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Make Your Vote Count for Socialism

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Posted on Feb 28, 2012
Lillian Thurston

Stewart Alexander, Socialist Party presidential candidate in 2012.

By Scott Tucker

Stewart Alexander believes fair elections are worth a fair fight and he’s asking for your vote. The Occupy Wall Street movement encouraged a more honest discussion of class and capitalism in this country, but Alexander is not simply a critic of big banks and high finance. He is a democratic socialist, an African-American community activist and the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party in 2012.

Alexander believes the candidate of “hope and change” is a defender of the status quo and of corporate rule. In his words:

“The phrase that came to mind immediately upon hearing President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech is ‘too little, too late.’ After spending the last few years coddling the banks and the richest 1 percent, Obama has the nerve to now call for ‘economic fairness.’ To him, this means tweaking payroll taxes and making a rhetorical call to reverse the Bush tax cuts for the rich. For working people in America, real fairness means the right to a job, a guarantee of health care for all and an end to the military-industrial complex. Obama won’t deliver this. That’s why I am running for president against him.”

The boom-and-bust cycles of capitalism require a semblance of representative government, even though Congress has become the front office of the corporate state. Even the most “progressive” reforms of the tax code now proposed by career politicians remain a form of institutionalized robbery of the working and middle classes.

“This is why,” Alexander says, “we propose creating a progressive tax structure where the rich pay far more than the average working person. In a democratic socialist society neither Obama nor Romney would be allowed to pay an effective tax rate of 26 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Corporate taxation, financial gains taxes and personal income taxes will be modernized—all loopholes will be closed and the rich will pay a steep tax on their income. This is what economic fairness looks like to a socialist.”

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Is a radical revision of the tax code the whole program of democratic socialism? No, but it is certainly one reform consistent with social democracy in the realm of the economy. Alexander is not simply a “left-wing Keynesian” reformer. After all, economist Paul Krugman plays that part admirably in the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times. Krugman repeatedly insists that the Obama administration must ramp up a “stimulus package” that might actually stimulate, rather than stifle, the economy. But Krugman would need genuine social democrats in the White House to listen to his advice, whereas Obama has filled his inner circle with Wall Street aristocrats such as Timothy Geithner. Alexander’s reform of the tax code has a much deeper foundation in workplace democracy, and in working class solidarity across national borders.

Alexander has also been a strong critic of Obama’s “continuation of the Bush era security state policies.” He has the same moral fire and political clarity as Eugene Debs, a Socialist presidential candidate who won 6 percent of the national vote in 1912, and gained more than 900,000 votes in 1920 even when he was behind bars at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. Debs called for working class unity against war and imperialism, and he paid a high price. We now live under a regime of escalating state surveillance and police repression, and Alexander’s class conscious policy of peacemaking will not earn him a Nobel Peace Prize:

“Obama’s approval of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) annihilates centuries of civil rights protections,” Alexander writes. “The president now has the right to indefinitely jail any citizen in America without having to work within the protections of habeas corpus. Added to the NDAA is the fact that, as I write this, Bradley Manning is rotting in a jail cell. Manning is Obama’s prisoner—a moral testament to the president’s commitment to continue the job of restricting civil liberties.”

Alexander was born in Newport News, Va., in 1951. He was one of eight children of Stewart Alexander, a brick mason and minister, and Ann E. McClenney, a nurse and housewife. In 1953, the family moved to the community of Watts in Los Angeles. Bricklaying and masonry jobs were scarcer in Los Angeles, and the family endured some hard times. At the age of 16, Alexander worked nights with his father cleaning airport terminals.

In the late ’60s, Alexander attended George Washington High School in Los Angeles County. Though integration of public schools had become public policy, the foundation of the educational system fractured along lines of race and class. By the time Alexander graduated from high school in 1970, the school had fewer than 50 white students. This was part of a wider social pattern that became known as “white flight.”

In December 1970, Alexander joined the Air Force and trained as a transportation and cargo specialist. Later he attended college full time at a Cal State University campus. One professor actively discouraged his studies, and when he quit college he began working 40-plus hours a week as a stocking clerk. During this time he married his first wife, Freda Alexander, and they had one son.

After working as a licensed general contractor and with Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, Calif., he returned to Los Angeles and applied for a job as a warehouseman and forklift driver. Though his military experience made him well qualified for the job, the warehouse manager refused to interview him. Only the threat of a lawsuit (including filing a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) gained him the interview and the job.

The manager later confessed to Alexander that it was his policy to hire only blacks who were “twice as good” as whites on the job. Having fought to get that job, being “twice as good” also meant that Alexander (one of only two African-Americans among 200 employees) had to work more than twice as hard.

During this time Alexander began working with civic and community groups, including the NAACP. He later traveled to Tampa, Fla., working as a grocery clerk and as an organizer with the Florida Consumer Action Network (FCAN). In 1986, Ralph Nader was the guest speaker at the state convention of FCAN, and Alexander joined him in political discussions during the event. Alexander also worked briefly with an affiliate organization, the Long Island Citizens Campaign. Both groups were formed to protect the environment and the health and safety of consumers.


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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Ed, technology seems to have accelerated the pace of changes good or bad, perhaps you can project the fall of Rome on to a new timeline. 

As you know, the opressed did petition Rome, found champions, some of whom were murdered by the opressing class.  There was a long decline curve modulated with little gains and give-backs.  I’m not one who believes in a natural cycle, certainly not the predictable cyclical nature of economics, but, the parallel to Rome has simillar causes.  The monied class and the greed you mention which breeds that sense of entitlement they have.  This might be a worthwhile aside.  ‘Entitlement’ is a word they use to embarass the ‘opressed’.  Yet, the opressors act quite entitled to ‘the commons’, see earlier post.  Hell, did we lease or SELL a portion of the broadcast spectrum to Verizon or some other giant?  TV was free over the aorwaves until recently.chip, chip, chip.

I digress.  So we petition te government or we petition the rich directly (through the body which governs (in the sense of controls) us, also confusingly called the ‘government’.  Isn’t that a trick with words? 

Anyway, you didn’t answer my question…..I’ll re-phrase.  If ‘government’ is not to regulate the non-jerks among the businessmen, who’s to do it?  Hell, it occurs to me that if we can pit the rich against the rich, they might not be able to keep so many scraps on the table.  Perhaps that’s what a government ‘for the people’ does, pit the rich against the rich, instead of the other way around.

And anarcchy…..been in that discussion too many times.  Nobody knows what it is exactly, some theoretical thing that never has or will materialize, and various nasty human nature type forces degrade it into a government, perhaps empowering god-knows-what along the way.  Revolutions have always been bloody and who gets killed is unpredictable.  And with modern technology?  I’d rather give a go at getting our government such-as-it-is to swing the pendulum back toward the people.  It may take 50 years to get there, but we gotta start somewhere.  Let’s hope this is the low point and start pushing back.

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By Ed Romano, March 21, 2012 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

John, I don’t need to be made aware that there is a vast difference between a government headed by Hitler and one by the King of Norway.,,,, the “degree of corruption by the monied classes can vary”... sure, but looked at from a belief thatjustice and equity are better than theft and corruption, my belief is that the state always enforces the corrupt influiences to some degree….. The fact that “oppressed classes” are always asking the government for relief from oppression must show that the government is the agency that allows oppression in the first place….I did not say that all business owners are “jerks”. What I said is that they must operate according to the dynamics and demands of the system they are attempting to operate in….or they will not be business men/women for very long….. We are not going to reach an agreement here, John. You think that grievances can be alleviated to an acceptable degree by petitioning the governemt. I happen to think that’s wrong, but I appreciate your position.
  If basic grievances could be solved as you suggest I have to wonder why the social fabric of this society has been getting steadily worse since about 1950…. some scholars think it is 1970. In my estimation it is because the forces of inequitry have been getting stronger as the years go by, not weaker, and are now so entrenched that they believe they are positioned well enough to begin dismantling all the hard won advances of earlier years… social security, Medicare, Medicaid etc…. ( Have you seen the new Republican budget proposal they issued the other day ? ) I also think that what we are living in at the present time may be just an indication that the ideals that went into the making of what we call Western Civilization have all but disappeared, and that this civilization is rapidly disintegrating. Arguments can be raised against this thought,  but here are many indications that is may be correct. ..... Reasonable men may agree to disagree, but we are all in the same boat when it comes to a disintegrating society. I hope this boat is not headed for a steep waterfall, but I am not optimistic.
Keep plugging.

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By Korky Day, March 21, 2012 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

The USA doesn’t have a democracy of any kind.
It has a pseudo-democracy, which some well-meaning apologists call a dysfunctional democracy.

“bill” wrote, “proportional representation was NOT one of the required characteristics of a representative democracy”.

Everybody reading this:  Think for yourself. 
Should a party with 40% of the votes get 60% of the seats in a democratic legislature?  Should the presidential candidate with the most votes lose?  Those kinds of results have always happened in the USA, which means it is NOT a democracy and never has been.  You don’t need citations if you have a brain.

Any anti-Duopoly strategy which fails to understand those basics is doomed to fail in the long run.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

Ed, In my view, it;s not a matter of extremes.  There are states, and there are states, meaning the degree of corruption by monied classes I believe can vary, and I think it varies in some proportion to the awareness and demands of the ‘oppressed’ classes.  France and the Scandinavian countries do OK with their States. 

So, look, I see it all the time, the practical world, the variations of types within a strict class as defined by Marx or other theoreticians.  Perhaps none of them would work in the real world, it’s only by continuously and vigilantly adjusting the balance between their pure, theoretical ‘ism’s’ that we find some peace.

And I stick by it, not all business owners are jerks, and they can survive, perhaps not prosper, when others cheat, but they can manage to survive.  It aint easy, but I’ve seen it many times.  So, without some fairly uncorrupted state to regulate the bad capitalists, who’s to do it?

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By Ed Romano, March 21, 2012 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

John, An opposing, if historically unpopular, view…
“Good” CEO,s do not exist ( not for very long, anyway ), for the reason the Marx explained…. The capitalist is just as much a prisoner of the system as the worker, because he must operate according to the demands of the system or perish. For example, he cannot afford to pay decent wages if a competitor is paying starvation wages and is thus able to sell a similar product cheaper….. And,I’m afraid we must part company as far as our conception of the State is concerned. I am not arguing here that we can get along in the modern world without government…people who have been driven mad by the type of society they have been bred into can’t be let loose without some force to control them., But the anarchist in me undertsands,I think correctly, exactly what a “state” is- and that is- that states arise through conquest and survive by representing the interests of the ruling economic class   (or or as Oppenhiemer has it, ” through massive exploitation”.
Before the peanut gallery starts having a coniption here, I would like to point out that there has never in the history of mankind existed a state whose power was based on the dispossessed class. This fact is the one that gives the theory of anarchism its strength…..You think there should be some “private interests” to demand that their own class be stopped from funneling public funds into their own pockets ?...
Lest this post seem like I’m trying to give a lecture…I’d like you to take a few moments and think about what we might expect from the “private interests” in this regard.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

Well Ed, you give examples of ‘stealing from the commons’.  It goes back at least to the troubles of Rome when the aristocratic class developed their sense of entitlement to what were once public lands. 

You are aware of the problem in game theory called ‘the tragedy of the commmons’?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons  Governments are set up to mitigate the natural competition for various common resources, not limited to air, water, radio waves, land, minerals, right of passage through geographical features, etc.

Regulation is absolutely necessary and good for all.  But, when corrupted, the public resources can be stolen.  Vast resources.  A number of environmental problems are attributable. 

And this relates to the problem of ‘external costs’, which is MBA jargon for any cost which can be avoided by pushing it off on the public.  The cost which is saved by dumping a pollutant into a stream instead of proper disposal, is an externalized cost.  I’ll bet the rat-bastards who figure out how to externalize costs get a nice pat on the head and bonus by the nasty CEO’s they serve.  Good CEO’s can’t compete with companies that externalize costs better, so what are they to do?  Fold up shop and lay everybody off?  This is where a good CEO will fight hard for strong regulation.  It allows him to keep his competitor from cheating and driving him out of business. 

I’m straying a bit, the the rush to privatize everything is taking a public resource, a fund, an ability to collect vast cash streams, and direct it to a few hands.  There should be some private interests who would join in the fight to stop this ‘carving up’ of our modern version of the Roman commons.

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By Ed Romano, March 21, 2012 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

Hi there comrades, A short while ago I posted a piece in which I tried to explain what I think happens in a capitalist or exploitative society as far as the taxes the government collects is concerned. I said ...and this statement finds evidence on many pages of our history books…that the struggle is between the haves and the have nots to use the government treasury for their own purposes. Money used to alleviate the injustices heaped on the majority by the vampire class always sticks in a vampire’s craw. They hate “entitlement programs ” because they want access to that money themselves….In these days we are seeing the call to privatize social security , for example. Interstate highways are being privatized and even the prison system…..Can we pretend that this is not reality ? .... On the front page of this morning’s paper I find this bit of criminality….House Republicans yesterday unveiled a budget blueprint that would turn Medicare into a system of private insurance plans, and reduce programs for the poor….
O, say can you see, any illusions on me ?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

Bill, without getting into too much, (I think we’ve covered it fairly well,) I would like to take issue with one point, namely, “This is specifically true in cases where people as an aggregate have the ability to guarantee their own welfare and animals do not”.  To this I say tongue in cheek, “Turn your typical stray human loose in the wild and see how long it lasts on it’s own.”  (wink)

On those underlying value systems…..I used to be taken in by the big brown eyed animals, I had a horse, dogs, & cats, but are they any better than snakes? rats? birds? dunno.  Are humans any better I suppose is the question.  I believe strongly we should promote quality of life over quantity.  Far more emphasis on avoiding pregnancies when the child can;t be reasonably well supported by the parents.  Same applies to animals, the parents being the owners.  But, failing prevention, once they’re here, you have to take care of them I suppose?  The animals or the humans? 

You know, my smart ass question made me think…...would it be better to take care of a stray cat (and have it neutered) or support one of the octo-moms kids?  You can;t have that kid neutered, and if you support it, you’re just about guaranteeing a messed up individual is going to result who will take resources from someone.  Rhetorical questions.  Just testing myself to see how much of a bastard I am.

Oh, and I agree with your view on stewardship of the Earth.  This ‘dominion over’ thinking is an excuse to be irresponsible .... a perverse freedom. 

And yes, ‘social conscience’, it’s in need of nurturing.  It’s at the root of socialism, which shouldn’t be a dirty word at all, as the extreme right wing uses it, practically as a slur.  Really, it’s thinking of your fellow man, and doing your share to see to the welfare of those who need it….....sort of what Jesus preached.  Well, exactly what Jesus preached.  Not that I’m religious, I just find it amusing the extreme right wing is so lacking understanding of what the hell they’re saying about their Lord and Savior when they sneer at socialists.

Just trying to get back on topic.

Have a good one, and don’t be in such a hurry to find areas of underlying disagreement.  It’s not necessary to be at odds with people, or is it?. ;>)

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By Leefeller, March 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

Paris Hilton was an advertising spokes person for a drive through High Colonic outfit in California according to something I read on the Web, guess one could call this a job?

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By - bill, March 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the detailed response, John.  As I suspected, this apparently minor topic is a symptom of more significant differences between our underlying value systems and/or logical assessments.

To take a concrete example, in my value system the welfare of people I don’t know is NOT necessarily more important than the welfare of animals - sometimes even animals I don’t know.  This is specifically true in cases where people as an aggregate have the ability to guarantee their own welfare and animals do not.

In the U.S. we absolutely have the means to look after the welfare of all our people.  I do consider it my personal responsibility to promote and foster the development of a system that does this as a matter of ‘social conscience’.  But LACKING such a system I DON’T’ consider it my personal responsibility to try to make up for this lack (and will note that such substitution of ‘charity’ for government programs is the preferred Republican approach to the problem).

Taking it a step farther (as I also alluded to in my previous post), even if I DID give aggregate human welfare absolute priority in use of my discretionary income and effort I’d start with places like Iraq and Afghanistan (where we’ve directly caused so much wholly unwarranted suffering), then continue with other disadvantaged areas of the world which DON’T have the ability to provide decent living conditions themselves, and exhaust my personal resources long before even getting close to contributing to charities in the U.S. (where we DO have that ability).

To dial out the focus to far more general issues, I don’t consider the Earth as a whole to be a human playground that we should use any way we please, but rather an asset that we hold in trust not just for ourselves but for ITSELF.  This is not simply ‘enlightened self-interest’ (though that should lead to at least somewhat similar behavior), but an extension of the belief that might (specifically, humanity’s ability to dominate everything else) does not make right but rather creates a responsibility to those (human or not) who would otherwise be trampled under our feet.  I do make an exception for mosquitoes, since as very successful predators on us I consider retaliation to be fair game (ditto bacteria and virii).

Do I live according to those beliefs?  Not always and not completely, but I try to at least be aware when I’m not and be conscious that my behavior may be questionable (IMO, of course).  Might you share some of them?  Quite possibly, but I suspect you might balk as some aspects as well.  Do I think such balking would make you a bad person?  Not in the least:  it would just make you a different person (as well you should be).

Neither do I think that your exposition in any way presumed that everyone should share its value system.  I just wanted you to be aware that many progressives might take exception to it (at least if they understood it as I have from your explanations, though my understanding certainly may be flawed).

This may seem pretty far off the topic of socialism, but if you think of it as discussing whether social responsibility should stop with humans or be something broader it may be relevant.  In any event, thanks for making me think about it.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Proportional representation?  We certainly do have it.  It’s proportional to your bank accounts.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Ardee, wrt “Oh, and I would settle for the wealthy paying the same percentage of taxes as do working families ...”

I disagree.  We need highly progressive taxes.  ‘flat taxes’ are unfair wrt use of US infrastructure relative to money extracted from it.  For the rich to pay their ‘fair share’, it has to be a much higher percentage. 

But ‘fairness’ is only one aspect of it.  People, the common man, need to know that you can get ahead if you work hard, but that doesn’t mean we have to leave unlimited minimally taxed salary potential available to those that are just milking the system from the top.  If you’re such a good con-man as to convince a board of directors or the owner of an NFL franchise you’re worth 100 Million level salaries, well, you’re not buddy.  All they did was screw the market and weasel themselves into a position that takes advantage of stockholders.  That’s not ‘free market’, that’s manipulated market. 

Making that kind of coin takes some form of illegal activity or market manipulation.  We need to dis-incentivize that thievery. 

The last reason we need to flatten out the income distribution?  The ‘entitled class’.  That notion has no place in this country.  WE all know 2nd and third generation rich kids who are worse than worthless.  Mini Paris Hiltons.  They corrode the culture, the idea of equal opportunity, etc.  Out culture has drifted too much to some superstar worshiping religion.  The idea of your average working family is so second rate, the dignity of the average people suffers.  It’s related to this notion that we’re just a herd of consumers, not deserving shit for respect.  The idea you have to be wealthy to deserve respect…...no matter how yo made your money.  This is total BS, and people need to get their heads around it.  We need to change our culture, because we’re getting farther away from the America ideal, not closer to it.

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By - bill, March 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Korky, I’m afraid that your original comment which I corrected was completely unambiguous:  you said “Ah, but the USA doesn’t have a democracy of any kind.”

Not that the U.S. did not have a really spiffy democracy.  Not even that the U.S. had a democracy in theory only.  That it did not “have one of any kind” - period.

Please try to say what you mean if you don’t want to be corrected.  If you can’t do that, please try to accept correction more gracefully rather than continue to defend your claims even while simultaneously (and quietly) gradually reshaping them into something sufficiently different that it might be more defensible (‘pseudo-democracy’ wasn’t much better but my own characterization as ‘dysfunctional’ was and at the end you seem to have been attempting to mold your thesis over to that without, of course, any hint of admission that this was a significant change from the original assertion that I corrected).

I consider us to have a reasonable level of democracy (and the last I knew proportional representation was NOT one of the required characteristics of a representative democracy, though by all means provide a citation to the contrary if you have one).  I consider it to be dysfunctional in operation (i.e., that voters in the aggregate have ceased to meet even minimal standards of competence in directing it), not in its constitution (small c).

Yes, I originally stated that it is dysfunctional without qualifying that as an opinion.  Feel free to come up with a credible citation to the contrary (if, that is, you’d like to dispute that opinion, though that would somewhat surprise me).

Moving on, why trot out yet again the stultifyingly obvious observation that no candidates being advanced for general election by the duopoly support proportional representation when the entire basis of my thesis is that the duopoly must FIRST be fractured in order to make room for a new progressive force to grow (and thus clearly That force would NOT be either current member of the duopoly)?

I’ll freely admit, Korky, that there’s something about your presentation that puts me off a bit and makes me more inclined to pick at it than I might otherwise be - perhaps a combination of a hint of officiousness coupled with a refusal to admit that many of your assertions constitute opinion only and some of them are flat-out wrong (a kind of bluster).  I noticed similar reactions from others in a previous thread, so it’s not just me.

You might want to work on these aspects if you want to be more effective in persuading people (some of us take the attitude that we’ll just put our beliefs out there for others to take a look at, so ‘being persuasive’ rather than simply being clear is a lower priority for us).  But, of course, that’s entirely your decision.

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By Leefeller, March 20, 2012 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

RD include the Democrats if it makes you happy! All you needed to say was ‘how about the Democrats’  and you could have saved yourself asking the song and dance questions then providing opinionated answering of them, but I suppose this was the intent?

60 percent of Congress are wealthy according to Harper’s Magazine, which makes it dubious they are rooting for me and maybe maybe even you RD!

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By ardee, March 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

If I where King, I would tax the rich until it hurt, give it to the poor and piss off the Republicans, because they would be out of a job whoring for their benefactors!

Admirable sentiment until the end. Do you honestly believe that the GOP is any less in thrall to corporate America than are the Democrats? Do you really think Obama’s one billion dollar war chest ( and it will be at least that much this time around) came from your fifty buck contribution?

While the GOP is currently riding the tiger of right wing extremism and cannot seem to dismount, it is absolutely a truism that the policies and legislation from the Democrats is a wholly owned subsidiary of the richest among us.

Oh, and I would settle for the wealthy paying the same percentage of taxes as do working families ...

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Lee, I’m not telling anyone what to do with their money, but if you look at all the stuff like pets, if we spent half as much on this stuff, us pet owners/sports fans, whatever, would be just as happy, but there would be a lot fewer so-called ‘tough choices’.  Understand what I’m saying. 

We get wrapped up in our own little worlds, fine, but we go too far.  Too lavish a super-bowl party, 6 pets instead of three, don’t start on car crap, clothes, technology gizmos.  The real cost to society isn’t even the wasted money, or all the unnecessary pollution that comes with extra indulgences…....it’s in distraction.  We’re caught up in too much circus of our own making. 

But why do I have a special peeve for pets?  Because I know people who hate people and substitute the love of their pets.

Excessive pets, like other ‘stuff’, is a self-indulgence, but insidiously they (the pets) let you think you’re warm, caring, compassionate.  The objective reality in my view is in some cases the pets enable anti-social behavior.  Some.  Hey, it’s your life, do what you want.  This is my opinion and if you feel like wasting your time, feel free to try and change it.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 20, 2012 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

My long list of pet peeves has never included pets, as for what people decide to spend their hardly earned cash on seems a personal choice, even if I find it disgusting, rifling or boring, whom am I to tell anyone what they should do with their money.

If I where King, I would tax the rich until it hurt, give it to the poor and piss off the Republicans, because they would be out of a job whoring for their benefactors!

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By Korky Day, March 20, 2012 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

“bill” wrote, “In the specific instance you referred to the ‘long run’ is not at issue - just a run long enough for a new progressive force to arise that can gain power for as little as a single election cycle and THEN MAY BE ABLE to pass the electoral reforms you believe are important”.

That works only if the “progressive force” is determined to advance proportional representation (pro-rep), as Dennis Kucinich is.  No other Duopolist presidential candidate seems sure to do it, of whom I know.

So it’s Kucinich or my Green Party or (probably)
Stewart Alexander’s Socialist Party.  Maybe Ron Paul.  Not President Obama.”

“bill” trusts “credible references”, etc. that “the U.S. is a representative democracy”.
However, he had previous conceded that it is “a representative democracy, dysfunctional though it certainly is these days.” 

Where is his citation that it is dysfunctional?  Did he come to that conclusion himself?  Just like I come to the conclusion that the country is a pseudo-democracy, which is almost the same as calling it dysfunctional, after all.

The USA’s “democracy” has ALWAYS been dysfunctional and/or pseudo.  Take your pick.  It started by genocidal wars and occupations, proceeded to slavery, and kept women as near-slaves until 1918 and later.

When was the USA not a dysfunctional democracy and/or a pseudo-democracy?

Socialist Cuba bans opposition parties, but kleptocratic imperialist corporate money doesn’t corrupt and dominate and oppress, as it does in the USA.  Poor people can be elected in Cuba easier than in the USA.  My detailed study concludes that the USA is just as false a democracy as Cuba.  Each should borrow the good features of the other.  Both need pro-rep.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

Bill, it’s not pet health care I’m concerned with, it’s the many, many ferule animals and the never-ending stream of offspring.  Nice well-meaning people adopt them, then get stuck with necessities, and go a bit farther with ‘accessories’.  It’s just an example of a lack of priority in my value system. 

Another example might be the folks who go crazy over sports.  Sports are fine, but please, do we need superstar athletes driving hummers with gold hubcaps?

In any case, the mechanism…..‘going after’ peoples discretionary budgets is not on the table.  Rather, we should promote a general sensitivity to to the quality of life of ‘people we don’t even know’.  That is the ‘common good’, the faceless, nameless.  We educate kids we don’t even know for the common good.  We send returning soldiers back to school for the common good, and same for subsidizing the salaries of ultra-rural and ultra-urban doctors. 

These sorts of things, sensitivity toward, and contributing to ‘people you don;t even know’, I offer is the individuals moral basis for being social.  To say ‘for socialism’ might be a stretch and inflammatory.  But, these are the sorts of trade-offs people would make if they choose to be more supportive of the ‘common good’. 

The moral analysis to me is a matter of either giving quality of life for humans top priority, or not.  If we truly do, that places everything else on a slightly lower priority….to be taken care of when the first priority has achieved some level. 

Now I am not going so far as to say some people don’t need a pet as a companion.  That’s a quality of life issue for people.  But, there are a lot of people who get animals for their kids, and themselves and they focus on the animal to the exclusion of those people around them who might benefit from the attention that is given that animal. 

I mean, in some households every kid has an animal as a pet.  Including rodents!  I’m not saying outlaw the damn things, but these are rodents!  Shouldn’t fat, happy, American kids be taught to be sensitive enough to forgo the hamster’s in their cages, and consider sending this cash stream to educate some unfortunate kid?  That’s social.

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By - bill, March 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

John, I think we’ve finally found something on which we can disagree, minor point though it may be:  the relevance of pet expenditures to financing health care.

First, absent credible statistics to the contrary I find it difficult to believe that even as much as 2% of our national health-care expenditure is spent on care for pets (let alone the strays you mentioned, who get next to nothing).  We spend under $100 per year per cat for food and litter, and I suspect few people spend as much on medical care as we have recently (though averaged over our cats’ lifetimes the medical costs have totaled not all that much more than food/litter costs have).

Second, given that EVERYONE in this country could be given significantly improved health-care coverage (e.g., including dental and psychiatric coverage) for the same amount of money that we’re currently spending simply by converting to the kind of Medicare for All system that we both seem to favor, we don’t NEED to look for additional sources of funding for that.

Third, if indeed you feel that we should eliminate discretionary spending on pets to provide improved health care for humans, do you also feel that we should send most of our health-care dollars to countries with far fewer health-care resources than we have rather than hoard them here (humans are humans, you know, and spreading our resources to provide the greatest good for the greatest number may well mean sending most of them to help people abroad)?

Fourth, my own definition of valuing life is not limited to human life.  And as long as we as a country don’t seem to value even human life very much (if we did, we’d ALREADY have Medicare for All), I’m not inclined to feel guilty about spending my personal resources on the people and animals I care about rather than donate them for generic domestic health-care use (though donating them to places like Iraq and Afghanistan where we’ve actively caused the destruction of countless lives both directly and indirectly is another story).

Anyway - in sum, I’ll suggest that going after people’s pet budgets to help pay for health care for people they don’t even know is not likely to be a winning argument, whereas instead promoting a program like Medicare for All and leaving people to spend their discretionary income as they see fit is both more sensible and less potentially off-putting.

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By - bill, March 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

You do seem to have difficulty seeing any viewpoint but your own, Korky.  You’ve explained your position ad nauseam but seem unable to see why others simply either don’t agree or don’t find it applicable.

In the specific instance you referred to the ‘long run’ is not at issue - just a run long enough for a new progressive force to arise that can gain power for as little as a single election cycle and THEN MAY BE ABLE to pass the electoral reforms you believe are important (but which you haven’t advanced any credible means of getting passed while the current duopoly still exists - at least the Green party hasn’t made any discernible progress for more than a decade now).

In other words, while the duopoly still exists it seems able to hold such reforms at bay forever - so fracturing it seems a necessary first step to get where you want to go.

Agree or disagree, but please try to say something NEW for a change.

As for whether the U.S. is a representative democracy, while Wikipedia is not my favorite reference it has the virtue of providing citations for much of its material (including the statement that the U.S. is a representative democracy).  Even without that, as a heavily peer-reviewed publication I give it far more credibility than I accord a random forum poster like yourself; with the backing of such citations, you’re not in the running at all.

So come up with some credible references of your own to the contrary if you’d like people to take your portentous pronouncements more seriously.

One More Thing (TM):  This is a forum, not a letters column, and you are not its editor.  I am entirely aware that others may be reading what I write here, and happy to leave it up to them to decide whether they find it interesting (skipping posts is REALLY EASY on line, you know:  you don’t even have to turn a page, just scroll, and space is not limited as it is in a print publication).

You have been harping on this last subject for days now.  I see no evidence that ANYONE here is paying any attention to you about that.  Under those circumstances, if you are really interested in cutting down on noise pollution the best place to start is probably with yourself (since that’s the only noise you appear to have any influence upon).

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

Time for a peacepipe…  This is to be posted on the other forum
as well in order to kill two birds with two stones.  Since the discord
was born here, it has to be put out of its misery here in order for
there to be resolution.  So with the indulgence of the forum…this
is how it might end on my part.

Look Ed, I truly detest the kind of fray you and I got ourselves into. 
I feel it keenly when demeaned in any way and as a woman I do not
think it should be tolerated to any nth degree.I almost always have a
visceral reaction.  For instance, I sense a taint of sexism Ed when you
take censures of Leefeller without dealing him the kind of vitriol you
have flung at me.  (This in no way means I don’t appreciate Leefeller,
as I do and have been one of his biggest fans through the years, but
he has a unique way of writing his disdain of those posters he finds
disagreeable). 

It is completely understandable you are insulted when being called
an asshole. It was a last resort on my part in name-calling exchange
for the previous accumulating offensive posts, by you and followed
by concurring posts by your debate mate, -bill, who more or less puts
a coda on your aggressive verbal battery.  You might look at his last
handshake with you on this forum where he rips at me like a raptor. 
He has never offered mitigation and usually acts like a degenerate far
as I am concerned.  I began to see you as litter mates.  It is not that I
haven’t esteemed some things -bill said, but they do not appease his
contemptuous effrontery.  So much for -bill.

While I am a lady, I am also a gentleman…and see that the valorous
thing to do would be to end the acrimony.  I do not hold a grudge, at
least for very long.  Burying the hatchet seems to be the ritual, and that
I am always willing to do.  Unless hostility is renewed by an antagonist. 
I do not ever and never have initiated an offense on anyone.  This can
be seen from the thousands of posts I’ve made on TD.  I express my
ideology and it might anger someone with an opposite view and then
the insults begin to come my way.  Subtle sometimes but do not escape
notice.  It can build from there to a very ugly crescendo. 

I have respected your views, and have said so, Ed.  Those cannot be
erased whatever has happened.  I withdraw from further antipathy and
hope we can continue on our truthdipping way, perhaps having learned
a few things about other people’s character or at least each other’s as
well as our own.

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By Korky Day, March 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

I’m an alternative journalist.
In the old days, these public comments would be “letters to the editor” about a published article.
As editor, given limited space, I would publish the ones of public interest, not all these personal attacks and squabbling.
I wish the commenters would realize who their potential audience is:  thousands of people other than just the ones who post comments.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

My response, and attempt at recocilliation with Shen can be seen on the site discussing the anomaly of our murderous war. I’m not getting into again here, except to say that I have apologized in every way I know how for any psyhic hurt I have put on her. This hasn’t seemed to make any imporession on her so far, but I hope her better nature will consider it.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Bill, In general, I’ll go along with private practices on a case by case basis.  If the practice is doing right by the patients, doing a bit of pro-bono, etc.  Specifically I can only speak about a few small private practices and one non-profit where I know the doctors, and they are doing right by their patients and seem to be doing OK themselves, despite constant insurance generated pressures. 

I think there is/(was?) already a program like you describe to assist medical students.  I don;t know how the subsidy is provided, but they had to agree to two years in some inner city or rural place.  Is is ‘socialism’?  Well, I’d say it’s damn social for our taxes to go and support a doctor for rural and urban Americans.  Is it re-distribution of wealth? Yes.  Socialism? your call.  Either way, I’m happy to do it and support those fellow Americans who in my book are entitled to decent health care by birthright.  Even though some of them are quite stupid to be assisting in giving that right up.

My point on pets was that, given the money we spend collectively on stray animals, we shouldn’t have to make so many ‘tough choices’ about whether granny gets an expensive procedure or 50 young kids get their shots.  We piss away a lot of wealth in this country, pets is just one example where we don’t give human life enough value.  I don’t think you’ll confuse confuse that with the evangelical ‘pro-life’, which is just ‘pro-fetus, which is often anti-child and anti-mother, once it’s born. 

Ed, ‘Critical Thinking’ goes by different names.  I had ‘Philosophy of Logic’ as an elective.  There was a segment in a math or engineering course, boolean algebra, which is not exactly enough for the critical thinking course, it’s more of a technical fundamental.  They do have critical thinking in high schools, and sometimes they call it that, but in high school I learned it as ‘Rhetoric’.  It can be taught as part of a debate club and you wouldn;t even know what you were being taught. 
 
The problem is it’s taught, but not nearly enough.  The proof is in how damn gullible we are.  If they taught this stuff K-12 nationwide and they made everybody including and especially the staff live or die professionally by it, there would be absolutely no bullshitting Americans.  A far, far cry from where we are today.   

Now, if I was challenged I might try to make that last paragraph into a logical argument prepared for dissection and validation, but not tonight.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

I will be posting this on this and the other forum on Murder is
not an Anomaly of War, because Ed, you and I have commenced
to be in a personal war in both places.  I will not be belittled in any
way, not one micrometer and I will reciprocate more fiercely than
my attacker if it will allow me to “feel” better.  You are so bent on
destroying me as much as you are the Democats, Ed that I do believe
you are making yourself sick.  You would say anything to try to
discredit me.  But you know what sweetie, I am not such a bad a lady
and I’ve been on this website for over five years.  Everyone who is
anyone on Truthdig knows me and some even personally and know
my professional credentials and what my career has been.  Some
appreciate me, others don’t.  Obviously you fall in the latter category.
It is all right.  I don’t expect everyone to appreciate me. I certainly don’t
appreciate everyone either.  But I do demand respect for what I think
even when it is not in agreement with another’s dogma.  Disagreements
are inevitable, and I give my opinion of concepts.  That is part of why
people blog.  But that doesn’t mean other’s may express utter destruc-
tion of what I believe in.  As I said, I fight back and for my beliefs.

If your wife of teaching 34 years had never heard of a course in critical
thinking it could be that where she checked they call it something else: 
Analytical Thinking, Conceptual Analysis, Active Thinking, Values in
Science, or Art, or Music, or Geography…and so forth.  Or it might be
subsumed under some Philosophy Class.  Or maybe those places she
checked just do not teach it.  But you cannot judge the entire educational
system in the United States by those few places!  Surely you can intuit
that!

You strike me as really a suffering man, and it is too bad because I had
started out with much respect for the way you expressed yourself even if
I did not agree with it.  But you do conveniently forget the evolu-tion of
our descent into the abyss of personal attacks.  You were not alone, your
comrade –bill was your side kick kicking Shenonymous as hard as he
could as well. 

But it is you who has bitterly pursued the attack on my person as well as
my political point of view.  You did not leave out any slight you could
sneak in.  And I’ve let you know every single time and so I can
understand your absolute rancor with me.  You do not like to be called
out and if I use some “bad” words well grow up.  Did I say I was a lady? 
Well I will qualify that.  I’m a lady in the right company

You are of a type and I’ve met a few on these forums.  You do not
intimidate me though you really try, it is a sign of a predator but one
unconscious of his predation.  Let’s take your latest snide comments
about my bottom!  What kind of an ossified mind do you have?  Well, I
shall try henceforth not to respond to what you post.  And that is as
much of a truce as I will offer.  Take it or leave it.

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By Korky Day, March 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

“bill” wrote, “the national Democratic establishment had to be gutted . . . (via ‘lesser-evil’ strategies at least, leaving aside pervasive attempts to keep other parties to their left off the ballot and suppress their votes . . .) to the growth of progressive third parties . . . the national Democratic establishment is what’s really standing in the way . . . getting rid of the Republicans . . . would not fix the obstacles to the third parties that we need . . .  I’ll be voting STRATEGICALLY”

In many of my contributions here in the last month I explain how no such strategy will work in the long run if it leaves intact the USA’s pseudo-democratic voting system.  So even if any party could get on the ballot and even if all the votes were counted fairly, etc., it would still not yield proportional results.  That means that the country fails that simple criterion of democracy, as it always has failed.

“bill” continued, “Korky, I’m afraid that you’re confused.  If you check the Wikipedia articles for both ‘representative democracy’ and ‘United States’ you’ll find that we ARE considered to be a representative democracy, dysfunctional though it certainly is these days.”

Then Wikipedia is wrong.  I’ve studied the voting system in Cuba, and it’s no better and no worse than the USA’s.  It’s just deficient in different ways.

I used to edit Wikipedia a lot.  Too dominated by US Americans with their biases.  In time it will improve, I hope.

I’m glad that “bill” and I both oppose forced unemployment.  Sorry for any misunderstanding.

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By - bill, March 19, 2012 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

Don’t feel too bad about creating an enemy here, Ed:  it appears that anyone who is sufficiently persistent in disagreeing with Shen and pointing out her logical inconsistencies and/or outright errors becomes seen as an enemy, which allows her to become increasingly (and often incompetently) combative, which (even with you, who have been FAR more tolerant of such crap than I have) eventually causes some increasing bluntness to take place in response, which then makes her feel righteously indignant and free to escalate farther…

Not worth worrying about, in my opinion.  Whether you stand and fight or just don’t bother to is your own business under such circumstances.  A while ago I expressed pleased surprise that Shen was being so agreeable (given my vague recollection of her past behavior in which I was merely an onlooker), and while she’s been off the rails for much of the time since then perhaps she’ll manage to find her way back to them again (meanwhile, it appears that she prefers to concentrate on one ‘enemy’ at a time - sorry it’s turned out to be you lately).

Moving on to less inconsequential matters, your explanation that you don’t believe that labor should be a salable commodity fully answers the question I posed.  That happens to be a position I don’t share (in part because I consider that workers are paid for the product of their labor rather than for labor per se, and I find the thesis that workers should not be allowed to sell the PRODUCT of their labor to be difficult to agree with), but I fully accept it as an ideological position one might reasonably hold.

To put it another way, I think matters of opinion are things to discuss, not fight over - with the hope that better mutual understanding may lead to SOME common ground even if absolute agreement is unachievable.

So I apologize if you thought I was trying to pin you down in order to fight over details:  I just wanted to understand the basic assumptions under which you were operating in this discussion, and you’ve provided a major enlightening one just now.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

Bill, At the risk of creating another enemy on this site let me say that I have no intention of getting into an argument over what you have asked me to present. The matter of labor and its exploitation was thrashed out in detail and answered masterfully 150 years ago by Karl Marx, and if that does not satisfy you it would be a waste of time for me to try. I will say, however, that ...No. I don’t think labor should be a “saleable commodity “. No part of a human being…including their labor, which is an extension of themselves, should be consider a “commodity”. Not is a sane world anyway. A human being is not an object, except in a capitalist world.

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By - bill, March 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Bravo, Leef!  You WERE paying at least some attention, to the point that you understood my fall-back position of making things so bad so quickly that something would HAVE to be done about it (I did note that this was a pretty risky strategy, but that it still seemed preferable to me to letting the Republicans AND DEMOCRATS continue down the road that BOTH national parties have been pursuing for quite a while now, just at slightly different speeds).

But you still managed to miss my PRIMARY position, which was that the national Democratic establishment had to be gutted so that it would cease being an obstacle (via ‘lesser-evil’ strategies at least, leaving aside pervasive attempts to keep other parties to their left off the ballot and suppress their votes even when they were on it) to the growth of progressive third parties with actual hair on their chests (or whatever the female equivalent may be - wouldn’t want to offend anyone here without good reason).

In other words, given that the national Democratic establishment is what’s really standing in the way of developing something better, and given how successful they’ve been at doing this for so long, THEY’RE the ones that have to go, because getting rid of the Republicans (even if we had some feasible way to accomplish that) would not fix the obstacles to the third parties that we need (it would just make room for something else, such as the Tea Party - whatever they are, to rise up on the right).

Baby steps, Leef:  just chew on that for a while and it may start to become understandable just as the fall-back position did.  With both positions there’s definitely some real temporary pain for the eventual potential gain, no doubt about it, and as I’ve said frequently before I don’t necessarily expect you to agree with them, but UNDERSTANDING both would be nice so that you can stop mischaracterizing them when you disagree.

As for my being a libertarian, allow me to suspect that you’re intentionally pulling my chain (at least that’s the most charitable explanation I can come up with).  See, specifically, the beginning of my response of March 18 at 11:32 am.  Just in case, and just for your benefit (because you’ve been showing some signs lately of not being a COMPLETELY lost cause), I’ll reiterate that I’ll be voting STRATEGICALLY (in pursuit of the strategy I just described above) rather than for candidates whose positions I support.

Korky, I’m afraid that you’re confused.  If you check the Wikipedia articles for both ‘representative democracy’ and ‘United States’ you’ll find that we ARE considered to be a representative democracy, dysfunctional though it certainly is these days.  You also seem to have conveniently ignored my observation that provision for all basic human needs by the social system was ONE prerequisite for making a free-market in labor reasonable (a situation in which forced unemployment no longer is an effective means of keeping those pesky workers in line, though as a practical matter providing useful government work for anyone who needed a job and couldn’t find one is obviously far more sensible than just having such people on the dole and would presumably be part of the kind of system I described).

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

I always fnd it amusing when a cretin comes knocking , without the slightest instigation, and hurls an insult at me.I find it amusing because it would not occur to him that his comment says a lot more about him than it does about me. And ,of course, he would poop in his pants before he would say such a thing to a person who was facing him.

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By Korky Day, March 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous wrote, “electoral reform is absolutely indispensable . . . That is something on which all
real liberals can agree with the Greens.”

Then real liberals won’t vote for Barrack Obama because he has never addressed that issue, as far as I’ve heard.  Dennis Kucinich, on the other hand, is strongly for proportional representation (pro-rep), unlike all other presidential candidates in the Duopoly, with the possible exception of Ron Paul (about whom I am unsure on this point).

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

Asshole ? Congratulations. That’s quite a vocabulary you have there for such a person obviously proud of their verbosity.
  My wife taught elemtary school for 34yrs. in a state that has a much praised school system . She is now a college professor and assures me she has never come across a course offered in critical thinking at any level. I am not saying the poster is fabricating credentials here but I am suspicious…for several reasons. I have to wonder if someone who consistenly displays an inability to think critically would be allowed to pass this deficiency onto students. Furthermore, it seems to me that someone who is unable to advance an argument, without referring to someone who challenges her position as a , liar, blatherer, schizoid, suffering from a malady, and now…asshole….it would seem that such a person has not the slightest familiarity with what it means to be a critical thinker.
  Now, I am accused of giving offense and this is used as an excuse to heap venom and insults on me. But please note that I have not stooped to this level for sometime now. I have even offered an unacknowledged apology. This is because I do have a modest concern for others and have no wish to see her continuing to soil herself as she does. I have said that I am more than willing to call a truce, but this suggestion has fallen on deaf ears. I once worked with a fellow who had a habit of asking -What do women want? I thought of that just now because I am wondering - What is am man to do ?

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

Your capacity for hatred is showing Ed.  You really should look in
the mirror and take a loonnngggg look at what you really show
yourself to be.  Or better yet, read and take Leefeller’s always stellar
advice. 

Korky Day – “One thing on which all Greens agree is that electoral
reform is absolutely indispensable.”  That is something on which all
real liberals can agree with the Greens.  Now I say that with fear and
trepidation that the autocrats hereabouts don’t try in their ferociously
blind intolerance to bury this Fundamentalist Liberal!

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By Leefeller, March 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

What doesn’t make sense to me, is how Bill can be a libertarian and support a single payer health plan? Voting for Ron Paul, who claims to be a libertarian would tell women what they should do with their bodies almost to the degree of man on Dog Santroum who I suppose Bill may vote for?

As for critical thoughts, me thinks the Republican party’s degree of success with the Tea Bags could suggest some scrutinizing on the subject?

Ed, you seem handicapped in the learning department without the aid of Tequila. By the way I apologize if my comments seem a tad insulting, but they where just intended to sound that way.

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By Korky Day, March 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous wrote, “Historically, socialism has failed due to corruption and despotism.  If there was a way to prevent that evolution, socialism might have a chance.  Sweden’s structure is considered socialistic and while I pointed out some of its problems, Sweden is fairly successful.”
Ed Romano asked about the Green Party and corporatism.

Europe is a very successful socialistic set of countries.  If we had a fair voting system in the USA or Canada, like theirs, we’d probably have very similar socialism to Europe:  free higher education, single-payer health insurance, etc.  And much more peace.

The Green Party was started (in the early 1980s) largely because the old-line socialist parties neglected newly popular issues such as environmentalism, feminism, and co-operatives as another alternative to old-style corporatism.
Our party, furthermore, has attracted a wide variety of economic thought, from libertarian Greens to socialist Greens.  Many of us say that our party is neither left nor right, it’s forward!
So the party doesn’t classify itself as a “socialist” party, though many of our planks are socialistic, such as public single-payer health insurance.

I like to say that we would allow, through democratic process, for the people, as a group, to have as much socialism as they want.
Fire fighting was socialized (in the world) first by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia.
The USA Post Office originally delivered all letters for free.

One thing on which all Greens agree is that electoral reform is absolutely indispensable.  Not just fair ballot access; not just counting the ballots fairly; but fair elections, which the USA has never had at the national or state level. 
That means proportional representation (pro-rep), as is throughout Europe, and is making big in-roads in Latin America, Asia, Australia, and Africa.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Ed Romano, March 19 at 1:22 pm - you are acting like a real asshole.
It makes me wonder if you are a real person.  You conveniently forget
what you started off calling me.  Those wonderful appellations I gave
to you in response to your vitriolic posts fit, Ed and I suggest you get
a shoe horn.

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By - bill, March 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

Actually, John, since I included the qualification “at least on a trial basis” in my statement it would seem to me that you DO agree with it (for now).  If not, I don’t understand your position and would appreciate clarification (it may be a minor point, but sometimes clarifying minor points can identify larger ones that need it as well).

(You do understand that we’re talking only about health-care providers, not health-care insurers, right?  I believe I’ve already made it clear that I don’t think there’s any reason whatsoever to allow anything but a single-payer insurance system in this country for all necessary care.)

It seems that you may share my opinion of the MBA influence on certain aspects of private enterprise.  My own view comes from seeing MBAs who feel they don’t need to understand the fundamentals of the industries they manage run vibrant high-tech companies right into the ground, so it may not be precisely the same phenomenon that you’re describing (a small-practice doctor him/herself emphasizing profit at the expense of quality rather than IN ADDITION to quality) - but in both situations it does reflect a focus on something other than the product one is supposed to be delivering (and which customers are expecting to receive for their payment).

I like the idea of grants for medical students that allow them to get enter practice without a crushing college debt that may cause them to focus from the very start more on profit than on quality of care (and indeed should provide some actual requirement to).  To my mind that’s not ‘socializing’ medicine at all, any more than other government aid to promising students is:  it’s just a voluntary commitment in return for support (like teaching in an environment which otherwise cannot attract adequate teachers in return for educational subsidies in that area).

I’m not sure there would be as much resistance by the right wing to such a program as there is to many efforts perceived as ‘socialism’:  it’s more of a quid pro quo of the sort to which they’re pretty accustomed.  For that matter, you could even go as far as requiring that medical students so supported serve for some period of time after graduation in government-run health-care facilities - and sell it to the right wing as precisely equivalent to existing college ROTC programs (which one would expect enjoy their strong support); yes, I’m not SURE they’d see the logic in that, but it might be worth a shot.

I don’t know how much most people spend on their pets, but having had as many as 6 cats at a time (we’re now down to the youngest 3 survivors) we’ve spent quite a bit over the last several years, primarily on medical care for conditions that with proper treatment were survivable without major impact on their quality of life thereafter (nothing on the level of organ transplants, but still often quite costly).  We just feel that’s an obligation we take on when adopting a pet:  it’s still not remotely comparable to our own health-care costs (primarily for insurance, though that hasn’t covered some other high-cost necessities) but our pet-care costs may be considerably more than an average family spends - so I’m not sure what you meant by suggesting such a comparison.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

My wife was an elementary school teacher for 34 years and is now a college professor in a state that is often lauded for its educational standing. She has never, in any circumstance, come across anything like a course in critical thinking. I hope I am allowed to suspect that the claim to be a teacher of this may be bogus. What leads me to think this is a possibility is that the person making the claim is so obviously devoid of the ability to think critically herself, and would probably not be allowed to heap her deficiency onto students. I ask myself further if a critical thinker would have to call people who disagree with her politics names like, liar, schizoid, blatherer, suffering from a malady, decrepit etc. etc. ... would she have to sink to this level in order to advance her arguments…and isn’t this defect a sign that the arguments themselves are lacking in substance ? Merely asking the questions here. Inquiring minds want to know.

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By Korky Day, March 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller wrote, “It was I believe Korkys request not to use Democrats and Republicans in discussion”.  No, I think it’s silly, for instance, for Shenonymous to refer to the Democratic Party as liberalism.

“bill” wrote, “what evidence do you have that the current system makes it impossible for a representative democracy to be controlled by its citizens, via elections, such that those abuses do not occur?”
Ah, but the USA doesn’t have a democracy of any kind.
Later he talks about a free market in labour, but without mentioning a fix for forced unemployment, a fix that we in the Green Party have—government bailing out the people instead of the banks.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

It is taught starting in Pre-K in the schools where I’ve taught, John.
That is good enough.

On a more peaceful note, some Zen words of wisdom: 

Bravely let go on the edge of the cliff.
Throw yourself into the abyss
with decision and courage.
You only revive after death!

If you mistake the way even a little,
you will become bewildered
and fall into bad ways..
You must train yourself diligently.

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By Leefeller, March 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

Well Bill, we agree more than not? Except for your idea of voting for a Republican to make things worse with the idea it will become so bad the people will throw the bums out, as I stated, your theory of electing the worst did not work well for Hitlers Germany but only because they lost the war? Applying your theory, is this what is happening in Greece? 

Our system needs a good High Colonic without the rosewater or YoYo Maw touchy freely music.

As for critical thinking being taught in school, I refer this topic to those who know more than I, which would be just about anyone, hopefully She and John may come to a con-senses so me assimilation may start working.

Bill, your pompous twitting aside you make some valid points, besides the ones on your head,...  as per your first post directed towards me, sidewise and likewise Bill you are not so bad for an asshole!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

She, “contrary to arrogant opinion, critical
thinking IS taught in public school and definitely in college.”  Not enough. Not nearly enough.  Not the dumbest coach should be able to utter a fallacy without fear of reprimand by the students.  (Apologies to smart coaches everywhere for use of the stereotype.)

They should teach it starting in first grade.

‘Arrogant’......BS.  I offer as evidence that we don;t teach it enough that so many people are continually bamboozled in every aspect of their lives.  If the public had been adequately educated (and of course empowered to call BS), the politicians and used car salesmen (one in the same) would run for cover.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

She, sometimes you, like most of us are a bull in a china shop.  Does that deserve insult?  No.  It creates an escalation in a counterproductive direction. 

bill, regarding my stupid post below….. 
trying to see the forest despite the trees.  This article on a socialist candidate might provide a vantage point.  ‘Social, as contrast to anti-social.  Which system seems less important to me than the greater trends regarding some anti-social behaviors.  Increasing sorts of polarization in the general population, and certainly, when we consider laws that allow medical providers to selectively apply treatments depending on their personal ‘moral views’, well, it seems that our precious self can override what the medical community deems the most beneficial practice.  That ‘self empowerment’ could strike you when yo least expect it…...from within any delivery system, private, non-prof or fully governmental.  IMO those are the more germane issues, the broader contexts which affect person-to-person attitudes and respect for strangers.  Something like that.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

Now, I’ve debated with some of these people here
for a while, and I do not like insulting people whether
they deserve it or not.  This is a nice community, even
some of the trolls attempt to be civil.  I stumble occasionally,
but have always regained my footing.

So John Best, do you think I deserve to be insulted…or not?  That word
“whether” is most equivocating since I’ve been the recipient of gross
insults.  If I do deserve it, then the reasons need to be itemized.

Much obliged David S. Cyr.  That was very accommodating and I will
make a careful reading of what you posted.  The Greens had much public
respect but that was years ago.  It is possible with the right kind of PR,
they could make a glowing comeback.

Same to Korky Day.  The intentions of the New Democratic Party in
Canada sounds interesting.  Something like that might have a chance
at being created as a third-party option.  I’ve been hearing newcasters,
ala political news journalists also start voicing the opinion that maybe
a third-party could solve the impass between David’s Ds and Rs.  I still
think the Greens have been much too mute these last few years in the
way scott425, March 15 at 9:33 a.m. insightfully described their
problems.

Having been in academia for thirty years, and for a decade as a
professor of critical thinking, contrary to arrogant opinion, critical
thinking IS taught in public school and definitely in college.  As a
reviewer of textbooks, all new textbooks have a critical thinking
component for each and every chapter in all subjects.  Maybe your
school did not teach it as a regular part of each lesson, but the ones I
taught in did!  Maybe that is why I have a higher opinion of the kids than
you do, Ed.  You might try the practice yourself.  I can recommend some
books and the Critical Thinking Foundation in California.  You could do
with some exercise of it yourself when it comes to economics as you
demonstrate a closed mind.

-bill your sewer mouth directed at me usually disqualifies you as one
whose opinions has any value. EXCEPT your post of March 19 at 11:05
a.m. is excellent and one I completely, completely! agree with.  Will
wonders ever cease?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

bill, regarding “(By omission I think you’re suggesting that private health-care DELIVERY is OK with you at least on a trial basis, which is my position as well)”. 

The private delivery model worked for me so far, but times are continually changing, so I can’t make the blanket statement above.  At the small practice level, and I suppose all levels, it depends where the balance is struck between the Hippocratic oath and what I call the MBA ideology.  Perhaps it goes without saying which system I would prefer, purely private, non-profit or government depends on whether I am a stockholder, or a patient, and institutional factors, like the level of corruption, or profits promised that year, vs. profits delivered.  This could vary quite a bit depending on which side of the street your clinic is on.  How bad a year your insurance company had might come to bear on how they interpreted statistical care thresholds. 

The present system isn’t too too broke yet if you have insurance, but that is a huge and intolerable ‘if’, so we can’t let it ride.  Hope is not a plan. 

And, I have seen surveys indicating medical students are becoming more and more money conscious, a reflection of the ever-changing society.  Certainly the general level of resources available in the overall society is going to have an effect.  So, how will the private model evolve against these and other backgrounds? 

I would certainly be open minded to a system where medical students were educated at government expense and if they prove worthy academically and in terms of work-ethic, encourage them insofar as possible to understand they are a special part of society, privileged and with responsibility to serve mankind.  It’s not likely to be a practical system within the current domestic environment.  Highly socialized, and quite likely an idealistic vision on my part.  But the goal would be to promote quality of life without regard to bean-counting. 

Two parting thoughts….
Put health care costs in contrast with what we spend on our pets each year.
May every person who facilitates the ‘every man for himself’ approach to private insurance and private health care, experience the combined joy of an insecurity about ones financial future and the statement “Mr. Jones, there’s an unidentified spot on your chest X-ray”.

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By - bill, March 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

I mean that to a very large degree we should have a national curriculum, Leef, rather than one controlled by the whims of local school boards or states.  It should be sufficient to provide a good, broad education to all our citizens (especially in the area of critical thinking and analysis, as Ed just mentioned - a competence sadly lacking in this country these days).

That said, I don’t favor a system so rigidly controlled that teachers and even communities cannot IMPROVE (under appropriate supervision) on this basic framework.  Among other things, I suspect that this would keep many excellent teachers out of the system, and it would, for example, also prohibit exploring the distinct characteristics and history of the individual locales in which students live and in the case of many may continue to live for some time after graduation.

So yes, my preferred system would not allow Thomas Jefferson to be excluded from the curriculum (that’s SUBTRACTING from a good education, not ADDING to it).  And it would not allow creationism to be taught alongside the theory of evolution (that’s in some sense adding to the curriculum, but in my opinion not consistent with the exercise of ‘appropriate supervision’ that I mentioned above).  But it would allow innovation and over-and-beyond efforts that did not compromise the basic guaranteed curriculum (though said guaranteed curriculum should never COUNT ON such extensions:  it should be very sufficient in itself).

And it should also make some allowance for the unusual educational obstacles that some communities face, rather than leave it to those communities to face such challenges alone.

It’s hard to even begin to cover this subject here, but that’s a start.

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By Korky Day, March 19, 2012 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous wrote, “I have not heard of the
Democratic Party (sic) in Canada which you say promotes proportional presentation (sic).”

Here in Canada we have the New Democratic Party, which is the official opposition in Parliament.  It supports the electoral reform of proportional representation (pro-rep).  That would ensure that if a party got 4% of the votes in the country, they’d get 4% of the seats in Parliament, with little regard to how those votes were spread across the country.  We in the Green Party of Canada got 4% but elected only one, instead of the 12 we deserved.  And if a party got 40%, as did the Conservation Party in 2011, they would not have a majority of Parliament, as they have now. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_of_the_Canadian_federal_election,_2011

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By Leefeller, March 19, 2012 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Bill what do you mean by your referenced biased eduction comment? I have my views on the subject, which most likely may not emulate yours? Do you mean like when Texas was attempting to take Thomas Jefferson out of text books as he did not exist?

My comment was far as I know mine, assimilated from the constant Kabuki Theatrics we see every day, I find it all so damn choreographed from the Republican sound bite comments to the Red State Cloning and the apparent selling their balls by the Democrats.  I maintain the need to get the money out and ban those damn revolving door ex congress assholes becoming lobbyists who are running the halls of congress like FatRats at a New York Taco Bell.

Harper Magazine ‘suggested 60 percent of Congress is comprised of the 1 percent wealthy;, if true, this means fat chance for the 99 percent seems to me.

Greed seems paramount in what the deciders decide.

John,  true about blind hogs if it happens to be a metaphor for Congress and their love of pork barrels, not sure what a single apple symbolizes though, unless maybe it is an apple barrel?

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By - bill, March 19, 2012 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Thanks for a detailed response, John.

I’ve nothing against for-profit corporations as long as their practices are not so rapacious that a necessary product (like health coverage) becomes unaffordable to those who need it (which it certainly is now).  It would be nice if a free market prevented such occurrences (as it’s usually ‘supposed’ to), but even if uncontrolled competition were allowed (which would present its own problems) the sheer size required of insurers to guarantee solvency might make effective competition impossible.

There’s been some luck with HEAVILY-regulated private health insurance in Europe which has achieved overheads not much higher than Medicare has, but given the record of private health insurers in this country (plus the signifiant administrative overheads that their number create for health-care providers) I wouldn’t even suggest giving that a try rather than jumping straight into an improved Medicare for all.

(By omission I think you’re suggesting that private health-care DELIVERY is OK with you at least on a trial basis, which is my position as well).

I like your phrase “If something has a demonstrable chance of moving the quality of human life on earth in a better direction, subsidize it.”  The more benefit the more subsidy, largely as determined by popular support, in my opinion (within the Constitutional limits on how much majority desires may compromise equality for minorities, of course).

Your comments about how education should be handled were what I meant by eliminating ‘significant curriculum bias’, just more blunt and specific.

My question about whom you’d vote for was not rhetorical:  it arose from your statement “So, if the details behind whichever party point in the general direction I laid out there…..they have my vote.”  The answer you provided seems reasonable to me (and, more to the point, consistent with your earlier statements).

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

John, Can I say that I live in New England and have traveled in the south, and the young folks up north as just as soft as their counterparts in the south.
One reason for this is that critical thinking is not taught in the schools, in fact is discouraged. I have worked in schools kiddie thru 12 and my wife was a teacher for 34 years. Capitalism demands a politically stupid citizenry. This is evinced in the fact that Europeans think Americans are quite daffy.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

Yea, Ed, but the word ‘capitalism’ is to vague.  At some point discussions have to discover more specific sub-sets of the ‘isms’, group the subsets logically (AND, OR, etc) and give names to the specific concepts which have been so painstakingly ferreted out.

Only when we have adequate specific verbiage can we hope to accomplish common goals.  We are hamstrung by our language, and by under use and under appreciation of language and logic.

This is the most important thing I think I’ve learned on Truthdig.  Orwell hinted at it.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

John, I wouldn’t want to bet on this, but I think a case could be made that people can actually be made l
LESS intelligent that their ancestors, if the government they live under supports policies that actually dumb them down. In fact, I think I have a book by that or a similar title- The Dumbing Down Of America. Generally speaking, the number one value advanced in the U.S. is- consume, consume, consume.
And if you look at the popular culture I believe any person given to even slight reflection must agree that it is designed for morons….everything from popular music to the popular t.v. shows….The “thinking” that is done seems to be only in the service of one’s own senses and sense of well being.
  Of course, I think you know enough about my philosophy to know that I think this is not an accident.It’s all been arranged for the benefit of the corporations. As I said sometime ago….everything that capitalism puts its dead hand on turns rotten.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

private insurance for profit for health care and social security, is ultimately immoral in my values system. 

The progressive tax rates you cite are perfectly reasonable, though I would continue to discriminate and give tax breaks on an industry-by-industry basis.  The insurance industry would get no break whatsoever.  Again, there is a lot of devil in the details.  If something has a demonstrable chance of moving the quality of human life on earth in a better direction, subsidize it. 

Local school boards should be relegated to the sports programs and which could be privatized, a bone to throw the imbeciles.  State school boards should be instruments of a far, far stronger national school board.  Why should kids in rural bible belt states have less opportunity than afforded by a superior curriculum in a private school in New England?  The answer?  Because their parents are idiots.  It’s un-American in the extreme.

Who am I voting for?  Or against?  That’s rhetorical.  I might not make the classic gesture of consent to be governed this year.  Instead I will vote with my pocketbook.

Now, I’ve debated with some of these people here for a while, and I do not like insulting people whether they deserve it or not.  This is a nice community, even some of the trolls attempt to be civil.  I stumble occasionally, but have always regained my footing.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

David, Thanks. The party looks stronger than I had thought, and has a philosophy that goes about as far as it can at the moment without bringing another witch hunt down on it or finding itself outlawed. I was going to sit this election out…it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Obama will win in my state. But instead I’ll go and vote for the Greens and urge my kidfs to do the same.
  P.S. This is the first time I think anyone has been influenced by anyone else on this site…at least that I’ve noticed. Keep plugging.

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By - bill, March 19, 2012 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

As usual, Shen, you’re confused (or just desperate).  When someone really IS incompetent (as you most certainly are) it’s not ‘name-calling’ to call them out for it.

I’ve provided a bunch of examples of your manifest inability to respond to what I’ve actually said rather than to the voices you apparently hear in your head.  Address these examples squarely and honestly, or stop babbling without any substance about them.

Leef, I see that you’re back in the bottom of your bottle again, but I’m curious about that one trenchant post you managed to squeeze out before returning there.  Were those your words, and, even if not, what prompted you to post them?

Ed and Anar, I won’t ask for ‘examples’ of your thesis but rather actual analysis - with some of the rigor that has been applied to, e.g., the climate-change debate.  It’s easy to look at a nadir like the one we’re in the middle of now and state such generalizations with a mere hand-wave, but the only way to be sure is to chart some real metric over time (e.g., the Gini index, to factor out advances that raise ALL boats and thus might make just looking at something like absolute poverty, which tends to decrease, misleading).

The lowest U.S. Gini index reported (38.6, expressed as a percentage) occurred in 1968, one year after we began tracking it.  It’s now nearly 47 (i.e., significantly worse).  But the estimated value in 1929 was 45 (nearly as bad) and I suspect that pre-income-tax figures - say, just before 1900 - may have been at least as bad (if anyone can track them down I’d be interested in seeing such estimates).

In other words (and unlike the case with climate change), the level of inequality in our system may simply be cyclical rather than statistically increasing.  So one need not reside in an asylum to demand something in the way of actual evidence from someone who asserts otherwise.

(Speaking of people in asylums, I’m at a bit of a loss to explain Shen’s characterization of your thesis as being libertarian in nature…)

John, I’d say I’m in whole-hearted agreement with your list save that the devil is often in the details.  E.g., socializing just health INSURANCE (e.g., by extending Medicare to cover everyone and all necessary procedures) might be sufficient (at least as a start, and then if socializing actual health-care delivery is required it can be done).  Education is already socialized through high school, but local funding inequities and significant curriculum bias need to be eliminated.  Social Security is not so much ‘socialized retirement’ as it is a socialized retirement INSURANCE plan - which has done pretty well (sufficiently so in my opinion for the approach to be continued unchanged and adequately funded) but still leaves many people uncovered (which a truly socialized retirement PLAN would not) - so I’m not sure exactly what you’re advocating here.  And since I don’t recall too many people calling Eisenhower a socialist nor any evidence that the ‘job-creators’ were stifled under his administration, it should be possible to raise top-bracket tax rates back into the 70% - 90+% range (and intermediate brackets accordingly, plus the EFFECTIVE corporate tax rate) to fund all these programs without undue economic disruption.

The problem is that NEITHER major party is pursuing these goals.  The Democrats took single-payer (let alone socialized delivery) systems off the table at the very start of the health-care ‘reform’ fiasco, and instead wound up enshrining the existing system in law (with the reluctant cooperation of the entire Congressional Progressive Caucus, which just rolled over and played dead when that was demanded of them).  Obama explicitly placed Social Security ‘on the table’ for budget negotiation, and allowed the Bush tax cuts to be extended unchanged.  Even their educational reform efforts are tepid at best.

So who ARE you planning to vote for?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Thanks Lee, All I can say is even a blind hog finds an apple on occasion.

I’ve noticed there are a lot of people on the forums who do not speak in good faith.  Don’t forget a guy like Bill Oreily, like many, has no personal interest in anything whatever being resolved.  Their financial interest is in keeping us, the buying consuming public running around in circles arguing amongst ourselves and never reaching agreement which might result in an unpredictable or unmanageable consumer movement.

It’s all about selling commercials. 
So, carry on man.

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By David J. Cyr, March 19, 2012 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, of the holy rat:

“The historical evidence seems to indicate that welfarist mitigations of liberal capitalism deteriorate over time.”
__________________

Yes, the corporate party liberals’ welfarist mitigations were initially provided because the capitalists had ample reason to then fear the people’s militant support of socialists and anarchists.

With the (D) dedicated liberals having so effectively spent several decades fascist efficiently exterminating the Left in America, the corporate (R) & (D) party has come to consider it quite safe now to eliminate government’s care for the welfare of working people and the poor.

Jill Stein for President:

http://www.jillstein.org

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

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By David J. Cyr, March 19, 2012 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Ed Romano:

“I’d like to know a little more about the Green Party. Where does it stand regarding corporatism…in how many states will it be on the ballot etc.”
_________________

Jill Stein’s POTUS campaign site provides a map delineating GP ballot access progress.

http://www.jillstein.org/
...................................

Regarding corporatism, the following is an excerpt from the Green Party’s National Platform:

C. Curbing Corporate Power

People before profits

Our Position: Greens want to reduce the economic and political power of large corporations, end corporate personhood and re-design corporations to serve our society, democracy and the environment.

Unelected and unaccountable corporate executives are not merely exercising power in our society—they are ruling us. Greens will reduce corporate powers and privileges, including by stripping them of artificial “personhood” and constitutional protections. The Green Party supports strong and effectively enforced antitrust laws and regulation to counteract the concentration of economic and political power that imposes a severe toll on people, places and the planet.

Greens believe the legal structure of the corporation is obsolete. At present, corporations are designed solely to generate profit. This legal imperative—profit above all else—is damaging our country and our planet in countless ways. We must change the legal design of corporations so that they generate profits, but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, public health, workers, or the communities in which the corporation operates.

One point remains unequivocal: our planet cannot afford business as usual any longer. Because corporations have become the dominant economic institution of the planet, we must compel them to serve human and environmental needs, so that our peoples, nations and environment may live long and prosper.

Green Solutions

• End corporate personhood.

• Federal chartering of corporations that includes comprehensive, strict and enforceable social responsibility requirements.

• Strengthen the civil justice system to ensure that it holds corporations strictly liable for corporate crime, fraud, violence and malfeasance. This would include revoking the charters of corporations that routinely violate safety, health, environmental protection or other laws.

• Empower shareholders to stop abuses by the managers they hire through a structure of democratic governance and elections.

• Enforce existing antitrust laws and support even tougher new ones to curtail the overwhelming economic and political power of large corporations.

• Increase funding for and strengthen oversight of federal antitrust enforcement.

GPUS 2010 Platform:
http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2010/economic-justice.php#241646

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By Leefeller, March 19, 2012 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

Well, John Best asks, “What IS Progress”?; Good to see you, especially after a lengthy Billo sponsored circle jerk, I was beginning to believe the light switch was broken!... (Me wonders could it be unbalanced Bill O’Really,)

Find myself in open arms agreement with your so damn clear comments, especially after a long bout of the mealy pork barrel polka, though me skepticism meter is set on highest alert!

After all, the simple things you suggest cost money and many of those with the money will disagree and keep calling for the profits to come home,and home is where the new world order is you know, seemingly worse then the old world order?

Ed, Russ Limbaugh’s alleged apology to MS. Fluke, must have set the high mark for the meaning of apology, but in his case without the sniveling and whining! As one of my favorite posters of all time, Nemesis would say; ...‘grow a few’!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, I disTagree with one portion of your post to Ed below.  The others are not to agree or disagree with, except painting with a broad brush, Democrats or anybody, is to be avoided.  As you say, ‘judging a whole by a part’, or as I was taught, ‘generalizing from the specific’.

But, regarding his statement, “We people in the modern age like to think of ourselves as enlightened. But if we scratch the surface we see that we are really only a few steps removed from the cave.”

I go with Ed on this one….our intellectual and physical tools are far, far superior, but IMO what we do with them isn’t so far removed from the cave.  I’m not really sure on a per-capita basis if we haven’t increased our quotient for doing harm to others, so in a way, lacking technologies and stresses of population pressures, perhaps ‘cave-people’ were actually more morally advanced judged by the level of torture, killing, and brutality.

I have heard a theory that the average intelligence of the human population over time is relatively constant, not that intelligence and moral behavior are necessarily related.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

Shen, I guess I’ll have to give up. I can’t compete with a phantom thinker.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, March 19 4:52 am

The historical evidence seems to indicate that
welfarist mitigations of liberal capitalism deteriorate
over time.

Make that unregulated liberal capitalism, or any unregulated
capitalism and I would agree.  Otherwise it is libertarian dogma.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

With all due respect Ed, I will say why I disagree with you.

Despite your protests to the contrary you have allied
yourself with a system that allows, even extols, the
using of some people by others for personal enrichment.

You make a categorical mistake of judging a whole by a part. The
fact, and I’ve covered this earlier, perhaps you’ve relegated it to
irrelevant to your diatribe, all Democrats are not of the same skin (a
term you and –bill like to use). The fact (by evidence of their voting
record) that some Democrats with legislative power don’t take the high
road of liberalism but fall into the same pockets of the ever greedy self-
serving Republicans doesn’t reflect the essence of liberalism nor the bulk
of Democrats, many who are in Congress, but most who are in the
common public landscape. They just are not the political majority. I’ve
said I believe in the essence of liberalism and I’ve seen no convincing
argument against it. You fail to say exactly what you believe in except
that you are an anti-capitalist. How does that posture help ordinary
people you say are put asunder by the repressing corporate and wealthy? 
It’s completely abstract and doesn’t touch reality in the least, speaking of
reality as you do.

Now, you happen on a person who thinks this state of affairs is
not just and should be changed if possible. That you do not agree is
evidenced by the venom and insults you hurl at your perceived opponent.

First of all my venom and insults are reactive and made only in
reciprocation, for every one of mine you point out I can point out that it
is in answer to the utter name-calling disregard for my person and
beliefs. So your accusation is hollow.

We people in the modern age like to think of ourselves as
enlightened. But if we scratch the surface we see that we are really
only a few steps removed from the cave.

Again, I disagree. I don’t think cavemen took time to discuss how to
better the lot of mankind. They were into immediate and local survival.

If we are willing to look at things as they are we must admit that
collectively we lack imagination, vision and compassion…We don’t have
the imagination necessary to feel what it is like for a seamstress in
Bangladesh to be seriously exploited…to have her life stunted for the
benefit of some American manufacturer living in Westchester.

There’s an element of truth, I think, in what you say, but a larger part
melodramatizes. Admitting a lack of imagination, vision, compassion
might be true of some people, there are just as many who do have
imagination, have vision, and do express compassion through acts of
kindness, altruism in its best meaning. Some do have the imagination to
feel what it is like for a seamstress in Bangladesh, many Mexican workers
in the USA are exploited by the wealthy corporate agriculture industry.
Exploited by their own country that has incredible wealth itself but keeps
its citizenry poor so that they must brave death to go to another country
to exploit that country where others would use their cheap labor to have
their own comforts. Oh yes, Ed! Many can know the evil of exploitation.
It’s not true “we” don’t have compassion. The use of the collective we is
such a fallacy, but those who fall into it rarely see that they are only
preaching, even if out of a supersense of their own compassion. If it
was real compassion, you would do something about that Bangladesh
woman. And I think to put it in terms of sacredness is to ignore the
causes of altruism and it’s that ignorance that prevents seeing liberalism
as the only ideology that would put that awareness into the real work of
altruism. You will have to see your own venom spewed at me, Ed, for me
to put mine away. I am not here for the pleasure of others. It is for
myself, to advance my understanding of the society in which I choose to
live.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

Health care should be socialized.  Education should be socialized, retirement should be socialized, that is, social security system should be beefed up. All without regard to discrimination or reverse-discrimination.  Without nepotism or corruption. 

It should be done with an extremely progressive tax code.  If we need unlimited earning potential to inspire ‘productivity’, we’re only inspiring the greedy cheaters.  A reasonable incentive and a reasonable increase in social stature and standard of living are all that are required to incentive ‘decent’ people.  Unbridled capitalism crushes everybody who isn’t extremely aggressive, and that is not a good evolutionary force for a society.

So, if the details behind whichever party point in the general direction I laid out there…..they have my vote.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

It’s thanks to Chris Hedges that we have this site to joust with each other on. I’d like to ask everyone here to please read a recent piece he posted titled- Murder Is Not An Anomaly In War

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

Anarcisse, That is a spot on observation. Pretty hard to deny outside an asylum. However, if it doesn’t agree with some people’s illusions… they will want “examples”.

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By Anarcissie, March 19, 2012 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

The historical evidence seems to indicate that welfarist mitigations of liberal capitalism deteriorate over time.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

Shen, Sorry about the mispelling of your name…it was an honest slip.
  Despite your protests to the contrary you have allied yourself with a system that allows , even extols , the using of some people by others for personal enrichment. The fact that you may not see it that way, or do not wish to, does not change the reality. Now, you happen on a person who thinks this state of affairs is not just and should be changed if possible. That you do not agree is evidenced by the venom and insults you hurl at your perceived opponent.
  We people in the modern age like to think of ourselves as enlightened. But if we scratch the surface we see that we are really only a few steps removed from the cave. If we are willing to look at things as they are we must admit that collectively we lack imagination, vision and compassion….We don’t have the imagination necessary to feel what it is like for a seamstress in Bangladesh to be seriously exploited…to have her life stunted for the benefit of some American manufacturer living in Westchester. To use a cliche , we don’t have the imagination to walk in her shoes….We lack the vision to see that there is something wrong with a system that allows some to use others for their own enrichment….And we lack the compassion to feel for those who are being poorly done to. We don’t have the compassion or foresight to see them as unique and sacred beings….So , in a real way, we are only a few steps removed from the cave.
  He said to them…Love your neighbor. And they asked him…. who is my neighbor ?
  Shen, you are absolutely right. My opinion is not any better than anyone else’s. But FACTS are facts
and facts are better than opinions….yours or anyone else’s. And it is a fact that the great majority of mankind looks upon the use of one human being by another, without any regard for his/her humanity…the majority of mankind, once they understand this believe it is unjust. If a person understands this and continues to stand with the abusers…they are part of the problem…. Let’s put this to rest. It will save you from sullying yourself with more venom, and I’m sure it’s more than a bit tiring to others as it certainly is to me.

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By Leefeller, March 19, 2012 at 3:16 am Link to this comment

Well She beat me too it! Bill stands admittedly for nothing while opposed to everything,.... boldly appearing as himself ‘progeny of equivocation’.

Not only does Bill adumbrate his obfuscation while appearing as a huge bag of wind he has eclipsed even the reality of Uranus.

In Scandinavian folk lore, Trolls live under bridges and annoy people, here at TD Trolls appear to defecate and obscure, stipulating the sign posted at the zoo…. “Beware, monkeys throw dirt”

Reality may find Bill as puck worthy is defining of Bill?

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By Shenonymous, March 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

Ed Romano -

Well, the pea shooter is back. Where did I get that
you left out millions of people from the heel of capitalism?
As long as I’ve been on the site, I could be wrong, but I don’t
think I’ve ever seen a word from you about it.

When I say ‘people,’ it is inclusive of all Americans who are
disadvantaged, middle class and poor, or can’t you make that
implied leap?  Oh, come on, you aren’t that decrepit, are you?

-bill you pretentiously jabberbabble claptrap.

The sleazy name-callers call on.  Name callers have a sickness. There
are specific purposes and underlying causes for name-calling: it is
learned in childhood, most likely from being called names by parents;
lack of self-control and skills necessary to express oneself appropriately;
and intentionally to inflict pain and berate in order to self-inflate one’s
ego.  So carry on boys.

And the fact that you are insistent that the people who
insure this inequitous state of affairs are going to be the ones
to cure it shows pretty clearly that you don’t care a fig about
them.

Yup, 5 yups, the liberals are the ones, actually the only ones who
will care about the people and deliver them out of the shithole the
conservatives have put them in and the libertarians will keep them
in it.

You talk about my being illogical? This, coming from
someone who believes the system can be made humane with
a little liberal tinkering, would be laughable were it no so sad.

Really?  And you have no alternative to offer, just a lot of hissyfitting hot
air.  That is more absurd than sad.

Since we seem to be in the mode of asking questions,
not to be enlightened but, merely so that we can take shots at
what rattles our illusions….let me ask you how is liberalism, as
you call it, going to address the problem of capitalist rapine and
ravagement of the planet when it had not done so until this time
even tho we have had a good number of “liberal administrations? 
Don’t bother to answer.

Your rhetoric is self-defeating.

I think I’ve heard everything you have to offer, and
it’s a slim meal. You seem to be having trouble with your
logical thinking apparatus….Is that what I’m supposed to
say to keep the spirit of your insulting prose going?

Do you think I really care what you think?  I’ve only participated here to
see if there was anything to learn, and I have: That there are two jerks
who each think they know the lay of the land, aggrandizes themselves to
each other and everyone else, but their self-admiration gets in the way
of any constructive discussion.

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By Shenonymous, March 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

You are allied with a murderous system that is a
scourge on the earth.  It is still in place now, but daily
comes evidence that it is a politics of the past.  Your own
mythology shows you what can happen when a small
number of people, who are fed up, can accomplish when
they finally decide they’re not going to take it anymore…
it happened in 1776….

I am allied with what?  It is hardly a liberal system in this country
with a Congress that is conservative having a majority in the House and
nearly half in the Senate 52 to 47 and those 47 have stopped nearly all of
the “liberal” programs the Democratic President has submitted.  You
must keep your head under a basket, Ed.  You have not provided a shred
of that “daily” evidence. Once again you merely pontificate your personal
opinion.

But the people who are doing this, and in fact are
standing up, are not in the U.S.  They are the peoples of
the so called third world who have decided it is time to
throw the bums out.

Yes, and they are being murdered by the thousands by their own
government, like eight thousand plus in Syria.  Is that what you are
seeing here?  We can talk about Egypt? then Tunisia? then Libya?  Oh
yeah.  What is it getting the peacefully rebellious Egyptians?  Rule by a
military dictatorship, where more than 50,000 are rallying to protest the
military and police who have assaulted and murdered 17 of the
demonstrators.

You have accused me of critizing the system that
exists here without a clear blueprint of how to cure it.  Is
it kosher for me to accuse you of advancing a cure that your
own establishment has no intention of applying ?

As you said, you are not a prophet.  You don’t speak with a speck of
authority.  Your opinion is no better than mine or anyone else’s for that
matter.

It is what it is, Shem. You can deny that ‘till the cows
give chocolate milk, but it is what it is. Insults and hatred are
not going to change reality.

Not if they are Hershey cows.  Ed, are you being disrespectfully
scummy on purpose?
  My name is not Shem.  Take your own advice
about insults and hatreds.

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By - bill, March 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

I appreciate your attempt to hone your argument, Ed.  So I’ll give you a bit more material to try to help you refine it.

First of all, adversarial relationships are not necessarily exploitative - witness any normal buyer/seller situation from barter on up.  Now, you may find the idea of labor being a salable item repugnant, but that’s not intrinsically different from the idea that ANY buyer/seller relationship is repugnant (which leads to communism, I believe - an entirely legitimate option to consider but one which I do not, after having considered it, favor over other options).

To look at it another way that’s more specific to the labor market, workers can only be exploited if their options are limited - otherwise, the situation is pure supply/demand in nature, where neither party can be exploited because both parties DO have other options.  A society which covers all basic human needs radically reduces the ability to exploit workers.  A society where workers can organize into large collective bargaining groups further reduces it.  A society which prohibits misuse of capital to erode workers’ freedom (e.g., the hiring of private guards to harass them on public property) is important as well.

So unless your belief is that labor per se should not be a salable commodity with a price determined by the market just as the prices of other commodities are, you need to explain why it’s OK in small situations but not in the larger ones which capital investment makes possible AS LONG AS the system of government under which capitalism is functioning takes the proper steps to ensure that neither party enjoys unfair advantages.

In a more general vein (which I’ve touched upon before but not in quite this way) setting your goal as an all-or-nothing ‘get rid of capitalism’ approach significantly increases the chance that you will get ‘nothing’.  Being willing to consider whether the practical ills you want to remedy could (perhaps even all of them) be remedied by other means may significantly decrease the chance of getting ‘nothing’.

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By Ed Romano, March 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

Praise God . The news tonight is that OCCUPY lives.

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By - bill, March 18, 2012 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Good God, Shen:  sometimes you’re as much an idiot as Leef has been.

Read what I write until you understand it if you want to avoid responding so incompetently.  I NEVER suggested that you were a libertarian, and in fact I explicitly noted to Leef that you were NOT a libertarian.  What I said was that I was surprised to see you singing the praises of the aspects of what you called ‘liberalism’ in your initial post on that topic that were so much more the core of libertarianism than of conventional Democratic definitions of ‘liberalism’.  When you responded by observing that classic liberalism IS libertarianism (as you have just reaffirmed again) whether you had actually meant to refer to classic liberalism in that first post (in which case my surprise at your having praised it stands) or whether you were simply trying to cover your embarrassment at having been caught praising essentially libertarian principles by shifting the discussion to one of definitions I don’t know, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed the first and then waited for you to explain how you reconciled your admiration for classic liberalism (libertarianism) with your clear preference for ‘Democratic’-style liberalism.

Sheesh!  If you’re ‘stunned’, Shen, it’s purely because you’re an utterly incompetent reader.  Fix that, and you’ll understand the world (and this small part of it) a great deal better than you currently do.

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By Ed Romano, March 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

Shen, ...and thanks so much for straightening me out on Popeye. You certainly are a teacher.

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By Ed Romano, March 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

Well, the pea shooter is back. Where did I get that you left out millions of people from the heel of capitalism? As long as I’ve been on the site, I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a word from you about it. And the fact that you are insistent that the people who insure this inequitous state of affairs are going to be the ones to cure it shows pretty clearly that you don’t care a fig about them. You talk about my being illogical? This, coming from someone who believes the system can be made humane with a little liberal tinkering, would be laughable were it no so sad. Since we seem to be in the mode of asking questions , not to be enlightened but, merely so that we can take shots at what rattles our illusions….let me ask you how is liberalism, as you call it, going to address the problem of capitalist rapine and ravagement of the planet when it had not done so until this time even tho we have had a good number of “liberal administrations? Don’t bother to answer. I think I’ve heard everything you have to offer, and it’s a slim meal. You seem to be having trouble with your logical thinking apparatus….Is that what I’m supposed to say to keep the spirit of your insulting prose going ? You are allied with a murderous system that is a scourge on the earth. It is still in place now, but daily comes evidence that it is a politics of the past. Your own mythology shows you what can happen when a small number of people, who are fed up ,can accomplish when they finally decide they’re not going to take it anymore…it happened in 1776…. But the people who are doing this, and in fact are standing up, are not in the U.S. They are the peoples of the so called third world who have decided it is time to throw the bums out. You have accused me of critizing the system that exists here without a clear blueprint of how to cure it. Is it kosher for me to accuse you of advancing a cure that your own establishment has no intention of applying ? It is what it is, Shem. You can deny that ‘till the cows give chocolate milk, but it is what it is. Insults and hatred are not going to change reality.

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By Shenonymous, March 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

The Fundamentalist Liberal is back! Not the classic liberal, –bill.  And Ed,
Popeye said ”I yam what I yam and that’s what I yam.” Seems fixing one’s
own home might be a better first step to figuring out how to fix the rest
of the world. It’s a big place out there and pluralistic. It cannot be fixed
in any one person’s lifetime or by any one person either. It will take
decades if not a century to change the nature of the world. Which means
you sound as patronizing for the people of the world as you do on this
forum. Sorry, not meaning that in any demeaning way, Ed. By the way
saying what you are not is not saying what you are. Did you never learn
that in informal logic classes?

Okay, so you are an anti-capitalist. Didn’t you say you were not a
Marxist too? Inasmuch as there are really only three economic systems,
Market, Planned and Mixed, if you are not a capitalist (Market) with no
central planning, i.e., supply and demand governs the economic
activities, and actually an anti-capitalist, and you are not a Marxist
(Planned or Command ), economy where all the major decisions related
to the production, distribution, commodities, and service prices are all
made and controlled by the government, (are you an anti-socialist/
communist as well?), then possibly you munch on the Mixed option
which combines elements of both planned and market economics in one
cohesive system, which in general is the system of the United States. It is
also the very system I always advocate though I endorse a stronger form
of it, socialized capitalism, that weighs heavier on the social(ist) side. If
you opt out of any and all econopolitical positions completely, then
your complaints have no grounding for you said you have no replace-
ment. That won’t do for a large and pluralistic a country as the US.

I wonder –bill on whom do you practice name-calling outside the
electronic world?  Aw, not really, but you are one of a type. You also
seem to be dyslexic. I did not say liberalism was the same thing as
libertarianism. I said classic liberalism WAS libertarianism. While you
caught that later in your post to Leefeller, your insight into what was
said is practically nil, -bill.  It’s difficult to fathom how you could
imagine I was a libertarian except it’s one way you can set me up to
shoot your crap at me. You cannot find anywhere on Truthdig where
I’ve condoned or promoted libertarianism. You need to read more
reflectively. Could that be your handicap, not being very reflective? 

But something is very peculiar, since I consider myself a Social
Democrat which I think liberal defines literally.  I wonder how it
possibly could be you and I were anywhere near each other’s political
position?  I am stunned!  Well, somewhat stunned. If anything, I’ve been
the biggest critic of libertarianism (and anarchism) on the entire Truthdig
website!  Anarcissie could testify to it, but she won’t because she mainly
stays out of such kinds of interactive commentary. I don’t really care that
you’ve made such a glaring error. It shows the kind of intentional
distortions you contrive.

Seriously Ed, how would you implement a program to radically change
the capitalistic economic system of the United States? And you redress
what I say as much as –bill. Where in the universe did you get that I
have left out all the millions upon millions of poor people in the United
States in anything I‘ve said about liberalism? It is through your peculiar
filter that allows you to feign aghasticity. Inasmuch as whatever is left
of the American middle class inexorably being pushed into the poor
strata by the ever greedy agenda of the conservatives, liberalism is the
only possible deliverance from that trend to bring the poor out of the
horrid doldrums they would be relegated to by a Republican governing
administration and Congress. I question your critical thinking skills.

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By Ed Romano, March 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Bill, Jeez, I’m getting it already. I’m going to have to think on this for a bit, but off the top of my head it looks like you’re asking me to do something that no thinker since Marx has been willing to try   (or able to do ). Be a bit charitable here. AS I said,
this may take me while….Capitalism REQUIRES a system that more or less resembles liberal democracy.
In order to function capitalists have to be free to   move around, operate, appropriate resources and exploit labor. Of course, it can exist under a military dictatorship as in some Latin American countries, and may be heading toward that outcome here.  But the U.S. model came into existence when the industrial revolution was being born and that is the one we have proceeded with until now ......Capitalist labor unions ( AFL , CIO ) require(looks like the system is morphing to one that will soon no longer require unions)....require the adversarial relationship between capital and labor that exists in order to exist themselves. If they didn’t have a system of exploitation to contend with there would be no reason for them to exist. This is why the few experiments with worker owned industries in the U.S. have met an icy response from the AFofL. We live in a system that is adversarial. The two party system is evidently adversarial with the republicans wholly representing the capitalists, and the democrats making a stab at trying to balance the differing requirements of capital and those under its thumb (the rest of us ). Try to imagine how these partys would or could function in a society where there is no minority allowed to live by exploiting the majority. Difficult isn’t it?
  You say I haven’t told you much that you don’t already know. Good. You are in an elite minority. Shen doesn’t know this. Most of my relatives don’t know it. Very few of the guys I worked with all my life knew it, and from what I see ...the majority of Americans don’t know it. And before you can consider removing a tumor you must first know that you have one. So part of the struggle is to inform our brethren and sistren of what the problem is. Here we run into a further problem, because the first thing that enters their minds when they think about the need for change is ....how will this disrupt my way of living….This is not too much of a problem when you’re talking to people living in, or close to, misery. But for folks living in a fair amount of comfort with plenty to eat it’s a daunting task…witness this forum. But the times…they are a changing. We hear talk about the elimination of the “middle class” in this country. It’s happening already to some degree. We see people who have lost their homes bagging groceries . Some have university degrees and once had decent jobs, people whose kids are on a one way track to nowhere. The system can’t “use” them anymore. These folks are more willing to listen than someone who hasn’t yet recieved the short end of the stick. My feeling is that this is an excellent time to be prosletizing. I’m finding more people willing to listen than I have in the past.
  So Bill, I see the task as one akin to Johnny Appleseed….spreading the seeds, and that’s what I’ll be doing when my leaky boat goes over the falls. If capitalism is the best humans can aspire to…God has a lot to answer for….Having said all this I also think it is entirely possible that nothing can be done…that the system will wobble along destroying more and more people as it goes along ravaging the earth and in time will collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.In fact, if I had to bet… this is the outcome I’d bet on. In the meantime I have refused to sit idly by while having my life restricted by capital. I have paid some price for this, but they haven’t got rid of me….yet. Let me think more on this.

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By - bill, March 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

Well, blow me down and call me scuttlebutt.

Google couldn’t come up with the derivation of the above (I think it’s from an old TV show), but it’s what popped into my mind after reading your latest post, Leef.  I first Googled the first line of that post and got one hit:  yours (they’re really quick at indexing, obviously).

If those are your own words (or even just mirror your own thoughts) they astonish me.  A stopped clock couldn’t possibly be THAT right twice a day (or even once a year), so something is obviously still very much functional in your brain (I just wish it fired on that many cylinders more often).

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By Leefeller, March 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

Laminated observations from under me rock;

‘It appears the Democrats are playing their kabuki part well, as the yin of the yan of it.  Going through their motions by calling out the bad guys, the attackers of rights, liberties and segments of people, when in fact Democrats really only ever seem to be playing catch up’.

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By - bill, March 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

That’s at least an improvement, Leef - simply babbling incoherently rather than babbling incompetently.

Keep on trying.  If you don’t find what you need at the bottom of this bottle, perhaps it’ll be at the bottom of the next one.

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By Leefeller, March 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

Bill, Idiot Leefeller here speaking of rocks!

Well the other day I was driving my truck to Hines Cafe when I heard on the radio this most important news announcement. ‘Steering wheels in cars are infested with germs and bacteria and anything else not good for you’, in fact (meaning true) the announcement stated; ‘toilet seats have far less germ infestations then steering wheels’?

For some strange reason Bill, when I read your posts, they keep conjuring up memories of the radio announcement, ... I suspect Bill it may have to do more you being more like a toilet seat then a steering wheel?

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By - bill, March 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Whoops - forgot to address more of your drivel, Leef.  It wasn’t I who said that ‘liberalism’ and ‘libertarianism’ were the same thing:  it was Shen, after I had observed that her list of virtues resembled libertarianism more than the traditional (at least in our lifetimes) Democratic version of ‘liberalism’.

It did surprise me that Shen came back with this observation about ‘classic’ liberalism (i.e., libertarianism), because I didn’t expect her to be singing its praises - which is why I explicitly contrasted this with the conventional Democratic concept of liberalism (which heretofore has been what she has advanced as her preferred system).  If indeed ‘classic’ liberalism (i.e., libertarianism) was what she was describing and praising, I’m still waiting for the reconciliation with conventional Democratic liberalism to be explained, since the two are significantly at odds with each other (though of course have significant points of overlap as well).

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By - bill, March 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

You really are an idiot, Leef.  I mentioned libertarianism as being about the closest match to the virtues that Shen was describing a while ago, but I’m no libertarian myself - probably closest to a social democrat (i.e., noticeably to the left of Shen, though she’s no libertarian either), but the distinction between that and a mixed economy with strong social programs (what our current system COULD be and which I’d be deliriously happy if it were) is pretty blurry.  If you’re too drunk to be able to understand what you read (or perhaps even to see the screen reliably), why not crawl back under your rock with your tequila bottle and see if you can find at least some hint of enlightenment at the bottom of it before making a fool of yourself yet again?

You’re not an idiot, Ed, but you really have difficulty understanding what I consider to be pretty clear prose.  EXAMPLES DON"T ADDRESS MY QUESTION, as I’ve already very clearly stated.  And while I’ve suggested that you could make a stronger case if you could come up with a convincing alternative system that managed to make impossible the abuses you keep citing as if they were news to us, my basic question is still very simple:  exactly what evidence do you have that the current system makes it impossible for a representative democracy to be controlled by its citizens, via elections, such that those abuses do not occur?

We CAN choose whom we elect.  We CAN choose who wins primaries.  You could run in a primary or general election yourself if you didn’t find the existing candidates to your liking, and people could nominate or elect you if they liked what they saw and heard.

Yes, money matters a lot, but it still doesn’t vote:  WE do.  And the Internet has made it far easier than in the past for insurgent candidacies to garner the attention they need to grow.

As a society we certainly haven’t done a very good job of capitalizing on this power lately, but it’s still there and so to a significant degree the failure is OURS.

Blaming victims at least in part for allowing themselves to be victimized when they are eminently capable of controlling the situation is hardly unfair.  Nonetheless, if you can come up with clear evidence of an alternative system that would somehow eliminate such victimization without requiring the support of the victims that would at least be interesting (though be careful:  a government that operates without requiring the support of the governed could easily turn out to be even worse than the disease it’s supposed to cure).

So please try to refute the thesis that we could have a far better society under our current system (i.e., under the Constitution with its implicit assumption of a mixed economy) if as a people we really wanted to, rather than continue to place the blame on ‘the system’ without having provided that logical basis for doing so.  I’ll freely concede that we’ve allowed things to go sufficiently to pot that getting them back where they should have been by now (whether by replacing the current system or by using it) will be difficult indeed, but that’s not a fatal systemic flaw either, any more than having your house rot out from under you because you didn’t bother to maintain it means that houses per se are a bad idea.

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By Anarcissie, March 18, 2012 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

I think most people are conservative in the more general sense of the word, that is, they want to keep things pretty much the way they are, on the theory that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.  Of course there is a lot of complaint, but when given a choice—in business, politics, entertainment, family life, and so on—the more conservative choices generally win, provided they are at all viable.  The more limited people think their resources are, the more careful they are likely to be about putting them at risk.

When I say the Democratic Party is conservative, I’m noting that their main stock in trade is, or used to be, defense of existing Welfare-state capitalism.  Social Security is now about 80 years old.  It’s hardly revolutionary or even liberal.

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By Ed Romano, March 18, 2012 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

Lee, Right. Catapillar and Deere have gone overseas along with a lot of other corporations seeking cheaper labor, but they are still headquartered in the U.S., still listed on the stock market and dependent of the U.S. military in case the people they are screwing get overly rambunctious….. but you seem to know this…..Your Mencken quote is on the mark. Of course, those who disagree will demand “examples” of what he’s getting at…..He’s talking about those who seek for political power…..This is the way I have come to understand it, at least on the national level.
....When a person attempts to become a “leader” on this level, what are they in effect saying ? In a very real way they are saying….  ‘I am capable of making life and death decisions for 300 million people’. I can take this on my shoulders. Looked at in this way it seems to me we are dealing with a form of insanity. I believe if a sane person ( there are a few around) was asked to take on the position of say President…he/she would fall on their knees and beg to be excused. Instead,we witness a half dozen buffoons ( our latest crop of wannabes ) falling all over themselves in an attempt to grab the brass ring…I believe evolution is a two way street, and while we are trying to head up country on the evolutionary highway we are always fighting a sea of traffic heading back the other way. But, at this point in our evolution resonable arguments can be made as to why we need “leaders”. I wouldn’t argue otherwise. That doesn’t mean I don’t think pretty near all of them are as whacky as jay birds.

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By Ed Romano, March 18, 2012 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

Shen, I thought we were “finished “? I said what I am ( as Popeye said… I am what I am and that’s all what I am…) I am not a prophet. I am not a conservative. I am not a liberal. I am an anti capitalist. Because I am not so berserk as to think I can prescibe a solution does not mean the disease I am describing is non existent. I think some sort of system that provided the necessities of life to ALL the citizens WITHOUT raping the people and resources of the third world would be a huge step forward for all of humanity. I believe a national conversation about ways to provide these necessities would be a huge step forward. I could believe in a system in which the delivery of these necessities would not depend on whether or not the vampires can make a profit from it. In other words….something on the order of what the Netherlands countries are living with…. an accomodation with capital that does not allow it to operate at the expense of, and be detrimental to, the well being of the people. Shen, you are advocating a way of life that seems perfectly reasonable to middle class Americans, perhaps an accountant, a school teacher, the owner of a gas station…living a comfortable life maybe in a nice green suburb. But there are millions…. I don’t mean this to question or demean your intelligence but,  do you ever stop to think of what the word ‘millions’ means ?....  millions of people in this country who are hanging on by their finger nails and living lives in, or very close to, misery, and hundreds of millions around the world who are even worse off because of a social arrangement based on exploitation of their labor and the extraction of their national resources by capital. Why do we suppose capital has dismantled the manufacturing abilty in this country and gone overseas seeking to exploit foriegn workers that it can exploit for very low wages with no benefits? It’s because this is capitalism. This is what it does. Have you read abut the horrendous working conditions in Africa and South East Asia where, for example, sneakers ,that are sold here for big bucks, are being manufactured ? Whew !... Now, I understand that the desire to pin me down is not so that you (( the editorial you ) can be enlightened, but merely so that you will be able to take pot shots at what I have said. Fire away. You can shoot until all the ammo piled up in our 900 military bases is used up….capitalism is what it is, and nothing you or I or Jesus is going to change that…. Hope that’s brave enough for you. Am I being cynical if I say I doubt it?

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By Leefeller, March 18, 2012 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, if so.

Sounds like deeper defining of the word Conservative as well as liberal is needed?  Conservative to me must be different from most peoples, which may be the intention of those who would say rape babies are gifts from god opposed to those who would deny anything at all to the rape victim?

It was I believe Korkys request not to use Democrats and Republicans in discussion, ...well try as I may, it seems an impossible task for the deep potholes become uncomfortably and increasingly unavoidable.

I suppose Bills approach to voting Republican, means he will vote for Ron Paul? Which appears a most hypocritical approach to Libertarianism? Of course I am discussing Bill like he is not the elephant in the room, which seems to be Bills apparent Libertarian approach to civil discussion directed to others. 

Liberal and Libertarianism are the same according to Bill, while previously we have discussed the concept of Anarchism and Libertarianism being much closer peas in a pod. Condescending as Bill appears to sound, I feel pomposity expressed by factoid Bill is really just poppycock!

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By Shenonymous, March 18, 2012 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, you are right, and I’m getting around to conservatism…and
libertarianism (the latter I’ve brushed on a little earlier but it definitely
needs more exposure).  Nice quote from Mencken.  As I said I’m just
getting on the train.  There is a long journey (oh god, no!) ahead.  And
in real life, I have to be on my way on an errand so have to take a hiatus
from this discussion, but do not fear (haha) I will be back!  I guess
there can be a Do-Nothing Party, who would be the candidate?  That
famous speechless celebrity “Nobody?”  See ya later alligator. I’m sure
you will have fun while the cat’s away.  By the way what has happened
to Korky Day?

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By Anarcissie, March 18, 2012 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

According to libertarians, government intervention exacerbated and prolonged the Great Depression.  The arguments can be easily found on the Net, so I won’t recite them here.

As government has played a major role in the U.S. economy throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, it is pretty difficult to contemplate ‘doing nothing’ as anything but a radical, untested policy with unforeseeable consequences.  It could hardly be called ‘conservative’.

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By Leefeller, March 18, 2012 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

Interesting discussion, please go on. Ed you mentioned John Deere and Caterpillar related to foreign aid, one thing missing may be the fact both companies and others have blatantly out sourced and moved to greener profits off shores with our tax dollars as per the New World Order.

Bill, you have used the word poppycock to diss other premises, is poppycock utilized as fact in the Libertarian vocabulary?

She, liberalism opposed to conservatism seems a much more accurate comparison, well; for the time being, unless Bill advertises his product better then the Greens have so far. So Libertarianism is just another form of conservatism armed with the same hypocrisy as the other various kinds of conservatism. What would Libertarianism have done for the big Depression I suppose the same in 2008, ... nothing? Oh, I know Greed does not exist in Bills Libertarianism, criminal and selfish incentive towards greed and power exists
and Libertarianism supports the good old boy song and dance just wearing a different lapel!

”The theory behind representative government is that superior men-or at least men not inferior to the average in ability and integrity-are chosen to manage the public business, and that they carry on this work with reasonable intelligence and honest. There is little support for that theory in known facts…” H.L. Mencken; via Lew Ciefer TD.

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By Shenonymous, March 18, 2012 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Now,you want my prescription for a more just and less
murderous society? Given the nature of man…. capable
of some light, a lot of dark corners…scope must be given
to allow the more rapacious room to operate. I would have
no objection to the existence of a Mom and Pop store, a
privately owned dance hall or amusement park, motel, or
even some larger enterprises. I do believe that the goods
and services every person needs to live a decent life in a
modern society should not be left in the hands of profit
mongers to deliver…oil and gas, electricity, medical care,
telephone, food etc…..

You did not give your Rx, by the way, Ed If you are not Marxist, then be
brave and say what it is you are.

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By Ed Romano, March 18, 2012 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

Chapter Two… Let me try to finish this. I’m not sure if it answers everything you have on your mind, but this is the way I see what we’re livng with….People get very upset at times with what goes on in Washington. We see the faces of politicians on T.V….we are familiar with those we agree with and the ones we consider snakes. They propose policies and
advocate various legislation. But these people are merely the puppets in the show. What we DON"T see are the puppet masters….the ones pulling the strings. So we think when we change puppets we are going to get some substantial change in society. But substantially, nothing ever changes. The ones really in charge, the puppet masters, or new ones just like them…continue to pull the strings. Now, you might say….these are just charges you are making, Ed. Where are the examples ? Well, almost visible -if not quite- are the so called lobbyists who are busily bribing the puppets daily. Do you need examples of that ? And now we have the PACS ( a new wrinkle since a right wing Supreme Court gave the capitalists license to run wild at election time.)The system is corrupt to its bones. A favorite saying of my wife is…It is what it is… and you can use that description to describe capitalism. It cannot be “reformed ” or tamed to any acceptable degree as the liberals would have it, because a capitalism that does not exploit, manipulate and rape the natural resources of the planet ceases to be capitalism. ....Enough, I think. If you don’t see it….nothing further is going to convince you.

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By Ed Romano, March 18, 2012 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

Wonderful, wonderful. Because I have to keep scrolling back to your post to get the gist of your charges I accidently must have hit a wrong button on my compuker and erased the response I had been working on for at least a half hour. Let me get a cup of coffee and try again.
    First of all, it is often asked by folks who are opposed to criticism of the system….What would you replace it with? Since the only viable challenge to capitalism came from the failed system of communism they point to this and use it as an excuse to invalidate all criticism….A doctor may not be able to cure your cancer of the liver, but I wouldn’t take that to mean he is wrong when he tells you you have it…. Apologists for the system usually dismiss the analysis of Marx because the Russian and Chinese experiments have proved to be disastrous. But how does that negate the charges he made about capitalism ? ( NO. I am not a Marxist ). I have a few ideas about what a more just and less murderous society might look like….perhaps they would improve the human condition…perhaps not. I am not a prophet.
Neither am I blind to the evidence that I have lived with and seen over the period of what is fast becoming a long life. ( Scroll up , carefully this time, dummy.)...... Capitalism is moderated by a democratically elected government?  Is it? Every four years we are treated to a dog and pony show in which we are asked to vote for one of two candidates…both of whom are committed to capitalism as a model. Opposing views are not tolerated ( in the land of the free ) and , in fact, in some cases they have been outlawed. When we natives get too restless we are thrown a few bones, social security, a civil rights act etc. to lull us back to sleep.But the business of exploitation and the rape of the planet continues unabated. Surely, it must be obvious after living here a lifetime that the horse manure dished out from Washington is not the reality that lies behind the odor. I can’t write a book here to provide the examples you request. Last night I posted an example of how “foriegn aid” actually works. Is that an example? I certainly don’t mind discussing philosophies that differ from mine. But when I am charged with being illogical and a demogogue ( scroll up) am I allowed to sense a hostility that is really not interested in shedding light as it is in placing me in front of a firing squad ?
  You say that there are times when the corruption of capitalism is not as obvious as it is now. Excuse me, Bill….but it has been obvious to some of us. For example, the fifties and sixties are looked up now by many Americans as a sort of golden age, but the rape of the planet by American capitalists was far greater then than it is now (in Latin Amrica for example) for several reasons…not the least of which is that we now have competition from nations like China for the resources of other nations that we didn’t have then (see The Enemy, by Felix Greene, any number of works by Noam Chomsky, Containment and Change by Carl Ogelsby ).
  I don’t have to explain how abuses would not happen under a different system in order to have my exposition validated….as the disease is not real because we have no cure for it.
  Now,you want my prescription for a more just and less murderous society ? Given the nature of man…. capable of some light , a lot of dark corners…scope must be given to allow the more rapacious room to operate. I would have no objection to the the existence of a Mom and Pop store, a privately owned dance hall or amusement park, motel, or even some larger enterprises. I do believe that the goods and services every person needs to live a decent life in a modern society should not be left in the hands of profit mongers to deliver…oil and gas, electricity, medical care, telephone, food etc. ( out of space here)

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By Shenonymous, March 17, 2012 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

Without rancor, classic liberalism IS libertarianism. The difference
between liberalism and libertarianism is seen in the evolution of the
two terms.  It is not so simply said, volumes have been written on the
subjects, but I will try to give as brief an account as my articulate skills
will allow reserving the history of the two political points of view for a
later time.  There’s always ‘Net research for those who are impatient.

I accept your criticism –bill (though you could have been a tad more
respectful about it), I accept it because it’s important to be crystal clear
and as eloquent as possible in a world full of obfuscation and misunder-
standings about what is thought to be the best-life philosophy on which
to base how a pluralistic society can live a good life, and because I am
advocating a particular political position I think is eminently important
for those who choose to live in an egalitarian society. I choose to live
under a constitutional democracy such as one supported by a liberal
social/economic/political philosophy and one that encompasses both
capitalism and socialism.  Whether or not the political nature of the
government under which I am living at the moment in fact is not
completely definable by the principles of liberalism, well that is politics.
There are all kinds of people in this country, and this is a democracy.
And in that case, a better argument must be made on its behalf. 

I continue to post to this forum because I am interested in other
points of view. I do wonder why people think the way they do and I
ought to be able to stand firm in what I believe, to be able to speak
strongly about why I think liberalism is the political philosophy that
will allow people the best chance to have a good life. In a way I am
proselytizing for liberalism, but it is as a passive advocate in this forum,
giving reasons why I think it is the best approach for the kind of society
where equality of personhood is its foundation, however, equality is not
its only defining virtuous character.

As simply as it can be put, and both of your arguments, acerbic as
you can be at times, are fluently expressed and need to be given due
attention, but nonetheless, liberals believe in personal freedom and
a well regulated business economy,  With emphasis on regulation.
Libertarians believe in personal freedom and an unregulated economy. 
There is a larger way to explain the differences and I intend to do that
but just to get my train of thought on track, this will suffice as a first
101 kind of distinction.

Distribution of the resources of a society is also always a bone of
contention and is at the heart of the difference between liberals and
libertarians. In deciding the distribution of resources, libertarians
believe the free market to be the most effective way of letting those
resources be allocated. They mainly subscribe to the Adam Smith’s
idea of the “invisible hand,” meaning individuals acting in their own
self interest will produce the most positive results. That is, libertarians
believe that a market without any government interference is necessary
for the market to work effectively.

On the other hand, while liberals believe in a free market, with the
economic view that the market is subject to failure, in the case of
failure, a government should and can do something about it and is
able to do something because it legitimately collects funds in the
form of taxes from its citizenry.  Counter to socialism, which works to
command equal results for everyone, modern liberalism works to ensure
equal opportunities while leaving the individual responsible for their own
results. En passant, modern liberalism gained some of its roots from the
New Deal legislation that broadly expanded the role of the government.
But that’s another story.

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By - bill, March 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment

You missed the point, Ed.  I really do understand how the government is misused to fatten the fattest pigs rather than for the good of all:  I just don’t accept that this is an inevitable consequence of a mixed economy in which capitalism is moderated by a democratically-elected government (sorry for repeating myself, but you don’t seem to have caught this the first time) - nor have you provided any credible demonstration of why this MUST be so (rather than simply is so in our current circumstances, especially given that it was considerably LESS so for the several decades that I pointed to in my previous post).

I’ll also ask, again, whether what you’re advocating is the complete elimination of economic incentive.  If so, can you point to a successful example of this?  If not, exactly what ARE you advocating and exactly how will it eliminate the drawbacks of capitalism WITHOUT eliminating the mechanism of economic incentive?

Pointing a finger at what is undoubtedly a gross excess and then extrapolating this into an indictment of the entire complex system in which it happens to be occurring (rather than, for example, explaining how it CANNOT occur in some other context and why it MUST occur in the chosen context) is demagoguery rather than real analysis.  I really don’t think that’s what you mean to be doing, so if you’ve actually got a series of logical steps that lead you to your conclusions in this area I’m encouraging you to present them in detail rather than hand-wave such a disciplined exposition aside because “it’s obvious” (because, at least to me, it is NOT obvious).

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By Ed Romano, March 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Alright. I said that government intervention in the economy is used to fatten the profits of the capitalists. There are those who say…that’s easy to say, but how can you back it up. Well,there are many ways in which we are scalped. I’d like to present   one example which many ,if not most Americans, are unaware of. It’s something called “foriegn aid.” There are times when people are angry that the U.S. is giving away money to other nations especially when these nations frequently are unable to repay the aid. The reason why Americans become angry is because they don’t understand how foriegn aid works. If they did they might not be so angry as they would be enraged. A good place to start is with this question….If the government doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the well being of its own citizens living in places like the South Bronx and Appalachia, why in God’s earth would we think it is interested in aiding people in another nation ? ....Here’s the way it works….Say there is a third world nation that is having trouble feeding its people it. They need farm equipment, tractors, reapers etc…. The U.S. offers them a loan to make the needed purchase, but the debtor nation can buy the needed equipment…say from Poland cheaper than they can buy it in the U.S…..Sorry, the money must be spent in the U.S. This is what is called a tied grant. And the usual addendum is that along with the money for farm equipment they must also take millions of dollars worth of armaments.This is one way in which the armaments industry disposes of the stockpile of weaponry it produces, and a main reason why the U.S. is the largest pusher of armaments in the world. Okay. Are you ready for this ?....The money NEVER LEAVES THE COUNTRY. The money for farm equipment is given to Caterpillar Tractor or John Deere and the armaments companies get the rest. So the tax money collected as taxes by the government goes right into the pockets of these capitalists….and here’s the sweet part. In many cases these debtor nations arrive at a point where they cannot repay the loan. So the U.S. forgives the debt which allows the population here to think of the U.S. as a generous or overly generous Uncle. ...But what has happened ? The capitalists have profited handsomely, but the American tax payer has been robbed. Does it make any difference to this state of affairs whether conservatives or liberals are in the White House or Congress ? Not a bit. The beat goes on because the government belongs to the capitalists NOt to the people. Of course, if it was explained to us in schools or in the media exactly how we are having it tucked to us….the government would have a difficult time controlling us. No worry, They have a host of myths that are constantly brought before us usually to the strains of a military band and flag waving overhead….. This is a hard lesson to learn for many folks. It’s hard to swallow the idea that your goverment is actually a sort of legal mafia. But once you are aware you have two choices…either accept the evidence as real or continue to pretend that things are not what they obviouly are.

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By - bill, March 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

For a change of pace I’m going to take your logic to task, Ed, though I won’t resist the temptation to note in passing that Shen’s loving description of ‘liberalism’ and its aspects - ‘consent of the governed’, ‘freedom and equality, where no one can righteously take away what naturally belongs to someone else’, ‘respect for both individualism and equality’, and ‘commitment to fairness’ - “that I do not see as components of any other political philosophy of our day” actually sound considerably more like libertarianism (with a minimal government which provides only sufficient oversight to guarantee freedom and equal justice) than the ‘liberalism’ she’s claiming to describe (unless by ‘equality’ she means ‘economic equality’ in which case she’s describing communism).

Shen’s conspicuous failure to include the leavening aspects of what the Democratic party has traditionally characterized as ‘liberal’ ideals which very actively constrain the virtues which she lists above with the idea that they should to a quite significant degree be compromised in pursuit of greater societal good (in its many manifestations) would be surprising if her arguments were less scatter-shot in nature.  But let’s just assume that she MEANT to include them and discuss why it’s entirely possible to do so within a basically capitalistic economic framework.

You have asserted as a given rather than provided any actual demonstration that it is intrinsically impossible for a democratic government to moderate the potential excesses of a capitalistic economy such that the good of all is served.  Considering how effectively exactly such moderation grew from the 1930s to the 1970s in this country, and how much closer we could have come (and some other countries HAVE come) to the ideal since then had we not then strayed from our course, such an assertion absolutely requires substantiation.  And even on a purely theoretical basis, an informed population that pursues enlightened self-interest electorally in a democratic context certainly OUGHT to be able to tame capitalism to the benefit of all.

Other aspects of your argument also lack any substantiation.  For example, your claim that it’s impossible to eliminate poverty under capitalism (implicitly even with such enlightened governance) seems like ideological poppycock, since in a sufficiently wealthy society overall (which ours certainly is) poverty can be eliminated even while large inequalities in the distribution of wealth and income persist (just not quite as large as they’ve been allowed to become lately).

Your basic error is to equate things as they are now with intrinsic limitations in economic and governmental ideologies which are themselves honored more in the breach than in the observance these days.  There are many possible ways to skin this particular cat, and unless you are ideologically committed to a system which eliminates all economic incentive (can you point to any example of such, regardless of what kind of ‘ism’ it has been called?) you might be more successful encouraging people to attack specific targets (such as the pernicious direct and indirect effects that outrageous levels of wealth inequality have on our nominally democratic government, as you in fact noted at the end of your post) than in highlighting differences in ideology which often serve more to divide people than to unite them.

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By Leefeller, March 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

As I open me closed mind yawning crawling out from under me rock with owl like readiness and making cicada noises, while wearing me traditional Nazi Zionist jack boots waiting,.... just waiting to swoop down on any doltish movement on the tick infested valley floor,... if only could eat ticks and Bill would show me the way!

Oh! Right,... vote Republican to show those Democrats whats what, just as simple as cutting down the tree I am sitting in!

Oh! Doltish yet so self proclaimed enlightening I almost missed it, actually not the doltish part.

By the way boys, you do appear sexists, but expecting a sexist to be aware of their own sexism, would be expecting way too much from such, just as racists do not feel they are racist while burning crosses on other peoples front lawns and bigots seldom even know what a bigot is as they are living breathing fine examples.

Why dost the word ‘Dysfunctional Dolts’ come to mind?

Back under the rock with me closed mind for me!

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