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gemli is a trusted commenter Boston

I was wondering how to find the political tie-in to this column about a country full of grinning idiots who are grateful for waffle makers at a Motel 6, but mercifully Mr. Brooks provided it. He wants us to be thankful as we eke out an existence in our capitalist meritocracy*. Lower your expectations, America, and be grateful for what little you’ve got. It’s the first plank in the Republican platform.

This country may have been a capitalist meritocracy years ago but now it’s more of a plutocratic kleptocracy, in which a few rich people get richer by using their political power to further fill their offshore bank accounts. They’ve found a way to run the economic engine in reverse, sucking money from the poor and middle class while ignoring government’s responsibility to invest in infrastructure, and to take care of the citizens who made their wealth possible.

Instead of a real economy, Brooks recommends that we appreciate a magical economy. This would be heartwarming and delightful if we were stupid, and didn’t know when we were being scammed.

The galling part is that we’re supposed to be thankful for it. Be glad as corporations are given the rights of people. Smile as their religions decide what your insurance will cover. Feel safe knowing that one day all immigrants and minorities will be securely locked away in privatized prisons.
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*Technically, a country in which Donald Trump is the Republican front-runner isn’t so much a meritocracy as an idiocracy.

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gemli is a trusted commenter, Boston

It was worth the wait. Obama has rendered the years of Republican obstructionism moot. Their clever ploys of the faux filibuster and the bellicose bullying and the Bibi embarrassments have fallen flat, and while Republicans were patting themselves on the back for their midterm “sweep” of Congress, Obama was planting the seeds for a bumper crop of reforms. Now, in the months preceding the presidential primaries, Obama is reminding people what Democrats stand for.

Republicans, on the other hand, are reaping what they sowed, which is precisely nothing. They’ve doubled-down on the sneering hate-speech and the empty rhetoric that appeals to the slack-jawed, resulting in a three-ring-circus of Republican anti-candidates who must run on negative accomplishments. It’s all about what they closed down, eliminated, blocked, cancelled and squashed. The only thing they built up is the bank accounts of their like-minded multi-millionaire brethren. When Donald Trump is getting buzz, you know the hive is diseased.

Obama has paved the way for a Democratic victory. Nothing is guaranteed, but even a somewhat compromised Hillary Clinton, energized by a we’re-mad-as-hell-and-we’re-not-going-to-take-it-any-more message from Bernie Sanders, gives me reason to hope for change. Come to think of it, that’s what Obama promised all along. He just didn’t say when it would happen. Maybe it’s now.

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Almost 70% of Republicans believe we should take out ISIS asap.

Here’s what Zbig thinks:

“The worst thing we can do is to become the sole combatant against the forces of evil that are operating in that region. We have to avoid any direct collision with the world of Islam, we mustn’t label the enemy as Islamist, but we must work with those governments in the region that are prepared to defend themselves. … The key point I have in mind is that strategically we are not the chief protagonist in the region, because if we are, we become the inheritor of the colonial era, and we even become more hated in the region than is the case today.” ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski

I agree with Zbig.

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Here’s a comment predicting the political future given the Republicans’ take over of both branches of congress:

Mary Ann & Ken Bergman Ashland, OR 3 hours ago
Now that Republicans fully control both houses of Congress, the chances increase that they’ll overreach in their zealous fervor to do everything they can to make President Obama a failure. There will be bills passed that they know the President will veto. There will be further blockage of his executive and judiciary appointments. And there will be a raft of Congressional hearings on the “scandals,” real or imagined, of the Obama administration. They may play their game of bluff over the federal budget, even though they’ll likely get the blame if the government is shut down. If certain Republicans have their way, there will be impeachment proceedings, even though Republicans don’t have the necessary two-thirds of the Senate in their pocket. It’s going to be a time of high theater, although little if any legislation is likely to be enacted.

So the President is wise to act, to the extent that he can, to carry out needed actions by executive orders. Unfortunately, they’re likely to be challenged in the courts, effectively tying them up for months or years in the legal process. The Republicans will use every means at their disposal to prevent the Obama administration from moving forward on important issues.

The level of mean-spiritedness of today’s Republicans is likely to become even more apparent to the public and turn them off. But Democrats are not faultless; they need to push progressive programs that help all of us, and stop being “Republican-Lite.”

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It will be interesting to look at this a year from now and see how things turned out.

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Racism won. Obstructionism won. But we’ll see how they do now! Watch for the backlash, GOP! Here’s a good comment by Brian of NYC in the NYT:

“This is the absolute best thing that could have happened. This is the end of the GOP as we know it.

The next two years will see Repubs having to do what they are institutionally against: making government work. Watch. The dog has been chasing the car for so long it no longer has any idea what to do besides bark. This places Democrats in perfect position for 2016. The next two years will be a circus as the extremist GOP agenda will be forced into broad daylight for all to see. Obama’s power of veto will ensure that their social and economic goals won’t take us back to the middle ages, so I’m not worried about them doing any lasting damage.

This isn’t a win for them. This is a short term set-back against progress that will arouse the disgust of the American public. In the meantime, it will be good fun watching them try to throw a ball they’ve spent the past four years trying to deflate.”

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I can’t believe this. It should have been unanimously defeated. Three Democrats even voted for it. Here are the details.

Fifty votes needed to defeat it, and it got 51. Olmypia Snowe was the only Republican who voted against it. Her Maine colleague, Susan Collins, went along with the rest of the Republicans. Group think is important among Republicans. There are always a few Democrats who stray, in this case three.

Olympia voted against it because, having chosen to retire, she is free, free at last to vote her conscience.

And then there’s that fascistic pig, Rush Limbaugh. He calls a law student a “slut” for wanting contraception available. How 19th century can you get? And have any Republicans repudiated Rush? No. I guess he and Grover Norquist are the voices of the Republican party.

Here’s an excellent NYT editorial on the narrow defeat of the Blunt amendment.

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Most popular reader’s comment on the NYT article, Soaring Poverty Casts Spotlight on Lost Decade:


We are entering an era of class warfare.

The rich and the moneyed corporate interests and the Republicans in their pockets have been quite bold about this: no healthcare for the poor. No education for the poor. And the middle class is weakening and falling away while the ultrarich control more and more.

The truth is, such a society is, overall, a poorer society. What I don’t understand is why some middle class and some poor actually support Republican initiatives that make them poorer and hurt their own health and the education of their children. It is a stunning triumph of propaganda, where some people support policies that hurt them, because of false contrived bogeymen like freeloading illegals and welfare queens. And the entire country is suffering for this propaganda bought and paid for by the rich and the corporations who don’t want to pay for your health and your education. And some of you agree with it! Insanity.

I thought it was “We the people,” not “We the rich people and corporations.” You who are poor and Republican or middle class and Republican: please take note of the war that is being waged against you, and reevaluate your support for policies which only impoverish you, bought and paid for by propaganda mouth pieces that appeal to your irrational fears rather than your sense of reason.

Recommended by 1116 Readers

Thanks BR from Times Square.

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I watched it last night and was impressed with his strong delivery and the high resonant pitch of his voice. Quite an oration. He seemed to be saying something too, not enough to fill the economic hole we’re in, but sufficient to create 1.9 million jobs according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. His hair might not be on fire, but it’s definitely smoking according to Paul Krugman. Oh I know, he’s done a lot of bad things like not closing Gitmo, not approving the new EPA standards, and many more: see Drew Westen’s NYT article What Happened to Obama?. Of course the Republicans won’t pass his Jobs bill, but at least he seems to be going down fighting. Let’s be optimistic and hope that his efforts might at least keep the senate from going Republican in 2012. Fat chance?

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The NYT this morning has a scathing editorial on the pettiness of John Boehner’s refusal to allow Obama to make his jobs speech on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and they accuse Obama of caving once again by agreeing to give his speech on the following day. I think I agree that Obama caved yet again, but then I find the following reader’s comment:

Really? This delay, even seen as a concession to a request, however churlish, from another elected representative of considerable stature (i.e., the Speaker of the House) is seen as “caving” or some sort of sign of weakness? Was Lincoln’s willingness to wait patiently to meet with General George B. McClellan, the general-in-chief of the Union Army at the early stages of the Civil War (and, later, his Democratic rival for re-election as President) also “caving” or weakness?

What has happened to the notion that it is the stronger, more mature, and more self-possessed individual and leader who can overlook – much less ignore – such pettiness and posturing, keeping his (or her) eye on the more important issues and goals of good governance and the communication of one’s vision and plans for the same?

Or are virtues such as patience, restraint, and forbearance (yes, even towards the small, the petty, and, dare I say it, “those who hate you”) of no value and are no longer desired in our leaders, much less our President and Commander-in-Chief?

OK, this is all well and good. Clearly, Lincoln showed forbearance and maturity and became one of our very greatest presidents. But look what Obama is up against:

I don’t know how true this is, but on The Ed Show (granted hardly an unbiased source) it was said that the Obama people sent the request early in the morning, and that Boehner hesitated in replying to the President, until after Rush Limbaugh went on the air and on the warpath and publicly berated Boehner for not turning down the President’s request immediately. It seems the Republicans in office are so beholden (again, if this is true) to such non-elected personalities as Limbaugh, Beck and Grover Norquist that they cannot act independently on their own. In fact, if you include the astroturf groups such as The Club for Growth and Freedomworks, it seems elected Republicans are no better than lemmings marching to the drumbeat of corporate-funded advocacy groups and media individuals.Not to let Obama off the hook, because he backed down again, but the Republican have no intention of showing respect for the office of the President as long as their leadership-in-fact is a bunch of astroturf groups and rich individuals, especially Rush Limbaugh. I can’t believe so many poor and middle-class individuals are taken in by a rich man who flaunts a golden microphone, and how many politicians, including the one who is second in the line to the presidency, are beholden to him.

Is this equivalent to what Lincoln was up against? It may have been worse in Lincoln’s time but at least then there was no instant media to excite the masses.

The first quote was by William Gabriel of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the second was by r5169 of Midwestern U.S.A.

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Especially these House Republicans, or should I say Repuglicans? Eric Cantor is the number one worst person of the Repuglican world. This outburst of mine here was prompted by reading this DialyKos article: Obama to call for transportation reauthorization without cuts.

The article points out that Obama will be joined by representatives of two organizations that are very rarely on the same side, namely, the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This still probably won’t be enough to satisfy that creep Cantor because his only objective is to defeat Obama.

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