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Occupy Draws Strength From the Powerless

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Posted on Feb 13, 2012
AP / Evan Vucci

An Occupy demonstrator sprawls beside a police car in Urbandale, Iowa, during a protest last December outside Republican presidential campaign offices in the Des Moines suburb.

By Chris Hedges

There is a recipe for breaking popular movements. I watched it play out over five years in the war in El Salvador. I now see these familiar patterns in the assault against the Occupy movement. It goes like this. Physically eradicate the insurgents’ logistical base of operations to disrupt communication and organization. Dry up financial and material support. Create rival organizations—the group Stand for Oakland seems to be one of these attempts—to discredit and purge the rebel leadership. Infiltrate the movement to foster internal divisions and rivalries, a tactic carried out consciously, or perhaps unconsciously, by an anonymous West Coast group known as OLAASM—Occupy Los Angeles Anti Social Media. Provoke the movement—or front groups acting in the name of the movement—to carry out actions such as vandalism and physical confrontations with the police that alienate the wider populace from the insurgency. Invent atrocities and repugnant acts supposedly carried out by the movement and plant these stories in the media. Finally, offer up a political alternative. In the war in El Salvador it was Jose Napoleon Duarte. For the Occupy movement it is someone like Van Jones. And use this “reformist” to co-opt the language of the movement and promise to promote the movement’s core aims through the electoral process. 

Counterinsurgency campaigns, although they involve arms and weapons, are primarily about, in the old cliché, hearts and minds. And the tactics employed by our intelligence operatives abroad are not dissimilar to those employed by our intelligence operatives at home. These operatives are, in fact, often the same people. The state has expended external resources to break the movement. It is reasonable to assume it has expended internal resources to break the movement.

The security and surveillance state has a vast arsenal and array of tools at its disposal. It operates in secret. It dissembles and lies. It hides behind phony organizations and individuals who use false histories and false names. It has millions of dollars to spend, the capacity to deny not only its activities but also its existence. Its physical assets honeycomb the country. It can wiretap, eavesdrop and monitor every form of communication. It can hire informants, send in clandestine agents, recruit members within the movement by offering legal immunity, churn out a steady stream of divisive propaganda and amass huge databases and clandestine operations centers. And it is authorized to use deadly force.

How do we fight back? We do not have the tools or the wealth of the state. We cannot beat it at its own game. We cannot ferret out infiltrators. The legal system is almost always on the state’s side. If we attempt to replicate the elaborate security apparatus of our oppressors, even on a small scale, we will unleash widespread paranoia and fracture the movement. If we retreat into anonymity, hiding behind masks, then we provide an opening for agents provocateurs who deny their identities while disrupting the movement. If we fight pitched battles in the streets we give authorities an excuse to fire their weapons. 

All we have, as Vaclav Havel writes, is our own powerlessness. And that powerlessness is our strength. The survival of the movement depends on embracing this powerlessness. It depends on two of our most important assets—utter and complete transparency and a rigid adherence to nonviolence, including respect for private property. This permits us, as Havel puts it in his 1978 essay “The Power of the Powerless,” to live in truth. And by living in truth we expose a corrupt corporate state that perpetrates lies and lives in deceit.

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Havel, who would later become the first president of the Czech Republic, in the essay writes a reflection on the mind of a greengrocer who, as instructed, puts up a poster “among the onions and carrots” that reads: “Workers of the World Unite!” The poster is displayed partly out of habit, partly because everyone else does it, and partly out of fear of the consequences for not following the rules. The greengrocer would not, Havel writes, display a poster saying: “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient.” And here is the difference between the terror of a Josef Stalin or an Adolf Hitler and the collective charade between the rulers and the ruled that by the 1970s had gripped Czechoslovakia.

“Imagine,” Havel writes, “that one day something in our greengrocer snaps and he stops putting up the slogans merely to ingratiate himself. He stops voting in elections he knows are a farce. He begins to say what he really thinks at political meetings. And he even finds the strength in himself to express solidarity with those whom his conscience commands him to support. In this revolt the greengrocer steps out of living within the lie. He rejects the ritual and breaks the rules of the game. He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity. He gives his freedom a concrete significance. His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth.”

This attempt to “live within the truth” brings with it ostracism and retribution. Punishment is imposed in bankrupt systems because of the necessity for compliance, not out of any real conviction. And the real crime committed is not the crime of speaking out or defying the rules, but the crime of exposing the charade.


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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Ed.  You remind me of Eric Hoffer.  Perhaps it’s not about how much people agree or disagree, it’s how the do so that determines how much they learn.  (my submission for quote of the day)  Gnight All.

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Justin Case's avatar

By Justin Case, March 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

http://youtu.be/o63kltnM_NY plastic to oil conversion

“I’m not saying this to be cruel…at least I’m trying not to…but the things you say are so surealistic as to be startling.”

Sorry, Ed, but if you think I’m off my rocker and John is right, you’re off your rocker and I’m shocked YOU survive in this world. I’m a realist & honest. John is not honest. You are not a realist.

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By Ed Romano, March 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

Although I don’y agree with John on some things I can’t dismiss him. Given his philosophy he’s one of the few folks on these sites that makes any sense…. Pay attention to your “evidence”,you say. God, man how have you managed to function in the world so far….if in fact you are…without having them come after you with a net? I’m not saying this to be cruel…at least I’m trying not to…but the things you say are so surealistic as to be startling. This doesn’t make you a bad person, but you should consider hanging out at the local bowling alley rather than inflicting utter nonsense on this site.

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Justin Case's avatar

By Justin Case, March 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

I am not “screwed up” John. You are a no-empathy psychopath that desires harm to others to prove your points.
That’s shameful
Ardee, you are a no-good mouth-yapper with nothing to add. Shut it.
At least the rest of us have had various points to make.

“On the left, OWS might serve a similar purpose, that remains to be seen”
OWS is not ON THE LEFT.
-1 for you.
The OWS movement is everyone who’s pissed off about the fraud & willing to take a stand. It is not pinned to the fictional left-right paradigm of brainwashing.

“I think the linear model for the political spectrum is deceptive”
Indeed, you best all pay attention to katsteevns.

Ed: side with John Best on his “ethics”?
“and I’m not happy with it. It was pretty cruel and I’m sorry. But you can be so godamned pretentious and off putting at times”
It’s the nature of the world. I reflect it as I live in it. It’s unforgiving of mistakes & lies. Why should I be less so? To lure myself, or to lure others into a sense of safety that does not exist, or complacency which serves the survival of only the elite over us?
“riling folks up than presenting any really cogent arguments.”
Only if you ignore the actual evidence I mention. If you pay attention to the evidence and not any emotional “data” you think you see from “me” then maybe you’d come to a different conclusion, Ed.

“Ardee, i think the nature of the different types of ‘spoiled brats’ in this country is something to understand.”
Far as I can tell, you are such a brat, John, and so is Ardee.

Ed: if you want to make progress forward then try to take a deeper look at how we disagreed and dismiss John Best entirely. Katsteevns & OzarkMicheal clearly want to approach sensibly, foucouldian probably just wants to keep reading in silence for now. But John Best & Ardee have NOTHING to contribute.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Ardee, i think the nature of the different types of ‘spoiled brats’ in this country is something to understand.  Perhaps this isn’t the place, and one can only glean so much from a single sample.  I don;t know if you’ve been reading my latest posts, but I’m on a kick, and the case of Mr. case got me thinking about it.  This has to do with all sorts of forms of two things, both contributing to ‘spoilage’ of youth by different means. 

First, the classic self indulgent, had everything, appreciates nothing kid. 

Second, those kids who were filtered and prodded through a system to end up in the war machine, who are arriving home PTDS’s out to varying degrees, with no jobs, and likely to be directed toward law enforcement if Mr. Obama has his latest wish.

And I suppose there’s a third sort of ‘spoilage’ going on with all of us.  This ‘fear’, and stress and continually hyped up sort of buy-buy-buy consumer frenzy?  What’s that doing to our collective decision making ability?  Combine that with the education system and the parents attitude toward education.  It’s a big damn mess.

I’ve hear the term ‘cultural reset button’, and I think we should look at what it would be like to press it.  And I agree, the ‘lesser of two evils’ voting strategy is a superficial feel-good exercise that subverts any deeper thinking and action. 

On a related topic, somebody said it is the 1% that directs the 99%, I am too lazy to go back and find out who I ws talking with there, but it’s not that easy.  The 99% can lead.  It is the aggregate underlying culture that lets things happen or slows them.  This is why so many things are done ‘behind closed doors’.  Because the 1% can’t operate out in the open.  Keep in mind, when I speak of the 1%, it might not be the same 1% OWS has in mind.  That’s actually a moving target, the definition of the 1%, and the clear line of demarcation between the 1% and the 99% is seldom straight, narrow,  distinct, or continuous.

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By ardee, March 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

By John Best asks, “What IS Progress”?, March 20 at 4:42 am

Welcome to the light, John, you have too much to contribute to intelligent debate to waste your time with a spoiled brat with an enormous ego.

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By Ed Romano, March 20, 2012 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Justin, I’m thinking about this recent message I sent to you, and I’m not happy with it. It was pretty cruel and I’m sorry. But you can be so godamned pretentious and off putting at times as to drive a person to distraction.I can understand why John Best is fed up with you. Your method seems to be more geared to riling folks up than presenting any really cogent arguments. It’s almost like a stream of conciousness thing with you where you type in anything that flits thru your head whether it makes any sense or not. Slow down a bit for God’s sake. Do a little mental editing. Think about what you’re saying. For example, what earthly good did it do for you to include me in the post where you took a shot at me?  People may or may not agree with what I’ve said at times, but your slap at me is not going to convince anyone one way or another. You’re just cluttering up the forum with nonsense. I suspect that with a little disipline you might be someone folks could pay attention to without having stand on their heads. For everyone’s sake, including your own… why not give it a try.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

Kat, yes, that ‘number line’ approach.  For example, what is an ‘extreme moderate’?  Were they the so-called ‘Regan Democrats’, who I think were working class people who were turned anti-government by Regan and switched sides? 

We rally are limited by lack of language the linear model imposes.  And, I’m not saying a two or three dimensional model would necessarily be enough better.  Here’s a good attempt, perhaps you’ve seen it? http://www.politicalcompass.org/

But I think no matter how many axis you add, and no matter how you label them, they serve to group people together, which, makes people think they’re part of a special group of ‘like minded’ people.  This leads to getting special treatment for your group.  After a while, anybody who doesn’t fit into a group big enough and rich enough to petition the system is left out.  I think that’s whee most people are….excluded from the conveniently formed groups. 

When election time comes, and perhaps the primary process leading up to election time, it’s to hypnotize people into thinking they have a home on the political spectrum.  Political parties organize us into franchises, then after the election, we’re de-franchised. 

I am kind of hoping OWS will evolve into something that reaches around the barriers of the two-party mechanism of harnessing the herd, and become something that works for the ‘common good’ irrespective of election time.  This might be the essence of drawing strength from the powerless, but people have to change the way they think about politics in fundamental ways.  Given lifetimes of conditioning, it might be impossible.

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By Ed Romano, March 20, 2012 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

Justin, I’m breaking a self imposed rule I enacted awhile ago by addressing you directly. Since I flunked talking to brick walls in school I’m not trying to tell you “what good and evil is”. From what I have seen of your “thinking” on this site it would be sort of like trying to discuss ethics with a cat.

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katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, March 20, 2012 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

I think the linear model for the political spectrum is deceptive. Let’s not exclude the extreme moderates who hop on the back of the Right-wing wagon whenever it’s convenient but who rarely support the Left.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

Ardee, I’m there.  Done.  I’m glad OM re-joined the fray.  This ‘learning experience’ showed me an example of someone so screwed up that they need company.  At some sub-conscious level, they know they’re screwed up, but if they can convince others to join them in screwey-land, they are validated or some damn emotional feeley-good thing.  I’ve seen this on the left and on the right, but I think they’ve stayed in the shadows on both sides until recently.

The extreme righties have come out over the past few decased, bonded together and empowered by rhetoric Limbaugh started then others took it farther right.  It opens markets for advertizers.  On the left, OWS might serve a similar purpose, that remains to be seen.  I think the nut-cases are out there, I’ve met some hyper-partisan Democrats, and those ultra-liberals who cling to their special little sliver of left-wing issues and ignore reason in doing so. 

So, this is a bit of a continuation of what I was saying to OM.  This is exactly why we need better labels than ‘lefties’, and ‘righties’, and ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’.  Both sides have the nut-cases who are used by skilled politicians to keep us divided exactly at the center and thus keep the wealth that should enrich the common good for themselves.  Nothing new, Rome revisited.

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John Best asks,

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

OM!  Good to hear from you! 

I think it is a basis for seeing what the extremes are and where moderation might be.  Hear me….
Extreme lefties, perhpps don;t give a fig about today or tomorroew, about dying or where the resources are coming from.  Wctreme (extreme) righties may be pre-occupied with death, or failure, and perhaps approach life in that ‘conservative way’ to conserve, to be cautious.  This might explain the extra religiosity over there. 

Hey, I’m fiscally conservative because business goes up, it goes down, etc, we need buffers.  There is a fear, I have that, well, things happen, one must be prepared.  Why?  because I’ve seen enough economic ‘cycles’ to know the fear is real, so I prepare, I conserve. 

But this death thing?  Some people are continuously praying and preparing for death. 

So, yes, there is a basis for this relationship between fear and the tendency to conserve, to be conservative.  What’s so antagonistic about that?  It’s reality I think.  It’s just when people (of either extreme) get so far out there with their irresponsibility (on the extreme left) or ultra conservatism (on the extreme right) and try to push their personal and unreasonable philosophies on the rest of us that there is trouble. 

A problem is there are a number of conservatives who are decent folk, perhaps a little right of center, who call themselves ‘conservatives’, and that’s fine, except they lump themselves in with the fringes.  The problem is the religious extremism of the Santorum/Palin people spill over on to the Romney people because everybody calls themselves a ‘conservative’.  That’s the problem with the word.

Anyhow, I’m certainly left of center socially.  Gay marriage? Go for it.  Abortion?  It’s the woman’s choice.  Guns?  I’m right of center, but not as far as the NRA.  But all this is on the simplistic one dimensional measure of left-to-right.  That’s a measure for dummies who buy into a simple friend-foe view of how to relate to other people.  Yep, I think they’re dummies, those who subscribe to this simplistic us-vs-them friend-foe view.  They’re dummies because this simplistic morality is stopping us from improving quality of human life on earth as God probably intended. (wink).

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By ardee, March 20, 2012 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

By John Best asks, “What IS Progress”?,

John, I would not take your choices from you, even if I could. But I do ask you to understand the futility of arguing with this sophomoric, know nothing, show off. He doesnt listen to your points, doesnt consider them at all, only uses your responses to continue to grab the spotlight and prattle endlessly about that which he hasnt a clue.

“Look at me, look at me!” is the gist of his contribution and , by continuing the dialogue you exacerbate the terrible job his parents did in raising him. In contrast, ignoring the self involved buffoon leaves him alone and talking to no one, a game with which he will soon tire and , thankfully, depart.

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Justin Case's avatar

By Justin Case, March 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9154350/Toulouse-shooting-little-girl-cornered-in-school-and-shot-in-head.html

Here’s your definition of true evil.
Harmful acts. Lots of them. NO benefit whatsoever, no need to do this to survive.
The sick & twisted individual that did this was well-calculated, not making mistakes, just enjoys killing lots of children.

This is solid proof that good and evil are real.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, March 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

“The underlying sentiment of a Conservative is fear of uncertainly which translates to a fear of death.”  there is something primal under this.  Very worth exploring and sharing I think.

Certainly makes a great basis for a moderate dialogue, especially from a moderate who espouses moderation.

Enjoy!

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Justin Case's avatar

By Justin Case, March 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

“Kat, I agree about hard-wired defense, but I disagree with Justin that there’s pleasure in it.  He’s describing a type of psychopath which i think is the sociopath.

Ed, The guy is coming off like an authoritarian preacher, telling me what good and evil is.  I’ll battle that to my death.  It’s the most insidious top-down structure there is.”

It’s bottom-up not top-down. Top-down means dictate from some central controller. This is nature’s dictate from the genes, the life-form outward, upward. Bottom-up, organic.

Hard-wired defense is totally separate from taking pleasure in harm from others.
The act is not evil. The design behind the act shows what is evil or not, bottom-up organically in nature.

My definitions DEFINITELY agree with the dictionary.

“You should be aware, Mr. Case, is that you appear to be a megalomaniac whose increasingly striden”

NO, Ardee, every time you write something it’s generally a lie & an attack so no, I realize your words are garbage & to be dismissed.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evil

“Picture all the religious leaders who’ve blessed the troops saying ‘go forth and kill the evil enemy in the name of your god, who, is on our side’.  This is exactly what you enable.”
precisely the ONE opposite of what I am, which is why I am atheist.

The church itself has for centuries extolled the pleasures of killing others to serve their god(s). This is exactly what I STOP by saying all that I’ve said by REMOVING all such religious defense.

I will not allow you to attack me. Your false arguments are stomped & erased.

“Now, I have given examples of ‘evil’ behavior by good people”
NONE.
Not a one. Until the person takes pleasure & profit from harming another without ANY need for survival there is no evil act and the good person has done a GOOD act.

“The example of the good person being placed in the role of the torturer and being threatened into committing an evil act is a classic, classic example.”
IT IS NOT.
It is a lie designed to tell people to do evil in the name of evil under the command of evil without even CONSIDERING that they are not at fault OR that they could try to escape.
This fallacy must be stomped into the ground always.

I gave counter-examples which cover EVERYTHING.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Kat, There’s enough meat on the bone you threw out for as weekend seminar. I wouldn’t argue with your conclusions. The psychology is probably correct.
A classic definition of a conservative is, I suppose, something like this,... a person attempting to conserve what they believe to be worth saving in a time of change…something like that I suppose would come close to satisfying the nit pickers. In our country a conservative is a person bent on preserving the exploitative nature of the economic system and,  the unequal distribution of wealth. Since this is reality to me…I am not neutral when it comes to folks who claim to be conservative. I see them as agents of inequity.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

Kat,
“The underlying sentiment of a Conservative is fear of uncertainly which translates to a fear of death.”  there is something primal under this.  Very worth exploring and sharing I think. 

Two points?  First, I think the term ‘conservative’ might be getting vague because of how it’s been used.  I think i know what you’re saying, but I’m not positive.  It’s not easy to nail down.  ‘People who fall inline with authority’ is descriptive of some of them, but there’s no single word for those folks. 

The second thing, I think there are other fears ‘conservatives’ have beside death.  Various losses, rejections.  I think they flock to religion because deep inside they know how brutal man can be, they’ve perhaps experienced it, and they want to deny this.  But most churches are going from the frying pan into the fire, IMO of course.

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By katsteevns, March 19, 2012 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Ed: In my experience, a Conservative here in the states will resort to authoritarianism when being cornered. Not only that, they feel free to pursue preemptive wars based on ideological criteria. And this at the expense of those who might not see things their way. Their opposition to homosexuality is purely a religious hangup, a “holier-than-thou” mental illness.

The underlying sentiment of a Conservative is fear of uncertainly which translates to a fear of death. When this fear is challenged, they feel justified in resorting to a primitive Neanderthal response, not as a mother protects her child, but as a suicide bomber enters a crowded mall.  In war, they do not surgically remove an enemy, they just kill everyone in sight.

Much of the world pays a heavy price to maintain our Conservatives.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Kat, I would put it this way- To be conservative in a time that is screaming for substantial change is a moral failing.

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katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, March 19, 2012 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

“authoritarianism, which disgusts me. “

As it does me to no end. It’s the sickest and most damaging and deceitful form of pride, especially when it manifests itself nestled within the walls of democracy.

Conservatism is authoritarianism with a human face.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

It’s thanks to Chris Hedges that we have this site on which to joust with one another. May I ask everyone to please read a post he recently put up titled - Murder Is Not An Anomaly In War.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

Ardee, I certainly understand your frustration, but if you’ll notice….I stopped doing the dipsy doodle here a short while ago.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 5:29 am Link to this comment

Sorry Ardee, I can’t let a bully stand.  Justin Case has accused me of exactly the things he’s doing.  It’s typical right-wing republican style, but I don’t think that’s his pathology.  As a less-than-amature psychologist, I’m exhausted, but the other ‘definition of evil as imposed by Justin Case’ I can’t let stand.  I have to fight that beyond exhaustion, to the bitter end.  I hope the post I just made achieves that closure.  Deepest apologies to those of you who have suffered through this.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

Here is what the general consensus is on the definition of ‘evil’.
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/evil
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evil

Perhaps you can site alternatives, but your insistence on imposing your narrow view of what constitutes the meaning of the word ‘evil’, is not something I can let go.  Too many horrors have been facilitated through history by exactly what you are doing, that is, acting as a moral authoritarian to define ‘evil’ in a way which allows it to be used to arbitrarily define ‘friend or foe’. 

I have identified by you, Justin, as a ‘foe’, precisely because I challenged your authority. 

A side issue is that you characterize PTSD as a ‘weakness’.  But I don’t think we’ll go down that path.

In the end, after you have a chance to consider and modify your argument, you elect to make a declarative statement, namely, “An act can NOT BE EVIL. Only the PERSON can be evil.”  You expect us to submit to your authority as to the definition of ‘evil’ even though Webster and oxford and others define it in quite a broader way.  This is authoritarianism, and as it involves a moral issue, I’d say it is or borders on theocratic authoritarianism, which disgusts me. 

Picture all the religious leaders who’ve blessed the troops saying ‘go forth and kill the evil enemy in the name of your god, who, is on our side’.  This is exactly what you enable.  No, I will not allow you to assume that position, that of moral authoritarian, and I don’t care how many ‘politically leftish pleasing’ references you make to fool the public you are liberal minded.

Now, I have given examples of ‘evil’ behavior by good people.  The example of the good person being placed in the role of the torturer and being threatened into committing an evil act is a classic, classic example.  If you can’t address the examples in a reasonable way, or give broadly applicable counter-examples, or in some way show my examples are not representative or otherwise logically flawed, then your assertion falls.

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By ardee, March 19, 2012 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

What the rest of us are noticing is that you, Ed, and John, are attempting to exhaust everyone else.
Everyone else is still reading & wondering what the hell’s wrong with you.
Some of us are still trying to work towards some real progress.

You should be aware, Mr. Case, is that you appear to be a megalomaniac whose increasingly strident and self involved efforts are well worth ignoring.

I just wish Mr. Best would do so thus ending this silliness.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

Kat, I agree about hard-wired defense, but I disagree with Justin that there’s pleasure in it.  He’s describing a type of psychopath which i think is the sociopath. 

Ed, The guy is coming off like an authoritarian preacher, telling me what good and evil is.  I’ll battle that to my death.  It’s the most insidious top-down structure there is.  Hid definitions don;t even agree with the dictionary, with that ‘pleasure center’ argument.

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By katsteevns, March 19, 2012 at 1:23 am Link to this comment

Yep. Women are hard wired to protect and nourish their kids. Rarely, though, does it extend beyond their own offspring.

Politicians use the good-evil concept to pit people against each other. It is a very effective tactic.

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Justin Case's avatar

By Justin Case, March 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

What the rest of us are noticing is that you, Ed, and John, are attempting to exhaust everyone else.
Everyone else is still reading & wondering what the hell’s wrong with you.
Some of us are still trying to work towards some real progress.

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Justin Case's avatar

By Justin Case, March 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

An act to further your survival that is needed, that you will die if you don’t do it, and the same acts for your children, can’t ever be evil.
Need negates evil.
This global rule dominates all life in all times of history with NO exception.
An act can NOT BE EVIL.
Only the PERSON can be evil. The act without considering the PERSON can’t ever be classified as evil. Ever.

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By Ed Romano, March 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

Hi John, Have you noticed that your nemisis has just about exhausted the patience of everyone else on this site ? Now, if you pull a graceful exit he will be left thrashing about in his own narrow , and I hope , well padded cell.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

And in addition to your statement ‘need negates evil’, which, I think you are saying justifies a mother doing evil, if there is a ‘need’, I think you previously implied that evil is the act of an evil person, one with a bad brain. 

Didn’t you say that, ‘good people don’t do evil things’, and that ‘evil people do evil things’, and that ‘evil people’s brain defects can be seen on MRI scans’?  I paraphrase, but I think this is all stuff you’ve said.  Am I mis-representing what you said? 

Oh, and a couple posts back…..‘ad-hominem’ was the word I was seeking.  Your insistence to call me ‘psycho boy’, and ‘evil’ I charge is an attempt to avoid the discussion, and perhaps convince others of the validity of your definition of ‘evil’, based on discrediting my argument by attacking me personally instead of my argument. 

I add an additional charge that which I called arguing from the specific to the general.  Which is similar to the argument called ‘Biased Sample’.  http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/biased-sample.html  Alternately, the ‘hasty generalization, http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/hasty-generalization.html also resembles closely what I was taught as the ‘fallacy of reasoning from the specific to the general’.

So, I will proceed by restating my original point, namely, that people are generally not good or evil, that good people can do evil things.  Your counter was to infer that ‘evil people’ were people who enjoyed doing evil things, and that they are hard wired to do evil.  Your conclusion,  was that only evil people do evil things.  I declare that counter to be fallacious.  You cite an extreme example, namely sociopaths, a very specific subset of ‘evildoers’.  And your implication is that all evildoers are psychopaths, further that there are no evildoers who are not psychopaths.  And further that good people cannot be made to do evil things.  I charge that none of these implications follows from your counter to my initial statement, which stands:  that people are generally not good or evil, that good people can do evil things

I did not say that the so-called 1% as defined by elisaloisa are not within the sub-set of sociopaths evildoers, some may be, and some may be caught up in circumstances they cannot control.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Well, so you say, “need negates evil”. 

I don;t want to misapply that to cases outside your intent, so please clarify the scope.  Does that apply only to mothers feeding their children?  What about fathers?  What about a homeless teen trying to find food?  How much ‘need’ does there have to be, and is one particular class entitled to ‘need negates evil’ more than another?  Does on have to be near death to have need, or merely malnourished, or is ‘very hungry’ enough?

-PJ (Psycho John) (it’s growing on me)

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By Justin Case, March 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-global-trade-fragility
“I look at the global trade system — which we here in the West rely upon for goods, resources, consumption, etc — and I see something akin to the problem with the financial system in 2006. We abandoned robust and aged local systems, local knowledge, artisanship, etc, in favour of a huge interconnected mesh of trade where all counter-parties are interdependent, and where one failure can break the entire system.

This is a beautiful age. We have truly allowed our imaginations to run wild.

But is it sustainable?”

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By Justin Case, March 18, 2012 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

I was already very clear, psychoboy.
There is no limit. None.
Need negates evil. Completely.
The MRI or PET scan confirms.
The empathy tests like the ones I used on you are a good heuristic. It let me draw you out to find out your true nature. Once you reveal yourself no brainscan is really needed, not for survival/avoidance/defense purposes.

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By Justin Case, March 18, 2012 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

from http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/bank-of-america-too-crooked-to-fail-20120314?page=3

The bank’s list of victims goes on and on. The disabled? Just a few weeks ago, the government charged Bank of America with violating the Fair Housing Act by illegally requiring proof of disability from people who rely on disability income to make their mortgage payments. Minorities? Last December, the bank settled with the Justice Department for $335 million over Countrywide’s practice of dumping risky subprime loans on qualified black and Hispanic borrowers. The poor? In South Carolina, Bank of America won a contract to distribute unemployment benefits through prepaid debit cards – and then charged multiple fees to jobless folk who had the gall to withdraw their money from anywhere other than a Bank of America ATM. Seriously, who hasn’t this bank conspired to defraud? Puppies? One-eyed Sri Lankans?

Bank of America likes to boast that it has changed its ways, replacing many of the top executives who helped create the mortgage bubble. But the man promoted from within to lead the new team, CEO Brian Moynihan, is just as loathsome and tone-deaf as his previous bosses. As befits a new royal, Moynihan defended a plan to gouge all debit-card users with $5 fees by citing his divine privilege: “We have a right to make a profit.” And despite the bank’s litany of crimes, Moynihan seems to think we’re just overreacting. After all, he gives to charities! “I get a little incensed when you think about how much good all of you do, whether it’s volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well,” he told employees last October. Then, addressing would-be protesters: “You ought to think a little about that before you start yelling at us.”

**
sounds like Brian Moynihan would like to torture people financially to prove a point - that he’s not really evil since anyone else in desperate times (that he caused) will do whatever they want / need too.
Sounds familiar.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 18, 2012 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

What if the mother’s kids have no shoes, and she steals them from somebody who has two pair?  Assume the mother doesn’t enjoy it?  Is that bad?  evil?  Did she ‘need’ them for her kids? 

How does on know if indeed somebody is enjoying something bad?  You can;t tote around the MRI machine or whatever sort of brain scanner it is.

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By Justin Case, March 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

It is impossible for me to show weakness to you, psycho John. Your real basis has been exposed. From this point onward you are by default the weak one.

ANYTHING without restriction whatsoever of any sort is 100% ethical and justified for a mother to do to feed her children. ANYTHING.
No limits. Ever.

“How often were you thinking some jerk might use a weapon on you? “
Anyone at any time can do this even if you’re not working that job. What’s of primary importance is how to minimize the harm of it AND to watch for it (pre-empting attack) on anyone else.

Unless the mother steals from others with NO Need the act is not evil. That’s right. The creation of need negates ALL evil. Need negates evil. Harming others for NO good reason but your enjoyment is the ESSENCE of evil.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

Suppose the woman had to hurt somebody to get the bread? or she had to steal it from another similarly desperate mother? 

What if the woman had a choice, to do some incredibly demeaning work, or to steal bread from another mother?  Yes, it’s a lose-lose situation, but it’s far from hypothetical.  If she elected to steal from another mother, wouldn’t she have done a ‘bad’ thing, an ‘evil’ thing?  I mean, she could have scrubbed floors all day to feed the kids, but she found it easier to steal somebodies bread.

On that escort driver job…....sounds like you had to be ‘on guard’, to say the least.  How often were you thinking some jerk might use a weapon on you? 

And you can call me names if you wish.  I care not, but this shows a weakness in your arguments, the need to revert to the whatchacallit?  That invalid form of argument where you try to impugn the other persons argument by impugning their character.  You call their character into question directly or by innuendo?  Oh, I’ve done it, and I tr not to, but once in a while I do get pissed off and say to heck with it.

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By Justin Case, March 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

“If a mothers children are very hungry, starving actually, malnourished, and close to death, and she has no way to feed them but steal a loaf of bread, is it OK?  Has she done good or bad?  Was she good or evil?”
Kat, this is the question psycho boy is posing.
Of course I said before that ALL actions of a mother to defend her children (including from starvation) are valid. Not evil. Not bad. It’s always good to secure survival of the children.

“As an aside, do you suffer from some form of PTSD?”
No. I was an escort driver. It was my job to protect women who are at risk of violence.
And to do so using extreme violence of my own.
It was the right thing to do because that level of protection is needed. It is not optimal. What is optimal is that the women move on to another line of work OR that governments & laws change to stop disrespecting their right to safety.

While the job itself is neither glamorous or safe, at least it’s not as dangerous as the military or mining & those things seem to get all sorts of respect.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

If a mothers children are very hungry, starving actually, malnourished, and close to death, and she has no way to feed them but steal a loaf of bread, is it OK?  Has she done good or bad?  Was she good or evil?

It’s incredible this argument is so disturbing to your narrow view of good and evil.  I’m not being derogatory in saying ‘narrow’.  It’s just a very black-and-white and subjective view.  Your view is the one used in every armed conflict to allow men to kill and maim other men, women and children with minimal impact on their conscience. 

It is also the narrow view that is required for theocracy.  I would say it is inconsistent with liberalism.  It is very inconsistent with New Testament Christianity.

As an aside, do you suffer from some form of PTSD?  Apparently forms of it cam exist from all sorts of exposures to violence.  Including being brought up in a really tough neighborhood.  I’m not being nasty here, it;s a serious question.  You seem to get far more agitated and personal than I would expect from this sort of discussion.

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By Justin Case, March 17, 2012 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Every empire falls. It can be orderly. The worst is the upper & upper-middle class that got used to benefits derived from robbing other nations using the power of empire. That will end & worse, another empire will rise, probably from China. This means many too-comfy people will feel it’s “horrible” but actually this is quite normal. If you adjust to refuse to take material comfort that you did not earn you can at least be sure it wasn’t stolen by the empire to keep you a happy slave, therefore you will be fine without those things when they are gone.

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By katsteevns, March 17, 2012 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges, in his latest book, The World As It Is, states that the empire is over and that it’s downfall will be “horrifying”.

Does anyone here subscribe to this notion? Has anyone here read the book?

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By katsteevns, March 17, 2012 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

This ship has a list, but I ain’t no sailor.

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By Justin Case, March 17, 2012 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

“I observed this firsthand when I visited a group of Haitian mango farmers a few years ago. Each farmer had no more than one or two mango trees, even though their land lay along a river that could irrigate their fields and support hundreds of trees. So why didn’t they install irrigation pipes? Were they ignorant, indifferent? In fact, they were quite savvy and lived in a region teeming with well-intended foreign-aid programs. But these farmers also knew that nobody in their village had clear title to the land they farmed. If they suddenly grew a few hundred mango trees, it was likely that a well-connected member of the elite would show up and claim their land and its spoils. What was the point? “

In other words: they wanted capitalistic property, they wanted a capitalistic market & because they were denied (no clear land title, no clear ownership of their work or product of their work) they REFUSE to work. In a harsher form of slavery these people would be forced to work. In this case the limit may be immigration-rules keeping them there & an anti-capitalist economy which says while they stay they keep nothing they earn.

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By Justin Case, March 17, 2012 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/magazine/why-countries-go-bust.html?_r=1&hpw;
“Acemoglu has persuasively challenged many of the previous theories. (If poverty were primarily the result of geography, say, or an unfortunate history, how can we account for the successes of Botswana, Costa Rica or Thailand?)”
http://whynationsfail.com/ “Acemoglu and his collaborator, James Robinson, argue that the wealth of a country is most closely correlated with the degree to which the average person shares in the overall growth of its economy. It’s an idea that was first raised by Smith but was then largely ignored for centuries as economics became focused on theoretical models of ideal economies rather than the not-at-all-ideal problems of real nations”

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

What you wrote is completely evil and completely threatening to me.

John, what you did and wrote IS EVIL.

Period.

You don’t torture anyone, threaten it, claim it’s theoretical and then conclude in any way the person tortured (or family members) will do “bad things”.

There are no bad things.
Only BAD PEOPLE. Like you.
Whosoever does torture anyone is the SOLE RESPONSIBLE AGENT for any activity that must result. Period.

If you torture a child to get a mother to kill people then YOU are the murderer AND the torturer.

Your motive in suggesting it, or doing it, makes you supreme evil.

No act can ever be evil in & of itself. The evil is ALWAYS the mind that craves pleasure from harming others.

John, you are that evil. You are busted. You, like the scum on Wall Street, could only hope & beg for a world of people so dumb that they refuse to see that good & evil exist. People that dumb can’t detect a psychopath.

You’re busted. A psychopath CAN NOT use empathy to tell right from wrong, good from evil. You can not. In an environment where others CAN determine this because they DO HAVE EMPATHY, you are BUSTED.

In no serious ethics class or studies or writings can any person utter or write what you did.
The very ACT Of doing so betrays a defiance of ethics across all cultures - a basis of evil desiring to do harm to others AND attempting to get followers to accept this harm as “ethical” even in suggestion.

It is evil, pure and true. John, you are scum & evil. You propose to prove a point by the torture of my family members to compel me to do your bidding to prove yourself right. Be it actual or theory, this twisted threat is a beyond-Hitler level of evil.

You are scum.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

Well.  Always consider the source.  But, weigh the argument on it’s merit, not how it’s made, and, independently of who makes it. 

And if someone thinks it’s acceptable to deteriorate a decent forum with viciousness and intimidation…...well, that says a lot about how much they really care about others I think. 

I repeat my question so that anybody may judge for themselves.  Here it is exactly:
“But the stinkers (referring to Justin) insistence to describe good and bad in some arbitrary moral way is ego-centric.  And I will say over-simplistic, and showing a general ignorance of the range of human behaviors.  If Justin thinks himself among the ‘good’ ones, well, let’s give him a job in a political prison with the responsibility of torturing prisoners.  If he refuses, we have someone else torture his family.  Let’s see how long he resists doing bad things.”

That is a classic hypothetical used all the time, and in a form on TV shows like ‘24’.  It is used in ethics instruction classes to show that good people can and will do bad things, and we should perhaps think carefully before we judge others.  Actually this sort of question can make one think about forgiveness and make them a better christian, if anyone is into that. 

It says quite a lot about dear Justin that he would go off on a vicious name calling rant and make specific hideous threats something to the effect of jamming a sharpened pipe in my carotid artery.  Or did he just say neck?  I forget.  What made you this way Justin? 

Elisalouisa, you may be interested in this.  There is apparently a phenomenon concerning Gen X, Gen Y, the millenials, etc. the degree of preoccupation with self and money being the clear high priority is rising.  Also, frustration and depression.  We’ve been telling kids they’re special and when they hit the big bad world, they’re finding out the world doesn’t even notice them.  I’m guessing, but something is causing Justins viciousness.  Well, yes, that graphic depiction was bizarre, and a vicious action.  Contrasted with my classic hypothetical, I used no specific imagery, no implements, nothing really to get so upset about. 

And I did work my way through college, and have had the good luck to work with a lot of very smart people over the years.  They included hundreds of scientists from national laboratories, fortune 500 companies, with top scientists from places like The Smithsonian, the CIA and NSA.  I could make quite a list, and those people were all interesting, and came from a wide variety of backgrounds, from dirt, dirt poor to well-to-do.  The thing they had in common was they all put in a lot of very difficult work to get through school.  So, yes, certainly all of these people made an impression and I’ve always learned from every interaction.  The overall effect?  Working with all those scientists did instill an even deeper skepticism, and appreciation for really not making up ones mind until facts and contributing circumstances have been taken into account.  Even then, new data might appear. 

So, am I ‘bad’ because I’m in the top 20%?  I’m not, but if I were?  There are good ones up there and bad.  There are good ones in the bottom 20% and bad.  I can say that it;s a lot easier to be good when you have money.  It gives you that option, so, if someone has money and behaves horribly, it’s less forgivable to me than someone who has no resources.

As I’ve been saying, people in desperate conditions will do things to survive.  ‘good and evil’ can be arbitrarily defined as having to do with pleasure, but that is one arbitrary definition.  It seems to me the oriental philosophy has more to do with whether the receiver of a good or evil deed was helped or harmed.  Intent or pleasure of giver is not considered.

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

Investment advisors: 95% or more are total idiots & paid to lie to you. If you don’t catch it you pay them to lie to you & lose your money.
Manipulation: this happens from having a fiat currency & having an education system based on “liberal” minded (or hyperconservative) “teaching” bullshit, like that capitalism is all evil or that free markets & christ are magical saviors of all humanity (but never tell if the priest touches little bobby). Manipulation is everything you take at face value instead of using critical thinking.

Psycho boy: “I claimed you were good, and that anybody can do evil things.  That does not make them evil. ” - things are not evil. An act is not evil, a tool is not evil. Only INTENT is evil, only ENJOYMENT is evil. Vicious insane killing for pleasure, insane mass-murder using nuclear weapons & bio-weapons, that is evil. No benefit can come from the killing yet the responsible parties enjoy completely their role in making it happen.

Psycho-boy, everyone can go re-read what you wrote. You can’t step back from a threat about my family being tortured to compel me as if it “really isn’t that bad”. It really is bad. You fucked up, psycho-boy. You blew your cover here. I won’t tell you what psychomanipulative hints I dropped that let you step into it. The last thing society needs is for that line of immunity defense to be compromised. It’s only a matter of time before a psycho slips up & exposes himself or herself but I will not assist you in lasting better next time in the next social crowd. It’s safe enough to say you have no basis of empathy so you have no idea how to pretend to cover it up. Even trying to copy others, which is the most efficient method, will give you away for others will realize that no sane person would be so lacking in empathy to even ask.

“No, no John. I suspect you were raised by perhaps the upper 20 percent who saw themselves as morally superior.”
I concur, elisalouisa. The personality markers are there, the choices of select experience & commentary indicate it. However, being a psychopath that’s fairly attentive it’s possible some of this non-empathy related life experience is being vicariously copied from observation of another person’s life, so perhaps a friend / family that was more affluent that John grew up with / near.

“The deranged with cunning minds have assumed control”
I’ve got bad bad news for you, elisalouisa: some of them are not as clever as you might hope because their targets have gradually become less perceptive & more gullible, more dependent on the sugar-treats of football, candy & x-box that keep them “sheeple” instead of fully self-aware humans. Together this ignorance with their will to do harm & to be so blatantly dishonest in a way that normal people simply can not comprehend, the end-result is always something like what we have now. That’s not even an economic problem, that’s a question of trust & dangerous liars. Look at the gall of Jon Corzine to walk off with 1.6 billion & no explanation and no jail time. Look at Bank of America doing 20,000 fraud documents in court at a time & no jail time. Look at Oscar Grant, shot in the back cuffed point blank, cop says “I thought it was a tazer”. That’s like saying “I thought that grizzly bear was actually a big teddy bear, not a real bear!”. And no conviction for murder. 2 years for wrongful death / manslaughter or some other such nonsense and only because it was on camera. Witnesses would be ignored without cameras.

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

THAT is what we’re up against. Rank, rife evil on one side, confused & gullible people on the other side who are lucky to get ANY shot in today. No wonder the USA is pushing more laws to outlaw filming police. See copblock.org to see how citizens are trying to fight this at every step.

“Bush and Co. were able to take advantage of our weaknesses because of “concentration of power”, which I am against. We can’t handle it as a people. We are not mature enough to control it. It must be taken away from those who have it…by any means. “
Agreed: it is a core problem no matter what. Even if no one bad is in it at one time it’s only a matter of time before bad people arrive. It’s like a person with no immune system. Without an invading disease that person’s OK but for how long? Not long. It’s a dangerous world filled with microbes.

“It’s interesting that those who tout the so-called ‘free market’ and justify so much based on it, that one of the conditions of the ‘free’ market is that buyers behave rationally, and buy what is in their best interest.  It’s rational as you suggest above.  “

Kat, this was addressed to you by psycho boy, but I’ll address you, ignore him & let other sane people comment.
Simply put, this assertion is untrue.
The free market’s principle is that people have consenting choice. The next principle is that people own their own services & property which they can choose to trade with each other, always by consent. By no means is this a magical panacea for all problems society may face. Rationality is NOT part of it. No one who’s actually in a market, used a market, claims the markets are rational. Fractions have rational patterns but once too many agents & unrelated fields overlap with commonly-needed services & goods there is no total rational pattern lasting any amount of time.

Rationality need not be a condition OR a goal. What’s important is FREEDOM. If people are consenting that means they have the power to REFUSE to participate. If you think a market is rigged or broken you should NEVER be forced into it. There should be NO punishment for refusing to in it for a while (or ever). That’s a free market principle.

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

“to aid the buyer in being rational.  This is a requirement of a free market.  They teach this in economics class. “
Economics class is brainwashing. No one should ever EVER take an economics class except to get a piece of paper needed for a job. Always dismiss it, just pretend you believe it to get the paper. To really understand economics you need a strong math background & strong experience in a field or two dealing with the most-needed goods and/or services in a market. that’s it. The rest will come to you from experience. THE MARKET IS YOUR TEACHER. No person teaches econoics today with ANY honesty. ANYWHERE.

Least credible are the economics Ph. D’s. Example: these 2 nobel prize winners who can’t answer one fucking question even about their OWN work. It’s DISGRACEFUL. http://youtu.be/mFdnA5UNmVw?t=2m55s - starting at 2 min 55 seconds.

“I’ll concede that if I give money to an investment adviser who buys me a mutual fund and that adviser (nor I) ask any questions about how such a good rate of return is possible, well, let me just say that’s a ‘different bad’. “
Kat (F U psychoboy) : as it happens this is a product of the fiat currency.
The global cabal of central bankers is rigging rates & money supply to create inflation. Without that loss to purchasing power, which never grows the economy (they say it does) and which never spurs employment (they say it does), then there’d be NO CHASING YIELD.
People chase higher % return to out-pace losses from inflation.

To be honest this is partly why I’m using Options. By using options-trading I can far, far out-pace inflation. I had to start with data & math, study it carefully & I put in quite a few trades to learn. Some were -50% some were +80%. From this & some math I learned what is risk-reduced but kicking inflation. Inflation for the most important goods, induced by central banks, is +10% or factor 1.1. Split into 10 periods of sequentially applied factors (sequences & series, compound interest) this means I need to beat 1% return each period, 10 periods in a year, giving me a chance to skip a month of options twice or to lose and then beat that loss by the 1% needed next time. That’s “break even” with inflation.

As it happens I can tend to hit +3% to +20% per 4 (or 8) week period using options. This is hard. Very hard. It takes a lot of math but I’m good with math.
I should NEVER have to do this.
If there was no central bank, Fed Reserve, Bank of England, Bank of Japan, ECB, inducing inflation then NONE OF US would need to do this.

For the remainder of less-risk capital that takes more time to get the gains there’s gold & silver. The silver was in profit, today is break-even. The gold is in profit, some of it unloaded at +20% to +30% profit on paper. The real profit of course can’t ever be paper, it’s in solid assets. Food. Fuel. Shelter. That’s what it paid for & that’s something external to the rigged market once I hold it / eat it.
So let’s say I get +3% 10 times in a row, compounding on the same input cash that’s a gain on the year of 34%. Every $100 I start with turns to 134 and the purchasing power of every 100$ from 2011 Jan has the purchasing power of $90 a year later for food, gas, rent.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

Elisa, I have to think about what you said, but I don’t think of myself or anybody as too much morally superior.  I think we’re all pretty animalistic.

I came from the middle class, whatever that is. 

But you have a point about us being manipulated, about some segment of society taking advantages of our weaknesses.  But, there are smart ones who don’t manipulate and there are certainly dumb ones who have that skill.  Some of those investment advisers are idiots. 

I’m trying to examine the manipulations…..the advertising, the mechanisms as to how we’re duped and dumbed down.  And we have to think about those who facilitated taking advantage of us.  Who spread the propaganda?  Limbaughs minions?  They don’t even know they were duped, used, do they?  What about other programming to be good little herd of consumers who don’t ask too many questions? 

I don’t know, I say if we sent the present 1% to jail, there would be others to take their places if we don’t dig deeper into exactly how we got here.  It’s going too fast for me.  We have a lynch mob mentality and want a boogie man so bad.  I doesn’t feel right.

I do agree though that there are some sick bastards up there.  The Koch Brothers, the guy who ran that mine that collapsed, the upper branch something?  I forget.  See, the actual ones who day ‘screw ‘em’ and directly take lives, are so easy to forget.  He retired with a 20 million bonus I think.  That puts him below the 1%‘s income bracket I think.  So, the creeps you speak of are not just at the pinnacle of income. 

See, if this deteriorates into a simple us-vs-them partisan Democrat-vs-Republican debate, we all lose another chance.  It’s more complex to me than a simple partisan perspective.  But you have a point.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

Per Justin, “......so that I be compelled to do “evil things” to claim I am evil so I must “admit” there is no good or evil. Such twisted logic….”

Re-read my post of March 15 at 4:18 pm.  I claimed you were good, and that anybody can do evil things.  That does not make them evil. 

It is you who twisted my argument.  And boy did you twist it!  But truth doesn;t seem to matter….....twist it as you will, then re-tell it and re-tell it, and you make your version into the truth.  Who’s tactic does that remind you of???  And who’s the sick one?  It’s all right there in the record. 

Also for the record, there may be good and evil or not.  What is sure is that they are used to manipulate people.  You’re doing it now by trying to paint me as ‘evil’.  Sad.  And what extreme reactions.  I guess you were having trouble with your arguments and had to do something dramatic.  It will work on some.

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By elisalouisa, March 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

I guess we have a distinction here, but how could these clowns (the 1%) resist? 

They’re only human.  We drive them.

Rather, the 1% are the drivers, we are the horses who obey their command. You think the 1%, admittedly of superior intelligence for the most part, would be driven by the 99%?  No, no John. I suspect you were raised by perhaps the upper 20 percent who saw themselves as morally superior. At that time and place you may have had a point. Now mind you, there is some slack in that statement. That upper class for the most part no longer rules. The deranged with cunning minds have assumed control. Those with no conscience, no use for the ‘common’ man and with global conquest as their goal.

The People have been screwed.

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By katsteevns, March 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

Bush and Co. were able to take advantage of our weaknesses because of “concentration of power”, which I am against. We can’t handle it as a people. We are not mature enough to control it. It must be taken away from those who have it…by any means.

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By katsteevns, March 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Yup. Thanks Justin…needed the reminder.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Kat, wrt “This world would be a far different place if people and institutions would measure the consequences of their actions in an objective way and act accordingly. But we don’t.”

Do you mean we act emotionally, not always rationally? 

It’s interesting that those who tout the so-called ‘free market’ and justify so much based on it, that one of the conditions of the ‘free’ market is that buyers behave rationally, and buy what is in their best interest.  It’s rational as you suggest above. 

Also, that information is fully disclosed, to aid the buyer in being rational.  This is a requirement of a free market.  They teach this in economics class.  But when was the last time a seller didn’t hide the blemished apples under the nice ones?  It’s so commonplace.  How about the bad mortgages buried in with the good ones all buried in those CDO’s of the 1%? 

You say, “But we don’t”, and really, could we?  We get filtered information.  Emotional come-on’s.  This is what I’d like to expose, the appeals to ego, to the selfishness in people, dividing them up.  Look back at the example of ‘buy this car, cause if your buddy does, he’ll get your girl”.  Not too rational, and no information, but on that basis alone, I’ll bet cars are sold to most of us men.

I agree, it would be a better world if we’d be thoughtful about the consequences of our actions, but all these little actions…..they add up.  Somewhere, they create demand.  I’m not sure which is worse, one big fat stupid decision, or a million little ones.  I think the million little ones add up to create wars, like the oil driven invasion of Iraq,  and I’m not letting the seriously bad actors off the hook, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.  They were the last chance to take a different action, and they failed miserably, but didn’t millions and millions of gas hungry SUV’s add up to create the political pressure?  The answers/responsibilities are not always so independent and neat.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Elisalouisa,

OK, if everybody agrees, and I need to see some evidence that this ‘movement’ agrees, then I’ll buy your definition.  I think it’s restricted enough to draw up a list of names and issue grand jury subpoenas.  But within your description, I don;t know how far down the ladder at these various financial institutions it goes. 

I’ll concede that if I give money to an investment adviser who buys me a mutual fund and that adviser (nor I) ask any questions about how such a good rate of return is possible, well, let me just say that’s a ‘different bad’.  That the outright fraud and manipulation of the components of the mutual fund by the respective investment managers on Wall St. are a distinctly different and more accountable crime. 

I can go along with that.  Morally, I made no outright lie or deception in that scenario.  I may have been lazy, morally remiss, not adequately vigilant, but at least I didn’t lie in somebodies face like those who packaged junk CDO’ to be sold to unsuspecting retirement account advisers. 

I guess we have a distinction here, but how could these clowns (the 1%) resist?  They’re only human.  We drive them.  All our collective pressure is manifested on Wall St. and the money goes to the firms that produce returns.  We aren’t even in a position to as questions there are so many layers.

So, I’d like to find a boogie man, and you might be right, there are specific dirty dogs there, so I’ll let it go for the most part, but we the people, have to look at our responsibility in it all.  By our sheer numbers and what we consume every day, day-in and day-out we create a huge demand.  A demand that won;t go away.  We have to acknowledge this and get it under control.  Can you give me that?

And with that demand stated, it does highlight the need to get rid of fraud.  We don;t have the breathing room.  We have to make smart investment in activities that produce worthwhile goods and the jobs to make them.  The fraud takes away from this, the legitimate function of Wall St, to make good investments, things that help peoples quality of life, not schemes to collect money for those who don’t even need or deserve it.

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By katsteevns, March 16, 2012 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

“Their power is limitless and their concern for “the people” is not even 1%.”

Not limitless, no.

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

“This world would be a far different place if people and institutions would measure the consequences of their actions in an objective way and act accordingly. But we don’t.”
Theoretically it can’t be done.
In actuality the complexity of the calculation needs information routing. A person can’t be aware of all the harms or benefits of their actions without doing something to GET that information. Routes must exist to convey that information. Motive & awareness must exist with each person to share that information - yet many hide when they get secret benefits or even hide if they have been victims of fraud, out of shame perhaps. We can do little with no motivation to share but we do now have high speed communications networks that can convey the information if we are so willing.

“The answer to your next few questions is “yes”. But there are obstacles and hindrances that that I am afraid I haven’t the energy or fortitude left to tackle”
Take your time, Kat. When the answer is beneficial to you it won’t be stressful & when that answer is there it will be beneficial to us all so please take your time.

John has already exposed himself. The bulk of his replies from this moment on are to convince people to ignore the threat he made that my family be tortured so that I be compelled to do “evil things” to claim I am evil so I must “admit” there is no good or evil. Such twisted logic can belong only to a psychopath that can equally stride into a stabbing or family torture as a sunday walk for a popsicle on a warm summer’s day. Psychopaths don’t have empathy, they can’t tell right from wrong but he has now figured out how badly he’s been exposed.

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

“Streetcars, remember the streetcars? Remember the horses that drew them? People managed pretty well at that point. There was plenty of “energy” back then. The automobile craze shows how that energy was misdirected.”

I’m all for the use of horses. As it happens when FEMA had failed to respond because emergency vehicles couldn’t handle it, this has been compared back to a huge quake almost a century ago in California. Responders used horses that are not restricted like cars are for getting people & supplies in and out of flooded areas strewn with rubble. Horses are environmentally sustainable too.

“There is quite alot of evidence to show that many of the modern day ailments did not exist in earlier times.”
Not quite, but please elaborate. I’ll suggest older pathogens have evolved to deal with the environment, including our medications, and I’ll argue that some ailments result from old age that in the past was unattainable due to quality of nutrients & medications available. I’ll also suggest our own industrial pollutants are responsible for new ailments that couldn’t have existed in the past since nature doesn’t dump concentrated poisons from chemicals-plants or from nuclear plants. Even so, the need for things like fire-department & medical-transportation were there centuries ago. However, many were left to die without solutions we have today.

High-speed ambulances with on-the-spot medical care are one of those innovations. So is the air-ambulance. Nothing comes without a cost of course, Kat.

“People want to live forever, but no one wants to die with dignity, except the young kids we send into battle”
Perhaps. I wonder what it takes for a person to credibly face death, knowing it’s coming eventually, and stop fearing it. It’s part of the cycle of life. From the rot of one dead thing comes the nutrients of life for everything else to be born & continue onward in time. It isn’t a choice so getting comfortable with it might be a good idea.

“There is really no point to an extended life. Slowing down the rat race would add years to peoples lives. And a more vigorous life would benefit not a few.”
Indeed, stress induces many illnesses & today people stress over nonsensical economic ideas at the same time as being robbed and so real stress without real solutions leads to one getting sick from it. Angina, heart attacks, panic attacks, misallocation of investing/savings and misallocation of nutrients like fast food & convenient garbage that fits a “work schedule” that isn’t healthy for us at all.

I’d much rather have 25 minute breaks & a 45 minute lunch and work a 10 hour day than 10 minute breaks, 30 minute rushed lunch & a 6 to 8 hour shift. I’d get more done, the company would get more but I’d be less stressed so I’d be healthier too.

“You haven’t much faith in human nature. If Ford had not existed to enrich himself to such extreme, we would have found another way.”
That’s a nice theory but one can always argue that if there was a way someone else would have done it. Ford did a lot to enrich his own employees in the face of other employers who didn’t think they ought to raise wages. I haven’t a lot of faith in ANYTHING, so to lack faith on this one topic is par for the course for me, Kat.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

Ed, thanks for the kind words, my writing is often very flawed.  That pogo reference, yes, I’ve used it.  I forget where I heard ‘know thyself’?  But yes, why not admit fault, find it, learn from it, why deny it? 

If we go back through this thread, how many pages now, I think we’d find a lot of interesting stuff.  Our minds are complicated, our society is complicated, both are degrees of magnitude more dynamic and environmentally dependent that we can comprehend.  It is a huge effort and really, it’s beyond me, but I keep asking questions.

An aside?  A crazy troll once accused me of being part of a ‘boiler room operation’.  Typical, the troll accuses you of that of which they are guilty.  But, do you see evidence of these ‘boiler room operations’?  I ask in reference to Hedges quote,
“It can hire informants, send in clandestine agents, recruit members within the movement by offering legal immunity, churn out a steady stream of divisive propaganda and amass huge databases and clandestine operations centers.” 

How much of that do you think goes on here at TD?  It’s just a couple of guys like Ozark Michael, who is right-wing but not one of the indecent extremists, right?  I mean, do they coach trolls?  How to fit in?  How to disrupt and not blow your cover?  I think I could do it if I wanted to, and I concede, to an unobjectionable person, I might look like one.  I don;e just go along with the dogma, or party lines.  I question everything.  Everything.  I find fault on both ‘sides’.  Well, whatever.  I still maintain my original comment that the idea of good and evil is a clever, clever age-old tactic to divide people up, control their morals, and turn them against each other to commit acts of brutality to the advantage of the church, the state, and a few select behind-the-curtain profiteering assholes.  I think the topic is worth discussing, our nature to be so easily polarized.  Did you get a chance to look up that Ernst Beck book?  I think it was ‘Escape from Evil’.  The tendency to polarize may be in our DNA by now because it’s a mechanism that helps groups bond together to survive.  Fascinating.  Whether you’re good or evil depends which side of the war your on!  The foot soldiers on both sides think they’re the good ones.  Isn’t his sort of discussion relevant to any movement? 

Look, if this tendency to polarize is indeed in our DNA, it’s there.  We can’t remove it.  It’s there with things like jealousy, envy, greed, etc.  Can we find new ways to live with these faults, and to avoid them being used against us?  This is what I’d like Occupy to consider.  Broadening it’s scope to include very fundamental things.  Perhaps previous movements of past centuries have attempted this, but perhaps only now are we coming to a point of understanding, having survived so much peril as a species, and being so close to catastrophe, that we might have a chance again to develop ways to recognize and mitigate the effects of our faults?  Yea, I’m a dreamer.

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By elisalouisa, March 16, 2012 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

“I have spent a fair amount of time trying to examine exactly what is the 99% and the 1%. .  .  .  .  One thing I have been saying in various ways is that ‘we are the 1% and they are us.’ ”

The 1% controls. The Federal Reserve is at their beck and call. They make and bend the rules. They participate in insider trading, having advance knowledge. They know where the wind blows as to government financing. Can you really compare yourself to the 1%? The 1% made a mint on government bailouts. They knew when to get in and out of various stocks. The 99% is still hoping for better times. It’s the 1% who get the better times through manipulation of the financial world. Their manipulation is now global.

Again the 1% is who they are because they were in the right place at the right time.

Quite a bit of chicanery went into becoming the 1%. For want of conscience they gained control where those more inclined to reflect remained true to themselves. Now there is total control by the 1% as to government and finances. Their power is limitless and their concern for “the people” is not even 1%. That is the new morality.

Perhaps that is what Occupy is about.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

If I may comment on KatS’s comment of March 16 at 9:07
I think you and others including myself have suggest that car culture and over-reliance on cars, etc has gotten out of hand.  For someone to take the notion to an extreme, that is ‘NO cars’, NO to anything with wheels it might as well go, is a form of absurd argument which is falacious.  There is a name for it which escapes me.  It can probably be found on this list: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

This is what I’m talking about.  We had a perfectly valid discussion about cars, the various costs (in a broad sense), and doggone it, to say the original issues we were discussing by using that tactic of taking the argument to an extreme and absurd example, then trying to invalidate all the work and points of the preceding discussion, well, it’s just dirty pool.  It’s the sort of thing ‘operatives’ do.  Disruptors. 

Let’s get back on those original points about cars.  Yes, some of us love them, they’re shiney toys for older boys, but like many material things, they’re more or less sold to us to ‘get the girl’.  I can;t go into it fully either. I’m a little tired of this today, but the totality of the topic of ‘car culture’ relates to so many things that make us give ourselves ulcers.  We bought into cars big-time to enhance quality of life, and the Model T may have actually done that, but Detroit soon learned how to tap our vanity, our jealousy.  Again I sound like a broken record, but aren’t ‘we’ to blame for buying into them?  We could have stuck with the Model T.  Cheap, reliable, serviceable, flexible.  But why did we the masses start moving to the more oppulent designs of Chrystler, Dodge, and the hundreds of other fancier cars of that day?

Those underlying problems are still with us.  Am I crazy to be asking that we consider looking at our nature, and trying to figure out if and how the Occupy movement might incorporate this very fundamental cause of so many of our problems? 

Again the 1% is who they are because they were in the right place at the right time.  Our general nature is the same.  Yes, among the 1% and the 99% there are truly extreme bad ones, pathological psychopathic, sociopaths, but are they the problem?  Those sorts IMO make up a tiny, tiny fraction of the population. It is the basic nature of all the rest of us that could make any member of the 99% into a 1%er had they been in that right place at the right time.  So, let’s ferret out the true sociopaths, especially the ones in the 1%, fine, but we’ll still be left with our human faults, the jealousies, vanity, sloth stuff.  If we fail to recognize and deal with this stuff, will we accomplish much? 

But KatStevens, yes, we do need to reign in some of these idiotic automotive and transportation situations that have evolved.  As an aside and apologies if this is ‘chatty’, I am thinking of putting an electric motor and two car batteries on my mountain bike.  I’m afraid my motorcycling days are over, but that sloth thing kicks up in me when I think about pedaling too damn far.  Perhaps I can evolve the electric bike into a bike with a cart, then perhaps a tiny car?

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

“It’s been close to three weeks now and
counting, and there aren’t any visible signs of the
situation abating.”

Indeed, Foucauldian, indeed.

The group choosing to reply seems to have little interest in seeking yes/no on violence, any credible definition of violence. We almost kind-of sort-of headed in the right direction about technological solutions. Can’t see eye to eye even on the very definitions of fascism, socialism & capitalism.
I think, perhaps, no one really got panties all in a knot over defining anarchism. Wow, that’s some progress.

The Ed-troll wants to have his way & I suspect perhaps few people will now bother reading it.
John is not a troll. John is an actual psycopath. It’s not hard to bust them but there’s 2 key strategies that must be employed:
#1 without knowing who it is you leave hints & opportunities to show/fail to show empathy over the life & safety of others
#2 you always make sure that “if the person finds out you found out” there is no chance to act out a threat (or an action with no warning) like the threat John made.

Had this been in-person it would have switched from a medium-hot debate to potentially me being stabbed in the ribs or something. As it happens a lot of jail-folk live in my area so I have a kevlar vest in particular to handle this. Seriously, many are not fully self-aware of the danger they pose, many are mentally unwell not of any personal cause or choice to begin with, so this is simply a good choice that’s cheaper than moving.

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

“o, no, I’ll not be intimidated by your threat, and I demand an immediate apology or I will report you to TruthDig”

I reported you before I made my reply. If you ever made that threat to my face I’d kill you on the spot. It’s self-defense once you make a credible threat to my safety or that of my family, 100% lawful.

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

I think everyone else should keep in mind that it’s bat-shit crazy to
a) suggest there is no good and evil
b) suggest torturing someone’s family members to convince them of an assertion

and of all things John did both at the same time.
Ed, you & I aren’t going to agree about lots of things but John’s now in a whole other league. We don’t need to see eye to eye but neither of us can gain by currying favor with a proven psychopath.

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

John, you’ve only proven my previous older argument from weeks ago. You are layer 1.

2 layers exist of people arguing there is no good & evil. layer 2 are stupid people & very common. layer 1 are evil people who know better.

You’re busted, John. Everyone will be able to spot you. As a psychopath you’re unable to feel empathy or even comprehend it. You have no basis in experience of right & wrong so you have no idea how to cover up what you say or do that reveals you enjoy harming others.

It’s only a matter of time before you slip up. They ALL slip up. You slipped, John.
I give a 65% chance or higher that you would be one of the people in a PET-scan showing pleasure-response from seeing animals or children tortured. The only question remaining in my mind is if it’s sexual or not to you.

You’re busted.

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By Ed Romano, March 16, 2012 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

John, You post one of the more cogent items I’ve seen here. Don’t agree with all of it, but it is very well put together and well worth thinking about…..Reminds me of something POGO once said….We have met the enemy and he is us.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

So, I re-read Hedges article above.  Paragraph 3 and paragraph 1 on page 2 jumped out at me on this particular read. 

Paragraph 3, because it warns us of the various ‘agents’, and the second to last sentence I think is noteworthy.  I hi-light this particular segment relative to the ‘tussle’ I’ve had here recently, and the battle of the last three weeks.  Many of us know very well what a logical fallacy is and what a legitimate and illegitimate use is of the various tactics of reasonable discussion.  I might be vociferous, but I don;t make intentional misrepresentations or use tactics which derail legitimate lines of discussion.

Regarding the first paragraph on page two, ‘exposing the lies’, the emperor has no clothes, and getting at the nut of the truths here.  This is a team sport.  I try to get at what I think are relevant issues, things which we should acknowledge if they are pleasant or not.  I have spent a fair amount of time trying to examine exactly what is the 99% and the 1%.  This is at the very core of this movement being honest, and I do it in a way so as to allow the movement to come to grips with this vagary so we understand the full ramifications of our demands. 

I reiterate a current opinion, not presented as some ‘truth’, but possibly containing a good deal of truth.  You judge.  One thing I have been saying in various ways is that “we are the 1% and they are us.”  The chimera.  Either this is extremely uncomfortable for people to consider, or they are not listening, and that is fine. 

What do I mean by this?  We are they, they are us?  WE are integrated and interrelated deeply.  Look for example at say, a retired school teacher.  Her 401K or state retirement plan is so intertwined with the a lot of diversified activities on Wall Street that the movement can;t just ‘tear the system down’, as Hedges points out.  There are many people who rely on the legitimate side of the financial industry.  How can the system be reformed unless we get to a point where very specific illegitimate practices are identified, and the perpetrators, and let’s not forget…....the forces which set these illegitimate activities in motion.  This is where the ‘meet the new boss’ idea comes in.  So we get rid of Bernie Madoff, a scapegoat, but that leaves every lousy bit of the derivatives markets in place, good and bad.  So, all these complex and interrelated causes, the need to make such high returns, the incredible pressure to cheat, etc. need examined, yes?  This notion of the integrated economy, is it not relevant to rebuilding an economy where we don’t rely on the fraction of every financial trading which exists on what amounts to shell games, ponzi schemes, using some of our best minds to figure out how to fool and cheat people?

None of this is a simple isolated problem or it would have been solved long ago.  IMO, we’ve built it up over decades, some aspects go back centuries, other millennium.  The contributing factors to our current mess are far more interrelated and complex than the most advanced technology we’ve dreamed of.  A space flight analogy?  One can’t restrict discussion to just the SRB’s (solid rocket boosters) if one is to understand an entire space shuttle program.  So this idea that the 99% and 1% are the same is uncomfortable but germane.  If we could forcibly change the distribution of wealth, it would end up exactly where it is if we were not to change the system.  To do that we must delve into all the parts.  That takes seemingly meandering conversation, and patience?

Why do I spend so much of my time trying to point this out?  I can’t say.  I think it helps us better understand the nature of the problems.  Do I think anything will come of it?  Probably not, but perhaps.  I have to try.  We need to find all the Bernie Madoffs varieties, imprison them, and understand what shaped them.

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By katsteevns, March 16, 2012 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

“No cars = no trucks, no trucks & vans means nobody moving around a city and no deliveries with low cost low time and most important of all… NO AMBULANCES.”

Streetcars, remember the streetcars? Remember the horses that drew them? People managed pretty well at that point. There was plenty of “energy” back then. The automobile craze shows how that energy was misdirected.

“NO AMBULANCES”

There is quite alot of evidence to show that many of the modern day ailments did not exist in earlier times. Some say even cancer is a product of modern “civilization”. Nowadays, we are too hung up on extending the length of life when “quality” is a much more sensible goal. People want to live forever, but no one wants to die with dignity, except the young kids we send into battle. There is really no point to an extended life. Slowing down the rat race would add years to peoples lives. And a more vigorous life would benefit not a few.

You haven’t much faith in human nature. If Ford had not existed to enrich himself to such extreme, we would have found another way. This world would be a far different place if people and institutions would measure the consequences of their actions in an objective way and act accordingly. But we don’t.

Justin: The answer to your next few questions is “yes”. But there are obstacles and hindrances that that I am afraid I haven’t the energy or fortitude left to tackle. One needs a driving force complementary to one’s strengths and weaknesses. I don’t have that.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

Ed, it’s not your carotid he mentioned!  But, OK, I’ll let it pass.  One more threat like that though, and I’m going to report and bring allies.  He is trying to be intimidating, and that can’t prevail.

Foucauldian and all,  Please, please jump in and steer the thing as you would.  I welcome it.  It only has the feel of a private chat room because nobody is taking the initiative to ‘go with it’. 

So anyway, this ongoing ‘conversation’, pointless as it may or may not be, is a conversation.  It is not silence.  I admit my agenda.  Let me state it clearly:  To eventually, after initial postings to a particular article have quieted down, to facilitate ongoing conversations.  To perhaps hope (in vain?) that we can learn from each other, refine our positions, find new articles and books, all that stuff.  I’d not be at all surprised if it is not the specific object of true malevolent trolls to shut down this sort of conversation. 

So, hey, I’m far, far from perfect, and I only know what I know, and please simply ignore my postings if you dislike my content or style, but I think a lively chat in these spaces is very valuable even if (especially if) it goes off the original topic of the articles.  The interrelationships and dynamics of all these issues is an issue that we’ve been involved with, and that topic, integration and interrelationships of problems, gets scant coverage.  How would you even begin to write an article about it? 

Now, Foucauldian specifically, I think at one time you wanted to take a detour into a theoretical discussion about Hobbes vs. Locke?  Hey, go for it.  I’m not going to get too involved, but we can have multiple threads going here.  If you find a community, why not participate?  It’s a new world, and we are all feeling our way.  So, a little grace all around?  Peace to all.

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By Foucauldian, March 16, 2012 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

I’m not a “governmental type” either, and I
certainly don’t fancy to impinge on anybody else’s
style of conversation, but this thread has
definitely assumed a character of a private chat
room.  It’s been close to three weeks now and
counting, and there aren’t any visible signs of the
situation abating.

So since you’ve asked, I must second Ana’s and EL’s
sentiments at this time.  If I look at this thread
now and then, it’s been only out of sheer curiosity
as I wonder how long you guys are going to insist on
posting while having no conversation.

There’s just no point.

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By Anarcissie, March 16, 2012 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

I just look at the convo here very occasionally.  If you guys are having a good time, far be it from me to interfere with your pleasure.

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By Ed Romano, March 16, 2012 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

John, I see that you are to be tortured as a lesson to you…a lessen you will not be able to excercise since you are to be killed immediately after. .... My feeling is that we don’t want to start turning each other in at this point…that is something we should leave to government types. They’re expert at that kind of thing. BUT if we all agreed to simply ignore the poster….after awhile he may tone down somewhat or disapppear althogether.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

I hope Anarchissie you don’t consider the issue of good-vs-evil to be vacuous.  There has been a lot of discussion for years about parallels between where our democracy is heading and the third reich.  Issues of coercion, of good-evil, of intimidation, etc, are relevant.  This is exactly the sort of thing that ‘must not be forgotten’.

I hope you don’t think also that I set out to provoke anybody.  Perhaps you are referring to Mr. Case?  I try to stick to whatever point comfortable or not, and if an occasional person gets aggravated, their problem, and certainly not my intent. 

I am not a provocateur, however; I may occasionally stumble into a provocative argument, and I view backing away from the provocative a job for somebody else.  I wish I could say I was perfectly civil and that I never put in a little barb on occasion, but you of all people should know my style by now.  I find uncomfortable and unpopular topics the most interesting, and the most productive for self-discovery purposes. 

And I know I’m not on your favorite persons list because I’ve wrangled with you on anarchism, and likely called you highly naive at least.

So, Anarchissie, I ask for clarification.  If you want me gone from TD, this incident can be spun either way.  I suspect that in such disputes there is little time for editors to actually get to the truth in the matter.  But I stand by my posts.  Thank You.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

Dear fellow truthdiggers. 

Some of you like me, some of you don’t, I know I blabber on too much for some.  I’m just trying to keep conversations alive here. 

But, recently, things have gone over the line.  I made a post on March 15 at 4:18 pm, which Mr. Justin Case turned into something it was clearly not.  Twisting logic is par for the course, and one must have a thick skin about such things.  However, in Justin Cases post of March 16 at 3:45 am, he went way, way too far to be considered civil.  I believe ‘beyond civil’ is highly euphemistic.  I am on the verge of asking you, follow posters, to join me in reporting Justin.  I have mixed feelings about this. 

The forum, after some time, turns into a sort of ‘chat room’, where interactive discussion happens.  Real democracy.  So, unless something is extreme enough, I don;t want to be one to disturb ‘conversations’ which may get a little rough.  I’ve tolerated many instances of ‘name calling’ substituted for reasonable arguments, and that comes with the territory.  But this latest outburst?  Well, I leave it to each of you to please consider if the line has been crossed. 

Please comment. Thank You.

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By Anarcissie, March 16, 2012 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

Besides ordinary trolls, there is a type we might call the ‘autotroll’ who not only provokes others but himself into vacuous arguments and exchanges of personal abuse.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 6:30 am Link to this comment

Wow, incredible.  Instead of re-reading my post as suggested, and perhaps apologizing, you re-accuse by twisting both my words and intent

Not only that, you actually do make a very direct threat to stab a very particular part of my body with a particular home-made instrument. 

Just throwing in the word ‘hypothetical’ does not negate your threat when accompanied by the phrases “You have nowhere to hide now, John.”
and “Watch your actual mouth.”

I will not be intimidated.  Period.  I made a hypothetical argument, which is made routinely in the discussion of morals, ethics, and has been made in the media.  There was an episode of a TV program called ‘Law and Order’ years ago which made the exact depiction. 

The classic case, and this is NOT some disturbed mind saying this, it is a valid hypothetical which forces one to make a difficult moral choice.  The case is a person forced to commit torture or their loved ones will be killed or tortured.  There has been extensive discussion of this hypothetical and it is a classic method to make people realize that good people can be forced to do bad things.  I’ll bet every kid that goes through an ethics course in college hears this exact case. 

So, no, I’ll not be intimidated by your threat, and I demand an immediate apology or I will report you to TruthDig.  I might report you anyway.  I don’t think you deserve the courtesy of an opportunity to apologize.

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By Justin Case, March 16, 2012 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

Only an evil sadist threatens to “hypothetically” torture a family.
I’ll hypothetically stab you neck with a pipe until your head tears off if you do it again.

Those who can not tell right from wrong are psychopaths.
You are a psychopath. You clearly can’t tell right from wrong, good from evil, and intend to see how many more are out there.
You will find, as statistics have shown over the years, that the psychopath is rare. You will remain alone. BUT you are also now identified.

You have nowhere to hide now, John.
My hypothetical sharp cut off pipe, your hypothetical carotid. Watch your actual mouth.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 16, 2012 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

Regarding the Justin Case, post of March 15 at 7:49 pm

This is BOGUS!..READ my post AGAIN. You accuse others of not reading.  This is a hypothetical to prove a point, and CLEARLY NOT a threat. 

Making an accusation like this is slanderous.  You are disgusting.

And you evade the central question yet again.  You get ‘bested’ in an argument and twist it into something it’s not. 


Elisalouisa…..my granddad inadvertently instilled me with part of my natural skepticism by saying, ” believe only half of what your read, about 10% of what you hear” .......that was pre-internet, when there were responsible editors and fact checkers.

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By Justin Case, March 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

“Wlisalouisa,  You sure about that 58,000 a year?  C’mon, this is bogus”
It is NOT bogus.
Abductions & murders by strangers, of children, is common enough that any ignorance you put forth is insane to act as if it is “not a real problem”. Most “abductions by relatives” are misclassified by law enforcement to decide which “parent or guardian” is the abductor and which is not, when in fact it could be that law enforcement is mistaken to label either one as such. Of course now that you’ve exposed yourself as really evil, John, everyone should give you the finger & ignore you.

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By Justin Case, March 15, 2012 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

It’s clear to me John that you are evil after the threat you made about my family.
Personally I hope you are killed and tortured.
Not because I would enjoy it - I would not.
The killing would keep my family safe - and others you may have threatened.
The torture would be to teach you a lesson. The more you want it for others the more you deserve it.
May you be shot dead after being skinned alive.

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By Justin Case, March 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment

“We need something very close to the degree of integration we’ve got if we’re to produce the infrastructure for a new energy economy. “

No we don’t. It’s the one thing STOPPING us. This integration is paramount to slavery. Critical slavery infrastructure & without it, we can begin to build for real. We need co-operation without integration or we get integrated slavery-control & no building.

“Those carbon fibers?  Don’t absolutely need them for a flywheel, but probably do need them for a wind turbine.”
For flywheel batteries that store months to years of power, as needed on-demand, per unit then yes we definitely need the carbon-fiber wheels.

“Problem is those materials are brought to you by some of the same nasties that brought the Nazi’s.”
NO, that’s not true. Carbon-fiber is something anyone can do nowadays though quality will be best with those who have the most experience.

It’s layers, sheets, not nanofiber wires and other much more complicated stuff.

“If the economics of a situation demanded it they would cut their mother’s throats”
Brain-washing, Ed. Marx was a liar.
No capitalist would ever do that because all theft & violence is 100% anti-capitalist AND very few people in ANY system would hand over their mother / kill their mother, ever, for any price.
You’ve been badly brainwashed, Ed. Marx tells lies and the best you can do is to bury Marx as a dead fraud.

“No more asphalt shingles!  Illegalize them!  Solar panels all around, subsidized as necessary. “
John? You’re not expert roofer, certainly no expert on energy technologies. Solar-panels have until recently been an energy-costing & money-losing proposition. Subsidizing is evil: it means others who know better will pay for your mistakes by force. That’s bad socialism & bad anti-market acting. It has proven to fail so far. Newer technologies may yet prove impressive but using government force is evil in this regard. It’s like demanding everyone use a horse & buggy or a particular brand of vehicle & make everyone ELSE pay for it even if they know it’s bullshit.

today it IS bullshit.

“A flywheel-motor-generator pit in every backyard”
such IGNORANCE.
Some people don’t have a yard big enough for that. Some people have no yard AT ALL.
Seriously, try to think about this before you write it.
Large-scale for city-use means entire neighborhoods need to be built around (after) banks of such flywheel batteries. Or add some distance with transmission wires (loss) while the power companies (there should never be just one) send from their flywheel banks.

“Smart meters to sell power both ways without enriching do-nothing middlemen.  On and on and on”
FRAUD.
Most smart-meters are reporting bad numbers and costing people extra. Most grids are not equipped to sell power back even if you produce it so you can at most cut your bill to zero. If you produce in excess you can store it but you can’t send it back.

“But the stinkers insistence to describe good and bad in some arbitrary moral way is ego-centric.  “
Nope. Proven science. No model, no theory, no ego. Pure science.
“If Justin thinks himself among the ‘good’ ones, well, let’s give him a job in a political prison with the responsibility of torturing prisoners.”
You speak nonsense. It is because I’m a good person I’d be compelled to stop people from getting into prison, to stop laws from making good actions defined as “criminal” and to stop people from torturing each other for pleasure. You’re very words are total nonsense.

If anyone tortures my family I’ll kill the entire family tree of that person.
I have the means & I would do it gladly to protect my family.
THAT’S YOUR FIRST AND LAST WARNING,
I have THE MEANS. LAST WARNING. DO NOT REPEAT YOUR ERROR.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

I absolutely did go to the link.  I didn’t take each sentence as gospel.  It’s just an article, and there are many articles written by people with vested interests.  The topic is too important for that.

And if I to like to kibbutz, so what? sue me.  None of us is going to reach the kingdom anyway.  Might as well see things as they are though, not through rose-colored glasses.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

oh yea, I was wondering why all the anxiety that’s been manufactured surrounding child abductions?  This just in…..
http://www.spychips.com/verichip/verichip-photos-instructions.html

I swear there are people out there who will not be happy until every last person is chipped and every movement is under control.  Could be a small factor in the hype.

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By elisalouisa, March 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

You didn’t even go to the link that provided the information. That’s how open
minded you are John. There certainly is no progress there.
I think you just like to gossip John and with no intent to offend I cannot help but notice that you’re all having a great time being negative more than working toward what may be beneficial to a negative situation.
And another thing, none of you are close to the kingdom. grin

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

Elisalouisa, You may or may not be right, I’m poking around here so far…..

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2007/01/800000_missing_kids_really.html

So, yes, 58,200 is a number I’ve seen in the report above, but I don;t know exactly what that means.  Your article says ‘Typically strangers who abduct children….......”, but that doesn’t say exactly what the criteria is for the 58,000 number. 

So, I’m trying to check legal definitions and other sources…...
http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac/non-family-abductions

I will say I’d watch those coaches and volunteers though.  I’ve run into a few so-called ‘responsible adults’ in positions of authority over kids who I wouldn’t trust for a millisecond.  You’re familiar with the Jerry Sandusky case and his famous ‘Second Mile’ program?  Apparently Sandsky developed his predilections in the gym in his youth.  That one guy allegedly abused (without kidnapping them) perhaps 10 boys, perhaps more, and allegedly. 

So, whatever the number we feel comfortable with, perhaps 58,000 will pan out, one must consider if they’re going from the frying pan into the fire with those oh-so reassuring ‘organized activities’.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

Ed,  sure, go with the easy money.  Perhaps it shows we need ‘easy money’ to build good things.  You know some of these guys aren’t used to competing for business, yes, they go for the sure thing.  Gummint money.

Wlisalouisa,  You sure about that 58,000 a year?  C’mon, this is bogus.  I’m going to look into it more, but my impression (yes, just an impression) is that we’ve been made to be far more scared than we need to be.  Isolating families and keeping people running scared serves some purpose, and I’m not sure what it is.  I know it makes great news coverage, and if you ever listen to the tone of voice of some of those newscasts, they make each and every story (serious or not) to be so, so aggravating.  It’s like there’s a mission in the national media to keep people afraid and aggravated.

How about all these really gruesome movies, the slash ‘em up stuff?  Why do people watch it?  Why do they make so, so many?  Aren’t we generally staying freaked out and isn;t they hype artificial? 

You may be right, and I’ll dig more.  It’s not a trivial subject, and I had my kids in all that crap, ad did way, way too much volunteering myself back in the day.  I ended getting sick of the pukey parents who dropped responsibility in somebody else s lap.  You’d be surprised how many showed up to pick up their kids reeking of booze or floating on pills. 

Anyway, the question is what is the reality of the child abduction thing.  The whole prostitot pagants thing they hold in Texas is disturbing as hell.  Those are sick, sick mommas.  And the audiences have to be pedophiles.  I concede there are a lot of sick people out there who are under the radar, but 58,000 abductions a year?  My BS detector is beeping on that one.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment

OK, ED, I had to look.  Road kill.  He occasionally brings up a good issue, but to say it’s done without finesse or panache is too euphemistic to be accurate.  I must say he’s just plain obnoxious.

The LED thing I addressed with my last post.  The 99% needs a plan and to be educated on how to re-shape the technological infrastructure by identifying the individuals who have habitually behaved badly, then put all that juicy technology to work building good productive stuff that lasts generation after generation.  No more asphalt shingles!  Illegalize them!  Solar panels all around, subsidized as necessary.  A flywheel-motor-generator pit in every backyard.  A battery bank tacked on to every garden shed and garage.  Smart meters to sell power both ways without enriching do-nothing middlemen.  On and on and on.

But the stinkers insistence to describe good and bad in some arbitrary moral way is ego-centric.  And I will say over-simplistic, and showing a general ignorance of the range of human behaviors.  If Justin thinks himself among the ‘good’ ones, well, let’s give him a job in a political prison with the responsibility of torturing prisoners.  If he refuses, we have someone else torture his family.  Let’s see how long he resists doing bad things.

Anybody (beside Justin) care to drill down on this whole good-vs-evil thing a bit?  I am under the delusion I may have some modest insight.

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By Ed Romano, March 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

Yes John…Thar’s gold in them thar corpses. I am not as liberal as you when it comes to folks who head up industrial complexes. Marx said that the capitalist is just as much a prisoner as the worker inasmuch as he/she must operate according to the demands of the system.If the economics of a situation demanded it they would cut their mother’s throats….  The reason why these armament and chemical companies are eager to work for the government is that ,unlike the manufactuers of consumer goods, their profits are guaranteed. When I escaped from the Navy I went out to Chicago looking for work. There were about 14 different companies making t.v.‘s and radios in those days. Today there are none. Raytheon was one of those compaanies, but they got out of the business when they found that it was far more profitable to make missiles for Uncle Sam.

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By elisalouisa, March 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

It is not fair to the parents and extended family to portray children as fat and sitting in front of a TV set instead of engaging in sports and activities of their choice. In remaining silent one is admitting that such nonsense is true.

Quote from link below:Child abduction by a stranger usually ends badly.  Each year, approximately 58,000 missing children are abducted by non-family members. Typically, strangers who kidnap children commit their crimes with intent to harm their young victims. In nearly 80 percent of non-family child abductions cases, the victim is sexually assaulted or physically abused by the perpetrator.

Every day, these offenders lure unsuspecting children into vehicles and homes. Most of these kids are not prepared for the reality of “stranger danger” and, therefore, tend to trust unknown adults.”

Link below provides more information.

http://www.volunteerguide.org/hours/service-projects/child-abduction

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

(Ed, I hear ya, trying to look the other way.)

Oh, another issue, touched, but not adequately.  “Degree of economic integration and the military industrial complex.” 

We need something very close to the degree of integration we’ve got if we’re to produce the infrastructure for a new energy economy.  Those carbon fibers?  Don’t absolutely need them for a flywheel, but probably do need them for a wind turbine.  Same for all sorts of materials and technologies for medical stuff, energy transfer stuff, even bio related energy harvesting. 

Problem is those materials are brought to you by some of the same nasties that brought the Nazi’s.  Industrialists without conscience.  But not all industrialists, even not all military suppliers are bad.  Many would do other things if they could.  Many have just survived (nicely, thank you) on regular government contracts since WWII.  A sort of welfare? Perhaps.  But, if we don;t paint everybody with a broad brush, and ferret our the proven nasties from those who might be re-tasked to a new energy economy, it might be perfectly possible to maintain all the great materials and technologies to use for a really superb future, and somehow, let the ones who have been secretly promoting war by corrupting our politicians hang out on the vine to die in full public view.  I’m talking get names of the nasty CEO’s, board members, henchmen, and upper level managers.  Hold them accountable. 

War material takes so much energy to produce, then what do you get?  A big explosion, corpses and maimed people.  You get hardly any lasting infrastructure that produces energy, food or shelter on an ongoing basis.  Well, the Corps of Engineers is the exception and has done some wonderful infrastructure which actually produces clean energy to this day. (many small hydro dams in the East), and the dykes and levies and lock systems are pretty sarn good stuff too.

So, what I’m saying, is I apologize for occasionally getting carried away and blaming a generic boogie man like ‘the military industrial complex’.  Even a group like that needs careful examination because we can;t afford to throw the babies out with the dirty bath water.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

We’ve been conditioned to think the kids will get abducted if they play unsupervised.  Most abductions and shootings are by a relative.  And with all the ‘organized’ sports…...training to obey authority, and not think too far outside a carefully controlled box.  Less imagination involved, and parents taking responsibility for safety which is withheld from the kids to their detriment.  See ‘helicopter parents’ and ‘30-something living in your basement’.    Then the spoiled shits end up thinking they’re ‘special’.  It’s all part of raising a self-centered, instant gratifications seeking, materialistic society.  Cut ‘em loose, they’ll do much better.

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By Ed Romano, March 15, 2012 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

See what I mean ?

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By elisalouisa, March 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

Kat: And the television has brought all the kids in from outside. Note the silence in the neighborhoods…at least the suburban ones. See a basketball hoop anywhere?

If truth be told, people are afraid to have their kids play outside in front. Also, there are a myriad of organized physical activities that take place in gyms, baseball fields, football fields and backyards. There’s swimming, soccer, cheerleading and also Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies, Cubs, boxing, karate, just to name a few reasons why kids are not out front. They do ride bikes and scooters outside under the careful supervision of an adult. Another thing, I see a lot of basketball hoops, usually on the strret, I wish I didn’t.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

Good points Kat.  Sitcoms back to the 60’s selling soap and making the common vision of the American Dream.

The culture ‘they’ molded ‘us’ into now has mass.  Half a century of mass.  Once money streams are flowing, it’s tough to divert them to better uses.  We have to change our underlying culture, the one we developed after ‘the good old days’, knowing we can never return to ‘the good old days’, and that such a herculean task will not be self funding….....without some damn good ideas.  Ideas that can’t be diverted.

To trace the evolution of the television sitcom probably couldn’t;t have much forward-going applications I think, but it might show us what Hollywood and Madison Ave thought about the lowest common denominator of consumer through the years.  Ever pleasant.  Nothing too disturbing.

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By Justin Case, March 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

“tuna fish cans cut down to five ounces where it was six and a half and sold at the same or a higher price”
Ed, shall I be specific? Can I do that without you freaking out on me?
Tuna is in short supply. Some are contaminated from fukushima. Dollars are high in supply. Money-printing from central banks is leaving too much inflation in the system so until wages catch up (not likely) the prices will be too high (relative to hours-worked).

“cigarette manufacturers pumping extra nicotine into cigarettes in order to make it more difficult to quit the habit”
then quit. I’ve been cutting down without trying too hard. Was a pack a day, now I’m around 3 smokes a day. Find important/fun things to do where you need both hands busy or can’t have smoke around. Don’t smoke in the house. Justify that as keeping the house in better shape & all the things in it too. It’s true. Lots of people can’t even tell I’m a smoker now, no signature smell following me around.

“Let’s hope our little pal doesn’t decide to “educate” us on this matter.”
I know so much ON the matter for you to dismiss what I have to offer is very short-sighted, Ed.

“I do think we should develop the wisdom to know what the hell to do with our public airwaves if we did ever take them back.  Shit, now it’s all routers and fiber-cable.  How the hell do you take that back?”
John: you lay your own cables. You learn to use digital packet HAM radio. You learn to use laser-optic line-of-sight. You learn to use bluetooth ad-hoc networking. You learn & you adapt. You detach from the existing system & make one that’s more reliable. You’ll have a trade off: you’ll lose some speed & some regions at first but you’ll gain in reliability & keeping OUT Of the control of the overlords. At some point it will still come to force to secure the lines (except wireless) & the end-points (your home, your land).

You can’t secure the wireless space from jamming. That’s just how it is.

“Anyhow, back to the washers, I wish I had a nickle for every washer and TV set that ended up in a landfill.”
Plenty of washers then & now make it to recycling. Scrap metal’s a good business.

“There was even an optimism about the future in the 50’s that could have been directed intelligently, but nooooooo….  we were coached and coddled, psychologically manipulated to think of ourselves, our possessions, our position in society.  Taught to think we were better”
No. What really happened was overlord control to teach people to believe they were not going to be enslaved, ever, so that they would be enslaved and would not fight back. Critical thinking & resource-independence/hoarding was off the table, it was all government top-down control & fiat currencies from there. The fascist overtaking with corporations was beefed up after the non-fascist feudal lordship by government alone kept showing it was failing to secure control. All the rest is illusion.

“See?  We have become bad.  Good people are behaving poorly”
No. Good people are doing no bad things. stupid people are doing stupid things. It’s not “bad” because there is no intent and no understanding of the consequences. All bad people do harmful things with specific intent & enjoyment of the act. By definition the common Stupids are unable to comprehend the nature of their dilemma.

No one’s “become” bad.

“We all buy the stuff they are selling.  ‘We’ buy what ‘they’ sell, and ‘we’ are ‘they’.”
NO.
I must stop this brain-washing immediately.
You buy NOTHING. It’s all ILLUSION.
You LOSE energy & time to feed your overlords.
They choose to LET you have a few baubles, of every sort & variety that are low-cost (for them) to bring to you (the slave) so you won’t fight back. It’s all illusion. None of this is buying or selling because you have only YOUR LIFE, YOUR DEBT, to trade. No real money, assets traded, trinkets of no value saving/improving life. It’s all illusion.

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By Justin Case, March 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

We need to pull back the curtain to make sure people can see it’s all an illusion.

“may come only through suffering and deprivation I’m afraid. Empathy towards others is a learned thing, I think.””

Scientific studies reveal that in mammals empathy is not learned, it’s intrinsic. Sure, some isolated individuals will not feel it - in particular the ones I’ve mentioned that are hard-wired wrong - but most mammals MUST feel it. It’s not a choice. Cuddling, protecting family members, children, looking out for the pack/tribe/etc is how mammals operate. It’s hard-wired into us. Bear, monkey, rabbit, human, ape, tiger, lion, we all have empathy. Evolution’s selected it with us because it helps us all live longer & better.

“How about a rejection of the digital society?  Revisit swap meets, build meets, physical hobbies.  Dig out those old ham and CB radio operators.  Backyard mechanics”
I’d agree + add a revision of the “digital society” is that it be an anti-corporate, open-sourced digital society. That all the production, programming & education of what’s digital stop coming from the corporate monsters.

“But to return to LED lighting…a DC infrastructure in ones home, low voltage and reasonably low current gives at least a reason to start installing a battery in a closet somewhere”
Sounds good but there’s a down-side: who’s going to make the LED’s? Blue LED’s are needed for white-light out of them & this expensive corporate technology is not in the hands of any open-source community. It may be visible from a patent-search. Maybe that’s a good plan there but the manufacture will not be easy.

“realizes this is the same logic used to show that poor people are oppressed for their labor ? No. NO. NO.”
Ed, I’ve said this very thing a hundred times now. You just need to learn how to read.
Poor people who are FORCED or who are STUPID will be oppressed. If it’s not force then education is needed to teach people to refuse to consent. If it IS FORCE then those people need to be ARMED and taught to fight, escape or kill.

“In a matter of a few years so many people bought washers and dryers that the laundries went out of business. And that’s how it happened that the home washing machines became not a luxury but a necessity because there was no longer any alternative.”
Where I live Ed this does not happen. Certainly some people have their own but there’s 2 costs: there’s the weight+time cost of moving/fixing and there’s the resale-loss from moving & energy of operations. For people who move frequently or who prefer to have no machine to maintain at all there’s the laundromat & there’s lots of them around me.

“What I’m driving at is that there is never any discussion, on a national level, as to whether or not we want nuclear power plants”
Yes there is. It may not be fully informed but it’s there & has been there decades.

“federal facilities that produce germ and poison gas bombs, air bags in cars because the manufacturers are now producing cars that fold up like paper in a crash because the makers put much less metal in them”
THIS is a problem of overlords removing choice, removing consent. NO one has demand for such things so it’s just removed.
I’m sure a person can justify the benefits of a cheaper, lighter vehicle but there’s downside not always considered & the choice was simply not there. As for the weapons, no, no sane person authorizes bio-weapons or chemical weapons.

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By Justin Case, March 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

“So, why haven’t the great minds created a think tank at this point?”
It’s not just great minds, it’s opportunity & part of that is not being brainwashed. I have no doubt one of the greatest minds needed for this task is out there somewhere, able to overthrow the brainwashing but has not yet been discovered nor has seen through the ruse. Probably only 12 to 15 now and by the time he/she is 18 would be ready. An undiscovered Einstein if you will. The answers we need will be far from obvious but we can pave the way, Kat.

“If the people will let Bush lead them to Iraq, maybe they can be lead somewhere else as well, a better place maybe. There is eveidence for this in those who stood up and voted for the “YES WE CAN” guy. He turned out to be the “same as the old boss” guy. But like I said, initially, people need to know what they are missing. They have to want a better world BAD enough to make the necessary sacrifices. And there has to be a visible light at the end of the tunnel.”
Call me crazy - clearly some here will - but I don’t think the solution to this will happen inside USA borders.

“WE must take advantage of economies of scale, so cooperation is required, or cheaper electricity controlled by the 1% will always dominate and enslave”
True, John (finally we can agree). I think fuel cells & home-made batteries are the key. It’s not enough, reduction of reliance on devices needing electricity is good too. So many things which are mechanical work devices could in fact be driven by pedal-power or steam-power. These are great ways to get around induction losses & problems storing power in batteries. Then for important (purpose) electronics, that if programmed & designed properly can use very little power, you’ll get lots of hours/days/years out of a battery.

“Kat hit on a point worth digging down into…..car culture.  It’s a pinnacle of vanity fueled consumerism”
I never suffered from it. I question how much is driven by bad city-design so that work-places are too far from living-places. When that happens of course we must question the foolishness of a person who can’t/won’t find a different place to live or work to reduce this distance. Then we need to question if those choices are themselves too costly & were considered. Backing up to vanity then, we should of course question if/how a person decided to use more “money” or more “credit” to get a car at higher cost that serves no better purpose yet was “to show off”. I know a couple of people who have got “kit cars” so they did part of the work & it’s for show & non-employment performance on the road. Not whatsoever critical to making money/moving stuff/travel.

“Self-oriented materialism, inspired through media and social pressure, seems the polar opposite of empathy”
John, it’s not what you think.
It’s the MATRIX.
It’s not meant to get people to be greedy or selfish. It’s meant to make people feel happy & not lacking. Because unhappy people who are lacking aren’t blind to the shackles they wear.
It’s meant to be the prison you can’t see or smell or touch.
The prison is one’s own denial that they are not slaves if they have “nice” things, even if every definition is twisted about what it really cost, what cost is for example (Debt? time? assets? work-energy?) ... what’s a “nice” thing to have? Is it a $10 iPhone or $2 SWATCH that was marked up to prove it isn’t a garbage-trinket?
It’s all slave-fashion & slave-suggestions to convince one they are not a slave.
The cage with the fattest hamster with the most bling is still a cage holding a pet hamster with no consent under its overlord - a human.
Well we’re all hamsters of all varieties with all levels of bling or no bling, excess needed supplies or too few, all under the overlords. That’s what we’re not supposed to see.

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