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A diary of a  Obama voter!
(Written by an American expat who holds a M.B.A. degree and lives in the E.U.)
Updated and republished.

 WELCOME TO GOVERNMENT BY THE BANKS FOR THE BANKS!!
Have banks through corporate personhood become sovereigns rivalling the power to destroy the power of the voter and the nation state? This diary looks at what the cost of total capitalism is for America!

Der Spiegel: Total capitalism is America's true ruler, and it has the power to destroy the country!
http://www.spiegel.de/...

Der Spiegel:American abyss, the debt drama of the next few months, the showdown and duel between Democrats and Republicans over which party can blame the other one for a NATIONAL BANKRUPTCY.
http://www.spiegel.de/...
Please note:O8 was only the 1st phase of the financial crisis! GET READY FOR A 2ND CRASH.
 Der Spiegle quote:Rarely has it been as roundly confirmed as during the first phase of the financial crisis, when homeowners deeply in debt lost the roof over their heads, while banks, which had gambled with their mortgages, remained in business thanks to taxpayer money.

------------------------------------------------------------------

                                           DEATH OF THE AMERICAN DREAM
Just before the elections the German Der Spiegle wrote:

Spiegel quote:Germans see the US election as a battle between the good Obama and the evil Romney. But this is a mistake. Regardless of who wins the election on Tuesday, total capitalism is America's true ruler, and it has the power to destroy the country.
Clearly the weak American social safety net has become an international badge of shame, worn with pride around the necks of American capitalist elites who have put America up for international pillory as a pariah state wherein estimates show 1.5 million Americans live on less than $2 a day, which is on par with many third world nations.
----------------------------------
Le Monde quote:
"on February 24, the USA Today daily published a feature on extreme poverty in the United States, reporting that the number of families living on less than $2 a day had more than doubled in 15 years, going from 636,000 in 1996 to 1.5 million in 2011."
-----------------------------------
The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 40 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane.
KISS GOLDMAN SACHS GOODBYE
November 7, 2012
by Barbara Ehrenreich

 "We are a nation of the very rich and the very poor,.......”

"Rhetoric about an imagined universal “middle class” won’t cover up the gaps. I’m waiting for Obama to recognize the existence of widespread poverty — not just the 15 percent who are officially under the poverty line, but the 30 or more percent who barely getting by from week to week. Mr. President, kiss Goldman Sachs goodbye and bail out your real constituency!"
http://billmoyers.com/...

As over half the Members of congress are millionaires who favor the family values of the rich and their bank this has caused Der Spiegel to print headline asking has America become a OLIGARCHY?
Der Spiegel quote:Has America Become an Oligarchy?
http://www.spiegel.de/...
Jobless Benefits That Never Run Out IN SUPPORT OF REAL WORKING CLASS FAMILY VALUES!
Unlike in the U.S., in Germany jobless benefits never run out. Not only that -- as part of their social safety net, all job seekers continue to be medically insured, as are their families.

In the German jobless benefit system, when "jobless benefit 1" runs out, "jobless benefit 2," also known as HartzIV , kicks in. That one never gets cut off. The jobless also have contributions made for their pensions. They receive other types of insurance coverage from the state. As you can imagine, millions unemployed Americans who have no benefits seems like a horror show to Europeans,which is made worse by the fact that the U.S. government does not provide any medical insurance to American unemployment recipients. EUROPEANS ROUTINELY RECOIL AT THAT IN DISBELIEF AND DISGUST!

Der Spiegel quote:“Writer Mark Twain coined the phrase "the Gilded Age" to describe that period of rapid growth, a time when the dazzling exterior of American life actually concealed mass unemployment, poverty and a society ripped in two ………….

 http://www.spiegel.de/...

WELCOME TO GOVERNMENT BY THE BANKS FOR THE BANKS!!
While they have you watching the left, right politics the true replacement
Governments, the Banks are taking over the world. While this is true
everywhere now, it is however remarkably worse in America. The unelected power of interest on the debt promulgated by the banksters rivals the power of the elected Government, and voters. As such forms a new sovereign shadow government that is corporatist and anti-democratic.

Der Spiegel quote:"Because governments are in disagreement, bodies are taking their place that are turning into ersatz governments: the central banks.

and therefore had to be rescued with taxpayer money."

  In the United States, the national debt has grown in the last four years from $10 trillion to more than $16 trillion,as more and more municipalities FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY."

Did total capitalism win the U.S. elections?
Despite the fact the 2012 elections cost over $2 billion dollars, essentially bought by private capital (primarily financial capital). These elections are essentially depoliticized, focusing instead on so called character qualities of the candidates largely in what may only be referred to as a media public relations extravaganza! Wherein issues that confront the great American working class in the GOP led class warfare are never substantively addressed except in all but the most forgettable sound bytes. Therefore the American public has become completely atomized at this turn of events, wherein millions are angry and confused, no longer knowing the way out.
“Guardian.co.uk - Weakening the welfare state just doesn't add up
“the US government is too ready to stimulate its economy with badly thought-out tax cuts or pork-barrel public spending increases, and to take appallingly stupid risks with monetary policy.”

“Rajan is no liberal softie; he is a former chief economist of the IMF – and one of the few economists who can honestly claim to have forecast the global financial crisis. America's weak social safety net, in which so many benefits are time-limited to make finding a job a life-and-death issue, is one of a series of deep global fault lines. Rajan admires well-designed, strong social safety nets such as those in Germany and Scandinavia, that do not remove work incentives but look after people out of work. They take the pressure off governments to take wild risks to create employment.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

-----------------------------------------------
New York Times quote:
“The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.”
http://www.nytimes.com/...
-----------------------------------------------
This time mainstream European media sources have warned us of a coming second crash, which is being engineered at this moment by the Wall Street banksters.

ALMOST 2 YEARS AGO DER SPIEGEL WARNED OF A 2ND CRASH! NOW THESE WARNINGS CAN NO LONGER BE IGNORED EVEN BY THE  CORPORATE U.S. MEDIA!

(Quote from Der Spiegel: "From Wall Street to be thrown onto the street")
"For many families the American dream became the American nightmare. Their falling into poverty placed them outside of the consciousness of American politicians, who placed greater value on campaign contributions than on the worries of the silent majority.

America seems to have a short memory.
BROKERS ARE CELEBRATING THE END OF THE CRISIS. WHILE THE CRISIS IS BEGINNING TO REPEAT ITSELF, THE BANKS ARE JUST SHAMELESS IN THEIR SPECULATION AS THEY WHERE BEFORE THE CRASH."
(Block quote based on writer’s paraphrased interpretation of German text of the magazine Spiegel December 30th 2010 issue)

http://www.spiegel.de/...

Of course in America the rich can never be asked to pay their fair share of the taxes.

To win in America all we have to do is to care about each other and stick together!
If we are looking for change we must look to the Occupy movement to provide
that peaceful nonviolent approach to change in helping to elect better
progressive politicians to public office. The Occupy movement and the
American unions are the last great hope of the American working class dream!!

Originally posted to Democrats Ramshield on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:47 AM PST.

Also republished by Global Expats and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It is crystal clear (34+ / 0-)

    to me too. But Like you I do not live in the USA. Must have something to do with it.

    And yes ... another crisis is coming because so far almost nothing has been done to reform the system.

    The interesting thing is that US debt levels are in many cases worse than in Europe yet Europeans have a far superior social safety net, less income inequality, fewer people in jail, longer vacations .....

    SO ... the key question is how can Europe do better when starting with less (for example having fewer resources including energy resources). The answers should be clear ... in the US out of control defense spending and lack of national health care act as huge brakes on economic efficiency. Unequal access to quality education and stupid drug laws merely add to the mess (the US has the highest incarceration rate on the planet).

    In theory things are fixable ... but as always it will take a crisis. The problem is that with the US dollar as world reserve currency, delaying the crisis, by the time the crisis comes it may be too late.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:10:36 AM PST

    •  Please recommend taonow's post (15+ / 0-)

      I couldn't possibly agree with you more. Additionally living outside of the US is a great way to get perspective, as we are finally able to escape the propaganda of the for profit corporatist American media which serves a brainwashing function, so as to favor the owners of those for profit media outlets. Far be it for the American media to ever bite the hand that feeds it with any consistency. People talk about how great the American media is, surely they're right. The American corporatist media is the best media money can buy.

      sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:14:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem is not with what we spend; (13+ / 0-)

      it is with what we don't spend.
      If you compare currency to writing, as a record-keeping system, then restricting the availability and access to money is like restricting access to literature and the ability to read and write. The comparison is not frivolous and not only because, in our not so distant past, certain populations were denied access to communications technologies.  Indeed, it is estimated that 30% of the current adult U.S. population is functionally illiterate. This is not a happenstance. It is the result of a desire to keep certain segments of the population in penury so a heirarchical social system can be maintained. Hierarchy isn't just about feeling superior; it's also about making others inferior.

      We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:57:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  making and keeping others inferior (2+ / 0-)

        serves to illustrate what motivates the 47& of the electorate (i thought you had to be literate to vote) who chose the ken doll corporate raider

        •  Confidence men are actually not new in the (3+ / 0-)

          U.S.
          Melville and Hawthorne and Twain wrote about them. I think my favorite book is "The Confidence Man in American Literature," an academic tome by Gary Lindberg, who died too young.

          Confidence means "with faith," which is a necessary attribute in the face of an uncertain future. Trouble is that it is easily abused by charlatans and flimflam men and tricksters of all kinds. I suspect they succeed in part because the majority of human kind is generous. Think how the word "kind" is both an adjective and a noun. We are supposed to be kind to our own kind, but often we're not.

          We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:42:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  To isabelle - Louisiana library funding eliminated (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias, isabelle hayes

          As a librarian, I know you're interested in adult literacy as I noted from your comment. The sad truth is too many adults in America aren't able to read. This is particularly sad at a time when libraries are being defunded , as is the example in Louisiana. To that end, I wrote a diary about it that I'd like to if I may please give you and the other readers a link to.  

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

          by Democrats Ramshield on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:01:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  TPTB think that a huge military and huge banks (3+ / 0-)

      are necessary and sufficient so that the sun never sets on the empire.

    •  We can win if we all stick together! :-) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto

      sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:04:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have to ask: (0+ / 0-)

        We can win what?

        Meanwhile, nice presentation. I'm working on a piece that incorporates one of your Spiegel sources, which I thought you framed nicely.

        Still, they all point to the global decline of a superpower, which one can hope is handled gracefully. What is there to win beyond that?


        A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

        by Pluto on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:35:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  That National Poverty Center graphic is done wrong (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    furi kuri, cotterperson, Pluto

    It looks like whoever made it didn't have enough coffee that day. :o(

    Instead of two bars whose lengths are proportional to 636,000 and 1.46 million (one more than twice as long as the other), it seems to show two bars proportional to 1996 and 2011 (almost the same size).

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:27:10 AM PST

    •  to lotlizard - no it's just limited space (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DuzT, lostinamerica

      I think the chart in consideration of the article it appeared in originally was limited by space. The data that it contains is correct, and that's the important issue which is a shocking rise in poverty between 1996 and 2011, which seems to have escaped your notice.

      sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:37:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Two Ironies (18+ / 0-)

    The national debt is still mostly held by Americans. Of the fifteen trillion dollars China holds only a tiny fraction of that, at just over $1.1T. Wealthy Americans hold the largest percentage of the debt and that is because it is the only long term safe investment on the planet. In fact, we can sell as much debt as we want without raising the interest rate. Most of the folks in the US buying the debt are card-carrying wealthy Republicans. This is their safety net. Yet the Republican Party is using this issue to bash Democrats.

    The second irony is that Democrats are using the deficit to produce a recovery. It's barely working and one could argue, as Krugman does, that the deficit ought to be much larger generating a much larger stimulus. Unfortunately it all comes down to gambling. If the national debt produces a long term drag on the economy then we are screwed. The way out of a large national debt is through the twin mechanisms of rapid growth and inflation. That's how we survived the post WWII debt, which was higher relative to GDP than the current debt. The irony here is that in order to create a decent economy for the middle class we are creating long term financial security for the wealthy. Their advantage is secure, ours is a big, big gamble.

    There is a way out of this mess, but it requires vision, intelligence, a scientific understanding of how our free market economy really works, and a political system that is independent of economic privilege. That doesn't describe our current state.

    •  Excellent points /nt (4+ / 0-)

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:37:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Those big investments in US bonds is funded (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yoduuuh do or do not, Pluto

      by very low taxes on the rich.  So the money that is supposed to be fueling the economy is just going back in a direct circle to the government.
      The US keeps piling up debt with zero impact on the economy.

      These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel. Abraham Lincoln

      by Nailbanger on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:07:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Compressed but informed points. (0+ / 0-)

      All worth discussing at length, which naturally leads to:

      There is a way out of this mess, but it requires vision, intelligence, a scientific understanding of how our free market economy really works, and a political system that is independent of economic privilege. That doesn't describe our current state.
      The US is a mighty monied military hammer.

      But the rest of world evolved beyond the "nail" stage a long time ago.

      One of them is heading for a dead end.


      A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

      by Pluto on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:51:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A sovereign nation which issues its own (15+ / 0-)

    currency cannot go bankrupt. If there is a shortage of money, it is because the issuers and the users are hoarding it.
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:48:48 AM PST

    •  It drives me crazy when people compare our... (4+ / 0-)

      economy with that of countries of Greece or Spain, who truly are in danger of collapse. The differences being that we're exponentially bigger, more diverse, and we use our own currency. Consequently, we essentially control our own fate.

      Not saying that's necessarily a good thing -- considering the fact that our government is currently controlled by a cartel of stark, raving lunatics megalomaniacs. But at least, as a country, we won't be going into default anytime soon.

      In other words, unless or until we can wrest control away from the corporatists, the American people will continue to languish while they luxuriate in opulence.

      But, on the bright side; I'm reasonably sure the plutocrats will keep the lights on when the bills are due, which means We the People won't have to toil in the dark.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:42:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  U.S. Can't b/c our debt is in dollars (9+ / 0-)

      We have a huge advantage because were are in effect the world's currency and debts are in dollars. If needed we can always print more money and devalue the dollar.

      Iceland effectively declared bankruptcy after banks there, with loans in other currencies, went bankrupt. Those banks had loaned out more money than the GDP of Iceland.

      Iceland's economy is on the rebound because they didn't back those banks. Debt destruction is the cure for excessive debt. Bankruptcy can be a good thing because it can wipe the slate clean.

      Spain, OTOH is in deep trouble because their government backed the banks instead of backing the people of Spain and because they are part of the Euro.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:44:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, the Euro experiment is unique. (7+ / 0-)

        Having a single currency is not bad, as our fifty states can attest. What's bad is putting a limit on the quantity of currency in circulation.
        Currency is a unit of measure, like an inch or a centimeter. It has no intrinsic value, unless it is incorporated in a precious metal, as it no longer is.
        When Nixon freed the dollar from the bands of gold, his object was to prevent international speculators from holding our currency hostage. He did not anticipate that our own Congress and their henchmen on Wall Street would do so.

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:04:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Iceland did not declare bankruptcy, (0+ / 0-)

        "effectively" or not.  Iceland has always honored its debts.  Heck, even the private banks are paying off their debts - just late.

        And, FYI, of the loans that Iceland took during the crisis, a lot of the money was used to prop the banks back up.

    •  Trouble is, in a financial plutocracy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deward Hastings

      printing more money will never happen.  The big banks have effectively taken over that function for their own benefit.

      •  That's exactly what "derivatives" did . . . (0+ / 0-)

        with no small amount of help from the Fed.  They created "new money" that was entirely in the hands of the scum sucking filth.

        And the Government, with quiet deliberation, let them do it.

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 09:42:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's Perfectly Obvious to Many of Us Living Here. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DuzT, isabelle hayes, TJ, Don midwest

    Has been since we turned onto this road over 40 years ago.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:27:33 AM PST

  •  Could you source this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rudyblues, furi kuri, kck
    estimates show 1.5 million Americans live on less than $2 a day, which is on par with many third world nations.
    You are aware that that number is approximately equal to .5% of our population? (311,XXX,XXX)  how many 3d world countries can post that low a number?

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:29:26 AM PST

    •  to exlrrp - that is entirely unacceptable (5+ / 0-)

      1.5 million people in America living on $2 a day is entirely unacceptable and cannot be whitewashed with statistical analysis. These are our fellow human beings, our fellow Americans. This is an international badge of shame!

      sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:56:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Still like to know the source for your numbers (0+ / 0-)

        I think we ought to ccompare them with  germany, France and the UK, anyway.
        your posts always make me look  stuff up.

        In the US, income per capita was about 1/3rd above the euro area and EU averages.

        Now do you see how that works? I post a statement and simultaneously post the refererence. I do that because I am well aware, as Mark Twain said, that there are lies, damn lies, and statistics and that 97.63% of statistics quoted are made up.

        A source for that number please? and comps for Germany france and UK? Thats all I'm asking. Call it---oh, ---facts checking

        Danke

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:36:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  in germany pretty much (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Siri

          anyone can get hartz 4, which alone plans in 4 euro for food every day, and other stuff (the money you get is 374 per month and they will take over your rent if it is below i think 400 euros a month). This is not to defend hartz 4 which was a horrible policy but it is pretty much impossible for people to be living on 2 dollars a day here.

          "We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

          by Mudderway on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:51:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The comparison was to 3d world nations (0+ / 0-)

            here are nations Ive been to that could be categorized as 3d world: Mexico, guatemala, Costa Ricaa, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Vietnam, Phillippines.
            the USA is not like these at all and any number that says it is is pure BS.

            I am VERY interested to see what the comparable number for that is for Germany. Is that number obtainable? Or did we only arrive at that number for the USA?  Otherwise.....well.......you know how people do like to badmouth the USA...............

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:00:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ok (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Siri, yoduuuh do or do not

              You were the one who brought up germany and wanted to compare the us to germany, france ect. Since i am german I know a little about the german numbers so I decided to comment on that.

                I haven't been able to find any source for people living with 2 dollars a day here in germany. I don't know if thats because i fail at googling or because such a number doesn't exist. I do know that people can get social help here that gives people 374 euros a month plus pays their rent for places with rent below (i think) 400 euro a month. So if there are people living with under 2 dollars here, they could get hartz 4 or some equivalent and thus have around 10,74 euros per day plus the rent and heat paid for by the government. This is not to say that all is perfect here in germany, far from it, and hartz 4 has been criticised tremendously here, since it has actually made many things much worse for those needing social services. The people living beneath or around the poverty line(defined as around 900 euro here in germany) has been getting higher and higher, in large part because the SPD has abbandoned its working class roots, so again don't think I have no qualms with the way things are done in germany.

              But the bottomline is that nobody in a developed country should go without a roof or without food. Now you can't force people into a house, but you can make it obtainable from the government, which is something many european countries have done and the US should follow suit.
              and here is a link from the newyork times about the less than 2 dollars a day:
              http://www.nytimes.com/...

              "We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

              by Mudderway on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:17:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Seems to come from . . . (0+ / 0-)

      . . . this report from the National Poverty Center. Haven't had time to completely digest it yet, but I can hear my conservative friends already . . . "because they choose to live that way!"

      If living on $2 a day is the better choice then the other choices must be worse.


      - The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.
      - Aristotle


      by rudyblues on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:59:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Poverty level (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DuzT, isabelle hayes, sunny skies

      The U.S is certainly not the most impoverished country, but its stats are nothing to brag about. The former "second world" of ex-communist states in Russia and Eastern Europe seem to be doing better. . From the Wikipedia article, the CIA estimates Hungary's at 13.9%, Russia's at 13.1%, and Serbia at 8.8%. In North America, Canada comes in at 9.4% and Mexico at 18.2%, neatly bracketing the U.S. at 15.1%.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:07:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with the sentiments (3+ / 0-)

    But I've lately become a bit weary of The Apocalypse Is Coming! diaries. We have serious problems we need to deal with, and lighting our pants on fire doesn't help. I'm not in denial, just aware of the limits that our political and economic systems impose on those who seek to reform things, especially in the context of modern American cultural and social reality in which most Americans are still not very politically aware, informed or engaged. Which makes me believe that the key to real reform is to enlighten the public and win them over to active progressivism, away from the lazy conservatism they were hooked on by the right by that master propagandist Reagan and the likes of Fox News. Win them over, get them to be more involved politically, and banksters are toast. We are a republic.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:02:06 AM PST

    •  kovie - The second crash is coming! (7+ / 0-)

      I do appreciate the sentiment of your post.
      To be clear the intent of the diary is to point to the fact that the power of the banks in a $2 trillion election is not to be underestimated, as it rivals the power of the nation state and the one person, one vote paradigm. Clearly European headlines such as in the example of the Spiegel, point to the fact that the 08 crash is repeating itself by incentivizing the same bad behavior on Wall St with the same lack of regulation.

      To which I would point out, this is exactly what the European media did before the 08 crash, wherein John McCain 3 days before the 08 crash was reported, stated the fundamentals of the economy were sound. Clearly the people who believed that were not sound of mind then, nor are they sound of mind today.

      Common sense regulation on Wall St and a media prepared to tell the truth is what America lacks. To think otherwise is to live in a comfortable place called denial. That is the premise of the diary with headlines from multiple articles to support that premise.

      sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:09:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't see any way to avoid it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kristina40

      Our banking system exists in its present zombie state only because of trillions of bucks from the Fed.  With Europe and China starting down,  that can't last much longer.

  •  Yep, nothing but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Defiler

    window dressing has been changed. I do believe the cry baby CEO's and bankers and election losers are going to push us to single payer faster so there is that to hold on to.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:14:16 AM PST

  •  I lived in Germany for 10 years(1989-1998) (12+ / 0-)

    and it drives me crazy when people who have never even left their own states start in on "European Socialism".
    I try to explain that, yes, your taxes are higher but what you have left is yours.  You don't have to worry about losing everything you've worked for due to an accident or illness.  

    I can see Canada from my house. No, really, I can.

    by DuzT on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:20:19 AM PST

  •  Did total capitalism win the U.S. elections? (6+ / 0-)

    Of course, but don't tell anybody.   Instead of pushing on Obama to move left, we're too busy partying and demonizing the red team.  

    I've asked several times.   Kos said he?  dkos? raised 3.5 million dollars for Obama and the Democrats this cycle.    I would like to know what the progressive left that donated that money got for it  - and please spare me the "the surpeme court and John McCain".   If they have a master plan they are working behind the scenes, it would be nice if the rest of knew the agenda so we could help.   My bet is that Obama cuts SS, Medicare and/or Medicaid in return for a lousy 2% tax increase on the top 2%?   Big whoop!  The unions threaten, the left threatens, and neither of them do anything to hold either of the corporate owned parties accountable.  

    I remember a time when dkos was an activist blog.   It pushed and pushed hard from the front page to the diaries.   Now?   We're cheerleaders.  Yeah blue, boo red.  Don't criticize Obama before the election, during the election, or after the election.     We all just need to be grateful we're allowed to vote for the Dems of the season and give them our  money.  It took me a couple of years to learn to zip my wallet here, but I did figure it out and haven't donated to anything at dkos since.  

    Will you ever come back to the US, or have you pretty well adopted the EU as your new home?      I have a friend who keeps sending me info on retiring in Belize.   It sounds better and better.  It is hard to have any feelings of loyalty or patriotism for a country that could care less if its people live or die.  

    If money is speech, then speech must be money.

    by dkmich on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 06:44:06 AM PST

    •  agree but disagree about pbo (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkmich

      cutting ss, medicare or medicaid, at least as far as the payments to the recipients

      that'd be the signal to recognize that there's no hope that he is what he appears to be

      •  I keep hoping I am wrong, but I wouldn't (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TJ, katiec, Democrats Ramshield

        bet against me.   There are some who want to think his last four years will be about greatness instead of business as usual.   I want them to be right, too.   On a personal level, bho is a very warm and likable person.    I am afraid, however, he's just another Clinton.

        If money is speech, then speech must be money.

        by dkmich on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:04:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  if Obama doesn't get those cuts it will have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        isabelle hayes, dkmich

        been because of a successful fight against those cuts led by Bernie Sanders (he still only has 29 fellow Senators committed), some members of Congress, and several organizations dedicated solely to protecting Social Security, Medicare/caid from cuts. They see the need for their actions because of Obama's words and actions and how can anyone forget those Cat Food Commissions on which he personally appointed to the top spots people who were well known as avid opponents of SS, even with Foundations dedicated to attacking SS.
        Whether those cuts come in the form of raising the eligibility age, or changing how COLA is calculated, all the different groups, along with Sen. Sanders, are active because of what Obama has said, to newspapers, to reporters at events, and during his 'debt limit' fiasco with Boehner last year (about his plans for cuts to them all ).

        It is going to take a LOT of public pressure (and from Congress), along with groups like the one with Bernie Sanders to get SS, Medicare and Medicaid 'off the table', and I don't think it looks promising. After all Obama is the first President to successfully go after the stream of revenue for SS by suspending the withholding of payroll taxes (why not take it from the Federal side?).

        Obama has said he want $2.50 in cuts for every dollar of revenue so his priorities are clear, and lowering corporate taxes (during one debate on that he and Mitt were in agreement) was nonsense when Repubs said it would work and it's nonsense when Obama says it.
        Good grief, one past member of his WH Staff was a former ceo of GE, who shipped over 300,000 jobs to China, while GE paid no taxes and even got millions in 'tax credits' and that is just one example of many.

        We don't have a debt crisis we have a jobs crisis and a climate crisis (not in that order in importance), which could both be dealt with successfully with a green version of The New Deal.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:41:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  a lot of public pressure, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias

          which is why I keep pushing it here, and keep tweeting the politicians involved to keep their mitts off our stuff.   We didn't trash the hotel room, and we're not paying for it.

          Until dkos becomes more transparent about its goals, my wallet will remain shut; and I will take everything I read here with a huge dose of salt.  

          If money is speech, then speech must be money.

          by dkmich on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:01:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not entirely true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkmich

      MB and Joan McCarter have views extending beyond the next election.  Even Kos on a good day.

    •  People need roots, I am not an atom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yoduuuh do or do not

      I sympathize with your comments, which are similar to those of conservatives who bellow, if they (you) raise my taxes again, I'm leaving California. All humans take advantage when they can (look at General Allen spending all his time sending more than 20,000 emails); all governments reward their supporters. (Jill Kelley and family visited the White House just before the recent election; Grover Norquist visited the Dubya Bush White House almost ten times during 8 years). Would the government in Belize be any better?

      I am unhappy with local government, which bows to the Chamber of Commerce and fuels continuing denigration of public schools in the name of choice. This makes the situation and future job prospects for poor and minority children very difficult. Our public schools in the wealthy enclaves do a pretty good job. We should spend more on educating underprivileged children when in fact we spend less in most cases. That's just an example; I could also say that we don't educate the public about climate change, and many other problems. It drives me crazy when Democrats, the President etc praise Mayor Villaraigosa who is an unprincipled opportunist in my opinion.
      However, I'll stay in my neighborhood where I have connections and roots and keep fighting without expecting Armageddon or US national bankruptcy.

      When I read,

      To win in America all we have to do is to care about each other and stick together!
      I laugh because I heard and said similar things in the 60s. When you say, "to win", you assume that life is a football game. I disagree. I hope that US culture can be restructured in a more communitarian way. It will certainly change with time, but it will change slowly. As a doctor, I think that the Affordable Care Act is good but flawed, a clumsy first step.
      There was a period of time after the law passed in 2010 when there was a chance to influence public perceptions of the ACA. That should have begun with simple one paragraph explanations, not just from the White House but also from influential commentators.  By summer, the tea party people controlled all the megaphones, it was too late. A window of opportunity had closed- so-called ObamaCons like Douglas Kmiec and Charles Fried should have been pressed into service during this time when the Democratic leadership was resting on its laurels. Even old C. Everett Koop, then 93, probably would have spoken up for the ACA. I know other conservative MDs who would have spoken and written in favor of the ACA, even though the process disgusted them.
      Today, those who distrust the Sanatorium-Romney-Ryan crowd say that they are for the ACA, while those who hate Obama are against it. Very few in either camp understand it at all.

      There is a culture war, going back at least to 1964. There have been shootings within 200 yards of my house this month, but firearms won’t save my neighborhood and my unequal city. My grandchildren suffer if I move to the mountains, to Belize or Costa Rica (sounds better to me than Belize) so I'll stay and fight in a civil manner (yes, that's a contradiction, but that's what we do if we see that the other side isn't going away). Many Goldwater followers understood that the culture war would go on for generations.

  •  The graph showing national debt is wrong (0+ / 0-)

    I don't care who built it or where it came from.  It's wrong.

    I'm not talking about the top part which shows the rising amount of national debt.  I'm talking about the lower portion with dangling bars that represent deficit amounts.

    The horizontal axis represents calendar years but the US Federal Budget operates on a fiscal year that begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.  The fiscal year is numbered by the calendar year in which it ends.  Right now, we are in Fiscal Year 2013.  

    Fiscal Year 2009 is attributable to the prior administration.  It began before the 2008 election was even held.  Normally when the fiscal year begins on October 1, appropriations for it are final.  Additional appropriations for it can be approved and on October 3, 2008, President Bush signed the TARP bill which added $800 billion to the 2009 Fiscal Year budget.  
    When Obama took office on January 20. 2009, the deficit from the 2009 Fiscal Year budget was a done deal.

    The economic stimulus spending that was passed early in Obama's first term is attributed to Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011.

    Fiscal Year 2001 isn't attributable to the Bush Administration for the same reason.  Fiscal Year 2013 is the fourth fiscal year in Obama's first term.  If another candidate somehow won the election last week, she would inherit the 2013 fiscal year budget with its deficit  just as Obama inherited the same from 2009.

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:15:46 AM PST

  •  I agree with the sentiments in the diary (0+ / 0-)

    I do have to wonder though, if Germans feel so strongly about this, why are they overwhelmingly supporting the punishing austerity being imposed on Greece?

    "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

    by Siri on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:00:23 AM PST

    •  because german banks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica, Siri, gulfgal98

      hold a lot of greek debt.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:12:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, that's the position of the banks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis

        I think we fully understand their mindset. They are in a war of sorts to accumulate wealth. Paying taxes to support a social safety net cuts into their profits. The civilian casualties resulting from slashed social spending are simply collateral damage to them, much like in a military engagement. The suffering of people doesn't have a column on their spreadsheets.

        I really am trying to understand why the German people themselves, who seem to understand that their social safety net strengthens them as a nation, have Merkel running scared about her reelection if she cuts Greece the smallest bit of slack. There is some kind of disconnect there that I can't quite grasp and I'd really like to hear from someone there that could shed some light on the issue.

        "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

        by Siri on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 09:25:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  and because banks (3+ / 0-)

        are not people and definitely are not patriotic.

        "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

        by gulfgal98 on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 09:50:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  if I could move to Germany (0+ / 0-)

    i would leave America in one minute.

  •  It's a joy to see (0+ / 0-)

    an article like this in Spiegel, which has taken some very pro-neoliberal and hawkish positions in the past. Let's hope that this is a marker of a political shift in Germany, which, so far, has been happy to exploit the troubles of the south and east to consolidate its power over EU policy-making.

    The problem, though, is that Spiegel isn't coming out hard against the austerity policies that Germany is pushing throughout the rest of Europe.  Making the connection between those policies and the rampant capitalism destroying America is very important, as is coming out against consolidating more control in the hands of unelected EU financial policy-makers, who, again and again, support the neoliberal policy of austerity.

    They have published a few articles on the reactions of citizens of Greece, particularly, and also Portugal,  to austerity programs, but their position is milquetoast on the matter. Even in the recent Prison of Debt article, they refuse to simply condemn austerity as a failed policy. Instead, democracies are blamed for being "bad at managing their money."

    "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

    by hepshiba on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:40:35 AM PST

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