Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 12

Chapter Twelve, the final chapter of Thom Hartmann’s book, Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country, is called “Conclusion: Tag, You’re It!”

As bad as things are in this country now, we’ve been here before — in the time of the Robber Barons in 19th century America, and during the Great Depression of the 20th century — and we

endured even tougher times before and during our quest for independence from England.


Our economy is in tatters, the result of more than 30 years of Reaganomics and Clintonomics. Our democracy is hanging by a thread, the result of 40 years of radical Supreme Court decisions steadily advancing the powers of corporations and suppressing the rights of individuals and their government. And our environment is trembling under the combined assault of the Industrial Revolution and nearly 7 billion bundles of human flesh.

It’s the perfect time. We are clearly at a nexus, a threshold, a tipping point. If the past is any indicator, things will get worse before they get better, but in that tragedy will be both the catalyst and the seeds for a very positive future.

If we’ve learned anything in the last ten years, it’s that we can’t keep doing the same old thing while expecting a different result.  We need to be shaken out of our complacency and learned helplessness, and I think the protests in Wisconsin just might be a starting point.  What do you think?

I know one thing for sure:  When President Obama can stand behind his podium and say to the giant corporations and the top 2%,  “I welcome their hatred,” we will be on our way to being a great nation once again, and he will be remembered as one of the greatest Presidents this country has ever had.

The big question now is, will he…?

Actually, we can’t leave it up to President Obama to act.  He is our leader, and we must DEMAND that he lead.  You can send him an email here.  In fact, bookmark the site and email him often — to give him kudos as well as asking for what we want.  It can’t hurt, and it certainly might help.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss!!

105 thoughts on “Sunday Roast: Rebooting the American Dream, Chapter 12

  1. In fact, bookmark the site and email him often — to give him kudos as well as asking for what we want. It can’t hurt, and it certainly might help.

    Not only that, it’s your First Amendment Right to do so. And if you don’t, they might one day decide you don’t need those rights you aren’t exercising. 🙂

  2. Wayne. Zooey’s tattoo story from yesterday is a hoot. One reason I’ve give Lawrence O’Donnell so much respect is because he was a writer/producer of West Wing. Here’s the clip:

  3. They show the teabaggers being bussed into Madison. I don’t see any buses with labor supporters. And they give more time to the teabaggers and Republicans on all the shows than they do teachers or firemen. And one teabagger was walking through the crowd yelling at protesters and MSNBC gave him his own segment and didn’t call him out on his behavior. Ridiculous.

  4. hooda, the weather is really shitty there today isn’t it? Tomorrow is a holiday. If my daughters didn’t have rehearsal tomorrow I’d drag her out there. Unfortunately I have to drive her there and pick her up.

  5. Actually, Shayne, there were many buses bringing in protesters. They were paid for by the protesters. The behavior of the media is just flat out shameful. They cherry picked the baggers for air time while ignoring the tens of thousands of protesters surrounding them.

    Not surprising since one of the more common signs carried was “Fox News Will Lie About This.”

  6. The corporate media feel they have a lot more to gain via Republican/right wing control of government than they do with progressive/liberal control. Sad thing is, they’re right; sadder thing is, the idiots with the most to lose — the uneducated and the middle class — invariably believe the bullshit, vote for the wingnuts, and in the process lessen their chances of ever finding that measure of middle class security that was once quite common but which has, in the last thirty years, been excessively ‘trickled up’ to those who don’t need it. Greed has a habit of winning, esp. when power acquisition is attached.

    I don’t have a whole lot of faith that ‘we’ can pull out of this latest tailspin. Yes, it does bring back elements of past severe setbacks, but this time I dunno — the grave is ready and waiting, and it’s a deep one.

  7. The West Wing piece was a rif on an open internet letter directed to “Dr.” Laura some while earlier:

    Dear Dr. Laura,

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

    a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

    e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

    f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

    g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

    h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

    i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I copied the above, which I never saw attributed to anyone. I have added a couple others to the list as I come across them:


    1 Timothy 1:3-11, in a warning against false teachers of the Law it states, “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly…but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”

    In the Gospel According to Luke, Jesus was conceived during King Herod’s reign. However, the census that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem took place in A.D. 6, 10 years after Herod’s death. Who, then, ordered all the young male children of Bethlehem to be massacred, per Matthew? Can someone straighten this out?

    Nativity accounts are problematic as well. Luke mentions shepherds and a birth in a manger; Matthew and Mark don’t. Matthew mentions three Magi and a flight to Egypt; Luke and Mark don’t. Which one is correct?

    Matthew 6:5-6a

    (5) And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. (6) But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

  8. Forecast for rain/snow mix with 20 mph winds today in Madison. And tomorrow is a holiday but weather will again be a factor.

  9. NPR had a clip of some hate radio guy (and presidential candidate) talking to the baggers and going on about how the state was broke. “What part of broke don’t you understand?” No mention that the issue was about rights, no mention that the unions had offered to take pay cuts, and no voice from the other side at all. And this was NPR!

  10. Also, gummitch, no mention of the $100 million in concessions that were just negotiated or the $140 million tax cut give away that ‘broke’ the state in Walker’s first week in office.

  11. Thanks, Shayne. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that scene, so my memory was, obviously, faulty. But I think Bartlett had the right idea on how to beat someone who likes to quote the Bible to claim homosexuality is an “abomination.”

    And I liked what Sam did at the very end. Thanks. 🙂

  12. corporate media will push the corporate line. Nothing surprising about that.

    About a third of the population will believe them, without question. Recall your high school graduating class? How about those who didn’t last the entire four years to cross the stage? Those that barely graduated? Think about the lame-brain notions a sizable portion of your high school class held as truths. Think about these same people, never made it to college, but can find the voting booth.

    Now, of all the models for governing people, only Democracy requires a well-educated public.

    A well-educated public is a threat to all forms of governance except Democracy.

    The crowds can be manipulated for good or evil by a charismatic speaker.

    Non interference leads to self determination.

  13. BnF, part of the problem is the people who don’t bother to vote so they don’t bother to find out any facts. I’m sure lots of those public workers in Wisconsin didn’t bother to vote.

  14. BnF & Shayne, another part of the problem is that half the population is of below-average intelligence, a fact often exploited by conservatives who know that people of above-average intelligence can see through their bullshit.

    They know that people who think make better decisions, and they also know that if everybody thoughtfully considered their votes, the conservatives would never win. So they use fear to try to win because people who make decisions based on fear make bad decisions (like voting for conservatives.) And when fear doesn’t seem to work, they appeal to patriotism like the scoundrels they are.

  15. We are witnessing 30 years of dumbing down. Selling greed, easy money and whats in it for me. What we now have is the Duh generation.

  16. There was an interesting bagger sign yesterday. It read “Go Walker! And I didn’t take a train to get here.”

    I snorted and said “Yeah, and you probably didn’t drive on a road either.” (PamperoFirpo went over to the dufus and repeated it. The look on the bagger’s face was priceless.)

  17. Hooda,

    For all the worshiping of Reagan that the Republicans have done, my sincere hope is that 100 years from now two things are true: 1) We are still the United States of America, and, 2) Ronald Reagan is vilified in the history books as being the president who tried to destroy America. Of course, in order for that to happen, a book publishing company owned by a progressive would have to win the contracts to write the history books used in high schools.

  18. I snorted and said “Yeah, and you probably didn’t drive on a road either.”


    Perhaps we (on the Left) should use that tactic more often when dealing with “anti-government” dimwits. Remind them of how much they depend on what the government has done for them and continues to do. While I wouldn’t actually threaten to beat them up, perhaps they could be reminded that if they are so anti-government, they shouldn’t expect the police to help them when someone does beat them up. And they shouldn’t use roads to drive to the hospital to get medical care for their wounds. And they should make sure none of their doctors or nurses (who they’ll really need to recover completely) went to public universities, either. Nor should they drink any water supplied by public water sources. Then ask them if they really believe in the sign they are carrying.

  19. Good morning all.

    Speaking of the weather that’s about to plague Wisconsin, we’re about to really get pummeled here in the Twin Cities. We’re right on the line of 10-15, or 12-20 inches of snow today.

    Hooda, very cool that you went to show solidarity in Madison. It’s a shame that the MSM, so far, doesn’t seem to be following this that closely. Fox is, of course, but their agenda is to try and promote the small Tea Bagger contingent, and to make the Democrats and unions look bad.

  20. Uh-oh, looks like Mr Alphabet Racist is becoming unhinged again. Normally, I would care enough about a fellow human being in such obvious need of mental help, but in his case I’ll make an exception and watch the Daytona 500 (one of two races I watch each year, the other being the Indy 500.) My mom is a HUGE Jeff Gordon fan.

    • Hooda, you may need to buy a space upgrade. Go to your dashboard menu, on the left side there will be an icon for Media, click on Library. It will tell you how much space you have available to you and how much you have left. It also gives you the option of buying more space.

      The best way to avoid using up all your space and having to buy more, is to store your pictures elsewhere and link to them by URL. I store photos on facebook and photobucket, and link to the photos there — no blog space is taken up that way.

  21. Hey, crankypants, I recommend Picasa because I’ve found it to be the simplest and fastest online storage. Interface is idiot-proof, while this particular idiot has fumbled badly with flickr. The free space on Picasa is also gigantic.

  22. I only saw one person get into trouble with the police. It was a bagger who got a little carried away and he was escorted nicely to the side and spoken to by the police whereupon he slunk off into the sunset.

  23. I am just amazed that with 70k people in a protest march that there was no serious confrontations. Even when a bagger would try to provoke something, it got absolutely nowhere. John Lennon would have been proud and Gandhi would have smiled.

  24. When I get more photos from Ralph and PF I will post them. I just wish I would have had a video camera with sound. The energy was so powerful.

  25. After all the hoopla dies down in Madtown, what are the Democrats left with? Exactly what do they think the end game is?

    Walker and the Republicans have the votes they need to pass the legislation without changing a word of it. All Walker needs is the prodigal Democrats to return to the state which they’ll have to do eventually. This seems to me like the Democrats were furious and just felt like they had to vent and stomp their feet but their parents, the Republicans, are going to eventually get their way.

    Am I missing something?

  26. It’s a long game, badmoodman. A lot of people are waking up to the damage they did by failing to vote in November. And if the citizens of Wisconsin, and the union members themselves, simply roll over and show their bellies, the efforts of the GOP to destroy unions will gain momentum.

  27. Another aspect of this is if the current protests in Wisconsin amount to nothing, the US is dead. This is the first significant protest since Viet Nam. The Right is doing all it can to bury that idea. If it succeeds, we are in for at least two years of increasing attacks on the middle class in the name of corporate profits.

    And we will experience a Depression far greater than the 1930’s.

  28. The pressure on the recalls is slowly building. The main focus so far is to get the R’s to reconsider their votes. Personally, I think that is wishful thinking. The recall idea has definite merit because many of the elections were fairly close.

  29. My hope that I’ll ever again see a prosperous and creative America has been fading for two decades now in the one step forward two steps backward format. I do think that we were close to finding a way out of the trap of our own making, but then the SCOTUS ripped off the 2000 election (and very likely, rigged voting machines ripped it off in 2004 as well). That basically did it. The near landslide in 2008 was a mirage, mainly because the GOP is better at orchestrating minority interference than any political party has ever been before, at least in my lifetime.

    Where from here? As the old song begins, “On, Wisconsin! Fight right down that line!”

  30. I suspect a reason that a lot of races were quite close was because for some reason I don’t quite understand, a lot of Dems/liberals/progressives sat things out in 2010. Bad idea. Bad, bad idea.

  31. Another question. Was there a strong third-party candidate in the race for governor? If there was, and Walker didn’t get over 50% of the vote (due to election via plurality of the votes) that would make him a good risk for getting recalled.

  32. They can start the recall on about half of the current senate right now (Class of 2008). At least 3 R senators in that class hold weak positions. That was when Walker took office and those numbers may have changed. Since a primary is held 6 weeks before the general, it seems that the earliest that Walker can be defanged is about May or June of this year.

    I seem to recall that a recall campaign can be called 12 months after a state officer is instated which could mean that the Walker recall drive will have to wait until January 2012. That in turn implies that he will remain in office until April or May of 2012.

  33. Well, it’s snowing about an inch/hour, and the wind is horrible. Nearly 7 inches fallen so far, and it’s supposed to continue all night. I put it at about 20 inches total at that rate. Not to mention the drifts.


  34. Two feet of snow, eh? You think YOU have it bad — I’ve been conscripted to edit my daughter’s Inorganic Chemistry Report on Synthesis and Physical Characterization of Two Cobalt (III) Complexes: [Co(NH3)4CO3](NO3) and [Co(NH3)5Cl]Cl2; I’m on page four of nine already (two hours) and am currently envying all who are getting buried in snow (or not getting buried in snow, I suppose).

    Fortunately there’s some wine in the kitchen, also some freshly made (this morning) jerky. Survival rations.

  35. Why we can’t have for-profit prisons:

    Pa. Judge Guilty of Racketeering in Kickback Case

    A former juvenile court judge defiantly insisted he never accepted money for sending large numbers of children to detention centers even after he was convicted of racketeering for taking a $1 million kickback from the builder of the for-profit lockups.

    Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella was allowed to remain free pending sentencing following his conviction Friday in what prosecutors said was a “kids for cash” scheme that ranks among the biggest courtroom frauds in U.S. history.

    I remember when this was first publicized, but it had slipped off the radar, then got buried by the protests in Wisconsin on Friday. CNN is showing video of the mother screaming at this judge outside the courthouse. Her child committed suicide after the judge ruined his life over a minor drug paraphernalia case.

  36. Weird weather out here: Yesterday AM the wind was blowing so hard it pulled a panel off of the otherwise winterized swamp-cooler, and tossed said panel down the arroyo (since recovered, though not replaced.)

    Immediately after, the snow started and off and on has dropped what I’m guessing is 6″ in the last two days. Definitely not a midwestern hammering, but enough to render the roads and drivers around here a thing to seriously avoid. (The hills, minimal ploughing, and clueless drivers add up to an unpleasant combo.)

    Pretty much by accident, I’m well stocked at the moment. The first thing I’m likely to run out of are treats for the kitties, and that’s about 3 days from now. Things will be back to normal long before then.

  37. Yeah, this one’s definitely been a winter for the record books. Excessive amounts of precipitation this winter. And of course that means bad spring flooding.

    It’s days like these if I could actually see a climate change denier in person, I’d probably slap them.

  38. One bright side, is according to one of our local weather guys (his name is Sven – no kidding) we are going to get a bit of a lull for a while (and hour or two) and then more bands coming in. So that will at least cut down on the total.

  39. Too much precip, or at the wrong times, is bad for arid and semi-arid regions as well. The grasses will go throuh explosive growth in the spring, and by summer be as dry as tinder. Makes for one hellatious fire season.

    • Seems like every time I look at TP today, someone else is getting name-jacked.

      The nasty thing has hijacked usckitty’s name, but doesn’t seem to realize the real usckitty is not female.

  40. I don’t know who name-jacking speaks more lowly of: the idiot(s) who do it, or the discussion list that allows it to happen time and time again. I’m outta there for good if it ever happens to me.

  41. Climate Progress did a repost from Daily Kos that’s of some relevance to TP as well:

    It ties in with the private agencies hired by the Chamberpot of Commerce to attack their opponents. Part of the relevant text about HB Gary’s tactics is that they involved:

    creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated “persona management” software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other.

    This is the first time, to my knowledge, that actual documentation has surfaced of a conservative group or their hirelings employing sophisticated sock-puppet software to innundate liberal blogs and websites with neocon propaganda.

    (Many people have charged that this is the case, but the absence of documentation was more than a little suspicious to me. The US Gov’t could hardly keep the A-bomb a secret, and they were marvelously motivated to do so. That no one every stepped forward and said, “Yeah, I did that for six-months” rendered the accusation less than believable.)

    This still does not prove that a similar technique is being used at TP. For one thing, the methods and products are rather different. The denialist attacks at climate sites were by actual “bots” which leads to extremely similar word-usage patterns, and generally precludes anything like a response to challengers.

    Still, this is the first real evidence (again, that I am aware of) of a systematic program to “pile on” at liberal websites. Also, no indication of the cost. Finally, the Chamberpot has fewer eyeballs on its spending than the RNC, and that nominally “private” nature might be essential to pulling off such a program.

    • Gary, several years back, on one of the first posts TP ever did about Limbaugh, there was some sort of automated attack against that post. There were literally over 6000 comments on that one post, and the majority of them were apparent single postings, but they had very similar wording and the monikers were all similar (as in first name, middle initial, last name, pretty much the same number of letters in each). The comments came in every 15 to 20 seconds, and none of them ever posted twice or responded to anyone trying to engage them — ever.

      That was spooky, and I’m surprised there haven’t been more attacks like that at TP.

  42. There was a post on TP a few weeks ago, where it looked like the troll had posted some programming code. It had some references to disqus in it.

    Some folks took note, but only the “WTF are you talking about” sense. The troll responded with an uncharacteristic “oops” and that was the end of it.

    Like Gary, I’ve always taken this with a grain of salt that it’s nothing more than a bunch of losers, but it could seem that given the ChamberLeaks memo, and that little shred of evidence that it’s possible they are exploiting TP programmaticly.

  43. Z: that definitely sounds like a bot attack.

    It might be related to “verifiable” ID’s, which at least require a working email address for confirmation. Did TP always require those (I’m not talking about Disqus) or was it basically open posting back then?

    • Gary, back then all you had to do was fill in the name and provide an email address, which didn’t even have to be real. I know, because I had the wrong email address on TP for the longest time before I realized it.

    • Oh yes, Gary. They started requiring that in 2007, when the piss gang tried to take over TP the first time.

      House, that’s pretty clever, but I’m still not switching to Disqust. 😉

  44. Zooey, I just substitute their screenname for mine in my profile address, and hit enter. If they use disqus, their profile shows up.

  45. This could be good news for Egypt — they are contemplating giving the IMF the boot:

    The IMF model was a disaster in So. America. Only after countries abandoned the IMF and its Friedman/Greenspan “free market fundamentalism” did they begin creating substantive jobs, ameliorating poverty, and experiencing substantive growth. (All of which the IMF loudly assured them would never happen.) The record for Argentina is particularly impressive.

  46. haha, OMG, how can a guy calling himself Kitty, a nickname bestowed upon him by his beloved students be threatening?

    anyways, thanks guys for the help! I guess they didn’t like my Trolls for hire post…

  47. Robert Reich notes that Walker’s plan was to split the working class between union and non-union workers, between private sector and public employees. The lie was that the public sector worker made more than the private sector worker. Hmmm, this sounds familiar…Remember the whole Prop 8 battle? Remember, how the bigots on the right tried to point out that gay people made much more than the average American and now that they were being spoiled brats by demanding marriage while you suffered?

    Remember when factory owners hired scabs of color to work to pit them against the unionized workers? Remember when they legislated a privileged position for whites in colonial Virginia to build contempt against African slaves when those two groups were the last holdouts in Bacon’s Rebellion?

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