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The French newspaper Le Monde reports 1.5 million living the American dream on $2 a day

Written by an American Expat who holds an M.B.A. degree living in the E.U.
My email address is: democratsramshield (at)yahoo (dot)com

Surely the death of the American working class dream is not news to the American 1 percent elites. The truth be known simply put they like it that way, as they surely are the architects of the GOP led class warfare against the American working class.

(The Statue of Liberty in the photo below is located in Paris, France and is believed to have become emblematic as the American dream now resides in Europe instead of America). Make the jump»

Constitutional Foundation of the US Economy: Powers are Implied Not Enumerated

Almost every major advance of the US economy has been nurtured or facilitated at some point by the active involvement and encouragement of the national government. It's been a partnership - sometimes uneasy, sometimes close, but a partnership - between government and free enterprise, that has led the development of the US economy. This role of the national government was deliberately written into the Constitution, and touches directly on Constitutional issues that the left has ignored, but which the wrong-wing has long waged a smear campaign against. These issues go to the heart of the question: What is the role and purpose of government? They include such specific issues as the General Welfare clause, states rights, implied versus enumerated powers, and the reach and scope of the Commerce clause.  

Contrary to the idealized wrong-wing myth of the U.S. economy being founded on the principles of laissez-faire, the framers of the Constitution deliberately set out to create a central government strong enough to force the thirteen states into one national economy. To do this, the national government undertook a number of programs and policies to build and strengthen the national economy by encouraging and protecting manufactures and commerce, establishing a national banking system, and promoting and directly assisting the development of transportation. Make the jump»

Saturday Morning Open Thread, Meta-Deficit Debt Ceiling Edition

YouTube: 

The ongoing game of charade in DC is continuing apace, with what appears to be the umpteenth act in a never-ending saga of "kabuki theater in a Potemkin village" over raising the debt ceiling.

The GOP has decided to use this as a tri-blade tool to finish the job of gutting the economy in their efforts to blame the collapse upon the Obama Administration, in spite of the facts & evidence that this whole fiasco began (and accelerated) under the previous Administration with the help of a GOP majority in both houses of Congress.

Unfortunately for them, the video of their efforts to avoid precisely what they're doing now exists - Think Progress posted about it.

Now we just need people to share it widely, and shout down those who are arguing about "compromise" - there needs to be a clean bill, no strings, and not for the short term.

Then the other hypocrisies can be dealt with.

Let's take our nation back and return control of it to the masses.

 

Crown Prince of The Thieves Guild - Bank of America Hindered Federal Investigation

Via the Huffington Post,

NEW YORK -- Bank of America, the largest U.S. bank by assets, "significantly hindered" a federal investigation into the firm's faulty foreclosure practices on potentially billions of dollars worth of taxpayer-backed loans, a federal auditor told an Arizona court.

The bank withheld key documents and data, prevented investigators from interviewing bank employees or asking certain questions, and was slow to provide information, according to a June 1 declaration by William W. Nixon, a fraud examiner and assistant regional inspector general for audit for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector general's office.

Read the full story by Shahien Nasiripour.

The Bank of America has been playing a significant role in mortgage foreclosure fraud and obstructing investigations into their role in the whole mess.

They've become too big, and serve as a double-edged example of what happens when deregulation permits "too big to fail" behemoths to drive roughshod over our economic foundations.

Take your business elsewhere, if you can, when you can. Avoid servicing any members of the Thieves Guild, and call for re-regulating Wall Street and the banks.

Let's get our financial house in order by bringing order - and justice, accountability and due diligence - back to the forefront.

 

Hat-tip to lordrag of Delphi Forums for the heads-up.

  Make the jump»

Schadenfreude: Foreclosing on the Foreclosers - Biting Bank of America in the Assets

For anyone wondering what a good example of schadenfreude may be: this is. From the Daily Kos diary by Unit Zero, which first brought the story to my attention:

Warren and Maureen Nyerges purchased a house from Bank of America for cash, never getting nor needing a Mortgage. BoA in its infinite wisdom screwed up and issued a foreclosure through their attorney. The Nyerges fought and sued the bank, finally winning a judgment after a year and a half of legal wrangling. The Collier County Judge ordered the bank to pay the Nyerges legal fees of $2,534 for the "error". Five months later the bank had still not paid the judgment, so the Nyerges had their attorney do what the bank would have done, seize their assets.

This is one of the few times that one might interchange the term "schadenfreude" with "justice."

 

Bank of America, one of the crown princes of the Thieves Guild, has a habit of foreclosing on the wrong properties.

 

Bare knuckle economics

Cross posted from Real Economics.

I have generally been highly critical of the Obama administration and its economic policies. However, below I link to an unique and very informative DailyKos diary that examines the little-heralded efforts of the administration to improve the economic lot of average Americans by trying to support the manufacturing sector of the economy. Now, while I could easily argue that these efforts are "too little, too late," they do constitute evidence that there are some in the Obama administration who have not entirely fallen victim to the Leisure Class (Predatory Class) mentality described by Thorstein Veblen and our own Jon Larson. In this case, the writer identifies the individual: Ron Bloom, former official of the United Steel Workers Union, and currently special advisor to Tim Geithner and White House director of manufacturing policy.

Bare knuckle economics

Previously published on The People's View.

If you read the Wall Street Journal or right wing blogs, you know who Ron Bloom is. He is special advisor to Tim Geithner and White House director of manufacturing policy. He's a former official at the United Steel Workers Union who helped manage the auto rescue.

Mr. Bloom attended Harvard Business School, where he gravitated to populist business cases and was keenly interested in employee buyouts. After 10 years at investment banks, among them Lazard, he became special assistant to the USW president in 1996.

Both inside and outside the USW, Mr. Bloom is known as a financially savvy negotiator — with a tendency to spout profanities WSJ

Right wing blogs are more straightforward

Is there really any doubt that Obama and his administration are a pack of radical Leftists?

Look for Bloom on Youtube and you'll see - they really really hate him. Here's what got our right wing compatriot's underwear in a twist. Speaking as a union official at " 6th Annual Distressed Investing Forum" Bloom said:

Generally speaking, we get the joke. We know that the free market is nonsense. We know that the whole point is to game the system, to beat the market or at least find someone who will pay you a lot of money, 'cause they're convinced that there is a free lunch.

We know this is largely about power, that it's an adults only no limit game. We kind of agree with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun. And we get it that if you want a friend you should get a dog.

Absolutely nothing that Bloom said is even controversial on Wall Street, but according to American Right Wing Propagandists, working people are supposed to naively believe in the stories told to them by the economists. Read more.

The author also performs the excellent service of criticizing Robert Reich, and liberals and progressives in general, for ignoring and even disliking the manufacturing sector. As the author notes, back in June 2009, Reich opined on the auto bailout by diving fully into the cesspool of a "post-industrial policy": Make the jump»

Wednesday Morning News Roundup: Most Viewed and What's Hot, McClatchy and Al Jazeera Edition

Welcome to Wednesday, 23 March 2011. Traditionally called "Hump Day" in some parts due to its location and identification as the "mid-week" milestone, here is a selection of some of the stories currently catching the most attention at sites like McClatchy and Al Jazeera (English):

McClatchy

Most Viewed Last 24 Hours

  1. S.C. Gov. Haley has appointed 26 campaign donors to posts
  2. China buying U.S. aviation firms
  3. As Mideast roils, Al Jazeera finds its 'CNN moment'
  4. Poll: Public already losing patience with new Congress
  5. Libya assault sets up battle between Obama, Congress

Special Reports

Commentary: Immigration rhetoric

Mary Sanchez: The outrageous suggestion that illegal immigrants could be dealt with like feral hogs flew out of Kansas state Rep. Virgil Peck’s mouth and across the Internet. The fact that it slipped out of his mouth so readily indicates that the tenor of the debate over illegal immigration may be reaching dangerous levels.

Special report: Afghan contracts

The U.S. program to spend billions of dollars on Afghanistan's facilities is failing. Corruption, nepotism and mismanagement hobble the reconstruction.

Investigation: Spending the Stimulus

Medill and McClatchy assess the impact of the Obama administration's economic stimulus package. Its benefits have been uneven across the country.

More on Camp Lejeune water

Scientists studying water contamination at Camp Lejeune have learned of another source of leaking fuel near a drinking well that served thousands of Marines and their families.

Al Jazeera

What's Hot

What's news in your neck of the woods? Let us know in the comments below. And as we begin our descent toward the end of the work week and long slow slide into the weekend, please keep your hands, feet and any miscellaneous appendages inside the vehicle...

Use this as an Open Thread.

"They're not just crazy, they're evil." - The GOP's Ongoing War Against the Poor

Via Susie Madrak on Crooks and Liars comes this stultifying new revelation:

They're not just crazy, they're evil -- and un-Christian, should they have the audacity to claim otherwise. If only we could force them to live like this, they wouldn't last a week:

St. Paul, MN – Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.

[...Read More at Crooks and Liars...]

What's the vehicle that the Minnesota Republicans are proposing for this, and who will it affect?

House File 171 would make it so that families on MFIP - and disabled single adults on General Assistance and Minnesota Supplemental Aid - could not have their cash grants in cash or put into a checking account. Rather, they could only use a state-issued debit card at special terminals in certain businesses that are set up to accept the card.

[...Read more at Crooks and Liars or FightBackNews.org...]

The underlying "thought" process justifying this type of draconian, unConstitutional and highly offensive measure is an unfortunately common one among conservatives and teabaggers alike, from what I've seen. A recent example in the form of an exchange with an individual sympathetic to the Minnesota Republican efforts illustrates this nicely - below is my response to one of his excerpted comments, where he rolls the presumptive meme into his "logic" as a ploy to justify his "thinking:"

>> The reason these rules are put in effect is because the welfare recipients who have cash in their hand will buy liquer, drugs and anything else the want and are prohibited from buying under rules of welfare. Welfare money is for NECESSITIES ONLY. <<

You're making bad assumptions in your arrogant ignorance.

"welfare recipients who have cash in their hand will buy liquer, drugs and anything else the want" - whereas I know welfare recipients who do none of that, and need more than $20 cash to pay their rent or baby-sitter for when they have to go to the doctor.

Several welfare recipients I know of don't have or maintain bank accounts, so don't have checking accounts. When they get their checks, they cash them and then either get cashiers checks (which cost a fee) or make payments in cash to those facilities, utilities, transportation, child-care, medical, retail outlets and individuals who don't or can't accept welfare cards but who provide necessary services.

Just because you have no clue what it takes to live on welfare - or less - per day, per week, per month, that doesn't mean your ignorance is any excuse to make invalid, ignorant, arrogant and mis-informed statements as if they're based on fact.

What continues to amaze me, and shouldn't, is that even as the GOP's plan to further disenfranchise the poor and (shrinking) middle class becomes more blatantly obvious - both in terms of how damning it is for the nation and economy as well as for the affected classes of people - there are still many members of the poor who'd be directly affected by all this, and yet they are so agitated by frustration, conflicting messages and the constant onslaught of propaganda that they continue to vote against their own best interests...which, at this point, also serves to further worsen the GOP-spawned problems that got us into the worst of this mess to begin with.

 

Hat-tip Pulling to the Left for the heads-up.

The Krugman Equation and Ending Political Theater To Save A Nation's Economy

Paul Krugman's OpEd in The New York Times yesterday, titled "Willie Sutton Wept," makes a few very important points for anyone who's truly interested in learning about the factors affecting our current budget 'crunch' and the ongoing debates on what to cut. (Read it here.) He makes three points about the current "budget debate" right off the bat, summarized in my bullet list below:

  1. It's essentially fraudulent
  2. Self-proclaimed deficit "hawks" ~aren't~
  3. President Obama deserves a lot more credit for fiscal responsibility than he's been getting

Most of this boils down to the reality that the current budget "crisis" is ignoring the realities of what is impacting the economy the most, while the kabuki theater that the GOP is performing (and not performing alone) in the Potemkin village of our nation's capital isn't just for show -- it's also damaging our meager recovery. Krugman reiterates what we've already seen from looking at the CBO's numbers and from additional sources -- that the core costs which will rise sharply over the next few years will be from health insurance programs, not Social Security. And the lack of revenues from the additional taxes that we lost due to the tax cuts are making the whole situation much worse.

  Make the jump»

Cataclysmic: The GOP's Politics Are Anathema To Good Government And Fiscal Responsibility

Originally posted 2011-02-17 17:54:35 -0500. Bumped and promoted. -- GH

Yes, it's their strategy. It's part of their practiced meme, and nobody's called them on it. They rinse, repeat and repackage the same tired old b.s. time and again, increasingly ginning up greater crises and fomenting unrest while claiming that government is the problem, and they're the 'solution.'

And too many people keep falling for it.

Well, now maybe more people will begin to wake up and start remembering -- and keep telling each other to stay awake, stay alert and make it through the next election cycle with one goal intact: oust the GOP and their Teapublican buddies, once and for all, from all levels of government if you want to have at least an even chance of beginning to fix the mess that this merry-go-round has been generating.

  Make the jump»

It's a practiced meme.

It's a practiced meme, one which those familiar with the GOP of today saw coming as early as 2004. During the Bush/Cheney fiasco, the GOP engaged in double-book accounting, hoping the inevitable economic disaster would hit AFTER their majority and WH left office -- but they were too greedy.

The habit of spending the country into a tailspin while using various budgeting and economic tricks to falsely stimulated a facade of 'growth' (one that would be the ultimate cause of the resulting collapse back within itself), then blame the other party that comes in to clean up the mess not only for making the mess in the first place but using the mess to further their agenda, restricting spending and cutting social service programs.

It's got to stop, folks.

They had their demands for "investigations" and "impeachment" sounding BEFORE Obama even took the Oath of Office -- what idiot would see and hear that, and still believe that the Republicans were intent on doing ANYTHING akin to actually working FOR the nation instead of actively against it?

They had fought any investigation of the lies that were unraveling which brought us to war in Iraq during their tenure, and steadfastly stood by the then-President Bush when he boldly announced that he had no exit strategy, and that would be something "for the next President" to clean up decide. Who didn't suspect that they intended to ensure that the high costs of war - TWO wars - would help seriously constrain the ability of that "next" President to curtail the spending and stem the bleeding from the GOP's reckless abandonment of duty, Constitutionality and humanity?

They've actively obstructed EVERY measure that the current Administration and the Democratic majority in Congress had tried to pass, and then lied some more in order to influence the weak-minded and the devastated into voting their incompetent, lying asses BACK into office, where they now have the capacity to do even more damage and to FURTHER obstruct any efforts to actually fix the nation's infrastrure, economy and health.

They've been lying repeatedly; the big lies of their candidates and pundits echo cavernously through the rapidly hollowing skulls of their followers and sychophants...and they are never, ever held accountable for the real, lasting and inhuman swath of destruction which their ongoing reign of (T)error wreaks across the planet.

  Make the jump»

Seen "Unemployed Need Not Apply"? I need your help.

Originally posted Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 03:26:02 PM PST over on DailyKos. Reposted with permission on the author's behalf.

There are a lot of unemployed people here on DKos, including quite a number of long-term unemployed. I've seen mention here and there from people who have come across listings that actually, blatantly say something like "No unemployed need apply". I'm trying to track down where those listings are, what state(s) the companies posting them are in, what sorts of positions they are for, the names of the companies, and other such details.

Why? Because I've brought up to my state legislators the problem of people seeing such listings. Frankly, it's a form of discrimination that I feel ought to be illegal, especially in a Great Recession such as this one. I may be able to instigate the passage of legislation forbidding this practice, at least in Washington State, but it would help a lot if I knew where these things were taking place and who was doing this.

  Make the jump»

It Still Adds Up To Murder: Republican "Fiscal Responsibility" Is Killing Us All

Also worth reading: from 2008, Economic Triage: Euthanizing Hope and Promise in the U.S. on ePluribus Media and Murder by Numbers - The NeoConservative Agenda from 2007 (on DailyKos), both by the same author.

You might want to play this in the background:

According to ThinkProgress, Another Patient Dies From Arizona’s Medicaid Cuts As Gov. Brewer Ignores Possible Solutions. From their piece:

__________

As ThinkProgress previously reported, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) advocated for and passed budget cuts last year that cut off urgent transplant funding that was previously promised to 98 Arizonans. In late November, Mark Price, an Arizona father who had been battling leukemia for a year, died due to complications related to chemotherapy treatment he was receiving. Price was awaiting an organ transplant that could’ve saved his life, but he was unable to receive one in time due to Brewer’s budget cuts.

Now, the University of Arizona Medical Center has told the press that another patient passed away in late December because they were unable to get their organ transplant funded.

__________

Just how much is this killer budget savings doing for Arizona?

__________

As the Arizona Republic notes, the savings Arizona is supposed to have by not funding the transplants amount to $1.36 million. As Arizona98.com notes, "The fact our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters (hard-working citizens and good people) have been deemed expendable at a price of $13,877.56 per human life still does not make sense."

__________

It makes plenty of sense...if you're a Republican.

Note, too, that in the GOP's overall zest and zeal to nullify any achievements of the Obama Administration, their desire to repeal the Healthcare bill might hit a couple of snags that go directly against the grain of their "fiscal responsibility" mantra: According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a repeal of HCR would increase the deficit by $230B. That's "Billion" with a capital B.

Of course, this kind of reasoning and hypocrisy shouldn't be anything new or shocking to anyone -- this is effectively the same GOP that drove the nation over the cliff and then into a deep ditch at the bottom after they'd had majority control of our government for 10+ years.

What else did you expect when you turned around and put 'em back into power? ...actual responsibility?

Elizabeth Warren, Economics and Healthcare

YouTube: 

 

A very long, but very good, video of a presentation given by Elizabeth Warren. Try to watch the whole thing for a very informative session.

You can buy her book The Two Income Trap at our Amazon store (just click the title).

Hat-tip Shockwave.

Make the jump»

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