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Labor historian Steve Fraser is co-founder of The American Empire Project and author most recenlty of of Wall Street: America’s Dream Palace. He is currently at work on a book about America's two Gilded Ages. At TomDispatch, he writes The Archeology of Decline—Debtpocalypse and the Hollowing Out of America:

“Debtpocalypse” looms. Depending on who wins out in Washington, we’re told, we will either free fall over the fiscal cliff or take a terrifying slide to the pit at the bottom. Grim as these scenarios might seem, there is something confected about the mise-en-scène, like an un-fun Playland. After all, there is no fiscal cliff, or at least there was none—until the two parties built it.
Steve Fraser, historian and author of class-related books.
Steve Fraser
And yet the pit exists.  It goes by the name of “austerity.” However, it didn’t just appear in time for the last election season or the lame-duck session of Congress to follow. It was dug more than a generation ago, and has been getting wider and deeper ever since.  Millions of people have long made it their home. “Debtpocalypse” is merely the latest installment in a tragic, 40-year-old story of the dispossession of American working people.

Think of it as the archeology of decline, or a tale of two worlds. As a long generation of austerity politics hollowed out the heartland, the quants and traders and financial wizards of Wall Street gobbled up ever more of the nation's resources. It was another Great Migration—instead of people, though, trillions of dollars were being sucked out of industrial America and turned into “financial instruments” and new, exotic forms of wealth. If blue-collar Americans were the particular victims here, then high finance is what consumed them. Now, it promises to consume the rest of us. [...]

In the 1980s, when Jack Welch, soon to be known as “Neutron Jack” for his ruthlessness, became CEO of General Electric, he set out to raise the company’s stock price by gutting the workforce. It only took him six years, but imagine what it was like in Schenectady, New York, which lost 22,000 jobs; Louisville, Kentucky, where 13,000 fewer people made appliances; Evendale, Ohio, where 12,000 no longer made lights and light fixtures; Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where 8,000 plastics makers lost their jobs; and Erie, Pennsylvania, where 6,000 locomotive workers got green slips.

Life as it had been lived in GE’s or other one-company towns ground to a halt. Two travelling observers, Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson, making their way through the wasteland of middle America in 1984 spoke of “medieval cities of rusting iron” and a largely invisible landscape filling up with an army of transients, moving from place to place at any hint of work. They were camped out under bridges, riding freight cars, living in makeshift tents in fetid swamps, often armed, trusting no one, selling their blood, eating out of dumpsters.

Nor was the calamity limited to the northern Rust Belt. The South and Southwest did not prove immune from this wasting disease either. [...]

Laments about “the vanishing middle class” have become commonplace, and little wonder. Except for those in the top 10% of the income pyramid, everyone is on the down escalator. The United States now has the highest percentage of low-wage workers—those who earn less than two-thirds of the median wage—of any developed nation. George Carlin once mordantly quipped, “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” Now, that joke has become our waking reality.

Think back to the days of junk bonds, leveraged buy-outs, megamergers and acquisitions, and asset stripping in the 1980s and 1990s. (Think, in fact, of Bain Capital.) What was getting bought and stripped and closed up supported windfall profits in high-interest-paying junk bonds. The stupendous fees and commissions that went to those “engineering” such transactions were being picked from the carcass of a century and a half of American productive capacity. The hollowing out of the United States was well under way long before anyone dreamed up the “fiscal cliff.”  

For some long time now, our political economy has been driven by investment banks, hedge funds, private equity firms, real estate developers, insurance goliaths, and a whole menagerie of ancillary enterprises that service them. But high times in FIRE land have depended on the downward mobility of working people and the poor, cut adrift from more secure industrial havens and increasingly from the lifelines of public support. They have been living instead in the “pit of austerity.” Soon many more of us will join them.

A spirited 23-minute June 2008 interview with Fraser by Bill Moyers can be watched here.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010Obama makes surprise visit to Afghanistan:

The fact that 2014 is our goal for ending the war [in Afghanistan] is a pretty stark reminder of just how much of a disaster the conflict has been for our country. By 2014, the war will have been dragging on for thirteen years. Thirteen! If it ends up lasting that long, there will be American soldiers fighting in it who were five years old when the war began.

If you're looking for something else (short) to read, I highly recommend Ta-Nehisi Coates's Why Aren't More Liberals Defending 'Lincoln'?

Tweet of the Day:
Huh. Who knew that Mitt Romney's party wanted to cut Medicare after all?
@emptywheel via TweetDeck

Despite numerous technical problems today, the Kagro in the Morning show pushed on through, and after a shortened visit with Greg Dworkin, we turned to another extensive look at the filibuster reform fight by reviewing this past weekend's excellent Up with Chris Hayes episode focusing on the issue with a panel of experts that included an actual former Senate Parliamentarian. And still, there was more to add, believe it or not! Armando also joined in, and we make the case that there's no logical reason why unlimited debate should be read to mean unending debate.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Life moves pretty fast on the recent list (12+ / 0-)

    So if you're interested, part 3 of my mini-series, cute title included at no extra charge:

    All aboard the Reince Prie-Bus

    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:31:42 PM PST

  •  641,469 registered users on dKos now. (15+ / 0-)

    Here are the 10 newest registered users on dKos.  Hope to see their comments and diaries here soon!  (If they're not all spammers.)

    paly123 (user #641,463: spammer)
    mark70025 (user #641,464: spammer)
    ip4dj4ilbrE22K (user #641,465: spammer)
    adinamcain (user #641,466: spammer)

    And since our society is obsessed with numbers that end in a lot of zeros as milestones, here's a special shoutout to users:
    #641,300: bucket36toy
    #641,400: phinellie

    We've added 189 more users in the last 24 hours.  This is a continuation going back to May where we've been absolutely flooded with new users.  I'm pretty sure almost all of these new users are spammers or bots.  While the rate had been getting faster, it seems they suddenly started slowing down right when Hurricane Sandy hit.  We're now finally under 1,000 new users in a 24-hour period.  What were they planning?

    And for your Diary Rescue music pleasure, while I know Rupert Murdoch owns The Daily, I'm sad to hear it's shutting down, because it had a hilarious weekly song parody mashup of the week's news.  This was their entry for Black Friday.

    And then they did this one to explore the "Gangnam Style" phenomenon.  Note that they're not above getting some digs in at Fox News and Bill O'Reilly.

  •  Mitt has been approved for 1%er welfare. (11+ / 0-)

    He's held the post with the hotel chain twice before. The first time was from 1993 to 2002, when he left to campaign for governor of Massachusetts, and from 2009 to 2011, when he left to start his campaign for the presidency.

    It's the first job announcement Romney has made since he lost the November election to President Barack Obama. Romney has kept a low profile since the election. He's spent the past month largely in seclusion at his family's California home.

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

    by MTmofo on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:32:46 PM PST

  •  For real education reform, maybe we should (19+ / 0-)

    do what Finland does:

    Handmade holiday gifts from Jan4insight on Zibbet. Get 10%off everytime with coupon code KOSSACK.

    by jan4insight on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:34:52 PM PST

  •  Watching Daily Show tonight. Isn't that ironic? (10+ / 0-)

    Anyway, Stewart featured Billo saying that Christianity isn't an organized religion, that, it's a philosophy.
    Next he'll be saying that Republicans' aren't an organized political party and...oh, God, he's got me there.
    Remember when it used to Democrats?


    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:34:52 PM PST

  •  That Ode to Hillary Video (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MTmofo, Aunt Pat, Trix, Jeff Y, OLinda, side pocket
    Hillary Clinton is running for President. And the Israeli political class is a full-blown train wreck. These are two conclusions, for whatever they are worth, based on a three-day conference I attended this weekend at the annual Saban Forum, in Washington, D.C.

    A word about the scene: Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media and entertainment mogul, has for the past nine years been hosting a conference, sometimes in Jerusalem, more often in Washington, focussed on the Middle East. The attendees are mainly government officials, present and former; business people; institute-niks; a few reporters. There are very few Arabs; this year the most notable exception was Salam Fayyad, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, though he didn’t stick around long, since the Palestinian Authority, thanks in large measure to Israel, is in grave peril, losing ground all the time to Hamas. Except for a few events, Chatham House rules obtain: meaning that the official events are off the record. The presumption is that the incidental meetings are more important than the panels and speeches.

    Friday night, however, was on the record—and surprisingly revealing. Hillary Clinton was the main speaker. In a packed ballroom of the Willard Hotel, she was greeted with a standing ovation and then a short, adoring film, a video Festschrift testifying to her years as First Lady, senator, and, above all, Secretary of State. The film, an expensive-looking production, went to the trouble of collecting interviews with Israeli politicians—Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni—and American colleagues, like John Kerry. Tony Blair, striking the moony futuristic note that was general in the hall, said, “I just have an instinct that the best is yet to come.”

    Read more:

    Yes Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Haim Saban

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:38:11 PM PST

  •  American Media (11+ / 0-)

    A few times on MSNBC today, I saw the clips of John Kerry and John McCain at a press conference poking fun at each other. You may have seen it. McCain called Kerry Mr. Secretary and Kerry called McCain Mr. President. Oh ho ho, so funny, so newsworthy.

    What I wanted to know was why were Kerry and McCain holding a press conference? What was it about?

    I went to Google News and searched 'Kerry McCain Press Conference.'

    Usually the headlines will tell you. These are the headlines that came up on the first page of results:

    • Sens. Kerry, McCain poke fun over their ambitions
    • John McCain, John Kerry Trade Jabs At 'Mr. Secretary,' 'Mr. President' (VIDEO)
    • Video: Kerry, McCain tease each other about promotions
    • John McCain, John Kerry share laugh about being White House 'losers'
    • McCain calls Kerry 'Mr. Secretary'
    • McCain to Kerry: 'Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary'
    • McCain Called John Kerry 'Mr. Secretary'
    Thinking CNN might report, I clicked on a result from CNN:
    1 hour ago
    Video: Kerry, McCain tease each other about promotions
    Posted by
    CNN Political Unit   

    (CNN) - Sens. John Kerry and John McCain ribbed one another Monday about jobs they could have or could have had.

    The two former presidential candidates broke from their typical Senate titles at a press conference in Washington.

    "Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary," McCain addressed Kerry. Although much of the speculation of who might succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton includes Ambassador Susan Rice, the Massachusetts Democrat is also thought to be on any short list for the post.

    Returning to the podium next, Kerry began, "Thank you very much, Mr. President." McCain, a Republican from Arizona, was the GOP nominee for the Oval Office in 2008.

    "This is what happens when you get two losers up here, folks. We're just having fun," Kerry continued. He was the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004.

    That is the entire article.

    Several of the links had videos of the press conference, but only the part with the joking on titles was in the clip.

    I did find a clue on A Connecticut Eyewitness News page:

    Sens. Kerry, McCain poke fun over their ambitions
    Posted: Dec 03, 2012 12:32 PM MST Updated: Dec 03, 2012 12:32 PM MST

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. John Kerry, the next secretary of state?

    Republican Sen. John McCain had some fun Monday at the expense of his friend and Democratic colleague. Responding to a Kerry introduction at a news conference on a disabilities treaty, McCain said, "thank you very much, Mr. Secretary."

    It was a clear reference to the recent talk that Kerry is a top candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. It was also a nod to McCain's opposition to the current front-runner, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

    Kerry gave it back with his own quip, one that pained McCain.

    "Thank you very much Mr. President," Kerry said when he returned to the microphone. McCain unsuccessfully sought the presidency in 2000 and 2008.

    [emphasis mine]

    What they had to say at the press conference, I still don't know.
    •  I've got nothing for Johnny McBitter (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, DeadHead, Aunt Pat, a2nite

      If it wasn't for the fawning Corporate Media hacks, no one would take him seriously anymore.

      Chicago--Proud Home of the 1907-08 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs

      by Jeff Y on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:49:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The answer is right in front of us: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      randallt, Aunt Pat

      That was the purpose of the press conference.


      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
      ~ Jerry Garcia

      by DeadHead on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:01:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Google (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, DeadHead, OLinda

      news on the UN disabilities treaty.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:02:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, thank you. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DeadHead, randallt, winsock, Ender

        I was making a point. In case anyone else is interested, searching UN disabilities treaty:

        There still isn't anything connecting the press conference with the treaty. But, here is info about it from the Washington Times, the one page that came up prior to clicking on "news."

        A United Nations treaty advocating equal rights for disabled people faces significant Republican opposition in the Senate this week as lawmakers fear it could cede U.S. sovereignty and is not something that should be addressed during the lame-duck session.

        Supporters of the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which is scheduled for debate — and possibly an up-or-down vote — on the Senate floor Tuesday, say it’s nonbinding and wouldn’t change or challenge U.S. law.

        “We have the opportunity to help ensure that millions of disabled Americans — our wounded service members included — are treated with the same level of respect and dignity they have at home while they are traveling or living abroad,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and a leading advocate of the treaty.

        “If any issue can withstand this age of polarization, it should be this one.”

        It doesn't mention the press conference, but Kerry's statement could be from that, or it could be from the Senate floor.
  •  ALMOST done counting votes in California! (10+ / 0-)

    In the latest update from this afternoon, Obama is beating Mitt Romney by 23.1 percentage points now.

    Barack Obama (D) 7,737,735 60.3%
    Mitt Romney (R)  4,778,337 37.2%

    Still not as good as Obama did here in 2008, when he beat McCain 61.01%-36.95%, but it's getting closer.

    Barack Obama (D) 8,274,473 61.01%
    John McCain (R)  5,011,781 36.95%

    Since my update yesterday, Obama gained another 57,000 votes, and Romney gained almost 19,000 more votes.  There's now only about 175,000 ballots left to count in California.  And Los Angeles County has finally FINISHED counting completely.  Obama beat Romney by a full 41.9 percentage points now here in L.A., holding Romney under 28% here.

    Barack Obama (D) 2,216,903 69.7%
    Mitt Romney (R)    885,333 27.8%

    That's another 27,000 votes for Obama in L.A., and another 6,000 for Romney, that was added to the final totals today.

    What's interesting in the county map is how close Obama came to winning certain counties, and where his dropoff came.  These are all counties where Obama beat McCain in 2008, but lost to Romney in 2012.

            Obama  McCain     Obama  Romney
    Nevada  51.5%   46.2%     48.0%   48.6%
    Butte   49.9%   47.6%     47.2%   49.2%
    Fresno  50.3%   48.2%     48.6%   49.6%
    Trinity 50.8%   46.2%     47.1%   48.2%

    In those counties, you could see a shift of several points against Obama.  In the deep blue counties, however, you didn't see that same kind of dropoff.  Obama got 84.2% of the vote against McCain in San Francisco County; he's getting 83.6% there now, with Romney getting only 13.1% of the vote.  He got 69.2% here in Los Angeles County in 2008; he's got 69.7% here this time.  Obama also improved in Alameda County, going from 78.8% to 78.9%.  BTW, Obama is beating Romney 49.8%-48.2% in Riverside County, and is also beating him 52.6%-45.2% in San Bernardino County as well.

    I think it's somewhat funny that in the Senate race, an underfunded "Some Dudette" Republican candidate running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) got 37.5% of the vote... as in, MORE than Romney got.

    As for the ballot measures, Prop. 30 is now at 55.3% support, so it actually won by double digits!  And here we thought it was going to be a nailbiter!  BTW, Prop. 37 (labeling GMOs) has inched up to 48.5% support, but there's physically not enough ballots left to count for it to somehow win.  And Prop. 34 (ending the death penalty) has 48.0% support.

  •  I don't understand (13+ / 0-)

    what happens to the little metal wire christmas tree ornament hangers over the course of the year when they're packed away, on the storage shelf and not being used.

    Were they having a christmas ornament hanger orgy in that little tin during the last 11 months?  Cuz I can't figure out how else they could get so entwined and tangled-up and impossible to separate.  They didn't go into the tin after last Christmas that way.

    But it's now a wadded-up christmas tree ornament hanger ball, and they refuse let go of one another.

    I should probably hand this over to the cat.  I'll bet she'd get 'em apart.

  •  According to the New York Times... (8+ / 0-)

    Mike Bloomberg tried to convince Hillary Clinton to run for NYC Mayor in 2013.

    In a phone call confirmed by three people, Mr. Bloomberg encouraged Mrs. Clinton to consider entering the 2013 mayor’s race, trading international diplomacy for municipal management on the grandest scale. She would, he suggested, be a perfect fit.

    Much about the call, which occurred some months ago, remains shrouded in mystery. But Mr. Bloomberg’s overture to the former first lady highlights the level of his anxiety about the current crop of candidates, his eagerness to recruit a replacement who can rival his stature and his determination to become a kingmaker in the political arena he will soon exit. [...]

    During their conversation, Mrs. Clinton left little room for doubt: she was not interested in seeking the mayoralty, people briefed on the call said.

  •  When You Watch "Christmas Story" These Holidays, (13+ / 0-)

    note a few fleeting glimpses of factory roofs and chimneys over the back fence of the family house.

    It's a real house in Cleveland, now a museum you can tour this time of year filled with artifacts from the movie. That back fence borders the Cuyahoga River valley's industrial "flats," home to John D. Rockefellar's Standard Oil #1 refinery, Republic Steel, one time leading iron ore import port in the world. A few miles north is the Terminal Tower site of the Higbee's department store and Cleveland Public Square where the movie's Christmas parade and window toy displays were filmed.

    By the time the movie was shot, the once Best Location in the Nation of a top tier media market and 80% of the North American consumer market within a day's truck haul, had already collapsed from industrial belt to rust belt, and has since become the poorest major city in the nation.

    Europe mourned in the 70's when the Cleveland Symphony's conductor George Szell died, said mom who was vacationing there at the time.

    Cleveland Who™?

    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 Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:46:55 PM PST

    •  industrial Americana makes my heart thump (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Leo in NJ, DuzT

      Some people get goose bumps from visiting battlefields, but it's always been the workplaces of smokestack America that do it for me:  South Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Providence, Kannapolis.  History just seems to hang heavy in the air in those places.

      Republicans whine and Republicans bitch: "Our rich are too poor, and our poor are too rich!" -- Ferguson Foont

      by this just in on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:13:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have studied the iron industry in New Jeresy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        this just in, mightymouse, JeffW

        It started at least a hundred years before we made cannonballs for Geo Washigton, and except for Thos Edison's failed attempt at revival, was pretty much over by the time railroad replaced the Morris Canal, which climbed.mountains via giant lawn sprinklers.

        Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
        I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

        by Leo in NJ on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 11:59:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  fascinating to see how the home was (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peregrine kate, OLinda, Leo in NJ

      furnished in those days for a middle class family compared to a home today, only 70 years or so removed.  The same way with "The Honeymooners" and how a bus driver lived in a cold water flat following WWII.
      When I used to teach history or sociology, I used those TV shows to teach the students how our expectations of life has changed in only a few decades

      •  My grandfather built a new house in 1927 without (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        electric light, which he considered a passing fad. The fact that he worked for Standard Oil, world's largest maker of kerosene for lighting had nothing to do with it.

        He soon changed his mind and had electrric wiring installed.

        Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
        I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

        by Leo in NJ on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 12:11:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Some of those emptied towns are toxic waste dumps (12+ / 0-)

    GE''s Pittsfield plant left a gift that keeps on giving - PCBs.

    Environmental Issues

    During the mid-20th century, the Housatonic River and its floodplain were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other hazardous substances released from the General Electric Company (GE) facility located in Pittsfield. The contaminated area, known as the General Electric/Housatonic River Site, includes the GE manufacturing facility; the Housatonic River, its riverbanks and floodplains from Pittsfield to Long Island Sound, and former river oxbows that have been filled; Allendale School; Silver Lake; and other areas contaminated as a result of GE’s operations in Pittsfield.[17]
    Consent decree and cleanup

    Starting in 1991, legal proceedings by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the General Electric/Housatonic River Site. Initial cleanup work began in 1996 when EPA issued a unilateral order to GE that required the removal of highly contaminated sediments and bank soils. EPA added the site to the Superfund list in September 1997.

    The year 1999 was a milestone for Pittsfield, when negotiations between EPA, the state, General Electric and the City resulted in a settlement agreement – valued at over $250 million – to clean up Pittsfield and the Housatonic River. The settlement was memorialized in a Consent Decree that was entered in federal court the following year, making it a binding legal agreement.[18]

    "Good morning, brothers Koch. I see you're doing well. If I had me a shotgun, I'd blow you straight to hell." w/apologies to R. Hunter

    by RUKind on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:53:16 PM PST

  •  Suck on it, Ann Romney (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Jeff Y, Aunt Pat, a2nite, DuzT

    Hm, let's see.

    No, nope.  Still feels good to say.

  •  I hate all that BS about bringing "better jobs"... (11+ / 0-)

    to America. As if the plutocrats will get bored of exploiting us on the cheap, if only we had more job retraining programs or made the tax code simpler. None of it changes the plain fact that the work we're doing now is plenty profitable. Just not for us.

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

    by 2020adam on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:55:41 PM PST

    •  are better jobs like Walmart's better prices? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder, 2020adam, JeffW

      I remember when Walmart hit town and put a dozen different other stores out of business in a year

      •  Exactly the same, yes. (0+ / 0-)

        Both used to cover for the otherwise obvious fact that we're getting bilked. Both used as a cudgel against those who advocate for the rights of labor and consumers. Living in a hollowed out the country, folks now 'need' both low prices and better jobs, so shut up with your elitist 'living wage' nonsense and the rest.

        "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

        by 2020adam on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 10:44:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I remember rust-belt refugees arriving in Tx (14+ / 0-)

    with the clothes on their backs with all hope gone. And I remember when corporate boards began to raid pension funds that left thousands old and destitute, so they could guarantee themselves golden parachutes.

    Until we change the laws that allow corporate parasites to prey on workers this isn't going to change. In twenty years, these may be the good old days—and that's scary.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:01:50 PM PST

  •  Letterman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeadHead, kerflooey

    Maybe he has already been on in your time zone. 15 more minutes here.

    I'm interested in watching to see if he comments on the Kennedy Center Honors. I think he was very touched by it.

  •  If the little people (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, blueoasis, jan4insight, 714day, JeffW

    would just get out of the way, the one-percenters could sell off the entirety of the American continent, lock, stock and barrel to the Chinese or Indians, or whoever, and make some real money.

    •  Get ready for TP Tsunami says Norquist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight, JeffW

      His mantra for next 4 years will be too much taxation, too much spending and too much regulation to attract minorities and small business owners to the TP banner.

      Yeh he is delusional but he is also one of the most accomplished hucksters on the political circuit

  •  Memo to wingers: you get what you pay for (7+ / 0-)

    That is the real American Way; you want to opt for a piece of crap when you buy an appliance or car or computer, it acts like a piece of crap.  If you buy top of the line you have the right to expect top of the line performance.

    Bottom line is taxes pay for infrastructure so if you like police and fire protection, bridges, interstates, and dozens of other advantages you get what you pay for.  Starve the beast and you cut your own throat.

    For example, since Sandy, raw sewage has been pouring into NY harbor, millions and millions of gallons.  It appears it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future so welcome to the 17th Century, NYC.  The municipality lacks the funds to repair all the damaged infrastructure while the state also lacks the funds.  The feds could provide aid but the GOP is busy with austerity measures, so sewage in drinking water is A-OK in an austerity economy.

    Austerity has just crashed in the UK with Cameron admitting that the measures did not work and his solution is to raise taxes on the wealthy, such as a mansion tax.

    Bottom line is we should heed the example of the lemmings before we allow ourselves to be led over the austerity cliff

  •  lol, Letterman (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, kerflooey, Ender, DeadHead
  •  Finally Someone Who Understands the GOP (7+ / 0-)

    The gutting of America for dole purpose for enrich of the rich.

    It is called racketeering.

    The GOP is a very large criminal organization and using the Republican Party as cover ask for the bribes and protection money, an in return they let their customers get into the public treasury.

    Back in the 1980 I argued with Economic Professors about this false vision of Free Trade and how it was a means to destroy the American economy. One of them took his vision to the Federal Reserve as a Governor.

  •  I just heard this term. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    this just in, OLinda, 714day, JeffW

    Conspicuous consumption. I love that.

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:53:27 PM PST

  •  Damn. I had no idea that Jed could write about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    something besides Romney.  /snark  

    But seriously, I was sick of his Romney posts by August.

    Really great to go back in time and see this:

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:04:12 PM PST

  •  Our economic future is circling the Bowles (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, this just in, JeffW

    and going down the drain it seems.  As far as austerity has worked in various states:

    Now they are suggesting raising the Medicare age which is fine if you have a sedentary type of job but for many Americans, working 40 or so years on farms, in factories, and in other manual labor positions, after 40 years, their bodies are shot.  That means for manual laborers, the age should be dropped about a decade, not raised.  However there is a savings to MC in raising the age as manual laborers are less likely to reach 65 currently and raising it even farther, insures that even fewer will ever live long enough to actually access the program, since those twilight years (I just finished my 4 years in that zone) between employer provided insurance and MC coverage usually means "going bare". This means going without coverage and for all practical purposes, going w/o healthcare.  Those who go w/o healthcare have a much higher mortality rate for chronic and acute diseases alike.  Expanding those twilight years by raising the MC age means even more will die before they reach the magic number but then those people are broken or worn out and completely worthless to the plutocrats, so who cares?

    •  heh - circling the Bowles (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I wish somebody would entice Erskine into one of those hibernation sarcophagi from the movie 2001.  Maybe some future generation would have a use for him: perhaps they could put him next to the jackalope at Wall Drug.

      Republicans whine and Republicans bitch: "Our rich are too poor, and our poor are too rich!" -- Ferguson Foont

      by this just in on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:30:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Non Profits & the Privatization of Public Housing. (0+ / 0-)

    ...Along the same lines, try this:
    Public Housing Privatization

    Driven from New Orleans
    How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization
    2012 •
    John Arena

    How public housing advocates in New Orleans became active supporters of privatization.      
    Driven from New Orleans explores the drastic transformation of New Orleans’s public housing from public to private in the early 1980s, exposing the social disaster visited on the city’s black urban poor long before Katrina. John Arena reveals the true nature—and cost—of reforms promoted by an alliance of a neoliberal government, nonprofits, community activists, and powerful real estate interests.


    Driven from New Orleans tells a much deeper and broader story that could be replicated in many cities. Arena provides a sorely needed account of neoliberal reorganization of American cities with the active support of nominal advocates and representatives of the impoverished populations who are displaced as part of that reorganization. It is a signal contribution to the study of black urban politics, the political economy of urban redevelopment, and the concrete dynamics of urban neoliberalism.

    Adolph Reed, Jr., University of Pennsylvania


    Found in Black Agenda Report, 11/27/12.

    "Truth and love will overcome lies and hatred.” Vaclav Havel

    by dharmasyd on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 11:18:51 PM PST

  •  Hmm... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I don't have much to say about this post, except that the guy in the picture is probably how Michael Emerson from Person of Interest will look twenty years from now.

  •  The Wire themes, season 1-5 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    this just in
    •  thanks for posting that (0+ / 0-)

      I hadn't really thought about it that way:  The Wire as the endgame for deindustrialization and financialization.

      The Wire may be the best television ever made:  it grabs you and doesn't let go.

      Republicans whine and Republicans bitch: "Our rich are too poor, and our poor are too rich!" -- Ferguson Foont

      by this just in on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 05:09:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is not debt. The problem is the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeadHead, JeffW

    predator's inability or refusal to recognize and honor debts. Predatory species exact their sustenance without giving anything back, intentionally or unintentionally. (The bee provides a service in exchange for the pollen it collects. It doesn't mean to fertilize the flower; it's just part of the natural process. Predators destroy their prey. When humans behave like predators, they behave the same way. They destroy without giving anything back or being creative. Claiming that eventually nature will create something new out of what man destroys is accurate, but irrelevant as an excuse. It is ex post facto. However, I will postulate that perhaps those humans who turn to predatory behavior do so because they have no sense of time. Ditto for not honoring debts and obligations. If a person does not perceive reality in a linear manner, in which past, present and future are distinct entities, the it is likely impossible to think forward or give back. People who exist in an ineffable present simply have no clue. (Anthropoligists claim to have discovered a tribe in the Amazon that has a unique language, no history and no numbers. It's my guess that the only thing unique is that everyone in the tribe shares these deficits. If we'd been tracking them over generations, we might discover that individuals who do have a sense of time just up and leave. And the tribe doesn't notice because they only know what and whom they see. If an individual leaves, they don't remember. They don't remember who dies, either.)

    Anyway, whether it's the result of a sensory deficit or not, human predators take or extract without giving anything back or even restoring what they've disrupted. Indeed, they are the ex-men and their repertoire is extensive. They


    That the words for their behavior are so common tells us the people who behave that way are common. Perhaps they are hunters because they lack the capacity to cooperate and take turns. Taking turns requires a sense of time or the ability to follow orders--take direction.
    Perhaps that is why people lacking in self direction present us with a conundrum. The absence of self direction makes it necessary for them to be directed, but they don't know it and their habit of verbally repeating directions and, in effect, giving orders, is confusing because their audience doesn't realize they're just passing something on. We assume people know what they are talking about, especially if they speak with an authoritative voice, but that's a mistake because people lacking in self-direction don't.

    Good followers cannot lead. If that's true, then promoting followers into leadership positions is a recipe for disaster. And training people for leadership positions would seem to be impossible.
    Why is that? Because, in order to accomplish any material transformation, one has to know how the processes of nature work and process can't be understood without a sense of order and sequence --i.e. time. Time is of the essence. Everything happens over time. Obligations can't be carried out, if there is no sense of time. So, it is quite consistent for people who recognize no debt to deny the future. If they exist in an ineffable present, there is no future. There is only now. The present is perforce ineffable, if there is no past or future to compare it with. Just as other people are incomprehensible, if there is no self to compare them with.

    There is no arguing with the ineffable. People who exist in the present have to be told what to do. It is not fair to ask them what they want, because they do not know what they want. They only know what they don't want--whatever feels inconvenient or uncomfortable. Negativity is their constant reality and so they natter. Following their directives? That way lies disaster.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 01:47:28 AM PST

    •  I read a long time ago that followers are freer (0+ / 0-)

      than leaders.  Followers choose which leader to follow, but leaders don't get to choose where they are leading to.

      Hey, GOP - Get In, Sit Down, Shut up, & Hang On!

      by 88kathy on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 08:17:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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