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Losing Faith In Almost Everything

We go to famed Middletown, USA — Muncie, Indiana– for a portrait of tough times and Americans checking out of faith in almost everything.

An American flag is seen through rain drops on a window as rain falls in Baltimore, Sunday, April 22, 2012. (AP)

An American flag is seen through rain drops on a window as rain falls in Baltimore, Sunday, April 22, 2012. (AP)

Muncie, Indiana has been under the microscope of American sociologists for the better part of a century now. Middletown, USA. The archetype. The tuning fork. Know Muncie and you know the land, was the idea.

Well, if that’s true, two big reporters now say, we are in trouble – or, at least ready for some major change. They’ve gone back to Muncie and found Americans giving up on just about everything. Banks, schools, city hall, church. “In Nothing We Trust” is their headline. Wooph!

This hour, On Point: When it all falls down. We’re going back to Muncie.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ron Fournier, editor-in-chief of the National Journal Group. His latest article with Sophie Quinton is In Nothing We Trust.

Sophie Quinton, staff reporter at the National Journal.

From Tom’s Reading List

National Journal “Johnny Whitmire shuts off his lawn mower and takes a long draw from a water bottle. He sloshes the liquid from cheek to cheek and squirts it between his work boots. He is sweating through his white T-shirt. His jeans are dirty. His middle-aged back hurts like hell. But the calf-high grass is cut, and the weeds are tamed at 1900 W. 10th St., a house that Whitmire and his family once called home. “I’ve decided to keep the place up,” he says, “because I hope to buy it back from the bank.””

Salon “Fournier and Quinton’s piece goes on to describe the decline in various Muncie institutions: the mainline Protestant church dying as a corporate-inspired Megachurch thrives outside of town, some local government scandal involving improperly cast absentee ballots and an arrogant one-term mayor.”

Reason “But none of this addresses the core argument of this wrist-cutter of a journalistic endeavor: Americans are losing faith in the institutions that made this country great.”

American Radio Works “Robert and Helen Lynd published their groundbreaking study of an ordinary American community they called “Middletown” in 1929. “Middletown” is actually Muncie, Indiana, and over the years many other researchers have returned to study the people who live there.”

Video: Virtual Middletown

The Virtual Middletown Project at Ball State University brings to life the 1929 and 1937 Lynd Study of Middletown America through the virtual world of Blue Mars. This prototype recreates elements of industrial life from that period, specifically the Ball Glass Factory.

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  • Terry Tree Tree

    You have the choice to believe in a ‘religion’ that promotes the betterment of mankind, EXCEPT women, children, and OTHERS.
       OR, believe in a ‘religion’ that promotes the genital mutilation of girls and women, as a way to defile and subjugate about half of its members.
       OR you can believe in a ‘religion’ that publicly decries that homosexuallity is an abomination, then hypocritically defends its clergy RAPING Children, homosexually and heterosexually!
       MANY “Do as I SAY, NOT as I DO!” ‘religions’ exist to choose from!
       You have the choice to believe in SCIENCE, which, by its own Laws, MUST stand up to PROOF, or the Law is over-turned for one that better fits the proof.
       You can believe in GOVERNMENT, which is comprised of ALL of the above, to some degree.
       Some believe that conditions are bad, and are NOT going to get better!  This creates a self-fulfilling condition, EXCEPT there ARE times that things get better!
       CHOOSE what you believe in CAREFULLY, and allow some flexibility!! 
       Hopefully you will choose to believe that the Earth is important, and women and men are generally worthwhile! 
       Treat OTHERS, with Respect, as you want to be treated, and adjust with the way they treat you, is my basic belief.

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

      I wonder what happened to my posts.

      • Anonymous

        So did Winston Smith.

      • Hidan

         illegals. :P

    • Anonymous

      Everything you said, about religion, above, may or may not be true.

      But if it is true that God exists–and I think that God (or a supreme higher law or power) does exist–I seriously doubt that he would agree with any religion (or any aspect of a religion) that denounces, demeans, or dehumanizes human beings, out of hand.

      Please make the distinction.

      Religions are built up and developed–over the centuries
      –by people.

      Not God.

      • Michiganjf

        “Religions are built up and developed–over the centuries–by people.
        Not God.”

        Yeah, good luck telling that to any adherent of one of the Abrahamic mythologies.

        • Anonymous

          I’m telling that to any adherent, of any religion, who’s willing to listen.

          • Azra

            As far as I can tell, that excludes Evangelicals.

  • kelty

    It’s not that I have lost faith in “America” – its ideals and people will endure. Its that I have lost faith in those who we elect & trust to serve every single American – those people in our government who only think of themselves and those who pay them the most and in those in business who put personal greed ahead of all else. The average American is having a harder & harder time getting by and it appears these people in power do not seem to care, in fact, it seems they actively work against us and pit us against each other. This is what is causing our once great country to fail, it is rotting from the top to bottom, from the inside out.      

    • Gregg

       I can’t disagree with that.

    • Anonymous

      You can’t simply blame Government.

      It’s also Media.

      It’s also voter apathy.

      It’s also civic apathy.

      It’s also our country’s ideological, economic, and stratgeic relationships–and changing relationships–to other countries in the world.

      And, it’s also probelms with natural resources, energy, and environment that are impacting all of us.

      All these factors are much bigger than Government’s incompetence alone.

    • Anonymous

      The “tipping point” for all this seems to be the ’70s decade, with Watergate and then the oil crisis, which scared so many, or better, was USED to scare people leading to the election of Ronald Reagan. His “Tax Reform,” led by James A. Baker and implemented by Rep. Dan Rostenkowski and Sen. Bob Packwood resulted in much less taxes on the rich by lowering the upper marginal rates and removing tax expenditures which have since reappeared with gushing enthusiasm. These tax changes and the GW Bush tax cuts helped the 0.1% gain 12% and up of their doubling and more of their incomes while the average worker’s income rose less than a percent or two. The Republican “War on Unions” has largely succeeded and the average worker has lost the ability to grow his wages as a result.

      The people in power DO NOT care; why should they when they can get elected without really caring but saying the “right” things? Why are even “Blue Dog” Democrats not really caring? Sen. Joe Manchin (D, WV) promotes the coal industry almost to the exclusion of the miners; they should be happy that the mines don’t collect methane too often or explode killing too many workers. He can’t support other types of work (only Sen. Robert Byrd could do that) in the state or the mining interests will stop supporting his campaigns.

      • William

        I would think the “tipping point” goes back to JFK’s failed Vietnam policy. We never really recovered from that failed adventure.

        • Gman6

          I beg to differ William. Vietnam was successful but unnecessary in terms of the US geopolitical goals of the time. The incursion into Vietnam’s internal politics was a move meant to stymie the development of a Communist Indonesia. This was probably not necessary. While it is the general opinion that the US lost the war in Vietnam this is totally incorrect. The US thought better of it’s action and withdrew. The US could have conquered North Vietnam at anytime had that been our purpose.
          There was a blood bath when the US pulled out of Vietnam, a terrible unreported massacre, but the US never lost a major engagement in that war and outfought and outgunned the NVR and Cong to an extreme degree. We just had nothing to gain there and had the guts to tell the politicians and generals to wrap it up. Actually it was Vietnam that lost by us pulling out, not us. We should use the same tactic in Afghanistan and leave them to be the fifth rate backwater a**wipe that they are, and stop pretending to care about them outside of a drone or two when if they misbehave.

    • Drew You Too

      “it appears these people in power do not seem to care, in fact, it seems they actively work against us and pit us against each other.”
      That’s Capitalism at it’s core my friend. I really dislike the phrase “Financial Darwinism” but if the shoe fits…

  • AC

    Well, the world is getting smaller. Adapt.

    • Steve

      You may want to read both Thomas Freidman and Greg Pallast

      • AC

        I am unfamiliar, so I wiki’d, & now I must ask why these recommendations? Although I suppose I should read it for myself 1st, it doesn’t seem to apply to my comment….?

    • Drew You Too

      The world isn’t getting smaller, our egos are getting bigger.

      • AC

        7 billion and counting, the natural log of e is not a phenomena w/o a reason….?

      • Azra

        As are bank accounts of the 1%.

  • Victor Vito

    This disconnect is a result of being told by your government, society, and media that “You’re on your own”.  No retirement, no medicine, no control over foreign aid and wars, no reciprocity for patriotism…

    Once upon a time, middle class guy had a family supporting middle class job with a union that gave him certain promises and security.  He had a government that promised a retirement with some amount of dignity.  He could afford to send his family to the doctor and dentist.  He didn’t have to change jobs/careers 15 times during his life.  A guy from China wasn’t about to take his livelihood.  With a little effort, he could help his kids with college.  His employer offered a pension.

    Who wouldn’t be disaffected and disappointed with what we have now?  The more I hear conservative voices telling me it is my fault, I am on my own, and the cure is personal responsibility and to work harder, the less I give a damn about America and it’s institutions.

    For me, loyalty is a two way street.  Show me none, and you’ll receive none in return.   

    • Gregg

      Who advocates “No retirement, no medicine, no control over foreign aid and wars, no reciprocity for patriotism…”?

      Conservatives are far more generous in regards to charity than Democrats. Don’t hate.

      • Hidan

         Could be cause Conservatives and Red states take more from the government then they give on a whole.

        Maybe those red states on a whole should pull there weight.

        • Azra

          Do you mean that they’re taking

          GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS?

      • Anonymous

        Conservatives are the first to turn away from men and women, facing adversity–adversity that is bigger than such men and women can handle.

        They are the first to say,

        “Suck it up.”

        “Pick yourself up by your bootstraps.”

        and,

        “Get over it.”

        They are the first to ignore the truth of what adversity can really mean. 

        People, in arduous circumstances–not welfare cheats–are the very people that Conservatives do not think about when they approach policies that have to do with Entitlement Programs.

        • Gregg

          That’s your opinion, you own it. Liberals have to tell us what we think before they can criticize.

          • Anonymous

            Just because you can’t admit it, does NOT make his claim about how conservatives think false.

            Remember, follow what they DO, not what they SAY. The latter is closer to what they THINK.

          • Victor Vito

            Wasn’t the Cadillac driving welfare queen a creation of Reagan?  C’mon man, own your sides behavior and philosophy.

        • William

          Conservatives live in the real world and have warned people for generations not to depend on unions and government. It appears the conservatives were right.

          • Azra

            They don’t warn, they DENY.

      • ana

        A country or it’s government and it’s people cannot  depend upon the whimisal nature of charity to  meet the needs of the population at large.
        Unless it commits to the massive investments required to safeguard citizens from the lack of basic needs.  Never happens.

        • Victor Vito

          Charity is nice.  Solutions need to be systemic and help those that need it.

        • Don_B1

          The whole problem comes from the radical right’s building of a “rightward moving” society after Barry Goldwater’s loss to LBJ in 1964. They have been running a multi-pronged attack on unions and the social safety net, so that the economic gains can be taken by the most wealthy.

          Much the same is occurring in Europe today; the question is whether Americans realize where the danger lies and rise up against it. But the defeatism running through this program does not auger well.

      • Victor Vito

        Paul Ryan’s plan slashes medicare/medicaid/social security.

        Mitt Romney is proposing increasing the budget for the Pentagon.

        These are just two things off the top of my head.

        • William

          So comparing the Ryan plan to the Obama/Democratic plan for medicare/medicaid/social security which plan is better? Of course, there is not Obama/Democratic plan so Ryan’s plan wins by default.

      • denis

        Conservatives are far more generous in regards to charity than Democrats

        Where do you get this info? Please document with actual supported info

        • Gregg

          Denis, I applaud your mantra but am continually amazed at what you have never heard.

           http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html

          http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2005/11/generosity_inde.html

          • denis

            well I do not listen to 24/7 right wing media

          • denis

            Really George Will and the TaxProf that rates Mississippi as the number one generosity state… really helps the quality of life issues.

          • NameNotPoison

            I think it’s admirable that people who have less give the most.

          • NameNotPoison

            BTW, that point was made eloquently on the “24/7 right wing media”.

          • denis

            I agree… however my thought was about the quality of life issues in spite of the “charitable giving.” Additionally, what your sources leave out is what did the charitable giving go to? As you know what qualifies as charitable giving covers quite a wide range of activities.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ‘Conservatives’ give PUBLIC money to Corporate Welfare!
            ‘Conservatives’ pushed to take money in Social Security, and have it invested in the Wall Street swindle!
           ‘Conservatives’ were in charge, and ‘regulating’ with low enforcement, and blind eyes, the coal mining corruption of Massacre (Massey) Energy, that killed 29 miners!

    • Anonymous

      Conservatives tell you it’s your fault because:

      They see the country falling apart.

      They need to scapegoat.

      They’re panicking.

      And when they panic, it’s even more difficult for them to concede that their own values and policies may not be effectivve. 

      They can’t admit they’re wrong.

      One connotation of `Liberal’ can mean `more flexibility’–less rigid in thinking and maybe in self-analysis.

      Nevertheless, the country’s in bad economic shape, much less in `bad attitude’ shape:

      You can’t expect a country in bad economic shape–no matter whose fault it is, if indeed you can pin blame and I don’t think you can pin blame on any one `Thing’–to be as good as they were about protecting, helping, or supporting the individual.

       

      • Michiganjf

        According to Conservatives, all our most sacred institutions are in desperate need of saving…

        at the same time, conservatives trash every institution that made America great and refuse to do what’s needed to save anything that results in a greater good!

        … any wonder people have lsot faith in America’s great institutions when they’ve been under that kind of assault since Reagan?

        • Anonymous

          While I agree that Conservatives are often destructive, it doesn’t mean us Democrats/Liberals can wave a magic wand–with or without the messes that Conservatives leave behind,

          It is NOT all Conservatives’ fault.

          Some things CAN’T be fxied.

          Kevin Phillips–the political book author–once agreed with me when I asked him if he didn’t think that politicians are sometimes blamed for intractable problems. 

          • Michiganjf

            I’m not talking about any single politician… I’m talking about the Republican party, which panders almost exclusively to it’s very worst elements (as well as to corporate America’s worst elements, of course).

          • Anonymous

            And I am talking about THE problems–regardless of who’s in office.

          • denis

            Part of the problem seems to be our need to show some sort of equivalency… the position that it does not matter which party is in power and setting the dialog simply is not true. Practically speaking it seems what you say is true; however, a closer look shows the constant drum beat from the right [and constantly parroted in the right wing media] about how bad everything is and the only solution is to go back to the days of Reagan and the Bushes. Why does the voter buy this crap? Because the right controls the 24/7 talk media.  Add to that an attitude on the right that their job is not to fix the problems but to assure the president is not re-elected and we have the appearance that neither side wants to fix the problem. 

          • brettearle

            You’re close to my wave length.

            How can I get in touch with you, off-air?

            Read some of my other arguments and you might see that we perceive things similarly or somewhat similarly.

          • Don_B1

            The point Michiganjf was making was that “conservatives” (right-wing RADICALS who are currently controlling the House of Representatives) do NOT WANT to “fix” the current problems. They yell jobs, but then claim the deficit is the big problem and propose budgets that will make the deficits WORSE.

            Why? They are “doubling down” on the tactics that won them the 2010 elections so they can capture all the branches of government and do away with the social safety net, so those “undeserving poor” won’t get any government support (except in jail).

        • Lost Cat 00

          Besides they are largely responsible for wrecking the nation by promoting their credo of greed and hubris. Then they come to tell us that they have the right kind of value system t same the nation. Hipocrisy writ large.

  • Gregg

    Here’s what Gallup found on the subject:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1597/confidence-institutions.aspx

    • Hidan

      So the republican lead congress ranks the lowest? who would have thought that congress could get even lower than was it was before the tea-party republicans came to congress?

      Must be time for the republicans to get even crazier on there policies to get that 12% up maybe you could provided a up to date gallup poll. June 9-12th 2011 seems a bit old.

      • Gregg

        I heard Glenn Beck referring to it yesterday so I looked it up because it related to today’s show. That’s all, it’s not a partisan thing.

        • Lost Cat 00

          So you trust Glenn Beck? It explains many things.

          • Gregg

            Not as much as I trust Rush.

          • Gregg

            BTW, all Beck did was point me to the poll. He did not misrepresent it.

          • Anonymous

            Let me get this straight, you base a lot of your moral, political and intellectual viewpoints on Rush Limbaugh?  

      • Anonymous

        Currently it’s about 14%.  Unfortunately that number is meaningless.  If it were true, we would have 460 new members of congress.  However, 66 or 67 Senators are not up for reelection, and I’d guess only about 40 house seats are really in play.  So despite only 14% approval, 86% of Congress will be back next year.

        • Ray in VT

          That’s the thing.  A majority of people across the country tend to back the incumbent in their district.  They think that it’s everyone else that’s the problem.

  • Hidan

    This what happens when you run on failure of the government(except to oppress peoples civil rights)

    • Anonymous

      It’s the old Republican mantra that government doesn’t work, and if you elect us we’ll prove it.

  • Gregg

    It is impossible to have faith in today’s press and “Civil rights” leaders. The Trayvon Martin case makes it clear. Now we have revenge beatings on whites.

    http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/crime/alton-hayes-trayvon-martin-white-man-attacked-black-racist-racism-maywood-chicago-suburb-20120420

    http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/17048649/teens-set-13-year-old-student-on-fire

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/justice-for-trayvon-alabama-man-in-critical-condition-after-mob-beating/

    Where is the press that caused this with the promotion of race hustlers like Al Sharpton? Where is the President who fanned the flames of division? Where is the Justice Department on the Bounty issued by The New Black Panthers? Where are the black leaders advocating peace?

    • Gregg

       Nobody seems to want to touch this one.

  • Steve

    Why are my comments being deleted and blocked?

  • ThePope

    Maybe if our “leaders” stopped preying upon us, we would regain some faith in something. They are weak in spirit, they cannot rise to the challenge of what the world could be. They do not even have any creative imagination about what things could be, they just stumble from one crisis to another, stocking up their secret bank accounts and keeping the fuel in their yachts topped up.

    If the populous perceives corruption on high then they feel like fools for passing up any opportunity for ill-gotten gains that may come their own way. A little corruption at the top poisons everything. Corruption is not limited to illegal activities. Surely some of the most corrupt actions of recent times were made to be legal through legislation that was shoved down our throats by the various interest groups and their millions and billions in contributions. The present Conservative Court is the prime force that has enables corruption in our time. And it is an institution that has finally managed to loose the faith of the people.

    Citizens United is doing for government what Consolidated Debt
    Obligations did for our economy.

     Upon visiting America the Armenian sage G. I. Gurdjieff
    commented that Americans lacked any ability to distinguish between
    Madison Ave hype and reality. The is reflected in the ability of a group
    of twenty year old “geniuses” to believe their own bull and develop CDS
    – having no sense of the reality of economics at all.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/

    This is also reflected in the obsession with celebrity and how with the
    youth today, if something is not videoed and tweeted and seen by others
    it may as well not have happened at all. Contrast this with the sixties
    where a common attitude was that taking a camera along to an event
    interfered with an authentic experience of the event.

    The Reagan era reaction to the movement of a more enlightened view of
    life that was blooming in the sixties has gone on long enough. These
    people are idiots. Their only real expertise lies in projecting the illusion of competency, and it is high time that they lost our faith.

     Enlightenment is the only worthy goal of any human who is
    worthy to be called human. It’s not a matter of taste or fad or
    fashion, it this is not your primary aim in life, you are an inferior
    human. And that is just a fact that will never change. Here is hoping that you will wake up enough to stop destroying everything you touch.

       And by enlightenment I am referring to the great western tradition that gave us science and the fruits of systematic objective inquiry. Not only this but the entire sphere of possible human activity that can ignite latent possibilities within the human genome that give rise to some of the more romantic imaginings about such matters. Not just the ascendancy of reason and the aggregation of information but an actual quantum leap in consciousness and creativity. The schools, and even the study of which, was of necessity a secret affair in the west, as the human mind was still in the thrall of it’s own metabolic substrate which gave rise to strong hormonal reactions, the clinging muck of superstition the half-light of religious metaphor and allegory, and the degradation of these teaching stories in religious literalism.

  • Steve

    Why am I not allowed to comment on others opinions?

    • Anonymous

      Disqus is among the things we’ve lost faith in.

      • Anonymous

        Good one!

      • TFRX

        You had faith in Disqus once? You’re a better man than I.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Welcome to the future – it’s a different world. As we globalize and the US post WWII economy becomes a distant memory, places like Muncie, Indiana are to become more and more like places in rural China or India.

    Other than for people needing a place to live, towns like this no longer have a reason for existing.

  • Steve

    I will need to be more obtuse in my posts in order to not be deleted by the powers that be….

    ….with apologies to Vann Morrison
    “…its part of the plan, for a new kind of man”

    Now whose plan is it, and to what ends do they aspire?

    • Anonymous

      As was mentioned a few minutes ago, Big Brother `hath spoken’.

      Translated:

      The Neocons have commandeered NPR’s technology!

  • Gregg

    John Edwards certainly did not respect the institution of Marriage.

    • Anonymous

      Neither did Gingrich.

      Get off your high horse and admit it’s a low one.

      • Gregg

        Is Newt accused of embezzling a million dollars to hide his love child? Talk about “two Americas”. Was he the vice-Presidential nominee? Did his trial start this week?

        • Anonymous

          We were talking about the Institution of Marriage, my firend.

          You expanded the topic to try to deflect away from the point. 

          • Gregg

            Have you read your own pointless Republican hating cheap shots?

            Oh never mind.

          • Anonymous

            If you can’t take the Heat, get out of the kitchen.

            Republicans CAN DISH IT OUT BUT THEY CAN’T TAKE IT.

            YOU ARE A SHINING EXAMPLE OF THAT….

          • Gregg

            I love the heat.

          • brettearle

            You have first- degree political burns, everywhere you turn.

        • TFRX

          When Gingrich goes away in shame and gets shunned by the right wing puke funnel, we can talk.

          Otherwise, it’s still a happy marriage (his first) between Newt’s need to grift, and the propaganda press’ need to fluff.

          • Gregg

            He just went away in shame, what’s your point?

          • TFRX

            Republican losers never go away in shame.

            The propaganda press (and the helpless to resist mainstream press) washes the stink off them post haste.

            In shame means all the Sunday yakkers would be laughing at Newt, and his “ideas” would not be covered next time, ignored as if they were (say) the progressive caucus’ budget.

            In shame means we would not be subject to yet one more iteration of the predictable “rehabbing” of Newt’s reputation (which he’s had dry-cleaned a few times in the last decade and a half).

    • ana

      What does that have to do with discussion at hand?
      Just a chance for another cheap shot.

      • Gregg

        Marriage is an institution many have lost faith in. I am in NC where perhaps the story is bigger news.

        • Lost Cat 00

          It is amazing how some people for their sake of their biases shrink the issues in such a self-serving fashion. Oh, my goodness, famility values will solve all our problems, right?

          • Gregg

            I don’t know about confidence but there sure is a whole lot of trashing of institutions like family and religion.

          • Lost Cat 00

            Rather than true spirituality, which I respect, I am rather willing to bring religious institutions into the fry. Sexual abuse against children and massive cover up by the Catholic hierarchy. Esploitatation of fear and anxieties, political manipulation and economic abuse by Protestant gundamentalist chuches, and so on.   

          • Gregg

            Was “gundamentalist” a typo? It think you can get traction with that one.

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    When things go wrong, or long longer work, they nevertheless  continue to endure and persist.  Those who benefit from the status quo, recognizing time is short, dig in their heels, shout, and bully the rest of us into staying the course. 

    Then, a tipping point is breached and all hell breaks lose – or a vast sense of unease prevails while, hopefully, people consider a) how out of truly whack things have become b) what needs to be done to alter course. The nation is undoubtedly at this point: The government is dysfunctional, the culture is sick, and our sense of exceptionalism and entitlement fail to deliver. Mainline churches are dying because they don’t serve a purpose in the age of science while mega churches and fundamentalist sects become the refuge of the disillusioned or disenfranchised.It’s high time “We the People” move to rectify the ills that will engulf us if we persist in forgetting to hold our elected officials account, and not insist they answer to the better angels of our nature and the long-term interests of the country as a whole.  

  • ana

    The  outsourcing of jobs by corporations pulled the rug out from under the “American Dream” .  Manufacturing jobs,  the means by which the lower class could move up, has dimininished. A steady factory job combined with the advantages give by SS and Medicare enabled families to educate their young.
    My parents had to quit high school to help support  parents.  SS and Medicare relieved some of the needs of aging parents falling on the children allowing them greater freedom

     And the failure of the nation to address the educational needs by doing as Germany does, a binary education system, one tract toward the trades has left a whole generation without means.

    And , failure of business, though dripping with money,  to take responsibility for job re-training or training  leaving it  to the government who is   threatening to cut off funds, points to a dreary future for many.

  • Steve

    “You say you lost your faithBut that’s not where it’s atYou had no faith to loseAnd you know it”

    Bob Dylan, Positively 4th Street

    “How does it feelHow does it feelTo be on your own With no direction homeLike a complete unknownLike a rolling stone ?”

    Dylan again, Like a Rolling Stone

  • Anonymous

    The USofA : Bought and sold, by interests brazen and bold: we have experienced the greatest heist in all of history and no one has been indicted. Why aren’t their heads on pikes lining Wall Street?

    Citizens United is part of the rights evisceration of the democracy in the United States: Corporations, even US based – foreign owned corporations have more power than US citizens.  ALEC writes laws for corporations and hands them to the Republican State and Federal politicians that they fund, with talking points and they present these as legislation.

    Under Republican economic and social policies:

    They’ve effectively taken away personal bankruptcy from individuals.
    They want to take away Social Security.
    They want to take away Medicare.
    They want to void the contract most Americans have worked to for decades.
    And… they overtly work to make it harder for US to vote.
    The war on government employees. The war on unions. The shrinking middle class.
    Who’s on the side of American workers?
    We became a nation that tortures.

    This is not the America that I grew up in; the one that saved the world from fascism and fought communism.  Never in US history has a war been started and taxes not been raised to pay for it. The rich pay lower tax rates than the middle class, but ‘sacrifices have to be made’.

    Free market crusaders outsource our jobs at every opportunity. A communist country that we started free trade continues to take away our jobs while the right does absolutely nothing to defend our economic security against them! Who’s side are the right on?

    We’ve been divided by the right playing upon our fears and struggles that they play upon at every opportunity: Birther nonsense. Anti-birth control evangelists. The NRA.

    Ask yourself who REALLY benefits from all of the right wing agenda? It’s certainly not people who work for a living.

    Rational and ethical people have lost control of the government. But there is hope. Everyone needs to learn what the facts are, not from Rush, not from Fox. Put aside religious ideologies and vote based upon your economic interests. It won’t happen in one election cycle, but it has to start happening this year: VOTE.
     

    • Drew You Too

      “it has to start happening this year: VOTE”

      Yes by all means Vote. That will make you feel better when the election outcome doesn’t meet the “desired” result and it gets kicked up to SCOTUS for an “objective” decision.

  • TFRX

    We know watching too much Fox News does nothing for a viewer’s actual information level, but plenty for their sense of “feeling informed”.

    What about Fox News keeping people afraid now that the president is a Democrat? Any good studies on that?

    • ana

      In my experience as a former avid news junkie, the arrrival of Fox “news”  contributed much to the polarization of the country.  It’s  “us vs them’  and it’s  appeal to those who enjoy the victim status  by  propaganda aided by misinformation, half truths has diminished the willingness to arrive at  honest conclusions. 
       There is a kind of brainwashing at work.  I see in my own  Fox viewing family an immediate disdain of anything progressive, even the mere windmill a few miles from  them  is threatening just in itself.
      Too late for a return to “balance”  The media is too dispersed,

      • TFRX

        Dispersed, yes, but similar, converging.

        They all need access. They’re all afraid of not getting invited to Sally Quinn’s cocktail parties. None of them are interested in crashing the party and doing the job, because they are too similar, too rich, too connected, and not interested in afflicting the comfortable or comforting the afflicted.

        I use the term Beltway Inbred for a reason.

      • William

        So a former great news channel like NBC, which edited the Zimmerman 9-11 tape, is the real news channel we should watch?

  • Steve

    red pill or blue pill?

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

       Do you have anything to say that’s your own?

      • Steve

        I posted a rather lengthy critique this morning, as did eleven or so others…they were deleted and I was not allowed to post for several hours.

      • Steve

        I hope quoting others is a work around

  • politicalHeresy

    It’s a shame to see first-hand how far this “great” country has fallen. We shipped any possible jobs to other countries; we vilified and simplify our education system. We don’t care for the little as long as the big man can keep lobbying. The congress, senate, president (presidential candidates) are all out of touch with the rest of the community. Nothing will change until the change happens at the top.

  • SBP

    I think the American RadioWorks link above is broken.

  • Payola

    The truth teller comedian, George Carlin was the most important American Philosopher of the last two decades. American youth must do themselves a huge favor and listen to every word this man had to say about life, religion, politics, family and the economy in America. The Truth, especially the brand of truth preached by George Carlin will set you free.

    • Steve

      not to be confused with a Mexican high

    • Victor Vito

      Loved Carlin.  Miss him too.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      No “actor” and “comedian”.  

      A good one no doubt. But to rely on Carlin for balance and depth is like relying on comic books to understand society, Ayn Rand to understand economics, or “Life of Brian” to understand religion. 

  • Goldbug

    “Thanks alot Bin Laden”

    Alan,  The Hangover

  • Bea

    I can only go by my own experience but I see my father’s generation as more trusting.  They trust their church, their employers, their government without question, secure in the belief that they are all using their power for good.  I, having grown up with the Catholic Church pedophilia scandal, Enron and Watergate, question everything and doubt that anyone in power is interested in working to the benefit of society.

    • Anonymous

      I totally agree.  My dad lived through the depression and fought in WWII.  I was a shame for him to watch his shared sacrifice decline.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Agree!  There has been wholesale violation of that trust. Our response, as a people, our generation, has been to become disillusioned, disconnected and largely indifferent.  
      For this situation have no one to blame but ourselves. We have failed to be sufficiently vigilant and to insist we both know, and be told the truth. 

  • Anonymous

    The problem isn’t that the rich looted the country and are working to dismantle what remains of of the social safetynet, and restrictions on corporations.  It is obviously women who want contraception, gays who want equal rights and blacks who expect to have people who murder them investigated that are the problem. 

    • bB

      What an inane caricature of your opponents’ arguments.  Why should anyone take you seriously?

  • Salzburg

    They’re not the only ones loosing faith in the American way of life. A Reuter’s article on April 17th said that last year, almost 1,800 people gave up their U.S. Citizenship although for different reasons, but it all roots down to the fact that Americans don’t feel loyalty to their roots.

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

       Out of a country of 300,000,000?  We’d better up the birth rate. . .

      • Zing

         HA!

        • Samuel Walworth

          1 million+ influx every year (legal and mostly white collars) , even if the dont up the birth rate, we will be fine.

    • TFRX

      Are we’re talking about the kind of people who hobnob…well, just the kind of folks who use the verb “hobnob”?

      Or dual-citizen folks who have given up one of their citizenships?

      How does the demography of that study break down?

    • CantonReese3

       Reuters and AP are owned by Who?
      Hint: their name starts with an R

      In fact all the three or five major news organizations left are owned by right-wing corporate interests, some of whom also make weapons systems, and own the same banks that ruined the economy.

      Despite the continual disinformatin about the liberal media , all you have to do is follow the money and the same few families keep coming up, and they ain’t none of them liberal. Nope they are the people who make sure that a toady like Limbaugh gets a voice that millions hear and that anyone of any intelligence and integrity is nowhere to be found on the media landscape.
      Even the personalities that pretend to a for-the-people view like John Stuart turn into little lap dogs when given the opportunity to confront Rumsfeld or Rice on their shows.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      As an American who’s become a Canadian citizen I’ll chime in.  Americans are losing faith in the American way of life because it needs to change.

      The problem is too many Americans are living in the past.  Meanwhile, the system rewards people who benefit disproportionately from the status quo. And too many are stuck believing they can have your way of life at wholesale prices.

      Change I say, and soon, before things get really ugly. 

  • Steve

    Did the people of America honestly believe that we were better/more intelligent/immune from decay?

    There are barbarians at the gate, but did you expect them to have derivatives in one pocket and high interest loans in the other? 

    Why have we lost faith?

         Clinton-Rubin/Summers
         Bush-Paulson
         Obama- Geithner

    Common Denominators?

    Goldman-AGI-WTO-IMF

    It time to ask what we really believe?

  • Anonymous

    The right wing free market economic policies offer no defense against the systematic assault by Chinese corporate interests on America’s economic interests. America’s corporate interests are decidedly not the interests of American workers. The Chinese model specifically exploits the Republican philosophy which is to do nothing: no defense: naught, de nada, zero, zippo. And so… corporations outsource our jobs and the government has been paralyzed by the Tea Party and Republican Party to defend us in any way. We are no longer United as a people.

    • politicalHeresy

      We might as well rename our country “The Northern States of America” since the only thing uniting us is the rampaging poverty that is systematically herding us to a lower class tier. United we do not stand. This has been proven by our congress and senate.

      • Drew You Too

        Don’t forget about our Justice (or lack there of) system.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Brown/1227104716 Tim Brown

    RIP United States of America

    1776-2008

    • CantonReese3

       dates are off a bit.
      It should read 1776-2000

      It was gone before that, but that was the date when they had the boldness to openly steal an election.

      If in Russia the son of a former president and head of the KGB was placed in power by a bunch of his daddies cronies on the court, you would be laughing up your sleeves at the unbelievable audacity of the corruption.
      If a political dynasty was started by a bagman for the richest man in all of history, who himself was found to be aiding the nazis, who’s grandson walked like a gunslinger but danced like a little chicken when his own turn to serve came up. Except for showing up for the free flight school and dental service. Who’s mismanaged businesses were all funded by Saudi royals.
      You may notice that the policies that matter, haven’t changed. That’s because the same criminals are in power. It’s only dummys that believe in democrats and republicans at this point.
      But keep those red herrings coming, it gives the troglodytes something to do.

      • brettearle

        I know it was much more complex than the following, but Warren Christopher was no match for James Baker.

        Mario Cuomo should have been the Democrats’ pointman. in 2000.

    • Victor Vito

      Why 2008?

      • Drew You Too

        I’m assuming he means financial collapse and resulting recession (Depression). I feel the same as CantonReese3 commented above. It had been coming but 2000 was definitely the tipping point.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t trust that the midwest is representative of the rest of the country. 

  • TFRX

    I’m glad to see that as a governor Mitch Daniels has had to reap a bit of what he’s sown as Bush II’s budget director.

    If only Indianans didn’t have to be the collateral damage in this experiment.

  • wauch

    Compare this with last night’s Frontline on corruption of Wall Street and you pretty much have this country in a nutshell…reason for Tea Party and OWS! Institutionalized corruption in both parties from Phil Graham to Barack Obama from Christopher Cox in Bush’s SEC to Timothy Geithner in Obama’s Treasury!

  • Nlpnt

    The U.S. Government had a major part in winning two World Wars, built a state-of-the-art infrastructure across a continent-spanning nation, and put a man on the moon.

    Then, we elected a smooth-talking, grandfatherly president who told us that government was the problem not the solution, and that less government would fix everything.

     We’ve been going downhill ever since.

    • Samuel Walworth

      An actor who with his acting skills catapulated many many significant policies, which over time played major roles in making middle class america almost bankrupt and debt ridden.

      I am sure he is in “heaven”.

  • John in Amherst

    “So you think you’ll try religion
    You say’ Lord how can this be?
    Everything I had is gone
    Don’t do these things to me
    Save me just this once
    I promise, I’ll bow down to your will
    You waited for an answer
    Surprise, surprise, you’re waiting still…”
    - Chris Smithers, “Surprise, Surprise”

    • Zing

       sophomoric

      • John in Amherst

         Truth in simplicity.  Faith is not lost so much as it is misplaced.  We trust in politicians to look out for us while allowing the system by which they are elected to be dominated by money rather than ideas.  We trust banks not to screw us while deregulating them and revering the acquisition of money & material goods above all else.  We expect a spiritual god to look out for our material needs.  We expect our faith in various institutions to guard us and keep us safe while not tending to the details?  Surprise, surprise….

  • Anonymous

    I hope there is a major focus on the end of big time manufacturing that so many communities like Muncie relied upon for their livelihood.  Steel, major appliances, electronics, automobiles, textiles, furniture, heavy equipment, etc.

  • Chris

    How long will the American people let themselves be sold out to further the interests of the criminal elite?

    We’ll see.

  • TomK in Boston

    We are bought by the oligarchs and their pawns in the gvt.  They have been waging, and winning, class war since 1980. The  current GoP is the most evil – now they nominate a financial con man who proposes to fix a crash caused by financial con games with the same policies that caused the crash – but both parties are complicit – Clinton’s signature is on major, disastrous deregulation legislation. Obama turned out to be an old-style moderate republican. It’s hard to have any faith in our gvt.

    For today’s example of what will make you lose all faith, check out Etcha’s declaration of class war. I’ve translated it into English for those who need it:

    “This America is fundamentally fair” (soaring inequality and record low taxes at the top look good to me)

    “We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice” (more teacher bashing and attacks on public education, more charter schools and privatization to redistribute more $ to my oligarch friends)

    “We will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing” (more union bashing and busting, gotta keep cutting middle class wages and benefits and redistribute those $ to me and my buddies)

    “We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve” (more attacks on public servants, drive any remaining competent professionals out of gvt, then remind us that gvt is incompetent)

    “and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.” (cutting SS and medicare and everything else that makes a developed society different from a medieval society of oligarchs and peasants)

    OK, Etcha, I admit it: you scare the s**t out of me.

    • denis

       Obama turned out to be an old-style moderate republican.

      Once again the right 24/7 talk media wins… can you give any substantive support for you statement?
       

    • aj

      Translate this one for me…

      Etcha: “hese cookies look like they came from the 7/11 bakery.”

      The cookies were artisan, and what the heck is a 7/11 bakery?

  • Ed

    One can see ‘The Unintended Reformation’ by Brad Gregory, Harvard 2012, for a picture of why we don’t have a cohesive society.

    Also, we are a society that kills unborn children legally, how can we hope to have a future?

    But there is a revival in religious participation.

    • Anonymous

      The authors of the study just said trust in religion is down.  That doesn’t indicate a revival in religious participation.  People without a religion are a fast growing demographic.

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

         Well, Islam is growing, but I suspect that Ed doesn’t like that.

    • politicalHeresy

      The revival of religion is part of the poverty lifestyle. When poverty is part of your every day life, you turn to religion for guidance and hope. It can be misplaced, but hope none the less. This has been the way for ages in third world countries.

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

       Ed, what of our problems comes from too few people in this country?

      • Victor Vito

        Ed doesn’t answer questions.

    • Anonymous

      Are you iterally telling us that our problems would be solved–if abortion were to be outlawed?

      Do you really expect us to believe that our problems would go away–simply because all of us would adhere to your moral code and to one aspect of a major moral code?

      • Victor Vito

        Ed doesn’t answer questions.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Ah! Another Reformation  - you mean like the last one ?

      As for religious revival, dream on. 
       
      It’s not that fundamentalists are bad people, it’s that they have a tendency to misplace a good deal of their emotional energy after checking their intellect at the door. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Unwilling ‘religious participation’ by parents that sacrifice their children to be VICTIMS of pedophile priests?

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

    Think about the way that too many Americans get in line and do what they’re told.  Too many don’t complain.  Too many don’t vote, and too many voters say nothing to their elected representatives.  It’s easy to blame the nebulous one percent, but we have to do better.  If you’re silent, you’re a part of the problem.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Agreed.  A big part of the problem is blaming the problem on “them” whoever they might be. We get the government we deserve – and we’ve got it – a result of benign neglect by most, and “throw the bums out” by the rest. 

    • Anonymous

      Now you know how countries turn, eventually, into Totalitarian Dictatorships.

      People tune out and give up.

      That could happen to our country in 50 years, or less, if we don’t do something about attitude and a clear and disciplined proactive approach.

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

     The Republicans replaced the Whigs when the latter party had lost its way.  It’s time for several new parties to replace the current two.

    • TFRX

      But many Whigs became Republicans, no? What leaders, geographical/religous/industry/economic strata, or platform planks didn’t make the switch, in practice?

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

         The new party had a central motivating theme.  That may be what’s missing in Democrats and Republicans these days.

        • nj_v2

          What, campaign donations don’t count?

    • Anonymous

      I agree, but it needs to start in congress and state governments.  3rd party always seems to be only at the presidential level.

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

         Good point.  Hit them at all levels.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Look again.

    • Anonymous

      So, how do we do it?

      In 1992, Ross Perot received something like 19% of the vote.  

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

         But remember, that was after he went nuts, dropped out of the race, and then got back in.  Based on the numbers during the summer, it’s likely that Perot would have been president if he hadn’t flipped out.

        • Anonymous

          I believe that you were referring to his campaign in 1996, no?

          Not 1992.

          But I ask, again:

          How do we do it?

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

             No, 1992.  How do we do it?

            1.  Read the platforms of all candidates and comment on them.

            2.  Vote for no one who doesn’t represent your position.

            3.  Encourage lightweight campaigns on-line.  Stop feeding money into the two major parties.

            That’s a start.

          • Anonymous

            Can you and I talk sometime, `off-air’?

            If so, how?

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

             We can.  Go to the about page (my name is a link) on my weblog, and leave a message.  I’ll get back to you.

          • nj_v2

            Another alternative is to employ the Tea Bagger and religious right strategies of involvement and control of Republican political mechanisms (caucuses, school committees, political committees, etc.) beginning at the local level.

            Some say the Democrats are too far gone (corporatized), but there’s a case to be made for a people’s takeover. 

    • Anonymous

      The problem is the corruption of money on the legislative process: politicians need money to campaign. Members of Congress devote about 5 hours a day doing this. PACs, Corporate personhood corrupt their decision making and voting.

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

         O.K., but that’s not how it has to be.  Imagine if a candidate ran on the Internet.  Anyone who can get on-line could read that person’s platform and vote for or against.  It can be done.

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

    I agree with Ron. I third party could interrupt the back and forth tug of war we’ve been stuck in and help head us in a new direction that we can actually get excited about again. 

    I also agree that we need more organized spending for the betterment of society as we face the tough environmental concerns coming up, but I don’t think that our current government staff are capable of doing this. They are too entrenched in a different world of partisan politics that I don’t see any signs that they actually understand what’s going on outside of their own agenda. 

  • Peter

    Isn’t the lesson to stop looking to “Institutions” to magically make everything better, and instead look within, to find the fortitude and self-discipline to cope with change, and the work and sacrifice it takes?

    Was sacrifice and living within our means, and the most self-sufficiency we can muster (like our grandparents), a once in a century concept?

    Expecting more and more, and thinking some external institution can magically make it so, by printing money and handing it out, is immature.

    This is a time for hard nosed, pragmatic principles, not utopian dreams and open credit lines.

    • Anonymous

      Going back to old vintage ideals may not work.

      Just because it worked, a century ago, doesn’t mean it’s going to work now.

      • Peter

        Debt isn’t real anymore?  Did we invent the perpetual motion machine?

        Once you lay out and prove a “new” way that is functional, sustainable, and realistic, not some pie in the sky utopian ideal, one that doesn’t threaten tyranny for the sake of “security”, then we can let go of “old” ideas.

      • denis

        Did it in fact work a century ago? Without the New Deal and Social Security where would we be today? What % of older citizens would be in abject poverty?

  • Scott Anderson

    The two parties we have force feed us the unnatural combinations that they call party platforms. They do this because they are happy to trade places every so often as one platform gains the tacit support of fifty one percent of the voters. Independents are frozen out of the process by closed primaries that only admit those who buy in to the process as it exists. It’s time for states to stop enabling this de-facto division of the populace. We need to force open primaries in every state so that all of us can choose the choices we will have in the general elections.

    • Victor Vito

      Remember Nader having to buy a ticket to get into the presidential debate?  Even with a ticket, the two parties didn’t let him in.

      • Peter

        Paul/Nader (look up all the articles talking about their shared points and Institutional criticism) would be a welcome threat to the status quo crony ruling class.

        • Anonymous

          Ask Dave to post the quote.

          • nj_v2

            Oh, please…

  • Peter

    Whatever the debt/finance/big government crowd wants us to do, we should do the opposite.

    They are a selfish funnel which we have been pouring ourselves into for too long, believing they had our interests at heart.

    • Victor Vito

      And the wealthy aren’t a selfish funnel?  At least government is theoretically answerable to the electorate.

      So tired of folks who want to trust our future to unregulated human nature.

      Welcome to thunderdome.

      • Peter

        Unregulated? How about we try transparent, equally applied, Rule of Law and the Constitution?

        We are Crony USA. If people don’t understand the difference between Crony Capitalism/State Capitalism, and Free Markets within the Rule of Law, they need to look into it.

  • Latrice Springs

    Everyday we are bombarded with what is wrong with our country, how broken our communites are and who amongst is to blame. I love this show but quite frankly I’m sick of hearing it from every angle. I don’t need ‘experts’ to point out what alot of us see as the obvious. Where were these ‘experts’ when it was going on? There are plenty of examples of people coming together in ways not seen in our country for years and yet we persist in the nasty cycle of finger pointing and endless whodunnit sessions. Really? What’s going right? Give us one week on communities who are not sitting around waiting for the fix. They are the fix and are doing what they can to turn these problems into opportunities for change. Things ARE changing, people ARE DOING IT. How bout we hear that Tom?

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.l.ward1 James Liphus Ward

    I am enjoying your show for hour 1 this morning. I would recommend a couple of follow up readings.  For a very analytical discussion, please refer to Peter Wolf’s Hot Towns. He takes apart the real estate/small government/economic models that got us into this mess. We all made choices based on a very limited idea of what we were creating during the real estate boom. More generally, however, Jane Jacobs last book – Dark Age Ahead – takes apart the broad cultural questions one by one. She was/is/has always been prescient. “This is both a gloomy and a hopeful book.”

  • Virginia Marcotte

    If asked, I think I would say the country is moving in the wrong direction BUT I mean it, I think, differently than many others who answer that way.  I think we are moving too far to the right.  Creationism, global warming deniers, birthers, home schoolers, tea party believers etc. 

  • AL

    The problem may be our economic systems. Adam Smith wrote Wealth of Nations in the late 1700′s. Low populations, vast open lands and little knowledge that we were on a planet with limitations. We don’t consult medical journals from that time for today’s cures. The economy should serve reality.  

  • LindaK

    Third parties work only in parliamentary system – please remember that we have a “winner take all” electoral system — the differences we’ve felt since 2010 should tell us what that means, unless you believe the Tea Party really has a mandate to remake America.  If you want more diversity, change the electoral system, don’t just vote for third parties for national or federal offices.

    • KrumleyUK23

      Why do third parties only work in parliamentary systems? If Nader would have got the most votes would he not have served as president? The only thing that keeps third parties from working is propaganda like “third parties do not work” Stupid and money seem to win in America. No doubt we will have months of Romney answering the question he wants to, as he has been so kind to inform his interviewer when it was pointed out to him that he was not answering the question that was asked him, “You have the right to ask the question you want and I have the right to answer the questions I want.”
      If we actually had two parties in America it wouldn’t be nearly as bad as what we have now. All I see is total a**holes like Romney, and little crackpots jumping up and down saying, “Free markets will make you free.” You want freedom from any constraints? — move to Somalia, find out how free it is under what robber barons would be if we allowed it. Each little home schooled Romney kingdom with it’s own laws as given by a guy who had to make up a religion just so he could have a good time. Remember — God is an actual human man, who is 6 ft 2 and perfected himself up to godhood by having lots of wives and ruling over them in wisdom.
      Or you could have the scared to help Americans but not to kill terrorists Obama, who talked a good talk but walked Goldman Sach’s walk and already has a record for contributions from the financial segment — which unfortunately comprises the majority of our “industry”. Face it folks the plan of our masters is to use the US as their farm and a place to bank and do away with that part of the population that does not serve their interests, and whose stuff they will own anyhow so what the hell.

  • Jim

     i strongly believe we need a four or five party system. the Republicans and Democrats have a duopoly that is destroying this country. with a five party system, EVERYONE (including the radical tea party folks) must work together.

    Currently, our companies and whoever has wealth run this country. to the tea party folks… that means about 99.99% of the republican party.

    • Peter

      We need Principles and Rule of Law concept revived, not more parties.

      We are chasing our own tail looking for magical new saviors.

      We live in a world of finite resources, and we should live like it, and let markets reflect it.

      • Anonymous

        New magical saviors like Ron Paul?

        • Ray in VT

          Or the market?

        • Peter

          We’ll patiently wait for you to explain how the Ron Paul views and principled vision, based on our Constitution and personal liberty is a “Savior” movement. Its the opposite, but such elemental concepts are always lost on you knee-jerk DNC types who prefer snappy one liners to substance.

          • Anonymous

            My snappy one liners do not lack substance.  How am DNC knee-jerk type when I wrote “Obama stupidly” earlier in today’s forum?  I doubt that is in their talking points memo. 

          • nj_v2

            Leather Dave has taken a new approach with new handles?

    • Victor Vito

      Sounds like you want parliamentary democracy.

  • Anonymous

    What does he mean that both sides don’t want to compromise.  Obama stupidly kept trying to compromise and it got him nowhere.

  • Blamerepublicans

    I got a new fraternal organization in mind. The Lemmings. Lets all follow the Republican$ over the cliff.

  • Greyman

    Regarding Muncie’s public schools: how many cases of adult predatory sex with public school students have arisen in recent decades? Some states in this country have already had at least one such case in each public school district, the effect of which is to severely undermine schools’ credibility and to cast public educators as threats to students’ well-being (I’ve never heard that teacher organizations police themselves in these matters). The ill-effects of these cases typically transcend the unique participants in such circumstances and spread malaise community-wide, not only school-wide. Local schools respond after-the-fact, while state governments sit on their hands and continue to accept all and any applicants for teaching and administrative posts regardless of the latters’ ability to teach or administer, regardless of their soberness and maturity, their “professional” judgment or their native self-interest. For these and numerous other reasons, we would do well to abolish public education outright, and sooner rather than later. Public education is one 20th century institution we can afford to sacrifice. 

    • Anonymous

      Interesting diatribe. Lets abolish public education because of a few bad apples.

      Should we abolish Wall Street because of a multitude of bad actors in this sector?

      • Greyman

        Though there is much state participation in the realms of finance and banking, the financial sector is not state-supported in quite the same way or to anything like the same extent that public education is sponsored by Federal, state, and local governments. State (read: government, at whatever level) subsidization of public education invites state (mis)management because it renders education a passive commodity: this is one more thing the government “does for us”, although in practice public education has become the daily battleground for all sorts of political disputes, from teacher training to funding for school construction, from financing educator retirement systems to enforcing curriculum standards. It is no mere anecdotal citation to say that, nationally, many American parents defer ALL responsibility for children’s education to the public schools and either see no need to complement school activities with parental supervision and oversight or disown their responsibility outright so they can spend more time “being adults”. To leave and to trust the institution of public education with the challenge of raising our children for us begins to show how far Americans prefer “to be served” by their government; the assumption of parental responsibility, so commonly deferred or disowned, can only be enhanced if we begin sensibly not to rely on public schools to raise our children for us.   

        • jefe68

          I don’t see it this way. By the way government is way up in Wall Street, and if you knew what you were talking about you would understand that. Did you not see what happened in the last few years since the demise of Glass-Steagall.
          I’m a parent, my child went to a public school and she did very well. I was also involved in her life and school work.
          What you are saying is a load of bunk.
          Are there parents who don’t care, sure.
          So according to you the solution is to do away with the entire system. Of course you take a swipe at teachers and their benefits which seems to be the way the right wing zealots run. What I see is the face of extremism here.
           

          • Greyman

            I do agree that Glass-Steagall constituted a sensible regulatory approach, credit I am not willing to extend to Dodd-Frank. (Btw, Glass-Steagall was dismantled in Clinton’s second term and largely at the behest of Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin.)
            As a former public school teacher, I think plainly I owe public school teachers nothing and certainly not the overgenerous retirement benefits accorded many of them as government employees. If I were not persuaded that the class of America’s public school teachers is at least as lazy intellectually (sometimes more, sometimes less) as the class of America’s journalists, I might be tempted to let up a bit, but I can’t think of the evidence or the arguments that would induce me to change my opinion, grounded as it is in my experience in and out of the classroom, and in my experience both as a former student and a former instructor. Additionally, with a dread combination of high dropout rates and significant rates of student underperformance nationally, public education fails according to its own metrics: in the county in which I attended public schools and taught in public schools, only 60% of students attain yearly promotion and/or graduation. 60 is still a failing grade, last I looked, and I am not enamored of such extravagant failure.

  • TFRX

    Caller Bob is dismayed at the “Flow of attack ad soundbites from both sides“.

    After three years of dogwhistles and drumbeating about President Obama, the socialistkenyanfascistusurper, doesn’t it behoove our host to ask a right-wing caller who is interested in a third party to back up his claim about both sides?

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

       It’s easy.  Go look at the comments made about George W. Bush–both during his presidency and afterward.

      • Anonymous

        He did steal an election, crash the economy, and invade Iraq needlessly and incompetantly. 

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

           The question was whether both sides are attacking the other.

          • Anonymous

            Attacks are fine if they are justified.  Alleged missing birth certificates and other nonsense is another matter.

      • TFRX

        The least-popular, lowest-historically rated president in a century?

        Bush II earned his crap. And the attack ads you speak of don’t exist the in the degree and quantity that the GOP talks about.

        The seething, fleck-spittled hatred to Obama? How many more “If President Obama says he’s a Christian…” dogwhistles do GOP leaders need to spout before the medeia stops with the “both sides” shit?

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

           Look at your response.  Your feelings about Republicans are clear.  That’s what is meant by both sides.

          • TFRX

            The caller (and our mainstream media) collapse on the fainting couch when an elected, nominated, or high-up Democrat starts making noises about taking their own side in a fight.

            The GOP lost their minds when their scion, GW Bush pere, got beat fair and square by a chubby philandering governor of a small state. They’ve cranked the volume up to 11 and broken off the knob.

            And our media which aren’t propagandists are a bunch of simps who don’t want to be called left-wing. So they enable the Foxholers of the world.

            Until someone with my temperment is sitting there creating those ads and running for office, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

            The crazee on the right are the tastemakers, figureheads, strategists and opinion leaders. And they get away with lots of crap.

            Signed, someone who was called a traitor in 2002.

  • Anonymous

    Is the decline in social clubs like the Elks a result of them no longer being able to discriminate and white men didn’t want to socialize with minorities and women?  Or because people no longer have a single 9-5 job and have less spare time? 

    • TFRX

      Spare time is a quandry. The apocryphal “40 hour workweek”? That’s one exempt-from-OT job at 55 hours a week, and one doesn’t-qualify-for-benefits retail job at 25 hours a week.

      Tangent, if nobody’s mentioned it yet: The book “Bowling Alone”.

  • Rod

    I’ve lived in Muncie and a similar neighboring town, Anderson. The remark about “city fathers” caught my ear, since for a lot of these towns, the city fathers have left. Used to be in Muncie, the Ball Corporation was in charge. In Anderson, it was General Motors.  Those corporations held so much power that they moved the town around like a chess board. One of the reasons the cities are suffering is not only that the corporations have gone, but also that the citizens don’t know how to make it on their own.

  • Chris

    Maybe we should turn on backs on government. They don’t represent us. They are corrupted by the system of needing money to run for office.

    Stop participating in your own destruction. 

    Build your own community. Govern yourselves. Produce for yourselves.

  • John in Amherst

    Faith is not lost so much as it is misplaced

  • http://www.facebook.com/marriahstar Marriah Star

    The root problem is that individuals have given their power away. We have stopped participating in the community because we are instead getting lost in media distractions and the Internet. We have become a consumer society instead of a creative society. The result is that only the extreme elements of society are active in the political process.

  • Peter

    “Education” bubble, making realistic change even more difficult.

    How many people know how to produce their own food?

    • Peter

      Education/Finance bubble is the next shoe to drop.

    • Anonymous

       There are a lot of people who know how to put seeds in the ground, and how to hunt.
      Problem is that some community’s don’t allow it.  And more people would rather get some fast food than be bothered. What grow my own food? Why would I want to do that, that’s hard work. I can just drive up the street and get a burger, and I don’t have to cook it either.

      They just don’t see the real cost.  Loss of doing things for yourself and taking pride in doing it.

      • Peter

        Yep, too “old fashioned”. As if we aren’t still bound by the same basic needs we have been for hundreds of thousands of years.

        Central Banking and the Internet aren’t going to change that.

  • Iarnocon

    The banks — by way of massive, unchecked fraud and via use of so-called “Technocrats” – have hijacked democracy globally.

    This is a deliberate strategy by the banks to supplant elected governments’ role of controling nations, including the US.

    If the people of the US feel disaffected and disenfranchised, that’s because they ARE being disenfranchised.

    The only way to halt the bankers’ momentum is to start prosecuting banking fraud, a fraud that includes bankers buying our politicians and writing our laws.

    Les
    Brattleboro, VT

    • Peter

      Bill Black

    • Steve

      To do this, I think it may be necessary for ordinary citizens to retreat to local, independent financial institutions.

      Without those options we can be squeezed like Greece has been with liitle or no recourse.

  • LindaK

    Two quick notes:
    1. The modern university would never support research like the Lynds’ today — write up qualitative data?  No way, no economic simultaneous equations?  No position, no funding, no tenure.

    2. Please change the conversation to be one about civic society rather than consumer “market driven” solutions.  The abandonment of public schools for charters is exactly what “choice” without democratic civic engagement and accommodation of others’ preferences gets you: divert taxes from public schools to charters, makes the public schools less attractive, increasing demand for charter schools.  Read yesterday’s article in the Boston Globe on charters in Boston. Ultimately you get what the “Reagan” revolution wanted: fewer viable public institutions.  When all the children are in home schools and charters, will people pay taxes to support them?  I fear not. Plutocracy will have won, completely.

  • Amberkeddy

    I’m Amber, aged 33, Plymouth, MA. This is resonating with me & I agree that our over-capitalist culture here coupled with a huge, slumbering, conglomerate government system gets in the way of sense of community and incentive to patriotism; no one feels a connection between their actions and results.

    • Guest

      Amberkeddy

      I’m Amber, aged 33, Plymouth, MA. This is resonating with me & I
      agree that our over-capitalist culture here coupled with a huge,
      slumbering, conglomerate government system gets in the way of sense of
      community and incentive to patriotism; no one feels a connection between
      their actions and results.

      Sent from my Iphone

  • Valerie

    Gloucester, Massachusetts
    We have all the problems you cite for local institutional collapse — schools, city hall, churches, declining public involvement, etc.  
    Our challenge now is — do we trust the outside private sector coming into town with a big new footprint?
    There is so much wealth in individuals and corporations around the country that is looking for distressed communities and investment opportunities.
    Can we trust this?
    There is a raging debate now over a waterfront hotel proposal from a member of the “Superclass”, Jim Davis, Chairman of New Balance Shoes.
    Will this bring benefits to the City?
    Many argue this will flip the port into tourism and condos.
    But, investments would probably make more sense in marine science, ocean engineering, etc.
    So, can we trust the national/international private sector coming into town? 
    There is more civic activism rising up over this question than the City has seen in years.   That may be a very good thing at revitalizing citizen participation in decisions on the future.   

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Sounds like the biggest problem is people lying down and waiting for someone else like the government to “fix” it.

    • Ray in VT

      There is an awful lot of apathy in America.  Many of us sit around, watch TV and do wait for someone else to do something about wherever the problem is.  Government, religious institutions and other institutions can work to help alleviate some of society’s ills, but it doesn’t work if people aren’t willing to pitch in.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

        For many of these places, those that do have seen the writing on the wall and have left for greener pastures. The ones that are left are the ones that don’t.

      • Gregg

        There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what the hell just happened.

        • Michiganjf

          In the case of Republicans, those in either of the first two categories simultaneously occupy the last category.

      • Erin in Iowa

        But people have to be willing to get over themselves and help others when they themselves don’t need help. Oldman is a great example of how most people love to point fingers at “lazy” people, but probably aren’t willing to pitch in because they don’t need help RIGHT NOW. I hope you never fall off your pedestal, oldman.  If you do, I hope you haven’t convinced EVERYONE to stop wanting to help others.

    • TomK in Boston

      No matter how hard you work, gvt policy and the state of the society affect your chances for success. Just like a hard working American is more likely to succeed than a hard working Hatian, a hard working American in a society with great inexpensive public education, great infrastructure, a strong safety net etc is more likely to succeed than a hard working American in a Ryan/Romney hunger games society.

      I agree that lying down and hoping that the class warfare pols will go away is a big problem. We need a revolution.

      • Peter

        That little issue of paying for all that great, free stuff.

        • TomK in Boston

          That “stuff” is called the United States of America, and I’m happy to pay for it. I agree that there is a little issue when the top 1% have 20% of the income (!!!) and are paying the lowest tax rate since 1929. Since you’re so concerned about paying for stuff, no doubt you are in favor of returning to higher tax rates at the top.

          • Peter

            Taxing all the wealth, even to investment-destroying levels, would not come close to paying for our outlays.

  • Billb

    I voted for Obama, but you have to say that Clinton and Robert Rubin created much of this problem.   Trade liberalization with China combined with strong dollar policy of Clinton made it easy to set up factories in China.  The strong dollar policy made it cheaper for US corporations to build factories in China and for companies like Walmart to import goods from those factories.  The strong dollar policy also held down interest rates making it cheaper to borrow.
      Capital flowed back into the US from China which also helped to keep interest rates low and pushed up asset values.   Cheap money and rising asset prices helped to mask income stagnation that most Americans were feeling.  

    • Peter

      Only financial technocrats can save us!  Remain prostrate.

    • Steve

      Thank you Billb

    • DaddiesGoil2

      No doubt . . . only fools feel that it was only the fault of the other party at this point. In case you haven’t been paying attention, there is only one party — the Big Money party — there is no way to vote against Goldman Sach’s policies because they support both parties to a criminal degree, and have a revolving door to the treasury dept. The policies that benefit the very richest among us (they are not really AMONG us) at the expense of the least powerful among us, have been consistent no matter what party is in power. Almost all the people we elect are wealthy to begin with and they are not going to legislate against their own interests. As long as they can get the same knuckle dragging police who’s pensions they have largely transferred to their own retirement accounts, to bash in the skulls of the OWS type protestors, nothing is going to change. It is still the people with the power to send armed men to your house that are in control of everything and they do not give a fu*k about you. In fact they hate you.

  • timeandtheriver.org

    A radical situation calls for a radical solution; see my
    timeandtheriver.org [launched 03/03/03] –
    ‘Where we propose to build an e/brain to manage the
    waters of the Merrimack as the first step toward a
    competitive model in the global economy of knowledge’

  • Ayn Marx 666

    Faith is a bad idea in general:  dispassionate observation and reasoning seem to be the optimal way of knowing about the reality outside of our own heads.  Faith tells you that something were true—e.g., ‘The world is just, the poor and the rich both have got just what they deserve,’ or ‘Jobs are necessary to get work done,’ or ‘Someone bigger, stronger, and smarter than I is in charge, so everything will be all right,’ even when these things really seem not to be so.

    Faith will tell you that your fellow-Germans have never murdered your family before, so why leave just because they’re going a little nuts right now?  Faith will tell you to trust Western medicine exclusively, or to absolutely trust the most persuasive voice that tells you that all Western medicine were rubbish.  Faith will tell you that the brand-name soda you’ve got in your hand is dependable, so if it tastes a little funny and you’re very thirsty, don’t toss it immediately….

    It’s much better to know that things hoped-for have no more substance than circumstance and our labour produce, and that substancer, and that the credible evidence of things not seen be limited to what we can hear, smell, and taste.

  • Michiganjf

    A $40,000 loan @ 620/month can hardly be “Johnny’s” problem… that much a month MUST include escrow for taxes AND verything else.
    @ba3a00a24181bb2dc71589de82edaccb:disqus 
    … that probably saves his family a considerable amount of money over paying rent and having NOTHING to show for it in the end..

    … sounds like he was doing EXACTLY the best he could for himself and his family!

  • Mchaffee

    Baby Boomers were heavily influenced by the destruction of the global systems by WWII, and a voice that called to them…”…ask what you can do for your country.”  It made sense to many of us…and called many of us to movement work, community work, social work…all sorts of things that worked at making our nation a better place.

    After the loss in Vietnam, many voices in this country lifted to blame another part of this nation for the loss, and dug in to rebuild a mythic country of their imagination.  Instead of asking us to do more for our country, they insisted the country get out of our lives…our government IS the problem.  And systematically, they’ve worked to dismantle institutions, and capacity, all to promote, the wealth of a few.  

    And chisel enough at people’s sense of community…and you’re simply left with people hunkered down, disenchanted, and thinking there’s nothing they can do…because they’ve been told again and again…”don’t do anything for others.”

    • Rgaith2

       Excellent analysis! 

    • ReginaS3

      Yeh, somehow the hippy generation was passed over when the power was handed out and they skipped right over them to the “me” generation, and it has been “me, me, me” ever since, with their “greed is good” nonsense, and the trickle down delusion.

  • Greyman

    Let’s hear it for liberal mortgage bankers, then (your recent caller who pointed out Mr. Whitmire’s circumstance a tad more clearly): blame and credit for this sorry malaise and “poor me” mentality goes first and foremost to each and every individual American citizen. Period. So let’s make things easy for ourselves and everyone else and just get that message out, hunh? 

  • Peter

    Ron Paul has been a tonic to this malaise you are describing. That is why so many youth have abandoned Obama’s Centralized Crony Capitalism DNC model (similar to mainstream GOP) and turned to Paul.

    Those who investigate the ideas, have trouble looking back to the mainstream party politicians the same again.

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t Ron Paul still a Republican?

      • Peter

        As always, content meaningless to the DNC hacks.

        • Anonymous

          I’m very critical of the Democrats and Obama.  State one negative thing about Ron Paul. 

          • JohnnyBBad

            He’s a crackpot who would lead us into a depression that would make the Grand Canyon look like a hairline fracture.

        • nj_v2

          I’ll bet even DNC hacks believe in evolution.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that some of Ron Paul’s appeal to youth is that they have never had to experience the laissez-faire, little to no social safety net vision that he extolls.  Many of the people whom I have met who lived through crises such as the Great Depression and World War II know the value of the safety net and government action.  I think that many of Congressman Paul’s ideas are recipes for further decline and they appeal to some sort of ruggedly individualistic golden age that didn’t really exist here in America or anywhere else.

      • JohnnyBBad

        Ignorance and inexperience is certainly part of it, but so is greed.

    • Anonymous

      If Ron Paul were to become our President, other countries, with advanced technology, would violate our air space and our coastal territorial rights–with air and marine surveillance and WMD delivery systems…..

      My satire is to point how dangerous a hands-off foreign policy can sometimes be.

      Doesn’t mean the US has the right to extend itself all over the world–and get into illegal and maybe immoral wars–but it does mean that sometimes we will have to act against foreign aggression to protect ourselves.

      [Question is, when and how]

      But, ultimately, I think that Ron Paul would be a disaster
      –unless you’re a clueless pacifist, who doesn’t understand the Art of Self-Defense. 

      • Peter

        Just false hot air. Ron Paul is PRO-DEFENSE, Anti-interventionist/adventuristic/imperialistic militarism.

        Real Progressives and Peace lovers are turning to Paul’s message.

        • brettearle

          You think that Paul would have voted for RFK’s [it was he who thought of it] Cuban-Missile Crisis quarantine?

          I seriously doubt it.

          Paul thinks that the only way that our country responds to international crises is if Hitler returns and tries to decimate other people and other countries. 

      • JohnnyBBad

        If Ron Paul were to become president and further deregulate the financial industry and other segments of business, we would experience a series of bubbles and busts that make The Reagan/Clinton/Bush financial disaster seem like the good old days. What don’t you people understand about the fact that the deregulation of the banking industry brought about our present financial ills — not over regulation, not over taxation but the very policies that Ron Paul would further. Solutions from the 19th century will not work in a world were financial markets can be thrown into chaos in nanoseconds by massive programmed trading, and other insider unregulated manipulation of capital.

  • SteveV

    Back in the 60′s to 70′s I was a police officer and spent more time bringing kids home (for various small offenses) than writing tickets and taking people to court. Then things changed. We were told to write more tickets, to show we were working and not loafing.  Also, people changed. Instead of co-operation (from the parents) we were met with “why are you picking on my kid?”. Our response was to stop taking kids home and just write tickets. “Let the courts deal with this” became our motto. We represented government and government had lost the trust of the people.

    • Anonymous

      Parents’ circling of the wagons is more and more common–because they believe (wrongly or rightly) that one bad mark on their child, these days, can ruin their reputations and their lives, for years to come.

    • Drew You Too

      “Instead of co-operation (from the parents) we were met with “why are you picking on my kid?”. ”

      Injustifiable Outrage: The New American Pastime.

  • cb in Auburn, AL

    How much of this problem depends upon the size of the community? I live in a medium sized town (actually two towns side by side, one with an industrial history that other with a major university). The university partners with the community to bring in light industry and tech companies. That helps employment and schools. Churches are healthy as are organizations like Rotary and other volunteer groups. Also, we have great leadership at our community hospital, which creates jobs as it grows and a great sense of community for employees.

    • Anonymous

      Sounds like Tom’s guests should visit your town and write a sequel?

      Can they bottle their success and sell it across the Fruited Grain?

      Who’s in charge there?

      Let’s have him/her run for higher office! 

  • John in Amherst

    Faith is not lost so much as it is misplaced.  We trust in politicians
    to look out for us while allowing the system by which they are elected
    to be dominated by money rather than ideas.  We trust banks not to screw
    us while deregulating them and revering the acquisition of money &
    material goods above all else.  We expect a spiritual god to look out
    for our material needs.  We expect our faith in various institutions to
    guard us and keep us safe while not tending to the details?  Surprise,
    surprise…. it doesn’t work like that.

    • Anonymous

      To which details are institutions not tending to?

      Please be more specific.

      The only way through this is the right attitude, with the right ideas.

      • John in Amherst

         Institutions do not have to tend to details – individuals do.  e.g.: In the US, we pay lip service to our being a great democracy.  Yet it is rare for half of those eligible to actually vote, and most people, when they do so, base their decisions on flashy sound bite ads paid for by oceans of cash rather than taking the time and effort to listen to reasoned debate and careful analyze politicians’ positions and how well their positions & goals fit in the real world.  Ergo, we actually have rule by lobbyists – that’s the way the system has been designed, the way voters allow it to continue.  We have lost faith in the electoral process and politicians because we have misplaced our faith in a process that has evolved into a war of advertizing rather than ideas.  We can’t expect a change in the outcome until we all step up and change the process. 

      • John in Amherst

        Our “loss of faith” in institutions tracks a rise in our indolence and whining and a decline in our active involvement.  see below…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wes-Nickerson/100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    Don’t be fooled by the people who preach the politics of fear. Be brave and stand up for what you believe in. This is what the Occupy movement is about. This is what the environmental movement is about. This is what the Green Party stands for.

    “In place of the politics of fear, we are bringing the politics of courage.” – Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate.
     

    • Anonymous

      I don’t like the Tea Party one bit.

      But the Tea Party ALSO feels that it is brave and is standing up for what IT believes in. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1813966474 James Hamar

    Ok here it is in the USA we have told people to follow instead of lead.. So now we have nothing but alot of followers and very few leaders.. You can ask most people in the US they feel like there’s nothing they can do about our goverment and the way it is run. We have become people that feel out of hope. We are lied to over and over or told half truth’s by our people of power. Corp’s, Bank’s and everything else is no long in it for the people but only the money. There is a way to fix it but it’s going to take a spring cleaning of the way we think, work, and lead.. But i feel that who we have in all office’s of goverment isnt the way. because they are alot of the problems. It doesnt say that you have to be a lawer to run for office or have corp’s in your back pocket. But it’s now the normal we dont think that people with out law degrees or money can fix anything.. thinking out side the box is what we need.. new ways of dealing with old issuse’s.. nothing is going to change until we the people change..

    • Anonymous

      Be MORE specific!

      YOU think out of the Box.

      How do we do it?

      I, personally, am not sure there’s an answer. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    “Beaten up.” I believe that is how many formerly enfranchised Americans feel. The big guys ( money worshippers ) have used carrot-on-a-stick methods for decades, now, and have failed to allow most folks even a nibble, no matter how much interest is paid or for how long. “No one is an island”. We have forgotten this, one American at a time.

  • Peter

    We can have increasingly Soviet-like decay, or embrace the Liberty values again that made this country great, and its people proud as individuals, and not self-loathing, paranoid and paralyzed by fear.

    • Anonymous

      How?

      Without offering a solution, you’re implying it’s simple.

      • Peter

        How? Re-examine and understand the historical facts and observations that led the founders to set up our Constitutional, limited government system, and really understand it mechanistically to appreciated it again.

        Unfortunately talking about the founders or the Constitution these days is a dirty word, spoken by reactionaries who don’t even understand it, and want to replace it with vague, utopian, discretionary rule, that will end with bankruptcy and/or tyranny, as our founders well knew.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Weiss/100000817744695 Jeff Weiss

    There are several people blaming Johnny for his situation – that he bought something he could not afford. I would like to point out that a $627 payment on a zero down loan means the interest rate is over 17% on a 20 year loan or over 12% on a 10 year loan. Both are usuary rates. He was taken advantage of by Citi bank.

    • Peter

      The greed and delusion is everywhere, blaming only some of the actors will get us nowhere.

      Its the Central Bank funny money that is keeping us all deluded, and the finance crowds pockets full.

      By sober choice, or inevitable catastrophe, we will once again learn how to live within our means.

      Work (for real things; fuel, food, housing), Save, and bring accountability to corrupt financial class. Too old fashioned?

      • Drew You Too

        “By sober choice, or inevitable catastrophe, we will once again learn how to live within our means.”

        We won’t once again learn to live within our means. We won’t be educated, we will be FORCED. In my opinion we’re already pretty deep in the next bubble cycle. Get your wet suits on people, if you think the s___ has been deep thus far you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    • Anonymous

      It’s a good point–and that point, it seems to me, has major implications for the relationship of Government to Financial Institutions and their relationship to private citizens.

      The 2007 collapse can be a fertile research ground–to some degree–for how our country has lost its ability to understand what’s going wrong.

  • Denise

    What I heard all through this discussion was how the institutions and goverenments have failed to do for us. What I did not hear was the idea that WE are the government and participation is what makes it work FOR US.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, but what if the dysfunction and uncivil discourse and uncompromise have become so bad–that they can’t be fixed?

      Know what could happen in that case?

    • Anonymous

      WE can’t really participate, because WE do not have boat loads of cash to foist upon our candidate of choice.

      • Samuel Walworth

        The deep lying problem is that most Americans pay very very less attention to the Current Events in the country, thanks to the information flood by the media (No I am not blaming the media companies at all, they are here to make a buck, and good for them.)

        However due to that, most of us vote just hearing/watching the 2 minute Super PAC ads whic are mostly the twisted and turned truth about each others.

  • Brett

    In listening to his victory laps, as it were, after yesterday’s primaries, Romney’s trying really hard to push back from being “severely conservative”  already. I, for one, don’t really want to see what would happen if he were to take his mask completely off. At the least he’ll create gridlock among members from the different factions of his own party.

    He was trying to sound cool the other day and said he loved Hip Hop… of course, he called it “Hippity Hop” ?!?!

    P.S.-This seems like a “what’s your beef?” kind of topic 

    • Anonymous

      Remember “Sammy Sousser”  and “Manny Ortiz” 

  • S-KY

    Dear Tom and Guests,

    This is such a great topic to talk about. 

    Building community, economic vitality, preservation of the unique culture of a place, a healthier environment..all are benefits of supporting independent businesses and organziations. These independent businesses are also the people and places that invest in a place and give back to the community. All of this combats a disenfranchised public.

    In my opinion, it is also a community member’s responsibility to push other members of the community, schools, the local government, etc. to support these independent businesses – great things happen!

    10 Reasons to buy local: http://www.ilsr.org/why-support-locally-owned-businesses/

    Sincerely,A charmed and engaged community memberP.S. I am involved with an Independent Business Alliance (IBA) in Lexington, KY called Local First Lexington (www.localfirstlexington.com).The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (http://www.ilsr.org) and AMIBA (http://www.amiba.net/) are excellent resources for researching the positive impacts of supporting independent businesses and starting an IBA in your community.

  • Brett

    Romney is already sounding like he’s trying to push back on his being “severely conservative,” now that he’s the presumptive nominee that is. If he were to take his mask off altogether, what would that look like? Gridlock even among the various factions of his own Party?

    He said he was a huge fan of Hip Hop the other day…of course, he called it “Hippity Hop”?!?!?

    P.S.-This sounds like a “what’s your beef?” topic, if that’s a topic. 

  • Proser56

    It’s difficult to understand why folks feel the government is completely responsible for their disillusion. Such people often defend the practices of unbridled capitalism but then look to the government for solutions when it is capitalism itself has caused its problems! The reasons factories close down in one area is that workers can be paid less in another area of the country, or in another country. Industries regard the “freedom” stressed in the Declaration of Independence as freedom to make as much money as possible while exploiting as much as they can those to work for them, and then simply dispense with them. This is called the “profit motive”. It is the profit motive and the profit motive alone that moves industry in this country,AND NOTHING ELSE. This is the result of a distorted notion of what Freedom means. It does NOT mean that people are allowed to make ridiculous and outrageous sums of money at the expense of society as a whole. It is this “profit motive, aka unbridled greed, that causes the financial ups and downs in our country and which causes, through lobbies, payoffs, and huge political contributions, the distortions we find in our political system and our government. To change our disillusion, each person must give up the totally false notion, that he or she is specially chosen to someday be a billionaire, if only. . . . and put  the proper controls on enterprise so that it supports everyone.

  • Thomas Schwartz44

    BSU and Ivy Tech both got short shrift on the program. They both have great outreach programs throughout the community and adjust curricula to meet needs in job opportunities. New hotel proposed in newspaper today to revitalize the Village.

  • AndyF

    Communism did not die of a theoretical flaw, it died because those who implemented it, skewed it until it became an unworkable and declining proposition.

    Capitalism is the EXACT same thing in this country.  This is NOT the idea as it was once formed – we have bastardized it and stood by while so many abused it, and continue to do so.

    The core problem with our system, as it was with the former Soviet Union is that the people ‘gaming’ the system are the ones in power, so they have NO desire to change the game.

    The end result is that we are, and have been doomed for many decades.  Americans dont believe it of course, and ignorance and stupidity is of course, bliss – but now we are beginning to slowly understand that this great American experiment can fail – and if we can keep going as we are, we will see that total failure.

    • Gregg

      Do you believe Communism can succeed if implemented correctly? Allen West warned me about you.

      • Samuel Walworth

        Well if the Bible is true, then Communism almost came from The Holy Bible.

        Not that I am a fan of Communism as I have had seen.

      • Ray in VT

        Probably not.  I think that as a theory it is workable, but people are highly flawed, so it won’t fly in the real world.  Some will always try to take advantage and mooch while letting others work.  It is just the way that we are.  If men were angels then it could probably work.

        • Drew You Too

          “If men were angels then it could probably work.”

          But men ARE Angels! Everytime the Stock Bell rings an Angel gets their wings. lol

          Seriously though, if men were Angels then Capitalism and Free Market Trade could probably work.

      • Anonymous

        You better hide from those progressive democrats Allen West is falsely accusing of being Communist.
        Do really believe in that nonsense?

        • Brett

          You figured out who this is quickly, right?  One can change a name just not their stripes. 

          • Gregg

            I changed it to say something nice to someone without my name (poison around here) getting in the way and detracting from what I felt was a beautiful, well-needed comment. Sue me. I’ll continue to call them as I see them but I will refrain from the cute tricks. I’m not good at it.

            The above was a mistake, apologies. Really. I certainly claim the question. Hopefully, someone will actually answer it. It seems to me that is what AndyF was saying.

    • Samuel Walworth

      We forget to implement the Nash Theorum whenever we implement Capitalism in our country.

      Capitalism was the force behind the former Colonization of the countries under British Empire and the same pseudo Capitalism made many many Irish lose their dear lives and were kicked out of their homes during the infamous Potato Famine

    • Peter

      We are now in the political generation of Neocommunists.

      • Ray in VT

        Please define for me neocommunism and who you think is pushing it.

        • Peter

          All the anti-liberty, anti-market, anti-rule of law sentiments around here that are too timid to come out and state what is left in the vacuum.

    • Anonymous

      Great Points.

      But no one wants to say, `Revolution’.

      And neither do I, necessarily.

      But short of that, how do we make citizens not just understand, what you say above, but get them to figure how to REVERSE it?

      Not sure there’s a real answer.

      Sometimes Systems and Institutions can become so corrupt and dysfunctional that they get worse and worse and become Weimar Republics.

      People who speak like a so-called, “Voice of Doom”, as in part of my comment, here, are branded as alarmists and get marginalized as fabulists.

      Why?

      BECAUSE NO ONE WISHES TO THINK THE UNTHINKABLE. 

      One way to stop the unthinkable is to recognize it as a POSSIBILITY.

      • JamesK

        Merely bringing the thieves to justice is a revolutionary act when the thieves are in power.
        And I am not talking political power, those are the third tier thieves. The real thieves are those few people that have the rest of us convinced that they own half. It is interesting that in the PBS special on Wall Street, it was Exxon that contrived the first Credit Default Swaps. You know one of the Rockafeller shops.

  • TomK in Boston

    The deceptive rhetoric of the right is truly amazing. To listen to Etcha, President Obama wants a socialist state where everyone is equal regardless of their efforts and talents, and gvt does everything. What nonsense! In the 50s and 60s the top tax rate was 90% and strong government regulation and big projects like the interstates, and there was also inequality, winners and losers, jobs were created like crazy, new tech was being developed like crazy, there were plenty of rich people. It’s just a matter of degree. There’s more than one version of capitalism. Once a CEO made 50x a worker salary, now it’s more like 600x. Now the top 1% have 20% of the income, then it was less than 10%. Then we had great cheap public education, now we don’t.  Then we were capitalists fighting the commies in the cold war, now the right says our former policies are socialism. Why? They worked a hell of a lot better than the current voodoo econ.

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

      Watch the PBS Documentary film Power, Money and Wall Street.

    • Anonymous

      Well put Tom

  • Bob Kain

    The United States became the leading industrial power of the world by default at the end of WW II. We seized the advantage, made our former enemies into trading partners out of the ashes of defeat and made our economy the envy of all (except the Soviet Union). However, our prosperity made us complacent. We have become so accustomed to believing that America was/is better that we have failed to recognize that prosperity is the result of hard work and not guaranteed. The Detroit auto industry is an embarrassing example of the consequences of losing our competitive edge, and Vietnam was an example of losing our way and lying about it. Greed on Wall Street is ok if everybody gets to play by the same rules.  Americans must confront challenge in the same way hungry Europeans and Asians did folowing WW II. Working harder and smarter is a good rule for all to follow. Restoring faith in our institutions can begin with a thorough housecleaning to eliminate corruption, immorality, ineffective politicians and a cumbersome tax system that makes lobbyists votes count more than an average citizen.   

    • Anonymous

      Thorough Housecleanings are much, much more easier said than done.

      HOW are you going to orchestrate a Thorough Housecleaning?

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

      Actually it was Germany was the leading industrial power in those times and also in Science and Technology

      America was like China back then a leading manufacturer of products not for the consumer but for the war.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Wrong. The US became the pre-eminent world power after WWI. You are off by 25 years.

    • Cammy4

      I won’t hold my breath while your fantasy collides with reality.

  • Brett

    The Koch Brothers: undermining democracy one million dollars at a time

    • Anonymous

      Don’t forget their Fouding Father:

      T Boone Pickens

  • Anonymous

    When the things you have been taught or learned, comes out to be a lie. When what you worked your whole life for is gone due to believing in what you were told or though you knew, you loose more than just Faith. And you gain pessimism and distrust in just about everything.

    • Brett

      I hear you. The only we thing we can do as individuals is NOT become pessimistic, jaded or cynical. Certain things no one can take away from us, except those things we take away from ourselves. 

      • NameNotPoison

        Very well said and very much true.  

        • Brett

          Thank you, Gregg.

      • Steve__T

         Please, list a few of those certain things no one can take from me. Love of and for Life, sunrise and sunset is just about all I have left.

        • Brett

          Hi, Steve. I hope I didn’t sound self-righteous in my earlier reply. In a sense, I was reminding myself as much as pointing something out to you. 

          Love of life and for life…well, those are pretty big ones. They can sustain any of us in these times which seem to be robbing us of our humanity.

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

    $700 Billion TARP for the big banks of Wall Street and to stop another great depression.

    The money saved the American economy and the banks but the 25 million unemployed Americans continue to suffer.

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

    We spit, cursed and degrade Communism but who are we to ridicule China that has been lending us money to save our arrogance.

    • Peter

      Autocratic tyranny is more efficient, and may profit off our greed and shortsightedness, but it doesn’t make it right.

      I’ll take freedom and mistakes and chance to correct them over a comfortable tyranny any day.

  • Anonymous

    Well said Bob

  • Markus

    Interesting question. To personalize it, why do I much less trust  institutions than I used to?

    I don’t trust financial institutions cause I see it’s an insider’s game. Geitner, a tax cheat, came from there and is now regulating them. CEOs making outrageous amounts because it’s a club where they sit on each other’s boards and vote themselves the money.
    Schools cause I’ve seen how difficult it is to fire the incompetent.
    Cops, cause I’ve read about their fake disabilities and seen for myself how they game the system.
    Scientists cause their research correlates with who pays for it or them.
    And on and on.

    I think my cynicism may come from reading, watching and listening to both sides.

    If you’re progressive and stay in that bubble, you see a Koch brother or Fox news behind everything that’s bad. If conservative, you see Soros or MSNBC in those spots.  If you consume both sides, you’re told of the bad on both sides. It can be kind of depressing.

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

      Geitner is a genius and Bernanke. We won’t be here on On Point posting comments if they didn’t do anything to save us from another Great Depression.

      Bing cynical is not what you heard from both side it is your perspectives of our world.

      for me whatever I see and hear it is my own decision to believe them or not

  • Anonymous

    Throughout the country we learn of factories and business closing, and some moving there operations oversees. These factories once created towns throughout America; each town with its unique character  and place. Now there desolate,…. abandoned. What a shame. America could and can revitalize its small towns and cities. The question is not if we can but how much we want to.

  • Jim McCracken

    When are we going to start talking about the fact that our economy, based on building and selling planned obsolescent goods, is not sustaiinable in the long run.  We cannot continue to provide jobs for the majority of people just to make more junk which enriches few, and pollutes the earth.  You can’t blame it all on the government….it is a collective mind change we need…we can do it but it is a radical shift which I am afraid our greed will not allow.  Stop complaining – in nothing we trust! gimme a break! 

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

      right on the money.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Based on the Chinese building the industrial products. A sure path to decline and fall.

  • U.S. Vet.

    You can’t deny it,

    the country is far worse off, in every conceivable way, since Obama became President.

    • Brett

      What metrics are you using? Emotion isn’t a way to measure performance no matter what one thinks of the man. Perhaps we were/are at a time in history when we needed/need a great president who can transcend an average paradigm, and we’ve gotten an ineffectual one who hasn’t/won’t rise to such greatness; that might be an arguable point…I suspect that isn’t what you’re going for, though. You appear to be another ideological troll with nothing to say.

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

      He did a lot for 3 1/2 years but the Republicans keep on delaying the progress that Obama is doing for the country.  When the economy started to collapse in 2006 under the Bush Admininstration. Obama knew what was going on but cannot do anything for he was still a presidential candidate.

      History will explain everything if you only look on both sides.

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

        Signed the American Job Act and Affordable Health Care for America Act.

        The most vital Acts President Obama signed for the American people. These Act has not been fully implemented yet but thousands of constructions workers are now working and Universal Healthcare that is helping a lot of Physicians billing reimbursements.

    • Brwstac

      You gotta be kiddin’. The stock market tanked during W’s reign. And let not forget two wars and tax cuts–none paid for. If anything, Obama hasn’t done enough to help the middle class. Everybody is bought off in the state capitals and federal government.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      HOGWASH. Obama inherited the FOLLY of Georg Bush.

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

        Your Facts are Wrong. He inherited Bush’s economic plunder. Why can’t you see the truth?
        Even the rest of the world knows who destroyed the American economy even the fisherman in the island of Leyte knows that President Bush who didn’t do anything to stop the great recession.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          Bad drugs eh?  Please carefully read what I posted…..

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Easy, please, Jason.  MOST of us mis-read things at times?

    • ana

      Actually, there are large segments that are doing very well.  We do not hear about them and they are not the super rich.  I know three people unemployed.
      Six new houses have been built within a mile of my house  in the last one year, priced in the 600,000 and all but one have sold.
      Huge SUV’s  are not uncommon.  The restaurents are crowded
      I live in  a moderately wealthy suburban MA town and surrounding towns are near as well off.
      These are managers, MD’s, lawyers, plumbers, contractors,
      Teachers and nurses’  live in lower priced homes, but are not struggling like in other part of the country.
      I wish for all such a level of security.
       

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

        Massachusetts Economy is totally different from the rest of America.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Tennessee is picking up, some.  So are other parts of the country, that I have talked to someone from.
             Certainly NOT as fast as ‘W’ admin. CRASHED it.

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

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGC4MuFrp2s&feature=related

      Do you remember this speech? Who was the President when the economy collapsed?

      • U.S. Vet.

        Did I ever say I was a Bush supporter?  No.

        Bush was a lousy President.  Obama is completely incompetent and in way over his head.

        • JamieNeer34

          I would say Obama  was spoken to when he won the presidency. I would say it probably went something like. “You know who brung you here, and we expect to dance. We would like to see you serve out your term with out incident for you or your family.”

        • Terry Tree Tree

          As a Vet, don’t you get a great urge to vomit, when ‘W’, the self-admitted AWOL said ANYTHING about others’ patriotism?
             Drunk, when supposed to be on duty?
             What would have happened to you, me, or almost ANY service-member?
             OVER 15 MINUTES, to ‘decide’ that if the country is under attack, he needed to be somewhere besides being read to?
             CLAIMING millitary service, to get public office, should be a felony!

  • Keith er

    The “untold story” might well be that we’ve lost faith in ourselves. As Dubya put it, “we’re addicts, addicted to oil.” (or some such) Thus BP and other oil companies will continue to keep supplies to “fix” our addiction. Thus the life-bloods of our planet, the oceans and the air, will continue to worsen as innocents, dolphins, etc., get killed. You can talk about banks, churches, politicians, but as a people we don’t want to change our ways. The U.S. doesn’t need a saviour it needs repentence.

  • bB

    So according to most of the commenters here, it’s all the fault of Republicans.  And yet, the Democrats have been in charge for most of the post WWII era.  And many of the worst-failing states and cities are Democrat bastions. 

    And if we look at budgets at the federal, state, and municipal levels over any length of time, we find ever-increasing spending.  The reality is that government is bigger than ever, consumes a greater share of the economy than ever, has more people employed than ever, and yet accomplishes less than ever.  Note also that this supposed deterioration has happened since the New Deal and Great Society programs.  But go on and keep blaming Republicans.  It’s clear that none of you realize how good you have it compared to previous generations. 

    What I see is a nation of whiners who want to find someone to blame for their own failures. 

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

      Democrats was in charge but never screw up the American economy.

      Remember President Herbert Clark Hoover? He was the president during the collapse of Wall Street in 1939.

      He was a Republican.

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

        And history repeated itself in 2006 under the Bush administration another Republican.

        • Peter

          Look up the Community Reinvestment Act, and at the revolving door Wall St cronies that Clinton treated us to, that helped fuel the corrupt debt bubble.  Their is PLENTY of blame to go around.

          D-R partisans are boring.

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

            Actually both Parties are to blame.

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

            Clinton had a BUDGET SURPLUS but your beloved Bush spent it all.

          • nj_v2

            Almost as boring as Libertarian fantasies.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Yes, there is plenty of blame for each party, but the Republicans have made a HUGE mess, and blame it on Democrats!
               Democrats have problems, too.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        Your facts are wrong. It was 1929, when Black Friday occurred. The problem was made worse by Hoover and the Republicans…making poor decisions and doing exactly the WRONG thing in the immediate aftermath of the market collapse.

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

          I meant 1929 my bad.

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

          My facts are right just the year. This would be your second to tell me that my facts are wrong.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            Today I am a corrector of incorrect facts. Just as George Bush was the “decider”…..

          • Terry Tree Tree

            FAX, You DO make mistakes.  MOST of us do!  Please take it a little less personal, when you are corrected? 
                MANY of us know you came here from the Phillipines (?), and you had to study more U.S. History, to pass your citizenship test, than many of my fellow natural born citizens know.
                When you are corrected about a mistake, please, just thank them  for correcting you, and go on. 
               You get riled up at the wrong people, a lot. 
                If someone is lying about you, or making disgusting conclusions about you, like Moda did to me, MANY times, feel free to straighten them out!! 

    • Peter

      Reality means nothing to utopians and communists. Tempting to confiscate all wealth from all productive people, give it all to Washington, and let us see and suffer the consequences once and for all instead of this death by a hundred cuts….

    • URAtoadyClown

      Here go the ignorant dupes again, falling for the Punch and Judy show. Tell me ignorant dupes, can you really be so stupid that you cannot perceive that there is only one party and it’s name is Big Money. That it keeps the ignorant dupes divided and conquered by any kind of cheap dualistic trick and red herring they can come up with. Or are you actually paid by such parties to keep their adversaries divided and make sure they never focus on what is really happening with the concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands?

  • Gregg
    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Propaganda and lies. I bet you are a Flat Earther too, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/daryn.guarino Daryn Guarino

    Putting the partisan politics aside, the actual problem is pretty simple to identify.  The less intelligent outnumber the more intelligent.  The intelligent require facts while the ignorant are led astray with sound bites.  And sound bites are easier and cheaper than providing real information.  The less intelligent are legion and are easily led to support policies and politicians that work against their best interests.

    In layman’s terms, “I graduated Magna Cum Laude from my MIT class, why is a high school dropout’s vote worth as much as mine?”  An elitist viewpoint?  Possibly.  But how many civilizations were ever led to peace and prosperity by the less than intelligent?If we made voters take a test, the exact same citizenship test that we demand from immigrants seeking American citizenship, BEFORE they are allowed to vote each time, we might get more educated voters and be able to stem the tide of ignorance that threatens to undermine the dream that was America.

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

      I took the test and it was hard.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      In addition to your comment, I would add:

      Make voting mandatory, and a refresher on American Government…just for a few hours…every 10 years. Eliminate private and corporate money from the elections,repeal Citizens United and institute public financing of federal elections with a specific time to campaign…say 3 months prior to the election, BAN all lobbyists from DC and the Nation, stop the revolving door from/to government/industry, smash the MIC.

    • Peter

      The founders were well aware of tyranny of the masses problems. As they were tyranny of other powers. We should reconnect with that wisdom and breath fresh breath back into our Constitutional Rule of Law Society, and I think we’d be surprised with the results.

      • nj_v2

        ^ He’s as persistent and numbingly repetitive as Leather Dave. Style is slightly different, though.

    • SylinglingtonGate2

      The high school drop-out may be more informed and intelligent than you are. Although I do agree with your point. I disagree with the superficial stereotypes you invoke to support it. The people are just too dumb to rule themselves directly, they are prey to all kinds of unconscious whims just like everyone else, no matter the level of their education. The only way that a real democracy has any possibility of being a viable form of government is if the voting public are only given proven facts as news, no opinion, no spin, then the same dynamic may take place that does when you guess the number of beans in a large urn at the state fair. Then the average of all the guesses will tend to be more accurate than any individual guess. But this emergent effect will not occur with the kind of absolute slop that is served as news by Fox and friends or other new sources owned by vested interests — like almost all of them, certainly all of the major concerns.

    • TomHagan

      As it happens, I graduated from MIT.  And MIT graduates, almost all of them, including “Nobel Laureates” like Paul Krugman (there is no Nobel Prize for Economics), believe that “debt can’t make any difference, because, after all it’s just money we owe to ourselves.”  That’s what’s taught at MIT. 

      And it is total nonsense.  Debt DOES make a difference. Least important is Federal debt, which is all we hear about. (Why do we have any federal debt anyway?  As Edison said, any government that can print interest-bearing bonds can print non-interest bearing Greenbacks. And they would be even less inflationary.)

      What really counts is what we never hear about, the OTHER $100K per capita of debt in the US.  Debtors must service their debt, and the interest they pay they can neither consume nor invest. 

      So how high can debt go?  Why is private debt “good”, never mentioned, public (Federal) debt “bad”? 

      Total debt per capita is an astronomical $150K.  Human prductivity is rising at record rates.  Inequality rises even faster.  People are out of work. 

      What is going on? Believe it or not, MIT knows. 

      See “The Race against the Machine”, by two MIT professors. It’s the best exposition I have seen as to how robotics (MIT’s forte) causes unemployment. As in Muncie.

      The fiancial collapse was caused by insufficient demand.  Robots don’t buy toaster ovens. 

        

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

    iOnePoint:

    The summer of 2012 is almost here. It will be a hot summer for all of us for SARS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu and Mad cow disease are now back to continue to dominate our lives in 2012.

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

    iOnePoint:

    Has the prediction said President Obama will have another term but a new Nation under contructions.

  • Ken

    The industrial jobs are gone and the agricultural jobs are few.  I do not see how our Washington policiticians can reverse these trends.  Without the male half of our population being largely involved in producing wealth we have a problem.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

    The system of government sets the standards for the rest of the society…in general. Our system of government is completely broken. Congress is a wholly owned subsidary of corporate money and interests. Nothing positive can be done until the cancer of corporate influcence, and its corrupt stooges, known as lobbyists, are removed from the system. Repeal Citizens United, close the revolving door, mandatory voting of citizens, term limits in the Congress, strict regulation of Wall Street, public funding of elections, limited time to campaign, honest redistricting, smash the MIC and force the Pentagon to reduce itself to a reasonalbe size, enact Simpson-Bowles recommendations.  That is a good start..but will never happen. Corporate power will never be given up voluntarily, and must be taken by force.

  • Drew You Too

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

      …- – - …

      • Drew You Too

        lol

        I placed a reply to an earlier comment and Disqus in it’s infinite wisdom chose to post it as a comment instead of a reply. I’ve got a comment coming but I’m still trying to read everyone’s comments from today’s show.

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

          i thought you posted a morse codes

          • Drew You Too

            lmao, thanks for making me laugh!

            :’)

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        … — …  = SOS, the new National Motto of the USA.

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

    iOnePoint:

    Remember this Historical moment in US History.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP7GYSr2dQQ

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

      Teach this in school and remember the FACTS

    • O’Sullivan

      just lost my lunch dude! awful…. awful stuff. 

  • marygrav

    As Americans we had better figure a way out of this morass.  We have to realize that our problem is not the American worker, but the American Congress and the Right-wing Supreme Court that makes it impossible for good ordinary people to run for office.

    Citizens United helped none but the top 1%, leaving the 99% feeling hopeless and helpless.  Money it seems can buy anything in America including God himself, if you believe in the rhetoric of Santorum and the Religious Right.

    The Tea Party supposedly “grass” roots are rooted in the hip pockets of the Koch Brothers and other oligarchies making the US look more like Russia than the Founders’ dream.  The Tea Party would be alright if at least one of them had studied political science or even knew what is in the Constitution.  Poltics is about compromise that is what the name means.  But these people behave more like neofascist than democrats or republicans.

    America is beginning to look more like Russia before the Revolution as the Right drives politics more into the favor of the rich over the poor.  We the people are not helpless and are willing to stand our ground if we feel we have nothing to lose but our chains which bind US to capitalism.

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

      Russia is a totally different cultures and Politics.

      The Russion people helped the Bolsheviks revolution
      they wanted to change from Monarchy to Socialism it was the Russian people choice to have the hammer and sickel.

      You can never compare to countries because both countries has its historical facts to changed.

      • O’Sullivan

        I’m not sure what societal differences has to do with this. As I mention above, what is going on appears to be global, irrespective of the usual considerations (religion etc). Sure, the consequences may manifest in cultural ways but the cause appears to be more general.

      • Jhwilhelm

         Your statement that the Russian people helped
        the Bolsheviks is factually incorrect in my judgment.  They elected a constituent assembly
        in 1918 in which with only 11% of the vote went
        to the Bolsheviks who got only 24% of the
        representation in the assembly–surely a reflection
        of the misfunction of the voting system.  If you
        want to know how the Bolsheviks prevailed
        start with Emma Goldman’s My Disillusionment
        in Russia and read David Shub’s Lenin.  Two good
        books are Heller and Nekrich Utopia in Power and
        Richard Pipes The Russian Revolution.  Both
        Pipes The Unknown Lenin and Volkogonov Lenin
        substantiate Shub’s picture of Lenin which many
        in our academic community failed to appreciate.
        Lenin forcibly closed down the Assembly because
        he lacked support in it and imposed Bolshevik
        rule by sheer terror.  I can tell you some of
        the stories I know.

                                     John in Ann Arbor,
                                     Chair, Russia With
                                     Love
             
                                      734/477-9942

    • Drew You Too

      “Money it seems can buy anything in America including God himself”

      But all the Prosperity Pastors say that God wants us too be wealthy, to have mansions, to drive Cadillacs, to have lots of things. Certainly they can’t be mistaken…

      Apologies for the sarcasm, couldn’t resist.

    • http://twitter.com/drphilxr Philip Kousoubris

      Your points are all well made, and segue into something said a long time ago : “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” (B. Mussolini and G. Gentile, ‘The Doctrine of Fascism.’)

    • Mfcarr

      “Money it seems can buy anything in America”

      It certainly seems to buy Wall Street bankers a free get out of jail card even when evidence of their fraud and embezzlement from investors is right out there in the open for everyone to see. 

      Some people in this country are above justice, I guess.   Jon Corzine is but the most recent example.  Why hasn’t he been charged yet?

      “Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king”

      -Bob Dylan

  • O’Sullivan

    My feeling is that this is not exclusively an American phenomenon. Look at my home country of Ireland (catholic church, banks, government all are corrupt), the recent swing elections in Italy, France, Finland and fixed elections in Russia. The pervasive corruption and crony capitalism in Europe, USA, China and Africa etc…. The massive under-25 unemployment in Spain…. the Arab Spring….. People everywhere are feeling disenfranchised. The crucial thing is that no one is taking responsibility within the populus nor within the institutions (except for the Arab Spring).

    • Drew You Too

      Couldn’t have anything to do with the Globalization of what fundamentally is a Free Market mentality could it?

      • O’Sullivan

        Sure and when the free market needs to adjust, as in 2008, it should be allowed do so. 

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          Problem is, we do not have free markets….lost that long ago.

        • HinmannGuist178

          You obviously have no idea how the “free market” and it’s deregulation
          caused this problem to begin with. Even Greenspan admitted he was wrong
          and really didn’t know what he was doing, it’s time for the true
          believers in “the market” to understand that deregulated markets amount
          to nothing but a series of bubbles that benefit a few at the expense of
          everyone else. “The market needed to adjust” This statement speaks volumes as to the depth of your ignorance about just what would have occurred.

          • O’Sullivan

            no!! you misunderstand what I mean. essentially I agree with you. The adjustment that I speak of is to the rampant deregulation and risky bets made. The adjustment would have been to normalize and accept the losses. But what happened was that, to quote Pres. Bush at the time, “We must suspend the rules of the free market to save the free market” and no losses were taken by the risk takers (banks, hedge funds etc).

            RE: “This statement speaks volumes as to the depth of your ignorance about just what would have occurred”. 

            First, be nice!! Second, I think not actually. Maybe you should think about what I said. Maybe it was a little too abstract or oblique for you.

          • Khj-IJN

            Yeah, things would have been real “oblique” when the teller machines stopped working the next morning and three days later the shelves were empty.

          • Osullivan

            you didn’t read what I said.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Banksters got $MILLIONS in BONE-USes!

  • Brett

    Our most important voting exercises aren’t really done at the polls anymore, they’re where and how we spend our money. 

    Once upon a time (I suppose) the Electoral College addressed a certain incongruence in populations throughout the country and apportioned a representational reflection of those populations in Congress; this made some attempt to balance things out. I don’t feel as though we need such a system anymore. This, and the ways in which gerrymandering has been manipulated in modern times, renders elections less a true representation of the People, as it were, in my opinion.

    I wish we could organize mass boycotts of certain corporations on any given day…I know that is just dreaming, though. People don’t like to stick together for too long when it comes to boycotts, and some see it as an intrusion into their freedoms. I have seen boycotts work. I remember boycotting buying iceburg lettuce in the 1970′s (easy enough, as I never really liked iceburg lettuce anyway). I am convinced organizations from Wal*Mart to Exxon could be brought to their knees with just a few simple strategic “blackouts” periodically imposed on them. You see, they also know how to appease, and could chip away at such activism. It could be rotating, even to boycott one on a given day, and another on another day, could have an effect.       

  • jefe68

    The real question is, how did it come to be that this nation found
    itself with two stark, painful choices, one of which was to wade in and
    commit trillions of dollars to save the financial system, where we still
    end up losing millions of jobs, millions of people lose their homes,
    trillions of dollars of wealth is wiped away, and the other choice is to
    face the risk of total collapse? I mean, that’s the real story. How did
    the policy-makers, our government leaders, the financial sector
    maneuver this country into that kind of corner?

    Phil Angelides was chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/oral-history/financial-crisis/phil-angelides/#

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Yes indeed….I saw the TV show too. A bought Congress and a criminally incompetent (and also bought) Bush administration caused the crash.

      • jefe68

        Alas nothing has changed, nothing. And in that lies the real tragedy in all of this. It’s not over, and I’m thinking we are still in danger of a double dip recession.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          Well said for sure.

        • JaneJanNjoe145

          Truely, everything else is a red herring compared to this, and without real and total campaign finance reform it will never be able to be fixed because it will remain corrupt. Hey, it was even corrupt without the help of the Supreme Court. These jokers live in a bubble. Plus they are part of the crowd that is doing the screwing (or eating) depending on your metaphoric taste, and we are the eaten, or screwed, but looking at the justices I would probably rather have then eat me, at least then I would be dead when their corrupt fingers touched me.

      • KapnCobb33

        Every administration from Reagan on, both dem or rep are criminally responsible for the crash. They gave the NeoCons and other brain-dead scholastics that were promoting the warped views of political and economic power that seeped out of Chicago over the last few decades, what they had been wishing for in the way of deregulation and military adventurism and it crashed the economy and subverted the security of or freedoms. And who do the brilliant Americans turn to as an alternative from this plague of thieves? Why further deregulation of the market of course, via Ron Paul short-sightedness.
        Further deregulation equals bigger and more devastating economic bubbles, with fewer people reaping the rewards and everyone else paying for it. Even if the wealthy do pay most of the income tax it is really money that should belong to the workers who are getting a smaller and smaller piece of the pie as the elite and their cronies and sycophants get ever fatter via their corporate welfare and the coercive behind the scenes manipulation that ensures that they never lose.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          Mostly agree….what’s the deal with the political and economic power from Chicago? Enlighten me please.

          I believe this mess began in ’99 with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.

          • IenKline5

            He’s probably referring to the neocons politically, and Milton Friedman economically. I agree that Friedman is an just another overrated partisan who hoodwinked the credulous into believing he has some mythical authority like Greenspan and Rand. These people are an inside joke — they are insiders and their ideas are a joke.

    • Coilumatwa22

      It’s not a question for anyone who has been paying the least attention over the past forty years. The wall street criminals payed their politician friends to disassemble all the safe guards that were put in place in the banking system since the great depression.  They subverted the integrity of the regulatory agencies that were supposed to police them by infiltrating them with industry insiders in the highest positions, who then naturally pursued their own interests and abandoned the interests of the populous at large. The myth that deregulation is what our economy needs is still believed by millions of people who have been personally devastated by what these people did, yet they continue to support the wealthy politicians who did this to us and who do not give a f*ck about them. Like Chris Hedges said — you do not have a choice, there is no way for you to vote against Goldman Sachs if you vote for a repub or dem or the delusional pea brained Tea party.

      • Zing

         when ya leavin’ ?

  • U.S. Vet.

    Even Obama is doing worse under Obama.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Delusional….  Obama saved us from another Republican created Depression.

      • Zing

         Surely…look at the unemployment numbers

        • Ray in VT

          The job creation numbers are certainly better than they were when he took over.  It takes a while to put out a fire.

          • Zing

             Of course they are; he wants to get  reelected.

          • Ray in VT

            So are you saying that the Department of Labor’s monthly job numbers are being entirely falsified? Late 2008 to early 2009 they were something like -500,000/month and lately they are +200,000.  That’s better by any objective measure.

          • Zing

             Ray, you’re a good man, I’m sure…but you are quoting numbers from a government this segment is telling us we have lost “faith” in…you’re an outsider here.   Just remember…”liars figure and figures lie” 

          • Ray in VT

            I certainly am skeptical of many things, although I do place more trust in the present administration than the previous one.  I recognize that this is due to my own personal biases, but things on the ground where I am are certainly better than they were as the economy crashed in 2008 and 2009.

            Do I doubt things and take much with a grain of salt, sure.  But do I think that I live in some sort of Orwellian hellhole where we have always been at war with Eastasia and a 750,000/month swing in employment numbers are merely a creation of the government, surely not.

          • Zing

             Believe what you wish…and may God bless you with his grace

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            There is NO god.

          • Azra

            . . .and a cynic is a cynic.

            The segment was telling us that Muncie has lost faith in everything. We don’t live in Muncie.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            No, based on your prior comments it must be Obama’s handlers who want him re-elected…and not necessairly Obama himself, right?

          • Zing

             Let me rephrase that, since I don’t believe Obama ever wanted the presidency in the first place…..His handlers are making the job numbers look better. 

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            Who are his handlers?  Based on your comment these unknows are really in control of the Nation, and Obama is a puppet. Prove it.You seem to believe in a lot of unseen “beings”…an unseen God, and “those in control” who are both unseen and unknown…how unusual.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          Guess what they would have been under that dottering old fool McCain.

          • Azra

            I shudder to think. Just like what would happen if Mitt ever became President. He’s threatening those same foolish, disasterous policies, like deregulation, and robbing from the poor to give to the outrageously rich . . . like Mitt himself.

            We all know how THAT turned out.

    • Azra

      What makes you think that? He’s on top of the world. Have you ever seen him, (except after a tragedy), when he was unhappy? He has nothing to be unhappy about. There’s always a smile, chuckle, or witticism, (or all three), just beneath the surface.

  • Dan

    We are never going to become prosperous until the following happens:
    1.Stop all immigration unless the immigrant has money to invest and a skill that is needed
    2.Stop shipping jobs overseas
    3.Stop government borrowing
    4.Return to our frugal roots and patriotism

    The solution is very simple. Just think about being head of a family and your income is reduced. What would you do?
    You certainly would not take in more children(illegals/immigrants flooding country with no $ or skills
    You certainly would not(if you have any sense)start spending more money by taking on more debt
    You certainly would not give away your children’s job to some other family in India or China
    And lastly you would think of ways of reducing expenses and consider buying products your other family members produced to help them out. 

    Until these four things happen America will continue to decline econmically.  

  • Zing

    The whole premise of this segment is misleading.  People don’t lose faith, they abandon faith.  St Paul tells us faith is a gift of God’s grace, and many of us choose to abandon it. 

    On the other hand, having “faith” in human machinations is bound to cause disillusionment and abandonment since all such schemes as government, finance, government, investment, government, employment, government, wealth redistribution are flawed by human reason.

    Is it any wonder?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      The greatest flaw is bringing religion into the discussion. God’s, devils, angels…all myths of the Dark Ages, best to be left where it belongs.

      • Zing

         You’re entitled to your opinion..that’s the beauty of this discussion.

        • O’Sullivan

           but it must be relevant! Right? To be honest, yours is not. 

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            To each his/her own on religion I say, but to me it is all nonsense and has nothing to do with reality, or our present economic situation.  Look at Bush and all of his phony “Christianity”…yet he sent thousands off to die for NOTHING, and he claims to sleep soundly. A just God would at the very least cause this monster to be driven insane for his dirty deeds.

            Is war a “christian” virture?  I think so…  And as I always say:  Does religion make people crazy, or are crazy people drawn to religion??

          • Zing

            My favorite “Christianity” was Bill Clinton’s photo op walking out of church after the Lewinsky story broke holding a Bible under his arm..too rich  

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            Sad that the deaths of thousands of our young people…all for nothing, is not even worth a comment from you. How very “Christian”…how very predictable. It is because of people like you that wars start and those guilty of starting them are never punished.

          • Zing

             How dare you judge me…?  You are complicit in every action of your government…look to your own hands for blood.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            Go pray to your non-existent god for forgiveness.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that the two are hardly comparable, but I’d have to say that my favorite moment has to be something from Pat Robertson.  Either blaming the Haitian earthquake on a deal that they made with the Devil 200 years ago or saying something to the effect that it would be okay to assassinate Chavez so long as the oil kept flowing our way.

          • Zing

             There you go thinkin’ again…glad you agree Clinton is/was a scumbag

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t care for philanderers, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a scumbag.  I think that he’s a better man than some of the holy rollers that the Right holds up.

          • Azra

            Praying for forgiveness and redemption? Trying to make a deal? We’ll never know, but he seems to have achieved inner peace . . . and we were never subjected to hearing him tell us how religious he is. Guess that’s the difference.

          • Zing

             You’re entitled to your opinion…like anuses, we all have ‘em and they all  stink.

          • Osullivan

            Wow. you are really not nice. Keep your head on or maybe it’s up your …….

  • freedomrocks76

    Quality education is the key. Younger generations are being burdened with costs that they cannot handle. Only good education and skills will help them to have a decent life. Citizens will have have if they believe the system is not rigged aginst them

    • Zing

       Exactly!  Which is why we have to repeal tenure laws and let those who really want to teach do so….

      • freedomrocks76

        Bad teachers must be weeded out, however no complaining parent who dislikes a teacher should be able to end a career. Parents do not like to hear that their children are poorly behaved slackers!

      • Media Watcher

        Keep in mind that the media has been playing up an ‘education crisis’ when many believe that this ‘crisis’ is manufactured.  More people are graduating than ever before, the US is performing higher on cross nation evalations.  Follow the money in education.  Multi-nationals who control media (directly, or indirectly through corporate sponsorship) are feeding the media stories of education ‘failure’ in order to support their own agendas of privatizing all or portions of public education.  FOLLOW THE MONEY (Pearson, Gates… the list goes on and on).

        Example #1:  Do you know that 83% of public schools perform as well or better than charter schools (Vanderbilt Study).  Most people don’t because the media (including the far from substantive Waiting for Superman) largely trumpets the victories of Charter schools without highlighting the failures. 

        Example #2:  Do you realize that the nation’s most highly teacher unionized states are also the most successful on NAEP tests?  Massachusetts is in the top ten in the WORLD in education and is one of the most highly unionized?  That Finland, the world’s #1 country in terms of academic achievement is also almost 100% unionized? 

        Is there room for improvement in public education?  Absolutely.  However I’m tired of the one sided hatchet job the media (including NPR) does on the status of education in the US today.  This episode of On Point is just one example-  using technology as a proxy for quality.  Hooser Academy, the online charter school profiled in the National Journal piece is run by K-12-  a for profit education company.  A study by the National Education Policy Center found that only a third of K12’s
        schools achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (as required by NCLB).  I

        I wish NPR and the National Journal would do some substantive reporting on education rather than being the mouthpiece of its corporate benefactors.

  • Warren

    As a 92 year old man,I find the “current crop”, wimpy.I was a teen during the great Depression and we arn’t in a Depression..I spent 4 years in Belgium fighting German and Italian Socialists.I returned unfazed and an optomist.I am self made and financially comfortable.The product of an intact family and superb public education.The Left’s lack of faith in humankind leads them to suckle at the teet of govt..Learn to fend for yourselves,the govt. is broke.You live in the land of oppurtunity,take advantage of this blessing.
          Solutions to our malaise are quite simple.Term Limits!!!As for President Obama,I understand your hesitancy.Who would trust a man who had to sneak into Bostion to pay off his 20 traffic tickets.And NPR shame,shame.You let Ms.Liason rant like Ms.Rosen ,then purge her story.

    • Gregg

      Right on, thank You Warren.

      I like Mara Liason, she should not have been scrubbed from the website but that’s the way NPR rolls. I’m sure most here have no idea what you are referring to.

    • Alan in NH

      Warren: I understand that you have done well and that’s great…but self-made? What about that intact family? Did you make that happen or luck into it? Those superb public schools – did you construct those and hire the excellent teachers or were they there for you when you arrived? Then think about those who are not as fortunate as you’ve been. 

      • Angela MacNamara

        Right on; thank you, Alan.

        • Tim E

          Yeah, the “self-made” myth again–as though he were born in a vacuum.

    • Seth Hall, Waldooro, ME

      Warren, you are confused it appears. Who do you think was responsible for creating and maintaining what provided your “superb education”?

      As Elizabet Warren of Massachusetts likes to point out, people like Romney, etc., did very well, thank you, on the backs of the public investments our government has made over the past century. without that public investment, virtually none of their financial/business success would have been possible!

      Get a grip: smell the coffee!

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         If that is Granny Warren’s claim about Romney’s success then she is clueless.

        • J__o__h__n

          Romney has grandchildren too.  And he is older.  Why belittle an accomplished lawyer and professor as granny?

    • jefe68

      4 years in Belgium fighting German and Italian Socialists.
      I’m not sure what you mean by this, but are you talking about WW2? If so don’t you mean fascist.
      Something fishy about this post.

      • Azra

        . . . and incomprehensible.

      • Brett

        I thought so too. Besides, it sounds nothing more than reactionary “back in my day…” stuff. Times were different then. A high school drop out could get a decent job (albeit a semi-skilled one) at a factory after WWII and earn a middle-class living while racking up one hell of a pension. Medical care’s costs were negligible (not to mention, if he really was in the military, he would have gotten great health care for the rest of his life, often free). The GI Bill for those returning from war made buying a house affordable (often, when buying a new house, the deal might very well have included a new car to boot), as well as enabling an affordable education. Being a veteran meant a shoe-in for a cushy job, no matter a man’s qualifications. On and on. 

        The greatest generation (of which my 86 year old father would be considered a part) had it tough in many respects. My father always goes on about how tough he had it as a kid going through the Depression, and he did. He also went through boot camp in the Marines at Parris Island in 1944, and you’d better believe that would have been tough, too! He was not the “product of an intact family,” whatever point that is trying to emphasize, and his family were not any exception. Broken families were quite common back in those days. 

        But, as an adult, for someone who left school in the ninth grade, could barely read and write, never really seemed all that ambitious, didn’t provide for his children’s education (I had to pay for mine), retired from the Military with 100% disability (he got injured in the Korean War, an injury that would not have discharged him today but would have put him behind a military desk), got one great big fat pension from the Army Corp. of Engineers (an electrician, for which they trained him), not to mention he has TriCare “For Life,” I’d say my Dad’s had a pretty cushy adulthood. His life has not been atypical either. He always bought a new house about every six years and two new cars every three years. He has saved a crap load of money without really trying very hard or without having any real financial acumen. He gets a fat monthly check from the Marine Corp, the Army Corp of Engineers, Social security, and he gets dividends from his savings. He has Medicare, plus the aforementioned TriCare. 

        I’m glad for my Dad, and I don’t have to worry about his financial needs, but his fate is not due to any amazingly great bootstrap pulling. It may seem so to him because of his horrible childhood.    

        My personal opinion: Warren is a fictional character conjured by someone on this forum…and, if he’s not? Then, at best, he’s a reactionary, old man with no ability to see beyond his own coddled perspective. 
          

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ‘Warren’ reads a LOT like Moda!   Delusions of millitary grandeur from a self-confessed draft-dodger hippie?
         If it’s Moda, the ‘chemicals’ of late, plus the mercury, asbestos, and lead of his childhood, have aged his brain.  Last month, he was just over 60!

  • Dana

    I live in NYC and I totally agree – democracy is broken, corporations are corrupt – media does nothing to help, instead magnifies the worst aspect of issues – Supreme Court is totally biased and not working for people – govt is stalemated by extremists – did I leave anything out.  Day after day I listen to authors on NPR talking about their books saying all these things.
    Very depressing – I am a retired senior with a modest pension and savings, so I can manage, but I feel very sad for young families and what the future holds for them – how can poor and middle class people not feel the system is rigged against them.

    • Zing

       Buy a bag of Snickers, crawl under your bed with a pee jar, and wait for the end to come…you have abandoned your faith.

      • Azra

        How very Christlike.

      • Nephyr2001

        Your response is offensive.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          MOST Zing comments ARE!

      • http://www.alex-wolf.com/ Alex Wolf

        Take away that jar bit, and you make some sense.

  • Steven

    I’m wondering if Muncie still represents the middle of America. Maybe I am a jaded New Yorker, but from here it seems like the future of America isn’t in manufacturing – but in services and technology.  With gas prices rising, I think more and more people are leaving places like Muncie and moving to larger cities where they don’t need a car and there are more job opportunities.  Perhaps the old agriculture and manufacturing towns are becoming a relic.

    • William

       It seems odd that so many people, agencies etc..think America should give up on manufacturing and focus on “services and tech”.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        Indeed…was not that fool Romney’s position to let Detroit fail. Now there is a “leader” with vision for ya.

        • Gregg

           Detroit failed long ago.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            CEOs got MORE MONEY!  For BANKRUPTING companies!

        • William

          Yes, Romney was correct to recommend GM go bankrupt and reorganize itself into a better managed company. The idea of taking the assets of a company away from the shareholders and giving it to the UAW is wrong and did not fix anything.

          • http://www.alex-wolf.com/ Alex Wolf

            A lousy way to reorganize, but a lot better than clsing down. Remember there were no bidders for GM’s plants. None.  

        • Azra

          Soon he’ll be saying that HE was responsible for all the reorganization, stimulus money, and everything else that so quickly transformed it, and made America’s phoenix the dynamo that is is today.

    • http://www.alex-wolf.com/ Alex Wolf

      Perhaps, but this bit about the future of America being in the service industries cannot woek for the country as a whole. How is this supposed to work? I will cut your hair once a month, you will repair my car when it breakes down, etc… How do such activities enable us to pay for goods made in China? What when China decides - as it one day will – to stop lending so much to America? 

  • Zing

    Thanks for all your comments…I have a life and must go…good night, and may God bless you all.  Sleep well.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      If there was a god..but there aint…

      • Gregg

         Maybe, maybe not. There is no way to be sure.

        • Bill

           And there may be an invisible ether dragon in my garage.  There is no way to be sure.

          • Gregg

            You would smell him. Don’t worry.

          • Tim E

            No worries here.  Can’t smell god, either.

  • Angela MacNamara

    This conversation reminds me of a comment I have heard myself making a couple of times recently:  “At this point in my life, I just assume that everyone is trying to cheat me.”

  • Conrad Wineland

    Maybe Atlas is beginning to shrug… I don’t know, who is John Galt?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jlepfaff Julia Ellegood Pfaff

    I am currently listening to your program on WAMU.  You have asked the question of whether we see agents of change.  Personally, I see one.  I am part of a group called No Labels (www.nolabels.org)  we are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who are organizing and working to make our institutions work. Since December 2010 we have grown to close to 500K supporters through out the country.  In December 2011 we announced 12 Reforms that will Make Congress Work, because of citizen action — we have gotten a Senate hearing on some of our reforms.  I have hope that we can change our institutions I believe that the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, No Labels, the Jon Stewart Rally are indicators that American’s are becoming active in pressing for the change we need in our institutions.  Personally, I believe that our two political parties are themselves the two biggest special interests in the country.  It is about the party elites gaining and maintaining power.  As long as, our electoral system enables a very small cabal of people from both parties control the system we will have a problem. But people are finding their voice.

    • Bill

       nolabels sounds really great to me BUT it sounds more like the former center-right and right rebelling against the extreme right.  There is piss little liberal, moderate or left of center voice to it.

  • Gregg

    Did anyone hear President Obama in Colorado tell students to google my most excellent Representative? He is playing a dishonest political game with the student loan thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jlepfaff Julia Ellegood Pfaff

    As far as how do we build community, I believe this is also an issue to which we just waking up to.  But as your guest pointed out that at the turn of the century 19th to 20th, social institutions– barn raising, knitting bees, etc gave rise to the fraternal organizations– we will see new types of community building organizations.  These will most likely be born out of forms of social networking moving into the real world.  Whether groups like No Lables, Tea Party, Coffee Party, Ted Talks/Ted Ex, Meet-ups, community gardens will grow expand and have a lasting impact remains to be scene. But, I think people are starting to crave community.  Our jobs no longer will provide the sense of community that they did in the past.  Alvin Tofler’s last book “Future Wealth”  pointed to a cycle back to a  modern  version of  cottage industry, through low cost technology such as 3-D copy machines which allow economies of scale for individuals.  If he is right, it means that we need to think about work differently and we need to train differently.

  • Jon Schneider

    Here’s a question to be posed, nationwide, not just to Muncie: where do you like to shop?  is it at a mega-retailer which flogged it’s suppliers into transfering their manufacturing to China?  We in michigan find ourselves tempted to shop (and work at – FAT CHANCE OF THAT!) there because 7 and 8 dollars an hour is about the best we can get, that is, when we can find a temp assignment that will use us (This is the case with me and my son.  My wife has applied at a mega but being handicapped in one of the ways that is not celebrated and sanctified like the wheelchair bound hadnt a chance.).  

  • Weismantel

    IF THE FACTORIES HAD STAYED OPEN, MUNCIE WOULD BE FINE

    INVESTORS ARE NOT INVESTING IN KEEPING FACTORIES OPEN

    Investors go to places where there is the best ROI

    Guy E. Weismantel
    Weismantel Science & Technology
    Kingwood, Texas 77339

  • TomHagan

    The jobs are gone from Muncie. The factories are dark. 

    There are two reasons for factories going dark .

    The first is that the jobs were shipped elsewhere – for cheaper labor. The factory becomes unproductive, shuts down. Goes dark.

    The other is when the factory is still productive but labor is no longer needed.  No opex (operating expense, for labor), only capex (capital expense, for robots). Automation Magazine defines a “dark factory” as one where all the work is done by robots, so you can turn out the lights.

    Muncie suffers from both causes. 

    The jobs won’t be back.  Forget about “jobs”.

    None of the “fixes” dicussed on the program or in the blog comments will work. 

    But there is something that WILL work.  It can restore demand, which is now insufficient.  It can eliminate poverty. And food stamps. And the minimum wage. And allow everyone to go where their “animal spirits” take them.

    Because after all human productivity is higher than ever, and growing at a record-breaking pace.  Just re-distribute income.  

    What will do this?  Social Credit.  A Basic Income Guarantee for all.  It’s not a left/right thing.  It’s what is needed to get the economy going again. And neither party is even talking about it.

    • Drew You Too

      “And neither party is even talking about it.”

      And they never will

  • Detroit BOB

    Since the days Ronald Reagan in California the Republican mantra has been that it is all governments fault…everything relates back to the failure of big government.  Let the deregulated banks and financial institutions run amouk and we need to remove additional regulations so they can prosper. Let that interstate bridge collapse and it’s big governments fault for building it perhaps?  So, suddenly middle American feels disenfranchised…

    • William

      Let big government force you to pay into Social Security, promise not to spend the money on anything else, and then wham..big government blew the money. Now big government tells you that “sorry there is no money” pay more and oh, we are going to raise the retirement age, too bad. Yes, I can see your point how big government is not the problem.

      • Azra

        Now they’re even trying to tell us HOW TO RUN OUR LIVES! Congress works for us, yet they think they can tell us how many children to have, among other intrusions; highly irregular.

        What we do is none of their business.

      • Guest

         It doesn’t matter whether you term it “big government” or private industry.  They operate in tandem.  The enemy is elitism (both wealth AND power) which structures the economy according to a strict hierarchy for the benefit of a few, rather than for the public majority.  There is nothing natural about this, no mystical “free market forces” at work.  “Free Market” is the religious dogma of the elite and their hanger-ons.  It is simply the way they have structured the system (and the majority have, in ignorance as to the effects, allowed it), but the rules can always be changed.
        FDR wanted a mandatory national income ceiling of $21,000.00 in the aftermath of WW2, but settled for a tax rate high of 91%.  During the 1950′s, when this was enacted, we had the greatest period of middle-class prosperity in history.  Relative economic equality is of overwhelming benefit to the majority of us.  It’s not even close.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Time to restore America.

    • Gregg

      We’re all Romney supporters now.

      • Azra

        Nobody likes Mitt.

        Even his DOG ran away from home, and who could blame him?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        NOT

        • Azra

          Speaking of dogs, Jason, after last week’s (?) little chat about Seamus, I posted a reply to you, and one to Gregg. Neither one would go through.

          In a nutshell, I told you that I was sorry, but many groups had been left out. There were just too many to list, more than I realized when beginning to list them. Besides, I was only taking dictation from Seamus.

          • Azra

            By the way, I a dore German Shepherds. My parents used to raise them. Since then, I’ve had two as pets, then rescued, (after more than five hours of coaxing), and found the perfect home for, a very traumatised, fierce German Shepherd. With patience and understanding, he became a loving companion, and the ideal guard dog.
            Your dog told Seamus that she thinks she would look beautiful in a “Dogs Against Mitt” tee shirt, or maybe one with a different message, like “Mitt Is Mean”, or “Dogs Are Not Luggage”. She’ll love it. You might like a tee or sweatshirt for yourself, and maybe a few bumper stickers. Think I’ll get a bandana for my cat.
            They’re available from: dogsagainstromney.com

            Your dog, and Seamus, thank you.

      • Rhonda Conklin

         no we’re not

      • Terry Tree Tree

        All both of you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Brown/1227104716 Tim Brown

    Look, there is a time and place to address things from the supply side prespective. Taxes and regulations can become too onerous and curb investment. When Mitt Romney gave his speech in an abandoned factory and said that we needed to cut taxes and remove regulations so that “job creators” would have the money to invest in reopening factories he betrayed a total ingnorance of current economic situation or, more likely, a deeply cynical attempt to grab more power and wealth for this nation’s elite.

    If the problem was supply side the issue would be investors without the money to expand their buisnesses. The banks would be running low on capital and interest rates would be high. As it is, the richest Americans are sitting on historic levels of the nation’s net worth (42% for the top 1% in the latest data), the banks have historic levels of capitial, and interest rates are at rock bottom. If job creators’ problem was that taxes have dried up all the capital for investment please explain how it is that interest rates are at historic lows? The banks have money to lend and are lending it incredibly cheaply. The reason the economy is stalled it not a lack of capital, it is a lack of demand. People are afraid to invest because Europe imploding, or China lowing down (as many suggest it will) might tank the US economy again. They are afraid to invest because who is going to buy their products and services. With 1/6th of Americans living below the poverty rate, and half “near poor” how can any investor expect demand to grow? The problem is demand side not supply side and a common cause of demand side issues has always been wealth inequality.

    The GOP has good arguments about corruption and waste in government; their view on the role over government, while not one I endorse, is not without merit. I wish they would focus on those issues and not make up a fake supply side crises to try to cut the rich’s taxes even more. High inequality and cost shifting on to the poor and middle class through things like doubling student interest rates is only going to make the demand side problems worse. For the Dems part, they need to stop falling all over themselves to help GE and all their other pet corporations if they want us to have any faith in their sincerity about helping the working class. Russia has 1 party rule of “the party of theives and crooks,” we have 2 part rule by the party of theives and crooks and the part of crooks and theives.

  • Ed

    I lived in Muncie from 2001-2003 while attending graduate school at Ball State.  The professors had incredibly high teaching loads and were over stretched and stressed out.  The University itself was a litle more Liberal than the rest of the city, but by my East coast standards they seemed to be way behind. 
     
    I was happy to leave the bland, Christian, racist place behind with its specialty ranging in cows, corn, soybeans, sprawl, a booming Crystal Meth drug culture.  I’d say law enforcement and bail bondsman will always have employment opportunities there. 

     

  • Sheron

    This episode was factually sloppy and very superficial in its coverage. It was a great example of how the east coast lives in its bubble and how media outlets for lack of due diligence see Midwest life through an overly simplified prism. You must return to Muncie, if you wish to use it as a exemplar and provide a more complex and complete picture to gauge citizenship empowerment by talking to more of the stakeholders. You did not even consult our own Middletown Studies Center!

  • Guest

    As Josh Bivens discusses in his book, “Failure By Design,” the institutions of this country are not broken, but functioning as they have been redesigned to do.  The public has been sold a set of false assumptions about the operation of the economy, central to which is the notion that a fair economy is a less efficient one.  This is not born out by the evidence.  The trick now is to redesign the system based on a different set of assumptions– that economic equality is a good thing for almost all of us.
    We  have outgrown the need for an oligarchy.  It is shameful that the greedy few keep forcing such a paradigm (through deceit, delusion, and playing on our fears) on the rest of us– and that so many praetorians jump into line to ensure we all drink the national kool-aid.

  • dingdong

    Modavations has been banned! Thank you WBUR. Your decision has raised the collective IQ of this message board by 40 points.

    • jefe68

      How is it that you are privy to this information?

    • Drew You Too

       Wondered where he’d been but I was afraid if I asked it would turn into one of those “Speak of the Devil” scenarios. You know, you say the name and up he pops. Can’t say I’ll miss him.

    • ulTRAX

      If true, this is great news. I know of no other person that was more off topic, and more disruptive to this board than Moda. Why did WBUR finally realized this? I suspect the last straw was Moda’s last post which contained a profanity. Odd, I thought all his posts were intellectually obscene.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      This gives me, one of his repeated, and main VICTIMS, mixed emotions.
         I believe in Free Speech, but Moda’s continuing BULLYING,  lies and deceitful inuendos, went beyond Free Speech!
         Moda’s lack of civility was another reason for him to be banned.
         The VOLUME of his inaccurate comments, was a factor to consider, also.

  • Guest

    Leave mainline religions is not ‘giving into despair.’  We aren’t going to fix the economy and other problems until the .1% of the 1% aren’t draining the system of resources and then sitting on them.

  • jefe68

    I wonder is there is an app to track ones faith.

  • Drew You Too

    I am a living, breathing example of why everyone in this country should place zero trust in our Corporate, Financial, and Governmental institutions. The things I am about to discuss are not to gain sympathy, the LAST thing I want is for anyone to feel sorry for me. I don’t feel sorry for myself and certainly don’t want you to. A little Empathy would be appreciated but that would require experiencing the same pitfalls I have and I wouldn’t wish my past experiences on anyone. I only want there to be an awareness of the fact that no matter how hard you work, how faithfully you obey the law, and how responsible you are financially, it doesn’t mean you’re not one step away from becoming homeless and starving. I will try to make this as brief as possible and apologize in advance for the length of this post.

    I began working Full Time when I was still in high school. I was pretty much supporting myself by age 18 and have always tried to be financially responsible. In my late teens I was hit by a car and of course the at fault driver had no insurance (at that time it wasn’t required in the state they were from). My insurance would have covered him if I had been at fault but of course it didn’t work when I was in need. SICU, time in hospital, time in hospital bed in home, time in wheelchair, and rehabilitation consumed over 2 years of my life. Resulting initial monetary costs were pushing up on $100,000.00 . This was quite some time ago (I’m no spring chicken) and I would imagine that today my injuries and required treatment would easily exceed $300,000.00 . I could have filed civil suit against the at fault driver but he of course was unemployed, uninsured, and living with relatives. It wasn’t even his car. I paid for insurance but because someone else broke the law (improper left turn) I wound up on the hook for everything. This was my first lesson regarding Insurance.

    I worked with my wife in retail for a time. I worked 50-60 hours a week, had high sales volume, handled management responsibilities, and was well liked by my immediate supervisors. Of course I was well liked by them, I made them a lot of money and handled a fair chunk of their workload with a smile. My wife had relatives that also worked for the same company a couple thousand miles from were she and I lived. They (in-laws) stepped on someone’s toes fairly high up in the company, I was completely unaware of this at the time it happened. I was made aware in short order when a few weeks before Christmas my wife and I were both laid off. We lost our tiny home, 2 modest cars, and wound up living in the basement of an acquaintance’s house. This was my first lesson regarding Corporate America.

    After becoming homeless and living in what were pretty dire circumstances for a while my wife decided to sleep with a “friend” of mine in order to work her way into his comfy house and car. I was working but the money wasn’t coming fast enough, as if it ever does. My wife quickly became my ex-wife. My “friend” was simply capitalizing on a bad situation as was my wife. This I consider to be my first true lesson in the fundamental nature of Capitalism.

    I was the manager of a multimillion dollar retail business for four years. I worked on average 80 hours per week during my employment with this company. There was a two month period when a new site was opened that I worked no less than 100 hours in a week. I was salaried and based on my average hours I made less than the minimum wage at that time. What a bargain, I make someone else a truckload of cash and run their business responsibly and my reward is sub-minimum wage pay. My fiancee at the time became pregnant and I was excitedly looking forward to becoming a father. Six months into the pregnancy my child’s mother was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and mouth. My child was delivered almost three months premature so that an attempt could be made to save the mother’s life. We were told from the outset the prospects weren’t good, that the type of cancer the mother had was generally terminal. So my child is in SICU and my spouse has to be taken halfway across the country for treatment if she wants a chance to survive…and I’m still working almost 80 hours a week at this point. I explained the situation to my employer and was approved enough Leave time (two weeks) to take my spouse for treatment…Verbally. I was not given anything in writing approving leave and I was about to be taught another lesson. The week before Christmas, the day before my approved leave was to begin, my supervisor came to me and said that several managers throughout the district had been terminated in relation to rampant theft. I was informed that I could not take leave because the company needed me. I asked if the company was aware that I had a child in an incubator and a spouse with terminal cancer. My supervisor said it was not his position but that it had been handed down from on high that if I took leave it would be considered a resignation. I told him I would not resign, that I hadn’t just worked 22 hours straight (yes, you read that right) and worked 4 years at sub-minimum wage pay to just walk away. I told him I would take the leave that had been previously approved and deal with the consequences when I returned, I had no choice. A short time later he left the company. He told me it was partially from disgust, but primarily due to the guilt of being forced to be the middle man when my “ultimatum” was given. I returned on a Friday and went right back to work. I worked late into Friday evening, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday. Monday morning I get a call from my Regional manager and am told I need to come to corporate headquarters and report to the Division manager. Of course I was given my Pink Slip. Of course the reason for my separation was “Voluntary termination of employment”. And of course, I could not even qualify for unemployment. Once again; Lost the house, lost the car, and damn near lost my mind. Lessons learned: Get EVERYTHING in writing. Trust no one. No matter how hard you work it does not guarantee success or even something as basic as self-sustainability.

    I was unable to gain equivalent employment immediately following my separation. I thought it was due to the fact that my employer made it seem as if I had simply not shown up for work one day. I was wrong. There was a different reason for my difficulty gaining employment but I would not learn of it until almost a decade later. Ironically, the very company I discussed above would be the one to inform me of that reason. My child survived and eventually the mother (against all odds) overcame the cancer. I took contract work and was actually making more money than I had been in retail management. I used ALL of my savings up to that point to pay off the mother’s existing debt and to put towards the staggering medical expenses we faced. This still was not enough in my very soon to be ex’s eyes. She (and her money grubbing step-mother) felt that the Contract work I was doing wasn’t financially secure (like my salaried servitude had been). I was basically bullied to continue to try and regain “stable employment” and my child was used as a means to make me comply. I’ve learned many times over that there is no employment which is truly stable. I continued my contract work and sought employment during any spare time I had. I tried to pick up part time minimum wage work (in addition to my full time contract labor) to get some extra cash coming in but even that was not attainable. I was soon pushed out of their lives and into a courtroom. If you’re a divorced or separated father in the great state Georgia and you’re not sitting on a mountain of cash you already know how that played out. Guess I should have payed more attention to the trust no one lesson I was taught several months prior.

    When the contract work ran out I had not been able to gain even minimum wage employment. An acquaintance worked in a technical field, knew my situation, and told me they thought I would be a great fit for their company. I had some relevant training and education in the field and despite lacking the Bachelor of Science degree normally required (only had an Associate’s at the time) I was hired. Initially I was what amounted to a lab grunt. Within six months I had been placed in charge of Quality Control for the company. I ran QC for this company for almost six years with not one recall under my watch. I was hard working, dependable, and handled many IT related issues that I was neither hired for nor paid to do. I didn’t mind, I was happy to have a job. During the course of my employment I noticed that each year would bring further reductions in healthcare benefits. Each year my pay increase would decrease to the point that after only a couple of years there was no pay increase at all. Yet company profits were up, I was dutifully performing my job, diligently helping with computer related issues, assisting in Research and Development, and helping out with production if needed. My reward? Laid off due to lack of work. At this point I had nearly perfect credit, a tiny house with a tiny payment that I had remodeled (myself), and an old pick up truck that was paid for. It was all about to start heading the way of the dinosaur despite my best efforts.

    For almost two years I was unable to gain any employment whatsoever. I searched locally, then state wide, then Nationally, and, towards the end of my rope, Internationally. The scenario always played out the same: I applied for a job. I was interviewed. I was basically told something along the lines of “I’m looking forward to working with you”,or “We’ll be contacting you soon”. Then….Nothing. Absolutely nothing. When I contacted perspective employers to inquire about my application status I was repeatedly informed that “The position has been filled” or “We have decided not to hire at this time”. I have heard these two phrases literally hundreds of times during the course of the past fifteen years. I had no idea what was taking place but after a decade of persistently trying to secure better (and in some cases worse) employment I was soon to find out. After submitting an application and phone interviews with a Laboratory out west, I went out to interview in person for a position that I had been all but guaranteed was mine. I put a deposit down on a piece of property and was looking forward to what would have been a fairly decent paying job with excellent benefits. The face to face interview went great (they always did) and I was told I would be contacted soon. Pay, benefits, and vacation time had already been discussed and settled on at this point. I headed back to Georgia to start trying to get my affairs in order in preparation for what I thought would be a great step forward in my life. And then? Nothing… After an unwarranted delay I contacted the company. I inquired about my hiring status and was placed on hold. The Human Resources manager came on the line after a long delay and informed me that: “We’re deeply sorry for any inconvenience but we’ve decided not to hire at this time”. I was crushed. I would say I was surprised but at this point I had rinsed and repeated this cycle so many times that there was no shock, only devastation. Only one viable option left, I would have to finally break down and sell my soul. That, or I would soon once again be homeless and hungry.

    Remember the company that separated me due to “involuntary termination of employment” with a newborn infant in SICU and a spouse with a potentially terminal illness? That’s right, I did what up to this point in my life I would never have done. I contacted that very same company, in fact I contacted the very individual that had been forced to hand me my pink slip. I told him I needed work. I told him I was willing to take whatever I could get. He was excited and said he wanted me in his Region (of course he did, I had the lowest shortage percentages in the district prior to my separation). He told me to get an application to him as soon as possible and that once he’d received it I would immediately be rehired. I got the application to him. He told me that as a formality I would need to interview with the current city manager but that my rehire was a foregone conclusion. I interviewed with the city manager and it went great. I was told that I might have to take a lower level management position initially, I said no problem. I was informed that there would be a slight cut in pay from what I made when I previously worked for the company, I said no problem. I smiled and was grateful as yet once again my situation was being capitalized upon. I was told I was hired. A few days later I get a call from the Regional manager and he sounds pretty upset. He says “I really don’t know how to tell you this but Human Resources says your ineligible for hire”. “What does that mean?” I ask. I don’t have a criminal record, my work history with the company was perfect, and my credit was still good at that point. He says that Human Resources cannot tell him the specific reason, only that I’m ineligible for rehire. I ask “Well can they tell me the specific reason? I’m in a pretty tight spot right now and I really need to know what is going on”. He said that he would see to it personally that I received any relevant information as to my ineligibility status and that he was really upset I was not able to come back to work with him. Here comes the A-Bomb folks, class is once again about to be in session.

    I receive a packet in the mail from the company’s Human Resources department. I anxiously open it hoping it will provide some clarification as to why I cannot be rehired. It clarifies much more than my current situation, it brings the preceding ten years of my life sharply into focus. According to their background check I am a criminal. According to their background check I have three Social Security numbers, three dates of birth, five felony convictions, and somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty misdemeanor charges. I am a criminal. I have never been arrested for, nor convicted of, ANY offense… yet I am a criminal. It’s called “Criminal Identity Theft” and is the result of someone being arrested as YOU. These FALSE background results had been coming back the hundreds of times I had applied for employment in the past but NOT ONE COMPANY notified me of this. Why should they? Forget about the fact that it is the LAW (Fair Credit Reporting Act) that anytime someone is denied credit or employment based on background information they are supposed to be notified. It’s much easier to simply say “The position has been filled” or “We’ve decided not to hire at this time”. No damn wonder I’ve heard these two phrases so frequently, it would have been such an imposition for perspective employers to obey the law. It would have been such an imposition for Human Resources personnel to do their job. I had a bench warrant out for my arrest for almost ten years. Had I been pulled over for so much as a traffic infraction I would have gone to jail with no idea as to why.

    I spent two years and hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of my life trying to rectify the situation. I had a Congressional Representative “persuade” the Department Of Justice to “persuade” local law enforcement to remove charges that were on my actual criminal record. Even after I had been cleared by the DOJ no one would provide me with the identity of the thief that literally stole my life. I used my brain and found out on my own who he was and that he was currently in prison. Do an alias search in your state’s Department of Corrections system using your name and you may be surprised what you find. Local law enforcement would not let me press charges. Two District Attorneys told me it was beyond the Statute of Limitations (LIE!). Even I know the Statute of Limitations runs from date of discovery not date of incident, guess I should have been a DA. The DOJ (FBI, same difference) told me that they had forced local enforcement to remove the false charges and that this was the extent of their jurisdiction. The charges were gone from my actual criminal record but guess what happens TO THIS DAY when a background check is run by an employer on me. I have three Socials, three dates of birth, five felonies, and numerous misdemeanors. How is that possible you ask? Let me break it down for you:

    1. Jon Doe is arrested as you.
    2. Arresting agency passes false arrest information to State agency.
    3. State agency passes false arrest information to Federal agency.
    4. Federal agency SELLS false arrest information to background providers.
    5. Background providers return false background results to perspective employers or creditors.

    Step four is where the real problem begins. Once private background providers have the false information there is virtually no way to remove it completely. These companies responsible for handling our most critical personal information are neither regulated or monitored.

    After having my actual criminal record cleared I was directed to carry documentation AT ALL TIMES and to submit myself to law enforcement for fingerprinting and a thorough background check once a year.  Haben sie papiere??? (German for: Have you papers???) Guess I’m the only one it bothers that I need to have my papers with me at all times to make sure I don’t get arrested for crimes someone else commits.

    I eventually got two minimum wage 35-40 hour per week jobs (back to 80 hours a week, yay). It took me producing my papers repeatedly and having to go over the entire situation to several different people several different times just to get these two minimum wage jobs. I have not been able to regain equitable employment since being laid off from my QC position OVER SEVEN YEARS AGO. Then, one month after saving enough money to get my car running, I got hit head on by an illegal resident (illegal alien, whatever) and the rest is Homelessness. I was injured, lost my job, and eventually lost my home. Went through an illegal foreclosure. Creditors say that Criminal Identity Theft is not an acceptable reason not to pay and proceeded to triple rates, pile on the fees, and pad their balance sheets by literally almost quadrupling (4X) what I owed. My homeowner’s insurance is STILL piling up charges despite the fact I was foreclosed on nearly two years ago. And the home home I was forced out of? It has sat empty since the last time I walked out the front door.

    Now tell me I’m poor because I’m lazy. Tell me I’m poor because I’m financially irresponsible. Tell me I should have faith in the corporate, financial, and governmental institutions that have spent the last FIFTEEN YEARS of my life kicking me down the cracks because my wallet isn’t fat enough. And by all means, keep telling yourself that something like this could never happen to you. You’ve obviously been fortunate thus far (whether you realize it or not) and if you continue to ignore reality perhaps your good fortune will continue. Then again, you may find yourself on the wrong end of a reality check.

    • Tim E

      I read the whole thing–not sure what to say.  I’m sorry this has happened to you.  I hope you find some consolation in life.  In a better world, working hard would be rewarded, without exception.

      • Drew You Too

        Apologies for putting you through that but I really couldn’t think of any other way to get my point across. I’m just so sick of the “People are poor because their LAZY!” nonsense. You can probably imagine the amount of restraint that is required on my part every time the Bootstrap Mentality is being spouted. I hold my tongue and remain civil, or I just walk away. My hope is that it will help some understand that success is often as much the result of Good Fortune as it is the result of hard work. Thank you for reading, I really do appreciate it.

        • Tim E

          I just had an idea: Have you ever considered turning this story into a book?  Your story is interesting, and you could probably redeem all the hardship and disappointment with some revenue.  I’ve heard it’s hard to get a book accepted for publication, but you are a lucid writer with a good life story to tell.

          • Drew You Too

            I have considered it and even attempted to get the ball rolling. I find it incredibly difficult even beginning the task. I do not say this to complain, but the fact of the matter is that the stress of the past 10-12 years has had a profound effect on my mental and physical health. Obviously healthcare has been unattainable for HUGE chunks of my adult life. I really would like to get my head on straight so to speak and I work at it every day. Thank you for the suggestion, it is appreciated.

    • Guest

       I read your piece as well.  It was brave of you to share such an excruciating story, and I hope others who believe in the bootstrap method of prosperity will take note.  I have had a number of severe difficulties (long term child illness, job loss, etc) handed to me by the failures of an inadequate economic system, so your story touches me deeply.  Though my circumstances resulted in far less prosperity than many others around me who work less hard, they don’t compare with yours, and this is not the time or place to compare hardships.  I will only add that almost all who do prosper in this lottery-like capitalist system fail to see that they are both fortunate and have prior advantages to which they are oblivious.  There are always reasons that someone succeeds, and though hard work or intellect may well be part of it, they are not necessarily differentiating factors.  Others are smart, educated, and work hard, but are relegated to the bottom.  This is due to the hierarchical construction of our capitalist economy which demands that many lose for a few to win.  This is not a natural law; it is simply the unfortunate institutionalization of greed.  But the system can be changed.

      • Slipstream

         Thanks a lot for sharing that.  I am sure you need to get it off your chest.  It sounds like without a doubt you have been the victim of some bad breaks.  And I can relate to it.  I also have suffered as the result of incompetent idiots in the justice system – I think there needs to be some reforms done there for sure.  There seems to be very few consequences for those people (and for background checkers) when they screw up. 

        Yet I also hear the note of bitterness in your voice.  Now granted maybe you have earned the right to feel and express some bitterness.  But it is unlikely to do you any good.  It never did anything good for me.  I like what one of these other guys said – surely there are things in life that bring you pleasure and joy, things that you are proud of.  Why not think about them?  There is spiritual faith of course.  Maybe not everyone knows the truth about you, but you do, and isn’t that more important? 

        • Slipstream

           Sorry Guest, I meant to reply to Drew You.

      • Drew You Too

        It always helps a little to know I’m not the only one with my eyes open, thank you so much for your reply.

    • Slipstream

         Thanks
      a lot for sharing that.  I am sure you need to get it off your chest. 
      It sounds like without a doubt you have been the victim of some bad
      breaks.  And I can relate to it.  I also have suffered as the result of
      incompetent idiots in the justice system – I think there needs to be
      some reforms done there for sure.  There seems to be very few
      consequences for those people (and for background checkers) when they
      screw up. 

      Yet I also hear the note of bitterness in your voice.  Now granted
      maybe you have earned the right to feel and express some bitterness. 
      But it is unlikely to do you any good.  It never did anything good for
      me.  I like what one of these other guys said – surely there are things
      in life that bring you pleasure and joy, things that you are proud of. 
      Why not think about them?  There is spiritual faith of course.  Maybe
      not everyone knows the truth about you, but you do, and isn’t that more
      important?  Maybe that would be a way for something good to come out of your story – what if OP (or someone else) did some investigative reporting into the whole issue of background checking?  More and more every workplace is doing it before they hire someone.  But what is legal?  Do they go after employers who don’t hire someone because they have some petty problem on their record, even though it is illegal to do so?  What about the companies that do these background checks?  Are they reliable?  Are they answerable to anybody?   What if it is just some jerk with an internet connection and access to an unreliable database? 

      • Drew You Too

        Thank you for your time and consideration. I’m sure there is bitterness in my voice (and opinions) sometimes but I honestly do my best to keep it in check. I don’t feel I have the right to be bitter, I have always known it is counter-productive. I know this will be difficult to understand (I grapple with it constantly), but the truth of the matter is that finding joy has been very difficult the past 20-30 years. The things I love and enjoy used to be comprised of spelunking, rock climbing, mountain biking, motocross, hiking, playing guitar, reading, and writing. The more physical activities became impossible after the initial accident which occurred in my late teens. Playing guitar is extremely difficult due to injuries sustained in the latter accident. I used to be able to play for hours, now I can manage maybe 10-15 minutes at a time and it is painful. The reading and writing have suffered immeasurably from the effects of the stress over the years.

        I have attempted many, many, many times to get someone in any form of media to do a story not so much on myself, but on Criminal Identity Theft’s impact on individuals and society. I am not the only one whose life has been torn apart by this crime. The truly terrifying fact is that the majority of the people who have had this happen to them are completely unaware for what I think are obvious reasons demonstrated in my initial post. It comes down to this: There’s always a bigger story, there’s always a better distraction. If I had a ton of money I guarantee you I could get the word out. Of course, if I had a ton of money I would never have reached my current situation. And (in my opinion) therein lies the fundamental reason we cannot overcome the obstacles we face as a species.

        As to your inquiries about Background Providers,  as I stated in my post they are neither monitored nor regulated. They are also not responsible for erroneous of false information. If I had $50,000.00 to retain legal counsel (maybe) I could begin to address the situation. There is still no guarantee though. The way the data flows once it’s in the market is difficult to grasp. As long as there is ONE background provider with false information, there is a chance it will make the rounds again. I know it makes no sense but it is the truth. There are HUNDREDS of these companies and even if you could go after them all it doesn’t mean the data is not still out there waiting to start the cycle again.

        Thanks again for your consideration and suggestions, they are genuinely appreciated.

    • http://www.alex-wolf.com/ Alex Wolf

      Drew – You definitely had a lot of bad luck. And that means it is unlikely to continue.

      As for your ex-wife, it sounds that “losing” her was a gain.

      I also think that you may not be selling yourself as well as one would having had less bad breakes. I think you have enough determination to make a strong comeback.    

      • Drew You Too

        As those who have known me have told me throughout my life in one variation or the other: For someone who doesn’t believe in bad luck Drew you sure have a lot of it. I continue to believe in self-determination, it just doesn’t always get the job done.

        Neither the ex-wife nor my child’s mother are missed, not certain I would call it a gain though.

        I’d prefer not to sell myself anymore.
        I completely understand your inferred meaning in regards to hard luck breeding a hard attitude. I certainly cannot disagree with this, I work at it though.

        Thank you for your vote of confidence and encouraging words.

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  • Heaviest Cat

    As usual no perspective from the Left offered on “public” radio

    • Guest

      And yet NPR  fails to acknowledge (or perhaps even recognize) that fact.  They use the Ombudsman to function as safety valve.  Remember that there are online alternatives.  Pro Publica, who has partnered with NPR, is a better, less biased, investigative media institution.  I wonder if there is anyone at NPR that recognizes this institutional bias and sees it as a problem.

  • Dee

    I believe people should not, and never should have, expected other people and institutions to hand them a happy life.  It’s also absurd for people to think that prosperity will last forever and that they are in some way entitled to an ever higher standard of living. Think of the Dark Ages and other times of decline. 
         Lower (realisistic) expectations help a lot. For instance, if you don’t expect someone else (the government, corporations) to “bring” good jobs, you wlll be more likely to cobble together your own way of sustaining yourself through a mix of self-employment, part time work, growing some of your own food, moving in with family, etc.  It’s not the standard of living we’ve been used to for a few short decades, but it has much more dignity than passively wishing for the old times to come back

    • jefe68

      I guess some of us should ride the rails again.
      Or sell apples on corners or maybe cell phones.

    • Drew You Too

      Yet another take on the Bootstrap Mentality. I have done (and continue to do) many of the things you suggest, at the same time. I would not be writing this reply if I didn’t, I would have starved to death a few decades ago. Why is it so difficult for some to believe that doing everything right does not ensure things won’t go wrong? Millions (perhaps A few Billion) people worldwide truly give it their best efforts every day, and it’s still not enough. Forced migrations, confiscated/destroyed property, genocide, pillaging of resources, destruction of environments…The list doesn’t end. It must be their fault though.

      • http://www.alex-wolf.com/ Alex Wolf

        Yes, but many succeed enough to have a decent life.

    • http://www.alex-wolf.com/ Alex Wolf

      A rare dignified comment.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ‘JOB CREATORS’, with HUGE tax-cuts, and MANY OTHER benefits, aren’t expected to create jobs?  They just STOLE that money?  Shouldn’t that be a crime?  JAIL them, until they pay it back, WITH interest, WITH penalties, WITH jail terms for that fraud?

  • Bin

    The billionaire hedge fund “wealth creators” and corporate “job creators” are doing very well, thank you very much. After creating 150,000,000 jobs (in Asia, but hey, you cant have your cake and eat it) and appropriating 11 trillion of public funds (private contractors, corporate subsidies, finance bailouts), these patriots are snug and comfy in their retreats. And yes, they own the government. As any oligarch knows, democratic government is a problem and obstacle on the way back to feudalism… 

  • Bin

    Oh, and on the loss of faith in churches… When the church will sell its soul to a political group who wants to outlaw science education or social justice  – even Jesus would walk out on them.

  • burroak

        What would be the percentage of making everything we use or consume in America? And, if the percentage is high, would that translate to many American jobs; not just in manufacturing but administration, logistics, legal, etc. Some CEO’s might say that is unrealistic because it would be unprofitable. I am not so sure….. America probably has the most tool manufacturers in the world; but why does it seem that every store you visit, these tools are made overseas?  Are these companies embarrassed to hire an american worker? Do they not have faith in the american worker; are we incompetent to make TV’s, radios, powertools, sporting equipment, cookwear, clothing, stationary, phones, computers, etc. Why?
          Has America given up on its once strong manufacturing base? Or, it just does not care.  That sense of pride with having skills to make something is no longer the norm.  Some companies still manufacture in America; Vaughn striking tools and Worthington propane tanks are an example. 
         Tools back-in-the-day were built to last; now when shopping for a tool I have to search far and wide to find that once common, unique stamp: Proudly Made in the U.S.A.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      CEOs QUADRUPLE their salaries, by exporting jobs!  They also export the blame for shoddy work, and poor quality! 
         GREED controls them, at the expense of National Security, their neighbors that have helped them, and their souls! 
         CEOs don’t think that’s serious, as long as they fill THEIR pockets?

  • Orwellsdiciple

    I’ve sorted through a lot of these comments and I did not read anyone angry that the bank could take this guy’s home from
    him, but leave him with the responsibility of maintaining the grounds? What more evidence do we need to prove that the system is totally rigged to exploit ordinary citizens?

    Also, I am shocked at the lack of empathy here.  When did we buy into this mentality, that when bad things happen to our neighbors, well they must have ‘had it comin’?

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