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How would you rate Obama's performance so far?
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a big problem with Obama's economic advisors' Wall Street connections, but my real concern is his expansion of executive powers. This was begun under the Bush administration--and very vocally criticized by Senator and Candidate Obama--but now that he's in office, he is carrying on where Bush left off.

Renditions. Secret prisons. Torture. Denying habeas corpus rights to detainees. Presidential assassination orders of American citizens, thereby stripping them of their constitutional right to due process.

Escalated drone bombings. Secret wars in Pakistan and Yemen. Increase in private contractors (i.e., mercenaries) to fight these wars without congressional oversight, beyond the reach of the military's rules of engagement, and largely hidden from the American public.

Declaration that combat operations in Iraq are over--but, as Bush found out, just saying it doesn't make it true.

People at least talked about these things when Bush was doing them-why the silence now that it's Obama? No matter who is in office, this expansion of executive powers is a threat to every American, not to mention the rest of the world.
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is an idea that should make your blood run cold: how about we give the president the power to detain American citizens indefinitely without trial? All he has to do is designate them as "enemy belligerents," a term that has already been applied to people who have merely given interviews or written op-eds criticizing the government.

Sounds like the rantings of a conspiracy theorist, right? But no, it's S.3081.IS, the Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010. In true bipartisan spirit, it is John McCain who proposed this complete shredding of our constitutional protections.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/usnews/crime/3344-mccain-proposes-indefinite-detention-without-trial-for-citizens

Want to read the bill?

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:s.03081:
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 350
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizE wrote:
Here is an idea that should make your blood run cold: how about we give the president the power to detain American citizens indefinitely without trial? All he has to do is designate them as "enemy belligerents," a term that has already been applied to people who have merely given interviews or written op-eds criticizing the government.

Sounds like the rantings of a conspiracy theorist, right? But no, it's S.3081.IS, the Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010. In true bipartisan spirit, it is John McCain who proposed this complete shredding of our constitutional protections.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/usnews/crime/3344-mccain-proposes-indefinite-detention-without-trial-for-citizens

Want to read the bill?

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:s.03081:


That bill has not been passed. It was introduced in the Senate by McCain, then sent to the House (where it had no co-sponsors) who then referred it to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. If they do their job there, it will never make it back out of that committee.
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the bill is now in committee and let's hope it is never seen again--but my point was that it is a very chilling sign that it was introduced at all, let alone by a senator with as much power as John McCain (not to mention his eight co-sponsors).

This bill is just one example of an attempt to shift unprecedented amounts of power to the executive branch. I listed others above. I have a hard time understanding why the American people are so passive in the face of these threats to our constitutional rights.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 350
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizE wrote:
Yes, the bill is now in committee and let's hope it is never seen again--but my point was that it is a very chilling sign that it was introduced at all, let alone by a senator with as much power as John McCain (not to mention his eight co-sponsors).

This bill is just one example of an attempt to shift unprecedented amounts of power to the executive branch. I listed others above. I have a hard time understanding why the American people are so passive in the face of these threats to our constitutional rights.


Oh I think a lot of people were worried about the threats to our constitutional rights. I certainly ranted enough about the Patriot Act. I also think John McCain has less power than he did before. His run for the presidency weakened him instead of strengthening him and choosing Sarah Palin for a running mate did not help matters. Bills get introduced all the time that never see the light of day. In fact most bills that are introduced are not passed. The Patriot Act was originally passed when the country was in a state of fear. As that fear subsided, lawmakers began to see that power could be and was abused. In order for the Executive branch to get that power, Congress has to give it up and under normal circumstances they are loath to do so. There will always be people who are afraid and want others to make the world safe for them. Even with the most strict laws, that is an impossibility. The founders knew what they were doing when they separated the powers among the three branches of government. In the short term, the powers are not always balanced, but I believe that in the long term it evens out. We did something similar in WWII with the Japanese internment camps. There are still some people today that feel that was justified and those are the types of people who have no problem with the Patriot Act. I believe the vast majority understand when given some perspective that usurping our individual constitutional rights is never a good thing and in the long run, we will fight to retain them.
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I believe the vast majority understand when given some perspective that usurping our individual constitutional rights is never a good thing and in the long run, we will fight to retain them.


Hope you're right! And it looks like we're about to find out. The father of an American citizen targeted for assassination went to court to try to stop this from happening. Yesterday the Obama administration filed a brief to prevent the court from hearing the case, citing among other reasons...state secrets.

Ok, so now we have a president who claims the authority to assassinate US citizens--without charges being filed, without due process--and now insists that this presidential verdict cannot be questioned by any court.

As you said, maryskl, the founders knew what they were doing with the separation of powers. And the right to due process is guaranteed to all US citizens. By imposing the death penalty on a citizen who has not even been tried, let alone found guilty of a crime--and then claiming that the president's decisions are above judicial review--Obama is crossing some very serious lines. I hope that people sit up and take notice.

State secrets were a favorite ploy of the Bush administration. Obama has invoked before, too--to stop investigations into Bush era warrantless wiretapping and to stop a court case brought by victims of CIA rendition and torture. This is not change I can believe in.

As for John McCain, he may have lost power, but in 2008--a mere two years ago--he was the Republican nominee. His bill may not pass, but the intent is still frightening. Granted, it's not as important as what Obama is actually doing, but everyone should be aware of what McCain and his co-sponsors attempted--not in the middle of a "state of fear" but last March.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 350
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizE wrote:
Quote:
I believe the vast majority understand when given some perspective that usurping our individual constitutional rights is never a good thing and in the long run, we will fight to retain them.


Hope you're right! And it looks like we're about to find out. The father of an American citizen targeted for assassination went to court to try to stop this from happening. Yesterday the Obama administration filed a brief to prevent the court from hearing the case, citing among other reasons...state secrets.

Ok, so now we have a president who claims the authority to assassinate US citizens--without charges being filed, without due process--and now insists that this presidential verdict cannot be questioned by any court.

As you said, maryskl, the founders knew what they were doing with the separation of powers. And the right to due process is guaranteed to all US citizens. By imposing the death penalty on a citizen who has not even been tried, let alone found guilty of a crime--and then claiming that the president's decisions are above judicial review--Obama is crossing some very serious lines. I hope that people sit up and take notice.

State secrets were a favorite ploy of the Bush administration. Obama has invoked before, too--to stop investigations into Bush era warrantless wiretapping and to stop a court case brought by victims of CIA rendition and torture. This is not change I can believe in.

As for John McCain, he may have lost power, but in 2008--a mere two years ago--he was the Republican nominee. His bill may not pass, but the intent is still frightening. Granted, it's not as important as what Obama is actually doing, but everyone should be aware of what McCain and his co-sponsors attempted--not in the middle of a "state of fear" but last March.


I admit previous ignorance about this issue as I have not been following the news that much lately. I did go and research it a bit. I don't think the US Government should have the constitutional or military authority to assassinate ANYONE, let alone an American citizen. Capture their butts and put them on trial. A judge can send both a jury and spectators out if an issue involves state secrets. We will have to see how this plays out. It IS in the courts, which means the issue is working its way through the system. Ronald Reagan tried to circumvent US law with Iran-Contra and we ended up with Congressional hearings as a result. Of course George H.W. Bush pardoned those who were convicted. It does disturb me that Obama has come down on the "wrong" side of this issue.

I still stand by my statement about McCain. We all know where he is coming from. He is a military hawk. He will probably always be a military hawk. The military does not particularly like to answer to anyone which is why the US Constitution made sure the Commander in Chief should be the president and a civilian (that issues of a President's military service is ALWAYS a campaign issue just seems wrong to me. We WANT the CIC to be a civilian. That is the major check on the military.
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maryskl wrote:
I still stand by my statement about McCain. We all know where he is coming from. He is a military hawk. He will probably always be a military hawk. The military does not particularly like to answer to anyone which is why the US Constitution made sure the Commander in Chief should be the president and a civilian (that issues of a President's military service is ALWAYS a campaign issue just seems wrong to me. We WANT the CIC to be a civilian. That is the major check on the military.


Well, it seems a sad thing that Americans have to live in fear of our own military--and our own elected representatives. Indefinite detention and torture may not seem possible in this country, and yet if you look at the Padilla case (he was held and tortured for years before being charged with a crime) you can see it already has happened.

Did you notice in the news yesterday that President Obama is trying to get government access to all forms of communication? Internet, Blackberry, social networking sites, Skype--all of it. They wouldn't necessarily use this access, of course, only if they had to in order to protect us from Evil People--you know, the ones who hate us for our freedom. And if you believe that one ...

I'll stop complaining about Obama now, I just hope that people will stop listening to the fuzzy mainstream media coverage and watch him carefully. It's our job to pay attention to what our govt. is up to.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would give President Obama a B score. Considering the financial straits we were in when he took office, our economy is slowly improving. America and the world was basically in a financial melt down so we could be a lot worse off than we are. Folks condemn TARP but what could have happened without TARP could have been a second depression. Bush offered a bail-out to the financial industry with no questions asked. Not necessarily the wisest way to do things but that's the way it was handled. Obama's program of $700 billion has been paid back except for 10%. Today the GDP is advancing at about 2% a year, the free fall in job losses has stopped and the Dow average is over 50% higher than it was in 2008. So we are gradually coming back. Now is actually a good time to be in debt when interest rates are low.

You can't wage war and cut taxes at the same time which is what Bush did. He is responsible for the horrible economic mess we faced two years ago. Obama is cleaning up after him. It would be nice to have jobs again but what if we don't. Maybe there are too many people with not enough jobs skills to find jobs or there are just too many people out there who will never have work. Hopefully, there will be jobs again. Otherwise we need to rethink the number of children people have. Or consider moving away from America and finding jobs overseas.

I still wish the public option would have passed. What we have is a good beginning but it needs to be better. I can't understand why the Republicans want to repeal "Obamacare." How deep are they in the pockets of the health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies?

Afghanistan is a disappointment. We need to declare victory and leave as quickly as possible. All that money we are spending overseas for the benefit of the military-industrial complex is baffling. That money could be better spent on improving America.

President Obama is corporate. You can't get elected in this country today without the sponsorship of key segments of corporate America. Personally I would rather have his corporate sponsorship than the other that wants to keep America in a regressive state.

We are at a cross-roads. Where are we going as a country? Personally I am finding the 21st century to be an interesting time and place. Let's see what new discoveries and wonders we can share while embracing the future.

President Obama is actually not as socialistic and liberal as I would like for him to be. There are policies he can and should embrace but has not which is annoying the progressive arm of the Democratic party. So we are expecting more from President Obama as well. In the meantime we are waiting and watching to see what develops.
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TMS



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TARP = BUSH (designed by Treasury Secretary Paulson)

Stimulus plans = originated by Bush and Paulson

Claims that Bush is solely responsible for the economic mess are myopic.

And before I get attacked, I am NOT saying that Republican politics don't also bear an incredibly significant part of the blame.

What I am saying is that these polemic views inhibit your ability to think through things yourself. Assign credit and blame where they're due rather than praising and blaming solely along party lines.

Oh, and as for the bailout "no questions asked" part, do you realize how close to collapse we were? Do you realize how close the markets were to grinding to a halt (impairing everything from trade to the food in the grocery stores)? Do you realize that the Russians were actively pursuading the Chinese to call their debt and bring us down?

From Wikipedia:

In 1999, Fannie Mae came under pressure from the Clinton administration to expand mortgage loans to low and moderate income borrowers by increasing the ratios of their loan portfolios in distressed inner city areas designated in the CRA of 1977.[10] Because of the increased ratio requirements, institutions in the primary mortgage market pressed Fannie Mae to ease credit requirements on the mortgages it was willing to purchase, enabling them to make loans to subprime borrowers at interest rates higher than conventional loans.

On September 10, 2003, the Bush Administration recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis. Under the plan, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae. The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set capital-reserve requirements for the company and to determine whether the company is adequately managing the risks of its portfolios. The New York Times reported that the plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is broken. The Times also reported Democratic opposition to Bush's plan: "These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis," said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. "The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing." [16] Congress, controlled by Republicans during this period, did not introduce any legislation aimed at bringing this proposal into law until the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, which did not proceed out of committee to the Senate. [

[/quote]
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got to hear President Bill Clinton speak at a gathering yesterday. He spoke eloquently as he always does about the economy and our future. It's really a matter of where we wish to go. Are we clamoring for the past (think of reverse for Republicans) or does the future seem like a good place to go(think of putting your car in drive and moving with the Democrats). There are two visions and you can choose which vision you prefer. The Republicans wants to maintain the tax break for the super-wealthy and to balance the budget(which they have no intention of doing by the way) by cutting back radically on social programs, infrastructure and other vital government programs.

Clinton likened the economy to a really big hole. We have at least stopped digging with Obama through the measures that have been passed. We will see a return on Obama's stimulus since he gave the money to them in form of a loan which is being paid back. Bush chose to gift Wall Street with a bail-out which is money that is gone forever.

But it will be awhile before we climb out of it since it was a really big hole. It takes time to see progress but we are going forward. Things are looking up.

In spite of the Republicans being the party of no and no action, Obama and the Democrats have made progress. Any one with a child under 26 can now stay on your health insurance plan. For me that's a relief since I have two kids in college. College loans have been made easier to get and to pay off. The terms are now much better for students. The Republicans are against it and will over-turn it if they get a majority.

It was great hearing Clinton. He's a wonderful speaker who can certainly place things in the right perspective. You can criticize him for his indiscretion but he did lead the country forward. He balanced the budget and created a surplus when he left office. He had record jobs growth and record income levels for all Americans. Unfortunately, we didn't maintain it when Bush squandered this legacy by increasing spending(war in Iraq) and decreasing revenue(tax cuts).

So really, we have a choice. Going forward with the Democrats or going reverse with the Republicans. As Bill pointed out he saw this movie before and it doesn't have a happy ending.

It's interesting how the Republicans sees government as the problem and not the solution. Our economic melt-down was brought about by not enough government oversight and regulation.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 350
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting take on Obama's accomplishments to date:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/20/911967/-Rolling-Stone:-The-Case-for-ObamaA-Must-Read
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4223
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As with most presidents and their terms in office, the effects of that administration will be judged more accurately down the road (usually when they've left it). I personally believe that Obama has been effective considering the challenges that confronted him when he took the oath. And that's how it is with every commander in chief. I question things Bush did, but I'm not that silly to think that he also didn't do good things for the nation.

When I think what another man would have done had he been in office these last years, it makes me cringe a bit. Maybe nothing would have been done and where would we be now? Maybe better, maybe worse. And that's something we can't measure right now. The Republican party doesn't necessarily cater to the financial lower and middle class (sorry, that's a known fact)--I'm middle class and that scares me. In this economic downturn (or whatever it's being called these days), there are some people who never lost a thing--some never had it to lose in the beginning and some just didn't miss it. However, the middle class, as usual, is right in the center of things.

This is a global downturn and most every country is affected. The US is managing well enough. Ten years from now we'll know if and why these tactics worked, because hindsight is such a good evaluator. Think Truman's administration. At the time, no praise; years later, great evaluations. I'm just not ready to change administrations now. I really feel we're on the right road.

My opinions only. My opinions only. My opinions only. My opinions only. Just wanted to make sure you understood that. No professional expertise here. Laughing
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
I would give President Obama a B score. Considering the financial straits we were in when he took office, our economy is slowly improving.
.

I know this is what the media is saying, but the media was still telling us our economy was great in the summer of 2008. Many economists who called the disaster of 2008 in advance now agree that the massive transfer of public wealth into private hands only delayed the inevitable slide into a deep recession, if not a full-blown depression--while further enriching the wealthiest among us. (Unemployment rising, foreclosures rising--Wall Street on target for biggest bonuses ever this year!). This wealth transfer wasn't a one-time event, it's still going on by printing new money and keeping interest rates so low, which allows the banks to borrow that money for virtually nothing and then reinvest it in treasury bonds and the risky derivative schemes that pay for those huge bonuses—all the while perpetrating foreclosure fraud on the very people who bailed them out. Meanwhile, ordinary savers and those relying on investments are SOL and the standard of living continues its sharp decline.

Now it is becoming painfully clear that the stimulus did not work. After throwing massive amounts of money at the problem, the economy did not jump-start back into action. So now what? Well, we're going to find out soon (right after the elections) whether Bernanke is going to go with more "quantitative easing" --i.e., print more money to lend (give) to banks so they can buy more treasury debt. This is sort of a Hail Mary pass at this point, and will surely lower the value of the dollar even more--bad news for anyone in the lower economic 90%, as well as the countries who have invested in the U.S. The media is covering this extremely tense situation with a soft-focus lens, pointing to the uptick in the Dow as good news when even a cursory glance reveals that there is all sorts of market manipulation going on.

Puru Saxena, Money Matters wrote:

By adding trillions of additional dollars to the monetary stock, Mr. Bernanke may succeed in bailing out his friends in high places but he is seriously jeopardising the US Dollar. In fact, bearing in mind the recent developments, it has become clear to us that the Federal Reserve wants to debase its currency. In our humble opinion, the US Dollar is a doomed currency and there is a real risk of an abrupt plunge in its value.


Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton wrote:

…American workers are in worse shape today than they were a year ago. The Great Jobs Recession continues. And we won’t get out of it until we face and deal with the structural problem at its core: A record share of the nation’s income going to the top, leaving the vast middle without enough purchasing power to get the economy moving.


Paul Craig Roberts, Reagan’s Assistant Treasury Secretary wrote:

With over 21 per cent unemployment as measured by the methodology of 1980, with American jobs, GDP, and technology having been given to China and India, with war being Washington’s greatest commitment, with the dollar over-burdened with debt, with civil liberty sacrificed to the “war on terror,” the liberty and prosperity of the American people have been thrown into the trash bin of history.


Blaming all this on Bush is tempting, but not fair, this mess started a long time ago and both Republicans and Democrats have been deeply involved.
There’s a new film, Inside Job, that tells the story of the crash and how it happened. It’s getting wonderful reviews--here’s the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2DRm5ES-uA
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizE wrote:
Now it is becoming painfully clear that the stimulus did not work. After throwing massive amounts of money at the problem, the economy did not jump-start back into action.


I don't know where you live but the stimulus saved thousands of jobs and helped avoid an even bigger meltdown. It also contained billions in payroll tax cuts and other relief that is rarely mentioned. Too little regulation of the mortgage industry and financial markets helped create the conditions that burst the housing bubble and triggered the recession.

Tea party candidates are calling the stimulus a failure which isn't true. So I suppose your comments clearly indicate you are of that ilk.

Puru Saxena, Money Matters wrote:

By adding trillions of additional dollars to the monetary stock, Mr. Bernanke may succeed in bailing out his friends in high places but he is seriously jeopardising the US Dollar. In fact, bearing in mind the recent developments, it has become clear to us that the Federal Reserve wants to debase its currency. In our humble opinion, the US Dollar is a doomed currency and there is a real risk of an abrupt plunge in its value.


With interest rates as low as they are, it is actually a good time for the government to assume debt.

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton wrote:

…American workers are in worse shape today than they were a year ago. The Great Jobs Recession continues. And we won’t get out of it until we face and deal with the structural problem at its core: A record share of the nation’s income going to the top, leaving the vast middle without enough purchasing power to get the economy moving.


Since I just love Reich I will definitely agree with you on this. We do need to concentrate on better educating Americans as many of us simply do not have the skill set for the new economy. The middle class is fast becoming an endangered species.

Paul Craig Roberts, Reagan’s Assistant Treasury Secretary wrote:

With over 21 per cent unemployment as measured by the methodology of 1980, with American jobs, GDP, and technology having been given to China and India, with war being Washington’s greatest commitment, with the dollar over-burdened with debt, with civil liberty sacrificed to the “war on terror,” the liberty and prosperity of the American people have been thrown into the trash bin of history.


We should have listened to President Jimmy Carter when he said "our way of life was not sustainable". He told us we needed to save energy and that the world wasn't just about us. Reagan comes along and tells us that "we're special" and we didn't need to conserve. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. We are running up against the limits of consumption.

lizE wrote:
Blaming all this on Bush is tempting, but not fair, this mess started a long time ago and both Republicans and Democrats have been deeply involved.
There’s a new film, Inside Job, that tells the story of the crash and how it happened. It’s getting wonderful reviews--here’s the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2DRm5ES-uA


To be fair I would say that Democrats do share in the blame as well. However, the lion share goes to the Republicans. The party of "No" isn't helping the country. They would rather win elections than do the right thing for America. The Republican answer to everything is tax cuts for the wealthy.
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