According to Republicans, the sequester will be no big deal.
With the sequester deadline only a week away and Congress no closer to reaching a deal to prevent austerity, Republicans are changing tactics. They've spent the last month blaming President Obama for the looming cuts, but Americans didn't buy it, so now they're saying the sequester is really no big deal. A recent Pew Research poll shows that far more Americans blame Republicans for their failure to prevent impending austerity – despite the GOP's best efforts to shift the blame for this Congressionally-manufactured disaster to the President.
So now Senators, like Rand Paul of Kentucky, are saying the sequester is a mere “pittance” and “will be in some ways a yawn.” And Fox so-called News host Sean Hannity is there to help spread the propaganda. On a recent show, Hannity said the Republican austerity won't leave the country in dire straits, and that “the president's out there, he's using scare tactics and he's scaring seniors and teachers and first responders.” Well, Sean, people are worried, and they should be.
The Republican austerity debacle that begins March 1st means that 600,000 women and children will lose WIC nutrition aid. The cuts also mean 4 million fewer meals on wheels to seniors, and 30,000 kids will be denied affordable child care. And these cuts mean over 1 million Americans will lose their job. These are real people, who will face real pain, because Republicans refuse to end tax breaks for big corporations and billionaires.
We won't fall for this ridiculous Republican spin blaming President Obama for the sequester. And when sequester cuts effect our daily lives in real and substantial ways, all the empty rhetoric in the world won't save Republicans or the billionaires they're trying to protect. Sooner or later, the rich and the corporate elite will have to pay their fair share in our nation.
We can start by making it a crime to hoard huge sums of cash... outlaw the billionaires. Go to NoBillionaires.com.
The Republicons cant fool me..... They want to destroy Obama and anything he does!! The Republicons want to bring the working class to their knees..... it will not work here in Colorado!
Rand Paul is Ignorant and Faux news is a farce!!!
Keep up the Great Work Thom!!
Outlaw Billionaires!?! Hells bells...I say round them up, take away their cell phones, PDAs, weapons, and body guards, and dump them on the streets of our most impoverished areas (starting with the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation)...let them survive on their own. I'll bet most of them wouldn't last 3 days!
While sequestration presumably cuts uniformly across all departments, I suspect that it will do more damage to programs that Republicans already want cut. So much of the Military-Industrial waste, "Inteligence" Meddling and Tax-Loophole Corporate-Welfare are "off-budget" -- will they not be cut? Somehow the Right's crocadile-tears don't convince me.
Fortunately, actual implementation of cut specifics, will be by our democraticly controled Executive Branch -- perhaps the impact can be mitigated and directed towards true waste and marginally effective programs? The problem is that most of us simply don't have specific details, just the usual half-dozen sound-bite issues. We're ignorant-on-purpose about what's really going on.
Robindell writes: "If the housing of citizens is threatened by the greed and incompetence shown mainly by the Republicans in Congress, this should be publicized greatly, . . ." -- And that is one of my #1 problems with our entrenched two parties. Democrats seem unable to hold Republicans accountable for (it seems to me) outrageous obstructionism.
Our progressive comentators do well, and the "neutral" media does blame Democrats for playing the "blame-game" -- so some Dems must be attacking Repubs for their part in this dance. However, Republicans seem to have so much better control of their message, spinning the reality inside-out, blaming Democrats for Republican Obstructionist sins.
If sequestion cuts really do hurt lots of people, I hope (but have little faith) that the Rabid-Right gets it's full share of the blame. We'll see. At least we do have some pundits and comentators getting some of the message out -- at least in a few of the media-markets and Internet.
When fascistis attack
In CA both houses in Sacramento had a super majority after the election last november. I was hoping we could start charging an extraction tax for the oil the corporatists are taking out of our commons. CA is the only state, out of 26 with oil in the ground, that does not charge an extraction fee. I guess Chevron was thinking the same thing. The hired one of the senators (Rubio of CA) to eliminate the super majority in the state senate.
Social Security and Medicare are two major programs that people have contributed to all their working lives. They expect the government to follow through with their obligations. Other 'social' programs are important too but they, IMHO, seem more like 'charity' granted to people who have never really contributed directly to specific programs. But paying income and sales taxes over the years could count, I guess.
But, I've known people who have never had a 'work ethic' and lived their miserable lives never trying to better themselves...just parasitic themselves on a system that pandered to them. We need something like a National Work Force...people are expected to work, in any capacity they were deemed medically fit for, and those who refused to work would just have to accept their fate without government help.
Of course, many of these people are in the sad positions they are in largely because of the aggressive and unfair advantages that has been given to a few people who were born wealthy. And the wealthy have been steadily working to maximize their wealth by stealing it from everyone else. They were born wealthy because their parents, perhaps, inherited lots of wealth as well and used their advantage to get even wealthier. When you have a lot of money to begin with, you have more leverage, in education, in societal positions, in opportunities...more than the majority of people without that wealth.
The reason why these few wealthy people have gotten even wealthier is because they have gamed the system. And now, they are too powerful to jail. The honest politicians (if there are any left) are too scared to prosecute....putting up (if we're lucky) a 'slap on the wrist' show in an attempt to pretend they are working for the people. And, of course, these fines just get passed on to the people anyway.
The wealthy have acted like predatory parasites and have conducted what really amounts to an economic war against their hosts. It's time for the hosts to fight back. Break out some 'RAID'!
They've been stealing from us...now it's our turn to get some of it back. The question is, will it take a new kind of "French Revolution"...the kind that made M. Guillotine famous? They went after not only the heads of state but the wealthy people who refused to pay their fair share of taxes.
I certainly like the idea of our government putting a $1billion ceiling on wealth in America. But, I'm afraid these people would just find ways of avoiding it..they'd just do what they do now....hide it in offshore accounts...or set up accounts in dummy corporations...or distributing their wealth to all their relatives before they died instead of after.
I am starting to see the results of our criminal economy when the lower classes start to feed on their neighbors. I don't really live in a lower class or crime ridden community...about average, I guess. But I see things going on that I would miss if I didn't have surveillance cameras all over the place around my house. Razor wire is next, maybe! So far, I have caught one woman trying to steal mail out of my mail box....another guy sneaking up to my mail box looking for packages...and another guy, just the other night, checking my car door in my drive way. It was locked...and by the time I got to the front yard...he was down the street. And there is a lot more frightening things going on all around in neighboring communities. My community, near Seattle, is becoming very scary to live in. Time to move to Canada, I guess.
Hey PD, that's pretty freaky! I'm an old Seattleite myself. Moved to North Idaho 33 years ago where life is a lot simpler, living on acreage as I do. Rule 1: If it's not game out of season or invited, shoot it! Rule 2: see rule 1....
Robindell says "I am disappointed in the show for the following reason: you often and rather redundantly talk about Social Security and Medicare as if these are the only federal programs providing assistance to people in need of resources."
You sound like someone who's paying attention and knows the score, so to speak. Generally I'd be hard-pressed to find much if anything to disagree with in your entry. But I've a problem with how you chastise Thom in your opening statements. I've listened to his show enough to be certain there's not a thing you point out that Thom's not already well aware of.
From my perspective it seems the reason Thom keeps emphasizing the Teapublican/Blue Dog/Corporatist/Oligarchic assault on Social Security & Medicare is due to two factors, shared in common by these programs: the fact that they actually work, and work very effectively; also the fact that they have already been paid for by their intended recipients. These are the marks of distinction on both Social Security and Medicare. It also happens to be a thorn in the side of the Plutocrats, who would be satisfied to let us workers die in the gutter once our working lives have ended, when we're too old to work anymore.
I'm not saying this to minimize the importance of offering a helping hand to people who need it and are down on their luck. I believe this is what it means to be truly civilized. And in a system this predatory and hostile to us "ordinary" folks of ordinary means, it is an inevitable outcome that so many would find themselves marginalized and left out by no fault of their own. However I see no reason to begrudge Thom's emphasis on those two particular programs.
For legislators to cut Social Security is a form of theft. They are stealing from us, from We The People who have paid into it all our working lives. That is our trust fund, our ticket to some semblance of security in old age; and yes, an ENTITLEMENT. (There! I said it... that dirty little word... ) Legislators have no right to dip into it or pick it apart, because it isn't theirs to take. It's really that simple. Anyway I've said my peace... - Aliceinwonderland
Palindromedary (alias "Ugly Fluffy") says "Other 'social' programs are important too but they, IMHO..."
Could you be so kind as to translate that for me? What does "IMHO" mean?!
Drives me friggin' crazy how people are so into acronyms these days. I am constantly trying to de-code those stupid things and it gets old, folks. Sorry to gripe but this is has become a pet peeve of mine. It seems to be a 21st Century trend, this habit of cutting corners on everything; even in how we communicate. C'mon, people- is it really too much trouble spelling things out?! - Alice I.W.
What are Billionaires? What is Wealth? Not necessarily just goods or stuff. in fact wealth today has become a score, a number in a game. Wealth can be accumulated by individuals, by groups of individuals, or non human entities (governments and organizations).
Can anyone even comprehend what "$1000000000." means? Or what "$1000000000 at 7%/year" generates as income? It's beyond comprehension on a personal human level. Bill and Melinda Gates have to hire people just to "spend" the wealth they accumulate. They are not unique.
And yet one of the greatest achievements of humans over other species is the accumulation of capital in large enough agregations to do large things. Consider the Pharoahs of the Nile, building the magnificent Piramids. Persians building Universities along the Silk Road, Or others building the first network of Astronomical-Observatories. Merchants building international networks of commerce. Romans building civil roads and waterways. And armies or religions spreading and expanding information and influence. And more recently, Industrialists and corporatists creating industries and global commerce. Eisenhower's Interstates and Kenedy's Trip to the Moon. Corporate organizations creating structures and organizations far far beyond what any one human (or most, certainly) can comprehend or imagine.
In deed the complexity of a single oil-refinery, is beyond few if any human's comprehension -- yet they are comonplace. Same for the smart-phones in our pockets. And these are both the results of managed wealth.
Wealth no longer has substance. My boss's computer e-mails a bank's computer, that email's another bank's computer; and in the end of some networked process, my account's bit-pattern on a disk changes up- while my employer's account's bit-pattern changes down. A few micro grams of ferric-oxide on some disk-drives change state -- the sum-total of our "wealth."
Wealth becomes a scorecard. A digit followed by a number of digits -- important only when added or subtracted from others -- leaving more or less in reserve, loss or growth. Wealth is important in what others can be influenced to do, and in the process changing their score. Wealth becomes valuable to society and to the individuals who use those cyber ones-and-zeros in accounting computers somewhere for deciding how those numbers get manipulated, distributed.
So it is the accumulated decision-making power, measured by the cyber score-keepers, not necessarilly the houses, factories, cars, yachts or jets accumulated on any individuals charm-bracelet. It's who is in control of deciding how those bit patterns are re-allocated, what projects get done. Will those allocations go to social infrastructure, pyramids, Education, Food or expanding empires? Will decisions be made by small groups of individuals claiming power by divine-right, patent-right, might-is-right or democratic majority?
These numbers today are beyond most mortals' comprehension; yet by shifting the decimal-point scale, individuals make bigger and bigger decisions. "A few billion here, a few billion there; soon you're talking real money." And generally bigger and bigger capital-projects have greatly benefited human societies as a whole.
The question we must face today is how we manage this score-keeping process. How has it infact worked in the historic past, in the relatively recent past, and is working today. Have changes occurred? Have the mathematics of compounding-growth or inflation, or economic management actually changed anything -- or is it just more of what has served our species well? Does our greater understanding of the process; does the increased magnitude of the bit-patterns translate into better or worse results for the species, or all species?
Wealth is not the issue; it's what wealth can do, and who and how wealth is managed that are the questions we (or some humans) will answer.
IMHO = In My Humble Opinion -- a self depreciating attempt to avoid getting flamed.
Outback & PD,
I'm from PacNW -- N. of SEA in fact. Just pondering the geographic distribution of this forum, LOL (Woops, sorry AIW).
Somehow the Republicans of today are what some Psychologist define as “Counterfactual reasoning”, according to a Northwestern University study I stumbled across in my personal research in causation shows this identifies a unique cognitive process that might be able to grow into a wrong balance all the while claiming to be right.
So, we negotiate in a sequestered way to hammer out issues. The striking thing here is that this is not anything new. Under the cover of the word bi-partisan with the help of our rich gouging flamboyant, cavalier, and breaking news media, all the while themselves, the media is breaking government via the billionaire controlled electromagnetic journalist pound out for decades what they want America to know. It’s the media stupid. The channels of Fox and hate radio pounding out hate twenty four seven.
In political parlance this might be a simple rhetorical tool that gives a political opponent, keenness, and quickness of perception or discernment; ingenuity to be able to keep and gain power by popular vote. However, in the Republican sense at the expense likely destroying part of the electorate it needs. Such a tyranny is illustrated in the current movie “Brave heart” where the King shoots arrows into his own army to win the ground war. Exampled by the red state electorate not on guard, that can be “carrot slicked” or loony tuned by the hate mongering and fear of broken dreams.
Cultural steering through repeated commercials too. My personal opinion is GEICO does not care if it sells insurance, it sells away of culture.
Perhaps as a suggestion to Thom and a link for the paper a pdf file only six pages but loaded with some interesting connections to any society though it ponders about the Chinese.
With this key knowledge given to the average blogger Dan Rather prophesy is about to appear. The Internet will become a leading edge in the news industry. Twenty four seven cable, will slide behind the curve as simple paparazzi, tabloid, and comic book style junk media. Because the very exact example of self-regulation especially in the news media given the right to inform and educate but governed by billionaire money is obviously is not workable. Billionaire capitalism has evolved to the new age tyranny. Don’t feel depressed, there is a way out hopefully smoother than the guillotine.
For some reason my response to HalFonts' #11 post is showing up as a response to #10. A problem with this Web site I've seen before....
HalFonts, you wrote 'A few micro grams of ferric-oxide on some disk-drives change state -- the sum-total of our "wealth."' (I loved that line;-) But I think you summed it up nicely in your last paragraph where you wrote "Wealth is not the issue; it's what wealth can do, and who and how wealth is managed that are the questions we (or some humans) will answer."
I believe the concept of the "uber rich", the "fat cat", the "shady billionaire" pushing a self serving agenda through a bought and paid for congress has earned the term "billionaire" a bad connotation in the mind of the average person. It's a lot like what's happened to the otherwise perfectly good word "entitlement", to which A.I.W. alluded. So to put it in personal terms, it's not the billionaire, it's how the billionaire behaves. Of course, in a world of finite resources, and "in the limit" as they say, if one player in the game ended up with all the chips everyone else's material quality of life would swing heavily on how that person felt about sharing. (And, human nature being what it is, that situation would quickly resolve itself one way or the other.)
I believe there are a few notable "good billionaires" out there, maybe Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to name a couple. But it doesn't take a lot of experience in our capitalist society to understand that those with highly developed predatory instincts are the ones who generally end up with the bigger nest egg, no matter how you keep score.
But, stepping back a light year or two, it really is a zero sum game. "Nobody lives forever, you can't take it with you, what goes around comes around and our health is our wealth" are a few hackneyed (but true) phrases that apply when we assess a person's true "wealth". If an individual does no good with their accumulated ones and zeros, chances are he/she will die bankrupt, which is to say, unhappy. If that's any consolation to the rest of us;-)
Bring back the top tax rate of 92% that was in effect from 1930 to 1965.
I remember reading an article in "Look" magazine (it might have been Time or Life), that explained why America will never have a billionaire.
Thom says....."Republicans refuse to end tax breaks for big corporations and billionaires!"
The Corp. Media simply reports... "the Democrats want tax hikes to replace budget cuts!"
So the Corp. Media wants the average disinterested citizen to get the message the Democrats are the tax and spend party that wants to take even more from your pay check and give it to the so called 47%...the "takers." In stark contrast, Thom's comment is accurate, responsible, and not at all misleading. As simple as all of this sounds, a tragic truth exists.... unbiased reporting from a free press, which has historically been mandated to be adversarial in order to maintain govt. honesty and integrity, has to a great extent vanished.
I'm not talking about the obvious billionaire propaganda tools like Fox. I'm talking about outlets like ABC radio news, NPR, Meet The Press, etc. When was the last time Senator Sanders was on Meet The Press? At least 70% of the population is in agreement with his ideas. No problem with Paul Ryan, who is even to the right of Fascism making an appearance. I don't think 1% stand behind his beliefs.
This sell-out is a major blow to any hope of a functional democracy. The media prostitutes enriching themselves at the expense of we the people should be ashamed of their complete lack of professional standards, and worse yet...... their lack of respect for democracy.
2950, you're right. "I'm not talking about the obvious billionaire propaganda tools like Fox. I'm talking about outlets like ABC radio news, NPR, Meet The Press, etc."
Even PBS has been cowed by the threat of defunding. Whatever happened to Jim Lehrer? Guys like Bill Moyers? Jim is a shadow of his former self, and I cite his pathetically tepid performance as moderator on one of the recent presidential "debates". Moyers is a gamer, but will eventually be reduced to playing a bit part..
The fourth estate is all but gone.
Our politics are set up as a whores game. Until we have politics set up to be a non paid privileged and honorable public servant position, I believe this country will continue its detructive slope until its done. My observation based on what I see. Look around and prove me wrong,please.
Douglas says "I believe this country will continue its detructive slope until its done. My observation based on what I see. Look around and prove me wrong, please."
How I wish I could prove you wrong, or even show there's a basis for proving you wrong. But we are in deep do-do, folks. - Alice I.W.
The middle class supports the austerity agenda. At least, they do when it comes to the post-middle class/poor. If austerity gives the poor the extra little push needed to do alright, imagine how much more the middle class will benefit from austerity! Face it, folks. The rich are simply doing to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor. It's not the first time in our history that the richest few gained a dangerous degree of control over the US. The only difference is that this time, the poor and middle were first deeply divided, so there will be no push-back. Divide and conquer.
MSNBC's Middle Class Only stand pretty much, imo, put the proverbial nail in the coffin. A movement to protect the status quo of the better off falls flat, and blocks out any legitimate discussion of our severe social/economic problems. Much of the liberal print media has jumped on the bourgeoisie bandwagon, delegitimizing the millions of post-middle class/poor. When so many Americans are denied fundamental human rights to food, shelter and medical care because the corp. world has no need for them, I find it hard to get fired up about reduced paid vacation time for middle classers. The middle class supports those policies that have been phasing out the middle class, and has wiped out those policies that created the massive middle class we had from WWll until Reagan. It's simply not possible to rebuild the middle class without shoring up the poor.
"in deep do-do"? We sank well below the "deep do-do" level with the "events" of 9-11; and we're still going deeper.
SHFabian, you wrote " If austerity gives the poor the extra little push needed to do alright, imagine how much more the middle class will benefit from austerity!"
What ? !!!!!!!! ??????? !!! ?
SHFabian, I'm sorry. You may not know how to take my post. In re-reading your two posts I gather you're suggesting the existance of some kind of class warfare going on between the middle class and the poor. But "austerity"? When you use that term, what do you mean? In my mind "austerity" is the essence of what ails us (both the middle class and the poor). It's the answer to "THE DEFICIT". It's what the right wing exponents of tax cuts for the wealthy advance as the cure to the problem of us sand bagging middle class and poor parasites. No more social safety net. Sink or swim, assholes! So what do you mean when you use the term "austerity"?
Outback: How pathetic is it that the god almighty dollar alone can create such a severe aversion for truth in reporting? I mean come on, the corp. media needs to collectively take an akward sip of water and this time around nervously blurt out the simple truth.....Republicans refuse to end tax breaks for big corporations and billionaires......they instead favor over one million Americans losing their jobs! REPUBLICUTS
Thom's idea to outlaw the billionaires makes good social economic sense. It's interesting to note that during the 1930's Senator Huey Long proposed limiting private fortunes to 50 million. This was just part of a larger program called Share Our Wealth. His slogan was " Every Man a King." Maybe it's time has finally come! In fact it's long overdue.
2950, I can't argue against your logic. The problem seems to be a change in the mission statement for our media. They used to have a charter that included a responsibility to good journalism. Now it's all about the bottom line. I think we're on our own, my friend. The King is Dead....Long Live the King!
As SHFabian points out: "The middle class supports those policies that have been phasing out the middle class, and has wiped out those policies that created the massive middle class we had from WWll until Reagan."
Fascinates me no end, how these "sheeple" could be so clueless as to willingly support the scheme behind their own demise. Reminds me of that poignant old fable about the Pied Piper, charming swarms of rats into the river to drown. - Alice I.W.
P.S. I've begun reading my new copy of Howard Zinn's People's History... After all the times I've heard or read it mentioned, in this blog and elsewhere, I just had to check it out. As I anticipated, it is eloquently written. But what a sad, depressing book! It validates my basic assessment of this country, past & present. What it vividly illustrates are the never-ending cycles of power struggles and strife that humanity has been locked into for millenia. It's a constant battle, between the interests serving need and those catering to greed. We either get past this or we're doomed to extinction. Talk about unsustainable!
Alice I.W. - On Howard Zinn, you were warned :-( Yes the book pops a lot of warm and fuzzy bubbles that were implanted duing our yourh, starting with exploding the Christopher Columbus myth (I can't believe we still celebrate the man's birthday). I guess the book's real value is to remind us that fairy tales are nice, but can't serve as a belief system as there is no denying the "human condition". Evolution alone will change our fundamental nature. In the meantime, the informed will arm themselves with knowledge, a healthy skepticism and live their lives accordingly. I'm glad you took the tumble and craked that particular book.
I am disappointed in the show for the following reason: you often and rather redundantly talk about Social Security and Medicare as if these are the only federal programs providing assistance to people in need of resources. It seems to me that familiarity with federal programs other than these two alone is not only necessary but would be expected of someone who is a commentator on national politics and on federal domestic policies. The sequestration or automatic budget cuts are across-the-board and will affect programs that people rely upon and need, other than Social Security and Medicare. In my opinion, there is a need for a substantial increase in funding for housing for low-income or homeless citizens. The politicians in Washington decided long ago not to fund any new public housing units, but instead to place people in privately owned apartment buildings by helping with the rent. These rent subsidies are necessary so that low-income people can be secure in their housing and so that they don't have to pay a ridiculous amount of their already scarce income toward one expense, namely housing. People need money for other items such as food, health care, and in many cases, expensive transportation costs. If the housing of citizens is threatened by the greed and incompetence shown mainly by the Republicans in Congress, this should be publicized greatly, because it would show that the U.S. is becoming a third world tin pot dictatorship rather than a fair and open country with concern for its citizens.
I believe, however, that it would be difficult for the federal government to increase the amount of funding made available for housing assistance because of the size of the deficit. The possibility of increasing the number of homeless people through robotic, mindless budget cuts will add to the social instability of America, which may be more instable than many are willing to admit. People can see what is happening in their neighborhoods, a fact that the Republicans have forgotten.
The hatred of others is behind the contempt being shown toward the federal government. One thing I don't understand is why in a country with universal public education and so many supposedly high-quality colleges and universities are people so ignorant of history, civics, and basic economic and sociological facts. I am not sure that teachers deserve the automatic respect that many progressives assign to them, but the approach taken by conservatives with No Child Left Behind and standardized tests as the primary evaluation of teacher competency is does not address many of the major problems of having an educated citizenry, which Jefferson thought necessary for democracy to flourish.