Sunday, October 21, 2012

Greatness has Left the Plantet: George McGovern Dies


In Memory George McGovern (July 19,1922-Oct 21, 2012)
"the Senator"

That's all my brother and I ever had to call him. We knew which Senator we meant. His ill fated Presidential bid in 1972 was our baptism of fire into the world of politics. No more egar, idealistic, stary eyed kids ever burned up the spare time of their sophomore high school year than us. My first crushing political defeat, so devastating it led to my first drunk (the defeat party) and my first hang over (which felt like death).

From the defeat party they dorve me to the home of some guy they knew in the Hill Crest area of Dallas. Upper middle class homes. I'm left in the car while they do in. This guy has an Eastern European name which I wont say but that night I was so drunk I could not say it. So I began wondering the neighborhood knocking on doors and going "is this Less snlorebloxk bosh kie house?" They had to track me down several houses down the way from where they left me.

McGovern was born July 19th, that day day keeps popping up in m life. Herbert Marcuse, another hero died on July 19th and that same July 19, 1979 the Nicaraguan revolution triumphed.


He was a bomber pilot in WWII, he flew a B-24 and was decorated for valor.. Elected to the senate from his native South Dakota in early 60s, he pushed a program of "food for peace," fighting communism by feeding the third world. The Senator was one of the first to speak against the war in Vietnam, a courageous pioneer who was mocked and ridiculed, labeled a communist but who stuck to his guns. When Robert Kennedy was assassinated McGovern was ask to stand in as the replacement candidate for his campaign.

He ran for President again in 84 or 88. and of cousre lost in the primaries and fairly early. He spent his last years in Eruope working for United Nations. See Los Angles Times coverage. McGovern was a Methodist when to a Wesleyan college on the GI bill after the war. He was an avid reader of philosophy and in his college days was taken with the works of Walter Rauschenbusch a leader in the "social Gospel" the forerunner movement of liberation theology.

 His 72 Campaign got off to a rocky start then went down hill. He said he was behind Egalton "a thousand percent." Then dropped him form the ticket when it was revealed he had been in a mental institution. He chose Kenndy bother-in-law R.Sargent Shriver (father of Maria) to replace Egalton. Everyone  began to say "O he just flip flopps all the time and can't make up his mind." Nixon, the master of atheist style campaigning, branded him a communist. People said "he's a wild eyed radical it would be a disaster if he was in." They never read his campagin literature, they didn't know his popsitons on anything. They were certain he was a dangerous radical. He changes his mind all the time. I had debats in every calss I was in. The other side was always stunned with how rational he sounded when I got through. No one changed their minds.

During the campaign I couldn't keep track of how many people said "it doesn't matter, that Watergate thing is no big deal." That next year after Watergate summer everyone said "O guess you were right." some said 'I guess I should have voted for McGovern after all." I lost count of how many people said I see you were right after all.

Just the way people are. they don't reason, they don't bother to learn the facts they just go along get along until it's too late then look to the past and go "we should have listened." But we are not going to listen now!

I think McGovern appealed to the Texan upbringing of my brother and I. We raised to admire the Alamo and the fight-to-the-death-for-your-beliefs mentality. That's what McGovern always symbolized for me. He was a symbol of my youthful idealism, my compassion or the oppressed, and the never say die fighting spirit that's willing to risk and lose all for higher beliefs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was


A book by Joan Walsh. This is an excellent book. Walsh argues that government action built the American middle class in the years after world war II. The things government did to create a strong middle were not available to blacks and Hispanics, until the social action of the 60's opened them up to minorities through the civil rights act. From that point on the Republican propaganda merchants begin selling the white middle class on  a mythical golden age and feeding them the line they did it all themselves by their own worthiness as superior people. They totally forgot about the G.I. Bill, legislation that fair housing possible controlled lending, created cheap housing for middle class families, medicare which freed people from huge expense being wiped by illness in their "golden years."

Walsh, who is white, daughter of a Steam Fitter and union man, traces the rise of the American middle class from the New deal. Republicans in the Reagan era spread about the myth that Roosevelt didn't do anything. By the time that happened most of the old Roosevelt supporters and the adults of the depression who weathered the storm and aw what he did for them, were old and dying and not longer taken seriously by their children. So no on Remembers what Roosevelt did. The New deal a life saver for millions of people. It put the country back to work at a time when unemployment was 30% (we think we have trouble when it's at 8%--it just fell below 8% but no one cares). Even before the new deal American society was a fudealistic culture with the Rich ruling like monarchs in an unoficial capacity and whole states living in darkness with no electricity. Rural electrification was one of the major things that created the middle class, it gave people lights and telephone labor saving devices like washing machines. The old rich monarch of the community is seen, although most people probably don't know it, in the character of Mr. Burns on the Simpsons who is patterned after characters on Orson Well's film "the Magnificent Ambersons." (see about novel) The joke is Burns is so old he's a hold over from a past age int eh 19th century; the old money families are still in charge, as robber barons they ran coal mines, how they run the nuclear power plant.

The Tennessee valley authority is an example of the kind of government help that got the American middle class on its feet. This problem would be called "socialism" by tea party types it's what up American into the 20th century. About the time programs like fair housing started being administered to minorities, Republican pitch began laying the ground work for the Reagan era by spinning myths of a golden age when conservative Christianity was the norm and everyone was a republican and all white Americans pulled themselves up by their own boot straps. That was the major propaganda line for Reagan. The "America is Back" theme harkened unto that non existent golden age. On Tavis Smiley (the dreaded PBS) Walsh talked about how modern conservatives will speak of "getting government out of medicare" as though medicare is not a government program or an entitlement. It is both. It was major thing that made economic independence of the middle class possible.

SF GATE: Book Review

'What's the Matter With White People?'Joel Whitney

Updated 3:16 a.m., Monday, August 27, 2012

Reagan wielded the phrase "welfare queens," and pushed a false view that most recipients were black, lazy and happy not to work. This helped galvanize a false sense among working-class whites that they themselves had never received government help on their way to the middle class. "I once blamed the conflict solely on wealthy capitalists and their politician-servants such as Nixon and [Pat] Buchanan," Walsh writes, "pitting the two groups at the bottom against each other." No more. Her own side, including the race-obsessed left, played, and plays, into this.

In a sense, Walsh sees herself taking up the actual "sweet, reasonable middle." She describes a whiplash, "one day calling out the racism of the president's worst critics, the next day being accused of racial bias by Obama's defenders if I described his disturbingly centrist political maneuvering."Read more:

 Now the myth is that government is always bad, it's destroyed our way of life. what's destroyed the prospects of the middle class is Bush's policies, before him Reaganomics. The Republicans billed the poor "a special interest" while maintaining that the true special interstates (the 1%) are escaping the rising tide of taxes on the middle class. The label democrats "tax and spend" while they themselves are the one's whose tax cuts were primarily for the rich. Rowney's policies put the tax burden squarely on the backs of the middle class while allowing the rich to escape. Obama's tax policy would give the middle class the break and put the burden on the 1% who have 90% of the wealth and don't pay taxes. While middle class feels ignored because Republican rhetoric has made them feel that regulation is to blame for all their problems. It was the destruction of regulation that allowed the near economic collapse at the end of the Bush years, the need for the big bail out of banks. Despite what Romney said in the debate he had campaigned all along on a formula of decreasing revenue and cutting social program (such as medicare which he would replace with a voucher system). So he's just continuing the policies and the myth of the golden age and the self reliant self made boot strap white people who never had relied on government and are now oppressed by too much government. what they really mean by "too much government" but less protection from rip off and more burden on the middle class, few social programs.

 Walsh's book is also a personal memoir of her family. I traces where they came from and what they've been through. This helps the reader relate and to puts our own experiences and our own family histories into focus.


I looked up "what was he accomplishment of the new deal on Yahoo just to see what the popular misconception is:

best answer chosen by voters
The purpose was to give the economy a boost. It's major accomplishment though was to keep us stuck in the Great Depression for years longer while the rest of the world was already recovering and out of their depressions.

Primarily, it tried to put unemployed people to work rather than creating jobs for them to get. The difference being that the jobs created by the New Deal were similar to paying some homeless guy to clean your dining table. Sure it's a nice gesture to help out that person, but it's not any sort of real job that impacts the economy. All it does is end up keeping millions of people dependent on the government so they can keep their pseudo-job since no one else would pay them to do that job.
They didn't create any jobs and it was the New Deal that kept us in the depression. those who lived through unanimous to the least 1% new it saved their lives. The know nothing doesn't even realize the rest of the world was coming out of it because they were trying similar things to the new deal.

 The New deal created millions of jobs. So that perception of it is a total lie. one can find it being taught in economists class all over the country.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Add one seven foot tall yellow chicken to the endange species list


Don't be surprised if we soon see Big Bird of Sesame Street on the corner holding a sign that says "will work for pledges." Romney promised to eliminate funding to PBS. How musch does PBS drain on the budget? Even right wing source like MRC News bulletin shows that PBS is not burden to the budget.

Noel Sheppard
Oct. 4.2012
The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating. [...]

According to Corporation for Public Broadcasting they get about 445 million a year from the government. 

A nuclear air craft carrier costs more, the Nimitz class carriers are about 675 million. New Ford Class carriers will cost 9 billion. So for the price of one of the older style carriers each year we can  fund PBS. So why the big urge to get rid of it? 

Right  wingers have hated PBS for decades. PBS is the ny source of counter information that actually speaks with authoritative research and counters what Republican Presidents have done. It's the bastion of liberal knowledge so republicans hate it. Shows like Frontline and Bill Moyers are Just about the only journalistic efforts that really expose the corruption in American politics. Getting rid of PBS would be a major step toward controlling the news and information.

Nixon tried to cut funding of PBS in retaliation for WGBH of Boston and their failure to report favorably upon his campaign. One of the people who helped save it was Mr. Rogers (yes the really nice guy). Here are some quotes:

  • "We deal with such things as the inner drama of childhood. We don't have to bop someone over the head to make drama...We deal with such things as getting a haircut. Or the feelings about brothers and sisters, and the kind of anger that arises in simple family situations. And we speak to it constructively."
  • "We've got to have more of this neighborhood expression of care.  This is what I give.  I give an expression of care everyday to each child to help him to realize that he is unique."
  • "And I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear  that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health."

Rogers's address to the hearing was really moving  even the chairman commented on it. (see Video)

Alternative Soruces of Funding for PBS
a research document by CPB (summary p 45)

 A reduction or elimination of CPB funding will put a 63% (251) of radio stations and 67% (114) of television stations in the public broadcasting system at risk:
–19% (76) of radio stations and 32% (54) of TV Stations that currently operate at a minimum practical cost level, and would be at a high risk of closing
–44% (175) of radio stations and 35% (60) of TV stations have a history of operating deficits and would suffer reduced effectiveness or closure under increased financial pressure
These numbers are expected to increase over time:
–Under an optimistic scenario, an additional 3 TV stations and 2 radio stations would not be able to cover minimum practical costs in 2015
–Under a pessimistic scenario, an additional 5 TV stations and 17 radio stations would not be able to cover minimum practical costs in 2015

If Romney is willing to but PBS funding when it is inexpensive compared to other projects, how safe will social programs such Social Security Disability be? If he uses the opportunity to knock off a major source of information that might expose corruption in government, what does say about the kinds of things he might pursue as policy? What does that say about his commitment to an informed citizenry?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Take on the Debate


When I was in high school and college debate we had a saying, used at both levels, "who won on the flow?" "The flow" refers to the flow sheet, the legal pads almost all debaters use upon which we would take a special kind of notes designed to getting down everything in that debate format. The reason we distinguished between winning 'on the flow' and 'on the ballot' is becuase there's a disparity. Often we would win the issues according logic an evidence and lose because the judge was not a debater, didn't understand what we were talking about, and would vote on whatever extraneous factor she find, like who was most handsome or the color of a tie. In the Presidential debates last night it seems the spin doctors and the press are saying Romney won. I supposed he may have won on the ballot but he didn't win on the flow.

I think what happened is most people expected Obama to put Romney away. Romney has said some stupid things (we forget the 47% quote was a candied shot after an event--he didn't say it to the public and he's not stupid, he's not going to say that in the debate!). When he came out, spoke well, smiled, looked confidence and knew how many beans make five, it seemed like he's winning. Obama looked tried and apprehensive. That make him look frustrted and being frustrated make it seem he's losing. I felt he was thinking "this misconception of Rowney's is too complicated to explain here." So in other words I don't believe Obama lost, but he looked like he was losing.

Are we going to let little extraneous factors determine the outcome? Are we voting who tie we like the best? Probably. Hey I still content that's why Reagan won. I suggest we nominate David Letterman, I like his ties. The trust of it is Obama did not put Romney away even on the issues. I never thought Romeny was a fool. He's an opportunist and will be much more likely to side with the right than the left. The few reasonable seeming things he did as governor or Massachusetts were probably due to the fact that the legislature was overwhelmingly Democrat. Actually, I have to admit I don't think Romney lost all that badly on the flow (on the issues). I do think he lost, but it was close. It was the closeness that makes people just feel Obama lost. If in fact people feel that. So far I have sen a lot pundits telling me how I feel but little evidence of how people really feel.

One problem that made debating the issues difficult is that Romney's basic ideology is republican trickle down theory. That means that they automatically equate saved money for the rich with stimulus and investment that creates jobs, they don't equate it with lack of revenue. So all of the Republican nominee's estimates about what he will cover, what he will do, how he will pay for things he's assuming something that has never worked out historically. For example in the 80s Regan tax cuts for Steel industry were not spent on updating plants, they were spent investing in oil; this gave the inverter profits but created few jobs. Another assumption Romney made is that 'green energy' doesn't produce jobs, which it does. At several points he kept saying how much money Obama was wasting investing in green energy. He knows the average voter doesn't know about the multiplier effect and doesn't trust green energy, and doesn't see the necessity of it. Romney stated flatly "I'm interested in clean coal." Clean coal doesn't' exist. It requires every expensive scrubbers to clean it an those are not mandated so they don't have to use them. They are cost prohibitive so they wont install them. Coal is the most polluting form of energy. The first study to quantify deaths from pollution was largely quantifying coal pollution, that was the Leave and Suskin study of the early 70s. Yet Obama seemed too tired to answer this so he let it go with minimal defense of green energy as a choice.Americans have been groomed by Republican administrations not to trust global warming senierios so he President was probably leery of getting bogged down in a  debate about that.

Another point at which I feel Obama won on the flow was about raising revenue. At one point Romney said "I will not raise taxes on high income" he also said he would not raise taxes middle income. He kept saying they would pay for programs by not spending differently, obviously he means cutting social programs. Obama did talk about they wont have the revenue and the elderly will be on the street. Romney asserts his play will grow the economy and we will have revenue because wee will be creating jobs and the economy will be growing. That's a good dream on paper but what if it works like he Regan tax cuts which allowed the rust belt to determinate and put steel industry out of business? Historically that's what happens when you cuts taxes for the right, they do not create jobs they invest in non labor intensive profit making ventures. Obama did allude tot his but he didn't clarify. Yet he did npoint out the capital short fall. He pointed out the Romey voucher program will cost the average elderly person six thousnd dollars years in permiums and medicine and repealling the health care reform will take away the cheap meds for the elderly. Romney did not respond.

Another area where Obama won hands down was the issue of leaving medicaid to the states. That will be a total disaster. Romney's answer indicates he doesn't understand the issue. He talks about how the states want that. He indicates that because that's what the states would prefur that means they will do a better job. It doesn't dawn on him (or does it?) the reason they want it is because it will enable them to put that money in other things they can't pay for now and cut befits to the poor and elderly. The states with Republican governors are the reason the stimulus package didn't work. They spent the money on things already being done that they couldn't pay for. What would change that with Romney? Especially since he so enthusiastic about leaving it tot he states. Obama pointed this out but he didn't point out that in the sixties the state administration was one of the major means of circumventing the war on poverty. then you have places like Texas where they have raised raiding the funds to an art form. Perry is now in a suit where a state legislator is charging that he took from the education fund to pay for other things, and denuded state education. We know that will happen again. So leaving it to the states is a disaster.

The horror that awaits us from a Romney administration is clear, but in last nights debate it was well disguise beneath a confident smile, affable manner, and competent seeming air. I still think this was all just window dressing and if one studies Romney's answers one sees it's not pretty what he's leading us into. Obama won on the flow and we should understand and take it seriously.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

America: Best Democracy Money Can Buy

 Thomas Frank

Americans are all dispossessed millionaires. Even if we are unemployed and have no money we are not working class, we are really rich we are just waiting for the money to come. We see ourselves as middle or above we always identify with the interest of the rich. Rather than place the blame for your current depression on those who caused it, the rich, the capitalist, the bankers, we place it on those who tried to stop it, the regulators. We all millionaires just being persecuted and held back by evil liberals who resist wealth by government regulation. We totally forget we just fought two wars and long and costly as Vietnam (tw0 at once) and went through a housing crisis what saw the devastation and theft of most middle class neighborhoods, brought on by unrestrained greed which uses houses as poker chips rather than places families can live, and a bail out of the banks to cover their own greedy mistakes, paid for by tax payers; the then turned around and dictated to us government policy at the cost of down grading our national credit. We have totally forgotten that the republicans refused comprise and almost allowed the government to go under, are trying to destroy social security, while lying about the nature of health care reform. We replace these memories with pretense that all we need is more capitalism, more pandering to greed, get the evil liberals out of the way and let the rich have more profits form our labor and purify the nature of our worship of money and they we will all be millionaires.

Thomas Frank's book Pity the Billionaire is a good reminder of reality, and Bill Moyer's Interview with him is eye opening.

This interview with Moyers was broadcasted last night, June 16, 2012. deals with the supreme court decision on Citizen's united and Thomas Frank's book Pity the Billionaire.

The Frank interview deals with the overall system of "free market" and the grass roots right-wing populism that has sprang up to promote it. Franks argues that in the near economic collapse at the end of the Bush administration and the we saw the failure of the entire system. All the problems can be traced to deregulation. All the things we had been doing for short term profits, blinding ourselves to ethics, opening the field to money, power and influence all goes back to de-regulating. Yet Ameircans have never before been more enamored of the idea that regualition is villian and less government is the answer. The whole problem we face today is the result of not regulating the market, allowing big money to get bigger. The populace has never been fleeced before like they are now. Like goo obedient lemmings they they march off the cliff reciting the mantras of big money and capitalism. Never before have Americans been more willing to believe that if we just take the restraints off free market everything will even out in a God ordained natural economic democracy.,

Pity the Billionaire by Thomas Frank - review

Pity the Billionaire tells of the rebirth of right-wing populism after its submergence in 1996. The Tea Party movement in America today is driven by a vision of utopian capitalism, Frank observes, "at the precise moment when free-market theory has proven itself to be a philosophy of ruination and fraud". The bailouts that Bush began, Obama continued as if no change of plan were necessary with a change of administration and mandate; but "the bailouts were one of those moments that crushes the faith of a nation". The new populism that Frank describes is a feverish reassertion of faith.

There were available remedies for the collapse besides charging the losses to taxpayers. One solution would have been to put the zombie banks into receivership. Another was to bring the financial industry under regulation again (as suggested by Paul Volcker, Obama's leading economic adviser until he became president). The explanation for such steps could have been simple; but instead, Obama in 2009 spoke vaguely of "fundamental change" even as he became the guardian of the financial status quo. Either of those moves alone would have been risky. Their combination was toxic. By using big government to protect the firms that were deemed too big to fail, Obama supplied new grounds for every suspicion that government could not be relied on to help ordinary people.

In addition tot he Frank interview Moyers talked about Money buying elections and the supreme court decision. He also interviewed Mother Jone's editors Carla Jeffery and Monika Bauerkein, who talked about their book Dark Money, "the conspiracy of cash that allows the rich to influence our most fundamental political freedoms. On the show, Bill calls out some of the biggest super PAC donors, revealing how easy it is for the wealthy one percent to sway an election.."

The re-call election of Walker (Wisconsin) saw 14 billionaires outspending the unions by eight times. To ensure that America doesn't become a socialist state ran by unions Texas Oligarch Tom Perry and Billionaire Diane Hendrix gave huge amounts of money. The Court deicsion sets this up, it sets up the possibility of "dark money" campaign expenses that can't be traced. We don't know who is buying influence.

I did a piece on the re-call when the campaign began (March 2011) on my blog Need More Shovels.

Capitalism without failure

“Let’s face it,” the founder of a super PAC recently told Mother Jones magazine. “Politics in this country is coin-operated.” True enough, as evidenced by the billions projected to be spent in this year’s elections — untold amounts of it unleashed by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. Even with all that money being cashed in, the busy check-writers and the influence they purchase remain largely hidden, including those who helped Republican Governor Scott Walker dramatically out-fundraise his Democratic challenger to win last week’s recall election.
Don't miss this amazing episode of Moyer's show. This interview is devastating and alarming but it has to be seen by every voter in America. Email it to your friends.

Watch Interview (Pitty The

Frank did a impervious interview with Moyers about how Ameicans had forgotten (by as early as 2010) what things were like before Obama.

Watch The previous Frank Interview

I am in the wrong 47%


I am a victim and I'm entitled. I'm largely a victim of my own stupidity and I'm entitled to all the rights granted in the bill of rights. I don't see why everyone should not be entitled to or granted the basic right to food, medicine, shelter, and safety. Why should I deny myself what I am willing to grant others? 

The major mistake made by the Obama 47 is that they are too obstinate to ask their parents for money. If they would barrow that money form their parents no one would be poor. The economy is still bad and people are still hurting but things are going to pick up in the next couple of years. On ABC News today they talked about five million jobs will be added to the economy in the next two years. Here are a couple of other sources that echo that news.

 White planes

America's economy will continue its recovery this year and next as it adds nearly 5 million jobs and unemployment falls below 8 percent, say University of Michigan economists.
"The performance of the U.S. economy during much of 2011 did nothing to alter the perception that we were mired in a sluggish recovery," said U-M economist Joan Crary. "Indeed, by late summer economists were considering the likelihood of a double-dip recession.
"The economy regained some momentum during the fall, however, with the closing quarter registering some of the best economic readings of the year. Although the economy is growing at a subpar rate to begin 2012, we expect the pace of economic activity to accelerate over the next two years as the economic headwinds that have plagued the recovery begin to abate."

In their annual spring forecast update of the U.S. economy, Crary and colleagues Daniil Manaenkov and Matthew Hall say that employment rises at a moderate pace, consumer spending increases, the housing market picks up, vehicle sales improve and inflation remains in check in 2012 and 2013.
They predict that payroll employment will rise by 2.5 million jobs during 2012 and 2.3 million during 2013, an average of 200,000 jobs per month.

 Obama can't take all the credit because part of it is due to lower energy prices due to the boom in natural gas mined form shale (such the boom in gas drilling in Ft. Worth). Lower energy prices have contributed to boom in productivity and thus in sexpots, according to Scot Malone. (Boston, Reuters). Neither can he take all the blame. The stimulus packed did help and Republicans are holding the jobs bill back and thus negating a million Job increase that would come from that (Daily Kos)

A year ago today, Republicans began blocking the passage of the American Jobs Act. This is not a happy anniversary. Without Republican obstruction, the very jobs report that Republicans are crowing about as proof of the President's failings would instead show an increase in hiring and GDP.
On September 8, 2011..........President Obama laid out a series of policy proposals known collectively as the American Jobs Act. The plan included stimulus spending in the form of immediate infrastructure investments, tax credits for working Americans and employers to encourage consumer spending and job growth, and efforts to shore up state and local budgets to prevent further layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public safety officials. The American Jobs Act never became law....because Republicans opposed it from the start, blasting it as another form of “failed stimulus” that wouldn’t help the economy. (They ignored the fact that the first “failed stimulus,” the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, wasn’t a failure at all.) One month later, the GOP blocked the bill in the Senate, preventing the creation of more than a million jobs and the added growth that multiple economists predicted would occur if the bill passed:
    –Moody’s Analytics estimated the American Jobs Act would create 1.9 million jobs and add two percent to gross domestic product.
    –The Economic Policy Institute estimated it would create 2.6 million jobs and protect an addition 1.6 million existing jobs.
    –Macroeconomic Advisers predicted it would create 2.1 million jobs and boost GDP by 1.5 percent.
    –Goldman Sachs estimated it would add 1.5 percent to GDP.