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Week In The News: Iraq War Ends, Europe Wobbles, Congress Frozen

War ends in Iraq. Standoff in Congress. Americans don’t marry. Europe wobbles on. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

The US flag, Iraq flag, and the US Forces Iraq colors are seen before they are carried in during ceremonies marking the end of US military mission in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. After nearly nine years, 4,500 American dead, 32,000 wounded and more than $800 billion, U.S. officials formally shut down the war in Iraq a conflict that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said was worth the price in blood and money, as it set Iraq on a path to democracy. (AP)

The US flag, Iraq flag, and the US Forces Iraq colors are seen before they are carried in during ceremonies marking the end of US military mission in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. After nearly nine years, 4,500 American dead, 32,000 wounded and more than $800 billion, U.S. officials formally shut down the war in Iraq a conflict that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said was worth the price in blood and money, as it set Iraq on a path to democracy. (AP)

It was the week that sometimes felt like it would never come.  The week they folded up Old Glory in Baghdad and headed home.  The end of the war in Iraq.  At least for now, for us.  The battle in Congress?  Maybe a truce.  A short ceasefire.  Maybe.

On the Republican campaign trail, Romney says we don’t need “zany.”  Gingrich says, who you callin’ zany?  Chistopher Hitchens is dead.  Time Magazine names “The Protestor” as Person of the Year.  Everybody’s “Tebowing.”

This hour  On Point:  Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Susan Davis, Chief Congressional reporter for USA Today.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, economics editor at The Economist.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

National Journal ” Faced with a House Republican bill that extends the payroll-tax holiday but doesn’t raise taxes on millionaires, President Obama and Senate Democrats are considering financing the extension with budget cuts. ”

Politico ” On the eve of a possible government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tamped down their rhetoric on Thursday and tried to reassure skeptics that their differences can be resolved at the eleventh hour. ”

Chicago Tribune ” As 2011 draws to a close, how fitting that Congress is fighting over money — again. Late Wednesday, a push to extend a payroll-tax break and unemployment benefits stood in the way of a crucial budget bill to fund the government’s operations. Democrats wanted to cover the cost of those initiatives with tax increases, Republicans with spending cuts. “

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  • Zero

    Did anybody notice the foreign policy divide between Ron Paul and the field in last night’s debate?  Paul was arguing geopolitics while the field was arguing theopolitics concerning Iran–i.e., Paul is the only one (except Huntsman I guess) who believes foreign policy should come from a secular perspective.  What a heretic….  

  • Ed

    The war in Iraq ended. Hurray for all the veterans and honor to all those who fought and suffered. Pope John Paul II counseled President Bush not to enter this war, but it was inevitable after the attacks, and the Congress and UN backed it. Let’s hope it still works out for the best.

    • Newton Whale

      “Inevitable” after what attacks?
      Iraq never attacked the US.

      And the UN did not back the war:

      The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter. 

      He said the decision to take action in Iraq should have been made by the Security Council, not unilaterally. 

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3661134.stm 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The Catholic church, that CONDONES Child-Molesting and Child-Abuse, should be taken seriously about anything else?
          It WAS inevitable that the AWOL, would start a war somewhere, to try to prove he was strong millitary!

  • Alan from Seattle

    Zani Minton Beddoes was among those who predicted a serious impact from the European debt crisis.  She was right.  Those who were wrong then now call for a United States of Europe by next month.  The only way to avert a catastrophe, they say, is to enforce austerity, shrink the way to growth.  Ask the Greeks how well that worked out.

    The real question of solvency is of the banks.  European banks are bigger and less well capitalized.  Will Europe bail out the banks like we did?  If they do, they had better beware of any promises.  Wall Street has done well under Bernanke and Geithner.  Main Street not so much. 

  • Alan from Seattle

    PS:  The euro can survive as a viable currency or as the smoke above the rubble.  The real question is the debt.  Can it be written down to reasonable levels without blowing up the casino financial sector?

  • ArnoldWalker

    Another, another impending government shut down.  When  will the government learn to live within it means?  We need to cut spending!  Did you see the Defense spending bill?  These guys just don’t get it.  We need to shrink the size of the government and its involvement in our lives!

    • PharmaRep

      If you don’t bring home the bacon, and it better be more than last year, you won’t get re-elected.  It’s a vicious circle of certain doom.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      How much of the things that Republicans CAN cut, DO they?  How many of their pet programs have Republicans CUT?   Can they say with a straight face, that there is NO waste, fraud, and abuse in their pet programs?  Are they just HYPOCRITES? 

  • Hidan

    Ron Paul Highlights

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhbGL3F8r4c

    Around 12:00 he schools Brett Bauer than schools Michelle B.

    “To declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims and say all Muslims are the same, this in dangerous talk”

  • Newton Whale

    Where has the media been in covering the end of the Iraq War?

    When Bush indulged his desire to be a war president by launching this horrific tragedy they were everywhere: embedded reporters riding on Humvees with breathless round the clock coverage and night-scope images of handheld green-tinted war porn.

    77% of the public approves of its end. 
    It is a historic event and the media throws out 30 second references sandwiched between gushing coverage of Tim Tebow and the hysterical rantings of a bitter old man yelling at the clouds that history will judge the President’s ending of the war “with the scorn and disdain it deserves”.

    • Alex Kingsbury

      “Where has the media been in covering the end of the Iraq War?”
      Check out our show yesterday!

      http://onpoint.wbur.org/2011/12/15/the-iraq-war-is-over

      • Newton Whale

        I did. And my criticism was not aimed at On Point, which does a vastly better job than the media generally.

        I was speaking of TV coverage, which seems to have confused war coverage with the Rose Bowl.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Thanks, Alex!!  I listened and commented on it!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      A ‘religious’ flake, by chance, that rants about ending the illegal and immoral war?

  • Chehov

    Tom please mentioned the passing of Christopher Hitchens. You moderated one of his last debates before he was diagnosed with cancer. I was lucky enough to see it live, what a refreshing debate that was. 

  • Hidan

    Obama to sign indefinite detention bill into law

    http://www.salon.com/2011/12/15/obama_to_sign_indefinite_detention_bill_into_law/singleton/

    “Both groups pointed out that this is the first time indefinite detention
    has been enshrined in law since the McCarthy era of the 1950s, when —
    as the ACLU put it — “President Truman had the courage to veto” the Internal Security Act of 1950
    on the ground that it “would make a mockery of our Bill of Rights” and
    then watched Congress override the veto. That Act authorized the
    imprisonment of Communists and other “subversives” without the necessity
    of full trials or due process (many of the most egregious provisions of
    that bill were repealed by the 1971 Non-Detention Act,
    and are now being rejuvenated by these War on Terror policies of
    indefinite detention). President Obama, needless to say, is not Harry
    Truman. He’s not even the Candidate Obama of 2008 who repeatedly
    insisted that due process and security were not mutually exclusive and
    who condemned indefinite detention as “black hole” injustice.”

    Second, as I documented at length last week, Obama’s veto threat was never about
    substantive objections to the detention powers vested by this bill; put
    another way, he was never objecting to the bill on civil liberties
    grounds. Obama, as I documented last week and again below, is not an opponent of indefinite detention; he’s a vigorous proponent of it, as evidenced by his continuous, multi-faceted embrace of that policy.

    Obama’s objections to this bill had nothing to do with civil
    liberties, due process or the Constitution. It had everything to do with
    Executive power.

    • nj

      Thanks, this was on my list for this week.

      Have on On Pointeers even mentioned this yet?

      • nj

        Well, finally, this finally got a couple of minutes today.

        Maybe an entire show sometime, on the whole post 9/11 erosion of civil rights in the name of fighting “terrorism”?

  • Hidan

    Also in the news and should come to no surprise.

    Probe Finds Arizona Sheriff Violated Civil Rights

    http://www.npr.org/2011/12/15/143765355/probe-finds-arizona-sheriff-violated-civil-rights

    • Chitown

      Complete DOJ snowjob.

      • Anonymous

        I suppose the Justice department did a snow job on Deputy sheriff Cecil Price back in 1965. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    The Republican party is against Newt Gingrich.

  • Yar

    To think that a bunch of online games may attract up to a billion dollars in an IPO.  Maybe the term smart money is an oxymoron.
    We need a good dose of inflation.  This may sound counter intuitive, but a little inflation will put money back to work.  When leaving money in the bank is a guaranteed loss, the smart money will go to work.  Wages will rise and the economy will recover.  Our country doesn’t need bed-rest of tax cuts and reduced spending.  We need some good old inflation to  wake up our “job creators”.  Prove that they must use it or lose it.
    Invest in something real.

    • Steve

      I agree and have long advocated real/inter-personal investment.

      With respect Yar, and I apologize for the conspiratorial nature of  this question…

      Is it possible that the Democratic/Republican/Wall Street/Banking oligarchy has allowed/encouraged cheap money so that the markets on “real” can be cornered by those with wealth; after which inflation will be unleashed, rendering the saving/investments of many worthless?

      • Yar

        I wouldn’t want to give them credit for being that smart, but inflation will be unleashed or more likely will break free of the Fed’s leash.  In comparing the recently filed bankruptcy of Jefferson County Alabama to that of Orange County California in 1994.  The Fed didn’t intervene in interest rates back in 94, which played a role in OC bankruptcy, today the Fed is holding interest rates low, (simply postponing inflation) which may be contributing to Jefferson County’s failure to grow its way out of debt.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          You don’t see how this follows a PLAN?  TOO many ‘coincidences’ to be coincidental!

        • Steve

          Thank you for the conversation.

          I will investigate Jefferson County predicament when time allows.

          As to real assets/inflation – it seems we may agree on predicament?  What are your insights as to immediate future actions?

          • Yar

            My plan, although incomplete has been to return to the family farm. I was raised in the city by teachers.   I am living a subsistence life, looking for niche that hopefully allows me to pass the accumulated farm assets of three generations on to my kids.   At least, I know that I can eat my stock when the market crashes.   My plan requires me to keep my health, the country to stay civil, and a fair price for agricultural products.  See why I say it is incomplete.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    How can Obama veto the ‘fast track’ Keystone pipeline?  Don’t we need the oil?  Don’t we need the tens of thousands of shovel  ready jobs?

    We can build pipelines safely.  We already have tens of thousands of miles of pipelines and there are zero problems.  Worried about CO2?  Canada will simply ship it to China.

    Everyone should all the WH and stop this silly political move by Obama.  The irony is blocking Keystone will hurt Obama politically.

    • Newton Whale

      After last year’s BP disaster in the Gulf do you really need to ask?
      Because short-cutting the process could lead to another avoidable disaster: 

      “It will cross the Sandhills in Nebraska, the large wetland ecosystem, and the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest reserves of fresh water in the world.[45] The Ogallala Aquifer spans eight states, provides drinking water for two million people, and supports $20 billion in agriculture.[46] Critics are concerned that a major leak could ruin drinking water and devastate the mid-western U.S. economy.[47] Portions of the pipeline will also cross an active seismic zone that had a 4.3 magnitude earthquake as recently as 2002.[46] Opponents claim that TransCanada applied to the U.S. government to use thinner steel and pump at higher pressures than normal.[47]
      Analysts believe that including the Alberta Clipper pipeline owned by TransCanada’s competitor Enbridge, there is an extensive overcapacity of oil pipelines from Canada and after completion of the Keystone XL line oil pipelines to the U.S. will run nearly half-empty.[40]
      In its March 2010 report, the Natural Resources Defense Council stated that “the Keystone XL Pipeline undermines the U.S. commitment to a clean energy economy”, instead delivering dirty fuel from oil sands and high costs.[16]”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Pipeline 

      • Anonymous

        If this pipeline is built and it leaks into the Ogallala Aquifer, and I’m not sure if it is a question of will but when, it this short sighted project that only creates maybe 10 thousand temporary jobs will ruin the economies of potentially eight states.
        It will be a disaster for the $20 billion agriculture busniess. So let’s get this into some perspective:
        The supporters of this pipeline, namely the republicans in DC are willing to do away with states rights when it suits them. They also are inflating the job numbers, which is typical as is the hypocrisy.

      • Mia

        It’s a smart move on Obama’s part to stop this pipeline.  The short term gain it could offer is not worth it.  How could we sacrifice clean drinking water for more dirty fossil fuel?  Water will be the new precious resource soon and we shouldn’t sully that. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Zero problems with pipelines?  You NEVER listen to the news? 

    • BHA in Vermont

      If that black stuff in the Yellowstone River isn’t oil, what is it?

      Make the oil companies who so badly want to build the pipeline build solar farms, wind farms and the electric infrastructure needed to move it instead. There are your jobs.

      And no, apparently we DON’T need the oil. We are EXPORTING refined petroleum products. Make more, export more, to the highest bidder. Keep the prices high at home as long as there are other countries willing to buy it. At least with wind and solar, we don’t need to worry about selling the ‘end product’ overseas.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Don’t you get it?  He’s going to approve the pipeline but after the election.

  • Anonymous

    I love how the Republican Congressmen keep framing the conversation as The Democrats won’t compromise; The Debt crisis is our greatest problem; Sacrifices have to be made; We can’t raise taxes on the job creators. We need to deregulate job creators to create more jobs and free up more capital!
     
    At a time when real Americans are really suffering and action is needed, they refuse to look at their abysmal rating and realize that the greatest difference that can account for this gridlock is the ideological constipation that they have created, in part by pledging allegiance not the flag, nor tothe republic for which it stands, but pledging allegiance to Grover Norquist.
     
    Looks to me like these corporate lapdogs are just a bunch of whining millionaire congressmen refusing to even entertain the thought of raising taxes on themselves, and presenting themselves falsely as patriots defending the foundation of this great nation. Newt isn’t the only serial hypocrite!
     
    In such a great period of privation, never have the few, with so much, been asked to do so little!

  • Michiganjf

    GinGrinch:

       “…and I believe [the Courts] are mistaken in their reading of the American people.” *sheep applause*

     
      It’s as though not a single Republican, politician or sheep, has ever taken a civics course or understands even the most fundamental aspects of American Democracy.

      In the view of these geniuses, the Courts are there to reflect their will, not to interpet the legal code.
    Despite all their barking about “activist courts,” they perpetually OPENLY express their insistence that the courts side with conservatist dogma and fanaticism on each and every issue!

    -Perry thinks he should be able to dictate the Congessional schedule

    -all of them think they should be able to discard judges at will if they disagree with judicial outcomes

    -all of them think the President should discard every government agency at will, no matter how well these agencies have served the American people for decades or how well and how many “voiceless” Americans the agencies have represented… even entities such as the Federal Reserve.

      The gaffes and ignorance exhibited by almost the entire Republican field of candidates is astounding… Why do Conservatives ever allow any Republican moron anywhere to even stand at a podium, much less ever elect one to office???!!!

    These people should be searching desperately for a third party that can stand with some sort of dignity in front of America, and Republicans absolutely DON”T FIT THE BILL!!!!

    America desperately needs Civics and History to be reintroduced as required curriculum in the school system… then we’d only have to insist that Republican candidates go back to high school for a more thorough education. 

    • Michiganjf

      “all of them think they should be able to discard judges at will if they disagree with judicial outcomes”

      … I should have said all but Ron Paul.

    • Roy Mac

      They all act as if they’re running for king; except for Michele–she’s running for head sorceress.

  • nj

    Some of what won’t get mentioned this week (gotta leave time for Tintin):

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/12/indefinite-military-detention-former-admiral_n_1144121.html

    “To Ret. Adm. John Hutson, who was Judge Advocate General of the Navy from 1997 to 2000 and is dean emeritus of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, the idea that the United States is chipping away at one of its fundamental principles of civilian law enforcement is a win for terrorists.”

    http://apnews.excite.com/article/20111211/D9RIB2FG1.html

    Northeast states cut heating aid to poor

    Fossil fuels industry’s PR and lobbying blitz to exploit ever last joule of energy buried in the ground and thwart regulation:

    http://www.salon.com/2011/12/15/big_oil_and_canada_thwarted_u_s_carbon_standards/singleton/

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-16/coal-industry-drive-against-epa-will-shadow-obama-s-campaign.html

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The GREEDY rich don’t care about anything but the power they can grab!! 

  • nj

    Go Rocky! I want to know more about this guy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rJCEoRUc4B0
    (Rocky Anderson: Obama “Completely betrayed his base”)

    http://www.alternet.org/story/153419/a_challenger_for_obama_progressive_former_mayor_rocky_anderson_enters_race_with_new_third_party?page=entire
    (A Challenger for Obama? Progressive Former Mayor Rocky Anderson Enters Race With New Third Party)

  • Terry Tree Tree

    For the price of the Keystone Pipeline alone, how many Wind-Turbines can be installed, and producing electricity, before the pipeling can get to N. Dakota? 
       NO transport of fuel!  NO  comparable pollution dangers!  NO pollution to the Oglalla Aquifer!  Quicker Jobs!!  NO refining needed!!  NO transport of dangerous fuels!
       FAR MORE advantages!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      False choice.  Sure build windmills if you have the land (or water) but don’t force me to pay for it.

      I still need gasoline for my car.

      • nj

        Then you (and all of us) should pay the real cost of it (gas). If all the externalized costs (health, environment, etc.) were reflected in the end-user price, we’d be paying about $15/gallon now. Other people are paying the price for our cheap gas.

        Even without externalities incorporated, fossil fuel prices will inevitably and inexorably rise. What then?

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          You just made up the $15/gallon.  Ludicrous.

          I’m all for alternatives.  I’m an all of the above guy.  We need to develop alternatives that won’t cripple our economy. I’m for Steven Chu’s ARPA-E research investment in breakthrough technologies.  I’m even for temporary subsidies to help jump start new technologies.  However, huge, public  investments like the Solyndra debacle have no justification.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Check for yourself about the health-care costs of drilling, transporting, refining, transporting, pumping, breathing the fumes, breathing the exhaust fumes!  $15 is probably VERY conservative! 
                Now, factor in the costs of the losses, the piracy, the wars, the damage to the drilling locations, and ALL the other costs that are NOT included in the oil company info.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            $15/gallon is about $3T per year.  The entire GDP for the US is $15T.  Health care spending total is <$3T/ year.   Your numbers don't make any sense.  Sometimes you need to run the numbers for a sanity check.

          • nj

            It’s not clear what your point is, and your figures appear to be inaccurate.

            Total U.S. gasoline consumption: ~138 billion gallons (2009)http://americanfuels.blogspot.com/2010/04/2009-gasoline-consumption.html

            At $15/gallon, that amounts to $2.07 trillion.

            So…?

          • nj

            Sorry, O Worried One. In accusing me of making up figures, you appear to have confused me with Modegradation, the master of fabricated and distorted data. Check it out, champ…

            http://www.fastcoexist.com/1678179/the-true-price-of-gas-what-it-should-really-cost-to-fill-up

            “Take all those costs and divide them by all the gas sold in America, and the CIR found the true cost of gas to be somewhere around $15. So, you’re not only paying less for your gas than our gas-tax-loving European neighbors, you’re also paying less than you should be to cover all the costs that the gas accrues.”

      • Terry Tree Tree

        200 miles for LESS than the price of 2 gallons of gas doesn’t interest you?  (actually, I think it’s less than the price of 1 gallon, but I prefer over-gastimates, for happier surprises).  1/1000 th of the pollution , especially sitting traffic? 
             Anywhere we have land for pipelines, we have land for wind-turbines, almost!
             How many Wind-turbines can be spotted on a coal-fired power plant?  The land that is strip-mined for coal?   The land used to contain fly-ash?  The land used for oil-refineries?
            Can you see the possibilities?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Indefinitely Detain, and Waterboard ALL the proponents of the Indefinite Detention, without due process, AND their families!  The people that indicated that waterboarding was not that big of a deal, AND their families TOO!
        After ten years of waterboarding several times per day, ask them if they want to keep it up, or if they have changed their mind!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    WELCOME HOME TROOPS!!   Just because the U.S. is pulling most of its troops out, does NOT mean that the Iraq war is over!!  The mess will continue in Iraq, with ‘Contractors’, and the Iraqi people having to deal with the devastation.

  • Anonymous

    What does Mitt think about having Zanny on the show?

  • Fabcantab

    HITCHENS RIP

  • TFRX

    “This is a Congress that punts”, per Susan Davis.

    That’s a feature of a GOP-led House and the “60 is the new 51″ Senate, not a bug.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    I work a full time job and only get about a week of vacation time a year. Why is it that members of Congress are allowed to take multiple multi-week vacations throughout the year? Why are they not forced to work through these issues and stay on the job? Oh! That’s right! They make their own rules, set their own vacation times, and set their own salaries! And they wonder aloud why they have a 9% approval rating!? Just a little depressing.

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_Eger Dave Eger

    If the government shuts down, no one has to pay federal taxes anymore, so we can just put that money into helping people who need it, and we don’t have to listen to shysters like Boehner anymore, right?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      If you are one of the GREEDY rich, that has bought a Congress-person or twelve!!  Otherwise the IRS will get you!

  • Ben

    Tom please discuss the National Defense Authorization Act.

    • Ben

      Thanks Tom. And thanks for quoting Greenwald on it, you should have him back to discuss at length when it goes to Obama.

      • nj

        Ditto.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Throw them ALL out in the desert.
    Borrowing AGAIN from the Social Security system money needed for future payments at the same time they want to cut SS to reduce the debt. But GOD FORBID they ask people making 10 to 500+ times the average family of four to pay even ONE penny more in taxes.

  • Akfaka

    Our tax money goes to pay these bunch of congress yahoos, who did nothing but the partisan bigotry. Oh wait, I forgot many of them take briberies, oops I mean “political contributions” from Wall Street. They walk out everyday with a pocket full, how can we expect them to do anything for us?

  • Steve

    Jack,

    some quit in protest, some continue to serve while disagreeing with policy – I am not as quick to besmirch those who serve.

  • Ian

    Ha ha! You fools! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia”

    • kelty

      Love the “Princess Bride” connection :)

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_Eger Dave Eger

    Yeah, we have enough of a water pollution problem on our hands from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, we don’t need to open another can of worms with Keystone XL. Clean coal is a much better investment that tar sands. If you’re going to spend extra energy to get your energy, use it when you need to need to pump your CO2 into storage, rather than just melting sand out of tar.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      CLEAN COAL??   WHERE??  You obviously have NOT worked in a coal-fired power plant!!  There is FAR more pollution to deal with than CO2!!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Canada is going to extract the tar oil.  Do we use or does China?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Solar, Wind, Tide, Hydro, and other renewables pollute FAR less, and are FAR more available!!

  • Ellen Dibble

    About marriage, the new statistics about its loss of dominance.  Are we getting beyond the tribalism of “us” as opposed to them?  If you have a clan, so to speak, out there, that is nationwide, and you find you don’t actually track cohesion and responsibility, the lines of significance, vis-a-vis who is married to whom (except to the extent that from the perspective of legalities, ownership of property, taxes, inheritance of property, the law and lawyers), that kind of connectedness is less and less linked to marital links, less and less to blood lines.  There are reunion sites, suggesting the “blood” lines that come from common hometowns, or common upbringings, or adolescence.  Surely there are sites for all sorts of other bonds.  Marriage is one, but there now with social media, there are actually ways to find common cause with the a suite of pals of say a brother, a suite developed in a location unrelated to anything current.  If you dig deep, you can find that and link up, not at big family convocations, but by the equivalent new modes of smoke signals, learning about the turn taking, the “place” claiming, among groups heretofore unimaginable.  Marriage is part of it,  an old and important one.  But you can’t sing about your old maiden aunt being dislocated from the cultural and social tides, laughing all the way, without being laughed right back at, nowadays.  

  • Harry

    Consider these costs of Iraq war:  

    1. Consider it cost around $800 PER GALLON of fuel delivered to vehicles in Iraq

    2. Between 100,000 and 1 million Iraqis killed, most of them violently.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      I thought it was “war for oil”.  We aren’t getting any Iraq oil.  Its all going to the Chinese.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Now you know who ‘W’ sent our people to fight for!

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Not W. but Darth Vader.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        War for the oil companies, maybe?

  • Barry

    What the heck’s up with Tom’s conditioning of Jack Beatty’s excellent point about the Democrats who rejected the march to war?  Of the 156 members of Congress who voted against Joint Resolution 114, only 7 were Republicans.   It’s so aggravating the way history gets rewritten even by otherwise respectable journalists.  On to war with Iran!  War is a boon to the talk show business!

  • TFRX

    To Jack Beatty: How much does watching Fox News to dissect what the GOP leadership wants resemble watching parades in Red Square and reading Pravda during the Cold War to suss out the inner workings of the Kremlin?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Republicans claim to be for ‘smaller government’, but when they had the chance, they ENLARGED it!! 
         ‘Conservatives’ claim they want to spend less, but when they could, they STARTED two wars, with tax CUTS to help fund them? 
        ‘Conservatives’ want to do away with ‘activist judges’, EXCEPT the ones that are activist their way!
        ‘Conservatives’ should change the name of their party and beliefs to HYPOCRITES, just to be more honest!

  • Anonymous

    I think the most important story of the week is the end of the Iraq war.

    The SECOND most important story is clearly the sudden and unstoppable rise of the Light Bulb Party, the LBP, conceived by Modavations, AKA Modo T-Baggins, and Hundie Watts.  Two great minds coming together to drop some knowledge and spread the word about old-school incandescent light bulbs.

    So if you’re hot, bright, old-school and power-hungry, then grab your bulbs and get on this bus because it’s pulling out!  We’re putting the par-tay back in politics, we’ve got raps, breakdancing, light bulbs, and beats brought to you by DJ Gregg the “Double G.”  We’ve got all kinds of great things coming, like more thoughts on old (tight) vs new (wack) light bulbs, and we’ll be endorsing a presidential candidate, once we find one as hot, inefficient, white and retro as us.

    The LBP.  The world’s getting hotter, but it’s not the CO2 – it’s us.  Moda, take the mike -

    • Bruce

      Well done!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Congressional approval rating will be going up, up, up!!!

  • Michiganjf

    To the ears of anyone who is well-educated, and to the ears of most Independents, President Obama will absoultely rip GinGrinch apart in any debate…

    … to the ear of the blindly faithful fanatic Right, of course, GinGrinch will perennially sing a golden chorus, divinely inspired.

    The Right’s “Intelligencia” is correct:
    GinGrinch will get smashed in a general election… SO BRING GRINCH ON!!!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Obama will only agree to two or three debates because he knows he’ll lose.  The debates are overrated in importance for the general.

      • TFRX

        “Knows he’ll lose”?

        Hahaha. All those GOP “pep rallies” aren’t as real as you’d like to think.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          No TOTUS allowed in the debate.

          • TFRX

            Your bullflop on ObamaTeleprompterFirstEvah!!!! doesn’t even fly on Nice Polite Republican radio.

  • MJ

    If you’re going to ban cell phone use, also ban eating in the car, changing CD’s, dealing with a two year old in the back seat!  C’mon! Cell phone use is just the easiest thing for a cop to notice, but it’s not the only problem with distracted drivers.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Can you say “nanny state”?

    • Anonymous

      Oh please. I was rear ended by a woman with a child in her car who was yapping away on her cell phone.
      I was stopped and waiting to enter a tricky intersection that had part of my view of the traffic obscured by a broken down car. Had she been paying attention, which she was not, she would have not hit me. It cost her a higher premium.

      Driving is dangerous and you seem to think that it’s OK to  talk on your f’n phone while driving. I don’t eat in my car while driving, well maybe the occasional apple and coffee.
      But I don’t do it while I’m moving. Well I drive a standard which is a great way to stop most of the dumb stuff people do in their cars. Here’s a tip. Your car is not your living-room.  You are part of the problem.

      As to the idea of this being some kind of nanny state thing. Well I say to you sir I’m inclined to think if there is one thing we do well in this country is our traffic laws.
      Which most people seems to think are nothing short of inconveniences in their lives. Until they cause or are in an accident. 

      I wont even on on about the bicyclist I know who have been hit by idiots on their cell phones.

      It’s a dumb thing to do, period. You should be ashamed of yourself for even advocating such idiocy.  By the way why do you have to be on the phone 24/7? What’s wrong with you?

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        “apple AND coffee” 
        Hands free driving is not allowed.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Jeffe, you make good points and I’m sorry you got into an accident.  However, there has to be a better way than a complete ban.  Most of the people on cells phones are driving safely.  Yes, I’ve seen people who are distracted.  Do you know how many women I’ve seen driving down the highway at 60mph and sticking their puss directly in front of the mirror putting on make up?  That’s much worse.  btw – there are tons of laws against dangerous driving that would cover the violators.

        • JustSayin

          It simple to control these devices. It’s never discussed. If the device is moving at a speed greater than 10mph it does not connect.  For those who wish to place a 911 call that could be permitted.

          Its two lines of computer code. Problem solved.

          As to the idea that banning cell phone usage makes things no be safer because people do other unsafe things while driving… then drunk driving should be legal?

          BTW- IMO there is no call so important that it must be done while driving. If so how did we survive driving before cell phones?

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            Sneezing is dangerous while driving are you going to outlaw that too?

            You don’t outlaw 100% of a behavior when only 10% is a problem unless you live in a nanny state.

          • Anonymous

            If only 10% of drivers using Main St. in my hometown are barreling down the road at 90 mph, should that be legal because 90% of us don’t?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    People don’t get married as much now, because they don’t want to be a HYPOCRITE,  like Newt?   With nearly ALL jobs in doubt, who can afford to get married?  If you’re not married, you’re not cheating on your spouse.

    • Steve

      If you are in a committed relationship, I think, the actions that define “cheating” are still in play.

  • Bill

    marriage – if you’re not having kids (which is more often the case these days), why bother?

    • Steve

      I think that the depth of relationship that is established not only in buoyant times but also in adversity, is a benefit.

    • Patrick

      To land a high-earning wife!

    • TFRX

      If one is so inclined, real marriage comes with a pile of legal bennies that one doesn’t share otherwise unless a lot of court-time is involved: Inheritance, insurance, hospital visits just to name three.

  • BHA in Vermont

    It seems to me that those on Capitol Hill don’t even know the Occupy 123 movements exist. Clearly they haven’t seen the anger. They fiddle while the USA burns.

    • Jasoturner

      They aren’t fiddling.  They’re accumulating contacts and wealth.  That way they can retire comfortably out of country after they burn America down.

  • Bill

    Iraq – quiet victories are usually not victories – and the silence over the end of this 8 year war is deafening.

  • Anonymous

    The women reporter just said that she did not think that those in power have felt the heat of the Occupy protests. As my blood boils I realize she is right. The has to feel the heat or see the light one way or another. Gear up. Keep pushing.

  • Barry

    Death to irrationality and superstition.  Long live Christopher Hitchens.

  • Thillfarm

    If folks want to text, email, talk on the phone while driving then they should add it to the driver’s test, no one would pass.

  • Sheryl Trainor

    I mourn the loss of Christopher Hitchins, a voice of reason in a year that found Obama being criticized for not mentioning god in his Thanksgiving Day address.  We need more like him.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      It must be election season because Obama has started going to church service.

      • TFRX

        You don’t remember Shrub skipping it, do you?

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Praise the Lord and Tim Tebow; except against the Pats this week.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Oh, and I will miss Hitch too.

    • Jasoturner

      Agree 100%.  Hitch was not always right, but he always said and wrote what he thought was true based on the evidence.  A loss for literature and contemporary religious debate.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    How many cellphone users are ALSO doing something else?  how many of the new drivers, that have NOT gotten their driving skills decent, KNOW they can text or phone and drive?

  • TFRX

    Here’s another GOP “poster child” fail: Nobody can find  all those millionaires who aren’t hiring because Reagan-era marginal rates would hurt their fee-fees wallets.

    • BHA in Vermont

      So true. But the Republican’s have their GWB “I don’t make mistakes” hats on. Can you imagine them NOW saying
      “Well, we were wrong.
      - The rich don’t create jobs based on their PERSONAL tax rate.
      - They have not been creating jobs with the economy in the dumpster despite having the LOWEST tax rates since 1916.
      - They will create jobs if there is demand for their companies product/service even if their PERSONAL taxes increase SLIGHTLY.
      - Almost ZERO small business owners (i.e. ‘the job creators’) are even CLOSE to being affected by ANY proposed tax on the wealthy.
      - MOST of the rich DO NOT CREATE ANY JOBS AT ALL ”

      Nope, I can’t either.

      I agree with the Republicans: “NO NEW TAXES!”
      We will use OLD taxes instead. Choose between these three:
      1) Eisenhower era tax rates (top rate 91%)
      2) Kennedy era tax rates (top rate 70%)
      3) Reagan era tax rates (top rate 38.5%)

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The GREEDY rich ‘compassionate’ ‘conservative’ ‘born-again Christians can NEVER admit they were wrong!  They would blame it on anything or anyone else!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    ALL groups that are horrified by the new voter-picture-ID trend, HELP register ALL the voters this could dis-enfranchise, and REMIND them of the party that was trying to keep them from voting, and their vote from counting!

  • Whtmtnmom

    I agree with comment by MJ. If banning cellphone use in the car is on the table, we’d better ban driving with children too. A quiet moment on my cellphone while driving would be a serene monment of focused concentration on the road for me rather than constant struggles with a demanding & tantruming four year old who has NEVER gotten used to being strapped in. If I crash it will be because she has managed to find something to throw at my head while I’m driving. Not b/c I took a quick phone call!

    • Anonymous

      Sorry but talking on the cell phone is a distraction.
      A lot of things can distract us when we drive.
      I’m not sure how to respond to your comment that your child’s tantrums will be the cause of a crash and not your cell phone usage.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        They want to ban hands free cells phones UNLESS the hands free is factory built into the car.  It almost sounds like the government is in the auto business.

        Oops!

        • Anonymous

          That does not make sense. How you ban an after market device over one built into a car.
          I’m for the commonsense approach myself but my own experience has been that people who talk on cell phones while driving are not paying attention. I’ve been rear ended twice in the last 5 years by people talking on their cell phones. I have witnessed countless dumb near misses where I can clearly see the idiots on their phones or worse seeming to be texting.

          It’s been proven that when you text you drive as if you are over the limit. With cell phone usage this is also a problem.
          People are driving as if they are impaired.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            I agree with you that there a lot of idiots out there but that doesn’t justify the ban. I agree with you that texting clearly crosses the line and should be banned.  btw – I have the built in hands free and it is great.

          • Anonymous

            Driving behavior is already regulated in many ways. Stop signs, traffic lights, speed limits, turn signals, safety inspections, and even drivers licenses are just a few of the many ways that some degree of order and safety is maintained on our roadways. How has the supposed right to talk on a telephone while hurtling down the road at 50 mph or faster become as sacrosanct as so many consider it to be? I don’t think many of us would advocate the abolition of the other safety measures I’ve mentioned? We all know cell phones are a distraction. I’d be willing to bet that most if not all of us have had at least one close call because of cell phone distraction. How many close calls does it take?  

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            Listening to the radio can be distracting.   The question is where to draw the line?

            There already laws against dangerous driving that don’t preemptively outlaw the cause. 

            They certainly shouldn’t be outlawing hands free cell phones.

          • Anonymous

            In nearly 40 years of driving, many of them as a truck driver logging hundreds of miles a week, I have never come remotely close to having an automobile accident because the radio was on. I’ve had a cell for ten years. For five years, before I stopped  using it while driving, I came close on a numbers of occasions. I consider myself a good driver, but the distraction of having a conversation with someone not in the vehicle with me became obvious. It isn’t always the dope ahead of us in the parking lot, yapping on his cell phone, oblivious to everything around him. Sometimes it’s you. Sometimes it’s me. Sometime or other it’s all of us.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          AGAIN!

        • BHA in Vermont

          There is some validity to that. My 2004 Prius has built in BlueTooth phone function. I can NOT use it to call out when moving except to one of the 8 preset ’1 touch’ buttons on the 7″ touch screen. So I am looking at LARGE buttons, ABOVE the level of the dash (i.e. not much off the road).

          Answering a call is as simple as pressing a button on the steering wheel with my right thumb. Hanging up is the same. 

          Even as easy as this is, I ONLY make “I’ll be home in xx minutes” or “Do you need me to stop at the store?” type calls.

          I can imagine dialing a number on a cell phone would be more distracting even if it is in your phone book or speed dialed. You have to get to the phone and punch small buttons. I could probably do that with my current setup if I wanted to call someone not in my preset 1-touch entries though I have no desire to try.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Yep. Until I had kids, I thought the ‘Baby on board’ signs were stupid requests for everyone else to be careful and not crash into them. Then when I had kids in the back I figured out it meant ‘Watch out for ME! I might suddenly be driving like an IDIOT!’

      I quibble with the “serene moment of focused concentration on the road” comment though. When talking on the phone, one’s mind tends to “wander” to the conversation and the person with whom they are speaking. Visions of what you are talking about, thinking about your calendar and can you fit something in on ‘Tuesday’, etc.

      I don’t mind a quick ‘status’ call, but chitchat? Absolutely not. Business? Absolutely not.Making appointments and checking calendars? Absolutely not.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        lol!!!!

    • Ellen Dibble

      What about talking with the other people in the car?  Surely carpooling is the politically correct thing to do.  You don’t have your spouse take another vehicle just to ensure you don’t engage in communication while driving, which is surely Under the Influence, if anything ever was.  

      • Anonymous

        There is considerable difference between conversation with a passenger and conversation with a voice on a cell phone.  A passenger in a vehicle is aware of the surrounding conditions and will moderate their degree of interaction with the driver, as needed. If your about to careen into the side of a delivery truck your passenger will usually shut up and stop yammering on about what happened on American Idol the night before, allowing you to concentrate on saving your lives. A caller on a cell phone has no such awareness of the conditions surrounding the person on the other end of the call, so they will continue distracting a driver who is trying to avoid the jerk who just ran the red light.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          The DRIVER that cannot make that kind of decision, needs NOT to be driving!

          • Anonymous

            But they are driving.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Unfortunately!  They are doing many other things that risk others and themselves!

      • BHA in Vermont

        What feettothefire said. :)

        I’ve seen it myself plenty of times. A passenger, especially one who drives, will VERY likely be a second set of eyes. Even to the point of being a pain. Ever have to ask the person riding shotgun to sit back so you can see around them and determine if it is safe to pull out? Driver’s tend to instinctively look for oncoming traffic. Non driver’s don’t.

        Now the people I saw talking in sign language, that was a bit scary. BOTH have to look at the other and the driver is using one, if not both, hands to talk. Better than texting, they don’t have to look down at a little screen and poke little buttons to reply, but I can talk to people in my car, two hands on the wheel, without looking at them.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      My 5 yr old daughter always tell me to slow down when I drive and I always listen to her. i felt like my mother was in the back seat. LOL!!!

    • Jasoturner

      I liked the good old days when I just screamed out my car window at random strangers as I drove down the street.  Now?  Lost art…

  • Catnap

    Ron Paul has caught up with Gingrich in IA/NH polling.  More Paul, less Newt please!

    • nj
      • Catnap

        If you think that 20% of GOP voters in IA and NH idolize Ron Paul, I think you are mistaken.

        • Bruce

          Doesn’t history informs us “What Happens In Iowa Stays In Iowa?”  For the last few election cycles, hasn’t the winner of the GOP primary there gone on to become an inconsequential footnote–a non-factor in the ultimate outcome?  Could that be because the caucus goers in that state are totally unrepresentative of the general population? 

          • Catnap

            Actually, with the exception of 2008, Iowa has a better recent record at “picking the winner” for the GOP than NH.  But that’s not really the point — current polls show that Paul could win Iowa and place second in NH.  If that happens, history tells us that Newt’s nationwide lead will evaporate (remember what happened to Rudy in 2008).

          • Bruce

            I’ll check it out and get back to you…

  • Bruce

    What  was that on FAUX News last night?  I thought I had tuned in the GOP Candidates Debate, but what appeared on my screen was more like a rerun of the Wizard of Oz.  The contenders looked issue fatigued as if stumbling down the Yellow Brick Road until finally reaching the Emerald City where they have the following exchange with the Wizard:

    Newt:  How can I overcome my reputation as a divisive          egotistical blowhard devoid of compassion?

    Wiz:    Don’t demonize the OWS protesters as you did the other          day when you urged them to take a bath and get busy
              looking for honest work.  Wasn’t that what Freddie          Mac’s Legislative Liaison officer told you to do after you
              collected all those “history lesson” fees from him?  Oh,
              before I forget, you might want to think twice before
              engaging in incendiary rhetoric like the Palstinian 
              “invented people” remark. Otherwise, you could find the
              following sign(s) at your rallies:  NEWT THE NAUGHTY
              PROFESSOR, NEWT THE HAUGHTY PROFESSOR or NEWT
              THE NUTTY PROFESSOR!

    Ron:   If I could somehow turn the clock back and return to a  
             laissez-faire, libertarian paradise, how could I convince
             the electorate to join me in that Promised Land?
    Wiz:   I’m afraid that except for a few Social Darwinists,who
             equate the free market with natural selection, and a few
             Possessive Individualists, whose narcissism leads to the
             delusion that they owe nothing to society for their
             success, you’re out there alone in Far Right field.
             Incidentally, the next time you target a Fed. agency for
             elimination, don’t pick one that most Americans, regard-
             less of their politics, view as providing a vital service like
             FEMA.  How many persons in your home district, who died
             in the Galveston hurricane, would have survived if
             emergency preparation, response and recovery programs
             like FEMA had existed in 1900?  How many more lives
             might have been lost to Hurricane Katrina in the absence
             of such programs?

    Mitt:  What can I do to change my image as a flip-flop-flipper?
    Wiz:  Refuse to answer any questions, to clarify any positions or
            approve an ads dealing with abortion rights, gay rights,
            stem-cell research, gun control, individual mandates, immi-
            gration reform, global warming, cap and trade, and anti-tax
            pledges.  As the candidate who most personifies the
            1%ers, stay on message and assume the mantle of the
            only true champion of Wealthcare after Newt throws in the
            towel. Incidentally, while on stage you might want to
            avoid indulging in wild bets regardless of the provocation.
            Your socially conservative GOP cohorts may take a dim
            view of gambling, equating it with other sins like smoking,
            drinking and caffeine use.  Given your latest poll numbers,
            you can’t afford to alienate anyone.  Leave the wild betting
            to the unregulated traders who turned Wall St. into a
            Casino before they tanked the economy aided & abetted by
            their conservative friends in Congress.

    Wiz:    Who else is there? Come forward.  I thought there were
              only three of you lost souls.  Speak up man.
    Rick P: How can I reassure voters that I’m ready for prime time?
              Read the U.S. Constitution especially the 26th
              Amendment and focus your campaign on ALL citizens who
              are eligible to vote unless, of course, you’re advocating
              voter suppression to exclude 18 to 20-year-olds as you
              seemed to do the other night when you exhorted
              students at St. Anselm College to exercise their right to
              vote in the General Election provided they turn 21.  This
              would be consistent with GOP voter suppression efforts
              already underway in many states where photo voter ID
              requirements and other restrictive measures have been
              enacted by GOP legislatures.  Then again, maybe the
              college educated is not the right demographic for your
              campaign to target.  Also, can we assume from your
              remarks at that event that the GOP will be conducting
              Robocalls urging voters in Democratic precincts to get
              and vote on Nov. 12, 2012–a mere six days after the
              elections?

    • Bruce

      Correct above to read:

      Rick P.:  How can I reassure voters that I’m ready for
                  prime time?
      Wiz:      Read the U.S. Constitution especially the 26th
                  Amendment…

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      What you saw is a circus of clowns.  All playing to an audience of fools. Nothing but lies and delusion.

      Welcome to the fall of the USA.

    • Zing

      Hey, I don’t think you’re a fool.

      • Bruce

        Tax cuts for the wealthy + de-regulation for Wall Street + unconditional embrace of globalization (euphemistically referred to as free trade) =
        FOOL’S PARADISE

        • Terry Tree Tree

          ALSO equals the causes for the problems that we have with the economy now!

    • Zero

      That was awesome.

  • Dee

    The Iraq War maybe over but the prosecution of the outlaw 
    Bush administration and its cohorts in the Republican led Con
    grress (Senator Mitch Mc Connell in the Senate  and Represen-
    atative John Boerhner in the House ). In addition, to the various commanders in the Pentagon, those in the discredited intelli-gence agency , the CIA and National Security Office, plus, the prosecuting of Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair, and a hosts of Right wing and some Left Wing apologists in the US and British media remain a pressing concern for many of the Left like myself who opposed this misled war in Our Name and on the false pretenses of WMDs and “American freedom”. (see 
    the URL below on this..)

    How, shameful today to hear Mitt Romney’s selection of many 
    of those same criminals in his future bid for the White House. Especially, the selection of Michael Hyden former chief of the 
    National Security Agency and Former Deputy of the CIA and John Keagan at the Right wing think tank , American Enterprise and other Right winger who cheer led in the war on Iraq and today are beating the war drums for a strike on Iran to solidify US power grab in the Middle East-in the name of making the region safe for Israel…..

    Their criminality doesn’t stop it seems but moves on and on. 

    Thus it falls on the American people who opposed the illegal war on Iraq and those who suffered great losses as a result
    to rein in this outlaw administration & cohorts and charge 
    them accordingly with their misuse of public office and war crimes. (See the URL below…)   Dee

    Justice after Bush, Prosecuting an outlaw administration
    http://harpers.org/archive/2008/12/0082303

    The extension of this criminal war into Afghanistan and beyond
    In Afhganistan, A Threat to Plunder, Paul Collier, NYT  
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/20/opinion/20collier.html

    Plus , the Wall Street extension of this power grab, also 
    The Great Consolidation of Power…..Ross Douthat NYT 
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/17/opinion/17douthat.html

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      On target for sure.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      “illegal war”
      Last I checked congress authorized it (unlike the Libyan action).

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Dee you should be careful with your words.  You may consider the war immoral or misguided but it certainly wasn’t illegal.

        • Anonymous

          You’re wasting your time, my friend. Facts and logic have no standing with people of her mindset. Next time try some sanctimonious indignation … 

      • Zero

        Wars like Libya are the only wars we should fight.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The MYTH of the ‘W’ Bush apologists!  Saying Congress authorized the Iraq War, when, in fact Congress authorized ‘W’ to use force, if ALL OTHER options were tried!  There were options that WERE NOT tried, therefore ‘W’s admin. started an illegal war!

      • CheckAgain

        Just because congress authorizes something doesn’t make it legal.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Dee, didn’t you tell us it was “war for oil”?  Well, we are still waiting for the oil.  I guess that charge didn’t really pan out for you.  We must of missed your apology.

      • RVK

        In support of Dee, perhaps the lack of oil is another manifestation of incompetence that characterizes much of how that 9 YEAR!!! war was waged.  No apology required from Dee. 

      • Jasoturner

        Though it was still interesting that we immediately protected the oil ministry while allowing looters to steal and destroy that country’s antiquities right down the street.  Weird coincidence.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        You don’t think oil compaines are making money off Iraqi oil?   Check into it! 
            Dee said that the oil was for U.S. consumption? 
            The Alaska pipeline, was sold as a source of oil for the U.S..   I keep hearing and seeing info, that says it is sold to Japan, and some to China.   U.S. consumption?  Evidently a LOT of U.S. produced oil, is exported!  National Energy Security? 
           Go price the NUMEROUS products made from oil!  Then, tell me why gas costs so much?  Motor oil, alone comes to over $600.00, per barrel!  Now price the petroleum distilates, roof tar, epoxies, and SOOO many other products, including plastics!

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Sorry, I’m missing your point.  Oil price is set by supply and demand.

          • http://tedhowardnz.wordpress.com/ Ted Howard

            Yes, price is set by supply and demand functions, both of which are extremely complex, and both of which can be influenced in many different ways (advertising, legislation, news media, corporate influences, ……).   So the glib – supply and demand can and does hide a multitude of sins.

            Money itself is a myth that has been extremely powerful in human development, and it seems that at this point in human evolution, money may have reacted the point where belief in the myth creates more problems than it solves.

            It seems that it may be time to disinvent the myth, and move beyond the scarcity inherent in the demand function of money, and into a time of abundance.   Oxygen is is both important and abundant – yet it has zero monetary value.   We are capable of designing and building systems that deliver the entire range of human necessities (food, shelter, energy, transport, communication, water) in level of abundance similar to oxygen – with similar zero economic value.

            The myth of money has become a major impediment to human development, human diversity, and human creativity and productivity.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            CO2 is important as well.  In fact it is plant food.  It currently has zero monetary value.  Some want to impede human development by artificially setting monetary value to CO2.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            TOO MUCH CO2 is DANGEROUS to humans, animals, and plants!   What is the monetary value of your life, and your family’s?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Money is only ONE form of POWER!

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Exported?  I did read that we now export diesel.  Why?  Because there is demand on the world market.

  • Dee

    For those who may not recall Michael Hayden who gave Bush’s 
    policies Carte Blanc -here he is on the Cover of Time Magazine
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/2006-Time-Magazine-Michael-Hayden-CIA-Domestic-Spying-/120714207522

  • boston mom

    Since when did “zany” become a euphemism for erratic and just downright mean? Gingrich isn’t “zany.” Saying low income students should learn what it means to “show up to work on Monday” and learn what it’s like to earn money is NOT zany. It’s evil. 

    • Jasoturner

      I guess from Mitt, “zany” is tough talk.

      It’s On!

    • Chitown

      Yeah, let’s not mess with something that’s working so well.

    • Zing

      Then let’s turn them into high income students with no employment prospects; then they won’t have show up to work for some mean employer.

  • Dee

    The great injustice of out time is how much the military budget is eating up US Tax payer monies and throwing them crumbs…. 

    http://www.wbur.org/2011/12/16/congress-deal-shutdown

    • Zing

      I agree; out money should go for more than crumbs, unless they are seasoned, of course.

  • ImpeachSupremeCourt

    Congress is almost 1/2-composed of millionaires!
    I wonder how many Supreme Court judges are millionaires!

    The justices have been caught red-handed corrupting justice!
    They refused to uphold Law & the U.S. Constitution — a site called Surpemely UNjust proves it! (http://www.SupremelyUNjust.weebly.com )

    The proof shows they & lower courts IGNORED the evidence, the Law, MANY legal precedents, the Bill of Rights, and PROVEN PERJURY against a poor pro se plaintiff. 

    Poor fellow – he even proved the employer gave an illegal reason for their actions – showing there was discrimination involved, proved there was perjury in his opponent’s affidavit testimony, proved (documented) that the opponent LIED to the labor board (which simply dropped the case w/o any investigation or questioning of witnesses), and showed proof he had way more evidence than the Law requires to prevent his being booted from court without a trial (what they did, so he cannot show the evidence to a jury).  MUCH more to it even — just amazing!  Now he’s been living in a tent due to it all!

    • Zing

      Millions of people all over the world live in tents. Is that any reason to impeach the Supreme Court?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        5 on the Supreme Court are obviously corrupt, or senile!  Granting EXTRA CITIZENSHIP to an orgainzation is ONLY corrupt or senile!
           ANY citizen in these FOREIGN corporations, HAVE the right to vote, and spend ALL they want to on politics!  Foreign members of a FOREIGN corporation, should NOT have a vote here as a Citizen!  They ARE NOT!!
            5 members of the Supreme Court have proven themselves DISQUALIFIED to judge anything more complex than a pie contest!

  • Hidan

    Remember this?

    Iraq ‘fails to meet key targets’
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6970150.stm
    Iraq ‘failing half US benchmarks
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6994601.stm
    The verdicts on Iraq progress
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/629/629/6978726.stm

  • Hidan

    Also week in the news,

    Finally Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports on the treatment of African immigrants and citizens in Libya by the TNC

    While David Zucchino reported this months ago.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/04/world/la-fg-libya-mercenaries-20110305

    Or readMichael McGehee
    http://www.zcommunications.org/victims-of-a-civil-war-black-africans-in-libya-by-michael-mcgehee

    http://www.npr.org/2011/12/14/143668904/african-migrants-caught-in-brutal-libyan-limbo?plckFindCommentKey=CommentKey:c227eac9-ba10-4a10-9cc6-16e79b0c5941

    “They tied our hands behind our backs, beat us up and locked us in
    jail,” Igbinosa recalls. “I told them I was not a fighter, but they
    could not believe us. They treat us so badly there, so many people even
    died inside the prison there.”

    Seems Navarro knew what was going on but choose to not report it or ignore it. One could guess most likely for the State Department/Nato and may damage the TNC image or felt blacks being beaten,raped,killed, abused wasn’t worth reporting.

    “Black women in particular are continuing to face harassment. All of the
    women NPR spoke to said they had been propositioned or called a
    prostitute, and they all know women who were raped.”

    This stuff was being reported months ago and again Navarro choose not to inform the public and NPR listeners, feel free to read her earlier reporting and she if any of this stuff is included during the war and fighting?

    “Choma Imbebusi says she came to Libya to find work six months ago but instead lived in fear. “It’s
    a hardcore time. We stayed indoor for almost two months. There was no
    water, they raped people,” Imbebusi says. “So many bad experiences. I
    know one woman, she was raped mercilessly, they took her money, it’s so
    obviously bad.”

    Abduction and Kidnapping

    “”In Tripoli, for example,” Haslam says, “we have no safe and secure
    transit facility from which to process migrants, to take them out of
    harm’s way, because there are some very vulnerable cases, but there are
    also incidents of arbitrary arrest and abduction.””

    Yet on-point had a show Championing Navarro’s reporting. Seems she will only report things after the fact where little can or is being done.

    Remember the above when Obama/Clinton/Mccain claim Libya as a success.

    • TooLate

      Nice catch, Hidan.

      Remembering Garcia-Navarro on ‘On Point’…

      Maybe she’s had a ‘crisis of conscience’ since her appearance on NPR and realized her ‘embedded’ access obstructed her journalistic integrity.

      Hope she finally realized what is at stake playing the ‘brave fool’ for the elite’s propaganda agenda.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ‘Embedded’ journalists contract away much of their journalistic freedom, evidently, for the ‘embedding’!
           Any report from an ‘embedded’ journalist should be considered a commercial for, or a supplied ‘press-release’ of the organization the reporter is ‘embedded’ in!

  • DD

    A proud ending to a wretched invasion.  It lasted 8 years too long.  Shame on you George Bush.

  • Dove

    First of all…pulling out of Iraq had nothing to do with political timing.  The Iraqi government gave the US an ultimatum get out of Iraq or they will start to charge offenders for war crimes. 
    Vote Ron Paul 2012.  He is the only man that is not a war mongering murderer.   

  • Brennan511

    The [Iraq] war is over! hooray [no more fear]
    I agree “marketing” is milking loneliness[sin!marriage] and consummerISM is pumping climate change. And GENEral”’ happiness always dEvolves into conspiracy… If we don’t promote Happiness of the gene’Al type, poverty will be the next marketing ploy, if it isn’t ALready. ALgorithms of rEvolution [not whatever-drug-use; but technology //devided-by// geo-policy] are the biggest and most compassionate “product” we could ever HOPE for; and by “we” I mean every creed, race, religion & culture… NormAl locations such as Europe NEED exceptionAl normAlcy, and it is as “EASY” as Adam & Eve and Immaculate Perception and embryoadoption, God wills it and even “orderly/safe-socialISM” wills it, marketing however… sees oppertunity in confusion/distruction {war profits} and disposable ‘products’.
    Congre$$ and the economy makes no logic nor eco-rithym without the-love-of-geography … the root of all happiness.
    Policy is software and technology is hardware, and it must be designed to last and Make Happy.
    {My!!!} Youth in Western-Europe or my ancestral Belgium “would have” made me a great person. Where’s your PRAGMATIC geo-ancestry? that’s Happiness in a test-tube.

  • Zero

    Bush should have been smarter like his dad and sold weapons to Iraq before invading. 

  • Dave
  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    One last topic… and no, I’m not here to continue any pissing contests…
    Forget the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA). It’s a cynical political ploy by the GOP. It leaves them free to pass all the irresponsible cut taxes they want while handcuffing the Democrats from restoring taxes to responsible levels or even raising them if needed.
    The BBA is part of the GOP’s larger strategy to sabotage the finances of government to create massive deficits/debt hoping an eventual fiscal crisis will undermine signature Democratic safety net programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it leaves the matter of the debt unresolved… setting in cement the theft by our generation of some $14 trillion from future tax payers… and by that I mean our kids and grandkids. The interest alone last FY was over $450 billion and $2.9 TRILLION was pissed away on interest during the Bush years alone.
    We need to stop playing these budget games. Both Democrats and the GOP use the unified budget to conceal internal borrowing from the trust funds to make the real deficit look smaller. It’s the on-budget deficit that gives us the true picture.
    What is needed is a no games On-Budget SURPLUS Amendment to restrain both reckless spending AND reckless tax cuts by all sides and force them to finally pay down our enormous debt which now is about $15 trillion dollars.
    The task ahead is daunting. Even if we ran an annual $500 billion surplus, something that didn’t even happen in the best Clinton years, it would take us now some 30 years to pay down the debt. That neither political party sees the moral outrage in this situation is a damning indictment against our morally bankrupt and intellectually braindead political system.

    • Zero

      I just want to clarify something.  The phrase reckless spending connotes the democrats for some reason…and sure there is reckless spending on both sides.  But comparing the spending republicans to democrats over the last two presidents, Obama is a much much sounder investor than Bush.  The bulk of Obama’s spending was to bailout Bush’s recession where GDP was contracting at 8% before the stimulus.  This means that the stimulus saved about 3 million jobs–that was a sound investment. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        And the ‘conservatives’ crucify Obama, for leading us out of the mess the ‘W’ admin. left us with.  Many examples abound how the GREEDY rich want to take it ALL, while giving NOTHING!

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          The fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush2 Junta proved the far Right isn’t concerned about huge deficits as long as that money benefits their constituency and not the Democrats. They have spent 30 years trying to put Democrats in a fiscal straight jacket and Obama’s spending was undermining their grand strategy to use deficits/debt to create a fiscal crisis. The Right planned to use their own duplicity as a pretense to dismantle the New Deal and Great Society safety nets. The Right wing think tanks told us during the Bush years that his huge deficits didn’t matter because they were a small percentage of GDP as if the debt wasn’t building up. Such nonsense was a red flag that they Right wanted these higher deficits for reasons they could not admit to. And why not! The GOP’s fiscal irresponsibility in both tax cuts and spending benefited the rich, the military, big Pharma, and the resulting debt would put bring that time of reckoning for the Safety Net that much closer. No party can openly run on that platform and ever hope to win elections.

          And sadly the Right’s strategy has largely worked. The braindead dittoheads across the nation bought the line it’s all a spending problem even if revenues in constant dollars have been stagnant for a decade. The mainstream press has never had its Watergate moment where they went after the GOP’s lies as they did Nixon’s. And the Dems refuse to educate and inoculate the public about what the GOP is up to. In this context the Right wins when they are in power, and they win when the GOP’s deficits/debts cripple the Dems when they are in power.

          So how do we change the debate from the Right’s cynical, but superficially appealing, balanced budget amendment, to looking at the BIG picture that it’s immoral to  dump our debt on future generations, that it’s immoral to piss away some $450 BILLION a year on interest… and that paying down debt is critical to PRESERVING the Safety Net? I think pushing for a Budget SURPLUS Amendment will expose the GOP’s cynical game AND finally change the terms of the debt as how OWS changed the debate from deficits to income/wealth inequality. But I have no hopes for the Dems ever developing a long term strategy to counter the Right’s disciplined multi-front strategy.   

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        I never meant to accuse just the Dems of reckless spending. In the past 30 years its been the GOP that has routinely spent more than it had even in good times. Bush2 was the worst of both worlds: irresponsible tax cuts AND irresponsible spending. But then that’s a natural consequence of a political strategy to create bigger deficits and more debt… HOPING to create a financial crisis which will be used as a pretense to undermine the Social Safety Net..

  • JonS

    Message to Jack Beatty : Your comment regarding liberalism is laughable. There’s a reason why liberals prefer to be called “progressives” today. You may think Washington labels “liberals”  as irrelevant. Actually I think Stalin had it right–more like “useful idiots”. Earth to Jack: liberals are not smarter. They just never accept that many of their programs and policies have been failures or question outcomes. Intentions matter more than results. 

    Witness the following—-60′s and 70′s liberalism destroyed the black family ( welfare, widespread illegitimacy , single parent families) and the inner city (white flight /busing) ; crime became rampant ; widespread destructive drug use. In the 70′s and 80′s liberalism failed to stand up to Soviet imperialism (Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, the “nuclear freeze” pacifist movement);  Senator Church commission undermined the effectiveness of the CIA. In the 80′s and 90′s  liberals opposed the Gulf War and Hussein’s naked aggression in Kuwait; stood by while Iran held Americans hostage; allowed wholesale destruction of the inner city public school system; introduced the “borking” of Supreme Court nominees and the politicization of the process; advocated group rights over individual rights such as divisive affirmative action programs. In the 90′s and post-2000  liberal economic programs contributed to runaway entitlement programs; political correctness and the stifling of free speech on the campus; acceleration of failed inner city public schools; massive govt. over-spending; community re-investment act and sub-prime lending; Obamacare; failed stimulus program; leading from behind ;public pension give aways and the buying of votes; politicization of the Iraq war and the end of Congressional disputes “ending at the water’s edge” (witness intelligence mistakes equated as “lies”, Abu Graib excess , Sen. Kennedy, Durbin and Kerry comments , Harry Reid’s incredible declaration of US defeat in Iraq , the hysterical over-reaction to Bush anti terrorism program); divisive and disgusting promotion of class warfare.

    Need I go on? 

    • mikey

      Do a search on Red States vs. Blue States – then compare that to a poverty map of the United States. Look at the ten poorest states and ask yourself what each has in common?

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/15/americas-poorest-states-_n_964058.html

      High poverty and conservative government. In fact if you go state by state you can see that the more conservative the state – then the higher the poverty rate. 

      What areas put the most companies on the Fortune 100 in the last twenty years?

      Silicon Valley – Outside liberal San Francisco (Google, Ebay)

      Washington – Completely female and liberal representation (Microsoft, Amazon)

      Massachusetts – very liberal government (Facebook, MIT, Harvard)

      Conservatives are terrible at business because they kill education, infrastructure and the middle class. If you cut the liberal states from the conservative states then conservative America would turn into a 3rd would country within 10 years.

    • nj

      Wow, that’s one, big, steaming heap of bovine excrement there!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Black family cohesion was the casualty of slavery, Jim Crow Laws, Poll Taxes, and other racist programs, that kept minorities from getting the true citizenship acquired BY the Liberal Movements (Actually just applying the laws equally!) 
          White Flight was the result of racists, and White Supremists, RUNNING away from people they didn’t want to know or understand!  That’s why it’s called White Flight!  Those that stayed, and acted neighborly, were the ‘True Christians’, according to Jesus’ teachings that I am aware of! 
          ‘Conservatives’, some even claiming to be ‘compassionate’ ‘conservatives’, were the racists and bigots that ran, trying to avoid living within the law.  They also went AGAINST the teachings of Jesus! 
          Crime became rampant due to racial profiling, by predominantly white police organizations.  How many white guys have been erroroneously convicted of crimes committed by minorities? 
          The drug problem was greatly accelerated by law-enforcements’  LYING about the dangers of marajuana!  When people saw through the lies, they wondered if maybe they were being lied to about the other drugs.  When you KNOW someone has lied to you, you DON’T blindly trust them again!  Now, we have a drug problem that law-enforcement gets a LOT of MONEY from, legally, and ILLEGALLY!  Not much chance of solving it soon!
          MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION was the other main option to the nuclear threat!  The Soviets wouldn’t be here, but neither would we, and cockroaches would probably be the dominate species on earth.
          Joe McCarthy’s Communist Witch Hunt, led by a cross-dressing, power-mad HYPOCRITE, that evidently earned the nickname GAY Edgar Hoover!
         White Supremists’ using every method of holding down minorities, instead of accepting these humans, as brothers and sisters, many times to their OWN detriment, can be shown to be FAR MORE of the cause of the decline of The United States!

      • JonS

        Wow, to quote NJ, that’s one big,steaming heap of bovine excrement there!

        • Anonymous

          That’s funny, I thought the same thing about your heap of uninformed nonsense.

        • Modavations

          The “raison d’etre” of the left is to keep poor people,poor.The party of the Social Worker has made a racket out of poverty

      • Modavations

        You killed the black man, for a vote.I’d be a little worried about Karma.

        • Anonymous

          You just get off saying things that you think are outrageous but what you are really showing is how you lacking you are in the ability to respond with anything worth while.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Considering much of what you post here, I can see your need to worry a LOT about Karma!

    • Modavations

      The Liberal killed the bllack man,all for a vote.Moynihan and Bill Cosby called LBJ’s War on Poverty pernicious and the lEFT CALLED THEM rascist

    • Anonymous

      Funny how during the late 70′s and 80′s the Republicans were pretty much in charge of the White House with the exception of Carter and Clinton all the presidents were republicans, go figure. Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagen, HW, Bush, then Clinton, who balanced the budget. You seem to mix up or paint a lot of events with a single broad brush.
      You blame liberalism for the inner city blight when I seem to remember it was Ford who told mayor Beam to go to hell.

      As to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan what did you want to happen? WW3? What was the US to do threaten the USSR with a nuclear attack? If that’s what you think we should have done you’re nuts.

      Then you go on about Abu Graib which all happened under Bush’s presidency. Of course you end with that favorite right wing slogan, “class warfare”. I only read right wing extremist jargon thinly disguised as political commentary.
      In a word I’ve smelled better cow dung than this tome.

  • Ctwood2

    Hitchens great???

    What are you talking about…oh wait, he was a great…blowhard nad pompous ass,who didn’t let facts or deep research stand in the way of his polemics.

    He was more taken with his arrogant intellectualism and never, never would reply to points anyone made showing him to be erroneous…he was indeed great at then personally attacking that person.

    The world is better for his narrow minded vitriol to finally be silenced.   

  • Dave

    Glenn Greenwald in Harpers interview, on Rule of Law, except for the elite….

    Shows why a principled person like Ron Paul, whose whole position is based on classical rule of law, is gaining so much support.

    Also shows that while OWS dreams of moneyless society or new marxist era don’t have much legs, a principled liberty and rule of law movement can be a true American reform agenda.

    http://harpers.org/archive/2011/12/hbc-90008356

  • Dave

    Glenn Greenwald, progressive, on Bob Schieffer, Ron Paul and journalistic “objectivity”

    http://www.salon.com/2011/11/24/bob_schieffer_ron_paul_and_journalistic_objectivity/

  • Dave

    Glenn Greenwald, Bill Black and Ron Paul, among others on the Capitalism Without Failure “A-list”.

    “To make it onto The A List, the writer must demonstrate the following to a reasonable degree: 1. Honesty, 2. Integrity, 3. Understanding of economics and finance, 4. Analysis that is apolitical, 5. Writing that is based on analysis and principal, and not on blind ideology.”

    http://www.capitalismwithoutfailure.com/p/a-list.html

  • Dave

    “Bill Black: On MF Global, the Justice Department, and Whether it is “Too Hard” To Prosecute Bank Fraud”
    http://www.capitalismwithoutfailure.com/2011/12/bill-black-on-mf-global-justice.html

    Just like the recent civil, but no criminal and thus no jailtime, to little, too late cases coming out against former Freddie/Fannie execs.

    Obama administration could never get my vote again due to its spineless banker coddling.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Spineless coddling, or the Banksters telling them what power the Banksters have, and how much worse they weild it?

  • Dave

    “Bill Black is arguably the most important voice when it comes to the criminality that was preserved. If you are not well-versed in the criminal aspects of the crisis and in Gresham’s Dynamics, the following is an important video to watch (note: the quality of the video work is poor but the substance is superb – filmed 2/18/2010):”
    http://www.capitalismwithoutfailure.com/p/key-themes.html

  • MissionAccomplished

    Do you really think all the troops are coming home?

    How many times were we told this illegal war was almost over?

    What about the thousands of mercenaries, armed security forces, contractors, ‘military advisers’, ‘military trainers’, and ‘military intelligence’ that continue to stay?

    http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=6124517

    What about the US Iraqi embassy in Baghdad, which is 10 times larger than any average embassy in the world and has 20-plus buildings and over 15,000 employees?

    http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2011/12/12/iraqi-critics-questions-size-of-us-embassy-staff-in-baghdad

    If and when most of the US military troops come home, the US will still be running the country by proxy and it will still be costing the US taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/08/23/sustained-iraq-training-mission-could-cost-billions-complicate-deficit

  • BankstersBehindPanics

    There were several incarnations of US Central Banks, or systems acting like a Central Bank, before 1913 and the Federal Reserve System.

    Arguably, some historians have attributed the banksters’ actions, or inactions, directly to the cause of the banking panics including the Great Depression:

    The First Bank of the United States: 1791-1811

    “However, from the beginning, there were those who argued that the Bank was unconstitutional. The Constitution granted power to tax and print money to Congress, not a private corporation, critics argued.”

    The Second Bank of the United States: 1816-1836

    “However, the Second Bank still had powerful opponents, primarily in the form of President Andrew Jackson.  Jackson hadn’t forgotten the lessons from the early years of the Bank’s existence—that such a powerful private institution was susceptible to corruption and would be difficult to control.”

    National Banks: 1863-1913

    Major Banking Panics:  1873, 1893, 1907

    “Over this period a private institution, known as the Suffolk Bank in New England, took on some of the roles typical of a central bank, such as clearing payments, exchanging notes and disciplining banks that were over-issuing their notes.

    Also, in response to a rising volume of note and check transactions beginning in the late-1840s, the New York Clearinghouse Association was established in 1853 to provide a way for the city’s banks to exchange notes and checks and settle accounts.”

    http://www.minneapolisfed.org/community_education/student/centralbankhistory/bank.cfm

    Suffolk Banking System:

    “Known as the Suffolk Banking System, it was the nation’s first regionwide net-clearing system for bank notes…

    But another look at the history of the Suffolk Banking System questions this conclusion. The Suffolk Bank earned extraordinary profits, and note-clearing may have been a natural monopoly.

    There is no consensus in the literature about whether unfettered operation of markets with natural monopolies produces an efficient allocation of resources.”
     
    http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=763

    New York Clearing House:

    An inelastic currency supply, the pyramiding of reserves and fixed reserve requirements have borne a large share of the blame to the almost complete neglect of the behavior of the New York Clearing House.

    The NYCH had the power, the knowledge (at least initially) and the instruments to forestall banking panics.

    Both the size and distribution of the banking reserve among the NYCH banks was conducive to the recognition of the specific role played by the New York banks in the maintenance of banking stability.

    The ultimate banking reserve of the country was lodged in six or seven of the largest New York banks. The size of that reserve was greater than that held by any of Europe’s central banks.

    http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/wicker.banking.panics.us

  • StirringUpHistory

    The lessons of the Iraq war are historical.
     
    The ‘Arab Spring’ proves a much ‘better way’ for western imperial powers to pull off a ‘regime change’.
     
    With proper planning, it is inexpensive to implement, uses barely any resources and generally assumes less risk of collateral damage.
     
    The downside is that there is no way for your defense contractor buddies to make billions right out of the box because there is no giant embassy or military base to build.  .
     
    The upside is that huge profits can be made later from infrastucture and security rebuilding, meanwhile your corporate contributors can move in earlier to privatize resources and control market share, thereby guaranteeing the reaping of billions over the long-term.
     
    Here’s the recipe:
     
    All you need is a complicit media owned by wealthy elites; an entrenched, corrupt military leadership; a hungry populace believing in democracy while thinking that protesting will change the status quo; and a behind-the-scenes system of geo-politically connected, fascists waiting to fill the regime void.
     
    And just stir.

  • JustAPieceOfPaper

    This is the most important, under-reported story of the week:

    “The White House on Wednesday abandoned its threat that President Barack Obama would veto a defense bill over provisions on how to handle suspected terrorists as Congress raced to finish the legislation…

    …the tyranny of the majority having just imposed itself upon a minority. The two popularly-elected branches of government this week have collaborated on a new law that likely infringes upon the core constitutional rights of U.S. citizens — the right to due process as determined by a federal civilian court judge.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/12/5-quick-thoughts-on-the-white-house-decision-not-to-veto-detainee-measure/250019

    “If President Obama signs this bill, it will damage both his legacy and American’s reputation for upholding the rule of law. The last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was during the McCarthy era and President Truman had the courage to veto that bill. We hope that the president will consider the long view of history before codifying indefinite detention without charge or trial.”

    http://www.aclu.org/national-security/white-house-backs-away-defense-bill-veto-threat

    The recently approved S-1867, the National Defense Authorization Act, is the worst assault to date upon the Constitution:

    Indefinite military detention.

    Imprisoned without charge or trial.

    Homeland is part of the “battlefield”.

    “American citizen or not”.

    We are allowing domestic traitors in Congress and our Executive Branch to remove the very foundational principles of Due Process, the Presumption of Innocence enshrined in the US Constitution, and the non-interference by US military troops (the Posse Comitatus Act) against American citizens on US soil.

    So much for the rule of law.

    • Dave

      But the DNC types around here ridicule the Rule of Law around here every day? It’s so 1800′s…..

      If people cared about Rule of Law, not Men, Rule of Law, not Central Bankers, Rule of Law, not the Military Industrial Complex, they could not vote for tweedle dumb and dee any longer, and would be getting on the Ron Paul train that has been running against this stuff, on Constitutional Principle, not electoral lip service, for decades!

      We can’t handle the truth. 

      • PeopleRuleLaws

        No one around here ridicules the ‘rule of law’.

        We only ridicule you for continually bringing it up and thinking it’s makes any difference when our governments and corporations keep screwing us over by applying, changing and enforcing the law only at their behest or convenience.

        Laws don’t rule people – people rule laws.

        Maybe you can’t handle that truth.

        By the way, can you please stop mentioning Ron Paul almost every chance you get?

        • Dave

          “We only ridicule you for continually bringing it up and thinking it’s makes any difference when our governments and corporations keep screwing us over by applying, changing and enforcing the law only at their behest or convenience.

          Laws don’t rule people – people rule laws.

          Maybe you can’t handle that truth.”

          What are you trying to say?  What is your solution if it is not participating in, and reclaiming self-governement bound by rule of law?

          What?  Spell it out?

          Benevolent Dictatorship?

          “Your” team of politicians with immense power, and you with your fingers crossed they do the right thing this time?

          We have the blueprint, we have the principles, and we actually have a candidate who wants to help us achieve it.

          Just because you are too cynical or ignorant to try and realize our constitutional system doesn’t make it wrong.

          But most disturbing is how you critics have absolutely NO alternative. You won’t admit benevolent dictatorship, but never spell out anything short of that that will address our problems without handing over more power to elites.

      • nj
  • Sawyerfarm2006

    Why do the democrats always cave on any stand? I want to understand why they can’t just say no for once. The republicans at least can stand firm on thing even if I do not agree with them! I am demoralized by this and feel like we will never right this ship!!!

  • notafeminista

    Gonna miss Hitchens.

  • Modavations

    pLEASE READ Jon S 1:16PM.This is why the world finds the Left,ridiculous

  • Modavations

    What up Doggs,
           I’m a lover,I hate to fight.So glad the GOP gave us back, the 100 Watt Light.

    • Anonymous

      You’re many things unmentionable, but a lover is not one of them. You come on here thinking you’re so clever, and for a man of your age you act like a adolescent who does not get his way and acts out.  

      • Modavations

        What would you term people who want to shut up others,because they don’t ascribe to a world view.?

        • Insultations

          You tell us, since you asked to get comments removed from this site and people banded from posting here. 

          • Modavations

            Ultrax,you’ll never have a pproblem with me,if you keep it sane.I consider this post to be subtle stalking.Cut it out,please

          • Trollavations

            How about your specialty, not so subtle, spiteful, insulting?

            Besides being a paranoid, delusional narcissist you are a liar and a malicious instigator.

            Ultrax is too much of a gentleman to pursue you.

            Why don’t you cut it out?

            Or, go tell mommy again.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Look Moda, you have made unfounded and vile accusations against me. That WBUR has left them up is absolutely shameful. The imposter was also impuning my name but that didn’t stop you from falsely accusing me of those posts.

            My feelings about you remain. I think you’re a complete idiot if not a complete ass … and you’re not worth the time. I posted on ONE topic here and have no intention of keeping any pissing contest going.   

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You hate to fight?  Since you start so many disputes on here, I find this difficult to believe!  You may hate to physically fight, since you go ‘limp-wristed’, you say, so often. 
          Your delusions about the incandescent light, have shown the ridiculous extents that people will use to prevent progress.  Efficiency is the  guiding rule of progress!  You may have kept improvements in the efficiency of incandescent light!

      • Modavations

        My friend.My poetry is in response to last weeks rappers.My “limp wrists” are in reaction to males who I consider absolute “Poofs”.Sort of like contact highs!!!!!!I’m going to post “J” because guys like you can’t discern Satire.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          So everything that you have posted without a “J”, is your serious view? 
             You will now put a “J” with everything that you consider to be satire, or a joke? 
              Since I have marked some of the comments of others as what I hoped, or suspected to be satire, or irony, did I always miss the mark?  Do I just miss when you are being satirical?
             Moda NEVER lies?

          • Modavations

            You miss ones that a so obvious that I never dreamed of adding “J”.For instance,7 volts sold!!!!!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Elsewhere!

          • Modavations

            “You’d have to be 100 yrs old to have taught Indiana Jones archeology”.Indy is fictitious

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Elsewhere!

        • Anonymous

          Satire is more recognizable when it is funny, witty, or relevant. 

          • Modavations

            For those who have lost their senses of humor.I’ll go back to “J”

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Please?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Please?

    • Gregg

      Have you read this one yet?

       http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0980074231/thedaical-20

  • Modavations

    To all you guys in the cult of “Troll”.My condolences on your loss of Brother Kim(I’m so Ill) Jong.

  • Modavations

    The American Left is so ridiculous that Canada has pulled out oth the Kyoto Climate Accords

  • Modavations

    There is a sign on the Boston Greenway soliciting donations to help rebuild Dewey Square

  • Gregg

    As the media yawns, Attorney General Holder is shamelessly and pathetically saying any criticism for his lies and stonewalling about “Fast and Furious” is because he’s black. He’s an embarrassment. Allen West is right.

    http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/19/west-holder%E2%80%99s-race-card-is-the-%E2%80%98last-card-in-the-deck%E2%80%99/

  • Anonymous

    In 2012, the American budget deficit is projected at 7.9 percent of GDP; Greece’s is 6.9 percent; Italy’s 2.4 percent.
    I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but the US is on track to become the next Greece if we can’t elect a new leader because our current one is incapable of returning the US to its former greatness. 

  • Anonymous

    50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

    #1 A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.

    #2 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be “low income” or impoverished.

    #3 If the number of Americans that “wanted jobs” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.

    #4 The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.

    #5 One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.

    #6 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

    #7 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

    #8 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

    #9 A Gallup poll from earlier this year found that approximately one out of every five Americans that do have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.

    #10 According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/50-economic-numbers-from-2011-that-are-almost-too-crazy-to-believe

  • Anonymous

    Margaret Thatcher Addresses Income Inequality

    http://youtu.be/rv5t6rC6yvg

  • http://www.ukbeadscharms.com/pyramid-fairy-tale-sterling-silver-charms-beads.html diver

     There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were
    back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the
    population since then.

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