Friday, October 31, 2014

Chris Christie Flips Out
And Goes Off On An Unhinged Rant Against Hurricane Sandy Victim

By Justin Baragona

Thurs., October, 30th, 2014--During a staged event in the New Jersey town of Belmar Wednesday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got into a confrontation with a former Asbury Park City Councilman who was part of a group of protesters demanding Christie “finish the job” when it comes to rebuilding the Jersey Shore in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. 

Christie is flanked by Mafia-looking security guards...for protection? From what, a Hurricane Sandy victim?

Christie played up to the crowd and the cameras by going off on an unhinged rant against James Keady, a small business owner and former councilman. 

Gee, it seemed so natural. Throw him another fish! Gawd forbid he is elected president!

Keady held up a sign during Christie’s speech and Christie addressed him from the podium.

Keady’s sign read “Get Sandy families back in their homes—Finish the Job!”

How dare the unreasonable scoundrel!

For roughly two minutes, Christie then verbally attacked and disparaged Keady, apparently unaware that Keady was actually a former politician himself, an organizer of an action group trying to get unused Sandy funds to local homeowners and businesses and a person who has been on the ground helping since Sandy hit nearly two years ago.

Remember when Lizzy Dole was president of the Red Cross and how we all donated to the Red Cross after some disaster? That's when we all learned to specify where our donation be used...otherwise, they put the money in a general fund, allowing Dole to give herself a $200K salary.       

I’d be more than happy to have a debate with you anytime you like, guy, (guy?) because somebody like you who doesn’t know a damn thing about what you’re talking about except to stand up and show off when the cameras are here. I’ve been here when the cameras aren’t here, buddy (buddy?), and done the work.

What the phuck has he done when over $800M remains in the Sandy account and there are still homeless Americans?

It’s been 23 months since then, when all you’ve been doing is flapping your mouth and not doing anything! So listen, you want to have that conversation later, I’m happy to have it, buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up!”

I don't think he's a "flapper." Sounds like he's a victim who is trying to get his life together.

Even though Christie claimed that he’d debate with Keady “anytime” regarding the governor’s Sandy recovery efforts, when Keady offered to meet Christie for dinner to discuss, the governor mockingly dismissed him.

Nice touch, Christie...That'll keep those middle classers quiet!

“I’ll tell ya, there’s about 1,000 things I’ll do tonight, going to dinner with you is about 1,001.”

Does that mean no dinner? Drats! I was sure the food offer was a winner.


Obviously, Christie was playing to his supporters and the cameras, thinking it was time for a classic Christie bullying session. 

He was likely unaware that Keady is a former councilman who is leading an effort to create awareness of the large amount of money sitting unused that should be going directly to residents to help rebuild or relocate. 

Mere hours after Christie berated him in front of the crowd, Keady appeared on MSNBC'S All
In to give his side of the story.

Not only did Keady articulately get his point across and bring further awareness to the slow response from the governor’s office when it comes to the Hurricane Sandy recovery, but he and Hayes also pointed out the irony behind Christie claiming that he is there when the cameras aren’t, all the while saying this at a staged media event. 

It is apparent that Christie thought he was just rolling over someone who would just take the abuse and leave to the crowd’s jeers. 

He didn’t realize the double-edged sword that would follow. 

Keady was well-prepared for what would inevitably occur at the event and Christie would look like an out-of-control bully with serious anger management issues.

The hosts at Morning Joe discussed Christie's outburst on Thursday morning. 

Keady should have had some fish in his pocket...he could have thrown Christie one.

Even though Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough referred to Keady as a “heckler” multiple times, they agreed that this was a bad look for Christie. 

Really? You guys are good!

Considering that up through Bridgegate they were the two biggest Christie honks you could find in media, it says something that they criticized Christie for his actions. 

Remember the two Mafia "guards"? Best not to protest too much. 

Scarborough pointed out that Christie likely needs anger management classes. 

Ya think?

Panelist John Heilemann said that all of the YouTube videos of Christie’s outbursts that helped make him a household name was probably a big influence on him taking it to this level.

This tirade from Christie comes on the heels of him daring a nurse to sue him and further solidifies Christie’s reputation as an insecure bully. 

Best not to get sick in the hospital where she nurses.

No longer can supporters just claim that he ‘tells it like it is’ or ‘shoots from the hip.’ 

Do we hafta talk about shooting?

No, he just tries to bully his way through situations that aren’t in his favor. 

Besides, how many folks are gonna argue with a 300lb. gorilla? 

In these instances, Christie is taking heat for his mandatory quarantines of health workers who treated Ebola patients as well as his slow response to the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort. 

His first and only instinct is to shout someone down. 

That’s what he knows. 

And he wants to be President?

Think about that.

I'd rather not!


Fri Oct 31, 2014--I'm a native Louisianan, and I remember first seeing Mary Landrieu--she came to speak at our high school during her first Senate campaign.

I wasn't that impressed with her, and I've remained a lukewarm fan at best.

But yesterday she said something very simple and very true:
The comments came after an NBC reporter asked the senator why Obama has such low approval ratings in Louisiana.
Landrieu's first response was that the president's energy policies are deeply disliked by residents of the oil and gas-rich state.
She then added, "I'll be very, very honest with you.
The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans.
It's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader."
Republicans weren't pleased:
State Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere issued a statement late Thursday calling Landrieu's remarks "insulting to me and to every other Louisianian."
"Louisiana deserves better than a senator who denigrates her own people by questioning and projecting insidious motives on the very people she claims to represent," he said.
"Senator Landrieu and President Obama are unpopular for no other reason than the fact the policies they advance are wrong for Louisiana and wrong for America."
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement calling Landrieu's comments "remarkably divisive" and Maness issued a statement calling on the senator to apologize.
OMG! Finally, THE TRUTH! Thank you, Senator Landrieu, for putting into words what so many of us knew.

I'm sorry you have upset the Pubs; the truth always hurts!

Photo: Thanks to Meme GOP for the image.

Photo: Ever wonder why there is no CSI: Texas?

Photo

Joe Mesec's photo.

Holy crap!! Neither Murdoch nor Alwaleed is American, yet they own FOX News ...?!

What Saudi Prince Alwaleed, the Second Largest Shareholder of Fox News, Is Accused of Saying


alwaleed

Forbes lists him as the #1 Billionaire in Sa`udi `Arabia, and #26 in the world. In fact, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, sued Forbes for undervaluing him by 9.6 billion. Prince Alwaleed bills himself as the “world’s foremost value investor.” He might be right, as he is one of the major shareholders of Twitter stock, who refused to sell any shares when the company IPO went public. Prince Alwaleed did not buy in to the company because of a personal obsession with tweeting. He rarely uses the site and his profile follows no one. Instead, he bought in to Twitter right as the Arab Spring temporarily spread to the Sa`udi Kingdom. It was around that time that we stopped hearing about protests being organized in the Kingdom.

Moreover, it was Alwaleed’s uncle, Saudi dictator King Abdullah, who ordered the imprisonment of tweeting journalist Hamza Kashgari, who tweeted an imaginary conversation between himself and the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

But Prince Alwaleed is the second-most shareholder in another company that sways public opinion. This company isn’t involved in organizing protests, but instead shaping public opinion about them. That company is Fox News. To be specific, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns the second-largest block of stock (7%) in News Corp., Fox News’ parent company. This is no minor issue, as issues like the above plight of Kashgari, have been soft-balled or outright ignored by Fox News.

Recently Alwaleed has been accused of saying, “A strong U.S. government is not good for us,” a quote which we have been unable to confirm or refute. But whether these words came from his mouth or not, they illustrate an important point, if Prince Alwaleed wants a weak U.S. government, or simply wants stories about the dictatorship of the Sa`udi Kingdom to be swept under the rug, Fox News will do his bidding. Still to this day we cannot find a single story on Fox or News Corp. websites about the imprisonment of Kashgari. This is only one example of many. Reports of anti-government protests in Sa`udi `Arabia have not been deemed newsworthy by corporations which Alwaleed has a financial grip on.

Does this seem right to you? If you know anyone who thinks they are getting the real story from the Sa`udi Prince Alwaleed, and Australian Rupert Murdoch controlled Fox News – if you know someone who thinks this news outlet really has the United States’ best interests at heart – then let them know just who is running the show at News Corp.

(Article by Isa Abu Jamal and M.B. David)

Photo: Don't forget to set your clock back Sunday and vote on Tuesday...or else!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014


Oscar de la Renta 

Fashion Designer, Philanthropist (1932–2014)

Oscar de la Renta was one of the world’s leading fashion designers.

Famous for his women's evening wear and suits, his line is distinctly modern yet feminine.


 
De la Renta was born on July 22, 1932, in the Dominican Republic.

At the age of 18, he left the Caribbean to study painting in Madrid.

Enticed by fashion, he switched his focus and quickly became one of the most sought-after names in haute couture.

His flattering and feminine pieces inspired women all around the world, and his attire adored several presidential first ladies.

De la Renta died on October 20, 2014.

He was born on July 22, 1932, and was raised alongside six sisters in a middle-class household in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

At the age of 18, he left the Caribbean island to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid.

While in Spain, he dreamed of becoming an abstract painter but instead became wooed by the world of fashion design.

His obvious talent for illustration opened doors for him, and he quickly landed an apprenticeship with Spain's most renowned couturier, Cristobal Balenciaga.

In 1961, while on vacation in Paris, he was hired for his first real fashion job at Lanvin-Castillo.

Within two years, he had moved to New York and joined the American design house of Elizabeth Arden.

Firm in his footing, he began his own signature ready-to-wear label in 1965

De la Renta married Francoise de Langlade, an editor-in-chief of French Vogue, in 1967. 
 
Francoise introduced her husband to some of the most influential members of fashion society and invited many of the rich and famous to his shows.

His line—identified by its delicate silk prints, use of ruffles, soft silhouettes and vibrant palette—soon became synonymous with casual luxury.

Women of means couldn’t get enough of his distinctly modern yet romantic looks, and for those who couldn’t afford his gowns, he offered a scent.

His first perfume debuted in 1977.

Respected by his contemporaries, de la Renta served as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America from 1973 to 1976, and from 1986 to 1988.

De la Renta suffered a great tragedy when his wife Francoise died in 1983 of bone cancer.

Shortly after her death, he adopted a son he found in an orphanage in his native country.

De la Renta married for a second time in 1990, to philanthropist and socialite Annette Engelhard Reed.

A Fashion Legend

While de la Renta expanded his lines and took them in a new direction in the 1990s, his pieces remained feminine and flattering.

By the late '90s and early 2000s, his work became the preferred wear of American first ladies. He dressed first lady Nancy Reagan in the 1980s, and then provided the gowns for inaugural events for both Hillary Clinton in 1997 and Laura Bush in 2005.

Besides his passion for haute couture, de la Renta has been a tireless patron of the arts.

At one time or another, he has served on the boards of The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall and Channel Thirteen/WNET.

He also supports several cultural institutions, including New Yorkers for Children, the Americas Society and the Spanish Institute.

How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish

By David Pallister, The Guardian

Special flights brought in tons of banknotes which disappeared into the war zone
 
An armed guard poses beside pallets of $100 bills in Baghdad
An armed guard poses beside pallets of $100 bills in Baghdad. Almost $12bn in cash was spent by the US-led authority 

February 2007--The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent.

The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee.

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tons, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors.

Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22 2004, six days before the handover.

Details of the shipments have emerged in a memorandum prepared for the meeting of the House committee on oversight and government reform which is examining Iraqi reconstruction.

Its chairman, Henry Waxman, a fierce critic of the war, said the way the cash had been handled was mind-boggling.

"The numbers are so large that it doesn't seem possible that they're true.

Who in their right mind would send 363 tonnes of cash into a war zone?"

The memorandum details the casual manner in which the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority disbursed the money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, surplus funds from the UN oil-for-food program and seized Iraqi assets.

"One CPA official described an environment awash in $100 bills," the memorandum says.

"One contractor received a $2m payment in a duffel bag stuffed with shrink-wrapped bundles of currency.

Auditors discovered that the key to a vault was kept in an unsecured backpack.

"They also found that $774,300 in cash had been stolen from one division's vault.

Cash payments were made from the back of a pickup truck, and cash was stored in unguarded sacks in Iraqi ministry offices.

One official was given $6.75m in cash, and was ordered to spend it in one week before the interim Iraqi government took control of Iraqi funds."

The minutes from a May 2004 CPA meeting reveal "a single disbursement of $500m in security funding labelled merely 'TBD', meaning 'to be determined'."

The memorandum concludes: "Many of the funds appear to have been lost to corruption and waste ... thousands of 'ghost employees' were receiving pay checks from Iraqi ministries under the CPA's control.

Some of the funds could have enriched both criminals and insurgents fighting the United States."

According to Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, the $8.8bn funds to Iraqi ministries were disbursed "without assurance the monies were properly used or accounted for".

But, according to the memorandum, "he now believes that the lack of accountability and transparency extended to the entire $20bn expended by the CPA."

To oversee the expenditure the CPA was supposed to appoint an independent certified public accounting firm.

"Instead the CPA hired an obscure consulting firm called North Star Consultants Inc.

The firm was so small that it reportedly operates out of a private home in San Diego."

Mr Bowen found that the company "did not perform a review of internal controls as required by the contract."

However, evidence before the committee suggests that senior American officials were unconcerned about the situation because the billions were not US taxpayers' money.

Paul Bremer, the head of the CPA, reminded the committee that "the subject of today's hearing is the CPA's use and accounting for funds belonging to the Iraqi people held in the so-called Development Fund for Iraq.

These are not appropriated American funds.

They are Iraqi funds.

I believe the CPA discharged its responsibilities to manage these Iraqi funds on behalf of the Iraqi people."

Bremer's financial adviser, retired Admiral David Oliver, is even more direct.

The memorandum quotes an interview with the BBC World Service.

Asked what had happened to the $8.8bn he replied: "I have no idea.

I can't tell you whether or not the money went to the right things or didn't--nor do I actually think it's important."

"But the fact is billions of dollars have disappeared without trace."

Mr Bremer, whose disbanding of the Iraqi armed forces and de-Ba'athification program have been blamed as contributing to the present chaos, told the committee: "I acknowledge that I made mistakes and that with the benefit of hindsight, I would have made some decisions differently.

Our top priority was to get the economy moving again.

The first step was to get money into the hands of the Iraqi people as quickly as possible."

Millions of civil service families had not received salaries or pensions for months and there was no effective banking system.

"It was not a perfect solution," he said. "Delay might well have exacerbated the nascent insurgency and thereby increased the danger to Americans."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

*********************************************
How long until Texas passes a law saying that ONLY gun permits are accepted as identification?
--Aaron Lynch
********************************************* 

Photo: Evolution is a fact

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There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next 
door to him.
Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.
********************************************

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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Never pick a fight with an ugly person, they've got nothing to lose.

Robin Williams
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Okay...Here is my latest, most brilliant idea:

Every American be issued a license plate...
Kinda like we're automobiles...

We will be mandated to wear our personal license plate whenever we appear in public...kinda like a burqa...

We the sheeple will be required to
display our license plate whenever we are:

        SHOPPING

        VOTING
        TRAVELING
        BANKING
        VISITING
        VACATIONING
        RECREATIONING

Scary, eh?
Too 1984ish? 

ORBITAL SCIENCES...
Don't ya just hate when that happens?

GOOGLE IS EVIL!
DO NOT
use Google as your search engine!
Need a Plumber?
Use ALTA VISTA for ALL local plumbers--
NOT just ONE--GOOGLES!


WE ARE NOT THE 1%!
******
WE ARE THE MIDDLE CLASS!
VOTE 
YOUR BEST INTEREST!
NOV. 4th
******
VOTE
DEMOCRATIC!

Monday, October 27, 2014

********************************************
Friends, our democracy is at stake here.
You get what you vote for.
If you want to keep oversight of public
institutions in the public's hands,
then you must
VOTE
DEMOCRATIC!
********************************************

Photo: (M) Make sure you vote.

Photo

Photo: (M) Make sure you put Democrats in the Senate and the House of Representatives in November!

WE ARE NOT THE 1%!
******
WE ARE THE MIDDLE CLASS!
VOTE YOUR
BEST INTEREST!
NOV. 4th
******
VOTE
DEMOCRATIC!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Has the Secret Service turned its back on President Obama?

They began under Director Mark Sullivan and continued when President Obama replaced him in March 2013 with Julia Pierson, who was grilled Tuesday by House lawmakers over the latest lapses.

Details of almost all the breaches and missteps were uncovered by The Washington Post.

Here are the highlights: 

November 2009:
A Washington couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, crash President Obama's first state dinner.

The Secret Service later acknowledges that officers never checked whether they were on the guest list.

Are they working as dog catchers today?

A photo emerges showing that they shook hands with the president.

The dog catchers or the intruders?

Sullivan, the director, says that he is “deeply concerned and embarrassed” by the breach.

Concerned? Embarrassed? Make him director of dog catchers!

The Salahis parlay their fame into an undistinguished career in reality TV.

November 2011:
A man with a semiautomatic rifle parks in front of the White House and fires at the building, with Sasha Obama inside and Malia Obama on her way home.

A Secret Service supervisor, mistaking the shots for car backfire, orders officers to stand down.

Good thinking.

The service does not figure out that shots hit the building for four days, and only then because a housekeeper noticed broken glass.

Make that woman a supervisor!

The president and first lady are infuriated, The Post reports years later.

April 2012:
Eight Secret Service agents doing advance work for a presidential trip to a summit in Colombia lose their jobs after allegations that some took prostitutes from a strip club back to their hotel rooms.

A Justice Department investigation finds that two Drug Enforcement Administration agents arranged one encounter between a prostitute and a Secret Service officer.

Finally! Cooperation between agencies!

President Obama later says: “When we travel, we have to observe the highest standards.”

On April 17, 2012 as many as 21 women were brought back to the hotel by U.S. Secret Service and military personnel in an incident involving alleged misconduct with prostitutes.

Alleged?

May 2013:
A Secret Service supervisor leaves a bullet in a woman's room at the Hay-Adams hotel, which overlooks the White House, and allegedly tries to force his way into the room to retrieve it.

Be grateful he didn't leave it in the woman.

An investigation finds that the supervisor and a colleague sent sexually suggestive emails to a woman subordinate.

The supervisor loses his job, and the colleague is reassigned.

A Secret Service spokesman says: “Periodically we have isolated incidents of misconduct, just like every organization does.”

WTF??

A Secret Service supervisor was suspended after an incident at the Hay-Adams Hotel, an upscale hotel steps away from the White House.

March 2014:
Three Secret Service agents responsible for protecting President Obama in Amsterdam are placed on leave after a night of drinking, in violation of Secret Service rules.

One of the agents is passed out drunk in a hallway, The Post reports.

The newspaper reports that the three are part of what is known as the counter assault team, a last line of defense responsible for fighting off assailants if the president or his motorcade comes under attack.

Ruth Buzzi would be more effective whacking an assailant with her purse!

Sept. 16, 2014:
In perhaps the most chilling of the Secret Service lapses, a security contractor with a gun and an assault record gets on an elevator with the president during a trip to Atlanta.

The Post, citing people familiar with the incident, reports that the contractor used his cellphone to take video of President Obama and did not stop when Secret Service agents told him to.

You're joking, right?

The Secret Service only learns that the man has a gun when he is fired on the spot and turns it over. President Obama was not told, The Post reports.

Sept. 19, 2014:
An Iraq war veteran with a knife jumps the White House fence, dashes through the North Portico doors and makes it deep inside the building, into the East Room, before he is tackled, and only then by an off-duty Secret Service agent.

The Secret Service first says only that the man was apprehended after getting in the door.

A congressman tells The Post that a security alarm was disabled because staff nearby found it too noisy.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

8 Ways Privatization Has Failed America

By Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams*

August 5, 2013--Some of America's leading news analysts are beginning to recognize the fallacy of the "free market."

Said Ted Koppel, "We are privatizing ourselves into one disaster after another."

Fareed Zakaria admitted, "I am a big fan of the free market...But precisely because it is so powerful, in places where it doesn't work well, it can cause huge distortions."

They're right. A little analysis reveals that privatization doesn't seem to work in any of the areas vital to the American public.

Health Care
Our private health care system is by far the most expensive system in the developed world.

Forty-two percent of sick Americans skipped doctor's visits and/or medication purchases in 2011 because of excessive costs.

The price of common surgeries is anywhere from three to ten times higher in the U.S. than in Great Britain, Canada, France, or Germany.

Some of the documented tales: a $15,000 charge for lab tests for which a Medicare patient would have paid a few hundred dollars; an $8,000 special stress test for which Medicare would have paid $554; and a $60,000 gall bladder operation, which was covered for $2,000 under a private policy.

As the examples begin to make clear, Medicare is more cost-effective.

According to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, Medicare administrative costs are about one-third that of private health insurance.

More importantly, our aging population has been staying healthy.

While as a nation we have a shorter life expectancy than almost all other developed countries.

Americans covered by Medicare increased their life expectancy by 3.5 years from the 1960s to the turn of the century.

Free-market health care has been taking care of the CEOs; the president of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, made $1,845,000 in 2012.

That's over ten times as much as the $170,000 made by the federal Medicare Administrator in 2010.

Stephen J. Hemsley, the CEO of United Health Group, made three hundred times as much, with most of his $48 million coming from stock gains.

Water
A Citigroup economist gushed, "Water as an asset class will, in my view, become eventually the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals."

A 2009 analysis of water and sewer utilities by Food and Water Watch found that private companies charge up to 80 percent more for water and 100 percent more for sewer services.

A more recent study confirms that privatization will generally "increase the long-term costs borne by the public." Privatization is "shortsighted, irresponsible and costly."

Numerous examples of water privatization abuses or failures have been documented in California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island--just about anywhere it's been tried.

Meanwhile, corporations have been making outrageous profits on a commodity that should be almost free. Nestle buys water for about 1/100 of a penny per gallon, and sells it back for ten dollars. Their bottled water is not much different from tap water.

Worse yet, corporations profit from the very water they pollute. Dioxin-dumping Dow Chemicals is investing in water purification. Monsanto has been accused of privatizing its own pollution sites in order to sell filtered water back to the public.

Internet, TV, and Phone
It seems the whole world is leaving us behind on the Internet. According to the OECD, South Korea has Internet speeds up to 200 times faster than the average speed in the U.S., at about half the cost.

Customers are charged about $30 a month in Hong Kong or Korea or parts of Europe for much faster service than in the U.S., while triple-play packages in other countries go for about half of our Comcast or AT&T charges.

Bloomberg notes that deregulators in the 1990s anticipated a market-based decline in phone and cable bills, an "invisible hand" that would steer competing companies to lower prices for all of us.

Verizon and AT&T and Comcast and Time-Warner haven't let it happen.

Transportation
As Republicans continue to deride public transportation as 'socialist' and 'Sovet-style,' China surges ahead with a plan to create the world's most advanced high-speed rail transport network.

Government-run high-speed rail systems have been successful in numerous other countries, and England and Brazil both lament industry privatization.

As a warning to wannabe Post Officer privatizers, Greyhound and Trailways once provided service to remote locations in America, but deregulation intervened.

The bus companies eliminated unprofitable routes, and cutbacks and salary decreases, all in the name of optimal profits, resulted in drivers working up to 100 hours a week--a fact to consider any time each of us ride the bus.

With privatization comes automatic rate increases. Chicago surrendered its parking meters for 75 years and almost immediately faced a doubling of parking rates.

California's experiments with roadway privatization resulted in cost overruns, public outrage, and a bankruptcy; equally disastrous was the state's foray into electric power privatization.

In Pennsylvania, an analysis of school busing by the Keystone Research Center concluded that "Contracting out substantially increases state spending on transportation services."

Banking
The industry is bloated with deceit and depravity.

Almost all of the big names have taken part.

Goldman Sachs designed mortgage packages to lose money for everyone except Goldman. Countrywide and Wells Fargo targeted Blacks and Hispanics for unaffordable subprime loans.

HSBC Bank laundered money for Mexican drug cartels. GE Capital skimmed billions of dollars from its customers. Dozens of hedge fund managers have been guilty of insider trading.

Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase hid billions of dollars of bonuses and losses and loans from investors. Banks fixed interest rates in the LIBOR scandal.

They illegally foreclosed on millions of homeowners in the robo-signing scandal.

Matt Taibbi explained to us how financial malfeasance led to the bubbles in dot-com stocks and housing and oil prices and commodities that extract trillions of dollars away from society.

This is all the result of free-market deregulated private business.

The best-known public bank, on the other hand, is the Bank of North Dakota, which remains profitable while seving small business and the public at low cost relative to the financial industry.

Prisons
One would think it a worthy goal to rehabilitate prisoners and gradually empty the jails. But business is too good.

With each prisoner generating up to $40,000 a year in revenue, it has apparently made economic sense to put over two million people behind bars.

The need to fill privatized prisons has contributed to mass jailings for drug offenses, with African Americans, who make up 13% of the population, accounting for 53.5 percent of all persons who entered prison because of a drug conviction.

Yet marijuana usage rates are about the same for Blacks and whites.

Studies show that private prisons perform poorly in numerous ways: prevention of intra-prison violence, jail conditions, rehabilitation efforts. Investigations in Ohio and New Jersey revealed a familiar pattern of money-saving cutbacks and worsening conditions.

Education
The notion that charter schools outperform traditional public schools is not supported by the facts.

An updated 2013 Stanford University CREDO study concluded that privatized schools were slightly better in reading and slightly worse in math, with little difference overall.

Charter results have shown an improvement since 2009.

An independent study by Bold Approach found that "reforms deliver few benefits, often harm the students they purport to help, and divert attention from...policies with more promise to weaken the link between poverty and low educational attainment."

Just as with prisons and hospitals, cost-saving business strategies apply to the privatization of our children's education.

Charter school teachers have fewer years of experience and a higher turnover rate.

Non-teacher positions have insufficient retirement plans and health insurance, and much lower pay.

If big money has its way, our children may become high-tech symbols and objects.

Bill Gates proposes quality control for the student assembly line, with video footage from the classrooms sent to evaluators to check off teaching skills.

Consumer Protection
Warning signs about unregulated privatization are becoming clearer and more deadly.

The Texas fertilizer plant, where 14 people were killed in an explosion and fire, was last inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) over 25 years ago.

The U.S. Forest Service, stunned by the Prescott, Arizona fire that killed 19, was forced by the sequester to cut 500 firefighters.

The rail disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec followed deregulation of Canadian railways.

Regulation is meant to protect all of us, but anti-government activists have worked hard to turn us against our own best interests.

Among recommended Republican cuts is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which rescued hundreds of people after Hurricane Sandy while serving millions more with meals and water.

In another ominous note for the future, the House passed the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, which would deny the Environmental Protection Agency the right to enforce the Clean Water Act.

Deregulation not only deprives Americans of protection, but it also endangers us with the persistent threat of corporate misconduct.

As late as 2004 Monsanto had insisted that Agent Orange "is not the blame cause of serious long-term health effects."

Dow Chemical, the co-manufacturer of Agent Orange, blamed the government. Halliburton pleaded guilty to destroying evidence after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.

Cleanups cost much more than the fines imposed on offending companies, as government costs can run into the billions, or even tens of billions of dollars.

People vs. Profits
As summed up by US News, "Private industry is not going to step in and save people from drowning, or help them rebuild their homes without a solid profit."

In order to stay afloat as a nation we need each other, not savvy businesspeople who presume to tell us all how to be rich.

We can't all be rich.

We just want to keep from drowning.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License


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Paul Buchheit
is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press).

The Supreme Court Eviscerates the Voting Rights Act in Texas Voter-ID Decision

October 22, 2014--In 1963, only 156 of 15,000 eligible black voters in Selma, Alabama, were registered to vote.

The federal government filed four lawsuits against the county registrars between 1963 and 1965, but the number of black registered voters only increased from 156 to 383 during that time.

The law couldn’t keep up with the pace and intensity of voter suppression.

The Voting Rights Act ended the blight of voting discrimination in places like Selma by eliminating the literacy tests and poll taxes that prevented so many people from voting.

The Selma of yesteryear is reminiscent of the current situation in Texas, where a voter ID law blocked by the federal courts as a discriminatory poll tax on two different occasions—under two different sections of the VRA—remains on the books.

The law was first blocked in 2012 under Section 5 of the VRA.

“A law that forces poorer citizens to choose between their wages and their franchise unquestionably denies or abridges their right to vote,” wrote Judge David Tatel.

“The same is true when a law imposes an implicit fee for the privilege of casting a ballot.”

Then the Supreme Court gutted the VRA—ignoring the striking evidence of contemporary voting discrimination in places like Texas—which allowed the voter ID law to immediately go into effect.

“Eric Holder can no longer deny #VoterID in #Texas after today’s #SCOTUS decision,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott tweeted minutes after the Shelby County v. Holder decision.

States like Texas, with the worst history of voting abuses, no longer had to approve their voting changes with the federal government.

Texas had lost more Section 5 lawsuits than any other state.

The law was challenged again by the Justice Department and civil rights groups.

After a lengthy trial, it was struck down, again, on October 9, in a searing opinion by Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who called the law “an unconstitutional poll tax.”

Ramos found that 600,000 registered voters in Texas—4.5 percent of the electorate—lacked a government-issued ID, but the state had issued only 279 new voter IDs by the start of the trial.

African-Americans were three times as likely as whites to not have a voter ID and Hispanics twice as likely.

The law was passed by the Texas legislature, “because of and not merely in spite of the voter ID law’s detrimental effects on the African-American and Hispanic electorate,” Ramos wrote.

But five days later, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit—one of the most conservative courts in the country—overruled Ramos, arguing that striking the voter ID law “substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins.”

The appeals court curiously believed that blocking the voter ID before the election would do more harm to voters than preserving a law that could disenfranchise 600,000 voters in the state.

The Supreme Court upheld the Appeals Court decision on October 18.

It was the first time since 1982 that the Court approved a voting law deemed intentionally discriminatory by a trial court. Justice Ginsburg dissented, joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.

“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” Ginsburg wrote.

Four major voting rights cases have come before the Supreme Court in the past month—from OhioNorth CarolinaWisconsin and Texas—and in three instances the court has ruled to restrict voting rights.

The Roberts Court has set a trap for voters. First it paralyzed Section 5 of the VRA, taking away the federal government’s most potent weapon for stopping voting discrimination.

Instead, it urged the Justice Department and civil rights groups to challenge discriminatory voting changes under Section 2 of the VRA, even though Justice Kennedy admitted in 2009 that “Section 2 cases are very expensive.

They are very long. They are very inefficient.”

Then, when a slew of lawsuits are filed under Section 2, the Supreme Court largely sides with those restricting voting rights.

It seems like the Court’s conservative majority is planning to eviscerate every important part of the VRA.

The recent decisions show that Section 2 of the VRA is no replacement for Section 5.

Earlier this year, members of Congress introduced a legislative fix for the VRA to resurrect Section 5 in states with five voting rights violations in the past 15 years.

One of the states covered by the new law would be Texas.
This post first appeared at The Nation.

Friday, October 24, 2014

WE ARE NOT THE 1%!
******
WE ARE THE MIDDLE CLASS!
NOV. 4th
VOTE YOUR
BEST INTEREST!
******
VOTE
DEMOCRATIC!

********************************************
Is This Gonna Be On The Test?
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Hmm...Could the Supremes have known all along the jeopardy they were placing our Democracy in?

Are they just waiting for the games to begin?

The games have begun...and this isn't the Olympics! 


It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. 

Dark Money
Spending in Key Senate Races
'Shattering' Records

By Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams

October 2014--Most Americans know that this is an age of skyrocketing spending on elections.

Less widely understood is how the source of that spending has dramatically changed in recent years, and what that means for our democracy.

Outside spending by those other than the candidates themselves has increased dramatically both in dollar terms and as a percentage of total election spending.

Among outside spenders, the portion coming from the political parties has diminished, as outside groups that are independent of both candidates and parties or at least claim to be so increase in importance.

The key players in our political system, candidates and parties, are not necessarily accountable for outside spending.

Non-candidate expenditures are often lacking in transparency, leaving their effects on politics mysterious.

Increasingly, outside spending is a way for those who can afford it to evade the regulation of elections to try to influence elections without playing by the rules of our democracy.

We are now seeing the maturation of the system created by the Supreme Court’s de-regulatory zeal in Citizens United v. FEC.

The Citizens United decision allowed corporations and unions to spend their general treasury funds on politics.

Many feared the decision would result in for-profit corporations spending massive amounts directly on elections.

It is now clear that the largest impact was a proliferation of outside groups dedicated to
influencing elections (some of which may, in fact, be conduits for corporate money).

Citizens United led to the creation of super PACs and an explosion in the use of nonprofit organizations to influence elections.

Super PACs and nonprofits can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, and unions.

Nonprofits are not required to disclose the identities of their donors.

The reality of the post-Citizens United world bears little resemblance to the Supreme Court’s rose-colored assumptions.

The Court described a system where immediate disclosure would keep the public informed of the potential influence of money.

The reality is that most non-party outside spending originates with hidden sources.

The Court assumed that outside spending could not corrupt candidates because it comes from entities whose activity is independent of candidates’ campaigns.

The reality is that outside groups, some devoted to electing a single candidate, cooperate with candidates in many ways, potentially making their unlimited contributions as valuable to candidates as the direct contributions that are subject to strict caps.

This report describes the realities created by Citizens United by examining the races where it is likely to have the biggest impact in 2014: competitive races for the U.S. Senate.

Money is pouring into these races because the Republicans are widely seen as having a good chance to take the chamber from the Democrats, which along with their solid majority in the U.S. House, would give them control of Congress.

Conclusion: Dark Money or outside spending gives wealthy spenders more power than ever to buy influence over our political process and elected officials.

WE ARE NOT THE 1%!
******
WE ARE THE MIDDLE CLASS!
NOV. 4th
VOTE YOUR
BEST INTEREST!
******
VOTE
DEMOCRATIC!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Eichmann in Jerusalem 

           By Hannah Arendt

****

Hot off the press from The American Conservative Magazine

Obama Is a Republican

He’s the heir to Richard Nixon, not Saul Alinsky.

illustration by Michael Hogue
illustration by Michael Hogue

Back in 2008, Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich wrote an article for this magazine making a conservative case for Barack Obama. While much of it was based on disgust with the warmongering and budgetary profligacy of the Republican Party under George W. Bush, which he expected to continue under 2008 Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, Bacevich thought Obama at least represented hope for ending the Iraq War and shrinking the national-security state.

I wrote a piece for the New Republic soon afterward about the Obamacon phenomenon—prominent conservatives and Republicans who were openly supporting Obama. Many saw in him a classic conservative temperament: someone who avoided lofty rhetoric, an ambitious agenda, and a Utopian vision that would conflict with human nature, real-world barriers to radical reform, and the American system of government.

Among the Obamacons were Ken Duberstein, Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff; Charles Fried, Reagan’s solicitor general; Ken Adelman, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for Reagan; Jeffrey Hart, longtime senior editor of National Review; Colin Powell, Reagan’s national security adviser and secretary of state for George W. Bush; and Scott McClellan, Bush’s press secretary. There were many others as well.

According to exit polls in 2008, Obama ended up with 20 percent of the conservative vote. Even in 2012, after four years of relentless conservative attacks, he still got 17 percent of the conservative vote, with 11 percent of Tea Party supporters saying they cast their ballots for Obama.

They were not wrong. In my opinion, Obama has governed as a moderate conservative—essentially as what used to be called a liberal Republican before all such people disappeared from the GOP. He has been conservative to exactly the same degree that Richard Nixon basically governed as a moderate liberal, something no conservative would deny today. (Ultra-leftist Noam Chomsky recently called Nixon “the last liberal president.”)

Here’s the proof:

Iraq/Afghanistan/ISIS
One of Obama’s first decisions after the election was to keep national-security policy essentially on automatic pilot from the Bush administration. He signaled this by announcing on November 25, 2008, that he planned to keep Robert M. Gates on as secretary of defense. Arguably, Gates had more to do with determining Republican policy on foreign and defense policy between the two Bush presidents than any other individual, serving successively as deputy national security adviser in the White House, director of Central Intelligence, and secretary of defense.

Another early indication of Obama’s hawkishness was naming his rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state. During the campaign, Clinton ran well to his right on foreign policy, so much so that she earned the grudging endorsement of prominent neoconservatives such as Bill Kristol and David Brooks.

Obama, Kristol told the Washington Post in August 2007, “is becoming the antiwar candidate, and Hillary Clinton is becoming the responsible Democrat who could become commander in chief in a post-9/11 world.” Writing in the New York Times on February 5, 2008, Brooks praised Clinton for hanging tough on Iraq “through the dark days of 2005.”

Right-wing columnist Ann Coulter found Clinton more acceptable on national-security policy than even the eventual Republican nominee, Senator McCain. Clinton, Coulter told Fox’s Sean Hannity on January 31, 2008, was “more conservative than he [McCain] is. I think she would be stronger in the war on terrorism.” Coulter even said she would campaign for Clinton over McCain in a general election match up.

After Obama named Clinton secretary of state, there was “a deep sigh” of relief among Republicans throughout Washington, according to reporting by The Daily Beast’s John Batchelor. He noted that not a single Republican voiced any public criticism of her appointment.

By 2011, Republicans were so enamored with Clinton’s support for their policies that Dick Cheney even suggested publicly that she run against Obama in 2012. The irony is that as secretary of state, Clinton was generally well to Obama’s left, according to Vali Nasr’s book The Dispensable Nation. This may simply reflect her assumption of state’s historical role as the dovish voice in every administration. Or it could mean that Obama is far more hawkish than conservatives have given him credit for.

Although Obama followed through on George W. Bush’s commitment to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011, in 2014 he announced a new campaign against ISIS, an Islamic militant group based in Syria and Iraq.

Stimulus/Deficit
With the economy collapsing, the first major issue confronting Obama in 2009 was some sort of economic stimulus. Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, whose academic work at the University of California, Berkeley, frequently focused on the Great Depression, estimated that the stimulus needed to be in the range of $1.8 trillion, according to Noam Scheiber’s book The Escape Artists.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was enacted in February 2009 with a gross cost of $816 billion. Although this legislation was passed without a single Republican vote, it is foolish to assume that the election of McCain would have resulted in savings of $816 billion. There is no doubt that he would have put forward a stimulus plan of roughly the same order of magnitude, but tilted more toward Republican priorities.

A Republican stimulus would undoubtedly have had more tax cuts and less spending, even though every serious study has shown that tax cuts are the least effective method of economic stimulus in a recession. Even so, tax cuts made up 35 percent of the budgetary cost of the stimulus bill—$291 billion—despite an estimate from Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers that tax cuts barely raised the gross domestic product $1 for every $1 of tax cut. By contrast, $1 of government purchases raised GDP $1.55 for every $1 spent. Obama also extended the Bush tax cuts for two years in 2010.

It’s worth remembering as well that Bush did not exactly bequeath Obama a good fiscal hand. Fiscal year 2009 began on October 1, 2008, and one third of it was baked in the cake the day Obama took the oath of office. On January 7, 2009, the Congressional Budget Office projected significant deficits without considering any Obama initiatives. It estimated a deficit of $1.186 trillion for 2009 with no change in policy. The Office of Management and Budget estimated in November of that year that Bush-era policies, such as Medicare Part D, were responsible for more than half of projected deficits over the next decade.

Republicans give no credit to Obama for the significant deficit reduction that has occurred on his watch—just as they ignore the fact that Bush inherited an projected budget surplus of $5.6 trillion over the following decade, which he turned into an actual deficit of $6.1 trillion, according to a CBO study—but the improvement is real.
Screenshot 2014-10-20 12.59.16
Republicans would have us believe that their tight-fisted approach to spending is what brought down the deficit. But in fact, Obama has been very conservative, fiscally, since day one, to the consternation of his own party. According to reporting by the Washington Post and New York Times, Obama actually endorsed much deeper cuts in spending and the deficit than did the Republicans during the 2011 budget negotiations, but Republicans walked away.

Obama’s economic conservatism extends to monetary policy as well. His Federal Reserve appointments have all been moderate to conservative, well within the economic mainstream. He even reappointed Republican Ben Bernanke as chairman in 2009. Many liberals have faulted Obama for not appointing board members willing to be more aggressive in using monetary policy to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment.

Obama’s other economic appointments, such as Larry Summers at the National Economic Council and Tim Geithner at Treasury, were also moderate to conservative. Summers served on the Council of Economic Advisers staff in Reagan’s White House. Geithner joined the Treasury during the Reagan administration and served throughout the George H.W. Bush administration.

Health Reform
Contrary to rants that Obama’s 2010 health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), is the most socialistic legislation in American history, the reality is that it is virtually textbook Republican health policy, with a pedigree from the Heritage Foundation and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, among others.

It’s important to remember that historically the left-Democratic approach to healthcare reform was always based on a fully government-run system such as Medicare or Medicaid. During debate on health reform in 2009, this approach was called “single payer,” with the government being the single payer. One benefit of this approach is cost control: the government could use its monopsony buying power to force down prices just as Walmart does with its suppliers.

Conservatives wanted to avoid too much government control and were adamantly opposed to single-payer. But they recognized that certain problems required more than a pure free-market solution. One problem in particular is covering people with pre-existing conditions, one of the most popular provisions in ACA. The difficulty is that people may wait until they get sick before buying insurance and then expect full coverage for their conditions. Obviously, this free-rider problem would bankrupt the health-insurance system unless there was a fix.

The conservative solution was the individual mandate—forcing people to buy private health insurance, with subsidies for the poor. This approach was first put forward by Heritage Foundation economist Stuart Butler in a 1989 paper, “A Framework for Reform,” published in a Heritage Foundation book, A National Health System for America. In it, Butler said the number one element of a conservative health system was this: “Every resident of the U.S. must, by law, be enrolled in an adequate health care plan to cover major health costs.” He went on to say:
Under this arrangement, all households would be required to protect themselves from major medical costs by purchasing health insurance or enrolling in a prepaid health plan. The degree of financial protection can be debated, but the principle of mandatory family protection is central to a universal health care system in America.
In 1991, prominent conservative health economist Mark V. Pauley also endorsed the individual mandate as central to healthcare reform. In an article in the journal Health Affairs, Pauley said:
All citizens should be required to obtain a basic level of health insurance. Not having health insurance imposes a risk of delaying medical care; it also may impose costs on others, because we as a society provide care to the uninsured. … Permitting individuals to remain uninsured results in inefficient use of medical care, inequity in the incidence of costs of uncompensated care, and tax-related distortions.
In 2004, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) endorsed an individual mandate in a speech to the National Press Club. “I believe higher-income Americans today do have a societal and personal responsibility to cover in some way themselves and their children,” he said. Even libertarian Ron Bailey, writing in Reason, conceded the necessity of a mandate in a November 2004 article titled, “Mandatory Health Insurance Now!” Said Bailey: “Why shouldn’t we require people who now get health care at the expense of the rest of us pay for their coverage themselves? … Mandatory health insurance would not be unlike the laws that require drivers to purchase auto insurance or pay into state-run risk pools.”

Among those enamored with the emerging conservative health reform based on an individual mandate was Mitt Romney, who was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002. In 2004, he put forward a state health reform plan to which he later added an individual mandate. As Romney explained in June 2005, “No more ‘free riding,’ if you will, where an individual says: ‘I’m not going to pay, even though I can afford it. I’m not going to get insurance, even though I can afford it. I’m instead going to just show up and make the taxpayers pay for me.’”

The following month, Romney emphasized his point: “We can’t have as a nation 40 million people—or, in my state, half a million—saying, ‘I don’t have insurance, and if I get sick, I want someone else to pay.’”

In 2006, Governor Romney signed the Massachusetts health reform into law, including the individual mandate. Defending his legislation in a Wall Street Journal article, he said:
I proposed that everyone must either purchase a product of their choice or demonstrate that they can pay for their own health care. It’s a personal responsibility principle.
Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate. But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian.
As late as 2008, Robert Moffitt of the Heritage Foundation was still defending the individual mandate as reasonable, non-ideological and nonpartisan in an article for the Harvard Health Policy Review.
 thisarticleappeared-novdec14
So what changed just a year later, when Obama put forward a health-reform plan that was almost a carbon copy of those previously endorsed by the Heritage Foundation, Mitt Romney, and other Republicans? The only thing is that it was now supported by a Democratic president that Republicans vowed to fight on every single issue, according to Robert Draper’s book Do Not Ask What Good We Do.

Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod later admitted that Romney’s Massachusetts plan was the “template” for Obama’s plan. “That work inspired our own health plan,” he said in 2011. But no one in the White House said so back in 2009. I once asked a senior Obama aide why. His answer was that once Republicans refused to negotiate on health reform and Obama had to win only with Democratic votes, it would have been counterproductive, politically, to point out the Obama plan’s Republican roots.

The left wing of the House Democratic caucus was dubious enough about Obama’s plan as it was, preferring a single-payer plan. Thus it was necessary for Obama to portray his plan as more liberal than it really was to get the Democratic votes needed for passage, which of course played right into the Republicans’ hands. But the reality is that ACA remains a very modest reform based on Republican and conservative ideas.

Other Rightward Policies 

Below are a few other issues on which Obama has consistently tilted rightward:

Drugs: Although it has become blindingly obvious that throwing people in jail for marijuana use is insane policy and a number of states have moved to decriminalize its use, Obama continued the harsh anti-drug policy of previous administrations, and his Department of Justice continues to treat marijuana as a dangerous drug. As Time put it in 2012: “The Obama Administration is cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers just as harshly as the Administration of George W. Bush did.”

National-security leaks: At least since Nixon, a hallmark of Republican administrations has been an obsession with leaks of unauthorized information, and pushing the envelope on government snooping. By all accounts, Obama’s penchant for secrecy and withholding information from the press is on a par with the worst Republican offenders. Journalist Dan Froomkin charges that Obama has essentially institutionalized George W. Bush’s policies. Nixon operative Roger Stone thinks Obama has actually gone beyond what his old boss tried to do.

Race: I think almost everyone, including me, thought the election of our first black president would lead to new efforts to improve the dismal economic condition of African-Americans. In fact, Obama has seldom touched on the issue of race, and when he has he has emphasized the conservative themes of responsibility and self-help. Even when Republicans have suppressed minority voting, in a grotesque campaign to fight nonexistent voter fraud, Obama has said and done nothing.

Gay marriage: Simply stating public support for gay marriage would seem to have been a no-brainer for Obama, but it took him two long years to speak out on the subject and only after being pressured to do so.

Corporate profits: Despite Republican harping about Obama being anti-business, corporate profits and the stock market have risen to record levels during his administration. Even those progressives who defend Obama against critics on the left concede that he has bent over backward to protect corporate profits. As Theda Skocpol and Lawrence Jacobs put it: “In practice, [Obama] helped Wall Street avert financial catastrophe and furthered measures to support businesses and cater to mainstream public opinion. …  He has always done so through specific policies that protect and further opportunities for businesses to make profits.”

I think Cornell West nailed it when he recently charged that Obama has never been a real progressive in the first place. “He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit,” West said. “We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency.”

I don’t expect any conservatives to recognize the truth of Obama’s fundamental conservatism for at least a couple of decades—perhaps only after a real progressive presidency. In any case, today they are too invested in painting him as the devil incarnate in order to frighten grassroots Republicans into voting to keep Obama from confiscating all their guns, throwing them into FEMA re-education camps, and other nonsense that is believed by many Republicans. But just as they eventually came to appreciate Bill Clinton’s core conservatism, Republicans will someday see that Obama was no less conservative.

Bruce Bartlett is the author of The Benefit and the Burden: Tax Reform—Why We Need It and What It Will Take.