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Buchheit: "'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses ... I lift my lamp beside the golden door!' These words, from poet Emma Lazarus, were inscribed on the Statue of Liberty over 100 years ago. Today the golden door has a lock on it, paid for with record profits from the health care, education, and financial industries."

Child poverty has reached 25 percent in the USA. (photo: Colorlines)
Child poverty has reached 25 percent in the USA. (photo: Colorlines)



Five Facts That Put America to Shame

By Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams

19 May 12

 

ive me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses ... I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" These words, from poet Emma Lazarus, were inscribed on the Statue of Liberty over 100 years ago. Today the golden door has a lock on it, paid for with record profits from the health care, education, and financial industries.

1. We're near the bottom of the developed world in children's health and safety.

According to a 2007 UNICEF report, the U.S. ranked last among 21 OECD nations in an assessment of child health and safety. The assessment measured infant mortality, immunization, and death from accidents and injuries.

A related 2009 OECD study generally agreed, placing the U.S. 24th out of 30 OECD countries for children's health and safety. It also showed the devastating effects of inequality in our country. Despite having the second-highest average income for children among the 30 OECD countries, the U.S. ranked 27th out of 30 for child poverty (percentage of children living in households that are below 50% of the median income).

2. We've betrayed the young people who were advised to stay in school.

Over 40% of recent college graduates are living with their parents, dealing with government loans that average $27,200. The unemployment rate for young people is about 50%. More than 350,000 Americans with advanced degrees applied for food stamps in 2010.

As Washington lobbyists endeavor to kill a proposed bill to reduce the interest rates on student debt, federal loans remain readily available, and so colleges go right on increasing their tuition.

Meanwhile, corporations hold $2 trillion in cash while looking for investments and employees in foreign countries, and American students are forced to accept menial positions. Yet delusions persist about our new generation of would-be workers. Conservatives are all bubbly about today's young entrepreneurs creating their own jobs - jobs that "don't yet exist."

3. The main source of middle-class wealth has been largely wiped out.

American homeowners owe almost as much as the students, with $700 billion of debt over and above the value of their homes.

This removes the only source of wealth for middle America, especially for blacks and Hispanics. Remarkably, for every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.

So when minority families were specifically targeted for high-risk, subprime loans that could be re-packaged and sold for a quick short-term profit, most of their assets were erased. Median wealth fell 66% for Hispanic households and 53% for black households. For whites the decline was 16%.

With a disturbing note of irony, Sanford Weill, the banker largely responsible for the reversal of the mortgage-protecting Glass-Steagall Act, was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences for "extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve."

4. We give prison sentences for smoking marijuana, but not for billion-dollar fraud.

About half of our world-leading prison population is in jail for non-violent drug offenses. Americans have also been arrested for handing out free food in a park. Mothers in Ohio and Connecticut were jailed for enrolling their kids in out-of-district schools. As of 2003 in California there were 344 individuals serving sentences of 25 years or more for shoplifting as a third offense, in many cases after two non-violent offenses.

How does the market deal with this steady tide of petty crime? It strives for more. The new trend of private prisons is dependent on maintaining a sizable prison population to guarantee profits, with no incentive for rehabilitation.

As the number of inmates has surged, the people who devastated countless American lives "get out of jail free." The savings and loan fraud cost the nation between $300 billion and $500 billion, about 100 times more than the total cost of burglaries in 2010. The financial system bailout has already cost the country $3 trillion. Goldman Sachs packaged bad debt, sold it under a different name, persuaded ratings services to label it AAA, and then bet against their own financial creation by selling it short. Other firms accused of fraud and insider trading were Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, Bank of America, Countrywide Financial, and Wells Fargo. The New York Times reported in 2008 that the Justice Department had postponed the bribery or fraud prosecutions of over 50 corporations, choosing instead to enter into agreements involving fines and 'monitoring' periods.

5. You can have health care, if you pay for it.

A recent Commonwealth Fund study compared U.S. health care spending to 12 other OECD countries. The data shows that reducing our costs to the median level of spending among the OECD countries would save us $1.5 trillion a year, more than our entire deficit.

Unfortunately, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and hospital administrators won't hear of it. There's too much money to be made. Bypass surgery in the U.S. costs 2 to 3 times more than in Great Britain, Canada, France, and Germany. Cataract surgery costs 4 times more.

That's if you can pay for it. There are currently about 50 million uninsured Americans. At the other extreme are $2,400 oxymoronic penthouse hospital suites complete with butler and grand piano. Or, for those who don't get out much, emergency rooms in the home, with private cell-phone access to "concierge doctors."

Inequality in our country is so severe that 120,000 health care workers could have been hired with the salary paid to one man. That's a $40,000 salary for 40 health care workers for every one of the 3,000 counties in the United States. Instead, $5 billion dollars went to one man who reportedly made his first big haul ($4 billion, in 2007) by conspiring with Goldman Sachs in the above-mentioned short sale subterfuge.

The result of ignoring the health needs of the greater population, according to a report in the Annual Review of Public Health, is that "the health rankings of the United States have declined substantially when compared with other nations."

Conclusion

Privatization simply hasn't worked for health care, mortgage banking, higher education, or prison management. There is little incentive for profit-motivated firms to invest in disadvantaged or underemployed Americans. That's why taxes are necessary - to provide for the common good, and to return some of the gains from 60 years of productivity to the great majority of Americans who contributed to our growth. Unfortunately, the golden door on the Statue of Liberty seems to have an invisible hand holding it shut.

 

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+150 # X Dane 2012-05-19 11:43
How in the world can we fix this broken country, when EVERYTHING IS DONE FOR PROFIT???
 
 
+146 # CL38 2012-05-19 14:36
By voting every far right Republican and blue dog democrat out of office in November, for starters!
 
 
-88 # dquandle 2012-05-19 18:57
Blue dog "Democrats" include the vile and despicable Obama.
 
 
+24 # rockieball 2012-05-20 06:54
Should add number six.
"Right-wing denial of this really the truth."
 
 
+46 # CL38 2012-05-20 09:54
You'd rather put Mitt the chameleon/liar into the Presidency? He would outdo Bush in far right policies. Look at what he did to Bain. He will continue the right's determination to destroy the middle class and poor. Look at his tax plan: gives significantly more tax cuts to the wealthy/corpora tions and raise taxes on the poor and middle class, who are already seriously hurting. Look at the total disregard he has for any but the 1%. You think he would be an improvement over Obama? Get real.
 
 
+8 # CTPatriot 2012-05-21 03:45
In a sad way, it's funny how Obama defenders can't distinguish the difference between attacks from the left and those from the right. Do you think someone who preferred Romney would complain of Obama being a blue dog? Hell no. They call him a socialist. They would laugh at the thought of Obama being a conservative Democrat.

I guarantee you that dquandle doesn't prefer Romney to be president over Obama. He probably prefers the one thing our corporate overlords will never let us have until we take back this country from them - a real progressive president who answers to the people.
 
 
+4 # MidwestTom 2012-05-21 07:57
Our Corporate Overlords want a dumb divided population because it is easier to control. They support situations such as shown on Knoxville television last week where the reporter who checked court records found, and interviewed, one black man 32 years of age who has fathered 33 children by eleven women and is a minimum wage worker over $500,000 behind on his child support payments. He has not broken any laws, but the Overseers probably love this. He is their kind of man.
 
 
+4 # NIKHILANANDA 2012-05-21 14:12
ALOHA.... THAT is the problem!!!... with the one party republicrats controlling the system, and EVERY law, rule, policy against third parties, such as the greens, people feel they HAVE TO vote for the lesser of two evils, which obama IS!!... DEFINITELY, the lesser of two evils, as are most democrats... and with winner-take-all elections, it scares people from voting for greens and others... CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM - Fundamental modifications are needed to the method by which we hold elections; Campaign finance reform and clean elections is the beginning of any discussion. Limit the influence, as much as possible, which money has in politics. Open up media to all candidates. With access to traditional media almost exclusively the purview of members of the two major corporate-contr olled political parties, the alternative ideas expressed by other candidates do not get an balanced discussion by the electorate. All debates and forums must include every candidate for an office, not just the “front runners” or members of the “major” political parties. Besides write-in voting, another progressive change would be to have “ranked” or “instant run-off” voting.
 
 
+2 # CL38 2012-05-21 15:31
Yes, I agree. But with the stranglehold the right has as well as the Democratic party, too, on power; with the citizens united obscene free-for-fundin g that requires no transparency, this is a formidable task.
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-05-23 22:29
Yes CL 38. It is not JUST Romney, it is the fact that the republicans will continue the destruction Bush/Cheney started. Romney was gushing over Cheney, and saying, that was exactly the vice president he would like.

HOW WOULD YOU ALL LIKE THAT?? And he wants Borch to advise him on supreme court nominees. He also warmly embraced Ryan's sick budget plan.

FOR PETE'S SAKE, COME TO YOUR SENSES.
You may not be crazy about Obama, but voting for Romney will open the gates to hell. We had 8 years of that. ENOUGH!!
 
 
+5 # RLF 2012-05-21 05:25
Hear! Hear!
 
 
+2 # RLF 2012-05-21 05:26
They are almost all Blue dogs...includin g the president...so. ..good luck!
 
 
+49 # WestWinds 2012-05-19 16:58
Get involved and help form a human wall of defense against this criminal enterprise. The police have become outlaws; they just haven't faced it yet; they're in denial because they want the authority and prestige of being a cop, together with a job at this time when so many are jobless.
But they haven't awakened to the fact that they are tools for a greater evil that is sweeping the Earth. Occupy and organize. The rich have lots of money but we have over 300 million people we need to see the light of a democratic republic free from privatization.
 
 
+38 # Hey There 2012-05-19 18:12
Signs are pointing to privatization of the Post Office as well. S1789 and HR2309 are bills that tout that they will save the Post Office, reform and sustain it These bills insist that 100,000 Postal Employees must go,smaller post offices shut down,200 distribution centers closed, compensation for injured workers cut with deeper cuts for those over 65 and 2 Authorities established that have the power to over ride Union Contracts. Health Insurance will be established and administered by the USPS.
The Post Office will be"reformed" so that profits can be realized.
How did this happen?
In 2006 Congress passed HR6407 which mandated that the Post Office fund 75 years of retiree health benefits in 10 years.
The Post Office was unable to fund 5.5 billion on a yearly basis BUT had been able to have INCOME=EXPENSES up until that time.
If these bills or a combination of them are made into law for all intensive purposes the Post Office will no longer be run as a service but for profit.
http://www.youtube.com/watchv=09ybkkiH2Ho

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am4wez1ShPY
 
 
+38 # ruttaro 2012-05-19 20:34
What people need to understand that the Postal Service is just that: a service. And since we are a democracy and everyone pays their taxes, then all Americans are entitled to equal service no matter where they live. If the Postal Service looses money then so be it. That's why all the business acumen that Mitt claims to have and the reactionaries belief that a successful businessman could fix the country doesn't work when governing a democracy with a representative government. In a democracy, government services like defense and the postal service is for everyone. In a plutocracy, however....
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-05-23 22:43
ruttaro. To my surprise I learned , that NOT ONE CENT OF TAX GOES TO THE POST OFFICE.
It is totally run by sales of stamps and packing material. But demanding that they come up with 5.5 billion is simply not possible.
Again the right wants to kill something many of us use. Privatize it and if you think that will make it less expensive.
I have some of that swampland for you.
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-05-23 22:33
Hey There, as I said" ALL IS FOR PROFIT.
 
 
+13 # KittatinyHawk 2012-05-19 19:39
One way could be stop being selfish, get off our butts and do something.

It is the same way many people battling disease do it. Pretty simple concept but you have to stop whining, seeking people to feel sorry for you, and actually doing something on your own or with others to say I'm here and I do not like how things are.
 
 
+27 # ruttaro 2012-05-19 19:41
X Dane and everyone else reading this excoriating condemnation of what the plutocrats and oligarchs have done to our once great United States, I have a suggestion.
In late September, because this is going to be a close election, we organize and mobilize a demonstration across the nation at the same time in every city center, town hall and village commons, every college and university, demanding that the candidates for House, Senate and Presidency address these issues. This is still a democracy and our votes matter! Strike and make them come to us for our votes! Organize, mobilize, register and vote! If this march is large enough it can shake the foundations of this cruel, heartless corporatocracy and begin the toppling of the power structures. Let's take our cues from the Arab Spring and the OWS using social networks to bring the people out and drive the trolls out of office and their dens of greed. Massive demonstration demanding a life with dignity, opportunity and hope. Demand a responsive government, a renewed social contract, a government not just of and by the people but FOR THE PEOPLE!
 
 
+11 # lexy677 2012-05-20 10:08
AAh but you forget the ever present "Diebold voting computers". The republicans have made sure that your vote will be meaningless. If you don't believe me refer to Bush v Gore and Bush v Kerry. The voting machines were consistently registering Bush when you voted for Gore and later for Bush when you voted for Kerry. We are done. stick a fork in us. You can thank Reagan for being the "genesis" of all this.
 
 
+6 # ruttaro 2012-05-20 16:18
Lexy677, I understand the cynicism. Those two elections were stolen, there is no doubt. But I lived in Florida during the 2000 election and voted. The Diebold machines you refer to did not exist in Florida. Remember the hanging chads? There was a trail. And it is also true that post-analysis of Ohio results showed that Kerry won and if he had fought instead of concede Bush would have been back in Crawford four years early. Without a trail they could not make such a post-election claim. The point is that fraud on the scale you claim is almost all fiction than fact. The larger point is that if we accept that we are done based on this unfounded fiction then indeed we are. Sitting home because one feels it is useless is just that. I urge you not to stay home but contact as many friends that are just as spiritually beaten-down as you and rise! Rise up and vote the reactionary trolls out.
 
 
+3 # lexy677 2012-05-20 23:05
ruttaro thanks for the encouraging words; I will do as you suggest...
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-05-23 22:58
GREAT LEXY677. THAT'S the spirit. We need more "ruttaros" We have to encourage and inspire each other instead of giving up and crying in our soup.

Remember we are supposed to be EXCEPTIONAL, SO LET'S ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES, AND PROVE THAT WE ARE.
 
 
+3 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-21 11:49
I, for one, do not understand concessions...w hy run if you want to quit before an accurate count is done?
 
 
+3 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-21 11:48
General US elections should require a Paper Ballot, limited to the US positions:
POTUS,
Representative and each applicable the
Senate...
...Marked in pen and fully counted and stored. Let local elections occur on the 0dd years, and simplify the national offices election process. Nothing but individual money can be spent prior to "Open Election Season"...are we not burned out by all this nonsense, 22 BS debates...and all this Super Pacs (fraudelent) commercials.
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-05-23 22:50
WE CAN'T GIVE UP.
 
 
+2 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-21 11:42
New hours need to know that the Post Office will be changing...but to save ity as a service provided by the Federal Government's duty, required per the Constitution, maybe it has to be attended to as a deilvery of personal matters on a one-or two day basis for home delivery. The full time employees/route carriers have three routes, 2 days each, Mon-Thurs, Tues Frtid or Wed -Fri, and I feel strongly that that is one service the government needs to maintain if we are going to stand as ONE NATION!
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-05-23 23:05
Absolutely Bodiotoo. We have to have paper ballots. And there are always exit polls.
If they differ markedly from what the voting results show. It is time to yell bloody murder, and not stop until it has been investigated properly.
WE CAN NOT ROLL OVER AND JUST DIE!!!
 
 
+4 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-21 11:44
Would it nor be wonderful if the 99% literally planned for a one month STRIKE and not purchase anything unneeded or from any corporation...a nd demand that those running for office are required to attend debates at local venues to answer the hard questions and clearly state positions...no more BS. I am tired of the cake, off with thier heads.
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-05-23 22:48
OK ruttaro, how do we go about it?? I am totally with you. Do we not need some smart young tech people to organize it.... I am neither. But I sure want to see it happen. Please write back ruttaro.
 
 
0 # letsfixit 2012-05-21 14:39
Quoting X Dane:
How in the world can we fix this broken country, when EVERYTHING IS DONE FOR PROFIT???


You can't - that's the problem. You can't make corporate structures retract their CEO salaries and dividends for stock value. That's called nationalized industry. The all volunteer mil force was another fail. It separated the wars from the people and handed them to the corporations. We lost touch with govt. Now- how to get it back. It must be fair and not ridiculous such as reduced identification requirements to vote. You know what that did for W vs Kerry. Well thought out BALANCE is necessary - Boehner is not balance- and neither is a one Trillion dollar deficit.
 
 
+26 # Pickwicky 2012-05-19 11:58
Perhaps Voltaire was right after all: the best form of government is an efficient and benevolent despotism.
 
 
+25 # WestWinds 2012-05-19 16:53
You want to rely on the whims of a despot?
What happens when he dies? What happens when the corporate thugs do a hostile take over? What happens to the voice of the People? No. I don't think so. What we need is campaign finance reform (for real) and a Constitutional Amendment banning corporate personhood, coupled with getting the police to realize their role in this mess and everyone out in the streets Occupying and voting every CONServative, Left or Right out of office, replacing them with Progressive Liberals. THEN things will change for the better.
 
 
+3 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-21 11:52
In th einterest of Public Safety, PDs should not be allowed to carry firearms on thier person...Lock Boxes in squad cars would be fine...and fire arms would be removed when and only when they are needed. Mo more armoured vehicles designed for invasions of homes...the police shopuld be handling traffic, and serving the public...not protecting the den of thieves know as the 1%.
 
 
+133 # busbus 2012-05-19 11:59
We are becoming no better than a Third World country. It's so sad that too many of us vote against our own best interest.
 
 
-96 # MidwestTom 2012-05-19 13:01
A weakness of Democracy is that you can keep voting for more and more benefits until the whole system goes bankrupt. We hate the military expenses, but without them the dollars crashes and we will be purchased by the Chinese and Japanese, both of whom have little welfare for the citizens.
 
 
+54 # WestWinds 2012-05-19 17:05
This is not a valid take on things. This sounds like Rush Limbnaugh spin. Our democracy has lasted over two hundred years. It is when we remove our democracy in favor of for-profit privatization that we are in serious trouble. The military expense is a joke. It is the excuse they give us to loot us. The military is being used as a private escort service for oil boats. It takes only two or three ICBM's to destroy the whole planet; the US owns over 6 THOUSAND of these things. The military budget is how the taxing powers funnel untold billions into the hands of no-bid government contractors (who make the military personnel purchase everything from their uniforms to their bottles of drinking water from them.) Don't be fooled; this is a false argument.
 
 
+1 # rockieball 2012-05-20 06:57
They are doing it now. they get an IRS ITIN number (I think that is what it's called) and use it to purchase real estate.
 
 
+34 # CL38 2012-05-19 14:37
you are right but I don't see it as sad, I see it as lunacy. Educate voters about the issues, Democrats!
 
 
+16 # WestWinds 2012-05-19 16:53
We aren't "becoming", we've arrived.
 
 
0 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-05-25 17:41
Not yet.
I live in a third world country; it does not pollute as much as the US, has a longer life expectancy and lower child death rate.
Yes, import taxes are outrageous but you would need to be a moron to drive a hummer (just like in any other country) and the basic needs of the population are covered - single payer, mandatory health care for my family of 4 costs me $80 a month and the UN found last year or so that it was the happiest country on Earth.
You wish you had arrived.
To Costa Rica.
 
 
+7 # CL38 2012-05-20 09:57
We have to get much more assertive about calling out and challenging (non-violently) the right and also those who vote against our(and their) own interests.
 
 
+95 # KrazyFromPolitics 2012-05-19 12:02
It would be wonderful if Americans would only open their eyes and see that the image that has been sold to them about our exceptional place in the evolution of social justice and "The American Way" is not the reality of the country we now live in. There have been many movements and accomplishments of which Americans can take pride, but we also have a very dark side to our history. The literal theft, and economic coup d'etat of middle class wealth and well being may turn out to be one of the most egregious events in our history. It goes beyond racism. sexism. or xenophobia, because all of those persecuted entities and others. are part of the middle class.
 
 
+25 # bluepilgrim 2012-05-19 14:39
That theft may well also turn out to be one of the last events in our history.
 
 
-15 # KittatinyHawk 2012-05-19 19:43
Really another doomsday.. why bother writing on here, why not crawl in bed with good book and say goodbye, wait for it too happen?
 
 
+28 # mdhome 2012-05-19 16:24
I grew up hearing how the Russian government controlled their people with propaganda about how great they were and the west was so bad, looks like we have been sold a load of propaganda. 3rd world here we come.
 
 
+21 # brenda 2012-05-19 12:08
This was quoted on Bill Mahr's show on Friday.
 
 
+89 # hd70642 2012-05-19 12:08
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120508142542.htm
http://the-peoples-forum.com/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=28525&Disp=4#C4
I am amazed at folks who think Tax cuts ,and deregulation are some sort of panacea when it's been exhaustively employed for the last forty years ,and has yet to yield any positive results . It reminds of the Three Stooges misadventure ,when their row boat sprang a leak ,and they drilled a hole in the bottom to let water out .
 
 
+61 # Abigail 2012-05-19 12:15
The USA has gone progressively downhill since the advent of TV into the political scene. It costs so much money to buy time on TV that candidates sell their souls to acquire time. If TV channels were required to give all candidates for national office the same amount of TV time free, and if selling more time to one candidate would result in needing to give the same amount of time to the other candidates, much of the need for campaign money, and selling souls to big donors would be eliminated. I truly believe that the degradation of our system is because of the advent of TV, and the only way to get our democracy is to equalize that factor.
 
 
+45 # MidwestTom 2012-05-19 12:56
Maybe we should outlaw all political advertising and simply have a series of debates where each candidate would have equal time. We could use different formats, as long as the candidates were treated equally.
 
 
+19 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-19 16:44
I like it, and they need to be prepared to answer any and all questions put to them ...and none of this side stepping to be allowed by the host.
 
 
-18 # KittatinyHawk 2012-05-19 19:44
Yes we should out law all ads, then if that doesn't do it, we should flog people who watch TV?
 
 
+7 # lexy677 2012-05-20 10:16
If the people were a bit intelligent, no "ad" in the world could convince them to go vote against their own interests. I will always say it: " the problem is the racism induced stupidity of working and middle class white men"....who consistently and overwhelmingly vote Republican because according to their pea-sized brains "the democrats are for the n*gg*rs and "minorities".
 
 
0 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-05-25 17:54
Huh?
No, you fine the TV channel and you disqualify the corresponding candidate.

In France, no political ad is allowed; only debates and official statements by the politicians, and they are free: they have to be carried by the TV channels as part of the agreement to get an airwave license.
Communication time is equal between all candidates and strictly monitored durign the whole campaign but also during each broadcast debate.
Campaign expenditures are strictly limited by law (I don't have the figure but it is very low comapred to the US), and if any candidate reaches 5% vote on the general primary he is reimbursed by the state.
No PAC, no superPAC, no nada.
(Some try to cheat and that gives huge scandals to the point of threatening prison for Chirac - in the US it would be made legal and swept under the rug)

Then the two candidae who emerge first of the primaries get a run off two weeks later.

Last detail: not every bozo can just decide to run, to enter the primaruy, one must collect the signature of 500 mayors from any size of town, from Paris to hamlets.

Oh and governement provided paper ballot, no exceptions.
 
 
+8 # Sweet Pea 2012-05-20 04:31
I have felt for many years that we have a system that gives the election to the person who has the most financial backing. Other progressive countries have found that our form of government only allows the wealthy to control the minds of the voters and the outcome of the election. I'm afraid that we have passed the point that the citizens have any control. Wealth and corruption in our voting system only gives us a choice of the lesser of two evils.
 
 
+11 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-19 16:44
The people should own the access to the "airwaves"...an d part of the licensing contract would require politcal access in a defined period for Public Service Announcements regarding the upcoming elections...and while i really hate all the political postacrds and junk mail, at least dollars spent there are going through the postal service which I believe is necessary to bind the nation as a whole...but I could also live with 2 day a week delivery...Mond ays and Thursdays would work just fine.
 
 
0 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-05-25 17:57
People DO own the access to the airwaves, through the poepe's government's FCC.
The government of the people, for the people and by the people.
If only the FCC did its job...
 
 
+14 # WestWinds 2012-05-19 17:11
There is no reason why a special government channel could not be established; like a CSPAN with presidential fireside chats and weekly broadcasts, candidates running their ads, and viewing of the Congress in action.
Every year a bill has been submitted for campaign finance reform, and every year both sides of the isle have voted it down. Politics is big money and these greedy people aren't about to give it up.
However, it was investigated and found that if every adult in the US were to donate 1-10 dollars toward campaign financing, all of it would be covered plus some. We have this mess because the people in Congress want this mess. This is why we MUST stop being stupid about these people and get them out of there!
 
 
+2 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-19 18:13
Like this a lot:
Suggestion; "National Presidential Ballot" on a sitting President 3rd Year, so the count can be a straight up national referendum...if he gathers 50.1% (that is a huge numeral and not the usual 50.001), no election except on the Conressional and Senate levels.
No public Presidential campaigning allowed until 1/31/ follwing year.
Instead of huge Reporters Pools, How about 2-3 per candidate...ful l vetting...nothi ng is private for those whom wish to serve! A lot of films will have to be produced ahead of time...BIOS...g reat Television...no electronics in SCHOOLS: PERIOD...
 
 
+11 # ruttaro 2012-05-19 20:30
A constitutional amendment that makes all public elections publicly funded. Fund it by charging every American - underage citizens and elderly, no age limit, no poverty line - one dollar. That's $350 million that would go to buying air time proportionately allocated to all political parties that garnered a determined percentage of votes in the previous election. Because these are our elections we set the rules: Presidential debates are substantive and must be carried by all stations (the people own the airwaves, we lease them so this would be part of the new lease) and no ads allowed to run 21 days before election day. We can set the days when campaigning begins, like the day after Labor day. Nothing up to then. Primaries would still be up to parties. Essential part of this amendment would be that no lobbyist can give money to any member of congress at any time. No lunch, no drinks, no how, no way. If a member of Congress or the Senate accepts any form of a donation, pay supplement, or a BLT, then both the Congressman and the lobbyist would be charged with corruption of the Republic which should be a felony with fines and ten years in jail. Lobbyists can lobby with ideas and arguments, not with money. Congressmen can listen to ideas but with their hands in their pockets. And the corporate lawyers on the SCOTUS can fume and shut up. Outlandish? If we could pass an amendment prohibiting a drink, we can do this.
 
 
+2 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-21 11:58
Love your thinking. I would add a mandatory 10 million dollar fine for each incident...paya ble by the individual lobbyiest, representative and the companies represented.
 
 
0 # engelbach 2012-05-22 09:04
No need to charge anything extra to anybody. Finance elections out of general tax revenues.
 
 
0 # ruttaro 2012-05-22 10:14
My thinking is that it accomplishes (hopefully) two things: a) it provides a symbolic idea of everyone having a stake in maintaining and supporting the republic since the laws apply to everyone. It is equal and across the board. b) it strategically avoids handing the regressive tea party ammunition to call it increased spending, etc, etc.
By the way, since Mitt says corporations are people, too, all corporations would be levied the same rate, same way. We want to be fully egalitarian here.
 
 
0 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-05-25 18:01
No: you don't want them to vote!
The Koch bros would come up with a few millions shell corporations that would each have one vote.
 
 
0 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-05-25 17:59
Exactly.
My +1 got you to 0 - sorry someone must have misunderstood you.
 
 
0 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-05-25 17:59
Don't buy airtime, mandate it (within reason) - it's YOURS.
 
 
+58 # JetpackAngel 2012-05-19 12:21
If you can't pay the cover charge for that golden door, then you become the wretched refuse of OUR teeming shore.

When I was a kid, I used to think America was the country that all the other countries wanted to be when they grew up. Now it's more like an embarrassing backwoods relative invited to a black-tie cocktail party.
 
 
-3 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-19 16:45
Europe has always treated us like "white trash"
 
 
+27 # humanmancalvin 2012-05-19 12:33
This must be the American Exceptionalism I so often hear bandied about by the Radical Right Insurgency. USA...USA...oke y-dokey.
 
 
+45 # letsfixit 2012-05-19 12:42
All of this is hilarious. We think we don't want to fix anything- and it's true. We make the tax code over 5000 pages- crucify the enforcement by gutting the IRS- and we wonder why $800billion a year goes uncollected? This is a capitalistic society. It's not communism. Look at the recent exposure of Chinese leaders in on the "cut" of national interests!! Does it surprise?? But we as a nation have been snowed by the retail industry with their overseas goods. Shirts don't cost $49 each - they cost $25 a DOZEN....made in malaysia or some third world labor country. We're all
 
 
+15 # letsfixit 2012-05-19 12:43
- part of this.
 
 
+23 # giraffee2012 2012-05-19 12:55
These facts are true and what can the 99% do with nobody to lobby for us? The choices we have to elect are hitched to those who control the $$ in the USA.

There are a few in Congress who will work to change the system but even these few are being ousted by Koch Brother financed politicians to replace them.

Only way we can fight is to get our friends, relatives who vote GOP/TP to Vote Dem (I don't think the Koch are sponsoring Dems - but could be wrong.)

So send this on to those you know are GOP/TP voters and more importantly - spend an evening/ Sat/ Sunday with Voter Registration forms for poor, minority, young, old to register and explain to them to "mail-in" ballots in November (if your state allows this - CA does)

Unfortunately - my GOP/TP relatives don't believe what is going to happen to them/their kids/grand kids - on the path we're going and some (college grads too) even think President Obama is a Muslim, non U.S. Citizen - and I know some don't like the "color of his skin" (and the latter is taught to their kids as was taught to them by their relatives)
 
 
+9 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-19 16:48
We HAVE to LOBBY for ourselves.
Get out and support your local 99%...lets all send 99%s to Washington to lobby for us...elect 99% candidates, if all you have are out of touch representatives D or R, find a third candidate and put the boots on the ground. Takes 4-6 years for a politcal party to make ground in Washington. The struggle is uphill.
 
 
+22 # fredboy 2012-05-19 13:02
Now that empathy and caring about others health and safety have been eliminated, America knows no shame. We torture, kill, steal, lie--go ahead and complete the list--and see it all as normal, accepted, expected behavior. So shame is impossible--we have no moral compass. Our national conscience is dead.
 
 
+39 # szq5777 2012-05-19 13:06
We are no longer "America". The country I was born into sixty six years ago has been destroyed. We are now a nation "of the rich", "for the big corporations", and by "special interest". The greed and hypocracy of the republican party will make this country into a fascist corporate hellpit.
As a poor person I know that republicans are my enemy! How I hate them! I will proudly vote for every Democrat I can find on the ballot this November!
 
 
+17 # mdhome 2012-05-19 16:30
I hear you, as I am 66 myself and see what you are saying. the "1%' are going to end up controlling the rest of as just as was done in the distant past, welcome to Serfdom America.
 
 
+16 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-19 16:49
I agree, this county has been taking a nose dive since the morning of 6/6/1968...when RFK was slain by Sirhan.
 
 
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-05-19 19:49
Or good Greens, Independents, ...anyone but those who are incumbents tenured...out with the old and new.
Starting Fresh...paying attention to whom we vote for...look into them NOW
 
 
+34 # bingers 2012-05-19 13:36
Tax cuts for the rich, privatization, deregulation and austerity are things that always cause economic problems and there was a time when even Republicans were aware enough to realize that. The end of the American empire will be recorded in history as being concurrent with the election of Ronald Reagan.

Conservatism is the death knell of rational thought.
 
 
+26 # James38 2012-05-19 13:39
Excellent article: "4. We give prison sentences for smoking marijuana, but not for billion-dollar fraud."

And we cut education budgets so we have enough money to continue squandering %Billions on the US Prison and "Justice" system that has the largest percentage of its population locked up of ANY country in the World. Free country? Where?

What in the hell are the right wing fruitcakes like Rep. Boehner and Scott Brown (just to name a couple of the worst), thinking about? How do they justify spending money on keeping drug users in prison when what is needed to solve the drug problem is more education? Could someone ask them that in public? Love to see them having to defend that indefensible policy. Everything they could say would make them look just as stupid and heartless as they are.
 
 
+19 # Old Man 2012-05-19 14:07
This country is not Growing do to a constipated GOP CONGRESS that just can get past the word "NO".
No Matter who the President is, it's that Constipation that hold this country back.
Capitalism is killing Mother earth w/out Regulation on these Greedy Corporation.
I foresee 50 new countries not living by the Constitution of the United States of America. We are becoming more & more tribal in the way we live & think.
I'm glad I won't be around much longer to see this happen.
 
 
+5 # letsfixit 2012-05-19 16:22
Quoting Old Man:
This country is not Growing do to a constipated GOP CONGRESS that just can get past the word "NO".
No Matter who the President is, it's that Constipation that hold this country back.Capitalism is killing Mother earth w/out Regulation on these Greedy Corporation.I foresee 50 new countries not living by the Constitution of the United States of America. We are becoming more & more tribal in the way we live & think.I'm glad I won't be around much longer to see this happen.


That 50 country thing - and not living by the constitution is termed
"IGNORING THE RULE OF LAW"
 
 
+4 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-19 16:52
"Old Man take a look at my life...I'm a lot like you..."
Uncheck Capitalism needs uynchecked population growth...equals diminishing resources to the point of no return...palnet earth will eventually be planet easter island...as long as mankind walks the planet.
 
 
+26 # slimslider 2012-05-19 14:37
Pickwicky, we already have a despotism, it's just not a benevolent one. Maybe it should be called an illusionary despotism. The powers keep providing the illusion of a democratic society and doling out just enough resources to keep the worker and soldier ants from attacking the queen. And the masses are collectively dumb enough to buy into the false hope that voting still makes a difference. As if the system can change by transposing a few elements. America isn't what it used to be, but it probably never was.
 
 
+4 # PoetForPeace 2012-05-19 16:52
Hear, Hear! Yes.
 
 
-50 # kwiac1 2012-05-19 14:44
I can't believe the attitude of some of the US citizenry. You have the best oportunity on the planet to make it here in the USA. Yeah, it's tough and everything doesn't always work out, but you have a chance here without having to be corrupt to succede at whatever you choose. Before you try to funk up the system, go someplace else and see what it's like there. I shake my head and sigh!!
 
 
+12 # szq5777 2012-05-19 15:15
Kwiac1,
Please define what you mean by "without having to be corrupt"
 
 
+8 # katbyrd63 2012-05-19 18:03
Go someplace else? how? You have to get a passport now and who can afford to buy on??
 
 
+18 # letsfixit 2012-05-19 15:51
Quoting kwiac1:
I can't believe the attitude of some of the US citizenry. You have the best oportunity on the planet to make it here in the USA. Yeah, it's tough and everything doesn't always work out, but you have a chance here without having to be corrupt to succede at whatever you choose. Before you try to funk up the system, go someplace else and see what it's like there. I shake my head and sigh!!


What planet are you from? I don't care about someplace else. I care about HERE. - and if we don't pull our heads out - HERE will look just like THERE.
 
 
+22 # humanmancalvin 2012-05-19 16:36
Too late kwiac1, already funked up. And what a horror it would be to relocate to a country that provides medical care for all its citizens, 4 to 6 weeks paid vacation a year & a social retirement program that actually pays a livable income. The horror. Problem is they do not grant US citizens the honor of joining their country probably because they get Fox News on their cable subscription & it scares the stuffing out of them.
 
 
+8 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-19 16:54
No red mark from me...they should have a clearly neutral button...but you make a good point, that I mention quite often to whining Tea Party types...you got as lot, can make more, but you just do not want to share...it is all about the "ME"!
 
 
0 # moverdrive 2012-05-22 08:46
Because a huge percentage now want a giant gov't to look after them...apparent ly not having read Orwell lately. The 1% aren't the real problem...it's a gov't that PROTECTS the 1% with threats of imprisonment if you don't continue to pay...this is the real issue. But most will continue to tear up at political speeches where 'hope' and 'change' are the main buzzwords. The actual fact is, you probably need to take things back by force if necessary, so that communities can start retaining more of their own resources to look after their own. Of course...this doesn't appeal to many who want a giant gov't to look after them, sooo.....
 
 
+8 # cordleycoit 2012-05-19 16:15
Land of the Free and home of the poor.
 
 
+18 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-19 16:56
Doesn't this just kill you?:
"Inequality in our country is so severe that 120,000 health care workers could have been hired with the salary paid to one man. That's a $40,000 salary for 40 health care workers for every one of the
3,000 counties in the United States. Instead, $5 billion dollars went to one man who reportedly made his first big haul ($4 billion, in 2007) by conspiring with Goldman Sachs in the above-mentioned short sale subterfuge.
How does a government, any government or leader explain this?
 
 
+9 # Sweet Pea 2012-05-20 04:18
It is explained by Capitalism. It's just like the board game "Monopoly". The object of the game is to gain the most money and buy the most houses, hotels, and public interests. If anyone lands on your property you get to collect more money. Eventually, you will have everything and the rest of the players are kicked out of the game.
 
 
+4 # Mrcead 2012-05-20 13:23
Seriously, that was a very brilliant yet painfully chilly explanation and you are absolutely right. At the end of nearly every Monopoly game, only one person is happy.
 
 
+2 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-21 12:04
Even in a poker tournament we slpit the pool...Winner may get all the chips...but he only gets about 40% of the money pool...and the $$$ is at least spread to 10-15% of the players...and at least you know it is a fair competition...s kill and luck required...appa rently in our capitalistic society it is becoming strictly those with the luck get any comensation.
 
 
0 # moverdrive 2012-05-22 08:43
That is not a model of capitalism that all of us support...but, having visited socialist and communist countries, I prefer the compassionate capitalism I see in my part of the world, where my community looks after its own, no one lives on the street, everyone is fed. We could accomplish more, though, if a giant central gov't wasn't taking tax dollars to fund foreign wars, domestic surveillance, expensive re-election campaigns, etc.
 
 
+13 # medusa 2012-05-19 17:06
The locked-in expense on military and its hardware should be mentioned more often in this context. These are contracts and expenditures which are negotiated practically in secret. In the Iraq war, Bush put expenses off-budget. The money seems to go not to soldiers and sailors, but to defense contractors--co mpanies who sell products you never see, under brand names you don't know.
 
 
+3 # RMDC 2012-05-19 17:12
The US is a failed state, the worst failed state in the world. Its government and banks are so filled with fraud and corruption that they are jeopardizing the economies of the rest of the world. Its military industrial complex is out of control, starting wars and killing people just so that it can build more military equipment and bombs.

Failed states are dangerous. They are always run by megalomanical lunatics like Obama and Cheney. They have no human feelings or morality. They are impulsive and arrogant. They kill for pleasure.

Someone needs to put the US out of the world's misery. Drive a stake through its heart. Kill it and save the rest of the world.
'
 
 
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-05-19 19:54
Adios....alread y have enough of this mentality, take them with you to that colony of Newt
 
 
+3 # Glen 2012-05-20 03:48
I agree with you, RMDC. You are not the only one who has made that assessment. I have friends who feel the same but it came as a surprise when they said it. Folks have caught on and even if they don't know the particulars of U.S. history, they know enough.

Many citizens don't realize how they have been herded into thinking in categories such as Democrat and Republican, and those are their only choices. Choices are now more limited due to in-country militarization which will further curtail free thinking.

The death caused by the U.S. government overseas is beyond our ken.
 
 
+7 # okie_mule 2012-05-19 19:24
If you own darn near every meanigful thing in this country, including power, you are optimistic about our future. If you own little of value and are in debt you are realistic about our country's future when you realize that we are in the beginning of a modern version of the dark ages. Welcome to our nighmare.
 
 
-9 # ThePigman 2012-05-19 19:35
What, only five now? Progress at last!
 
 
+5 # fredboy 2012-05-20 08:05
Let's keep in mind what our forebears did when they were suppressed by the rich, powerful, and privileged in the American Colonies. Think 1776.
 
 
+2 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-21 12:08
Luckily they had had future thinking men leading...and evolving...Wash ington was already leaning to the reality that slavery had to go...that the boys that fought so hard for the nation needed opportunity and deserved to have a stake in this new experiment. Maybe Jefferson, Madison and Monroe didn't quite get there...but they helped lay a foundation for human equality...Corp oratacy will undo all that.
 
 
+3 # liberalist 2012-05-20 08:22
Ron Paul says the word "liberty" just as much as Guiliani says "9-11." Hopefully no one takes the old guy to visit Lady Liberty since the inscription would surely cause him to have a stroke.
 
 
+5 # Pondering and Pandering 2012-05-20 09:09
Midwest Tom is right on the mark. Until we end corporate welfare, the increasing benefits the wealthiest among us receive: both flesh and blood Americans and the people known as coporations, our democracy will not survive. As to the war expenses, the killing could stop and we could let the Chinese and Japanese kill each other if that is what Midwest Tom is suggesting. Note that the poor, children, the elderly and middle class do not receive what they need. Is this the "more perfect Union the founders had in mind?
 
 
+2 # letsfixit 2012-05-20 09:36
It's funny to look at the front page of the NYT with the report from Camp David and the worlds leaders. They all call for growth and not austerity. What troubles me is growth today is predicated on debt spending. It works to a point right? Korea had tremendous growth and consumer spending with the introduction of MasterCard and Visa. Now they are back to normal levels- selling their products here- since we don't manufacture anything in the consumer appliance market except high end. What worries me- like Christmas we overcharge on the cards- pay until November to bring the balances down- and start again. Except now we don't pay it off.
Like the govt we charge- and don't pay it off.

The point- how can you declare a growth policy when Spain is 24 percent unemployment (50 percent for youth). Measured productivity is by auto sales instead of construction - and autos now take one tenth the amount of workers vs before due to robotics- and three quarters of them are made outside the nation?

We're being sold a bill of goods about the "right" thing to do.
 
 
+8 # noitall 2012-05-20 10:19
We've got to stop buying SHIT! Christmas, Valentine's Day, every one of those "days" designed to put the guilt into you to buy worthless shit. Without thinking, we're driven into it. Any wonder that the highest suicide rate is during these "thoughtful" times. Want to fix it? Stop buying the shit they put in front of u: resin chairs, "cute" crap, electronic gizmos that so one more thing than your other gizmo. They spend millions pushing this crap and make billions when we bite the hook. The price of this crap? our Natural World, water, air, health, mentality. Do you think that our instincts for life can win over their efforts (and money) to make us self-destruct? Its not looking good so far.
 
 
+2 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-21 12:10
It is not that we need to stop buying, we need to stop buying stuff we don't need. We need to pay off the credit card montly if you use them...just don't go into debt. That is what cause the bubbles...buy a house/apartment you can afford...not one that hangs you out to dry. Stay within your means.
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-05-23 23:30
noitall you are right on the mark. In my family we agreed on that and just give a small present, nothing big and expensive.
We can afford it, but we wanted to get off the rat race, and it is an enormous relief.
No stress, we enjoy the holidays and each other. We are not being told by anyone to buy, buy, buy.
 
 
+8 # noitall 2012-05-20 10:11
No soul, no shame. 99% of us are ashamed of these facts; the other 1% could give a rat's ass. In a free Democracy, the problems would be solved; in a "democracy" for sale, we the 99% can't afford the price demanded by our "leaders".
 
 
+4 # Mrcead 2012-05-20 13:00
Thank You! Not everything lends itself well to American style "draw the well dry" capitalism.
 
 
+2 # carolsj 2012-05-20 20:05
In the 70's the protesters were criticized. America, love it or leave it they said. But we need to fix it or forget it. Can we fix it or is it too far gone. Maybe it will take a total melt down to budge the power elite so people can run the country again instead of corps.
 
 
+3 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-21 12:12
I recall those lines being delivered in the 60"s...we were right about Vietnam, and we still get remarks referring to the anti-war movement as being out of touch...The leadership was and is out of touch with the people.
 
 
+3 # wleming 2012-05-21 06:23
when compiling your next check list, check out the u.s.a. in infant mortality, mass incarceration, inequality between rich and poor, and war driven imperialism. its staggering: and yet an inevitable part of an unregulated, greed driven capitalist system. think what it might be like had we a media.
 
 
+2 # Feral Dogz 2012-05-21 09:31
Quoting Pickwicky:
Perhaps Voltaire was right after all: the best form of government is an efficient and benevolent despotism.


Voltaire was, above all, a satirist. When and where has there ever been an efficient and benevolent despot?

An informed electorate in a real democracy (where the popular vote actually counts) might be able to create a good govt. It would be interesting to try it somewhere, someday in our best of all possible worlds.
 
 
0 # NIKHILANANDA 2012-05-21 14:13
ALOHA.... THAT is the problem!!!... with the one party republicrats controlling the system, and EVERY law, rule, policy against third parties, such as the greens, people feel they HAVE TO vote for the lesser of two evils, which obama IS!!... DEFINITELY, the lesser of two evils, as are most democrats... and with winner-take-all elections, it scares people from voting for greens and others... CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM - Fundamental modifications are needed to the method by which we hold elections; Campaign finance reform and clean elections is the beginning of any discussion. Limit the influence, as much as possible, which money has in politics. Open up media to all candidates. With access to traditional media almost exclusively the purview of members of the two major corporate-contr olled political parties, the alternative ideas expressed by other candidates do not get an balanced discussion by the electorate. All debates and forums must include every candidate for an office, not just the “front runners” or members of the “major” political parties. Besides write-in voting, another progressive change would be to have “ranked” or “instant run-off” voting.
 
 
-2 # moverdrive 2012-05-22 08:39
What privatization?? ? If you're so convinced privatization has failed America, I recommend trying an experiment: tomorrow morning, start a private school or an affordable nutritional supplement/phar maceutical company here in the US. Fill out all the mandatory paperwork, and then give yourself 2 -6 months to see if you still feel there is a climate of 'privatization' here in America. Be sure to keep track of the number of government agencies that descend upon you in ninja suits to make sure you're not competing with political interests and funding.
 
 
+1 # Feral Dogz 2012-05-23 09:21
@moverdrive,

From where I stand, it seems that govt. regulations serve mostly to protect big business. Bureaucrats beat up on small business to justify their existence while taking pay-offs (written off as legal expenses, cost of doing business) from big business to look the other way. Small business owners (overwhelmingly Republicans) then blame "big govt." and vote in their own worst interest. Who do they think pays to get bills passed in congress?
 

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