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Public discussion posts pertaining to the Occupy Wall Street movement
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15 сентября, 19:49

Vertical Separation

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We are occupied with all the horizontal divisions: East and West, North and South, Right and Left, Capitalist and Socialist etc. What really matters is vertical separation. Inspired by a line in s2e1 of The Wachowskys' Sense8:

12 сентября, 18:00

Forgetfulness: a 21st Century Maxim

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The more we knew the less we know. Distortions, distractions and lies grow. "In keeping with his materialist view of history, Marx expected banking to be subordinated to the needs of industrial capitalism. Equity investment - followed by public ownership of the means of production under socialism - seemed likely to replace the interest-extracting 'usury capital' inherited from antiquity and feudal times: debts mounting up at compound interest in excess of the means to pay, culminating in crises marked by bank runs and property foreclosures. "But as matters have turned out, the rentier interests mounted a Counter-Enlightenment to undermine the reforms that promised to liberate society from special privilege." http://michael-hudson.com/2010/07/from-marx-to-goldman-sachs-the-fictions-of-fictitious-capital1/

12 сентября, 16:26

Reclaiming Public Control of Money-Creation

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By David Bollier, originally published by David Bollier blog Most people don’t really understand how money is created and what political choices are embedded in that process. As a result, the privatization of money-creation is largely invisible to public view, and the anti-social, anti-ecological effects of privately created, debt-based money go unchallenged. Mary Mellor, professor emerita at Northumbira University in the UK, wants to change this reality, as she explains in a recent essay, “Money for the People,” at the Great Transition Initiative website. Mellor, the author of Debt or Democracy and an expert on the development of alternative economies, writes that we must create new public circuits for money-creation so that we can direct money toward socially and ecologically needed activities, and not just the types of debt-driven loans that banks deem profitable. In other words, money-creation need not be controlled by private creditors in the course of creating debt. The average citizen knows that banks are too powerful and often predatory, but they may not realize that the state has largely ceded its power to create new money (“seignorage”) to banks. Banks create new money out of thin air when they make loans. That money is not something they otherwise hold in a vault. It is literally created when a loan is approved. That is how banks make profits. The power to create new money is something that the government could feasibly control and administer itself, for the benefit of all. But governments have surrendered their power of seignorage to the private banking system and its investors. This has far-reaching, negative impact because, as Mellor explains, “It is the private, bank-issued money system that leaves us with a pernicious cycle of debt and growth. Money could encourage socially and ecologically sustainable production and consumption, but only if it ceases to be a creature of the market and is reclaimed as a social and public representation of value.” I highly recommend Mellor’s essay because it deconstructs some of the basic, unquestioned premises of modern banking and money-creation while opening up new vistas for progressive action. Even Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and their followers have not gotten their heads around the idea that the public could credibly reclaim its power to create debt-free, socially useful money. But this would require the creation of new types of public institutions and processes for creating money for public purposes, and avoiding the pitfalls of political capture and inflation. Mellor writes: “Neoliberalism, which has influenced so much of the conventional thinking about money, is adamant that the public sector must not create (‘print’) money, and so public expenditure must be limited to what the market can ‘afford.’ Money, in this view, is a limited resource that the market ensures will be used efficiently. Is public money, then, a pipe dream? No, for the financial crisis and the response to it undermined this neoliberal dogma. The financial sector mismanaged its role as a source of money so badly that the state had to step in and provide unlimited monetary backing to rescue it. The creation of money out of thin air by public authorities revealed the inherently political nature of money. But why, then, was the power to create money ceded to the private sector in the first place—and with so little public accountability? And if money can be created to serve the banks, why not to benefit people and the environment?” In other writings, Mellor has pointed out the remarkable fact that “quantitative easing” carried out by the US Government to bail out banks is not regarded as public debt. QE gave away the game. It conspicuously demonstrated that the government itself (and not just banks) could create money out of thin air, and do so without it being considered public debt. The trillions of dollars created to prop up banks following the 2008 financial crisis, after all, was a case of the sovereign state creating debt-free money. (The banks are not going to repay those trillions.) Mellor insists that “states can and do ‘print money.’ First, it is produced ex nihilo by central banks to provide cash and support for the money-creating activities of the banking sector. Second, money is created and circulated as the government spends, in the same way that banks create money as they lend. States spend money and then offset their expenditures against tax revenue and other income received.” “All modern currencies are “fiat money,” created out of nothing, their value sustained by public trust and state authority,” write Mellor. “So why are states and their citizens shackled in debt? Why can’t the people simply create the money they need free of debt? Why can’t that money be circulated in a not-for-profit social or public sector?” She answers: “….if money is created and circulated initially by the public sector, then there is no need to ‘raise’ money through taxation. Rather than preceding public expenditure, taxation would follow it, retrieving publicly created money from circulation in amounts sufficient to keep inflation in check. If the public sector is much larger than the private sector, taxes might have to be quite high.” But these “expenditures” of new money would serve social and environmental needs without having to meet the profit-making criteria of banks. In the rest of her essay, Mellor outlines how a new public circuit of money could be responsibly administered by new public institutions without creating inflation or resulting in special-interest abuses of the money-creation power (as if that does not already occur right now, via banks!). She envisions “a shift from profits to provisioning would put the main focus of the economy where it belongs: on the sustainable meeting of needs. That goal would be met through a combination of a basic income (that is, a monetary allocation to each individual as matter of right) and a budget for collective expenditures on public services and infrastructure.” To work well, a robust democratic process would be needed to ensure an effective form of participatory budgeting and strong oversight of monetary decisionmaking and implementation. But with such a system, money-creation would not just finance “development” that can no longer be sustained by the planet’s finite resources, it could facilitate the provision of economic security and sustainable livelihoods for all. It’s time for commoners to open up a new debate about the politics of money-creation. The rise of blockchain-ledger software (the engine behind Bitcoin) is already doing this. Digital currencies are showing how voluntary collectives can create their own functional currencies that let communities (and not banks) capture the value that communities create. That represents a potentially huge shift of political power. It’s also time to bring the politics of fiat currency (conventional money) into this discussion, as Mary Mellor’s fascinating essay does

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08 сентября, 15:05

THE MONEY MASTERS endorses Donald Trump

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first this is from the money masters home page - THE MONEY MASTERS The Original Documentary from the Original Producer Home "We endorse Donald J. Trump for President of the United States of America. He understands the global banking elites are destroying our country." and also this - "supported by Dr. Milton Friedman" one of the chicago boys of pinochet fame and of course there is the full title - " The Money Masters- How International Bankers Gained Control of America" really?? - international bankers - aka "the jews" control u.s. government policy? we need to be better informed that this. the problem of money is one of the main issues we face today. should we be worried about "THE DEBT" - destroying our childrens future etc. do we have enough money to pay teachers pensions and raise social security payments or is "social security going broke." do we have the money we need for the manhatten style project to build the renewable energy infrastructure of the future. we need to understand what the dirt poor farmers in texas understood in 1890 - what keynes learned before and after the great depression. we have all the paper dollars (well cotton actually) we need to do whatever needs to be done. for sure the gold standard is not the answer. sorry for anyone who read through the long and boring back and forth with the kaiser and the stock market. while much of what they and the money masters say is correct the misdirection is very damaging.

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05 сентября, 18:05

"Was My Life Worth Living" Emma Goldman 1934

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Emma Goldman's 1934 essay speaks to, among other things, the perfidy and deceptiveness of politicians. - "Of late there has been a new spirit manifested in the youth which is growing up with the depression. This spirit is more purposeful though still confused. It wants to create a new world, but is not clear as to how it wants to go about it. For that reason the young generation asks for saviors. It tends to believe in dictators and to hail each new aspirant for that honor as a messiah. It wants cut and dried systems of salvation with a wise minority to direct society on some one-way road to utopia. It has not yet realized that it must save itself. The young generation has not yet learned that the problems confronting them can be solved only by themselves and will have to be settled on the basis of social and economic freedom in co-operation with the struggling masses for the right to the table and joy of life." Was My Life Worth Living? | The Anarchist Library Emma Goldman Was My Life Worth Living? 1934 Published in Harper’s Monthly Magazine, Vol. CLXX, December 1934 theanarchistlibrary.org https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/emma-goldman-was-my-life-worth-living

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04 сентября, 20:45

US Shale Oil Production -nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme

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US Shale Oil Production: While Hurricane Harvey did little actual damage to the Eagle Ford shale oil fields in south Texas, some production has been shut-in by the damage and flooding of oil pipelines, export terminals, and other means of moving the oil to refineries. Observers are beginning to note that the US shale oil industry, which is being touted as the route to energy independence, is nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme that consistently loses money no matter the price of oil. US shale oil companies have collectively lost money from 2008 through 2016 no matter what the price of oil was. Production from shale oil wells depleted by approximately 85 percent in three years leaving little behind for multi-million dollar investments. Despite the hype about new efficiencies, the 60 largest shale oil firms collectively have been losing about $9 billion per quarter for the last five years and with the well-head price of shale oil still running about $40 a barrel, it is doubtful the situation will get better in the near term. The secret of the shale oil revolution that has increased US oil production by millions of barrels per day is that shale oil costs too much to produce. Unless shale oil starts selling for well above $100 a barrel and stays there — a situation that the US economy likely could not stand – the industry is living on borrowed time. To expect that shale oil will lead to US into a new era in the next decade is wishful thinking given its record of profitability during the last ten years. While there may be some short-term gains in production at the expense of investors, at some point Wall Street will stop pouring billions into what was always a losing proposition.

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04 сентября, 16:35

some thoughts from william greider on the federal reserve bank

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But in a sense the central bank was born in the autumn of 1907, when another devastating financial crisis swept the nation, destroying banks, businesses and farmers on a frightening scale. J.P. Morgan and his fraternity of New York bankers intervened with brutal decisiveness in the efforts to halt the Panic of 1907, choosing which banks would fail and which would survive. Afterward, Morgan was hailed in elite circles as a heroic figure who had saved the country and free-market capitalism. The nostalgia for Morgan was misplaced, however: as insiders knew, the real story of 1907 was that Washington intervened to save Wall Street—the twentieth century’s own inaugural bailout. When Morgan’s manipulations failed to heal the hemorrhaging banking system, the Morgan men turned to Treasury Secretary George Cortelyou and implored him to send money—lots of it. The next day, some $25 million in emergency federal deposits were sent to New York, and the Morgan team spread the money around among the desperate banks. About the same time, Morgan dispatched two industrialists from US Steel to meet with President Teddy Roosevelt and get his assurance that the government would look the other way as they executed a corporate merger likely to violate anti-trust laws. The government saved the day, but it was a close call. Wall Street’s wiser heads recognized that the country’s banking system had become dangerously unstable, prone to reckless excess and recurring panics and depressions. Banking needed a safety net. Leading financiers designed one: a central bank empowered to stabilize the financial system and rescue it in times of crisis. The bankers not only wanted access to the Federal Reserve’s money but insisted on controlling this new institution themselves. They pretty much got what they wanted. The Federal Reserve Banks in twelve major cities would literally be owned by local banks, which would function as private shareholders (they still do). The Federal Reserve Board in Washington, with governors appointed by the president, was a modest concession to democratic sensibilities. This hybrid institution, in which private economic interests share power alongside the elected government, was founded on an absurd pretense. Decisions at the Federal Reserve, it was said, should be made by disinterested technocrats, not officeholders, and deliberately shielded from the hot-blooded opinions of voters as well as politicians. Representative Carter Glass of Virginia, a leading sponsor, promised “an altruistic institution…a distinctly non-partisan organization whose functions are to be wholly divorced from politics.” Of course, the claim was ridiculous on its face. Given the enormous size of the Fed’s power to affect economic outcomes and people’s lives, the central bank’s decisions inescapably favor some interests and injure others. By controlling interest rates and the availability of credit, Fed governors necessarily referee the conflicts between lenders and debtors. Whatever you call it, that’s the realm of politics. The remnant Populists still in Congress in 1913 were not fooled by the talk of political neutrality. Representative Robert Henry of Texas described the new central bank as “wholly in the interest of the creditor classes, the banking fraternity, and the commercial world without proper provision for the debtor classes and those who toil, produce and sustain the country.” A hundred years later, the country seems to have circled back to the very same arguments. We are confronted again by the financial destructiveness the Fed was supposed to eliminate. Despite some worthy reforms that centralized power in Washington, bankers still run wild on occasion, ignoring restraints and spreading misery in their wake. The Fed still rushes to their rescue with lots of money—public money. And people at large still pay a terrible price for official indulgence of this very privileged sector. So this is my brief for fundamental reform: dismantle the peculiar arrangement and democratize it. The Federal Reserve has always been a glaring contradiction of democratic values. After a century of experience, we should be able to conclude from events that the system simply doesn’t work. Or rather, it does very well for bankers, but not for ordinary citizens. The economy does require a governing authority—Fed advocates are right about that—but it suffers from the Fed’s incestuous relationship with Wall Street bankers. My solution: throw open the doors, let the people into the conversation and the decision-making. The untutored ranks of citizens are as fallible as any economist, but they often know things about economic reality well before the experts. I know reforming the Fed sounds improbable, especially given our dysfunctional political system. But I have a hunch the case for reform will grow stronger, because the pain continues for most Americans. Despite frequent assurances by the authorities, the broken economic system has not been fixed—not by the Federal Reserve, not by the Obama administration and certainly not by Congress. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently claimed that the Obama administration has eliminated the specter of “too big to fail” banks. Reform-minded critics responded with catcalls. “I’d tell him he’s living on another planet,” said Senator David Vitter, while his colleague Sherrod Brown noted that the four largest banks, after receiving bailout money in 2008, have grown by $2 trillion. They also enjoy below-market interest rates when they borrow from credit markets and other banks because the investors figure Washington won’t let them fail. An even harsher critic is Sheila Bair, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, who had to liquidate hundreds of smaller banks during the crisis. “What system were we trying to save, anyway?” she asked in her under-appreciated 2012 book, Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street From Wall Street and Wall Street From Itself. “A system in which well-connected big financial institutions get government handouts while smaller institutions and homeowners are left to fend for themselves?…

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02 сентября, 17:18

Toll Road Scams

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Any fool should be able to see that putting more pigs at the trough is going to cost more, especially when the swine breed prolifically but are never harvested. They eat and eat but are never eaten. The privatization contracts that conservatives and neo liberals love exempt our porcine masters (on Wall Streets around the globe) from any loss or penalty for bad performance or malfeasance. They make feudal barons look like saints. But they all think they're the good guys. Traitor slavers, nazis and fascists all fervently believe they are the good guys. Argument will never change their minds about their good and our evil. In the end it's about whose side you are on. "... if and when the private toll road or tunnel partner goes bankrupt, taxpayers are forced to pay off the bonds while absorbing all loans the state and federal governments gave the private shell company and any accumulated depreciation. Yet the shell company's parent firms get to keep years of actual toll income, on top of millions in design-build cost overruns…. "Of course, no executive comes forward and says, "We're planning to go bankrupt," but an analysis of the data is shocking. There do not appear to be any American private toll firms still in operation under the same management 15 years after construction closed. The original toll firms seem consistently to have gone bankrupt or "zeroed their assets" and walked away, leaving taxpayers a highway now needing repair and having to pay off the bonds and absorb the loans and the depreciation. "The list of bankrupt firms is staggering, from Virginia's Pocahontas Parkway to Presidio Parkway in San Francisco to Canada's "Sea to Sky Highway" to Orange County's Riverside Freeway to Detroit's Windsor Tunnel to Brisbane, Australia's Airport Link to South Carolina's Connector 2000 to San Diego's South Bay Expressway to Austin's Cintra SH 130 to a couple dozen other toll facilities...." https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/08/wall-street-journal-deigns-notice-costly-indiana-toll-road-failure-depicts-isolated-toll-roads-consistently-go-bust.html

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28 августа, 15:42

money and debt

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lots of back and forth about money and debt and "the money masters." seems to me there a fundamental misunderstanding of money and its uses. this is one of the big questions of our time since we are constantly told by our "rulers" that we don't have the money to pay people well etc. so i am going to put up a few points by others who explain things well - i hope! first is Alan Watts - - on the fundamental confusion between money and wealth: Remember the Great Depression of the Thirties? One day there was a flourishing consumer economy, with everyone on the up-and-up; and the next, unemployment, poverty, and bread lines. What happened? The physical resources of the country -- the brain, brawn, and raw materials -- were in no way depleted, but there was a sudden absence of money, a so-called financial slump. Complex reasons for this kind of disaster can be elaborated at length by experts on banking and high finance who cannot see the forest for the trees. But it was just as if someone had come to work on building a house and, on the morning of the Depression, the boss had said, "Sorry, baby, but we can't build today. No inches." "Whaddya mean, no inches? We got wood. We got metal. We even got tape measures." "Yeah, but you don't understand business. We been using too many inches and there's just no more to go around." A few years later, people were saying that Germany couldn't possibly equip a vast army and wage a war, because it didn't have enough gold. What wasn't understood then, and still isn't really understood today, is that the reality of money is of the same type as the reality of centimeters, grams, hours, or lines of longitude. Money is a way of measuring wealth but is not wealth in itself. A chest of gold coins or a fat wallet of bills is of no use whatsoever to a wrecked sailor alone on a raft. He needs real wealth, in the form of a fishing rod, a compass, an outboard moter with gas, and a female companion. Stephanie Kelton - “The government, when it issues its own currency, and goes into debt in that currency can always pay its debt, can never go broke, can never run out of money. It can afford anything that is for sale in that currency. It doesn’t need to borrow its own currency. And it can set its own interest rate. It does not have to pay what markets want. It does not become a victim to speculation, to bond vigilantes. It has additional policy space. It can do things for its economy and for its people that a government that does not have a sovereign currency cannot do. (c. 12:18) “Think about what the hierarchy would look like under a gold standard. Many governments operated under gold or silver or both for some period of time in our world history. Under a gold standard, the government promises to convert its currency into gold. In that situation, what sits at the top of the pyramid is not the state’s currency, but the gold reserves. This means that the government must be careful about how much it spends. If it spends too much of its own currency, it can jeopardise the entire system because it may not be able to convert currency into gold as promised. You have to limit your spending and limit what you do with your policies. Governments operating under a gold standard do not have sovereign currency. c. 17:12) “Abba Lerner was an economist, a contemporary of John Maynard Keynes. He saw this very clearly. He said: “‘By virtue of the power to create or destroy money by fiat and its power to take money away from people through taxation, [the State] is in a position to keep the rate of spending in the economy at the level required [for full employment]. Hudson - (c. 23:03) “I’m going to elaborate in a different direction from what Stephanie has said. I’m going to discuss the difference between central bank credit, or money, and commercial banks. Central banks create money, you can say. And commercial banks create credit. The last three years since September 2008 have seen the largest money creation and credit creation in history in the United States. And, yet, prices have not gone up at all. That is, consumer prices have not gone up since 1980. Wages in the United States have drifted downwards for 30 years. And consumer prices and commodity prices have been stable. But there has been an immense inflation; the largest bond market price increase in history has occurred, as interest rates have fallen from 20% to only one-quarter of 1% today. What has gone up is the price of real estate, the price of bonds, the price of stocks. So, the result is that the value of wealth—and most wealth is held by the wealthiest1% of the population—wealth has gone way up relative to wages. The result is a new kind of class war, as I said last night. It’s not the typical kind of class war between employers and employees. It’s a war of finance against the economy. “So, when we talk about government money. We talk about government spending that is, indeed, to spur the economy, to spur economic growth, to spur new investments. The function of government investment and government central bank money creation is very different from the private banks. The government money is, indeed, debt, the lira that you have in your pocket are debt. Paper currency is debt. But it’s debt that nobody ever intends to be repaid because, if government currency is debt, than to repay it would mean that you would not have any currency left in the pocket. (c. 30:00) “The commercial debt is expected to be repaid; and it bears interest. And, as this commercial debt has grown—the mortgages, the bank loans to companies, the corporate raiding debt—this has loaded down the economy with an enormous debt overhead. The more money commercial banks lend, the more interest has to be paid to carry this debt overhead. And the problem is that money that is spent on paying banks debt cannot be spent on goods and services. So, the result is that when commercial banks create debt, you have a diversion of income away from spending on goods and services—to pay debt service—and that is known as debt deflation. And when debt deflation proceeds as long as it has today, we move into a late stage of finance capitalism, which is the debt deflation stage—the austerity stage. And that’s the stage that Europe finds itself in today.

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25 августа, 02:02

The FIRE is consuming US

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The most cogent argument for community ownership of the means of survival is that the contemporary domination of the economy by the non productive FIRE sector [the Capitalists] is ultimately unsustainable. The Dow went over 20,000 into record territory in August, 2017. What's next. The profit taking of course. When those who bought low after the last crash cash in, the sheep who've been buying as prices rose will soon follow. Then comes the drop off and the sharks can feed again, using their recently acquired cash, to buy low again. But even the biggest fish don't seem to know that this [business?] cycle cannot be sustained indefinitely. Each time around the bubbles have been reinflated with new debt. A good deal of the accumulated wealth of the all time winners is put to work collecting compound interest in the credit market. The debt and concentrated wealth with the creditors and a very small percentage of the global population are what must bring capitalism down in the end. "According to figures from the Institute of International Finance (IIF), global levels of debt held by households, governments, financials and non-financial corporates jumped by over $US70 trillion in the past decade to a record high of $US215 trillion, equating to 325% of global GDP." - Business Insider In previous "downturns" more money has been created and loaned. Thus more interest and concentration of wealth, which lead to the next crash. When debt grows to the point where governments and most people can't pay, they won't be paid. At some point debt saturation is achieve and new loans won't be issued. If the creditors don't write it off and start over, deflation kills the economy and most of us with it. If banks and governments create more money to loan, then inflation becomes the angel of death for us and the next [possibly ultimate] crash is hastened. Many have wondered why people voted communist at times. "No, no nostalgia. Maybe then as well, many had opened their wings like so many seagulls who were ultimately unable to fly. "And now? Now as well, we feel like two people: on the one hand the conformist who obsequiously navigates the squalor of his own daily survival, and on the other the seagull, no longer with even the intention of flight, because the dream has shriveled away. "Two wretchednesses within a single body." - from Giorgio Gaber's "Some People Were Communists" "...Vive le roi quand même. French royalists who were frustrated with the fecklessness of Louis XVI would open up about his shortcomings in discreet conversations, and then end by saying 'Long live the king anyway!'" - Outis Philalithopoulos on Giorgio Gaber's "Some People Were Communists" http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/07/people-voted-communist-because.html

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16 августа, 16:58

ineptitude

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To US Rep. Lamar Smith To US Senator John Cornyn To US Senator Ted Cruz Whether or not President Trump is guilty of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors, he's proven himself to be an unable by intellect and/or temperament to carry out the duties of the office of President of the United States. Impeachment by section 4 or removal by the authority of the 25th amendment of the US Constitution is indicated. It's time to face the facts. Given more rope Trump will hang not only himself but likely take the Republican Party with him. I certainly won't vote for a Republican while that embarrassment to America and the human race remains in the White House. God may suffer fools but I don't. P.S. Are you certain he's not a Democrat plant designed to sabotage the Republican Party?

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12 августа, 18:20

Should Progressives Consider Arming Themselves?

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First, let’s get one thing straight -- I hate the NRA and the gun manufacturers, with their constant pressure to sell more and more firearms with little or no regard for who gets hurt or killed. But the country is in a very dangerous place. There are frequent attacks by right-wing thugs, and in some places violent militias are forming. One result of this, as reported in a segment of a recent national news program, is that African Americans are buying a large numbers of weapons for self protection. I don’t claim that individually owned guns will be a defense against organized militias. But, right-wing goons (like their Nazi brown shirt role models) are basically cowards. I think that if potential thugs know that they would be terrorizing people who own weapons and may fight back, some of them will be reluctant to join militias or gangs. As for me, someone who had never fired a weapon, I bought a shotgun, which is amazingly easy to use. And I am happy I did. Of course, some Progressives should never own a firearm. But, if the word gets out that large numbers of Progressives are arming themselves, it could be a restraining influence on some right-wing scum. Do you agree that Progressives should consider arming themselves?