Thursday, January 31, 2013

Suggestion






























I signed up for Facebook during the early days of the Occupy Wall Street movement to try to follow the movement. When The Obama Department of Homeland Security coordinated the violent evictions by local police departments of Occupy camps all around the country it practically put an end to the side of the movement the public sees on TV, but most of the Facebook pages of the various Occupy groups have continued on, and many have evolved into having a traditional Leftist political stance, and are posting a steady stream of graphics like these every day. Lately it has exploded into a torrent.

My suggestion is that Democrats sign up for Facebook and get some ideas for how to engage Republicans in the war of ideas, the public debate, which they have been inept at for a long time. Republicans have codified all their positions into succinct sound bite type messages that hit emotional buttons and explain their positions in a way everyone can quickly grasp, as many of what has become a huge outpouring of graphics on Facebook are able to do. Democrats take note. The people are way ahead of you and you are becoming irrelevant.



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Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Mexico Democrats Buy Into Supply Side Economics

New Mexico Democrats in the state legislature are looking around for ways to pay for Republican Governor Susanna Martinez' scheme to lower taxes on businesses. She wants to do that because next door neighbor Arizona taxes businesses less than we do.

The thinking behind it is laid out clearly in an article from the Santa Fe New Mexican. The problem is, the whole discussion is over how to stimulate an economy by what you do for the business sector. Lowering corporate income taxes is just more supply-side economics, a proven failure, and the reason we're in a prolonged slump. It's based on the notion that businesses will use the extra income to hire people. Think of all the talk you hear about lowering taxes on "job creators."

What? A businesses is going to use that extra money to hire people, who will make things, and then hopefully the business can sell those things? Right.

That's not even how business and the economy works. Businesses hire when they have orders they can't fill, or in more speculative cases, when they have determined to the satisfaction of investors that there is an unmet demand out there, but in all cases, hiring is driven by demand, not by giving business owners free money. They ain't stupid. Give them free money when there's no demand and the money goes into their pockets, as it's doing now. Give them even more, like New Mexico's lawmakers want to do, and even more will go into their pockets.


If you stimulate consumer demand, in New Mexico in this case, New Mexican businesses will have no problem finding ways to make money. And they will have no choice but to hire more people if they want to meet the increased demand for their goods and services.


(Note: A good case can be made that lowering taxes on businesses hurts job creation. When federal income taxes were at their highest, before Ronald Reagan, "job creators" had to plow their profits into expenses that were tax deductions. They spent money upgrading their businesses, and spent money on employee benefits and pay, and new hires, which are all deductible. Now, since taxes on their income are lower, they can just take it all as profit. Put it in their pocket. Which they do. And wealth inequality, and income inequality, are back at 1920s "Gilded Age" levels.)



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(Note: Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich's take on President Obama's second term strategy is that he has found a way to break up the coalition of disparate interest groups Ronald Reagan patched together. It seems like a brilliant analysis of that so I'm re-printing it. Those of us who are so disillusioned with the president will have to wait and see about what Reich thinks the president might do with the opportunity, but for me it's a fascinating take nonetheless.)


Perian Flaherty photo


How Obama Is Unraveling Reagan Republicanism

by Robert Reich


Soon after President Obama's second inaugural address, John Boehner said the White House would try "to annihilate the Republican Party" and "shove us into the dustbin of history."

Actually, the GOP is doing a pretty good job annihilating itself. As Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal put it, Republicans need to "stop being the stupid party."

The GOP crackup was probably inevitable. Inconsistencies and tensions within the GOP have been growing for years - ever since Ronald Reagan put together the coalition that became the modern Republican Party.

All President Obama has done is finally found ways to exploit these inconsistencies.

Republican libertarians have never got along with social conservatives, who want to impose their own morality on everyone else.

Shrink-the-government fanatics in the GOP have never seen eye-to-eye with deficit hawks, who don't mind raising taxes as long as the extra revenues help reduce the size of the deficit.

The GOP's big business and Wall Street wing has never been comfortable with the nativists and racists in the Party who want to exclude immigrants and prevent minorities from getting ahead.

And right-wing populists have never got along with big business and Wall Street, which love government as long as it gives them subsidies, tax benefits, and bailouts.

Ronald Reagan papered over these differences with a happy anti-big-government nationalism. His patriotic imagery inspired the nativists and social conservatives. He gave big business and Wall Street massive military spending. And his anti-government rhetoric delighted the Party's libertarians and right-wing populists.

But Reagan's coalition remained fragile. It depended fundamentally on creating a common enemy: communists and terrorists abroad, liberals and people of color at home.

On the surface Reagan's GOP celebrated Norman Rockwell's traditional, white middle-class, small-town America. Below the surface it stoked fires of fear and hate of "others" who threatened this idealized portrait.

In his first term Barack Obama seemed the perfect foil: A black man, a big- spending liberal, perhaps (they hissed) not even an American.

Republicans accused him of being insufficiently patriotic. Right-wing TV and radio snarled he secretly wanted to take over America, suspend our rights. Mitch McConnell declared that unseating him was his party's first priority.

But it didn't work. The 2012 Republican primaries exposed all the cracks and fissures in the GOP coalition.

The Party offered up a Star Wars barroom of oddball characters, each representing a different faction - Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, Cain, Santorum. Each rose on the strength of supporters and then promptly fell when the rest of the Party got a good look.

Finally, desperately, the GOP turned to a chameleon - Mitt Romney - who appeared acceptable to every faction because he had no convictions of his own. But Romney couldn't survive the general election because the public saw him for what he was: synthetic and inauthentic.

The 2012 election exposed something else about the GOP: it's utter lack of touch with reality, its bizarre incapacity to see and understand what was happening in the country. Think of Karl Rove's delirium on Fox election night.

All of which has given Obama the perfect opening - perhaps the opening he'd been waiting for all along.

Obama's focus in his second inaugural - and, by inference, in his second term - on equal opportunity is hardly a radical agenda. But it aggravates all the tensions inside the GOP. And it leaves the GOP without an overriding target to maintain its fragile coalition.

In hammering home the need for the rich to contribute a fair share in order to ensure equal opportunity, and for anyone in America - be they poor, black, gay, immigrant, women, or average working person - to be able to make the most of themselves, Obama advances the founding ideals of America in such way that the Republican Party is incapable of opposing yet also incapable of uniting behind.

History and demographics are on the side of the Democrats, but history and demography have been on the Democrats' side for decades. What's new is the Republican crackup - opening the way for a new Democratic coalition of socially-liberal young people, women, minorities, middle-class professionals, and what's left of the anti-corporate working class.

If Obama remains as clear and combative as he has been since Election Day, his second term may be noted not only for its accomplishment but also for finally unraveling what Reagan put together. In other words, John Boehner's fear may be well-founded.



Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.



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Saturday, January 26, 2013


Kelly Dane Quotes, continued



"Tempo PEOPLE!! Allegro!!! Now everybody back on topic of the thread."


"I love immigration reform that doesn't involve rebranding human bondage."


"Yes, and I am abusing the good graces of my roommate drinking all the milk and leaving a tangle of Christmas lights on the front porch. But I live alone and am self employed. Talking 3rd party narrative is handy when you are your own scapegoat."


Kelly Dane is a former member of the US Coast Guard from Long Island, living in West Virginia, who pops up now and then on places like Facebook and in comments sections of Liberal online media outlets.


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Friday, January 25, 2013

(updated 1/27)

Senate Democratic Leaders Sell Out On Filibuster Reform
Reformer Tom Udalls's Response: 'Oh well.'

The three-year long filibuster reform efforts of New Mexico Democratic Senator Tom Udall were flushed down the drain yesterday by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, when Reid reached a private compromise on filibuster reform with minority leader Republican Mitch McConell that amounts to no reform at all. It is being said old timers in the senate including Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Carl Levin and others were influential in blocking the reforms.
Senator Tom Udall (D) NM

Udall and Jeff Merkley of Oregon had patiently built support for their bill, which would have reformed filibuster rules that now make it easy for the minority Republican party to block virtually everything that comes up in the senate they don't like, from judicial nominations to government appointments to legislation of all kinds, and lets them prevent many things from coming up for a vote at all. Udall recently told radio talk show host Bill Press that they had received Reid's endorsement of their efforts last summer. But according to American Prospect, the fillibuster and other arcane senate rules make individual senators much more powerful than our democratic form of government would otherwise make them, and once someone gets used to power they don't want to give it up.

Reid's back room sellout chucks virtually all of Udall's efforts and allows a vote on only a couple of tepid reforms that many on the Left are criticizing for amounting to no reform at all and that Rolling Stone magazine calls "a joke."

Speaking of tepid, Udall released a statement on his senate web site that amounts to no statement at all. Harry Reid is not mentioned or alluded to. We the people, who are, after all, only obliquely relevant to what the senate does, are mentioned only obliquely.






Thursday, January 24, 2013

Madame President Hillary




Election 2016 officially began yesterday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's combative performance before two congressional committees, and the morning Liberal radio talk shows were all about that performance.

Liberals like and support President Obama but are never really sure when he's going to cuddle up to Republicans in congress and sell their interests out, in fact they expect it, so are already looking forward, to a President Clinton II.

It's said that when Hillary walks into a room anywhere in the world there's a buzz. She's been equated to a rock star. It's about her celebrity, and also her intelligence and competence. Her expressions of anger toward Republican congressmen who were trying to score cheap political points at her expense was deliberate and calculated, and shows that she knows how to tap into peoples' angst, about Obama, about the future, about the dead end road Capitalism is headed down.

The disillusionment  will come after the votes are counted in 2016, but until then, Liberals have something to believe in.

Go Hillary!



Monday, January 21, 2013







This was posted on a Facebook page called Republican Bigotry, Hate, Fear, Lies and Distortion. It's too bad our Democratic elected officials aren't saying things like this. There's stuff like this all the time on Facebook. It's too bad the people who write it aren't our Democratic elected officials.


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Air Cooled Art





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The Wixáritari (commonly called Huichol) a Native American tribe living in what is now western central Mexico, produce beautiful art in various forms, the most common probably being beadwork and yarn paintings that are known for being brightly colored. They traditionally made their beads from things like clay or seeds but now use commercially produced beads and sell their work at tourist towns along the Mexican Pacific coast not too far their home in the Sierra Madre mountains.

They traditionally bead things like small hand made bears, jaguars and other animals, but now a Wixáritari artist and his daughter have beaded an old Volkswagen which, judging by the pictures, gets shown at galleries and malls. Below are a few more examples of their artwork. The flat panel items are examples of yarn paintings sometimes called string art.











































A couple of non profit or charitable groups have apparently taken it upon themselves to save the Wixáritari from extinction and save their lands from being devastated by mining. I didn't look into the whole matter but provide links to their web sites, here and here.

Their help might be just what the Wixáritari want, but without knowing I am a bit leery of groups who want to save what they see as ancient civilizations from extinction, because it seems to me that they want the people to continue living in primitive conditions while they jet back and forth from the wilderness to their modern homes in modern cities with all the modern conveniences. In many cases I suspect the natives would gladly trade their primitive lifestyles and hard work for more ease and material comfort including things like air conditioning, heat, a more varied and tasty diet, and all the good things in life their benefactors enjoy.

The desire to save primitive cultures and even to save wilderness areas from encroachment by modern civilization is in part owing to a sense of loss that we feel. We are no longer connected to the land that sustains us and as Marx pointed out, in the modern industrial world, we are not even connected to the things we make because they are owned by someone else. We make them, or just a part of them sometimes, and leave them at the factory when we go home. This, according to Marx, is all tied up in a process he called alienation, a term that has become part of modern cultural vernacular.

There are other reasons to save wilderness areas, and they are good and legitimate reasons, but I'm talking about this other reason that we never think about. Most of the places most of us want to save are places we have never been to and will never go to see. We just want to know they're there. I'm not talking about the issue of health and the environment. I'm talking about the vision of an unspoiled wilderness. Something from a past of our own imagination that never quite existed.

If that helps save the environment, fine, and few people are more environmentalist than I am. I'm practically a Luddite, in theory anyway. But not knowing what motivates us causes us a lot of problems. It lets us hide bad motivations under good ones. It affects the policies of our government and what we allow them to do. It affects how we conceive of other peoples and ourselves. In this instance it could be causing problems for the Wixáritari people, and when it comes to saving people, like these people or the Afghan people or the Iraqi people or anybody, we ought to just ask them what they'd like us to do. Maybe they'd like a condo on Maui, too.




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Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Mexico Democrats And Social Security

A web site called Money Talks News has come up with 13 Ways To Get More Social Security. They include taking a second job and to just keep on working until you're almost ready to drop dead.

I'm serious. This is advice for old people, who haven't received decent health their entire lives, who've lived paycheck to paycheck their entire lives, whose bodies are almost worn out. I don't know whether I want to puke or throw up.

Like a lot of financial advice is, this piece of claptrap is written in the cheerful parlance of someone who has options to weigh, while in the real world millions of working class Americans, whose options are Social Security or nothing, are waiting for rich people to decide how much to cut from their Social Security, and whether there will even be Social Security.

As I've pointed out repeatedly, President Obama has again and again offered to make cuts to Social Security, to "put it on the table" in Washington speak. He and the Democrats failed in their last attempt to put it on the chopping block, during the so called fiscal cliff negotiations, but more opportunities loom, with the debt ceiling limit coming up and the subsequent need to make the "fiscal cliff" budget cuts that were just put off, and as of tomorrow Obama will have four more years in which to go after Social Security and won't have to bother with the election year populist rhetoric that just got him re-elected.

The president loaded his Simpson Bowles deficit reduction commission -- which has become the basis of budget discussions in Washington and in the mainstream news media -- with people who want to privatize Social Security or reduce benefits, and again and again, Obama, Democrats and the news media go along with the lie that Social Security has something to do with the federal budget deficit, which it does not. It's a separate entity, not included in the federal budget, just like Ronald Reagan said.



And no one in New Mexico's legislative delegation has yet stood up and said anything about any of this.

Denis Chavez must be spinning in his grave.

For those New Mexico legislators who have never heard of him, Dennis Chavez was a Democrat from New Mexico who went up to Washington and helped working people. He helped bring about the REA, which brought electricity to everyone else when the private power companies refused to stretch lines to rural America because it didn't make them enough profit. He pushed through legislation that brought federal funding to poor school districts, which meant that every child in America got at least a halfway decent education where they were getting none at all. He pushed through the Fair Employment Practices Act, one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed, and he voted for the bill that created Social Security.

What we have now is Democrats who go to Washington and waste their time and our money. As I pointed out during the election, New Mexico Democrats are allowed to get away with making speeches that hit the right emotional buttons but tie them down to absolutely nothing, and when they get into office that's exactly what they do.

During any contentious pubic debate you'll hear nothing from them, but after it's all over you'll be able to read a fine sounding press release explaining why they took the principled vote they took. You'll never hear one lay down a line in the sand about Social Security, or use their access to the media to build pubic support for Social Security or anything else. You'll never see them at a rally, making a speech, holding a press conference, you'll never see them on a picket line, leading a march, nothing.

Once in awhile you'll see in the paper where they've gotten some money into a bill to set aside some land somewhere that people who have time on their hands and can afford to drive out there can enjoy. But when the president opens up vast, other wilderness areas or the Gulf of Mexico to oil drilling you'll hear not a peep, and when the president spies on Americans and assassinates Americans and let's the criminal class off Scott free that walked away with billions and plunged the country into economic crises and then looted the treasury to boot, you'll hear not a peep, and next time the president puts Social Security on the table you won't hear a word of complaint from any member of the New Mexico Democratic legislative delegation. Not one.


Dennis Chavez US Senator from New Mexico 1935-1962



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Friday, January 18, 2013

Support GMO Labeling In New Mexico


An organizational meeting will be held January 30 for people who want to support Senate Bill 18, introduced into New Mexico's Senate by Peter Wirth, that would require clear and easy to read labeling of GMO foods sold in the state. The following notice was posted on the Facebook page of (un)Occupy Albuquerque this morning. (See below for an explanation of the "un" in Occupy Albuquerque.)


Anyone interested in meeting others working on GMO labeling?

Let me Decide Kick-off Meeting
Wednesday, January 30th 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Winning Coffee Shop, 111 Harvard Drive SE, Albuquerque

Read this email addressed to (un)Occupy ABQ:

Hi!
I hope you're having a great week! My name is Yong Jung Cho and I am an organizer with Food & Water Watch. Right now we're working to label genetically engineered food in New Mexico. In fact, Senate Bill 18, which would require labeling of GE food, was introduced THIS week and will be heard next Thursday. Therefore, it's so crucial for us to build a lot of support right now.

Can you please forward information about our big Kick-Off meeting? Please let me know and thank you so, so much!
Yong Jung

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Dear friend,

It’s our right to know. The State senate is currently reviewing Senate Bill 18, which would require labeling of all genetically engineered food. We think this is a basic, common sense right, but agribusiness companies are sure to send lobbyists to the Roundhouse to mislead legislators and consumers. We need our legislators to hear from and listen to constituents... so we need your help!

Let me Decide Kick-off Meeting
Wednesday, January 30th 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Winning Coffee Shop, 111 Harvard Drive SE, Albuquerque

GE foods are largely untested and potentially unsafe, and what’s worse, they’ve been on the shelves of our grocery stores for over 15 years without our knowledge or consent. We all have the right to know what we are eating and make our own decisions about what we are feeding our families.

Please RSVP here, and bring a friend with you! Questions about the campaign or want to get involved today? Contact Yong Jung Cho at ycho@fwwlocal.org or call 505-750-4919.We believe that we all have a right to know what's in our food, and should have the choice to protect ourselves from potentially harmful GE ingredients. Join us Wednesday, Jan 30th to learn more!
For a just and transparent food system,
Yong Jung



Note: (un)Occupy Albuquerque is the larger and more active of two groups in Albuquerque allied with the Occupy Wall Street movement. When an Occupy group first formed here, it's members voted to put "un" in front of the name because they consider the US to be occupying Native American land and as a protest against occupations elsewhere. Some people didn't like that idea and formed another group that retained the name Occupy Albuquerque. The groups are amenable and cooperate with each other. Their Facebook pages are here and here. There are also Occupy New Mexico, Occupy Santa Fe, and Occupy Rio Rancho Facebook pages, and a sporadically updated Occupy Las Cruces page.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

America The Beautiful


At the end of his review dismantling Zero Dark Thirty, the blockbuster, multiple Oscar-nominated film that credits CIA torture with leading to the apprehension of Osama Bin Laden, Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi contrasts Americans' abhorrence of the Abu Gharib torture pictures in 2004 and their celebration of Zero Dark Thirty now.

Audiences cheer during the film. The torture is excused. The means justify the ends. America has changed, Taibbi points out. Bin Laden, the terrorists, and Dick Cheney, have won.






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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kelly Dane, a former member of the Coast Guard from Long Island, posted on Facebook:

"The more men try to manipulate and control all others, the more they lose control of their own damned selves. Enough is enough."



Kelly Dane's Facebook profile picture




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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Born January 15, 1929

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Obama, Democrats And Social Security

President Obama tried unsuccessfully to include cuts to Social Security in the recent so called "fiscal cliff" negotiations, but it's expected he will try again in upcoming "debt ceiling" debates.

Here's the president on Meet The Press on Dec. 30 talking about the fiscal cliff negotiations to NBC's David Gregory: 


Brennan Linsley/AP
"David, as you know, one of the proposals we made was something called Chain CPI, which sounds real technical but basically makes an adjustment in terms of how inflation is calculated on Social Security."

By "real technical," Obama means, "I think I can pawn this off on people and get away with not having to explain that it's a cut to Social Security, that it means I'll be forcing the Social Security Administration to use a different formula for calculating inflation when they calculate the cost of living adjustments to peoples' Social Security checks, so it means Social Security will no longer keep up with inflation, and that as time goes by, seniors, who paid into Social Security their whole lives and were depending on it and stupidly thought we in government would keep up our end of the bargain, will have to figure out how to get my on less and less every year, and it means that I, and the people who run the Democratic Party and support it with campaign contributions don't even need Social Security because we've done pretty well, and it means those masses of working class seniors who buy into our election year populist rhetoric time after time and vote for us year after year because we scare the shit out of them about what the Republicans will do, it means that they can whine and moan but they can kiss our well of asses because we'll still be doing alright."







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Here are some charts I used in an earlier post that talked about how Social Security has lifted millions of American retirees out of poverty. The charts also give an indication of how New Deal (Franklin Roosevelt) and Great Society (Lyndon Johnson) programs lifted many other Americans out of poverty.















The charts are by Robert Plotnick of the University of Washington who has spent his career studying poverty and cover periods starting when the US government began publishing data on each category. Note that the US poverty rate was well above 50 percent, which meant that for seniors it would be even worse.


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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Susana Martinez: Job Creator

After overseeing the worst job creation record in the nation -- New Mexico is the only state to have negative job growth over the past two years, two years Republican Governor Susana Martinez spent attacking public education and undocumented immigrants with driver's licenses -- Martinez has announced a job creation plan centered around tax cuts for corporations, and according to the Santa Fe New Mexican:

"The governor’s initiatives would be paid for with money the state has saved by not filling jobs..."


Makes sense to me.




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Monday, January 7, 2013

Issue Number One


I've been harping about the decline of the American worker since I started the web log. Now someone at the Freedom Informant Network has put it all together; the declining wages, the rising inequalities in income and wealth, the increasing poverty, and the rest off it, in a single list, with links to the data. Some of these are statistics that are worsened by the recession, but as you go down the list you can account for what is and isn't. But besides that, they're starting to talk about the current state of affairs, with high unemployment, being more or less permanent. I heard just such a story on NPR Friday morning as I was driving back from Holbrook.

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60 Facts That Prove The American Middle Class is Being Wiped Out

The middle class in the United States is being systematically destroyed, and nobody is doing much of anything to stop it.  Our incomes are shrinking, our share of the income pie is at an all-time low, our jobs are being sent overseas, debt burdens have soared to unprecedented heights and millions of formerly middle class Americans have fallen into poverty.
America once had the largest and most vibrant middle class that the world has ever seen, but now it is rapidly being shredded.  Unfortunately, this is particularly true for younger Americans.  Today, families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.  That is astounding.  The truth is that there are not enough decent jobs for the hordes of young people that are entering the marketplace each year.

Once upon a time, a college degree was just about a guaranteed ticket to the middle class, but in 2011 more than half of all college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.  Sadly, statistics tell us that the younger you are, the less likely you are to have a chance to live "the American Dream". Nearly half the country already lives in a household that receives direct financial assistance from the federal government, and that percentage grows with each passing day.

We are rapidly being transformed from a country of middle class citizens into a country of impoverished government dependents.  If dramatic changes are not made, the middle class in America will continue to decline every single year.  What would our society look like if the middle class disappeared entirely at some point?

The following are 60 facts that prove that the middle class in America is being wiped out...

#1 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before. 


#2 As the middle class shrinks, more Americans than ever have been forced to become dependent on the federal government.  Federal spending on welfare programs has reached nearly a trillion dollars a year, and that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.  Welfare spending is now 16 times larger than when the "war on poverty" began. 

#3 Median household income in the U.S. has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by over $4,000 during that time span. 

#4 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs. 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs. 

#5 The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by more than 15 million since the turn of the century. 

#6 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today. 

#7 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps. 

#8 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all American households were "middle class" back in 1971.  Today, that figure has fallen to 51 percent. 

#9 In the United States today, 35 percent of all households live on $35,000 or less each year. 

#10 One recent survey discovered that 85 percent of all middle class Americans believe that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago. 

#11 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year. 

#12 According to one survey, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time. 

#13 In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent.  Today it is up to 154 percent. 

#14 Total U.S. household debt grew from just 1.4 trillion dollars in 1980 to a whopping 13.7 trillion dollars in 2007.  This played a huge role in the financial crisis of 2008, and the problem has still not been solved. 

#15 While debt loads for middle class families are going up, the net worth of those same families is going down.  According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of families in the United States declined "from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010". 

#16 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been below 59 percent for 40 months in a row. 

#17 Today there are about 3.25 million Americans that say that they want a job but that have not searched for a job in more than a year because they believe that it is so hopeless. 

#18 When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job in America today, it comes to more than 100 million. 

#19 The unemployment rate for African-Americans rose dramatically from 13.2 percent in November to 14.0 percent in December. 

#20 The unemployment rate for Americans in the 18 to 29 year-old age bracket is 11.5 percent overall.  For African-Americans in that age group, the unemployment rate is now up to 22.1 percent.  Millions of young people believe that the system has totally failed them. 

 #21 Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent. 

#22 Last year, an astounding 53 percent of all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed. 

#23 Today, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents. 

#24 According to the Tax Policy Center, the recent fiscal cliff deal will raise taxes more for those making between $30,000 and $200,000 a year than it will for those making between $200,000 and $500,000 a year. 

#25 According to a Gallup survey, only 60 percent of all Americans say that they have enough money to live comfortably. 

#26 One recent survey found that 63 percent of all Americans believe that the U.S. economic model is broken. 

#27 Each year, the average American must work 107 days just to make enough money to pay local, state and federal taxes. 

#28 Consumer debt in America has risen by a whopping 1700 percent since 1971. 

#29 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001. 

#30 The average American household spent approximately $4,155 on gasoline during 2011, and electricity bills in the U.S. have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row. 

#31 According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years. 

#32 Health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%. 

#33 In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance. 

#34 According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement. 

#35 The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. 

#36 The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001. 

#37 According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year. 

#38 In 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing, but now there are less than 12 million. 

#39 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs. 

#40 Since 2000, U.S. multinational corporations have eliminated 2.9 million jobs in the United States and have added 2.4 million jobs overseas. 

#41 According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if current trends continue. 

#42 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 declined by 27 percent after you account for inflation. 

#43 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.  If that sounds like a high figure, that is because it is.  Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does. 

#44 According to the Pew Research Center, only 23 percent of all American workers believe that they have enough money to get them through retirement. 

#45 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans households on average have 288 times the amount of wealth that the average middle class American family does. 

#46 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.


#47 According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. 
#48 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined. 
#49 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States. 
#50 The United States now ranks 93rd in the world in income inequality. 
#51 The average CEO now makes approximately 350 times as much as the average American worker makes. 
#52 Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high.  Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP are near an all-time low. 
#53 Today, 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings. 
#54 One recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies. 
#55 Shockingly, at this point 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty. 
#56 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of "Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. 
#57 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government.  Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent. 
#58 According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be "poor" or "low income". 
#59 For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. 
#60 According to a stunning new Gallup survey, 65 percent of all Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of "economic difficulty".



There really is no other issue, no other matter of consequence before us, and yet no one talks about this except a few on the Left. No one wants to hear it. You can argue that climate change is more important, but we've know about climate change for a long time and it only keeps getting worse; a new record for carbon in the atmosphere is set every year. The establishment is incapable of doing anything about it, and as long as we have the economic system we have, nothing will be done about it. Capitalism will kill us all, if we don't kill it first.



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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Obama And The Plan To Assassinate Occupy Wall Street Members


New documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the Obama Administration FBI conducted massive spying on the Occupy Wall Street Movement and worked closely with big banks to put down the movement's protests and encampments of 2011-2012.

It had already been revealed that the Obama Administration Department of Homeland Security planned, coordinated and provided training for the local police attacks on the Occupy encampments around the country in late 2011 and early 2012, during which protesters were forcibly and violently evicted from their various encampments.

The latest revelations come in documents the FBI released because of a Freedom of Information Act request made by the Partnership For Civil Justice Fund, a human and civil rights advocacy group. The documents "reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests."

 
The documents include the startling revelation that the FBI knew about a plot to assassinate leaders of the Occupy Movement. The documents don't reveal what, if anything, the FBI did about the plot. No one in the Occupy movement was ever told by the FBI that their life was in danger, and the FBI, before releasing the documents, redacted (blanked out) the names of whoever it was that planned the killings. 

The documents reveal that the scope of the surveillance conducted on Occupy's activities and its members is breathtaking. They reveal that spying on Occupy by the FBI, other federal agencies, and local police was all coordinated by the federal government, and one has to ask why, if Occupy was known to be non-violent, it took place on such a massive scale.

The Occupy Movement was, and is, a mass mobilization of American citizens in opposition to their government and to the Capitalist class that controls it. It changed the terms of the national conversation and the 2012 presidential election. Politicians and network news anchors began using terms like "99 percent" and "1 percent." Democratic politicians including President Obama adopted populist language and talked openly for the first time in decades about raising taxes on the upper 1 and 2 percent. Republicans were forced onto the defensive.

It came about because Americans began to recognize, after the 2007 financial collapse and the government bailout of Capitalists while workers were left to fend for themselves, that the corruption of government and of Capitalism were two sides of the same coin, therefore the solution rested in organizing outside the usual channels -- people would have to, in effect, seize power from the government and from Capitalism at the same time through mass citizen action.

Despite the populist rhetoric that began to come from the Democratic Party after the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement and their promises to fight for the mythic Middle Class, the documents, and the mass evictions, reveal another story, that shows Democrats are on the side of the banksters and Wall Street looters against the 99 percent, and they suggest something ominous about that alliance. 

Although the Obama Administration knew about the plot to kill Occupy members, there have been no news accounts of anyone being arrested. Considering the Obama Administration's attacks on the Occupy Movement, and the new revelations about how it plotted with the Capitalist class against Occupy, and considering the common interests government and Capitalism have in oppressing the 99 percent, and considering the US government's long history of oppressing mass movements at home and around the world, considering it's assassinations of mass movement leaders in the 1960s through the FBI's COINTELPRO program, and considering President Obama's ongoing assassinations by drone fired missiles of whoever he deems to be in need of dying, including in two cases American citizens, and again, considering that the FBI knew about the plot to assassinate Occupy members, knew who was involved and never arrested anyone, it's not outlandish to consider, among the various possibilities, whether the plot to kill Occupy members was approved of, if not initiated by the US government.


From Occupy Wall Street's Facebook page






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