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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Spiritual home: the rocky Maine coast
Member since: Sun Mar 27, 2016, 08:06 PM
Number of posts: 1,629

About Me

Greetings... what can I say? I'm an old time hippie and anti-war activist from the 60's. I was radicalized then and have always remained political. One's politics can have different aspects. Economically I'm an FDR liberal. Socially I believe in the Ninth Amendment that government has no legitimate power to limit some rights such as responsible drug use, the right to choose, or one's sexual behavior. Politically I'm to the left of the Democratic Party. Why? Over the years I realized the focus of activists should not be stamping out brush fires and putting band-aids on problems. The effort must always be to keep in mind the root of most of our problems such as wealth inequality, growing corporate power, voter apathy, climate change, etc... is an electoral system that is incapable of measuring the popular will and a political system that is incapable of implementing it. Sadly, the Democratic Party seems to need a push to find a greater appreciation for... and to work towards, implementing common sense democratic reforms to both those electoral and political systems.

Journal Archives

Did Congress REALLY Vote For The Iraq War?

This is not a thread to get Hillary off the hook for stupidly trusting Bush... but whether Bush violated the AUMF. Like most of my threads here they were originally posted in the Thom Hartmann forum.

If you ignore all the endless litany of "whereas" after "whereas", and skip to the end of the 2002 Authorization To Use Military Force, it seems Congress approved a conditional AUMF, not a blank check. Here's the final section



This joint resolution may be cited as the ``Authorization for Use of
Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002''.

[[Page 116 STAT. 1501]]


The Congress of the United States supports the efforts by the
President to--
(1) strictly enforce through the United Nations Security
Council all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq
and encourages him in those efforts; and
(2) obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security
Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay,
evasion and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies
with all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

There were no existing UN resolutions authorizing force. The US tried to get a new one. In its original
drafts the US sought permission to attack on its own and it was REJECTED. The US only got the UNSC to
demand WMD inspectors be allowed back into Iraq or there were would be dire consequences. The UNSC never
actually authorized force.


(a) Authorization.--The President is authorized to use the Armed
Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and
appropriate in order to--
(1) defend the national security of the United States
against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions regarding Iraq.

With no UNSC resolutions authorizing force, for Bush to invade he had
had to claim there WAS a "continuing threat" from Iraq.

(b) Presidential Determination.--In connection with the exercise of
the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President
shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible,
but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make
available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the
President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that--
(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or
other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately
protect the national security of the United States against the
continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to
enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions regarding Iraq; and

Here Bush simply lied. The UN had acted. Inspectors were back in Iraq... and they were finding evidence that Saddam's WMDs had been destroyed back in 1991. But Bush had a timetable... the optimum time to invade would be in the early spring so the work of the Inspectors had to be sabotaged.

(2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent
with the United States and other countries continuing to take
the necessary actions against international terrorist and
terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations,
or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the
terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

The Iraq/911 connection was always untrue.

Congress was foolish for trusting Bush who since the spring was public about setting up a rationale to invade Iraq. Congress allowed Bush to roll right over them with a carefully crafted strategy just before the election. Bush claimed he was interested in the viability
of the UN... and resolutions had to be enforced. He claimed he was not interested in a war, it was a last resort. In reality he was stalling for time... until weather conditions were optimum. He never cared what Congress or the UN wanted. He was going to invade either way and played the public, Congress, and the UN like a fiddle... and We The People have let him get away with war crimes.

Wall Street Reform: FDR vs Obama

When FDR came into office in March 1933 he and the Democrats faced head on the dangerous aspects of an unregulated economy and passed structural reforms within 3 months with the 1933 Banking Act. It was that Act that included Glass Steagall.

When faced with another collapsed economy in 2008 we might expect the braindead ideologues in the GOP to refuse to reflect on how their ideas on deregulation caused the collapse and how dangerous it was NOT to make major reforms. But Obama should have known better. Yet he and key Dems refused to do what FDR did: quickly introduce and pass key reforms. In March 2009 Obama told the Wall Street perps that he stood between them and the people with the pitchforks.

Reform was stretched out and Dodd Frank wasn't passed until July 2010... 18 MONTHS after Obama took office.

Given the scope of the problem Dodd Frank was a pathetically weak bill and it would take additional years to be implemented. As of early 2015 the SEC was still writing rules to implement DF https://www.sec.gov/spotlight/dodd-frank/derivatives.shtml In the mean time the too big to fail banks were now bigger and time bombs in the economy were still ticking. And ultimately the Obama administration refused to prosecute any of these Wall Street thieves and sociopaths. They got away with paying large fines... other people's money.

So here we all, 8 years after the crash. The government is now trillions more in debt, the FED has exhausted it's main arsenal... interest rates, and the world economy is looking unstable again.

Should there be another crash... will history look back and curse the GOP and Obama for refusing to fix the core defects in the economy?

I suspect so. We desperately needed another FDR and instead we got a corporate Dem as president.

Can Capitalism Thrive Without Free Goodies From Government?

This thread is not about crony capitalism... but some aspects of US capitalism we don't often think about... and certainly nothing the Orwellian Right would want to mention.

What would be the free market value of all those intellectual monopolies, tax breaks, and immunities we give corporations? Could capitalism thrive without those intellectual monopolies, tax breaks, and immunities? Could anyone really amass giant fortunes without these freebies?

Government grants intellectual property monopolies to provide incentives to push the envelope... but if patents, copyrights, and trademarks didn't exist... what would US capitalism be like?

If corporations were forced to buy limited liability insurance on the open market to cover bankruptcy costs for 100c on the dollar... and protect shareholder profits and assets from clawbacks by creditors, and what would US capitalism be like?

How easy would it be for corporations to amass capital if taxes on profits were not given special preferential capital gains rates and shareholders never received limited liability protections for their investments?

Would any private insurer ever want to insure a mega corporation for all of the above? Nuclear power might never get off the ground if the government hadn't passed the Price Anderson Act.

What would the American economy look like without the free goodies We The People give to corporations and those who invest in them?

And if we can't imagine these corporations growing to the behemoths they are without those freebies... then what do those corporations and those who get rich from them... owe We The People back?

Sorry... a $15 minimum wage is too high

The depreciation of the minimum wage from its high point in 1968 is scandalous. If merely adjusted to inflation that $1.60 of 1968 would be worth $10.95 today.

We've built too much of the economy around the exploitation of these MW workers... and all those who fall between $7.25 and that $10.95. If the MW had merely been adjusted to inflation every year the economy would have had time to adjust. Instead the economy has become addicted to this exploitation... and no doubt this has played a huge role in how the the bottom quintile's share of national aggregate income has gone down 28% since 1974 while the top quintile has gone up 32%.

That being said, $15 may be fine in urban areas but as a national MW $15 would cause enormous disruptions... especially since we've foolishly allowed US companies to outsource and bring back their good from cheap labor nations. And yes, moving to even that $10.95 will cause disruptions. This adjustment alone would mean a whopping $7300 a year more for a full time MW worker. But there's a strong moral case that this is a wrong that must be corrected. A caveat, that perhaps if we went to Single Payer, this would free up employer resources to justify a MW higher than $10.95.

Is a democracy legitimate if votes don't weigh the same?

Is a democracy morally legitimate if votes don't weigh the same? By weight I simply mean how votes get translated into representation. For example, imagine one group of 1000 citizen vote and get one seat in a legislature yet another group of 1000 votes and gets 3 seats. Would any laws passed by those 3 legislators be morally legitimate?

GOP's Next Step: Restroom Gestapo!

So if a transgendered man, even if dressed as a man, must use a women's room... and vice versa, how are these rabid right states to prevent cross dressing pranksters or voyeurs from using either restroom? It's going to take a restroom Gestapo sitting outside of each restroom asking for birth certificates.

WTF!!! Hillary Thinks Chuck Schumer Would Be A Good Senate Majority Leader?

Just watching Hillary on the Rachel Maddow show... and Hillary suggested that Chuck Schumer would be a great majority leader in the Senate? Chuck is a Wall St wh**e... the person who scuttled abolishing the carried interest reform to the tax code.


Sorry Hillary... NO THANKS!!!

Scalia's War On The Ninth Amendment. Even Some On The Right Found It Horrifying

It wasn't just liberal Dems who had contempt for Scalia. Here's a view from the libertarian right...

from http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/constitution-3/

JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA is probably the smartest man on the Supreme Court. That makes him a living example of how bad political and philosophical premises can put great talent in the service of an evil cause, namely, the destruction of individual liberty.

when asked about a National ID card

According to an Associated Press report, he said, If you think its a bad idea to have an identity card, persuade your fellow citizens through the amendment process, rather than asking courts to make policy.

Scalia here is saying that the government legally may require everyone to carry an ID unless the people amend the Constitution to prohibit Congress from enacting such a measure. His point is painfully clear: the government can do anything unless the Constitution expressly forbids it. No surprise here; Scalia has long made his views known. They are horrifying nonetheless.

His views are based on an incorrect indeed, a pernicious notion of what the U.S. Constitution was and is supposed to be. In fact, he stands the Constitution on its head. Instead of a document that protects individual liberty by reining in government power, Scalia would make it one that protects government power by reining in individual liberty.

I suspect it's the bizarre construction of the Constitution that made room for such mischief. I've long maintained that the construction of Constitution is somewhat of a mess because basic assumptions were not clearly stated. If the Ninth had included a clear statement of rights like the Rights Of Man... we'd all be better off.

4: Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.

5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.


Instead as an after thought the Ninth Amendment was added...

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This left room for the likes of Scalia to claim since these rights were not enumerated... the court could not rule to protect them... therefore new rights had to be added legislatively. Problem was the Constitution is also virtually reform-proof and now states with a mere 4% of the US population can block any reform. And this is what FFF meant that Scalia turned the Constitution on its head. Instead of a presumption of liberty... Scalia turned that into a presumption of government power over liberty... except for those right Scalia approved of.

Isn't the first step to election reform defining the purpose of elections?

Back in 1776 a document set forth a simple test of the moral legitimacy of government: that it based on the consent of the governed. If we subscribe to such a standard, then the purpose of elections is the yardstick to measure that consent.

But what of an electoral system that is incapable of accurately measuring that consent because doesn't offer all citizens choices to vote their conscience and get representation, doesn't encourage maximum turnout, weighs votes differently, or where up to half of the votes count for nothing? Can such a system ever produce morally legitimate government?

Aggregate Income Breakdown: A Damning Indictment Of Growing Inequality Since 1967

There's been much research on growing inequality over the years. This US Census chart bears it out...


It breaks down national aggregate income by quintile and the top 5%. The highlight here is that the income share of the bottom quintile peaked in 1974 and has decreased 28% by 2014... while the income of the top 5% went up 32% during that same period.

But it's more important to look at when changes happened.

The bottom quintile first dropped below 4% in 1985

The second quintile first dropped below 10% in 1983 then below 9% in 1994

The third quintile first dropped below 17% in 1977, below 16% in 1989, below 15% in 1999

The fourth quintile first dropped below 24% in 1993

Needless to say the gains went to the top quintile which started out at 43.6% in 1967 and rose to 51.2% by 2014.
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