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October 13, 2015

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You write:

"It is how the idealistic, anti-war new president was co-opted or frightened into taking a different course by this powerful shadow government."

A sitting US President got "duped" by the military industrial complex?

I'm pretty sure he was always all in on Afghanistan, wasn't he?

But he sure shut down Gitmo.

The Obama apology tour continues....


You write:

"The president is the chief of one branch of one segment of our federated form of government. Any candidate needs to make the point that she or he can only get so far as long as this broken and radical Republican Party controls the Congress (and most statehouses). None will state this important truth because it would imply weakness."

Already apologizing for the next President (assuming it's a Democrat)

How many people vote for a Senator or a Representative? How many vote for President?

That's why the job requires someone who can bring the parties together in order to solve problems. You know, like Obama promised.


I read the Harpers article- pretty good analysis. A much shorter article could have been titled "What went Right".

Remember. He was elected in a very strong anti Bush Cheney environment. Could any Democrat have lost?

Probably not.


From the article:

Once Obama walks out of a policy discussion, he does not coordinate and does not collaborate. This fact is attested by so many in Congress that it will take a separate history to chronicle the disconnections. He intensely dislikes the rituals of keeping company with lesser lawmakers, even in his own party. Starting with the Affordable Care Act, he has stayed aloof from negotiations, as if recusing himself afforded a certain protection against being blamed for failure. He does not cultivate political friends, or fraternize with comrades. Add to this record his episodic evacuations of causes (global warming between 2010 and 2012; nuclear proliferation between 2011 and 2015) and the activists who got him the nomination in 2008 may be pardoned for wondering what cause Obama ever espoused in earnest.

All the GOP's fault, right?

There are times when I think there's nothing that can slow our hard fall into a dysfunctional empire, that our anxieties and tribal allegiances have so clouded what's real that there's no longer any conversation that can point the way to sanity. Bernie Sanders wants us to imagine a kind of Scandinavian realm of social justice and equity where whites and blacks, Christians and atheists, simply share the burdens and rewards of a political economy. Lions shall lay down with lambs! Hillary's overarching rationale is less uplifting but definitely points to a similar utopia.

I was "chatting" online the other day with someone from the other side. He stated "I love America" but I wondered if his love of country was something else - flag-waving, nationalism, white skin, and Mayberry. I suggested that his love must be extremely lean since it exludes liberals and anyone whose values he detests. If you "love America", doesn't that mean the whole country and not just your tribe?

Occasionally, we meet at an intersection where commonalities still exist. We love the troops, for instance. Or we love dogs. Or we love the national parks. But increasingly, it's all been divided like community property in a bad divorce.

Democrats still imagine an America where people get a helping hand, where seniors get health care and a provision, where the young get educated, and adults get work. This is FDR's dream of America that Democrats still invoke. It has been modified to also mean that minorities get civil rights, that the environment is managed for the common good, and that civil liberties are respected. Those modifications are what put the Democrats on the ropes. We are, as it turns out, not one nation.

I won't watch the debate tonight since I don't want to sense how decayed our common dreams have become. Democrats mean well. They certainly mean better than the sociopaths and hucksters from the other side. But Americans, for the most part, no longer believe in an overarching dream. We are fragmented, angry, and lonely. Social and economic policy can't fix that. We want something that is completely outside the political realm. We want to believe in a community with heart where we belong and feel at home.

We live in a country now where everyone has enough to eat. Sadly, few feel assuaged in their real hunger.

It’s always gratifying to be able to agree with RC on things. I won’t be watching the debate. Too frustrating.
Total agreement on the following:
- The deep state and its problems
- Endless war.
- Out of control weapons development costs and performance
-“Franklin Roosevelt was hardly forthcoming in the election of 1932.”

Partial agreement:
- “In office, Roosevelt was highly effective.” (I will grant that he was effective as commander-in-chief role – particularly his selection of military/related functions leadership (e.g. G. Marshall, Admiral King, DDE, etc.). He didn’t accomplish much of anything pre-war.
- “we need to return to a progressive tax system.” It could stand a little raising of the rates on across the board. But over half the filers are paying no income tax at all. In fact many receive tax credits and actually less than none. Should have a token minimum tax – say $100 per year.
- Big money in politics. If you want to get it all – including unions and NGO’s. Where’s the big money coming from now? Note it goes left and right – probably more left than right.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

Total disagreement on some things, but I’ll just let it go for the time being.
My only change would to be controlling governmental debt and budgets. This is huge and needs to be on the table for discussion.

Soleri....I could not agree with you more. To live in America now is so painful.

Quite a refreshing difference from the clown car performances.

Agree that more issues need to be addressed, but this was a good start.

Yes Soleri we yearn for community and a safe port in the storm.

I don't see Hillary taking on the Deep State. Like Obama got told (not DUPED) she will be told where she can play and where she cannot.

Endless war, Hillary's hawkishness will keep her in the tub with the military/industrial/surveillance BOYS cleaning the tax payers of money. It's a bloody bath these BOYS want to keep happening.

Immigration, Obama is the king of deporting numbers.
The question is will Hillary be any different?

Wall street, The Boys owned Obama, how will Hillary be any different?
Debt: What is it about the word Debt that makes some folks talk insane. Debt has been around since the snake conned Eve into tasting the apple.

Inphx. Threatened is the right word. The CIA IS CALLED THE BIG DOGS for a reason. That wagging tail is the president.

So the guy that cannot win is Bernie and even if he did the BOYS would politically tie him down and quarter him out as they have Obama. And if that dosent have the desired effect they can always find a Sicario.

It's too bad the framers created a branch of government that puts so much power in the hands of one person: having one individual direct so much of our policy seems dangerous and ill-advised. 330 million people shouldn't have their fate decided by one person, elected or otherwise. I believe in a system of checks and balances, but something seems strangely lopsided and even anachronistic about the executive branch.

Executive Branch: Somewhat Anachronistic?
Deep State: Extremely Dangerous!
Military/industrial/ surveillance state: Criminally insane!!

Saw this this morning on CNN.

Really good, IMHO.

http://www.vox.com/2015/10/13/9527359/joe-biden-ad-cnn

Sanders actually had a good observation about gun control and the general differences in the ways urban and rural people view and interact with guns.

I don't recall any of the candidates discussing the costs or budget effects of the litany of "programs" they're advocating. Why worry?

They all seemed to agree that the economy is tough for the middle class, even after 7 years of Obama in the White House.


But the good news is that Obamacare continues to sparkle; looks like about 1/2 the enrollees as originally projected


http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/obamacare-third-enrollment-targets-214829

Not to worry, though. I'm sure they're the healthy people.

INPHX,
Treat all employer provided health insurance premiums for what they are, compensation, and subject them to payroll and income taxes like all other wages. Once those massive health insurance tax subsidies have been repealed, you might have a stronger case for repeal of tax subsidies for individuals who purchase their own health insurance through the exchanges. The employer paid tax exempt health insurance premiums increase the federal deficit and drive up health care costs many times more that the tax subsidies extended under the Affordable Care Act.

No one but INPHX and the Republican Party wants to go back to the pre-existing condition shell game between insurance companies and patients.

Anon

I'm in 100%.

What about the unions?

Who do you think resists your idea? Hedge fund billionaires?

Look.

Obamacare was pitched as being budget neutral, but anyone with much sesne knew that it wouldn't be, principally because of the moral hazard problem inherent in insurance.

So, when the costs blast past the projections because of a smaller and less healthy insured population, where is the money going to come from?

Speaking of loopholes, you know that most of the time, in employer funded retirement plans, there are never payroll taxes paid on the benefits.

Are you in for a repeal of that?

Who would be most likely to resist it?

Whew.

After Sanders' vapid defense of the VA, things are getting much better.

Oh, wait.....

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/va-cites-phoenix-facility-poor-urology-care-34508815


Single payer sure seems like a swell idea, eh?

Interesting comments, all. From my perspective:

Rogue notes that FDR made a big difference for our citizens because " . . . FDR had overwhelming Democratic majorities in Congress." True. And one lone President may be outmatched.

Bernie Sanders has said since the first day of his campaign that it will take all Americans to take back our country. He has said over and over that one man can't do it.

Bernie is honest about the situation. He's our best shot.

About the debate: Nearly puked when HRC made a point of how she is a progressive. Can't you just feel that little bit of vomit in your mouth? I'm sure her biggest backers (Citigroup/Citibank and Goldman Sachs) chortled over that sop to the voters.

Please, Rogue, don't hiss and spit at mention of "roads & bridges." Some of us mean well, and we share your thinking about infrastructure and rail, but we are just less articulate. For many of us, the term is just shorthand.

I'm not sure how every thread devolves into potshots at Obamacare, but I guess I will put my two cents in here. I have a pre-existing condition, and was formerly uninsurable at ANY price. I paid everything out of pocket for at least 15 years. I am now able to get insurance. My insurance saved me from a medical bankruptcy.

As much as I personally appreciate Obamacare, I believe that a single-payor system (like every other industrialized nation provides for its citizens) would be far better. Tell me again why we need insurance companies to skim off a huge slice of the money paid for medical care? What do these companies do to advance care?

Previously I asked what is a Veteran? Without compulsory service are those that enlist not job seekers. Yesterday at Chandler Mall I spoke to an Israeli paratrooper that is in the US along with many of his fellow military service person selling perfume at Kiosks. Israel has COMPULSORY and UNIVERSAL Medical care and Military requirements. One must take one of four health care programs and one may also buy extra insurance from a private source. World wide, Isreal ranks fourth in medical efficiency. In talking to tbe the paratrooper he advised besides cumpusory military service all citizens are in reserve duty status into middle age. He showed me a huge scar from combat that he said has caused him to be 10 kilos liter than he prefers. He enjoys dual citizendship and America but misses Israel.

sj:

There are a lot of things about Obamacare that I like. One is that the federal government has basically stepped in to help people with pre- existing conditions that were not previously insurable in the private markets.

I have a simple question.


When the costs blow past the original estimates, how will they get funded?

Are there provisions in the original law to provide for cost overruns?

Did the people that support Obamacare ever discuss the possibility of cost overruns with the voters and how they would be funded?


If a single payer system in this country would look anything like the VA (which is probably our closest system to a single payer), I say no thanks.


Government can be a positive influence in helping people afford private insurance that they might not otherwise to afford. That's a good idea.

Government providing health care?

Look at the VA.

Inphx
Universal health care works for a number of countries.
Countries that provide better services than the US.
And my research tells me the VA problems were caused by Republicans that think military job seekers for the Industrial military are consider commodites to be turned into Soylent green. How about we bring back compulsory service for all people that turn 18?
Maybe private enterprise has ran it's course and it's time to shut down the greed monsters that are destroying the planet. Or maybe U believe it's better to just grind up the peasants?

Cal:

Care to share your research?

Naw it's out thar for anyone that WANTS to find lt.

INPHX:

I have a question for you: What do communities of folks do together for the common good? Perhaps . . . health care?

That seems like a reasonable, civilized thing to do. And every other industrialized nation has managed to do it. And they ALL spend less per capita on health care than the U.S. does right now.

I suggest that an American single payer system should be modeled not on VA, but on Medicare, one of the most beloved programs ever conceived. Medicare is efficient, cost effective, and already road tested by our parents and grandparents (who pronounced it just dandy).

Medicare for all!

sj:

Speaking of the common good, can you believe those freakin' unions that want the Cadillac heath care tax part of Obamacare repealed?

Geez. The money that that tax generates is to help pay for the healthcare (Medicare included) for perhaps millions of poorer people.

What's the matter with them?


Inphx, poor example.
The unions "supposedly" are doing what is best for their dues paying members. Dosent mean they are right.
Even Jimmy Hoffa got things wrong. For example.
He trusted his friend and body guard.
"I Heard You Paint Houses"!

Cal:

You're right.

They're putting their and their members interests above the common good.

And it doesn't make it right.

But it sure is consistent with human nature.

And Darwin said,

With regard to Demo presidential nomination, the candidate needs to Party Builder – not a Party Wrecker. Let’s face it, BHO was a disaster for the party. Incumbents in House and Senate needed to be in very safe red districts to survive under him. He killed the party in such places as Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Florida that were somewhat blue to purple prior.

Bernie would be absolute disaster in this regard. HRC could be, if she doesn’t skew too far left.

So, IHMO, the D party needs to wake up to reality. The only way to raise wages is to tax capital more, and to choke off the nearly infinite flow of bottom tier illegal immigrants.

In other words, it is time for immigration enforcement in a sane and humane manner.

Just moving here and getting a job doing the worst, being exploited by American business, and sending money home is over.

We have enough poor folks that could be sucked in to the meatpacking trades if the jobs were 36 hours a week and paid $20 an hour.

Now. Sorry the rest of the world is a wreck, but the closed sign is out for a while. Look at Europe for the final run to safety images. It is not nice, it is a human disaster. Seven billion people on this planet, and we have less than 5%.

The reality is to pay for the boomer retirement party, we need to strip down our foreign spending. To do that is to cede global hegemony status to the biggest Eurasian powers. Guess what, I don't care about islands in the South China Sea. I don't care about the middle east. I don't care about Africa, or anything else beyond our borders. Every time the neocons build more missiles in Tucson and blow up more of the Middle East I think of the money that could have been spent on better hospice care for our own Vets.

But whatever. Until the D party fully decides to close the border, the economy will be stagnant. Then they must fully embrace some of the policies necessary to ensure much higher wages and employment.

Without taking care of the people, the people are going to revolt. Angela Merkel is a prime example of how open borders are wrecking a country, and the inability to recognize saturation of the polity. Germany and France, and the rest of Europe are going to slide into fascism as a result of policies that resemble national suicide.

And if you doubt me, look at Orban in Hungary, he is a fascist and was elected again and again.

At some point one has to recognize what the people want, and stop being the ivory tower elites who benefit from the waves of lower paid workers, because the society is getting more and more disparate in potential earnings, lifestyle, and wealth.

Immigration reform and control can be done with a somewhat humane face, or it can resemble some of the ugliest episodes in history, but the sad reality is we have reached a point where it must happen, and so it will.

While I am pretty liberal in my economics, I think we should recognize that unrestrained capitalism is what has brought us to the brink of disaster, and either government will exert control of capitalism, or we let the capitalist oligarchy drive America into the weeds.

It is an ugly choice, and Trump's popularity is the result of these policies.

And the worst part is that by refusing significant and realistic reforms, the more radical and harsh solutions will be imposed. This is the true lessons of history from 1880-1940. And ones that have been forgotten by our politicians.

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