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The Corporate State Wins Again

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Posted on Apr 24, 2011
White House / Lawrence Jackson

This is what the White House has to say about this photo: “At a townhall from Facebook HQ, the President speaks on his plan to get our fiscal house in order while keeping our commitments to seniors and ensuring the burden is shared by the wealthiest Americans, not just foisted on the middle class.”

By Chris Hedges

When did our democracy die? When did it irrevocably transform itself into a lifeless farce and absurd political theater? When did the press, labor, universities and the Democratic Party—which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible—wither and atrophy? When did reform through electoral politics become a form of magical thinking? When did the dead hand of the corporate state become unassailable?

The body politic was mortally wounded during the long, slow strangulation of ideas and priorities during the Red Scare and the Cold War. Its bastard child, the war on terror, inherited the iconography and language of permanent war and fear. The battle against internal and external enemies became the excuse to funnel trillions in taxpayer funds and government resources to the war industry, curtail civil liberties and abandon social welfare. Skeptics, critics and dissenters were ridiculed and ignored. The FBI, Homeland Security and the CIA enforced ideological conformity. Debate over the expansion of empire became taboo. Secrecy, the anointing of specialized elites to run our affairs and the steady intrusion of the state into the private lives of citizens conditioned us to totalitarian practices. Sheldon Wolin points out in “Democracy Incorporated” that this configuration of corporate power, which he calls “inverted totalitarianism,” is not like “Mein Kampf” or “The Communist Manifesto,” the result of a premeditated plot. It grew, Wolin writes, from “a set of effects produced by actions or practices undertaken in ignorance of their lasting consequences.” 

Corporate capitalism—because it was trumpeted throughout the Cold War as a bulwark against communism—expanded with fewer and fewer government regulations and legal impediments. Capitalism was seen as an unalloyed good. It was not required to be socially responsible. Any impediment to its growth, whether in the form of trust-busting, union activity or regulation, was condemned as a step toward socialism and capitulation. Every corporation is a despotic fiefdom, a mini-dictatorship. And by the end Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs had grafted their totalitarian structures onto the state.

The Cold War also bequeathed to us the species of the neoliberal. The neoliberal enthusiastically embraces “national security” as the highest good.  The neoliberal—composed of the gullible and cynical careerists—parrots back the mantra of endless war and corporate capitalism as an inevitable form of human progress. Globalization, the neoliberal assures us, is the route to a worldwide utopia. Empire and war are vehicles for lofty human values. Greg Mortenson, the disgraced author of “Three Cups of Tea,” tapped into this formula. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq or Afghanistan are ignored or dismissed as the cost of progress. We are bringing democracy to Iraq, liberating the women of Afghanistan, defying the evil clerics in Iran, ridding the world of terrorists and protecting Israel. Those who oppose us do not have legitimate grievances. They need to be educated. It is a fantasy. But to name our own evil is to be banished. 

We continue to talk about personalities—Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama—although the heads of state or elected officials in Congress have become largely irrelevant. Lobbyists write the bills. Lobbyists get them passed. Lobbyists make sure you get the money to be elected. And lobbyists employ you when you get out of office. Those who hold actual power are the tiny elite who manage the corporations. Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, in their book “Winner-Take-All Politics,” point out that the share of national income of the top 0.1 percent of Americans since 1974 has grown from 2.7 to 12.3 percent. One in six American workers may be without a job. Some 40 million Americans may live in poverty, with tens of millions more living in a category called “near poverty.” Six million people may be forced from their homes because of foreclosures and bank repossessions. But while the masses suffer, Goldman Sachs, one of the financial firms most responsible for the evaporation of $17 trillion in wages, savings and wealth of small investors and shareholders, is giddily handing out $17.5 billion in compensation to its managers, including $12.6 million to its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.

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The massive redistribution of wealth, as Hacker and Pierson write, happened because lawmakers and public officials were, in essence, hired to permit it to happen. It was not a conspiracy. The process was transparent. It did not require the formation of a new political party or movement. It was the result of inertia by our political and intellectual class, which in the face of expanding corporate power found it personally profitable to facilitate it or look the other way. The armies of lobbyists, who write the legislation, bankroll political campaigns and disseminate propaganda, have been able to short-circuit the electorate. Hacker and Pierson pinpoint the administration of Jimmy Carter as the start of our descent, but I think it began long before with Woodrow Wilson, the ideology of permanent war and the capacity by public relations to manufacture consent. Empires die over such long stretches of time that the exact moment when terminal decline becomes irreversible is probably impossible to document. That we are at the end, however, is beyond dispute. 

The rhetoric of the Democratic Party and the neoliberals sustains the illusion of participatory democracy. The Democrats and their liberal apologists offer minor palliatives and a feel-your-pain language to mask the cruelty and goals of the corporate state. The reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism will be cemented into place whether it is delivered by Democrats, who are pushing us there at 60 miles an hour, or Republicans, who are barreling toward it at 100 miles an hour. Wolin writes, “By fostering an illusion among the powerless classes” that it can make their interests a priority, the Democratic Party “pacifies and thereby defines the style of an opposition party in an inverted totalitarian system.” The Democrats are always able to offer up a least-worst alternative while, in fact, doing little or nothing to thwart the march toward corporate collectivism. 


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By MaH#NAhmuhna, July 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You lot aren’t cut out for survivalism. You’ve got no gun culture and no weapons stockpiles, let alone any gunsmithing expertise. Enjoy becoming hamburger.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 11, 2011 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Kulu,
Corporations also face a sort of dilema…...if one ‘comes out’, it becomes a target and the wolves are always hungry.  Also, if we were able to put them in a position to prove they’re good, which we aren’t, how??  Though I hate the treatment of corporations as people, I think we should assume a sort of innocence, but promote whistleblower laws with serious support for the whistleblowers.  Find the bad ones.  Promote ‘corporate citizenship, and corporate nationalism.  Global or supra-national corporatism just lets the bad ones hop from one labor market to another.  Or from one regulatory environment to another.  So, the logical extension is we ultimately, to protect any environment on the planet, need to be tough against nations which tolerate poor corporate citizenship, namely human abuse and environmental abuse.  Unfortunately, this makes us a bit guilty in the US, and we need certainly to clean up our act. 

But back on the topic…..if this battle does not come to a middle ground, that is, if the corps are assumed guilty, it will just continue to go polarized, and the battle of the “corporate humans”, (i.e. corps defined as having the same rights an individuals) will continue against real humans, even intensify, and we real humans will lose. 

A seeming reality is that corporations do tend to behave as humans…....when threatened, real or perceived, adversaries bind together against the threat.  Decent human governments are a threat to corporations.  They tax and regulate, and this is why that conglomeration known as ‘corporate America’ (now the global corp-oligarchy) supports all efforts to hamstring the government.  And, while they’re at it, why not privatize all the juicy bits of government that can be made unbelievably lucrative?  They’ve had control of our money for over a century and are doing very well with it, but that’s another topic.

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By kulu, May 11, 2011 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

John Best,

If there are good corporations, I don’t hear them speaking out against the bad ones. I would suggest the safest bet is to put the onus on each corporation to prove it is a good “corporate citizen”. (As if corporations are really citizens in the first place and not just artifacts for their controllers to hide behind.)

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 11, 2011 at 4:32 am Link to this comment

Lefeller,
The website is tricky, but if you can get it to run, it’s quite interesting…..it shows interlocking boards of directors on various companies, political parties, how ‘influential people’ are interconnected…...all very graphic, and once it’s running, very easy to use.  It’s worth it.

REdslider…..I agree with standards for not only people, but products.  Quality over quantity.  Interchangeability, serviceability, respect for the older stuff, and recognition that it should be maintained and invested in.  I’m not sure if that refers to things, people or both, but the philosophy is the exact opposite of planned obsolescence in products, generating waste, and treating people like a commodity.  I suspoec the reason no-one replied to your approach is not a problem with the approach, but with the import of goods from labor markets where the standards are not applied.  It’s a bit all ot nothing.  Most of our population, to their extreme detriment, is unwittingly supporting laisse faire capatalism.  The so-called ‘free’-trade which allows the most vulnerable populations of labor to be exploited.  And, to be fair, the US has an artificially high cost of labor for knowledge workers because housing prices, insurances, litigation costs, etc, go to support a large population of persons of questionable productivity…..overhead.  Our lifestyle is also very wasteful….look at the effort that goes into producing some of the cars and homes.  This effort has to be paid for, which artificially drives up labor costs, which makes even our ‘competitive’ sectors like ‘knowledge workers’ more expensive than they need to be.  In other words, our lifestyle of the rich and famous is killing us.

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By Leefeller, May 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

Red, I find your comments interesting and a bit intriguing. There are many Good housekeeping seals out their,... the UL label, others for automobiles, insurance and of course Consumers Reports,  what I find is most could be tainted by the same thing which makes politics objectionable, cronyism and watering down from the original intent to make sales or get advertising. The organic standards is a prime example, but that is a government operation now.

I am not saying it cannot be done,... but acceptance by a supportive number of people would be necessary to help finance the program to keep it going, possibly a non profit? s

It would be important for the idea to be as pure and to keep the original intent without becoming bureaucratic and cop like?  It would need to have no connection to government


My personal interest would be in the planning and the development stages and connecting with made in the USA products and possibly services.

Yes if they happen to be union products, prices are usually higher, as an individual I am willing to pay the difference or go without. Maybe this could be a way of bonding unions and business?

Red as you commented, how many others are willing to pay higher prices? I may be the only one, but I am a stikler for quality and attempt to avoid junk. 

There are a few companies out there which treat their employees like family (not my family) with compassion and seem to care about their employees welfare. I believe they are doing well, I remember reading about them, but cannot recall what companies.  I maintain Business does not need to be mercenary and heartless to operate. Probably why I am not in the big time and at the top of the alleged ladder of success.

sidenote:
Boeing is attempting to move part of their operation out of Washington state to a southern right to work state, this is how the Unions are busted, it seems to me moving a plant is a huge expense, but labor appears to always be a main factor in these corporate decisions.

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By redslider, May 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

@Leefeller -

There are a number of projects that “We The People” can undertake, without the need for permission from either the government or private enterprise. One of them can not only test for the presence of institutions and corporations with a decent ‘humanity standard’ (i.e. set of acceptable principles and ethics), but create and encourage their formation. That project proposes the creation of a certifying organization that would draft a set of enforceable ethical standards for corporations on matters of labor, environment, product safety and efficacy, consumer protection and relations, lobbying, campaign practices, advertising and marketing, and so on.  Imagine I kind of super ‘good-housekeeping seal of approval’.  Companies which sign on and adhere to those standards get a decal/symbol for their products, advertising, etc.; and, stores which only carry certified products would also get a decal to put in their window.

The standards would have to be reasonable and comprehensive as well as enforceable.  A company which violates them, not only loses certification, it must (by contract) repair any damage that may have been done by its violation.

In time, it will certainly be known which companies are qualified for your ‘humanity award’ and which are not.  The important part is that the standards and compliance can be made visible to the public.  Such a project would also test whether the public (in sufficient numbers) even wants to rein in their corporations. Products from certified companies will undoubtedly cost more. Are people willing to pay the extra, or even do without in some circumstances, when they know that buying from uncertified businesses tantamount to destroying their communities, undermining their own security and wages and supports the destruction of their society? 

I’m not sure even half the population really gives a damn. But, if they do, then not only will a lot of power be withdrawn from corporations very quickly; in time, such an institution would put those that don’t comply out of business. It would be a mark of Cain, not to have such certification. The difference of this, from, say, the ‘greenwashing’  that co-opts environmental labels, is that it comes with a contractual obligation that cannot be forged.  Corporations would not have the opportunity to employ 3000 definitions of the term “organic” or “living wage” or “environmental damage”.... Such terms would all be spelled out in large print in the standards for certification, that anyone could read and compare with the real behavior of any corporation.

My hunch is that people would not create any such instrument nor employ it if it were handed to them. I don’t know why not. I do know, in several years of making this suggestion and noting that it did not require approval of anyone to undertake such a project, not a single person even bothered to ask how to go about it, let alone made any effort to assemble the parts and get it going.

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By Leefeller, May 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

John Best, I could not access the link for some reason, but I understand not all.  Stereotyping is really simple and one hell of a lot easier.  Not all southerners are KKK members, not all Republicans are fascists (pure speculation) and not all corporations are into screwing the public.  I do not know if the link you provided shows honest corporations, ones that care about our republic and not just their bottom line profits and power with the elimination of competition.

One only need look at the Oil companies and their obscene profits while we get screwed at the pumps to see something is not right.

A potential project may be to find and exalt corporations with a “humanity corpy award” .... appreciation award, of some kind, for companies who work with employees and unions in the ongoing support of the USAs rights and liberties and caring of the people, community and possibly provides services or products made in the USA?  We probably have a short list to choose from?

Finding exceptional corporations and companies in the same way as the Webby award TD just won may be one option?

Good cop bad cop is one way to look at it, I just do not know if it is really that easy?

The whole political spectrum seems to obfuscate and appears to divide on purpose so accountability, integrity and compassion appear non existent.

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By Topanga Rose, May 10, 2011 at 11:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve long understood that the rightwing is committed and determined to destroy community. This is obvious in their comments, the persons they deride, their detest of the greater good, etc., etc., etc. 
The greater good is’socialism’ i.e., the Gateway to Communism.
Pure genius, ya?

Oh please! Protect us from Communism!

The wizard asks: ‘Where can I get me some of that Communism, Leon???

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 10, 2011 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Lefeller:
How about…...
Republicans = bad cop
Democrats = good cop
The rest of us = scared shitless in the hot seat?
Who’s the chief of police?  Interlocking boards of directors and their lobbyists? 

Seen this one?  http://www.theyrule.net/ 

I’m not saying some general corporate bashing thing here….....but the ruthless ones are making life very difficult for the better corporate citizens.  Freaking MBA culture.  Bad underlying toxin since the ‘80’s at least.

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By Leefeller, May 10, 2011 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

My choosing of the GOP is preferred because they are the ones attacking in a united offensive, while the Democrats seem to be sitting on their hands.  I suppose both sides can sell off to the highest bidder, but the GOP has been doing it with lock step experience since Reagan.

Some not all the Dems seem to still have a bit of integrity, but it seems the Dems can also be selected by the money changers. Hence blue ball Democrats! I see the Republicans leading the offensive charge and the Democrats trying to keep up. Both parties seem to be complicate in the grand scheme as I see it. I chooes not to focus on the dithering Democrats.

The Republicans are leading the Offensive against the unwashed masses and the Democrats possibly pretending indecision?

We can only go by what we find here and on other web articles and the very manipulated little bit found on the MSM,  sometimes I feel we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.  Guess we should be keeping an eye on the Dems to see just how complicit they are in the grand scheme of things. 

Ardee you asked me what can we do? All I can offer is to be aware and attempt to know who is doing it,  what is going on, why they are doing it. GOP is leading the charge against the people, so I prefer to direct my focus on them.

I beleive it was in New Jersey where the Democratic majority voted against the right to collective bargaining, so I know the Democrats can be and are also tainted,  they can be bought off just like the GOP, possibly the Dems are showing up later to the show? Maybe they will catch up and accelerate the demise of our Republic into what I have been talking about?  A well know fact has always been, ...just follow the money!

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By ardee, May 10, 2011 at 2:54 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, May 10 at 1:45 am

Certainly, except that you choose, for whatever reason, to blame only the GOP when the evidence is quite plain that both major parties are responsible.

John Best, May 10 at 1:07 am

A post which shines with clarity and logic, totally wasted on its intended recipient sadly.

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By Leefeller, May 10, 2011 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

From what I can tell watching the GOP pimping our nation at state and federal levels to the highest bidders seems so damn apparent, even a Republican should be able to grasp the visuals.

From the rising prices of food and fuel, the average person must also see the handwriting on the wall. Tea Bags seem to be mostly middle class, but their party was conscripted by the same wealthy benefactors and their agendas choreographed.

I maintain our country seems to be slowly fulfilling Britts 14 points of Fascism in a leap frog way. Here are two of Britts points addressing the topic at hand. Number 9 Power of corporations protected and number 10 Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. 

“9. Power of corporations protected”

by Dr. Laurence Britt

“Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.”

“10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated “

by Dr. Laurence Britt

“Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.”
 

Since the supremes have made corporations people too and unions are being attacked at state levels, maybe the GOP is moving up their Fascist scheduling?  Anyone is welcome to discuss why this is or is not so?

I would like to hear why people should not be allowed to collectively bargain one of the most important commodities in the world,... labor?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 10, 2011 at 1:07 am Link to this comment

@Lew Ciefer,  So, governments aren’t perfect?  Nothing new there…....
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” -Churchill

And,

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” - Jefferson

I’m fairly sure that your precise view of what should be done will be immediately far, far worse than most systems thus.  “Doing quite well” is exactly the point.  If they are ‘doing quite well’, we don’t need to get our drawers in a knot.  When they go foul, the eternal vigilance of Jefferson better kick in in a civil way before the loonies of the extremes get empowered. 

I hate to use this overly simplistic left-right model they designed for the mentally challenged, but as far as I’m concerned the loonies on the left are as bad as the loonies on the right.  Until the nut-bags out there start to recognize when they are carrying someone elses water by repeating rhetoric they don’t understand, we’ll stay wrapped around the axle and your life will keep getting worse. 

You are right about human nature.  So?  What to do?  A vacuum of government?  Har-dee-har-har.  Just turn the killing process over to minions of the very worst of the private sector?  That’s clearly the worst of two bad alternatives.  Look at them…..first thing, kill the items of the social contract our young and old depend on and have paid for.  Education, medicare, social security.  We’ve paid into these things and those greedy bastards want to steal them through privatization.  Is that what you support?

So governments drift under the influence of flawed humans?  Get with the program and support a micro-revolution as often as necessary to throw out the corruption is the thing that works best so far.  Get a third party going. 

Your problem is that you offer no solution, only, kill it.  Unfortunately, you’re carrying water for those who would kill the good parts that serve the common good, and they’d continue to strengthen the parts that serve special interests. 

Ardee and I probably agree to get rid of corruption that serves those damn parasitic special interests which do not make a clear contribution to infrastructure which produced clear, real long-term increases in our productive capitol. 

And yes, we need money, but not money manipulate-able by excessive numbers of banking parasites.  Money must represent real wealth, not IOU’s that may or may not pay back, and certainly there should be an extreme minimum speculative component in US currency. 

What I find selectively blind is that those folks who rail against government blindly (and are not specifically selective about the good or bad areas), is that they are completely blind to the extreme abuses and control of markets exercised by certain elements of the private sector.  Those same fallible humans you complain about in government are running the bad corporations that ruin the market for the good ones.  How about that?

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By kulu, May 9, 2011 at 11:32 pm Link to this comment

Lew,

I think you have a point when you claim all (I would say most, not all) countries etc “grow increasingly worse for the majority that is coerced to support it” [their government]. But some grow worse at a much slower pace than others, eg the Scandinavian countries and Europe in general. Others grow better like many in South America have since they have thrown off the yoke of, often American encouraged, repressive governments.

You also denigrate political ideologies specifically Marxist/socialist ones but at the same time you are trying to promote your own, claiming less government is a preferable way to go. You need to provide some evidence for this if your argument is to carry any weight.

I don’t know what the answer is but a couple of things are unquestionable. 1)Capitalism as it has become has reached its use-by date and is increasingly dysfunctional, particularly in the US, as income and wealth disparities are increasing at an alarming rate leading to all sorts of undesirable consequences on citizen’s welfare. (Read The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett or listen to/watch a talk or interview with them - google it.) 2) The socialist countries, with more equally distributed income are at the top of the pile when it comes to a host of criteria related to human well-being while the more neo-liberal countries like the US, UK and Australia are at the bottom.

One further point - you claim it is inherently part of human nature to form governing systems that are exploitative and lead to steadily worsening outcomes for the majority of citizens (not exactly your words but my understanding of their meaning). Well I don’t think this is necessarily the case as a great many people including most of those posting here have more altruistic values than those that lead to exploitation on a grand scale. Unfortunately there are many of those actually exploited who live in ignorance of that fact and end up party to their own exploitation. Values in my view are not hard-wired to the nth degree and are capable of being influenced by the society/environment in which the live.

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By ardee, May 8, 2011 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

You and Ardee do not answer the question because you know full well that there has never been a nation, country, state, or empire that did not grow increasingly worse for the majority that is coerced to support it while simultaneously growing increasingly better for those few that compose and control and manipulate it for their benefit.

I believe that your question has been answered, and several times, including the mentioning of certain governments in fact.. Not liking a response is not an excuse for claiming there was no such. None so blind and all that…..

What’s really hilarious about the American left is that they decry capitalism while demanding more socialism behind a façade of democracy, never realizing that communism and socialism are destroyers of democracy. And they say that the Tea party base is stupid!

What is actually hilarious is your belief that this last paragraph is an intellectual expose. Well, it actually does expose you as a rather shallow thinker and all that, but that is just a neat side effect.

I agree with Mr. Best in his noting of the Scandinavian nations as a refutation of your nonsense. That there has never been a true communist government on this planet ( perhaps on your own home planet this differs) and your insistence that there has been seems to point out that you have never read Marx, or just ignore him to make yet another spurious point.

In those nations that incorporate elements of both socialism and capitalism in their governance we find some rather well satisfied citizens, well cared for as well. Free education, free health care, heck free transportation in some cases.

The American worker is one of the most stressed and overworked in the entire industrialized world, and comments by some jackwagon with limited understanding of his subject matter notwithstanding ( that’s you by the by..noted because your reading comprehension skills seem doubtful, based entirely on your history of posting here) that is fact.

Methinks you are yet another incarnation of our resident far right wing liar and loon, GRYM and each subsequent post of yours makes me more certain.

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By Lew Ciefer, May 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

@ John Best, May 4 at 6:08 pm

The question wasn’t “loaded.” It is a very legitimate question that gets all you political ideologues’ drawers knotted up because it forces you to look at the truth of the failure that is human government; especially human government based on Marxist poo poo ideology.

“Doing quite well” isn’t the point. Almost all of them “do quite well” at first, or if you prefer to use your own word ...“UNTIL” ... it’s the “until” that kicks all of our asses.

The “government” is not a living entity; it is—like private banks—a human made institution which provides a legal framework which from within other human beings function. Those same ills that prevail to thoroughly corrupt the private banking system that you abhor are also present throughout the so-called government corrupting every bit as much and even more so. In recent history we have had several governmental systems in which there was no private banking system and the populations of those nations suffered a far worse fate than those of ours. I don’t recall any cases where people clandestinely attempted escape, fearing for their very lives, from a Western nation to the warm embrace and freedom of the U.S.S.R., Mao’s China or North Korea.

Government is not the answer to what ails humanity. People in China have a lot of government and little of anything else. People in North Korea have so much government that it runs out of their asses; there have been reports of North Koreans eating tree bark and grass to survive a few days longer. Vietnam is united under a Marxist regime and in order to have any kind of a sustainable economy is—like Red China before it—adopting capitalist principles.

Political ideology DOES NOT and CANNOT change human nature any more than Jesus and being born again. Political ideologues are cut from the same cloth as religious fundamentalist whackos. Like their religious fundamentalist cousins they are—although erroneously label atheists by theists—fanatical believers in god; the difference being that the political ideologues’ god is the State.

All States require a banking system. Be that system private or public they share at least one very important aspect. They are run by human beings with self-interests.

You and Ardee do not answer the question because you know full well that there has never been a nation, country, state, or empire that did not grow increasingly worse for the majority that is coerced to support it while simultaneously growing increasingly better for those few that compose and control and manipulate it for their benefit.

What’s really hilarious about the American left is that they decry capitalism while demanding more socialism behind a façade of democracy, never realizing that communism and socialism are destroyers of democracy. And they say that the Tea party base is stupid!

“When politics are used to allocate resources, the resources all end up being allocated to politics.” -P.J. O’Rourke

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By Eaglemount, May 7, 2011 at 11:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, Your interviews are compelling to those of us who see the country bowing to corporate and special interest’s structures.  You call for disrupting channels of consumption as a remedy to ‘The Corporate Rape of U.S’. 

Here’s another way to disrupt the corporate hold on politics and legislation in our country, and one I see as a necessary first step.

http://signon.org/sign/public-funding-of-elected

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, May 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Lew Ciefer,  I, like Ardee aren’t obliged to answer a question as posed.  I like Ardee’s ‘unloading’ of the question and consider it a perfectly reasonable alternative.  You might thank him for responding at all, and have the tenacity to try and tease your point from his answer, if indeed your point can stand free and clear of a narrow framework.

I’ll say the Scandinavians seem to be doing quite well.  Farther West, Iceland was doing nicely until they were persuaded to experiment with bank privatization.  But I partially make your point….corruption of government leads to the concentration of wealth and power to which you elude, but you mention only this mechanism within government, when the real driving force is out there in the private sector.  There are those among the well to do who should never have wealth.  They have infected many of the wealthy with the same fear-mongering and greed-stoking that is used on the plebs.  Try on Carnegies ‘Gospel of Wealth’.

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By katsteevns, May 4, 2011 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

The only result that I can think of by a hunger strike would be to wake up the citizenry; to get the debate down to a personal level, get people talking instead of relying on their televisions to guild their lives.
We need to act while we still have some resources, not wait until we are all slaves living on subsistence pay. The only way to get many more people involved in change is to bring the fight home and into our communities. Right now we are being nickel and dimed to death. It’s a slow process designed to discourage resistance and IT WORKS. When people start seeing people in their own communities standing up and saying “NO” to empire with this kind of self-sacrifice, everyone will be forced to choose sides and back it up with action.

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By Lew Ciefer, May 3, 2011 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

@ Ardee Trollbuster:

The level of ad hominem, equivocation, and furious intensity of your screed indicates how utterly delusional and indefensible is your argument(?).

I didn’t ask “for nations in which govt has made the lot of its citizens better” BUT RATHER ... if you could name a nation, country, empire, etc. where the government “did not grow increasingly worse for the majority that is coerced to support it and increasingly better for those few that compose and control and manipulate it for their benefit.” Those two statements are not inverses of each other.

The reason you cannot name such a nation, country, empire, etc. where that is not the case is because there aren’t any. ALL governments grow increasingly worse for the majorities that are coerced into supporting it for those few that compose, control, and manipulate it for their benefit. That’s a major reason for revolutions.

Socialism, communism, republicanism, democracy, theocracy, etc. ALWAYS FAIL because of HUMAN BEINGS being what they are.

There is no such thing as equality. It’s an IMPOSSIBILTY! All life is naturally UNEQUAL ... that’s why some 98% or more of all life forms to have ever existed on this rock are extinct.

You shouldn’t take personally that for which you are not responsible. You’re just another ape born into a much less than perfect world looking for answers in all the wrong places. There is no such thing as a single set of democratic ideals. Like “liberty” one cannot find a single definition of what the hell democracy is or is supposed to be. That’s why I’m of the opinion—belief if you prefer—that in order for “democracy” to work—as well as any humanly managed system can—it has to be in small, homogenous entities. These massive, culturally, ethic, and linguistically diverse populations, the so-called social democracies, are a joke. Western governments are 21st century social oligarchies not social democracies. Communism and socialism are the destruction of democracy.

And the U.S. “democracy” was definitely “lost” with the war between the states due to the over-powering federalism which resulted from that war.

Hell is imperfect beings trying to create a perfect world.

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By rancone, May 3, 2011 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

By redslider, May 2 at 9:20 pm

1. “You are certainly not alone, thinking that being able to clearly elucidate principles of one’s political and social beliefs would challenge many.” caused my post.

2.”... our grandchildren will not be scratching their heads and saying, “What could they have been thinking?””

We differ in perception of what the constitution is. My perception is that it is the original document circa 1789, 27 amendments, and all the SCOTUS decisions that have defined and implemented those items and lesser laws and courts that exist to provide perpetuity to a society for the common good. Note: All as provided for in the original document.

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By ardee, May 3, 2011 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

oh Lucifer

Read more carefully, but then that is not your style is it? You may seek to distort, like your alter ego,Grimm, rather than respond to an accurate representation of anothers post. But that is what makes you a slime trail leaving troll in the first place, now isnt it?

You asked for nations in which govt has made the lot of its citizens better and I responded:

As a citizen of these United States my concern is with conditions and policies here. I claim no expertise in how others view and exclaim or declaim their own conditions and governance. I could indeed go on almost endlessly on the disparities between entitlements here and abroad, especially in the fact that, though we here spend about double the amount of the second most expensive health care industry we place thirty seventh in actual care received. Unless, of course, you are wealthy.

To this you demonstrate your lack of worth by claiming that I couldn’t name any. You are indeed a miserable jackwagon indeed. The gist of my comment is emboldened to make comprehension easier for you, but then it isn’t honest dialogue you seek, only lying propaganda, exactly like your alter ego

You think that no one on these pages understands your weasel words? You are wrong indeed.

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By redslider, May 2, 2011 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

Rancone,

I’m not sure why my name is on your last post (it’s good to quote specifically what you are referring to when responding to someone else’s comment.)

The two things that seem to point back to earlier (way earlier) posts of mine are:

1. The Constitution, which I regard as nothing more or less than a barometer that roughly tells us how far or close we are to some ideals that were suggested within the framework of those documents.  At that, it is an imperfect document which as we have seen, is subject to imperfections, abuses and distortions which need periodic re-tuning, cleaning and, sometimes, overhauling;

2.  As far as the Founders, they were not super-beings or prophetic wisemen, and their productions were not meant to be the perfect instrument - only a perfection of instruments used before to guide the social reality that employed them.  Incomplete and imperfect instruments that would require substantial adjustment, perhaps replacement, in the future. Most of the Founders themselves cautioned this to be the case.

Otherwise, I don’t see what your remarks have to do with my posts, and wonder that you attached my name to them.

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By redslider, May 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

Rancone - do you have some prophetic wisdom that permits you to see that our grandchildren will not be scratching their heads and saying, “What could they have been thinking?”

Is there some terminal thought that makes Marx & Smith the alpha and omega of all social and economic theory? I dare say people were saying the same thing in every generation going back to the time of Solon.

Even physics, the most material and unchangeable of all invariant histories is completely rediscovered and reformulated with new human understanding, nearly every generation.  Why should something as mercurial as social structure and its possibilities stop at some fixed point in time and say, “This and nothing more”?  What could such a position embrace other than prophecy, unless it be arrogance?

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By rancone, May 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

By redslider, May 2 at 7:17 pm
Notes of a liberal, progressive, secular …
These are the notes of a liberal, progressive, secular and perhaps revolutionist. These were our founding fathers values. These are not the values of the original colonists nor of the rugged but ultra independent frontiersman. The founding fathers first gave us an unique value system in the declaration of independence and then gave us the constitution to replace the weak and ineffective Articles of Confederation. The constitution created a complicated three headed federal government to keep any one entity from absolute power. But the Federal government is a requirement of a society that is built to last. The preamble to the constitution lays out succinctly why a strong federal government is required. The constitution was created in a very clever way to achieve unity of society, without the majority trampling the rights of the rest of society. The constitution is how we protect our society from degenerating into a society of a certain religion; of a certain race; of a certain gender; of a certain sexual preference; of a certain economic class etc.
In myself and others I look for a liberal perspective of what is about us - a liberal view, generous in thought , word and deed toward others and other things we encounter.
In myself and others I look for a progressive attitude toward the possibilities of tomorrow, a recognition that except for our limitations of thought and spirit, today would be as universally better as tomorrow will be if we allow it to be so.
In myself and others I expect a secular dialogue in matters of commerce and government. I recognize and respect in each their religion or the absence of a religion or the denial of religion, each and all a unique and un-provable viewpoint. I also recognize and respect that this uniqueness disqualifies this aspect of each of our lives from interfering with the business of our mutually shared society and government.
In myself, as I cannot speak or place expectations on others, I would hope to be an active revolutionist if need be in being able to extend these values for ourselves but most especially for our Posterity.

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By rancone, May 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

By DieDaily, May 2 at 5:54 am

The presence is the full accumulation of history - not retreating to a pretend do over and the presence is something we can begin with to change tomorrow.

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By redslider, May 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

Lewfeller,  Thanks for responding; yes, I also have trouble with responses to/from this server.  I am, of course disappointed that you chose to decline the invitation. I understand and respect your decision (for that matter, Ciefer hasn’t responded yet, so the matter seems to a moot point anyway).

I agree, and ultimately would certainly like for Hedges and Chomsky, Nader, Sanders, Wagar, etc. & leadership from all the various progressive parties sit down and thresh out what a clear and enforceable set of principles would be for a unified party.  Two reasons stand in the way: 1) I can’t get hold of them, even if they might agree to such a project; 2) I happen to believe that a high-level draft of such a set of principles should be the consequence of a lot of people from the grassroots sorting the matter out and sending their own lists up through the levels of party activism to place their voices first at the table of such an undertaking.  That’s just my own perspective on the matter.

You are certainly not alone, thinking that being able to clearly elucidate principles of one’s political and social beliefs would challenge many. It is easy for people to come up with issues and methods (or identify things which cause outrage), but quite different to enumerate fundamental principles upon which those things rest. Principles are generally the things we assume are there, take for granted. They are to the methods and issues what the Preamble of the Constitution is to its body.

Yet, I am of the mind that it is precisely because we have not done this exercise (well, not for about 300 years or so) that we are unable to redirect ourselves to the purposes for which our many particulars merely represent different means of achieving them. Our quarrels go on endlessly, more with one another than with some ‘enemy out there’ for this very reason. So, when I read people who seem to clearly state their positions, I try to set this dialog in motion - to see what might emerge.

Yes, I deliberately chose the examples I did.  If you’ll notice, each places a slight emphasis on differing positions and yet, stripped of particulars, all might be more or less acceptable to people from any side (one more acceptable to people right of center, another more to the left, another, I expect, splits more evenly.)  The case being, that when it comes to principles, there may not be as much difference as we imagine - and that, then, becomes the platform for unity - not the issues which divide us.

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By Leefeller, May 2, 2011 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

Red it should be noted that I prefer to take my principals one at a time, on the other hand I occasionally have principles, but have trouble with fundamental beliefs, so I will decline your invitation and suggest it would be more worthy of someone like Hedges to tell us what his principles would be like in his perfect world, after all he is the author of the Article. (people have asked him before)  And then I could provide my opinions on his principles.  Must admit your three “E” examples threw me; I suspect not only one of us is confused on the difference between having principle as first order of importance.  maybe someone like Chomsky would be another choice like Hedges to provide his lits on principles, as an anarchist he would have a different POV? 

I suppose I should be flattered for being selected as one of two relatively articulate people? (number one and number two?) makes my ego feel like I am rubbing elbows with the stars!

(By the way, I am having trouble posting, plus off and on even accessing TD, or I would have responded sooner?)

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By DieDaily, May 2, 2011 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

@rancone: Ok, understood. But I persist that the
present day is not at all without precedent. “What’s
going on?” you ask? “This is ‘What’s going on’” you
state. Whatever the case, History, and the study of
History, reveals just how little this situation is
novel. Your dichotomy between the two time periods
remains, in my estimation, wishful. What, EXACTLY, is
it that you are saying distinguishes them?

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By DieDaily, May 2, 2011 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

As fledgling and unsophisticated as MarthaA’s viewpoint
is, I’m forced to acknowledge that AT LEAST SHE READ
THE ARTICLE.

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By kulu, May 2, 2011 at 3:09 am Link to this comment

Only 100000 or 200000 recently out in protest in Wisconsin. Its not enough! If I’ve got it right the population of that state is about 6 million. You Americans (as with the rest of the West) need to do far more if the slide towards collapse is ever going to be arrested.

CH’s pieces are one small step toward the ultimate goal, voting for an alternative that does not represent the least worst option (or the worst) is another, protest and civil disobedience is yet another. Each must do whatever he/she can and make unpleasant sacrifices now to help turn it it around.

But alas, I fear it may be too late.

I’ve given up hope but still hope nonetheless.

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By redslider, May 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

Geesh Leefeller, everybody’s so suspicious smile  I don’t have any agenda. Just curious about how you and Lew would come out if we elevated this away from the details of method and issues. That’s all.  You’ll notice if you read my posts, I pretty much don’t “trounce” on anyone (even our two love-birds, though I did suggest they might do better off honeymooning with each other.)

On the thing about principles - ‘10’ was just arbitrary number - make it ‘5’ or ‘11’ if you like - I was just nudging that principles are usually a very short list, whereas methods and issues can number in the zillions. (you and Lew can decide how many principles, I don’t care).

But on ‘principles’ themselves - I guess I’m not being clear. Things like ‘education not being influenced…etc.’ is really a method/issue . What I’m trying to get at is what would you wish to attain by such a separation? That would be a principle. What kind of society would you like to have? That level of things - not the specific ways you get to some goal.

Anyway, there is no ulterior thing here. I just thought I’d like to see where two relatively articulate people from opposite sides come out if they talk about the society they’d like to generate from their respective positions. that’s all.

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By Leefeller, May 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

Red, why 10? Christians have the 10 commandants, Letterman has his 10 reasons why every evening and their are 10 hours in half a day, plus two? If I came up with 10, they would probably be interrelated and have some connecting values.

For Instance I would probably start with the concept of education not being influenced by politics, religion and ignorance. Ignorance may be a sticker, because ignorance is not in the eyes of the promoter. I could probably come up with 10 principals, but I would prefer to call attention to three at a time.

In all fairness, I would probably cheat and glean some of my principals from Britts fourteen points of fascism, (there is one of those isms again), Britts points seem very familiar to me, especially of late with the Republicans bullying through their bought and paid for agendas. Hence this article by Hedges.

Red, do you have 10 principals ready to trounce on myself and Lew? Are you doing a college assignment maybe you plan on preparing for a political campaign? If you happened to bring out the three thousand year old list which includes; Thou shalt not fornicate with thy neighbors wife”, I will be disappointed, not in the point but in the tired old same O same O! Of course I am doing what I despise from other posters, placing words in others mouths and thinking for them. Me apologies.

Red why did you select me and Lew and I suppose you could give us a reason for your request, other then curiosity, my paranoia precedes me?

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By redslider, May 1, 2011 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

Lew&Leefeller; - I would be curious to see what the two of you might offer if you were asked to list the principles of a flourishing society, what you would put at the top of your lists?

Let me explain ‘principles’.  by that, I do not mean issues or methods or programs or how to achieve principles; Not ‘socialism’ nor ‘capitalism’ nor ‘living wage’, nor ‘small government’, etc.  those are all methods of achievement. My question is about the things you would identify as aims of such methods - what a sane and healthy society might look like. What is it you want as a result? Things like,

- Eliminating war as a means of resolving differences between nations;
- Ending the condition of work-servitude whereby the essentials of life are held hostage by any other person or group of persons as a condition of their labor or behavior;
- Establishment of the biological envelope of an individual as an absolute jurisdiction, inviolable either by other persons or by the state;

(those may not be principles that would be good or to which you agree. I only offer them as examples of the difference between issues and principles.)


More interesting would be if you two agreed to post your short lists (maybe 10 principles) at some particular time - without looking at each others list first. Just curious to see what you two might come up with.

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By Lew Ciefer, May 1, 2011 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

@ Ardee:

First appearances can be deceiving. I thought you sufficiently educated to know the difference between a name and a name and surname. Ciefer rhymes with safer. Lewis Ciefer … DUH!

“As a citizen of these United States my concern is with conditions and policies here…

Right… so you are UNABLE to name a country, state, nation, etc. where it is not true that all governments grow increasingly worse for the majority that is coerced to support it and increasingly better for those few that compose and control and manipulate it for their benefit; including the U.S.

Actually I didn’t call for smaller government. I state that I’m of the opinion that democracy works best in smaller, culturally and linguistically homogenous, states.

No one has more and bigger governments than totalitarian states … how are things working out for North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, China, etc? The U.S. has a bigger more expensive government than at any other time in its history and yet here you are complaining… Ummmm.

I have made such a well-founded case for what ails the nation that you are absolutely UNABLE to refute it. Since it obviously went over your head I’ll restate it as plainly as one can … the problem with the U.S. and every other nation, state, empire, or form of human government is … tah dah … here it comes … brace yourself … are you ready? Here’s the big answer Ardee… hold your breath …

HUMAN BEINGS!

Yes, human beings fuck it all up!

Do you realize that if you could fix human beings any type of government would work? Yes, because a perfect human being wouldn’t be greedy, arrogant, a lover of power, and all those other traits considered flaws by … well … us … we human beings.

Good luck in trying to change humanity and please … try to keep the murders to as few multimillions as possible. Set a goal … like less than Mao or Stalin or Hitler or Christianity or the Roman Empire or Genghis Kahn or China or Great Britain or…

”Every civilization carries the seeds of its own destruction, and the same cycle shows in them all. The Republic is born, flourishes, decays into plutocracy, and is captured by the shoemaker whom the mercenaries and millionaires make into a king. The people invent their oppressors, and the oppressors serve the function for which they are invented.” –Mark Twain

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By Leefeller, May 1, 2011 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Lew Ciefer,

Not believing in isms, is a new one on me, is this a philosophical approach, personal something else? As I sort through the ‘isms’ in me mind those known to me and some not,... I find them; from the religious to social and political as isms which exist in vocabulary but possibly not in fact? Not believing in ‘isms’ certainly seems quite a nice mess you got us into Ollie! 

This changes the whole concept of art, for without the isms, from realism to impressionism, we move from the whole to the individual?

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By Lew Ciefer, May 1, 2011 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

@ Arouete:

“I often wonder if anyone actually reads this stuff from screeching trolls and why people even bother…

The only people reading Chris Hedges and any of this WONDERFUL are the people who can make no difference. Desperate voices in the wilderness.”

Since you’ve commented you’ve pretty much defined yourself as a “screeching troll” and a “desperate voice in the wilderness who can make no difference”, right?

I wonder just who and how—in your opinion—anyone not well connected to or a member of the ruling elite, the political class or part of the upper level henchmen class could really make a difference. Would you be kind enough to enlighten me? And while you’re at it; enlighten me also as to what “difference” you’d have them make.

I’m holding my breath in anticipation so please..

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By Lew Ciefer, May 1, 2011 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

@ Leefellar:

I don’t believe in any of the “isms” leefellar. They’re nothing but different terms invented/adopted by different groups of “us” to define how they view and want to deal with “them.”

Life is not that hard to figure out. The problem is that once you’ve really figured it out, there isn’t much time left to live it. Benjamin Button is how life should be…

As for MarthaA, obviously, she’s not only in it way over her capabilities but also—like most women—thinking with her emotions. You can’t blame her ... she, like all her comrades of the left, were duped—like those of the right with George the village idiot—into voting for a floppy-eared, PW’d, Mocha Savior who has proved himself to be nothing more than a Trojan Mule, a president “Stepin Fetchit”, for the Wall Street and the Pentagon mobs.

As Joe Bageant wrote: “Barack promised change—and sure enough, things changed for the worse.”

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By Lew Ciefer, May 1, 2011 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

@ MarthaA:

Martha with all due respect ... you haven’t a clue. You’re a perfect example of why many believe, rightly so in my opinion, that not everyone in a democratic society should be entitled to vote.

Your constant Nazi insinuations against anyone of a differing opinion are a façade constructed in hopes of concealing the fact that you’ve no argument or answers.

“The degree of one’s emotion varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts — the less you know the hotter you get.”—Bertrand Russell

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By ardee, May 1, 2011 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Well, they say that Lucifer has the ability to twist words and thoughts and charm the birds out of the trees. I offer that Lew Ciefer may adopt the name but fails to adequately match the former in verbal skills.

That is to say; that all governments grow increasingly worse for the majority that is coerced to support it and increasingly better for those few that compose and control and manipulate it for their benefit. Can you name a country, nation, state, etc. that exists today where that is not true?

As a citizen of these United States my concern is with conditions and policies here. I claim no expertise in how others view and exclaim or declaim their own conditions and governance. I could indeed go on almost endlessly on the disparities between entitlements here and abroad, especially in the fact that, though we here spend about double the amount of the second most expensive health care industry we place thirty seventh in actual care received. Unless, of course, you are wealthy.

I find your tired and almost exhaustive plaint for smaller government to be old stuff and, as we sink into third world status, primarily because the regulatory powers of our government has been so severely weakened by republican administrations as well as democratic, the need for more, not less, government protections and interventions becomes increasingly plain.

I have no clue about your sort of folks, honestly I dont. You make the excellent case that our government is inefficient yet fail to notice why this is the case. You vote for a party, GOP, that has been the willing slave of the very folks that are bringing about our economic collapse for far longer than has the Democratic Party. It is like you guys are rooting for the apocalypse, totally unaware that it is going to happen to you too!

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By Leefeller, May 1, 2011 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

I see little difference in opportunists, except in the numbers.  Libya has Gadgoofie and we have the Koochy brothers and Exon, you know the 1 percent.

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By katsteevns, May 1, 2011 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

Arouete,

I think that if gullibility were the main problem with the populous, we would be much better off. One of the main reasons why American style capitalism/imperialism flourishes is because of this countries divine providence complex. That we would not flinch when people like Foreign Secretary William Hague, Lindsey Graham and John McCain call for the assassination of Libya’s Qaddafi, this says much about the people as well.

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By Arouete, April 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment

I often wonder if anyone actually reads this stuff from screeching trolls and why people even bother but here goes:

Chris is right. But the battle is lost. The government (left and right all owned by the 1%)will push and fleece the sheep as far as they can. They will then toss over a bit of chump-change to make it appear they compromise. And the gullible sheep will suck it up and be happy they are just fleeced and not made into mutton. 

See Was Democracy Just a Moment? by By Robert D. Kaplan Atlantic 1997 http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/12/was-democracy-just-a-moment/6022/

The only people reading Chris Hedges and any of this WONDERFUL are the people who can make no difference. Desperate voices in the wilderness.

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By Leefeller, April 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

Martha A can you elaborate on why you stated the following?

Martha A addressing Lew;

“so you have to be in some way a reincarnation of
Adolph Hitler in the United States, otherwise there
would not be such a Hitleresque resemblance.”

Now, I remember in grade school, we had a teacher who had a resemblance of Hitler with almost the same hair and mustache,.... except she was only 4 feet tall. For some reason I have conjured up that old vision and suspect what Martha A looks like. 

Name calling seems out of place here, I suspect it is Lew’s full name that sticks in Martha’s craw, (I am sure she has one) when I see uncalled for bs,  I will call on it. (but only when I feel like it). 

Martha A, what did Lew say that makes him sound like Hitler?I missed it, so please enlighten me and while you are at it, being such an expert on Hitler, maybe you can define Fascism for me.  I have asked before!

Martha A has called me names in the past, I have forgotten some of them, but one which sticks in me mind, is “right wing conservative in a boiler room”. Actually like RD, I attempt not read her stuff, I would much rather watch paint dry!

Stick around Lew, it can be a rocky but fun ride here, if you just happen to be a real reincarnation of Hitler,... maybe I should ask your take on fascism?

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By MarthaA, April 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

Lew Ciefer, April 29 at 1:39 pm,

What you say is exactly what Hitler pushed to
destroy the liberal Weimar Republic in Germany, so
you have to be in some way a reincarnation of
Adolph Hitler in the United States, otherwise there
would not be such a Hitleresque resemblance.

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By redslider, April 30, 2011 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

@Lew

I find it interesting that we seem to come from opposite sides (socialism v. capitalism; society v. individual, etc.) but arrive at some very similar conclusions about the general principles of a sane society.  Perhaps you’d like to talk-it with me? Just go to my website & shoot me an email if you wish. - red

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By Lew Ciefer, April 30, 2011 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

@Ardee:

Pessimism? You’ve obviously confused realism with pessimism.

I agree with you that societies need government—any anarchist not believing that need only look at Somalia—but there is clearly something lacking in all forms of governments thus far tried by humankind. As for your Churchill quote I reply that not only is that a matter of opinion but also, and more importantly, good is not as good as better.

As I stated earlier, the root problem with all governments—as with any man-made institution—is Mankind. Human beings are the reason that no type of government—regardless of the foundational ideology—does not ever evolve toward increasing tyranny and oppression. That is to say; that all governments grow increasingly worse for the majority that is coerced to support it and increasingly better for those few that compose and control and manipulate it for their benefit. Can you name a country, nation, state, etc. that exists today where that is not true?

One of the main reasons Christianity is exposed as a complete and utter failure today is because of its inability to accomplish one of its principle dogmas; to change “the hearts of men.” Which it claims is done by the acceptance of the Christian savior and the work of its so-called holy spirit.

Socialism and communism—themselves revealed religions—also fail due to their attempts to change the “hearts of men” by accepting their savior, the State, and their holy spirit, State defined and legislated acceptable norms of human morals and behavior.

One claims to change the “hearts of men” from within and the other from without and both fail miserably.

So, to more directly address your question; if I find any form of government suitable. Of all the current forms of government now in existence on this planet—and those of the past—I find representative republicanism with free market economy (not to be confused with the prevailing Mercantilist system in the world today) the most suitable for my taste PROVIDED it is on a small scale.

What I mean is that it cannot be a massively populated and culturally diverse nation like those that exist today and what the U.S. has become. In order for a representative to properly represent a constituency the representative has to be within reach of said constituency. Yes, I mean he has to be so close that he can be made to live in fear of his own life should his constituency have an urge to rip his head off.

I feel that it has to be small and culturally and linguistically homogenous in order to function as well as human governments can. Diversity in the real world is death!

A major complaint in the nation today is that of a dumbed-down population. F.A. Hayek explains, eloquently, in chapter 10 of his book “Road To Serfdom” why dumbing down of massive populations is an inevitability. His hypothesis is, basically, that the more intelligent a population the more diverse its tastes and opinions, while the less educated a populace the less diverse its tastes and opinions; thus a much more manageable simple and stupid herd. This explains the level of stupidity and dotage of political leaders in the U.S. since not only are they products of that same simple and stupid population but are chosen—supposedly—through elections by a simple and stupid electorate. 

I doubt that there is any one era or act where one can point to and answer Hedges’ question to when did “we” lose “our” democracy but I’d say that when the Northern states refused to allow the Confederate states from peacefully seceding would count as a major factor if not for nothing more than the massive federalization resulting from that conflict. I’ve no doubt that many states, after a few years, would have been clamoring to rejoin.

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By MarthaA, April 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

rancone, April 29 at 3:02 pm,

Such a little “bye” and you didn’t even answer my
MarthaA, April 27 at 8:31 am answer to your
rancone, April 27 at 11:40 am post.

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By ardee, April 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

Lew Ciefer, April 29 at 1:41 pm

Pessimism seems to become you. As one good quote deserves another:

“Democracy is the worst form of government….except for all the others.”
Winston Churchill

I wonder if you would explain then whether you find any form of governance suitable as this citing by you seems to indicate you preference for none of the above:

One day if you’re lucky you’ll awake from your illusion and realize there is no such thing as socialism, republicanism, fascism, democracy, etc. There is only the Wealthy, The Privileged, The Powerful and their henchmen classes who do their bidding in order to receive or maintain their own privileges.  There’s no New World Order … things are as they have always been. The Wealthy, Privileged, and Powerful “The People” working against itself in order that they, the Wealthy, the Privileged, and the Powerful maintain things as they have always been since man first crawled out of that primordial pit or was thrown out of the magic garden, which ever scenario suits you best.

Now Mencken was a rather amusing and certainly droll fellow who made his mark by (possibly pretending) he disliked everything. I enjoy his quotes but I always take them with a measure ( more than a grain) of salt. My tastes run rather more towards Oscar Wilde frankly, than Mencken, but that is neither here nor there. As you seem to prefer old H.L. here’s one for free:

“It is an inaccuracy to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This, of course, makes me forever ineligible for any political office.”

I believe societies need governance, possibly you do not. If you have already covered this in your discourse with Martha please forgive the redundant question as I do not read her (his,their whatever) efforts nor the responses to them.

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By rancone, April 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

bye

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By red slider, April 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@Lew - We seem to come at things from opposite directions, but interestingly arrive at similar conclusions.

I don’t monitor this page anymore, and filter out most of the pre-schooler nonsense. But if you’d like to talk-it a little, click my name and send me a personal email from there (It’s a project page).  - red

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By Lew Ciefer, April 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

@ Redslider:

This thing called “democracy” is a farce if for no other reason than the term is defined differently by each new generation as well as those of different cultures, belief structures, etc. And constitutions suffer the same fate.

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

” The inescapable conclusion is that the rulers of democratic states judge the populations of democratic states to be incompetent over a whole range of important matters-yet these are the very people who are charged by the constitution with deciding who should have the power to rule them. The paradox arises because the foolish are deciding who the wise are.”  - Kenneth Minogue (The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life)

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By Lew Ciefer, April 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

@ MarthaA

I wouldn’t know how Eva is doing Martha. You do know that she’s been dead for a number of years now, do you not? Just guessing I’d say she’s mostly ashes blowing in the wind.

You liberals have your panties all knotted up just like the repubs with their drawers. Neither of the two bases of The Party appear to be very happy lately. One mourns the fact that they voted for a village idiot and the other that they have been duped into voting for a PW’d, floppy-eared, boot-licking, lackey.  I so enjoy watching and hearing sheep bleat.

One day if you’re lucky you’ll awake from your illusion and realize there is no such thing as socialism, republicanism, fascism, democracy, etc. There is only the Wealthy, The Privileged, The Powerful and their henchmen classes who do their bidding in order to receive or maintain their own privileges.  There’s no New World Order … things are as they have always been. The Wealthy, Privileged, and Powerful “The People” working against itself in order that they, the Wealthy, the Privileged, and the Powerful maintain things as they have always been since man first crawled out of that primordial pit or was thrown out of the magic garden, which ever scenario suits you best.

What’s really interesting about the American system is that “the people” are looked upon by the politicians as idiots who have to be guided—by way of legislation—to an ever increasing range of what were formerly personal responsibilities and yet are handed the responsibility of voting for men to lead them. Small wonder the Federal government is filled with swine and the people wallow in the feces produced by them. It’s dumb and dumber. 

“They” keep predicting that the nation is about to collapse soon … one can only hope. A civil war would cull a herd that is in desperate need of culling and perhaps, if one group is lucky enough, out of the ruin a small segment will begin anew the experiment at self-governing that the U.S. was supposed to be.

Socialism is the theory that the desire of one man to get something he hasn’t got is more pleasing to a just God than the desire of some other man to keep what he has got. –H.L. Mencken

A socialist, carrying a red flag, marched through the gates of heaven. To hell with rank!’ he shouted. ‘All men are equal here.’ Just then the late Karl Marx turned the corner and came into view, meditatively stroking his whiskers. At once the socialist fell upon his knees and touched his forehead to the dust. ‘O Master! He cried. ‘O Master, Master, Master!’ H.L. Mencken

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By drbhelthi, April 29, 2011 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

Correcting the fraudulent status quo of the U.S.GOV, its suppression of
Americans, and its influence on the western world? Timing and plan of action?

All the theories and ideas presented miss the core of the findings of the
Reese Committee, 1953.  The congressional investigation discovered that the
various, tax-free foundations, e.g. the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller
Foundation et.al. were transforming the U.S.A. into a state that could be
merged with Russia. Russia was an ensconced dictatorship at the time. 
Currently, perhaps less so than the USA. 

This plan fits the current status of the U.S.A. – perhaps not perfectly,
approximately 85%.  The 15% is steadily underway via several steps. Maiming
more American youth, physically and mentally, rendering them unable to fight
in a battle inside the USA, against a final takeover by leaders who present
C.I.A.-forged birth certificates, is in progress.  Removing the older persons
who remember how it used to be is part of the plan.  Killing off the elderly
with 3 injections of toxins called “flu inoculations” and many, misdiagnosed
victims with ”mustard-gas derivatives” (chemotherapy) that insure painful
deaths for 96% of the medical victims, is included.  As Mr. William Gates
lectured medical students, properly used, medications and inoculations could
lower world population significantly.  Right, get rich off the peons, then
annihilate them.  Avoid the underlying problem, like allopathic medicine.

Continuing to disinform grade-school pupils with the 9-11 official fairy tale,
after the F.B.I. notified European intelligence that a Cruise missile, not an
airliner, hit the Pentagon, which numerous intelligence services already knew,
from the overall plan. Aviators and aviation mechanics knew immediately that
one small, round hole, without tons of aluminium smeared on the building and
scattered all over the lawn, was not made by an airliner.


The NAZI history of the family Bush. History is for squares and college students? 
While USGOV employees watch porno on USGOV computers, too many Americans watch TV
and read novels.  While a few persons exchange written flatulence on Truthdig.

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By Leefeller, April 29, 2011 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

The State Legislature in Massachusetts which is a strong Democratic Majority, if I heard this right, passed a law to eliminate collective bargaining for Firefighters, Police and Teachers? If this is correct, what can this mean?

Democrats in Massachusetts are really Republicans or Democrats in Massachusetts can be bought and paid for or the big money folks focused on Massachusetts and bought the whole state?... The Governor of Massachusetts says he will not sign a Wisconson bill. 

What I see happening, as Republicans on the Right march further and further to the right, the Democrats seem to be trying to catch them!... Right makes might?

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By katsteevns, April 28, 2011 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

MarthA,

From what I understand, almost half of the delegates would have preferred a king.

Anyway, as far as the “majority” that you are talking about, these probably consist mostly of people who think that sacrificing personal freedoms is quite okay in order to enjoy the privilege of “being an American”. A large percentage also believe in the “communist menace” that has been recently translated into the “war on terror”. It would be no small feat to educate them to the ways of the propaganda machine that has been running the lives of many generations here. Some of the most ardent “patriots” are themselves the worst victims of the inequalities of this society. There will never be a consensus here because of this and other factors. The minority who are fully aware are simply going to have to make a bigger stink in order to be heard. They are going to have to create their own nonviolent “Pearl Harbor” in order to get the sleeping populous to wake, listen and think. If we wait too long, it would be a mistake. There isn’t going to be any General Eisenhower to dash in and liberate us as far as I can see.

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By MarthaA, April 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

redslider, April 28 at 7:20 pm,

Goebbles, Goering, Heidrich and others in Hitler’s government shared
Hitler’s sentiments; this means nothing, other than birds of a feather flock
together.

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By redslider, April 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

@Lew,  I think your sentiments on the place of the Constitution are shared by quite a few of us.  I would extend them in one way, to make the idea of a Constitution, the fact of it, more useful. I liken it to a barometer - something which doesn’t provide or guarantee anything, but which is still a useful instrument in its own right. It doesn’t decide what rights are to become facts in a society, but it can provide some standard, however imperfect, of how close or far a society is from those rights its people felt important when it was drafted and through its various updates. A standard of measurement, that’s all. About as arbitrary as establishing the standard units of length or weight. But good for assessing if fair or foul weather is on the horizon (going outside is also a way of determining the weather, but not always reliable or useful for making good predictions).

That said, it is clear that 1) we are pretty far away, and getting further away from a ‘temperate climate’, in so far as rights are concerned. And, 2) the instrument itself is due for some serious recalibration and overhaul if it is to serve any use at all. The lens itself has become so scratched, distorted and cloudy, it is nearly impossible to even see what those original ideas of a healthy society were, let alone gauge improvements that must be made to keep it current with the 21st century.

It’s entirely another conversation for another forum what that cleaning and overhaul might need to be. So I’ll leave it at that - just something I find useful, and that keeps the idea of a Constitution relevant to me, despite the abuse and mishandling its seen over the past 300 years.

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By MarthaA, April 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

Lew Ciefer, April 28 at 6:12 pm,

“And those rights and liberties are quickly vanishing—especially
under the current hard-core socialist regime.” —Lew Ciefer, April 28 at 6:12 pm

“hard core socialist regime”, eh, how’s Eva?  How on earth did you
escape the funeral fire at the Reichstag and aren’t you a little old at
the present time to be trying to initiate the Fourth Reich,  Adolph?

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By MarthaA, April 28, 2011 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

“And those rights and liberties are quickly vanishing—especially
under the current hard-core socialist regime.” —Lew Ciefer, April
28 at 6:12 pm

“hard core socialist regime”, eh, how’s Eva?  How on earth did you
escape the funeral fire at the Reichstag and aren’t you a little old at
the present time to be trying to initiate the Fourth Reich,  Adolph?

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By Lew Ciefer, April 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

@ Art X :

A democracy is a society governed by and for the people being governed.  A “representative republic” is one version of democracy, but…

Actually that’s simply one way to define democracy. Democracy can also be three wolves and two sheep deciding what’s for lunch ... sorta like what we see taking place economically in the U.S.

The constitution isn’t what produces plutocracy ... human beings produce plutocracy. The constitution is nothing more than ideas put to parchment, paper, etc. A constitution cannot do anything. It is men’s respect for and willingness to abide by the ideals set forth in a constitution that matters. And men abide by ideals only as long as they see an advantage in doing so.

Since its inception the U.S. Constitution—as all constitutions—has been under constant attack and manipulation. The U.S. is nothing less than a growing police state. Just because Americans appear to have more rights and liberties than other countries doesn’t negate that fact. And those rights and liberties are quickly vanishing—especially under the current hard-core socialist regime. Western states are run by delusional, self-absorbed, pansy-assed social workers who all fancy themselves Statesmen and possessors of the truth, suborned by a super-wealthy oligarchy.

Those hoping to return to the days of a more glorious past are in for a rude awakening. The technology possessed by the ruling elite is too tremendous to overcome. Bertrand Russell spoke of that more than 50 years past.

There is no government, no state, no political ideology, where Wealth, Power, and Privilege do not control national economies, politics, society, etc. for their benefit. If you know of a few I’d appreciate their names and emigration laws.

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By MarthaA, April 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

katsteevns, April 28 at 3:29 pm,

“I don’t think Daniel Shays would agree with
you,” —katsteevns, April 28 at 3:29 pm

Why not?  Daniel Shay’s rebellion came against
the American Government after the NEW
American government had been formed and the
new American government was dealing Shay and
the majority population out of political
representation in the new American government,
not the British. Shay didn’t request the Bill of
Right from the British.

We are not there yet, we are still trying to get
out from under what has become symbolically the
British hierarchy rule over the majority
population in the British Colonies, as Britain was
dealing irresponsibly then with the majority
population in the colonies, and the American
government today is dealing irresponsibly with
the majority population against the majority
population’s best interest. 

Shay’s Rebellion must not be forgotten when
considering a new government, because any
good government must include political
representation of the majority population.  Daniel
Shay represented the majority population that
were being left out of the new United States
government’s political representation of the people
and that are currently being left out of
the political representation for which Daniel Shay
fought his rebellion.  We need to do what the
Founding Fathers did prior to Daniel Shay’s
Rebellion in order to arrive at the point of Daniel
Shay.  Withdrawal to represent ourselves as a
majority population class and culture separately
from the heirarchy must come 1st.

It is time for the majority population as a class
and culture in unison as much as possible to
withdraw from participation in all levels of
government that does not represent the majority
population, the American Populace, in the making
and enforcing of legislated law and order into its
own self governing communities in the same
manner equivalent with what the Founding
Fathers did before they declared independence
from the British heirarchy.

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By katsteevns, April 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think Daniel Shays would agree with you, MarthaA.

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By MarthaA, April 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

Mack, April 28 at 11:25 am,

“Right now, street violence, vandalism, and enmity
neighbor to neighbor is on the rise.” —Mack,
April 28 at 11:25 am

Is street violence, vandalism and enmity against
neighbor what the Founding Fathers did for representation
of their class and culture in government?

We need to do what the Founding Fathers did,
which is not all of the above.

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By MarthaA, April 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Mack, April 28 at 11:25 am,

“Right now, street violence, vandalism, and enmity
neighbor to neighbor is on the rise.” —Mack,
April 28 at 11:25 am

Is street violence, vandalism and enmity against
neighbor what the Founding Fathers did?

We need to do what the Founding Fathers did,
which is not all of the above.

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By katsteevns, April 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

Well, I guess if we re-e-e-ally had a place in our hearts for the victims of bad capitalism in the Middle East and elsewhere, then it wouldn’t be beyond us to organize a NATIONWIDE HUNGER STRIKE of peace advocates in order to stop, say, the drone attacks, or any number of other bad US policies. Just pick one. If we are going to go the NON-VIOLENT ROUTE to save democracy or to save lives, this would seem a logical measure to take. I believe Mahatma Gandhi used this tactic many times.

We don’t have what it takes to stand up and say “NO” to empire, not even the best of us…...... do we?

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By samosamo, April 28, 2011 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

****************


When did it die? When law enforcement and the judicial system
decided or were paid to ignore the truth about lobbying.
Lobbying is the exact IS bribery. In any scenario it makes a
criminal offense of the ones bribing and the those taking the
bribe. And this comes awful close in importance to that even
worse corruption, the M$M. Proof? Just look out all across this
country and listen to what the dumbstream garden the M$M has
created can say, it would be jibberish for sure. There isn’t an
important topic those veggies in the ground could or would be
able to really comment about at any time.

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By maria silenor, April 28, 2011 at 8:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

” politically demolished and paralysed…”
I entirely agree, as a historian!
A lot of people have already comme to a
breaking out and off the system
revolution,at least riots happened in Wisconsin,
Greece , ok it’s far away,
but may I remind,
GreaT-Britain, Angola, Arab countries,
and all over the world, spreading riots in India etc…
The system is unbearable for a growning
part of the world not to mention the increaseness of poverty in the middlde classes !
Thanks

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By rancone, April 28, 2011 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

By DieDaily, April 28 at 12:58 am
My bad - I somehow let you have a misimpression. I do not forsake history. But I believe tomorrow is the cumulative experience of all history unto and including today. Attempting to begin a new beginning starting in a yesteryear is what I find daunting. Is that better. My reference to yesteryear and bringing forward what is good is the phrase ‘for the common good’ an 1780’s concept.

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By DieDaily, April 28, 2011 at 12:58 am Link to this comment

@MarthaA: correctly points out that Socialism is NOT
solely an “economic system”. Duh. I’m not a genius
zombie State-worshiper, so obviously I don’t concur
with MarthaA’s incomprehensible position that “next
time it will work out better if only, if only, if
only…” Obviously it won’t. But, she’s understands
the language far better than her detractors.

@rancone: your position is the present problem. You erroneously feel (i.e. succumb to baseless
emotionally-driven conjecture) that the politics of
history and those of today are substantively
distinct. Of all the newb errors, yours is the most
profound (not in any good sense) and yet the most
common. It is impossible to understand anything in
the present without reference to the past. This is
the basis of all everything. Next you’ll be telling
us that ancient man was not as smart as modern man.
Nice try. As much as the history of the world is the
history of ideas, the general nature of humanity’s
the reaction to new ideas is immutable. One of the
most immutable, reliable, trans-generational safe
bets is that the kiddies of each new generation will
take up your exact position re: old vs. new.

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By Virginia777, April 28, 2011 at 12:20 am Link to this comment

rancone:

“These threads appear to be in two different time frames.”

Exactly. Lets get with the present people.

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By Virginia777, April 28, 2011 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

carl moore:

“WHATEVER HAPPENED TO DEMOCRACY?

WE SOLD IT TO THE PIMPS.

AND THEY TAUGHT US HOW TO BLATHER.”

Not all of us, just the blatherers.

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By carl moore, April 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO DEMOCRACY?

WE SOLD IT TO THE PIMPS.

AND THEY TAUGHT US HOW TO BLATHER.

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By katsteevns, April 27, 2011 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

The thought one sacrificing one’s life for the good of the country is only legitimate if one is going to war against another. To be snuffed out by your own national security state lacks honor for some reason.

“It’s all good. We will just continue letting Obomber and his ilk take lives with their drones half way across the world. Meanwhile, we will be trying to figure out a peaceful solution here. Thanks all you wonderful Afghanis, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Palestinians and whoever else for taking the bullet while we ponder peace over here.”

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By rancone, April 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

These threads appear to be in two different time frames. Those whose thoughts run to paradigms of the 1770’s and those whose thoughts appear in the present, being in 2011 looking at 2012 and beyond.
To the former the discussion is beyond me. To the latter it is not whether capitalism is good or bad - in its pure form (unregulated) it is evil - the argument needs to be if capitalism can be used as an econmic tool for the common good (I say yes). Likewise it is not important if Government is too small or too big - it is important that Government is sufficiently effective to regulate and tax capitalism for the common good.

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By RayLan, April 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

@MarthaA
“From your post, it would appear that you are wanting to define
socialism separate and apart from community”

I can only quote - after which I can no longer address your lack simple semantic comphrension

...A socialist society is organized on the basis of relatively equal power-relations, self-management, dispersed decision-making (adhocracy) and a reduction or elimination of hierarchical and bureaucratic forms of administration and governance…

What more is a community than a society with relatively equal power-relations?

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By MarthaA, April 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

Art X, April 27 at 9:28 pm,

I have suggested repeatedly on the Truthdig forum that the
American Populace, the 70% majority common population of the
United States withdraw from participation in all levels of
governance where the American Populace is not represented in
the making and enforcing of legislated law and order, into its own
self governing communities in a manner equivalent to that
declared by the Founding Fathers of the United States in the
Declaration of Independence.

Your post sounds close to what I have said on this Truthdig forum
relative to a Declaration of Independence by the American
Populace.

I do not advocate contention or overthrow of the U.S.
Government, that would be a crime against the State. 

However, the process indicated in the Declaration of
Independence appears to me to be a viable process and that if
the U.S. Government on all levels will not represent the American
Populace, that the American Populace should seek to represent
itself in the making and enforcing of its own legislated law and
order in its own best interests.

I would hope that the U.S. Government would not declare war on
the American Populace if the American Populace declared
independence, but Britain declared war on the British Colonial
Colonies when they declared independence, and I suspect that
the U.S. Government would do the same, if the American Populace
declared its independence in the same way and for the same
purpose as did the American Colonies from Britain.

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By MarthaA, April 27, 2011 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

RayLan, April 27 at 8:33 pm,

The public; society in general is community, and social is
of or pertaining to society or its organization which is
community; a city, a county, a state, or a nation are all examples
of socialism, greater and lesser community.

Common ownership or participation are examples of
socialism.

Corporations, companies, and co-ops are examples of
socialism; where common ownership or participation
exists, socialism exists; where community of interest
exists, socialism exists; democracy is also an example of
socialism.

From your post, it would appear that you are wanting to define
socialism separate and apart from community
and according to discredited time warp doctrine of your choice that
serves a political purpose, rather than a functional purpose of a
community of interest.

What you choose to do to serve your choice of dialectic is your
choice.  However, I use socialism in the context of
community, community of interest that pervades all
societies and organizational structures where a community of
interest exists
to both a greater and lesser degree.

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By Art X, April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

A democracy is a society governed by and for the people being governed.  A “representative republic” is one version of democracy, but a version particularly susceptible to elite domination and perversion as when an elite group has control over who can be a representative. This is how our Constitution produces plutocracy—if using wealth to dominate politics and media and economics is “free speech,” as the Supreme Court says, then the only remedy for plutocracy is to invoke the Declaration of Independence’s authorization of the use of democracy to throw off regimes that don’t work for us, dump the 1789 Constitution (written by wealthy elites to ensure their power was not threatened by true democracy), and create a new government, or better yet, since so many Americans have such incompatible beliefs, start creating a proliferation of new societies in which like-minded people accept the freedom and responsibility to govern themselves, becoming joint-authors of their own self-determined ways of living.

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By Lew Ciefer, April 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

I thought the U.S was supposed to be a representative republic?

Define democracy.

Wasn’t it Kant that defined a democracy as nothing more than veiled Oligarchy?

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By RayLan, April 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

@MarthaA
Well the more common usage of the word ‘socialism’
including the dictionary points to economics implemented by a flat non-hierarchal social structure

so·cial·ism? ?/?so????l?z?m/  Show Spelled
[soh-shuh-liz-uhm]  Show IPA

–noun
1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.
Use socialism in a Sentence

Now if you want to accuse dictionary.com of politicking I suppose you may.

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By MarthaA, April 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

RayLan, April 27 at 6:53 pm,

Social -ism is a word made from the combination of
social, of or pertaining to society or its organization,
and ism, the act, process, or result of; socialism.

It is a bit of a stretch to transform,socialof or pertaining
to society or its organization
, to economic, of or
pertaining to the development and management of the material wealth
of a government or community.

With regard to economic systems, there are planned economies
and market economies.  Some socialist systems use
planned economies and some socialist systems, such
as China use market economies.

Confusion of social systems and economic systems
are generally intended to denigrate socialism by trying to link socialism
with a planned economy.  However, this frame is refuted by
both the State of North Dakota in the United States and
China
, both of which are examples where the social
system
and the economic system are kept separate as
operating systems.

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By Leefeller, April 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

Wow Martha, you hit the point on the head, I relinquish any concerns I may have about your ability to define any one word with absolutist certainty. I must throw my dictionary away and request only Martha A definitions.

Though I believe comprehension is a bit lacking and on the weak side!

Once Martha A finishes defining socialism,(if that time happens before the end of the world)  maybe Martha A can define Fascism for me?

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By Kath Cantarella, April 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Democratic socialism (see Scandinavia) is the fairest and most stable and effective form of governance, IMO. The problems now occuring in places like Sweden after decades of peace and prosperity are due to humanitarian but self-defeating immigration policies that have allowed a huge influx (too many too fast: reference what happened in Palestine in the 30’s and 40’s last century) of a single culture that threatens in coming years to overwhelm the mainstream culture. This humanitarian crisis has been created by wars, some of which were caused by capitalist greed for oil. For which, I’m sure, the refugees and the countries struggling to take them in, all over the world, thank YOU dear ‘free’ capitalist USA, beacon of freedom that you are, where ‘freedom’ means tyranny of the richest 5% over the other 95% of the country. Free-market capitalism is not just an ‘economic system’ but a complete LACK of governance, something akin to anarchy, or perhaps more accurately, tyranny. There is no invisible hand ‘regulating’ the market, there’s only power and strategy and who’s strategy works better to get more money and power over the market.

Academic arguments over what kind of system anything is probably won’t advance your practical thinking very far. The way the world is now, economic systems have become systems of governance. Or hadn’t you all noticed?

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By RayLan, April 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

@MarthaA
“Both democracy and socialism are forms of governance”
That is the source of misunderstanding here. Socialism is ambiguously an economic system and a political system.

Socialism is an economic and political theory advocating public or common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources.[1][2][3] A socialist society is organized on the basis of relatively equal power-relations, self-management, dispersed decision-making (adhocracy) and a reduction or elimination of hierarchical and bureaucratic forms of administration and governance, the extent of which varies in different types of socialism.[4][5] This ranges from the establishment of cooperative management structures to the abolition of all hierarchical structures in favor of free association.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

It is however primarily an economic system that requires an egalitarian social organization to work. (vertical, rather than hierarchical).

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By MarthaA, April 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

RayLan, April 27 at 5:57 pm,

“My response to you doesn’t use the word
‘democracy’. Socialism is also a ‘form of commerce’. I
don’t get your point.” —RayLan, April 27, 2011
5:57pm

Both democracy and socialism are forms of
governance; the difference between socialism and
democracy is only a matter of degree.

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By RayLan, April 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

@MarthaA
“Democracy is a form of governance.  Capitalism is a form of
commerce.”
I’m aware of that. My response to you doesn’t use the word ‘democracy’. Socialism is also a ‘form of commerce’. I don’t get your point.

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By MarthaA, April 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

Art X April 27, 2011 1:06pm,

When people like you use the dialectic of the Right to represent
the interests of the Left, as has been done from the time of Nixon
to the present, “the exact same thing,” rather than represent the
Left and Liberals with the dialectic of the Left and Liberals, it is
“very interesting” that you would point out that my post is the
“exact same thing.”

In your logical scheme of things does the length of time that the
dialectical frame of the “exact same thing” of the Right, used to
talk up the interests of the Left and Liberals justify the “exact
same thing” as being something other than the “exact same
thing?”

What is it that differentiates the “exact same thing” in the use of
Right-Wing dialectic to represent Left-Wing best interest from the
time of Nixon to the present from my singular use of the “exact
same thing?” 

Why are you critical of my use of the “exact same thing” when you
have been silent on the “exact same thing” used in a Right-Wing
frame to represent the interests of the Left and Liberals from the
time of Nixon to the present?

Why do you point out my use of the “exact same thing” when you
have been silent on the “exact same thing” as regards Right-Wing
dialectic used to represent Left-Wing best interests from the time
of Nixon to the present?

When anyone is representing the interests of the Left with a
dialectic frame of the Right, they will get from me “the exact same
thing”, because it is dialectic of the “exact same thing” Hitler used
to defeat the Weimar Republic and needs to be recognized as a
Conservative and Right-Wing weapon against the Left and
Liberals.

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By Art X, April 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

I see where y’r coming from, red, and appreciate that and your comments.

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By MarthaA, April 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, April 27 at 12:59 pm,

It’s alright though, Leefeller,  and everything you say is all for the
best in the best of all possible worlds, because we are all patriots,
and we are in no danger of losing our subjective life, liberty, and
pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all; that, after all,
is the most important thing—Right?

We don’t need no stinking political representation in the making
and enforcing of legislated law and order, so that we can effect
our own best interest —Right?

All we need is to be taken care of by the Democratic Party and the
Republican Party and to root for backlash like bubba at a football
game—Right?

“It’s all good;  it will all be over soon”, said the Cow on the way to
the Slaughterhouse, “the Farmer has taken care of us for all our
lives and the Farmer will continue taking care of us.  It’s God’s Will
that we trust the Farmer and not challenge the Farmer’s authority
over our lives”—Right?

Perhaps, it would behoove the majority population to challenge
the Farmer’s authority before we all get sent for the meat market
—What do you think, Leefeller?

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By MarthaA, April 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Leefeller, April 27 at 12:59 pm,

It’s alright though, Leefeller,  and everything you
say is all for the best
in the best of all possible worlds, because we are
all patriots, and we are
in no danger of losing our subjective life, liberty,
and pursuit of
happiness with freedom and justice for all; that,
after all, is the most
important thing—Right?

We don’t need no stinking political representation
in the making and
enforcing of legislated law and order, so that we
can effect our own
best interest —Right?

All we need is to be taken care of by the Democratic Party and the
Republican Party and to root for backlash like bubba at a football game
—Right?

“It’s all good;  it will all be over soon”, said the
Cow on the way to the
Slaughterhouse, “the Farmer has taken care of
us for all our lives and
the Farmer will continue taking care of us.  It’s
God’s Will that we trust
the Farmer and not challenge the Farmer’s
authority over our lives”—
Right?

Perhaps, it would behoove the majority population to challenge the
Farmer’s authority before we all get sent for the
meat market—What
do you think, Leefeller?

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By redslider, April 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Art, there is the problem of where to spend our time - the real capital of human society. But there is also the problem that these articles are good lode stones for evaluation, extension, critique and learning, when used for that. So some time spent in exposing the mindless and disruptive egos and trolls that disrupt them is a part of the project to try to keep these venues of critical thought from being entirely ripped off.

Mack, indeed, is very up front (though it is a transparent, defensive mask he uses) that he is indulging in, in his words, “preposterousity” ** (i.e. provocation for its own sake?). Besides being dumb “preposterousity” (is there a smart variety?) it does rip off the discussion - scares others with thoughtful analysis and comment away from participating. So there is purpose in just calling these attention-trolls at their own game. Not hard to do that either.  Not sure it’s worth more to respond to such stupid provocations than it is to do other things. I try to keep it in balance. Something to consider, when you feel you are being conned into responding - but, it may serve some purpose to do so, when it doesn’t distract you from more valuable activity (which I happen to know you spend a good deal of time doing).


** “preposterousity” - actually i liked his “ejngaging” better. I’m sure its a typo (he’s not smart enough to invent useful neologisms) but it has an intriguing ring of jambing ‘engaging’+‘engineering’+edge-gauging’... into a weird fusion. Can’t be poetry, he’s already proved he can’t handle that.  I know, its a “bone”. But when that’s all you can get from those with bare cupboards, you make do with what is offered, yes?

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By katsteevns, April 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Hope? I’ve got some hope for ya.

Act on Ike’s warning and close all offshore military bases. Tell all the transnational companies
that they can come on home or else fend for themselves.
All other hope hinges on this.

JFK, RFK, JFK,jr., MLK, Malcolm X, The Black Panthers
and others all took a bullet so as we could continue enjoying civil rights. If we want our country back, we must make no less of a sacrifice and follow in their footsteps. Or else, we can let their memories die.

This is the hard truth. We sit around and juggle the facts but forget, that meanwhile, people in far away lands are being mowed down daily because we can not control our government. And it has been going on for a long, long time.

You surely realize now that the whole country is not going to stand up and say ‘no’. It is going to have to be just a few who will write this chapter in our history. Are you in?

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By thethirdman, April 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

entropy2,
I couldn’t agree with you more.  It would be hard to deny that which we label
government has not grown under both Dems and Repubs.  What I am saying,
however, is that when the highest paid CEO on Wallstreet can become the
Secretary of the Treasury, and nobody even blinks, there is essentially no
government whatsoever we can speak of.  It is ALL big business.  What I am saying
is there is no longer a division between these two false categories (whether there
ever was one to begin with is a different debate).  So to complain that government
has gotten too big is really only semantics.  I would like to see the presence of a
body that in fact does have the ability and will to govern the affairs of man.  But
please let’s just stop all this shrink the government nonsense.  There is nothing
left to shrink.

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By entropy2, April 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

@thethirdman - If you think that the most recent financial meltdown was a result of too small government or of the free market, you really should check your facts. Government has only grown, under Dem and Repub alike. And as far as there existing anything resembling a free market in this country, you can’t be serious. Our government has served the corporate elite for over 150 years—from the days of railroad land grants to “anti-trust” legislation that actually served to cartelize the economy in the hands of the corporations to our current choked matrix of subsidies and tariffs, regulatory barriers to small businesses entering the market, capital and intellectual property monopolies, an public educational system that exists solely to churn out compliant drones to business, eminent domain land grabs for private concerns, and a military that protects not us, but corporate interests.

Just because our right-wing corporate masters call this a “free market” doesn’t mean the left should. Nor should the left eschew genuine free market principles that put more economic power in the hands of the average person.

In any case, concentration of power, whether in the hands of a “conservative” CEO or a “liberal” technocrat WILL BE ABUSED. Always has, always will.

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By thethirdman, April 27, 2011 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

All this talk of Big Government bothers me.  If we look at the financial meltdown of
the last 3 years, what is the one lesson we should have learned?  The government
was so small it practically did not even exist when it came to regulation or the
protection of private property.  This was the great experiment in free market that
neoliberals always wanted— the smallest government one could imagine paired
with complete power of the market to regulate itself.  It worked out exactly as
those pesky Marxists have been saying it would for more than one hundred and
fifty years.  Have we learned nothing?  I call for big government, a government
with teeth, a government that makes individuals afraid to exploit the citizens of
the United States.  I want to see some people swing.  When can we get over this
free-market-will-save-the-world myth?  I think we deserve the terrible future
that is in store for us.

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By Art X, April 27, 2011 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Yeah, red. It’s one of the dilemmas of our fractionating age—engage the wrong-headed, knowing they are not reachable but in the hopes of demonstrating to observers the relative values of different ideas and approaches, or ignoring the other side(s) and moving ahead on more benevolent paths, perhaps even developing languages that the other side(s) cannot even comprehend. I would be interested in what Chris Hedges thinks about this… (As for myself, I admit I can enjoy putting the dim and black-hearted in their place, and I’m not good at resisting the impulse to punch back at direct attacks, but I have started trying to use what energy I have in more productive pursuits.)

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By redslider, April 27, 2011 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

Art, whatta you know, my hunch was right; Mack&Martha; (even has a nice ring to it,don’t you think?) they do make an ideal couple - good match. The genius & the visionary milk-maid will be honeymooning in N.Dakota, no doubt.

It also moves a step closer to confirming we have a troll-pair here. They often come in pairs, one of them being the trainee of the other.  In this case, it’s hard to tell which is the trainee and which is the trainer. No matter. A signature of trolls is their patronizing tone, referring to others as ‘boy’ and such. Sometimes it’s just children trying to act grown-up, and its hard to tell, trolls/children, trolls/children. But it’s indicative.

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By redslider, April 27, 2011 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

Art, don’t get your feathers to ruffled about Martha. She only has two 3x5 cards in her file, the ‘N. Dakota Bank’ and ‘Dialectic’. Rather limited in her ability to respond to anything, besides the fact that she doesn’t seem to understand much about those two topics. Just has them memorized and recites them from rote. So chill out, pal, n’import.

The one thing I can make out about Martha is that she/he seems to be an advocate of capitalism who is trying paper over that fact with her ‘socialist-banking’ panacea.  No matter, either, though I’d have preferred he/she to just come out with it and make the case for capitalism as she/he sees it. I could respect that.

The one other possibility is that Martha is just a troll for someone/some other group on the right, testing the waters, yet-again, with some “new” way to hide their agenda. Such robot carriers of their messages are about all they can do to try to slow the progress of real thought. I don’t know that for a fact, could be.

But certainly our conversation has let them know they are as dumb and transparent as ever. Might send them back to the drawing boards.  Better luck next time, folks.

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By Art X, April 27, 2011 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Martha—that’s the exact same thing you wrote to someone else!? Are you a North Dakota Bank robot? If your programming thinks I’m a right-winger, your circuitry is obviously fried. If you’re a human, your Stalinist-McCarthyite impulses are despicable. In any event, you’re obviously headed on a different path and not a value-adding interlocutor for those of us concerned with creating a post-petroleum, post-corporate, anti-materialist path of true democracy through the wreckage of capitalist modernity.

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