling paper, and lobby with unholy persistence to get government contracts and write things off their taxes. When a segment of their customer base becomes too unprofitable to service, they simply get out of that market.

        That fantasy laundry list has been flogged as a solution to the American public since before Reagan had to raise taxes to make up for his tax cut. If there’s something in it which governors can do, why aren’t they doing it?

        • NPRjunky

          Unfortunately governments have gone to the same accounting tricks: slow pay to vendors, off balance sheet items, issuing debt to pay current expenses, corrupt assumptions about pensions’ funded status…

          • ThresherK

            And when a CEO leaves a ticking time bomb that goes off five years later, the next golden parachuter declares “strategic bankruptcy”, all those debts go away, and nobody goes to prison.

            Governments don’t have that luxury.

          • NPRjunky

            Right so states should be run even more conservatively than corporations, living well within their means. This is what Walker’s reforms are trying to accomplish, though it’s a very small step, but not an unimportant one.

          • ThresherK

            Then Walker can start by not giving his friends the keys to the Treasury, and dumptrucks to empty it with.

            Walker is starting to sound like a classic “deficit hack”

          • NPRjunky

            Pretty cynical. I give a guy at least three months before I start calling him a hack.

          • ThresherK

            He wants a blood transfusion from the workers after helping his friends severed an artery. No different than any other GOP wunderkind.

          • NRPjunky

            but you’re not into pre-judgement, right? demo-hack methinks

          • Michael

            But many companies didn’t live within there means((Tarp)), many Big Banks leveraged 1-20,1-30 and some cases 1-40 and the result was government bail-out and massive profits. Many of the Big Companies bets when sour get were paided 100% of the value of there bet by U.S. taxpayers when they took over AIG. Even small or middle companies where given subsidies,incentives and tax-cuts for not living within there means. Lets not forget no contract bids going to Companies.

            What big corporations that didn’t live within there means actually failed? very few (Bearsteins and Lehman brothers).

          • Anonymous

            I am glad you are on my side. TARP should have never happened, or at least not to the extent that it did. Especially since much of the bailout money went to overseas banks.

          • NPRjunky

            Out of the hundreds of thousands of corporations, you make some broad generalization from the government forcing less than 100 to take TARP. Corporations go bankrupt everyday; Borders, Blockbuster … Actions have consequences. It’s about time government learned that the American public isn’t going to bail out poor decisions by politicians. Time to bring some reality to state governments!

          • ThresherK

            It’s about time government learned that the American public isn’t going to bail out poor decisions by politicians. Time to bring some reality to state governments!

            Ah, the old False Equivalency game. Wasn’t it time when George W. Bush was presiding over a ~5 year expansion, forcing thru a tax cut which will never pay for itself, and going to two wars without arranging to pay for them?

            The right-wing Norquistian strategy on the Federal level is to bankrupt the government when in power and beggar it when in opposition. The state-level strategy is being written.

          • NRPjunky

            I believe his party paid the price for the check he and the Democratic congress didn’t write. Starve the beast sounds like the right strategy to me.

          • Michael

            But those companies control the vast amount of capital, which 100 and 1000 of other companies rely on.

            Blockbuster,borders have very little effect on the economy both economically and financially as opposed to the companies that were bailed out. As well 100 or 1000 other companies do not rely on them like they did the ones that were bailed out.

            And again still those companies that leveraged far more than blockbusters and Borders did were bailed out to save the 100 and 1000 of other companies.

          • NPRjunky

            I’ve lost this thread, but it sounds like you’re making the case for the fact that the government had to act to bailout these 100s of banks because the capital they control is so crucial to the private economy. State governments are far less important, so should we let them go bankrupt so they can terminate their pension plans. Sounds like an interesting idea.

          • Michael

            To expand on that,

            not only are these bailed out companies bigger and stronger than before,even more smaller companies rely on them more and are still to big to fail. And have went back to engaging in the same practices that got them in trouble in the first places.

            The next big bubble is prob going to be commodities and life insurances policies

  • Michael

    As for Israel, as the U.S. demographics change, sooner or later the U.S. is not going to keep Vetoing Resolution and when this happens we will see if Israel really wants peace. And as Israel moves more and more to the right they will loses world public opinion and even the christian right in the U.S. will not be able to support their actions.

    They already purposed a bill that would make rabbi’s immune from calling for the killing of non-Jews. This was after a rabbi told his followers it was okay to Kill non-Jews. As the muslim world is told to moderate and are trying to become more liberal, Israel government is becoming more radical and

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/religious-lawmakers-propose-bill-providing-legal-immunity-to-rabbis-1.343805

    Lawmakers from Shas, National Union and the United Torah Judaism proposed a bill on Wednesday that would give rabbis immunity against legal responsibility for comments or opinions voiced about the Torah, books and religious rulings.

    The bill entitled “Dov Lior Law” was sponsored by Michael Ben Ari (National Union), Shas Chairman Eli Yishai, Avraham Michaeli (Shas), Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Israel Eichler (United Torah Judaism).

    Dov Lior, the head rabbi of Kiryat Arba, in response to the rabbi’s refusal to appear for questioning on the support he gave for the controversial book “Torat Hamelech,” which justifies killing non-Jews.

    We has the U.S. not denounced such a bill? We are told that Israel is a liberal democracy yet the U.S. Media ignore there religious radicals in it’s government.

  • Caleb from Jamaica Plain, MA

    Speaking of Big Oil, War and Middle-East Revolution:

    The Unocal Corporation, a major oil interest, proposed building the TRANS-AFGHANISTAN PIPELINE to congress in 1998 to provide oil and natural gas to several Asian markets. Regardless of their stated intentions, they had to pull the ruling Taliban away from agreements they had with the Bridas Corp to convince them to sign on with Unocal instead (which eventually got backing from the US government). Enter Iran as the new kid on the block. IRAN PROPOSED A PIPELINE to cross the southern part of Pakistan which would cover less harsh territory and cause far fewer tribal disputes over pumping oil and gas to India and Pakistan. Do you see a potential conflict here?

    Not surprisingly, Cheney’s Halliburton has secured the drilling rights to the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline. Now we see the Anti-Iran mantra more clearly.

  • Jay

    The turmoil in the Middle East highlights the fact that the U.S. must allow for increased offshore oil drilling as well as drilling for oil in natl. parks such as ANWAR in order lessen the U.S. dependence on foreign oil from unstable regions of the world.

  • Michael

    The reason that such is important, is the area with the most extremist in israel are in the occupied territories, you can find the people proposing such racist and discriminatory laws are coming for the people/parties in those area’s .

    It’s also worth noting that Israel helped spawn Hamas to weaken the more Secular PLO

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html

    Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.

    “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

    Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas.

  • Webb Nichols

    It is time for an apology. It is time for the United States to take responsibility for their missguided actions and policies in the Middle East. It is time to admit that the United has not lived up to its own principles.
    It is time to apologize to the rest of the world for not coming close to what the United States is supposed to represent.

  • John

    Why is Obama using a cutting extravagances from a family budget metaphor to justify his cuts when the cuts to heating assistance and food for infants aren’t things that a family would cut?

    • Caleb from Jamaica Plain, MA

      Good point. I’d also like to mention, in case people have somehow forgotten by now, the worst of all the completely unjustified cuts: The Tax Cuts (by which we can refer to the Obama Tax cuts, the Bush 2 Tax Cuts, the Clinton Tax Cuts, the Bush1 and Reagan tax cuts).

      The second big elephant that needs to be up for the axe is MILITARY SPENDING. Notice that the right-controlled commentator on the show will not mention MILITARY AND ARMS SPENDING as the primary driving force behind the deficit. Our Military budget is 7.6 times the amount of the next highest spender China, and we spend over 2x the amount of every other country as % of our GDP on arms. The Military-Industrial Complex has never been more of a driving force in our foreign and domestic policy than it is today.

  • Caleb from Jamaica Plain, MA

    Another thing the US press fails to mention: I’ve not seen one mention of the OTHER opposition parties in Egypt besides the Muslim Brotherhood, the name of which is constantly pumped out at as high a frequency as possible – e.g. New York Times, NPR. Think of the subconscious association of that name “Muslim Brotherhood” on the brainwashed American consumer. In his/her mind “Muslim” = “Terrorist” and “Brotherhood” = “Group”. Thus we have “Terrorist Group” paired with Egyptian Uprising and ZERO mention of the other, secular groups struggling for representation in a democratic Egyptian future.

    Particularly, I’d like to point readers to research:

    The National Progressive Unionist Party (aka “Tagammu”).
    They are a well-established, professional minority party in the center-Left that promotes progressive reforms to the economy and civil governance structure.

  • Barbara

    Why do you all keep saying Social Security is a big driver of the deficit, when it has nothing to do with the deficit? You all know that! This is wrong, and dishonest. I expect accuracy and truthfulness from Public Radio.

  • Annewan

    I believe Jack Beattie is right in his analysis. History has proven that our long term interests are never served by supporting leaders who oppress their own people, or people under their occupation, regardless of what part of the world we are talking about. The biggest recruiting tool for Al Quaeda and Hamas in the ME has been our hypocrisy in supporting autocrats and the Israeli occupation, which belies our claim to support human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We have a chance to change our image in the ME, thereby undermining the anti-American rhetoric of Al Quaeda and Hamas. (Notice the protests in the West Bank yesterday against both Hamas and Fatah and demanding reconciliation on behalf of the Palestinian people.) The current revolutions also present us with a great way to contain Iran because it’s hypocrisy is now evident for every Arab and Muslim to see, and no one in the ME is indicating that they want to emulate Iran. The American people have always been viewed favorably in the ME, especially American individual freedoms and technological prowess. Our foreign policy, however, has been hugely unpopular for good reason. Here is our chance to change that and build new stronger alliances based on the support of the people, not just an autocrat.

  • Dave in CT

    What if we all tried an experiment, in analyzing all these events, domestic and foreign going on, to look at a range of perspectives, instead of sticking with our preferred media. Playing devils advocate with ourselves, and just see if anything valuable comes from it. I’m sure many of you already do.

    For ex.

    http://www.nytimes.com/
    http://www.thefreemanonline.org/
    http://www.campaignforliberty.com/
    http://www.truthdig.com/

    If we could agree on a small number, it would be interesting to see if it informed any productive discussions as we go through the news ahead with On Point.

    • Yar

      I would like to encourage those who want to take this discussion to the next level to join this community. Create a profile and then we can use this forum to do more than scratch the surface. I am all for building community. If you have a better place that this can happen, I am all ears.
      On Point may become a tahrir square for a growing group of concerned citizens.
      When Tom Ashbrook starts inviting regulars posters from this blog as guests on his show, we will know we are reaching a larger population.
      This is the “New Media.” I want real citizens’ voices to be heard in our democracy. More than just sound-bites.

      • Pancake Rankin

        Moyers Talkback blog was “new media” and that is why it was canceled by the Rockefellers. Already there are guys with whips riding horses and camels on here. Snipers (editing moderators) are on the roof. WBUR can’t afford freedom of speech. It would lose underwriters. Underwriters are mounted on the giants we call corporations, and they throw down candy to the “development directors” who control public media. It makes you wonder if non-profits were ever intended to accomplish anything, or if they were always retainer playhouses and pre-arranged failures. On Point could go down if Tom had you or me as guests. The “Big People” would get mad (angry).

        • Yar

          Please join me in this public square, we can decide to move location once the censors start showing up, but for now, it seems a good place to build a movement. Time has value, thanks for your input, membership in the forum will increase its worth. It will make it possible to look across issues and see the frame in which you present your ideas. I don’t expect to ever be on the show, but I do value the thoughts of those who contribute to this blog.
          Do you fear our comments will kill the blog or show?
          Spring will come and I won’t have time to follow this as close as I am now. I need your added value.

          • Pancake Rankin

            Redlair6@yahoo.com
            I am in touch with people I often read on Moyers (5 at present).
            I learned how to express myself on a blog from them.
            If I had a website no one would seek it because I lack media access in a sea of anonymity.
            Facebook and other registration will catch you fleas and other guvment critters.
            It would be best if people formed action cells in their community excluding government provocateurs.
            We’re gearing up for possible big puppet activity at the Democratic Convention next year in Charlotte, seeking a cheap warehouse studio right now, buying video equipment, studying resistance manuals such as Albert Einstein Institute’s Gene Sharp (free download).
            I’m also trying to farm.
            A successfully expressive On Point blog will be suppressed.
            I’m sure of that.

  • Yar

    Look at Social Security and other regressive taxes compared to progressive taxes. The US is becoming a more regressive tax system. Social Security is the problem in that is has masked deficit spending for a generation. People want to live more than a couple of years on SS, they want to live the rest of their life in security and with health care.

    • Anonymous

      Social security was designed such that only people that lived beyond the median life expectancy got any money from the stystem since they knew and had to plan to live the average life, they counldn’t know if they would live 10 years longer than average, and thus should get some help.

      Now people 10years younger than the average life expectancy expect to get paid.

      That is the core of the problem. Social security should be pegged to median life expectancy.

      • Yar

        I think I see a class issue in life expectancy and Social Security. We all have about a billion and a half heart beats. Extreme physical activity related to your job will cut into your life expectancy. It also changes your ability to remain working. Bodies wear out. We have exploited a lot of people in the name of good business.
        Treating an office worker the same as a laborer is not treating each fairly. Retirement age may need to be job related. In reality, we are treating our hardest working citizens the poorest when it comes to healthcare, retirement and even wages. It seems the harder ( more physical activity you job requires) the lower the pay.
        Try cleaning chickens for a year on a factory assembly line, and then tell me the retirement age is too young.
        I expect you will decide food is too cheap.

      • Pancake Rankin

        What about the survivors benefits for kids of parents who die young? And what about all the disabled people who get a check? It is a way of making our compassion impartial and uniform, so that racial minorities and the unchurched aren’t slighted. Cutting Social Security as it exists would depress thousands of rural American towns so badly the Sonic and the Dairy Queen would close, not to mention the clinic and the gas station. Some immature egomaniacs use only their brainstem for thinking and deny they live in a community of interdependence. The Egyptians who risked themselves for everyone’s freedom are using their entire empathetic mind and maybe tapping into a collective consciousness. Lizard brains mean a lizard existence. Flick, flick, get that fly with your long forked tongue, colorful slamamander on a barren rock.

      • Jim in Omaha

        Social Security was also designed to require payment into the system by 90% of wages. It’s not currently doing so. The cap on the income level at which payroll taxes stops must be raised.

  • Michael

    If republicans threaten to shut down government obama will buckle,

    It sick to hear the republicans cry about the deficit when they not only 3 months ago voted to raise the debt with a un paidful tax-cut. Has not attempted to raise funding for the wars overseas and refused to raise taxes on the rich or cut defense(a increase in defense is not a cut). Nor cut out loop-holes that allow companies to outsource jobs and text using taxpayers dollars. Lets not forgot this jobs are being outsourced to countries that use slave/child labor. Even apple who NPR is constantly bragging about had to go to china cause people were jumping out of buildings in there workshops.

    What will happen is republicans will say they will not raise your taxes, while states do, and instead republicans raise fees(i.e. taxes in another form) which the fee’s will disproportionally effect the middle class and poor.

    • Dave in CT

      What if taxes were shifted from Fed to States? What would be the horror of more local control and experimentation? If they outlawed moving between states, that would be a problem….

      Normal argument that people of some states are just too dumb or too mean to do right, and thus we need smart planners in DC to ensure everything is done “right”.

      • Michael

        This has been going on for a good while, even as Fed Taxes have been declining(even at times of war) State taxes and fees have been rising.

        “Normal argument that people of some states are just too dumb or too mean to do right, and thus we need smart planners in DC to ensure everything is done “right”.

        Funny since red states are(often) the ones getting more from the governments teat. Be it defense contracts, medicare funding, or military.

        Why is it that some states that other states taxpayers dollars so they can reduce the cost of there own citizen?

        • Dave in CT

          “Funny since red states are(often) the ones getting more from the governments teat. Be it defense contracts, medicare funding, or military.”

          Sounds about right. Cut that off, let them feel the consequences, and then let them decide how to tax themselves/invest etc.

          • Pancake Rankin

            So we won’t be saving any ta-tas, huh. This is cancer, military-industrial testicle cancer, and take our the limpnodes (corporate welfare) too.

    • Pancake Rankin

      He will buckle? This slime ball has so many new holes in his belt that it is shredding. He will probably drop his drawers and bend over. Imagine what the old lady in the shack with the $600 Social Security check and 20% Medicare deductible thinks. She can’t feed a cat. I would haul her to register and vote except that she has the choice between sardines or catfood on white sawdust bread, because both parties nominate the same selfish apeholes.

    • Gregg – Taylorsville, NC

      “It sick to hear the republicans cry about the deficit when they not only 3 months ago voted to raise the debt with a un paidful tax-cut.”

      Didn’t happen. There was a bi-partisan vote to avoid raising taxes on everyone. No one got a tax cut. There were no cost associated.

      The only ones talking about shutting down the government are Democrats.

      • John

        Of course there was a tax cut. The Bush cuts were going to expire. The Democrats caved into Republican demands to extend them for the rich but it was hardly a bipartisan effort. As far as the deficit is concerned, a tax cut that isn’t matched with identical cuts in spending does have a cost associated with it.

  • Dt03044

    Has anyone fact-checked Senator Brown’s claims in his new book? I’m not exactly sure how one would prove or disprove his assertions, but it seems odd that he never mentioned the sexual abuse to anyone before now, even his wife and mother.

    • Zeno

      You’re not alone..I had the same suspicions. I just can’t get past the announcement as a means to boost book sales to fund his next campaign.

    • Pancake Rankin

      Before the book it was only a masturbation fantasy.IMO
      Brown says he would not change any event in his life because altogether they made him a better man. So that would imply that every 10 year old boy should be groped and forced to perform fellatio, I guess. It parallels with John Boehner wanting boys to share in his barroom upbringing so they can sell beer and plastic and get money from lobbyists to get elected to something or other.
      What is the purpose of success is you sell your tail and your integrity to get it? Maybe that’s the American way.

    • Pancake Rankin

      Before the book it was only a masturbation fantasy.IMO
      Brown says he would not change any event in his life because altogether they made him a better man. So that would imply that every 10 year old boy should be groped and forced to perform fellatio, I guess. It parallels with John Boehner wanting boys to share in his barroom upbringing so they can sell beer and plastic and get money from lobbyists to get elected to something or other.
      What is the purpose of success is you sell your tail and your integrity to get it? Maybe that’s the American way.

  • Shultz Jack

    It seems to me that a simple thing the government can do to help reduce the deficit is to collect the unpaid taxes owed by major corporations.
    This story in Reuters (link below) shows that corporation have been successfully been able to avoid paying their fair of taxes for far too long.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/08/12/us-usa-taxes-corporations-idUSN1249465620080812

    • Beverly

      Indeed. This system works too well for it to ever change though. Without having to pay any taxes, they have more money for buying elections.

  • ThresherK

    Reagan’s genius was described as rhetorically “Separating the poor from the middle class”?

    I’m a white suburbanite, so maybe I don’t remember the Reagan rhetoric on race the same as other people here. Chime in as needed.

    • Zeno

      Yes its true. I remember it quite well. He also started the hatred of the government chant.

    • John

      “strapping young buck” buying steak with food stamps, “welfare queen” driving a Cadillac

      • ThresherK

        Remember the Great Depression? Reagan was on the dole, lazy bum.

        So, in the ’80s, Reagan felt the need to at least pay lip service to (the right type of) poor people, it appears.

        Nice to see how much further down the scale the modern GOP has slid.

    • Pancake Rankin

      Reagan was our Mubarak, and it is time to retire his rancid dead body. “Spanish Fascist Dictator General Francisco Franco is still dead.” Corneillius “Chevy” Chase 1975 SNL News

      • William

        Clinton gave us Pearl Harbor II via 9-11.

  • Caleb from Jamaica Plain, MA

    NEITHER PUBLIC NOR PRIVATE SECTOR UNIONS ARE NOT THE LARGEST FUNDER OF THE DNC. That is a completely false assertion. Wall St. Banks like Citi-Group are the largest contributors. Look at Obama’s funding sources for 2008 election: Big Banks and Finance.

    • Dave in CT

      The internal tension between labor and Banking in the Democratic party is quite something to behold. But maybe they can come up with a nice big, static formula that seems fair enough at the end of the day, but does nothing to reform and prevent the next cycle, as the whole thing stems from too much power concentration in various groups in the first place, instead of trusting our friends and neighbors to hold more power and make good choices.

  • Anonymous

    Should unions be allowed to give money to political candidates or parties? Isn’t the union doing a disservice to the union member with minority political leanings?

    • Michael

      Same questions should be asked with the chamber of commerce?

      Both cases could be pointed out to do a disservice to there minority political leaning. Also a good reason for reforming the two party system.

    • Yar

      Should the Chamber of Commerce? Are they a Union? Why do you dislike people joining together to get a better deal? Please try to see a world that is not black and white. Every group has its faults and redeeming qualities.

    • Beverly

      Are huge corporations doing a disservice to their employees & stockholders with minority political leanings?

    • MMcHarry

      Why are corporations allowed to give as much as they want to support candidates of their choice? Doesn’t this do a disservice to share holders who disagree with management?

  • Jim Thompson

    The House vote stopping the second jet engine was not propelled by the GOP or teaparty crowd. The Democrats are sendig a message to the speaker.

    Finally the GOP are truthfully admiting they would like to do away with collective bargaining rights of working people. In the long run it will not work, because working folks like the forty hour work week, overtime, weekends and the minimum wage. After the right to unionize the GOP will go after these things. President W. Bush and the GOP Congress already have changed the overtime and forty hour week eligibilty.

    By the way under the GOP cuts 23 of the 30 NIH Alzheimer research centers would be closed. When Alzheimer’s is an epidemic how does this make any sense?

  • Jack

    I’ve spent time in the middle east (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain) and my impression from those times as well as watching discussions here is that the US doesn’t have a Middle East policy. We merely spend blood, money and prestige to defend and implement Israel’s Middle East policy. Sometimes that may align with our interests, but for sure that hasn’t been the case in a decade or so. When are we as a people going to realize this?

  • SteveV

    So the Defense Department is part of the stimulus program. I’m shocked, shocked to learn this.

    • Anonymous

      I am not shocked, because I listen to other news outlets, and not just NPR!

      • Gregg – Taylorsville, NC

        Ditto

  • Armidalm

    I just discovered that Wisconsin is not in the Midwest, but in the Middle East.

    Workers in Wisconsin are protesting for their right to bargain labor conditions. Under the pretense of fighting the budget deficit, the Republicans and their corporate masters have initiated an assault to labor rights and the idea that the government serves the people.

    I am not acting as conspiracy theorist when is say this, but since Karl Rove talked about a ‘permanent majority’ the GOP and the plutocracy has been plotting to establish a distatorship of a new type. That is why they want to silence NPR . . .among other things.

    (I am enhancing and reposting my reply to a listener)

    • William

      Times change. The state is broke. Take what they offer or take massive layoffs. It is not a bad deal.

  • Anonymous

    When did Americans stop feeling shame for being leaches on society and asking for handouts from others including the government?

    • ThresherK

      I don’t know. Does Neil Bush feel shame? How many “blind trust” checks did Dick Cheney had to cash when he “disengaged” himself from Halliburton to be a “public servant”? And all those Enronistas, flying GWB around during the 2000 campaign, does that count as “handouts” when one is that well-connected?

      Shame is for little people.

      • Zeno

        How about John McCain. His entire life has been subsidized by the US taxpayer. From birth as the Admirals son, to his ultimate demise he will never have been outside the public sector.

        • ThresherK

          I thought he gave his paychecks to charity. I mean, he should be able to live off the goodie bags he gets from appearing on Meet The Press every week.

    • geffe

      You are a piece of work.

      • Miller

        work ……. or something else?

  • John

    Where is the generational fairness in all this budget debate? The reason we’re so deep in this whole is that the prior generation figured that it could vote itself gilded retirements and benefits without having to charge itself taxes to fund those entitlements. Why are *my* taxes going to finance *their* retirements/health plans/etc when none in my generation will be getting as sweet a deal?
    There has been a massive generational transfer of money since the start of the New Deal. This is first time that a new generation is seeing a more limited, dramatically more austere future than any before it.

  • Shmurghi

    It was nice to hear Bob host rather than Tom today. The contrast just reminds me how much I miss The Connection with Dick Gordon. Almost any other NPR host would be better than Tom, though

    • Caleb from Jamaica Plain, MA

      Bob’s voice resembles the sound of a smacking pig, sloppily snorting cornmeal. His political leanings are clearly right of Tom’s, which – aside from his annoying voice – also pisses me off.

      • John

        I can’t stand the way Bob drags out the pronunciation of “news.” Every day that irritates me. He wasn’t a bad host. Better than Jane.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      I think Tom does a GREAT job even though his leanings are WAY left of mine…..

    • Pancake Rankin

      Bob is way cooler than Tom. He listens before doing his “Phil Donahue monologue” and Tom doesn’t. Neil Conan on TOTN also has the same know-it-all problem as Tom. A producer tickling your ear with more and more “tittylating facts” is no substitute for hearing your guests and your audience. Tom and Neil’s method makes them ripe for a replacement by WATSON. Christopher Lidon is alive and can be heard on the web. He’s an exceptional guy but is getting old. It would not be hard to find yourself politically left of Tom, because the bandwidth to his right is especially narrow (minded) and programmed. To remain neutral at a time of an upperclass run massacre is to be an advocate for it.

      Note: Like Francisco Franco, Dale Earnhart, Senior is still dead. And rigged and fixed NASCAR soon will be too.

  • Wyatt

    Jack ! Lets get this right – without any further delay.
    The religion of Islam is merely a continuation of the basic beliefs of Abraham that had already been manifested in the shape of Judaism and Christianity. Period. The prophet Muhammad was absolutely clear about this that the followers of these 3 ‘religions’ are brothers and sisters “in faith”. Thus any dissensions amongst the peoples of these 3 faiths must not be assigned to religion. Period. Like in any other environment on this earth their differences are the result of differing : geography, social tradition and culture – and ALL these differences ARE man-made!
    The objectives of those in the background – who manipulate and divide and rule – are normally the result of : the possession of land and resources, and of the arrogant design of some to acquire power and wealth to the exclusion of the commoners who essentially actually create wealth. Its about time we of these faiths faced this situation squarely rather than slit each others’ throats over what really is anathema to the basic reality – the “religious call” to UNITY within the human species so as to strive TOGETHER for a world that should be nicer for all that toil and need adequate reward. Period.
    I quote ” It is easier for a camel pass through the EYE of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of god”. Here’s the answer to richness. Philosophically, entrepreneurs and the capable CAN create as much wealth as they can – as long as they SPREAD the resultant benefits to those that are relatively “in needs” AND not to keep it – in greed – to themselves. Period.
    I know that by the time this composition gets to you, you’ll already have proceeded to the 2nd Friday hour today ! How ever please feel free to apply these thoughts appropriately during any future OnPoint session.
    With much appreciation for your balanced judgements

    • Wyatt

      ………….for a camel TO pass……….

      wyatt for wyatt

  • http://www.facebook.com/shirley.lally Shirley C. Lally

    I believe that there are many workers in the private sector view the demands of the public sector workers as whining. Most private sector workers do not have pensions, job security or the great benefit package that public employees do, thus there is little sympathy. Many state budgets are buckling under the burden of unfunded pension liabilities and unions are the culprit.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Shirley.

      You said it beautifully and honestly and you are right.

      • Gundy

        Right….off the cliff of class warfare…

    • geffe

      So the idea is a race to the bottom. Since when is collective barging whining?

      • Anonymous

        Collective barging allows if not encourages the worst workers to get the same raise or other benefits as the best workers. Since I am one of my companies best workers, I don’t want to be held down by the worst worker.

        It only makes sense that the laziest people in society have to be the most in favor of collective barging and the best workers are those who oppose it.

        • geffe

          Brandstad you come on here and demonize the public sector. Then you make up or distort facts to meet your agenda. I’m not a big fan of unions, they are not perfect. But you’re just telling porky pies pal.
          But I have member’s of my family who have been in them. They were anything but lazy. I know people who are in unions now. My neighbors are cops and city workers and they work pretty hard.
          Sure I don’t like the idea of a cop standing around on a dean end street doing traffic detail for a work crew, but that can be dealt with.
          I’m not going to demonize the entire Boston police force and their union because of one thing I don’t like about their contract.

          The same goes for the public works guys. In the last storm they did a great job and worked 12 to 14 hours straight to keep the roads clear. I even got one of them to clear my side road so I could get to work. All I had to do was ask nicely and it was done in about 20 minutes. (they were in the area).

          I have an idea for you Barnstad, stop using public roads, libraries, and anything else that involves the public sector and then you have the right to complain in the way you do.

    • geffe

      No Shirley that’s not correct. It’s the governors and state legislators who did not meet their end of the obligations by not funding the pensions as they should have. New Jersey is a perfect example.

      Now people like you and Brandstad here are jumping on the demonizing band wagon here. I bet folks like you will be the first to complain when your kids come home with a bad education or that your roads leading to the mall are not taken care of.

    • Joe Hill

      If private sector workers had joined unions, they’d have had pensions, job security, and greater benefit packages by now, too. They traded higher wages for less security and smaller (now often nonexistent) pensions. Union workers feel sorry for you, but you had your chance to join unions. Why didn’t you? Now you want to take away from other workers what you didn’t bother to secure for yourself by banding together with your colleagues to protect yourselves and your rights for the good work that your employers should be compensating you for, so your family and retirement are protected. That’s what union workers want. Only what has been contracted for in exchange for their labor.

      • James

        Fear. Private sector is very good at singling out the unionizers. Look at Walmart. They have an emergency anti-union squad.

      • Yar

        I sing your song often.
        Lets put 100,000 organizers on the street by 2012.
        The new cop on the beat.

        I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
        alive as you and me.
        Says I “But Joe, you’re ten years dead”
        “I never died” said he,
        “I never died” said he.

        “The Copper Bosses killed you Joe,
        they shot you Joe” they filled you full of lead.
        “Takes more than guns to kill a man”
        Says Joe “I didn’t die”
        Says Joe “I didn’t die”

        “In Salt Lake City, Joe,” says I,
        Him standing by my bed,
        “They framed you on a murder charge,”
        Says Joe, “But I ain’t dead,”
        Says Joe, “But I ain’t dead.”

        And standing there as big as life
        and smiling with his eyes.
        Says Joe “What they can never kill
        went on to organize,
        went on to organize”

        From San Diego up to Maine,
        in every mine and mill,
        Where working men defend their rights,
        it’s there you’ll find Joe Hill,
        it’s there you’ll find Joe Hill!

        I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
        alive as you and me.
        Says I “But Joe, you’re ten years dead”
        “I never died” said he,
        “I never died” said he

        • Joe Hill

          Yeah–Crawled out of my hole with the miners in the collapsed mines they were gonna fix someday. Or was it the oil rigs they were gonna make safe some day? Like the one BP was running when it blew up.

          Still here. Organize, folks. Egypt is doing it. We can, too.

        • Shultz Jack

          I would like to add the words of Wael Ghonim, Google exec and one of the leaders of the revolution in Egypt when asked after Mubarak resigned, “How will you ensure that the Army doesn’t simply install another strongman, as they have been doing since 1952.
          Mr. Ghonim answered “I’m confident because we are organized and we are mobilized.” When I heard that I thought to myself “Right on.” Yes, I do believe that they will succeed in building a new Egypt because that’s what it takes, together with some vision and a lot of courage.

      • Beverly

        BRAVO!

      • William

        Unions are too corrupt and don’t fit in with the current economy.

        • Shultz Jack

          Corporations are much more powerful and much much more corrupt.
          i.e. BP

  • Tina

    RE: Defense spending because of the manufacturing of parts or products in a Congressional district — and then the competition between districts.

    Ask ANY art college industrial design graduate or architecture or fine arts or any of the design arts graduates to brainstorm & propose multiple, major re-tooling ideas for those plants, and you could develop whole NEW INDUSTRIES right here in this country. I don’t see WHY the union workers can’t also be given the same challenge: i.e., with what you know how to do, with what you know your team knows, how would you propose re-tooling this plant — away from military use and toward a NEW INDUSTRY, perhaps especially one that will help us with our other needs: infra-structure, environment, etc.

    THIS IS one of our problems — total LACK of imagination, except for the greedy imagination of the folks who gave us credit default swaps & derivatives, etc. This problem of lack of imagination only risks being exasperated when short-sided Republicans cut funding for the arts and for funding for arts education within the schools!!

    The arts and design are NOT primarily about “beauty”; beauty is just a by-product of what the arts and design REALLY are: major forms of cognition; major forms of cognition that knit idea with the physical!
    Politicians and lawyers seem to lack even an understanding of this kind of cognition, and thus, they keep hogging the problems, framing them only in terms that their professions understand, and coming up short again and again.

    Meanwhile, we have “Spending-cuts Boehner” wanting major spending in HIS district for something Gates says our military doesn’t need. No wonder he cries all the time; otherwise, he’d be laughing at us all!

  • James

    I can’t believe what I heard the woman say on your show. Public workers have better benefits and shouldn’t expect a level of confidence in their retirements since private sector workers live in the land of chaos and impoverished twilight years. There are so many logic errors here I don’t know where to start. First, public workers almost universally make less than their private counterparts, benefits being what levels the playing field. Private sector workers are not penalized for having pensions and SS like public workers are. My mother had her pension and SS cut in half because the federal govt considered it double dipping. Really? I thought SS was supposed to be off the books? But private workers get 100% of both. Public workers do not have company provided coffee, water, bagels, decent TP. In what government office are all the workers sitting in hot tubs sipping margaritas while answering the phone. I would like to know because I haven’t had the privilege of working there.

    This is the same load of bullarky from the GOP. Cut govt which in turns make govt service abysmal and then argue for privatization since the govt can’t be effective. Then when everything is privatized, stick it to the populace with high costs and claim it was a-lot harder than you thought. I am so thoroughly done with our government it makes me want to wretch when I hear one of our so called leaders speaking. America has turned into a disgusting pit of wealth at any cost, lies, and half truths. I hope these politicians remember that they have to live at least in the same country with the people they have become so adept at ripping off.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      James, the facts don’t support your thesis. There are recent studies comparing like jobs and experience and 80% of those had higher compensation in the Public sector. The primary reason was private sector income is effectively flat since 2000 and public sector income has increased 40%.
      There clearly hasn’t been any kind of market force check and balance to temper this growth. I appears that government only grows.
      In the states poor contracts have been negotiated that aren’t in the public interest. I don’t blame the unions or employees for these contracts. The problem is the government officials who are dependent on the unions for political support. So it is either incompetence OR more likely poor contracts for political gain. Look at California.
      In MA we have a government employee who just announced his retirement this week. He is going to cash in his unused sick time for a $450K payout. Sure its legal but the system never should have been in place to allow this. You don’t see this in the private sector. This is what pisses people off.

      • geffe

        James this is not the norm. I don’t like it either. But that does not mean we should do away with unions. Just because the private sector has had a bad deal does not mean we should all be in a race to the bottom. That just makes no sense whatsoever.

        By the way Some states that deny their employees bargaining rights, such as Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona, are running big deficits of over 30 percent of spending. States that give employees bargaining rights Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Montana — have small deficits of less than 10 percent.
        Source: Robert Reich- http://robertreich.org/post/3353591266

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Its hard to lift the private sector when unemployment is so high. Unemployment could be improved with a more competitive corporate tax policy and better trade policies.

          Unions have their place. However, unions can do damage. You saw this with the auto industry. Private industry has bankruptcy to cancel poor labor agreements. What is the ‘out’ for public employee labor agreements that AREN’T in the public’s interest? Bankruptcy isn’t really an option (at least not yet). Usually the bad labor agreements are still doing damage long after the politicians that enabled them are long gone. (Oops Jerry Brown is back :) ).

          Another example is the strength of the teachers unions. Personally, I think good teachers are under paid but the labor contracts negotiated by the unions inhibit the best quality education.

          • geffe

            The auto industry was wrecked by bad management not the unions.
            Please get your facts right.

          • Dave in CT

            They made sh*tty cars. Who influenced the design and quality decisions to make that happen, when Toyota was doing the opposite? I would think it was execs saving pennies, but maybe the unions somehow wanted it for some reason. I don’t know, but curious about the answer.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            “The auto industry was wrecked by bad management not the unions.”
            I agree. The management negotiated horrible contracts. They are responsible.

          • Shultz Jack

            Did you know that one of the reasons Toyota gave for openning plants in the US was because of the relatively cheap labour?

            The unions at companies such as BMW and Volkswagen have far more say in the operations of those companies than any union has anywhere in the US.

            Did you know that in Germany, unions are represented on the Boards of Directors, and corporations that have labour involved in their governance are less likely to outsource jobs?

            In fact, in many European, and especially Scandinavian countries, stake holders other than shareholders and lenders, such as labour, and representatives from communities in which the corporations operate, must be represented on the Boards of Directors. This tends to reduce the tendency of these corporations to knowingly cause pollution for these communities.

            And you might notice that many of these countries are doing quite well economically despite all the union involvement in private business and economic decision making.

          • NRPjunky

            $6,500 of the price of every domestically produced car goes to pay retirees pensions and healthcare expenses

      • geffe

        woops I meant worried not James, sorry chaps.

      • Joe Hill

        “In the states poor contracts have been negotiated that aren’t in the public interest. I don’t blame the unions or employees for these contracts. The problem is the government officials who are dependent on the unions for political support. So it is either incompetence OR more likely poor contracts for political gain. Look at California.”

        IF that is the case, why aren’t Republicans clamoring for election reform–no PACS, no “corporate/person contributions,” etc., FIRST? Why are they going after the unions first? It’s not the middle-class union workers’ fault. If politicians’ elections are the problem, reform campaign finance laws. Don’t go after people just trying to support their family.

        If an employee can manage to legally cash out unused sick time (because he wasn’t sick and did his government job every day!!), you want to penalize him? But if a corporate CEO bilks pension funds and walks away with a golden parachute when he closes a company and people lose jobs AND pensions, that’s ok? What planet are you from, son?

  • Anomaloustango

    Political reality in a nutshell.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dpcd0woY2KY

    • geffe

      George Carlin is 100% right. Just read this forum and you get all the proof you need to his monologue.

  • Tina

    Best Wishes to Marika!

    Thanks for all you did for us!

  • Tina

    Jack Beatty — I might have missed about five minutes of today’s show, but from what I did hear, everything that you said today was Right On! Thank you!

    • Joe Hill

      Jack Beatty–You are a Great Voice for Reason and the middle-class and the poor. A stand-up guy. (clapping hands)

  • Pancake Rankin

    Real nice panel today, and a koul guest host. I was greatly pleased when Jonathan Broder stated, “It may be too late for the United States to get on the right side of history.”
    Contrast this to the rhetoric over ar DRShow where the Egyptian revolution is being hijacked by Al Queida. (Osama bin Laden, who may be dead or in a CIA safehouse in New Mexico, was mentioned as an actor in this situation. What kind of pulp novels have they been smoking? Ones provided by the Oligarchy. Several commentators wrote that uprisings are happening due to the good example of our Bush led invasions and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.) Any normal person would be ashamed to make those comments.

    Democracy in the Middle East would make the War on Terror clearly a scam. Our intelligence agencies are as likely to attack us as protect us, just like in Mubarak’s Egypt.

  • Grady Lee Howard- Edison, NJ

    They ain’t a damn thing wrong with public employees earning a living wage and getting secure retirement. What has happened is that we and our government have failed to require the same for all working people. I am a neo-abolitionist: I want to abolish wage slavery. If that were global policy we’d have some hope, and some prospects. I am comfortably retired from investment banking, and I think every American over 55 should have the option of being comfortably retired. If our nation is the wealthiest we should be ashamed to say we can’t afford it. Why do you need suffering before your eyes to enjoy your advantages?

  • Beverly

    Of all the most recent displays of stupidity, I think my favorite is Michele Bachmann & her ignorant babble about breast pumps.

    She’s always good for a laugh.

  • Sheila

    The media’s coverage on this whole issue is typical,hype emotion and dwell on personalities. NPR has never brought up that Wisconsin’s budget is in a mess partly because the new governor gave tax breaks to a group of people that could have done without. Where is the anger about that from the private sector workers. I think unions need to change and are slow to adapt also but I always get very suspicious when political figures scapegoat one group as the source of all people’s problems. It’s nonsense that the unions are the cause of all the deficit. I would be more impressed by the people against unions also including cuts for people at the top who didn’t need them as a problem. If we are all suppose to give what did they take for?
    The media, politicians and companies make money from the middle class tearing itself apart. Instead of scapegoating why don’t private sector workers demand to have the same rights?Why is it a source of pride with the American workers to say I live on nothing, my kids will be up to their eyeballs in debt if they go to college,wages are stagnant and I have to work more than 1 job, and if I get sick I’m out of luck but that’s all I deserve.

    • NPRjunky

      Wisconsin is losing population and businesses, so your solution is to tax those who are sticking around even more. That will only incentivize more to leave and fewer to come.

      • geffe

        OK maybe we should all leave. This is happening everywhere in this nation.

    • William

      The union people need to be less radical and respect the gov. that was elected.

      • Jack Shultz

        I would say the opposite. Unions and working people have been under relentless attack by right-wing politicians for 30 years and the time has come to become MORE radical and start fighting back!

  • Beverly

    ARMIDALM,

    That’s right, & when they’ve abolished everything else, taken away all our rights, help & protection, the internet will be the next thing to go.

  • Beverly

    JIM THOMPSON,

    I heard that one of those cretins, there may be more), wants to abolish the child labor law! Seriously!

    They’re really going after American children with a vengeance.

    • TomK in Boston

      Beverly, sure they want to abolish child labor laws. They want to take EVERYTHING that turned our sweatshop economy into a middle class miracle. They’re not probing the defenses any more. The class war is a full scale frontal attack now.

  • TomK in Boston

    The extreme right class warfare machine rolls on. The elite deregulated bankers crash the economy (ps they didn’t suffer for it), causing economic problems for the states, and the upshot is an attack on state employees. Boehner even said that if federal workers loose their jobs, “so be it”.

    It seems to me that the USA is in a time machine going backwards, with the advances that built the middle class slipping away day by day. The scenes from Madison remind me of the strikes I read about in the first Great Depression. Gov Walker apparently alerted the national guard to be ready to restore order. What can be next? Will they fire on the protesters trying to hang on to a little piece of the American dream? Will tent city “Obamavilles” of unemployed spring up?

    Extreme right economics is a cancer on the USA. Obama talks some progressive talk but has been acting like Herbert Hoover. I had been calling him “Oromney”, considering that our supposed liberal is actually a moderate conservative, but I’m starting to think that was optimistic. Maybe it’s “BHHO”. The big question is, when will Americans finally get sick of pols whose agenda is to destroy the middle class?

    • Joe Hill

      “The big question is, when will Americans finally get sick of pols whose agenda is to destroy the middle class?”

      When there are Haymarket Riots, and the Chicago police fire into the middle class union crowds (again). That was May Day (May 1).

    • geffe

      There are already tent cities, there is or was a large one in Sacramento which was making the news in 2009. The Obamavilles are here.

    • Jack Shultz

      I would like to add to what TomK said. The rights which the right wing reactionaries like Governor Walker is attacking were rights that were hard won by working men and women, who fought and even died for those rights. If those rights are lost now, then future generations will have to fight all over again for rights that we thought we had won 50 years ago.

  • TomK in Boston

    The extreme right class warfare machine rolls on. The elite deregulated bankers crash the economy (ps they didn’t suffer for it), causing economic problems for the states, and the upshot is an attack on state employees. Boehner even said that if federal workers loose their jobs, “so be it”.

    It seems to me that the USA is in a time machine going backwards, with the advances that built the middle class slipping away day by day. The scenes from Madison remind me of the strikes I read about in the first Great Depression. Gov Walker apparently alerted the national guard to be ready to restore order. What can be next? Will they fire on the protesters trying to hang on to a little piece of the American dream? Will tent city “Obamavilles” of unemployed spring up?

    Extreme right economics is a cancer on the USA. Obama talks some progressive talk but has been acting like Herbert Hoover. I had been calling him “Oromney”, considering that our supposed liberal is actually a moderate conservative, but I’m starting to think that was optimistic. Maybe it’s “BHHO”. The big question is, when will Americans finally get sick of pols whose agenda is to destroy the middle class?

  • Sean

    There absolutely is a frontal assault on Progressivism being waged by the right wing. It’s not just cultural- it’s economic, social, religious, and personal. These nutcases have come out of the woodwork to erase the destructive, laissez-faire legacy of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-(etc.) and to lay all of the blame- ALL OF IT- on Obama and the Progressive legacy. Lest she forget, the only reason Sarah Palin’s life has any direction whatsoever is the direct result of the WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT- voting rights codified by the 19th Amendment!! (And, this idea did not even originate in the US- God forbid, we got it from the French!!) What purpose would she have if women couldn’t vote?? (Cheerleading, I guess…)

    The right wing are anti-rational, anti-history, and anti-democracy, and, frankly, are the mirror image of the Theocracy of Iran, in my opinion. They play ignorant to this reality. They excoriate the idea of Sharia Law, yet they propose extreme, religious-based laws such as the travesty that is the “Justifiable Homicide” Bill put forward in South Dakota (thankfully, temporarily taken off the table). Ideas like these are fundamentalist and should be labeled as such by an active Progressive movement, or by any conscientious, right-minded American. Call Arizona lawmakers out… call Texas lawmakers out… call the Republican Governors of Wisconsin out as an extremist (why on earth would he call out the National Guard to rectify a situation of pure democracy in action??). But, by all means, call out and prosecute the corporate financiers- the new Robber Barons. Their actions, what I call “economic tyranny”, is the main cause the recent unrest in the world. The people of Greece, Tunisia, Egypt, etc. are rising up against DISENFRANCHISEMENT!! The economic policy of the Chicago School, aka “neo-liberalism”, Friedmanism, etc., is a philosophy of calculated disenfranchisement. Bush was throwing out a red herring when he said that we are addicted to oil- rather, we are addicted to acquisitiveness and luxury… material profits acquired in any way, shape, or form. We need to rediscover our identity as the “beacon of democracy”- not the “capitalist bully”.

  • Linda

    So, instead of wanting to better things for all people, the new idea is to wipe out any achievements and keep everyone at the bottom of the ladder. Of course, this leaves more for those at the top. I don’t see any legislators..also public employees…volunteering to pay for more of their benefits or taking cuts in salary.

  • Sheila

    I was wondering what is a country where few have the most and the rest have to compete for scraps ? All the budget cutting being done and yet I hear plans from the Obama administration,and certain states, that they will set up pools of money for organizations, schools,etc. to compete over. How sad that instead of asking groups to work together that they are set on each other like dogs over scraps.

  • STEVKERENS

    Why is nothing said of the tax cuts the WI governor gave to corporations. The result is tht he has a larger gap that he is trying to fill by attacking the public employees whose average income is under $50,000. And why is nothing said of how the Pension Plan is paying Wall Street 15% to manage the pension funds. If the employees have to take a hit, then wall street should do. After all, it was wall street who caused this Bush Depression. The same folks for whom OH’s governor worked and prospered (and is now attacking the lowest paid people in government)!

    • TomK in Boston

      Standard tactic – cut taxes on the rich and the corporations, then tell the average Joe and Jane that due to “difficult choices” they have to be screwed. Obama’s extension of the Bush tax cuts increased the deficit by more than he can decrease it by squeezing essential programs. So far, no “difficult choice” has been difficult for the elite.

  • Debony

    the average public school teacher makes less than $50,000/year. They are already expected to do TOO much in terms of class size, standardized testing, and the no-child left behind policy. They are the first ones we throw under the bus in times like these yet expect them to basically raise our children because we don’t want to look upon our children with clear eyes and realize that the reason they’re not succeeding is a failure of our own parenting rather than the teachers. By removing the provisions in place with the unions that protect the little pay they do get, what teachers will we be left with? Who would voluntarily apply for a job that will guarantee such abuse? I will tell you – not the best of the best, which is what we should hope to expect for the education of our youth. High school students in our country already rank 25th out of 34 countries in math performance. Our government is failing our educational system and we, as a nation will not be able to compete for careers unless we improve. I think it’s time to stop making excuses, and stop blaming the middle class for the problems of our country. Instead, why don’t we pay attention to the people who are not paying their fair share of taxes? How about this for a solution…why don’t we put a lower cap on the amount politicians can make? I would like to see our politicians making what the average middle class American makes. I would like to see them subject to the same health benefits as the working class America. They make money from the sweat off our backs, and as public SERVANTS, they work for us and our needs and concerns should not be ignored. What about some other areas of overspending? Abuse of the wellfare system for instance? Why is it that a person in college or medical school can qualify for food stamps? I think there are areas of public spending that have not been examined closely enough. I don’t think we should do away with the wellfare system, but I do think there need to be greater restrictions for qualification, and greater continued involvement with those persons that do qualify to ensure that what they receive is not simply being abused.

    • Joe Hill

      I was right with you until you got to welfare and food stamps. The income requirements are so low, I don’t begrudge people who qualify. Bill Clinton tightened up those qualifications, mightily. (Unfortunately, in my book.) If college or med school students do qualify, it’s because they are independent from their parents (parents cut them off or won’t support them), or the student is a single parent earning too little while trying to improve themselves to get educated for a better job. Rather than focus on the measly amount we spend on welfare and food stamps, how about going after the military–the bombers we don’t need, the extra bases we don’t need, the early retirement at age 40 that could be extended for those in the military who are in noncombatant roles. Very, very costly.

      • Jack Shultz

        I agree with Luanne, but I would also add the the tax breaks that are being given to the obscenely rich and all the money wasted as subsidies to the oil and gas industries and to corporate agriculture that is producing a food system that is making people sick.

  • Ben

    The Obama administration won’t benefit from Egyptian revolution? Are you kidding? The best weapon against Terrorism is to create other opportunities and advance freedom for the oppressed people of the Muslim world. Part of the reason Arabs are so pissed off at the US is because their lives are miserable and their goverment propaganda has tried for decades to redirect this misery at the US, while at the same time these governments are taking US-aid. Why we support such regimes is a mystery to me, although I’m sure it has much to do with keeping a steady flow of oil from the region.

    Funding these regimes is probably one of the many grievances terrorists have against the US. If we support the uprisings in their bid to self governance and freedom, how can we not come out ahead? Isn’t that what the US is supposed to stand for? Freedom and democracy for all? Democracy doesn’t always lead to the western idea of utopia. Not everyone else is like us. That doesn’t mean they are evil or inherently dangerous. We need to grow up as a nation and accept this fact. We cannot force our ideology at the tip of a gun anymore than Terrorist can convert people to Islam by blowing up buildings.

    Just because another nations self interest doesn’t allign with our goals, it doesn’t make them evil or terrorists.

    • millard_fillmore

      “Why we support such regimes is a mystery to me, although I’m sure it has much to do with keeping a steady flow of oil from the region.”

      __

      Ben, how much oil do you think USA exports from the middle-east? Here are some facts that you might be interested in.

      http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html

      From the link:

      Monthly data on the origins of crude oil imports in November 2010 has been released and it shows that three countries exported more than 1,000 thousand barrels per day to the United States (see table below). The top five exporting countries accounted for 70 percent of United States crude oil imports in November while the top ten sources accounted for approximately 89 percent of all U.S. crude oil imports. The top five sources of US crude oil imports for November were Canada (1,975 thousand barrels per day), Mexico (1,229 thousand barrels per day), Saudi Arabia (1,119 thousand barrels per day), Venezuela (884 thousand barrels per day), and Nigeria (806 thousand barrels per day). The rest of the top ten sources, in order, were Colombia (489 thousand barrels per day), Algeria (379 thousand barrels per day), Iraq (340 thousand barrels per day), Angola (263 thousand barrels per day), and Ecuador (188 thousand barrels per day). [..]

  • Sheila

    To NPR Junky:
    I didn’t say anything about taxing anyone more, I said if we are all suppose to sacrifice why GIVE tax breaks to people who don’t need them right now. There is a difference between handing out NEW tax breaks at a time when we are suppose to be in trouble and holding the line on all spending, which includes NOT giving out NEW tax breaks. I’m not asking for any special breaks, I am saving as much as possible, I never have had credit card debt and I’m not asking for a tax break.Why should I think those better off than I am can’t get along as well with what they have.

    • TomK in Boston

      Good question, Sheila. Unfortunately, the answer is : “The far right agenda is to take from the middle class and give to the rich.” Just follow the money as it rises to the top and all the “crazy” things they do suddenly make perfect sense.

      This graph is a nice summary of “Reaganomics”. The gap that opens up in 1980 is the class warfare effect. Note that the USA is still getting richer, the problem is that the $ are not going to the average family. Our soaring inequality didn’t come from the inequality fairy, it’s a result of our own choices.

      http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/whatstheproblem_figure2_version2.png

      • Dave in CT
        • TomK in Boston

          Dave in CT, one of those links says “In a crash, wealth is not destroyed, it’s transferred”. I strongly believe that. So…before Reagan, home equity was the #1 asset of the middle class. Now it is mostly gone. The wealth it represented didn’t vanish, it was transferred. The superrich are richer than ever, inequality is highest since 1929. Follow the money. The crash was actually a great victory for the elite.

          • Clive

            Yes, the superrich were responsible for you losing money on your house, not you and your poor decision making, anyone but you.

          • Yar

            Clive, see the world in black and white and deny yourself a chance to grow.
            We are all responsible for the economic situation. Read my first entry, people were first tempted to take equity out of their homes due to many factors. Stagnant wages and rising costs of living play a role.
            Quit the blame, and work for a solution, a cold shoulder will lead to a harsh society. Are we broke, or are we spending resources on luxury and entertainment when we should care for our sick, our poor, and our exploited?

          • Clive

            my growth isn’t going to come from putting someone else down or by trying to pretend I’ve grown and giving myself the trappings of those who have. For the majority of the period home prices were rising, most of the costs of living were coming down; rent, apparel, food, energy … People were taking “equity” out of their homes so they could live well beyod their means.

          • Yar

            I agree with your statement, “People were taking “equity” out of their
            homes so they could live well beyod their means.”

            But why, just because they could? For some that may be true, for
            others, while some of their expenses came down while others went up.
            Expectations also play a role as well, such as keeping up with the
            Joneses. The two income trap, loss of economic control, listening to
            the advertisements.
            Throw in divorce, education, healthcare, there are as many reasons as
            there are people for why people live beyond their means. As a
            country, we are living beyond our means in respect to energy and other
            natural resources.

            I think on a psychological level, people felt they were being left
            behind if they didn’t invest in group behavior during the bubble.

            Why did some people avoid the bubble and the temptation to live beyond
            their means? Age, family, education, luck, there are just as many
            reasons on that side as well.

            Not everyone has equal access to accurate information, or the ability
            to make good decisions And don’t forget, some fraud was committed,
            both by some lenders and a few borrowers. There is plenty of blame to
            spread around.

            The idea to blame the borrower, comes, I think, from our desire to
            believe it couldn’t or wouldn’t happen to me, because I know better.
            Somehow blame makes us feel better about ourselves. Our righteous
            anger absolves us of empathy or compassion. I guess that is why I
            jumped on what I thought was a snarky comment. I hope you care for
            people who are in over their heads. We are all paying for the
            mistakes of the past. Anger doesn’t provide many solutions.

          • Zeno

            There was a significant segment of borrowers who were using their home equity to pay down their Credit Card loans. The two unregulated types of borrowing went hand in hand in bankrupting those who were not educated enough to be trapped by outrageous levels of usury.

          • Yar

            Zeno,
            I wonder how the industry convinced people to trade unsecured debt for debt secured by their home. No doubt they highlighted the mortgage home deduction as bait on a hook.

            I noticed your profile has lost your avatar, to keep your comments under one account, I think you will have to log on with the longer username, even though it displays the shorter version. I ran into the same thing.

          • Zeno

            They had also used the lure of debt consolidation equity loans. TV was rife with ads for them at the time. They offered a lower interest rate, and less variable usury than the CC companies, but when the economy tanked their equity was gone.

            Actually I believe the one of the best and easiest ways to pump more money into the economy as a stimulus would to regulate CC rates to more than 5% over prime max. The interest money is NOT real, its just usury extortion.

            I have been fooling around with not logging in to see if it still recognizes me (and it kinda does..no captcha requests so far), and I have yet to declare Disqus exempt from data purging on my PC, so their stuff is still getting wiped out when I leave.

          • Dave in CT

            Indeed, I’ve said that many times. My assertion is that their is collusion between the Fed, who provides cheap money for the bubbles, and Wall Streeters, who create ponzi schemes with it, and the government who somehow thinks they can “manage” the bubbles into transferring wealth to the masses, but after a brief illusion that is happening, it all crashes down, inevitably, and the elite who started it all, pick up the pieces at bargain basement prices. This is what the Libertarian/Austrians talk about all the time.

            Instead of honest opportunities for honest work to build honest wealth by as many who are willing to work, we get malinvestment bubbles and malinvestment sectors that we are all essentially coerced into working for, even though they are unsustainable.

            So we are left with socialism to just try and redistribute, which is tough due to problems with individual responsibility and work ethic, not to mention lost opportunity where the central planners aren’t acting, State Capitalism with corrupted Big government- a mix of cronyism and naive ideas about managing our way to prosperity, that we have now, or more Liberty/Austrian ideas based on free markets with a level, enforced Rule of law, which confusion about the difference b/w Libertarians and Republicans aside, we haven’t really done. Understand also, that Hayek et al. saw valid roles for limited government in infrastructure, aiding the helpless etc. Is all there if people will look.

          • TomK in Boston

            I know it seems impossible now, Dave, but I’d really prefer a system of regulated capitalism with strong gvt on the side of the average American, letting the corporations operate with well defined rules. It seems to me that we did that rather successfully before Reagan.

          • Dave in CT

            I do like the sound of that too, most for the ends. I hope more progressives and libertarians can talk together to achieve their shared ends, with the least coercive means.

            Even if Obama would just come out and use some Liberty language- acknowledge that part of our intellectual history, and frame some common sense regulation as the Rule of Law required for free markets to serve mankind.

            But I still think he and many Dems believe in a master plan version of society more than a free one, with legal accountability behind it.

            I do think when you read Hayek and the road to serfdom and perspective on Germany at the time, etc, it is very compelling, and should not be ignored simply because we hope we are somehow beyond the possibility of despotism or organized capital as he warns. I think we all agree we have and organized capital problem. He speaks to it as much as he speaks to Liberty, and integrates the ideas and arguments for the latter helping to prevent the former.

  • Kmjroyal

    SHIRLEY C. LALLY,

    Before you embarass yourself further, you might want to read “State of the Unions”, by Dr. Phillip M. Dine.

    Contrary to what Republicans believe, knowledge, education, & facts are good things.

  • Beverly

    Has anyone heard Jackie Speiers telling about her abortion? She was in top form. Kudos to her!

  • Douglas Shane

    It is no surprise that the United States was caught unaware of the democracy movements in the Middle East: Our “leaders” didn’t believe their own rhetoric about loving “freedom” because they were already in an orgy with dictators and oil companies. Did President Obama unintentionally proclaim a Peoples’ Movement in his Cairo speech? Perhaps his words came from the beautiful soul who wrote “Dreams From My Father,” a man with a global view. Maybe he will earn that Peace prize afterall.
    I believe that the courageous people of the Middle East are showing Americans something: Take back your country! If we can do it, so can you! In our case, it means throwing out the corporate interests and the politicians they have bought. And not falling for union and pension busting and cuts to programs for the needy while the wealthiest get outrageous tax breaks. Put the costs of the wars on the budget-cutting block. Use the national treasure wisely at home and abroad; foreign-aid invested in true nation-building with willing partners is more effective than propping up corrupt entities while losing hearts and minds at gunpoint.
    When ordinary American citizens come to realize that they share common concerns across party lines, the clamor for change would be irresistable.
    If Earth and its inhabitants are to survive, Humankind needs to create equitable ways to work together…

  • Beverly

    In spite of Jackie Speiers’ moving, impromptu speech about her unfortunate, unwanted abortion, (most likely, BECAUSE of it), we lost.

    Who gave rich, sadistic, corrupt, old white MEN permission to take away women’s rights, anyway? They know zilch about women’s health issues, & care about them even less. Aren’t abortions legal?

    Aren’t those old fools covered by health insurance, when they have prostate problems, or trouble with their junk?

    • Luanne

      If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. And you can be sure it would be covered by health insurance.

      • Kmjroyal

        AMEN!

        They would also need a week or two in the hospital afterward.

        • Joe Hill

          Also covered by health insurance.

          • Beverly

            You got THAT right!

      • Yar

        If you are looking for a reason to make men accept more responsibility for an unwanted pregnancy, then propose a law that uses the DNA of the aborted fetus to prove paternity, and upon proof give the right to the woman involved to force the father of the fetus sterilized for causing the unwanted pregnancy in the first place. I would think a bill like that might reduce the number of abortions needed. Men get jumpy when they think they might get snipped.
        At least it would be worth listening to the floor debate. We might even see who is pandering.

        My take is, if you can’t get pregnant you should not pass laws to regulate it. However, I would like to see more access to extensive prenatal care.

      • Zing

        Joe…how original…you are heretofore an honorary aborted baby.

        • Joe Hill

          Apparently so.

          • Luanne

            It’s just going back to basics.

        • Shultz Jack

          I am so glad that here in Canada, our Supreme Court took abortion off the table as a political football that right-wingers could use as a wedge issue.
          Our court has ruled that abortion is a right guaranteed by our Charter of Rights, and that any laws passed by parliament cannot in any way restrict that right.

    • Zing

      Bev…you need to take some deep breaths….yes, abortions are legal, if it makes you feel better…but if rich, sadistic, corrupt, old white MEN ever restore a baby’s right to live, it will be the commission of the voters.

      • Beverly

        What if the baby is already dead? How will preventing its mother from getting rid of it be protecting ANYONE?

    • Zeno

      “Who gave rich, sadistic, corrupt, old white MEN permission to take away women’s rights, anyway?”

      Those old men say God told them that Women should be subordinate to the will of them backed by the government. It is an exercise in hypocrisy…because these very same men say that the government has no right to micro-manage their lives, their homes and their guns, because those are sacrosanct.

      I have never understood why government meddling should extend into a human body, but not through a wooden door or gun cabinet.

      The fact that they can harbor both of these concepts in their brains and speak as though there is no conflict indicates the level of self delusion and pandering for votes these guys are famous for.

      • Beverly

        The mind boggles . . .

        I forgot about God telling them all those things:

        “Thou shalt have dominion over women. Keep them in their place; under thy thumb.”

        “Protect the unborn, even if dead, but not those who are alive, & suffering.”

        “Thou shalt tread heavily on the downtrodden.”

        “Love thy weapon as thyself, hate thy neighbor.”

        “Bear false witness as often as possible.”

        “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a poor man to gain the kingdom of Heaven.”

        “The rich shall inherit the earth.”

  • Escobedo

    Thank you freshman Republicans for defunding Planned Parenthood. Let the abortion mills fund Planned Parenthood for 360 million dollars a year. I as well as a majority of Americans (according to recent polls), want to see abortions become illegal. Keep fighting the good fight G.O.P. Save the unborn children.

    • Beverly

      EVEN THE DEAD ONES?

    • Zeno

      Now those freshman republicans should work on revoking funding for “faith based initiatives” which are constitutionally unlawful. Right?

    • Jack Shultz

      The anti-choice people like to claim the high moral ground, but really they are just busybodies who believe that they know better than the women diectly involved in a situation.
      Last year, a nursing-nun at a women’s hospital in Arizona was excommunicated by the church because she approved an abortion for a woman who would have died without it.

      As for the GOP, they are among the most immoral political actors on the planet. They pretend to care about the lives of the unborn, but after they are born, they are on their own. None of this early child care “socialism” for them that would actually help the children of poor or single parents.

      As for their so called reverence for life, these are the same people who have supported the wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing thousands of men, women and children without the slightest twinge of conscience. As far as I’m concerned, these people are nothing but self-righteous hypocrites.

      • Similidon

        Not to mention the fact that they love the lower crime rates that result from those abortions. I however do not know what to think of abortion, and am glad that I never had to make a choice like that. There is much evidence that genetics is very much responsible for characteristics that have traditionally been thought a result of personal development over the course of one’s life. Many of these traits are most likely already there in a zygote but not yet expressed. It is not an easy question. One can shutter at the thoughts of all the potential Einsteins and Salks that have been aborted, but then a similar loss of potential occurs because of menstruation and ejaculation without insemination. I think one of the best answers though is birth control: education in it, and access to it.

        • Zeno

          I can give you a 100% guarantee that more potential is lost after birth, than in gestation. Poverty, economics, sanitation, social strata, and lack of opportunity waste more human potential than abortion.

          Even in healthy adults lack of opportunity wastes more potential than people are willing to admit, so they create the standard derogatory phrases and elite snobbery to help continue the injustice and sooth their threatened morality.

          Yes for every job on earth there are millions who could do that job 99% better than the individual job holder. It just so happens that once and a while…statistically, someone gets the job they want and are also best at. Its very rare, because the odds are against it, but when it happens we have the gall to call it genius.

          Lets think about the loss loss of potential society imposes after the birth, before we get nostalgic about the “loss of seed”.

          • Quitesimply

            Yes it is far too early in the evolution of the human race to be fretting over loss of genetic potential. Some day, given the resources and the intelligence, this will become a consideration, but the forces of stupidity reign supreme. If we were only intelligent enough to evolve in more than a technological sense, then it would only make sense to commit to a program of genetic, eugenic, education, and research in order to produce a more intelligent, moral, and noble human being, instead of the land of king rat (the supreme financial criminals that still go free and well hung into that good-night having left the world a better place for their passing, yet who to-the-man deserve no quarter, and need ask for none — for it’s “up-your’s” to you and your’s so that they may smear their seed into the cosmos and across eternity.

      • ThresherK

        Do you mean the Catholic Church?

        Cos the number of True Catholics in this country, the ones who follow everything their church wishes to cram down the throats of the rest, has long passed into insignificance.

    • geffe

      You right wing folks are so against all life really. You all seem to get off on the suffering of others. You folks don’t need a political party you need therapy.

      • Lauren Jablonowski

        Hello Geffe,
           I am a woman. I have never had an abortion, but I have experienced the sorrow of miscarriage and the joys of delivering one healthy baby. I go to Planned Parenthood for birth control because my husband and I cannot afford to have another child at this point in time. While I do not agree with abortion I do see that the majority of women in the waiting room with me at Planned Parenthood are there for birth control. PP does more to prevent abortions than the G.O.P. If the Republican party wants to end abortions they ought to support plans to ensure every woman has access to birth control (which, right now, PP is the only place in my community that does just that).

  • david

    Amazing, those who would justify the killing of the unborn in the name of inconvenience as legal, yet will protest the killing of murderers who kill in the name of convenience as cruel and unusual????

    • Kmjroyal

      Do you know of anyone who would kill the unborn in the name of inconvenience? I haven’t heard of any.

      • Michael

        David comment reminds me of George Carlin skit on abortions and the death penalty(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvF1Q3UidWM)

        “George Carlin: The longer you listen to this abortion debate, the more you hear the phrase “sanctity of life,” “sanctity of life.” You believe in it? Personally, I think it’s a bunch of sh. I mean, life is sacred? Who said so? God? Hey, if you read history, you realize that God is one of the leading causes of death. ”

        “If you’re pre-born, you’re fine, if you’re pre-schooled, you’re fd. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers. Pro-life, these people aren’t pro-life, they’re killing doctors, what kind of pro-life is that? What, they’ll do everything they can do save a fetus, but if it grows up to be a doctor they just might have to kill it?”

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0246641/quotes
        http://www.justsomelyrics.com/1789807/George-Carlin-Abortion-Lyrics

        “Pro-life… You don’t see many of these white anti-abortion women volunteering to have any black fetuses transplanted into their uteruses, do you? No, you don’t see them adopting a whole lot of crack babies, do you? No, that might be something Christ would do.”

        “But let’s get back to this abortion sh. Now, is a fetus a human being? This seems to be the central question. Well, if a fetus is a human being, how come the census doesn’t count them? If a fetus is a human being, how come when there’s a miscarriage they don’t have a funeral? If a fetus is a human being, how come people say “we have two children and one on the way” instead of saying “we have three children?” People say life begins at conception, I say life began about a billion years ago and it’s a continuous process. Continuous, just keeps rolling along. Rolling, rolling, rolling along.”

        “And say you know something? Listen, you can go back further than that. What about the carbon atoms? Hah? Human life could not exist without carbon. So is it just possible that maybe we shouldn’t be burning all this coal? Just looking for a little consistency here in these anti-abortion arguments”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Hendrickson/1652586055 Joshua Hendrickson

      Please, please, please stop equating “the unborn” with those of us who now live outside of the womb. Yes, fetuses are alive, and yes, after the second trimester they can be truly viable human beings. But if your God didn’t want to inspire abortion, He wouldn’t cause nearly half of all pregnancies to miscarry. If you really want to contribute to human dignity, stop worrying about aborted fetuses and switch your concern to those already born. Fight against torture, domestic abuse, authoritarian murders, state-sanctioned executions, unequal economic distribution, religious intolerance, bigotry, sexism, environmental destruction, child abuse. No one has to like abortion, but making it illegal does not improve its situation.

    • Beverly

      The thing that comes to mind when I think of “cruel & unusual”, is what the wrong-wing radicals are shamelessly doing to this country.

  • Escobedo

    Let the doctors who are running the abortion mills and getting rich, fund Planned Parenthood, not the tax payers.

    • ThresherK

      You don’t know much about the Coathanger Coalition. And you seem to know nothing about the role of PP in testing for/preventing STDs and accidental pregnancies.

      People will always seek out abortions; the more you drive them underground, the more quacks and hacks will mistreat patients.

      • Escobedo

        Yes, I don’t know a lot about the “Coathanger Coalition”, just like you have no idea how cruel, painful, and inhumane second and third tri-mester abortions are for the un-born child.

        • Beverly

          How cruel, painful, & inhumane can it be if the foetus is already dead & decaying, except for the mother?

          Who said anything about second & third trimesters?

          • ThresherK

            But Beverly, you’re forgetting the right-wing male supersense. It allows them to detect who is worthy of an abortion, regardless of rape, incest, and unsurvivability of mother or zygote.

      • Beverly

        That’s right. Planned Parenthood provides just about every service a woman should need, including helping women who haven’t been able to get pregnant, in vitro fertilization, Pap smears, breast exams, diabetes & cancer screening, & helping to ensure a safe pregnancy, a healthy mother & baby.

  • Dave in CT
  • Dave in CT
    • Zeno

      I want to know as well. Large investors have been leaving BOA before the bomb hits. It must be really bad…

  • Escobedo

    Polls show that a majority of Americans are now Pro-Life and not Pro-Abortion. In the next few years, either the executive, judicial, or legislative branches of the U.S. goverment will act to over-turn Roe V. Wade and make abortions illegal.

  • Susan

    The American Thinker has a very good article about a teachers strike in Az.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/when_teachers_strike_a_memoir.html

  • Dave in CT

    And there you have it…..

    “Federal prosecutors have ended a criminal investigation of Angelo R. Mozilo, the former chief executive of the mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, without taking any action against him,”

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/criminal-investigation-of-countrywide-chief-ends/?hp

    • Dave in CT

      Of course its tough to prosecute when the government has colluded keep your action from actually being illegal.

      Government giveth (we naively hope), Government taketh away (we eventually learn).. The more power, the worse.

      • Dave in CT

        Or the government thought it would be a good idea to put the ownership society on steroids, instead of letting it happen organically.

        Either way, we are worse off, and left to pick up the pieces, owe the debt, and bail out the bankers who wrote the debt.

        • TomK in Boston

          Actually, I think handing out free houses served to camouflage the fact that the oligarchs were taking all the wealth that would flow to the middle class in a healthy economy. “Macjobbed, benefits cut? No problem, have a home equity loan!”

    • TomK in Boston

      The house GoP is systematically cutting funding of all regulatory agencies. It’s appalling beyond belief that 2 years after entering Great Depression 2.0, caused by deregulating the financial sector, it’s possible for pols to peddle the anti-regulation kool aid and not be swept from office. The GoP like to use “job killing” as an adjective, but nothing was ever more job-killing than the deregulation of Bush and Clinton and the radical GoP congress.

      After the first great crash we took a serious look at what happened and tried to fix it. Now in 2 yrs we’ve covered our eyes and are back to more of the same. I just don’t understand how any voter can oppose strong regulation of the banks after what happened. I don’t understand how any voter can think deregulation is good for jobs given the economy that is in our face every day. God help the USA.

      • Clive

        They haven’t passed a single budget yet so you’re way ahead of the facts. Apparently the public doesn’t buy your explanation for the cause of the recession; in fact, Obama’s commission doesn’t either and it was loaded with like-minded Demos

    • Clive

      looks like obama cashed that check

  • Dave in CT

    Social Construction, Deconstruction, and Reconstruction

    http://www.thefreemanonline.org/headline/social-construction/

    • Sean

      Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine paints the starkest, most direct portrait of “Disaster Capitalism”…

  • joan

    For too long the American leadership –especially under George Bush
    claimed it was promoting and building “democracy” in the Middle East when many of us clearly understood democracy is was not…Esp not
    at the barrel of a gun as US forces might have thought and certainly not at bankrupting another peoples’ tax revenue and its young life.

    Please read how the Bush Camp ran up an 11 trillion dollar deficit by
    the time it wI am so glad the lie behind US Middle East policy is coming apart….

    as done in 2008 (with the help of the same Republican leaders now in the Senate ( Mitch Mc Connel ) and House (John Boe-
    hner ) and this didn’t even include the sacking the US Treasury of nearly a trillion dollars in a tax surplus left over from the Clinton era. http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2009/0218/p09s02-coop.html.

    Now, look at glaring hypocrisy on how those two Republican leaders
    and others calling for fiscal responsibility and cuts in the Federal de-
    ficits when they ran up those outrageous deficits to begin with tax
    cuts to the rich , Hedge Funds, multi nationals and foreign nationals…

    I recall reading in the NYT and Wall Street last spring before the BP
    oil spill how BP was reporting a 45 billion dollar profit and later during
    the oil spill how the company had committed itself to a 20 billion dollars clean price tag. Yet people in the media were writing reminding folks
    not to feel sorry for BP as its organization hoped to write off 40 billion for 2010. Hence it doesn’t take much to figure out how US tax pay-
    ers are essentially paying for BP’s profits and indeed its write off too!

    I agree with Jack Beatty here it is a pity President Obama he didn’t
    use this opportunity in the budget debate to remind folks what drove
    up the deficits in the first place and how we should return to those areas and corporate taxloop holes to help pay down the deficit -not shift the cost to American tax payers again.

    And certainly not on the backs of cutting nutrition programs for poor mothers and their infants and job training programs for youth and out
    work workers and housing for the poor and middle class. That would have shown a moral backbone which Obama can still do –and ought
    to do throughout his re-election campaign—-beginning now!

    Lastly, to end by getting back to my opening comment about the dishonesty behind US Middle East policy of spreading democracy…
    when if one considers the history behind the CIA and the American oligarchy –one can readily see how US Middle East & Latin American did more to prevent it by keeping dictators in place..(Read the award winning book , A legacy of Ashes by NYT reporter Tim Weiner on this.
    http://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Ashes-History-Tim-Weiner/dp/038551445X

    Joan

    • Clive

      Obama has only continued the policies of those that proceeded him. The only reason the administration is so inept in responding to current events is that they have no central core beliefs, at least not until they have polling results.

  • joan

    The lie about US Middle East and world policy is coming apart

    I am so glad the lie about the US speading democracy in the Middle East is coming apart and about Republican fiscal responsibility …..

    For too long the American leadership –especially under George Bush
    claimed it was promoting and building “democracy” in the Middle East when many of us clearly understood democracy is was not…Esp not
    at the barrel of a gun as US forces might have thought and certainly not at bankrupting another peoples’ tax revenue and its young life.

    Please read how the Bush Camp ran up an 11 trillion dollar deficit by
    the time it wI am so glad the lie behind US Middle East policy is coming apart….

    as done in 2008 (with the help of the same Republican leaders now in the Senate ( Mitch Mc Connel ) and House (John Boe-
    hner ) and this didn’t even include the sacking the US Treasury of nearly a trillion dollars in a tax surplus left over from the Clinton era. http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2009/0218/p09s02-coop.html.

    Now, look at glaring hypocrisy on how those two Republican leaders
    and others calling for fiscal responsibility and cuts in the Federal de-
    ficits when they ran up those outrageous deficits to begin with tax
    cuts to the rich , Hedge Funds, multi nationals and foreign nationals…

    I recall reading in the NYT and Wall Street last spring before the BP
    oil spill how BP was reporting a 45 billion dollar profit and later during
    the oil spill how the company had committed itself to a 20 billion dollars clean price tag. Yet people in the media were writing reminding folks
    not to feel sorry for BP as its organization hoped to write off 40 billion for 2010. Hence it doesn’t take much to figure out how US tax pay-
    ers are essentially paying for BP’s profits and indeed its write off too!

    I agree with Jack Beatty here it is a pity President Obama he didn’t
    use this opportunity in the budget debate to remind folks what drove
    up the deficits in the first place and how we should return to those areas and corporate taxloop holes to help pay down the deficit -not shift the cost to American tax payers again.

    And certainly not on the backs of cutting nutrition programs for poor mothers and their infants and job training programs for youth and out
    work workers and housing for the poor and middle class. That would have shown a moral backbone which Obama can still do –and ought
    to do throughout his re-election campaign—-beginning now!

    Lastly, to end by getting back to my opening comment about the dishonesty behind US Middle East policy of spreading democracy…
    when if one considers the history behind the CIA and the American oligarchy –one can readily see how US Middle East & Latin American did more to prevent it by keeping dictators in place..(Read the award winning book , A legacy of Ashes by NYT reporter Tim Weiner on this.
    http://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Ashes-History-Tim-Weiner/dp/038551445X

  • Sean

    Hey folks- we are obviously, mostly, of the same mind… now how about let’s do something about it!! Let’s start to organize and mobilize. If you live in or near Madison, WI, please, go join the protest!! Help increase their numbers!! Wherever the next demonstration occurs- go join it!! In the meantime, keep writing letters to your representatives and organize community discussion forums (not online, in real life!). Get out, speak up, seize our democracy back from the corrupt!!

    • new civility

      Sean, it’s game over. The states are broke, and DC isn’t going to bail them out. It’s just a question of time till those affected in WI who are secure in their jobs will start selling out the weak ones…it’s human nature. New York is next. This isn’t civil rights or war…this is money and jobs which separates the strong from the weak.

      • Sean

        I say: “Keep hope alive”!! I know what you’re saying about the concentration of money and power and jobs and all, but as far as elections in 2012 go, I think, unless ALL of America already has the attitude of “game over”, then it’s becoming pretty obvious that the Tea Party and right wing are coming off more and more as wingnut freaks and that fewer people are going to go for their insane BS ideas. The more incapable they prove themselves and the more press they get for things like the proposed “Justifiable Homicide” bill in S.D., the better the prospects of a comeback for the Democrats (and centrists)… We just need to get out and get active to reinforce the true principles of democracy, is all I’m saying…

  • joan

    Sean,

    Yes, we all need to do as you say and perhaps more importantly or
    equally important is to use our vote to make the Republican history
    in the next election….

    Did you know estimates show that between 27 million and 40 million
    voters didn’t vote in the 2010 election –so how the Republicans can
    claim a mandate for their immoral cuts to the down and out is absurd.
    (Indeed, if anyone has a mandate it is the Obama administration with
    70% of the vote in 2008 election.

    I believe it shows their continued misrepresentation of the facts like
    global warming and research for the last decade……

    Indeed , has anyone heard Republican leaders voice concern for the WIc program for poor mothers and infants or indeed workers rights, market regulations, failing infrastructure ,the EPA and affordable housing?

    Or indeed, job creation programs today or failing infrastructure?
    This is how out of touch their leadership and members are with the needs of ordinary people today….

    • Clive

      Let’s force people to vote, then we’ll know what they really want! Until then we’ll just assume people mean to vote Democratic but are too dumb to figure out the ballot or too drunk to get to the polls.

  • Clive

    I’d say we’re having more success at the polls, just look at last November. Americans have heard your call! Can’t wait to ’12 to move even more in the right direction.

    • Sean

      Uhhh… I wasn’t referring to the crusty ‘ole Tea Party… but, I will donate a wheelchair to your cause… just wanted to remind you that the next national election is in 2012, not 1812…

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.dorn Paul Dorn

    Why do you keep inviting dissemblers like Margaret Talev to your Friday week in review programs?

    On this episode, she says “The Obama administration doesn’t really know what it wants in the Middle East”. Nonsense. The consistent American policy for decades has been for “stable” and “friendly” regimes. If anything, the wave of protests has revealed the hypocrisy of American foreign policy: rhetoric supporting democracy, action supporting repressive dictators. Real stability will come with democracy and an end to injustice. This may mean less “friendly” governments.

    Talev gave continued credence to the notion that public employee pensions are bankrupting states–nonsense!–as if there’s been no impact by Wall Street criminality; bloated defense budgets; unnecessary pointless wars; corporate bailouts and subsidies; elite tax breaks and giveaways; and other malfeasance in service to the interests of our kleptocratic oligarchs.

    I could go on. But essentially every response was typical of the standard issue conventional accepted thinking repeated ad nauseum by every inside the beltway stenographer…er, journalist. Want insight on the Middle East? Invite Robert Fisk on to OnPoint. He’s a journalist, not a stenographer to powerful. Or Juan Cole? Or Ali Abunimah? Or Phyliss Bennis? Why not have Amy Goodman on your panel, if you want insightful comments on economy? How about acute observers of contemporary politics like Alexander Cockburn, David Corn, Laura Flanders, or Tom Engelhardt?

    Shills like Talev are tiresome and redundant. They add nothing to our understanding.

  • david

    to Beverly,
    “Do you know of anyone who would kill the unborn in the name of inconvenience? I haven’t heard of any.”
    -data from seven state health/statistics agencies-
    Reasons for getting an abortion
    *rape—.3%
    *incest—.o3%
    *life of mother—.3%
    *fetal health—- 1%
    Personal choice…..98%
    Personal choice breakdown
    *to young, not ready for resposibility….32%
    *economic….30%
    *to avoid adjusting life style…16%
    *in a bad relationship…..12-13%
    *enough kids already….4-8%
    *sex selection…<.1%

    In other words, killing the unborn in the name of inconvenience!
    Planned parenthood makes $831 MILLION a year thru their abortion services alone, plus $337 MILLLION more from the Govt.
    Compare the statistics and who is making a ton of money and it is easy to see why abortion (sadly) are legal. Legal Genocide!!!
    Research it and get your head out of the sand.

    • geffe

      OK if you want to stop abortion are you willing to give these women and their children support. I mean financial support for pre-natal care, maternity leave, good child care services and medical insurance or health care if they can’t afford it. Are you willing to take some responsibility for your ideology? I have yet to se anyone of you people who are anti-abortion do or say anything in support of women or children. Why is it that most of you people are white men?

  • Beverly

    DAVID,

    To me, sixteen percent seem like all that many. I have never personally come across, or heard of anyone who had an abortion because a baby would be inconvenient.

    That 16%, & the rest of them, will still be having abortions with or without your approval, so fretting about it won’t do anything to change things.

  • Jay

    Has anybody seen the pathetic test scores from Wisconsin?

    What has happened in Wisconsin has shown why the failing public schools need to be defunded and school vouchers need to be promoted instead of failing public schools and failing public school teachers who care more about their fat retirement packages rather educating students.

    Obama sends his two daughters to private schools, shouldn’t the rest of us have the same “Choice”?

    • Sean

      Jay- You, and everyone, have all kinds of choices. You could move to be nearer a private school that already exists. You could home-school your kids. You could become actively involved in your public school and let your voice be heard directly by the teachers, the principal, the school board. But, I sense that you do not have the will or feel the desire to directly involve yourself- to sit down in person with those that educate your children and discuss the finer points of effective education. You are the type that would rather generalize and obscure the issue, site statistics, stay out of the fray, and let your elected representatives do the work of managing education.

      So, your idea is to privatize everything in the interest of increasing “choice”- well, that’s just someone else manufacturing a choice FOR you. I liken it to the decisions we make about the food we eat- do we rely on private companies to provide us with meals (there we have the “choice” between McD’s, Wendy’s, BK, Subway, etc.), rely on private companies to provide us with the ingredients to make our own meals (there we have the “choice” between Safeway, Kroger, Wal-Mart, etc.), or do we grow our own food in our backyards (there we have the “choice” of growing just about anything we want and no one is controlling the price- fresh food costs pennies to the dollar of grocery or restaurant-bought food). So, how do you decide what your “choices” are? It doesn’t sound like you have the ingenuity or resources to create your own, personal choices. It sounds like you need an outside entity (i.e. private corporation) to manufacture “choice” for you. I’m sorry for your distance, disengagement, and feeling of dispossession.

      • Cory

        That privatization works great for the folks at the top.

        • TomK in Boston

          Yeah, great. Our corporate gvt will be happy to give us vouchers that fall increasingly far behind real costs of everything over time, allowing further tax cuts for the rich and even more inequality. Medicare vouchers will be the best, when they cover 25% of a procedure.

          I’m sick of those overpaid police and fire, how about a voucher so I can hire private fire and security? Let’s sell Ike’s interstate system to WellPoint and give everyone a voucher for tolls.

          What the right is really saying is that the USA is not worth the cost. Jefferson wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…” The extreme right wants to replace “Governments” with “Corporations”, but I agree with the Founders that Government is not “the problem (–R. Reagan)” but the means to secure our rights.

    • Yar

      Sean, doesn’t quite drive home just why vouchers are such a bad idea. The idea that it cost the same to educate every child is false. Lets say for argument sake, 10 percent of the kids cost 50 percent of the total education budget. So
      in a voucher program giving vouchers will drain most of the revenue and leave most of the high cost students in public education.

      If I sent my child to a religious or private school, sure I would like the public to pick up the tab. But we have not decided that is the way to go. The real problem I have with current conservative logic is that they feel they should be exempt from general responsibilities of education, healthcare, food security, old age security, or any social safety net, for all. I want to live in a society that cares about these things.

      My honor student, may have just sentenced your delinquent to 10 years in jail, but both of our children are part of society.
      I feel we must care about everyone, its not enough to just take care of my own.
      If caring about your child is what makes me liberal, then I wear the label proudly.
      Do you wear the label conservative, to say that you have no responsibility for the welfare of others in your community?

    • Cory

      Wisconsin was third nationally in SAT scores. What the hell are you talking about?

      • new civility

        Link?

    • Susan

      It would be more cost efficient to give vouchers to parents than force everyone into failing public schools. We have choice for abortions but we can’t have a choice for our child’s education?

      • new civility

        OUCH!….Beverly will not respond anytime soon, Cory still wants that state job with union protection that pays less than the same job in the private sector, and Sean is away at a “the tea party is winning but they’re crazy and can’t win” rally.

      • Zeno

        Let me ask you this… Have you been just as angry and passionate in fighting for the people in your community who have no children in the school system (the retired, single people, those who have no children) to NOT pay into the school system?

        Seems like shortsighted hypocrisy to me. But perhaps the Tea Party will come to the rescue of those without children in the system..Right? After all they are paying for your kids and their ONLY interest in doing so is for social stability and improvement.

        So.. when your privatized “voucher” system (socializing the losses and privatizing the education) is put in place don’t be complaining that large percentage of the tax paying population no longer wants to subsidize your kids and your personal lifestyle.

  • Ellen Dibble

    There is a kind of time-bomb ticking away on a lot of things that we as a society are not “winning the future” with, as Obama puts it. Once a child is badly educated, the damage is pretty much done. Once China and India and Germany surge past us in launching the energy modalities for the future, their footprint is down, and the damage is pretty much done. Once the end of the Clinton/Democrat pay-go plan, plus the inability to focus on the debt largely (with the entitlements and other big-ticket items) has led us into annual deficits and debt that hobbles us yet further from trying to play catch-up (if we still have it in us), the damage is pretty much done.
    Where is Churchill to call out, amidst a rain of situational tragedy (bombs in that case) to tell us that we will meet this challenge on the beaches, on the ice floes, amidst the urban blight, amidst the toxically tainted foods and water and air, all that. Who will tell us, yes, you can?
    Apparently nobody with Congress hanging around the neck as if to drown us when next we trip by a bridge.
    Therefore, we the citizens will have to do this by ourselves. I think we can. We need the financial types to originate Winning the Future retirement funds and Winning the Future bonds for all comers, and with those investments we can get started on patching the holes in the infrastructure, start a grid to bring sun energy from Arizona to New England, help the states and cities that are buckling and having to sacrifice the common-good. If certain individuals are making this impossible in Congress, we have to bypass Congress.
    Just let them find it in their hearts to find a way to enable US to save this country in SPITE of them. I think those funds and bonds will do pretty well. (They really have to do well, because it’s our future I’m talking about.) I think they can be pooled in such a way as to give a real boost to the innovative startups that fall between the cracks, because the banks are more interested in holding the money they have been provided, and the corporations because they are waiting for regulatory heaven. They’d have to cover NPR and certain other rash cuts, but they can go beyond. This land may not be your land, but it’s my land, from the forests to the islands.
    I went to a meeting with one of our senators and after much noise and complaint and bemoaning the situation, we all ran out of time, but I wrote that on an old business card, and handed it to the senator, and this senior legislator said crisply, “Yes, we’ll do that.”
    Hmm. It seems this is “on the table,” but apparently someone else is going to seize the credit for it. I’m waiting to see who that’ll be.

  • Beverly

    ELLEN DIBBLE,

    ELLEN DIBBLE,

    YES WE CAN!

    In case you’re not familiar with him, Jim Hightower is great. At his website, you may also subscribe to his newsletter. He was recently interviewed on “Humankind”. CDs, transcripts, & podcasts are available.

    He will give you hope, & ideas.

  • Jay Obermark

    About the anti-collective-bargaining legislation in WI and OH:

    Don’t Republicans understand that this is another way in which the Government wishes to privilege itself and compete unfairly with private business? Why would they support this? Letting the government abuse people in ways that private corporations are not allowed, is a first step down a short path toward unfettered corruption. WI is close enough to Chicago to see what happens when the government relaxes the rules it needs to follow, while expecting better of private corporations.

    • geffe

      Jay this is also how oligarchy’s start. Abolish the rights of people to form unions and to collectivity bargain. The reality here is that this not about Wisconsin’s budget. If it was the governor would not be lowering taxes. This is about the republican agenda of dividing and destroying any progress that has been the corner stone of our nation since FDR. It’s about their desire to make this nation a oligarchy.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYIC0eZYEtI&feature=related

  • TomK in Boston

    Nice summary of the current state of the USA, “When a country goes insane”. Based on their past performance, I can’t imagine anything more insane than letting the voodoo economists drive the bus. Works great for the elite, though.

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/02/21-5

  • Beverly

    Big Biz has been very successful in getting rid of our unions. Of course, every Republican’t & dirty dog Dem will always be on the side of the fat cats, so pretty soon, we’ll be treated like the Chinese workers are being treated, with absolutely no rights. Wages will keep going down, so CEO’s bonuses can become ever more inflated.

    Carl Rove (“Mr. Integrity” Why isn’t he in prison?), has formed his own union, with the very long list of diabolical wrong-wingers.

    If you think there’s a huge chasm between “them” & us now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. With every union that is forced to shut down, we lose even more of our rights.

    People of courage, unite. Start a union in your workplace. Happy, secure American workers are fast becoming a thing of the past. You’ll get threats, but don’t back down. You can find everything you need to know in the excellent, very informative book by Dr. Phillip M. Dine, “The State of the Unions”. Everyone deserves fair treatment, a living wage, & someone who will go to bat for them.

    Remember, when unions are strong, the middle class is strong.

  • Ufaq

    - Please if you guyx dunno anything about Bahrain please don’t exaggerate –

  • Kjmiller61

    Thing are getting mighty scary all over the globe

  • Kjmiller61

    democracy only works if every person has a voice

  • Ali Khan

    What is the US stance on Saudi forces meddling in Bahraini pro-democracy movement. Let me answer it, the stance is clear, the rest of the world can go to hell but the ‘magic kingdom’ has to be defended and protected by the US taxpayer. Oil……………

  • Lauren Jablonowski

    sorry that was to Escobedo rather than Geffe

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