US official says 77 inmates now on hunger strike over jailing without charge or trial, nearly half of total population.
If President Obama wants to get anything done in his second term, Democrats in the Senate will have to overcome one major obstacle: the filibuster.
In the last four years, Republicans have used the filibuster to prevent landmark pieces of legislation — such as the DREAM Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act and additional measures to stimulate the economy — from even reaching the floor for debate, let alone a vote. Republicans have shattered previous records for filibuster use, and the share of bills introduced in the Senate that have been passed has reached an all-time low.
“Mitch McConnell has orchestrated a strategy of killing bills in the middle of the night,” Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., a leading advocate of filibuster reform, said in an interview Saturday on Up w/ Chris Hayes. Merkley said the abuse of the filibuster had warped the Senate, making it a far less productive place than it has been for most of its history. “The Senate is completely different today. It’s paralyzed and broken today in a way no one could have envisioned a couple of decades ago.”
SO, just less than 24 hours out from the 2012 US Presidential Elections, I think now would be an appropriate time if any to provide a forum for discussion (inb4 awkward 0 comments yeah calling it) on not only this current race, but on our notions of governance, politics, and society as a whole; what is the role of government, or rather, what should it be? How—and how much—should a government be involved in the lives and duties of its people? Can liberty exist under authoritarian or authoritative leadership? Is it our understanding of (and our consequent discourse surrounding) concepts like ‘freedom’ and ‘leadership’ that is out-dated, or is it the structures and institutions which typify them? Or is it both?
What is it that really drives our society forward, or rather, again, what should it be? In the face of all of our attempts at socio-economic development, and despite all of the leaps we’ve made in our technological and scientific pursuits, why do we still exist in this archaic system of social organization that consistently fails to achieve true, sustainable, global prosperity?
And why is it all such a goddamn mess, anyway?
Will another term of Obama allow him to bring to fruition his idealistic vision for America? Or will it be another slow, painful trudge downwards through the same disingenuous bullshit, the same bureaucratic gripes and grapples with the GOP in attempts to reform or pass laws, the same questionable policies from drone strikes on innocents to detaining of innocents—of course, all under this façade of a slick, likeable black man that can speak well.
On the other hand, will a Romney presidency bring the change that it promises? Will his plan for the economy bring it the growth that it so desperately needs? Perhaps more crucially, at what cost? Further, will electing this man—someone I personally believe embodies much of the scary, dangerous, and destructive components of conventional economic and political thought—perhaps serve as the necessary wake-up call for not only the USA, but for our society as a whole?
And my prediction?
Obama wins, by a larger margin than he ever deserved.
And, if I’ll allow the cynic in me a few words,
America—and the rest of the world—continues to lose either way.
My opinion really doesn’t matter. I’m not a political scientist. I’m not an expert in any of these fields. I’m just a guy who writes things on his blog.
But I guess as a man of language, the language of politics, the polarization is a part of the problem. “Big” and “small” government. “Liberty.” “Freedom.”
They’re all just buzzwords. They don’t mean much.
The fact of the matter is that we live in a modern society which has the ability to take care of people. A responsibility? That’s the debate. For me, if we can take men to the moon, if we can explore Mars, if we can cure all these diseases, study DNA, build skyscrapers, and do all of these magnificent things… why wouldn’t we take care of each other? We have the ability.
But mankind is shitty.
Frankly, I think its the government’s duty to protect us from ourselves. Because we’re fucking stupid and reckless and selfish and we - the masses, I mean - would have already destroyed ourselves had we been given the chance.
And in protecting us from ourselves, our own stupidity… the government’s failed.
TONIGHT Gov. Gary Johnson will join Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party for the only Presidential debate that WILL discuss the issues that matter to the American people.
The debate will begin at 6:00 pm PDT / 9:00 pm EDT and will be moderated by the legendary Larry King. More information at http://freeandequal.org.
I’m down for this. I will DEFINITELY be watching.
Romney: “Government does not create jobs. Government does not create jobs.”
Now c’mon, Mitt… what the fuck are you even talking about now?
- Get control of the government
- Get control of the media
- Get control of the education system (education indoctrination)
- Get control of the churches
Now the parallels in the US government today:
- Control of the government - Obama has ordered 135 Executive Orders in just 4 years (Source), hid Eric Holder (the man responsible for the Fast and Furious meltdown) behind Executive Privilege (Source)
- Control of the media - MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, take your pick of a multitude of media outlets and you can find obvious bias towards those on the left
- Control of the education system or education indoctrination - almost every single text book of mine spouts left-wing rhetoric. Its sad that today’s vulnerable youth are actually soaking this stuff up.
- Control of the churches - Its slowly starting with Obama wanting Catholic universities and hospitals to carry contraceptives when birth control is against their religious beliefs (Source)
Now I’m not saying Obama is the next Hitler or anything, I’m just showing all the parallels between Hitler and the US government today.
1. Bush had many executive orders (291) AND presidential directives on top of that. His dad had 165 in four years. What’s your point?
2. A “liberal bias” in the media is much different than a complete government takeover of the media.
3. Seriously? You’re comparing our education system to that under the Nazi regime? You obviously have absolutely ZERO understanding or knowledge of history. Plus, guess who started the “federal takeover” of education? Reagan with A Nation at Risk. Guess who solidified it? Bush with No Child Left Behind.
4. So… the President wanting all employers to provide their non-Catholic employees with contraceptives is somehow taking control of the churches?
This is not just an ignorant “comparison” of the current U.S. government with Hitler’s Germany, it’s absolutely baseless and completely insane. No wonder more and more people are becoming disillusioned with the insanity of conservatives.
Ideological purity, compromise as weakness, a fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism, denying science, unmoved by facts, undeterred by new information, a hostile fear of progress, a demonization of education, a need to control women’s bodies, severe xenophobia, tribal mentality, intolerance of dissent and a pathological hatred of the U.S. government.
They can call themselves the Tea Party. They can call themselves conservatives and they can even call themselves Republicans, though Republicans certainly shouldn’t. But we should call them what they are. The American Taliban.
“Having a college degree makes a person more than three times more likely to rise from the bottom of the family income ladder all the way to the top, and makes a person more than four times more likely to rise from the bottom of the family wealth ladder to the top.”
Pew Research has been researching social mobility for years; here is what they found. The children of wealthy families have a very large likelihood of themselves being wealthy themselves; conversely – the children of poor families tend to remain poor. The social mobility in America is so bad that only 4% of those who were born to families in the bottom 20% of wealth actually make it to the top 20% of income. Social mobility is so bad that 70% of Americans are below the median income.
And while 84% of Americans are making more money than their parents … this doesn’t factor in cuts in social services and increases in cost of living. So you can make more money today … but have a lower quality of living due to the overall higher costs of living in the modern age. The study showcases just how important a college degree is in pulling oneself out of poverty … but make no mistake about it – this increasing gap between poor and rich is the result of “trickle down economics” aka “laissez-faire economics” aka “horse and sparrow economics“.
Pew Research have four key findings HERE:
- Eighty-four percent of Americans have higher family incomes than their parents did.
- Those born at the top and bottom of the income ladder are likely to stay there as adults. More than 40 percent of Americans raised in the bottom quintile of the family income ladder remain stuck there as adults, and 70 percent remain below the middle.
- African Americans are more likely to be stuck at the bottom and fall from the middle of the economic ladder across a generation.
- A four-year college degree promotes upward mobility from the bottom and prevents downward mobility from the middle and the top.
Economix points this out HERE:
The median family in the top socioeconomic class today (i.e., the family at the 90th percentile) is worth $629,853, compared to $495,510 in the last generation. That’s a 27 percent increase in the size of the median fortune in the top income stratum.
In other words, compared to the last generation, wealth has been become more concentrated in the hands (and bank accounts and houses) of the richest Americans. Exactly why is debatable. The global markets for labor and capital have changed, of course. And the lower tax rate on capital gains — which disproportionately helps richer people, who have more capital to invest — has helped the richest amass ever higher net worths.
Another chart from Pew below shows mobility at the polar ends of the socioeconomic status are much less likely to change. If you were born poor – you are more than 500% more likely to be poor than someone who was born into the top 20%. If you won the sperm lottery – congratulations … your prospects look good.
Basically – the American Dream is dead. We’ve written about this in “If Americans want to live the American dream, they should go to Denmark”; you should read it.
Pew Research has written about social mobility at the state level; they found leaning states had better social mobility. You can read about that HERE:
In the United States, there is a stronger link between parental education and children’s economic, educational, and socio-emotional outcomes than in any other country investigated.
So having absorbed all of this … consider the policies that are being proposed by various politicians. Understanding how important education is to oneself lifting themselves out of poverty … how can anyone justify significant cuts in early childhood education programs and Pell Grants for lower income college students?
As we have written about HERE – we know that unintelligent students of privilege are more likely to complete college than poor, intelligent students. It’s all just one big sham.