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Reich: writes: "There are two great centers of unaccountable power in the American political-economic system today - places where decisions that significantly affect large numbers of Americans are made in secret, and are unchecked either by effective democratic oversight or by market competition."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



The Two Centers of Unaccountable Power in America

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

15 June 13

 

here are two great centers of unaccountable power in the American political-economic system today - places where decisions that significantly affect large numbers of Americans are made in secret, and are unchecked either by effective democratic oversight or by market competition.

One goes by the name of the "intelligence community" and its epicenter is the National Security Agency within the Defense Department. If we trusted that it reasonably balanced its snooping on Americans with our nation's security needs, and that our elected representatives effectively oversaw that balance, there would be little cause for concern. We would not worry that the information so gathered might be misused to harass individuals, thereby chilling free speech or democratic debate, or that some future government might use it to intimidate critics and opponents. We would feel confident, in other words, that despite the scale and secrecy of the operation, our privacy, civil liberties, and democracy were nonetheless adequately protected.

But the NSA has so much power, and oversight of it is so thin, that we have every reason to be concerned. The fact that its technological reach is vast, its resources almost limitless, and its operations are shrouded in secrecy, make it difficult for a handful of elected representatives to effectively monitor even a tiny fraction of what it does. And every new revelation of its clandestine "requests" for companies to hand over information about our personal lives and communications further undermines our trust. To the contrary, the NSA seems to be literally out of control.

The second center of unaccountable power goes by the name of Wall Street and is centered in the largest banks there. If we trusted that market forces kept them in check and that they did not exercise inordinate influence over Congress and the executive branch, we would have no basis for concern. We wouldn't worry that the Street's financial power would be misused to fix markets, profit from insider information, or make irresponsible bets that imperiled the rest of us. We could be confident that despite the size and scope of the giant banks, our economy and everyone who depends on it were nonetheless adequately protected.

But those banks are now so large (much larger than they were when they almost melted down five years ago), have such a monopolistic grip on our financial system, and exercise so much power over Washington, that we have cause for concern. The fact that not a single Wall Street executive has been held legally accountable for the excesses that almost brought the economy to its knees five years ago and continues to burden millions of Americans, that even the Attorney General confesses the biggest banks are "too big to jail," that the big banks continue to make irresponsible bets (such as those resulting in JP Morgan Chase's $6 billion "London Whale" loss), and that the Street has effectively eviscerated much of the Dodd-Frank legislation intended to rein in its excesses and avoid another meltdown and bailout, all offer evidence that the Street is still dangerously out of control.

It is rare in these harshly partisan times for the political left and right to agree on much of anything. But the reason, I think, both are worried about the encroachments of the NSA on the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, as well as the depredations of "too big to fail or jail" Wall Street banks on our economy, is fundamentally the same: It is this toxic combination of inordinate power and lack of accountability that renders both of them dangerous, threatening our basic values and institutions.

That neither Republicans nor Democrats have done much of anything to effectively rein in these two centers of unaccountable power suggests that, if there is ever to be a viable third party in America, it will may borne of the ill-fated consequences.


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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+62 # Walter J Smith 2013-06-15 10:42
The GOP leadership may be more politically and morally unconscious than the Democratic Party's leadership, but the contest there is too close to call.

Like the elections are almost always too close to predict.

If we keep voting these bipartisan unconscious hack back into office, we may soon not need any third party so much as we need to rethink just what were the Revolutionary Founders thinking when they wrote the Second Amendment, especially that "well-regulated militia" phrase.

Because now nothing the US Government touches is 'well-regulated.'

The US Government has run itself off the rails of history.
 
 
-52 # Caliban 2013-06-15 17:22
Isn't it Google, Yahoo, Facebook--the sources of the information gathered by PRISM--that are out of control? And isn't it we ourselves who, in the name of sociability, give our personal information to them? And if we put all this information out there for anybody to see and share, how can we really claim to have an expectation of privacy?

The NSA is an intelligence unit that supports the US armed forces and our counter-espiona ge and counter-terror agencies with much needed information. In the absence of any actual evidence of abuse of their power, should we not quit fantasizing about what might be an let these ordinary US civil servants MIGHT be doing and let them get on with their jobs?

I see nothing wrong with stronger Congressional oversight, but we have enemies and it is insane to go on ranting against the people that protect us from them.
 
 
+19 # DPM 2013-06-15 22:56
"We have met the enemy and it is us!"
 
 
0 # Depressionborn 2013-06-15 19:55
There is only one power group.

Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.

These programs, whose participants are known as trusted partners, extend far beyond what was revealed by Edward Snowden, a computer technician who did work for the National Security Agency. The role of private companies has come under intense scrutiny since his disclosure this month that the NSA is collecting millions of U.S. residents’ telephone records and the computer communications of foreigners from Google Inc (GOOG). and other Internet companies under court order.

May it's time to go Gault?
 
 
+3 # ghostperson 2013-06-16 13:34
Galt as in Ayn Rand?

Paul "Eddie Munster" Ryan's stuff is just more of the same that we've had that led us to this point. No rules, power, money, more power, more money becoming an end in and of itself.

It creates two economies. One for the powerful with money and one for those they abuse, those without power or money, because there are no rules.

I heard someone complaining about the tax rate for corporations in this country saying that we need to lower it to get money back for the good of the economy.

My question is: Since we know that money in people's hands goes directly into the economy, why don't we lower individual taxes, whatever the "Bigs" pay? Doesn't it work for both, lower taxes but more people/entities spending and churning the economy?
 
 
+5 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-06-16 03:56
Great comment, Walter J. And, great thanks to Prof. Reich. Talk about hitting the nails on the head!
 
 
+2 # ghostperson 2013-06-16 13:10
When have a one-party system: money.
 
 
+1 # Granny Weatherwax 2013-06-16 19:54
If there is one thing to say about the Founding Fathers it is that they came up with a very finely crafted Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The second amendment makes perfect sense the way it was thought when it was written. Since the newly minted Republic didn't have a standing army, it made perfect sense to organize "well [government-]re gulated" militias in its stead.

One advantage is that by having the militia being of and for the people, it could not turn into an instrument of oppression as a constituted standing army could.

The second advantage was that at first at least the militiamen were supposed to provide their own equipment, thereby making it cheap.

The "right to bear arms" must be read as it was written: the right to enroll in the well-regulated militia, not the right to wear a six-shooter at a political rally.
This stood in contrast with the European way of war at the time, where governments, aristocrats or officers would pick soldiers based on their loyalty, instead of accepting by law all volunteers.

That the militias are here to protect the people against a tyrannic government is a recent forgery - they protect against tyranny by being there instead of a standing army, not to fight the government. The first time they were deployed was against the Shays rebellion, and Washington was riding in front.

Since the day that will live in infamy and the standing army, the 2nd amendment barely states that anyone can enroll.
 
 
0 # mjc 2013-06-18 09:46
The "founding fathers" weren't really prepared for an industrial revolution and one that virtually removed land holdings as the coin of success. The right to bear arms was the gift of Patrick Henry and note that it is the 2nd Amendment. Most of the Southern states, Virginia in particular, weren't going much further with a "bill of rights" without it. It was designed to make sure that various militias IN THE SOUTH ESPECIALLY were able to "bear arms", not to protect their property from Indians or further British intrusion, when those militias went out to find runaway slaves. That was necessary to protect these groups from any federal or even state armies who might have thought they were under attack. Shays rebellion came from an economic problem, turning corn...or other grains...into liquor to make it easy to transport OVER STATE BORDERS. They were armed but not in the meaning of the 2nd Amendment which most of the new Americans KNEW applied to slave chasing militias. Check it out Granny. Your interpretation is the one which our education system...IF they talk about it at all...prefers.
 
 
+38 # tedrey 2013-06-15 11:00
Sure, but I'd toss in the White House, the Congress, and the Supreme Court as well.
 
 
+76 # brux 2013-06-15 11:01
Two great centers of power? .... if we don't think that these are two faces of the same elite, or soon ... very soon will be we would be crazy.

It was proposed back in the 60's and 70's by certain "informed" conspiracy that after WWII Hitler's intelligence apparatus was so closely integrated into the CIA that the basic core of the country was fascist, run by the same groups, maybe not quite so crazy as Hitler, more along the lines of Prescott Bush, the DuPonts, Kennedys, Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan ... the big American fascist sympathizers.

We had President's assassinated, huge wars with massive casualties prsecuted with no explanations to the American people, whereas now we just need the drone technology.

These people have taken over the country and created a wall between reality and a kind of Disneyland fantasy that our media, and news maintains for the rest of us.

The only reason the US has lasted longer than the Soviet Union is that we have been so much better at brainwashing and fooling people and getting them to bicker at each other, not to mention arming them.

We better start looking for solutions outside the box so to speak because the endless bickering is not getting anything done ... 5 years after the financial crisis and nothing has been done.
 
 
+7 # Vardoz 2013-06-15 13:11
The agenda is anti Democracy and anti prospertiy for the majority of the American people.
 
 
+19 # WilliamPHalll 2013-06-15 19:11
There is probably only one center here, the security apparatus controlled by the .001% of plutocratic oligarchs. Having seen tiny fractions of what is possible when you can do it in secret while I worked on the Nevada Test Site in the 1960s, I am inclined to accept Russ Baker's connecting the dots in his "Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America". Whether you accept that Baker's connected dots point to GHW Bush direct involvement in the JFK assassination or not, beginning with their control of LBJ the evidence suggests that the Bush family orchestrated the intelligence and financial communities to give them hegemony over much of the world.

To me, the interesting thing is that so far as I know, Bushes have never responded to what would seem to be highly libelous claims. Is this because they can't refute some of them and want to do nothing that might give Baker's book more air time?
 
 
+5 # Rick Levy 2013-06-15 19:37
If the Kennedys were part of this fascist conspiracy that runs America, was JFK one of the Presidents whomthey had assassinated?
 
 
-41 # brux 2013-06-15 11:07
I do have to say though, as a long time techie from way back, I don't care if the government monitors my phone calls.

I don't really like it, but imagine you are going after someone like Tony Soprano. How else would you be able to get to the bottom of really bad corrupt crime? There is no way.

Look at Italy, the Mafia owns that country, murdering judges and politicians right and left under the noses of its citizens.

What I mind is the abuse of such power. For example, a strong financial company like Koch Industries using the government apparatus to look at the secrets and strategies of other companies ... this is the real totalitarianism.

We could never prove or even hope to get at the information to prove anything. Imagine you work your whole life on an invention, and are talking about it and putting papers and schematics of it in emails that you think are private ... and then before you can patent your idea, Koch Industries or some other huge company patents it because they would snatch it right off the Internet.

That is the issue in this ... oh, and of course if you were a criminal like Tony Soprano ... otherwise we should not care if the government knows who we talk to on the phone.

As I say, I don't like it, but things are too dangerous not to keep some kind of eye on everyone, and they are only getting worse.
 
 
+29 # angry 2013-06-15 12:21
NOTHING is 100% and SOME good could come from this, but I get nervous when it is a private company with limited liability and answerable to another set of crooks, our politicians who get campaign bribes from the Kochs of the world. Sounds like we are screwed either way.
 
 
+8 # brux 2013-06-15 13:43
I did not say I was not nervous, everything about this modern time makes me nervous. If I could escape into the past or the far future, I'd take a time machine! ;-)
 
 
+32 # Anarchist 23 2013-06-15 12:30
Hmmm Brux...As I remember in the 1950's-1957 I think it was, the McClellan Committee of congress got after the Mafia..that mythical entity the corrupt Hoover FBI was not allowed, by policy, to touch! Another reason why the Kennedys were murdered. Giancana actually bragged about it, killing RFK in full view of the public. Glad to know you are such a 'good German'...you have nothing to hide...remember Pastor Niemoeller's famous speech...'First they came for the trade unionists but I was was not a trade unionist so I did not stand up for them....when they finally came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me.' Most crimes are committed either by the disenfranchised or Big Bizness-the current Banksters for example..but we all know who gets punished. And who profits by it.
 
 
+15 # hillwright 2013-06-15 13:19
Or in the words of the old Cockney song,"...It's the symne the whole world over, it's the poor what gets the blymne."
 
 
+1 # brux 2013-06-15 13:49
You know, just because I say a few words that light you up does not mean I am a "good german".

I could speculate that a lot of comments like yours on the internet are exactly what sets people off NOT to hear what others say but to get them bickering ... deliberate inflammatory misunderstandin g and provocation.

I did not say I don't have anything to hide. Everyone has moments they are not proud of, everyone has made mistakes, many have committed crimes or could be spun as to have committed crimes by a secret entity ... but that can happen whether or not the NSA spies on us or not ... let's stick to the point. Or you explain what your point is.

You might also refrain from grandiose statements that you use to make me look simple minded, like I disagree with or do not understand ... like the Pastor Niemoeller speech. It has nothing to do with anything I said and it is simply your propaganda to kill an actual discussion and be unnecessarily competitive.

I am certainly not profiting by the current corruption and repression, so maybe you ought to take your "super-powers" and go after a real bad guy instead of picking a fight with someone who probably for the most part you agree with - since it is so much easier and less risky.
 
 
+9 # Dion Giles 2013-06-15 19:38
Yes, Brux, we all have moments we are not proud of. But what the secret police in any police state, like that being consolidated in America and its satellites, probe for are moments we have every reason to be extremely proud of and to conceal from secret political police. Their target is the people, and any hindrance they inflict on terrorists is no more than collateral damage.

Interpersonal communication among the people in a free country is a vast neural network. Secret police and their stoolies are a nerve poison aiming to stifle it. They are the people's true enemies.
 
 
0 # MidwestTom 2013-06-15 14:53
Isn't this similar to the Obama administration telling the FBI in late 2011 to stop monitoring the Mosques in America?
 
 
+43 # BobboMax 2013-06-15 12:51
Brux,

Interesting to appose two of your lines...

"What I mind is the abuse of such power"

"...things are too dangerous not to keep some kind of eye on everyone."

And my line is, "Who will watch the watchers? Who will prevent the abuse of such power?" So far the NSA and its ilk seem to be too dangerous to leave them unwatched. They're real comfortable with watching us and real uptight about us watching them.
 
 
-4 # brux 2013-06-15 13:53
> And my line is, "Who will watch the watchers?

Definitely a fair question.

Since spying technology is going to be exponentially increasing in power and decreasing in scope any attempt at dicussing this is already stale and irrelevant.

We have to get used to stepping back and designing our society and the world for the future. The pace of change is so fast now that it is toxic to human beings, so ... in my opinion we have to study what people are, what they were, how they evolved and try .... TRY ... to find a paradigm that puts us back in a world-view that we can work with.

People think that was the Constitution of the USA, but I'd say that is hopelessly out of date, despite how much I agree with its sentiments and goals.

To NOT have all this surveilance we must not have global competition and war between large political entities, but historically, that is exactly what has driven ... history, and maintained stability.
 
 
+28 # stoher9 2013-06-15 16:27
When you try to buy security by selling your freedoms, you end up with neither. The Security Industrial Complex is powered by money that is produced from FEAR. Your chances of dying in a terror attack are about the same as being struck by lightning and far less than dying in a car accident, yet we have spent trillions of dollars, since 9/11 to fight a threat that that is now and never was that dangerous. Our actions at home & abroad, from renditions, to secret prisons, to these totally unlawful drone strikes have only increased the recruitment success of our enemies and in the end left us more open to attacks from more places. The Patriot Act is an abomination that must be repealed!
 
 
0 # brux 2013-06-17 23:24
> When you try to buy security by selling your freedoms, you end up with neither.

YAWN ... guess it's lucky that I'm not trying to do that then isn't it?

It's the whole system, until people are willing to give up whatever their favorite bit of nonsense is and fairly unite and build a fair system, and figure out how to make it happen, we are just like those oppressed sods in the past throughout history, victims of power, money and politics.
 
 
+6 # cwbystache 2013-06-15 14:09
I must be functioning in a different, unintelligible paradigm, since the suggestions on what I might "imagine" I take from John Lennon. I don't even have a mental image of what Tony Soprano looks like: I've never seen the show, though I hear it was popular.
 
 
+2 # ghostperson 2013-06-16 13:42
So who gets to decide who is worthy of scrutiny and for what reasons in a corporatist-dom inated state? Most security clearances are processed by for profit, government contractors. The Koch funded people/groups decide? Other special interests. It sure as hell isn't going to be you or I or any ordinary mortal.
 
 
+1 # brux 2013-06-17 23:25
You pointed out the danger ... a danger. The problem is that the vast majority of people are so out of touch and ignorant they have not idea what is going on and they cannot participate in changing it. How can that work?
 
 
+2 # WestWinds 2013-06-17 06:13
Quoting brux:
I do have to say though,... I don't care if the government monitors my phone calls.

I don't really like it, but imagine you are going after someone like Tony Soprano. How else would you be able to get to the bottom of really bad corrupt crime? There is no way. ...

We could never prove or even hope to get at the information to prove anything. Imagine you work your whole life on an invention, and are talking about it and putting papers and schematics of it in emails that you think are private ... and then before you can patent your idea, Koch Industries or some other huge company patents it because they would snatch it right off the Internet.

That is the issue in this ... oh, and of course if you were a criminal like Tony Soprano ... otherwise we should not care if the government knows who we talk to on the phone.



It's the fact that all of this is being done in secret and without warrants. It is also that the range of power(s) for the NSA and the office of the president is expanding exponentially.
 
 
0 # brux 2013-06-17 23:22
The problem is that we have no idea what is being looked at or done with our information, but we do know a lot about the government's bad intentions ... that is what bothers me.
 
 
+6 # alg0rhythm 2013-06-15 12:10
As well as the thoughts about what keeping a large standing army amongst us, refusing assent to his own Laws means in the original founding document of the country, the meaning of government
 
 
+36 # jwb110 2013-06-15 12:16
I don't understand why throwing a Bank Executive of a bank means the bank will fail. That's like saying if you have committed malfeasance, cheated your customers who use your liquor store and you are jailed that all liquor stores will fail.

I am the only one who has seen the fallacy of Holder's argument???
 
 
+12 # mdhome 2013-06-15 13:51
We need to ram, pound, slam that idea into Holder's head!
 
 
+2 # brux 2013-06-15 13:54
You may see it fine, but I don't get your description of what you are trying to say? I think you left out some words in your original post.
 
 
+35 # Elroys 2013-06-15 13:09
So - good harmless comments. Robert R is - as usual - right on target. The real question is, "what are we going to do about all this corruption, skullduggery, unaccountable power on the part of very greedy and selfish people? Why is no one in jail for all the illegal actions taken that stole the meager net worth of the vast majority of Americans and people around the world while enriching the elite? Bernie Madoff went to jail - big deal. Small time thief. The big wigs lied to their clients, stole money from everyone else and suffered zero consequences. This is an outrage that must be remedied if we want to celebrate many more July 4ths. Does freedom and independence mean freedom to screw others, heap massive suffering on millions / billions and go merrily on your way?

Again - the question - what do we do?
 
 
+5 # wrknight 2013-06-15 14:05
Second Tuesday in November 2014. If you don't vote, you will have done nothing about it.
 
 
+18 # dbriz 2013-06-15 15:13
Silly proposition.

Millions voted in 2012 to ostensibly "do something" about it. And in 2008 as well.

Voting may have a degree of effectiveness at the local levels but it is nothing more than participation in a rigged game nationally.

What causes you to assume that if we do vote it will amount to "doing something" about it?
 
 
+1 # brux 2013-06-15 18:04
So, after voting, what's next ?
 
 
+7 # WilliamPHalll 2013-06-15 19:17
Re voting, the primary elections are probably more important than the main elections - to ensure only good people go into the contest.

And, probably even more important than the primaries is to draft good people (yourselves?) to run in the primaries.

You cannot leave effective political involvement to election day!
 
 
+12 # stoher9 2013-06-15 16:43
What we do is organize first at the local level to elect less partisan state legislators. Then we get those legislators to get rid of partisan redistricting so that law makers are always accountable to ALL their constituents. Once we have done away with all the "SAFE" districts at the state & federal level we can elect lawmakers who are beholden to the 99% not the 1%. From there a constitutional amendment that removes personhood from corporations & sets up publicly financed elections with a 2-3 month campaign season will go a long way to restoring true Democracy and destroying our current Plutocracy. It took years for the plutocrats to shift power to themselves. It will take years to take that power back. But it won't be that long & it's worth doing. Start tomorrow at your local level. Talk up people you know. Stop complaining on web sites and get out there & DO SOMETHING!
 
 
+4 # Nominae 2013-06-15 21:29
Quoting Ellioth:
So - good harmless comments. Robert R is - as usual - right on target. The real question is, "what are we going to do about all this corruption, skullduggery, unaccountable power on the part of very greedy and selfish people? Why is no one in jail for all the illegal actions taken that stole the meager net worth of the vast majority of Americans and people around the world while enriching the elite? Bernie Madoff went to jail - big deal. Small time thief. The big wigs lied to their clients, stole money from everyone else and suffered zero consequences. This is an outrage that must be remedied if we want to celebrate many more July 4ths. Does freedom and independence mean freedom to screw others, heap massive suffering on millions / billions and go merrily on your way?

Again - the question - what do we do?


Bernie Madoff does not well illustrate your very valid point.

Bernie Madoff went to jail only because he was stealing FROM the %1.

Stealing BY the 1% has yet to be punished since the 2008 Crash, and as we go on, it is even becoming more and more legal as they discard old laws and buy new ones.

As to "what do we do?" We either create a whole new system from the ground up, or we die whimpering into the financial wilderness. (There is also less and less environmental wilderness)
 
 
+2 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2013-06-17 00:31
Y'all keep asking, "What do we do?" and the answer is right in front of you. The problem with the answer is that to implement it will take courage and the willingness to sacrafice pretty much everything you have. And except for a few crazy people, the bulk of us would rather sit back and let someone else take the risks. The answer isn't new. Check out a famous document written in 1776. It lays out exactly what to DO.

Currently there is nothing, except us, that the .001% have to fear. They own the government. They have all the money. They control the media and the military. Now they are trying to intimidate us by reoording and monitoring all our electronic communications. treadlightly thinks any attempts by us to strike back are laughable. That's what they said about the colonists who picked off British soldiers one by one from behind trees. But you know what? Those soldiers began to ask themselves why they were here in a foreign land, risking their lives to stop these American colonists from living as freely as their own families did back home. Was it worth it?

If any of us has the courage of our principles, the .001% will start to ask the same question.
 
 
+5 # Abigail 2013-06-15 15:19
The following statement comes from one of the leaders of the Roman empire: "Quis custodes ipsos Custodiens."

We are trapped in the cyclic phenomenon of history repeating itself.
 
 
+8 # alg0rhythm 2013-06-15 15:50
I think we need a Re Branding of America, and firmer understanding, a better, much more intelligent and informed discussion about the role of government, capital, how it is used and how it is allocated. The government, itself, seems unclear on it's proper role. It seems to me that the President has discretion over prosecution, and holding of prisoners, as is implied by the fact that he is able to pardon individuals for federal crimes, a truly amazing power which, apparently includes discretionary prosecution, which seems only be used to shield bankers who have committed felonies.

It is inconceivable that were Obama to go to the prison that they would fail to shut it down.
The whole thing is crazy... we can't do trade with Cuba, but we can store prisoners detained without a trial indefinitely.

Barack Obama is legally empowered to close Guantanamo, all by himself.
 
 
+1 # treadlightly 2013-06-15 16:45
The idea of a citizen uprising being able to overthrow these self appointed egomaniacs who have zero interest in the well-being of America except that it continue to provide the necessary labor to enrich them so that they can maintain their power, is unfortunately laughable.
One thing we do well though is take a punch and keep getting up.
Until a real solution comes along.
"Little Big Man"
 
 
-11 # whywonder 2013-06-15 19:20
Food for thought as our Robert jumps on the bandwagon. First, we, that is to say our congress that we elected voted for the Patriot Act and all the bad things that goes along with it. George Bush wanted it and we gave it to him. Second, Snowden is not a hero. He is a criminal because like every American working in classified work you know you will go to jail or worse if you ever spill the beans, ever even after you leave that work. Whistle blowing can be a good thing but not at the expense of the countries security. Lets take one step back from the edge and the noise. Read the Patriot Act and see what we did to ourselves. Repeal the act, yes, but lets don't shoot our self in the foot again.
 
 
+4 # Nominae 2013-06-15 21:08
Yes, Mr. Reich, and ten years from now some kid is going to pop up parroting this very article and be considered a GENIUS for figuring out that which has been going on for decades. Figuring out that which has been KNOWN for decades.

Oh, well ..... whatever it takes to awaken the clueless masses.
 
 
+3 # fredboy 2013-06-16 07:51
It is tragic, but these two centers are drawing many of the most intelligent young people. The reason is simple--you can be in, or you can be out. You can run with winners, or you can run with losers. Tragic, but true.

Before the tirade of negative votes begin, consider this: the young have seen their parents and grandparents stubbornly cling to old ways and fail. And the kids don't want to fail. They want to succeed. So they read about such power centers and think "that's the route to success."

Remember, this route was paved by all of us. We allowed all this to happen. We are not helpless, but we -- most of us -- have sat on our hands and dulled our minds for decades and let all this happen.

So instead of whining, take some responsibility and learn some lessons. We created this monster. So what do we--what do you--plan to do about it?
 
 
+1 # fredboy 2013-06-16 07:51
It is tragic, but these two centers are drawing many of the most intelligent young people. The reason is simple--you can be in, or you can be out. You can run with winners, or you can run with losers. Tragic, but true.

Before the tirade of negative votes begin, consider this: the young have seen their parents and grandparents stubbornly cling to old ways and fail. And the kids don't want to fail. They want to succeed. So they read about such power centers and think "that's the route to success."

Remember, this route was paved by all of us. We allowed all this to happen. We are not helpless, but we -- most of us -- have sat on our hands and dulled our minds for decades and let all this happen.

So instead of whining, take some responsibility and learn some lessons. We created this monster. So what do we--what do you--plan to do about it?
 
 
+4 # She Cee 2013-06-16 22:08
First of all, if the Banks were too big to fail in 2008 why has the government allowed them to get bigger? Because those in government get a nice handout (lobbying/bribe ry) and don't want to bite the hand that feeds them.

Secondly, Why would a bank fail because the crooks at the top went to jail? Doesn't make sense to me. Put in some new folks at the top and REGULATE THEM so they can't repeat the heinous crimes of those before them.

Third, we didn't allow this to happen. The government allowed these things to happen and classified everything it was doing as top secret so we couldn't know what was going on.

Finally, has it occurred to anyone that the number of terrorists that are out there are multiplying because we are committing crimes against humanity all over the world. We would probably have little to fear if we weren't conducting terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, and other countries around the world. I believe we are the terrorists and they are fighting us in the only way they can.

As the old saying goes, "Make piece, not war".
Now I ask these so-called Christians in our government, "What would Jesus do?"
 

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