Our economy should work for us.

You wouldn't know it by looking at your bank account, but our GDP growth rate was 2.8% in the third quarter of 2013. That's much higher than the long-term rate of 2%, but average Americans won't see any benefit from better growth. The latest figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that our nation is recovering from the 2008 recession, but all of that growth is going straight into the pockets of the corporate elite. Executive salaries and bonuses have exploded in recent years, and corporate profits are higher than they've ever been. But, average wages remain stagnant, and median incomes are actually lower than they were in 2007.

The Right claims that our national debt is stifling economic growth, but that's nothing more than a talking point meant to hide the fact that corporate greed is the reason paychecks haven't gotten any higher. Growth is not the problem in our nation, and it's not the reason that Americans haven't gotten a real raise since Reagan. The real problems are income inequality, and the Right perpetuating economic myths. Over the past 32 years, the rich have convinced us that the purpose of our economy is to generate corporate profits, rather than serve the people who depend on it.

As it stands now, our economy is working great for those at the top, and it's preventing the rest of us from benefiting in any growth. All around our nation, people are starting to wake up to the fact that we need to change this. From WalMart strikers to fast-food workers to transit employees, people are speaking out against corporate greed. By standing together, Americans are realizing that we have the power to change things, and we have the power to create an economy that works for us.


ckrob's picture
ckrob 9 years 10 weeks ago

The claim "raising wages causes job loss" is usually wrong because a multiplier effect stimulates the economy when money is spent locally on real stuff rather than sitting in a few bank vaults owned by the ultra-rich with a multiplier effect approaching zero.

argo95540's picture
argo95540 9 years 10 weeks ago


Time to stop this corporate greed that is destroying democracy.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 10 weeks ago

In the proverbial nutshell, the rich are simply doing to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor.

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 9 years 10 weeks ago

!!! logic dictates logically that if you took even a small % of the total wall street wealth and actually put a little in joe's and my pocket (you know a few more bucks and hour), quantify by 100,000,000 laborers, logically the economy would expand logically because while we are still squiching out our golden egz for the coporate pigs of greed we'd at least have alittle more green to put back into the economy, logically! think about it, maybe Tyson food processing could process more chicken 'cuz i gots mo green to buy me some mo chicken to fry and they could then offer a better living wage to all the migrants slashing up chickens, logically. Oh that's right, i forgot. there is no logic in America anymore it's all money grab and pocket greasin!!!!!!!

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 10 weeks ago

This arguement has been around for decades (that improving wages would result in job loss), and the record clearly shows that it is false. It's almost as irrational as the widespread belief that welfare caused poverty. There is only one way to save the US from complete economic collapse, and our own history shows what that is: Ordinary people, the working class and those much worse off, need to have the means to purchase basic consumer goods. As poverty is eased (both via job creation/fair wages and welfare aid to the unemployed/unemployable), consumer purchases increase, increasing the need for more production, thereby increasing the number of workers needed -- thereby strengthening the economy and shrinking poverty. (We must also restore regulations on corporations -- and at the least, stop giving them massive amounts of taxpayer money to cover the costs of moving our jobs out!). Learn from history. From FDR through Reagan, the US reached its height of shared wealth AND productivity. We then reversed course, and the results are obvious. In just the short time since Reagan, the US has gone from being #1 in overall quality of life/productivity, down to #11.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 10 weeks ago

As much as the issue is ignored, reality will keep hitting us upside the head: What should we do about those who can't work, due to health or circumstances, and those for whom there simply are no jobs available? People don't disappear simply because they are not of current use to an employer. These people end up suffering the hell of being homeless until they're either swept up and put into the jail/prison system, or die. The better-off can't seem to comprehend that millions of low-wage workers are a single job loss from losing everything. How do you get a job without a home address, phone, bus fare? When your wages barely cover the most basic needs, it's not possible to "save for a rainy day."

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 9 years 10 weeks ago

huh,huh (beevis laugh) not to mention we really are headed, huh, huh, to the bottom of the list as "educated" the more the dumbing down and mis information continues!!! finland and korea! @ the top of the list. the good ol US of A? kind of like ground feeders...SAD!

akunard's picture
akunard 9 years 10 weeks ago

The test of the theory is New York City. The new mayor is committed to raise the min. wage to $15 or higher. It will cause fewer jobs and higher prices. Save this and throw it in my face in 2 years.

Gary Reber's picture
Gary Reber 9 years 10 weeks ago

This is all about income, or more precisely the decline of income necessary to support oneself and a family household unit. Conventional wisdom says there is only one way to earn a living, and that’s to work. Yet job opportunities, especially that pay decent wages and salaries to support a family household unit, are constantly disappearing. Furthermore, the reality that is ignored by leadership and academia is that tectonic shifts in the technologies of production are exponentially destroying jobs and devaluing the worth of labor as "machines" replace people as the means of producing products and services.

Binary economist Louis Kelso stated: "Conventional wisdom effectively treats capital (land, structures, machines, and the like) as though it were a kind of holy water that, sprinkled on or about labor, makes it more productive. Thus, if you have a thousand people working in a factory and you increase the design and power of the machinery so that one hundred men can now do what a thousand did before, conventional wisdom says, ‘Voila! The productivity of the labor has gone up 900 percent!’ I say ‘hogwash.’ All you’ve done is wipe out 90 percent of the jobs, and even the remaining ten percent are probably sitting around pushing buttons. What the economy needs is a way of legitimately getting capital ownership into the hands of the people who now don’t have it.”

The solution is to educate people about the source of income and wealth accumulation that makes one rich––capital ownership. Conventionally, most people do not have the right to acquire productive capital with the self-financing earnings of capital; they are left to acquire, as best as they can, with their earnings as labor workers. This is fundamentally hard to do and limiting. Thus, the most important economic right Americans need and should demand is the effective right to acquire capital with the earnings of capital. Note, though, millions of Americans own diluted stock value through the “stock market exchanges,” purchased with their earnings as labor workers, their stock holdings are relatively miniscule, as are their dividend payments compared to the top 10 percent of capital owners.

Structural reform is needed in America to significantly expand private sector individual capital ownership financed with the future earnings of investment. We need to embrace "full production" rather than "full employment." As a result, in the relative short term "full employment" will occur because every person willing and able to work will be needed to build a future economy that will support general affluence for EVERY citizen. At the same time corporations will benefit from the populous support to keep labor input and other costs at a minimum in order to maximize profits for the owners––which will consist of both the current ownership class and a new, ever expanding ownership class that ultimately comprises EVERY citizen. With such structural reform America will be able to compete more effectively on a global basis as American corporations will be able to operate far more efficiently with less costly overhead. Such structural reform will put us on a path to prosperity, opportunity, and economic justice without taking from those who already own and destroying the principles of private property, and without having to rely on redistribution of wealth and income to support the masses needing taxpayer-supported government welfare sourced from tax extraction and national debt .

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 10 weeks ago

Americans standard of living is one of the highest in the world, with endless opperatunities and all I ever here on this blog is whining. What would you do in a poor country.

argo95540's picture
argo95540 9 years 10 weeks ago

Good ole American exceptionalism or as I call it an excuse for not doing anything to improve things here because everything is fine as is.......or could that be PRIDE GOES BEFORE A FALL. What ever happened to our nation's ability to embrace change ???? Land of the brave? Not anymore. Those who have the power and money do not have the courage (They are selfish) to do what is good for the nation. False patriotism. To depend on the top one or even two percent of us who are rich to support the nation is a mistaken mindset that will ruin our economy and sabatoge the nation. The so called job creators are job destroyers. The real job creators in America are the rest of us. give us more income to afford more than just survival (though with increasing prices on food,gas and others we can barely afford that) and we will spend it !!!!!!!!!!! We are good people who work hard at low paying jobs. We deserve more. And those endless opportunities are a delusion.We have to acknowledge that change is needed. That is not whining. That is courage. That is patriotism. We want a better and stronger nation.

argo95540's picture
argo95540 9 years 10 weeks ago

I have saved your comment and I will see you here in two years. The greedy will do their best to stonewall any attempts to raise the minimum wage and we might not get to see if you are right or not, but if things do not change and things get worse, we will see if I and others are right. I suspect that will be the case and America will continue to slip into a third world nation with a few incredibly wealthy and a even greater number of us who are poor.There are places like here in California though that are raising it, so I will come back here in two years and report on that success. California is already making a remarkable turnaround because we increased taxes on the wealthy (without a mass evacuation of our business interests - another right wing myth proven wrong)

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

"Akunard" gripes about a $15 minimum wage for New York workers and says "It will cause fewer jobs and higher prices." Reich-wing lies, "akunard"! Try switching channels on the boob tube. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote Kend:Americans standard of living is one of the highest in the world, with endless opperatunities and all I ever here on this blog is whining. What would you do in a poor country.

Kend ~ That is a silly question. We would work our butt off for nothing--much like we have done in this country since Reagan. A really good question would be what would YOU do in a really poor country? Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get rich? Talk about someone REALLY WHINING!!

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

Dumb statement even for you Kend. That the U.S. standard of living is dropping like a stone is not controversial or controvertable. There are abundant numbers to back it up and none to contradict it.

We just wanna be Canadian, Kend ... or, better yet, German.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Kend says "Americans' standard of living is one of the highest in the world, with endless opportunities..." REALLY, Kend? Perhaps you should take the time to examine where we stand compared to the rest of the developed world in education, healthcare, longevity and so forth. Last I heard, our healthcare system was worse than Iran's. Our infant mortality statistics are so bad, a woman is better off giving birth in many third world countries than here. Our roads are full of potholes, our public transportation systems in disrepair and out-of-date, our bridges are collapsing, our public schools are being shut down in city after city. We're charged more for medications than anyone else in the world. Young Americans get caught in the debt trap just going to school. Our mental health services are a joke. You are so friggin' clueless! Why can't you get your facts straight before getting on your soapbox? This is what I find so frustrating about your posts. - Aliceinwonderland

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 10 weeks ago

Anyone foolish enough to believe "we have the power to change things" is in denial about the bottomless ignorance that gives the One Percent absolute power over Moron Nation.

Just one example proves this point beyond any possibility of rebuttal: the landslide rejections of GMO-labeling initiatives by the voters of California and Washington state. In other words, all it takes to stifle forever any public demand for progressive change -- even by the most health-oriented, environmentally conscious voters in the entire U.S. -- is the threat of higher prices.

What this also proves is that the Ruling Class can ensure landslide victories for all Republicans merely by equating any progressive alternatives with soaring costs of living. And no, it matters not whether the Republicans are declared Republicans like Sarah Palin or clandestine Republicans like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton; in either case it is now a proven fact the mere threat of price hikes will always convince the USian people to vote against their own interests.

Yes, the USian Empire's homeland electorate is truly that abysmally stupid, so much so that -- thanks to the huge majority of voters who would rather be poisoned than pay a few cents more for groceries -- I have finally at age 73 recognized the hope for progressive change is nothing more than an adult version of a child's yearnings for Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

Government is too big if it serves the comnmon people but not if it serves the elites. Government serving the common people would hamper their freedom. How? Because they wouldn't be enslaved by business elites with big government to protect them from abuse?

Government makes the common person MORE free. Like they told you in school, government, in a democracy, makes us ALL free - not just some of us. What democratic government hampers is not freedom but privilege. They speak in euphamism. They (right wing, fraudulent "libertarians" - some redundancy there) defend not freedom but privilege.

priv·i·lege (prv-lj, prvlj)n.

1. a. A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste. See Synonyms at right.b. Such an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank, and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others. 2. The principle of granting and maintaining a special right or immunity. They believe not in democracy but economic royalism or, more aptly, feudalism, where an aristocracy is "free" to abuse the serfdom and peasantry.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Mr. Bliss - Sadly, I can't argue with a single point you've just made. When I heard about the defeat of that food labelling bill, I had similar thoughts. Sheeple will be sheeple... (SIGH) - AIW

delster's picture
delster 9 years 10 weeks ago

Sadly we are painfully aware of the problem. Members of the gainfully employed and middle management support the right becuase they feel they will be rewarded with well being. What their not cognizant of is that they are the next course of the menu. When push comes to shove the elite will cash in the upper middle class right wingers with no remorse. And so on and so on. It is a carniverous

game of survival of the wealthiest. I believe this is what boom and bust economy net result is. It requires a great deal of financial resource to control governments and livestock (people) As citizens

Americans need to strive for responsible sustainable eceonomic stability and opportunity. It means we must control what we purchase, and how we pay for what we purchase, and we must be very selective where and from whom we purchase. When you feed the beast you kill opportunity for the average americans. Corporations are not in the business of spending money on wages and benefits.

Consequently I believe we as citizens have the power if we could realize what cooperation and patriotic commitent can achieve . Once you realize greedy geezer imperialist capitalism is a job killer instead of a job creator we are in a position to fight back. Like any fight it will require self denial and guts to win.

however it will be a temporary victory at best. Vigilant resistance and political involvement will be necessary. When I worked inside a corporation it occured to me that I was selling my liberty to an independent government that was not a democracy and now these non democratic dictatorships enjoy citizens privilege.

Global's picture
Global 9 years 10 weeks ago

Alice, I don't know where a nice lady like you lives but I think Kens facts are pretty correct. Maybe it is you that is frustrated with the wrong facts. According to the human development index we are ranked number four, check it out:

Human Development Index - Top 50 Countries with high human development in 2011HDI rank CountryHuman Development Index (HDI)Life expectancy at birthMean years of schoolingExpected years of schoolingGross national income (GNI) per capitaGNI per capita rank minus HDINonincome HDI
1 Norway0.94381.112.617.347,55760.975210Australia0.92981.912.018.034,431160.9793 Netherlands0.91080.711.616.836,40290.9444 United States0.91078.512.416.043,01760.9315 New Zealand0.90880.712.518.023,737300.9786 Canada0.90881.012.116.035,166100.9447 Ireland0.90880.611.618.029,322190.9598 Liechtenstein0.90579.610.314.783,717–60.8779 Germany0.90580.412.215.934,85480.94010 Sweden0.90481.411.715.735,83740.93611 Switzerland0.90382.311.015.639,92400.92612 Japan0.90183.411.615.132,295110.94013 Hong Kong, China (SAR)0.89882.810.015.744,805–40.91014 Iceland0.89881.810.418.029,354110.94315 Korea, Republic of0.89780.611.616.928,230120.94516 Denmark0.89578.811.416.934,34730.92617 Israel0.88881.611.915.525,849140.93918 Belgium0.88680.010.916.133,35720.91419 Austria0.88580.910.815.335,719–40.90820 France0.88481.510.616.130,46240.91921 Slovenia0.88479.311.616.924,914110.93522 Finland0.88280.010.316.832,43800.91123 Spain0.87881.410.416.626,50860.92024 Italy0.87481.910.116.326,48460.91425 Luxembourg0.86780.010.113.350,557–200.85426 Singapore0.86681.18.814.4 e52,569–220.85127 Czech Republic0.86577.712.315.621,405140.91728 United Kingdom0.86380.29.316.133,296–70.879

mmuoio's picture
mmuoio 9 years 10 weeks ago

There simply is no question and very little time to put this so called “Conservatism” in the rear view mirror, just as we did when similar circumstances confronted us some 84 years ago, when intelligent certainty occurred on Saturday March 4th 1933 with the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the second Bill of Rights he advocated in his address to Congress in 1944;

“We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

-The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

-The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

-The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return, which will give him and his family a decent living;

-The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

-The right of every family to a decent home;

-The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

-The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

-The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.”

I guess we must have forgotten FDR’s words, or we weren’t listening very well, and sadly, still may not be.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

Global, I don't trust those figures, I need to see the source. I went to the site linked and found NO human development index. Maybe I wasn't looking in the right place but this index may also be a specious gimmick. Sometimes a handful of multi billionaires can skew an average.

I know without looking that the US is relatively low and dropping in literacy, education, healthcare outcomes and some other categories.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Global, all I see is an incomprehensible, jumbled mess of numbers that say nothing to me. The "information" you provided does not match what I've heard from Thom Hartmann, or gotten from other trusted sources. I can't believe we rank higher than (for example) Germany or Sweden. In what way? At any rate, I'm underwhelmed. - AIW

ckrob's picture
ckrob 9 years 10 weeks ago

Global, be careful of averages and 'per capita' figures because they're not very helpful in skewed distributions. The old story about "Bill Gates walks into a bar with a dozen bums and their average net worth was over a billion $," is a good example. Norway has an extremely flat distribution of wealth and is very different in that respect from the U.S. which has a remarkable income disparity for a first world country.

argo95540's picture
argo95540 9 years 10 weeks ago

Your source is wikipedia ????? Unreliable. Actually the worst place to go for info other than Fox news that is.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago
Quote Loren Bliss:Anyone foolish enough to believe "we have the power to change things" is in denial about the bottomless ignorance that gives the One Percent absolute power over Moron Nation.

Loren Bliss ~ Your premise is very sound however I must differ with your conclusion. First, I-522 although a very progressive and convenient proposition is not really necessary to protect anyone who wants to be protected against GMO's. Information about the content of products is readily available to those interested through special interest groups and on line. Secondly, Washington State is one of the most progressive and well educated of all communities in the country--next to California, of course. They are hardly an abysmal pit of intellectual despair.

Finally, and most importantly, you overlook the ominous factors of economy, psychology and the power of marketing that really are at the root of this tragic outcome. People in this country have been conditioned from birth to expect instant gratification. That expectation is reinforced by their lifestyle which by and large is living from paycheck to paycheck. These people have to focus on where today's meal is going to come from rather then the "possible consequences" of eating cheap GMO foods 20 years down the line. As far as many of them are concerned anything past next month doesn't' exist. The economy has forced them to live that way--it has little to do with choice or intellect.

Corporate advertisers know just how to play into this fear. Given enough money and a loose truth they can easily spin any perspective they want. They know how to trigger the appropriate reaction; and, that response has nothing to do with being abysmally stupid. It is a human response and the appropriate reaction only proves you are human.

Remember the famous experiments in the 60s and 70s with Stanley Milgram at Yale and Philip Zimbardo at Harvard? The subjects in these experiments were young, educated, and fully aware that they were participating in an experiment; yet, showed complete yielding to the power of authority and peer pressure to the point of abusing and killing innocent people. We know that to recreate that powerful influence of authority and peer pressure enables enormous control over the minds of almost everyone. That is why such influences in society should never be left unchecked and unregulated.

The enormous psychological marketing influence exerted by these Corporations are multiplied as a result of the money involved. They hire the best firms. I'm not sure if you are aware but there is a great deal of psychological science that goes into marketing these days. They know just what buttons to push to make us jump.From my training and understanding of the field I can almost tell you exactly what was presented to the residents of Washington State. The commercials probably took one of two forms. Form one, the testimonial. Here, a typical citizen, like you or I, played by an very convincing actor, laments as to how hard it is to afford food for their family and how much harder it will be with I-522. They then throw in a bit of misinformation about who is really behind I-522, what it's "real" purpose is, and who is behind the opposition. They make it sound as though the opposition are the good guys and they are looking out for the viewers best interest. They base the lies on known facts and always paint the intended decision in the light of the viewers "best interests." The second version template is the scary tale. Scary music, scary visuals, scary voice. They make it sound like the world will come to an end if I-522 passes. What is given in response by the sponsors of I-522? Very little, because the citizen action committees have no where near as much money as the Corporate interests; and, our "Fairness Doctrine" is history.





So Loren, with all due respect, blaming the intellect of these victims is not a realistic approach to the analysis of this problem. University studies have proven conclusively that given the same group of circumstances almost anyone will conform to making the same set of bad choices regardless of their intellectual capabilities. Despair and apathy in this situation is not acceptable. We are capable of understanding the factors responsible for this poor choice. We should address these factors instead of criticizing the people involved. The way I see it, this problem will continue to be the norm unless we change how we regulate our political media. The first step is "The Fairness Doctrine" must be reinstated and applied to ANY POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT! Secondly, ALL POLITICAL ADVERTISING MUST BE PUBLICLY FUNDED!

Fortunately, both these proverbial birds can both be killed with the one stone of CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM! This is where we should all focus our efforts. The statement the we do not "have the power to change things" discounts all the other victories that we experienced in this election based on this one defeat. To me, that is not a logical conclusion. The fact of the matter is that this last election shows conclusively that we do have the power to change EVERYTHING. Maybe not everything at once; but, more than enough to stop Corporate interests in their tracks. Now is not the time to let up. We have them where we want them. Let them have their petty little victory. They paid enough for it.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

That's just what I said, Global. What you used was not the Inequality Adjusted HDI. When you use IEHDI the United States is much lower than by your skewed figures. With IEHDI the U.S. is #16, well after Germany and Canada.

Thus, as I said to Kend, we just want to be Canadian or German.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 10 weeks ago

Without minnimum wage laws employers are FORCED to pay lower wages than all other employers. There can be no ethics in a competitive society because they (ethics) are an impediment to competitiveness. Ethics, in a free enterprise system, must be handed down by government in the form of laws and regulations.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Marc, your point about the science of mind manipulation in advertising is well taken. But I still get very frustrated with people for listening to that crap. The only appropriate response to political ads is a deaf ear. And you just did a beautiful job of describing the reasons why I have eliminated the boob tube from my realm of reality! Why should I pay an extra bill each month for the "privilege" of getting jerked around and manipulated (and annoyed and offended) on a daily basis? Cable, satellite... it's all the same... garbage-in-garbage-out! - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ I agree it is a very frustrating thing to see happen. However, it is also very, very prevalent in our society. Whatever our personal habits may be we have to consider the habits of over 90% of our fellow citizens when those habits have immediate influence on the rest of us. After all, Corporations do.

Thanks for mentioning the garbage-in-garbage-out theory. That is a key factor of our mass media problem that I wanted to--but forgot to--mention in my rant. We don't have to watch the "garbage" to acknowledge it exists and to be aware of it. That is why Campaign Finance Reform is so imperative. It will do so much to remove the "garbage" factor from our media. There may still be the presence of Corporate influences; but, they will have to adhere to rules of public finance, truthful non-misleading content, and time limits. They will also have to yield equal prime time to opposing views. Money will no longer be an advantage; and, the media itself will serve the cause of spreading the truth--what it was always meant to do in the first place.

Television is a dominant force in our society; and, will likely always be. Like any other tool it is only as good as the rules that control it. It is imperative that We the People demand that our media is controlled with regards to the common good. The only way to do that is to insure that We the People regulate it. Just like registering our guns, regulating our media is nothing more and nothing less than the responsible thing to do.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Marc, you don't have to convince me of the multitude of ills that could be cured by campaign finance reform. In my book, that's got to be the #1 reform we need to aim for. Without that, we're toast. But I still get frustrated with people for buying into television's version of reality. Who knows how long it will take for us get campaign finance reform established? Like so many inventions that could have been used for constructive purposes (in a different kind of society), the TV set has become the ultimate manipulator. That's why it's been called the "boob tube" and the "idiot box"; because the more people watch it, the dumber they get. Unfortunately campaign finance reform isn't our present reality, and we're still being fed the same old toxic crap. These plutocrats manipulate and brainwash us only with our permission. By cutting out the boob tube, I've silenced them in the one place where I have control: my home! - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Something else occurs to me which I'm compelled to add to my previous post. I think it's reasonable to question whether TV will always be the dominant force in our society. I've observed alternatives to television already available to us, such as programs like Democracy Now that my husband and I watch on his laptop. No commercials, no B.S.; just the friggin' news. With luck, may this be the start of a growing trend! That is, unless the TPP gets passed... Heaven forbid. - AIW

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 10 weeks ago

DAnneMarc...Four points, with my apology for returning so late to the thread:

(1)-As a journalist, a former editor-in-chief of Art Direction magazine (1984-1986) and also a former prostitute (aka "advertising executive"), I am well aware of the psychological warfare techniques used against USian subjects. More to the point, these techniques have been thoroughly and very publicly documented, most notably in Vance Packard's The Hidden Persuaders (David McKay Publishing: 1957). This book remains so relevant it has been re-issued at least a dozen times, most recently in 2007. Hence -- because there is no excuse for the public's (deliberately embraced) ignorance -- my indictment of Moron Nation for its self-destructive stupidity stands without apology or modification.

(2)-The testimonial-and-terror strategy and tactics you described is exactly what the opponents of Initiative 522 employed. When the pro-toxins offensive began, in mid-September, I-522 was nearly 15 points ahead in the polls. By mid-October, after four weeks of testimonial-and-terror, it was dead by 10 points. The results in California were nearly identical. As I noted, and as you yourself confirmed, the California and Washington state electorates are amongst the best educated in the USian Empire. The obvious lesson is that, by using testimonial-and-terror, the Imperial Ruling Class can produce any electoral result it desires. In this context note how the Ruling Class threatened us with its Romney-Ryan assault gun to ensure the re-election of Barack Obama and thereby bring to fruition the de facto fascist dictatorship Wall Street has sought since the failure of the Bankers' Plot in 1934. Meanwhile the so-called "paralysis" of Congress is merely an especially cunning method for achieving the same results Tsar Nicholas II and Adolph Hitler achieved by shutting down their respective parlaimentary bodies, the Duma and the Reichstag.

(3)-Campaign finance reform is meaningless for a number of reasons. It requires functional democratic process, which we are no longer allowed, and which cannot be restored by any legally recognized means. Even were there some semblance of democratic process still functional, which there is not, change whether reformist or revolutionary is rendered impossible by the fact the USian citizenry is the most willfully ignorant, vindictively anti-intellectual population on earth. Moreover, and as demonstrated by the death of I-522, there is no defense against the testimonial-and-terror methodology when it is used to manipulate an ignorant population -- especially one that, like the USian population, deliberately opiates itself with ignorance.

(4)-As to "other victories in this election," to my knowledge there were none that are meaningful. Yes, a Democrat won the Virginia gubernatorial race, but he is a Wall Street Democrat, which means from the Working Class perspective he is no better than a Republican. As to Bill de Blasio's victory in New York City, as an exiled New Yorker who once covered aspects of the City's politics, I know all too well that due to the realities of governance there, Mr. de Blasio's win is more a change in form than in substance. Out here in Washington, the state's most pivotal vote, in the 26th Legislative District, gave the Teabagger Republicans ironclad control of the state Senate and therefore total control of the state government -- which will no doubt have dire, probably deadly consequences for lower-income elderly people like myself. Yes there is an avowed revolutionary socialist winning a city council seat in Seattle, but that too is rendered meaningless by the documented shallowness of the voters there, most of whom are pseudo-progressives and nearly all of whom are hypocrites: note their unyielding opposition to tax reform (the state has the most savagely regressive tax structure in all USia), also the fact that -- again due to voter opposition -- Seattle's transit system is nearly 50 years behind that of any comparable USian urban area. Bottom line, the USian experiment in constitutional democracy is as dead as the American Dream, and no amount of voting can ever restore either the experiment or the dream. The ultimate paradigm of governance in the United States of America was announced by the events of 22 November 1963: that anyone who would dare attempt truly progressive change -- even moderate reform -- will be eliminated.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Mr. Bliss, it is very difficult for me to argue with your cynicism. There's plenty of evidence all around to support it. But if I fully embraced it, I'd either shoot myself or go jump off a cliff. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago

Loren Bliss ~ Thank you for that very cerebral response. Very well said. I have little choice but to honestly agree with almost all of it. I can only add this to comment #3. Although you may be right when you say...

Quote Loren Bliss:Even were there some semblance of democratic process still functional, which there is not, change whether reformist or revolutionary is rendered impossible by the fact the USian citizenry is the most willfully ignorant, vindictively anti-intellectual population on earth.

I must differ with the statement that there is no longer any "semblance of democratic process still functional." I believe that there still is a "semblance" of one. Not much else, though. However, I very reluctantly must completely agree with the rest of the statement. Very sad but true. Nevertheless, like I've stated before, the general populace that existed during the writings of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, The US Constitution, The Emancipation Proclamation, and The New Deal were far less educated, far more ignorant, and far less intellectual than the populace of today. It made no difference in the milestones that were accomplished at the time and I doubt that will be a major hindering factor in what needs to be done today and in the future. The only real difference between the citizens of today and the past is that the population back then were far more oppressed and far more desperate. Given the current trends that level of general despair may not be too far away in our future. The plain fact of the matter is that despair is a far greater motivator than intellect.

Quote Loren Bliss:(3)-Campaign finance reform is meaningless for a number of reasons. It requires functional democratic process, which we are no longer allowed, and which cannot be restored by any legally recognized means.

This may very well be true; however, I demand that it is proven through concerted legal action. Not just for you or I; but, for every citizen to see publically. That fact must become a clear part of the public record. We cannot give up on this notion until we exhaust all legal efforts to make Campaign Finance Reform a reality. If that fails then other means may have to be addressed. However, until that effort fails it would be futile to employ any other methods of influence because you will not have the support of the multitude; and, that is a critical factor for success. We have no choice but to exhaust every legal means at our disposal to achieve this goal. Despair and discouragement is not an option. Without that legal initiative we have failed already. Campaign Finance Reform legislation is our only hope and only logical course of action. It is a goal that must be achieved--preferably by legal recourse; but, realistically, by any means necessary. We as a nation must accept the notion that we can only achieve true freedom and Democracy by banning money from our political system. We must come together to make that happen. We cannot resort to anything other than legal action until all serious efforts have been completely exhausted. If what you say is true--and I'm not saying it isn't--that fact must be laid out for everyone in the Nation and the world to see. After that has been achieved, it is my firm belief, the future of our Democracy will take care of itself. In the end--as with anything else--it is far better to fail after trying then to have failed having never tried at all.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 10 weeks ago

DAnneMarc...(and Aliceinwonderland), this is a genuinely interesting conversation, for which many thanks. Obviously a few of us remain awake.

That said, there is one grave fallacy in DAnneMarc's thinking, specifically that the population of the U.S. was less educated in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries than it is now. While quantitatively that may be true -- people are surely taught more facts and alleged facts today than in yesteryear -- qualitatively that is absolutely false. Study after study has revealed the present-day U.S. population to be the most ignorant such population on the planet, with an alleged leadership that is scarcely better educated than the masses. Indeed today's USian citizenry reads fewer books than any people on earth. By contrast the founders were amongst the most educated people of their time, Lincoln was surely no ignoramus, and FDR was a product of the best private schools in the nation. While probably a third of the colonial citizenry was illiterate -- more than half when you factor in the non-citizen slaves (who were by law prohibited any education) -- there was also from the earliest days of the republic a consistent effort toward education, such that by the early 20th Century, the U.S. had achieved, in all parts of the nation but the South, literacy rates comparable to the most civilized nations of Europe. Not only that; based on existing test papers and textbooks, an eighth grader of the 1930s was expected to know more history, geography, science and math than a college graduate today. This knowledge gap between the relatively learned electorate then and the hopelessly ignorant electorate now no doubt explains why during the 1920s and 1930s the Communist Party rose to be the third largest political organization ever in U.S. history and why today the average citizen cannot reliably spell "socialist," much less grasp its meaning. In this same context, the dumbing-down I have witnessed in my own life is itself breathtaking. I graduated from high school in 1958. When I was in third grade (1948-1949), we were required to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution and to be able to explain its meaning; in fifth grade (1950-1951), we were required to memorize and explain the first stanza of The Concord Hymn, the recitation of which still to this day brings tears to my eyes; in eighth grade (1953-1954), we were required to memorize and explain the Bill of Rights; in grade 11 (1956-1957), we were required to memorize and explain Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. None of these requirements exist in the U.S. public schools today. Indeed, what in my school days were called civics, history and American government are now effectively taboo subjects -- a direct reflection of the fact the Ruling Class is so terrified we will (re)discover our hard-won rights, it has diminished education accordingly.

As to campaign finance reform, I agree it is a worthy cause, surely worth working for, but because I believe it is utterly impossible within the present system, I prefer to direct my efforts elsewhere -- at this point working in my very small way to help people like Chris Hedges awaken us to the absolute hopelessness of our present-day circumstances. Only then, with that lesson learned, will we be able to formulate successful resistance.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Loren, I can't disagree with what you say about the dumbing down of our population, depressing though it is. Some years back I got a glimpse at what eighth graders were supposed to have learned, maybe around the last turn of the century (t's been literally years, so unfortunately I can't remember the source). "Breathtaking" is the word for it. What an eye opener. You're not exaggerating when you point out how eighth graders of yesteryear knew more about the basics principles & ideology our government was founded on than today's college grads. It really is tragic.

Like you, I'm afraid things are gonna get much worse before they get better. Nothing short of despair is gonna motivate our fellow Americans to get up off the friggin' couch, throw out the boob tube and get active. All the power we have anymore is in our numbers.

Could you turn me onto your website address again? (Or was it a Facebook page?) It's been many months since I visited it, but when I did, I really enjoyed it. And I hope we continue to see your posts here from time to time, because you contribute a unique perspective to this dialogue. It's depressing as hell but still refreshing, in a strange sort of way - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ I believe Loren's site was this:


DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago

Loren Bliss ~ This time I can't disagree with anything you said. Your assumption that I was speaking quantitatively instead of qualitatively is absolutely correct. Your statement that the quality of education today for the masses is far below the past is also irrefutable.

However, I still stand by my statement that Campaign Finance Reform is a potential viable solution. Maybe not today. Maybe not legally. Certainly not easily and without popular support. In fact, how such a scenario might play out I haven't got a clue. All I know is that it is something that needs to be done and something we can do. We have to do something; and, jumping to the conclusion of a Revolution without earning the support of the multitude and the world is a no win plan. If nothing else, rallying around Campaign Finance Reform might create that unifying support that can make that difference. It may not even be and ends in itself; but, it certainly is a means to an ends. Unfortunately, like Alice lamented, any such serious efforts will probably have to wait till our fellow citizens are pushed much harder and in much greater despair. Fortunately our present day technology--the Internet in particular--might help fill the gap in education that you described if the masses ever find the inspiration to use it. There is little excuse there. The information is readily available for anyone who wishes to find it. I still believe that in our struggle ignorance and poor education is not as big as an obstacle as apathy and alienation. However, I must admit they do go hand in hand.

Whatever you plan to do for the cause you certainly have my blessings. To do anything at all for the greater good is far more than the average citizen does--and for that we are all grateful. Please also accept my personal gratitude for an excellent discussion. I can say without hesitation that I come away having been enriched by your wisdom. I certainly hope you can find the time to share your wisdom with us on a regular basis. Your insight is something we always look forward to.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 10 weeks ago

Alice, my blog, Outside Agitator's Notebook, is at lorenbliss.typepad.com. For the benefit of overseas readers who for whatever reason have difficulty accessing TypePad, there's also a less graphically sophisticated version (visually the victim of Blogger's truly wretched design capabilities) at lorenbliss-outsideagitatorsnotebook.blogspot.com. One used to be able to get the TypePad version merely by Googling my name, Loren Bliss, but as Google increasingly serves the government by imposing ever more censorship, that may not be true anymore. As to Facebook, I was ousted from there for my politics back in 2010; my sin was asking whether the economic crash was deliberately imposed by the Ruling Class to facilitate the downsizing of government, thereby furthering the replacement of national governance by zero-tolerance corporate tyranny -- precisely what we now know is happening. In any case, thank you for your interest; I have been taking a semi-vacation from OAN since Hallowe'en, mostly to work on other projects, but will resume my weekly essays soon, probably this Sunday (the 17th), or if not by then, for sure no later than Sunday the 24th. Meanwhile you might enjoy some of the material -- especially the photographs -- I've been publishing on OAN over the past months. (Yes, I very much appreciate your posts too, Alice, also DeAnneMarc's, so I certainly will continue visiting here.) Again thanks.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 10 weeks ago

DAnneMarc, lest there be any misunderstanding, I absolutely agree with you that, "jumping to the conclusion of a Revolution without earning the support of the multitude and the world is a no-win plan." And given present global realpolitik, even with all that support it would fail. Indeed -- even if the entire effort were avowedly non-violent -- it would be suicide, and anyone who thinks otherwise is either delusional or an idiot or both. Imagine a revolution in a major city -- say New York, which still has enough indigenous radicalism to qualify for the great honor James Baldwin bestowed upon it in 1962: the title of Another Country. The revolutionaries seize the city, hoist the Red Flag over the five boroughs, and what happens? The federal government exterminates the entire population with neutron bombs, carefully leaving all the buildings and other capital investments intact. I can hear the rationale already; "we had to nuke the city to save it." Such is capitalist governance in action: absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation for all the rest of us. In this context, the best we can do -- the only thing we can do -- is to continue nonviolent protests and do everything in our power to ensure they remain nonviolent.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 10 weeks ago

There's a third alternative, Aliceinwonderland, perfectly expounded by Robert Jensen: "When we face the painful reality that there is no hope, it is in that moment that we earn the right to hope" (see http://truth-out.org/news/item/19804-the-future-must-be-green-red-black-...). In other words -- an observation made also by Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus at the height of the French Resistance -- it is only through truly recognizing the utter hopelessness of our circumstances that we begin to evolve the situationally correct ideology, strategy and tactics of meaningful change. More to the point, and precisely as Barbara Ehrenreich asserts, it is the USian addiction to delusional positive thinking that ensures our continued subjugation. However, once we understand what is being done to us and why -- once we feel it in our hearts as well as comprehend it with our intellects -- it is at least possible we will respond accordingly.

The only thing that gives me any hope -- and that is only a very tiny hope -- is my knowledge of the Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Cuban revolutions. In these countries, the proletarians and peasants were deliberately kept in a state of abysmal ignorance by their respective ruling classes. Yet each population was eventually able to rise above that particular imprisonment. The vital question therefore is whether a formerly well-educated subject people who have been deliberately reduced to such ignorance -- and who, in the course of their reduction, have embraced that ignorance as an opiate -- can be re-educated enough to recognize their enslavement and thereby begin the process of liberation. Chris Hedges and Henry Giroux look at the Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese and Cuban examples and answer affirmatively, that even the most ignorant peasants can indeed be properly educated. I look at the example of the Southern United States, where for 149 years Christianity has stymied even the most forceful attempts at education, and I say "probably not" -- the "probably" a concession to the fact history sometimes includes seeming miraculous surprises.

But none of the writers I have cited seem to be aware that history shows there are four prerequisites to revolutionary change, whether non-violent or otherwise. These are (1)-ideology and ideological solidarity; (2)-leadership and organization; (3)-technological mastery; and (4)-the clandestine assistance of a great foreign power. No revolution in history has succeeded without each of these prerequisites in combination; even the absence of one brings about total failure. And the people of the United States are methodically denied them all. As the collapse of the Occupy Movement proves, USians are too reflexively anti-intellectual to ever allow the evolution of a functional socialist ideology; too self-obsessed to allow for the emergence of the requisite leadership and structure; too technologically ignorant to combat the effectively divine technological omnipotence of the state (what rebel, for example, could possibly know how to fly a jet fighter or operate a modern weapons system?); and too isolated (as are all revolutionary groups today) by the fact capitalism now rules the world. This means there is no nation on earth (nor will there ever be again) able to aid a revolution as for example France aided the American Revolution, Great Britain aided the Haitian Revolution, Imperial Germany aided the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union aided the revolutions in China, Vietnam and Cuba and by its mere existence enabled the revolution in India. Though the U.S.S.R. was never the worker's paradise it claimed to be, its presentation of a clear alternative to capitalism was nevertheless -- especially after the capitalist co-optation of China -- the last flickering candle of hope for human liberty left on Planet Earth.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 10 weeks ago

Something very weird just happened to this thread: the dialogue is now hopelessly scrambled, with my earlier response to Alice now renumbered and retimed to effectively turn it into a non sequitur. This has been done to me before on this site, and given Mr. Hartmann's constant toadying to the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party, I cannot doubt it is deliberate and malicious. Hence this may well be the precursor to banishment, in which case farewell...

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 10 weeks ago

Loren Bliss ~ Not to worry Loren. That phenomenon occurs all the time. It is the just Thom's Main Server's program's way of dealing with edits. If you, or someone else, edits any post--other than the one at the end--then the edited post gets kicked to the end. As a result all subsequent posts are pushed back a number to fill the hole it left. It's just a dumb computers way of dealing with the traffic. Nothing nefarious. Nothing to worry about.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 9 years 10 weeks ago

Whew! Thank you, and my apology to Mr. Hartmann for my wrongful suspicion. I've been banished from so many allegedly "progressive" websites, starting with Democratic Underground c. 2005, where my unforgivable sin was pointing out that -- apart from flash-in-the-pan minority rebellions (plus of course the methodically censored, species-wide 180-degree metaphysical turn nobody but pagans and Gaean ecofeminists dare acknowledge even now) -- the so-called "revolution of the '60s" never happened. I was there; I covered it for both the mainstream and alternative press; I watched it founder in an earlier variant of the same conditioned anti-intellectuality that killed Occupy plus of course successive epidemics of drugs, clinical self-obsession and -- after the murders committed by the government troops at Kent State University and the cops at Jackson State College -- just plain old everyday fear. Still, it had begun as a time of hope -- though I realize now my hopefulness died forever with Robert Kennedy, the last man who might have saved us from ourselves.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 10 weeks ago

Loren, are you kidding?! I certainly hope that, whatever the source of the problem, it will not "banish" you from Thom's blog. Considering what Facebook has done to you, I reckon your paranoia is justified, whether or not it is correct here and now.

The comments that got you banished from Facebook sound like something I could easily have said. For this reason I feel personally slighted by Facebook's actions against you. Unfortunately my new business venture necessitates getting on Facebook, which I'd never used until recently. Knowing of your banishment does not endear me to Facebook's "managers". I find it troubling, although I probably shouldn't be surprised. Corporate tyranny takes many forms. It is not above the petty sort of vindictiveness you've described.

However as far as Thom Hartmann is concerned, we'll simply have to agree to disagree. Thom Hartmann is not a malicious person, nor is he a control freak. Such deliberate action would be out-of-character for him. And "toadying" to Obama?!! I've listened to Thom a fair amount, Loren, and have heard no such thing. Thom has been critical of Obama enough times for me to be convinced otherwise. He might cut our president more slack than we do (at least on the air) but I've observed nothing that would comprise blind allegiance. Mr. Hartmann is way too bright for that. I'll confess to having been more than a little baffled by your comments about him. You're a long ways from being the only person on his blog to have criticized President Obama. His corporatist (in some cases, fascist!) policies have enraged and freaked out many of us, myself included, and we haven't been shy about expressing it. So why would Thom single you out? This makes no logical sense.

Anyway I sincerely hope to see you return. I have enjoyed your input (except for the swipes at TH!). You would be missed, by DAnneMarc as well as by me; and in all probability, by others as well. You've given thought-provoking input, are obviously well-read and are a very fine writer. If there's any way for me to post this on your site, I will be sure to do so. You are an interesting man. I enjoy reading your comments and observations even if I only agree with them 95% of the time.

Hopefully we can continue these discussions. Otherwise, hats off to you. I wish you well. - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 10 weeks ago

Loren, As DAnneMarc said this is a common problem and it has happened to almost all of us from time to time. That's why I have given up on clicking on the Reply button and just enter the Person's name I am replying to along with, perhaps a quote or partial quote to pin down the post you are responding to.

Another problem I've noticed...that sometimes, if you take too long to type a post...say if you start one and then half way in you decide to take a break and come back later to finish...it will disappear your post with a message asking you to log in. Funny thing is that you can see that you are already logged in...it says so at the top..but if you try to go back to your page with the post...or click on anything to get a log-in page...you will lose everything you typed.

It is a good idea to periodically copy everything you typed...especially if it is long...and then save it to notepad. That way you can recover your data. Of course, if you type your post in a text editor or a word processor before you paste it into the blog then you don't have to worry about this...except maybe with possible problems relating to the formatting characters in word processing programs that might be causing problems as AIW is experiencing.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Beneath the success and rise of American enterprise is an untold history that is antithetical to every value Americans hold dear. This is a seminal work, a godsend really, a clear message to every citizen about the need to reform our country, laws, and companies."
Paul Hawken, coauthor of Natural Capitalism and author of The Ecology of Commerce
From Screwed:
"Hartmann speaks with the straight talking clarity and brilliance of a modern day Tom Paine as he exposes the intentional and systematic destruction of America’s middle class by an alliance of political con artists and outlines a program to restore it. This is Hartmann at his best. Essential reading for those interested in restoring the institution that made America the envy of the world."
David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning and When Corporations Rule the World