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January 10, 2012 04:35 PM UTC

Tuesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.”

–H. G. Wells


15 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Thread

  1. “The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.”

    I think I’ve lived through too many crisis for it to be a joke.

    Civil Rights – Birmingham, Montgomery, it never seemed to end.

    Assassination of three great men – John, Robert and Martin.

    Vietnam – Kent State



    Shall I go on?

    1. Once again, I’ll rail on the Gingritch’s of the world, and all assorted Republicans who support the MIC and war, while railing against those on food stamps:

      Which brings us to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program. Food stamps. In 2009, the New York Times reported, “Even in Peoria, Ill. – Everytown, U.S.A. – nearly 40 percent of children receive aid.” In 2009, 94 percent of the program’s budget was spent on benefits. Thirty-two percent of recipients were white, 22 percent were African American, 16 percent Hispanic. Forty-seven percent of recipients were children. Another forty-four percent were nonelderly, working-age adults (ages 18 to 59), and nearly two-thirds of those were women. The rest were 60 years-old or older. SNAP provided food assistance to about 40 million Americans at a cost of $53.6 billion, 1.7 percent of $3.1 trillion in federal expenditures. (FY 2009 budget figures used for consistency among available data sets.)

      Just for comparison, the Pentagon had a “base” budget of $515 billion in 2009 to staff and maintain 545,000 facilities at 5,300 sites both in the United States and around the globe (not including tens of billions in GWOT supplementals and other off-budget and “black” budget costs). Thus, it is not easy to determine how much all U.S. security agencies spend on defense annually, nor to separate out how much the Pentagon alone spends just to maintain the offshore portion of our global empire. But drawing on various sources, assumptions, and the fact that one-quarter of U.S. troops are stationed abroad, the Institute for Policy Studies estimated the 2009 costs of our overseas operations (wars included) at $250 billion annually “to maintain troops, equipment, fleets, and bases overseas.”

      So, the Pentagon spent almost half of its “base” budget, or (at least) 8 percent of the FY 2009 federal budget to maintain 865 or more military bases scattered among the world’s nearly 200 countries outside the United States. And many of those outposts are in countries most Americans cannot even name or find on a map. Strategic planner Thomas P.M. Barnett (“The Pentagon’s New Map”) calls security America’s greatest export commodity.

      Now, if there is something else besides personal weakness conservatives cannot abide, it is deadbeats. So one wonders why they focus so much of their ire on the moral hazard of providing food assistance to American compatriots (mostly children) when they spend five times as much on a wide, multicultural world that sleeps under the very blanket of security they provide, and for which the rest of the world pays nothing.

      You want to reduce PTSD? Keep the kids at home.

      1. candidate gang, with the exception of Santorum who refuses to pretend he’s shocked by no holds barred capitalism, are falling all over themselves pointing out that Romney is a selfish corporate raiding capitalist who made his fortune firing people.

        Newt a is actually holding forth indignantly about how capitalism shouldn’t mean a wealthy powerful few manipulating middle class Americans to take money away from them to make those few richer and richer.  

        Considering that all of Republican economic policy, going back to Reagan, is based on just that and that no regulation of the free market and been no class warfare have been their battle cries whenever anyone points it out and demands change, that not only takes a lot of gall but pretty much writes the ads Dems will no doubt use against Romney and Rs in general in 2012.  

        How easy it will be to point out all the legislation, all the actions by GOTP governors, all the past actions, votes and statements of any possible GOTP presidential candidate, even if it isn’t Romney, that has and continues to directly result in the extraction of wealth from the middle class by the corporate elite.  How will Rs be able to attack Dems as “socialist” while taking this tack themselves?  How will they explain how the elite favoring tax code they defend tooth and nail isn’t a huge part of the extraction? Amazing spectacle.

        Go Newt! This Dem could learn to love you in a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” kind of way.  On second thought, not so much.  Let’s say appreciate what you’re doing for us even though you’re so utterly repulsive on every level.

  2. what some commie Dem says and then Newt and friends scream about socialists and class warfare?  Will trying to introduce this message into the spin machine cause total self destruct melt down?

    Soon after that, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took a more macro approach, focusing squarely on Rommey’s time at Bain Capital rather than on any one individual statement.

    “Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful or rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money? Or is that, in fact, somehow, a little bit of a flawed system,” he said to a packed audience of reporters in Manchester. “So I do draw a distinction between looting a company, leaving behind broken families and broken neighborhoods and leaving behind a factory that should be there

    Is this one trip too many to the up is down well?

    And in answer to Newt’s question, why yes, Newt, according to everything Rs, including you, have been doing and saying since Reagan. And every Dem pol in the land has easy as pie access to all the video they need, as well as the voting records, on every R running for election to the presidency or re-election to congress or anything else to demonstrate it. This is really just too delicious.

      1. that is so rich it deserves a tax cut !

        What else is there to say about a man that begs government with hat in hand for a bailout then calls Obama a crony capitalist, and then claims he’s a job creator while getting rich shuttering thousands of jobs ?

      2. This isn’t just a strike against Romney.  Who cares?  It’s a new message completely incompatible with decades of GOP spin based entirely, where economic policy is concerned, on calling Dems socialist class warriors.

        They have no credibility on this at all.  They’ve been all for sacrificing workers to build corporate profit and racing to the bottom on wages for ordinary workers where they can’t export the jobs to cheap labor markets altogether.  

        It’s not that Dems are innocent.  It’s just that it’s the Rs, not Dems, whose entire message is based on painting the other side as anti-capitalist commies. This message and everything they’ve ever said or done up to now are in direct conflict. If Dems are smart, they’ll jump all over this spun out of control spin opportunity and use it to roll over Rs.

  3. Today, Newt started the narrative that will really clobber Romney where it hurts — on Romney’s “business expertise”.

    Newt pointed out that one of Bain Capital’s ventures invested $30 million into a company, then took out $180 million from that company leaving it to declare bankruptcy.  Classic vulture capitalism.  Per Newt, this occurred in at least 3-4 cases involving Bain Capital.

    Back in the good ol’ days of the 1980’s, the first game was to take out massive loans from savings & loans, invest in questionable business ventures and take out huge fees.  If the investment didn’t pan out, you just declared bankruptcy and walked away with your fees untouched (see: Neil Bush).

    After that game was shut down, the next play was to go into a company that had “over-funded” pension funds.  Due to the 1980’s stock market gains, many company pension funds were “over-funded” based on actuarial calculations.  Vulture capitalists went into these companies and withdrew the “excess” pension funds for their own personal use.  They would also borrow massive loans also for their own personal use.  If things didn’t work out just perfectly, many of these companies were forced to declare bankruptcy and close.  (see: original “Wall Street” movie with Michael “greed is good” Douglas).

    If what Newt says is true, that Bain Capital did one of these vulture capital “drain the cash” transactions in at least 3-4 companies, then Obama will be able to destroy Romney in the general election.

    1. to describe this type of capitalism:  the economics of extraction.  Dems should jump on it. American capitalism  used to put  money into the economy by financing  the production of real, concrete wealth, making things, building things, employing people.  Now the big money class simple extract  wealth from the middle class with various unregulated financial schemes that create nothing, certainly not jobs.  

      It’s not economic growth creating more wealth for all of us as it was when we old boomers were growing up.  It’s extracting wealth from the economy for the exclusive use of the elite, leaving everyone else with less. You know.  Like a fun trip to the dentist, getting one tooth after another yanked without anesthesia.

      1. I believe this is one of the key issues that Americans need to understand.  It’s not only that trickle down doesn’t work, has never worked — more importantly, it’s that the powerful wealthy have no intention of creating and growing businesses which employee average folks, at least not in this country.  It’s all about extracting wealth and value from wherever it’s found, for the sole benefit of investors.  That’s a precise definition of a parasite.

    1. Revisiting yesterday’s thread: Romney wants to get this over with as soon as possible. The longer the nomination process drags on, the more anti-Romney messages can be trotted out and field tested in preparation of the general election, and, it will be Republican money paying for it.

    2. With a tweak here and there every Dem running in 2012 at every level can just borrow from Newt. It’s like he’s pre-writing the entire campaign for Dems.

      He may be despicable (no “may” about it) but at least now he’s being a despicable traitor, preferring to chew up and spit out his own out of sheer spite. That’s our Newtie. Wonder if he’s already got wife number 4 on hold, waiting for the book tour/presidential run to be over.  

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