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Obama: A Major Move to Socialism

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The term "culture war" blasted upon the American consciousness in 1992 at the Republican National Convention. Pat Buchanan made an address to the GOP that year, and defined this relatively new phrase as a "war for the nation's soul." That year marked the time our nation recognized it was fighting something from within — a pervasive secularism that threatened to create a government of socialism.

Seventeen years later, we have an America with significant social change, and a drastically weakened economy. Our status of creditor nation has been delivered to China.

To start with, there are major signs of socialism in our politics and media. Consider this quote from U.S. Rep. Bob Latta of Ohio, when asked by the Toledo Blade if America could consider itself a socialist country: "We might not be quite there yet, but when magazines are talking about socialism, I think it's time for Americans to look at the Constitution and say, 'Is this what we were handed by our forefathers in September of 1787?' and I think not," Mr. Latta said. "I think America is a much better country than what we're doing now."

Our forefathers fought for freedom as defined by the U.S. Constitution, but that included laws specifying personal responsibility. Yes, this inherited freedom includes free speech and a host of other rights. Yet, at some point, all of these mentioned rights can cross the line of responsible behavior. All freedom has a price, and that involves holding all of us accountable. The ideology that framed our country's constitution doesn't appeal to a people who wish for a "big brother" state. For anything else other than what we now have entails that individuals yield their freedom, in order that they be cared for by the state.

Freedom of religion, as defined by the First Amendment, comes to mind. The price to practice this freedom demands us to respect the religion of others. The right does not allow a religion that wishes to see the destruction of another people and their beliefs!

When Obama came into the national spotlight a few years ago, those who bought into the Obama "Hope and Change" message were those who view government as a caretaker. Obama's speeches contained the message of 'No need to think, we will do it for you!' Perhaps this is why when one questioned an Obama supporter with what Obama planned to change, the hypnotic response came back as 'I don't know, he is going to change things.' Some of us know the price for government caretaking. The childlike need expressed by this mentality is now manifested in the so called "Stimulus Bill". Unfortunately, we are just beginning the journey to grasp what this bill will require, what that price will be monetarily, in terms of our freedom, and will it keep requiring more money from each American citizen, formerly known as capitalist consumers. According to Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, "if we had spent a million dollars a day from the birth of Jesus, then we would have spent less than the proposed stimulus package."

When Obama made his weekly radio and Internet address, he said recently, "I will sign this legislation into law shortly, and we'll begin making the immediate investments necessary to put people back to work doing the work America needs done." Obama also uses futuristic words that reveal the heavy price for this stimulus bill that bloats our government even more with this predictive statement: "This historic step won't be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but rather the beginning. The problems that led us into this crisis are deep and widespread, and our response must be equal to the task."

Socialism has arrived with the passage of this economic stimulus bill. It now demands we ask and answer, "What are your abilities? Do you have any needs?"

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About Charlotte Front and Center

  • I could not disagree more. First off, I think our ‘freedom of religion’ is horseshit. Every single day as a child I recited the pledge of allegiance every day, which included god, before I even knew what it meant.

    To hold office in the US, you swear on a bible. Look at your currency, it all espouses god. That isn’t freedom of thought, I say that.

    As for Obama making America socialist, you are wrong. Bush started this with the TARP funds. He pushed us to bail out the banks that he didn’t have the sack to regulate. The WHOLE tarp thing went down on Bush’s watch.

    As for what President Obama is doing, he is doing exactly what he said he would when we elected him. It’s why we elected him.

    While this is plenty expensive, I am happy to finally see tax dollars be spent in the USA. Bush was the king of spending, it just all went to everyone else. Pakistan got 10 BILLION in aid, what did that get us? bin Laden? Nope, nothing. While Pakistan got that aid, GW Bush vetoed and infrastracture bill.

    Remember the deadly freeway collapse? Remember the NYC black out? Our infrastructure is shit, and the president refused to allow congress to work to repair it.

    Don’t fight America, fight for America.

  • jman

    you’ll see Obama cool aid drinkers… typical liberal, justifies Obama’s actions with Bush’s. Gee, that’s real smart…

    Get the F out of the country, if saying the pledge of alligence bothers you. If it were up to liberals, we would all be “butt porking” our boyfriends in the middle of the streets like some giant Greek orgy without any consequences. You see, liberals have no morals. They think morals are offensive and hate speech..

  • Cindy


    They think morals morons are offensive…

    There you go.


    One of your pals has stopped by to visit you.

  • That’s cute. But now you’re gonna incur his wrath.

  • Arch Conservative

    Well Cindy seeing as it’s more common to see a liberal sticking up for the rights of illegal aliens or pedophiles than the rights of unborn babies in the womb I’d say it’s more accurate to say their morality is suspect rather than saying they have no morals.

  • Cindy


    That wasn’t intended as a reflection on conservatives. Only a reflection on the poster.

  • Come on, Arch, we don’t wan’t to have that debate. I don’t know about illegals, but I’m certain she doesn’t approve of pedophiles.

  • Cindy

    I don’t believe in aliens of any kind.

  • Not even from the Orion constellation?

  • jman is the man.

  • Cindy

    especially not from the orion constellation 🙂

  • bliffle

    Socialism? The author is surprised to see socialism?

    We’ve had socialism in this country for as long as I can remember. It’s all been directed at major US corporations. Even now we are instituting more socialism to give away trillions to financial corporations.

    Most Presidents and other rulers have been Corporate Statists. Just look at George W Bush: increased the US debt by $5trillion with loose spending and big socialistic handouts.

    I guess the author is worried that some of this socialistic handout might end up going to individuals. But most of the socialized corps are fronts for rich and powerful people, so it DOES go to people.

    Maybe that’s OK because they are rich people, not those nasty poor and middleclass people.

  • Nasty, poor and brutish! You might as well quote from Hobbes, bliffle.

  • Cindy

    That wouldn’t do, as I noticed Hobbes has a limited imagination.

  • Cindy

    On to remember Locke next.

  • Cindy

    Hobbes reminds me of something I read. Who talked about the “noble savage”? It was some other “insightful” white guy.

  • Not really, Cindy. He had quite a problem trying to reconcile the radical changes in philosophical, theological and political thinking of his time. All considering, he had done a marvelous job and opened the door to Locke and Rousseau.
    A pioneer.

  • Cindy

    Yes, in his time. But hardly very useful now considering what is understood about his bias toward “the savage”.

  • But the state of nature was only a philosophical construct – in order to account for a progression to a civil society – a thought-experiment and a lever.

  • Cindy

    But you’ll have to explain to me why a mythical construct that does not prove to be real (you know like in the sense of anthropologically) is so worthwhile to base present decisions on.

  • Cindy

    My understanding of things comes from social science. How people really behave. Not thought experiments.

  • Oh you two! So in-tee-lek-shu-al and all.

  • Cindy

    Sigmund Freud wasted an entire generation’s time with his wacky ideas.

    It seems like it was necessary at one time, but impractical in the present. As I would have to ignore everything I have learned. Or try to force it into outdated presumptions.

  • It’s what’s called in philosophy as a “move.” In this particular case, it provided an opportunity to account for the state and to justify the existence of the state. There was no need to do that in antiquity (Greece) because the state arouse under circumstances which did not call for any explanation. But it was different in Hobbes’s era when the monarchy was under attack (Cromwell) and theological views as regards God’s manifesting his presence in the natural world were being questioned.

  • Cindy

    Yes, so that is what I see. It had a historical context that was useful. And then thought progressed along.

  • Cindy

    Cook? Cooke? is that the noble savage guy?

  • I don’t know about that – I thought it was good boy Friday. But yes – that’s how thought progresses in time. Some would argue that all thought is historically-bound – e.g., Collingwood, “The Idea of History.”

  • Cindy

    So, well I am wrong he did have an imagination. It’s just not where I would start. Although I can see it is enjoyable for some people to.

    I will have my best friend over. He’s much like you in his interest in philosophy. He has also studied religion and psychology and Chomsky, et al.

    He can give me an overview having understood all that.

  • Cindy

    He’s a scholarly person and retains enormous amounts of information. I don’t retain detailed information and have to use references all the time.

  • Didn’t Newton said: We all stand on the shoulders of giants. Anyway, it doesn’t mean they’re easy reading. I could never get through Hobbes – archaic style and old. But there are some great secondary sources. William Connelly, e.g., Modern Political Theory. You should pick it up if you can.

  • Cindy

    I’d rather use my friend John. He makes a great talking reference.

    I’ve already taken 3 philosophy classes in my life, Intro and Ethics and Logic. That is quite enough for me. I also took ancient Greek and Latin.

    He remembers Greek (we took it together). I don’t.

    They bore me.

  • I’m not scholarly – just interested in certain topics – political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of language, literature.

    I didn’t even understand the Hobbesian system until two days ago – as I’m preparing for the next paper.

  • Cindy

    What is it on? I forgot.

  • An encyclopedia of knowledge.

  • Moral argument vs. privatization of prisons.
    But the other thing is – knowledge is less important than understanding; and since you have an active mind, just let it guide you. And once you understand something, you don’t forget. Ever!

  • Cindy

    Ah yes! I’ll like that.

  • Cindy

    Okay time for bed. Book on tape waiting. Goodnight. 🙂

  • OK!

  • Lono sez:

    To hold office in the US, you swear on a bible. Look at your currency, it all espouses god. That isn’t freedom of thought, I say that.

    That’s nitpicking and overly sensitive. We do not have religious tests for office – though many voters my look askance at an avowed atheist. But that’s well within their rights as voters. We don’t have state sponsored churches or sharia law. This is princess and the pea sensitivity.

    As for Obama making America socialist, you are wrong. Bush started this with the TARP funds. He pushed us to bail out the banks that he didn’t have the sack to regulate. The WHOLE tarp thing went down on Bush’s watch.

    Yes, you’re absolutely right – but so what. Your statement there does not vindicate Obama from charges of socialism, it simply (and correctly) indicts George Bush as well. They’re both guilty.

    As for what President Obama is doing, he is doing exactly what he said he would when we elected him. It’s why we elected him.

    The really sad thing is that you’re probably more or less right there. A lot of people clearly were not thinking much about Obama’s policies. They were more interested in him being black and cool, as black people of course inherently are. Still he put up plenty of policy proposals of the Marxist college professor variety – cause that’s what he is. But anybody who cared about actual issues knew that they were voting for the most leftwing member of the US Senate.

    While this is plenty expensive, I am happy to finally see tax dollars be spent in the USA. Bush was the king of spending, it just all went to everyone else.

    This is not a very good argument. For starters, we’ve got something to show for the Iraq investment. They’ve gone from being among the ugliest players in the region to our new ally and beacon of hope in the reason. That would be as opposed to just flushing money through every Democrat glory hole in the land.

    And at that, liberating 25 million people and eliminating a major regional threat has not cost what this stimulus package is blowing on pleasing unknown patrons (Chinese,Saudis?) sticking their weenies in for US to please from the other side of the glory holes in our eagerness to get their big hot loads of loans.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    That wasn’t intended as a reflection on conservatives. Only a reflection on the poster.

    Is it possible that Arch-Con thought it applied to him…because maybe it did?

  • “For starters, we’ve got something to show for the Iraq investment. They’ve gone from being among the ugliest players in the region to our new ally and beacon of hope in the reason (sic).”

    Now THAT’S a bogus argument. If the US military maintains a presence in Iraq for 50 years or even John McCain’s 100 years, the moment we walk away, the country will revert to civil unrest – conflicts between Sunnis and Shias and probably the Kurds as well – that will eventually blow up into civil war.

    Look what happened in the Balkins after 50+ years of Soviet control. Within months of the dissolution of the USSR, ancient conflicts between various factions in the region exploded into violent conflict.

    You can’t put a bandaid on this type of thing and expect it all to heal. Iraq hardly stands as a “beacon of hope” for anything. Talk about looking at something through rose colored glasses. The nearly 600 billion dollars spent in Iraq have been a total waste – not to mention the lives of thousands of American and allied troops and the many thousands more lives of Iraqis lost. The war was/is an absolutely stupid waste of humanity, effort and resources.

    At least with the stimulus, there is at least some hope that actual Americans may reap some benefit from it. Far better than spending billions to kill Iraqis.

    BTW – By and large most atheists are far more moral than most christians and other believers. We don’t allow for some imaginary god to “speak” to us about who we should be killing in hisherit’s name.

    Oh, and I prefer Hobbits to Hobbes. I mean life in “The Shire” is pretty inviting – except perhaps for all that foot hair.


  • The Haze

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” –Marcus Tullius Cicero 42B.C. #40 – …or maybe Cindy cut a wider swath with the brush…because she meant to.

  • Baronius

    Most presidents have sworn their oath with “so help me God” at the end, with their hand on a Bible. Not all. Historical accounts are fuzzy, but some have affirmed (rather than sworn) the oath, some haven’t added the reference to God, and at least two didn’t make their oaths on the Bible. JQ Adams and Pierce took their oaths with a hand on a book of law.

    “By and large most atheists are far more moral than most christians and other believers.”

    That statement is nonsensical on its face. It depends on the definition of morality, which varies by belief system, but which has a major break between theists and atheists. Jesus said that the first and greatest law is to love God. If you accept that moral code, then obviously atheists aren’t better than theists. It’s equally obvious that no atheist will accept that moral code.

  • Jesus said, jesus said, jesus said… So what? Neither jesus nor any christian, nor any religious tradition “invented” morality. Believers have proven to be not such hot shit when it comes to morality.

    True believers – whether believers in a god or a state, or a “fatherland,” are in fact responsible for millions of deaths from early human history up to and including the present day.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    “By and large most atheists are far more moral than most christians and other believers”

    Hm. I know that’s not your quote, but I think it would be apropos to note that in the grand sweep of history, those who adhere to mainstream ‘Christianity’ have killed more people in the Name of God than the adherents of any other religion.

    But are atheists off the hook? One need only to point at the victims of officially-atheist China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ (@ 10 million IIRC) and the officially-atheist Soviet Union (upwards of 20 million). Nothing committed by any religion in history compares to these.

    But all such cases – religious or not – bear one similarity: the desire to achieve and/or preserve power of the lives of others.

  • Cindy

    True believers – whether believers in a god or a state, or a “fatherland,” are in fact responsible for millions of deaths from early human history up to and including the present day.

    That is the crux of the problem.

  • Does it include the conservatives, too?

  • “But are atheists off the hook? One need only to point at the victims of officially-atheist China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ (@ 10 million IIRC) and the officially-atheist Soviet Union (upwards of 20 million). Nothing committed by any religion in history compares to these.”

    Those and the Nazi Holocaust victims were not killed in the name of Atheism. They were killed, as I noted above, in the name of a state which simply was a replacement for a god, or a god by another name. It was still a bunch of true believers who found it acceptable, preferable even, to kill in the name of an ideology. I’ve yet to see or know of any “atheist” armies sent out with the stated mission to kill believers.

    Of course there have always been believers killing other believers. And so it goes.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baritone –

    I did not say that they were killed in the name of atheism – though many were killed because they refused to NOT be religious. If you’ll check, the Nazis also executed something like two million Catholics…because they were Catholic. But was this because the Catholics refused to be athiest? No. It was because Hitler and his cronies saw the Catholics as a threat to their power…and decided to do something about it (never mind that the uber-Catholic regime in Croatia at the time was allied with Nazi Germany and exterminated well over a half million non-Catholics simply for not being Catholic…).

    What I said is that the atheists killed for much the same reason as the religious zealots: the desire to achieve and/or preserve power over the lives of others.

  • Cindy


    Is it necessary then to continue to believe in a state?

  • Cindy

    RE # 42

    I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system.–Noam Chomsky

  • I don’t know what he’s trying to say via #42.

  • These are the people who destroy America:


  • Cindy


    Here is my interpretation: The best way to set up a “rational Fascist dictatorship” is not to create a blatant totalitarian state, but to create the “impression” of a free state.

    Beyond that, I would add (and this is in agreement with other things Chomsky has said), make the state function in such a way that through the embedded propaganda system, the citizens endorse and promote it.

    And I would say that the citizens will actually fight to keep it in place.

  • So do you think it’s happening here?

  • Give me some references, anyway, where he’s talking about that. OK?

  • This time I’m gone.

  • Cindy

    Holy smokes! NYU was just occupied hours ago. Someone just gave me link for streaming video and comments coming from the college.

  • Cindy

    University of Tennessee just ousted their president.

  • STM

    Gnome Chompsky is a plaster garden gnome. It lives down the end of my garden, near the shed, has a stupid-looking hat and large teeth.

    And since our Gnome can’t think or speak, his political discourse is roughly equal to that available much of the time on the BC threads, especially those relating to the misguided, red-neck interpretation of what constitutes “socialism” in modern America (as opposed to the “community” practised by many of the other great modern liberal democracies who put the US to shame in that regard).

    Just remember, it was the “personal responsibility” advocates who shouted longest and loudest about unregulated and unfettetered lending, bizarre finance-sector products like CDOs and CDSs, and the corporate sector that bought into the pea-and-thimble trick so all those involved could get rich at our expense, that should now be carrying the can for our current situation and the global financial crisis. The problem with “personal responsibility”, small government and lack of regulation in America today is that often comes with another label attached: “greed”, and that at the expense of others who are already getting shafted.

    Or, to put it another way, it’s been: “I’m alright Jack, who cares about you?” If the 80s was the deacde of greed, the noughties have been the decade of greed and irresponsibility.

    And let’s not forget the CEOs who drove their own companies into the ground, in the process costing thousands their jobs, not just in the US but around the world, but who’ve still walked away with millions in golden parachutes.

    My bet would be that if the Founding Fathers could see the “me-first” culture that has overtaken modern America, the big corporations and their major shareholders who act like the kind of old feudal lords against which America first rebelled, and the damage it’s wrought, they’d be turning in their graves and thoroughly sickened.

    Real change in America is now inevitable, driven by a seriously dangerous economic downturn damaged by that outmoded me-first current thinking ’til now – no matter how ridiculous Obama’s “hope and change” rhetoric sounds.

    Every man for himself-style greed, trickle-down or supply-side economics and the neo-conservative ideology that promotes such deluded thinking will be out; community and social democracy will be gradually introduced to mainstream US politics, lobby groups and corporations will lose much of their bizarre power to influence decisions of a government that is meant to be of the people, and that old and non-existent red-herring of “socialism” will best left to discussions about places like Cuba.

    So if this is where America’s headed, and is putting power back in the hands of the people where it belongs, is that such a bad thing?

    Otherwise, America can’t be regarded as a liberal democracy (yes, that’s democracy in the modern sense, not the ancient Greek).

    Without these changes, it simply remains an imperialist-style oligarchy that has removed the average American from much of the political process, a process whereby certain groups in the US are making a mockery of everything America is meant to stand for.

    That includes truth and justice. The other important one that gets forgotten about is “community”.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    STM –

    I just posted this in a different topic (and please forgive my over-the-top patriotism – I know that Australia’s in many ways freer than America), but after reading the crystal-clear common sense in your post above, I think it belongs here, too:

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Give the poor a sincere welcome, more opportunity, and even a leg up, and what do you get? AMERICA!

  • STM

    What did Lou Reed call it? The Statue of Bigotry.

    “Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I’ll piss on ’em

    That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says

    Your poor huddled masses, let’s club ’em to death
    and get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard … ”

    I agree, Glenn … the America that my mother and father spoke about (and my father was a British Army veteran who spent a lot of time working very closely with Americans), and the America I learned about as a kid at school, is NOT the America of today.

    I even remember my mother standing in front of the TV crying when John F.Kennedy was killed – and the enormity of that display of emotion is shown in the fact that we’re not even Americans because to her, even though she was moved by the human aspect of the tragedy, there also seemed to be an element of the death of hope in a divided world then facing off and still recovering from a dreadful conflagration.

    America represented a big part of everyone’s hope for a better world (and if you don’t realise it, guys, it still does).

    And don’t worry about being patriotic. You’d have to be patriotic and a flag-bearer for the real America and the obvious true intent of that beaut little document in the face of some of the nonsense people are punting up about this subject.

    What, the greatest American value is now: “I only care about me, let’s all make a buck at other people’s expense, as long as I’ve got my stack, the rest of you can get f.cked?”

    Please, spare me the bollocks. How is that a real country? It’s just a stack of indivduals all set against each other in their search for the biggest slice of the pie. The solution to that mindset and the deluded ideology that goes with it, and which has put America where it is right now, has nothing to do with “socialism”.

    The inability to tell the difference between “community” and opening your arms to all and caring for your own, and the bogeyman of “socialism”, is quite frightening to outsiders who can only act as interested observers.

    It’s not the America they told me about, nor is it I suspect the America of the vast majority of her people, and it’s certainly not the America I respect.

    Also, my own country went down the same path recently, so none of this isn’t criticism I wouldn’t level at my own joint. Thank God they’ve gone, though, the perpetrators of that so that we can all move on.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Interesting to note that at the same time America was celebrating the Statue of Liberty, thousands of Chinese immigrants were being shut away at Angel Island.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    STM –

    America represented a big part of everyone’s hope for a better world (and if you don’t realise it, guys, it still does).

    You’re absolutely right – I’ve seen it myself in nearly every country I visited. That’s why I do try to play the part of the sincere, generous and courteous-to-a-fault American wherever I go, and in third-world countries if I get ripped off a little bit, no big deal – they need it more than I.

    That’s also why I’m so deeply offended when I see an American – and particularly an American serviceman – do something rude, dishonorable, or criminal in another country. It shames us all, and makes life much more difficult for the other Americans there.

    I fly no flag on my porch and post no flags on my cars (and I grimace inwardly at the ones who really overdo it like their English counterpart, the proverbial Brit with the Union Jack tattooed on his bum), but I am quite patriotic…even though we just today put down earnest money on a property in a third-world country where we hope to retire (not too far (in travel time) from Down Under, thankfully). But you know what? Even though I may not grow old in America, wherever I am, there America is.

  • Cannonshop

    Get out while your money still has some Value, Glenn, and best of luck to you because when the dollar plunges, whatever you’ve got saved is going to equalize with the local currency, and that’s probably not going to be good for you. (better than for those of us who’re staying, though.)

  • About time, STM. The few of us here can’t fight this fight alone. Welcome back.

  • PS: Also, give my “The New World Order, Part I” a quick read. It raised the exact same points you bring up in #60.

  • In perfect agreement with all comments from #60 on – including Jordan’s. The question is – what to do with m ………..ers like Sanford who abscond with their fraud money to Switzerland or the Caymans?

  • Cindy


    You are indeed the man! Great posts!

  • STM

    Cannon: “Get out while your money still has some Value, Glenn, and best of luck to you because when the dollar plunges”

    Mate, the dollar’s not going to plunge.

    The simple truth is, guys, everywhere is fucked as well because of this crisis. It’s all relative.

    We’re doing better than almost anywhere in this global crisis so far because of the regulations on our banking sector and the two stimulus packages the federal government has pushed through, but our dollar’s fallen in the past six months or so from near parity with the US dollar to about 65 cents – because the Chinese and Japanese are screwed and aren’t buying our raw materials.

    Pop goes the huge cash cow of the Australian mining boom, in one fell swoop.

    My tip, try to buy American … support your own people, keep your own economy going. Even buying your lunch or you sandwiches or even just a coffee or two at the local diner helps. That saves another half dozen jobs, and that’s another half dozen pay packets NOT taken out of the equation and whose money is still circulating.

    That’s the trick … just keeping all that money going around, including YOUR taxes, which actually doesn’t belong to the US government but to the American people.

    Don’t buy foreign cars (unless they’re from Australia, like GM Holden’s Pontiac G8, ’cause apart from the Poms and possibly your northern neighbours, we’re your only real mates:), buy locally grown and produced foods, everything in season so you know it’s not from elsewhere, etc etc.

    Keep a few more auto workers in jobs, keep a few more paypackets floating and contributing.

    This crisis will last a few years.

    What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

    So let’s hope it doesn’t bloody kill us.

  • I like your suggestions, STM, about supporting local economies. It may be too late for that, I’m afraid.

    I realize all is relative here – but I’m not certain about your argument about the dollar not plunging. All currencies will more or less equalize to the level of say, the peso – I think.

    I did mean to ask you about Australia. There isn’t much news coming from out there concerning this crisis. Are they more immune because of the distance and/or relative isolation? Likewise with Canada – it doesn’t seem to be as adversely affected by the meltdown as Europe is for instance.

    Your thoughts?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    STM –

    I disagree. I think the economy will bottom out in mid-to-late ’09, and next year we will begin the long, slow climb back to ‘normalcy’.

    But that’s not based on anything concrete – just my own gut feeling – so if there’s a betting pool on which month we’ll bottom out, I got September ’08! (but I won’t bet money)….

  • STM

    Baritone: “I mean life in “The Shire” is pretty inviting”.

    Baritone, I actually DO live in The Shire … Hornsby Shire 🙂

    And it IS inviting. I just hope it continues that way over the next few years.

    (One of my neighbours has even behaved like Gollum in the past, and has been about as accommodating, especially in the never-ending arguments about the grand old trees and flowering plants in my driveway garden, the position of the colourbond fence, the alleged legal fence line, the cocos palm and the retaining wall. But I say, everyone being nice for the sake of peace can and does work miracles)

    Apart from that, it’s all good.

  • STM

    Roger, Canada would probably be in a similar position to us. Our banking sector has been pretty heavily regulated.

    Its exposure to toxic debt isn’t huge. Lenders have largely been responsible (they are required to be under federal laws). The four major banks in this country were named over the past four weeks as being in the top 15 of the world’s banks in this current crisis.

    What WILL impact us is the fall in sales of raw materials like iron ore, of which this country is literally awash, and finished metals like steel.

    Because, as they’re not making as much stuff in China, Japan or America (which is also a customer), that means we lose customers and it weakens the very thing that has kept us afloat.

    We’ve had two multi-billion stimulus packages, one before the Christmas, the other just approved.

    The Christmas one involved giving most families in this country about $2000 to spend – which led to a huge upsurge in Xmas retail sales (record figures) and very likely saved some jobs and created others.

    The governent was already generous, but it doubled the first-home buyers grant to $14,000 (available to anyone buying a house or apartment for the first time), and tripled it to $21,000 for anyone building a brand-new home for the first time, hoping to keep the building industry afloat and encouraging people to borrow. This is a cash grant that can be added to a home deposit.

    The number of people now seeking mortgages because of the grant and lower interest rates and falling house prices, has boomed.

    Other parts of the stimulus packages are aimed at infrastructure projects and job creation, and only time will tell. The latest one has just been passed by the Senate and will deliver about another $900 in cash to most individual Australians to spend as they see fit – all aimed at keeping the cash flow going around.

    Largely, though, in terms of our isolation – we’re not really isolated since our close neighbours are the Asian tigers – and feeding ourselves, we’re more than self-sufficient (check that World Atlas, Rog!). We feed ourselves easily and what seems like half the world as well, so we won’t starve just yet.

    I just hope the breweries stay afloat.

    People need to keep buying beer – otherwise, we’re really stuffed.

  • STM

    Glenn, the banks in America need to start lending again – responsibly, though. That money needs to start moving around once more.

    It’s not doing much good locked up in the virtual vault.

    This is a crisis of confidence as much as anything.

    And I can’t see the US dollar fluctuating much in relative terms.

    If it does fall, though, Americans should rejoice (unless they’re going on an overseas holiday 🙂 … because as we know in this country, it’s a great opportunity to open new export marekts.

    Which right now is one of the things America needs. Unless you guys keep making and selling stuff, you’re in deep doo-do.

    This is part of the reason for America’s current problem.

    Shuffling and selling bits of paper and making up dodgy financial products on Wall Street has been tantamount to a modern-day pyramid-selling scheme and isn’t really a great replacement for the falling American manufacturing sector – as we can now see.

    Yanks have to get back to what they’re good at: making real stuff and using that fast talk to sell it at the best price.

  • I wouldn’t worry about the last part, Stan. Even during the Prohibition Era, bootlegging and entertainment were the few industries which stayed afloat. You’ve got your Foster’s; and Canada their Labatt’s.

  • Glenn Contrarian


    “Foster’s”? That’s the San Miguel Domestic (NOT Export) of Australian beer…and if you’ve ever had a formaldehyde-reinforced San Miguel Domestic outside of the Philippines, you’d know exactly what I mean….

  • I thought it was Australian originally.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Foster’s has always been Australian AFAIK, and San Miguel has always been Filipino. My comparison was more about the taste that only appeals to those who don’t care about how the beer tastes.

  • Well, I know one thing. When I was stationed in Germany, their beers were quite different than the imports you get here. Even Heineken’s had quite a kick, not to mention some of the local brands people haven’t even heard of.

  • Hope and Change?

    Top 10 Reasons President Barack H. Obama Is Nothing Like Travis the Chimp

    10. Travis understood TurboTax

    9. Obama somewhat less likely to attack Biden

    8. Travis never lied

    7. Obama’s smile not quite as genuine

    6. Travis could get through entire day without teleprompter

    5. Obama takes more long-term approach to destroying people’s lives

    4. Might actually be possible to get copies of Travis’s medical records

    3. Obama much better at taking orders from trainer, David Axelrod

    2. Travis really didn’t befriend William Ayers

    1. Obama only talks your ear off

  • Well, Stan,

    That’s the problem with these bailouts; the banks are getting a jump start with no conditions attached. There’s no point.

  • Foster’s has always been Australian AFAIK

    It’s Australian in name only. No-one Down Under drinks the stuff.

    Foster’s is to real Australian beer what cheese in a spray can is to… well, you know.

    My theory: it’s a ruse to make the rest of the world think they’re getting Australian beer, while the Aussies keep the real good stuff* to themselves!

    * And there are some truly marvellous Aussie beers. You just can’t get them outside Australia.

  • That’s typical. Don’t overly refine the vulgar taste of the American consumer. “Cheap products and poorly made” has been the mainstay of American economy for quite some time now. Always look for a sale!

  • Hope and Change?

    Pretty Ironic…dissent to King Barrys plan for the serfs of the kingdom is beginning to grow rapidy..from high school students to public protests to CNBC reporters…

    Barry’s “I won” = George W’s “Mission accomplished”

  • Baronius

    I had no idea what H&C’s comment #81 meant until I heard about people protesting the cartoon. Let’s face it, it’s not unheard of for H&C to be racist.

    The cartoon itself is kind of funny. It’s not racist at all, because Obama didn’t write the stimulus bill. But there are people who see everything in racial terms. I wonder if there will be any BC articles about the cartoon.

  • Hope and Change?


    Funny cartoon and not at all racists…if you recall there were numerous cartoons portraying Bush (big ears, etal)as a monkey….

    “I won = Mission Accomplished”

  • (The problem is that ‘monkey’ has not historically been a common epithet used to insult white male Texans.)

    At first I didn’t think the cartoon was about Obama either. But the more I think about it, the more I question the cartoonist’s decision to incorporate that particular news story into the cartoon. I think Sharpton has a fair point here, although knowing Sharpton he probably didn’t think it through in the same way I just did.

  • STM

    Don’t you love hope and change’s non-stop one-argument argument?

    I don’t reckon the cartoon’s funny in the slightest, for the simple reason that it was a pretty tragic event that left someone disfigured. If that hadn’t happened, maybe … you know, context is everything.

    I don’t see any race card played there though, and it’s stupid for people to go mad about it and find that in it when it doesn’t exist.

    Still, Doc’s right though about white men not traditionally being compared to monkeys.

    As for Bush and Obama in the chimp stakes … Bush actually looked a tad like one if you squeezed your eyes together a bit.

    However, in regards to Bush, I thought publicly comparing a US president to a chimp and sniggering about it was a disgrace … and really, really unfair to chimps.

  • Stan, there are (or were) actually websites that had Dubya’s face juxtaposed with that of a chimpanzee, or even that toggled between them. It was quite uncanny.

    Your thoughts on comments 76-80 and 83?

  • Hope and Change?

    If you read the cartoon (which should be easy for most of the left loons in here – one sylable words and pictures) it is calling the government workers….you know…. elected officials, and er…um… HUD employees and all of the other slovenly beaurocrats monkeys….with that said the cartoon is 100% accurate!

    “I Won” = “Mission Accomplished”

  • Hope and Change?

    sNiggering!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :O

    Hmmmm of all the words to use…looks like a freudian slip!

  • Baronius

    The NYC media market is a strange thing. The city is quite self-absorbed. You can see it on a lot of shows that come out of New York (SNL comes to mind). There’s nothing out of the ordinary about New Yorkers telling a story that revolves around them. I’ll bet that the paper has had a couple of political cartoons featuring A-Rod, which wouldn’t make any sense to outsiders.

  • STM

    I notice the author is a poster girl for tax cuts (surprise, surprise).

    Problem is, governments around the world have already realised they can’t do it in this climate, especially when it comes to big corporations.

    They are already losing many, many billions in tax revenue that because of this crisis is no longer going in to government coffers. The US government is probably in a worse situation than most in the developed world because of the much bigger impact on job losses, company failures and personal financial collapses brought about by sub-prime, the global credit crunch and GFC.

    The US is now reaping what it’s sown in terms of lack of regulation and unfettered greed. Sadly, though, it impacts most on ordinary people, not the clowns who caused it in the first place.

    Cutting taxes at a time when governments need more revenue, not less, would just be another nail in the coffin.

    There are other ways of freeing up spending.

    Any plan to cut taxes, especially for corporations, large businesses and wealthy individuals, in this climate is, at best, coonskin economics and another classic example of the discredited trickle-down or supply-side theory of economics.

    Obama’s right to be pouring money into the economy in the hope of getting it moving. It’s what everyone around the world has already done, with varying degrees of success.

    It’s not ideal, but the problem is, NOT doing it might be a whole lot worse. No one really knows.

    Unfortunately, it’s a case of suck it and see.

  • Good point, Baronius. Sharpton is a New Yorker, isn’t he? One would have thought he’d at least get it – although as I said, his thought process was probably quite different.

    I agree with Stan, though, in that the cartoon isn’t funny.

  • Hope and Change?

    Al Sharptons protests have more to do with his personal vendetta against the Post which ran the cartoon…he was outed by them last year and has been ties up with the local and federal tax agencies…see below

    The move comes after the Rev. Sharpton announced he cut a deal with the Department of Justice to drop a criminal tax-fraud probe in exchange for his payment of back taxes and fines that could amount to as much as $9 million. He’s already paid back $1 million, his reps said.

    Oh my Cindy!!! Can somone who owes the IRS $9 million in back taxes be a spokesperson for the poor minorities in America? No probably your right that it would be better if the “overweight liberal loon house fraus” spoke on behalf of the underclass…

  • Great points, STM. I guess it doesn’t hurt being an outsider looking in. I’d such hope that some of the commentators here were more amenable to look at this situation from a wider, hopefully global perspective. It might restore some sanity into the discussion.

  • Hope and Change?

    “governments need more revenue” No They DONT!

    The American citizens need more revenue..the last several years many states ran a tax revenue surplus. What did they do? Rather than return it the taxpayers or pay off their debt they expanded government payrolls, entitlement programs and “pay to play”.

    So if the Government and Banks are the ones who got us into this mess why are we bailing them out instead of the “hard working” citizens who are the innocent victims of these crimes?

    If this is Hope and Change..who the F__CK needs it!

  • I agree. These banks are anathema and bailing them out just defies common sense.

  • Baronius

    I hate agreeing with H&C, but he’s completely right about state budgets. California has a $42 billion deficit. How does a STATE come up $42 billion short?

  • By the way, they just arrived at a compromise. Don’t forget, though, California is/was the seventh largest economy in the world. A great part of the problem there is – a proportionate amount in any increase in state revenues are automatically allocated to education – so it’s almost impossible for them to get ahead. Plus they’re stuck with Prop 13 – which serves as lid on property taxes.

    Warren Buffet generated a furor there when he dared to suggest that Prop 13 should be overturned.

  • Hope and Change?


    Using basic logic…the emperical data proves that when states get money they sqaunder it. For the Scamulus Plan to work states will have to someting they have never EVER done in the history of the US…be accountable and responsible for tax payer monies.

    So for this to work Barry will have to pull off a Miracle…Todays paper outlined how NJ plans on spending the money and its obvious that it they only jobs created will be low paid teachers aides, a few union jobs and expansion of entitlement programs….more of the same crap that has landed this state in the mess its in.

    So befor we get any money its already a failure.

    Hope and change ” Good Job Brownie…I mean Barry”

  • Baronius/H&C:

    That’s why I want to refer you to the following comment, posted on another thread, addressed to Dave.

    “The following is one take on how to view the push towards state sovereignty. I tend to agree with the analysis.”

    State vs. Feds.

  • California’s government has been ruined and crippled by populist ballot referenda. Prop 13 was one of the first.

    A 2/3 vote is required for most tax and budgetary votes. Huge percentages of the budget have to be set aside for specific purposes [like schools] and can’t be touched, tying the legislators’ and governors’ hands.

    In the assembly, the Dems are very liberal and the GOP is very conservative, so getting to 2/3 is all but impossible.

    Since they can’t raise property taxes, they depend on income taxes. During a downturn, revenue goes south quickly.

    And that’s how they run up such huge deficits and why the government is chronically dysfunctional.

  • So we basically agree.

  • That’s California in a nutshell, Handy. Outsiders perceive it as some sort of hippy wonderland, but in actuality it’s extremely polarized politically. Away from LA/San Diego, the Bay Area/Sac and some of the Central Coast towns, the state is mostly rural and very conservative.

    A nonpartisan state government (isn’t there one state that actually has that? can’t remember which one) would be peachy.

    I’m really looking forward to filing my state taxes this year. Yep. It’s going to be such fun.

  • Well, the good thing still is, they haven’t increased vehicle registration fees to the best of my knowledge – not at least since I left 9 months ago. That’s one reason why Arnold won hands down in the recall election. Or have they since?

  • STM

    Doc and Rog, et al. The federal government here did away with state income taxes decades ago. The states now stick their hands out as the Commonwealth deals out the money collected federally from income and corporate taxes, although the states still manage to impose a whole raft of indirect taxes. The bigger the state, the bigger the slice of the pie.

    New South Wales, the most populous state, is in a similar position to California – in big debt (appropriate because it even looks and acts like California too). They are slugging us every time we move in this city, with high tolls on expressways, parking fines, speed cameras everywhere, land taxes, higher fares for public transport systems that are becoming less efficient, hospitals that are in debt, etc. It costs me more than $700 a year for my motor-vehicle registration and third-party accident insurance. That’s on top of the comprehensive car insurance, which costs another $900 a year. Then I have to pay for my wife’s car as well.

    So what happens this week? A new minister of state is appointed to state cabinet, and his staff decide his city office needs a $500,000 makeover, and his office at State Parliament, literally two minutes’ away, needs a $200,000 makeover. Nearly a million bucks when you get into the inevitable budget overruns for those kinds of projects. What a joke. The media is running hot on that one. I can’t wait till the next state election to tip the bucket on them.

    As for the efficacy of dropping taxes to give more Americans more money according to H&C’s grade school economics theory #101, it’s probably worth noting that a) that kind of thinking has got you to exactly where you are right now (in a dangerous recession that threatens to upend the entire world, with America first, and b) check out both trickle-down economic theory and that hoary old tax-cut chestnut, the Laffer Curve to see why it doesn’t work.

  • Except that I love California, STM; and I’d bet that Doc loves it too. For all that bullshit, it’s still God’s country – as no doubt New South Wales or New Zealand must be too.

  • STM

    I love California too. I feel at home there. San Francisco is very similar to Sydney, except not as hot.

    Geez Roger, I don’t know about New Zealand … that’s a foreign country.

    They speak funny over there, and it takes three hours flying over the Pacific to get there.

    They do have a Union Jack in the corner of their flag, though …

    You need to get them Atlases out mate!

  • We’ll do, STM. I hate being embarrassed so every time I open my mouth about the land down yonder.

  • I love bits of California – most especially the Central Coast around San Luis Obispo and San Simeon. (They grow better wine there than in Napa, too.) San Francisco is in my top five favourite world cities. I’ve got a lot of time for San Diego, too – some family there, so spend quite a bit of time in the area.

    The part where I live, unfortunately, is flat and boring – although the Sierra Nevada is less than an hour away, which is some compensation.

  • trent1280

    America IS a socialist country, and has been for many years. It is, however, a socialism unknown in Europe, and unrecognizable to Marx or Mao.

    We practice a form of socialism which benefits the very rich, the major corporations, and the status quo. Ms Redwine seems utterly oblivious to these simple facts.

    US-style socialism provides gold-plated heath care to members of Congress, but none at all to some 46 MILLION of our people.

    We grant vast tax, import, licensing, copyright, R&D and similar subsidies to the rich, but none dare call it socialism. Thousands of lawyers on corporate payrolls spend entire careers defending the tax privileges of their employers.

    I have noticed that, as long as people are convinced that these practices are ‘incentivized capitalism’, they are content. Call it for what it is, and suddenly one is accused of practicing ‘class warfare’.

    Beyond the sheer childishness of such shoddy name-calling as practiced by apologists for US-style socialism, there is another phenomenon.

    The ONLY people who actually engage in class warfare are those who benefit most from its outcome. Everyone else is too busy trying to get beyond minimum wage jobs, blue-collar layoffs, and waiting lines.

    Pres Obama seems to understand that the majority of Americans are fed up with subsidies to crooked promoters, incompetent managers, dishonest and greedy brokers, car companies going bust because they prefer the dole to honest innovation and first-class competition, and the Bernie Madoff-believers — all those who believe it is right and righteous to go for the fast, un-earned buck.

    Significant change is coming, to be sure. The paradox? It is largely driven by the greed, excess, moral anomie, and sheer selfishness of those on the right. For once, the quality of their fiscal bankruptcy is roughly equal to their moral bankruptcy.

    Few will shed tears. Those of Ms Redwine are utterly misplaced.

  • STM

    “Get the F out of the country, if saying the pledge of alligence bothers you”

    Typical right wing bullshit. We love the constitution and free speech, except when when we don’t agree with you.

    As for the “liberal” commentator, as unpopular as TARP and the continuing bailouts and stimulus packages have been, the US government is only doing what the governments of every other major western democracy has also done in the hope of staving off the global financial crisis.

    They’ve used the lessons of the Great Depression, when governments did nothing … and so far, it’s worked.

    If you think things are bad now, the concensus is that they’d be a lot worse had these things NOT been done.

    In a way, as bad as you think these things are for America, in reality they’re not … you probably should be thanking both the Bush and Obama administrations for having the balls to push these things through in the face of public outcry in the US.