USA: The world's newest 3rd world nation

And the newest third-world country is….America! That’s right. America looks a lot more like a third-world nation than the wealthiest country in the world. As CJ Werleman points out over at Alternet, while America is the wealthiest nation in the world, and has the most billionaires in the world, not a single U.S. city ranks among the world’s most livable cities.

Meanwhile, despite our nation’s vast wealth, 14.5% of U.S. households were “food insecure” as of 2010, and as of 2011, 1.5 million American household were struggling with “extreme poverty.” If you want even more proof that America is in the steady decline to third-world status, take a look at the American middle-class today.

For over 30 years, under both Democratic and Republican leaders, we’ve been hooked on Reaganomics policies that have helped the wealthy elite and those at the top, but screwed over everyone else. Reaganomics has gutted the middle-class, and destroyed the strong and vibrant economy that we once had.

The income gap in America has widened exponentially since Reagan took office and implemented the so-called “Reagan Tax Cuts.” Between 1947 and 1980, income gains were shared fairly equally between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else. But then Reagan came to Washington and everything changed.

The wealthy elite began to take home more of our nation’s income gains, while income gains for everyone else began to stay relatively stagnant. In 1980, the top 1 percent of Americans controlled 10% of annual U.S. income. As of 2007, the top 1 percent controlled 23.5% of annual U.S. income; the highest it’s been since the Great Depression. Between 1979 and 2012, the percentage increase in salary growth for the median American worker was just 5%, while growth for millionaire and billionaire executives was off the charts. As result, the share of the nation’s income going to the middle-class has been in a near nosedive for the past three decades.

Similarly, since the Great Recession, nearly all of our nation’s economic growth has been eaten up by the wealthy elite. Incomes for the top 5 percent of American households were up just over 5% between 2010 and 2012, while those households at the bottom of the income bracket had losses in income during the same time. And, 95% of income gains during the first three years of the Great Recession recovery were taken in by the top 1 percent.

Meanwhile, as you might expect from these numbers, the American middle-class is no longer the richest in the world. An analysis done recently by The New York Times found that our neighbor to the north, Canada, actually has the wealthiest middle-class in the world, dethroning America after decades at the top of the list. And, estimates suggest that the Chinese middle-class is now larger than the entire population of the U.S.

Whether conservatives in Washington like it or not, the key to having a strong economy and a strong nation is having a strong middle class. It’s not just a coincidence that during a time when the American middle-class is the smallest it’s ever been our economy is also in the gutter. That’s because middle-class consumption is the demand engine that drives an economy.

Fortunately, while America might look more like a third-world nation today than a global power, there’s plenty of time to turn things around. And that starts by saying enough is enough to 33 years of failed Reaganomics, and putting in place the economic policies that will allow the middle-class to grow and thrive. From our trade policies to our tax policies to our labor policies and to the way that we handle big business and banksters, we need to roll back the Reagan Revolution.

Only then will we have a strong economy and a strong and developed nation.

Comments

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 31 weeks ago
#1

I find it absolutely fascinating that many Christians defend their right to manage public prayer activities when Jesus told his followers that they should pray in private. I see little actual emulation of Jesus's teachings by His most vocal advocates. You know stuff like taking care of the poor, fair wages, turning the other cheek or recognizing that love of money is at the root of evil. However, far be it from me to judge, I've got nothing to brag about when it comes to these things.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 31 weeks ago
#2
I see little actual emulation of Jesus's teachings by His most vocal advocates.
Well there's the problem - you only see the ones that are vocal, and are thus automatically doing it wrong. There could be millions of people doing it right, and you would never know. Sort of like the Amish - they don't get much airplay because they're so true to their beliefs that they've falled off of the collective radar.

You know stuff like taking care of the poor, fair wages, turning the other cheek or recognizing that love of money is at the root of evil.
The Catholic church does a lot of outreach for the poor. I help them make sandwiches and give them to hungry people. It's so common that it doesn't get noticed. But, let someone accuse a priest of molesting them 20 years ago, and it's front-page news.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 31 weeks ago
#3

Uh Oh! They used to burn people to the stake when people committed "heresy" (ie: said things that people could go whacko over) back in the middle ages. I'm afraid you've opened yourself up for a bit of flack on that one. Not you, ckrob.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 30 weeks ago
#4

ckrob and ChicagoMatt ~ I have to agree with you both. ie Most of Christ's true followers you don't see; and, the ones who make the most noise give all the rest a bad wrap. For all we know the world might be full of true Christians already.

By the way, despite how I feel about the Catholic Church I must say I do like Pope Francis. He truly is a "refreshing breeze'--and I mean that in a spiritual/scriptorial way.

It is almost a miracle indeed that the Catholic Church could produce such a leader. Mind you, the Catholic church once accomplished what Palindromedary has yet failed to do. They actually once turned me into a devout atheist. And that was after enduring 10 years of Catholic school indoctrination. I guess they are capable of just about anything.

johnbest's picture
johnbest 8 years 30 weeks ago
#5

I am a practicing Catholic and Pope Francis is a true breath of fresh air. We used to attend a parish that had a really nasty old white priest. He would rant and rave about abortion, birth control and President Obama. He never talked much about the poor except to use the republican line - get a job. He was very political and raised our hackles. This parish should be taxed to the hilt.

Last fall we started going to another very small parish with an adobe church dating back to 1820, and what a breath of fresh air. He is our age and has been a priest for 42 years and is originally from Puerto Rico. He is very kind and supports the parish program for the poor. This parish has a very strong program to help the poor and our priest never gets into politics, ever.

harmonious1's picture
harmonious1 8 years 30 weeks ago
#6

I would not blame Reagan. He was merely a mediocre actor in his biggest role. Pulling his strings were a number of players in his administration.Didn't that include: Poppy Bush, Rummy, Cheney and James Baker III? Then there was strong influence from the Heritage Foundation. They were making the spitballs Reagan was throwing! Is it the gun that does the killing or the guy pulling the trigger?

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#7

I've been a Catholic for twelve years, and have taught at a Catholic school for about half of that time. I average two masses per week - one with the school, and one with my family. I've heard maybe, MAYBE four sermons about abortion. And the priests always keep it vague, like "respect life". I haven't heard a single priest ever say anything about homosexuality. Yet, people who don't know any better and only know what the corporate media tells them would think that after mass the priest leads a line of people to the nearest gay bar to shout at the people inside.

And if you're a product of a Catholic school in the 50s-80s, a lot has changed since then. There are no nuns, all of the teaching is done by regular teachers. The priest rarely comes into the classroom. Because of a priest shortage, they just have too many other things to do. I am supposed to teach religion for 45 minutes per day, but usually we just read a passage from the Bible and chit-chat about it. The church finally got the message, around here at least, that trying to bring people to God with a crack of a yardstick only led to resentful adults.

ScottFromOz 8 years 30 weeks ago
#8

Like the aircraft carrier named for him, Reagan was a weapon of mass destruction aimed at the American economy by the rich elites and set to automatic fire.

Thom said "...and putting in place the economic policies that will allow the middle-class to grow and thrive." Yeah, well good luck with that. Those who've captured all the wealth will do whatever it takes to retain, and grow that wealth. They will stop at nothing and already have the government in the pocket. As long as the wealthy 1% control the legislature, nothing short of some kind of rebellion will stop them.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago
#9

ScottFromOz says "Like the aircraft carrier named for him, Reagan was a weapon of mass destruction aimed at the American economy by the rich elites and set to automatic fire." Very well stated! And I agree with you that without a major rebellion, nothing is going to change regarding economic & regulatory policies Reagan created, reducing America to this banana-republic shit hole we have now. Still, I think Thom serves a useful function simply by pointing out what's amiss, and what is needed to fix these problems impacting our lives. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago
#10

Matt says "let someone accuse a priest of molesting them 20 years ago, and it's front-page news." Is there any issue of consequence that you haven't seen fit to trivialize in some way?! The sexual abuse of a child is a very big deal.

The Catholic church likes to present itself to the world as some sort of moral authority. They love telling women what they can and can't do with their bodies. How many have been excommunicated, expelled from the church, for using birth control or having an abortion? Those guys will go ballistic over abortion. Yet over the past decade or two, I've caught wind of a virtual epidemic of child molestation incidents involving priests as the culprits. How sick is that?! Yet the moral outrage over these incidents, coming from the church, is nowhere near their outrage over birth control and abortion. They've even tried covering up some of these molestations to protect the perpetrators. How hypocritical is THAT? Like Republicans, they seem to care most for the unborn.

I agree with Marc to a point. Yes, in certain ways Pope Francis has been a "refreshing breeze"…. until it comes to matters pertaining to women and women's rights. In that department, Pope Francis dishes out the same pap as his predecessors.

My favorite quote on this subject: "If men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." Amen. - Alice IW

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 8 years 30 weeks ago
#11

A well thought out documentary type show on CNN msnbc and any other channel exhibiting that side of the story would not make things worse.

Shawno Buzzello's picture
Shawno Buzzello 8 years 30 weeks ago
#12

Not only do we need to rid ourselves from Reaganomics, but we also need the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson to dry up and blow away.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 30 weeks ago
#13
Quote Aliceinwonderland: I agree with Marc to a point. Yes, in certain ways Pope Francis has been a "refreshing breeze"…. until it comes to matters pertaining to women and women's rights. In that department, Pope Francis dishes out the same pap as his predecessors.

My favorite quote on this subject: "If men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." Amen. - Alice IW

Aliceinwonderland ~ In support of women's rights--not proselytizing--here are a couple of scriptures you might want to tuck under your bonnet for the right occasion. You won't hear the Church utter these but they are soooooo relevant. Enjoy!

Concerning when life begins... From The Holy Bible: King James Version

Quote The Book of Genesis, chapter 2 verse 7:Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Concerning "The Sanctity of Life"

Quote The Gospel According To Matthew, chapter 10 verse 28:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

The truth is out there!

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 8 years 30 weeks ago
#14

MY GOD VERSUS YOUR GOD

My God accepts the existance of other Gods,
and expects me to do the same.

Your God denies the existance of other Gods,
and expects you to do the same.

My God unconditionally loves all people,
and expects me to do the same.

Your God irrationally hates some people,
and expects you to do the same.

My God admits His imperfections,
and accepts my imperfections.

Your God denies His imperfections,
and punishes you for your imperfections.

My God is honest and forthright,
and expects me to be the same.

Your God is a liar and a hypocrite,
and allows you to be the same.

My God loves and accepts your God,
and expects me to do the same.

But I can't, I just can't.

Steven Robert Cooper

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 30 weeks ago
#15

Matt,

Francis has been a very refreshing breeze. As organizations age they all tend to ossify, so we need a reformation every so often. It's usually equivalent to Sisyphus' efforts with about as much accomplished, however. My concern is that the good people you describe have had little impact on our 'democratic' government whereas the largely non-religious nation of Sweden, for example, has done much better for its poor than we have although we're much wealthier. I guess I would feel better if we didn't have so many people in such need that they depend on churches for food. (Our church supports a free pantry so I do not oppose such efforts.) Regarding molestation by priests, the situation was compounded by decades of cover-up. Thanks for your comments, C. Krob

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#16
Is there any issue of consequence that you haven't seen fit to trivialize in some way?!

How did I trivialize that? I just pointed out that other "issues of consequence", like the Church's significant outreach to the poor, get ignored by the media.

For what it's worth, the rule about priests not being able to marry is part of Catholic tradition, not Dogma. The Pope can change it any time, and I wish he would. The number one thing that keeps boys from going into the priesthood is the desire to have a wife/family. If they just changed that one rule, I'll bet there would be a swell of new priests.

My favorite quote on this subject: "If men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." Amen.

I heard a caller on a talk radio show say once (I'm paraphrasing), "If there is a gay gene, that would mean that there can be a genetic test to find it. Let people start doing that test in utereo, like they do for Downs Syndrome, and giving parents the option of aborting a fetus that carries the gay gene, and see how quickly liberals become pro-life."

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago
#17

Matt, I already demonstrated how you trivialized the issue of child abuse in the Catholic church by quoting your dismissive comment about it. Has nothing whatsoever to do with Catholic charity. The Catholic church's rigid rules regarding sexual behavior is the source of the problem; in this case, the celibacy standard imposed on priests. Human sexuality is not something that disappears, as if one could simply wish it away. When you try suppressing it, it only becomes distorted, which can manifest in really ugly and evil ways such as the molestation of a child. I find it morally reprehensible, how the church tries minimizing this or covering it up.

I'm unimpressed by that radio show caller's glib remark, paraphrased in the last paragraph of your post, about abortion and what it would supposedly take to make liberals "pro-life". Not funny, at least to me. There are many reasons women need to terminate pregnancies. It's a very serious issue, and the lack of respect with which it is treated only reflects this culture's patriarchal bias. "Pro-life" is such a sanctimonious term anyway, bordering on propaganda. It's just an example of word games conservatives play, in an effort to inject their point of view into everyday language. It implies that those of us supporting freedom of choice for women are "pro-death", which couldn't be farther from the truth.

As Thom describes in his introductory post, we are well on our way to becoming a Third World nation. As life for us here in America becomes more difficult, a women's right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is even more critical. - Aliceinwonderland

Vegasman56 8 years 30 weeks ago
#18

Will said ckrok

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 30 weeks ago
#19

Matt,

Thanks for the last point in your post about genetic testing. Here's an area that our society will have to deal with, due to scientific development. AND we'll have more of these issues coming faster and faster due to our massive increase in the rate of accumulation of scientific knowledge. Implications for moral thought, law and legislative lag are overwhelming.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#20

It is entirely possible that one day the rich will be able to genetically modify themselves and their offspring to some sort of physical perfection. And, since something like that would presumably take a long time to become affordable to the masses, the rich would have a head start on everyone else.

I just finished teaching "The Time Machine". If you know that novella, you know where this is going....

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 30 weeks ago
#21
Quote ChicagoMatt:It is entirely possible that one day the rich will be able to genetically modify themselves and their offspring to some sort of physical perfection. And, since something like that would presumably take a long time to become affordable to the masses, the rich would have a head start on everyone else.

ChicagoMatt ~ Perhaps you will all morph into some kind of a vegetable; or, perhaps a beautiful flower. Just imagine the possibilities!

The Holy Bible, King James Version

Quote The Gospel According to Matthew, chapter 6, verse 28-30:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

There certainly is nothing like a happy ending!

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 30 weeks ago
#22

A potentially unlimited life means more time to accumulate wealth and buy a government rule that there should be no minimum wage. The poor would be serfs, dependent on the all powerful who would, unlike the serfs, have unlimited access to the marvels of science/technology. (Here's a recipe for blood in the streets with technology making the outcome very uncertain.) I read a lot of Wells around sixty years ago and then moved on to Huxley. (Therefore my rather dark view of where we're headed.) For a more tech-sophisticated dystopia you might enjoy Daemon by Daniel Suarez.

Aside: unlimited lifespan was one of the things that made the founders appropriately paranoid about corporations.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#23
I read a lot of Wells around sixty years ago and then moved on to Huxley. (Therefore my rather dark view of where we're headed.) For a more tech-sophisticated dystopia you might enjoyDaemon by Daniel Suarez.

After several years of only having time to read the novels I teach, which all have to be at a 10th-grade reading level or lower, I am finally going to have time to read something for myself this summer. That is, after so many years of teaching War of the Worlds, Time Machine, Book Thief, etc... I finally have them memorized enough to teach them without re-reading them every year.

Since you're implying that you are at least 70 or so years old, ckrob, and you are obviously politically and culturally aware, I have a question. Do you see any similarities between the way your parents' generation reacted to your generation's value system, and the way your generation reacted to the generation's values after it?

Like, for example, were old-timers in the 50s really shocked by Elvis' dance moves, the way it is portrayed in the movies? (Forrest Gump). Did they really call Rock-and-Roll "The Devil's Music"? And, if so, does that seem analogous to the "brainwashing" that 30-somethings like me are sometimes acused of? Are Conservative talkers (Rush, Hannity, etc...) sort of like the Rockers of the 50s, spouting a value system that the generation before thinks is evil?

Or am I way off?

Along the same lines, being a teenager in the 90s, I grew up listening to stuff that was actually called "Shock Rock" The stuff that my students - the generation after me - listen to now seem positively tame. I'm only "shocked" by how un-shocking it really is.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 30 weeks ago
#24
Quote ChicagoMatt:Since you're implying that you are at least 70 or so years old, ckrob, and you are obviously politically and culturally aware, I have a question. Do you see any similarities between the way your parents' generation reacted to your generation's value system, and the way your generation reacted to the generation's values after it?

ChicagoMatt ~ If I may interject myself. Sociology is one of my passions. The answer is yes. The reason is because of the economic structure of an industrial economy and it's direct impact on the formation of the family and culture. The opposite is an agricultural economy. The first is know by the sociological term Gesellschaft and the second is called Gemeinschaft. To be as brief as possible, the family unit in a agricultural economy is an extended family. Extended families have extremely strong social cohesion--the bonds that keep members together. These bonds also keep all aspects of each generations culture together as well. That is why grandchildren in an extended family usually enjoy the same mores and music as the grandparents.

In the industrial economy the small nuclear family has social cohesion (bonds) that are extremely weak. Members actually tend to repel each other. There are also far less members of the family in order to sustain any steady mores or cultural identity. (Remember, music is just one part of a culture.) For this reason the children always establish their own culture; and do so usually by adopting whatever is popular amongst their peers at the time. The only requirement is that it is a culture of their own and be clearly separate from mom, dad and grandpa. This phenomena used to be referred to as "the generation gap." You see, because of the lack of strong social cohesion at home in the nuclear family, in order to survive, children have no choice but to bond with other children. We call that "peer pressure." The way they look at is that eventually their parents will kick them out of the house; however, their friends will always be their for them and always understand them. They find that they must bond with their peers at all costs to survive. It is actually a basic psychological need. That is why it is so powerful. It is a social ill little can be done about short of reverting our economy back to an agricultural based one. I doubt that is going to happen any time soon.

I hope that helps answer your question.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 30 weeks ago
#25

Matt,

Interesting question. I was quite conservative into my late thirties. But my exposure to many cultures (Moving out of west Texas to Hawaii, living in Mexico in '94), began to add up to major changes in my outlook. To make it short, I think societies have no right to assume that they are superior, even "primitive" cultures have much to teach others. A variety of books are potentially helpful. Study of language, semantics, statistical theory, logic, systems theory, religions, propaganda techniques and any philosophers that catch one's fancy help us see things from a broader perspective and question simple answers.

Yes, behavioral changes in society (subcultures) are, I believe, the mark of youth in any society with enough wealth and freedom to indulge and differentiate themselves. Shock among the elders?---of course. However, I do not see Rush/Hannity as conservative in the earlier sense of the word. Read Bill Buckley to get a taste of conservative thought that wished to preserve the good and to receive change in a guarded fashion. R/H are, I think, more properly thought of as reactionaries. To oppose reasonable change, such as a reaction to the dangers of climate change, does not bode well for the conservative movement or any society in which they have significant influence. Thanks for your contribution to this conversation.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#26
That is why it is so powerful. It is a social ill little can be done about short of reverting our economy back to an agricultural based one.

That makes sense. So then do you see the resentment that people who still live a more agriculturally-based area (i.e. the "country") have towards people in cities? Do you see why someone in rural Kansas might "vote against their best interests", as Thom likes to say, not because of some conspiracy by the 1%, but just out of resentment/spite. Aren't they just as mad at the changes around them as everyone else?

When I was growing up in a small Southern town, the blacks (40%) and whites (60%) got along just fine.The only people we resented were the "Yankees". My friends who still live there still talk about how these "New York types" keep retiring and relocating down there for the nice weather and friendly people, but then they try to change the culture that's already there (no more nativity scenes in the public square). That, plus the retired "Yankees" tended to build much bigger houses, which drove up everyone's property values.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 30 weeks ago
#27
Quote ChicagoMatt:So then do you see the resentment that people who still live a more agriculturally-based area (i.e. the "country") have towards people in cities? Do you see why someone in rural Kansas might "vote against their best interests", as Thom likes to say, not because of some conspiracy by the 1%, but just out of resentment/spite. Aren't they just as mad at the changes around them as everyone else?

ChicagoMatt ~ Yes, that makes perfect sense to me. These little wedge issues can do so much damage and so easily prevent "We the People" from uniting to resolve our differences. Especially the entire idea of gun control. Many of these isolated rural areas rely on their guns not only for protection but also for sustenance and survival. Any threat to restrict or remove them are going to have a huge backlash at the polls. After all, isn't your main best interest your survival?

That is why it is so important for all of us to do our part to make sure these divisive and nonproductive wedge issues never get any serious momentum.

Personally I have no problem with nativity scenes--or any other holiday customs--in public areas. It is only orations in public meetings that I find unconstitutional. There is a place for law and a place for festivities. I believe it is important for public psychological health not to regulate in anyway festivities. That is the area for all people to express themselves. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a perfect example of how much I would tolerate festival expression. I feel the more variety, the more healthy the experience is for everyone.

Just make sure you save space on that public plaza for any other people who want to celebrate too.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#28
R/H are, I think, more properly thought of as reactionaries.

Even I am smart enough to know they probably don't even believe half of the stuff they say. They are just selling a "product". I don't think there is some grand behind-the-scenes plan behind it all. I think Conservative radio - Rush in particular - came along at the right time and find an audience and started telling them what they wanted to hear. The fact that the audience grew so large shows that 1. He was lucky/smart enough to find an untapped market, and 2. Large amounts of people were very discontent with the federal government.

I like Thom better, but I don't believe everything he says either. I don't think he even really believes some of it. He, too, needs to make a living and sell his "product" to his audience. But he's a lot nicer about it. I don't think there's some big conspiracy behind the failure of Air America or the lower ratings Progressive media receives. I think there is just a smaller number of people with this mindset.

That's probably just my "raised in the post-Reagan era and I think everyone is out to separate me from my money, which is fine because greed is good" mentality rearing it's head. It makes it hard to believe ANYONE has my best interests in mind, and doesn't just have their eyes on my wallet.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago
#29

Matt, fascists are great at fanning discontent. They are drawn to it like yellow jackets to fried chicken at a picnic. They are masters at exploiting discontent to serve their agenda. The "product' they are selling is toxic and dangerous.

Your judgment of Thom, i.e. the honesty of his analyses and assessments, strikes me as just some lame attempt to level the scales of credibility between right-wing and leftist commentary. I might agree with Thom only 98% of the time, but I would never assume Thom is deliberately misleading his audience. That's a serious accusation. Because when you say that someone doesn't believe everything he says, you're calling that person a liar. And Thom is no liar.

Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, there IS a right-wing conspiracy at work in this context. De-regulation and media consolidation are the workings of a plan to put our media in fewer & fewer corporate hands, and that is who controls the message. For decades now, these hacks have been brainwashing the public to think "gubmint" is evil and that it's time to privatize everything! Which is what leads to FASCISM, which we are well on our way towards living under. And mark my words, comrades; they've got their eyes on more than just our wallets. - Aliceinwonderland

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 30 weeks ago
#30

Matt, I smile. Thom is amazingly pleasant isn't he? It's also amusing to see him lose it and then apologize to his audience. Do you think of anything specific when you say he may not believe all he says, or is that sort of a generic assumption? BTW, you know everyone is not after your money nefariously. You've mentioned your church, for example.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#31
I might agree with Thom only 98% of the time, but I would never assume Thom is deliberately misleading his audience.
Nor would I. I don't think he's trying to mislead anyone. That's why I like his show so much. I think he's a little hypocritical sometimes, and he overlooks or ignores legitamit opposing viewpoints. He, like any good host, knows his audience.

He at least accepts callers who disagree with him. The right-wing talkers seem to only talk to people who agree with their message. I suspect that many of the "callers" to Rush's show are actually actors.

By hypocritical, I mean things like lamenting the destruction of the environment, while at the same time hosting a radio show that requires electricity to both send and recieve (most of which comes from fossil fuels), and flying around the country to promote his books - books which are printed on paper and delivered on diesel-burning trucks. But that is true of any environmentalist. In order to really live a zero-carbon-footprint mantra, you would have to go to the forest or something and live off of the land. If you did that, you would fall so far off of the radar that no one would ever know you existed. There may be millions of environmentalists living in the woods, free of modern conveniences, and we would never know.

His books are also sold in evil corporate retail chains who underpay their workers and make the shareholders rich. But I really don't fault him for that, because there is no way around it anymore. I suppose he could sell the books straight off of his website, and us the U.S. postal service to deliver them, but then his message wouldn't get out as much.

The only Progressive talker I really dislike and find very, very mean is Stephanie Miller. I can sum up her entire thought process is one sentence: "If you disagree with any part of what I am saying, you are racist/homophobic/sexist/stupid."

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#32
Matt, I smile. Thom is amazingly pleasant isn't he? It's also amusing to see him lose it and then apologize to his audience.

He really is! I wish I could sit with him for awhile, drink some coffee, smoke a cigarette (after 12 years without one, I still sometimes crave them), and talk about world affairs.

Do you think of anything specific when you say he may not believe all he says, or is that sort of a generic assumption?

I responded to that in the post right above this. I've also noticed that he and Rush and Levin have at least one advertister in common: that company that wants us to buy gold because of impending financial doom. But hey, we all have bills to pay, right? Can't blame a guy for making a buck...

BTW, you know everyone is not after your money nefariously. You've mentioned your church, for example.

True. Giving to the church is optional, AND is a tax write-off. For every dollar I give the church, I get to give the government 25 cents less, according to my tax guy. And, since I work for a parochial school, I suppose giving to the church is like giving to myself, in a way.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 30 weeks ago
#33

Matt, many commercials are sold by the local outlet. The national program has no say in the matter.

IMHO, gold's the junk commercial par excellence. Ever try to eat a bar of that stuff? If things ever really fell apart I would maybe be able to trade one for a glass of water to add to my freeze-dryed cache. Have a good day.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago
#34

Matt, I don't buy this argument you conservatives like repeating that we progressives are "hypocrites" because we use electricity, like Thom and his radio show. We are only hypocrites, Matt, if there are viable alternatives getting bypassed. In this case, there are no such alternatives. Our entire infrastructure and its technology are almost completely wedded to electricity, making us all dependent upon it just to function day-to-day. Whether we happen to like it or not, this is unavoidable and therefore, hardly voluntary. Which makes your "hypocrisy" assertion just another lame argument to justify a status quo you obviously are content with.

I've gotta hand it to ya Matt… you've got perseverance, although your logic doesn't quite hold up.

You've made other points I'd like to respond to; but again, I've other fish to fry. Sometime later I'll pick up where this leaves off. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 30 weeks ago
#35
Quote ChicagoMatt:The only Progressive talker I really dislike and find very, very mean is Stephanie Miller. I can sum up her entire thought process is one sentence: "If you disagree with any part of what I am saying, you are racist/homophobic/sexist/stupid."

ChicagoMatt ~ Personally I love Stephanie Miller, at least as a comic. I actually saw her live at the Student Union theatre in SFSU when I was a student there. That was in the '80s and she was 180 degrees different than today--a staunch Republican/Conservative. (Luckily it was a free show.) She actually incorporated her support for Ronald Wilson (666) Reagan in her standup routine. I'll never forget how disgusted I was with the material. Nevertheless I was also struck by her awesome talent as an entertainer. She reminded me of a very young Carol Burnett. (Carol might be before your time but was very popular in my time.) I knew I would be seeing more of her in the future.

Stephanie is the daughter of a former Republican vice Presidential candidate. Her entire family is very political; and, now with her political flip flop she has somewhat become the black sheep. I have to admire her personal honesty.

Nevertheless, I also have to agree with your assertion about her demeanor. I've witnessed the same impatience and disrespect on her show both now and when she was a Republican. It's just her personality. I let it go because she is really biting off a lot with what she does. She is trying to entertain and inform all at the same time. It stands to reason that she is going to fall short in both areas from time to time to one degree or another. For what she is trying to do I think she is doing a great job of it. How many other political commentary/comedians do you know of who pull it off so successfully?

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert come to mind. Yet that is quite an exclusive group. Also, Jon and Steve don't have to deal with taking callers.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago
#36

WOW Marc, thanks for sharing all that about Stephanie Miller. I never cease to be amazed at how different people can appear after you learn certain things about them. It really is fascinating at times, this being one of them.

Randi Rhodes is retiring this month. She's one of my favorites, way up there with Thom and Papintonio (sp?), so I'm kinda bummed... and a little envious. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 30 weeks ago
#37

Aliceinwonderland ~ I'll never forget when some tea brained little fascist, who calls himself, "Soc", called the Stephanie Miller show and threatened to kill her. She handled the whole thing so profoundly professionally I have to tip my hat to her for creativity. She actually incorporated the guy into bits in her show giving him a job. Just like that former KKK leader in Texas that Howard Stern interviews periodically this guy is a wealth of laughs. Then she even had her crew write the guy his own theme song.

"It's nice to have a special friend who wants' to get you into heaven,

A special friend with an AK-47

He's a retired insurance man,

With way too much time on his hands,

Oh, speaking of time, just look at the clock!

It's time for Soc!"

Oh, how I so do love Stephanie!

PS I'm really going to miss Randi Rhodes too. She rocked! I learned a lot from that lady.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago
#38

All right, now I'll move on to the next bogus point in Matt's recent post. To further illustrate Thom's alleged "hypocrisy", Matt points out that Thom's books are printed on wood pulp paper and transported via diesel-burning trucks. Again I ask, where are the alternatives?

Matt weakens his own argument by choosing these very examples, either of which could better support my point about corporate fascism. For example, wanna know why our cars run on fossil fuel? Because nearly a century ago, at the dawn of the "automotive era", this oligarch named Rockefeller got in Henry Ford's face one day, literally threatening him with bodily harm if he didn't design his cars to run on fossil fuel. Just so happened that Rockefeller had substantial interests tied up with fossil fuel… surprise!

There's a similar scenario behind the use of wood pulp paper. Hemp makes superior paper, much stronger and more durable than wood. Processing raw materials to make hemp paper does not require the use of toxic chemicals that are necessary for manufacturing wood pulp paper. But back in the 1930s oligarchs like DuPont, Hearst and others had interests staked in materials competing with hemp in the marketplace, so they saw to it that hemp cultivation was criminalized just to thwart the competition. This was what kept Hearst's timber in demand at a premium price, for example, while creating and maintaining demand for DuPont's wood processing chemicals.

Therefore we don't rely solely on certain energy sources and types of raw materials because they are the only possible options that could have been utilized; we rely on them because of decisions made by oligarchs with their own best interests at heart, not the interests of the public or the environment. And since our entire infrastructure is designed around things like fossil fuel and electricity, we are forced to use them whether we like it or not. Which makes us "hypocrites" just functioning day to day, doing what survival in this century entails. Therefore, a bogus argument. - Aliceinwonderland

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#39
Matt, many commercials are sold by the local outlet. The national program has no say in the matter

True. The one I am thinking of Thom actually recorded. But like I said, he's got bills to pay too.

If things ever really fell apart I would maybe be able to trade one for a glass of water to add to my freeze-dryed cache.

Are you one of those doomsday preppers? I know a few guys like that. Thom said he knew some too once. Personally, I am going the other route - if things fall apart, I want to fall in the first day so I don't have to be around to see the results.

And if everyone starts running out of water, my position right next to the Great Lakes puts me at an advantage...

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#40
And since our entire infrastructure is designed around things like fossil fuel and electricity, we are forced to use them whether we like it or not. Which makes us "hypocrites" just functioning day to day, doing what survival in this century entails.

I see your point. It's similar to some anti-amnesty Republicans I know who have undocumented workers as landscapers and cleaning ladies - there is no alternative here.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago
#41

Republicans are all about hypocrisy. Grand old hypocrites... of course this is a much different scenario which does have an alternative: granting amnesty! (Duhh...) And hiring American landscapers and cleaning ladies, and paying them well. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 30 weeks ago
#42
Quote Aliceinwonderland:To further illustrate Thom's alleged "hypocrisy", Matt points out that Thom's books are printed on wood pulp paper and transported via diesel-burning trucks. Again I ask, where are the alternatives?

Much like Satan who is described as continuously railing accusations against the brethren of God the Republican party loves to create problems and then turn around and blame the helpless victims for causing it. Perhaps Thom could reach as many people by writing his books on palm leaves, rolling them up and sticking them into bottles and hurling them into the ocean? Maybe he could start a campfire and use smoke signals to reach his audience? Or, maybe he could ring a bell in the village square and yell at the top of his lungs to anyone in earshot? Oh wait, how about reducing his books to microfilm and attaching it to a carrier pigeon? Maybe he could just tattoo his book to his body and streak through town after town? How about telepathy?

I'm out of ideas! Any suggestions Aliceinwonderland?

In my opinion until Newt Gingrich, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, George Bush Sr & Jr, and every other right wing yahoo wannabe author comes up with some other way of publishing a book the current status quo is up for grabs and fine and dandy for anyone to use and be free of "hypocritical" accusations of any kind. Whatever happened to not judging? When you point your finger the best thing to do is to first point it in the mirror and ask yourself if that fits you too. In the long run it sure saves a lot of embarrassment.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#43

I said he was a "little hypocritical", then I pointed out that he didn't really have a choice. Relax.

And I am not a Republican, nor do I defend them. However, for a true nation-wide Progressive governing plan to work, a majority of the people would have to be on board. A Libertarian plan doesn't require anyone to participate who doesn't want to. That's kind of the whole point - you're on your own.

I may be wrong, but isn't the assumption nowadays that most politicians, from either party, are just looking out for themselves? Doesn't Thom say that even? That modern politicians spend more time raising money than anything else? Money for their own reelections.

With that in mind, doesn't that lead some people to want to vote for the party that promises to keep government out of your life? Like, "Go, be as corrupt as you want in Washington. Just leave me out of it..."

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 30 weeks ago
#44
Quote ChicagoMatt:With that in mind, doesn't that lead some people to want to vote for the party that promises to keep government out of your life?

ChicagoMatt ~ Not necessarily! I just voted here in California. I'm happy so say I didn't vote for one Republican or Democrat. I've had it with both parties and intend to send a message to both. Sure, I've already sent messages via email; however, this time I'm doing it with my vote. I certainly hope my fellow Republicans and Democrats do the same. We'll see!

That means "Peace and Freedom" and "The Green Party" all the way. It sure did feel good casting that one vote in particular for Governor for Cindy Sheehan vs the incumbent Jerry Brown. Oh, yeah, I supported Jerry Brown in almost every election he ever ran in during the past. That is over now. As far as I'm concerned if you are a Democrat you are part of the problem.

It's time to really "ROCK THE VOTE."

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago
#45

Marc, what policies of Jerry Brown's turned you off? Not having lived in California for over twenty years, I'm not as "up" on California politics as I used to be. But wasn't Jerry Brown a huge improvement after "The Hollywood Hulk"? (tsk tsk) - AIW

ChicagoMatt 8 years 30 weeks ago
#46

Sometimes I think third party is the way to go. I'm going to have to read up more on the Green Party's platform, to see if it fits my world view.

Am I wrong for being defeatist when it comes to these things? I know my vote doesn't matter here - the winner of Illinois is never in doubt. But even people who live in swing states, doesn't voting for a third party have the same affect as throwing rocks at a moving train that's about to run you over? It may make you feel better, but it doesn't change the outcome.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 30 weeks ago
#47

Aliceinwonderland ~ I got little against Jerry Brown. I've always loved and supported him. It's the Democratic party that needs a message sent. Not that my little vote is going to mean anything anyway. I just want Cindy Sheehan to get enough votes for the Democrats to get the idea that they are in big trouble and act accordingly. After all, like you said, they don't seem to care about our letters and petitions. The next step is to complain at the ballot box. (Personally, between you and me, it broke my heart to vote against Jerry. If it wasn't for Cindy on the ticket--who I've always felt I owed a greater debt of gratitude--I probably couldn't have brought myself to do it.)

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago
#48

Marc, you're making plenty of sense. I always thought Jerry Brown and his dad were pretty cool as governors. At a closer look, I'd probably find things Jerry Brown has done that I might not like; but overall, compared to most politicians, the Browns are among the best of the lot. That's been my impression anyway. - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 30 weeks ago
#49

Chi Matt --

Quote Chi Matt:With that in mind, doesn't that lead some people to want to vote for the party that promises to keep government out of your life?

The main people behind get government out of your life are the billionaires. The want government out of your life, so they can run it. The libertarian party was started by the 0.1% back in the 40's.

You do realize that government is just a tool. Do you realize also that another word for government is America? When people say I do not want government in my life, they are saying I do not want America in my life; just ask Clive Bundy.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 30 weeks ago
#50

DAM -- As Thom said last Friday, you are preaching repug strategy.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Today, we are closing 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 Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Hartmann combines a remarkable piece of historical research with a brilliant literary style to tell the grand story of corporate corruption and its consequences for society with the force and readability of a great novel."
David C. Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and Agenda for A New Economy
From Screwed:
"The powers that be are running roughshod over the powers that OUGHT to be. Hartmann tells us what went wrong — and what you and I can do to help set American right again."
Jim Hightower, National Radio Commentator, Writer, Public Speaker, and author of the bestselling Thieves in High Places
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