Democrats & Liberals Archives

The New Political Contest

What will the new Congress bring? Most prognosticators say that since extreme Republicans have been elected and extreme Democrats reelected, fighting will be more intense than before and nothing will be accomplished. They are wrong because they do not understand President Obama. The president knows he is participating in a political contest, but not the LEFT-RIGHT contest everyone is talking about.

On the RIGHT, Republicans have replaced Democrats as the majority party in the House and have increased their membership in the Senate. Furthermore, most of the new Republican lawmakers are Tea Baggers or extremists of the RIGHT. The new Speaker will be John Boehner, who does not dare to use the word "compromise." The new Senate Minority Leader will remain Mitch McConnell, who has famously said:

The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

On the LEFT, the remaining Democratic legislators are those mostly on the extreme LEFT.

The punditocracy looks at these events and proclaims that gridlock will be worse than before. But the punditocracy forgets an important point: President Barack Obama has promised and is eager to solve problems by working together with ALL members of Congress.

Yes, he has extended his cooperative hand before and it was thrust aside by Republicans. During the past 2 years, Republicans did not want to cooperate because they had a weak hand; they cynically decided to be the party of NO. But now with their increased power, they feel they have the upper hand and will be eager to show what they can do.

Before, Obama's hand was thrust aside by Democrats, as well. Democrats felt that since they had big Congressional majorities they did not need to compromise, that they could easily achieve long-desired goals ("single-payer", "public option") on their own.

But the political dynamic now is very different. The 2 parties are pretty evenly matched. Republicans control the House and the Democrats control the Senate. It's true that the Democratic majority in the Senate is fairly small, but it's also true that Barack Obama has the veto pen.

It appears that the president is facing the proverbial "powerful force" (Republican RIGHT) advancing against an "immovable object" (Democratic LEFT). However, the president understands - as most pundits and commentators do not - that today's big contest is NOT between LEFT and RIGHT. The LEFT-RIGHT contest has been going on for decades, so the conventional wisdom is that all political battles are between Liberals and Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, the LEFT and the RIGHT.

The president sees the conflict more broadly. Regardless of party, there are those who seek their self-interest and those who are working for the common-interest. The major battle is between SELF-INTEREST and COMMON-INTEREST.

The SELF-INTEREST group consists of those working for specific groups, certain causes and super-loyal party people. The groups and causes are of course different for members of the 2 parties: Democrats are concerned with blacks, hispanics, civil rights, same sex marriage. Republicans work for financiers, religious organizations, pro-life groups, tycoons. In both parties, you have loyal members who always vote the party line.

There are COMMON-INTEREST people in both parties. Among both Democrats and Republicans, the COMMON-INTEREST group pursues the same principles as the SELF-INTEREST group, but places the needs of the general public above their parochial interests.

The president is expected to appeal to COMMON-INTEREST politicians on both sides of the aisle, and to the COMMON-INTEREST tendencies of Americans at large. He will show that the most important problems facing us - economic revival, terrorism and climate change - are impossible to solve without cooperation from everyone. Obama will encourage responsible negotiations within each legislative chamber, and between the 2 chambers - the House and the Senate - during conference. Since he will have the veto pen, Obama will be in a strong position to prevail in most matters.

The huge wave for change that Barack Obama brought to America 2 years ago was greeted by a back wave this past November by those who hated change. But this month, Obama is ready to unleash the next wave. After the backlash, Obama understands better how to do it. He is expected to stress the New Contest between SELF-INTEREST and COMMON-INTEREST.

In this new year, Obama is ready to truly change the ways of Washington and to bring to the rest of us in the country "change we can believe in."

Posted by Paul Siegel at January 4, 2011 8:22 PM
Comments
Comment #316264

Paul,

First of all, the word “Tea Bagger” is a very pejorative term. I would never use it in my writing and/or my commenting in any forum.

Second, most of the newly-elected Republican House members are not necessarily from the Tea Party. That is such an overused label that the MSM places on all newly-elected Republicans. Indeed, many Republican candidates align themselves with so-called Tea Party principles; however, the majority are simply varying types of conservatives, libertarians and plain ‘ole Republicans.

Remember, it’s not even a party. It’s merely a movement; a movement without a central organization. Most main stream GOP types, libertarians and other conservatives try to co-opt the movement as their own, but in reality, they are simply a diverse group of people who are looking for smaller government, less spending, a free market society and individual liberty.

To be sure, many of the freshmen coming to Washington ran on conservative principles and they will give the so-called establishment GOP a lot to deal with. But in reality, they saw what the majority of Americans saw over the last two years (a president with an agenda that is far too progressive for the majority of people). Thus, these freshmen will oblige their constituents with the promises that they made during the campaign.

Obama is not the change agent you so desire. He’s been a major disappointment. I still can’t get over the fact that Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the WH administration focused for 16 months on health care reform while the economy (especially job losses and high unemployment) got progressively worse. Worse, during his SOTU address in both 2009 and 2010, Obama told us how job creation was his No. 1 priority. Ironically, in a recent headline, Obama’s top advisor, Valerie Jarrett, claims Obama’s top priority for 2011 is “Jobs.”

I can’t make this stuff up. It’s like groundhog day every day. I guess Obama really, really means it this time because if the economy doesn’t get better (mainly the unemployment rate), he won’t have a chance at getting reelected in 2012.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at January 4, 2011 11:16 PM
Comment #316265

As for the White House ‘Shakeup’ that is unraveling, I can only hope that Obama does not choose Gene Sperling as one of his chief economic advisors. He is as about as far left as one can go. Sperling, along with John Podesta are both principals at the Center for American Progress, and have been a breeding ground for White House staff appointments over the last two years.

Many pundits will claim that Obama’s staff shakeup is a natural course of action after the halfway point for a president. However, I think it goes far deeper than that.

For me, it shows how difficult it is for others who are always around Obama to understand this enigmatic president. Some major advisors in a myriad of posts have left or will be replaced. These replacements go well beyond what would be considered normal.

Gibbs: he always was aloof compared to other Press Secretaries; very defensive. He rarely gave the media ‘real’ updates. He was too secretive and measured in his comments.

Summers: What an abject failure. Too academic and Ivory Tower-Like. He gave Obama horrible advice.

Romer: Knew Obama wouldn’t listen to pragmatic reasoning and thus left to go back to the utopia of liberalism - Berkeley.

Orszag: He too wanted Obama to be more realistic, especially on tax cuts for the wealthy. He also is very young and somewhat immature; he got married after a controversial relationship with a woman after he got her pregnant.

Axelrod: Tries very hard to spin for Obama on the Sunday news programs. This former Chicago Tribune reporter tries to ensure the WH messaging is consistent. It is difficult when Gibbs and Jarrett are saying incongruent things at the same time. His ‘going-back-to-Chicago-to-help-run-Obama’s-2012-reelection-campaign is nothing but a temporary stay of execution, a proverbial trip to Siberia.

Jarrett: She has been a trusted mentor for both Obama and first lady Michelle for decades in Chicago. She is too close. Her progressive community organizing/messaging is often contrived. A very good spin-meister indeed. She will stay, but that will hurt Obama if he really wants to do the Clinton two-step after the midterms.

Plouffe: He’s a bright spot. However, Rahm Emanuel, Axelrod, Jarrett and Gibbs cock-blocked this brilliant political strategist during the run-up to the 2010 midterms. Now Obama is smart enough to realize this and is bringing him closer to his vest.

Messina: Not sure, Obama’s deputy chief of staff is what Andrew Card was to GW Bush - too secretive.

Craig: WH Counsel to Obama. He was forced to resign by the heavy hand of Rahm Emanuel after Craig discovered some of the dark secrets surrounding Guantanamo Bay and wanted to disclose this info to a Senatorial Committee.

Dunn: What can you say about a WH Communications Director who single-handedly waged a media war with Fox News and lost! It totally backfired and she was summararily dismissed. Her husband worked for the team as well.

Daley: As in William, not brother Richard, the outgoing Mayor of Chicago. The same Chicago that is full of Obama’s cronies. It’s musical chairs: Rahm goes to Shytown to run for Williams’ brothers’ old seat, William changes places with Rahm. What’s better? Rahm had close ties to Wall Street and Goldman Sachs; William Daley has close ties to Wall Street and J.P. Morgan. Plus Obama needs a colleague who can assure Wall St. that he doesn’t really hate “Fat Cat Bankers” as well as appease the middle. I think it’s agood choice.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at January 5, 2011 12:09 AM
Comment #316266

Paul,
Why Obama may be ready to change the ways of Washington, the Democrats are going to have to learn how to challenge the Republican Talking Head. For why it is easy to prove the Republicans haven’t a clue how to improve Americas’ Health Care System, inspire the Private Sector to create Livable Wage Jobs, or even balance the Budget. Tell us something we don’t know.

Now granted President Obama and the 111th Congress walked into Washington facing a mess that even the experts of today can’t or won’t explain; however, Kevin is right to point out that Obama and the Democrats failed to tie what they were doing with the flight of the average citizen. For why Health Care Reform should have been the star of the Recovery and Reinvesment Act since we need more Doctors and Medical Staff. I do believe most Americans still have a hard time understanding why health care had to be reformed first when they are losing their jobs and seeing the health care insurance premiums increase.

So as President Obama maybe able to talk about the difference between Self-Interest and Common Interest, can the Democratic Leadership set aside their Self-Interest and join President Obama pointing out the Common Interest held between the Billionaire on Wall Street and the Homeless Man in the Street as America searchs for Politically Viable Solutions to the Issues of the 20th Century and prepare for the Human Events of the 21st Century.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 5, 2011 12:16 AM
Comment #316282

Kevin L. Lagola said: “I still can’t get over the fact that Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the WH administration focused for 16 months on health care reform while the economy (especially job losses and high unemployment) got progressively worse.”

Your wrong about the legislative priorities of Obama and the Democrats. The very first major piece of legislation passed during the Obama administration was the economic stimulus plan in February of 2009. It was preceded by the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)initiated by the Bush administration and passed by a Democratic Congress in October of 2008. In addition, there was the auto bailout (structured bankruptcies with bridge loan assistance). When considered in total, there was an enormous amount of legislative and executive focus on the economy during the early phase of the Obama administration.

You are also wrong about the state of the economy during his first 16 months. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the Great Recession officially ended in June of 2009 after multiple quarters of positive GDP growth. That is less than five months after assuming office. The massive job losses which were a torrent in late 2008 slowed and stabilized by late 2009 with modest job growth since that time.

The Great Recession is called such for very good reasons. There was a massive collapse of the financial system and consequent impact on the economy. It was worldwide. Recovery from such a deep recession will take time. Of concern is the lagging recovery in the employment market. The Federal Reserve is concerned that the rate of GDP growth and inflation is insufficient to significantly reduce unemployment and warns against reducing federal fiscal deficit stimulus to the economy as the private sector continues to de-leverage and repair its balance sheets.

Posted by: Rich at January 5, 2011 9:23 AM
Comment #316293

Something here that makes more sense than much I’ve seen and heard lately.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/fiscal-shock-2/

Krugman tells it like it is, and then places the blame where it belongs…right in the lap of our watchdog media.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 5, 2011 2:03 PM
Comment #316295

Progress.

It’s pretty hard to progress from a hole in the ground, speaking of which;

Giving Iraq to the Iranians and Afghanistan to the Taliban sure makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about the US causalities there, doesn’t it warm your cockles? Thanks, GWB, that was fun!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/world/middleeast/06iraq.html?hp

Marysdude,

That’s the hole we are still digging, that Krugman refers to. I always go for advice from those that destroyed the economy for advice on how to get out, don’t you? The teaparty’s heart may be in the right place, but collectively, they seem to be idiots.

Posted by: gergle at January 5, 2011 2:24 PM
Comment #316298

gergle,

Idiots…what a descriptive term for those nice folks who have their hearts in the right place…and I’ll bet they mostly don’t drink tea either…kool ade probably, but not tea.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 5, 2011 2:43 PM
Comment #316299

PS:

Giving Iraq back to Iran might be for the best. I was in Nam two and a half tours, and lost menn there. Nam went back to Ho, and became a better place. All those lives (56,000) lost for…nothing much…but, Viet Namese are better for the war and the way it ended. Strange bed-fellows, but correct anyway.

If Iraq is taken over by Iran, it gives Iran the headaches we now no longer want…sounds like a win-win to me.

The Taliban is a different thing, but Russia tried to determine the fate of Afghanistan, and so have we. Afghanistan broke the back of the USSR, perhaps we should stop before it breaks ours too? What is the worst thing that can happen if we just pack up and leave?

Our stated goal when we went in was to capture or kill Osama benLadin. In that we have utterly failed. What more can we do to enhance that goal? Nothing. Let the Taliban have it. If the Afghnsi don’t want the Taliban, let them call on someone else for help. Besides, they ain’t got no stinking oil…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 5, 2011 2:53 PM
Comment #316303

Krugman joins Jon Stewart in calling out our press to do their jobs. Perhaps if enough sanity is shared by enough folks with character and positions of influence, we’ll have a fourth estate we can count on once again.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 5, 2011 3:07 PM
Comment #316304

Marysdude, no oil but they have minerals, not to mention poppies.


http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/vast-stores-minerals-found-afghanista


http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3294

Posted by: j2t2 at January 5, 2011 3:10 PM
Comment #316312

Actually, the first war in Afghanistan(Russia) was largely over an oil pipeline.

Iran with more oil and a hand on the tap is probably not a good thing with the current regime in power.

All that said, it certainly is a win for both of those countries. I just wonder why so many US soldiers had to die and be crippled if the goal was to accomplish what we fought against? I’m big on sarcasm.

Posted by: gergle at January 5, 2011 4:16 PM
Comment #316313

My point was the RIGHT goes on feeling all happy about mission accomplished, and the LEFT is happy about getting out. My issue was what was the lesson learned? Let’s try not to have Vietnam 4 and 5, and the Great Depression II. So far, I’m not encouraged.

Posted by: gergle at January 5, 2011 4:22 PM
Comment #316318

That idiot Boehner says that the voters (mid term) said we needed to go back to the old conservative ‘spend wildly without taxation’ policies whut brung us down. I wonder what the voters said when they elected President Obama…hmmm…stupid voters in ‘08, but smart voters on ‘10? I wonder how he selects which voters to listen to and understand their wants and needs…hmmm…

Your pessimism is understood. We may not deserve better from our elected officials, but maybe we don’t deserve quite this bad???

Both Iraq and Afghanistan are absolute repeats of Viet Nam. Of that there is no question. We had every right and need to go root out ObL, but no right or need to go into Iraq, or to extend Afghanistan farther than Obl’s capture or execution.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 5, 2011 5:04 PM
Comment #316325

Gergle, the lesson learned, so many lessons but learned? As I try to write I keep remembering the lessons from the past 10 years of war for oil but have a hard time pin pointing which lesson we as a country have learned. I just don’t see that we have learned anything, what has changed that could be an example of a lesson learned?


Posted by: j2t2 at January 5, 2011 5:59 PM
Comment #316326

I am certainly disappointed that the GOP is already breaking their promise to reduce the deficit. The bill to repeal the PPACA has bypassed the normal committee process and will not receive hearings nor a protracted debate. The proposed “cutgo” rule is a pathetic attempt to imitate the widely successful PAYGO rules implemented previously. Even though “cutgo” is only a shadow of PAYGO, the GOP is going to exempt the repeal bill from cutgo rules, which means that the repeal bill will have the effect of increasing the debt by hundreds of billions of dollars. I was not expecting the GOP to vote to add so much money to our debt in their very first week given how much rhetoric they gave about the deficit; I was expecting a good month or two to pass before they decided to pull the bait and switch.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 5, 2011 6:06 PM
Comment #316327

Warped Reality,
Right now interest rates are extremely low. Why do you think the rates are so low? Why do you think no one wants to borrow, even with low rates? If anyone seriously thought inflation were a threat, then wouldn’t it make sense to borrow as much money as possible right now?

We are in a deflationary environment.

The deficit is low on the list of problems, and it will only become more serious when the American economy grows. And by ‘grows,’ I mean adds jobs and sees rising wages in the United States. We are not seeing that right now. The growth and stock market performance reflect the economic situation overseas. You are buying into the wrong perspecitive by fretting about the debt and deficit. Create jobs, stimulate wage increases, lower the retirement age, invest in free public education through college level for all who qualify, and rein in health care costs with universal health care- those are the ways to restore health to the economy.

Doing the same thing we have been doing for the past decade is not a recipe for success.

Unless, of course, you would like to see the US reduced to third world status, with minimum government, minimum taxes, low wages, no unions, and a fabulously wealthy ruling class consisting of 1% of the population.

Posted by: phx8 at January 5, 2011 6:45 PM
Comment #316334

Rich said,

“You are also wrong about the state of the economy during his first 16 months. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the Great Recession officially ended in June of 2009 after multiple quarters of positive GDP growth. That is less than five months after assuming office. The massive job losses which were a torrent in late 2008 slowed and stabilized by late 2009 with modest job growth since that time.”

To suggest that the unemploment rate (over 9.2 percent for 20 months in a row) can be equated to modest growth is the worst spin that I’ve ever heard!

The economy, jobs, housing, and confidence has been horrendous since the recession ‘officially’ started in December of ‘07. Indeed, on paper, an ‘economists’ view of the recession being over may be technically true, but to say things are anywhere near the level that you described in the aforementioned comment is skullduggery at best.

Seriously? We can all peruse the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and see the charts and graphs. We are at 9.8 percent unemployment right now which is eggregious!

The positive news, however, is that the economy (personal spending on cars, retail and other items are up), job growth and new claims for unemployment benefits are going in a positive direction. As I stated on WB early last month, the unemployment rate will start to drop (I predict the Dec. unemployment number will probably be around 9.2 - 9.3 percent).

I’m not necessarily even blaming Obama or the Democrats, I’m simply stating that the economy has been far worse off than you described. It seems as though you’re so more worried about how Obama looks (politically and economically) during this period than what reality is showing us.

In fact, I believe Obama himself understands now how the importance of extending the Bush-era tax cuts to ALL Americans was vital to jump-starting the economy out of its doldrums. This one item single-handedly was felt with a collective sigh for most businesspersons, Wall St. and citizens alike. It can’t be proven. Both sides will claim responsibility for the turnaround. The truth is: three years of deep recession was bound to eventual peter out (of course the monthly economic numbers show this, albeit slowly). Thus, with the ‘certainty’ of taxes off the table now, real, organic growth can begin to take shape.

I’ve seen an enormous uptick in job oppenings since the middle of December. And January is also showing very positive job growth (298,000 private jobs created in Dec. vs 100,000 jobs expected).

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at January 5, 2011 7:22 PM
Comment #316335

phx8,
Equating a concern about our record deficits with support for a banana republic monarchy is a bit unfounded IMHO.

I’m well aware that the deflationary environment makes the deficit unimportant in the short term. However, long term debt levels will certainly become a problem in the long run without substantial changes in our fiscal policy. It’s a similar problem to anthropogenic global warming; the repercussions are decades away, but the time to solve the problem is today. It’s been almost 2 years since the ARRA was passed and the with the exception of stagnant unemployment, the economy is recovering very well. The only medicine for the unemployment situation is time, we need time for investors to settle down and decide that they can risk spending their money with at least a reasonable chance of turning a profit.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 5, 2011 7:25 PM
Comment #316347

Warped,
Consider the situation after Bush #41 left office, and Clinton liberal Democrats entered the picture. In some ways, the debt was even worse at that time, yet raising taxes did not hurt the economy, despite the dire warnings of the same conservatives who bemoan the debt & deficit today; in fact, just the opposite happened with the economy. It boomed. By the end of Clinton’s presidency, the budget was balanced, and the country was looking at a $10 trillion surplus.

The Bush tax cuts and deregulation were supposed to generate growth and jobs.

They did neither.

Picture a First World country like we see in the EU. What I am saying matches what we see there. Picture a Third World country. What conservatives want matches what we see there.

Unless, of course, you believe in American exceptionalism, in which case, we can continue doing what we have done for the past ten years, and confidently expect that the policies that failed before now will result in great success.

Posted by: phx8 at January 5, 2011 8:22 PM
Comment #316352

phx8,

Where are you getting the notion that I oppose raising taxes or that I support the GOP’s deregulation policies?

All I have done is pointed out the hypocrisy in the Republican Party. They spent the last two years crying about the deficit and now their first actions in power run against the goal of eliminating our deficit. I do acknowledge that eliminating the deficit is a noble goal that we should strive towards, anyone who argues to the contrary is in the same camp as those who deny the connection between humanity and global warming. It is a fact that the deficit will cause problems in the coming decades if we continue on our current trajectory. Solutions to the problem include raising taxes, cutting entitlement spending and cutting defense spending. Cutting non-defense discretionary spending is also an option, but I am skeptical that cutting this spending would leave us better off.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 5, 2011 8:37 PM
Comment #316356

The formatting issues have been fixed and the off-topic comments relating to this issue have been removed.

Posted by: WatchBlog Publisher at January 5, 2011 8:58 PM
Comment #316358

Warped,
Yes, we agree on most points. My concern is that it is very easy to fail to recognize how to priorize problems. Growth in the form of job creation and wage increases will stimulate the economy enough to take care of problems with debts and deficits in a relatively short period of time, say, ten years or maybe even less. We saw this during the Clinton years. Debt and deficits should be the last concern for restoring a healthy economy, not the first. Cutting spending and taxes as a way of stimulating the economy, by reducing the debt and deficits today, is a recipe for disaster. Sadly, Obama seems to have bought into the conservative idea that, if we just do less and less for 99% of the population, the 1% that benefits will somehow save the rest.

Posted by: phx8 at January 5, 2011 9:14 PM
Comment #316359

While the Clintonian economy did improve the short-term deficit picture, it did nothing with regard to the looming problem posed by our changing demographics. Old age entitlement programs will have their costs skyrocket and there will be no sane way to pay for them, even if we have a healthy economy.

We are already on the road to recovery out of the recent recession, so I’m not worrying about the it too much. The next problems that we face are climate change and the deficit, which is where I’m focusing my attention.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 5, 2011 9:20 PM
Comment #316364

>Unless, of course, you would like to see the US reduced to third world status, with minimum government, minimum taxes, low wages, no unions, and a fabulously wealthy ruling class consisting of 1% of the population.
Posted by: phx8 at January 5, 2011 06:45 PM

Which is exactly the direction we are about to head. Extending the Cheney/Bush tax cuts to even the wealthiest was a huge mistake, and will be a driving force toward being taken over by that one percent. The only other scenario would be taken over by corporate America. Oligarchy…Plutocracy…take your pick. Without a middle class, and more than half our wealth in the hands of so few, we are going to be powerless to stop it. Later we can have a revolution, but of course America will not be America then.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 5, 2011 10:01 PM
Comment #316368

MD, I think you’re overreacting. We survived the gilded age, I don’t think the future could bar much worse. Most liberal policies receive a great deal of public support in polls; this is still a center-left nation.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 5, 2011 10:24 PM
Comment #316372

I agree Dude. After 30 years of destroying private sector unions — and consequently gutting the wages, benefits, and pensions of private sector workers — the Republicans are now trying to use the fact of private sector workers’ degradation to justify doing the same thing to public employees. These Medieval masters want to bring the bargaining power — as well as the pay and benefits and pensions — of public employees down to the pathetic state that private sector employees have fallen to.

For decades, public employees were asked to accept benefit and pension improvements in lieu of pay increases — and now the fact that they have better pensions than their powerless private sector brethren is somehow a sign of the public workers’ greed? Moreover, many states now have budget deficits because their governments refused for those same decades to fund the pensions they had agreed to provide to their workers — again, often in lieu of pay increases, so that the piper would only have to be paid in the future. But now that the future is here and their public workers need to be paid what was promised, the Republicans blame that very obligation for the size of their deficits, and ask permission to go back on their promises to balance their budgets. Is there no shame amongst Republican governors and state legislators?

Posted by: Tom at January 5, 2011 11:34 PM
Comment #316373

Tom, you make my eyebrows chuckle!

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 5, 2011 11:45 PM
Comment #316374
For decades, public employees were asked to accept benefit and pension improvements
Posted by: Tom at January 5, 2011 11:34 PM

…public employees were asked?!

“…asked to accept benefits and pension inprovements”…

Give me a break, Tom.

They were asked?!

Give me a break, Tom. My eyebrows are chuckling.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 5, 2011 11:57 PM
Comment #316375

Tom, if they were asked, when did they say no?

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 6, 2011 12:20 AM
Comment #316379

Weary Willie,
Why is it the Republicans are willing to blame the public workers, but refuse to ask for their wages and pentions to be cut? Do you really think these fools could do the job themselves? No!

In fact, why the American Worker has been asked to take benfit and pay cuts in the name of helping the Company and Country for years I would like to see where one CEO, Mayor, or Congressperson has refused an increase to their benefits and pay in the last 40 years.

Besides, if the Workers are to ones responsible for this economic mess than shouldn’t they be the ones calling the shots to get us out if it? For while your eyebrows dance in laughter, explain how that is possible since Management was suppose to be in charge?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 6, 2011 1:15 AM
Comment #316380

Comment #316357 should also be removed from this thread.

The comments related to comment #316357 have been removed. Therefore, Comment #316357 is moot and should also be removed.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 6, 2011 1:18 AM
Comment #316381
…I would like to see where one CEO, Mayor, or Congressperson has refused an increase to their benefits and pay in the last 40 years.
Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 6, 2011 01:15 AM


You’re not paying attention, Henry Schlatman!

http://www.campaignforliberty.com/
http://www.ronpaul.com/

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 6, 2011 1:28 AM
Comment #316384

Weary Willie,
Paying attention yes. Believing Ron Paul or the Tea Party? Absolutely No! For why you can blame your Parents, our Elected Officials, or even God, the mere fact that the American Public bought into President Bush Idea of splitting a piece of gold in two would give everybody more money, but was unable to afford the increase of the Prime Rate tells me they still haven’t a clue.

In fact, with gas prices raising again to $4.00 a gallon by years end I wonder how you cut the budget by 400% and still manage to have a job? Thus, with only one way out of these mess. How long will it take the Republicans and Tea Party to realize The Corporation can build the Green Sustainable Goods and Products we need to reduce the cost and demands of Government and Society.

For example; if I take all the governments fleet off the road in order to save money how do we get the work done? However, if I replace all the government fleet with electric cars and self-charging stations. Not only can we get the work done, but save the money we would later spend on gasoline. Otherwise, are we not asking to be inflated out of the problem just as the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s did 40 years ago?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 6, 2011 2:16 AM
Comment #316386

You’re not paying attention!

It’s a “Role of Government” Problem.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 6, 2011 2:45 AM
Comment #316387

Here’s a teaparty founder that calls them douchebags:

http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=176569

Posted by: gergle at January 6, 2011 2:49 AM
Comment #316388

What is Karl Denninger’s and gergle’s point?


(chuckle) :) He said douchebags! :0 hehehehehe

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 6, 2011 3:24 AM
Comment #316389

One more time. Recovery from a recession/depression requires fluidity in the market. Right now over half our wealth is being held by 1% of our brethren. Oil companies, with the free market permission to do so, are raising prices. The monies they take in go overseas, thus taking more fluidity out of the market. As the holders of that two trillion dollars see the profitability and successes of Oil, that money begins to head in that direction also. More and more of our wealth collecting in less and less hands, and those hands are already more than willing to take over the reins of governing (look at the results of ‘Citizen’s United’). The strength of our nation is ebbing ever closer to that Oligarchy/Plutocracy I speak of. Those tax cuts for the wealthy added to the problem and helped no one. Gilded age? Who were the beneficiaries of the gilded age? Who suffered the most? Is that what you want for your America?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 6, 2011 6:27 AM
Comment #316392

Weary,

The point I’m making is a follow up to my earlier comment that Tea Party members, collectively, are idiots. They were duped into believing the Republican Party wasn’t coopting them, and voted for frauds, and still support other frauds.

Posted by: gergle at January 6, 2011 8:07 AM
Comment #316393

Is it the role of government to change society or the role of Society to change government? Well, since neither is politically correct on their own than somewhere in the middle you will find Political Correctness.

Now Ron Paul can cry like his father that this mess is the governments’ fault; however, when President Bush annouced Americans would pay any price as he split a piece of gold in two in order to stop the runaway price of oil and discovered the Educated and Experts of the Private Sector said they could not pay for the Prime Lending Rate to be increased to 5%. Did Ron Paul, his father, or any Democrat or Republican stop the Market from increasing its Self-Worth or warn the American Public of the coming doom?

For it is to late after the dam has broken to blame the people living below for not getting out of the way. In fact, why President Bush admitted he had no choice, but to bailout the Banks and Wall Street. Do you blame President Bush for making the DOW climb to 14,000 especially since at the time the Educated and Experts said the President had no power over the Market?

No, just as the most Children of the 70’s blindly followed the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s as they watched gas prices increase fourfold, high unemployment, and high interest rates destory their parents world. Today’s Youth get to watch as gas prices increase fourfold, high unemployment, and wait for the high interest rates. All because the Educated and Experts of Society would rather blame the government than admit they made a mistake in 2005 when it was found that Americas’ Economy could not absorb the Prime Lending Rate increase of 5% and instead took Americans on a spending spree.

Yet, six years later and filling the threat of their wealth being lost forever they want to blame the government for being $14 trillion in debt when Americas’ Private Sector owes over $60 trillion dollars and no means to pay it back. So why the Republicans and Tea Party cry about cutting spending in order to pay down the debt, where is their rage when it comes to telling the Private Sector to stop spending and paying down their debt? Opps, they still believe they can make money without customers.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 6, 2011 8:49 AM
Comment #316401

Gergle the tea baggers themselves are frauds, why are you surprised they elected frauds? They went to find and cut the waste, the corruption and the fraud out of the budget only to find they are the fraud the corruption and the waste. Getting rid of pay/go for cut/go to further cut taxes is criminal negligence at this point,IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 6, 2011 9:59 AM
Comment #316405

Do we still have to pretend there is any difference between Teabaggers and the GOP? Their philosophy brought about catastrophe during the Bush years.

The Gilded Age was a race to see who could steal the most, the fastest.

Posted by: phx8 at January 6, 2011 10:59 AM
Comment #316409

H.R. 2, which repeals PPACA and is sponsored by Eric Cantor, will increase the deficit by 145 billion dollars over the next 10 years.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 6, 2011 1:15 PM
Comment #316412

>H.R. 2, which repeals PPACA and is sponsored by Eric Cantor, will increase the deficit by 145 billion dollars over the next 10 years.
Posted by: Warped Reality at January 6, 2011 01:15 PM

Warped Reality,

Nah, that nut is a deficit hawk. And, if you don’t believe that, just ask him…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 6, 2011 1:38 PM
Comment #316415

Bravo to Obama! The Progressives, MoveOn.org and other liberals hate this pick.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at January 6, 2011 2:55 PM
Comment #316416

I’m about as progressive as it is possible to be, and your picture does not phase me one way or the other. White House Chief of Staff carries water for the President of the United States. His main influence is who gets in to see the President and for how long. President Obama knows best who he needs for those services.

The President’s only major SNAFU so far has been not being more forceful about the ‘public option’ for his HC Reform. That one will likely come back to bite him. He has been, perhaps, the most successful President, all told, in a hundred years, and there is no end in sight.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 6, 2011 4:14 PM
Comment #316428

Weary states: public employees were asked?!

“…asked to accept benefits and pension inprovements”…

Give me a break, Tom.

They were asked?!

Give me a break, Tom. My eyebrows are chuckling.


Did I not state that benefits and pension improvements were in lieu of..AGAIN in lieu of pay increases.

Weary, I clearly overestimated your capability in understanding the negotiation process. Many times labor and management negotiate contracts. One side asks for one concession while the other side either accepts or rejects it. So when I said that public workers were asked I was clearly demonstrating the process of negotiation. After reading your Cromagnon response however, I’m thinking that it might be your unibrow that’s laughing.

Posted by: Tom at January 6, 2011 6:09 PM
Comment #316445

j2t2,

I’m not surprised, just reminding the cheerleaders on the RIGHT of their dumb blond status.

Posted by: gergle at January 7, 2011 5:24 AM
Comment #316449

Kevin said on Jan. 5:

“The positive news, however, is that the economy (personal spending on cars, retail and other items are up), job growth and new claims for unemployment benefits are going in a positive direction. As I stated on WB early last month, the unemployment rate will start to drop (I predict the Dec. unemployment number will probably be around 9.2 - 9.3 percent ).”


Well, I was almost right on the money. Now, if only I could find a job…

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at January 7, 2011 8:41 AM
Comment #316453

Kevin,
Finding a job is easy.

Finding one that pays a Livable Wage in America is almost impossible even with a college degree.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 7, 2011 9:26 AM
Comment #316456

There is more disturbing news about our new GOP controlled Congress. Apparently two members broke some House Rules.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 7, 2011 12:06 PM
Comment #316457

Warped, Whats more important fund raising for office or actually being sworn into office?

This exemplifies the reason we need campaign reform. When the elected representatives cannot start work due to the need to raise funds for their next campaign we have a problem.

This issue brings up another issue, Megalomaniac Fitzpatrick thinking he needs 500 people bussed in to celebrate his inauguration. Really shows us something IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 7, 2011 12:32 PM
Comment #316459

Henry said:

“Finding a job is easy.”

Believe it or not Henry, with approximately 8.5 million lost jobs in the last 2 years and only approximately 1.3 million created in the last 12 months, it’s not even easy to get a ‘fallback’ job.

Also, it’s not even easy for folks to get a ‘second,’ part-time job these days.

As of Nov. 2010, there where approximately 2.9 million available jobs with approximately 15 million people out of work, not including the underemployed or those who’ve stopped looking. Those are stark numbers.

I’ve kept positive, networked, interviewed (exceptionally well), have 3 unique resumes, write a ‘custom’ cover letter for each job I’ve applied for, and have tried to keep my skills updated. Hiring managers are very scared to hire someone they feel is overqualified. They think that you will bolt as soon as ‘something better comes along.’ Thus, they look at your credentials, history and experience and are very cautious.

I’ve actually had to modify my behavior during specific interviews to convince said hiring managers that I’m not a flight risk. And I know how they see me. In my previous role, I made the decision to hire dozens of people. And I could tell right away that a certain person was ‘overqualified’ or not in a matter of minutes.

Btw, my employment history, performance and accomplishments are solid. I’m remaining positive, however.

I’m also tempted to delete my master’s degree from my resume on certain job inquiries. Whoever said that having more than a HS education equated to better job prospects was waaaay off. Yeah, I’m very proud of earning my degrees (while working the night shift and raising a family), but ironically, it seems to be a hinderance right now.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at January 7, 2011 1:23 PM
Comment #316463

Henry, I’ve been trying to find a part time job just to suppliment my social security, NO JOB YET and that’s been over a year now.

Posted by: KAP at January 7, 2011 4:16 PM
Comment #316465

A quote from Rush Limbaugh’s show yesterday, how true:

“Thinking about the Democrats, I was watching a little bit of the Constitution being read today on the floor of the House and I said, “This has gotta be like waterboarding to these Democrats.” It has to be torture, because the Constitution is anathema to them, the Constitution limits the power of the government, limits the size, limits the role of government, and to have to not only sit there and listen to it, but to share in the punishment of reading it. I’m sure that’s how they’re looking at this. They wouldn’t have to do this if they’d won the election. They lost, so they’re being punished. They have to read the Constitution, tantamount to waterboarding.”

Posted by: Z at January 7, 2011 5:12 PM
Comment #316466

Z,

I spent twenty years of my life attempting to protect and defend the Constitution you seem so proud of. I’m more liberal than President Obama. Your stupidity is only surpassed by your ignorance of what that document says and means.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 7, 2011 5:27 PM
Comment #316468

Z, I didn’t notice anyone that appeared to be suffering from the reading of the Constitution in Congress. There is a lot of conservative mythology out there and Rush is a major contributor to the mythology. It seems you have been duped into believing this mythology. How foolish is that?

Other than the number of representatives where is the size of government limited in the Constitution? What is the “size” this government is limited to by the Constitution that Rush speaks of?

Posted by: j2t2 at January 7, 2011 5:52 PM
Comment #316469

I live in Texas, and fortunately haven’t had to look for a job yet. In my career, I’ve always job-hopped a bit, but with the economic downturn, I’ve made a concerted effort to hang on to the job I have.

I’ve learned in my particular business, that networking is about knowing who’s who in the business, and who’s hiring and who isn’t. I’ve never gone through HR to inquire about a job. I find out who the key man is in the department that I work, and contact him directly. He may send me through the HR maze, but I know I’ve got an inside track. I find most HR staff useless in job hunting.

I had a problem finding work, a few years back, after I had a heart attack, and as we age, we all find discrimination against the elderly. I’m not the young up and comer anymore, which is why I looked for and found a “home”. I did leave out any conversation about my heart attack, once I learned that was a job killer.

Posted by: gergle at January 7, 2011 5:54 PM
Comment #316470

Jobs are always available. The biggest problem is in being at the right place at the right time with the right attitude and the right credentials. After education, luck is the biggest factor. gergle has the right idea about schmoozing as far inside as possible, but it’s mostly luck finding the right one to schmooz. I’ve had to find a job in a pretty deep recession, and had to settle for less than I’d wanted (needed too, with my big family), but worked my way up pretty quick.

Mostly you just gotta do what you gotta do, and if you can’t…drop back five and punt.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 7, 2011 6:16 PM
Comment #316477

Not only does the Constitution NOT limit the size of government, it specifies a process for growing the size of the government. For example: “New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union.” The Constitution also specifies the method for expanding the Legislative branch.

By the way, I am a liberal, I also served, and I find it highly offensive that a person like Limbaugh would make such suggestions, or that anyone like ‘Z’ would spread such insults and say “how true.”

Posted by: phx8 at January 8, 2011 12:23 AM
Comment #316484
Did I not state that benefits and pension improvements were in lieu of..AGAIN in lieu of pay increases.
Posted by Tom at January 6, 2011 06:09 PM


YOU LIE
You lie, Tom!
Tom!

Public employee pay has increased three times!

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 8, 2011 12:48 AM
Comment #316485

Gergle and Marysdude,

I find your comments right on target. Sometimes, being in the right place and a little luck or serrendipity go a long way. And gergle is correct in that ‘knowing’ the right contacts is very important.

Posted by: Kevin L. Lagola at January 8, 2011 2:28 AM
Comment #316486

Weary, such name calling but no facts to back you up. Your ignorance is showing, shame on you. What does public employee pay has increased three times actually mean? 3 times this month? 3 times this year? what? Say something intelligent.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 8, 2011 3:38 AM
Comment #316490

Kap and Kevin,
While corporate jobs may be slim picking in your area, the amount of work in your community needed to be dome most likely hasn’t. And why I would not suggest working for free, I do believe Americans could learn a few things from our ancestors. For even in these times of budget shortfalls and slim cash flows I have noticed the Panhandler on the corner still recieves money by those who pass by.

And why I know $5-10 dollars a day won’t pay the bills, try doing some odd jobs around the neighborhood and even talking to business owners on how you can help them increase their profits. For example; I found a new restuarant in the downtown area and offered to take the flyers he printed up around to all the offices. So once a week he would pay me $20.00 for about an hour and half of my time as we both watched his lunch crowd grow.

So although I believe The Corporation has a place in our society, I believe Individuals owe it to themselves to discover ways to have The Corporation serve them and not the individual waiting to serve The Corporation.

BTW, good luck finding employment even if you have to start a business in order to have one.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 8, 2011 8:02 AM
Comment #316493

MD AND J2T2, BY YOUR OWN STATEMENTS, MOST OF YOU ON THE LEFT CLAIM TO BE MORE LIBERAL THAN OBAMA. THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS BY OBAMA CONSTITUTE TREASON. YOU LIKE TO FALL BACK ON YOUR ON SERVICE TO THE NATION AS BEING PATRIOTIC, BUT YOUR BELIEFS IN THE CONSTITUTION WOULD DISQUALIFY YOU FROM SERVING TODAY. THESE WORD’S ARE FROM MR. OBAMA AND YOU TELL ME IF HE BELIEVES IN THE CONSTITUTION? HE MAY HAVE TAKEN THE OATH TO PROTECT AND DEFEND, BUT THEY WERE ONLY WORDS TO HIM, HE DOESN’T BELIEVE THEM.

“MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2008

Obama Doesn’t Believe in the Constitution
It seems to be that Barack Obama, the Harvard Law Review editor, doesn’t believe in the United States Constitution, the Supreme Law of the land. He says it has “deep flaws” still today even after it was washed of injustice. Take a look for yourself:

Also, this video goes in line, somewhat, for his disrespect of the Constitution. He talks about how the Warren Court was not radical, and that distribution of wealth is fundamental to our Constitution and economic well being. What the video actually says is that he doesn’t believe in the underlining economic principle behind the Constitution, and that is Capitalism. That the court is the better decider of economic policy, or what we would call legislating from the bench:

It is scary that we are on the verge as a country to electing a President that doesn’t respect the Constitution. The same Constitution that he will be swearing to protect and defend. What if he just doesn’t like something in there when he is President? What will he do then? The Constitution was designed not for the government to restrain the people, but for the people to restrain the government. Maybe Barry should step back and check his Marxist tendencies before he puts swears an oath to this country.”

http://www.conservativeforchange.com/2008/10/obama-doesnt-believe-in-constitution.html

Posted by: Z at January 8, 2011 9:54 AM
Comment #316494

Z,

There are legitimate reasons for criticizing our Constitution, and the Constitution grants that voice in the very first amendment. I’m not sure where you are going with your vitriol, but here are just a few samples of criticisms that warrant consideration:

Several academics have criticized the Constitution for specific shortcomings. University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato wants an amendment to organize primaries to prevent a “frontloaded calendar” long before the election to prevent a “race by states to the front of the primary pack” which subverts the national interest, in his view. Sabato details more objections in his book A More Perfect Constitution. Richard Labunski agrees with Sabato about the “incoherent organization of primaries and caucuses,” and faults the Constitution for enabling presidents to continue unpopular wars, for requiring presidents to be “natural born citizens”, for lifetime tenure for Supreme Court judges which “produces senior judges representing the views of past generations better than views of the current day.” He writes “If the 26 least populated states voted as a bloc, they would control the U.S. Senate with a total of just under 17% of the country’s population.” University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson also wonders whether it makes sense to give “Wyoming the same number of votes as California, which has roughly seventy times the population”.[22] He thinks this imbalance causes a “steady redistribution of resources from large states to small states.” Levinson is critical of the Electoral College since it allows the possibility of electing presidents who do not win the majority of votes.[22] Three times in American history, presidents have been elected by the Electoral College despite failing to win the popular vote: 1876 (Rutherford B. Hayes), 1888 (Benjamin Harrison) and 2000 (George W. Bush). The current Constitution does not give the people a quick way to remove incompetent or ill presidents, in his view.[26] Others have criticized the politically driven redistricting process popularly known as gerrymandering. Yale professor Robert A. Dahl sees a problem with an American tendency towards worship of the Constitution itself, and sees aspects of American governance which are “unusual and potentially undemocratic: the federal system, the bicameral legislature, judicial review, presidentialism, and the electoral college system.” Levinson and Labunski and others have called for a Second Constitutional Convention, although professors like Dahl believe there is no real hope this might ever happen.

The Constitution was written in order to form a government, because the founders were not satisfied with the old one. The key issue of the Constitution than is ‘government’. The economy is merely a part of the whole, and is not the reason for it being written and ratified.

My dissatisfaction with our current economy then, is NOT unconstitutional, but actually encouraged by that document.
If I were to not be encouraged to try and improve my country, I’d have had ZERO reason to defend her.

The Constitution was written before electronics came into being. It needs to be modified so as to keep disingenuous and unconscionable people from assuming powers over the people that were never the intent of the founders.

You need to get a life.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 8, 2011 10:42 AM
Comment #316495

All caps comments are a sure sign of a reasoned and rational response. If it’s bigger, it’s got to be better and more important.

Posted by: gergle at January 8, 2011 11:47 AM
Comment #316499

Z, stop falling for the conservative mythology, use your head, man. Using Limbaugh as a source for your comments is your downfall. The man is a propagandist and by now even the most die hard conservative should have seen the light on this kind of despicable crap. So stuff your “treason” delusion.

The falsehoods perpetrated by your movement leaders keep getting more ridiculous as time goes on, when are you guys gonna stract’em up and hold them accountable for their lies?
It is time to insist that conservatives help to fix the mess they have allowed to be created in this country and stop with all the nonsense. Step up to the plate Z and put forth rational information not conservative mythology.

The fact is conservatives have no special understanding of the constitution that all of us are not privy to, you have a bunch of propaganda used to control the movement followers that you believe is the “truth”. Wake up and get a grip on your leaders that spout the misinformation,half truths and outright lies.


http://www.progressillinois.com/2008/10/27/limbaugh-obama-constitution

Posted by: j2t2 at January 8, 2011 12:35 PM
Comment #316504

I found the reading of the Constitution on the floor of the house very worthwhile not only for the members of congress but also the viewing public. We live by its words and swear allegiance to it when taking high office.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 8, 2011 3:45 PM
Comment #316506

Representative Gabrielle Gifford (D Arizona) also swore to protect and defend the Constitution.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 8, 2011 4:08 PM
Comment #316514

Royal Flush,
Actually, I liked the fact they read the Constitution too. I do wish they had read the whole thing aloud, including the amendments. The amendments remind us the Constitution is a living document, and that it includes imperfections and the means to amend imperfections. I also wish attendance for the reading had been mandatory for the entire House.

Posted by: phx8 at January 8, 2011 5:17 PM
Comment #316518

Hoping the best for Representative Gabrielle Gifford and the others harmed today by the senseless act.

Z,
With the Constitution written for the American Layman Citizen instead of those Learned in Law or Criminal Justice I can see how a scholar would find it hard to understand why things are the way they are.

However, knowing not even Mom and Dad is going to see eye to eye on the issues as an Adult and Child there are just some things we will never know or understand even though it makes prefect sense.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 8, 2011 5:46 PM
Comment #316531

phx8,

I agree with your thoughts about the recent recitation of the Constitution. BTW, did you notice that the GOP omitted Article V from their recitation of the Constitution? Article V is the portion that empowers we the people to amend the constitution if we desire to do so.

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