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The Week In The News: Palestine, Afghan Assassination, A Deficit Plan

Obama’s deficit plan. Markets reel. Palestinians at the U.N. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is over. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds his hands to his face as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. (AP)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds his hands to his face as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. (AP)

Stock markets around the world reeling this week as everybody tries to figure out what’s going on. Europe in trouble. The fed doing the twist. The president rolling out a deficit reduction plan to follow up his jobs plan –- and Republicans are saying no to both.

In Afghanistan, the peace talks leader, killed. At the U.N., Palestinians making their bid for full membership with the U.S. and Israel, very lonely, saying no. Don’t ask, don’t tell is history. Two young Americans are freed by Iran. And the execution of Troy Davis is not stayed.

This hour On Point: our weekly news roundtable goes beyond the headlines.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Bryan Monroe, editor of CNNPolitics.com.

David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times.

Jack BeattyOn Point news analyst.

Photos

Jack Beatty (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Jack Beatty (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Week In The News live on location. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Week In The News live on location. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Economist “In a speech in Washington, DC, on September 15th, Mr Boehner flatly declared tax increases “off the table”. Four days later Mr Obama proposed a detailed deficit-reduction plan that combines token trims to entitlements with multiple extra taxes on the rich. The newly combative president also promised to veto any attempt by Congress to cut health-care benefits without also raising taxes on the wealthy.”

CNN “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ ambitious push to gain full U.N. membership may seem unrealistic, but analysts say he is making hard-nosed calculations rooted in domestic politics.”

CBS News “The attacker bowed his head in respect of the 70-year-old ex-president who headed the Afghan peace council. A split second later, he detonated a bomb hidden inside his turban.”

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  • ulTRAX

    Why can’t ANY Democrat make the simple case that when We The People are in debt… ALL tax cuts that don’t intend to recoup lost revenue later are fiscally IRRESPONSIBLE!  Back in 2001 We The People were $6 TRILLION in debt when Bush and the GOP passed those irresponsible tax cuts. Yet the GOP is now is adamant what was clearly irresponsible back in 2001 today remain sacrosanct. We have to face the simple fact that either the GOP has either lost its mind, or is secretly trying to sabotage Democratic New Deal and Great Society program  by secretly sabotaging the fiscal health of our government.Sadly, I believe both are true. But it gets worst. At what point does the deliberate attack on our nation’s finances become treason?

    • ulTRAX

      WHY WHY WHY can’t this Disqus board preserve simple paragraph spacings???? 

      • Rational

        The CR/LF character parsing may be unrecognized due to bounding characters. If you are composing outside this little text box use a more basic editor that provides no formatting. Like MS Notepad and it will work.

        • ulTRAX

          I’ve composed in Word, moved to Notepad to eleminate formatting… and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve added extra spaces in the provided text box… sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve just found no pattern. Maybe I’ll try HTML break or paragraph tags…

          • nj

            If one inserts the line breaks with html code, the breaks will (usually) actually show up in the final post. The problem is that sometimes there will be too many line spaces, since sometimes the spaces in the cut-and-pasted copy are preserved, and the breaks from the code are added on top of those.

            Yar pointed out that if one registers with Disqus, one can edit one’s post after it goes up.

          • Rational

            You guys must keep in mind that the Disqus parser is attempting to filter text characters such as CR/LF and the HTML break tags into a restrictive but correct formatting.  Parsers are complex and thus unpredictable. If you use a plain text editor like Notepad with htll tags typed in there will be no errors. Assuming the parser permits the tags.

          • nj

            We cyber-challenged types may need a translation on that.

          • ulTRAX

            If I’d registered with Disqus, I’d be on my 15th user account by now LOL.

          • Rational

            Yes. Because, the inserted line breaks (visible) plus the ones the parser interprets as line breaks (invisible) are both formatted into html by the parser. Hence extra line breaks.

            I used to have a disqus membership. I cancelled it.

          • Rational

            Notepad will keep the hidden formatting characters from a word document. Notepad is using the same libraries as Word…as per WordPad. If you compose in Notepad from the start there will be no formatting characters in the text.

    • JayB

      They’re not really that secretive about it….

  • Anon

    Biggest story of the week: R.E.M. breaks up.

    • P.T.

      In your shallow and uninformed world, I can believe that.

      • nj

        Like, dude, lighten up.

    • http://mergelefttoday.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson

      I wouldn’t call it the biggest story, but still, wow.  They’d been together for thirty plus years, with the only lineup change being the loss of the drummer for health reasons.  Great band on and off, mostly on, especially their political stuff.  DOCUMENT is my favorite of their albums.

  • Rational

     Just a follow up FYI on the Dr. Oz apple juice story earlier in the week (arsenic in Chinese apple juice). Having little understanding of how China became the worlds largest exporter of apple juice led me to this report from USDA: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/FTS/2010/10Oct/FTS34401/FTS34401.pdf

    How did China do it, and how does the US compete against such a market strategy…
    It is well written, and packed with information about how China took a natural resource (apples) and via government aid and regulation they came to dominate the world market.  

  • Ed

    The pope is making a state visit to Germany – the first time a pope has addressed a German representative governmental body. His 20 minute address there discusses the foundations of law and the historical development of the European legal system. And he lamented the popular positivist view of reason and knowledge, which is a reduction and an elimination of culture, or it’s relegation to the subjective.

    Imagine – sixty years ago the German regime planned to kidnap the pope, mortal enemies, now a German pope has an official state visit.

    There’s also a ten part series starting on PBS called ‘Catholicism’ hosted by Fr. Robert Barron, on the format of Kenneth Clark’s ‘Civilization’, very well done.

    • Anonymous

      Wasn’t Ratzinger in the Hitler Youth sixty years ago? 

      • ulTRAX

        Who was it that misspoke and called John Paul II the first Communist Pope? Why can’t we also have our first Nazi Pope? LOL

    • Roy Mac

      60?  You mean 70?

  • Gregg

    There isn’t much trust in the media:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/149624/Majority-Continue-Distrust-Media-Perceive-Bias.aspx

    On result of everyone and their brother having a cell phone camera is it makes it harder for the media to lie through omission. One example is the racial component to flash mobs.

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/39613

  • Rational

    When will the DoD realize that it IS the problem, and not the solution. Yeah, lets borrow more money from China to support a military that is twice the cost of the rest of the globe combined.

    Nice to see some rational number crunching… Pentagon Budget Expert Slams ‘Elitist Tripe’ on Cuts:
    http://defense.aol.com/2011/08/19/pentagon-budget-expert-slams-elitist-tripe-on-cuts/?icid=related3

    What does DoD say about this miniscule planned cut:
    Chairman of Joint Chiefs Says Doomsday Cut Would ‘Break’ Military
    http://defense.aol.com/2011/09/22/chairman-of-joint-chiefs-says-doomsday-cut-would-break-militar/?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl1|sec1_lnk2|98235

    IMO there will never be enough money… even if this agency continues to borrow against ever more imaginary future earnings of US taxpayers yet unborn, in its goal to police the entire world..

  • Michiganjf

    Great to see the debates expose all the Republican hypocrisy regarding Social Security, education, the economy and stimulus, job creation and stimulus, foreign affairs and the wars, tax cuts, etc., etc…

    I hope the greater public and ESPECIALLY INDEPENDENTS are paying close attention and will remember Republican hypocrisy in 2012.

    • mary elizabeth

      Despite the truth of what you have stated, a Repub recently was elected to the State Legislature  in MA, winning  a long held Democratic seat.   Of course, it was a special election with probably low turnout but it may be predictive  of the  future. and the public desire simply for change.

      • Anonymous

        @94179c70e3f1b88c89d46a2182e8e760:disqus  @2003f7637c3992e3d33a26f5736c3add:disqus The Republican, Scott Brown, was a moderate Republican in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives and then in the State Senate. He actually recognized the threat of Anthropomorphic Climate Change and supported the Romney-care “take-over” [gross exaggeration] of health insurance.

        But it was a low-turnout election in cold weather of January and Boston seems to have more than its share of right-wing radio which is popular second only to sports talk-radio.

        I remember visiting a company that made outside lamps for homes, etc., on Cape Cod a few years ago. As I was looking at the various lamps, well made but I decided that I would not buy there because the workers making the lamps were listening to Rush Limbaugh.

        I don’t know who selected that program and it might have been by popular choice of the workers. There is some measure of entertainment to be obtained from such but little real education. A constant diet without hearing the “other side” for which there is really little opportunity (the mainstream media do NOT provide the necessary depth of coverage) results in indoctrination.

        In an environment where unions are maligned and too often justifiably, their function of supplying that “other side” has been diminished; while their pronouncements to the public certainly contain “propaganda” it is no less appropriate than the “propaganda” emitted from business, which has a much bigger megaphone in Fox News, etc.

        The current topic of “class warfare” claims by Republicans uses the false claim that since the amount of (INCOME) tax the wealthiest has been increasing faster than that paid by middle and lower class workers they are paying their “fair share.” Well, as anyone who has thought the least bit beyond that statement should suspect, there is a hidden fact here. The INCOME of the wealthiest has been rising MUCH, MUCH faster that the wealth of the rest of the population, so unless their tax rates are collapsing drastically toward zero, their share HAS to be increasing faster than all other tax payers.

        See these two posts on Paul Krugman’s blog:

        http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/taxes-and-the-wealthy/

        http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/billionaires-and-secretaries/

        and for background

        http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/taxes-and-the-wealthy/

        Note that in all this discussion, the Alternate Income Tax had its features radically restructured by the 1986 Reagan Tax Reform so that the features that were initially designed to prevent millionaires from paying below average taxes were eliminated or weakened and other items were added which affect slightly lower incomes down into the middle class income levels. That is why Congress each year has adjusted the calculations (“inflation adjustment”) for that tax or the above would have been even worse.

    • Rational

      That’s good reality TV… They were trying to out-conservative each other, and not get voted out, and Perry took the illegal immigrant torpedo in the hull. But, Perry missed his chance… He could have trumped Romney’s conservative strike with a ‘I’ve executed more people than you’ comment.

    • nj

      Here’s some more:

      http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/09/22/325550/issa-clean-energy-loan/

      After Receiving Contributions From Electric Car Company Investor, Issa Asked Sec. Chu For Clean Energy Loan

  • Jolly Jeff

    I heard Obama finally address the “class warfare” issue this week and all the polls I’ve seen indicate that a large majority of Americans, liberal, independent and even some tea party members, support raising taxes on the rich and corporation at least to the same rate as the rest of us.

    My question to your panel is; why has Fox News and conservatives made class warfare such a big issue? It makes them look like they support the rich and want to make the rest of us pay MORE.

    When Obama used the term “class warfare” at the bridge in Ohio I had to agree with that guy in the crowd when he shouted “BRING IT ON!”

    • Rational

      It is interesting that the conservative talking point is that improving national infrastructure is wasteful government spending, and does nothing for the economy, but military spending is beyond questioning.

      Defense Spending: The worst way to make jobs:
      http://www.truth-out.org/defense-spending-worst-way-make-jobs/1315404218

      … I don’t believe our leaders fully appreciated how even a limited,
      partial defense-driven economy, with attendant permissive contracting,
      had already profoundly and adversely affected our competitive position
      in world markets.

      … In the long run we must find a way to end our political economic
      dependence on contrived work. As long as we have that dependence, we
      shall remain vulnerable to Wehrwirtschaft and its dire consequences, including national bankruptcy and probably war.”

  • nj

    It’s embarrassing to live in a country which still allows for this kind of barbarism.

    http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2011/09/22/the-state-sanctioned-killing-of-troy-davis/

    The State-Sanctioned Killing of Troy DavisAnd Rethuglican knuckle-draggers cheer at the mere mention of Texas’ executions:http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/09/08/republicans-cheer-death-at-presidential-debateSupport the Innocence Project:http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Troy_Davis_Executed_in_Georgia.phpSupport Amnesty International’s Not In My Name Pledge:http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/site/c.6oJCLQPAJiJUG/b.7741827/k.62FF/Not_in_my_Name_Pledge/apps/ka/ct/contactus.asp?c=6oJCLQPAJiJUG&b=7741827&en=dmIPI6PPJcIYLgOSLbKULiM9LvL9KmN4LtI9LqNaIAKAnd denounce and excoriate those who cheer at death.It’s the least we can do.

    • nj

      Arrrgh!

      Discus butchers another post.

      It was supposed to say:

      “Support the Innocence Project…and Amnesty International…and denounce and excoritate…”

      I swear, all the line spacings were there.

      • Yar

        If you will create a Disqus profile you can edit your posts.  I have some complaints on how the software handles line breaks, but I do like the ability to correct or edit my posts, I seldom get things right the first time around. 

        • nj

          Thanks for the suggestion. Generally, i don’t like “registering” for online stuff; it just seems to increase the avenues by which i can get spammed. But maybe in this case it may be worth it.

  • Tina

    A QUESTION:  I think that I heard that the US Supreme Court is unable to call for a stay of execution based on new evidence having been found.

    HOW can that situation be changed to give the highest court in the land more discretion in matters involving new evidence and related situations??  Which part of the government could make this/these changes?

    (a “related situation”:  learning that witnesses suggested their testimony was coerced, or that they would not testify in the same way were their court case happening today)

    ****

    Bless YOU, Troy Davis!  

    • Yar

      @@ac5a65ed7511190e088ed85459acaa7f:disqus  and @@ec87cceeca835fed2aaf1fd44f8b3700:disqus 
      I wonder if there is a political component to executions?  Does a statistical analysis show that more executions occur in the year before and after elections than in other years?  Do fewer executions during the midterm?  Would such data prove a political connection to the death penalty?  

      • Tina

        Yar, Very interesting set of questions!  All I know is that African-Americans are disproportionately imprisoned AND on Death Row, in some states even more so than in others — I WISH I had the time to read the new books out about that situation, but I settle for trying to find & listening to interviews with the authors.  Perhaps those books might make reference to additional facts and issues, including, perhaps, answers to your questions.  There was also an NPR piece the other day about incarceration in Norway, and just how extremely different that country’s sense of criminology (right word?) is.  Thanks for your interesting (as usual!) thoughts!

    • Anonymous

      @ac5a65ed7511190e088ed85459acaa7f:disqus  @Yar_From_Somerset_Ky:disqus  The legal system provides appellate courts to review the results of a trial for errors of law, fact or procedure. At least most of the time, appellate courts leave determination of fact to the trial court and do not try to determine whether there is an error of fact (new evidence) but if there is reasonable possibility that there is MAY remand the case back to the trial court for such determination.
      In a discussion of the Troy David case in Slate, Dahlia Lithwick writes this relevant paragraph:

      http://www.slate.com/id/2304140/pagenum/all/#p2


      One side cares, as Cohen explains, principally about finality. That’s why supporters of Perry (who claims never to have lost a night’s sleep over an execution) and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (who wrote in 2009 that “this Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent”) believe that for the process to work, it must eventually end—and that in order to achieve that end, some error is inevitable. The victims’ rights movement, which has had so much influence over the criminal law in this country, uses the same reasoning, except that it’s called “closure.” The theory here (not always supported by the empirical research) is that victims of violent crime can only heal and move past a tragedy once they have had some formal ending to the legal inquiry that, in states that allow for capital punishment, must take the form of capital punishment.

      To a growing number of Americans this seems a grotesque view of fairness and justice. After all, why did the legal trial system come into force when just lynching the nearest person to the crime seemed to work so well for our ancestors? Because it didn’t! The relatives and friends of the victims of crime relinquished their ability to exact immediate “justice” by themselves for the knowledge that when they were the “weaker” party they could still get justice through the power of the state and that they would have a better chance of ensuring that the real guilty party was found.

      For all that the Republicans excoriate the ability of government to do ANYTHING right they seem to have NO DOUBT about the government’s ability to execute the “guilty.” Maybe that is because they feel they have the money to buy whatever “justice” they want.

  • Ellen Dibble

    NPR was reporting this morning about Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Republican, giving a speech about leaving the Republican leadership in the senate in order to, NPR’s words, be more of a statesman.  He went to Canada and returned to decide working to block all attempts of a Democrat administration is not helpful, and the best way to be a senator is to back up and use your own judgment, not gang up on the other “side,” using hollow sticking points until the other side listens up, something like that.  I want a list of everyone is Congress who is like that, in order to pray for them.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2011/09/22/140714408/lamar-alexander-leaving-senate-leadership-gives-room-to-deal

  • Ellen Dibble

    Next Republican talking point on the chopping block (my chopping block):  the idea that the bridge Obama wants the Jobs bill to finance between Mitch McConnell’s state (Kentucky) and Boehner’s state (Ohio) will only create those jobs for three years, which does not count.  
       I’m thinking, isn’t it the Republicans who keep saying that home building creates jobs (implicitly permanent jobs), one for three years, or three for one year, I believe I heard?  Is that permanent?
        But a bridge can channel commerce into the foreseeable future, but a house, unless it has a lot of home businesses inside, won’t do a lot to enable commerce, not as much to create steady employment as many investments I can think of.   Talk about putting all your eggs into one basket, “the American dream.”  Some eggs, yes.  Some.

    • TFRX

      It’s hilariously sad that having to explain “roads enable commerce and when bridges fall down it costs time and money to everybody who used to use it” to Boehner and McConnell.

      Oh, and from the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitive Report”, this: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Sections/TVNews/MSNBC%20TV/Maddow/Blog/2011/09/infrastructuredrop.photoblog600.jpg

      • Rational

        That chart matches my observations. The infrastructure of the country can be observed by any bicyclist. This country is falling apart even at the small town level. Its very depressing to ride a bike in America and witness up close the fruits of Reaganomics.

        • TFRX

          Yep. Us folks on bicycles and motorcycles have to watch out for these things much more closely.

          On four wheels it’s an annoying thump which doesn’t even spill soda pop. On two wheels it’s much more likely to be a faceplant or a popped tube and broken spoke.

        • notafeminista

          More depressing is to think where did all that money go?  Reagon hasn’t been President in 23 years.  Assume for the moment (as most of the left does) that Reagan was utterly, thoroughly and completely wrong.  What happened in the nearly 2.5 decades since?

          • Michiganjf

            … if the demise of the middle class hasn’t already answered your question, then ask the “trickle down” theory proponents.

            … remember, it wasn’t just 8 years of Reagan setting up the new “social” conservative movement, it was also the twelve years of Republican control of Congress which soon followed.

            We’re all now seeing the fruits of the new conservative movement which began under Reagan.

          • notafeminista

            That is an interesting point and one well taken.  Given your numbers (8 years of Reagan and 12 years of Republican control subsequent to the Reagan years) that it takes at least 20 years for “economic applications” to take effect.  Given that (just as a thought experiment) why then has the New Deal, the Great Society and the War on Poverty failed so miserably?

          • Rational

            Generally corporate America does not financially profit from charity, good health, or any of the actions that improve society or the nation. The profit arrow points the other way..toward exploitation, abuse, and corruption.

            “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed”. – Mahatma Gandhi

            The first part of this quote is the new deal, the second is Reaganomics.

          • notafeminista

            Of course it does.  Without good health, corporate America would have fewer employees (to exploit ;)  ).  Without education, corporate America would have fewer employees.   Of course without the monies provided by corporate America there would be less good health and less education.  Unless of course you are suggesting or implying that health care providers and educators work for free.

          • Rational

            I guess I should have been clearer. Corporate America does not garner profits as per ROI from these activities, unless it is their sector of operation. 

            Today the unregulated corporate architecture for profit is present in healthcare and education… and no one should be surprised that the prices for both of these services are now unreachable for many Americans.

            What is the health of 40+ million uninsured, and those who were bankrupted by medical costs. Humans are consumables in corporate America.

          • Tina

            I’ve read that before 2038 (or earlier), that job loss to globalism will explain only a small part of America’s joblessness.  The issue will be job loss to almost total automation.  Sure, some engineer geniuses will have jobs designing robots …. until robots design robots!  

            I met a young woman last week who is on a work/travel visa from China where she is studying:  electrical engineering/automation.  I’m betting that 2038 will get here by 2020!

          • Rational

            Generally corporate America does not financially profit from charity, good health, or any of the actions that improve society or the nation. The profit arrow points the other way..toward exploitation, abuse, and corruption.

            “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed”. – Mahatma Gandhi

            The first part of this quote is the new deal, the second is Reaganomics.

          • Tina

            I believe that as soon as African-Americans finally received full LEGAL equality with the federal acts of 1964 and 1965, that corporate America and investor-class America began to think about how else they could get cheap labor to support their “fix” of/for Wealth.  

          • ulTRAX

            The Right could not have moved the nation so far towards its agenda without the Democrats’ complicity.

            The Dems have not just failed to crystallize a vision and developed a long-term strategy to get there; they have instead surrendered the field by showing cowardice in taking on the lies and distortion of the Right.

            Just think 3 DECADES WASTED where the Democrats COULD have been exposing the Right’s lies about the benefits of tax cuts for the rich. 30 years wasted where the Democrats could have inoculated the public to see through their fig leafs down to the Right’s deeper intent to weaken or abolish the New Deal and Great Society safety nets.

            Democratic strategists are idiots. 

          • notafeminista

            Where exactly do you see the failure on the part of the Democrats then?  Americans have been hearing for literal decades that Democrats are more enlightened, more educated, more open-minded and more giving than the rest of the population.  It seems unlikely that such a gifted and/or talented group could perform so badly.

          • Tina

            Thank you, thank you!  Wonderfully expressed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            I don’t know if you will agree:

            Also Clinton:  1)  NAFTA; 2) Don’t Ask, don’t tell; 3) Monica in the People’s House — #1 and #2:  he might as well have been Republican; #3:  a give-away to the Social Agenda of the Republicans.  What a fool!!!!!

          • Anonymous

             You ask “where did all that money go?”  The top few percent of Americans have it, just as planned.  As I heard a wealthy Wall Streeter declaim, “don’t need good roads to get out to the Hamptons, we just take the helicopter.”

            And then there is the fear-driven increase in the defense budget.

            That should cover most of it.

          • notafeminista

            Y’know it should, but it doesn’t.  Have a look sometime at the US budget and where (at least on paper) the money goes.  Defense ain’t it.

          • Anonymous

            It most certainly is.  Spending on Social Security and, to a lesser extent, Medicare, has already been paid for, in advance, in full, with a few trillion to spare.  Who or what gets more tax dollars than defense from tax receipts that are not specifically collected for that purpose (e.g. gas and payroll taxes)?

          • notafeminista

            No, they haven’t been paid in full …you don’t really think that (if) when you are eligible for either Medicare or Social Security you are going to get back penny for penny what you put in do you?  That money is already spent.

          • Anonymous

            The money has not been “spent” for what it was intended and agreed to when paid, which is to pay SS benefits.  It has been taken, or if you prefer, stolen, to pay for such things as defense, to make up part of the deficit caused by tax cuts, etc.  There is a huge difference.

            Are you unaware of the trillions in surplus payments that are secured by T bills? 

          • Anonymous

            @jimino:disqus  @75593f9edc0ec3fe2934bad774c06ebb:disqus Until the year 1981 when the National Commission on Social Security Reform (Greenspan Commission) was formed and made recommendations that led to the Social Security Reform Act of 1983, money from the Social Security tax (F.I.C.A.) was just slightly more than what was paid out (a real pay-as-you-go system). The Reform Act changed the way taxes were calculated to built up an excess over what was necessary to pay to current retirees. This was to account for the Baby Boomer demographic bulge when they became retirees.
            This was accomplished by an increase in the tax rates on individuals and employers and a cap that could be increased to keep the accrual of money above a minimum. That “extra money” is what led to terms like a “lock box,” etc., and claims by some that the money was being used for other purposes. But the money was put in Federal Treasuries, which the Federal Government was going to issue to borrow to cover emergencies and unexpected costs during the fiscal year

            Republicans (ex-president Gerald Ford for one) made the case that the money could not be invested in the stock market since it would mean that the government “owned” the companies which would (potentially) lead to (Congressional) interference with the market.

            Therefore, the “excess F.I.C.A. taxes are not spent on “other boondoggles” (YET). But what is going on right NOW is when the money grab is intended by cutting Social Security benefits (increased age for entitlement, decreased benefits, changed method of inflation adjustment, etc.). This is where, when and how the rich intend to “steal” the money that the middle and lower classes have coming to them.

            The reason that the Social Security Trust Fund might run out so that it would only be able to pay amounts commensurate with what comes in from workers (approximately 70+% of nominal benefits) is that the Trust Fund has not been accruing at the rate anticipated by the Social Security Act of 1983. The reason for this is the growing inequality between the poorest and middle class and the really wealthy, which was not predicted by the Greenspan Commission. The other factor, which also contributes to the growing inequality, is that the growth in productivity has not been shared with the workers, but hoarded by the wealthy. Thus wages have not grown at the expected rate.

            For a more complete explanation, see:

            http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_22/b3935100_mz057.htm

            But this all shows how the way the rich have been hogging all the profits from the economic growth for much of the last 30 years has hurt the rest of Americans in so many ways, from lack of wage increases today to lack/diminishment of Social Security in the future if they continue to get their way. They may not even realize how nasty they have been/will be.

          • Rational

            US military spending compared to other nations, and other expenses: http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending

            We are the biggest sucker on the planet. We pay for others defense, not just our own. They reap the benefits in their economies, we add it to our debt.

        • notafeminista

          More depressing is to think where did all that money go?  Reagon hasn’t been President in 23 years.  Assume for the moment (as most of the left does) that Reagan was utterly, thoroughly and completely wrong.  What happened in the nearly 2.5 decades since?

    • Anonymous

      @ellendibble:disqus  Actually it DOES count, but that “count” is only really meaningful when a LOT more such projects are implemented in near simultaneity, so that the larger American economy feels the impact and gain confidence in a growing economy and begin spending which creates more jobs with more spending, which is called a “virtuous circle.”

      The main problem with the ARRA (stimulus) program is that it was not BIG enough (by more than half). What is needed is increasing spending over a short term but which continues for three to four years when the financial crisis was as deep as this one. And when the spending is VISIBLE, like building/repairing bridges, roads, buildings, it has a psychological effect on consumers who see it as well as feel it. The fact that the part of the tax cut that increased take-home pay (so it would be spent rather than saved as most lump-sum cuts are) were not even recognized as such by ordinary workers, so they did not get that “lift.”

      But not all stimulus infrastructure projects need to start at once, but they do need to build up fairly quickly, and maybe now more than earlier since the condition has festered so long.

    • Tina

      Ellen, as an aside, I’ve been thinking:  I really do not care much for Obama’s High Speed Rail idea.  Does the State of Florida really need the extra development that will evolve if HSR is built between Orlando and Tampa?  There has been a water problem in Florida since 1971, or earlier:  Fla. is a floating peninsula with salt water constantly threatening to wick up into the freshwater water supply.  Development in roads, houses, etc. only makes that threat worse.  

      On the other hand, thruout the country, cities need to get inner city would-be workers out into the suburbs for the jobs there, and suburban would-be workers need transport into the cities for the jobs there (different cities, differing needs — all documented); yet many regional bus services are in deep financial difficulty.  Instead of HSR, I believe we need the feds to help with the development and partial subsidizing of small mini buses and trams that run on regular roads with the flexibility and mobility that might be compared to what ball bearings do for engines.  On top of that, a computerized system whereby citizens logged in their demands could be met EXACTLY by this system, were it to be developed.  HSR is old-fashioned, single line.  My vision is like the new computerized system used for traffic lights now where first come, first served and greatest demand compel the changing of the lights, rather than old-fashioned, linear time-based light changes.

      We need to not only PRAY for new jobs, but think creatively about HOW to create them — WE, the Citizens, must be part of this discussion!!!!  The politicians have virtually NO IMAGINATION — in fact, THAT is what I would say is the MAJOR PROBLEM with the Obama Administration:  his advisers and cabinet are remarkably devoid of Creativity — they seem to be academics who have no social acquaintance with the creative artists and creative engineers who went to school with them!!!!!

      • Anonymous

        Actually, you might care when you think a bit more about what high speed rail does. It basically REPLACES air travel in a much less environmentally degrading way. It is not for commuter travel although that is needed also.

        But commuter rail will allow/require denser communities, not necessarily larger ones. This compaction with public transportation will reduce commute times and costs, allowing a more equitable blending of economic classes throughout the city/town.

  • Harry

    Please, please cover the Wall Street Protests! Why the news blackout?

    http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/occupywallstreet

    • nj

      It’s that liberal media bias, doncha know.

    • ulTRAX

      If a couple of drooling TeaCrackpots protested an Obama appearance, Faux News would make it their top story.

  • JMc

    Interesting how much capital major U.S. banks have tied up in Greek debt, hard to believe banks invested into this market without some knowledge of its instability, the lack of regulation may be what attracted them in the first place. Now that the big banks are at risk they are crapping their pants about the thought of Europe not bailing them out, it may be the only retribution to what they have created to the world at this point. If recovery is put upon the shoulders of citizens in Europe I would suggest that they walk, if Europeans want to know the outcome of a bailout of the banks just take a look at our economy and the lack of reinvestment for the average American, not credit, no jobs, and trillions of taxpayer dollars donated to the individuals that created the problem.

    • GretchenMo

      What does interesting mean? How much is it?  How much does it represent of their capital?  When did they invest?  The average American is a bad credit risk; that’s what got American banks into trouble in the first place.  Trillions donated … that makes no sense.

  • salzburg

    Today’s news is the biggest this week:

    Scientists foundsub-atomic particles That travel faster than light.

    Means time travel may be possible.

    EEinstein’s Theory of Relativity would be obsolete. 

    • Roy Mac

      For sub-atomic particles, anyway…

    • Rational

      The experimenters asked for validation. Not real proof until peer reviewed and most think a error will be found… But still a cool experiment. http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/09/23/idINIndia-59514020110923

    • Yar

      “The three year project fired 15,000 neutrinos from the CERN facility – where the Large Hadron Collider is based – to detectors in Italy, 500 miles away. Light would cover that distance in 2.4 thousandths of a second; the neutrinos beat light with 60 nanoseconds to spare.”

      We already know that different media affects light.  How does the fact that these neutrinos were fired through the earth change the expected measurement.  They may be affected by a space time shift do to the mass they are moving through.  It is interesting to say the least.

  • Anonymous

    Some very astute observations by Elizabeth Warren.
    Pay close attention to what she says about the Social Contract we all have a stake in as being citizens. I think the GOP and the tee party are really missing this point. If they don’t and they want this Social Contract to be broken and go away then they are nothing more than un-American rubes who want to undermine the very fabric of our society.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htX2usfqMEs 

    Paul Krugman’ article on the the same subject iis spot on.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/opinion/krugman-the-social-contract.html?ref=opinion

  • Iopbeachmoon

    Please discuss the apparent news embargo of the Wall Street protests

  • Iopbeachmoon

    Please discuss the apparent news embargo of the ongoing Wall Street protests.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Why would Wall Street not like the “scooching down” of interest rates?  The clip says the banks are holding out in the hopes of being able to offer higher rates down the line.
        Where is Elizabeth Warren when we need her to explain.
        The banks trying to loan to me are asking for 18.99 percent, 14.99%.  They want to loan for maybe 3% up front if I can see the need to hold it for about a year.  They don’t want to lend at 3% for a year because I might pay it back in 3 months.  I get that.  But it seems that the multiple, multiple offers of loans for very short-term, which tells me that any money I’ve borrowed, don’t count on a viable loan after say November 2012.
        Why does this matter?  Multiple my case out by 300 million Americans, with various loans stemming from the various financial situations of the 2000s, medical, housing, job-wise…  You’ve got a TON of people trying to get out of red ink.
      IF — if — the banks didn’t look like they were going to force us all into bankruptcy next November, we might actually start buying some things that we need.
        Which Wall Street and the GDP should be happy about.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I’m getting phone calls, and probably missed the crucial commentary on air about that…

    • Tina

      Hi, Ellen!
      EVERY SINGLE TIME that I go into the bank, whether to customer service or even to the teller, the bank staff member is trying to get me to take on a new bank credit card!!!  Even the new, young, tassled-loafers-wearing, coiffed, male customer service reps take  ANYTHING I SAY as an excuse to segue into WHY I need a new credit card!  I’m paying more down on a mortgage because my prescription costs have gone up … THEIR ADVICE???!!! A new credit card that gives me a discount after I buy a certain amount of pharmaceutical products (I’m not sure if those include across-the-counter purchases, or not).  YIKES!!!!!

      1)  That “discount” will be pitifully small compared to any interest-due payments I might rack up over the years with a new credit card!

      2)  I need to go back to the bank and find out more:  WHICH STORES that sell pharmaceuticals will be eligible for consideration of this so-called discount?  Just the Big Stores, or just Selected Big  Stores?  Is this just another way for Big Corporations to Join Together With Other Big Corporations to Corner the Market, thus putting the Little, Local Store/Business OUT OF BUSINESS!  When I have time, I will investigate this :  the guy’s tassles on his loafers will start to SPIN when he first hears me actually ASK about this new credit card, but I’ll really be asking as an independent investigator (kind of like On Point’s second-hour topic today, only without the camera!!!!)

      • ulTRAX

        They want that 18+% interest! BOA is trying a new ploy for one of their new “enhanced” account plans… if you don’t use their credit card at least once a month, they’ll charge a $15 a month service fee. Slimly bastards!

        • GretchenMo

          Unfortunately there’s a law that says you have to go to Bank of America so what are you gonna do?

          • Anonymous

            I’m seeing a pattern of a troll here.

          • GretchenMo

            I see no evidence that you “see” anything.

        • Tina

          “Slimy bastards” exactly!  Thanks for the info, I’d probably have missed it!

    • GretchenMo

      Perhaps we should get our loans from the government.  What if we set up entities to provide mortgages to home buyers and student loans to college kids or even loans to small businesses and green-tech companies?  That way the government could be a lender instead of a borrower.  Sounds like there is no way we could lose!  I can’t see even the remotest chance of a downside.

  • TFRX

    The Politico is actually saying something the GOP tried to do, which they wished to do, and failed, was bad news for Republicans. Someone in the Beltway said a GOP failure was bad news for Republicans. I may need smelling salts.

    “House Republicans tried a fresh strategy Wednesday night: Go it alone on a spending bill. The result was an embarrassing setback.”

    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=DEF5D6A7-E742-41D2-BA39-5728B1529725

  • JMc

    Why
    does mediators of Repu debates never ask opinions on the clear issues that the
    private industry created in our economy, the government is only guilty of
    collaborating, too much regulation is the consensus but it seems to me that
    lack of oversight and effective regulation is what caused the problem in the
    first place. Why are we allowing this narrative of the facts to be distorted
    and not holding the spin that is being placed on issue to some level of
    accountability. Are people really that out of touch to ignore such obvious correlations?

  • JM

    Thanks to the caller “Stuart”.  Finally, a voice of intelligence and reason.  Anyone listening?

  • JM

    Thanks to the caller “Stuart”.  Finally, a voice of intelligence and reason.  Anyone listening?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Is it me?  I can only access onpoint online through Internet Explorer… I guess it’s not me.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      WBUR.org just crashed.  I couldn’t get in (using Firefox) until just a minute ago.

      • nj

        Ironic on the day they’re broadcasting from the electronic media conference thingie.

        • ulTRAX

          Are you suggesting OP and Disqus moved its web servers to this conference?

      • Anonymous

        Does Ed think god crashed it because the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was this week?

    • ulTRAX

      I could not get through when I first tried at 10:20 until 11a.

      • Ellen Dibble

        If you look at the on-site photo up top on this thread, it shows a big screen on a staff monitor not far from the OnPoint broadcasters showing 10:22 AM and 16:51 (apparently the minutes into the show?), apparently a memorable moment to us all.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Is it me?  I can only access onpoint online through Internet Explorer… I guess it’s not me.

  • Aharon

    I want to echo the comments of caller Stuart, who said the Palestinians need their own state.  The whole reason that the US is in such a quandary now is that our Mideast policy is as outmoded and unworkable as the sclerotic governments falling to pieces there, and we are still trying to make an ancient, rickety thing work.  The world is advancing in its humanity, and once we who are American Jews join this movement and leave our own hatred and prejudices behind, this Gordian knot of policy will dissolve.

  • TFRX

    Tom, when the GOP “looks at debt and how it has grown and grown”, they always seem to find someone else to blame except themselves, and only worry about it when they’re not in the White House.

    They’re the alcoholic who has declared that everyone must be a teetotaller because they think their own sobriety is threatened when someone else wants a drink. However, when the urge hits them, they’re going to get that drink, principles be damned.

    • ulTRAX

      The truth might be more cynical than that. I think all the evidence points to the GOP WANTING debt to increase, as long as they were in power and spending it on their projects. When the pendulum swung the other way, all that new debt would be a burden on the Democrats. In this way the GOP was always able to bring the goodies home to their constituents while the Dems could not. Debt would also put pressure on Democratic programs like Social Security the far Right always loathed.

      Sabotaging the federal Treasury was just one aspect of a multi-front attack on the Dems which included hijacking the federal judiciary and installing Right wing Neanderthals like Scalia and Thomas; depressing the Democratic vote by going after ACORN and now with laws making voter registration and voting more difficult; defunding the Dems by going after unions and trial lawyers etc.

      • TFRX

        Oh, I allus thought that about “deficits don’t matter” when the GOP is in power. We’re on the same track for that.

        Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough about how cynical, disingenuous, and denializing addicts can be. When they get their coherence together, the lying and duplicity are the first socials skill that are recovered. And every one of their failures is always someone else’s fault.

      • CS024

        I think there is a real anarcho capitalist streak in the republican party. When you have private security firms, private health care (meaning personal doctors), private schools, and private gated communities I can see how people can start to believe government isn’t necessary.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    J_o_h_n

    Yup, clearly WBUR is responsible for gay marriage and abortion…

  • ulTRAX

    The GOP plan for health care: don’t get sick and if you do, die quickly.

    The GOP plan for a fiscal health: do more of what bankrupted the government. 
    The GOP plan for the economy… do more of what crashed the economy… only this time DO IT ON STEROIDS!!

    Like all crazed True Believers, when things don’t work as planned, it’s not that their infallible ideology failed, it’s that reality failed their perfect ideology.

    • GretchenMo

      It’s just math, and yet Dems can’t figure it out (must be the public education.)  Don’t let ideology get in the way of the facts!

      • Jimi

        backatcha GretchenMo

      • Anonymous

        Well, well, the ideologue rears it’s head and thinks that it’s view points are facts.

        • GretchenMo

          Look up unfunded liabilities, CBO projections; then we’ll talk about your failed ideology.

          • ulTRAX

            Programs can be fixed. What can’t be fixed is the defective and dangerous right wing ideology that brought down the economy, bankrupted the Treasury, and deindustrialized the nation. What’s truly frightening is that after the disaster it caused, it hasn’t joined other such failed ideologies on the ash heap of history.  

      • CS024

        “Don’t let ideology get in the way of the facts” I’m sorry but based on what people on the right say I think the old Hegelian saying “If the facts don’t fit the theory, so much for the facts” applies perfectly. 

      • ulTRAX

        WTF are you babbling about now GM? Clearly the ideas push by the Right… free trade, deregulation of banking and commodity markets, low taxes… and irresponsible tax cuts that created massive debt… they not only brought our economy to its knees in the fall of 08, they are preventing recovery because any increased domestic demand can be met by overseas suppliers.  If some external enemy so damaged us, we’d have declared war on the bastards. Yet you seem to see these right wing psychos as patriots.  

    • nj

      Better yet, execute anyone who’s seriously sick, and/or doesn’t have insurance, as long as they can afford to pay for the lethal injection drugs.

  • Michiganjf

    I’m not sure what David Sanger meant by Republicans not admitting that their intent has always been to bring the country to a standstill so long as Obama is President… not only will many Republicans admit it, some brag about doing it effectively and hurting Obama in the polls!

    Republicans couldn’t care less about what’s good for America… the only thing that matters to them is their “FRAT BOY” ethic that “our side win, no matter the cost.”

    • GretchenMo

      Why is Democrats inability to accomplish anything the Republicans fault?  Democrats have single-handedly been their own, and the country’s, worst enemy through their own ignorance and ineptness. 

      • Anonymous

        You don’t seem to understand how the Congress works, do you.
        Must be your education.

        • GretchenMo

          So it only works for Republicans …
          Excuse-making is all Democrats are good for.

          • ulTRAX

            You mean how the out of power Barney Frank singlehandedly was responsible for the housing crisis when the GOP held the Whitehouse, Senate, and House?

      • Anonymous

        I personally agree with you that the cowardly Democrats’ role in continuing the same failed policies that have been the core of Republican thinking for the past 3 decades, rather than ruthlessly gutting them, plays a large role in our present predicament.

    • Alan in NH

      Go Michiganjf! And I remember Republicans loudly proclaiming, after about the first 30 days he was in office, that President Clinton’s was a failed presidency. It’s a little Lombardi-esque; “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” I think it applies here.

  • AC

    hey. i’ve been saying that for the past couple months!!

  • ulTRAX

    GET THE PARASITES OFF OUR BACKS!

    How about a Stimulus that won’t cost the government a dime? It’s time to get the greedy oil speculators out of our wallets!

    We, and other nations, need to work together to reform the commodity markets so only true end-users can buy or bid on oil futures. All the speculators do is help bid up the price, and if they can, they’ll try and create a bubble as they did in 08 when oil prices hit $147 a barrel. Arguably it was one of the last nails in an economy ready to implode.

    But we can do better. If oil producers can have a supplier’s cartel, why can nations form a buyer’s cartel?   Why doesn’t the US government create an oil buying agency to buy in behalf of all US end-users? This would cut down the number of players in the market and reduce the pressure to bid up those prices.

    • GretchenMo

      Do you have no shred of evidence to support this, because every time a Repub or Dem-led government looked into it, there is nothing there?   Exxon is a seller and a buyer because it often refines more or less than it discovers so where do they fit in your oversimplified veiw of the world? 

      • Rational

        How does oil speculation raise gas prices?:
        http://money.howstuffworks.com/oil-speculation-raise-gas-price.htm

        “…As a result of speculation among these and other major players, an
        estimated 60 percent of the price of oil per barrel was added; a $100
        barrel of oil, in reality, should cost $40 [source: Engdahl].
        And despite having an agency created to prevent just such speculative
        price inflation, by the time oil prices skyrocketed, the government had
        made a paper tiger out of it. …”

        • GretchenMo

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._William_Engdahl

          Your only source is a LaRouchie, global-cooling, Mubarek-lover, seriously.

          • Rational

            Please cite your acumen for refutation.

          • GretchenMo

            CFTC report from July 08
            Simmons on Peak Oil.

          • Rational

            My pity sensor prevents me from spiking the ball.

          • ulTRAX

            Get a clue Fluffy, it’s not OUR job to find the sources you claim back your case… nor is it OUR job to find whatever’s in your source that you claim backs you case.

          • Rational

            Fluffy had two links, and then redacted them.

        • GretchenMo

          How does oil speculation lower gas prices?  You can make almost as much money shorting oil as you can going long. 

          • Rational

            So this is your refutation of speculators not influencing market prices?

            Thanks for the confirmation.

          • GretchenMo

            I didn’t say speculators don’t influence prices, but one quote from some loony isn’t going to convince anyone that speculators were responsible for $60/brl when oil was at $100.  The “ir” appears to have dropped off your moniker. 

          • Rational

            And more loonies: CEO Doug Steenland and CFTC Commissioner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFgKlhWuY3Q

            Dr. Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-ii_Xo_vnI&feature=related

          • ulTRAX

            Nah man, none of that can be REAL because as we all know GretchenMo says, and it MUST be true, that oil speculators CAN’T be pumping up oil prices:”Do you have no shred of evidence to support this, because every time a Repub or Dem-led government looked into it, there is nothing there?”"Do you have no shred of evidence to support this, because every time a Repub or Dem-led government looked into it, there is nothing there?”

          • ulTRAX

            One looney? There were quotes from multiple sources in the article I posted.

            If you can’t make a point without gross distortions, you really haven’t made a point… have you Einstein?  

          • HouseRules

            Of course speculators are influencing the prices.

            Actually, I wouldn’t call it ‘speculation’, I’d call it a ‘sure thing’.

            Wouldn’t you gamble on something if you knew the outcome ahead of time?

            It’s a ‘the-biggest-boys-on-the-block-only’ game.  Smaller investors only provide liquidity or hedging opportunities.

            Ever heard of the ‘Chatham House Rule’.  It makes Cheney’s ‘Energy Task Force’ look like a public forum.

            Check this out:

            Twenty-seven of us comprised the formal consultancy under the Rule.
            We came from around the world to meet, review the year’s energy developments, and make recommendations. We stayed in the castle and held closed sessions, where some very heavy hitters hammered out the “Windsor Perspective.”

            …”There is a solution, but it requires the market to have sufficient liquidity provided by small investors – like you.”

            http://moneymorning.com/2010/03/26/oil-futures
             

          • ulTRAX

            Either way, SPECULATION IS NOT DEMAND!

      • ArnoldWalker

        Asking NPR listeners to understand market dynamics is a fools game.  A life of losing has led them to believe it’s the world’s fault, not their own, and the world is out to get them.  Downstream, upstream; this losers don’t know anything about the world around them.

        • ulTRAX

          Are you suggesting we don’t know that the rich and special interests have been buying our elected representitives and as a result the government has worked more and more against its own people? That sounds like something those who sit at the feet of the Orwellian Right remain oblivious to.

      • ulTRAX

        Matt Tiabbi of Rolling Stone wrote an expose on this two year ago. Here’s at least one link to the story….

        http://trueslant.com/justingardner/2009/07/03/matt-taibbi-blows-the-lid-off-oilgas-speculation-by-goldman-sachs/

        The rise in prices was always explained by the main stream business press as demand form India and China. But oil futures were changing hands something like 20 times… that number from memory.   

    • Stranglehold

      In reply to ulTrax’s, ‘Get the parasites off our backs’:

      You’re right.  Energy is the “elephant in the room”. 

      The energy markets are completely rigged and their closed-loop structure is severely controlled.

      In many ways, the cost of energy is the biggest tax in the world. 

      It is the ‘liquid gold’ of the ruling elite and the day-to-day commodity of the realm.

      (Notice how BP wasn’t even punished or challenged by the US government after the Gulf of Mexico tragedy.)    

      Many times over the years, I’ve heard experts in the energy markets scratch their heads and say supply/demand circumstances don’t make sense when it comes to current or future prices.

      And when you consider most of the crude oil in the world is traded in US dollars, after careful research, I think you will find the hegemony of the cartels are intricately involved in the value(lessness) of our fiat currency.

      Naturally, when the ‘republicrats’ occasionally investigate the situation they will not discover any anomalies. 

      Just like the September 11th Commission.

      Nothing to see here – move along.

      They have us by the barrels.

      • ArnoldWalker

        Ask BP if they were punished, or better yet look at their SEC filings.  Ignorance is no excuse. 

        • StillWaiting

          What filings?

    • ArnoldWalker

      I thought this was going to be a rant against Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment benefits, public employees … and other parasites on producers of economic welfare.  Instead it was more claptrap.  Call me disappointed.

      • TFRX

        …said the man who never got anything out of the safety net. Hundreds of millions of Americans in the social compact benefitted and realize it.

        You, alone, never needed and never took. With your jet pack and your urine-into-potable-water-recycler, you never needed us.

        Go Galt, already. You won’t be missed.

    • ulTRAX

      The CFTC simply isn’t doing it’s job and it’s 2008 Interim Report that speculation played NO role in oil going up to $147 a barrel was a whitewash.

      We can thank Bernie Sanders for this:

      ‘‘End Excessive Oil Speculation Now Act of 2011’’http://sanders.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CAM11209.pdf.

  • GretchenMo

    Math:
    Government spending represents 24% of GDP, the highest ever.
    The top 1% of taxpayers pay 30% of all federal income tax receipts.
    50%+ of taxpayers pay no federal income tax.
    Higher income filers pay higher tax rates.

    • Anonymous

      What percent of the nation’s income does that 1% get, and how does that compare to what is was 10, 20, 30 years ago? 
       

      • GretchenMo

        Get, as in earn.  The government gets it, it doesn’t earn it.
        What’s your point, it should be even higher? So envy should drive tax policy and it’s ok if half of all taxpayers don’t care what tax policy is.

        • Anonymous

          My government has done a lot more to earn its keep than Hank or Henry Paulson or Paulsen or other market manipulators ad schemers ever did to get their millions and billions.

          The point is: why has the income and asset gap between this top and the middle/bottom grown to unprecedented proportions and why has that phenomenon coincided PRECISELY with the reduction in tax rates on those high income getters?  What’s your explanation?

          • GretchenMo

            You can get the top to middle ratio to go anyway you want if you change the definitions.  Moreover, our economy has changed from agrarian to industrialized to knowledge-based and different skills are rewarded.  Transitions can be painful in the short-term.
            Everyone got tax reductions, in fact, they were proportionally higher for lower tax rates.  Incomes drive taxes, not the reverse.  So I’m not buying your contention. 

          • Anonymous

            My “contention” is an undeniable fact.  Income and asset differential has grown drastically since the 80′s.  30 years is not exactly what I would call a “short-term”. 

            And the 1980′s reduction in high-income taxes was coupled with the largest tax increase on the middle class ever implemented by the increase in SS contributions.  So no, not everyone got reductions in the time at issue.

          • ArnoldWalker

            All you have to do is look at test scores to see Americans are getting dumb and dumber, waiting to suckle at the state’s teat.  Our poor have it better than most, but they are not motivated as long as they can have everything without having to expend much effort.  Big nanny-state gov has created a culture of low expectations and low achievment for those who prefer to watch tv and play video games in between junkfood binges.  Those with more discipline and some sense of self-awareness reach for more and take advantage of all the opportunities afforded all of us here.  The stats don’t lie.

          • CS024

            I couldn’t agree more. I didn’t try at all in school because I just couldn’t wait to watch TV and play video games all day while suckling off the states teat. Gimmie a break man that’s just crazy. If the only reason you try hard and want to achieve is to make money I honestly feel sorry for you.

          • ArnoldWalker

            I believe you cuz it shows.

          • TFRX

            “Big nanny state gov” “The stats don’t lie”

            Now I think you’re just an unskilled satirist. More Colbert-style hyperbole, please, because the intertubes don’t show non-verbal language or vocal inflection.

            Otherwise you run the risk of people thinking you mean the piffle you spout, like Bill-O does.
             

        • ulTRAX

          I suspect if there’s true class envy, it from the rich sociopaths for whom greed is truly a disease. Of course they’d never see it that way. They just buy into Social Darwinian notion that they are superior beings and deserve what they get. They just can’t look at themselves in the mirror with any self-respect knowing there’s some more wealth left they can steal from the middle and working classes.
           

          • ArnoldWalker

            Lower classes get used to a parasitic lifestyle and want all they can’t afford:  the result over-levered coddled class of do-littles.  These who take from those who have are the ones stealing.  Our tax policy is built on make this acceptable. 

          • ulTRAX

            Hey, I’m not in favor of ANY healthy and fit person living off others. Where we seem to depart is that you don’t mind if through a contrived “free market” the rich can sit by the pool and collect their dividend checks, paying their puny 15% capital gains tax… while they rig the system so those below can no longer earn a real living because of “free trade”.
             
              

      • IncomeInequality

        “We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great
        wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”–Louis Brandeis
        U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1856-1941)

        From a NYT article (2/16/2010):

        Income Inequality: Too Big to Ignore

        “By contrast, during the last three decades the economy has grown much
        more slowly, and our infrastructure has fallen into grave disrepair.
        Most troubling, all significant income growth has been concentrated at
        the top of the scale. The share of total income
        going to the top 1 percent of earners, which stood at 8.9 percent in
        1976, rose to 23.5 percent by 2007, but during the same period, the
        average inflation-adjusted hourly wage declined by more than 7 percent.” 

        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/business/17view.html

        • MoreUnequal

          “The long-term trend is indisputable: High-income Americans have been
          receiving a growing share of total income for the past 30 to 40 years.
          The latest IRS data show that in 2008, the top 1% of taxpayers
          accounted for 20% of total pretax income; in 1986, by contrast, they
          accounted for only 11%. Over that same period, the share of income
          going to the bottom 50% of taxpayers fell from about 17% to 13%.”

          http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/06/news/economy/income_inequality_fix.fortune/index.htm

          • ArnoldWalker

            Hey, it doesn’t take 4,000 people to make a Chevy Malibu, only 10 and a bunch of robots.  That’s progress!  If all you know how to do is tighten a screw, time to get a new skill.  That, or hope Democrats will pay you for sitting around doing nothing but watching Maury.

          • TFRX

            Wow, the unemployed are lazy?

            I guess that isn’t your real name. Nobody making that statement about the jobless is stupid enough to use their real name, or say that in public, in person.

          • ArnoldWalker

            Truth hurts.  If we cut their benefits, they’d all fine jobs they think are beneath them for now.

          • ulTRAX

            Thanks for proving your agenda is to use government power to benefit the rich and to drive down everyone else’s standard of living.

          • TFRX

            You really need to go back on your meds.

            Stop and research just one of your bullsh!t statements about the unemployed and the jobs available.

            Actually, just stop altogether.

    • PayNoAttention

      Good for you GretchenMo.

      You have copied your math well, but it only tells part of the story.

      A complete discussion was held after the 9/20 show on ‘Obama’s Deficit Reduction Plan’.

      I noticed you started sniping and trolling late there.

      • GretchenMo

        Feel free to refute or continue your factless sniping.

        • PerfectCliche

          Pot Calling the Kettle Black Much?

          • GretchenMo

            I thought chatbots were supposed to be intelligently designed.  Guess not.

          • Gregg

            I want to get all partisan and slap you a high five but I can’t. Truth is too easy. But it’s still fun to read your comments.

          • GreggandGretch

            Birds of a Feather…

          • ulTRAX

            Interesting how Gregg backs off these last few days and suddenly there are some new Orwellian Rightists to take up the slack.

          • Gregg

            We’re out numbered about 100 to 1, fine. It’s easy enough.

          • ulTRAX

            100:1? Wow! Really??? And you derive this number from????  Enquiring minds want to know! 

            The only actual way to measure opinion here is with the “like” feature and it’s of questionabe objectivity. I’ve yet to see anyone get 100 votes on anything. If someone gets 15 “like” votes, they’re on the top of the heap. 

            So, AGAIN, we have more proof that you’re incapable of objectively perceiving reality… or you just rush to dishonesty when it suits you. 

            But then we already knew that…  

    • Alan in NH

      Not so Gretchen. The typical millionaire after deductions and tax breaks pays around 15%; the average middle class family is paying between 20-25%. And that 50+ is really about 46% and includes people below the poverty line, the unemployed, the severely underemployed. I think Warren Buffett’s comment about his taxes and those of his secretary is a fair one; He makes billions, she makes thousands, but she pays more taxes.

    • CS024

      While it is true that roughly 50% of taxpayers pay no federal income tax merely stating this fact is irresponsible you must note that many of those people are unemployed and living below the poverty line. When you fail to explain the details behind the fact that 50% of people pay no fed income tax it seems to me that you are engaging in an ideologically fueled game, and I believe you have said in a previous post that we shouldn’t let ideology get in the way of facts it would do you well to heed your own advice.

      • ulTRAX

        What the Orwellian Right would have us believe is that tax cuts designed to benefit the rich are really soaking the rich. They played this same game during the 1980′s.

        The ONLY way the rich pay more after such tax cuts is if they capture a bigger slice of the income pie…  

    • ulTRAX

      And pray tell just who has been kicking potential taxpayers off the income tax rolls? IT WAS BUSH!!! He bragged about taking 5 million people off the rolls.

      So guess what happens when tax cuts shrink the tax pie… those remaining taxpayers pay a larger percentage of it. That doesn’t mean they pay outrageous taxes. It’s a STATISTICAL ILLUSION… and instead of eating up such stuff, why aren’t you asking why the GOP is trying to deceive you. I should add that just what does the tax pie mean in an era of deficit spending? It means revenues are falling WAY short of spending… and why in good times not a free lunch?   

      The ONLY way the rich would pay more in absolute dollars after a huge tax cut designed to BENEFIT them is if they capture more of the income pie.
       

    • ulTRAX

      The problem you’re ignoring is when demand in the private sector collapses as it did in 08, it sets in motion a dynamic where companies start to lay off workers leading to even lower demand… leading to… a downward death spiral. If the private sector is in a death spiral only the government spending is left to prop it up… unless you want to risk unemployment in the 25% range… and years for the magic “invisible hand” of the market to rebound.  So it’s also “math” to wonder what that spending/GDP ratio means in a time when GDP shrunk or is flat yet the population continues to grow. Perhaps per capita spending a better measurement.   

      • ArnoldWalker

        We’ve tried spending like crazy with debt funding.  Washington needs to incentivize productive individuals and other entities to spend and take risks, not tax and regulate them into submission where they are afraid of their own shadow.  We need to create an environment where foreigners want to invest here as well. It’s a global market for confidence and Obama is doing all he can to increase pessimism and fear.

        • TFRX

          You really need to get some perspective on tax rates historically.

          And “increase pessimism and fear”? That’s Boehner, Kyl, & Cantor’s job, at least in the unprecedented letter they sent to the Fed.

          Used to be our oligarchs would say “Nice economy ye got ‘ere, shame if anything’d ‘appen to it.” Now it’s “Don’t do anything to help the economy.”

        • ulTRAX

          Pray tell AW, how can We The People, having spent some $13.5 TRILLION on ourselves these past 30 years… and refuses to tax ourselves for that spending… be “overtaxed”?

          All you Orwellian Right wingers that believe this lie are nothing but spoiled rotten Free Lunch Republicans.

  • Dave

    Good to hear the caller Stuart on Israel. Good sense, and hard to argue with.

  • TooMuchSense

    Many of our comments are becoming too “On Point”.

  • Darshan Haward

    Gaddafi was this bad to his citizens.  Glad we bomb the hell out of the for the regime change.  Some highlight of how bad he was:
    - Loans to Libyan citizens are given with NO interest.- Students would get paid the average salary for the profession they are studying for. – If you are unable to get employment the state would pay the full salary as if you were employed until you find employment. – When you get married the couple gets an apartment or house for free from the Government. – You could go to college anywhere in the world. The state pays 2,500 euros plus accommodation and car allowance.- The cars are sold at factory cost. – Libya does not owe money, (not a cent) to anyone. No creditors. – Free education and health care for all citizens. – 25% of the population with a university degree. – No beggers on the streets and nobody is homeless (until the recent bombings by NATO). – Bread costs only $0.15 per loaf.

    • SameOldSong

      Maybe Gaddafi was just our bad guy who served his purpose for the past four decades.  Out with the old and in with the ‘new and improved’ fascist regime?  All under the banner of ‘democracy building’.  I think I’ve heard that song before.

      Human Rights Watch discovered in Tripoli tens of thousands of archived
      documents containing evidence of crimes – such as the US and UK
      governments’ complicity in torture – committed during Col. Muammar
      Gaddafi’s rule.

      I don’t think I heard this on NPR.

      Files Show Intimate Relationship Between CIA, MI6 and Libya

      “Among the files were documents confirming that both the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the United Kingdom’s MI6 sent terrorism
      suspects to Libya for detention – despite Libya’s notorious record for
      torturing prisoners.

      The CIA communications that we saw were drafted while George W. Bush
      was president and included information like flight schedules and lists
      of questions to be asked of suspects. They also established that the
      CIA sent agents to interrogate suspects in Libyan custody.”

      http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/09/08/secret-intelligence-documents-discovered-libya

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Lovely, a society in which the government gives you everything, unless you question the benevolent dictator.  Perhaps you’ve also forgotten that incident with the airplane over Scotland?

    • Rational

      Everything you stated is due to one thing, and one thing only. Libya has no real economy, the money squirts out of the ground in the form of oil, when the oil is gone, your free ride goes with it.

      The US used to have this same resource, and exported oil to the rest of the world, now the oil economy is long over, and the prosperity that the old folks remember and always wrongly attribute to other activities is gone. They must force themselves to believe that this national income was from manufacturing, war, morality, God, etc… anything but oil.

      The underwriting resource for all of that productivity was oil. The US will never again dominate the world as it did in the time of free oil.

  • ArnoldWalker

    Democrats, the party of no.
    Why must they tie disaster relief to a Solyndra-type program for electric cars?  How much did Tesla give Obama?

    • ulTRAX

      Where in God’s name are you getting your “information”. It’s the GOP that tied approval of disaster relief monies to reductions in this electric car program… not the Dems.

      BTW, this funding research into advanced technology autos was a BUSH era program. It started in 2007
      https://lpo.energy.gov/?page_id=43

      • ArnoldWalker

        Keep up. House passed a bill, Harry R. said no way.

        So because it’s a Bush program we should keep it. 

        You Dems can’t stop spending, I get it.  Once you got your greedy hands on some bucks….

        • TFRX

          “Deficits don’t matter”, said Cheney.

          This isn’t the mainstream media you’re talking to. Your presumtion of right-wing “fiscal responsibility” isn’t just assumed to exist here like it does on, say, CNN.

        • ulTRAX

          Feel free to post your comical GOP talking points.

          BTW Fluffy, I’m not a Dem.  

  • DebtsandTaxes

    “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
    — James Madison, Political Observations, 1795

  • Wisconsin Lois

    Regarding the economy, doesn’t anyone look to history for help?  In 1938 Republicans pressured FDR to institute austerity plans and the economy tanked — threw us right back into depression.  In the early 1980′s people on Reagan’s staff, according to David Stockman (former Reagan budget director, proposed driving up defense spending so much to bloat the deficit and give them an excuse to cut entitlement programs (the policy is known as “starve the beast”).  Why do we continually ignore history?  Stimulate the economy at the federal level to create the demand the corporations want — yet, I bet they don’t budge until after the 2012 elections!

    • LetUsLearn

      History is conveniently obscured in our education and media.

      By the way, do you know how the Great Depression came about?

      The only thing these keynesian-knuckleheaded economists know how to do is spend our way out of the debt by creating ‘stimuli’.

      And as your two examples show, that doesn’t work.

      For instance, Japan has been under slow growth paralysis since their bubble broke over twenty years ago despite their governments efforts to jump-start their economy.

      Stimulating the economy on the Federal level would only work if our government actually created its own money which had an intrinsic value behind it – say like grand public works projects or repairing our failing infrastructure – instead of us borrowing it from private bankers (Federal Reserve) and issuing debt-backed securities to the highest bidder. (China)

      What finally got us out of the ‘Great Depression’ was WW2.

      Please let us learn from history.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1268067547 Bruce Piggot

        What is your suggestion then?  I say the Keynesian model is obsolete see NPR: http://www.publicradio.org/columns/marketplace/david-brancaccio-economy-blog/2010/10/alternative_indicator_the_genu.html

        Economy 4.0

        • MoneyMasters

          The answer was in the post:
          Abolish the Federal Reserve System and have the US government start issuing currency again.
           http://www.freedocumentaries.org/int.php?filmID=243

      • CS024

        What exactly do you mean when you say “what finally got us out of the Great Depression was WW2″

        • ulTRAX

          AW is regurgitating the standard Right wing view of history which requires… 1: the facts must be buried that it was an era of GOP low taxes for the rich and deregulation that imploded the economy starting in 1929 but well into the early 30s, and 2: FDR’s New Deal programs must be made to seem a failure. Their hope being the real lessons of history will be forgotten and the rich and Wall Street can again use government to engorge themselves. Hey wait… history DID repeat itself… with the same results. And, predictably, the Orwellian Right is again slavishly trying to salvage the Bush legacy to hold him blameless.

          • William

            Cheap credit for stock investors caused the market to crash in 29. The companies themselves were sound, but FDR destroyed them with very high taxes, regulations etc…

          • ulTRAX

            Translation… government wasn’t regulating the stock market. Why didn’t you just say so!

            And history repeated itself when Bush’s SEC freed the big investment banks from leverage restraints which had been about 12:1 and exploded to around 40:1.

          • William

            If government regulation works then why does it keep failing? Clinton signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall.

          • TFRX

            “The companies themselves were sound, but FDR destroyed them with very high taxes, regulations etc.”

            Unless you’re failing at satire, you’ve passed the Reality Event Horizon. Please send us a postcard.

          • William

            A quick review of FDR’s anti-business ideas will prove you wrong. FDR failed.

          • TFRX

            Har de frakking har.

            And try telling your plop to the tens of millions of Americans who didn’t starve to death thanks to public spending. Like right-wing hero Ronald Reagan, whose family was on the dole then.

            And to the businesses and the rich people who said “Hey, it’s a small price to pay to stave off ACTUAL ARMED REVOLUTION like in other countries”.

            Context much?

        • Dave in CT

          I think it’s fairly common knowledge that the massive war spending, backed by debt, stimulated the bejeezus out of the economy, demonstrating how War is a great Keynesian tool, and why some people suspect that collusion between the bankers and military industrial complex maintain a situation that guarantees both (and their political pawns) perpetual good times- debt interest to the bankers and profits for the military complex (and political jobs for the Democrats and Republicans who herd us all like sheep into the same old thing over and over).

          • Dave in CT

            which is why Banking and Federal Reserve reformists like Ron Paul are the true pacifists, unlike every President we have had in 50 years +.

            Do you think Eisenhower was joking when he warned us about the Military Industrial Complex?

            Its easy to hate/fear it. But realize that it needs a funder to make it all possible. Thats the Central Banking bit.

            http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-515319560256183936

      • ulTRAX

        And WWII wasn’t Keynesian deficit spending on steroids?

        • YouAreSoRight

          Indubitably

        • ArnoldWalker

          It wasn’t the preparation for war that got us out of the depression in a sustainable way, it was the opportunity to rebuild a demolished Europe.  Look at the export data, it tells the whole story.  So all we need is a good war.

          • ulTRAX

            LOL… sure… the HOPE we could rebuild a devestated Europe sometime in the future so psyched us up that hope got us out of the Depression.

            Next! 

        • ulTRAX

          From the US Historical Budget Tables, Table 1.1 showing deficits for 39-42 in billions.From the US Historical Budget Tables, Table 1.1 showing deficits for 39-42 in billions.1939: -3.3621940 -3.484 1941: -5.5941942: -21.333Looks like deficit spending to me.

          From the US Historical Budget Tables, Table 1.1 showing deficits for 39-42 in billions.

          1939: -3.362

          1940 -3.484

          1941: -5.594

          1942: -21.333
          Looks like deficit spending to me.

    • ArnoldWalker

      In case you haven’t noticed, the beast they want to cut includes defense.  Wasteful spending by the govt isn’t going to help us now, how many more stimulus programs do we need before big gov folks get it?

    • William

      Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, angry at the Keynesian spenders, confided to his diary May 1939: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and now if I am wrong somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosper. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started. And enormous debt to boot.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1268067547 Bruce Piggot

    Is the elephant in the room being ignored?  Has the economic growth model become obsolete and the rhetoric tired? Why is growth the only answer? 

    Why isn’t a more moderate sustainable model being discussed for long term stability? Isn’t it time that quality weighs in over quantity.     In the short term a new 4 day 32 hr workweek standard would create 1 new job for every 5 employed workers; job sharing; who wouldn’t be happier working 4 or 3 days a week? Is it time to seriously begin the transition to a new  GPI economic model?  Perpetual growth is simply an oxymoron sustainable economics that focus on a healthier, happier economic model are the future; so what are we waiting for?  Change is difficult but the rewards of GPI economics seem to be a happier life with more free time………………  

    Bruce P

    • ArnoldWalker

      Great, and we could shrink the populatio too.

    • William

      I would think the business owner might not be very happy. Now if all these people are considered part time workers, well, the burden is not so great on the business owner.

  • Hidan

    So I was sufering around the web after someone stated the Iranian president refuses to recognize Israel right to exist and found this. Now it’s dated back to 2007

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/29/iran.israel.ahmadinejad

    Ahmadinejad accepts Israel’s right to exist

    The Iranian president has said he would accept a two-state solution if the Palestinians agree. So where are the headlines?Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made a remarkable
    announcement. He’s admitted that Iran might agree to the existence of
    the state of Israel. Ahmadinejad was asked: “If the Palestinian leaders agree to a two-state solution, could Iran live with an Israeli state?”This was his astonishing reply:If
    they [the Palestinians] want to keep the Zionists, they can stay …
    Whatever the people decide, we will respect it. I mean, it’s very much
    in correspondence with our proposal to allow Palestinian people to
    decide through free referendums.Since most
    Palestinians are willing to accept a two-state solution, the Iranian
    president is, in effect, agreeing to Israel’s right to exist and opening
    the door to a peace deal that Iran will endorse.

  • Hidan

    Now on the other hand I found this as well

    Who is funding the rabbi who endorses killing gentile babies?

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/who-is-funding-the-rabbi-who-endorses-killing-gentile-babies-1.4005
    Right-wing spokesmen, including some elected officials, rushed to
    place Yaakov “Jack” Teitel in the fringe group alongside Yigal Amir,
    Eden Natan Zada, Eliran Golan, Asher Weisgan, Danny Tikman and a few
    other “political/ideological” murderers.

    True, they acknowledge, there are among us
    several lunatic rabbis who agitate to violence. Really, just a handful;
    even a toddler could count them.

    The more
    stringent will note that unlike the Hamas government, our government
    does not pay the salaries of rabbis who advocate the killing of babies.

    Is that so? Not really.

    For example, government ministries regularly
    transfer support and funding to a yeshiva whose rabbi determined that
    it is permissible to kill gentile babies “because their presence assists
    murder, and there is reason to harm children if it is clear that they
    will grow up to harm us … it is permissible to harm the children of a
    leader in order to stop him from acting evilly

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Next, you’re going to inform us that Jews are poisoning the wells and causing plague.  We’re wise to that lie.

      • Hidan

        So instead of proving what I said is false or condemning such actions you go on with. So you make something up that say your wise to that lie?

        “Next, you’re going to inform us that Jews are poisoning the wells and causing plague.  We’re wise to that lie.”

        Is it too much for you to handle, I clearly provided the proof that what I stated is going on.

        Greg’s a clear example of blind support for Israel and willing to dismiss(if done by any other nation would be condemned) immoral and illegal actions.

      • Hidan

        Since Greg’s another one of those hear no evil see no evil types, Ill provide even more proof to what I stated(feel free to dispute it with proof that it  didn’t happen or i’m lying) otherwise it’s just another example of you being uninformed and instead.

        The above was also reported on the BBC(or for Greg) British Broadcasting.

        19 July 2011
        Last updated at 20:07 ET

        Share this page

        King’s Torah splits Israel’s religious and secular Jews

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14168618

      • Hidan

        Speaking of which, Dated 2005 this was done by Jewish Settlers or suspected. But hey what does Amnesty International know anyways.
        Amnesty: West Bank farms poisoned

        Amnesty International has called on Israel to
        investigate the deliberate contamination of Palestinian farmland –
        allegedly by Jewish settlers.

        The human rights group said that toxic chemicals had been spread on fields in the Hebron region of the West Bank.

        Farm animals had died and farmers had been forced to quarantine their flocks, the organization said.
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4482211.stm

        2004Settlers suspected of well attack

        Israeli police suspect Jewish settlers of poisoning the only water source in a Palestinian village in the West Bank.
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3891531.stm
        Residents of Tatwana near Hebron found rotting chicken carcases in their
        well after four Jewish settlers were seen in the village early on
        Tuesday morning.

        Israeli police said they suspected militant Jews from a nearby wildcat settlement outpost called Havat Maon.

        “No-one has water,” said village elder Saber Ehrany, who accused settlers of trying to drive the villagers out

  • Hidan

    Under the Likud government and many Americans still blind support of this government abuses.
    New Knesset bill is a danger to Israeli democracy

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/new-knesset-bill-is-a-danger-to-israeli-democracy-1.377348

    A Jewish state or an Israeli democracy?
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/a-jewish-state-or-an-israeli-democracy-1.315725

    Survey: Israel yet to grasp concept of democracy

    More than half the Jewish population of Israel -
    53 percent – is opposed to full equal rights for Israeli Arabs,
    according to a survey conducted last month by the Israel Democracy
    Institute.
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/survey-israel-yet-to-grasp-concept-of-democracy-1.9976

    Israelis Celebrate “Death to the Arabs” After the Attack on Aid Flotilla to Gaza
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ5-91kUu98
    How none of this is reported on NPR or many of the MSM is amazing.  But of course it’s always the Israeli concerns and none for the Palestians. Maybe someone might say hey the whole death to arab this is not part of the Government? but wait. http://www.haaretz.com/news/elections/lieberman-s-anti-arab-ideology-wins-over-israel-s-teens-1.269489
    At a Yisrael Beiteinu rally(Avigdor Lieberman party)

    “The youths, ages 16-18, many of them good friends from school, had stood
    for a long time before the event began at the intersection near the
    hotel, waving Israeli flags and shouting “Death to the Arabs” and “No
    loyalty, no citizenship” at passing cars.”

  • GetOutOfTown

    In response to ArnoldWalker:

    By your logic, all we need to do is demolish a country, a geographical region or a continent and our economy will improve and be sustained.

    What about the shattered lives of innocent civilians lost in war?

    Just the price of doing business?  Look at the death tolls.

  • ReadItAndWeep

    In response to ArnoldWalker:

    Your arguement – Democrats only know how to spend - is erroneous and is formed by common pablum and misinformation. 

    Read the facts below on government spending during G.W. Bush’s administration:   

    By any measure, there has been an explosion in government spending in both the defense and non-defense categories. Not surprisingly with the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, defense spending has risen during the Bush Administration by 61 percent in constant dollars. 
    But “big government” domestic expenditures also have gotten a lot bigger during the presidency of George W. Bush. Welfare state spending has increased by 32 percent in constant dollars from what it was at the end of the Clinton Administration. 
    Medical Care expenditures by the federal government (which includes Medicare, Medicaid, hospital and medical care for veterans, substance abuse and mental health services) has gone up by 54 percent in constant dollars under the current Republican administration.

    http://www.aier.org/research/briefs/750-big-government-under-the-bush-administration

  • TriteAtBest

    In response to ArnoldWalker:

    There are many reasons for the decline in the qualtity of education in the US.  It may come as a surprise to you that the precepts under G.W. Bush’s administration regarding “No Child Left Behind” which employed standardized testing actually undermines education.

    Statistics actually prove your premise inaccurate (see below): 
     
    Test scores are not an accurate representation of intelligence or knowledge.

    Your other assertions: ’our poor have it better than most’ and ‘big nanny-state gov has created a culture of low expectations’ are trite comments, at best.

    “The Death and Life of the Great American School System”

    Diane Ravitch, probably this nation’s most respected historian of education and long one of our most thoughtful educational conservatives, has changed her mind — and changed it big time. Ravitch’s critical guns are still firing, but now they’re aimed at the forces of testing, accountability and educational markets, forces for which she was once a leading proponent and strategist…

    Ravitch became increasingly concerned “that accountability, now a shibboleth that everyone applauds, had become mechanistic and even antithetical to good education.” Like the liberals she once criticized, “in this case, I too had fallen for the latest panaceas and miracle cures.”…

    As many pointed out, both were impossible goals and, since each state could set its own standards and definition of proficiency, the policy invited states both to cheat and to dumb down standards to avoid the loss of funds. When No Child Left Behind was first proposed, Ravitch writes, she was “excited and optimistic.” But after five years, she concluded it was a “failure” because it “ignored the importance of knowledge.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/28/entertainment/la-ca-diane-ravitch28-2010feb28

     

     

  • Dave in CT
    • Hidan

      There’s been (it seems) a black out of Ron Paul the last few weeks of anything Ron Paul, TOLN,ATC, ME,

      Callers have multiple times called the hosts on this, Example was the New Hampshire poll where Paul came in second, but the host talked only of the person who came in first and third and forth, than ATC talked about how some wanted to end the fed, played some music on it but refused to include Ron Paul in it.

      Norm Chomsky talking about Ron Paul.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVE-rj3QFnQ

      http://www.dailypaul.com/179722/ron-paul-2nd-in-new-hampshire

      • Dave in CT

        Great links.

        I wish more people could recognize that Ron Paul is closer to Chomsky, differing in terms of wanting a free economy as well as personal lives, than either “wing” of the 2-headed Democratic-Republican establishment monster.

        On Chomsky economics:
        http://mises.org/daily/1132

        “It goes without saying that he is not a political conservative. But he has repeatedly denounced “Marxism”[1] and fiscal Keynesianism and protectionism as well[2].”

  • WeedKiller

    It seems to me as if one or two malicious writers or maligned detractors are assigned to On Point’s comment page each day.
     
    After several fact-based arguments from various commenters vanquish their spurious comments, they usually don’t respond, appear to vanish or change monikers.

    Keep up the critical reasoning and informed discussion.

    We all benefit when our ignorance is extinguished.

     

    • ArnoldWalker

      In this echo chamber, right. 

      • NiceReply

        Must be difficult to respond while mired in muck.

  • SoundsFamiliar

    In reply to William:

    Although Wall Street bankers would like you only to remember that ‘cheap credit for stock investors caused the market to crash’ creating the ‘Great Depression’, the underlying causes are more insidious and corrupt.

    Actually, the term ‘banksters’ was coined back them:

    The Pecora hearings, white-washed out of the corporate version of the American past, remain the most unique congressional investigation in our history.

    First on the stand was Wall Street’s “Sunshine Charley” Mitchell, President and Chairman of the Board of the National City Bank, known today as Citicorp. Mitchell was the most powerful banker in the country and was used to doing what he wanted. As president of the National City Company in 1916 he quickly transformed the affiliate to the world’s volume seller of securities that the bank was forbidden by law to deal in. He would tell the committee he “did not see it as a problem.” In 1921 he became president of the bank and the affiliate promptly began to sell stock in the bank which was also forbidden by law. Mitchell didn’t see that as a problem either. Not that he had anything to worry about. He was an old friend of Treasury Secretary Andy Mellon who was running the country for President’s Harding, Coolidge and Hoover.

    Read the rest of the article:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2003/01/11/ferdinand-pecora-an-american-hero

    Or read the book:
    The Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora’s Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance by Michael Perino

  • JustSayin

    Have to give them credit for trying:
    Occupy Wall Street Protest Escalates On Eighth Day (VIDEO) 
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/24/occupy-wall-street-protes_n_979367.html?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl1|sec1_lnk3|98743#s371700&title=Wall_Street_March

    • Dave in CT

      It does sound a bit depressing how uneducated they are, even if their gut is leading them to the right place (Not unlike the Tea Party perhaps on some level, although the TP has already been shown to be more educated and certainly do pay attention to business/economic ideas).

      What was more telling, in this overall dismissive piece by the NYTimes was in this paragraph:

      “Having discerned the intellectual vacuum, Chris Spiech, an unemployed 26-year-old from New Jersey, arrived on Thursday with the hope of indoctrinating his peers in the lessons of Austrian economics, Milton Friedman and Ron Paul. “I want to abolish the Federal Reserve,” he said.”

      While Mr. Speich has the right idea, the NY Times displays it’s own ignorance, or, conscious broad-brush smear- to mix Milton Friedman (easy bogey-man) as associated with Austrian economics and Ron Paul.   It’s like comparing Bill Clinton to Ralph Nader.

      http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard43.html

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD0g6Et2M8M

    • ShameElitism

      NPR’s dismissive description of the protesters during a recent news summary:

      “… are kids in flannel pajamas who appear to be unemployed”

  • Hidan

    Obama Tries Hard to Be President Friedman, but Still Isn’t Bonkers Enough

    http://www.fair.org/blog/2011/09/21/obama-tries-hard-to-be-president-friedman-but-still-isnt-bonkers-enough/

  • Hidan
  • Hidan

    Listen to Obama’s U.N. speech or his speech on March 19th 2011 or Susan Rice on ATC than read this.

    “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.”

    U.S. not “standing idly by” in Bahrain

    BBC, February 18, 2011:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12509658

    Bahraini security forces have opened fire on anti-government protesters, witnesses and opposition activists say.
    The protesters were fired on after they had gathered in the
    capital Manama from the funerals of demonstrators killed in a security
    crackdown earlier this week.
    Witnesses said the army fired live rounds and tear gas, and officials said at least 120 people had been hurt.

    Something to point out,
    Joe Trippi, the former campaign manager for Howard Dean and now a Fox News Democrat, is on the payroll of the regime in Bahrain, doing P.R. work for them; Trippi told Salon’s
    Justin Elliott that he “had no problem working for them” because “this
    is one of the progressive countries in the Middle Eastern Gulf”; Trippi
    – who now also works for Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Bob Massie — also touted the fact that on his Twitter avatar,
    he shaded his face with the color green to express solidarity with
    Iranian protesters, which is proof of how much he loves democracy;

  • Cime

    Without taxes, you have no Democracy! Period!

    • Gregg

      Sorry, we had a democracy long before we had taxes.

      • Steve T

        We had taxes long before we had our independence. Prior  to that was Kings rule not democracy.

        • Gregg

          I’m not talking about “King’s rule”. There was no income tax after our independence.

    • Dave in CT

      1913 

      Fed Reserve and Income Tax.

      Isn’t that special.

  • Ed

    Or better, the pope said that ‘objective reason and subjective reason both have their source in the creative reason of God’, so ‘subjective’ doesn’t mean untrue or unreliable necessarily (it’s the place of culture).

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t know Stephen Colbert wrote for the Pope. 

  • Dave in CT

    And check this out!

    While generic Republicans eek a victory over Obama, when it comes to specific candidate names, all lose, but Ron Paul is by far the closest, back 3.5 points!  When have we heard that in the news!? 

    C’mon On Point, lets cover what’s On Point!

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/president_obama_vs_republican_candidates.html

    To repeat, of all the named Republican Candidates, Ron Paul is leading when matched against Obama in polls.

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