Why the wealthy of America are responsible for underwriting ‘entitlements’



From MOSHE ADLER
Truthdig
Thanks to John Lovejoy

What we should be talking about when we talk about the debt ceiling is the proper role and size of government. Instead, we are asking whether the government spends too much on programs that alleviate the pain that is the result of government policies in the first place. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and food stamps are all good programs, but all are meant to deal with the consequences of the income inequality that the government makes possible by the laws it passes. Income security programs make up 65 percent of all government expenses, and from this we are asked to conclude that the government is mainly in the business of serving and taking care of common people. But the most profound actions that the government takes, passing laws that make the rich rich, ostensibly cost no money and, because we play along, enforcing them supposedly has no cost.

Any agreement by Congress to cut the income security programs while leaving the main beneficiaries from our government—the rich—untouched, would be unconscionable. If Congress does not reach an agreement, and the deficit remains unfunded, this will give the president an unprecedented opportunity to expose who the government really serves, because it will be up to him alone, no agreement from Congress would be necessary

Don Sanderson: Some random thoughts


From DON SANDERSON
Hopland

Our modern society appears to be saturated with fear, which is quite reasonable it seems to me. On the far right, the Tea Party and its wealthy supporters are attempting to build barriers to keep the world out. On the left, we are more inclusive, but are also searching for ways to shield ourselves. Yet, on both ends and in the middle, we are attempting to escape while taking at least the rudiments of our lifestyles with us. I reflect on so-called transition towns. Can you think of such a community, say a possible Ukiah, without electricity and or natural gas? We can’t live long without water, but without electricity the city’s wells would cease to function – as would its sewer system. Would we carry our water from Mendocino Lake or the river? How would we cook our food, if we can find any, with fire wood? How would we cut it without a chainsaw? How would we burn it in our houses as mostly are presently constructed? How would we haul it out of the woods? From where will we get our clothing and shoes when they wear out? If you think these would be difficult, think of attempting to survive in San Jose.

So, we depend upon high tech engineers to develop solar, wind power, and biofuel solutions.  But, the development and maintenance of such depends upon cheap, available fossil fuels and electricity in so many aspects. We, our modern lifestyles, are so locked into such expectations. Even the most radical of us can only dream of returning to earlier times maybe only a century past in much of the country when human and animal labor were preeminent and most communities

Here is who spent all our current debt


Republicans’ total: 312%
Democrats’ total: 64%– LESS THAN 1/4TH AS MUCH AS THE REPUBLICANS
…and Clinton left us with a surplus…

Keep the pressure on…

CONGRESS CONTACTS HERE
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Debt Madness Was Always About Killing Social Security

This phony debt crisis has now passed through the looking glass into the realm where madness reigns. What should have been an uneventful moment in which lawmakers make good on the nation’s contractual obligations has instead been seized upon by Republican hypocrites as a moment to settle ideological scores that have nothing to do with the debt.

Hypocrites, because their radical free market ideology, and the resulting total deregulation of the financial markets, is what caused the debt to spiral out of control this last decade. That and the wars George W. Bush launched but didn’t have the integrity to responsibly finance. The consequence was a banking bubble and crash leading to a 50 percent run-up of the debt that has nothing to do with the “entitlements” that those same Republicans have always wanted to destroy.

Even Barack Obama has put cuts in those programs into play, warning ominously that a failure to lift the debt ceiling could cause the government to stop sending out Social Security checks. Why, when the Social Security trust fund is fully funded for the next quarter-century and is owed money by the U.S. Treasury rather than the other way around? Why would we pay foreign creditors before American seniors?… Complete story here
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Assange: ‘We are becoming the agents of perspective… burning the mass media to the ground.’



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The 6 Biggest Lies About the U.S. Debt and the Biggest Lie of All — Market Fundamentalism


From ARUN GUPTA
AlterNet

As Congress nears a vote on the various debt ceiling deals, let’s look at the lies and misinformation that got us into this mess

There is one simple truth about the discussion of the looming U.S. debt crisis: it is largely a compendium of half-truths, distortions, myths and outright lies.

For example, is it true that the U.S. debt is unsustainable, which is spurring the budget-cutting fever? Far from it. While U.S. debt is at one of its highest levels ever in terms of gross domestic product, the interest payments in 2011 on the  $14.3 trillion public debt will be a mere $386 billion. This is barely more than the $364 billion paid way back in 1998. In real terms, the U.S. economy has grown nearly 30 percent since then. Rock-bottom interest rates on U.S. government debt account for the low payments today, but the practical effect is that servicing the debt as a percentage of GDP is the lowest it’s been in decades.

Or what about hysterical headlines like “U.S. Debt Default Looms” (courtesy of NPR) unless Democrats and Republicans agree to raise the debt ceiling? They are completely untrue. Richard Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, says, if there is no agreement by Aug. 2 to allow the U.S. Treasury to borrow more funds, then “the government instead would choose among cutbacks on various expenditures such as state and local aid, medical aid, for war, for infrastructure.

Suppose that, with the collapse of our civilization, the world looks like this…


Afterculture.org

From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

[…] Suppose that, by 2200, with the collapse of our civilization, the world looks like this:

  • Human population is back to 1800′s level of about one billion people, declining slowly by 1%/year (the reasons for this continuing decline are complex, and I may explore them in another article).
  • About 97% of the population is living as farmers, using a variety of catastrophic agriculture and permaculture methods. Cities are mostly abandoned and used as a source of materials for scavenging for one-off manufacture of essential products, since there is no oil to power industrial machinery to make new mass-produced goods.
  • A high quality of life has been achieved, due to the retention of knowledge about sanitation and disease prevention, and the abundance of scrap materials for building, making clothing etc. Most of our time is spent in leisure activities.
  • There are much lower chronic disease rates, due to less stress, less pollution, and improved nutrition.

Obama really believes in trickle-down economics. He believes that Wall Street are job creators. That’s the tragedy of all this. He’s a Wall Street Democrat, which we used to call Republicans.


From AMY GOODMAN
Democracy Now

Pushing Crisis: GOP Cries Wolf on Debt Ceiling in Order to Impose Radical Pro-Rich Agenda

We’re joined by economist Michael Hudson, president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends, a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and author of “Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire.”…

AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the massive government bailout of the banking industry. On Thursday, the Government Accountability Office issued an audit of the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs. It revealed the Fed provided more than $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders responded to the audit by saying, quote, “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”

To talk more about the debt debate in Washington, as well as the overall economic crisis here and in Europe,

‘I Do Not Want Mercy, I Want You To Join Me’


From TIM DeCHRISTOPHER

[DeChristopher’s civil disobedience, courage and story in defence of the planet, needs to be repeated one million times by me, you and anyone who cares that each passing hour draws humanity and all other species nearer to a cold, cruel, unfair, avoidable, big-business devised end of life as we know it. ~John Lovejoy]

Tim DeChristopher, who was sentenced on July 26 to two years in federal prison for disrupting a Bureau of Land Management auction in 2008, had an opportunity to address the court and the judge yesterday immediately before his sentence was announced. This is what he said:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before the court. When I first met Mr. Manross, the sentencing officer who prepared the presentence report, he explained that it was essentially his job to “get to know me.” He said he had to get to know who I really was and why I did what I did in order to decide what kind of sentence was appropriate. I was struck by the fact that he was the first person in this courthouse to call me by my first name, or even really look me in the eye. I appreciate this opportunity to speak openly to you for the first time. I’m not here asking for your mercy, but I am here asking that you know me.

Mr. Huber has leveled a lot of character attacks at me, many of which are contrary to Mr. Manross’s report. While reading Mr Huber’s critiques of my character and my integrity, as well as his assumptions about my motivations,

Domestic Terrorism — Every single one from the Right Wing



From DAVID NEIWERT
Crooks and Liars

Terrorism directed at ‘liberal’ and ‘government’ targets since July 2008: An interactive map UPDATED here

Since all those isolated incidents involving terroristic violence directed at “liberals” and the “government” keep adding up into a serious trend, we’ve decided it’s time to start keeping systematic track of the problem — especially because mainstream media seem intent on refusing to recognize the trend.

Here’s the text for the 20 23 24 events we’ve enumerated so far:

July 2008: A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how “liberals” are “destroying America,” walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.

October 2008: Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.

December 2008: A pair of “Patriot” movement radicals — the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted “to attack the political infrastructure” — threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.